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/

Friday, 16 November 2007

Widowhood Happens by Gene K Garrison

Widowhood Happens by Gene K Garrison
Published Xlibris Corporation
ISBN 9781401046378
Genre: non fiction, self help
Price: from £18.80 (paperback). Hardback edition also available.

What is your book about? Widowhood Happens is about preparing for widowhood.

Why did you write the book? A friend of mine was recently widowed. Knowing that I am a writer, she said, "Gene, you HAVE to write a book about widowhood. There are so many things that aren't anticipated. Women don't know what to expect." Actually, I didn't want to write the book. I made a list of pros and cons. The cons turned out to be the longest list:

1. Nobody wants to read about a spouse's death.
2. It will not be a best seller, or come anywhere near it.
3. It will be difficult to find a publisher.
4. It will be difficult to sell.

The more I thought about it, I gradually changed my mind.

On the pro list I wrote: "I want to do it." That was my final decision.

Where did you get your inspiration from? My inspiration came from my friend Margaret, especially after she told me all the odd things about her bereavement.

How does your book differ from others that are similar? It differs greatly in the way I chose to write it. Twelve widows and two widowers told me their stories, starting with Margaret. They were all different in their personalities, education, circumstances and ages. One widow's story after another can get to the point where they begin to blur into each other, and since I try not to give advice, I interviewed professionals who deal with problems of the bereaved.

The solicitor (attorney) had the expected list of papers you should immediately be able to put your hands on, but she also had some very intimate stories about women and men who couldn't cope well. These examples show the reader what to avoid as well as positive things to do. A psychologist said that it is not very often that a widowed person needs help with his or her emotions. A sign of needing that kind of intervention is if the bereaved blocks out ordinary life by never opening the curtains, not answering the phone, not going out — avoidance.

I interviewed a priest about a therapeutic weekend, led by lay leaders (not officials of the church) who had been trained to ask key questions and listen to the bereaved air his or her distressful thoughts. This is amazingly helpful for both the widowed and divorced. They say goodbye to their former spouses, and start a new beginning. This does not mean that they will forget them. A minister said that churches generally are not very helpful to the bereaved. Friends and relatives often say hurtful things to the surviving member of a couple. I told him about the therapeutic weekend, and he agreed that that was an exception.

One bad example of people who say the wrong thing is the lady who said to a young, grieving wife, "Don't worry, you had six years together, you'll get married again." Horrible, awful — and stupid! Bossy, argumentative relatives are another cross to bear. Maybe friends and relatives will take a few hints from the bereaved and be careful of what they say. It's better to give your attention to the person in need of it, but it's no time to give your opinions. I did give two pieces of advice, but it wasn't to the bereaved. It was to the friends and relatives: LISTEN and DON'T JUDGE! That is so important.

The book is neither religious nor non religious. If a widow or widower wanted to talk about religion, they did. If they didn't that was fine. I wasn't pushing any particular belief. In fact, some women were angry with God. Some were angry with their husbands for leaving them. One woman was relieved when her former husband ran into a tree and died. She was in an abusive marriage for 30 years before she divorced him.

A chapter that surprised me was the result of a question I asked friends. I asked them because I didn't want to approach a stranger with this question: What have you done to prepare for widowhood? There was such a variety of responses. Many made me smile. This book is not all doom and gloom. It's honest and revealing and, I hope, helpful to readers. I've been told so.

Why did you choose POD? I chose POD for the same reason that my other books have been published that way — to save time, have control, get it out to the public, have it on record.

What do you see as he advantages and disadvantages of this method? What I saw as a disadvantage early on was the lack of distribution. That has recently been improved. Amazon.com helps with that and one of my POD companies has worldwide distribution. Another disadvantage is that some newspapers refuse to review books by POD publishers. That is not good. The advantage to writers is that they can see their books in print even though the large traditional publishers won't touch them because they won't be best sellers.

How do you market your book? I have several books that I market the same way — websites, newspaper announcements, radio interviews and talks to groups. I'm open to all kinds of ideas, except the ones that cost money.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? It is getting people to realise that they really SHOULD prepare for widowhood — even if they're young and healthy, and don't want to give a thought to dying.

