Book Publishing and Publicity News

Good morning all! Lots of bits and pieces to share, so let’s get started.

Hopefully, you’ve seen that my poetry book is published and now available for purchase at Authorhouse (tho web site has technical problems), Amazon and other place. Part of the publication process included receipt of an “author’s copy” of each style of book. That means I get an AC of my hardback and softback. Those have not come just yet. However!  My husband ordered a book from Amazon the moment we were told the book was live. It came Thursday and I’ve looked at it. Big smiles. Took a picture of him reading his copy. And he’s gotten very possessive of it too. (picture was posted to Twitter)

He's reading MY book!

He’s reading MY book!

I still can’t get over the lovely cover (by Sean Foley and his model was wife Jill).  The cover is very polished and totally original. I plan to enter the cover and book into several awards.

But it was fun to write my publisher and tell them I saw my book before I even have my copy. Too funny.  Looks good too, so you can purchase yours with confidence.

Not so with the ebook. First, nothing was said to me about “special” ebook formatting or anything I needed to know that made ebooks “different.”  Needless to say, I purchased an ebook so I could see how it looked. Am not happy with the result. The ebook has some formatting issues making some poems, tho in the book, not appear in the Table of Contents. Some photographs are not with their captions. Footnote numbers are attached to titles instead of being beside the titles. Just formatting errors that need fixing. I’ve already spoken to the designers who have contacted the ebook division, so I am working that issue. If you purchased an ebook (or were planning to), hang on. I will see to it that these items are resolved.  Onward to other areas:

Items I ordered – like launch invitations and raffle gifts for the party – arrived.  I sent out some announcements cards to folks who do not “see” or “read” me online.  Working on my list of places to leave business cards, too.

Another suggestion for new authors — I was told that it helps to leave a copy of your book in reception areas (with permission of the owners), like doctors’ and dentists’ waiting areas. Also, need to connect with the local library, even the chamber of commerce, town hall, and other offices with receptions (like insurance offices, beauty parlours, etc). Never know where you might get a sale from! 

The behind-the-scenes-work is never ending. Waiting on my offiicial press release so I can connect with the local papers. Need a book in hand to go to the library. Finalizing arrangements for some local appearances.  Speaking of actual engagements, authors should try for local ladies groups (garden clubs, reading clubs, foodie meetings) as well as a meet-and-speak at your local libraries. That’s where I’m at for now.

Still working the book trailer. Decided to do a short UTube video of the first book to tide me over. Will show it here when I get that done.

Fun author notes:

I completed my Goodread’s Author page:
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7174564.Sherry_Rentschler

I also completed my Amazon Author page:
http://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Rentschler/e/B00DZPNMAC/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1374248562&sr=8-1

ON THE DESK:  Still reading book #3 of Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Very good.  When I get some quiet time, reading will continue. 

INKWELL:  Opened my WIP (the mystery novel) and the vampire WIP. Planning on doing the vampire story (stories?) for November’s NaNoWriMo. I can also work on my other stuff too. When the weather changes, I am much more prolific.

Guest Blogger:  Apologies to all for the late delivery of the blogger. I promise to have all posted by Monday.  Between the book coming early, hubby being on vacation this week, getting a patio built this week (and workers running around my yard all day),  I’ve been a wee bit distracted. But I’ll have new stuff for you next week.

Its Saturday. Time to do some laundry, post the #DailyTwitamin on Twitter (hope you are following), clean the bathrooms (oh how I love toity duty), dust and vacuum. Thank goodness I can put on some Justice League for my Saturday morning cartoons (some youthful traditions die hard!) while I polish off the furniture.

BAZING!  In case no one noticed, I changed the BAZING link.  My bff has taken down her last blog and so I decided to highlight blogs I follow which impress me. For now, I hope everyone will take note of The Mess that Is Me. Robbie Cox, a past Guest Blogger here is a delightfully insightful writer. You’ll enjoy him.

FINALLY:  I still don’t understand Facebook. But here’s the link to my Author “page.”  (Is that right?)

