Category Archives: Literary

Why Would You Want to Leave Your Publisher?


Photo source: Unsplash.com/Alejandro Escamilla

Photo source: Unsplash.com/Alejandro Escamilla

Trigger Warning: If you’re an author and you’ve separated from your publisher (whomever that may be) for reasons that don’t include them bilking you out of your royalties or author copies or deliberately derailing your career as an author (or, because like me, you wanted to see your book IN PRINT), I’m asking the hard (er…nosy) question: WHY?

(The “trigger warning” is there in case this is still a sore subject with you, so you won’t send me anthrax through the mail or some such in revenge for my “confrontational” post.)

 

Something has been stuck in my craw for several months and I’d like to get it out.

I signed with my publisher, Booktrope, more than 2 years ago. I find myself still happy here. But in those 2 years, other authors – some of whom I consider friends – have decided to leave Booktrope and self-publish. To the best of my knowledge (because this is what some of them gave as their reason), most – if not all – left because of disagreements with their team and/or the management, or because they weren’t selling as many books as they felt they SHOULD be selling. I’ve had both of these issues (not disagreement with management, but with members of my team) at Booktrope, but for me, it’s about the bigger picture: I’m here 1) because I want to see my book(s) in print, 2) to network with readers and other publishing peeps, worldwide 3) learn as much about the publishing world as I can, 4) make enough money to help pay for the gas needed to continue visiting bookstores.

I know something about publishing and self-publishing. I was involved with “desktop” publishing for several years, interned with a publisher for my MA and when I was ready to reveal my book baby to the world, researched self-publishing, while submitting to more than a dozen agents, all of whom rejected my queries, though some offered great advice. While I became good over the years at handling rejection (thanks to years of live theatre auditions, most of which roles went to other auditionees…auditioners?…I digress…), it still isn’t my favorite experience. Especially since I’ve read some of the drivel that’s out there (represented by some of those same agents) and wonder how in the world agents think those authors’ stuff is better than mine! Yes, those books sell, but ONLY because agents’ and publishers’ paychecks (*cough* advances *cough*) are at risk. If those authors had to do their OWN marketing, how popular do you think their books would be compared with our books? And some of OUR books are on International Bestsellers or #1 lists!

Please buy my book!My book’s first home was Northampton House Press, a small press started by my mentors. It was ebook only and I had to provide the cover design, something I knew nothing about.

Sure, I can throw images together into a collage, but I’m not a designer. And I knew how I DIDN’T want the cover to look. I was fortunate to find a newbie designer through deviantart.com and we agreed on a fee that was well within my budget. But my book would never see print because I couldn’t afford to pay for print copies and my sales weren’t exceptional enough for NHP to take a chance on print pub. I had to do ALL my own marketing. (WHERE TO START?!) And despite an undergrad background in mass communication (which includes advertising/marketing and working on a university newspaper), I suck at selling myself. Too much anxiety. And I couldn’t afford a publicist. Ironically enough, I have NO problem promoting or selling other authors’ books. Just my own. Go figure.

My contract with NHP allowed me to seek print publication elsewhere, and Booktrope’s hybrid publishing model was my book’s savior. Best of all, I got a cover designer, and book/project manager and my book IN PRINT AT NO UPFRONT COST to me!! I didn’t care that there was no advance with the contract. I’m not in this business to get rich, but because of my love for the written word and a desire to share that love and my words with others. (It’s an ego thing, you see. *shrugs*) I much preferred – and still prefer – the promise of higher royalties weighed against an advance that my book(s) may never earn out. THAT would be a MORE anxiety-ridden scenario for me.

So, I got a beautiful professionally designed cover AND a marketer who knows what she’s doing. SUCH a load off my back! I CAN market myself, but I need guidance and assistance. For all of my smarts, I don’t know everything (*gasp!* I know, right?!) and sometimes suffer from information overload. Tell me to search out ways to market my book(s) and I may miss something or my brain short-circuit because of SO MANY opportunities. HOW DO YOU KNOW which is/are the right one(s)?! I can afford only so much trial and error. Give me an outline of strategies, THAT I can follow, and breathe a sigh of relief. Speaking of which, Gravity Imprint‘s Melissa Flickinger (Book/Project Manager) & Rachel Thompson (Fearless Leader & Marketing Guru) are always quick to inform we in the Gravity realm of marketing opportunities. 🙂 (A little plug here for Rachel’s Marketing Challenge!)