What would you say to others considering POD? It takes more effort to be a POD writer, but it saves time, and you get your book published. Just make sure it is as professional a job as the ones published by traditional publishers. Maybe you should start with magazine articles. That's what I did. I was a features articles writer for a local magazine for 20 years, and am a freelancer. The pros judge my work.

Where can I get a copy of your book? In Britain I would choose amazon.co.uk. It can also be ordered at xlibris.com in the U.S.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

There's Something About Cave Creek: Gene K Garrison

Title: There's Something About Cave Creek: It's the People
Author: Gene K Garrison
ISBN: 9781430309826
Published by: Lulu.com
Genre: non fiction, western
Price: £7.95

What is the book about? "There's Something About Cave Creek (It's The People) is about characters who lived in the tiny desert community of Cave Creek, Arizona, USA in the early 1900s.

It's a Western, but not all shoot-'em-up. For instance, there was a sometime-prospector/sometime artist who painted landscapes in oils. He sold or traded his art at the local bar for drinks. That bar, Harold's Cave Creek Corral, was the centre of the social life, along with parties in homes where local musicians were very much in demand.

There's a chapter about Katherine Jones who had a reputation as a good shot. She was sheriff for while in the 1930s and she meant business. During Prohibition (a law that prohibited the making or selling of alcoholic beverages) she kept the bootleggers (illegal brewers of booze) at bay, except for a few choice ones that she felt were acceptable.

Another sheriff, at a different time was tall, slim Frank Donars. He didn't want to be sheriff, but nobody else would do it. His most dreaded job was breaking up fights at the bars on a Saturday night. It was dangerous. A very odd thing that he did was chain prisoners to a tree overnight instead of taking them down the dirt road to jail in Phoenix. It was about a thirty mile trip, and he did not want to waste the time. The prisoners, surprisingly, preferred being chained to a tree than going to jail, which would cause them to lose a day's work, and they couldn't afford that. The kind sheriff would unchain them in the morning and drive them to their jobs because most of them didn't have cars. It turned out that Sheriff Donars was really a musician.

Why did you write the book? I am a freelance writer, and in the 1970s I chose to write about these characters. I found them fascinating. Then in 2006 I decided that they deserved a book. I decided to share them with the world.

Where did you get your inspiration from? My inspiration was from the people themselves. Leadpipe was squatter who lived in a trailer and lean-to next to the County Dump. That's what it was called then. Now they call them "landfills." The Mothers' Club was composed of strong women who wanted the best for their children. They set out to solve problems whether they knew what they were doing or not, and they were great achievers.

I wrote a chapter about a cowboy who worked for the government mending fences way out in the boonies. I discovered him by accident on my way home from interviewing a charming elderly couple who owned a gold mine, but lived without electricity, or any other modern day amenities. The cowboy was packing his horse with supplies for a long fence mending job. That's what I called the chapter — "Mendin' Fences."

How does your book differ from others that are similar? The Cave Creek book brings to life a long ago era. You can call it history if you like, but there were no wars, no gigantic discoveries, except for gold, silver and copper, and they were just mentioned in passing. It's about getting to know people and the way they lived. The book preserves that era.

Usually writers do research about times gone by. They stick their noses into library books or pull up facts on computers and write, with a little change here and there, about what other writers wrote. Sometimes the facts gets changed in the translation. I got my information first hand, from the people who lived it. I listened intently as they told me about their lives, their struggles, their humour in their colloquial style — and I always checked back with them to see if there was anything that needed to be added, or changed in any way. I was told by one of my editors that I didn't have to do that because I'm a professional writer. I did it anyway.

Why did you choose POD? I have had two books published by traditional publishers, even published one myself, and then after those two books were out-of-print for a while I decided that POD sounded like the answer. I would have information in front of the computer world, and the POD company would take orders and do the accounting. I would receive royalties. I thought I had it made.

What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this method? The negative: distribution was non existent, they charged for everything they could think of, and I had to do my own PR. Bookstores don't want to stock them. I don't want to be my own distributer, and I would like to have time to write something other than PR. I went to a different POD company for the book under discussion here. I feel I have more control and that they are doing more for me.

