Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Many Faces to Many Places by Judy Azar LeBlanc

Many Faces to Many Places by Judy Azar LeBlanc
Published by Xulon Press
ISBN 1594678669 (paperback) 1600310010 (audio)
Genre: inspirational - Christian fiction
Price: paperback £9.50 ($9.99), audio for £9.97 ($17.95)

What is your book about?
This compelling story unfolds as a three part journey that I believe draws a realistic picture of our own walk through life.The underlying message of Many Faces to Many Places is learning that loving yourself and others is the most important thing that we can do while we are still alive. Many Faces to Many Places illustrates that although life does have its trials and tribulations, there is always something good that comes out of them, and that is what we need to focus on.

Part one reflects upon the “up” stages of life where possibilities and potential are endless; part two reflects upon the “down” stages where the power of choice is explored; and part three represents a time of “reflection,” where wisdom and understanding are realized. The story is written allegorically and is animated in style.

Why did you write the book? I can't really say that I started out with “wanting to write books.” I have always kept a writing journal. Between college and my professional career I had to write what everyone else wanted me to write, and I disliked it so much that after I retired from the work force, I swore that I would never write again! Then one day while I was reviewing my journals, it hit me. I can finally write about my favorite subject - and that is how my books were born. I say books, because Many Faces to Many Places is the fourth book that I have written.
Where did you get your inspiration from? The inspiration came while I was living in Baja, Mexico. I was living in a town with a population of 7000 that is about 800 miles south of the US border. My husband and I were surrounded by miles and miles of desolate beach surrounding the Sea of Cortez. There were no shopping malls, no traffic noises to speak of, absolutely no entertainment, and no one spoke English. We learned how to entertain ourselves by studying the behaviour of the indigenous wildlife, beach combing, and fishing.

After a few years of going to the beach everyday with my dog, I began to think much more on a spiritual level; and because I was completely surrounded by nature, I became inspired to write. This is the reason that all of my characters in Many Faces to Many Places pertain to nature. For example, “Elusive” the beautiful Golden Butterfly of Happiness” was developed because of the quality time that I had to sit on the beach and watch the carefree nature of the butterfly. She’s one of my favourite characters in the book.

How does your book differ from others that are similar? That is a good question to ask since Many Faces to Many Places has been categorised as being similar to Pilgrims Progress, Hinds Feet in High Places, Hiawatha and even The Wizard of OZ because of the style. However, it differs from them in as much as the courageous spirit that I created as the protagonist, Many Faces, has the gift of communicating with nature, and it is through these animations that she receives her insights as she journeys through a world of timeless knowledge.

Why did you choose POD? After I finished my book I began to look for a publisher. The thought of getting rejected never even crossed my mind! Then as the rejection letters began to roll in, I started to take them personally. That was when I remembered that Richard Bach got rejected 265 times before some “smart” publisher took a risk, and then it became a huge success! One day I received a contract from a publisher in Utah. I was thrilled! Had it not been for my husband who read “between the lines” and discovered that there was no mention of marketing in the contract, he suggested that I keep looking. I received two more contracts after that and discovered that they were all the same … the writer gets about 8% depending on how hard he/she markets the book, and the publisher gets all the rest. The maths on that made me decide to go with a POD Press that let me keep all of my rights, did a lot of marketing, and helped me to do the rest.

Since then, I have learned that whether you or a traditional publisher publishes your book, the marketing is all up to you, and it is probably more important than writing it. If the marketing effort doesn’t continue … the book dies.

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this method? My view of the advantages is simply that by choosing a POD publisher you get to keep all of your rights and almost all of your royalties. Unlike publishing through a printing press where you have to purchase a certain amount of books for a price cut, a POD publisher has no warehousing and you don’t have to purchase all of the books in advance. Another advantage is that a POD publisher usually works with a distributor, obtains the copyright for you, ISBN number, and does some of the marketing. However, one of the disadvantages is that there are still several book reviewers out there who thumb their noses at reviewing POD published books.

However, based on the latest book publishing news, I believe this is changing very rapidly. I truly believe that the choice of the future for most authors is going to be POD publishing simply because of the changes in the traditional views that are happening in the book world, not to mention the economical advantages of being able to revise your book cover or update your book later.

