Tag Archives: self-publishing

Back To School Blog Tour Day 2: Featured Author Becca Price

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2017B2SchoolBannerWelcome to the second day of the Back to School Blog Tour. Today’s featured author is Becca Price. Ms. Price is a children’s author with many fantasy children’s books ranging from beginning fantasy chapter books to middle grade novels. I had a chance to talk to Becca about her writing process,  how she gets her ideas, and what she has next in store for us.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

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Becca Price has written the popular fantasy series of bedtime stories, Dragons and Dreams.

Becca Price: I’ve always wanted to be a writer. As a child, I used to tell stories to my siblings before going to bed. I wrote some highly derivative fantasy in high school and college, as one does, but didn’t seriously consider making a living as a writer. Instead, I started work as a technical writer, and continued in that profession until ill health made me quit. I still took the occasional contract, however, and kept in the profession for a total of 30 years

How long does it take you to write these books?

Becca Price: It varies so much. Sometimes, the words just roll out, and the story is close to it’s final form. Other stories, I struggle with. I have one story (Heart of Rock) that I worked on for 20 years, on and off, trying to come up with a satisfying ending.

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Becca Price: Inspiration strikes at any time. One story, I worked n in my head while trying to go to sleep. I finally got up at 3:00 in the morning, and wrote down the first draft of the story almost completely.

Other times, it’s more like a “real” job, usually after I get my first pass edit back from the wonderful editor, Martha Hayes – she seems to know what I am trying to say better than I do sometimes, and will ask me questions. I’ll get up in the morning, start working on her edits, take a break for lunch, and finish writing around 4:00 pm, and then back to work on it the next day. I don’t seem to be able to write well after about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, unless it’s one of those things that keeps me up til 3 until I write it down.

What brought you to write your fairy book series?

Becca Price: The only real series I have is Fields, Forest, and Fairies. This consists of 3 books: Fairies and Fireflies, The Wood and the Wildfolk, and The Wizard and the Wood. They all take place in the same universe, and I just kept writing the stories as long as the Wide Wild Wood had stories to tell me. It may have other stories to tell, but right now, I’m feeling like it’s pretty complete.

How you become a published author? Any inspiration?

Becca Price: After I wrote my first book, Dragons and Dreams, I looked carefully at publisher’s requirements for children’s books. They tend to be very strict and formulaic, with no place for the kind of gentle fairy tales I write. I started doing research (I’m a research junkie anyway) and decided to self-publish through Amazon. In this effort I was helped immeasurably by the kind folks at kboards/writer’s café, which still provides me with help in my writing, and in my publishing efforts.

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

Becca Price: When my children were very small, I looked about for good bedtime stories for them, It must have been a dry spell for children’s books, because other than the classics like Dr. Seus and the Grimm brothers, there wasn’t much – and I disliked the sexual stereotyping in the classical fairy tales. There was the peerless Paper Bag Princess, but other than that, not much. So I started to make up stories that addressed issues (like being afraid of the dark) that my kids were having, or silly stories like The Grumpy Dragon and A Princess for Tea. When my children started correcting me on how the story was supposed to go, I wrote them down, so I’d remember them. That collection became Dragons and Dreams, and is still my daughter’s favourite of my books. Then I got a letter from a fan, wanting to know whether Butterfly Fairy ever got another kitten, and that set of stories became Fairies and Fireflies.

Most of my stories have a strong nature orientation. I’ve been known to call the local Extension Office at Michigan State University, to make sure I have my facts straight. The rest of it comes from my own knowledge of mythology, an exposure to Waldorf education, and that great source of all knowledge, Google.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

Becca Price: Other than childish attempts? Dragons and Dreams took form during my early 40s when my children were little. I didn’t start publishing until 2013, however.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Becca Price: I read. I go on reading spurts, prompted by all sorts of things. I read biographies of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr after my daughter, who is a technical theatre major, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I read books on ancient (pre-Greek) mythology while a future story, The Boy Who Loved The Moon started taking place. I still haven’t written that one down yet, because it’s going to be very challenging to write, and I want to get it right. What started out as a main character, an 8th century Welsh bard, is now the villain.

But I read a lot for simple relaxation. I’m a fan of regency-ish romances, no matter how bad the research in them is, because usually the author has a good story to tell anyway, and it’s an era where I find the stock characters comforting to read. I read science fiction, and when I feel my writing style has become stale, I read Lois McMaster Bujold,’s fantasy series. I like her Vorkosigan series, as well, but her fantasy tends to be exquisite.

