To Belong-A look into what makes it onto bookstore shelves by author John Abraham-Watne

 

What belongs on the shelves of a bookstore? Sure, there is fiction and non-fiction, but what about the spaces among those overly broad areas? I happen to be “in charge” of part of the Fiction area in my bookstore, but each day is a constant struggle over what should go on the shelves, due to space limitations. Most goes to the “big name” authors who have established careers with the largest publishing houses, but what about the many abundant smaller, independent presses?
Both of my novels, one of which was honored to be read by Marie on the Indie Beginning Podcast, were published by a small independent press here in Minnesota. North Star Press has been cranking out books from Minnesota authors for over forty years, and yet customers will very rarely see their books on our shelves 

(definitely not mine). There is only so much space.

I want to compare and contrast my book with Marie’s and see how they shake out. As I said, mine was put out with the support of a local independent press: they handled the editing, distribution, cover art, and ensuring I had books for my events. Marie’s was made through CreateSpace, which is owned by Amazon (as is GoodReads). She had an artist friend of hers create the cover, and she told me she’s never had an issue getting the book into stores and libraries in the New York area. This is a part of the country in which I thought it would be hardest to break into the literary scene, but perhaps it is not.

51NaprcFwFL._SY346_Here we have two different options for authors just starting out, and I’m not going to tell you which one to choose. All I can do is describe the process for each and let you decide. I had to send NSP the first thirty pages of my manuscript. Once they decided based it was worth publishing, I worked with their editor to get the book into shape. This meant some back and forth over the galleys and the cover art. Once it was ready to go, they were able to place it into every bookstore that I traveled to, whether that was in Minneapolis, Buffalo, or Stillwater. But it still came down to me to flog the book and get it into people’s’ hands, and that meant doing events and reading in front of the few people who would show up to them.

 

I’m going to let Marie tell you in her own words about CreateSpace:

SL“The process is simple-you upload the edited final of your manuscript, or for a price they’ll edit (I use my own editor) that is after you choose the book size, print size, page color, etc. etc.  You then can either upload your own cover work or you can go through their library of cover art, or for another price, work with one of the Create Space specialists (graphic designers) who customize a complete cover for you.  After everything is loaded you can digitally view the book (not the cover), make sure the pages look right, there is not weird cut-offs, no haphazard pages, blanks, anything you can think of. Then you adjust the original file and go through it again.  You then order a proof of the book before CS will allow you to click the market and go live button. You have to look at the entire thing in your hands, cover to cover, adjust if needed or go to marking. Marketing puts you on Amazon, B&N, makes your book available to schools and libraries, puts it on Kobo, Indie Bound, Google Play, and about 10 other wholesale booksellers.  You set up your Kindle, three clicks and boom you’re done.”

She also adds: “CS also emphasizes they are not your agent, or publisher-they are solely your printing company so they are not to be named anywhere on your book-hence ACNBooks being born as an actual business entity.”

Sounds simple enough, right? I have to admit I when I was looking at publishing my first novel I turned my nose downward on an option like this, but Marie has since convinced me that this outlet has made strides in what they can accomplish for authors.
51kz-jrVBJLThis brings me back to my original topic: do independent/small press books belong on the shelf next to those published by the “big” houses (Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and those in Minneapolis like Graywolf)? It is my opinion that they do. In fact, the way the “big” publishing industry works is so bizarre and insular I sometimes wonder why authors even go that way at all. A lot of the books I see come into my used book store were popular for about six months, and then no one seemed to care anymore. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people walk in stacks of old Pattersons and Roberts, which again once they’ve traveled their life from hardcover to soft do nothing but lose value. Is this what you are looking for as a writer? I would hope not. As writers, our goal should be to produce stories that last, that shape the literary world, that affect people. While you can do this with a larger press, it isn’t mandatory.

So how do we get our books put up there with the “big names?” I’m not sure, but I would like to explore this topic more from this column.

