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How self-publishing has changed – this editor’s personal take

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The self-publishing business has evolved a lot in the last few years. It is no longer on the fringe but has moved more main-stream. Here is my take on some of what is happening. This will sum up my postings on the editor-self-publishing author relationship based on my talk on the Editors Canada panel April 26.

  1. Self-published books are now considered respectable and not vanity press. Authors of sp books can be members of The Writers Union, have their books in libraries, do library readings and presentations, and register the book(s) with the Public Lending Rights program
  2. Author has much more say in what is done, can be more satisfying but also lots more work and responsibility and cost. And no middle person for taking cut in book sales.
  3. Choice in how to publish (e-publish only or print only or both – Kobo, amazon, etc.).
  4. A lot more social media and the like (including doing book review trades with other authors) involved –author blog, Facebook, Linked In, Goodreads, etc.; author must organize and pay for any in-person book launch, but virtual book launches are becoming popular. As the title suggests, the author is glued to the seat of her chair at the computer for hours, but she has control over the time and length of her book launch – also much cheaper than in-person launches.
  5. Other online media authors can schedule – videos, including guesting on online TV shows such as The Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com and join meet-up groups such as the Toronto Indie Publishing group.

But author having more control can be good and prosperous. My writing colleague, Rena Natan who self-publishes some of her books is proof of that.Here is what she emailed me (in part) to use in my presentation:

“The process of promoting the book is time-consuming. I try to have it reviewed by friend authors (like yourself), by Midwest Book review (authoritative, free, but it takes about a year) and Goodreaders members.

Then I submit the book to all competitions that are not too expensive; I check them first on the website  www.pred-ed.com (preditors and editors).

When you win a competition you get, in general, perks, like free listing on a number of Websites, Bookdaily,  and the like. These help a little to sell.”

Rene’s books have won awards as you can see from the first page of her website. She also has more info on her books and what is happening with them here.

And for those who have trade publishers, some of these promotional activities can apply as today published authors have to take their publicity by the horns and do a lot of it themselves.

Which is good in that authors can connect more with their readers.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood icon at the top to find out more about my Beyond books.

 

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Author interviews – learning from both sides of the fence

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press. Click for link to purchase e-copies

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press.

Interviewer. Interviewee. Authors can get to do both. Which do you like best?

Last week I sat on both sides of this author interview fence. I posted my review of Rene Natan’s The Woman in Black on this blog and included a short interview with Rene. She also interviewed me for a posting on her blog page and did a book review of Beyond Blood on Goodreads. This interviewing got me thinking about interviews I have done (many, many – around 30 years’ worth) when I was a journalist.

But I have a somewhat unique perspective from the interviewee’s seat. Granted, answers to interview questions for guest blog posts can be carefully thought out. But what about those where the answer has to be spontaneous – such as for most of the profiles and feature articles I wrote where it was either in person or by phone. (Disclaimer: some were via email and could be thought out). Often I would get “don’t print this” or “this is off the record” but you can’t do that when you are being interviewed in front of an audience or on TV. (although TV interviews can be edited).

The bottom line is I get a rush from being interviewed and interviewing other authors. But I also like public speaking and reading from my book in public. Maybe it’s the drama queen in me or perhaps I’m a frustrated actor, but I get in character when I read and when I speak about something I am passionate about – such as writing, I get carried away. And I hope I carry my audience away with me too.

So being interviewed on TV doesn’t faze me, at least not anymore. I never know what some of the questions will be or what I will come up with for answers. But I always pitch right in with an answer – even when the interviewer goes a bit off track as Hugh Reilly did when he interviewed me about Beyond the Tripping Point in fall 2012. He got into Canadian mystery series and British series so I answered his questions and then got it back to Beyond the Tripping Point.

Ditto for being interviewed by Tom Taylor for his cable TV program Writers & Readers. Instead of one 10-minute interview he sprung it on me that there would be a second one about my editing and writing career.

The one that almost threw me for a loop goes back 25 years or so when another journalist (broadcast and print) who was a former mayor of Aurora and I were on an Aurora Cable TV show. I was supposed to be interviewing him – which I did. Then he ended the first segment with “when we come back I’ll be interviewing Sharon about her writing and community work.” (paraphrased).

I had about 10 minutes to catch my breath and mentally change chairs.

At least I didn’t have to prepare questions for this part.

It went off okay, but I think it helped teach me to be spontaneous. So does doing interviews – because you can prepare questions but the interviewee (or subject as journalists call him or her) may go off on tangents, clam up or as one artist did, look at me with dismay when she saw my recorder.

I told her “this is for accuracy,” and she settled down.

Being as accurate as you can, in the moment, is part of the bottom line when interviewing authors (or anyone) or being interviewed as an author. The other important bottom line part is being yourself.

Oh, and if a TV interview, don’t wear white. It interferes with the lighting.