How many books have you written? Which is your favourite?

Becca Price: I have 7 books: four collections of fairy tales, and 3 stories that stand alone. I have 8 books, if you count Child of Promise, which is also the last story in Dragons and Dreams. The non-collection books are Heart of Rock, Bridge of Seven Stones, and The Snarls. All of those were written for my children as they grew up, but I think have universal things to say to any child.

I have to admit, Dragons and Dreams is a sentimental favourite, being the ones I told my children over and over again.

What is next for you? What are you working on now?

Becca Price: There’s The Boy Who Loved the Moon, which I’m still researching and working out the general plot overview. I’ve got several fairy tales, such as my own take on the Tam Linn story, that are sketched out, but on the back burner for now.

What I’m spending most of my time on, however, is Sirens’ Song. It’s a tough book to describe, because it’s still taking shape, but it’s a parable that deals with death and life. I ran a draft of it past a child psychologist, who says that it’s appropriate for 4th and 5th graders, so it’s one of my stories that’s aimed at older children.

And my daughter has been nagging me to write more stories about The Grumpy Dragon, so maybe after Sirens’ Song is finished, I’ll start working on that one.

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Book review of this book featured on Teddy O’Malley’s blog today!

***To continue with the blog tour, head over to one of the participating author’s websites to read a book review of Becca Price’s Heart of Rock. Teddy O’Malley will be featured tomorrow in the blog tour. Today, she is posting a review of Becca Price’s book, Heart of Rock. So, please, head over and enjoy her book review.

To purchase the book, links to Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.

**Plus, the $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway is still going on. Be sure to head over and enter today!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/20834f9e16/?

 

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Self-Publishing Speaking Engagement for Tiffany Turner

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ebookmarketTiffany Turner will be speaking on the self-publishing panel at the AODSF conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Sunday, March 19 at 10am-11am Live Event Rm 4.

Come find out the exact steps you’ll need for self-publishing you’re own book. From your beginning ideas to pushing the button to self publish, Tiffany Turner will join in a panel to walk you through the process. Ask questions and find out all the publishing platforms, how to hire you’re own editors, formatters, cover designers, and start that important step to building your author platform. Ask questions and get started from the information you’ll receive from this talk.

AODSF Conference Schedule/Website

http://aodsf.org/events/list/

Tiffany Turner Appearance at Tartan Day April 2 in Fremont, CA

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TartanDayTiffany Turner will be making an appearance at the Tartan Day Day celebration at Ardenwood Farm Park in Fremont, CA on April 2, 2016. She’ll be set up in a booth to meet everyone and sign books. Also available will be the opportunity to enter a drawing for a crystal pendant or a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Mrs. Turner has been very involved in the Scottish Heritage community in Northern California for 10 years. She has played the First Lady in Waiting to Mary, Queen of the Scots in the Royal Court of St. Gyles Acting Guild. She was a founding member of the guild, St. Ida’s of Cill Ida. Recently, she has been playing her Gaelic Harp for the parade group Danse Macabre.  Mrs. Turner proudly has Scottish and Irish heritage.

She will be signing books, giving out Tartan favors she has made from tartan purchased in Scotland, and visiting with her fans. All three Crystal Keeper books will be on sale. Plus, ask her about the current last installment of the series she is writing, The Lost Secret of Time. Also, stop by and sign up to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card or crystal pendant.

Also appearing with her will be the author of The Lost Celt, A. E. Conran. Ms. Conran is a children’s book author, freelance editor, and children’s book specialist at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. She’ll be on hand to sign copies of her new release, and talk about Celtic heritage. Her website is at: www.aeconran.com.

Come by and spend the whole day with the family learning about Scottish and Irish heritage.

Update: The Lost Secret of Time is Coming!

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Tiffany Turner in the hospital ICU Dec. 2014

Tiffany Turner in the hospital ICU Dec. 2014

Greetings Crystal Keeper Fans! I’ve been rejuvenating my efforts to get back into the swing of writing. As always, life has thrown some curves at me. And they were some pretty big curves. There were a lot of changes in education, namely the Common Core, that has made it difficult for me to keep up with all my writing and still give all my efforts in teaching. Transitions are really hard in education, and this has been the worst and most difficult that I’ve seen in my career.

