Traditional or self-publishing: that is the question

  It’s time to report back about the status of my novel. First of all, I’m happy to say I’ve completed revision nine. The purpose was to cut out unnecessary words and bring my word count more in keeping with the number agents and publishers suggest. After I added a lot of needed new material, as suggested by my critical assessment editor, my word count grew from 85,000 to 103, 052 words. So, my goal was to cut at least 5,000 of them. I’m happy to say I exceeded my goal, and cut 5,675 words. Hopefully I didn’t cut anything that I’ll have to put back later. My next job is to break up several long chapters into smaller ones. That is an easy fix. And now I feel I’m at a point to think about getting my book published. The question is, should I shop around for an agent or publisher or should I self-publish? That’s a question I never thought I’d be asking. I’ve always said I didn’t want to self-publish. I didn’t self-publish my memoir, so why go that route with my novel? … [Read more...]

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Introducing Sonia Marsh

I met face to face with Sonia Marsh for the first time yesterday after a long virtual friendship and a lot of win-win networking. She is the author of the newly released memoir Freeways to Flip-Flops (available at Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle, as well as Barnes and Noble) and the Gutsy Livingblog. I posted my gutsy story there in June, and I’m pleased to say, I won for the gutsiest story of the month. Please go over to Gutsy Livingto receive a special gift. Just scroll down and look for the red starfish. So Sonia and I talked nonstop – mostly about how to go about the business of selling a book. We shared websites, conference information, how to get on panel discussions, what organizations we belong to. I urged her to join our Greater Los Angeles Writers Society. Although Sonia lives in Orange County, GLAWS has members who come to meetings and events all the way from Arizona. Yesterday’s highlight was meeting with one of the proprietors of my local indie book … [Read more...]

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Blatant Bragging

Really I don't do this very often, but I couldn't help it today. Mentions of my memoir Leaving the Hall Light On or me have occurred in each of the last three days. And they are all good. On Saturday I found out that the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society Literary Landscapes magazine is now available. And an excerpt from my memoir is there. Here is the link and a picture of the cover. Please take a look. The GLAWS writers are a very talented bunch. We write in all genres. On Sunday Marty Tousley, creator of the Grief Healing website, sent me a Facebook message that she had finished her read of Leaving the Hall Light On and liked it well enough to post it on her Pinterest board called Books Worth Reading and on her list of books for adults on her websites's Grief Healing Books resource. Here's what Marty had to say: "A mother's brutally honest and heartfelt account of living through her son's bipolar disorder and surviving his tragic death by suicide. This is a powerful … [Read more...]

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Farewell, Lucky Press! What’s next after a publisher quits?

Right in the midst of saying goodbye to friends from Tuscon on Saturday morning, I got the news that Lucky Press was going out of business – on April 30 – that's today! That announcement gave me a whole three day’s notice. What a shock and what a scramble. It took me the better part of that day, a sleepless night, and until the next morning to get over it and consider this event an opportunity, not a disaster. First, I decided my book is way too important to abandon now. Actually I should have seen the writing on the wall when Janice, the owner of Lucky Press, informed me about a month ago that she would not produce my e-book in May as promised. She had been in ill health and just moved. Plus creating graphic designs seems to be her passion and provides her real livelihood. However, I was fortunate that she resonated with my book and offered to publish it. Her attention to detail with my text, photos, and book design was flawless. I am very proud of the book she produced. And it g … [Read more...]

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LA Times Festival of Books – was it worth it?

I spent most the last couple of days at the LA Times Festival of Booksheld at the University of Southern California campus. And most of the time I hung at the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society booth. I'm holding Paul's Putting a Face on Suicide poster I was pleased to bond with several of the GLAWS members who volunteered to provide hospitality to people interested in joining our group and to help those of us who paid for a selling and signing place at the booth. Here I am with author and actor, Ace Antonio Hall, my GLAWS colleague I also learned a thing or two about my author colleagues. Most were lovely and friendly but as expected kept to themselves and their customers during our signing sessions. However, the woman next to me used her space as well as mine until I told her next time she needs to pay for two places, not one. She didn’t bat an eye and just leaned over my table space to yet again sign one of her posters for someone. But I won out in the end. My friends in c … [Read more...]