You can read Rene Natan’s interview of me at http://www.scribd.com/doc/251460632/Interview-with-Sharon-Crawford

Rene Natan’s book review of Beyond Blood is on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23160706-beyond-blood

For something completely different check out when I was interviewed about Beyond Blood and writing on radio station Northumberland 89.7 FM http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/

All my TV interviews are posted on You Tube. Click on “Video” at the top right of this blog

Check out my website www.samcraw.com for more information about Beyond Blood and my writing workshops. I do update it.

The book cover at the top links to my amazon.com author profile and my books.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Sharon A. Crawford presents Rene Natan and The Woman in Black

Romance/suspense author Rene Natan

Romance/suspense author Rene Natan

As promised, here is a look at suspense/romance novelist Rene Natan and her writing, including my review of The Woman in Black

 

How do you come up with your novel ideas, particularly with The Woman in Black?

 

From events in my life, the life of a person close to me or from the news. When my house got destroyed, I felt a deep sense of disruption, almost of abandon. I tried to portray this feeling in my first novel, Mountains of Dawn. What triggered me to write The Woman in Black was the difficulty a police officer encounters when she had to impersonate a call girl

 

What is your process for writing a novel? Do you do an outline first? Rewriting and editing as well?

 

Normally I write an outline to start with. However this first outline changes as I go along, mostly around the first half of the novel. After that, the personas almost write their own story.

 

Why do you write suspense romance novels?

 

Love is the main force in life, being parental love, conjugal love, or forbidden love. I wouldn’t dare to write anything without SOME kind of love. Suspense is needed to keep the reader turning one page after the other. Will the two lovers get together? Would the abducted child be rescued? Would the police capture the sadistic killer? The writer is the deus ex machina; he can forge the characters to his liking and take the reader along, in a journey of emotional “high,” fun and anticipation.

 

Rene Natan Bio:

 

Rene Natan was first attracted by the myriad possibilities offered by computers and pursued a career in information technology. The desire of being a storyteller, however, never left her since plots kept taking shape in her mind. After following a number of online courses on fiction writing, she started to jot down her stories. The Blackpox Threat won the first prize in the 2012 Five Star Dragonfly Award and was one on the four finalists in the 2011 Indie Excellence Award competition.

 

Book Review:

Cover of The Woman in Black by Rene Natan

Cover of The Woman in Black by Rene Natan

The Woman in Black by Rene Nathan is a romantic suspense novel set in the fictitious town of Varlee, Ontario the end of 2000 and beginning of 2001.

Chief Detective Conrad Tormez has a lot on his mind. His mentally challenged teenage daughter has been missing for two years and he needs to nail the criminal gang causing havoc in Varlee. The latter requires going to the head of the gang. To find the gang’s leader, he takes advantage of something this criminal doesn’t know – his girlfriend Clara Moffat has just died in a vehicle accident. So he hires a former police officer and friend, Savina Thompson, to impersonate Clara and set up the next wealthy victim. Using a newly-designed voice emulation system and another friend, wealthy businessman Denis Tailllard, to play this victim, Tormez hopes to rid Varlee of the thieving gang. Despite Tormez’s various plans for possible scenarios, he cannot foresee everything.

For nothing is simple and anything that can go haywire does.

As the story unfolds, the characters, plot and subplot become connected. Natan uses a multi-layered approach that peels like the proverbial onion to constantly reveal something else unexpected. Just when you wonder why a piece of plot or another character appears, it soon becomes relevant and adds to the suspense. The events leading up to and including the climax will keep the reader on the edge. Warning: be careful if reading The Woman in Black on public transit or while walking down the street – you might miss your stop or bump into someone or something.

The complicated plot and many characters, at times can get a little overwhelming. But Natan‘s listing of characters and short chapters help keep the reader oriented.

If you like intrigue, The Woman in Black is for you. However, it might be wise to block some time to read it. As this reviewer discovered, reading it in chunks may not work as you will want to continue reading to see what happens next.

Reviewed by Sharon A. Crawford author of the Beyond mystery books – Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012) and Beyond Blood (Blue Denim Press, 2014). See www.samcraw.com for info about Sharon’s books and social media links.

 

Partial list of Rene Natan’s published novels:

 

The Woman in Black, ebook, 2014, $2.95 US, http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QQZ08QE

The Loves and Tribulations of Detective Stephen Carlton, ebook, 2014, $2.99 US, https://smashwords.com/books/view/471255

Fleeting Visions, ebook, 2013, $3.75 US, http://www.amazon.com/Fleeting-Visions-Rene-Natan-ebook/dp/B00HNG53LU

The Bricklayer, ebook, 2012, $2.64 US, www.amazon.com/dp/B007PKCHBI

The Blackpox Threat, 2010, $4.27US, www.Oldlinepublishing.com, http://www.amazon.com

 

http://www.vermeil.biz

http://www.facebook.com/rene.natan.7

https://mobile.twitter.com/redmanor

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4891285-rene-natan

E-books can be purchased on Amazon.com (Kindle). The Bricklayer and The Blackpox Threat are also available as print on Amazon.com

Cheers and Happy New Year

Sharon A. Crawford

P.S. Rene Natan turns the tables on me when she interviews me at http://www.scribd.com/doc/251460632/Interview-with-Sharon-Crawford

 

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