We’re Extending the Submission Deadline!

Let’s face it!  As women, we lead busy lives.  And sometimes that means we put other’s needs before our own desires — like sitting down to focus on our own writing.  We get it! We’ve all been there.  That’s why we decided to extend the deadline for submissions to our upcoming Summer issue of VoiceCatcher:  a journal of women’s voices and visions.

Ladies, you have until Sunday, May 22 to submit up to three poems, one prose piece or artwork for consideration.  You can click HERE for all the details.

Happy writing!  We can’t wait to read your work.

VoiceCatcherFacebookCoverWithSummer2015Artwork

Rock Your Readings! A Workshop

Workshop: Rock Your Readings  1:30–3:00 p.m.
Stumptown Lit Festival, Portland, Oregon, Sunday, October 25, 2015

Alexis Mason

Alexis Mason

If you get queasy and clammy handed before stepping up to a lectern to share your work, you will benefit from this workshop. You may also learn the difference between a podium and a lectern!

The fast-paced workshop – co-sponsored by VoiceCatcher, the Oregon Writers Colony and the Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters club – kicks off with Cindy Brown, author of the Ivy Meadows mystery series, sharing tips she learned planning and executing her two tremendously popular book launch parties.

Alexis Mason, of the Thrill of the Quill Toastmasters club, will add to the workshop with information geared to assist writers, of any genre, prepare and deliver better presentations with the help of specific exercises and insights.

Cindy Brown is a full-time writer, the author of Macdeath (An Ivy Meadows Mystery) (Volume 1) and The Sound of Murder ( An Ivy Meadows Mystery) (Volume 2). She has garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton), and is an alumna of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Although Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.

Alexis Mason is a speaker, author, coach and storyteller. She holds a master’s degree from PSU and has over 35 years teaching experience. She is the owner of Present Yourself, where she offers coaching in leadership and communication skill development. She presents workshops, seminars and keynote presentations on a variety of subjects. As a storyteller, Alexis does monthly presentations to senior communities in and around Vancouver, Washington. Alexis is the author of several business and children’s books.

For more info on the Stumptown Lit Festival, and workshop fee information and registration, please click here.

Be sure to stop by VoiceCatcher’s table at the festival!

How I Came to Love the Semicolon

by Margie Lee

The email from VoiceCatcher said my poem “Silence” was accepted for its winter issue. I was ecstatic. Then I read, “Could you please clean up the punctuation?”

I have always been lousy at punctuation. When I was in high school, my papers had more red ink than black. I was using too many commas or too few. I could handle the colon, but the semicolon frightened me. When in doubt, I used dashes. Sometimes I got two grades: A for content and D for mechanics. I laughed it off. Anyone could do spelling and punctuation. I was interested in ideas.

In college I was saved by majoring in science. Geology majors are not required to do much writing. By grad school, no one seemed to care. The computer had spelling and grammar check. Many years later I joined a poetry group. Surprised at my lack of punctuation skills, one member of the group said, “You have some phrases capitalized and some not. If you don’t want to use capitals, fine. But at least be consistent.” I laughed a little uncomfortably and made an excuse.

I blamed my seventh grade English teacher. Miss H. was what they called athletic (not a compliment in the early ’60s). She wore practical oxfords with anklets and had a short, boyish bob. Around her neck, a pearl clasp held her cardigan over her bony shoulders like a cape. Her sport was tennis, and she was known to be good at it. I seldom did any homework. I sat in the back of the classroom, and when she called on me, it was “MAR GEE,” with a hard G. I never corrected her, because she had such authority. I thought maybe she used the correct pronunciation.

“Mar Gee, go to the board and diagram number four.”

Moments later I was at the board drawing lines and words when I heard her shrill voice.

“MAR GEE, what is the subordinate clause modifying?” she said, striding across the linoleum, her Popeye-thick forearms slamming the eraser onto the board, dust flying into the air. It might have been hormonal –  I was 12 going on 13 – but I had a headache every Thursday in her class.

