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Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Self-Publisher Ends Contract with Advocate Distribution


 
For those of you who haven’t read my earlier posts, I signed under Advocate, a division of Send the Light, one and a half yrs. ago.

I was excited to be accepted by them and be able to say that as a self-published author, I also had a distributor. It seemed to give me more credibility, but oh ... at such a cost.

First, I had to pay $500. I believe this was to be in their magazine—which, although I was pictured within the same pages as Kirk Cameron, I saw no sales come from this. (Still, it’s neat to have on hand and peruse through sometimes—but it did cost me!)

I was told I wouldn’t make money unless they made money. This seemed to make logical sense to me. (However, someone other than me was making money.) I agreed to pay to have a poster of one of my books displayed at the International Christian Retail Show. This brought in a few sales but nothing to get too excited about. Probably not enough to pay for the $150 poster.

As a member, you’re offered numerous ads to participate in. One of which was the Munce catalog. I was accepted by them, which I was told through someone at Advocate this was something special as not every self-pubby gets through their doors. Then I was told what ads I should probably go with in their magazine. In three months, they would showcase four of my books in half page ads for a total of $3800. I swallowed hard, stared at the money in my book account, and said okay. I had the money, it was set aside to ride this roller coaster and see where it would take me, so no worries … right?

Lots of books went out to places like Ingram, Anchor, and smaller places. However, not enough to cover even a small portion of what I’d paid. Therefore, I chose not to do any more ads until I made my money back. However, without doing consistent ads, my name wasn’t out there. Without my name out there, no one was buying my books.

Long story turned pricey. Ingram and eventually Anchor, plus some of the smaller places, returned my books. Ouch. Then I had to pay back what I’d earned, plus now pay a small stocking fee.

So when all was said and done I realized this wasn’t working for me. I wrote another large check to close my account with Advocate and have the returned books sent to me. This gave me a ballpark figure of $5500 in all that I had spent with Advocate.

Does this mean you shouldn’t venture down this lane? Not exactly. I think it might have worked out if I hadn’t done a big ad or any ad for that matter, because the small ones I tried before getting out never brought in sales either. So if after reading this you still want to give it a try, join but don’t agree to ads. Then if someone asks you where they can get your books, you can proudly tell them anywhere. Any bookstore can order them. Keep a low profile until you decide you want to drown yourself in marketing and keep your name alive—maybe then the ads would pay off.

A note to consider. I could have paid for the same Lifeway ads that you see in your mailbox. Yes, I could’ve made myself look as popular as Joyce Meyers. This put things in a new perspective. Yes, Joyce is well known now and probably very gifted although I’ve not read any of her work. However, what worked for her is having someone believe in her and be willing to risk enough money to keep her in the lime light. If only we all had that we could all be so famous.

One last note, in the short time I was with Advocate, they went through a lot employees. Although they were all very kind in my dealings over the phone and email, there were some expensive foul ups made. That first $500 charge—well that was charged to me twice. Had I not caught it, well … And that wasn’t the only accounting error … always in their favor. Now I don’t believe anyone did this on purpose, but if you sign with them, check your monthly statements carefully!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

No More Rejection Letters/Submit Proposal the Easy Way!

As most of you know, I'm a self-published author. I chose to go this route to avoid any additional stress to my life while homeschooling my children. However, I feel ready to accept the challenges of a traditional publisher now and am writing an inspirational comedy romance with the intent of becoming a hybrid author. What this means, is that I'll be both traditionally published and self-published in hopes the traditional route will draw more attention to my books that are self-published.

But ...
I do not want to go the stressful route of facing rejection letters. Nor do I have to. ChristianManuscriptSubmissions.com is a site designed to connect writers with publishers. You can find out more by going here: http://christianmanuscriptsubmissions.com/authors/create_pp.php

If you want to leave your work with them, here's what you'll need to prepare:
This is a sample of the "Create Your Proposal" form

SAMPLE FORM FOR REFERENCE ONLY - DO NOT COMPLETE

*Required Fields


My Proposal
Tentative Title*:
Proposal Category*:
Topic:
Intended Audience:
Similar Books:
Promotion Ideas:
Manuscript Length
(Word Count):
Completion Date:
Book Summary* :
Word Count 500
Table Of Contents:
(Chapter titles only)
Writing Sample*:
(Word Count 3000)
Interest in Self-publishing: Yes No
Interested self-publisher or partner-publisher will provide editorial services and print your book for a fee.
Agents May Contact Me: Yes No
Interested agent would represent your book to a publisher and follow AAR guidelines to charge you nothing up front and share in a small percentage of the book proceeds after publication.
How did you hear about us?
 

