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

 

 

 

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!

New Release – Psychonaut the Graphic Novel by Carmilla Voiez

 

Carmilla Voiez was one of the first featured authors on our Podcast Indie Beginning.  Her short story Impatient for Death, a Love Story from the Broken Mirror and Other Moribid Tales Collection was one of our top ten!  Since her feature ACN has become an avid fan of the horror writer. 

author pic

Carmilla is coming out with a new story that will completely capitivate you and we are delighted to celebrate the release of her graphic novel Pyschonaut from the Star Blood Trilogy:

 What would you do for the one you love? Satori would travel worlds and battle demons, but however much Star begs he just can’t let her go.

Psychonaut the Graphic Novel is out September 1st, 2018. Written by Carmilla Voiez with art by Anna Prashkovich, this is a comic for mature adults, containing scenes of sex and violence. Psychonaut is the sequel to Starblood and forms part of The Starblood Trilogy. Backed by Kickstarter supporters this gorgeous volume is available in print (hardcover and paperback), on comiXology and Kindle.

Diversity and representation might be current buzzwords, but they are also important. Starblood and Psychonaut, two graphic novels from the Starblood Trilogy are both written by an illustrated by women. It’s a story that has strong women at its heart, with themes of sexuality – including bisexuality, and self-identity. The antagonist is a woman who rages at the world and the protagonists are searching for their places in that world.

On release day, Carmilla will be hosting a party on Facebook from 9pm – 11pm (UK time +01.00) and a live chat on her website from 11pm to Midnight. You are welcome to attend both.

From The Author!

We are setting up a rafflecopter which will be live from Sep 1 – Sep 8, with three prizes for the winner and runner ups. You can enter by completing various tasks including helping us promoting the book release or purchasing a copy. Rafflecopter Prizes: First prize – a) if winner resides within the UK – signed paperback coPsychonautRafflecopter1pies of Starblood and Psychonaut the graphic novels OR £20 Amazon voucher (winner’s choice). b) if winner resides outside the UK – paperback copies of Starblood and Psychonaut the graphic novels OR $25 USD Amazon voucher (winner’s choice). Runner up prizes: Second prize – Ebook versions of the following PLUS $5 USD Amazon voucher: Cristy Stoat – Brown House, Faith Marlow – Being Mrs Dracula, Lily Luchesi – Skin Deep, Cathrina Constantine – Tallas. Third prize – Ebook/pdf versions of the following: Elaine White – Decadent, Cathrina Constantine – Rising Star, The Erotic Tales of Carmilla Voiez. Rafflecopter link here – http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ce99b5c58/?

Check out some of the pages from Psychonaut the graphic novel and find a link to the Rafflecopter at http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/single-post/2018/08/27/Psychonaut-the-Graphic-Novel and enjoy some Feminazi Splatter Goth fun.

Black Sun the Graphic Novel, the final book in the trilogy, is currently in production. Two of our Kickstarter backers will feature as characters in the third volume. To keep up to date with news on the final book join my blog or subscribe to my newsletter. After the success of the Psychonaut Kickstarter it is very likely we will use the crowdfunder again when Black Sun is ready.

About The Starblood Trilogy –

I wrote The Starblood Trilogy during the final years of my second marriage and a lot of the things I was feeling then found their way onto the page. The three main characters represented aspects of myself, Star was my confusion, Satori my sexuality, and Lilith my rage. It was cathartic but very painful too.

One of my favourite lines from the first book remains – “There is no shame in love, only completion.” Lilith says this to Star, but the words are at odds with Star’s experiences throughout the trilogy. Shame and love seem to go hand in hand for Star.

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If you want to find out more about the Starblood story it is available as a trilogy in one volume – here’s the Amazon link, but it can also be found on iTunes, Kobo etc – http://smarturl.it/TheStarbloodTrilogy

About Psychonaut –

Satori is caught between two worlds. There is something he needs in one, but the other keeps drawing him back. However, he is in love and he isn’t going to let a little thing like death get in his way. To reach his goal, he must face unimaginable horrors, not least of which is his true self.
Star’s tortured and broken body awaits Satori, but does she really need him to save her? His rival, a rage-filled young woman, grows more powerful and becomes as twisted as the ribbons in her hair while the demon, Lilith, draws each of them inexorably towards her. Who will survive the coming battle?

Full of sex and magic, “Psychonaut” is an exploration into the human psyche and the second book in Voiez’s “Starblood” trilogy.

“Carmilla Voiez is more of a singer than a writer. She tells her compelling story in a hypnotic, distinctive voice that brings her eerie world vividly to life.” Graham Masterton

“Psychonaut is a book of mad impulses, inner vision, sadism, escape and belief. You feel uncomfortable reading it, like Alex strapped to the chair in Clockwork Orange being taught to feel sick at atrocity. Rather than leave us crippled by response, though, Psychonaut bears you through the hurt towards the only paradise we can be assured of…a love past fault.” Jef Withonef, Houston Press.

