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Posts Tagged ‘Indie author’

There is something incredible about writing a book. Not only do I spend time reading and researching, writing and rewriting, there is the moment when the book is finished and I expect a ticker-tape parade. Every time I’ve finished a manuscript, there has been no trumpet blare, no pat on the back, and I am always alone. Writing is a solitary activity – for the most part.

That’s why I’m enjoying these interviews so much! I can offer a virtual celebration of work well done, an Internet pat on the back, and we can come together, however briefly, as members of the writing world.

I’m thrilled to introduce you to Julie Krantz, fellow writer, mother of four, and author of several books geared toward our world’s youth. I feel like I’ve meet a kindred sprit! We have much in common. Julie shares her story, her writing, and her experiences with us. Enjoy! You are going to love her!

Moms Headshot - 4 x 6

What inspired you to begin writing?

Oh, boy, that’s hard to pinpoint. I’ve always loved to read—as a teenager and an adult. And I guess that’s what inspired me to write—admiring those fictional worlds created by the amazing writers I read as a youth—Madeline L’Engle (especially A Wrinkle in Time), Carolyn Keene (yes—Nancy Drew’s author!), JD Salinger (everything he wrote, not just Catcher in the Rye), among others—and wanting to create some of my own.

 

I loved reading as kid, I think, because I grew up in a small town on the Delaware River in South Jersey. We didn’t have a library in Palmyra, so I’d ride my bike to the Riverton library. I loved going in that tiny yellow Victorian house and heading for the children’s room—followed by forays into adult fiction, poetry and reference books. (Remember when we had to go to the library to research stuff? Wow—that seems so antiquated now!) I also loved stopping in the ‘Sharon Shop’ with my girlfriends for ice-cream sodas on the way home.

 

What keeps you motivated?

 

I’m not sure how or why or what, but I am motivated—and hope to stay that way! I guess it’s got something to do with loving to read, wanting to write my own stories, and being fascinated by human nature, especially characters I met in fiction. Some of my favorites were, for instance, were Pip and Ms. Havisham in Great Expectations, Jerusha Abbott in Daddy Long-Legs, and Francie in and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. And, of course, Holden Caulfield and Franny and Zooey and the rest of the Glass family.

 

Can you share a favorite quote or a mantra that you might have posted near your workspace?

 

Oh, boy, this is embarrassing. I don’t have anything posted near my workspace because my workspace is in a nice, cozy recliner next to big windows overlooking piney woods and a rushing creek.

I did recently come across a quote I admire, though. It’s by fellow-North Carolinian Daniel Wallace, the author of Big Fish:

 

“I wouldn’t advertise my experience as one I’d want anyone else to have – to write for 14 years before you publish a book. That’s absurd perseverance. If your son or daughter were working on something for 10 years, wouldn’t you say, ‘Maybe it’s time to work on something else’? But “perseverance really is an outgrowth of passion and desire. … I knew I could succeed at something else. But [that] wasn’t important for me…. I would rather fail at this than succeed at [anything] else.”

 

I guess this pretty much sums up how I feel about writing, too.

 

 

In terms of marketing, what have been some of your more successful efforts?

 

Hahaha—now that’s a funny question! I’d say I’ve spent the better part of the past two years trying everything and anything I could (within reason and on a zero to none budget) to market my books—only to meet with great—shall I say—un-success? But it’s been fun. Now I know about how to leverage categories and keywords on Amazon, how to use Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and WordPress. Sad thing is, there’s something new to learn everyday. So I hope my efforts pay off at least a little soon so I can get back to writing!

 

Did you make a business plan for yourself and your writing?

 

The only thing I’ve ever made a business plan for was a kitchenware store a neighbor and I were thinking about opening in New York. I thought I did a pretty good job, even though we never opened the store—my neighbor wanted 51% share of the company without making any sort of monetary contribution at all. Hmmm. Maybe it wasn’t such a good plan after all.

 

As far as writing, I’m not a very business-oriented person (as you can probably tell from the above scheme), but I do have to thank my husband for supporting me in all my writing efforts. I keep telling him they will pay off someday….

 

Tell us about  your book, Stella Bellarosa: Tales of an Aspiring Teenage Superhero.