SAMPLE FORM FOR REFERENCE ONLY -
DO NOT COMPLETE

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Does God Still Speak Through Dreams


In Fourth Time’s the Charm, God speaks to my heroine through dreams and warns her of what’s to come. I was drawn to the idea because of a young girl’s admonition years ago. She told me she’d had a dream of who she was going to marry. Despite the disbelief of her parents that the dream held truth, she believed and it came to pass. They’re still married to this day with two children and a third on the way.


Does that sound outrageous to you?

I also have another friend (a Christian like the afore mentioned woman), who often experiences vivid dreams that carry messages for her life. And the beautiful part I have in this, is that God will sometimes use me to interpret them for her. I’m often blown away by the impact her dreams have—often ringing true even months later!

The Bible tells us that in the last days, sons and daughters shall prophesy, young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams. -Acts 2:17

In researching for people God spoke to through dreams in biblical times, I came across the following article. I think it’s well written and gives insight into one of the wonderful ways God works His Spirit in our lives.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Planning a Book Cover

When planning a cover for my latest W.I.P., I try to capture the essence of my characters, location of the story, and if possible, a link to something of importance.

For Abandoned Hearts I have a vehicle driving away, virtually abandoning my hero. He has a hand on his head as if he still doesn't understand why she's leaving and it's clearly in the Ozarks.

In Unexpected Kiss, it mirrors the kiss in the book. Ethan Durham plans an opportune photo shoot with a stranger on a city street. I didn't need anything else but the kiss as the cover also stands in as the photo he needed to finish up a class he was taking.

Now in my newest release (that's not yet released), Four Times a Charm, my hero is the sheriff and my heroine is a waitress. The title comes from the four times the sheriff saves her, but the heart charm I want in the cover comes from a gift he gives her.

What I want in the cover is my sheriff at a table against a wall with a vest, badge and even a hat on. (We'll forgive him for wearing it inside for the sake of the cover!) He'll be in the center background. Then in the front right side, I'll have a close up shot of the waitress carrying a pitcher and wearing a heart charm around her neck or wrist. Ideally, I want her close enough we don't have to have her face in the photo.

So when planning your next cover, consider three elements of your story and ask yourself, how can I pull them together for a cover.

 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Four Times a Charm excerpt ...

An excerpt to the coming Four Times a Charm. This is a 43,000 word historical romance. Should be available by the end of July!!


Angel cried and wrenched against Mr. Hall’s grasp. “You can’t leave him in there. He’ll die!”

“Brennan knows what he’s doing, Angel.”

The man’s words held little conviction as fire consumed the barn. “No,” Angel whispered. This wasn’t part of my dream. God, don’t let this happen.

“It should’ve been you.” Harris’s words lisped through his toothless smile. “He should’ve had to live with the knowledge of how you were going to die.”

“The fire’s moving in.” Sheriff Douglas turned his horse around, leading the other horse that held Harris tied to the saddle horn and the body of Stretch thrown across his back. “We have to move to higher ground.”

“We can’t leave him!” Angel jumped from Mr. Hall’s horse. She dodged licking flames and made a wide berth toward the barn, running through a small stand of trees.

Thunder crashed overhead and a torrent of rain opened above. Her vision already blurred by tears, Angel paid little mind to the needle-like pellets pounding her face. Bushes slowed her steps and caught her skirt, but she tore forward. She couldn’t lose him now. Somewhere along the past couple of weeks, Angel had fallen in love. Or maybe she’d always loved Brennan, even when he was Juliann’s. Though kept secret then, Angel had envied her best friend.

Almost free of the trees, the rain suddenly stopped. Angel collided into something hard. She would’ve stumbled backward but a hand reached out and caught her.

“Brennan?” Hope lodged in her throat as she peered into the face of … Dwayne. She screamed and twisted against his grasp.

“This ain’t over ‘til I get paid.” He sneered and withdrew a shiny blade from a pouch at his side. “And if it ain’t money, then I’ll get it another way.”

The sky continued to rumble as Angel eyed the knife reaching toward her throat. Her gaze flickered between the demonic eyes of her captor and his murderous weapon.

Her heart thudded a rapid pulse as her throat tightened and threatened to cut off oxygen. She couldn’t lose hope. Brennan was still out there.

The blade caught the reflection of the burning building. Angel glanced from Dwayne and his snarl back to the knife. A sudden movement reflected in the steel. Like the Bible story of the men in the fiery furnace, a form emerged from the front of the barn.

