Two Winners on Halloween!

Louie Lawnmower Front Cover for Kindle export (1)



We have double winners on Halloween! First the winner of Louie’s BIG Day! is DK Stevens. Congratulations!!!


Jane Ann McLachlan was the winner of Bonnie Doran’s book, Dark Biology. Woo hoo!


You could be next week’s winner. Make sure you drop by and comment on Ginny Hamlin’s interview for your chance to win Marriage Takes Three. See you there!Gold_Medal_8

Self-Publishing: A Retraction :)


So earlier this month, I wrote about self-publishing and mentioned a 5,000 dollar price tag as one of the drawbacks. I got my facts from editors at established publishing houses who spoke at the writer’s conference I’d been to just a few weeks before.

Guess what? Traditional publishers are not experts on self-publishing. After publishing my article, I spoke to several Indie authors from the Christian Indie Authors Facebook group who have dozens or even hundreds of books out. They said they spent as little as zero to a couple hundred dollars to bring each book into print. Createspace, the self-publishing arm of Amazon, charges nothing to bring both your e-book and paperback out in print. You only have to pay for editing your book and cover art.

My jaw dropped. Where in the world were traditional publishers getting this 5k figure then? Terri Main, a self-pubbed author with dozens of books in print, explained it to me as the difference between a Mercedes and more affordable modes of transportation. Both will get you from point A (written manuscript) to point B (published manuscript), but the Mercedes will cost a ton more. Random House can afford the Mercedes, but most self-pubbed authors can’t.

I also learned that not all genres are created equal when it comes to self-publishing. With some exceptions, self-published non-fiction doesn’t sell well. Perhaps this is because people want a publishers’ stamp of approval on their non-fiction to ensure they’re getting the right facts. Or maybe they’re more likely to look in a brick and mortar store for non-fiction, rather than browse Amazon.

As a rule, self-pubbed romances sell extremely well. Of course, romances in general sell really well and romance readers are avid consumers who read multiple books a month. The jury’s still out on self-pubbed picture books. Some authors have said they’ve done really well with picture books, while others have said its a hard market to self-publish in.

So I’d like to apologize to all my author friends for spreading the false 5k figure in my last post. These days, you can self-publish for cheap and make money off of it.

Besides the technology that has cut down the costs of self-publishing, there’s another driving force behind the self-pubbing wave. Because of the economy, traditional publishers are pushing author marketing more and more.

Before signing on a new author, publishers want him to have a huge social media following, a successful blog, and a ten page marketing plan. Is it any surprise that once an author has all that in place she might think, “Hmm, I could just market this book myself.”

Ginny Hamlin



Today we welcome author Ginny Hamlin to 3 Questions Wednesday.


(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Ginny: Terms of Endearment by author Larry McMurtry is my favorite novel, which was also turned into a screenplay by the same name. The author makes you believe the fascinating characters really exist. I walked away from the book feeling as though Aurora Greenway was actually off raising her grandchildren.

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Ginny: Again, my answer is the fabulously woven story of “Terms of Endearment” and I would choose to play the role of Aurora Greenway. If I’d been asked this question in the 80s when I saw the movie, I would have opted to play the role of the daughter, Emma. However, all these years later I’d gladly choose the role of Aurora Greenway; the gap in the character’s age and mine has closed considerably. Wink wink.

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ginny: I’d love to visit Italy (specifically, Tuscany) with my husband. We’ve been planning a trip in our minds for years, but intend to take the next step, which is practical; planning, i.e., budgeting. Trust me, when it happens (not if) I’ll be the giddy tourist snapping pics and posting them on Facebook on a daily basis.

Jennifer, thank you for having me on your blog, it’s been my honor and pleasure. I look forward to responding to any questions or comments that your readers post.

Thanks, Ginny, For joining us on 3 Questions Wednesday! Leave a comment to be entered to win a copy of “Marriage Takes Three” in one of the following formats: Kindle, paper back, or eBook.

marriage makes threeMarriage Takes Three

Darla Connor is struggling with whether to stay in her troubled marriage or walk away. Maintaining a long distance friendship with an old sweetheart isn’t making the decision easier, especially when that sweetheart, now a famous country music star declares his love for her, even though she is married. Randall Connor is a recovering alcoholic and wants to heal his broken marriage, and as a new believer, he is counting on God to help him. When Darla rejects his ultimatum to sever ties with her old boyfriend, he’s in for the battle of his life. Will Darla follow promises of a better life with her old boyfriend, or will she surrender to God in time to save her marriage?


