independent publishing

Amazon Link, and The First Blog Tour Review, for THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE
book promotion | book reviews | guide to independent publishing | independent publishing

Amazon Link, and The First Blog Tour Review, for THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE

It’s been hard to find, so here it is: The Love of My (Other) Life on Amazon.

I’m an indie press published author who publishes through both LightningSource and Createspace–and Amazon doesn’t play nice with LSI. Though rumor has it that LSI will be printing some of Amazon’s books, which will only be a good thing. LSI prints good books. But sometimes authors like me, the little fish in the big publishing pond, run afoul of Amazon’s muscle flexing. The new novel suffered that way, and was suddenly unfindable. So here’s the link to it.

And here’s a fun review from Day 1 of the Book Blog Tour. Chicklitplus had some fun things to say about THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE, including that it was “too cute for words.” Also that “This book is a riot and I really enjoyed it.” Read the review here.

I was so interested when I first read the synopsis for the book and slightly thought it would read like a sci-fi novel. Well, if you are worried like I was, there is no need because this book is too cute for words. I instantly felt the spark when Tessa and Brian met and although it sounds odd, I believed him when he was he was from another universe from the get-go. This book is a riot and I really enjoyed it. I loved the conversations and the heart-felt-moments between the two main characters and I thought Traci did an amazing job at creating such likeable characters. Overall, this book is a winner and a fun ride!

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Feb Blog Tour for THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE
blogs | book promotion | happiness | independent publishing

Feb Blog Tour for THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE

My uber-wonderful PR lady Sarah has been rockin’ and rollin’ on a Feb blog tour for my new novella, THE LOVE OF MY (OTHER) LIFE.

Here are the dates and blogs:

2/1: CHICK LIT PLUS (chicklitplus.com) for BOOK REVIEW
2/2: MY FICTION NOOK (http://myfictionnook.com) – for GUEST POST  + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/3: THE BOOKMARK BLOG (http://www.mybookmarkblog.com/) for BOOK REVIEW
+ E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/4: SIMPSON’S PARADOX (http://simpsonsparadox.com) for BOOK REVIEW + EBOOK
GIVEAWAY
2/5: OPEN
2/6: OPEN
2/7: OPEN
2/8: OPEN
2/9: OPEN
2/10: TIFFANY TALKS BOOKS (http://tiffanytalksbooks.com/) for BOOK REVIEW+ GUEST
POST + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/11: SALACIOUS READS (http://www.salaciousreads.com/) for AUTHOR INTERVIEW + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/12: TALK SUPE (http://www.talkingsupe.com/) for BOOK REVIEW + AUTHOR
INTERVIEW + GUEST POST + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/13: MY SECRET ROMANCE BOOK REVIEWS
(http://www.mysecretromancebookreviews.com/) for BOOK REVIEW + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/14: BOOK NERD ASH (http://booknerdash.blogspot.com) for BOOK REVIEW +
GUEST POST + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/15: OPEN
2/16: NIGHTSTAND NOVELS (http://nightstandnovels.com/) for BOOK REVIEW +
AUTHOR INTERVIEW + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/17: LIVE READ BREATHE (http://livereadbreathe.blogspot.com) for BOOK REVIEW +
GUEST POST + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/18: LILY’S REVIEWS (http://lilysreviews.xanga.com/) for BOOK REVIEW + GUEST
POST + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/19: THE WINDY PAGES (http://www.thewindypages.com/) for BOOK REVIEW + EBOOK
GIVEAWAY
2/20: BOOK TO BOOK REVIEWS (http://booktobookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/) for
BOOK REVIEW + E-BOOK GIVEAWAY
2/21: OPEN
2/22: OPEN
2/23: OPEN
2/24: OPEN
2/25: OPEN
2/26: OPEN
2/27: OPEN
2/28: OPEN
2/29: OPEN

How fun is this blog tour, with all these lively blogs?! I can’t wait!

For any bloggers who might like to book an open day, here’s the link to a google doc to fill out online.