You can find John’s books on: North Star Press’s Book Store , Amazon, and  B&N

 

***PLEASE NOTE*** since this article was written a statement from CreateSpace has come out stating that they will soon be merging with KDP, becoming a KDP service.  For more information please read this article from KDP detailing the merge and changes

 

If you are an author, reader, or person in the industry and would like to contribute a feature piece to ACNBooks please submit your topic idea to: mkf.acnbooks@gmail.com

 

 

 

A Moment with Author John Abraham-Watne

 

Abraham-WatneJohn Abraham-Watne is a published author and freelance journalist located in the Twin Cities, where he lives with his wife Mary and their cats Marble and Morrison.

John has conducted freelance journalism on local government issues for the news/entertainment website MinnyApple and local newspaper the Hill & Lake Press.

His debut novel, Our Senior Year, was published in 2014 by North Star Press. His second novel, Last Man on Campus, was published in 2015 by NSP.

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Next week, John will be discussing what makes it onto bookstore shelves, a more in depth look into the worlds of small presses and self-publishing.

You can follow John on his website , or social media.

 

Who Couldn’t Use A Step-By-Step Guide?

28377611_1689300727800938_4579988130821354517_n(4)Our incredibly talented friend Carmilla Voiez has taken her website into the realms of ‘how to’ with blog posts about the steps to writing a novel.  We at ACN adore everything the author of the Starblood Trilogy, Broken Mirror, and other erotic horrors so why wouldn’t we hook you up with links to her thoughts on content, writer’s block, finding an ending, and editing?

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Novel, Part One – Introduction

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Novel, Part Two – The Blank Page

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Novel, Part Three – Content and Themes

A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Novel, Part Four – Style

Step-by-Step Guide to writing a novel-Part 5 How to Keep Going

A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-Writing-a-Novel-Part-Six-The-End-or-Not-Really?

A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-Writing-a-Novel-Part-Seven-Editing

A-Step-by-Step-Guide-to-Writing-a-Novel-Part-Eight-Proofreading

 

 

 

With each article release we will place them here together for quick reference, if you have any questions or additions by all means leave a comment!

Werewolves and Weapons: Keeping Popular Subject Matter ‘Fresh’ In Your Writing.

This week the Indie Beginning Podcast brings our listeners an interview with indie author MacCraw where we discuss his novel Ravage: Apocalypse of Wolves and how he kept the popular theme of werewolves fresh. If you missed the introduction that Benjamin Franke read or just want a refresher before the discussion head back to episode 41. If you enjoy tales about werewolves or are interested in learning more about the indie / self-publishing process, these discussion episodes are for you. Let us know what other topics you are interested in by leaving a comment or sending us an e-mail.

In this Episode:

1. How do you keep a story fresh and new with a topic such as werewolves.

2. There are many weapons used in the beginning of the story and you do a great job of differentiating characters with weapons. Was this character based or possibly inspired by popular first-person shooter style video games? Or both?

3. Right off the bat we see how quickly characters can (and do) come and go, have you ever been connected to a character to the point where it was difficult to write them out of the book?

4. What made you decide to forgo chapter breaks?

5. What is the one thing that you wish you knew about being an indie author when you first headed down this path?

RAVAGE: Apocalypse of Wolves is available on Amazon. Remember to leave a review for this story as well as all of the stories you read. Reviews are such an important way to support an author and they only cost but a few moments of time. In fact, Reviews help podcasters as well. As a self-funded podcast there really isn’t money left over for advertising. Your reviews, word of mouth, and love of books is what keeps Indie Beginning running. If you’ve enjoyed this show please leave a 5-star review on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform.

All reviews in this episode were taken from Amazon, Goodreads or one of our Indie Beginning pages. Music found in this episode was written and performed by Jahzzar and titled Look Inside. If you are an indie author and would like to hear you story featured on the indie beginning podcast go to ACNBooks.com/submit for more info.