Then, I got blindsided by illness in December 2014. I got pneumonia and ended up in the hospital. While there, I went into Code Blue and cardiac arrest. Basically, I almost died, and the doctors were trying everything to help me pull through. I also had the complication of septic shock and the discovery of a heart blood clot. So, it was discovered that I have cardiomyopathy, a heart failure condition where my heart isn’t pumping enough blood to the rest of my body.

My monitors in the hospital.

My monitors in the hospital.

This has made it difficult for me to do much else but get better. I’ve been on medical leave from teaching, and I’m taking a year of absence to get my health back. The bonus of all the health issues is that as I start to feel better, I can start writing again.

So, over the next year, I’ll be working on The LOST SECRET OF TIME and finishing the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. I’ve always intended on doing so. But sometimes life just throws you a curve ball, and you have to adapt, pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep going.

Resting in my hospital bed Dec. 2014.

Resting in my hospital bed Dec. 2014.

All the encouragement is always helpful and appreciated. I’ve got a start on THE LOST SECRET OF TIME, and signed up for Camp NANO in April to make progress on the book. Things are underway, and I’ll be sure to give you updates as I move through the process. As for now, I’ll be continuing with featuring more Indie Authors once a month, and will try to get back into doing Indie writing posts to help out other authors.

So, hug your parents, kids, and pets. Positive thoughts can do so much. You just never know what path will lay before you. And with writing, everyone is on a different writing journey. I’m glad to be sharing mine with you.

Take care!-Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

2104: A Brave New World Dawning For Self-Publishing

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A brave new world is appearing in 2014 for self-published authors.

A brave new world is appearing in 2014 for self-published authors.

I’ve always liked being a rebel. I’m a bit of a control freak. Being a teacher suits me as well as self-publishing, because I’m in control. I’ve been self-publishing since 2007 with my release of “The Lost Secret of Fairies”. I’ve sat at the back table of writing conferences working on craft, and networking ideas with other authors. Most of the time, I hear lectures of the old traditional process of the publishing industry. The old school of making a book is preached again and again.

The thing that kept me going is the fact I don’t give up, and a fabulous community of self-published authors on at the Writer’s Cafe message board at Kboards.com. I run to my self-publishing brethren that punches each others arms, post writing threads to beat out 1K a day, and marketing tips and algorithm discussions about the Big A (Amazon).

But something is happening this year. The winds of change are starting to surface. I think the world of publishing is starting to take notice of the little bohemian group of writers that are making self-publishing work.

Thankfully, I’ve been taking notes, and trying out some of the ideas. Back when the free book backdoor idea surfaced, I gave it a try. I had over 9,000 downloads in a month. From 10 downloads a month, this was a big difference. So, some things have worked. This last year, I tried marketing locally to bookstores and started writing in a new genre. Write more, write more, start a new pen name and build the love of your readers. OK, pushed the button on that. Now what?

I would suggest starting with a book called Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and John B. Truant. The ideas I recognize from discussions on Kboards.com and at the back tables of conferences. It was developed from Sean’s and John’s Podcast show on self-publishing. The information is amazingly fresh and forward. Ideas like keep writing, funnel your readers, and be in it for the long term give me hope. I made a right choice over 5 years ago. The more I write, the more I’ll make over the long term.

But wait, there’s more. Today, the overlord and general hero of the community bohemia of The Writer’s Cafe on Kboards.com published a blog post about what he’d do if he was the CEO of HarperCollins. His name is Hugh Howey. Hugh has impressed me before. I’ve written about him in other blog posts on self-publishing, because he champions self-publishing. There’s been a year of screaming from the mount that this way of publishing works. But this time, it’s coming from someone that has proven it.

Hugh wrote Wool as a serial that took off. Of course, it is a good book. Add a traditional publishing deal, movie in the making with an European book tour and you get an idea of what I’m talking about. He’s making self-publishing work for him, and this is just in the last year.

Thankfully, he’s still coming back and visiting on the board. He’s a bit of a celebrity regular now, but he is still modest. No really. Plus, a couple of things have stuck with me for what’s he’s mentioned in posts on the board. The fabulous thing is that he’s still giving advice and even started a project in which a lot of regulars on the board are creating an anthology for charity. But the good ideas haven’t stopped there.

