Monday, August 29, 2011

So You Want to To Write a Book

I’ve had the following conversation countless times at bookstores, parties, even when I’m out walking the dog.
Would-be writer: “So you’re a writer?”
Me: “Yes.”
WBW: Published?”
Me: “Yes.”
Wistful expression appears on would-be writer’s face. “I’ve always wanted to write a book.”
Me: “What’s stopping you?”
WBW: “Don’t have the time.”
Me: “If you write one page a day, you’ll have a book in a year.”
WBW, flashing a sheepish grin: “It might not be good.”
Me: (trying not to rant) “Doesn’t matter. It’s a start. Writing is a skill that gets better with practice.”
The conversation usually ends with the would-be-writer slinking away even though I have plenty more to say. The words are familiar because I repeat them to myself when I sit down to write.

1.     Who do you think you are? Moses chiseling the Ten Commandments onto a humongous rock? If it’s not perfect, that’s okay. Remember the “delete” button?
2.     You cannot edit a blank screen. Write something. Write anything. Every day. Somewhere in that giant slag heap of coal, you will find a diamond in the rough, ready to be polished.
3.     Do not give into fear. Fear of criticism, fear of failure, fear that you’ll never get another brilliant idea for the rest of your natural life. Fear is paralyzing. It steals away your creative energy and most certainly causes what is euphemistically known as writers’ block. How does one defeat fear? Follow steps 1 and 2. Repeat as necessary.

Here’s what beloved young adult author, Judy Blume, has to say about writing. “I received nothing but rejections for two years. I would go to sleep at night feeling that I’d never be published. But I’d wake up in the morning convinced that I would be. Each time I sent a book or story off to a publisher, I would sit down and start something new. I was learning more with each effort. I was determined. Determination and hard work are as important as talent.”
So, here’s my advice if you really, truly want to write a book. Stop making excuses and just do it.


MEG CABOTThe Princess Diaries slipped through the hands of 17 publishers before being accepted for publication.
TONY HILLERMAN – the late, great author now famous for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels, was initially told to “Get rid of all that Indian stuff.”

Only seven of EMILY DICKINSON'S poems were published during her lifetime. One rejection said, "Your poems are quite as remarkable for defects as for beauty and are generally devoid of true poetical qualities."
Okay, so you're not Meg or Tony or Emily. No problem, you're you and you have something unique to say. So . . .get busy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Welcome Cindy Cromer

1.         Do you have a blurb for your new release, Desperate Measures?

What should have been the perfect vacation soon becomes a nightmare. Caitlin Martel has no idea that a forgotten secret is about to explode and put her life in jeopardy. The suspense escalates through twists, turns, and family secrets yet to be revealed. A powerful climax unveils an unlikely alliance between two deadly and dangerous enemies.

            Your background as a trained scientist is unique.

My scientific background isn’t as unique as it seems.  There are several well-known authors with impressive scientific careers.  To name a few, Tess Gerritsen, Robin Cook, and Michael Palmer are all medical doctors.  I’m not saying I am anywhere in their league as best-selling authors but can hope someday I will be. 

            Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Honestly, I have always had a dream to become a writer since I love to read.  I read so many books and complain each time I find an error; rushed ending, lack of character development or too many characters thrown at the reader at once, time frame discrepancies, etc. In high school, I was placed in the honors English and literature classes, but focused on science as a curriculum in college.  I’m still amazed that my dream has come true.  Seeing those magic words, Contract Offer and my name on the cover of Desperate Measures was overwhelming.  I truly appreciate the fantastic reviews (all five stars) and complimentary e-mails I have received so far. 

             Can you give us some insight into your main character Caitlin Martel? Is there a bit of Cindy Cromer in Caitlin?

I developed Caitlin utilizing my scientific and executive experience.  Yes, there might be a touch of Cindy Cromer in her character and personality but that is where the parallels of Cindy the author and Caitlin the character diverge.  Thankfully, I don’t have the wacky secret hiding family Caitlin does.  I had to make Caitlin more interesting somehow, didn’t I?

            Were there any aspects you found hard to write? 

No, not really, other than bouts of writer’s block.  Developing the characters and tying them all together in the suspenseful plot was a lot of fun.

             Are you working on a new project?

