My Road to Getting Published by Geoffrey Simpson

The story of how author Geoffrey Simpson, who just released “The Three Hares,” got his first book published — in his own words…

Geoffrey Simpson, author of The Three Hares
Geoffrey Simpson, author of The Three Hares

On a gloomy January morning, the air was heavy and uninspired. I read an article about ancient symbols—a distraction from those about politics, rife with propaganda. One symbol, with three rabbits chasing one another in an infinite circle, struck a chord. A whirlwind flooded my conscience.

Although I’ve never written before, a few story ideas were tucked away for a rainy day. That same morning, I began to plot. That same gloomy day was the beginning of an adventurous journey to becoming an author. 

Three months later, manuscript in hand and an intent to self-publish, an author friend of the family strongly encouraged me to find an editor. I hadn’t planned on investing in this project, but I also never expected to write a novel. 

As an author, I’ve transitioned through two distinct phases. There was pre-Janet, and post-Janet. As you probably assumed, Janet Fix, owner of thewordverve inc., agreed to become my editor, mentor, and inspirer.

With a polished manuscript and newfound confidence, I changed course from self-publishing and sought an agent. A thrilling adventure began, but as the queries went out, the feedback was unanimous. “Unfortunately, I’m not the right agent for this project.” Not a single manuscript request came forth.

Discouraged and circling back toward self-publishing, I spoke to Janet the Inspirer. She, who wasn’t just an editor, was transitioning her business from hybrid to traditional publishing, asked me to join Team Verve.

Twelve months after that gloomy January morning, Janet became my publisher, and there’s no looking back. Today, Janet is editing the sequel to The Three Hares, and I am writing the third installment of this five-book YA adventure/mystery series. It is this partnership/friendship which has made all the difference.

Cover of Geoffrey Simpson's book, The Three Hares

I’ve got two novels I’m writing. What are your experiences with traditional publishing vs. self-publishing?

Guest Blog Post: The Little Guy Who Stole Our Hearts by Debbie Centeno

Live long enough, and we’re bound to encounter challenges. With the help of a friend, Debbie Centeno (who runs this blog and this blog) uses her grief to help others…

Chewy

I never knew how much a person could grow to love their pet. I wasn’t raised with pets, other than fish in a tank. And, there’s no way you can take them out of the tank to play, pet or cuddle. I just loved my aquarium but in a materialistic way. As an adult, I didn’t think about getting a pet since I was quite busy with three children. But, after my oldest son passed away, and my two other children were no longer small kids, my daughter convinced me to get a dog. So we opted for a rescue.

Chewy as a puppy

I made a few calls to see what dogs were available to adopt. We found a place that had a mama dog who had recently given birth to seven puppies – six female and one male. The male was the runt and was rejected by his mama, but I wanted a female. That was until we met the little guy, of course. All puppies were side by side sleeping on their tummies, except the little runt who was sleeping on his back almost on top of his sisters. He was much smaller than the others. When I saw him – well, I don’t know what I felt, but I just had to have him, so the volunteer picked him up and placed him in my arms, and that was it. I was in love. I handed him to my husband, and he felt the same way. So off we were with a 5-week old 2-pound Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. We named him Chewy, and it suits him well.

Chewy buckled up in a car

Chewy is now 6-years old and 20 lbs. I can’t imagine life without him and don’t regret having followed my daughter’s advice. He is the most loving, spoiled brat ever who stole our hearts. I know he’s not human, but for me, he’s my baby.

Debbie Centaro

Debbie Centeno is a wife, a grieving mom, an accountant, and a travel blogger. Learn more about her here and here.

My Personal Path to Self-Publishing by Lisa Kentgen, Ph.D.

When it comes to publishing, deciding which route to take can be a challenge.

For the traditional route, once an author writes a book, they sign on with an agent or publishing house. The author shares a hefty percentage of the sales, in exchange for the agent doing everything involved in getting attention and sales.

A self-publisher keeps all the money — but does everything, including possible hiring of an editor and book designer, buying advertising, etc.

New York City psychologist, Lisa Kentgen, Ph.D., debuted, “An Intentional Life: Five Foundations of Authenticity and Purpose,” June 2018. Here how she went about it…

Cover of, "An Intentional Life" by Lisa Kentgen

Turning down a book contract was a painful decision. My book emphasizes listening to your internal voice. My voice told me I wouldn’t be happy signing a contract that didn’t feel mutual. The morning after making this decision the idea for my next book came to me. I then knew self-publishing was the right path.

Two things were clear. 1) I would create a publishing imprint to house this and future books. 2) I would be intimately part of the process.

Creating a publishing imprint meant establishing an LLC. Its mission is broad enough to cover other professional activities, like public speaking, so that my writing will be an essential part of my professional life.

