Guest Blog Post: Tips for Sleuthing the Past by Margaret Lossi

Who'll your search turn up? Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com
Who will your search turn up? Photo thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Writers and readers alike, for times we’d like to look into our histories, author Margaret Lossi offers tips for how to get started. My two novels are works-in-progresses! Lossi says that when it comes to looking up one’s family background, be prepared for surprises…

M.A. Lossl

The Family Tree

Warning: family history can lead to emotional discoveries.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you begin at the end! That is, you begin with you.

Check your birth certificate, verify your parents. It may seem like a given, but just sometimes people find they are adopted, or their mum is really their grandma. It pays to check.

Check your parents birth certificates, to verify your grandparents. Then work your way back through the generations, verifying birth certificates.

These first steps build the strong foundation of your family tree, so worth doing well.

It is not a case of how far back you can go, but the quality of your data

You may wish to answer a family question. I knew my parents were second cousins, so wanted to find out about this link. Set yourself a goal to work towards. Whatever your motivation, make sure you verify each…

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Guest Blog Post: 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: “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.

Dear readers, share your experiences below with self-publishing vs. traditional publishing…

Guest Blog Post: Step-by-Step Story Writing Tips by Austin L. Wiggins

Tiny sprouting plant by Ryan McGuire
Photo phabness thanks to Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Planting the seed for the first step can be the hardest — but it can be the start to wonderful things. Fellow blogger Austin L. Wiggins shares his process…

Writings By Ender

Shout out to da-AL at https://happinessbetweentails.com for saying she would like to read a post about my writing process. Please take some time to read her work! It makes me happy to engage with people like da-AL who takes their time to comment on people’s work. And so, if you are so inclined, what kind of writing-, book-, or literature-related post would you like to see on my site? Comment below with your suggestions, and remember to like this post and follow Writings By Ender.


Writing about the process of writing feels strange, and it makes me feel naked in that by writing about it I am revealing parts of myself to you. Should I feel this way? The answer is, hesitantly, yes. The very nature of writing is an act of vulnerability. So, if by talking about my writing process I am exposing myself to you, then I hope…

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Guest Blog Post: How Blog Posts and Articles Can Promote Your Book By Angela

Photo of white lettering in sky
Awesome pic by Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Self-publishing a book? Angela shares her experience…

Review Tales by Jeyran Main

How blog posts and articles can promote your book!

Want to increase readership and book sales, write an article or blog post?

Writing material related to a non-fiction is a no-brainer. Chances are you’re an expert and can easily expand or provoke further discussion on your book’s topic through a blog post or article. But fiction writers have a challenge and need to be creative. Here are some of the areas to explore:

  • Your book’s central theme(s).
  • The main location(s) described.
  • Expand on historical references and the era.
  • Your inspiration for writing the book such as an event or other trigger.
  • Backstory of one of your main characters and if based on a real person.
  • Any unusual practice or method you used to write the book.
  • Bonus material in form of background stories or information.

I was fortunate my last book “Suddenly Single Sylvia” about a newly divorced mature…

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Guest Blog Post: “Tips for making your own book cover (updated version)” in Meno Silencio’s exact words

Photo of woman writer sitting in front of a typewriter, amid many crumpled pages, drinking alcohol
Photo by Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

Self-publishing is as much art as it is science, so I truly appreciate when people like Meno generously share their first-hand experience….

theherdlesswitch

So dear readers, as promised I’m going to talk to you about the dreaded book cover!

I know that most of my followers are writers, and often self-published as well, or considering that route. When you’re in that situation, the more information you can find, the better. So to that aim, here’s a short tutorial, chalk full of links and helpful hints. I’ll keep this short (it’s around 1200 words) because I know how little you want to wade through a word heavy slog of a tutorial : D

We can start with the question: Pay for it, or make it? There’s nothing wrong with paying someone else to make your book cover, if you can afford it. There’s also nothing wrong with accruing a hardcore useful-as-all-fuck skill. Pre-made book covers are expensive (if you don’t have extra money). Unless you’re some triple-bestseller writer, you don’t have money coming out…

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Guest Blog Post: “My Life: Kuala Lumpur vs Singapore” in Kally’s exact words

Singapore Night View

Kally’s blog features excellent professional advice serves everyone anywhere.

Overview of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Here she writes about the contrasts between her old home vs. her new home…

MiddleMe

I have relocated from Shanghai to Kuala Lumpur for almost 2 years now. From a small cosmopolitan country Singapore to a major city Shanghai and a buzzing world in Kuala Lumpur. For the past 4 years, it has been nothing short of an adventure.

One thing that my friends love to ask me is what is life like between Malaysia and Singapore, what is the difference. Yes, I do get that question all the time. I mean besides the exchange rates at the current SGD$1 is to RM3. There is a vast difference between the two countries even though they shared a long history and are neighbours.

U9109P1274DT20121226202058.png Singapore Night View

People
One major draw to me living in Kuala Lumpur is the local population here. I’m a Singaporean, and I love my fellow countrymen, but local Malaysian folks are just too friendly to ignore. I thought I would have a…

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