I am currently putting the finishing touches and edits to my second book, Desperate Deceptions.  It could be considered a sequel, but I have written it as a stand-alone and the reader won’t be lost if they haven’t read Desperate Measures.  Of course, my goal is to propel the sales of my first book and make the reader want to read both.  I have a third and fourth book in rough draft format, completely different from the first two.  They are mysteries, but totally different characters and plots.  Eventually, I’d like to get back to a few of the characters I created in Desperate Measures, namely Tomas and Barry Solerno who became my favorite character.

             Do you have a writing tip for aspiring writers? 

Be prepared for rejection. Sometimes it’s brutal. Don’t give up. Be persistent. Grow thick skin and don’t be offended. Embrace each criticism and rejection as an opportunity to grow.

                  Where can we buy your book? 

Desperate Measures is available at                               
under top sellers, soon available at Amazon and B&N, in all e-book            
formats at this time.  It will be in print at the end of September 2011. Please visit me at: Cindy's Writing Studio

First 5 chapters posted at:​50/desperate-measures

Thank you for this opportunity for this interview.   Readers, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have further questions or comments/reviews regarding my debut novel, Desperate Measures.  I hope you enjoy the book and will keep you apprised of the release of my future books.


Saturday, August 20, 2011


I was the kind of chef who much preferred to be in the kitchen rather than the front of the house, so it is really difficult for me to think of the marketing side of book writing. Thankfully, my husband was in sales for part of his career and he loves to go out meeting new folks and bragging about his ‘chef wife’s’ accomplishments. 

Our vehicles are always at the ready with copies of my books and he’ll stop at just about any little or big shop to hawk a few. We do have the website and also Amazon carries us (which we only do for the publicity – sure can’t make many pennies through them!), but other than those, it is word of mouth – his mouth. I will add, very few shops turn him down, so he’s doing his part of the job very well, I’d say.

 For my part, I’ll just say – if you like cookbooks, check out and another new one will be out in a few weeks, “I Have Leftovers…What Do I Do?”

P.S. I live the quote of Clarence Darrow: “Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away!”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Most writers,  both self published or traditionally published, face the same challenge. The evil M word. Marketing. We spend endless hours creating our masterpieces. Now, how the heck do we get people to read them? Author junkets paid for by publishers with deep pockets are a thing of the past unless you're Nora Roberts or James Patterson. And, don't wait around for an invitation from Piers Morgan or the Today show . . . not unless you've written a book about how Princess Diana really died or an unauthorized biography of Lady Gaga. The rest of us poor slobs pretty much have to do it ourselves. If you do everything the so-called experts say you should do: create a website and personal blog, send out newsletters, participate in blog tours, hold contests and connect with others via social media, tell me, when do you have time to write? I wish I had the definitive answer. I don't. But let's hear from other writers who are wrestling with the same problem. Where did I meet them? Yep, that's right. Social media.

Louise Birkett, author of the novel, The Jenny Wilson Show says, "Non-fiction and journalism is what I'm known for and now I'm facing the issue of how to market something entirely different. Marketing and promoting fiction is a whole new world." Visit Louise at

Jenifer Gershman who published her book Where Did Mommy's Super Powers Go with Lisa Ross of Sweet Dreams Publishing says this about marketing, "The challenges I face now are PR and marketing of the book. However, as a high-energy, extroverted "people person," I am working my tail off doing everything I can to get this book into the hands of parents struggling to balance a serious health crisis while raising small children." Check out Jenifer's blog at:

Kelly R. Martin, owner of Myth/Logic Press has this to say, "There is no universal definition of success in the writing business. There are only preconceptions of success or failure. Do you feel like you're succeeding at what you're doing, or do you feel like you've wasted your time and effort? So far, I don't feel like my effort has been wasted and I'm still running red ink. If my ledgers change to black ink, then everything else is gravy."

Erin Lale who was featured in Part Two of this series adds this, "There is so much being published on the net that the whole world has become like trying to advertise a small business in Las Vegas under the glare of giant casino signs while taxicabs with pictures of naked ladies on their roofs whiz by."

If you're an author, either traditionally published or self published, what have you learned about marketing your book? What worked for you? What was an utter waste of time? Please leave a comment. Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Self Publishing: Part Three


How much would you spend to publish a book? $500? $2000? $50,000? Do you want your book in print or digital format? Or both? What about distribution and marketing? I’ve received an amazing number of responses from people who’ve recently taken the self-publishing route. Each story is different.