One week she was at a tennis match, and our substitute read Robert Frost’s “A Road Not Taken” to us. I was so happy, I smiled, I relaxed, I was fascinated. Our assignment to write about the poem thrilled me. I wrote effortlessly, putting down ideas as fast as I could.

What finally galvanized me into doing something about my punctuation was when I sent a poem to a small press journal, and the editor wrote me that he didn’t even read my work because of errors. Other editors said things even less flattering. I looked forward to a general form letter.

Humbled and motivated, I embarked on a rapid, accelerated punctuation improvement program. I went to Powell’s and bought a truckload of books on grammar: Grammar Made Easy, Punctuation in 30 Days, Elements of Style …. When my grammar did not improve after buying the books, I mentioned this to a friend, and she said, “Well, did you read them?” I had to admit I had not opened them. I stopped sending out writing for a long time.

But I liked VoiceCatcher and thought it might be worth the risk. I sent in three poems, and one was accepted. But there was the punctuation issue. I wanted this to work out, but I knew my weaknesses. If someone without legs could make it to the finals of “Dancing with the Stars,” maybe I could get published.

I wrote to my poetry group colleagues to ask if they could please help me. One of the members was vacationing, and the other said she would get to it in a few days. A few days seemed too long, so I decided to give it a try. But one stanza in “Silence” baffled me. It had three ideas and I did not know how to connect the thoughts. Dashes seemed too strong, commas too subtle. Just for fun, I tried the semicolon. The dot over the comma, the semicolon that breaks the thought into a little pause, not huge, but not soft: just enough. I placed it and fell head over heels in love with punctuation. And it worked. Like a song, my poem needed that subtle dynamic and now, I could hear the music.

 

Margie LeeMargie Lee is a writer and artist living with her writer husband and two cats in SW Portland, Oregon. She exhibits her art work locally. She will be in a group show, “Figuration,” at Mel’s Frame Shop in Portland, from May through July 19, 2015 – showing her paintings done in acrylic. Margie writes about family and Pacific Northwest nature, and loves to combine writing and art. She teaches art part-time at the Rose Schnitzer Tower and is head of the artists group at St. James Lutheran Church.

The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing

Platforms – Part 2 of 2
by Theresa Snyder

Audio Creation Exchange (ACX) is the audio book arm of Amazon. They seem to be “the only kid on the block.” Everyone uses them because they make it so darn easy. When you are the writer, formatter, publisher and marketer, it is good to take it easy when you can.

With this site, you set up an account and post a few manuscript pages you think would give a good example of the voice you would like to hear read your work. You can request male or female, kind of accent, character voices, and so forth.

ACX has a stable of narrators. If one or more have interest in your piece, they do a recording of it and send to you. You listen and choose. The lovely thing about this is that once you make your decision and have a 4×4 cover design made, you are out of the picture. The narrator uploads his or her work and posts it for you.

The royalties stay with you. You can pay the narrator in full for his time, or you can share royalties and pay nothing up front; just share the sales when they come through. It has been seamless for me.

The younger generation often uses public transportation. They listen to podcasts and other types of broadcasts on their devices. This is a good way to get them on board with my work.

Now, to formatting. Let’s get the easy ones out of the way first.

There is a program called Scrivner, a writing program written by someone who writes books. It is available online at Literature and Latte. Once you use it, you will never use Word again.

Scrivner is inexpensive and a treasure for writers worldwide. Buy it and don’t be afraid of it. Watch the tutorial and keep the online manual handy.

I swear Scrivner could cook you breakfast if you knew how to program it. What it can do readily for you is format in MOBI (for Amazon), in ePub and Word (for Google Play) and a number of other formats, such as PDF.

As I noted in a previous column, CreateSpace is a stroll through the park. You pick a size for your book, you download that template, and you fill it with your book.

At first, I cleared out all the formatting and then reformatted it in the template. I found out I did not have to do that, provided I was careful. The template is a Word document. If you turn on the formatting so you can see it, you will be able to place your document, neat as a pin. I even made an auto table of contents for my books, so I didn’t have to do it manually.

