Author Solutions, iuniverse, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Every author has to overcome obstacles to get published, but maybe none as challenging as what Kent Bell faces everyday.

When Kent Bell came into this world on Valentine’s Day in 1965, he was born without arms or legs and was not expected to live till the next day. But like most everything in his life, Kent defied the odds and is now, forty-nine years old.  His most recent accomplishment is becoming a published author.

In his book, Look Ma, No Hands, No Legs Either, he narrates his life story, beginning with being born without arms or legs. Through his  inspiring work, Bell tells what it’s like living and thriving with a disability. From his birth, to moving regularly with his military family, to attending school and college, to accomplishing more in life than an average person, he shares the ups and downs of almost fifty years.

As a first-time published author, he details various exploits and accomplishments. A sports enthusiast, Bell became a scorekeeper for many activities, from Little League to the pros, including being the first disabled person to be an official scorekeeper in the 2004 USA Olympic basketball event. His memoir shows how despite facing insurmountable obstacles to the most simple of activities, he has accomplished amazing things.Look Mom No Hands

In addition to achieving things many people only dream about, Kent has been an advocate to change the laws for people with disabilities.  Through Look Ma, No Hands, No Legs Either,  Bell inspires the reader through his unrelenting display of courage, passion, strength, endurance, integrity, and most of all, a positive attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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self publishing

What are some the next big things we will see for self-published authors?

This past weekend I was a panelist at the Writer’s Digest conference in a session that focused on new developments in indie or self-publishing. Panelists included Dan Dillon from Lulu and Amanda Barbara from Pubslush, which is a crowd funding platform for authors. Moderator was Phil Sexton from Writer’s Digest.

Jimmy Brass

Jimmy Brass is a graphic novel that was self-published through AuthorHouse in partnership with Golden Apple Comics

As usual, there was some lively dialogue and great questions from the audience and I always find the Writer’s Digest conference to be one of the best in the country. Being on the panel prompted me to think about what might be  some of the next big things we will see in Indie or self-publishing.

Self-published graphic novels will grow substantially

This past spring, we announced a partnership with Golden Apple comics to launch self publishing packages specifically tailored for graphic novel creators. About the same time, Amazon also announced a move into that space. Both are signs that graphic novel creators are going to be the next big group of content creators to take advantage of indie publishing.

Gorging Out cover

Gorging Out is a self-published novel that was recently optioned for film right.

Hollywood will produce a movie based on a self-published novel.

50 Shades of Grey will be in theaters shortly and while it started as a self-published novel, its meteoric success came once a traditional publisher, Random House, picked it up. I believe it won’t be long before you will see a film on the big screen that is developed from a self-published book. In fact, recently we announced another book that was optioned by Hollywood. Link to the release is here.  Stay tuned.

Subscriptions will not be as big a deal as the current bluster would lead you to believe.

If you pay attention to publishing news, subscription services are getting quite a bit of coverage. However, it is interesting to me that none of the news is around how many readers have signed up for the services. I think that is because consuming a book is a very different experience than consuming a song or a television show or movie. Pandora and Netflix do not require a significant commitment of time and much of what you get from their subscription services is disposable. A book is different. In the time it takes you to read a book, you could listen to one hundred songs or watch multiple movies. You can justify the value of a subscription because of the volume. I don’t think people will see the same value with books because they cannot consume them at the same rate.

I could be wrong and time will tell, but it will be interesting to watch.

Subscription services may lead to the resurgence of the serial.

While I don’t think book subscription services will get the traction of music and video services, I do think the format may fuel a resurgence of people writing serials and introducing a new chapter or what I call a micro-book each month. It has happened yet to any measure, but I think it will and may be one of the ancillary benefits of the new subscription services.

What do you think? Do you see any other big developments that I have missed? Use the comment section to let me know.

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Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, book selling, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Even in the media drenched times in which we live, books still impact lives in unique and signficant ways.

A number of years ago, I wrote a white paper titled, The Democratization of Publishing.  I suggested then that one of the key benefits of self publishing was not just getting to market quicker or earning more royalties, but using books to make a difference in the lives of others. Author Solutions (AS) has recently started a campaign that validates that claim.

Under the banner of Real Authors, Real Impact, AS is highlighting authors that have published a book for the purpose of impacting others. In this campaign, there are stories of authors who have promoted organ donation and saved countless lives, helped raise awareness of domestic sex slavery, even helped changed laws.  You can find the complete list of stories in the campaign on the Author Solutions site by clicking here. 

In the meantime, this video is a compilation of some of the stories you will see in the campaign. If you wonder if your book can make a difference, watch the video. I think you will find it to be motivating and inspirational.

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Author Solutions, authors, Balboa Press, book selling, Indie book publishing, iuniverse, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Holding your book for the first time. Hear what it is like from these authors.

In conjunction with the release of its 225,000th title, Author Solutions has released a video titled, Special Delivery: Holding Your Book for the First Time.”. This unique compilation captures a range of authors speaking about what it was like to see a copy of their print book for the first time.

Two of the authors, Donna Schwenk and J. L Witterick were eventually picked up by traditional publishers, Hay House andG.P. Putnam’s Sons respectively, one of the world’s leading trade imprints of Penguin.

If you are still working on your manuscript, I think this video will motivate you to write to the finish.

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Author Solutions, Indie book publishing, iuniverse, self publishing, writing

iUniverse self-published book leads FDA to change law

Not every book has to be a bestseller to be successful. Take the self-published book Deadly Powder on Medical Gloves; A Wake-Up Call to the Food and Drug Administration. It is not a title you will likely see appear on the New York Time bestseller list, but this book has helped change a long-standing law in our land and eliminate a potential health risk to many.