KEVIN EMERSON. Scholastic published five books in his Oliver Nocturne series but turned down book six. Emerson, a Seattle resident, decided to self-pub, using local talent in terms of cover art and printing costs. He went through the Amazon Advantage program and connected with distributor Baker and Taylor in order to distribute the book to libraries as well as bookstores. Here’s his cost breakdown:

Printer: $5.39 per book (250 in first order for $1348.00)
Cover art: $350.00
ISBN: $125.00
Barcode generation: $25.00
Total: $1848.00 or $7.39 per book.

Amazon and Baker and Taylor take 55%
Shipping costs between $.75 and $1.50 depending on time and quantity.
Book retails for $14.99=$6.75 profit after Amazon cut
All costs considered - $.60 royalty 
                          Kevin's website is:                                 

PENDRED NOYCE says, “I chose to self-publish my book Lost in Lexicon by creating a company and hiring a virtual team consisting of an editor, art director, artist, copy editor, designer, and social media PR experts. I spent a bundle and learned a huge amount. A major challenge is distribution. I went with Greenleaf, which accepts about ten percent of books that come to it for distribution.
The book sold well, won number of prizes, and has just been released by Scarletta Press, an indie publisher. Scarletta has also signed on for the remaining three books in the series. My goal was always to attract a "real" publisher by proving the book could succeed, so for me the time and expense was worthwhile. Otherwise, I think self-published books will continue to be good primarily for niche books with small markets or for famous writers whose markets are already established. It is very difficult to get high visibility and sales in a marketplace saturated with often low-priced, self-published, and frequently poorly edited books. I think I would be comfortable saying I took as my budget guide the amount Brunonia Barry spent for The Lace Reader which was $50,000 – a lot for an author but not as huge if you think of it as a career investment.”

Penny at

Penelope Van Buskirk says, “One of the greatest advantages to self-publishing is that you OWN THE RIGHTS. So you have the freedom to market, etc. any way you choose to do it. I just put my e-book on Amazon Kindle. It will be available in 48 hours. You can set the pricing, the countries where it can be sold and write your own blurb. The royalty rate is excellent, so hurray for self-publishing!”

Penelope’s website is:

Tom Thomas says, “Ultimately, you have to ask yourself why you write. If it's to make a big name and lots of money like a Rowling or King, then you'll do better robbing banks. The window for a bestseller is smaller than the eye of a needle. The trouble with physical book publishers in the last twenty years is that they've tried to publish only bestsellers and they just can't call down the lightning every time. In the process they've let the midlist market go. Midlisters write quirky, individual books with a narrow but loyal fan base. Midlisters don't sell 100,000 copies a year, more like a couple of hundred a month. But they still touch readers. The value I see in e-books is that authors with individual voices and niche ideas can once again find readers. If that means a lot of chaff with the wheat (and wheat being in the eye of the reader), then so be it.”

Visit Tom at:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Erin Lale: The Future is Boundless


The technical side of e-book publishing is far beyond my capabilities and, quite frankly, I’d rather be writing. Consequently, you will get no words of wisdom from yours truly. Fortunately, I received a long post from Erin Lale who not only writes but also formats her own books, embedding them with music, video and pictures. Her impressive bio follows.

Erin Lale is a contemporary sun print artist and the publisher and editor of Time Yarns, a transmedia experience featuring pictures, videos and music. She was the founding Chairman of City Lights Artists' Co-op and served on the Southern Nevada Adult Mental Health Advisory Board. She’s published seven books as well as her science fiction series, Punch. In 2012, she plans to publish two science fiction anthologies showcasing other writers’ in Time Yarns.

Here’s Erin’s prediction for the future of e-books.

The technology to make e-books function like websites already exists; it’s just html! We’ve had it for years. I predict that in the future, e-book platforms will accommodate huge files and e-books will really come into their own as full transmedia experiences. I predict that in the future, if you watch a Marvel movie on your phone, you will be able to hover over a character like you do on Facebook to see tags, and a hyperlink will appear to take you to that character’s comic book. 

I predict that in the future, if you’re reading a book and a character mentions a song, even if the author didn’t put a link or embedded sound in the book you’ll still be able to click on the song and hear it play. I predict that in the future, content will be king; books, films, animation, music, games, and manga will all be supported on the same internet platform, and we will cease to call ourselves writers, musicians, filmmakers, and game designers, and everyone will be a transmedia artist.