 

Ah, now that’s my favorite question! Stella Bellarosa (that was the original title. I added ‘Tales of an Aspiring Teenage Superhero’ to increase its discoverability on Amazon. Keywords, remember….) is about two teenage girls who get caught returning a stolen wallet (which is already kind of a silly thing—one of them didn’t even steal it) then decide to run away to midtown Manhattan rather than tell their parents they’ve been suspended for 3 days (they devise a story to tell to cover-up their suspension/disappearance). The novel is set in the 1960’s, which was totally fun for me to write about—as were Stella and Pin Pin’s adventures in midtown.

Stella Bellarosa Watercolor Orange Arch Option 3

 

I guess you could say the story came to me for a few reasons—like Stella and Pin Pin, I went to Catholic School and had vivid (sometimes silly, sometimes scary) recollections of the discipline code as well as the nuns and priests and religious rules in general. Secondly, I wanted to explore certain issues I’d encountered as a teenager—isolation, alienation, uncertainty-of-being-loved, etc.—as well as other things I knew were (and still are) important to kids today, like prejudice and immigration and poverty.

 

If I had to sum up what I want readers to walk away thinking about, I guess I’d say it’s mainly about familial love and acceptance, as well as love from other sources—like friends and friends’ families. And it’s about doing what you believe in even if it’s not always the ‘right’ thing to do, as is, sadly, sometimes the case. I also want kids to laugh—at Stella, at me, at life—really laugh, because I think that’s the best way to handle tough situations.

Isabel Plum Cover 11-16-2013

 

Your stories have appeared in various publications, including an early version of YOSHI’S YUCCA, in Spider Magazine. What kind of prep work did you do before writing and submitting to Spider?

 

Well, nothing for that submission in particular, but I did spend lots of years writing other stuff before Yoshi’s Yucca. I also spent lots of time before (and mostly after) Yoshi’s Yucca reading books about writing, reading and studying all the great fiction I could, and taking all sorts of courses and workshops—online and at graduate school. Oh, and getting rejected. Yes, lots of time getting rejected.

 

How has your family impacted your writing? With four children, I’m sure they always inspire ideas.

 

Oh, my family has impacted my writing in huge ways. The kids were fun to raise and I think that’s why I started writing for children. I love little kids—who they are, what they do, how they think. I’m a little like Holden Caulfield that way—wanting to catch them and keep them like that before they leap into the affected fields of adulthood.

But my family-of-origin has played a big part in my writing, too. I remember Pat Conroy talking about Prince of Tides, I think, and saying something about all writers coming from interesting—read ‘dysfunctional’—families. I don’t believe mine wasn’t as dysfunctional as his, exactly. But let’s just say—they were ‘interesting.’

After two of my maiden aunts died without anybody in the family knowing, I decided to dedicate all my books ‘to my family—on both sides of the river,’ by which I mean those who lived east and west of the Delaware.

 

Are you published through a publishing house or have you taken the role on yourself to self-publish?

 

I came to self-publishing reluctantly, though I have to say I’m a real proponent of it now. And I don’t think it’s sour grapes. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, renegade, iconoclast, whatever-you-call-it (like many folks who grew up in the ’60’s), and have enjoyed seeing traditional publishers get shaken-up. I don’t dislike them, per se, I’m just glad e-publishing has leveled the playing field a bit by opening publishing up to the non-celebs and non-paranormal-dystopian-romance-writers.

 

What is one writing tool that you believe is a must have?

 

Wow, I have to think about this. I guess the first thing that comes to mind is the computer (especially the laptop, since I umm-errr write in a recliner). I also love my i-Pad, though I don’t use it for writing. I’ve written a bunch of children’s poetry and picture books, and, new to illustration, I’ve been having lots of fun drawing pictures on my i-Pad. I’m not sure they’re fun for people to look at, but they’re fun for me to draw. I know it goes against conventional wisdom to illustrate your books if you’re not a trained illustrator/artist, but I don’t care. I love doing it and think it’s good for me. Plus—who else would illustrate my books for free? Natalie Goldberg’s got a new book out on this very subject, I believe.