Photo of author Lisa Kentgen by Todd Estrin Photography
Photo of author Lisa Kentgen by Todd Estrin Photography

There are reputable companies, like Girl Friday Productions, that help authors from concept to final production. I believe they quoted me $16,000. I chose not to go with this sort of company because I had a manuscript that already was far along and, also, it means not taking the lead in creating my team. Establishing my team meant spending hours finding a top quality editor, cover designer, and interior designer.

I was fortunate enough to find a developmental editor who is the vice president of a publishing company. She had me reduce my manuscript by 30%. She told me that while I don’t like telling people what to do (I am a psychologist) – as a writer I needed to be more directive. After a major edit, I hired another editor to polish the final manuscript.

For book design, I chose Reedsy, an online company that has wonderful professionals for hire. Inexpensive cover designs cost around $500. For an experienced, artistic designer it is closer to $1000. My cover designer was so good that I persuaded him to do my interior design which cost about $2000.

I learned the hard way that what makes for a beautiful physical book creates complications for the ebook. (Suggestion: Make a copy of the interior before getting fancy!) Creating the ebook to look like the physical copy proved difficult. I had no way to assess the actual skill level of designers. The first person misrepresented their experience, and I paid $450 for something I couldn’t use. The next person charged $500 and what I wanted took more time than estimated–so we negotiated a higher price.

My experience creating the audiobook with Brickshop Audio in Brooklyn was a pleasure. The audiobook, with production help, costs $250 per finished hour. My 55,000-word book (on ACX) cost $1650.

I recommend my path to authors who enjoy creating a business and who have the time and desire to address countless creative details. It means a lot more work upfront, but having finished products closer to your vision. I am excited to take what I have learned to new ventures!

Quote by Lisa Kentgen: Living with intention you understand that your interests are intimately bound to the well-being of others.

What do you think of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?

Guest Blog Post: “An Accomplishment” by Robert

Man and Dogs Playing Cards by Ryan McGuire of Gratisography
Thanks much, Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Too many days, I lie awake at night worrying that I didn’t get enough done. How about you? If you’re like me, RobertLovesPi is here to reassure us that it’s all good…

RobertLovesPi.net

accomplishment

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Guest Blog Post: A Conversation with Cathi’s New Book!

Writing a book is h-u-g-e ! Publishing it is double that! Bravo to Cathi Turow!

Photo of author Cathi Turow
Cathi Turow

Cathi says of her new book and herself: “When I was on staff at Sesame Street, the show was intentionally written on two levels, for children and adults. I’ve just published an allegorical book which lifts the show’s adult sensibility (its humor, cleverness, and spirituality) and carries it to the other side of life: growing old. The book is based on my blog and can be purchased on amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com “

A conversation between Cathi and her book…

OVER THE HILL on the YELLOW BRICK ROAD

Traveling Over the Hill on the Yellow Brick Road, I’ve had conversations with lots of weird people and things while passing through the Neighborhood of the Empty Nesters, the Avenue of Ages and Stages, climbing over Makover Mountain, visiting the Career Change Cafe, and looking back on my life in Reflecting Ridge. So…I put all those conversations together in a book, along with a story that ties everything together. Here it is! The only problem is, my book is being a hypochondriac.  While I was setting up links to Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com, my book screamed at me: 

over_the_hill

BOOK: Ah!!!! Don’t make me travel across the internet!

Why not?

BOOK: Because I’m filled with conversations about growing older. I feel really fragile and responsible. If something happens to me on the way to Amazon.com or barnesandnoble.com, I’ll never forgive myself.

What can happen?

BOOK: If someone clicks on me, it…

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Guest Blog Post: “New Year Resolutions You Can Actually Keep,” in the exact words of bookshelfbattle

Photo of toy pig pigging out in a colorful cupcake
Thanks Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com for this cool pic!

Hate resolutions? Standards too high? Bookshelfbattle to the rescue!…

Bookshelf Battle

Fart more.

Eat more.

Be ruder.

Smell worse.

Do less.

Procrastinate more…tomorrow.

Exercise less.

Watch more TV.

Play more video games.

Be lazier.

Read less.

Fail more.

Don’t be productive.

Eat more candy.

Don’t get out and meet anyone.

Get fatter.

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Guest Blog Post: “Gym and I,” in the exact words of funnyfingersblog

photo of skeleton sitting on a park bench
Photo of what great progress funnyfingersblog has made, as provided by her.

Ladies and gents, overindulgence and underexercise are behind us. It’s gym season!

Yeah!

Or better, Ugh?!

Read on for how funnyfingersblog arrived at the state of ‘no fat’ …

Funny Fingers

Gym and I, I and gym….