The book, written by  Richard F. Edlich MD. PHD (with Julie A. GarrisDeadly Powderon BS and Heather N. Smith), and self published through iUniverse, draws attention to an important health care matter. In the words of the authors:

 “When medical/surgical gloves were devised, the manufacturer had to provide a powder on the glove surface that enhanced the donning the glove before use.  During the last decade, a wide variety of glove coating surfaces have been developed to eliminate the need of the deadly powder on glove surfaces.  Scientific studies have documented that the deadly powder on gloves increases wound infection, causes adhesions that can compress the bowels, and spreads tumor cells throughout the cavity.  Our book was written to convince all health care professionals to use only powder free gloves. 

After publishing, the authors sent multiple copies of the book to the FDA, along with a petition to have them ban the corn starch powder from all medical and surgical gloves.  On July 3, 2013, they received the following attachment by email from the FDA confirming they were going to ban the powder from all gloves sometime during the next 18 months. 

Extract of the FDA Ruling

 “Title: ●Proposal to Ban Powdered Natural Rubber Latex and Powdered Synthetic Latex Surgeon’s and Patient Examination Gloves 

Abstract: FDA has determined that a subset of surgeon and patient exam gloves that are powdered and that represent a modest share of the market present a substantial risk of illness that cannot be corrected by a change in labeling. These gloves are Powdered Natural Rubber Latex Surgeon’s Gloves, Powdered Synthetic Latex Surgeon’s Gloves, Powdered Natural Rubber Latex Patient Examination Gloves, and Absorbable Powder for Lubricating a Surgeon’s Glove.

“Consequently, FDA is proposing to ban these devices”.

One of the great things about self publishing is it allows voices who otherwise might not be heard to have a platform. That means there is opportunity to impact people in ways that otherwise would not be possible.  This book is a great example of what can happen when you pursue the goal of publishing.  Congratulations Dr. Erlich for showing us what is possible if you believe in your work.

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Author Solutions, authors, iuniverse, Publishing, self publishing, writing

A interview with author Leda Sanford about her book Pure Moxie.

Pure MoxieOne of the great joys of my job is having the opportunity to speak to a wide variety of authors. Their experiences and stories are always inspiring to me. At the San Francisco Writers Conference, I had the opportunity to meet Leda Sanford. Leda, was a very successful executive who broke the glass ceiling and wrote a book to chronicle her experiences. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her book. My questions and her answers are below.

  • What inspired you to write your book?

I was inspired by a desire to share with other  women my story of re-invention and success at a time when women were just beginning to examine the adequacy  of their roles as wives and homemakers.  In 1998 when I moved from Manhattan to California   I was constantly asked by women to tell them the story of my life…about ” how I did it” ..and how at 59 I had the courage to leave everything behind and move to California.  This always led to the other question of how did I have the courage to break up my marriage at age 33, and with two children age 5 and 11, get a job in a field I was not educated for  ( magazine business) and within 5 brief years break the glass ceiling in 1975 and become the first female publisher and president of a major American publishing company, and American Home magazine.

How I did it and what were the steps that I took along the way?

What was the “secret” of my survival and success and the continuing response to the age barrier as well as the gender discrimination ?

My  answer at a dinner party when asked this question now is : BUY MY BOOK!

Even though I was “famous” in my field and have many articles to prove it including my Wikipedia listing…  there is the validation that comes from being “an author”…,

  • What do you hope readers will gain from reading the book?

 I hope that readers will draw from my book the courage to explore the dimensions pf their unique destiny while not negating their designated roles and wives ,  mothers and caregivers because there is no better preparation for aging than the power that comes from being a multidimensional person . I hope that the readers will see the importance of having courage rooted in determination and a willingness to accept the possibility of failure without being crushed by it. 

  • You have had extensive experience in publishing. How do you think that helped you in your writing and publishing process?

My many years of writing for magazines and directing and developing the writers ,  editors and art directors who reported to me cultivated  in me the ability to “communicate” through writing, editing and the ability to be brief. Get to the point …Grab the reader..

  •  What tips would you give to aspiring writers who are thinking about publishing?

Read the new York Times especially the Sunday Book Review section.

Avoid critique groups of amateur writers. You can’t learn from these people.

 Submit your writing to the scrutiny of accomplished professionals that you have to pay.

Would you go to a free “doctor.?”

 My best teacher taught me that “Writing is Rewriting.”

Watch C-SPan Book TV on Sat. & Sunday  channel 109

  • What has been the most satisfying thing about publishing a book?

For me he most satisfying thing about publishing a book is the feeling of immortality.

Even though I was “famous” in my field and have many articles to prove it including my Wikipedia listing…  there is the validation that comes from being “an author”…,someone who dedicated  time and energy to sharing their soul with other people . And there is the ego gratification that I enjoy when giving my book to someone or when people come to hear me speak about it..

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Author Solutions, AuthorHouse, authors, Editing, helpful hints, self publishing

The best tip I ever received from an editor

editingWe all need to write and read, then edit and rewrite. Stop typing. Walk away. Question whether it is really any good. Get inspired and furiously start typing again. And we all need to self-edit before we ever give our work to an editor, but we almost always do the same thing. We start reading from the beginning. We start with the first sentence and then read from there, but that is not the best way to determine what shape the manuscript is in. The best tip I ever received from an editor is read the  last chapter first when it is time to self-edit. Why? Because our natural tendency is start at the beginning and read from there, which means the first chapter probably gets read and edited the most. The last chapter is the last written and probably the one that is read the least of the whole book.

I know this may not sound that genius, but try it. I think you will find the need to edit will be much more evident in the last chapter than the first and give you a truer measure of what work is needed on the manuscript.

What tips do you have that you can share with authors? Use the comment section to share yours with readers.

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