Site of Interest: Independent Self-Publishers Alliance

This is a relatively new site but it's packed full of useful information. If you've ever wondered exactly what self publishing is and how to go about it, this is one site you should definitely visit.

"The Independent Self-Publishers Alliance is an organization for writers who publish their own books. There is no charge to use the website or forum or to join the Alliance.

This website exists to encourage and help writers to become truly independent self-publishers, so they can avoid using vanity publishers. We'd also like to help self-publishers produce better books, get more respect and sell more books.

Many vanity publishers call themselves "self-publishing companies." They're not.

Just as no one can eat lunch for you, no other person or company can self-publish for you. The words just don't make sense.

There is a fundamental difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing.

♦An independent self-publisher tries to make money by selling books to readers.

♦Vanity publishers make most of their money by selling services to naive writers, not by selling books to readers.

Vanity publishers' books are often ugly, error-filled and overpriced, and very few copies are sold.

A "real" or "independent" self-publisher establishes a business but usually doesn't do everything necessary to produce and sell the books. The author/publisher usually hires editors and designers, purchases photography, owns ISBNS, obtains LCCNs and copyrights, chooses a printer and promotes the books.
That's very different from buying a "publishing package' from a vanity publisher.
Writers who use such companies as iUniverse, AuthorHouse, DellArte Press, OutskirtsPress, Westbow Press, PublishAmerica or Xlibris are not self-published authors. They are customers (or victims) of a vanity publisher.
Independent self-publishing is not for everyone. It requires more work, and may even cost more money than using a vanity publisher.
But it should lead to better books, higher income, more satisfaction and even more fun.
Other publishing paths may be better choices for some people.
This website will help you sort out your options. The people behind this site merely want writers to produce better books so readers can read better books, and so self-publishers will receive more respect.
We are offering free information and guidance. We are not trying to sell you publishing services". 

I. S. P. A. suggests these books:

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Interview with Smoky Trudeau

You're the author of two books for writers. Please tell us a bit about each.

When I lived in the Midwest, I taught fiction writing workshops at several community colleges. Every semester, on my class evaluation forms, at least a couple of students would write, “You should put this in a book.” I had really smart students—good writers—so I decided I probably should listen to them. Front-word, Back-word, Insight Out: Lessons on Writing the Novel Lurking Inside You Front Start to Finish is my fiction writers workshop, exactly as I taught it. It has lessons on everything from where to find story ideas to how to know where the right place is to end your story; point of view and how to decide what POV is best for your story; how to write compelling dialogue; how to write believable characters, and much more.

Left Brained, Write Brained: 366 Writing Prompts and Exercises to Free Your Creative Spirit, Awaken Your Muse, and Challenge Your Skills Every Day of the Year is a year’s worth of writing exercises in workbook form. There are serious exercises that focus on fiction fundamentals like dialogue and character description. But there are also fun and even downright silly exercises, like writing limericks and coming up with outrageous excuses for missing work. My students used to ask me why I liked silly exercises. I like them because silly exercises are serious work. Silliness seems non-threatening; it’s not scary. And when writing isn’t scary, it’s fun, and we’re more apt to do it.

What made you pick Vanilla Heart Publishing for your books?

My first novel, Redeeming Grace, was originally published in 2003 by a different publisher, who promptly went out of business. Publishing really is a tough industry in which to succeed! An acquaintance of mine directed me to Vanilla Heart. I was impressed both by the quality of their titles and by the publisher herself, who has a good head on her shoulders and is determined to make her company a success. And she’s done it, too: VHP has grown by leaps and bounds, and has published some very fine titles.

You also work as a book editor. What effect has this had on your own writing?

Being an editor makes me a better writer, just as being a writer makes me a better editor. I’ve edited a lot of very poorly written manuscripts, and turning a poorly written book into something the author can be proud of hones my own skill set when I set down to write my own books. But it has its downside, too: I spend so much time editing I haven’t got the time I’d like to have to pursue my own projects.

You've also worked as a writing instructor and writing coach for more than ten years. What advice do you have for other writers?

First, read! Read a lot. Read everything you can get your hands on. It astounds me how many former students and clients have come to me for help learning to write only to tell me they don’t like to read. If you don’t like to read books, why on earth would you want to write one? If you don’t like to read, what makes you think you can write one? It’s like someone taking piano lessons who doesn’t like music. It makes no sense.