 

Julie, thank you for sharing your writing and your life with us! To learn more:

Visit Julie’s blog @  juliekrantz.wordpress.com/

Follow her on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/juliekrantzbooks

Visit her Amazon Author page: www.amazon.com/Julie-Krantz/e/B00996YNZ4

 Julie has more than Stella Bellarosa: Tales of a Teenage Superhero. Her other books include:

Isabel Plum: Ichthyologist

Tip & Oliver: BFFs

Stella Bellarosa: Tales of an Aspiring Teenage Superhero

Forthcoming this summer on Amazon is

Yogabets: An Acrobatic Alphabet

 

A message to the reader: If you are an Indie Author or are published by a Small Publishing House and would like to be considered for an interview, click on the picture below…

Do you have a published book? Click on this pic to read about an opportunity to receive and share in a marketing group.

Do you have a published book? Click on this pic to read about an opportunity to receive and share in a marketing group.

 

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All too often, I feel the sting of being a writer. Yes, a sting. It can be a lonely profession…when I’m doing it wrong.

Let me explain: I do need a quiet place – or at least a place where I’m not responsible for any one else – to work. In that sense, I need ‘alone time’ in order to work with words, sentence structure, plot elements and the characters in my head. Writing the story, the article, the post is simply step one. Sharing the story is something I can’t do alone.

There is a network of like-minded writers out there that I need. Writers need to encourage each other just like mothers tend to bond quickly over birth-and-delivery stories. The beauty of how a story (or a child) was born brings us together under, helps us know that despite the lonely times and the struggle to find just the right way to describe a scene – we are doing what we need to be doing.

The Internet is a valuable tool in all of this. Through WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, I have discovered some incredibly giving individuals – writers who understand that in order for the ‘little guy’ to find an audience, it takes team work. In writing, that means clicking on ‘Like’ if we think a blog post is well written, commenting on blogs, writing reviews for books we read.

Ways we can help each other:

1. Share other writer’s blog posts on Twitter.

2. Share blog posts on Facebook.

3. When a writing friend publishes something new, tell the world!

4. When a writing friend publishes something new, buy it! And then leave a review after you read it.

5. Reblog posts that you really enjoy and think others will appreciate.

6. Are you on LinkedIn? Use it. Share blogs, ideas, and articles there just like you would on Twitter and Facebook.

7. If you add a meaningful picture to your blog post, your writer-friends can add it to Pinterest. (Caution: Use your own pics to avoid copyright infringement issues)

writing pics 009

8. Leave a comment on blog posts you read. It’s a little more than grafitti: “Jessica was here and liked this”, but it doesn’t have to be profound. For example, you could comment at the end of this blog post, “Hi Jessica! Great Post. I really liked #4. I think I’ll give your new book a try!”

This really does work. Kimberly Shursen took it upon herself to tell the world about “People Like Us” on her blog. Authors submitted their cover art to her, she created a library, and is interviewing authors. Here’s the cool part: Every author who is in this interview pool shares the link to all the interviews twice a week for two weeks. That means each interview will be posted four times by each author. I’ve bought a few of the books that sounded good to me and I haven’t been disappointed! The latest book I bought through this was by Ken Magee.

In summary: Think outside the box in your marketing – like Kimberly. Take part in a Blog Hop, a Blog Tour, or a Blog Carnival. Try Parents and Writers – a Blog Carnival I host. And Share!

Have a beautiful day!
Jessica

Looking for a good read? Try:
Gateways
Unforgettable Roads

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Added 4/26/13: The response to this blog hop has been, well, extremely under-whelming. I’m reposting in hopes that you’ve been taking this time to write and edit. Why a Blog Hop? Because it helps us all find new readers, to share our writing, to discover new writers. Join in and have fun! I hope to hear from you all soon!

Original Post:
blog hop badge 2013

In anticipation of the release of my new book, Unforgettable Roads, coming soon from Martin Sisters Publishing, I’m hosting a photo/essay contest & Blog Hop. This is not to be confused with an essay told through photographs, but one photograph paired with one essay.