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Call to action – April Platform Challenge – Day 19

As part of the April Platform Challenge my task today is to ask you to do two things: Please click on the share buttons - they are big and prominent at the top of the right side bar on this page Please sign-up for my email feed – see the little box just under the share buttons. It has room for you to type in your email address. Please click Submit when you've finished. And one more thing that is not part of my assignment: Please join me at the LA Times Festival of Books on the University of California campus either or both Saturday and Sunday June 21 and 22, from 12 noon until 2:00 pm. I’ll be at the Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society booth number 970. Hopefully I’ll be signing lots of copies of my book: Leaving the Hall Light On: A Mother’s Memoir of Living with Her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide (Lucky Press, 2011). You can’t miss me. I’m the one with the long gray hair. … [Read more...]

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Please join me at the LA Times Festival of Books

I’m so excited. Next weekend I’ll be participating as an author for the first time at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. I’ll hopefully be signing lots of books for the hordes of you who come by. I’ll be at The Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society Booth Number 970 both Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 22 from 12 noon to 2:00 pm. Please let me sign my book for you. Just yesterday Leaving the Hall Light On got this fantastic 5-star review on Amazon: "An amazing exposition in prose and poetry of the anatomy and physiology of love, grief and fortitude. A must read!" And in case that doesn’t convince you please take a look at my book trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5TMOVHAmSlc … [Read more...]

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What makes a book sell?

I attended the Digital Author’s Conference this past Saturday, sponsored by West Coast Writer’s Conferences with special recognition and discounts to Greater Los Angeles Writer’s Society members. Coincidentally, both are headed by Tony N. Todaro. Tony and his staff do a great job in getting interesting and informative speakers to their events. I found some of the information presented on Saturday so beneficial to my writing life I thought I’d share a little bit here. One was a mention of a blogger I recently started following (at the suggestion of Marketing the Muse’s Marla Miller) Seth Godin. I have been marveling at how much meaningful information Seth can impart with just a few lines of short sentences, short paragraphs, and a lot of white space on the page. And Elaine Wilkes, Ph.D. who spoke about ways to place our books everywhere and how to write emails and books that get results said this is the kind of writing that is selling best right now: Short – even one-line – p … [Read more...]

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Book Fair – Lessons Learned

Since I wrote my last post about going to participate as an exhibitor at the Ventura County Author Book Fair last Saturday, November 5, I thought I’d follow up with some observations. The Good Things · I sold seven books. · I gave away lots and lots of bookmarks. · Many people shared their stories of suicide and mental illness in their families when they came by my table, and I got to tell them about the Putting A Face On Suicide project when they admired Paul’s poster. · I was at a table at a good location in the room. It faced the center of the room, I felt sorry for the folks who sat at the room’s perimeter and had to face the wall. · I had a successful reading – I spoke about the book briefly, read the piece about comforting someone who is grieving, and I read five poems · I met some wonderful authors – one who works in oncology who told me a statistic I never knew, that many people who are diagnosed with cancer commit suicide. So she took a lot of my bookma … [Read more...]

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So how’s the marketing going?

Since my book launch and signing just after my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, was released in early May, I’ve spent the month of June on a blog tour, coordinated and managed by WOW-Women on Writing. I decided to embark on this tour because I had hosted two other WOW blog tour authors in the last couple of years, and it seemed like a great idea. I’m sure I’ve said before that I’m a me-too kind of person, so there I was again, letting the WOW folks know that I wanted a tour too when my book came out. And actually making that happen was quite easy. All it took was a decision about dates, blog post ideas that included the subject-matter of my book and general writing-related subjects, and $350.00, to cover their advice and counsel about post topics and their picking out and communicating (almost continually) with the blog owners where I would guest post. The big bucks kind of took my by surprise, but very quickly I decided it would be worth it. Also in June, my publisher and I … [Read more...]

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My first book fair event – Saturday June 25

I participated in the Leimert Park Book Fair on Saturday, June 25, and it went a lot better than I expected. As a member of the Greater Los Angeles Writer's Society [http://www.glaws.org/html/mainmenu.html] I was in one of their two booths. Elizabeth, my friend and publicist came along to help - a definite necessity. The traffic getting there was terrible and once we arrived we had to circle around for about a half hour to get a parking space in the supposedly author's parking area. That was both a good and bad sign - good that the fair was well-populated and bad for authors needing to be at our assigned booths at our alloted time. I was due to be there between 3 and 5:30 pm, and I just made it. When we arrived, Elizabeth and I put up my three posters: of the book title, the flyer and Paul's Putting a Face on Suicide. (GLAWS already had a copy of my book and a promo card on a shelf at the back of the booth that I had provided in advance.) And while I was arranging books on … [Read more...]

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