 Internet and TV are already on their way to becoming fully integrated, with streaming video, broadcast TV news shows reading comments on their air from the show’s website forum, radio shows with integral chat rooms where listeners can ask questions of the show’s on-air guests live, and of course screen technology has finally progressed to the point where we can really watch TV and use a computer with the same screen, which the computer industry talked about for decades before the technology really got there.

Where you can find my books:

My author page is: where you can get free downloads of my writing and see posts about my publishing news.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Welcome to Part One, Book Blather's look at self publishing. Part One covers the who and why, starting with new author, Rebecca Rogers. Next up will be Erin Lale who analyzes the technical aspects of publishing your own works. In subsequent posts, we'll look at where and how and feature comments from writer friends on the ever important aspect of marketing.

Who in the world self publishes? Just about everybody, that's who. Not so long ago, real writers were given stern warnings about evil 'vanity presses." They were for people who just weren't good enough to make it in the professional writing world. 
                                                AKA: losers.

 Enter, Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old who took matters into her own hands and began publishing her own books, marketing them for $.99 on Amazon. Was she successful? Um, yeah, if you call selling thousands of books and then landing a four book deal with St. Martin's Press successful, yes, she is. Even though Hocking is the exception, many multi-published authors are leaving the Big Six to take charge of their own careers. To name a few, Janet Wong who had 21 traditionally published books and J.A. Konrath, the master of self-promotion Children's writer Chris Eboch wanted to write a book set in Egypt. Her editor said there was no interest in historical fiction and besides, they already had a book set in Egypt. Her agent said he couldn't sell it without zombies and mummies. So what did Chris do? You guessed it. Within a couple of months, she published it herself, complete with illustrations by Lois Bradley. Yes, times, they are a-changing.

What about the discouraged young writer following all the rules, only to be slammed with rejections? Time and again, new writers are told, "First, get an agent." Oh, really? Is that easy to do? Agents want to make money. They want to know what you've published. Oh, you're not published? Oops, the Big Six publishers won't accept a submission unless it's from an agent, so basically, dearie,you're screwed!

I asked Rebecca Rogers to kick off this series on self-publishing. Her book, Silver Moon, was previously featured on Book Blather. When I asked Becca why she chose the self-publishing route, she replied, "It was a series of discouragements that led me to self-publishing. After two years of trying to find and agent and watching everyone around me land not only agents but book deals, I finally convinced myself I'd still be getting my stories out there, just not in the traditional way."

Welcome back to Book Blather, Rebecca.

I’m no connoisseur with self-publishing, but, in my experience, I can tell you a few things.

The first common misconception about self-publishing is that it’s a last resort for those who weren’t picked up by agents and/or publishers. While this may ring true for many authors out there, it’s not the only reason. For me, personally, it’s about getting my story out in the world so a wide audience can enjoy it as entertainment. I also like creating book covers and knowing that I’m in control of my sales. The formatting isn’t always pleasant, but it’s worth it in the end if you want to make your book shine.

The second frequent belief is that all self-published books are crap. There are those out there that automatically look down upon books that are self-published and assume they’re not worth the time. It’s too easy for someone to write a book (or something that closely resembles a book) and throw it on the internet for the whole wide world to see and pay money for. But this isn’t always the case. I’m sure there are plenty of books out there that aren’t great, but what you may find as horrible, another may find as magnificent. I’ve come across several indie books lately that have received nothing but praise.

Did you notice I used “indie” in the previous sentence? Yes, my friends. I’m sure you’ve heard people argue about this term for a while now. I’ve seen several agented, published authors mention that we are not indie authors; we are self-published authors. Yes, we are self-published. No, we are not published with traditional indie presses. I do, however, believe that we apply as much, if not more, marketing towards our books as any publisher out there today. We may not have all the necessary tools, but we get the job done. For a more detailed explanation, I want to refer you to fellow indie author SM Reine’s blog post about the difference between self-published authors and indie authors. Plus, it’s easier to say “indie” rather than “self-published.”]]

I think the main thing to remember when you come across a self-published book is that it’s really no different than other books on the market and there’s the need for an open mind. Self-published books still tell a story, have characters, and are meant to engage readers. So don’t push aside your preconceived notions about self-published books just yet. With ever-increasing sales on markets such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s NOOK, indie authors are making headway.