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sherry-Rentschler/185809561579364?ref=hl

And this is the link to my “regular” Facebook place, the more private me.

https://www.facebook.com/sherry.rentschler

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Reading, Writing, Reaching…

Heard from my publisher today. So begins the journey of “corrections.”  I’m pleased to announce that my work in formatting eliminated much need for any corrections on this score (and I will be speaking about editing and formatting later), and the only TWO things my publisher said was 1) did I want them to complete the second table of contents (for illustrations) and 2) issues with some of my illustrations (will write specifically about this next time).

And I waited….was there more to discuss? And waited. Uh…no, that’s it. !! Can I tell you how pleased I am that this was all my publisher took umbrage with?? Delighted would put it mildly.  So we will discuss these issues tomorrow and then begin the next work of releasing the book to the design folks (I have given them the book cover designs along with back cover and dust jacket). And so mostly we are entering the “do” phase, not the “create” phase. I am excited!

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I’ve moved the Guest Blogger link to the Guest Editorial tab for future readers. Find it anytime for reference! And thank you again, Xander. He will continue to answer all comments through May 31.

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ON THE DESK:  I’m reading The Last Werewolf by Greg Duncan. I only just began so nothing to report. However, I finished the Charlaine Harris book and you can read my review on Goodreads if you are curious. Less than stellar is my overall rating there.

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FROM THE PEN:  Now that the poetry book is at the publisher, I’m back at work on my murder mystery and my vampire stories. Next time a little taste, okay?

PERSONAL NOTE:  There has been a great deal of death and destruction lately. From mass shootings, bombings, huge fires, flooding, tornadoes and landslides…the losses have been terrible and the grief nearly insurmountable.  My thoughts and prayers are with so many. If you are blessed with a good and happy life, send a little aid to others who now could use a little blessing. There are reputable agencies who will be grateful for your aid. Please help. Thank you.

As always, thank you for stopping by. Bring a friend next time and say hello!

Guest Blogger – Xander Buchan

This month’s guest blogger introduces a genre long dear to my heart: horror. A first time author, self-published, this writer wrote, edited, formatted, designed, created, produced his entire book while emerging from a popular reading niche – a risky move for a fresh new novelist. His book not only crossed into gothic horror, but also – gasp – dared to propose a sequel to Bram Stoker’s beloved classic, Dracula. Moreover, not only did he dare such an ambitious writing challenge, he succeeded! Praise has flourished, and this author is now preparing his second novel. I’ve never met him in person, but his love of all things vampire obviously attracted me to his Twitter feed. I pressed him with cheaper prices (and in return I broke down and got an e-reader app), downloaded his eBook when he offered it free, and became a fan. I’ve invited him to speak about his self-publishing journey and what he learned that might help you achieve success. With pleasure, I present Xander Buchan, noted author of Dracula Rekindled. 

Please add your comments after the post and feel free to ask questions! Xander will respond to everyone who posts and will return live for the next two weeks. 

Why I Self-Published and Lessons Learned

 I am not a big reader, nor am I a vampire fanatic, yet I’ve always had a soft spot for Dracula, the Gothic horror unleashed upon the world in 1897 by Bram Stoker. During my 2010 reread, I grew restless as the story approached its climax. The chase gathers pace, the undead villain races back to his castle in Transylvania, the company split in two in order to increase their chances of foiling him. They corner the Count, the box opens, the monster awakens and…..and is immediately defeated with a knife to the throat and another to the heart. Death came not by a wooden stake, and decapitation, the method described, by Van Helsing earlier in the book, as the correct method. And that was it: Chapter 27, “the End.”

As a reader I was not only sad that the thoroughly enjoyable story had come to an end, but also felt distinctly dissatisfied with the outcome; surely the story was meant “To be continued”, I thought. Did Stoker forget the vampire-killing ritual by the time he got to chapter 27? Or did he mean to suggest that the knives did the trick? We’ll never know because, of course, Bram Stoker never did write a sequel. Neither is there any tangible evidence that he ever planned to do so.