Hugh created a list of ideas that might shake the foundations of publishing. If you’d like to see his original post, here is the link to: Don’t Anyone Put Me In Charge. I’ve listed some of the highlights that I think are going to blow the traditional publishing community out of the water.

He starts with several suggestions to help give a foundation of artist community to authors. “1. The first thing I would do would be the most important, and that would be to form a community among my stable of HarperCollins authors.” So true. I agree, I have watched the magic of creativity form on the Writer’s Cafe board for several years now. I’ve been affected and benefited by the artistic community it creates. Plus, show monthly sales and pay royalties monthly is suggested. Most self-publishers love this freedom. I know how many books I sell and take home 35% or 70% depending on the price point of my book through Amazon. Not to mention being addicted to checking sales daily. There is nothing like seeing your book selling in Japan.

“Like the editors. We’re going to save the editors (and hire more) and get rid of the sales reps.” Really, I agree with Hugh here. Get rid of the huge overhead so publishing houses can keep up with the speed of change that the 21st century can allow for innovative ideas. The brave new world of self-publishing will create a bigger bookstore on-line not to distributors for books. Yes, in 10 years, books will mostly be in the hands of the older generation. I see the eagerness of young people ready for ebooks. It will happen.

Hugh suggests moving the publishing house to Houston out of New York. “Business will be conducted much as it already is: by email.” Really, who wants to live in New York right now? Florida? California? No snow? Houston? Lower costs will help everyone.

These are just a few ideas I gleaned in the dawn of this new age of publishing. I am excited to be on the ground floor to witness the innovation at hand. Hopefully, with effort, hard work, and a little luck, I might be able to eventually retire. But until then, I’m ok with waiting 10 years and writing those good books to earn royalities after decades of service teaching children. After all, the biggest thing I’ve learned as a self-published author is to be patient and keep writing. There is hope in the distance, and it’s called the digital age with self-publishing the key to a writer’s success.

No Limit Writing Part II: Setting A Commitment

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IndieLife7I am a little late with my monthyly Indelibles post. But I am writing on the US West Coast. So, technically it’s still Wednesday here. Plus, it was my first day back to work for the day job. Factor in the fact I had a good friend die in a horrible, water skiing accident. Really, I’m not kidding. I wish I could be kidding. I’ve been upset the last two days. Add the fact that my birthday is next week, and that I’ve just watched Reality Bites(1994). I did the math and that movie is over 18 years old. Tonight, I’m really in a reviewing the situation moment.

Sometimes, you have to factor in real life into your writing equation. But that is what happens to writers. We balance real life with paying the mortgage jobs, promotion and marketing, editing, revision, and first draft writing.

I’ve been toggling between projects, and reworking my schedule as I return to the day job. I’m working on several projects and organizing a blog tour for the beginning of school. Yes, I’ve been busy this summer. But the weird thing about all the things that have happened over the last month is the reflection on how to keep the writing flowing. I don’t want the creative process that has happened this summer to stop.

So, I’ve established a no limit writing plan, with a schedule of writing once a day for an hour. This ranges from first draft, to revision, to blog writing. Yes this post counts right now. And I have to say, it has done wonders just to make sure I sit down once a day for an hour. I’ve been participating on a writing board thread that basically is a whole bunch of writers reporting on how much they write. Really, I’m finding with an hour a day at least I can get a lot done.

So, no matter what is happening in my day, I’ve committed to that. I also read through a friend’s story and gave her feedback. That counted. This way, I’m not limiting or giving excuses for not writing. I’m allowing for what work needs to be done to flow on that day. The thing about self publishing is that you can schedule your projects to fit your life’s schedule.

I’m happy to say that I’ve gotten a novelette through two revisions, and I’ve scheduled it to go to my editor by September. I’ve been organizing a Back to School Blog Tour, but will mostly work on it on the weekend now. But I’m keeping my sanity by allowing a time for it to be scheduled. And I’ll be happy on Saturday to let the thought process flow. For now, just an hour a day on something writing related keeps my commitment to myself.

Most of all, don’t limit what you can do. If I thought I can’t write romance novels, I wouldn’t have a novelette series in the works and a Time Travel novel half through it’s first draft. We’ll have to see how it all turns out. But my biggest phrase is to just keep writing. You never know what project will turn into the bestseller.

