I first heard of Wattpad several months ago through author (and fellow homeschooler!) Michelle Isenhoff, who uses the online reading and writing community with the same skill and energy that she gives to every aspect of her writing career. It sounded like a great idea, but, at the time, I was suffering from social media overload and was not up to facing yet another learning curve.

Recently I was again reminded of Wattpad when I read “People-Powered Publishing Is Changing All the Rules” and considered just how much fun it would be to serialize a story.

Wattpad is a virtual, ever-changing library for both readers and writers. Unlike some other book-oriented social media sites, Wattpad allows writers to share not only finished and complete stories but also serials, excerpts, and even works in progress. Twenty-first technology makes possible a dynamic, real-time connection between readers and writers on a scale that Dickens could have only dreamed of:

“Books serialization was once standard in the publishing industry. In the 19th century, authors would release their work to periodicals in stages. Charles Dickens is often cited as the exemplar of the publishing model, but Alexander Dumas, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Wilkie Collins also popularized serialization.’

Although out of fashion for many years, the rise of the mobile and social web has brought serialization back in vogue. Using the strategy, authors can keep readers excited about a story, gather feedback in real time and generate buzz. The piecemeal approach also suits modern reading patterns, as people increasingly consume shorter content on mobile devices, often on the go.” Read More

Indie Author Survival Guide: Not Just for Indie Authors

I rarely write book reviews or even rate books on Amazon, in part because unless I can give an unabashed two-thumbs-up recommendation, I don’t enjoy putting into words what I don’t like about a book. It feels too much like gossiping about a friend whose flaws I recognize but nonetheless find endearing.

Indie Author Survival GuideWith Susan Kaye Quinn’s recently published Indie Author Survival Guide, I feel no such qualms. I love this book and am happy to recommend it not only for anyone who has or is thinking of going down the road of indie publishing, but also for all writers—regardless of whether indie publishing is in their future—who need a dose of courage or a new perspective on their vocation and readers who want to understand better the brave new world of self-publishing.

What’s so good about Indie Author Survival Guide?

  • Superb writing, organization, and formatting. This is a clean, great looking ebook that is easy to read, even on my phone’s Kindle app.
  • Up-to-date, practical information and links. There are enough resources—from bloggers and indie authors to industry experts and examples of book trailers—to keep you happy for several weeks.
  • An empowering perspective. Susan offers a rare combination of feet-on-the-ground common sense and go-for-it courage.

Perhaps most important, Indie Author Survival Guide is much more than a how-to book (although it is that). It also offers a big picture perspective on writing in general and indie publishing in particular that came at just the right time for me. My single foray into indie authorship, Oscar’s Gift: Planting Words with Oscar Micheauxhas been, hands down, the most enjoyable writing project I have ever done. What Susan has helped me to see is that the pleasure I got from writing and publishing Oscar is something I can have again. And again. And again. The missing ingredient, for me, has been confidence, as she explains:

“At some level, you must have faith in yourself as a writer…. This is fundamental, and something I expressed to the teens in my Writing While Teen workshop this weekend: You are unique. Your take on the world is invaluable. Bringing your stories into the world is worthwhile.

We had this faith as children when we scribbled stories to share with anyone who would read or listen. Getting it back as adults means owning our creativity and, yes, our fears. It’s time for me to take my foot off the brake and proceed full speed ahead.

I am proud to say that I have survived indie publishing… and, thanks to Susan, will again, with pleasure.

Indie Author Survival Guide is available for KindleNook, and Kobo.

Connect with Susan Kaye Quinn through her blogFacebook, and Twitter.

“This book is for every author who’s thinking about indie publishing, or has already taken the leap, and wonders why no one told them about the sharks, the life-sucking social media quicksand, or the best way to avoid sales-checking, yellow-spotted fever. This is a guide for the heart as much as the head. And because I promised myself that I wouldn’t write a book about how I made a gazillion dollars publishing ebooks, I would write about the fear: owning it, overcoming it, facing it. From a person who didn’t pursue a creative life for a long time, and then discovered creativity can set you free.” ~ Susan Kay Quinn

You don’t have to do everything: Thursday afternoon at AWP

Here are a few links and takeaways from the two sessions I attended Thursday afternoon at the AWP Conference and Book Fair.

