Author Archives: Susan

Why Indie Publishing Matters, Or Shaken, Not Stirred …by Susan Lute

While the new Janes are getting organized, I thought I’d slip in the back door, and tell you all the exciting news since my last 82022664-C11-002post. The one thing we know about publishing today is that nothing stays the same, and since I’ve had some time to surf the net, and blogs. There is one question that pops into my brain over and over again. Why does Indie publishing matter?

There are lots of reasons to indie publish a book, most of them discussed at one time or another on this blog. But we’ve never answered the question of why it matters? I don’t want you to think I’m casting stones. That is not my intent, only that I want to make an observation.

I was reading a post this morning, by Jaimie Brazil at Windtree Press, The Rejection Collection – Set Yourself Free. Jamie answered in part why indie books matter. For many years the New York publishing machine has owned the industry. They decided who’s voice readers would want to buy and read. And perhaps they did have the inside tract on that phenomena, but they weren’t right one-hundred percent, or even eighty or ninety percent of the time.

There are so many talented storytellers writing in their solitary offices, or local coffee shops that never make ‘the cut’. That’s why indie publishing and books matter. Besides the fact that it teaches an author about the practical aspects of publishing a novel, it gives voice to all those exceptional writers who wouldn’t otherwise see their stories in print.

V16 Falling For A Hero 800x1200For a long time indie published books have been considered the bastard stepchild to traditional publishing, and it was said, only the most unpublishable authors resorted to publishing their novels in that venue. That was never true, but today it’s the furthest thing from the truth, and I predict it won’t be much longer until indie and traditionally published books hold hands as full-blooded sisters and brothers in an industry that will respect an author not only for the story he or she tells, but also for the venue in which it’s published. Logo

So my journey continues with a new release and a new venture. New at Amazon and BN, and coming soon to Windtree Press and Kobo, is Falling For A Hero, The Anthology; A Girl Named Jane and Jane’s Long March Home under one new, but familiar cover. And this week Crazy Hair Publishing, an online indie book site for my novels, went live. As always, it has been a labor of love.

Thanks for staying with me on this journey. Until next time, I’ll have mine shaken, not stirred, thank you very much.

See Jane Publish, A New Chapter …by Susan Lute

It’s interesting how the Universe works. Two years ago three Janes founded See Jane Publish, because we wantedSteam punk girl with Typewriter. to share our journeys to publication and whatever that looked like. Where we are today is certainly not where we were when Kim, Nancy and I raised our glasses in anticipation. We are like Fourth Of July fireworks, each one a burst of light heading off in different directions.

For me, I am heading back to my writing roots. I had a computer glitch this weekend, and lost access to my desktop, where I work on all my current projects: the ugly draft of Dragon’s Keeper; my next release, Falling For A Hero, The Anthology; the template for the print version of Dragon’s Thief. We’re working on the fix as I type this. In the meantime, for the first time in years I sat on the swing in my backyard and hand wrote four and a half pages of Dragon’s Keeper. Where I had hit a wall before the crash of my technology, now the story is flowing. That is a message in and of itself, right? And a perfect example of when the going gets tough in our writing lives, it’s time to step back, take a second look, and find out if our story can be told in a different way, perhaps even, with different tools.

This is true for my writing journey as well. It’s time to step back and take a different route than the one I’d planned. By no means am I giving up the writing. It’s just the map has changed. Two new ventures on my plate are the author cooperative at Windtree Press, and a website for Crazy Hair Publishing, my own publishing arm. The site is still being built, but I’ll give a shout out when it’s done.

Jessie Smith has enthusiastically agreed to take over the helm of See Jane Publish. Watch for a new format, and new Janes as a new chapter of SJP begins. And Jessie has promised to reserve a spot or two for me to come back and bug you all.

So this is not good-bye, it is merely see you later. Come and visit me at susanlute.com, facebook, goodreads, Pinterest, and Windtree Press.

Thanks for taking this journey with me. You are all awesome!

The Life Of A Self-Published Author …by Susan Lute

Back in the day when I decided to become an “author” there was only one choice, so I pursued traditional publishers. AndSteam punk girl with Typewriter. was successful. Since then nothing has remained the same. For the most part Writer’s Road has always been a little bumpy. Just when you’ve smoothed it out with a new layer of pavement, there’s a rumble and a new pothole appears.

Authors…all writers are a hard working, tenacious group. Telling a good story isn’t easy. And in today’s publishing world getting it published is especially challenging. These days you’re not just a good storyteller, you’re a savvy business person too – no matter how you publish, but this is especially true for the Self-Published author.

Here’s what this wild ride looks like. It’s not for the faint of heart. You have an idea for a story. It won’t let you go about your merry way, so you write for however long it takes to get it out of your system. You revise multiple times. You have your beta readers read it. You revise. You have it edited. You revise until it’s a pearl. You create a cover, or have one done by a talented cover designer. In the meantime, you write back cover blurbs, front matter, and back matter with your story sandwiched in between. When the manuscript is ready, you put it into a conversion program, like Jutoh, or you have someone do it for you. Formatting Fairies does a great job and has very reasonable prices. When the package (your book) is complete, you upload it to the various venders, Amazon, BN, Kobo, to name just a few. You master the art of social media in whatever combination is most comfortable for you. It should include, at the very least, facebook (where you post daily if possible), and Goodreads. I heard someone say the other day fb has become a mini-blogger site. You set up your author page at Author Central at Amazon. If you don’t already have one, you get an author website; keep it updated, or have someone do it for you. The new catchword is discoverability, and there are varying opinions on whether book tours, or blog tours really help to sell books. What they do is keep your name and new release floating around the blog-o-sphere for a few weeks. AND you repeat this three to four times a year to build your reader base. This is the one case where more (but quality more) is better. Especially if your goal is to build a viable writing career.