Setting a commitment of one hour might allow me to find the next good book. Hopefully, it will be that bestseller. And even if it’s not and I sell some copies, it will lead me to the next book. That good book may take 20 other books before it. All I need is eventually that one to hit it big. And committing to writing one hour a day will help we keep writing until I get there.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

Back to School Blog Tour-Sept. 2-6

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Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6  Check back for more details!

Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 2-6
Check back for more details!

At this time of year, life gets busy for me. It’s time for me to get back to work. Yes, true confession, I am a teacher. Which can come in pretty handy since I love to write books. But to make things extra fun, besides the fact I just bought a disco ball for my room, I’m planning a Back to School Blog Tour for the week of Sept. 2-6.

Come meet some authors, find out what it’s like to write as an Indie, and learn a few things. There will be all sorts of books from animals, fantasy, and even a humorous look at teaching. It will be a true exciting start to the school year. I should know. This is the start of my 17th year of teaching.

No Limits: How To Write That Good Book

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IndieLife7If anyone could pull a book out of their butt, they would. That’s why writing a book is hard. Harder still is writing that good book that will sell to the top of bestseller lists. Everyone wants that. What is the formula?

Well, I can’t say that I’ve got a book on the Top Bestseller list, yet. I’ve had my books pop up on the smaller bestseller Amazon lists for different categories with a different genre. They helped spur my sales for a few days. But that could be another blog post in the future. Plus, my other books are Middle Grade novels. I love writing children’s books, but they just don’t sell as well as adult books. So, I’ve been waiting for the right recipe. Something to gel.

What I’m going to share today is how to write a good book to get on those lists. You can get people to buy your book with a good cover or write up. What will get them to tell others to buy your book? The secret is write a good book at the start. The secret of writing the “good book” is every writer’s dream. I’ll share what I’ve learned so far, and let you pull what you need.

My current project is a Time Travel Romance. I’m feeling a need to share this since making the magic of a book click together is so difficult. I should know. I’ve tried for almost 3 years to write Young Adult or even New Adult. They are bigger markets, and really are the areas that are doing well in self published ebooks.

I’ve also heard that sometimes books do write themselves. I never knew until over the last few weeks, I’ve started to churn out not one, but two Romance Novels. How? I let myself “Just Write”. I stopped telling myself that the book had to be with a certain character, setting or plot. I’m just letting the book be. Here is the process I am using to write them.

Recently, I pulled a Romance Novel introduction out of my butt. I woke up, grabbed my laptop, and wrote the intro to what seemed to be a Romance Novel. It felt good to just have the scene roll from my mind to my fingers typing. When I was done, I thought to myself, “Well, it’s not crap.”

But the day went forward, and the next day, I kept writing. The day after, I finished Chapter 2 and kept writing. Wooh. This was unusual. I’d tried so hard to write a YA or something for the adult market that might sell a bit better than Middle Grade novels. After a failed YA about Mary, Queen of the Scots, this Time Travel Romance novel was just flowing from my fingers. Why was it working this time? Why was it gelling?

I do write Middle Grade Novels. In fact, I’ve now written three MG novels in a fantasy/adventure series. I’ve got a system down for writing a book. I have a freelance editor, a support group of friends and family, and I hang out a lot on Kboads.com/writerscafe which is essentially my writer’s group online. I also joined a children’s writing organization (SCBWI) when I wanted to learn the genre. Note these four things: 1) Family and Friends 2) Join a Writers Organization for Your Genre 3) Find an Editor 3) Writer’s Group. These are the first four steps to gain a stable writing environment that will drive you to write the good book.

The first step you may already have. But I recommend not showing your first draft to anyone until it is done. Sit butt in chair and finish the book. It could be absolute crap, but it needs to be done to be a book. Remember, you can always change the ending, add plot devices, or as the phrase says, flesh it out. You need the bare bones of the first draft.

To get that done, I’ve promised myself to write for at least one hour a day. Just get the butt in the chair and do it. The rest is just details. Then, I read back as I’m writing and fine tune as I go. A good first draft should be reread at least twice before letting others see it. At least, that’s how I feel. Some people might enjoy more feedback as they are writing. I do ask people questions and research things that come up. But in the end, it’s better to keep one cook in the kitchen, and get it done.

Step Two is find a writer’s organization that can help you with the genre. If you have been writing already for awhile or belong to a group, I’ve gone the option of just studying the new genre. I found out that the type of Romance I am writing is Time Travel. I also started a new project a few days ago that is clearly a Paranormal Romance. I’ve been downloading examples and getting advice from other Romance novelists on what books to look at from my writer’s board. It’s almost like researching for a term paper. But a lot more fun.