Once you have uploaded CreateSpace, it gives you a great online page-by-page preview of your book. I not only look at that, and sometimes spot a mistake, but I also order a paper proof and review it before I actually hit the “go” button. I find I catch more of the minor mistakes when I look at the work in hard copy.

Now to the tough formatting. I found Smashwords’ formatting instructions daunting. The downloaded manual is huge and starts by suggesting, “If you think this is too much, here is a list of folks who will format for you.”

After reading the first 20 pages of their approximately 70-page manual, I opted to have eLaunch format my book for a flat fee of approximately $40 (and eLaunch guarantees you will get into Smashwords’ Premium Catalog, which is where you want to be).

One last note on posting your book. Each of the platforms asks if you want to show 20 percent of your book for review by the potential buyer. Do this, but at the same time be aware that if your book is a novella with a title page, dedication, table of contents and maybe a prologue, this may be all the possible buyer will see.

I suggest you consider posting 1,000 words on your blog, along with the link to the book. Then, in addition to promoting the link to the actual “buy” page with a teaser, you can also have a second blurb of about 1,000 words on your blog, with a juicy piece to tantalize and tempt.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading and wish you the best of luck. To wish good luck in theater, performers are told to “break a leg.” I think in writing we should say, “Rip up the page!”

*  *  *

VoiceCatcher thanks Theresa Snyder for contributing her column
on self-publishing to the community.

Theresa, we appreciate your vast knowledge, and your
willingness to share your resources and expertise so generously.
VoiceCatcher editors

Theresa SnyderTheresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the eighth and final installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing, The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing.

The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing

Platforms – Part 1 of 2
by Theresa Snyder

Okay, so you have your book written. Several people have beta-read it and you have proofed it to the 10th power. Now it is time to format and post it to a platform for sale.

It seems everyone posts to Amazon. There are good and bad aspects to this. The bad: everyone posts to Amazon. You are a minnow among sharks.

Once you are on Amazon, you can choose to join its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)Select program, which locks you into giving Amazon total rights for 90 days. If you have had your books posted on other platforms, you will have to pull them down. If you do not go KDP Select then Amazon does not offer your work in India, Japan, Brazil or Indonesia. Many folks in those countries crave books in English, meaning you will miss all those sales.

I went with KDP Select for the first few months in order to give away my book for five days during each 90-day period. However, without a base of readers to give it away to, this did not benefit me.

Royalties are not near as lucrative with Amazon as they are with the other platforms.

The good: everyone posts on Amazon. You have a presence and a large number of potential readers will see you. That is, if you can manage to get the readers there. Amazon uses mobi-formatted files, which we will address in the next article, part 2 of “Platforms.”

CreateSpace is an Amazon affiliate. It will produce your book as a print-on-demand paperback. They are very helpful folks. Forms and upload are step-by-step and easy to use. If you send customers directly to them for sales, you receive a huge chunk of the pie rather than the small allotment you get if they find your book through Amazon and buy it there. The quality of the printed book is very good (I run a print shop so I know a good deal about this subject).

I have all my books with CreateSpace and since I put them in paper, I sell almost all hardcopy and few e-books. I am aware this is not the case for all writers, but it is for me.

Smashwords is the world’s largest distributor of e-books. They keep on top of trends and post them on their website. If you make it into their Premium Catalog (which is just a matter of formatting to their specs), they distribute your work to Barnes & Noble (Nook), Kobo, iTunes, Apple (iBooks), Scribd, Oyster, OverDrive, Flipkart, Baker & Taylor, Blio, the Axis360 Library service, and many more. The list goes on and on, giving you a worldwide presence.

If you opt for the Extended Distribution, which is free at this point, you will hit everywhere. Smashwords issues coupon numbers so you can give your books away if you want to have a promotional event.

Your slice of the royalty is much bigger with Smashwords. They use Word files, formatted through something they affectionately refer to as the “Meatgrinder.”