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Negative Space

Photo Source: Unsplash.com/Negative Space

So, knowing the cost of all this stuff, WHY, in the name of all that’s holy, do people WANT to self-pub??!! Do they dislike Booktrope THAT much?? Yes, as a self-published author you have almost limitless freedom, but Booktrope’s hybrid model in which you get to PICK your own book/project manager, editor, proofreader and cover designer (unless you’re part of an imprint like Gravity, then you have a shortlist to choose from – but it’s an awesome shortlist!), and you don’t have to worry about their fees BECAUSE THEY GET PAID IN ROYALTIES. Please tell me, where are you going to find a better deal than this? Yes, I offer freelance editing, and several current and former Booktropians have hired me on the side. I have NO problem with this, as it’s extra – ADVANCE!! – mulah in my pocket. But again I ask you, WHY?

As an author, I’m on my 2nd editor, my 2nd BM/PM, and have been through 3 cover designers (at least one who quit without so much as a by-your-leave). And I knew NOTHING going in, other than this awesome publisher was – somehow – going to help me realize my dream of seeing my manuscript in print. I learned as I went and gladly share my knowledge with other newbie authors. When I’ve had an issue with someone – either on my own team or as an editor/proofreader on another author’s team – we’ve either worked it out, or I’ve left the team once the project was finished (I’ve only done this once in 2 years). NOTHING has happened to induce such anxiety and depression that I would choose to leave Booktrope entirely. The management has always been helpful and supportive of/for/to me.

And you know what? I don’t plan to leave Booktrope. Ever. You guys are stuck with me. I’m going to be like white (er…or brown) on rice. Like feathers on birds, and armpit hair…maybe not that one…well, you get the picture. This company is THE BOMB! and has been awesome (I think I use that word too much…) to and for me. My editor resume is growing, my Twitter feed has exploded, my blog and review portfolios are gaining momentum, I’ve made great friends and contacts, I’m part of a kickin’ imprint (Gravity) which I absolutely love and support wholeheartedly, and my royalties are growing.

The grass is plenty green on this side of the fence. So somebody please tell me: WHY would you want to leave?!

…I hope we’re still friends…Have a cookie…

 

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Filed under Blogging, Booktrope, Gravity Imprint, Literary, Musings, Published, Thankful, Writing

Cover Reveal! Fortitude: A PTSD Memoir by Apryl Pooley


Fortitude: A PTSD Memoir

by Apryl Pooley

Release Date: October 16, 2015

Publisher: Gravity Imprint of Booktrope Publishing

 

 

Anchored by ten years of unedited blog and journal entries, Fortitude illustrates a real-time account of an outwardly successful college student living with secrets of rape, childhood molestation, a closeted lesbian identity, PTSD, alcoholism, addiction, eating disorders, and suicide attempts. In her first year as a neuroscience doctoral student, Apryl learned of PTSD as more than a military issue, which led to her own PTSD diagnosis after nearly a decade of living with the disorder. She devoted the remainder of her life’s research to understanding the effects of trauma on the brain but learned that healing from trauma was so much more than a scientific experiment. Fortitude describes Apryl’s unrelenting attempts to hide her shame by escaping her mind and body, only to find that what she needed was to openly share her story and travel deep within herself to find the healing answers that were there all along.

 

“It’s easy to compare Pooley’s book to some of the great addiction-themed memoirs like “Smashed,” “The Basketball Diaries” or “Drinking: A Love Story,” but [Fortitude: A PTSD Memoir] stands alone for its forthrightness and the author’s scientific bent. Her story deserves everyone’s full attention, and it definitely deserved a book.”

–Bill Castanier, Lansing City Pulse literary journalist and editor of Mitten Lit blog about Michigan authors.

 

About the Author:

Apryl E. Pooley was raised in Charleston, Illinois–a small, rural college town where she stayed to earn bachelors and masters degrees from the biological sciences department at Eastern Illinois University. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Michigan State University Neuroscience Program where she researches the effects of traumatic stress on the brain. A scientist by training, a writer by practice, and an artist by nature, all of Apryl’s work is inspired by the drive to make sense of the world around her and to help others do the same.

