Showing posts with label Adult Guest Posts/Interviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Adult Guest Posts/Interviews. Show all posts

Friday, September 8, 2017

Guest Post: Judy Alter: Pigface and the Perfect Dog

Backlist blues – a happy look at the business of publishing
The backlist traditionally has been the backbone of publishing, providing a steady income in contrast to the spurts and uncertainty of front-list sales. Most of the cost of producing backlist titles has already been covered—and recouped in lucky cases. Backlist sales are often permanent, whereas the front list can suffer from the onslaught of huge returns, cutting profitability in half or more. These days, the backlist would seem to be even more important to publishers as Amazon encourages third-party sales of new titles, often at prices lower than those the publisher offers. Don’t ask me about the economics there, because I don’t understand it.
But what do authors do about their backlist? If they’re with a traditional publisher who does not want to revert the rights to the author, they’re stuck with whatever the publisher does with their titles. But if rights revert, and both major and small presses revert rights although one can’t always figure out their reasoning, authors have several choices in today’s bright new world of publishing.
If you think print copies of the book will sell you can choose POD (print on demand or print to order) and use such agencies as Create Space or Lightning, affiliated with Ingram distributors or it used to be. Easier and cheaper for many of us is the ebook format. You can post a book through Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, or Smashwords for next to nothing—and sometimes nothing. Just remember that each new edition—print, digital, audio—needs a new ISBN.
Or you can license your book to a distributor yourself. And that happy occurrence is what happened to me. I have eight young-adult novels. Two are with an academic press that still holds the rights. The other six were with small presses that have since gone out of business, reverting the rights to me. Those six books have been requested and licensed to Speaking Volumes, a company that seems, from its web site, to have a strong interest in writing about the American West. Their list includes an impressive number of important writer of what we sometimes mistakenly call westerns. I will be, however, one of the few living authors. But Speaking Volumes also has a respectable front list—I just seem to be scooting in on the backlist side.
The six books will appear once a month, starting mid- to late-September. The first title is Callie Shaw, Stableboy. After that, I’m not sure of the order of the titles, but they are After Pa Was Shot (my first novel, published by a major New York house now gobbled up in the many mergers and later reverted to me whereupon I licensed it to a small press), Katie and the Recluse, Maggie and a Horse Named Devildust, Maggie and the Search for Devildust, and Maggie and Devildust—Ridin’ High! I am truly excited by this prospect.
Callie Shaw, Stableboy is set at the old Arlington Downs racetrack, midway between Fort Worth and Dallas. Here’s what Booklist said about the novel: “It's 1933, and the only economic boom in Callie's North Texas town is in horse racing. Fourteen-year-old Callie lives with Aunt Edna, who declares that the new race track is ‘the devil's work.’ When the girl loses her job as a maid, she disguises herself as a boy and finds work at the stables. Looking after a race horse becomes a labor of love, but soon Callie is trying to unravel a shady plot to fix races by doping, stealing, and even killing horses. Meanwhile she uses her new contacts to locate her father. As the pace quickens near the end, the loose ends are tied up …. this first-person story will engage readers while giving them a glimpse of bare larders, broken dreams, and stout hearts during the Depression.”
Authors need to remember that their backlist is a valuable asset. No, I don’t expect these books to make me rich at all, but they will provide some income, and they will help get my name and books into the hands of more readers. Every little bit helps, and I intend to be as active in promoting these titles as I am with my front list.
I’m excited about stepping back into the world of young-adult fiction. Another learning experience.