My dissatisfaction was in no way a criticism of Stoker’s work, but entirely rooted in my love of the story, and my desire to keep reading about how the Count wasn’t defeated, at least not permanently. Aware that the works had been in the public domain for many years, I presumed that there must be numerous attempts at sequels. Yet some research revealed that despite a biblical-sized flood of vampire fiction, much of it off the back of Dracula, very few sequels were attempted.

Sure, there are successful retellings, re-imaginings, modernizations, and complimentary stories but virtually no sequels written faithfully to the original, bearing the same style and mood. Then I came across the Official Dracula sequel, published in 2009 by Bram’s great grandnephew Dacre Stoker. Wow – I was just about to part with my cash until I read the book’s collection of mixed reviews.

People seemed to either love it or hate it – there was little middle ground. The consensus seemed to be that people who had read and enjoyed the original hated it, whilst those who hadn’t enjoyed the original loved it. Renowned Dracula scholar Leslie Klinger described it as a “fine book,” but not one that could be classed a sequel to the original, having altered so much of the story line. I didn’t checkout my purchase, and still haven’t read Dacre’s book. Nor have I read the other “must-read” Dracula books by Kim Newman, Elizabeth Kostova, CC Humphreys, or Karen Essex to name a few –although all of the above are firmly on my “to read” list.

So, why haven’t I read them? Well I went a little crazy and decided I’d have a go at writing one instead. I needed to ensure the ideas were either my own, or influenced entirely by the original story. Dracula Rekindled was self-published six months ago, and seems to be pleasing its target market i.e. readers who enjoyed the original. I’m currently writing the follow up. My decision is particularly bizarre because I have no previous writing credentials, didn’t study Literature at University, nor did I have a burning desire to write anything before now. Yet, I had an unquenchable desire to write this book. My fuel was my love of the story and my desire to see a good sequel. Plus I assessed there was a definite gap within the saturated vampire fiction genre for a genuine Dracula sequel.

The process took two years from the beginnings of an idea. If I’d known how tough writing and publishing would be, I don’t think I’d have attempted it. Ultimately, I researched and learned the “how to’s.” Now I find the writing process much smoother. I’m still a newbie at writing, but I learned some key things and would like to share them with other potential novelists.

· As best as you can, plan out your story – the beginning, middle, and end. Let your plan evolve as you write – as new ideas appear, work them into the plan and gradually build it up.

· What characters do you need? You don’t want to bombard the readers with an army of detailed characters that they need to remember, nor do you want a 30-chapter conversation between two boring individuals. You’ll need a mix of major and minor characters and if they’re key characters then they must be interesting. Make who-they-are important and relevant to the story.

· Whether the storyline is simple or complex make it convincing – readers aren’t idiots, and want to read something that works as a story and engages their mind and imagination. I think this is true whatever your genre.

· Know your reader. If you are writing YA in Twilight-style for example, then you need to decide who the stereotypical fan is. So if you’re targeting a “moody teenager that wants easy thrills and hot guys and may not appreciate a literary masterpiece,” then write your story for that fan base. If you’re writing for a slash-and-gore fan then they want their action fast and intense, with a simple fail-safe plot. If you’re writing for a fan of Dracula, then you’ll need a more complex story that relies on suspense, creepy atmosphere, as well as gore. Of course – I am generalizing here – there’s no reason why a reader wouldn’t enjoy all three books. But do thoroughly understand your audience and your book’s genre.

· If you’re writing a series, then make sure the end of your books offer both closure and bait. It’s great to leave readers wanting and desperate to read Part 2, but it’s not fair to finish almost mid-sentence with no climax. If you can’t do that, consider writing a longer book or breaking into smaller ones.

· Have your book professionally edited. It will only improve the quality of your work.

· Drawing influence from other books in your genre is fine, but you don’t want to end up writing a book that disappears into an over-populated genre – give readers a reason to read YOUR story. But know enough about other books out there to show how your book differs.