A Reading from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop Instructors

The readers’ websites and information:

David Baker
Nancy Zafris
Rebecca McClanahan
Carl Phillips

Listen to “Annual Conference: 8,000 Writers Expected,” by Rebecca McClanahan

The Tech-Empowered Writer

Check out the panelists’ blogs for some of their thoughts and resources:

Christina Katz
Seth Harwood
Jane Friedman
Robert Lee Brewer

Some of their suggestions:

You don’t have to do everything (Robert).

You don’t have to do things that aren’t comfortable for you (Seth).

Put your purpose and message first, and let your use of social media and other tech serve it (Jane).

You may not be able to take all of your friends from real life with you to your tech homes, but you can find other people interested in what you are writing or are interested in (Christina).

Next stops: Dinner, then Margaret Atwood.

The 99 Cent Thank You

A quick post today to thank everyone who has been such a big supporter of Oscar’s Gift: Planting Words with Oscar Micheaux, a work of historical fiction for ages 8 and up. Your emails and generosity have made the e-publishing experience both joyful and informative. My father and step-mother, in particular, have been busy spreading the word about the book in South Dakota, drumming up interest and sales in both libraries and schools.

Over the coming Thanksgiving week, I will be putting the final touches on teachers’ and readers’ guides for the novel. Meanwhile, to express my gratitude, I am pricing the ebook at 99 cents through the rest of this year.

Please share the sale so that more young (and not so young) readers can be introduced to the homesteading years of filmmaker Oscar Micheaux, a character as big as the Great Plains he farmed.

(iPadWriMo Day 11!)

Not Your Mother’s Print on Demand

When I decided to publish Oscar’s Gift in paperback form as well as an ebook, I was more than a little wary, both of what the final product would look like and of the cost. I admit that, not too long ago, the first image that came to my mind when I thought of a self-published book was the collection of spiral-bound church fund-raising cookbooks on my mother’s kitchen shelf, complete with laminated covers and a hand-drawn cover. Any writer over the age of 40 remembers the days when self-publishing and print on demand (POD) publishing (using a service that prints copies of a work on an as-ordered basis) were stigmatized, and “serious writers” were cautioned to avoid them like the plague, the only worse option being vanity presses. Today, however, those terms are becoming blurred, and even publishing professionals are having a hard time keeping up with the changes and what they really mean.

Some of the biggest surprises I found with publishing Oscar were 1) how easy it is to use a reputable POD service, 2) how inexpensive it can be, and 3) how professional it can look.

Oscar's Gift First pagesIn terms of cost, I pay under $3 per copy for author copies (not including shipping, which, for an order of 40, puts the cost right at $3/copy), and I can order as few or as many as I want. Literally the only other cost I would have needed to incur was ordering one or more proofs along the way to check for formatting and other errors (and CreateSpace provided a coupon that made the first proof order free).

Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn asks us, in this video, to imagine the possibilities of using POD for purposes other than professional writing, empowering young and old alike to see their words in print:


Like Joanna, I am someone who has always loved “projects” (as I child, I was constantly making my own books using construction paper bound together with yarn) and am excited by the POD possibilities, especially when ISBNs and distribution and royalties are no longer part of the consideration:

  • Children can publish their own stories or poetry as holiday gifts for relatives.
  • Homeschoolers can put together spiffy-looking year-end portfolios to remind themselves (and reassure others) of what they’ve learned.
  • The elderly can dictate their life stories and memories to children and grandchildren and later see their own memoirs bound between beautiful covers.
  • Even those recipe collections suddenly take on a whole new shine and flavor, whether for fund-raising or just as a way to preserve family favorites.

And all for no more (and often less) than the cost of going to Kinko’s.

What projects can you imagine?