Second, study your craft. So many of the poorly written books I’ve edited for vanity presses could have been really fine books if the authors only had studied fiction basics like point of view and writing compelling dialogue. The problem is, people think that because they can write—meaning, string a set of words together to form a sentence—they can write. And that isn’t the case. I remember one time when I was working on my second novel, The Cabin. My dishwasher was broken, and a repairman was in the kitchen fixing it while I worked at my desk nearby. He asked what I was doing, and I told him I was writing a novel. He said, “I’m gonna write me a novel someday, maybe when I retire.” I had to bite my tongue to resist replying, “Yes, and when I retire, I’m going to take up dishwasher repair.” The point is, to succeed as a writer, you need to study how to write—just like the repairman had to go to tech school to learn dishwasher repair, a lawyer goes to law school, and a brain surgeon to medical school.

You are live on books with heart, a blog talk radio show, each month. Please tell us a bit more about the show.

My show is called “Write Well With Smoky Trudeau,” and so far, it has been a monthly lesson taken from Front-word, Back-word, Insight Out. We’re coming to the end of the series, though, so beginning in March, we’ll focus on techniques such as writing flashback, foreshadowing, and building suspense. We’re also considering doing an essay writing series, and perhaps a few shows on nature writing.

With such a wide variety of experience, what do you consider your finest moment so far in your writing career?

When I first held my second novel, The Cabin, in my hands. I think every author worries they have only one great story inside. The Cabin proved I had at least two!

Can I have two finest moments? My latest book, Observations of an Earth Mage, will be out in mid-February. This is my collection of nature writings—essays and poetry—illustrated with my own photographs. I am tremendously proud of this book, and of the fact the essays it contains have already inspired many of my blog readers to go outside, take a hike, explore Mother Nature. Opening their eyes to the beauty of our planet is definitely something I’m proud of.

Where can people find out more about you and your work?

People can read the first chapters of Redeeming Grace and The Cabin, as well as reviews of the books, at my website, I also welcome new readers to my blog at

Anything else you'd like to add?

Just that I’d like to thank you for hosting me today. I appreciate the opportunity to talk about my work and my books.

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Authors Read Radio

Authors Read

Authors Read Radio

A 15 minute radio program featuring authors, poets and storytellers reading from their published work. There is nothing like hearing a story the way the author intended it to be read - straight from the author's lips.

- Feb 15: Marilyn Suttle shares an excerpt from the non-fiction business guide: Who's Your Gladys?

- Feb 19: Heather Woodward joins us to read from The Ghosts of Central Arizona

- Feb 20: Lori Titus will read an excerpt from her collection of short horror stories titled: Green Water Lullaby

- Feb 22: Richard Schenkman will share an excerpt from his children's book: The Girl From Atlantis
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Interview with Marian Thomas

Tell us a bit about your latest book? 
Color Me Jazzmyne is centered on the main character, Naya Moná. She is the type of woman that all women can see a reflection of themselves in. She has dreams, struggles, obstacles and a passion to live! In the beginning she is naïve, abused and looking in all the wrong directions for comfort. She quickly realizes that a beautiful pair of black leather shoes does not reflect the character of a good man.
The drama in her life unveils as her son whom she hasn’t seen since birth walks through the doorways of her beautiful and lavish home thinking that she is the reason that the puzzle of his life doesn’t fit. Filled with rage, anger and sadness he forces her to go back into her past, back to the time when her father’s touch was no longer innocent. 

Who is your publisher and why did you choose them? 
L.B Publishing is the publisher. I think it’s important to choose a publishing company that really cares about you as an Author; can look into the essence of your story and understand that although you are new, you still have something to bring to the table. 

What tips do you have for other writers? 
When it comes to writing it comes down to gut, imagination and belief in you. If you don’t believe that you can be an Author, no one else well. So sell yourself on the idea of being an Author first. This was a lesson I learned recently and it stuck with me. 

You are part of an online digital magazine called Newbie's Magazine. Please tell us about it. 

Newbie’s magazine is my “baby” as they say. I love being a part of this digital monthly online magazine because it’s about sharing with the world a story of journeys. The concept of connecting passionate readers with passionate authors is nothing new but the way we go about it brings some flavour to the saying. Newbie’s is sent directly to up to 200 bookclubs. This allows them to flip through the pages, enjoy reading about the new authors featured and share it instantly with other members of their group. Starting with the January 15, 2010 edition, Newbie’s is also sent directly to over 50,000 potential readers making it a great resource for Author’s to expose their book, business owners to expose their product or service and readers to learn about the next newbie author out there. 

Where can people find out more about you and your work? 
Color Me Jazzmyne is available on all the major online retailers such as, Barnes & and Books-A-Million. Readers can purchase a “Signed Copy Package” that includes – (1) Signed copy of the book (1) Tote Bag (1) DVD of the book trailer on my website: . The audio book is also available on
Newbie’s Magazine can be read at: 
Authors interested in being featured in Newbie’s can send a request a rate brochure by emailing: 

Anything else you'd like to add? 
This has been an adventure, a journey and a lot of hard work and the only regrets I have is not doing this sooner, so to anyone out there thinking of writing, dreaming of writing or have written a manuscript but nothing further…let this be there year to page forward your writing thoughts! Visit for tips, advice and just some simply good ole-fashion encouragement.