Ravage: Apocalypse of Wolves and Audiobook Introduction

This week Benjamin Franke narrates the beginning of Ravage: Apocalypse of Wolves by MacCraw. A dark spirit unleashed an un-killable army of werewolves on the world, reinforced by an eternal solar eclipse that will keep its army transformed.

This week’s episode is brought to you by Shirts by Sarah. Head over to shirtsbysarah.com to find the shirt that that transforms your soul. Remember to subscribe to the podcast to keep up to date with the stories and the discussions. And now, get those headphones on tight and don’t worry about that presence you sense just over your shoulder as I introduce you to Ravage: Apocalypse of Wolves.

Ravage: Apocalypse of Wolves is available on Amazon. Remember to leave a review for this story and all stories you read when you finish. Any review left for this story below in the comments of this page will be featured on next week’s episode. You can also help the Indie Beginning Podcast by leaving a 5 star review on ApplePodcasts, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your shows. Reviews are so important for any project. They promote the show and help us bring you the best content possible. Tune in next week when we talk to indie author MacCraw about his story, keeping popular themes fresh, and more. Indie Beginning is an ACNBooks production. All readings in this episode were performed by Benjamin Franke with permission from the author. Production and editing of the podcast was also done by Ben. Thanks for listening.

Magic and the Line Between Fantasy and Horror: A Conversation with Indie Author Steve Thomas

This week the Indie Beginning Podcast brings our listeners an interview with indie author Steve Thomas where we discuss his novel The Sangrook Saga, creating magic systems for your writing as well as other topics for our self-publishing friends. If you missed the introduction that Marie Kammerer Franke narrated or want a refresher before the discussion head back to episode 39.

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Speaking of my lovely co-host, she has disserted us for the week and is working on the next chapter in the ACN universe, so I wondered who would be best to help discuss necromancers and magic systems? Why none other than my good friend, the famous DM Billy Beard! If you enjoy dark fantasy or are interested in learning more about the indie / self-publishing process, these discussion episodes are for you. Let us know what other topics you are interested in by leaving a comment or sending us an e-mail.

In this Episode:

1. The host’s first impression of this week’s featured beginning.

2. A review of reviews left for the Marvelous Mechanical Man. Don’t forget to review the show!

3. An interview with Steve Thomas / commentary from Dungeon Master Billy Beard.

Topic Questions:

– Many great stories have been told through a series of short stories. Why did you choose to write The Sangrook Saga in this fashion? Were you inspired by any other novels?

– The magic system has been praised in many of the reviews left for The Sangrook Saga. What is the basis for the mechanics behind the magic? Did you come across any problems with your magic system as you wrote? For example: did the mechanics evolve throughout the writing process and if so did this force you to go back and change anything.

– The line between fantasy and horror can be either slim or infinite, The Sangrook Saga seems, to us and many of your reviewers, to walk the line in just the right way. Did you limit anything in the story based on one genre or the other? What other genres would like to mix, if any.

– You have written many books in the fantasy genre. Klondaeg The Monster Hunter is next on my list! Have you thought about writing in another genre? If so would you write under a pseudonym and what are your thoughts on authors who write in multiple genres under the same name?

– If you could summon some eldritch magic to go back and tell your early writing-self one thing about the life of an indie author, what would that be? And at what cost to your soul…

4. Final Thoughts

The Sangrook Saga is available on Amazon. Remember to leave a review for these stories as well as all of the stories you read. Reviews are such an important way to support an author and they only cost but a few moments of time. In fact, Reviews help podcasters as well. As a self-funded podcast there really isn’t money left over for advertising. Your reviews, word of mouth, and love of books is what keeps Indie Beginning running. If you’ve enjoyed this show please leave a 5-star review on apple podcasts, stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform.

All reviews in this episode were taken from Amazon. Music found in this episode was written and performed by Jahzzar and titled Look Inside. If you are an indie author and would like to hear you story featured on the indie beginning podcast go to ACNBooks.com/submit for more info.