Friday, March 17, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Cover Image by Michael Lindstrom - Copyright 2017

It's always exciting to reveal a cover for a new book, but especially when it's your own! My husband, Michael Lindstrom, delivered big time with the cover art for our upcoming book, Journey to Snowdonia.

This is the second book in our series of Lindstrom Wintertime Tales.

Here is the flap copy description for Journey to Snowdonia:
Henry and Harriet are proper children, who live in a proper house, on a proper street, in Victorian London. But when their father, Mr. Charles W. Smithwaite, decides to take the family on a winter holiday in Wales, the siblings go on an outing that is anything but proper. Whilst their father & mother are busy with their society friends, Henry & Harriet venture away from the country manor, into the ancient Gwydir Forest, deep in the land of Snowdonia. Then, when a mishap occurs in the mysterious woods, they discover the magical powers of the amazing creatures that live amidst the misty mountains of Wales. But most importantly, they learn about trust, and about kindness, and about the necessity for courage when confronted with an adversary. A magical tale of whimsy & wonder, sure to delight readers this holiday season!

We'll be promoting our children's book later in the year, so stay tuned!

If you'd like to read my recent quarterly newsletter, click here.

This is my last post until April - it's time for a spring break. I'm anticipating spending quality time in my soggy garden!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Haimish - adj.
possessing the warmth, comfort, and informality associated with somebody's own home.
Example: The antique furniture added a haimish feeling to the otherwise formal room.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

The Inquisitor's Tale
by Adam Gidwitz

1242. On a dark night, travelers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children. Their adventures take them on a chase through France: they are taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. On the run to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned, their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, where all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Join William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne's loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead. Told in multiple voices, in a style reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, our narrator collects their stories and the saga of these three unlikely allies begins to come together.

My Thoughts:
The Inquisitor's Tale was recently recognized as a Newbery Honor Book - not a surprise! This upper middle grade novel is well-researched and well-written - a thoroughly imaginative adventure of history, friendship, and diversity. A unique and entertaining story of mystery and magic - one not to miss! I highly recommend The Inquisitor's Tale to readers from the ages of eight to eighty!

Click here to learn more about the author, Adam Gidwitz.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Bringing Your Beloved Story to Life
                        Part III
This post is my third and final post dealing with the subject of publishing your book independently. Today's discussion will deal with the actual process of bringing your book to life.

If you'd like to read Part I - an introduction - click here.
If you'd like to read Part II - choosing a printing service - click here.

1- Allow plenty of time! Once you choose an approximate release date you'd like for your book make sure to allow enough time to complete all the steps necessary to bring your book to publication. A good rule of thumb is to allow 3-6+ months. (I began working with my book formatter in January for my upcoming book, Journey to Snowdonia. It's set to be released in September of this year.)

2- Obtain a Book Formatter/Interior Designer - I strongly recommend that you choose someone that you can actually meet, since you'll want to work with her - side by side - when it's time to bring your book to life. Make sure you see several samples of her work.
If you've written a picture book or illustrated short story you'll need a formatter who is skilled with the Adobe InDesign program.

3- Final Check List - Before you ever meet with your interior designer/book formatter, make sure you've done the following:
**Read your entire book out loud...again!
**Use text to voice conversion to listen to your entire book.
**Complete final edit.

4- Obtain Cover Designer - Again, make sure you see several samples of her work. Once you've obtained this professional, work with her for your cover design. Plan ahead: This could take months!

5- Complete a flap copy description and back cover blurb - (or other text). Your cover designer will need those as soon as possible.

6- Purchase a barcode and ISBN number(s). Bowker is a great place to purchase both - click here to visit their website. Your cover designer will need the barcode, your book formatter the ISBN #'s.

7- Choose your preferred fonts for the chapter headings, cover, and possibly, the text of your book.

8- Contact your chosen printing company. (See last Friday's post.) Make sure to contact the company several months prior to your release date. I won't quote timelines for CreateSpace, Ingram Sparks, or Bang Printing, but suffice it to say, printing and shipping take quite a bit of time. (You'll want to allow time in case your proof isn't correct!)

Prior to meeting with your book formatter, make sure you're familiar with market standards when it comes to publishing. For instance, if your book is a YA novel, make sure its style and format, look very similar to other YA novels. Check such items as: cover design, title page, copyright page, table of contents, chapter headings, and fonts.

Once you've contacted your source for printing; obtained a cover designer, purchased barcodes and ISBN #'s, and completed all steps under "preparation," it's time to sit down with your book formatter.
Yes! I do mean "sit down" with her. Your book is too important not to be there while the formatter makes choices for your book. I can't begin to tell you how many details have been altered on my books as I've sat next to my book formatter. It took both of us to bring my books to life.

When your book is published it should look  - and read - like books from big publishing houses. You shouldn't place your name on a book that is anything less. The book will remain long after you're gone.

Once your book formatter has completed her work, it's time to order a proof. If you receive the proof and it needs changes, make the changes before you send to print. Once you have a great proof in hand, you and your book formatter - and possibly your cover designer - are ready to send in all your material to the printer. (Some cover designs are embedded by book formatters, while some are sent in separately by the cover designer.) Remember: CreateSpace, Ingram Sparks, and Bang Printing all have different requirements as to costs, timetables, formats, etc. It's important to work closely with your printer.