Have I left anything out? Most likely. If this sounds daunting, believe me, some days it is.

So in honor of the hard work that has gone into making these author’s careers, I want to tip my top hat to my friends who have the tenacity of a hunting tiger, and who have hung in there on their journey to becoming hybrid or Indie authors. In alpha order, with their most recent Indie releases…drum roll please…

Jamie Brazil, A Fart In Time

Maggie Faire, Chameleon, The Awakening and The Choosing

Susan Fox, Finding Isadora

Patty Jager, Gambling On An Angel

Delilah Marvelle, Lady of Pleasure

Jessa Slade, Hotter On The Edge 2

Happy reading!

Storyboarding…Your Career …by Susan Lute

(Originally published in the Writer’s Serenade, August 2013 issue, with minor changes to update for Steam punk girl with Typewriter.readers of See Jane Publish)

Saturday I’m giving a workshop titled, Storymapping Your Novel. As both the titles of the workshop and this post indicate, (as those of you who follow SJP know) I’m in many ways a plotter. I didn’t start out that way. When I began doing the Storyboarding… workshops, many, many years ago, it was Storyboarding Your Story. As time when by, I realized this fun exercise could be used to plan…mold…plot a writer’s career in the same way you would a novel.

You can do this at home. You’ll need a poster board (½ sheet), glue stick, scissors, lots and lots of assorted magazines, and a large frame to showcase your finished storyboard.

Find a comfortable place to spread out. Let your mind fly free. From the magazines cut out pictures, words and numbers that jump out, speak to you, feel like, or seem to have some significance for your career as a novelist (you might not know how or why). Once you have a large pile, sort through them, placing the most significant on the poster board. Make a collage. Don’t worry if some of the images overlay others. In the middle put the the one that feels most important, the image or words that scream the loudest what you’d like your writing career to look like. Build from there to the edges.

Some of the images may relate more to your non-writing life, but blend them with your career pictures. This is a hodgepodge merging of everything that is you succeeding as an author. That can’t be done without the ‘normal’ life that makes you who you are as a writer. When you’re satisfied with the overall effect, glue everything down. Use numbers to date your board. Then take a good look. What do you see?

You don’t have to be an artist or natural born plotter to do this storyboard.

(Insert: For those of you who are readers, you can do this exercise too, for your career, or everyday life, whichever you would like to spotlight, or need help deciding where you could go from here.)

In fact when I made my very first one, I fancied myself a pantser, someone who writes a story by the seat of her pants, with no guideposts except the end – a happy-ever-after. At the time I made the one hanging in my office, I’d grown into a hybrid between a pantser and plotter. Now, after a lot of back and forth, I like to think of myself as a planner, a close sister to a plotter, only without the specific attention to detail. But, it doesn’t really matter how you approach your writing (or life), only that you do approach it…and your career, with the firm intention of finishing your current novel…and the next one…and the next one.

The best thing about storyboarding your career is you’re going to see something unexpected in your finished board. It will speak to you, tell you something you didn’t know about yourself. And, it can be framed. Mine hangs in my office. When I look at it, the visual image of my writing career reminds me, I’m a work in progress, same as the story I’m currently writing.

This Is What Happens When Two Writers Get Together …by Susan Lute

It started Friday night when I met with Wendy Warren at Panera. Lost half a day of the day job because I had to run into Steam punk girl with Typewriter.Portland to swap out my computer. Got back just in time to drop the new one off in my office, and then turn around and head our favorite meeting place. The weather was beautiful, the 30 minute drive relaxing.

Probably because we spend so much time in our offices, and in our heads, when writers get together, there’s no getting a word in edgewise. Writers write stories, but they also have their own story. Somehow we got to talking about our stories. We started with Wendy, but she tired of that pretty quick, and steered the conversation to me. Did I stop her? No. Did she take notes? Yes. We got a little carried away. You remember we both right fiction, right?

Wendy: (writing on the back of a long grocery receipt she pulled out of her purse, which she later gave to me.) Nurse by day. Best selling novelist at 4am.

Me: I got a tattoo.

Wendy: Oooh! Let me see! (then back to the receipt) Dragonkind, an escape into a world of fire and power and love and fidelity, broken but mended hearts.

Me: My office is full of dragons. (Wendy, will you be my publicist?)

Wendy: Orphaned at a young Harlequin age; got an agent; went back to work full-time.

Me: (not too impressed with how my story was going so far) I have two computers and three monitors in my office. Occasionally a dog (not mine; he belongs to the children). Sometimes two delightful little girls.

Wendy: How big is your house?

Me: 1100 square feet, plus the unfinished edition.

Wendy: Works in 1100 square foot home; lives with three generations of family; had to add 300 square feet.

Me: Huh?

Wendy: To all things there is a season. I will write no matter what (meaning I will be writing), and the dragons will live. This is the story you told when you could no longer write the others. Look at the tattoo and remember your dreams!

Me: This is every woman’s story (I told her): work hard, have a family, pursue hard to achieve dreams.

Wendy: This is your story…a dream born out of the ashes like a Phoenix (I had mentioned there’s a Phoenix in my current WIP). As in all good dreams, you began again.

Me: I’d better see your story on your blog. Can I say I write on the funny side of dark?

Wendy: {{{snort}}}

I just popped over to Too Hot Mamas. Not a mention of Wendy’s “story”, but a very funny blog about ten year olds dating. The good thing to come out of our conversation at Panera…we both accepted a challenge to report on our current WIP every morning. Friday morning I wrote 210 words; Saturday 338; Sunday in four wonderful uninterrupted hours 1851 words; today (Monday) 0. Back to the day job. But this post is 521 words plus. That counts, right?

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