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.

 

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.

Not Letting Your Disability Get in the Way-A Moment With Author LS Beadle

 

 

It all began when I moved to Manchester with my husband Len.  I had gotten a job on the ICU at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, where I worked for a year before moving on to the High Dependency Unit. 

51-Ay3zFWjL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_It was around this same time that I decided to learn to drive; I booked a lesson but the instructor wouldn’t let me get behind the wheel until she was satisfied that my eyesight was up to standard.  It wasn’t.  I couldn’t see the number plate from the required distance. 

From there I had my eyes tested at Boots, where I was referred to the Manchester eye hospital.  I underwent a number of tests and after two years I was diagnosed with Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy, this is an inherited optic nerve disorder.

GARD (Genetic and Rare Disease Information Center) explains that Autosomal Dominant optic atrophy (ADOA) is an inherited optic nerve disorder characterized by degeneration of the optic nerves. Affected people usually develop moderate visual loss and color vision defects. The severity varies and visual acuity can range from normal to legal blindness. There is currently no way to prevent or cure ADOA.

By the time I was diagnosed I had moved onto the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.

Six years after qualifying I remained a D grade while all my friends where going up to C and B and completing their IV course so they could administer medications intravenously. I knew, by this time, that I would never be able to pass the IV course because I couldn’t see the writing on the IV vials.

I am now on the partially sighted register and have been for 12 years. I have a retired Guide Dog called Ceris who I qualified with in August 2009. My current Guide Dog, Roxy, is a 2 year old golden retriever and is full of energy. I qualified with her in August 2017.

As for being an author and being partially sighted. Autosomal Dominant Optic Atrophy hasn’t really stopped me from writing books. 

It has stopped me from reading some books with small print. I then require my strong magnifier; but it’s not a long term solution. Eventually it gives me a headache and I feel nauseous. I sometimes find this while I am researching the art of writing or marketing and promoting. If it’s a paperback book, the writing is sometimes far too small to read.

I normally find that when I wake up in the morning, I like to read for an hour, so I will use my Kindle because I can increase the font size. At the moment I have about 100 books waiting to be read. After reading I sit down and do my research on marketing and promoting often following the advice of an author.

In writing, I will handwrite my first and second draft of a book, then the third draft is where I add and take away things and develop the story by describing places and characters. I normally find that in a typical day I can write from 5000 to 10000 words.

I am one of those authors who feels the need to get their manuscripts edited lots of times. I can’t always tell if I’ve made a spelling mistake. When I read through what I’ve written, even though there may be a wavy line under a word, I can’t always see it.

41Kj2Ut59kL._SX351_BO1,204,203,200_When creating characters for my book, I try to make sure they don’t have abnormalities. I escape my problem through my characters. Also my two main characters in my two recent releases are based on my children and I am hoping and praying that they don’t become afflicted with ADOA, although there is a 50% chance if this occurring

To answer how has ADOA affected my writing career?  Well, I have three books out there which I managed to self-publish.  As long as I can increase the font size on the computer screen then I haven’t encountered any problems so far.

For anybody out there reading this post who thinks ‘I can’t be an author, my disability would make it impossible’. Please take stock, because I’m telling you, anything is possible. If you really want to achieve something then just go for it.  I write for the love of it, and if I manage to earn money from my writing then that’s just a bonus.

You can find Leanne’s books on Amazon and B&N .

 

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

Gears, Gadgets and Steampunk: A Discussion with Indie Author Rie Sheridan Rose

steampunk, interview, rie sheridan rose, gears, gadgets, marvelous, mechanical, man

This week the Indie Beginning Podcast brings our listeners an interview with indie author Rie Sheridan Rose about her story The Marvelous Mechanical Man and writing in the steampunk genre. If you missed the introduction that Benjamin Franke narrated or want a refresher before the discussion head back to episode 37. If you enjoy the steampunk genre 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.

About Rie Sheridan Rose:

Rie Sheridan Rose multitasks. Her short stories appear in numerous anthologies, including Nightmare Stalkers and Dream Walkers Vols. 1 and 2, and Killing It Softly Vol. 1 and 2. She has authored ten novels, six poetry chapbooks, and lyrics for dozens of songs. She and her husband have five cats, two of whom appear in The Conn-Mann Chronicles Steampunk series, two of whom impersonate Lenny and George from Of Mice and Men in size and attitude, and the elusive Miss Firefly. More info on www.riewriter.com. She tweets as @RieSheridanRose.

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. Our interview with Rie Sheridan Rose:
– What inspired you to write a novel in the steampunk setting? What is your favorite aspect of the steampunk genre?
– How did you go about researching for the Marvelous Mechanical Man? Did anything come about that ‘shocked’ you; an I never knew that moment?
– Marvelous Mechanical Man takes place in the 1800s. What is the most difficult part about reinventing a historical period that is so well known? Or is it not as well-known as we think.
– The dime-novel’s fast pace – writing style and storyline – seem to be a perfect complement for a steampunk tale. Was this your experience or was there a push and pull from the genres?
– If you could send a message through one of Professor Conn’s creations back to your early writing self what would that message say?
4. Final Thoughts

The Marvelous Mechanical Man is available on Amazon. Learn more about this story and the sequels at https://theconnmannchronicles.com – book five has just been released. 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.

The Marvelous Mechanical Man by Rie Sheridan Rose an Audiobook Introduction

steampunk, adventure, indie author, audiobook, introduction

This week the Indie Beginning Podcast introduces readers to the steampunk adventure The Marvelous Mechanical Man by Rie Sheridan Rose; an audiobook introduction read by Benjamin Franke. This indie read follows Josephene Mann, a strong, independent woman in the 1870’s who begins a life of adventure after quite literally take a job with an inventor named Professor Alistair Conn. Gadgets, mystery and possibly robots may be discovered in this charming dime-novel inspired tale.

Tune in next week when we talk to indie author Rie Sheridan Rose about her story, combining the dime-novel and steampunk formats, and more. What surprised our featured indie author about the 1870’s? What does Rie Sheridan Rose wish she had known when beginning her writing journey? Her answer line up pretty close with our own host Benjamin Franke and is relevant for all authors at all stages of their journey. Remember to leave a short review of this beginning in the comments section to have it read on next week’s episode.
Learn more about Rie Sheridan Rose and purchase her books at The Conn-Mann Chronicles

As always remember to read more books, be the best possible you, and simply enjoy this wonderful life! Thanks for listening!