You'll need to decide what formats you'd like your e-book published in: Amazon Kindle; Apple iBooks; Barnes & Noble Nook; & Smashwords. If you're not familiar with those sites, click here. Most book formatters can also do the formatting for your e-book. If not, the three printing companies I mentioned under PREPARATION - #8 - can assist you.

Addition: Click here for an excellent article on publishing an ebook by the renowned speaker, professor, and literary guru, Jane Friedman.

NOTE: This three-part blog post (2/24, 3/3,3/10) is an overview of the material I've personally learned by independently publishing my own books. It is not meant as an exhaustive resource for self-publishing.
All the best as you tread your path to publication!

I'll be sharing a series of blog posts in a few weeks that will deal with "Marketing Your Book." That timing is great for me too, since my next children's book, Journey to Snowdonia, releases in September.

Look for the cover reveal of our "Wintertime Tale" next week!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Ugsome - adj.
frightful; horrid; loathsome.
Example: The ugsome manners of the cave-dwelling trolls were disgusting.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Bibliophile's Corner

Pen Pals
by Alexandra Pichard

Amazon Description:
An octopus and an ant are paired up to write letters for a school project in this charming picture book in the tradition of Dear Mr. Blueberry.

For an entire school year, Oscar the ant and Bill the octopus send letters to each other as part of a school project.

Oscar loves table tennis, and Bill loves modelling clay.

Oscar does judo, while Bill has a garden.

Despite their differences, the two new friends find shared interests…all leading up to one final surprise!

My Thoughts:
On of the things I love most about children's picture books is the way they usually present serious subjects wrapped in humor, silly stories, and delightful art. Pen Pals delivers big time on all counts! Topics dealing with differences in race, body type, and even culture, are subtly woven into this smart story by the author, Alexandra Pichard. I highly recommend Pen Pals to readers from the ages of four to seven!

Click here to learn more about the French author, Alexandra Pichard.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Storyteller's Journey

Bringing Your Beloved Story to Life
                           Part II
Last Friday I discussed the reasons - the why - a writer decides to publish independently. In this post I hope to answer the questions of who is your target audience and how that influences the format(s) -  or the what & where- you choose to publish.

(If you missed last Friday's post and would like to read it, click here.)

While I presume most writers are aware of who their target audience is, I've met more than a few who are not. So, here is a brief overview:

1- Who is your target audience?

Young Adult: 12 - 18 years of age. (I prefer 14-18, but that's just me.) As we are all well aware of, YA readers come in all ages!
Middle Grade: 8 - 12 years of age. (I like to write for readers aged 10-12+ - "Upper Middle Grade.")
Picture Books: Within this category there are baby books, toddler books: 2-4 years of age, and picture books: 4-8 years of age.

If you're still not sure where your book fits in, click here for more info.

Once you're clear on what category your book fits into, then knowing the book market is a must...

2- What format best suits the book you've written?

Young Adult - thrives in the e-book, paperback, and hardback formats.
Middle Grade - books in this category are primarily printed as hardback books. (Readers in this bracket are too young to purchase books on their own devices, and so, consequently e-books have not yet taken off in this category.
Picture Books - primarily hardback and e-book. (Parents do purchase these books digitally for their own devices and then read them to their young children.)

3- Where do you find the appropriate publisher/printer?

Paperbacks and E-books: CreateSpace. While I've not used CreateSpace, I have a close friend who has. She chose to obtain a professional cover designer, who did a fantastic job on her YA novels!

Awakened, by Kriston Johnson
Cover Design by Mae I Design

Interior Book Design: Tattered Page Ink

Click here to purchase this novel.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Hardbacks (portrait only), Paperbacks, & E-books: Ingram Sparks
I went through Ingram Sparks when I published my debut middle grade novel, The Tale of Willaby Creek, as a hardback and e-book.

The Tale of Willaby Creek
by Victoria Lindstrom
Cover Art by Michael Lindstrom

Cover Design: Mae I Design
Interior Book Design: Tattered Page Ink

My book formatter actually did multiple e-book versions for my novel. (I'll discuss that more next week.)

*     *     *     *     *     *     *

Hardbacks (landscape & portrait), Paperbacks, E-books, etc:
Bang Printing I employed Deeds Publishing when I released The Scandinavian Santa. However, they used Bang Printing, who did a fantastic job with my illustrated short story. It was released as a hardback (landscape format) and e-book in 2014.

The Scandinavian Santa
by Victoria Lindstrom
Paintings by Michael Lindstrom

Cover Art by Michael Lindstrom
Cover Design by Mark Babcock

As you can see, the three publishers/printers I've featured begin with the basic printing services: CreateSpace, & end up with Bang Printing, which, thankfully, can print whatever you desire. That being said, each format, & thus each publisher/printer, is more expensive to use. (My next book, Journey to Snowdonia, will be printed by Bang Printing.)

Once you make your printing decisions, cover design & interior book design will have to be created. I'll discuss those options next week!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Whimsical Word of the Week

Palaver - (n.)
prolonged and idle discussion.
Example: The politician babbled on for an hour in useless palaver.