Step three is finding a good editor. There are great freelancers out there. I think the best thing to do is go to a place you know people could recommend a good, reputable editor. I found mine on my writer’s board by simply posting, “I need an editor” and explained the project. But I asked for a sample edit first. This is crucial. You want to see if their style of writing/editing will work with yours. It is usually just a few pages.

I had one editor that was recommended through my writing group that wanted to charge $250 for a sample edit. I ended up going with the editor willing to work to see if we fit before shelling out cash. So, find out if they have done previous work in your genre and if they can work for you. I loved chosing my own editor. I think it was a better fit that way.

Step Four: Get that writing support you need by joining a writing board or writing online group. Really. This is crucial. Writer’s are lone creatures, but very delicate. If you have a problem with your draft, questions, or a shoulder to cry on from bad reviews, this is the place you need to post to feel safe and vent. I go to kboards.com in the Writers’ Cafe. It’s great to post if you are an Indie Writer starting out, a hybrid author self-publishing older manuscripts, or what ever might be writing related. It’s kept me from throwing the computer through the window several times.

After these steps are in place, give yourself no limits. I recently had my third MG novel, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, win an honorable mention in the children’s category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. At the ceremony, the winning overall book was called The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton. The whole premise of the book is that when you have a stupid idea, and you got all these reasons maybe not to do it; that’s the time you should follow through. Don’t put up a wall or limit yourself because it sounds stupid. That probably means it’s the best idea in the world.

So, the last and final step is don’t limit yourself. If it’s stupid, but it’s working, do it. There will be a reason why you’re writing it later. Get it out of your system and figure how it fits in later. In the end, it might be your best writing of all. It could be the good book that becomes a bestseller. Remember, no limits, and keep writing.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

The Dos of Promoting Your New Indie Children’s Book

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IndieLife7The self publishing road is never easy. In the past, I noticed a note of distain in some people if I happened to mention my book was self published. At many writing conferences, mentioning you were self published would be the first step before getting a traditional publisher.

But these days, the rules are changing. What matters is that you published a good book that people want to read. The hard part is getting the word out about your book. It’s all a new frontier. Since the rules are being rewritten, I’m keeping track of my round three try at promotion, and seeing what sticks. It all could be new additions to the rulebook.

I’ve been self-publishing my books since 2005. I’ve learned a lot of dos and don’ts, and really put together a well thought out third book with a freelance editor and illustrator. With my previous book, I’d learned a lot of how to promote and where not to promote. This time around, I’m following as many dos as possible, and picking up a few new dos along the way.

Excepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children's Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013

Accepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children’s Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013

My second book didn’t win awards or get as much notice as I would like. It might have been because I was still learning. It got reviews, some mentions on reader blogs, and helped some people to continue with the fantasy series I’ve created. I think of it as a bridge to understanding in many ways. It helped lead to a greater understanding of where to promote for my next book.

With the release of my third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, I decided to try some new areas to promote, awards, and target areas that welcomed self published books. I talked to local bookstores, and found a very receptive owner that immediately welcomed me into her Indie community. I felt that this new approach was starting to finally be my niche.

I entered the deadlines for Indie awards in the spring using a fellow blogger award list. I won honorable mention in the San Francisco Book Festival. In mid May, I drove to San Francisco for the weekend, and accepted my first literature award. I am since working with the promotional company to get the word out about my win, and of course, have a seal to affix to my third book.
While having a conversation with Bruce Haring, the marketing manager of the SF Book Festival, he pointed out, “Ahh, you’re the author that plays the harp.” Immediately I realized that just being an author or a teacher wasn’t making me stand out as an author. It was that I played the Gaelic Harp that was making me stand out from the crowd.

Lead into my first book signing for the third book at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA. I had already plastered the flyers with the fact I would play the harp, read from my new book, and answer some Q and A about the Crystal Keeper series. I was greeted by the owner warmly when I entered, with a table and all my books set up. There was a regular crowd, some of my diehard fans, and those people that had come in from the heat for ice cream.

Tiffany Turner signing her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA.

Tiffany Turner signing her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA.

I started with playing the harp including walking around the store to let people know about the talk going on. I did mention about how I play at Renaissance Festivals, which helped me make a connection with people that had attended.

