Tag Archives: publishing

Dealing With a Bad Publisher


In 2013, I had published my children’s picture book, Dana’s First Fish with Tate Publishing. At first, it was a pleasant experience. But after my book was published, I began to find discrepancies, which I had blogged about; another author’s picture and bio posted on most websites (there is more than one author named Jennifer Adams out there), was my biggest issue as it was never corrected no matter how much I complained. Another complaint I had was that they did not want to print 100 books within a few weeks for a book signing event I was to have at Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble then told me that they could not work with me. I’m crossing my fingers that I would have better luck with them with my next book.

It wasn’t long before I stopped receiving my royalties check, yet I was constantly asked if I wanted to purchase more books for book signing events, or to possibly consider publishing another book with them. I continued to pass on every offer that they had sent my way and am so glad that I did.

In January of this year, Tate Publishing had closed their doors. A lawsuit was filed against on embezzlement and fraud. There are over 35,000 authors who used Tate Publishing. Most of us had not received our royalties in years. Most authors had not received books that they had ordered. I was fortunate to have received my shipment of books that I had ordered.

Before Tate closed, I was sent an email request that I send them $50 for my files, copyright info, etc, oh, and to sign a waiver saying that I will not sue them. I didn’t bother signing it, nor did I bother to send them any more money.

I still have several copies of Dana’s First Fish, which you can purchase on Amazon. They will come straight from me and I have reduced the price to $4.

Dana's First Fish

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One Word Photo Challenge: Melon


Not many know this, but I am interning at the Little Rock Zoo. I won’t go into details, as I don’t have permission to talk about what it is that I do there, but with that said, after I’m done with my work, I take a stroll through the zoo and see the animals out and about, foraging, playing, interacting with one another, etc.

To see more on this weeks photo challenge, melon, click here.

Enjoy!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

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Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

Redrafting a Query Letter


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I’m often asked, “You’re so busy, when do you find time to write?”

Of course I reply with, “I find the time.”

I do have a full schedule, or a full plate, whichever way it’s put, I am quite the busy person. Single mom, work, college, plus a huge list of other things to add that I wish not to discuss publicly. I’ve often stated when I fit in my writing. It’s usually scribbling ideas down onto paper whenever I have a free minute, such as standing in the grocery store check out lines. Then late at night, or right before class, I’ll type them up. Usually, it helps to have a printed manuscript for me to scribble on, but I always have a notebook where I keep all my notes.

Currently, I’ve been adding the last pieces to my manuscript. A sentence or two here, cut and paste that over there… As I type this, I’m 200 words shy of making 60,000 words. Wow! Well, isn’t that enough? Apparently not! It is a young adult novel, so there is a minimum and a maximum amount of words required for a publisher to actually look into publishing an author’s book…so I’ve been told…by a couple of actual publisher’s.

I didn’t come up with that entire word count over night…I wish…It took me five, long years to come up with that amount. So, you can see, I may seem to have accomplished a lot, it just took me a long time to get here. I don’t spend all of my time on the computer, writing…though some of my relatives may think otherwise.

Honestly, after hearing other authors tell me how long it’s taken them to come up with their first manuscript for a full novel, I don’t feel so bad on how long it took for me to get this far.

I’m now at the point to where I should prepare a query letter. I have written and rewritten a query letter for this manuscript, though it just hasn’t caught an agent’s attention. It’s taken me five years to write a novel with 60K words, why should it take me so long or be so hard to write up a short professional letter? Well, it is a hard market for us authors. So hard in fact, that a query letter has to have the essentials, yet catch an agents eye for them to pick you and your manuscript. It has to be perfect.

I’ve had a few ‘maybes’, but they weren’t a definite ‘yes’. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. I couldn’t understand what my query letter lacked. It had all the important details; genre, word count, title, synopsis, a little bit about me…yet, no yes’s. I had a hard time coming up with my query letter. I honestly didn’t know how to write one. I had to research and research this on the internet, through the writer’s digest magazine, even thumbed through several books on ‘how to get published’.

Until one day, I had stumbled upon a blog that proved most helpful in every way. Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant, with many years of experience, had written a ‘Complete Guide To Query Letters…’ After scrolling through this post, I finally had the understanding of how my query letter should read. It clicked. The part about her ‘Hook Instruction’ was proved most helpful to me. After having a few people read my query letter, it seems that’s what it lacked, a hook.

Now it’s time for me to go re-type my query letter, though with motivation and determination that I will have the perfect one written and sent out to all those agents I’ve picked to query.

Be sure to check our Jane Friedman’s post about, ‘The Complete Guide To Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests’. Also scroll through her other posts, you’ll find them all very helpful.

Happy writing!

One Word Photo Challenge: Teal


This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is Teal; a beautiful shade found on the color spectrum of blue, can be found in the pictures posted below.

If you have never known the love of a therapy horse, or have seen the love expressed between horse and rider, then hopefully you can see that and more expressed in the photos.

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The ever so patient horse, encouraging the ever so gentle touch from a child with special needs is awe inspiring. Tears well up in my eyes with happiness, as I watch my daughter’s slow movements in her approach towards her therapy horse, Passion, who is moving in closer to my daughter for her to touch.

Horse/equine therapy, also known as Hippotherapy, has been very helpful with my daughter in teaching her to express herself more. Not only that, but it allows her to have a love for animals that she didn’t have before; she had expressed fear when any animal approached her, whether that animal was calm or not.

She expresses a giddy, “Hi, Passion.” before reaching up to brush her fingertips across Passion’s nose. Passion, a gentle therapy horse on Harmony In Hooves Farm, stands up to her name. Her gentle, calm nature would allowing anyone a chance to pet her. Horses can be very therapeutic and just being around her can be very calming.