Author Bio

Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries, two books in the Blue Plate CafĂ© Mysteries; and two in the Oak Grove Mysteries. Pigface and the Perfect Dog follows The Perfect Coed in this series of mysteries set on a university campus. Judy is no stranger to college campuses. She attended the University of Chicago, Truman State University in Missouri, and Texas Christian University, where she earned a Ph.D. and taught English. For twenty years, she was director of TCU Press, the book publishing program of the university. The author of many books for both children and adults primarily on women of the American West, she retired in 2010 and turned her attention to writing contemporary cozy mysteries.
            She holds awards from the Western Writers of America, the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame, and the Texas Institute of Letters. She was inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and recognized as an Outstanding Woman of Fort Worth and a woman who has left her mark on Texas. Western Writers of America gave her the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement and will induct her into its Hall of Fame in June 2015.
The single parent of four and the grandmother of seven, she lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her perfect dog, Sophie.

Buy link for Pigface and the Perfect Dog:

Buy link for The Color of Fear:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Guest Post by Gino B. Bardi Author of "The Cow in the Doorway"

            Quick! What’s more important? The story or how well it’s written? 
No, the correct answer isn’t ‘both.’ our goal as writers and storytellers is, indeed, ‘a good story well told.’ Bear with me now, I'm not dissin' anybody's writing ability, but I'll argue till closing time (and the car is about to be towed away) that a terrific story line gets the nod over great writing ability.
 A compelling and unique plot, with terrific conflict and a strong resolution, will have your reader weeping in despair when they arrive at the dreaded words “The End.” That story will be remembered far longer than a weak or predictable one, no matter how well the wordsmithing is done. Yes, there are examples of brilliantly executed but humdrum plots that achieve an audience. But there are far more with blockbuster plot lines, yet barely credible characters and believable dialogue. The authors of those novels and screenplays are sipping boat drinks on a tropical island while the rest of us criticize them and complain “I coulda done it better.”
And maybe we coulda. But a little advance planning on the story structure woulda been a great idea.

            I wrote a few novels before I tackled one I thought was worth a damn. I had a general idea of the plot...up to a point. Some of it had actually happened. As soon as I left the realm of what happened and had to actually make stuff up, I got unmoored, like a hot air balloon floating with the wind. The story had gotten away from me. I tried to make up for the lost story line by continually rewriting and improving the way I told the story.  The characters realized that no one was steering the ship and mutinied. They fought over who was the protagonist. They lied to each other. They started drinking and fighting.
             The 80,000-word story I had planned grew by half. All this extra writing was good stuff- it just didn't advance the PLOT. What plot? It took the story down one-way streets and forced me to edit and delete. I had to rip out stuff I loved--some of my favorite descriptions and dialogue. It was heartbreaking. But that stuff should never have been written in the first place.
 There must be a better way.  I found it at the library's "fill a bag for a quarter" sale. One bag was filled with Reader's Digest Condensed books. I had never read one. I'd heard about them, of course, but the whole concept was silly. Maybe not.
             Someone had managed to take a full-length novel and squeeze it into a few thousand words. At that size, the plot moved with lightning speed and was brilliantly clear and understandable. Would the concept work in reverse? Could I take my novel idea, and instead of just charging ahead, could I tell the whole story, first, in a short form...with all the major plot points, the central conflict, most important dialogue, and the resolution? Could I write my own private version of a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book, without meandering into all the subplots and self-indulgent scenes that I like writing way more than the meat-and-potatoes plot? Could I stay focused and just write THE STORY?
What an exercise! I had no plans to show it to anyone, not even my writers' group. No one swooned at my writing ability because no one heard it but me. In its  concentrated version I quickly discovered what was right with the story and what wasn't. When I threw out pages,  they were, in fact, 'pages.' They weren't stacks of sheets that I had poured my heart into. I learned to write quickly. I spent less than a page on each chapter. I ignored spelling and grammar mistakes. I skipped the research...what difference does it make on what date or what street something happened? I could find that stuff later. I kept going until I had told the story.
My condensed book was about 2500 words, way longer than any synopsis, nothing at all like an outline, shorter than any novella. It was my novel, in miniature. By compressing the story, the faults in the plot line became obvious. The essential characteristics, good or bad, of the theme, conflict, and resolution stood in high relief. I had plenty of stuff to fix, but that was okay; I hadn't spent months tearing these pages out of my soul only to throw them away.
It was easy to do. I made the fixes and then started at the beginning, writing carefully, concerned now with the flow and the language. I knew the hard work was done. In the end, I got the best plot I could make along with the best writing I was capable of.  The 'writing part' was easy. We can all do the writing part. That's because we're writers, right?