The latest offering from critically acclaimed author and Yale and Columbia graduate Traci L. Slatton, The Love Of My (Other) Life follows the beguiling and uncompromising Tessa Barnum, a 30-something would-be painter struggling to find her rightful place in the city that never sleeps: the ever-bustling, always-magical backdrop of New York City. Frustrated by a world that champions meaningless post-modernism and money over truth, beauty and transcendence, Tessa is about to be evicted, too insecure in her own talent to let her Turner-esque landscapes leave her closet, and emotionally exhausted by a recent divorce. When she is suddenly faced with Brian Tennyson behind every corner – a disheveled yet devilishly handsome man who, out of virtually nowhere, claims to not only be a Yale physics professor who has uncovered a gap in the time-space continuum, but also her husband in an alternate universe (!) – Tessa finds herself on a rollercoaster ride the likes of which she never in her wildest dreams imagined she would have to be prepared for. A touching and immersive portrait of a young woman reconciling her passions, convictions and realities with an impossible love story unfolding around her, The Love Of My (Other) Life is a surprising, funny and engrossing addition to any romance lover’s bookshelf, digital or otherwise.

And a few comments from the latest bright and engaging Goodreads review:
This book is nerdy and artsy and quirky and funny and endearing….
 
Tessa is a big-hearted artist with some personal demons and a single digit checking account. Brian is a genius physicist from a parallel universe – of course she thinks he’s a crazy homeless man, albeit one with a certain appeal. Their series of interactions is madcap and harebrained, yet delightful.
 

But even in the throes of despair, grief and pain, they are vibrant and full of life. The end is wonderful and gives the whole story a soulfulness that it totally earned….”

ANNOUNCING: EL INMORTAL, in print and eBook
book promotion | independent publishing

ANNOUNCING: EL INMORTAL, in print and eBook

I am delighted to announce the re-release of the print version of EL INMORTAL, and its first-time publication in eBook under the auspices of Parvati Press.

EL INMORTAL is the Spanish translation of my historical novel IMMORTAL, a rags-to-riches-to-burnt-at-the-stake story set in Renaissance Florence.

En el majestuoso corazón de Florencia, un apuesto muchacho de cabellos dorados es abandondado y sometido a una crueldad indescriptible. Pero Luca Bastardo está muy lejos de ser un joven común y corriente. A través de dos siglos de pasión e intriga, Luca descubrirá un don especial que lo llevará a comprender los antiguos misterios de la alquimia y del arte de la curación, para llegar a convertirse en un leal confidente de la poderosa familia Medici. Además, deberá incluso enfrentarse a una persecución por parte de una sádica conspiración cuyo objetivo es arrebatarle sus secretos.

Joy of reading, and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

authors | I am | independent publishing

ePublishing, Self-publishing, and Legacy Publishing: the Folly and the Glory

ePublishing, Self-publishing, and Legacy Publishing: the Folly and the Glory

Of this I am sure: I love story. I love books.

It is my particular karma to be both on the inside and on the outside of a number of groups. For example, I was born Christian and converted to Judaism. I can talk about both anti-Semitism and anti-Goyism. They both exist. Both are horrible. But many Christians don’t want to hear about anti-Semitism, and most Jews don’t want to be confronted with anti-Goyism. One virulent version of anti-Goyism is anti-Schicksaism. I can tell you a lot about that.
So now my great passion: story, writing, books. And, naturally, publishing, which is the only way to reach people with the work.
We are on the verge of the greatest revolution in publishing since the invention of the Guttenberg Press five hundred years ago. ePublishing has taken control of distribution away from the legacy publishers, which is a wonderful thing. Monopolies are bad. Opportunities, choices, options are good. Especially for the consumer.
Legacy publishers are in trouble. There are solid reasons why they are foundering: they are gate-keepers instead of gate-openers serving the reading public; they take too long to read manuscripts and to respond to the market; they function via committee-mind and group-think, so they are averse to risk, originality, and innovation; they are looking for an algorithm to turn every book they publish into a best-seller; they lack the foresight and vision to nurture mid-list authors (like myself) through a career that gains traction and a global readership; they publish the same book in slightly different format over and over, beating that dead equine into a gelatinous pulp and boring readers into apathy. Editors aren’t editors anymore, they are flunkey marketers serving the almighty marketing department. PR departments at major publishing houses are incompetent and exist only to thwart authors’ sales.
Legacy publishers are dinosaurs. They are mired in the quicksand of conventional thinking. The system is broken.
For all of these reasons, and more, excellent books are not being picked up by the legacy publishers. So other venues have arisen, particularly now that ePublishing has arrived. Kindles, iPads, and nooks abound, crying out for content. The stigma of self-publishing is lessening–a “vanity press” isn’t considered quite so vain anymore. ePublishing is a huge gain for the demotic. Authors can get their work out to the buying public and let the market decide. Everyone in self ePublishing likes to point to John Locke as an example.
I had two books go through a difficult process, both agented by first-rate, well-regarded NYC literary agents. Both projects were “almost bought” a number of times. Then my agent wanted me to publish with the new ePublishing arm of her agency. I would pay for the privilege, and then give her 15% of the proceeds.
It is unethical for literary agents to publish this way. There must be a separation of church and state, a separation of agenting and self- or ePublishing. If agents want to ePublish: fine! Great! Stop agenting and be an ePublisher. But doing both is a conflict of interests, and it is unethical.
I had already done a lot of research into ePublishing and I knew the scoop, so I politely declined the agent, whereupon she dumped me. I was hoping she would continue with foreign and sub-rights, because my novel IMMORTAL was a big bestseller in Italy, Brazil, and Russia, and there’s a good bet that foreign editors would be interested in my new work. I love foreign rights sales. They’re like money from Heaven. You’ve already written the book, and you get more money for it!
So I went looking for another agent to handle foreign and sub-rights.
I found two groups of agents: one who was stuck in the clubby, outmoded, legacy publishing mold. You know, they go out for lunch and drinks with editors at major publishing houses four or five days a week, and those editors read their submissions first and fast. If the editor falls in love with the manuscript, AND can sell it to a committee of other editors terrified to lose their jobs, AND THEN can sell the project to the marketing department–the project is a go. The agent makes a sale. The agent takes the commission.
That’s an old system that has worked well for agencies like Inkwell, Sanford Greenberger, Sterling Lord, etc. Those agencies are not open to alternatives. They are not getting it that a change is afoot. And why would they? They were very successful with the antiquated model. Well, Sanford Greenberger is making changes, but they are doing one of those unethical ePublishing scams. Not okay.
Then there are agents who say, “Ok, the publishing world is changing, so we have to, also.” They see the benefits of being flexible. They understood why my logic led me to the necessity of an agent to handle foreign and sub-rights. These agents get it that the publishing world is changing, and they must change, too.
So there’s my critique of legacy publishers like Random House and Hachette, and my critique of agents. Here’s my analysis of self ePublishers. When the legacy publishing system didn’t work for me, I went that route. I have some things to say about it.