You can check out my other blog post for more information on how horses can be therapeutic for special needs children.

The following photos is of some artwork pieces found in Bernice Gardens in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

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Book Reviews on Amazon Actually Help


It’s a hard life/job being a small time published author, especially when you first start out. You continue to market yourself time and time again, in hopes of getting your work out there. My first year as a published author went really well. I had quite a few book signing events, which led to being invited to other events where I was able to set up a table for more book signings. I’ve sold quite a few books by myself alone; through social media, emails, word of mouth, leaving postcards here and there. But that’s just small marketing. it takes a lot more effort, time, and money to really get noticed.

Recently, I’ve been doing some research on how to boost sales, broaden my marketing area, and strengthen my marketing skills. A very good friend of mine can tell you straight away, that I’m not very good with computers, yet I try and I am a quick learner.

Social media alone is the largest self-marketing tool that I know of, but word of mouth from readers can be a much bigger step in having your work noticed.

According to Brooke Warner in her Huffington Post blog post, “book reviews on Amazon are what carries it’s weight in getting more attention with Amazon.”

“After you hit 50 (ratings), you get more visibility on Amazon.”

In this line of work, I believe reviews from readers are extremely important. It helps me, the author, know that my work is being purchased, that my work is being seen by others. It also lets me know what people actually think of what I have written. It also lets me know that my work is getting out there.

It takes a lot of time and and a lot effort to put a book together and get it out on the market, yet it takes little effort to write up a review.

If you read a book and truly love it, be sure to let the author know. There’s many webpages out there where their work is being sold. Be kind and leave a quick review. I’m a big Goodreads user and love to rate author’s books. I also click which ones I’ve read, want to read, and have purchased. I then write up a short review on what I thought of each book I’ve read. And if I loved a particular book, I let them know.

I’ve even written reviews on books and posted them here on my blog, tagging their name and a link to where you can purchase that book or see other works by that author. This all helps us authors in many ways. It gets our name out there. Word of mouth goes a long way, it is a small part of marketing, and it does help the author. You never know when someone is actually reading that review; it helps make that decision for them to purchase that book.

According to a blog entry by Mike Briggs, on author Patricia Briggs’ writing, “…that pure, dumb luck plays a major role in this phase of the game.”

He’s right. Just by posting on my blog here, I’ve been able to bring attention to my work and what I do. I’ve had guess blog spots where I talked about what I do and how I got started and why. Other author’s, whom I have reviewed and shared their work here on my blog, have seen my posts and have thanked me.

Small steps can lead to big adventures, yet you have to take those small steps.

With all that said, if you have purchased my book and would like to leave a review, click here and it will take you to Amazon. Also, feel free to purchase a copy if you haven’t already. If you would like a personal signed copy made out to someone, click here. To rate my book on Goodreads, click here.

I will be finishing up my last round of edits on my last chapter of my young adult novel and will be sending it to my editor very, very soon. After the last draft is finalized, I will be sending it off to the publisher. As always, I’ll keep everyone posted.

Cheers!

Winter Fever, Cabin Blues…


Or is it ‘Cabin Fever, Winter Blues’?

Either way, it’s another fine winter day, stuck indoors. I’m actually being a bit sardonic, but who wouldn’t be unless you could be outside enjoying the weather. Though there aren’t any slopes here for me to grab my snowboard and head out to. Nor is the ground covered in snow, for mini me to go sledding. Instead, the ground is covered in ice that has been melted and frozen, again, and again, over the past few days. Today, our forecast called for a snow and rain mix, which didn’t began falling until late morning. It just made everything that much more slippery. I decided to stay home with my daughter, since I have to drive North where the roads would be much slicker.

Though I have driven in wintry conditions, it is very different here in Arkansas, especially when you’re surrounded by drivers who cannot drive on ice and/or snow. Some cannot even drive when it’s raining, so I find it best to stay clear by staying home. My daughter finds serenity in watching the snow fall. We have a large picture window in the living room with a wide window sill for her to lean on and to also give her plenty of space to play with her toys.

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On days like this, I find myself in the office, on the computer, trying to finish up homework, or work on the next research paper for a class or two, or do a bit of writing. I think if I redecorated this office, it would have more of a calm, soothing atmosphere where I can be more creative. I think it’s the only room that still has the fake wood paneling from the 1960’s, covering it’s walls. Plus, the photos that cover the wall space above grandpa’s desk are decades old and could be upgraded.

I think I may have found my next summer project…to redecorate and rearrange the office.

I mostly find my creative energy in a mixture of places, such as, bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, front porch. Sometimes, the recliner in the living room, next to our picture window is a perfect spot for writing, especially on days like today. Anywhere my mind can roam freely.

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Lately, I’ve been spending most of that free time between classes, in my college library. Just yesterday, I had my headphones on, music going, and I was able to finally finish editing chapter one of my young adult novel. This is the same novel I had tried querying agents last summer for, but without success. It’s a tough job, being an author. Tough market, actually. Some of them were very close in saying yes, adding tidbits of helpful info that would make the next round of querying a bit more successful.

So, I began working on it….again.

There was originally a prologue, but I had cut it out entirely. Now, I added it back into the novel, but instead of it being a prologue, I made it the beginning of chapter one’s story line. I then moved some of chapter three into chapter one, so the next on my to-do-list is to edit chapter three.

I’m coming up on 60K words total…on the manuscript that is. I’m going to make that a goal that I must achieve. Once that’s done, I am finished…I hope, cross my fingers and knock on wood. I’m looking forward to seeing it finalized once more and also hope that I can send it off to the publisher very soon. I think I’ll try querying agents again, if not, I know a few small publishers that wouldn’t mind publishing it for me.