How did you market your book? Because I was out of the country when my book was published, I began to do all of the marketing on the internet. Since then, I have come to believe that it is the Internet that is now “the tool” to boost the career of writers and authors.

According to the information that is given to us at writer’s conferences, NY editors and book publishers actually have people scanning the Internet to keep up with the book world. The Internet is an affordable, and a non-exhaustive source for promoting and advertising. Aside from book signings at bookstores, press releases, presentations at local charities, radio and TV interviews, it’s the Internet. Additionally, I set up book signings at local book stores; attend Book Festivals, trade shows and Book Fairs. I also query reviewers to ask for permission to send them a copy of my book for a review. I carry bookmarkers, business cards, postcards with me at all times, and I also enter the book in book contests. I am constantly looking for new promotional websites, opportunities for radio and TV interviews, advertising, and postcard mailings. I also believe in book trailers because they give the interested book buyer a visual glimpse into your book which is really nice.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? You wouldn’t believe the challenges and obstacles that I had to overcome. I used to think I was crazy for even trying. Just imagine living in a foreign country where no one spoke English, and other than the telephone, there was no other means of communication with the outside world. I actually started writing my first book by hand. Who does that anymore??? (Laugh) … After about 6 months of total frustration, my husband secretly asked a friend to sneak a computer down in the trunk of his car. Imagine having a huge clunker without Windows XP and an old Epson ribbon printer for your computer. Well, actually, I guess we all started out that way, didn’t we. How soon we forget. (Laugh) …

Needless to say, when this clunker arrived as a surprise, I was ecstatic. After about 2 months of learning the computer, I began to transfer my written pages onto one of those old “floppy disks” … yes, a floppy disk! However, it sure made my life easier because I was able to cut and paste, move things around, do a complete spell check, and do a global replacement on words. Why I thought I had died and gone to heaven!

What I hadn’t counted on was the electricity going out without warning at any time of the day. It would often go out while I was right in the middle of one of my inspirational moments ~ then PRUGH ~ the electricity would go out and I would lose all of my work! After a few horrifying experiences, I became so gun shy that I began to save almost every single line of my work. On top of that, I prayed that nothing would happen to the computer because that meant that I would have to sent it back to the USA to be fixed, which meant that I would have to wait for the friend who brought it down to return to Mexico to take it back. So, I would get up every morning at 2 a.m. to write until about 7 or 8 am. That appeared to be a safe window for using electricity.

Needless to say, my hours became quite crazy. Aside from those crazy hours, I backed up everything. Once I finished the manuscript, I asked a friend to bring me a list of publishers. When it arrived, I sent query letters, and received three favourable responses. Then after many months of phone calls to friends in the USA asking them to investigate these particular publishers, I made my final decision. From that point on, all correspondence was “snail-mail,” between countries. That sure took a big chuck of time ~ (Laugh) … Now, gosh everything is via email with attachments!

What would you say to others considering POD? What I would say to others is that there are several different options to publishing a book now. One of course, is traditional; the other is to self publish completely, i.e. using a press that only does the printing and binding for you; a vanity house that will do all of the work for you for a fee; and a POD publisher. The difference between a vanity house and a POD publisher is that the vanity house acts quite like a traditional publisher except unlike the traditional publisher who pays you upfront upon signing of the contract, the vanity house asks you pay them upfront. The beauty of publishing with a POD publisher is that authors get a little bit of all of the above in as much as you pay for the publishing, you have complete control, retain all of your rights, there is no warehousing, and they do all of the work.

Regardless of which one is chosen, the marketing is always all up to you; moreover, marketing the book is more important than writing it because if the marketing doesn’t continue, then the book dies. Whichever way authors decide to publish, the most important factor in any contract is in my opinion, is the amount of marketing that they are willing to participate in.

Where can I get a copy of your book? Many Faces to Many Places is available in three different formats. For trade paperback it can be ordered from Barnes and Noble, Border’s Books, Amazon and through any traditional bookstore by using the ISBN number in the UK or North America. For audio format, it can be ordered through
audible.com Audible.co.uk or through the same bookstores as well as directly from the publishers. The eBook format is available through Mobipocket.com, http://www.blogger.com/www.ebookmall.com, and through Amazon’s new Digital Kindle Books. For a complete synopsis, visit http://www.manyfacestomanyplaces.com/

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