Our relationship started a few years back with a force of attraction that was all consuming. It was indeed love at first sight. We promised to stay together and made big plans for the future.

Like in any big event of our life, the first step was putting a wardrobe together. The involvement and excitement was comparable to shopping for one’s trousseau. After a careful scan of the internet to see what’s in, numerous market trips were undertaken and outfits were bought, along with matching shoes, socks, napkins, wipes, head bands, wrist bands and other gym accessories ….even nude make up.

Every day at the promised time I would dress up and go to meet my new crush. Those were days of passion, dreams and sweet pain. Like a sculptor my gym had promised to chisel every part of my body- abs…

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Guest Blog Post: “A Wish List for a Better Life,” in Julie Morris’ exact words

Is New Year’s when you resolve to improve your life? A life and career coach, as well as a blogger, Julie Morris recommends we start this very minute…

Photo looking down neck of a guitar
Image via Pixabay

We all want to be happier, smarter, healthier… better, right? Well, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a little self-improvement.  But there’s no rule out there that says you can’t have fun while doing it. This holiday season, why not make your wish list a little brighter with some ideas for gifts that facilitate a better life? Your list may even inspire your friends and loved ones to do a little self-improvement themselves.

If you want to face your fears…

Ask for a gift that confronts them! For instance, if you are afraid of heights, membership to a rock climbing gym is a great idea. Rock climbing allows you to become comfortable with heights while being safely strapped in with gear. You get to go at your own pace and work towards the highest points. Best of all, it’s a pretty great workout that builds strength in your arms, legs, and core. Facing your fears AND fitness… it doesn’t get much more self-improved than that.

If you want to pick up a new skill…

If you are looking to pick up a new skill, why not add more music to your life and learn to play a stringed instrument? Playing the guitar can boost your brain power, reduce stress, alleviate pain, promote heart health, establish bonds and relationships… not to mention it’s just plain fun!

For those who have trouble playing the guitar because of smaller hands, the ukulele is just as good an option! It’s fun, simple, and quirky. Plus, even the best ukulele on the market is an affordable option.

If you want to increase your self-esteem…

If you could use a little boost of self-esteem, try picking up meditation to improve your mindfulness in your day-to-day life. While technically you don’t need anything to meditate– only a quiet spot and a few minutes– meditation classes can really help deepen the practice both for novices and the experienced transcendentalist.

You can find meditation classes at a local yoga studio if you think you may benefit from a group setting. However, there are several awesome meditation apps that can help you expand your practice from your own home. A membership to one of these is only about $10 a month, so it’s an affordable gift option for your family.

If you want more discipline…

If you find yourself constantly playing catch-up or goofing off, you may find some self-improvement in discipline. A fun day planner can help you stay on track and get what you need done. In your planner, you can craft your to-do lists, block out task time, and get a more realistic view of your weeks so you can handle them better.

If you want to be more charitable…

Ask for a charitable donation.  It’s the easiest gift to ask for from friends and family… they don’t even have to wrap anything! Pick a cause that is near and dear to your heart and let your family and friends know in lieu of a gift, you’d like them to make a charitable contribution. It’s a gift that’s better than socks, but will still make you feel warm and fuzzy. Check out these top-rated charities that could use a donation from you!

***

If you want to improve your life, there’s no better time to start than the present (get it?). Making your wish list with self-improvement in mind doesn’t have to be dry. All it takes is a creative approach and a little personalization. For instance, if you want to face your fears, ask for an activity that facilitates such a thing like rock climbing as a way to combat a fear of heights. If you want to pick up a new skill like playing guitar, lessons are a fun and easy gift to ask for. Meditation is a great way to boost your self-esteem and your friends and family can easily buy you at-home lessons through popular apps. If you’re looking to add more discipline in the new year, a day planner can help you achieve just that. Finally, if you want to be a more giving person, asking for charitable donations in lieu of a gift is a classic idea that never goes out of style.

Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways. Find out more about her at juliemorris.org. Here and here are some of her other posts for Happiness Between Tails.

How do you live? by da-AL

Nest of chicks
Thanks Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

“You only die once.

You live every day.”

Quote by John Feal

John Feal founded the FeelGood Foundation, which helps 9/11 responders as they continue to deal with the aftereffects of dealing with injuries and toxins.

We must, he reminds us, make the most of our lives. Every day we get out of bed offers us a new opportunity.

Good deeds, moreover, are infectious. In a recent radio interview Feal recounted how, when he’s in line to buy coffee, he often pays for the drink of whoever’s behind him.

His philosophy: when we’re kind, we can’t help but be kind to others.

The kindness of others has helped me to be a better person. How about you?