If you plan to self-publish, don’t assume it is an easy process. Avoid taking shortcuts. Just because you could publish the book tomorrow, doesn’t mean you should. Not only do you have technical considerations with eBooks, and layout conundrums with paperback versions, but you must also consider the book cover. People won’t judge the quality of a book by the cover, but it certainly has a strong influence on their decision to buy it.

Readers’ buying decisions are heavily influenced by your marketing and PR efforts. You’ll need a real presence on social networks, a website, a blog, a strategy, and targeted advertising/marketing plan if you can afford it. If you have some nice reviews then share extracts that might entice potential readers. If you don’t have the time or skills to do these things on your own, be prepared to learn, or pay others for these services (and that can be very expensive).

While I continue to learn about self-publishing, I hope this will be helpful to would-be novelists pursing publishing avenues. Believe you can. The rewards are deeply satisfying. Let me know when your book comes out!. I fully support indie authors! Good luck!

Yours between the lines,
Xander Buchan

Twitter: @DraculaReturns
Blog: DraculaRekindled.com

New artist, beauty, and a hint!

Beauty is not a quantifiable concept. What one finds enchanting, another might find to be ordinary.  This is especially true of the arts. Opera, as was mentioned in the movie Pretty Woman, is one medium where people either “hate it or love it.”  Perhaps the sound of the German language can’t touch you through the music. Perhaps you love opera but only the romance languages. I must say Italian does sound quite beautiful when sung.

Beauty is also subjective in art. We are touched by things that capture our eyes because of color, shape, or memory. An artist can never tell what will move a soul to tears or turn a body of people away in disgust (well finger painting with feces will do it for me; how about you?).  An artist can only paint or draw or sculpt what inspires and moves them and waits to see what touches others.

That’s what happened with me. I discovered an artist I am flat crazy about. His name is Ray Ferrer and his web site is listed on the side there —>. His Urban Wall Art is, in one word, FABULOUS.  His style is unique and each piece of art is an original. I’ve purchased a piece from Ray and I am excited. When I receive it I will share some pics with you. Meanwhile, see how Ray uses his style of hand created art stencils and spray paint to make a real masterpiece. Watch this vid:

Art is also a subjective thing when it comes to books. Cover art is so critical for a successful book, especially for the first time author. Doing your own is risky unless you have some serious talent or training. I have none, so I sought the talent of a graphic artist for my upcoming book. I couldn’t be happier with the result which will make my product stand out among the throngs of poor made or super stock covers. But the key is whether it is striking, does it convey the story within, or capture the imagination. Is it art that will make others stop to look?

That brings me to the hint about our upcoming Guest Blogger. His first novel is a completely self-contained work. He wrote, edited, formatted his work, then designed and produced his own cover. Risky for a first time novelist but I think you’ll agree when you see it that his gamble pays off. Is it beautiful? I think I will say that it is striking. And it is memorable. That is true beauty.

If you are a writer, art is how you present your words. That is our craft — to be artful and inventive. If you are an artist, you do the same with canvas, clay or whatever is your medium. To be artist and writer is, truthfully, a gift.  But every person must recognize what his/her talent is and cater to it. Let others do the rest for you. Emphasize your strengths and don’t be afraid of letting others be strong for you where you are weak.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so it is said. Check out my new favorite artist, Ray Ferrer. And now, your hint:

Our Guest Blogger is just crazy for British television comedian Dom Joly. And he thinks that Suzi Perry, British television presenter and F1 presenter for BBC, should be his wife. (we all have to dream). Most importantly, he gave an exclusive interview in Haunted Digital Magazine’s After Dark issue.  What’s that? Oh yes, he’s a horror genre writer.  Hmmm…..

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ON THE DESK:  Broke down and started reading Charlaine Harris’ Dead Ever After. I have some mixed emotions and I’m only on page 42. The writing is very simple and some things explained I think the reader should easily gleam. Kinda insulting when an author does that. So, I’ll let you know. So far, this book and I are off to a rocky start. And that makes me very sad.