Google Play is the new kid on the block. They are still working out the kinks on their site, but the word among the authors I chat with is that there is much less competition here. You are a big frog in a little pond if one of your books takes off. These folks cater to the Android users in the world, and there are a lot of them out there.

I recently posted all my books on Google Play. Their posting is worldwide and if you have posted to the other sites, you already have your book in the correct formats for uploading here. They use ePub and Word-formatted files.

Apple has some great products, but they are spendy. Android offers all the bells and whistles at a much cheaper price.

Next month I will wrap up this series by talking about audio books and formatting.

 

 

Theresa SnyderTheresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the seventh installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.

The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing

Giving, Receiving, Promotional Items and Random Acts of Kindness
by Theresa Snyder

I have always been a giver. As a very young child, the arrival of company sent me scurrying off to my room for a crayon drawing, a toy repainted with mother’s newest color of nail polish or a short poem (which no doubt would have made any Hallmark Cards writer wince). I continue to be a giver. Hopefully, my gifts have improved.

If I give a gift of one Twitter follower’s work to another follower, both benefit. For example, I purchased a photo from a photographer follower (her first sale). I gave the photo to a musician follower. Now both remember me.

I adore music and could not live without it. I have found some great musicians on Twitter. Like the authors, they are all trying to get their work heard. I want to help promote them as much as I can, purchasing their music for myself and to give to other Twitter followers.

I gave a certificate for pizza to a follower who was kind enough to edit my tweets. It was a joke and we have been friends since.

When I first started on Twitter I was amazed at how many indie authors there were. I thought, “What do they need? How can I find a place among them?” As I mentioned earlier, indie authors will sell more books if they are reviewed. When choosing a book, the surfing reader looks at the genre first, the cover image second, the description third, and the reviews fourth.

Provided you have met the criteria of receiving 10 to 25 reviews of 4-to-5 stars, there are Twitter sites which will help you promote your books at no charge. Therefore, I choose to read and review. I do my best to be an honest reviewer and the process has brought me into contact with several helpful folks. It’s called “social media” for a reason.

My follows have become friends – very kind friends. I continue to marvel at the wonderful people I meet on Twitter. I have received tea, marmalade, and candy from the UK and New York; from Idaho, a lovely needlepoint of a pink dragon, which hangs in my bedroom; marketing material from Britain and a T-shirt from Alaska.

If you have a character like Farloft it is good to take advantage of him. Farloft’s fan wear site started from an idea I had to thank his followers on “Follow Farloft Friday.” I thought I would send them a shirt or a cap. Sarah, my graphic guru, whipped out a great logo and we printed some test shirts and a mug. Then I found out how much it costs to mail something to the UK or Singapore. A pin or button was all I could afford.

I decided to take a picture of Farloft, place it in fifty-cent buttons from Craft Warehouse and mail them out to the followers. The buttons became like traveling gnomes and continue to plague Twitter to this day. Farloft has given out books by the score. From Farloft’s personal hoard, I have given Dazzlers, sparkly chains of beads to be worn in the hair. The items are small, but one is remembered by these gifts.

For those who are interested, the shirts, sweatshirts, caps, mugs, and pins went up for sale in Farloft’s store. They are print-on-demand so the company that makes them gets the lion’s share of the profit, but if someone is walking around in one of Farloft’s sweatshirts, I receive the marketing benefits. Once you have a nice logo designed, setting up a shop on Zazzle or one of the other print-on-demand sites is relatively easy.

So in closing, remember you are trying to find a place for yourself in a community that has thousands, tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of folks trying to stand out in the crowd. Pick your corner, stake your claim and make a name for yourself in your area of the community.

 

Theresa SnyderTheresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the sixth installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.

Share Resources and Celebrate Successes – No. 3

Willa SchnebergVoiceCatcher contributor Willa Schneberg will be the final judge for the Calyx Journal 2015 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize. Submissions accepted Mar. 1-May 31. More information here.

