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

 

 

 

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

 

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!

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

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.

900x900

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

 

 

 

What Being A Writer Looks Like

What being a writer truly looks like…

More than once I have been introduced as “Marie-she writes books.”  Most of the time this happens at company functions, business meetings, or a work social socials as a conversation starter. And over 90% of the time people ask the same question;

“Why are you still working here?”

I have also been asked by aspiring authors:

“How fast can I expect to see the money roll in?”

My answer…

You more than likely won’t see more than maybe $60 roll in each month-and that’s being generous.

This answer is usually followed up with either “then why do it?” or “then what do you do all day?” 

Truth, writing for most of us, published or not, is a labor of love-not a step to instant wealth and fame.  You will spend a ton of money, for next to nothing in return.  And your work will be filled with your blood, sweat, and tears.  Most authors will never be able to quit the 9-5 and make enough off their books to pay the mortgage, or even buy that very much needed cup of Joe.

In reply to the “why do it”-I love it!  I feel accomplished every time a book gets sold or even picked up and looked over during a signing or convention. I get high off the “I did this!” rush of opening a shipment of a new release I created from start to finish and holding it in my hands for the very first time.

As for the “Then what do you do all day?” Well-let’s take a peek into a normal, glamour filled day in an author’s life, shall we?

On any calendar my days look like this:

overbooked

Pick a day, any day, let’s go with Thursday…

You can find me Thursdays at a normal office job from 8-4:30, running figures, answering questions, forgetting I get 30 minutes for break when doing an interview during the lunch bell, budgets, NOI’s, Income and output, and trying so hard all day not to bang my head against the desk.

Then off to make dinner for the family and tidy up the shambles that a house filled with boys becomes on a daily bases.

By 5:30 we’re packing into a car and off to piano lessons for one of those boys.

From piano, the child gets abandoned back home so mom can make a 6:30 school meeting that will last until 9-9:30. Back home, I’ll have just enough time to make a cup of tea before reminding the children there is school in the morning. Once they are properly threatened into their beds I’ll sit down and read an episode of ACN’s Podcast Indie Beginning – and while it’s still fresh in my mind, and the children have given up all hopes in being up passed 10, I’ll record that piece I just reviewed.  That, on a good day, can take an hour.

 Then, we’re off to return ACN emails, before opening notes from the editor and approving her red marks, create a new advertisement, shoot off inquiries for marketing, balance the ACN accounts, and do all the small business owner type stuff I can squeeze in an hour.

Let’s roll to midnight shall we? I’ve forgotten about the cup of tea, so I hit reheat on the microwave, knowing full well it’ll still be in the heat-it-up machine tomorrow, forgotten completely until I go to put another fresh cup in there. So by midnight; I have a new WIP open, the room dark, and music humming through headphones…and I write…and write…and write…

Next thing you know its 3 a.m. and I’ve either not filled a page, or I’ve rambled on the sheets for thousands of words.

Bed…Friday starts at 7…

My day looks pretty much like yours, no?  Most authors work two jobs, one to pay the car insurance, the other pays nothing monetary, but holds a net worth of a million bucks mentally.  We don’t drive a Mercedes or live in a swanky palace, my home is split up between living spaces and home offices.  And for me, that’s ok.

My writing career as it stands today is enough for me that outside of my day job, I never introduce myself as an affordable housing specialist; instead when asked “what do you do?” I’ll reply with author or writer.

In an author’s world the mental gain far outweighs any monetary profit.

A Charming Nightmare has a new look!

Yup, that’s right.  A Charming Nightmare got her nails done, her hair did, and and over all new look (much to Catch’s complaints).  It’s kind of neat to know that writer’s can change things inside and out.

 

3462861436632992_2177735998922041_5552981775552086016_n

We’ve corrected our spelling and decided to ‘let’s eat, grandma.’ over ‘let’s eat grandma.’  All of ACN is in love with the new look, and can’t wait for the 2nd edition of A Charming Nightmare!

 

pizap.com15331365049601