Brennan!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Print using Microsoft Word


 
1)      To get two pages on your screen looking like a book, either download Createspace’s format at:
or go to your toolbar, click on Page Layout, Size. Select 5” wide and 8” height (or whatever size you choose to have your book printed).
2)      But remember, the page appearing on the left of your screen is really the right of the printed book and vice versa.
3)      Look at the books you read. Do they have an excerpt from the book as a teaser in the beginning? If you choose to do that, highlight and center the first line or phrase, then add the paragraph below, centered in the page. This will be the first page in your book, on the right side.
4)      The second page is where you can list any previous books you’ve written.
5)      The third page is your title page. Your title is listed in large letters, then your name, and if part of a series, then that is what follows.
6)      For your copyright page (the page that holds the book’s information, which should be on the right side of your screen so it’s on the left side in the book) justify the paragraph by making the margins equal. (Choose the last paragraph selection in the tool bar under home.) Look for an example from my book Devoted Mission at the end of this post.                                 
7)      The next page is where you might want to insert a verse or quote. The page after that is for dedications. And your beginning chapter page must be on the right side of your book. (the left of your screen.)
8)      Check your ms for any extra spacing by clicking the pilcrow (the backward “p” in your tool bar under home) or the Show/Hide.
9)      Under the home tab, make sure the body of your ms is justified. You can choose this under “paragraph.” If you don’t know which one this is, hold your cursor over each paragraph symbol until one reads justified.
10)  Next under paragraph, click the “line and paragraph spacing” symbol. It’s to the right of the paragraph selections and has arrows pointing up and down with horizontal lines on the side. For print version, choose 1.0 for your sentence spacing.
11)  Beneath the same tab, click “line spacing options.” Under indentation go to special and click first line. The next box allows you to choose how much you want your paragraphs indented.  (.3 or .5 is usually selected.)
12)  By using the “find” tab in your home setting, you can highlight every chapter heading by typing the word “chapter” into the bar. Make sure each heading is centered by clicking the centered paragraph in the tool bar or Ctrl E. Do this also for what you use to separate scenes. (***, etc.)
13)  With your pilcrow still selected, at the end of each chapter, select insert in your tool bar then click on “page break.” This should bring you to the next page which would be the next chapter. I add two spaces before the chapter heading and three after for print but only two after for ebooks. Make sure all your chapters are the same and the pilcrow has the same font. (That will insure the spacing is equal.)
14)  Also, if at the end of any of your chapters the last sentence is spaced too far between words, with your cursor at the end of the sentence, click “return” and that should correct it.
15)  Under page layout, Margins, select custom margins and make the top, left, and bottom at .75, with the right at .5 and the gutter at .13—gutter positioned to the left.
16)  Don’t forget your header and footings. Double click on the top of a page and it should appear. On the page on the left side of your computer screen, type in the title of your book. On the page on the right side, type in the author’s name.
17)  Last are your page numbers. Go to Insert. Select page numbers. I choose bottom and centered for mine, but you can choose from a wide selection.

***
(sample copyright page)
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
 
DEVOTED MISSION
 
Published by Hawse Pipe Ministries
Copyright © 2014 by Regina Tittel
Cover design by Regina Tittel
Edited by Angela Breindenbach
 
All rights reserved.
 
This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced without permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews and may not be re-sold.
 
All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.
 
ISBN-10:  0988900254
ISBN-13:  978-0-9889002-5-7
 
Regina Tittel wrote Devoted Mission to bring awareness to the spiritual needs of the Kurdish people both stateside and abroad. And to convey the spiritual side of this world and the power of prayer we have through our Lord, Jesus Christ.


 

Friday, February 7, 2014

My Distributor Adventure and Monetary Results


My Distributor Adventure and Monetary Results

I finished out 2014 with a little over $10,000 in book sales. HOWEVER . . . some of you may remember I signed with Advocate Distribution, a division of Send the Light. Through them, I agreed to a $500 charge to be in their magazine and $3800 of ads in the Munce catalog. This catalog is sent to store owners nationwide.
Because of this I did procure sales in stores that I never had before, but I think the biggest help was paying for Advocate to take some of my books to the I.C.R.S. conference along with a poster of my latest release. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it’s the International Christian Retail Show. A huge array of vendors are there to see what’s new and decide on what they should stock.
When all was said and done, my advertising adventures, plus my new computer (old one died), editing, printed books I ordered, plus any traveling for book shows, etc., I spent roughly $9000.
Was this a waste? No. I took a big step, my name is further-reaching, my books can now be ordered from most any store in the U.S. and some abroad, and I’ve learned quite a bit.

Am I recommending any of you self-published authors go the route of the distributor as I did? Yes and no. I wouldn’t hesitate to procure a distributor. However, rather than pay for expensive ads, I’d pay the small fee to have my books shown at a retail show. I’d pay for them to take a poster of one of my books. Then I’d settle back to writing—which is where your money’s at.

Happy writing in 2014!