 

 

copy-vchomebanner.jpgThe submission window is open now for the Summer 2015 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions.

 

 

 

This column celebrates publication news from VoiceCatcher authors. We hope you find the information helpful as you research where to send your own work. Please share your own information with the VC community.  – The Editors

*  *  *

Related posts:
Poetry in Bytes: submitting to online poetry publications
An Invitation to Share Resources, Celebrate Success
Share Resources and Celebrate Successes, No. 1
Share Resources and Celebrate Successes, No. 2

.

Leave the Dishes: Making Art While Raising Children

A New Year’s Gift to You: Writing and Visual Artist Residencies for Parents (II)
by Claudia F. Savage

The list for residencies available to parents seems to grow every day. But while some places seem to think a cramped one-bedroom apartment next to other artists who are up till 2 a.m. is perfect for a mother-artist and her infant, other places, like the assortment below, have really thought through the needs of a parent attending a residency. The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, and The Millay Colony are perfect for the mother-artist who is able to travel alone (maybe for the first time since the kids!) and craves quiet time to write, paint or sculpt in the presence of other adults. Island Hill House and Women’s Studio Workshop let you bring your kids along.

Island Hill House Artist Residency Program
The Hill House is a two-story log cabin in northern Michigan that can accommodate up to four people at one time. “If you are selected,” according to Yvonne Stephens, director, “you have the whole house to yourself.” It is a rural area that gets heavy snow, so artists should be prepared for isolation.

Where: East Jordan, Michigan
How Long: 2-4 weeks
What You Get: An artist may bring up to three children and/or caregivers while in residence. The house accommodates up to four people (two bedrooms and two bathrooms). Basic child safety equipment, a pack-and-play, and a highchair are included, and two artist parents may be in residence together if they are both accepted into the program. The residency also fully stocks the kitchen with whatever you desire, including fresh local foods in summer and fall specifically. Though no stipend is offered, childcare is available and covered.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writers, visual artists, dancers and musicians
Apply: Application deadline is April 1 (for June-November residency) and October 1 (for December-May residency), application fee is $25, submit.

The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow (My Time Fellowship)
Dairy Hollow’s mission is “to provide time, lodging, feeding, and artistic community to writers in the historic arts village of Eureka Springs, Arkansas.”

Where: Eureka Springs, Arkansas
How Long: Two weeks
What You Get: Stipend of $1,500 to help pay for child care, travel expenses, or time lost at work. Private suite with writing space and bathroom. Dinner five nights a week in community dining room; community kitchen stocked for breakfast and lunch.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writers (composers, culinary writers, fiction writers and poets)
Apply: Application deadline is July 31, application fee is $35, submit.

Women’s Studio Workshop
Women’s Studio Workshop (WSW) offers a Parent Residency Grant for woman artists with dependent children under the age of 15.

Where: Rosendale, New York
How Long: Four weeks (January-June or September-December)
What You Get: $250 travel stipend and $1,000 stipend for child care at WSW or child care at home. A dedicated studio and two-bedroom apartment with bathroom, kitchen and living area for the parent-artist and her children. Facilities for etching, hand papermaking, letterpress, silkscreen, book arts, photography and ceramics.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: visual artists
Apply: Application deadline is October 15, no application fee, submit.

Atlantic Center for the Arts (ACA)
A three-week residency where Associate Artists (writing, visual art, music or dance) work with a Master Artist and collaborate with each other. Nick Conroy, residency and program director, says, “Once accepted to the ACA, literary or visual parent-artists provide a copy of their child’s birth certificate with their financial aid application and the $800 residency tuition is covered.”

Where: New Smyrna, Florida
How Long: Three weeks
What You Get: Free residency tuition (valued at $800 and covering full room and board) for one parent-artist, visual artist studio, dining hall, recording facility, library and performance space.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writers or visual artists
Apply: Application deadlines vary based on residency session, application fee is $25, submit.