Author Bio
Gino B. Bardi was born in New York City in 1950, and lived on the South Shore of Long Island until he attended Cornell University in 1968, during the tumultuous era of Vietnam War protests. Armed with a degree in English/Creative Writing, he diligently sought work in his field and soon wound up doing everything but. For the next forty-four years he cranked out advertising copy, magazine articles, loan pitches and short stories while running a commercial printing company in Upstate New York. Along the way, he married his college girlfriend, became father to three lovely daughters and decided that winter was an unnecessary evil. In 2008 he sold the printing business, retired, and now writes humorous fiction in his home on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Two signs hang above his desk: "Bad decisions make good stories," and Mel Brooks' advice that "You only need to exaggerate a LITTLE BIT."

The Cow in the Doorway is his first full-length novel and won the statewide Royal Palm Literary Award for best unpublished New Adult novel for 2015.
LinkedIn:  Gino Bardi
Skype:  gino.bardi
Buy link:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Guest Post: Katherine Prairie

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved books, and I started that love affair early. My mother always had a book in hand, and she introduced me to Trixie-Belden and the wonderful stories about a young girl who solved crime when I was still in elementary school. But books were a luxury, and the store-bought books that came through our door were few and far between. I soon discovered though, that the library had what seemed to me, an endless supply.  
As a teenager, I spent hours in the library, browsing the shelves, searching for interesting stories and when I found an author I liked, I read everything they published. One summer, it was Jane Austen’s books, another year Agatha Christie filled my days. My tastes were eclectic – and still are – I just wanted a good story and authors like Isaac Asimov, James Clavell, Robert Ludlum, J.R.R. Tolkien, Emily Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle, Stephen King and Mary Higgins Clark delivered.
But the books I read about far-away places, Russian spies and early Britain, also sparked an interest in world politics, history, geography, art and culture. They opened up the world to me, and they stirred my imagination.
I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a scientist, and that’s where my education and career took me, but there’s always been a part of me that wanted to write. In science, we explore, discover and experiment –  we investigate mysteries.  So I suppose it’s only natural that when I did take that first step, I wrote Thirst, a suspense thriller.
But as a writer I’ve taken on the challenge of creating a mystery rather than solving one, and it is a challenge!  Too many clues or too few, a simple plot or one that’s too complex, slow vs fast pacing – all of these elements have to be carefully considered as I construct my story.  Above all, I want to give people a story they can immerse themselves in, a story I would like to read too.
There’s no doubt that the authors of my childhood greatly influenced me, and so have the many authors I discovered as an adult. I still prowl the library, searching for a good read, and I still take great delight in finding a new author. And if you had told me when I was a young girl that I would one day see my own novel on those library shelves, I wouldn’t have believed you, but a few weeks ago that’s exactly what happened.  
As much as I’m been overjoyed to see Thirst in stores, it’s the libraries that I’m most proud of. Libraries make books that entertain, teach and inspire available to everyone regardless of age, income or education, and they power dreams. Without that library in my small hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, I wouldn’t be where I am now.

I’m at the beginning of my writing career, but perhaps one day a reader will find my Alex Graham series on the library shelves and it will inspire them to search out more authors, or to write their own book.   

Author Bio

Katherine, a geologist and IT specialist, stepped away from the international petroleum industry to follow her passion for writing. An avid traveller with an insatiable curiosity, you never know where you’ll find her next! But most days, she’s in Vancouver, Canada quietly plotting murder and mayhem under the watchful eye of a cat. She is an award-winning presenter and the author of the thriller THIRST.

Buy links for Thirst: