Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bella Media Management Can Help You Self Pub

This month we have been discussing Indie Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing. As I have mentioned before, traditional publishers will do the hard work, other than writing, for you. They select covers, approve titles, create a blurb for the back of your book, publish your book in print and most likely digital formats. If you self pub (Indie) then you will need to do all of this yourself or get help.

If I ever decide to go the self pub route, I will turn to Carol Webb at Bella Media Management. The book cover above is an example of her work. She also updates our blog and my website at BooksbyTina. Not only is she creative, she is intelligent, reliable, and easy to work with.

You can check out more of her covers at

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Indie vs Traditional Publishing

The Valley of the Sun Romance Authors gave out these tote bags when readers bought our books at the Glendale Chocolate Affaire. Every name on the tote is a published author. Some writers went the traditional route and sold their books to a big publisher like Harlequin, Random House, St. Thomas Press, etc. These authors received advances and will eventually receive royalty checks. They have editors and deadlines. They have the added pressure of keeping their sales up in order to receive future contracts. The added bonus with traditional publishers is they send out thousands of copies of your book to bookstores and perhaps supermarkets.

Some of these writers sold to small digital presses like The Wild Rose Press. Authors who haven't been able to sell their books to the big publishers because they don't have an agent, their book is different than the books these editors are looking for, or they don't want the pressure of dealing with a big house, will often choose a smaller press. These publishers have editors and will send out copies for reviews. They do some promotion for you, but not a lot. The downside is some offer print copies and some don't. The Wild Rose Press does. Also, they often don't send out mass quantities to bookstores. If you choose this route you must make sure you are dealing with a reputable company. Ask other writers about their experiences. I believe every writer should join a professional organization like Romance Writers of America to help you guide your career.

Last, but not least, some of the writers listed on the tote are self-published or "Indie" writers. They usually hire someone to create a cover, then they format the manuscript and download it onto sites like Smashwords and Amazon. They basically cut out the middle man. The upside is the author will receive most of the profit for the book. The downside, besides paying hundreds of dollars to prepare your book for publishing, is the author is in charge of marketing the book. Some authors have found great success, but they also spend hours a day on promotion, and there is no guarantee readers will be interested in your book. Also, you must make sure your book is edited. I suggest getting a critique partner, but there are professional editors out there.
I know a few New York Times Bestselling authors who have decided to give up their big contracts in order to self-publish. These authors already have a following and are finding they make more money now.

How do you decide which route to go? There are many writers asking themselves that question daily. It depends on your goals and how much time you want to spend on promotion. Can you handle deadlines or do you want to set your own deadlines? Is your dream to make The New York Times list or do you simply want to see your book in print? Where do you see your writing career ten years from now? Once you answer these questions, you may be able to start down one of these paths.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Introducing Shobhan Bantwal

It is my pleasure to introduce another member of the Valley of the Sun Romance Writers, Shobhan Bantwal, and her book The Reluctant Matchmaker.

Publisher: Kensington Publishing

When petite Meena falls in love with her strikingly tall and older boss Prajay—a man who's determined to find a bride who will complement his remarkable height and age—how can she convince him that she's the right match for him? Is she strong and tenacious enough to make some sacrifices to fight for the giant she loves?



I hope you will visit Shobhan on Facebook.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Before my husband and I watched the new Oz movie last night, he told me the critics were not kind. During the show, which I found enjoyable, I wondered what standard they used to review the movie. Were they comparing it to the original Wizard of Oz? The first time I watched the black and white version turn to color I was in awe. Of course, I was a child, but it was magical. We didn't have amazing special effects back then.
Mila Kunis was a wonderful wicked witch, but in my mind, no one can beat the original. If the critics didn't compare it to the original, were they comparing it to other children's films shown over the past few years? Were they comparing it to all fantasy films?

After discussing the matter with my husband, I began to wonder about book critics. With the Internet, there are many places books can be reviewed. An author on one of my Internet writing loops shared a bad review of her book with the group. Her writing friends gathered to console her. This was in the back of my mind when I watched the movie. When book reviewers, who are sometimes writers, review books, are they comparing it to their own work? Are they comparing it to Nora Roberts? Or Stephen King? Are they comparing it to great literary masterpieces? Or are they just letting us know if they were entertained?

Then there is the reviewers mood to consider. Were they happy or did they just get a divorce? Is your hero's name Steve. Guess what? Her ex-husband's name is Steve. Is your hero named Emma. Her older sister she can't tolerate is named Emma. Is your book set in Miami? She got divorced in Miami. Did the reviewer promise to get the review in on Monday and she didn't have time to read beyond the first chapter? Was the reviewer sick? Was the reviewer mad at the world? Was the reviewer upset that your publisher turned down her manuscript? Did this reviewer seek you out to bash because the boy she wanted to attend prom with in high school chose you instead?

Unless you know the reviewer and unless she explains how she reached her conclusions, you are rarely going to know what goes into the review. I am grateful I had excellent reviews. I quote them on my bookmarks and link them from my personal blog. However, I did have a friend, an aspiring writer, review my book on an Internet site. Overall, it was a positive review, but she did have one comment that was less than positive. She thought the romance, in the mainly suspense novel, was a bit stilted. Another friend, a much better writer than the both of us, was outraged. She claimed that wasn't true and was surprised I was still speaking to the other friend. I considered the review and the fact my book isn't heavy on romance. The heroine is a tough agent, not a woman who gives in to her emotions. The next time I saw my friend, I told her I saw the review and I could see how she came to that conclusion and I would watch for it in the future. My advice to my writing friends is to take what rings true as a learning experience and toss out the rest. After all, you never know if the reviewer just burnt dinner, fought with her boyfriend, lost her dog, or broke a nail.

Until Friday,
keep reading and writing.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Which Way Do I Go?

Whenever I complete a project, I have an idea of where I want to go next. This time, the day I sent my proposal to my agent to begin pitching, a brand new story fell from the heavens into my lap. It is more intense than anything I've written before. But...I had plans to go down another path, a lighter path. What do you do? My grandmother often said, "When you don't know what to do, don't do anything at all." That lasted half a day and then the rest of the story came to me. The new story, the one given to me on a silver platter is the one I have to write. Even when I needed to do a bit of research, the perfect article came to me on the first try. I've decided that if there are times this story becomes too intense, then I'll take the other one out and work on it for a half hour or so to lighten my spirits. We'll see what happens.

Writing is a journey. You never know where it's going to take you.