Now, most of the people I was speaking for were children and their parents. So, I preceeded into a prior knowledge questioning strategy before my read aloud, and then read a part of the new book that fit that audience. Yes, it was a very teacher thing to do, but I find using some teaching strategies during book talks works very well during my author talks to my readers, usually ages 8-12.

The turn out sold 22 books at last count. This is considered a good turn out, and I had a lot of fun. I even had one parent ask about speaking at their school and trying to get kids interested in books. Of course, this is my middle name, wanting to get kids interested in books. I gave her my card, and said we’ll talk about how I can help with that, explaining that I was mostly available for talks in the evening.

So, what has this Indie author learned about promoting her book in this round 3 event? Pretty much, the best way to promote a book is to start with yourself. What can you give to a signing or event? You also have to start with a good book. Get that editor and illustrator to help. Then, when it comes time for promotion, don’t think in terms of just your book, but yourself as an author. Promote yourself with your new book.

The one thing I had trouble realizing was that it wasn’t the book but the author that needed promotion. You will write more books. If you get a following for yourself, then the readers will come. But they come back for you and your new book.

Plus, don’t go down the roads that deny self-published books. If you book is a good book, you will be read and accepted as the good book it is. A lot of websites or awards will specialize in self-published books. There is a community forming on the new frontier, the internet. Figure something to promote yourself, some tie in or skill you might have to go with your book, you’ll get noticed out of the tidal wave of new books released. Getting yourself noticed is hard, but having the tools and reliance in yourself will get the work done for you. Remember, if you’re self published, there is the Indie book store and self published community that has grown over the years to help. Come find us. We’ll play!

Here are some links to start:

Groups for Independent Authors

1)Association of Independent Authors-Authors Group
http://www.independent-authors.org/

2)Indie ReCon-Great Online Resource and Writing Conference
http://www.indierecon.org/

Indie Award Links

3) Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards)
https://secure.independentpublisher.com/ipland/IPAwards.php

4) Indie Excellence Awards
http://www.indieexcellence.com/

5) San Francisco Book Festival
http://www.sanfranciscobookfestival.com/

In the end, there is a lot out there to promote with, awards, book reviewers, and book bloggers. But targeting to specific reviewers and awards that except Indie and self published books has really helped set myself apart. Plus, just getting to know how I can help sell myself as an author has made all the difference.

I’m still working on getting books out for review, but now I have editors I know from review sites already. I’m targeting my review copies to them. Plus, getting ideas from my writing boards, such as kboards.com, always is a way to get new ideas. I might have to add “To Be Continued” for this part of the story. Round 3 will continue.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire Wins Honorable Mention In The San Francisco Book Festival

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The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

I am happy to announce that The Lost Secret of Dragonfire has won honorable mention in The San Francisco Book Festival on May 18. I was privileged to go to the awards ceremony and accept the award. It was my first walk up to a podium. After over 7 years of trying, I’ve finally gotten recognized for creating a great work of fiction. There can only be more.

I enjoyed meeting everyone at the book festival during the day. I met Patti Ptak Kogutek, the author of “A Change of Habit”. She has an outgoing personality, and I wanted to find out the story of her journey from Sister Mary Kateri to Sister Mary Vodka. So, I bought and enjoyed reading her book.

Accepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children's Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013

Accepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children’s Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013


I also enjoyed listening to the informative panels of authors through out the day. There was a panel on marketing and promotions, children’s authors, and ebooks. I even met up with an author, Lloyd Lofthouse, that is on one of my yahoo writing groups. It was awesome to finally meet one of the people I’ve talked to through the internet for so long.

Plus, I learned that having some way for you to get noticed helps to break free from the crowd. I finally got to meet Bruce Haring, managing director of the SF Book Festival. One of the first things he mentioned was, “Hey, you’re the author that plays the harp.” For some reason, I’m guessing not many authors may pluck and write in their spare time as I do. So, pretty much, I’ve discovered a marketing break through. My harp playing as a hook. Really, so many legends connect harps and fairies. Harps are supposedly the way to call fairies to you. Combined with my new award win and harp playing, I feel the carving of a niche in the Indie book world.

Overall, it was a great experience for any writer. I accepted an award, met and exchanged information from others in publishing, and had a great time. Truly, there is something to be said about entering as many awards as possible. You might win one of them. So, keep trying, keep writing.