There’s satisfaction, even pleasure, in the guerrilla warfare of independent ePublishing and POD publishing. It suits a maverick like me. It’s a great feeling to believe in my own work strongly enough not to let the legacy publishers tell me “You can’t.” I am really happy to have the opportunity to put my work out into the world. This is a great venue for a fast-writing, versatile, pathologically persistent author like me.
But there are some issues in the field. For one, everyone thinks they can write a book. Maybe they all can. There are a lot of really smart, well-educated, well-intentioned people who have been successful in a non-literary field who think, because of their vast money or worthy accomplishments, that 1, they know everything about everything, or 2, they know everything about writing a book. They flock to self ePublishing when their manuscripts aren’t professionally polished enough to get a nod from a legacy publisher.
So in the world of self ePublishing, there are a number of writers who think they have the answers, because they were successful lawyers or business people, who are actually rookies when it comes to publishing. I understand the slight–mostly unacknowledged–contempt that legacy publishers have for self-published authors.
As a professional dictum: what every self-published author must do is 1, hire a professional manuscript editor, and 2, hire a copy-editor. This separates the amateurs from the professionals. It makes for professional integrity.
I get a lot of flak from these self-published know-it-alls when I say this. I have heard a number of completely wacky excuses about why these self ePublished authors don’t need an editor. “I believe in the art of novel writing,” one author said. Another claimed, “I was a successful XXX. My wife taught for many years. I don’t need an editor.”
The fact is that good editing makes a great novel. It makes a professional novel.
Joyce Carol Oates gets edited. I know, because I know her editor. Steven King gets edited. Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus get edited. P.C. Cast gets edited. John Grisham gets edited. Daniel Silva gets edited. With all due respect, no self-published author is better than these writers.
Self ePublished authors are, by and large, nice human beings, as I’ve encountered them. But most shouldn’t quit their day jobs. I said to a small group of male self-published authors, “There isn’t a writer alive who doesn’t need an editor. Period. It’s an absolute value. To think otherwise is bush league…. It depends on whether you want to play in the major leagues or the minor leagues. If you want to play in the major leagues, you do what the major league players do.” I then mentioned a famous, gazillionaire author who I know gets extensive editing.
This ruffled feathers, since it punctured some egos. That vanity thing, in the field of vanity publishing. But it’s not confined to publishing. There’s just a lot of this: people who are successful in one field who then think they are awesome in another field. It’s a form of narcissism. Our culture is rife with narcissism. A touch of narcissism, when it drives people to perform well, isn’t all bad–but that’s tangential to this discussion.
My beef with it here is that sloppy, unprofessional books degrade the entire field of self-publishing.
This doesn’t mean that there aren’t terrible editors out there. I could tell some stories…. There are also great editors who make icky mistakes. It’s a really delicate art to edit someone else’s work.
However, it is an essential, integral art. It is an essential, integral part of the publishing process–if the author wants a professional book.
But self ePublishing is filled with narcissistic amateurs who can’t take criticism, and think they don’t need it. They are fools. A smart writer knows to get an editor.
The self-ePublishing people love to point to John Locke. But for every John Locke, who has made millions of dollars selling 99 cent ebooks and then was offered a great contract by a legacy publisher, there are ten thousand wannabes who are never going to attain that.
And what legacy publishers do well is get books into every airport kiosk in the country, from Boise to Newark to Fort Lauderdale. I will tell you honestly: to have someone give you many thousands of dollars UP-FRONT for your novel is the greatest feeling in the whole world. It’s a home run with the bases loaded.
It’s also much easier NOT to have to attend to manuscript editing, copy editing, cover art, cover copy, layout, PR, and sales yourself. I mean, I can do it–it’s not rocket science. No matter what the legacy publishers want people to believe, publishing a book well is NOT an arcane science accessible only to a few.
But it does take me away from what I love doing, which is writing stories.
Brave New World of ePublishing
anarchy | independent publishing