The Millay Colony
According to Caroline Crumpacker, executive director of The Millay Colony, “Millay’s Virtual Residency accommodates artists who cannot spend prolonged time away from home but could benefit from the support of a residency in modified form.” Residents can stay for as long as they want over the course of a month. Crumpacker says, “We make it possible for parents to come here solo, by making our residencies as flexible and accessible to parents as we can. This residency is specifically for parents who can’t take long chunks away from home but need extra help with childcare and a special getaway.” The resident artist can, for example, participate on weekends only (with a minimum of five nights and days at the residency and the intent to continue specific work at home during the rest of the residency month).

Where: Austerlitz, New York
How Long: Several options (twelve days, two weeks, one month, or their “virtual” residency for a month).
What You Get: Free room and board for your stay, with a $1,000 stipend for “virtual” residents to assist in securing time off/childcare/travel to and from the colony/art supplies or other resources necessary to the making of new work.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writers, visual artists, dancers, or composers/musicians
Apply: Application deadlines vary based on residency session (October 1 for April, May, June, and July or March 1 for August, September, October, and November), application fee is $35, submit.

 

Claudia F. SavageClaudia F. Savage has been a chef for people recovering from illness, a book editor, and a teacher of poetry to young women in Appalachia, ranchers in Colorado, and urbanites in Portland. Her first book, The Limited Visibility of Bees, was named a finalist for the New Issues Press Poetry Prize. Her poetry and interview credits include CutBank, Nimrod, The Denver Quarterly, VoiceCatcher, Iron Horse, The Buddhist Poetry Review, and Bookslut. Her published chapbook is called The Last One Eaten: A Maligned Vegetable’s History. Savage is a member of the poetry/music duo, THrum, whose album is forthcoming in spring 2015. This article continues her series for VoiceCatcher, Leave the Dishes: Making Art While Raising Children.

The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing

The Importance of Personal Blogs, Profiles and Author Sites
by Theresa Snyder

Getting your name out there is a major key to an author’s success. It is paramount that you create and maintain an author blog and website. There are several tools you can use to push readers to your sites.

I have had a blog for years. I enjoy blogging and appreciate the 29,000 folks worldwide who support it by reading. When I first started, it was just a story blog that I faithfully posted to on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Posting regularly and with something of interest is one key to building a consistent following. From the beginning, I have alternated between posting a sci-fi story and a fantasy. I am pleased to say that every month or so it picks up 1,000 new hits.

I recently put an email capture for a newsletter on my blog. I have not printed one yet, but when I finish posting my books on Smashwords, I will make a general announcement using the newsletter to tell my readers the books are available on multiple platforms. I have heard other authors say, “I wish I had put an email capture on my blog much sooner.” In my case, I missed the first 10,000 readers.

When I first started, I could not afford a Web host. I bought my website name, TheresaSnyderAuthor.com, anyway. I redirected this link to the blog, hence my site is my blog. It has grown over the years and many things have been added.

There are links to all the books, a link to all my interviews, podcasts and guest blogs. All my social links are listed here. There is a link to my “After Thoughts,” which is simply musings about general things that interest me. It is my writing life on a page. Currently, my dear techie friend is creating a landing page with links so it will appear a bit cleaner. Essentially, if I get a reader to come here, they have all they need to read, buy and get to know me as an author.

Once you have your blog or site set up then you can branch out, but don’t drive folks to those other author sites. It can be beneficial to place your profile on any number of sites on the Internet. You will be there if someone is searching, but you still want to drive them to your site. Spending time building author sites such as GoodReads, iAuthor, Wattpad, and Bubblish can prove very useful. I have a presence on some of these sites, which means if someone is just surfing the site they may bump into me.

I have had the opportunity to build two other sites with fellow authors. This hopefully helps us all because of the draw of multiple authors to a site.

The Twin Cities project was formed Christmas of 2013. Another author wanted to get four or five authors together to write a series of books set in the same location with the same set of rules, much like the multiple authors writing the Star Trek series.