Okay, look for the guest blogger to appear sometime tomorrow eveing or Saturday morning. Get ready for some fun!

Guest Blogger Hint/Great TV

Guest Blogger to appear in just a few days! Who is HE?  Here’s your second clue….

He went to school in a place called Peterhead Academy.  And has a love/hate relationship with cats.

That’s all for now.

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One note about something else….I like to watch GOOD television. I like comedies and bubble gum as much as the next person but I live for quality writing and fine acting. Here, in no particular order are really exceptional shows you really should be watching:

Game of Thrones.   The Borgias.   Justified.   Hell On Wheels.   Homeland.

If you like really good bubblegum, then you need to tune in to True Blood.

Shows that are finished that are worth your time:  Carnivale.  Rome.

Do you have some recommendations?  Meet you back here tomorrow for more guest clues.

Bit by Exciting Bit!

First, I have to say it again: I have a book coming out! I’m nearly a published author. Only a few months to go. Okay, I feel better. 😀 Soon, I will share a view of the cover! I can’t stop dancing, Lucibuck!

Secondly, yesterday was the 4th anniversary of my #DailyTwitamin on Twitter. Thanks to @twittonary for recognizing my idea to have this become part of the Twitter Dictionary and part of Twitter life. And thanks to folks like you for occasionally commenting on Twitter or Retweeting. I am very grateful and will continue to find the best doses of cool info, easily digested in 140 characters or less. I have been asked if I will put out an e-book with some of the years best Twitamins. I just may!

And today I was told that my best friend, Melonie, the one I’ve referred to and spoken of many times, is getting married on May 25. She just got engaged but I guess they can’t wait. Oh those impulsive kids. Haha! I’m looking forward to sharing the day with her and getting to know “Mr. Melonie.” I’ll see if I can’t steal a pic for you.

Hey, where are the other people who have been featured? Have we stopped seeing them? Let’s hope they come back to visit. I miss them.  Meanwhile….Guess what?? The next Guest Blogger is in the wings and I’m not saying anything yet, except: Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…..  And that’s the ONLY hint you get until next month! *cue maniacal laughter*

National Poetry Month is nearly over. I hope you’ve found some special poetry to read and memorize. Poetry is such a personal medium, so expressive,  so visceral. Please try some, if you haven’t already. Try someone easy like Rod McKuen or Anna Sexton. Try witty like Oscar Wilde. Just try some, ok?

Come back soon! Cya!

Big Announcement!!

I promised you news so here it is:  I HAVE A  BOOK COMING OUT!

Yes, I have a poetry collection being released late summer (date unofficial at this point). I am terribly excited! It includes some of my photography too. (I do wish you could see me hopping up and down here). Just last night I was able to see the final copy of THE COVER!!!  Oh boy oh boy oh boy. And when my graphic artist finishes sending it to the publisher and they have it in hand, I will happily share the beta with you! Did I say how excited I am????

So here are some answers to questions that I think you might ask:

Yes, I am self publishing. No, it is not a vanity press. Yes, I will have an editor. Yes, the cover is a one-of-a-kind, specially created for me by a professional. Yes, it has been an exacting process. Yes, it has kept me up nights for the last month. Yes, I’ve learned a great deal about the industry that I will happily share with you soon. Yes, this will be a stand alone volume. Yes I am using my nickname which becomes my nom de plume (Sherry) and how silly is that since I practically consider “Sherry” as my name. But if it isn’t on the birth certificate…

So there it is. I’ll be doing some new things as a result – like changing this blog to show me as an author, and yes, I will have to open….a (GASP)…..facebook….account. Okay the world may come to an end when I do that as I’m sure I am the last person on Earth who is not already there, right?? And there will be a web page…so many things!

Stay tuned for more new information coming soon!

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Also, Anna Mittower’s Guest Editorial is now listed in the tab above if you want to come back and re-read her words at a later date. Anna, thank you so much. I am honored you let me share you with my world. I wish you happy trails in your new adventure and best inks in your writing. When your first book does happen, come back here and let me tell everyone all about it, ok?