The theme? You guessed it. ROADS.

dirt road

Pretty roads, sunlit roads, dirt roads, city streets, cozy neighborhood roads, lanes, boulevards…anything goes. The essay can take any format: poetry, fictional, memoir, steam-punk or urban fiction…whatever your heart desires, where ever the picture takes you. (Keep it decent though, folks. No erotica or extreme violence.)

Email me two things: 1) a picture of a road (one you took with your camera – let’s not infringe on copyright laws here…or anywhere!), and 2) the link to your blog/website with your essay. The winning entry will recieve a copy of Unforgettable Roads and Gateways. My email: JessicaSchaubWrites@gmail dot com

Photo and essays will be judged by bloggers – so this is where you come in. I will post all the entries. Followers (mine and yours) can vote for their favorite. All entries should be to me by May 1st, 2013. The Contest will match the release date of Unforgettable Roads – that date will be announced soon.

Why this is a good idea:
– As you tour the roads, taking in the breathtaking scenery and reading about the journey of others, you’ll discover new writers, new ideas, and new connections.
– Any networking Indie Authors can do to help each other is valuable.
– Traffic to your blog will increase.
– Free books. What’s to lose?

There is no obligation to purchase anything. Of course, I hope you do :) I will include a link to preview and/or purchase Unforgettable Roads in paperback, Kindle, Nook, or any eReader.

FAQ’s:

What’s in it for me?
If you are a writer, public speaker, photographer or anyone looking to build a platform (a base of readers and followers), this is a great event to help you with that. In terms of writing, the publishing world is transforming from one dominated by a few big publishing houses to a beehive of Independent and Small Publishing houses. The need to ‘get your name out there’ falls on your shoulders. Participating in Blog Hops is an effective (and fun!) way to do that. I will share this will all my followers and on all my social networking plugs. You and every other participant can – and should – do the same. Your writing will reach hundreds of new readers. If they like what the read, they might follow your blog.

Is there an age limit for participants?
Nope. I only ask that the person who takes the picture also writes the essay. It is necessary that all entrants have a blog or a website on which to post their essay and photo. That page will be the link you send to me to connect to the Blog Hop.

What is a Blog Hop?
A Blog Hop is just like it sounds – readers can ‘hop’ from blog to blog, reading posts related to a similar topic. It’s a great tools to share book releases, discuss current events, or compare writing styles and voices.

You said no extreme violence. What if the road I’ve been on recenlty was overseas in the war?
By all means, share your story! Our veterans are a great treasure to this country. I look forward to reading your essay and seeing where you’ve been. Just keep in mind that I have many young followers/readers of this blog.

Is there a word count limit?
The recommended amount for a blog post is between 300 – 700 words. Nothing too long or too short. Going along with the statement, “A picture is worth a 1,000 words” let’s keep it under 1,000. If you want to really crank this up to improve your writing, after you finish your first draft, try to trim the word count by half.

Why would I do that?
Every word in excellent writing packs a punch. Knock your readers out with a highly concentrated essay.

What is Unforgettable Roads about?

back cover pic

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It’s the same old story…I have an idea, I toy around with a scene here a plot sequence there. But until I grab the stack of post-it notes and start plotting, I have nothing. I can picture the beginning and the end, but the journey in the middle is hazey.

I’ve committed to make 2013 the greatest novel output of my writing career and so, in this 2nd month, I’ve implemented three things:

1. Scrivener A program for writers that has a corkboard, index cards, endless supply of paper and an outlining process that makes sense. Despite past bad reviews, the folks at Literature and Latte dot com have fussed and fixed the program. I love it!

2. Story Elements by Larry Brooks. This book, while quite wordy initially, has been invaluable to me this month. It set out on a platter the key pieces of a story, what they look like and where they belong. Blueprints to a best seller! With the Scrivener program and this book, I’ve plotted out an entire novel. Now I just have to finish writing it.

3. I unplugged when it’s writing time. In clicking the button “disconnect from wireless” I have connected my brain to my goals. The world wide web is a perfect distraction from everything we want to acheive. Sure, I will use it to market, to meet other writers and parents, but when it’s time to write, I will write scenes for my latest novel, not facebook updates. Clicking “Like” will not get with work done!

writing pics 005

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