Five of us bought into his idea. It is called the Twin Cities Series and we chose it to be a setting of the imagination. The Realms is the place where the creatures live which humans think are paranormal, mythological, or fanciful. It was my first dive into paranormal and I love it. The series is a commitment for all of us. We look at it as something that can evolve and change with us as we grow as writers. The series does not have a site, but has a Facebook page and a blog that receives regular hits.

The Society of Enlightened Dragonologists is the second multi-author site. This was formed by me and another author to promote dragons as creatures with personalities, rather than just killing machines, as most adult dragon books portray them. We have found that the adults on social media want their dragons friendly and approachable. We aim to please and draw them to our books at the same time. Many authors have joined us on the site and have access to write on the site based on common rules.

Associating with Facebook pages, blogs or sites that have readers who might be interested in your work is a great idea, but remember to drive your tweets and social media to your site, not someone else’s. A reader could get distracted by other “bright, shiny authors.”

 

Theresa SnyderTheresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the fifth installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.

The Knotty and Nice of Indie Publishing

Reviews, Interviews, Podcasts and YouTube
by Theresa Snyder

Let’s talk about reaching out to your readers and potential readers.

Remember once the reader reaches your author page on Amazon or Smashwords, they look at the book’s cover, the description and then the reviews.

Reviews are what authors crave. We indie authors do not have a publisher to tell us how great our current book is and most of us do not want to hit you over the head with the “please read me” tweets. It is so wonderful when someone reviews you and you can quote them as saying you are well written, clever, prolific, a multi-genre genius, whatever.

We live for reviews and are thankful to those who give them. A tip I picked up by reading other indie authors’ books is to insert an “author’s note” in the back of each book, calling for a few words and a sprinkle of stars on any social, media or platform site. It works.

I believe interviews are the next best thing to reviews. An interview allows me to show some of my human side and to talk about my books. Sometimes I even take “Farloft,” my dragon, along with me. He is a great asset as long as he doesn’t break something or set off the smoke alarms. I have done blog interviews and radio interviews and even a YouTube appearance. They are all good for tweeting and letting folks know more about you as a person and an author. Besides, they are just fun to do.

How do you get the interviews? Make a connection. Don’t simply push the follow button on Twitter; take a moment to check out the person you are following. If they are a blogger, reviewer, or media personality, try to cultivate a friendship. Take the time to retweet them and chat with them. Many are looking for someone to interview. They do this to pull folks to their own site. You can use the opportunity to chat about your work. If you keep retweeting those lovely interviews and they see how clever you are, they will eventually start coming to you. My goal this past year was to do an interview or guest blog post each month. I have done that and, in several months, had more than one interview.

A couple of months ago a fellow author and follower decided to change direction in his career. He wanted not only to write, but to try doing book trailers, bios and voice-over work. He put his heart and soul into it. The results are on my author page on Amazon, my blog, and my YouTube channel. He did a fine job and I am honored to have been among one of those he chose to be his firsts. For your reference, his Twitter handle is @Hamburger_Fry.

Radio interviews and podcasts are great fun and lovely items to post. I was lucky enough to be chosen for a radio interview based on my association with VoiceCatcher. The radio station caters to authors, readers, publishers and librarians. Since then I have done two more interviews, one with the Effortless English group and one with Cherrie McKenzie of CoActive Dreams. I have another scheduled with a CBS affiliate in March. Interviews of this type are more difficult to come by but well worth it because they are geared specifically to your reading audience.

What does all this get you? It moves you closer to your readers. Readers want to get to know you. They want to feel as though they have a personal connection to you. It makes them feel as though they have shared in your experiences and makes them want to support you in your desire to make a living as a writer.

 

Theresa SnyderTheresa Snyder is a multi-genre writer with an internationally read blog. She grew up on a diet of black-and-white, sci-fi films like Forbidden Planet and The Day the Earth Stood Still. She is a voracious reader and her character-driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. This is the fourth installment of her column for VoiceCatcher on self-publishing.