What is comiXology? “comiXology is home to the largest selection of digital comics anywhere, comiXology takes comics further with [their] revolutionary Guided View™ reading technology on all your devices. Start building your digital comics library and lose yourself in the world of comics, graphic novels & manga. Guided View allows you to swipe or tap to cinematically shift from panel-to-panel at your own pace! Each Guided View experience has been handcrafted by a comic lover to make sure you have the best possible adventure, no matter how small your device.”

Find out more here – https://www.comixology.com/new-to-comixology

Want to create your own graphic novel or just see how Anna and I created Starblood? Check out this blog post (includes page images and some of the script) – http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/single-post/2017/03/28/How-to-create-a-graphic-novel

Do you have a favourite character in Starblood? Mine’s Freya. In fact she’s demanded I write a new book just for her. I’ll be working on that this November, and if successful, Starblood will no longer be a trilogy. It will be a series. Here’s more about my favourite character – http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/single-post/2017/03/06/Freya-is-one-hell-of-a-fucked-up-character

Links to everywhere you can find Psychonaut the graphic novel – http://carmillavoiez.wixsite.com/carmillavoiez/graphicnovel

ACN will be tuning into Carmilla’s Facebook party on Saturday to help support such a talented writer.  Mr. Masterton said it the best calling Carmilla singer more than a writer; you will find that her words are eerily gorgeous.

 

 

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

 

 

 

The Long and Short of Writing Short Form Fiction: A Conversation with Indie Author Stella Coulson.

Indie Beginning Episode 24
Ben and Marie discuss Whitby After Dark and the process of writing short fiction

Ben and Marie discuss reviews left for Whitby After Dark by Stella Coulson as well as the topic of Short Form Fiction with the author. Novellas and novelettes are gaining in popularity with the rise of kindle and other e-readers (especially since Hugh Howey’s breakthrough tale WOOL) and people are so busy that they just do not have the time for a novel. We also live in a “quick fix” society and may be witnessing the shorter attention spans, at least that is Ben’s belief.

What influenced indie author Stella Coulson to begin writing short form fiction? What are her thoughts of the rise in its popularity? Does she see a downside to writing a short story? Listen to this week’s episode to find out!

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment wherever you found this podcast, I’ll find it! We’d would also be truly grateful if you would rate and review this show while you are there. Your reviews are a wonderful way to support this show and also a way for us to keep bringing you the content you want to listen to. Don’t forget that each review makes you eligible to win some Indie Beginning merchandise: every time we hit a 25 review milestone up to 500! Screenshot that baby and tag Indiebeginning in it, or not, I’ll find it somehow, I like a good treasure hunt. Whitby After Dark is available for purchase on Amazon. Music found in this episode was written and performed by Tinmouth and is titled Generation to Generation. I would like to thank Shirts by Sarah for supporting this show and our featured indie author. A special thank you to Stella Coulson for taking the time to be part of the Indie Beginning Podcast. Thanks for listening!
Read the Writer’s Digest blog post discussed in this episode.

Music Attribute: generation to generation by Tinmouth is licensed under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda, a Conversation on Alternative History – L S Bassen Interview

A Conversation with L.S. Bassen on Alternative History

If you could go back in time and re-write a historical moment, what moment would you choose? LS Bassen wanted to revisit WWII and more specifically the death of Adolf Hitler in her tale Summer of the Long Knives. (Learn more about LS Bassen here.) In this episode Marie and Benjamin discuss reviews left for the story as well as their thoughts on the topic of Alternative History. Below are a list of topic Questions posed to the author.

1. Alternative fiction is a popular genre for story lovers, yet many authors find it a difficult genre to write. Did you have any concerns when you began writing Summer of the Long Knives?
2. With Nazi Germany being such a major historical period in time what tips or tricks did you utilize to keep fact and fiction from flowing too far away from one another?
3. What are your thoughts on reader knowledge? Do you feel that the average reader is willing to suspend disbelief to be entertained?

I posed this question to the Writers Group on facebook and I would like to take a moment to thank Sarah, Eanna, Mark, Kenneth, and Sasha for joining in the conversation. All of them agreed that a reader will suspend disbelief and that it is the Authors job through character development and world-building (a topic we discussed with Paul Grover in episode 17) but the examples given stemmed from Harry Potter (Still refuse to read that little gem) to Marvel. I wonder more about factual events straight out of High-School history books where there really is a universal agreement of facts.

4. Does writing alternative history allow you as the author to change history if even for a brief moment in time? Are there any other historical moments you wish (or plan) to re-write?
5. If you could rewrite anything in your own career as an author what would it be?

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment after you listen to the show. We would also be truly grateful if you would rate and review this show while you are there. Your reviews are a wonderful way to support this show and also a way for us to keep bringing you the content you want to listen to. Summer of the Long Knives is available for purchase on Amazon. Music found in this episode was performed by Dee Yan Key and is titled Holy Holy Holy. I would like to that Shirts by Sarah for supporting this show and Thank LS Bassen for taking the time to be part of the Indie Beginning Podcast. And most of all, thank you for listening!

Find the New Marwa Coda Chapter mentioned in this episode here!