G.E. Hamlin (Ginny) passionately writes about broken marriages and the restorative power of Jesus Christ. Her stories stem from personal experiences and working in lay ministry as a member of her church. Her characters encounter the natural consequences of addiction to: alcohol, drugs, and sexual immorality. It is Ginny’s hope each story will create a bridge for discussion in real life.

Ginny has been a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) for over six years. Her style of writing reflects the qualities of Nicholas Sparks’ soft side and the fast pace of James Patterson.

She and her husband Ed have a blended family with five adult children and eight grandchildren. Ginny and her husband live in Southern California where they enjoy the beach, desert, and mountains. As a full time author, she is blessed with frequent opportunities to spend time with the grandchildren.



Self Publishing Revolution: Minnows are Making Waves

20140428_144615By Cari Schaeffer Conversations with Cari

Self Publishing – that term causes a lot of confusion, angst, and strong emotions in The Industry. I doubt my two cents – worth half a penny when adjusted for inflation – will cause a cataclysmic shift, but I hope to give you some food for thought.

I want to clear up what Self Publishing is and what it is not. Currently, there are three ways for an author to get their work into the hands of readers:

•    Traditional Publishing
•    Self Publishing 1 – Vanity or Subsidy
•    Self Publishing 2 – Indie

Note that Vanity/Subsidy and Indie Publishing are separated under the umbrella term Self Publishing. I want to be very clear – they are not one and the same. Bundling those terms has unfortunately caused a stigma to arise against Self Publishing in any form.

The definition of Self Publishing, per Wikipedia, is the publication of any book or other media by the author of the work, without the involvement of an established third-party publisher. The author is responsible and in control of the entire process including the design of the cover and interior, formats, price, distribution, marketing and public relations.

That is where the similarity between Vanity/Subsidy and Indie Publishing end. The key distinguishing characteristic that defines true Self Publishing is that the author has decided to publish his or her work independent of a publishing house, whether Vanity or Traditional; thus the term Indie.

A number of years ago, in order to publish one’s work apart from a traditional publishing house, authors had to spend considerable amounts of money to do so. Vanity Publishers are those that will accept any work, no matter the quality, and publish it for thousands of dollars. They also require the author to purchase hundreds of copies of their own books to sell first before they see any return for their investment.

Current technology allows authors to publish, market, and sell directly to readers without requiring middlemen of any kind. The biggest leap forward for Indie authors is the availability of Print on Demand (POD); no longer is it necessary to print hundreds of copies of one book in order to make it available. Now, as one book is ordered, one book is printed. As for e-books – well, that is an amazing technological wonder all on its own. Readers can download books to any electronic device they want to, no publishing house required. The Indie Publishing revolution grows more each year.

Arguments against Self Publishing

One of the primary arguments against Self Publishing is that an author’s work isn’t considered legitimate by The Industry if it is Self Published. Well, as a consumer, is your food or clothing less legitimate if you purchase them from a wholesaler or a retailer? No. The end product is either quality, or it isn’t. Let the market decide. It’s also often more economical to go wholesale because middlemen require payment. Indie authors make a whole lot more in royalties per unit sold than Traditionally Published authors do and infinitely more than Vanity Published authors.

Another common argument is the lack of marketing afforded to Self Published authors. The myth is if an author is picked up by a traditional publisher, that publishing house will spend money to market their work for them. When I was exhaustively researching my publishing options, I saw the trend in all of the traditional publishing houses to require every inquiring author to have an established marketing plan and social media promotional platform. As a debut author, they are unwilling to invest in marketing my work. That is, should they ever decide to pick it up at all. I would have to do that myself. If that’s the case, then why not choose to do it all myself and keep the royalties, too?