Brave New World of ePublishing

It’s a brave new world of publishing. Because of ePublishing, we are in the midst of the greatest revolution in publishing since the invention of the Guttenberg Press, which, by the way, put a whole class of people out of work within a generation: scribes. And initially, there was quite a lot of resistance to printed books; some members of the elite classes believed that no educated man would buy coarse printed books. We’ve all seen how that turned out!

The traditional publishers are dinosaurs, fossilizing in front of our eyes. They take too long to read manuscripts, they take too long to get manuscripts into printed form, they respond too slowly to the market, they are afraid to take risks, they are terrified of innovation and run from it, they run themselves on old-school business ‘rules’ that are outmoded and largely false for books, they run via group-think and committee-mind so they lack creativity and vision, their PR departments are incompetent, they want to be gatekeepers instead of gate-openers serving the reading public, and they have no sense of nurturing mid-list authors and developing a career over time.

Basically, traditional publishing houses are searching vainly for an algorithm that will guarantee that every book they publish will be a bestseller. To that end, they beat the deceased equine until it is a gelatinous mass.

This is a time when independent-minded, innovative, pathologically persistent authors can do very, very well—because they can get their books out to the reading, buying public quickly. Think about the millions of eBooks author John Locke has sold.

However: beware of literary agencies that offer to ePublish your novel for you, for a price. In my mind this is a serious conflict of interest for a literary agency and a shocking dereliction of ethical responsibility. If an agent likes your book but can’t sell it, take your book and ePublish it yourself. With a company whose sole business it is to ePublish books.

Literary agencies face tough times. They make money from selling books to traditional publishers, and the traditional book publishers are buying fewer and fewer books, and stupider and stupider ones, to boot. I understand the temptation that these agencies face in wanting to get a slice of the ePublishing market and bolster their bottom line. However, it is a conflict of interest for a literary agency, and it is not an ethical business practice. Some literary agencies are marking up the ePublishing services that they recommend to authors, so the agencies are making money off the author going through the ePublish process. NOT COOL.

If a literary agency says to an author, “We love your book and we know readers will, too, but we can’t sell it,” the thinking author MUST ask himself or herself one question: How hard did they really try?

Even if the agency hands the author a list of twenty submissions, the author must wonder, what if number 24 was the charm?

Fortunately, ePublishing, as a form of self-publishing, has lost its stigma. It’s a viable option, especially for authors who already have a solid readership.

 

HOWEVER, and this is crucial: it is imperative that every ePublishing author do a few things: 1. Hire a professional manuscript editor and do at least two revisions, and 2. Hire a professional copy-editor and have the manuscript copy-edited before sending it to the ePublisher. These are not optional. They are mandatory. Sloppy books are not taken seriously and will not sell. My third recommendation is that eAuthors hire a PR firm. Readers can’t buy your books if they don’t know about them.

When it became clear that, despite the international success of my historical novel IMMORTAL, traditional publishers were not biting, I chose Telemachus Press to ePublish/POD my novels FALLEN and THE BOTTICELLI AFFAIR. I had been researching ePublish/POD for a non-fiction art book I wrote with my husband, sculptor Sabin Howard, THE ART OF LIFE. I had done exhaustive research in the field; Telemachus Press was the clear front-runner. I own all my own publishing rights, unlike with some of the other big self-publishing companies that people are using. This matters. Telemachus is cost effective and very, very professional.

Working with Telemachus has been a delight. They care about their product and about their customers. I can say that they have bent over backwards to accommodate me and to ensure that my novels will be quality products. They are timely, they are efficient, they care. I have only good things to say about them. I recommend them to every would-be eAuthor. Find them at www.telemachuspress.com

 

The Yellow Umbrella, a city fable by Bruce Dunn
book reviews | independent publishing

The Yellow Umbrella, a city fable by Bruce Dunn

Product Details

Publishing is in a terrible place. People are buying fewer books, Borders is closing stores after not paying the publishing companies, there is less shelf space, no one knows what the e-book will mean, it is dismal. I personally trace it all back to the death of the mid-list author. Now the marketers and bookselling giants who committed this murder are reaping the results. Because it is the richness and diversity of the mid-list that brings people in to book stores and keeps them browsing. A thousand iterations of the same old vampire, suspense, and romance books gets tedious, and no one wants to look at them anymore.
Editors are freaked out and terrified to take chances. Really great books that don’t fall into neat little categories aren’t being published. Like this one, The Yellow Umbrella by Bruce Dunn.
Fortunately, self-publishing is becoming less expensive, more popular, more respected. Which is a wonderful turn of events. The publishing system is broken, and authors who wait for the old ways to vindicate their writing efforts are waiting for Godot. Bruce Dunn walked into my husband Sabin’s gallery at 300 E 22nd and fell into conversation with Sabin, then gifted a copy of his self-published book to Sabin for our daughter.
And what a great gift. The Yellow Umbrella is charming. From the graceful opening pages, which relate the narrator’s memories of trips into a magical house with a little blond Lina who told stories, until the last moment when a Lady gives Lina back her long-lost, adventure-laden umbrella–it is sweet, absorbing, poignant. The illustrations are whimsical and evocative.
My 6 year old daughter loves it. She’s an advanced reader for her age, but I would put the range of readers for this book as 5 to 9 year olds. So if you are a parent, sibling or friend to kids from 5 to 9–order The Yellow Umbrella by Bruce Dunn from Amazon. It’s a treat for your young friend.