Apryl’s first publication outside the scientific literature was a short story called Dichroma in author/editor Troy Blackford’s “Robbed of Sleep” series (2014). Her second trade book, released on February 17, 2015, was the culmination of a three-year writing project that became her memoir, “Shadow Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Journey Through PTSD and Womanhood.” All profits from this memoir are being donated to local organizations that help survivors of sexual assault/abuse. Apryl lives in Lansing, Michigan with Mandy and Lady, her wife and dog, respectively.

 

Social Media Links:

Author Site: http://www.aprylpooley.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AprylPooley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aprylpooleyauthor
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10905430.Apryl_E_Pooley
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/aprylpooley

 

 

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Filed under Booktrope, Cover Reveal, Literary, Literature, Mental Health, Writing

Happy Release Day to Dana Britt and SHADES OF BLUE!


Today I celebrate with my friend & fellow Author Dana Britt the release of her debut novel, SHADES OF BLUE! I’m honored to have been the editor, and HIGHLY recommend this beautiful story of loss, recovery and unexpected love!

SHADES OF BLUE

is available NOW!

 

“I can promise you one thing will stay the same—me.”

She wants to get lost in her memories.

He wants her to find her way home.

Shades of Blue Cover

About Shades of Blue

Heart-broken and reeling with grief, Charlie flees to a far-flung tropical island in search of a safe haven where she can let her treasured memories consume her. Hiding away from the world, she battles nightmares and fresh tragedy while trying to make sense of her new reality.

Living his island dream, firefighter-turned-fisherman Gabe Montgomery is determined to be Charlie’s port in her storm of pain and loss. Blindsided by life-changing revelations from his own past followed by the possibility of a terrifying personal loss, Gabe realizes that sometimes letting go is as much a part of love as holding on.

When Charlie and Gabe acknowledge their powerful connection and cling to one another for comfort and hope, both face a frightening dilemma: surrender to the past, or face the challenge and promise of a future together.

Will the memories and mistakes of the past consume them or can Charlie and Gabe hold fast to each other and the hope that will bring them to a promising future together?

 ____________________________________

Character Interview: Gabe Montgomery

  1. What was your childhood like? Wildly idyllic. I grew up on the New England shore– Mom, Dad, Sister, Friends. A kid’s dream.
  2. Do you have any hobbies? I like to call my life my hobby, I love what I do. That being said, these days I’m building toys for the FDNY toy drive. It’s a lot of fun, even with all the minute details & all.
  3. If you were at a store now, what ten items would be in your shopping cart? Before I met Charlie or after? *laughs* Before, probably less than ten items since I eat most of my meals at The Painted Parrot—things like shaving cream, toilet paper & a woodworking magazine. After? Things like scented candles, pink tissues, chocolate milk…who knows what else?
  4. What is your favorite scent? Why? Hmmm, I’ve never thought about it, but I’d have to say the smell of the sea–for obvious reasons—followed closely by orange blossoms, because Charlie always smells like orange blossoms. *smiles*
  5. What is your favorite beverage? I’m a bar owner, there’s probably a rule against having a favorite. *raises lemonade glass* However, lemonade is always handy around here.
  6. Are you lucky? Oh, hell, yeah. *gestures around him at the bar, the sea*
  7. What is your most closely guarded secret? *raises eyebrow* Wouldn’t be a secret if I told you, would it?
  8. Do you keep your promises? Sure, I try to.
  9. What in your past would you like to forget? *shifts in his seat & looks around then sighs* Ya know… *pauses* Let’s just move on.
  10. Was there ever a defining moment of your life? Two big, big moments—the ones where I met those two people. *points*

You’ll have to read Shades of Blue by Dana Tanaro Britt to find out which two people Gabe was pointing to just then! 🙂

 ____________________________________

Author Bio

Once upon a time, a sassy Kentucky girl fell in love with a handsome Hoosier boy. What followed is a still-unfolding story filled with laughter, starry nights, children…and pizza–yes, pizza.

When Dana Britt isn’t writing stories of hope, home and happily ever after, she can be found porch-sitting with sweet tea and a book in hand. Dana carries three things everywhere she goes: cherry chap-stick, a camera, and her phone. Her idea of a perfect day is a road trip that includes sunshine, pizza, taking pictures and spending time with her own Hero and two young adult children. Dana often shares bits about it all online at DanaBritt.com–she’d love for you to stop by!

Author links:

 Book Links:

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A FREEBIE for you!

BURNOUT is a short prequel to SHADES OF BLUE.

Burnout Cover

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Filed under Booktrope, Debut Novel, Editor, Event, Literary, Literature, Published, Writing