A third common argument against Self Publishing is the work isn’t polished or professionally edited. It is true that there has been a lack of polish and professional editing in some books that have been Self Published. Please refer back to Vanity Publishing. However, there are also a number of books that have gone through traditional publishing houses that have also lacked polish even with professional editing. There are typos and errors found in best selling works from traditional houses. As an author and an avid reader, I can attest to that fact. I haven’t read one single book that is one hundred percent error free. Editors are people and will make mistakes regardless of who signs their paycheck – the author or a traditional publishing house. One cannot blanket judge any genre or publishing method based on one bad work, or even several bad works. A science fiction book that is filled with typos and has a poorly developed plot would not cause a judgment to be rendered against every science fiction book. That’s ludicrous. A blanket judgment against Self Publishing should not be rendered by this method, either.

Exciting Horizons

Did you know that in 2008, for the first time in history, more books were Self Published than were Traditionally Published? In 2009, 76% of all books released were Self Published, while traditional publishing houses as a whole reduced the number of books they produced. Their funnel is getting ever narrower. That was six years ago. I find that to be both amazing and exhilarating. I am so grateful to be a ripple producing minnow in the publishing sea that is creating a tidal wave to change the landscape of literature.

Currently, I have one work Indie Published (with five more works in progress) and available for sale in the marketplace. Faith, Hope, Love, and Chocolate was released in May, 2014. With the royalties I have made and already been paid, I was able to replace my husband’s wedding ring which was recently stolen. That tragedy was turned into triumph because God has blessed my Indie Publishing efforts and I thank Him for it. Onward and upward!


Who Won Amelia’s Legacy?

Amelia's Legacy FRONT Cover (2)Drumroll, please!

Paula Osborne, you have won a copy of Amelia’s Legacy!

Thanks, everyone who commented on the post, and don’t forget, there are two more book giveaways still available.

Comment on one or both of these posts for a chance to win:

Go here to leave a comment for a chance to win Maria I. Morgan’s fun book, Louie’s BIG Day (children’s book).

And if you like science fiction thrillers, Bonnie Doran’s Dark Biology here.

You can be a Winner, too!

What Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?

**Disclaimer-all sites that I discuss in this piece are pulled from random google searches. I have not used any of these services and claim no knowledge about their services. I use them strictly for you to get an idea of cost.



Self-publishing or Indie publishing has garnered a lot of attention lately and for good reason. It is now possible to publish high-quality books yourself. There is a plethora of editors, cover designers, and people who will format the book and help you market it. The question is how much will all this cost?

You’ve written a novel and want to make it the best that you can. What are some services and prices offered?


Bubble Cow. Yes, the name intrigued me so I went there. For a line edit, an overview, and an eBook cover design, they charge $17 for every thousand words.

The Book Butchers. The tagline was good. Go to the site to see it. 6 cents a word gives you their best service which includes overview, edits, grammar checks, eBook formatting, etc.

I googled Christian editor and found Where the Map Ends. Jeff Gerke offers a full edit for 5 cents a word.


WordZworth Their basic text service is $1.98 per page.

Go Published Their formatting runs from $100 to $120 on a novel.

Cover Design

Alpha Advertising They offer packages for book cover design from $449 to $949.

99 Designs Their design run from $299 to $1199.


Okay, when it came to prices from a publicist I couldn’t google a particular price. Most said to contact them and they would see what your needs and budget would allow. The one marketer who had a price for premiere marketing advice and help quoted $7500 to $25,000.


So how much will it cost to self-publish a book? Whatever you are willing to put into it. If you are serious about self-publishing, I would read self-published books, find covers, formatting, and editing that looks professional and check into them.

Research. Research. Research.

That would be the key. How many of you who have self-published spent too much money? Had a good experience? Share what you’ve learned with us…

A New Winner plus More Chances to Win…

lighter for print Thunder



Our latest winner on the Writing Prompts Blog is Katie Clark! She’s won Bonnie Calhoun’s latest release, Thunder.



There are several chances to win a variety of books on our blog right now. Go here to learn about Betty Thomason Owens latest release, Amelia’s Legacy and comment for a chance to win.

How about a children’s book? Go here to leave a comment for a chance to win Maria I. Morgan’s fun book, Louie’s BIG Day!

And if you like science fiction thrillers, check out today’s interview with Bonnie Doran here. She’s giving away a copy of Dark Biology.


Take a few moments to encourage an author and possibly win a new book!