How did you market your book? In marketing I I try different things. I have it for sale in one bookstore, The Well Red Coyote, and have it in a few Barnes & Noble bookstores. I recently sent one book to the B & N headquarters for them to determine if they want to put it in their "system." This takes four months. I have written press releases for newspapers, and a local arts and entertainment weekly has published items about the books, but that's a one time event for each one. I have been on radio interviews right from home, and I like that. I have spoken to groups — a retired teachers club, a community centre, and a museum. I have participated in book festivals. I had an expensive ad in an expensive magazine.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? I'm still trying to overcome marketing. It takes up too much time, and prevents me from doing creative things.

What would ylou say to others considering POD? For those considering POD I would say to go with http://www.lulu.com/, but realise that there is much more work to do than with a traditional publisher. The trouble is that traditional publishers are there to make a profit, and most won't take chances on anything outside the genres that have been profitable for them in the past. POD is a great time saver in the sense that authors don't have to spend years trying to peddle their manuscripts to publishers.

Where can I get a copy of your book? "There's Something About Cave Creek (It's The People) may be ordered online at http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=9781430309826&Go.x=13&Go.y=6 or http://www.lulu.com/ggarrison

Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body: Lisa Saper-Bloom

Book Title: Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body: A Woman's Week-by-Week Guide to Emotional Weight Loss
Author: Lisa Saper-Bloom
Publisher: Wheatmark
ISBN: 9781587368455
Genre: Health and Wellness, Self-Help, Yoga
Price: £7.91

What is your book about?
Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body is about shedding emotional weight. Emotional Weight is the self-sabotaging comments and degrading comments of others we carry throughout our lives. This weight literally weighs us down physically. Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body is about taking five minutes a day for yourself and working to release the statements, and therefore, losing physical pounds.

Why did you write the book?
Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body started out as daily weight loss and wellness tips. Part of my healing arts specialties is life coaching. My life coaching specialty is emotional weight loss. As part of my clients' process, they would receive these daily weight loss and wellness tips. With that, I thought to myself, I should do a 365 tips type of book.
After speaking with an agent about it, and changing the books focus and format, Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body was born.

Where did you get the inspiration from?
The inspiration came from my own healing process and the healing journeys I helped others through. My yoga students and life coaching clients were the inspiration behind this book.

How does your book differ from others that are similar?
My book focuses on self-sabotaging statements and the degrading comments of others. I do not know of another self-help, weight loss, health and wellness book that does this.
My book also offers space to create your own comments, in the event that the words you say or hear do not match mine. So it is customized for the reader.

The "exercises" in Peaceful Mind, Thinner Body are based on gentle yoga for all body types, aromatherapy, life coaching, and self-massage.

It also differs because the last page works as a mail-in rebate. The reader fills out and mails the last page to me, and then I send them the accompanying 11 track guided imagery CD. The separate tracks work as "exercises" as well.

Why did you choose POD?
After talking with an agent, and after she gave me the green light, she decided to leave the literary world.
My body, mind, and soul knew that this book is the book of NOW.
I did not feel I had time to search for agents that may or may not accept my work.
I did not feel I had time to search for publishers that may or may not accept my work.
I feel I have the strength, drive, and determination to get this book out there...and that the agent and publisher will show up...once they have discovered it.

What do you see as the advantages and the disadvantages of this method?
Advantages: complete creative control and high royalties!
Disadvantages: you are everything and everyone on this project. You must uphold the strength and endurance day in and day out to get your book out there, noticed, talked about, and sold!

How did you market your book?
I would rephrase this question, asking, how are you marketing your book?
I have been marketing from all angles.
I have done everything from monthly TV segments and my personal website to myspace and internet radio interviews. I continue to contact the Oprah show and other talk shows. I receive Jerry Simmons Tips for Writers. And I have now "hired" someone to beat the street and sell it to specialty stores, yoga studios, spas etc.
The list goes on and on...magazine articles, magazine interviews, blah blah blah...!

What is the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
Plain and simple, burnout.
I have days when funky town is looking a whole lot more appealing than sitting at my computer strategizing and making contacts.

What would you say to others considering a POD?
Put your seat belt on...and enjoy the ride.
There are highs, lows, twists, and turns.
Be ready to celebrate it all...because it all leads to something...even if it's just greater understanding.

Where can I get a copy of your book? http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss_w_h_?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=9781587368455&Go.x=14&Go.y=9