Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Why Self-Publish?

Sam Cheever

To varying degrees, big and small publishing houses are worried about the Indie Publishing trend. I say to varying degrees because some of the larger or more arrogant ones think they can ignore or bully their way past the threat of losing more and more talented, ambitious authors to the siren song of Indie Publishing. As Indie grows, submissions to small press/traditional publishers have slowed. The submissions pubs receive are more and more weighted toward brand new authors, which means they bring more risk and less in the way of an established readership to fill the publisher's coffers. In addition, more and more established authors are asking for their rights back on older books so they can republish the books themselves.
It's definitely a brave new world.
I'm not going to pretend this is a simple issue. It's not. There are many factors in the swing away from traditional publishing, but there are things publishers can do to soften that swing...if they'll do them.
What are the largest complaints authors have against their publishing houses? Lack of communication? Absence of payment? Lack of control? Slow response times and even ignoring authors' concerns entirely? Yes, yes, and yes. These are all problems. I don't know too many authors who decide to publish their own work because of the money. Of course we're all working for money...we need to buy food, gas, and electricity right? But money isn't the biggest concern in this decision.
It's control.
Publishers who refuse to respond to emails sent by their authors (and then deny it!) will continue to lose talented authors to Indie. Publishers who have the "my way or the highway" attitude will continue to lose talented authors to Indie. Also part of the control issue are things like inflexible and/or overreaching contracts, long delays in adding books to third party sites, prohibitive pricing, and extended time-frames getting books to market once they've been submitted. These are all my reasons for opting, more and more, to Indie publish rather than follow a more traditional publishing route.
Control is the key. An author who publishes independently can decide the time-frame for writing/publishing the book. She can select her own cover artist and an editor who fits her style. She can set the price, control the market her book is part of and create her own marketing plan. And she can make adjustments as the book moves through its shelf life to ensure ongoing success. The only way a publisher can compete with this is to work more closely with the author as a partner, being flexible and open to doing things a different way. Easier said than done, I know. When a publisher is working with hundreds of authors, trying to meet the needs of every author can be very difficult. But that's the only way today's publisher can compete in a marketplace where organizations like Amazon make it so easy for an author to gain control over her precious products.
Indie publishing certainly isn't for everyone. If you don't have name recognition, you might want to stay with a traditional publisher until you've created a large enough platform that you can sell books on the strength of your name. If you're afraid to delve into new things, or you're technically challenged, you might want to hold off on going it alone until you have a better comfort level with the tasks involved. And if you'd rather spend all your time writing and let someone else do the back office work, you're probably better off going a more traditional route. But if you're an entrepreneurial spirit with a dedicated reader base, you go girl(boy)! Indie publishing is a bowl of sweet, juicy cherries. If you're like me, you're never happier than when your mouth is full!
Happy publishing everybody!
These Honeybuns are sugar free, but hot enough to burn!
Surprised into hiding in a men's room stall at work, Angie Peterson, owner of the Dunk and Run Coffee Shoppe, overhears two men talking about killing someone named Alastair Honeybun. Picturing a frail, helpless old Englishman, Angie rushes to warn him. There’s only one, small problem, Alastair Honeybun is six foot two inches of yummy man, who's perfectly capable of taking care of himself. But when the thugs show up while Angie's still there, they soon figure out they'll need to take care of each other.

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
If you haven't already connected, Sam would love it if you Liked/Followed her wherever you enjoy hanging out online. Here are her online haunts:
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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back to the Library

Kathryn Page Camp
Before you can be a great writer, you have to be a great reader. But don’t take my word for it. Here are a few quotes from some writers who are better known than I am.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” Stephen King

“If you read good books, good books will come out of you.” Natalie Goldberg

“Reading usually precedes writing and the impulse to write is almost always fired by reading. Reading, the love of reading, is what makes you dream of becoming a writer.” Susan Sontag

When I was a child, I practically lived at the library. Or I wanted to, anyway. Unfortunately, the nearest public library was 60 miles away. But we went every two weeks and I checked out the six-book limit. Then I supplemented that with books from the school library.

When my children were young, we went to the local library once or twice a week. Caroline and John participated in the summer programs, and Caroline was a junior helper for two or three years.

Then my wallet got a little fatter, and I decided it was simpler to buy the books that interested me. That way, I could keep them as long as I wanted and mark them up without worry. And eventually I stopped using the library as a source of reading material.

But I’ve always loved the library, and I would have considered it sacrilege to give up my card. So when the library called and told me they were about to cancel it for lack of use, they got my attention.

Since then, I’ve rediscovered the library and made an important discovery. If I read a book and decide it belongs in my own library, I can still buy it. But if two weeks are all I need, I’ve saved myself some money.

Maybe it’s time for you to rediscover the library, too.


Kathryn Page Camp is a licensed attorney and full-time writer. Writers in Wonderland: Keeping Your Words Legal was a Kirkus’ Indie Books of the Month Selection for April 2014. The second edition of Kathryn’s first book, In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion, was released on September 30, 2015. You can learn more about Kathryn at

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

And Everything Else

As we end these blogs on the bookfair offerings, here is a final post with books that don’t fit neatly on one of the previous lists.

DISCLAIMER: We haven’t read all of the books on this list, and their inclusion is not a recommendation. Still, we believe in supporting writers who support us. Check these books out at the links provided, and if they look interesting, consider adding them to your gift list.

In God We Trust: How the Supreme Court’s First Amendment Decisions Affect Organized Religion, by Kathryn Page Camp. 2nd Edition. Nonfiction.

We hope to see you at next year’s conference and book sale.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Books for Writers

It’s only logical that the books sold at the 2015 Steel Pen Creative Writers Conference bookfair included ones addressing the needs of writers. If you are looking for gifts for writer friends (or if you didn’t get over to the book sale room to buy them for yourself), here are books dealing with the business and craft of writing.

DISCLAIMER: We haven’t read all of the books on this list, and their inclusion is not a recommendation. Still, we believe in supporting writers who support us. Check these books out at the links provided, and if they look interesting, consider adding them to your gift list.

Writing the Great American Romance Novel by Catherine Lanigan. Craft. This book was not available at the bookfair because its author had a last-minute conflict, but check it out anyway at

So if you have writers on your holiday shopping list, consider these books.