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New Author writing contest

I'm honoured to have been invited to be one of the judges for this contest.

"the winner for each category, poetry and short story, will receive a $20 dollar gift certificate, a certificate badge for their blog or website and the opportunity to be published.

That's right; I just confirmed that the winning poem and short story will be published in the May/June issue of Dream Chaser's Magazine. This is a great opportunity to start building your resume. The prize package is now complete. I think this is pretty exciting."

"Many of you may remember the first annual New Author writing contest I held last March. Well, that time is gaining on us fast. I plan to hold the contest again this March. Just like last year, I plan to have a poetry category and a short story category. What is different about this year's contest? Not only will the winner be awarded an emblem to post on their site but there will also be a gift certificate to sweeten the pot. I haven't decided how much the gift certificates will be but the winner from each category will get one.

To gear up for the contest I'm starting a little early. The first order of business is this - I need judges! I would like to put together a panel of judges that will vote for the ultimate winner in each category. I would like to have anywhere from five to ten judges so there will be a fair amount of people reading the entries. If you are interested in being a judge for this years contest please send me an e-mail through the contact button or leave a comment. Last year, after I implemented the judge’s panel, they did a really great job. I'm sure this year will be no different.

As for the rules, here they are:

Judges cannot submit entries for the contest.
Participants are allowed to submit a total of two (2) entries. For example, you may submit one poem and one short story or two poems or 2 short stories at a maximum.
All poems will be limited to one page in length. Please include your name with your poem.
All short, short stories will be a maximum of 2,000 words. Please include your name and title on each page just in case I get clumsy and papers fly.
I will read all submissions and select the top five (5) short stories and poems at which time they will be posted on the New Author for everyone to read.
The judges may cast their vote at any time after all the submissions have been posted. All votes will be e-mailed to me and I will announce the winner.
Most importantly, we will have fun while showcasing the talents of the New Author community.

I have not set the deadlines as of yet but I will soon. Right now I'm excited to get things started; we had some really strong entries last year. I will have updates about this contest in the coming weeks. Alright, time to get your thinking hats on and come up with some great poems and short, short stories".

For more details visit 
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Video: advice for writers by Stephenie Meyer

Stephenie Meyer, author of the TWILIGHT saga, tells her biggest piece of advice for writers. Exclusive interview from the red carpet of the NEW MOON premiere.

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Review: The Prophecy

Title: The Prophecy
Author: Gill James
Publisher: The Red Telephone
ISBN: 978-0-955791-08-6

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell.

It’s a shame that the editing wasn’t better taken care of, as The Prophecy is a very good story. Gill James shows her talent for world building and through this futuristic tale touches on themes very relevant in today’s world, including the damage done by pollution and racial differences. It really left me thinking about where Planet Earth might end up in the future.

Kaleem Malkendy is different from the rest. His blonde hair and dark skin have made him used to unwelcome attention. The day he meets a strange old man Kaleems life changes forever.

As he learns new skills and more about the Babel Prophecy, Kaleem also has to deal with his mothers secrets, questions about who his father was and the usual urges of a young boy for friendship and a girlfriend. All of this is complicated further when he discovers more about both hidden information and golden information and becomes more actively involved in the Peace Child Project.

A revised version to clean up the text in places would make The Prophecy a highly recommendable read. I would definitely be interested in seeing what else Gill James creates in the future.
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Site of interest- Social Media Examiner

"Social Media Examiner is a free online magazine designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales and generate more brand awareness. Technorati ranks us as a Top 100 Small Business blog (even though we service all businesses).

Offering a unique single source of knowledge, the site contains comprehensive articles and videos on how to use the best social media tools, along with original case studies, reviews of the latest industry research and advice direct from the world’s leading experts.

Our mission is to help you navigate the constantly changing social media jungle.

Michael Stelzner, the site’s founder and executive editor, had a vision to bring together the brightest minds in social media. Mari Smith, Jason Falls, Chris Garrett, Denise Wakeman, Cindy King and Casey Hibbard answered the call as founding contributors".

You can get Social Media Examiner delivered for free, straight to your email inbox. Well worth signing up for.

This site is packed full of very useful information to help you in your online marketing efforts. Recnt articles include (but are not limited to);

5 Ways to Promote Your Facebook Fan Page

8 Simple Steps to Growing a Quality Twitter Following

7 Essential Design Elements for Great Business Blogs

 How to Add Retweet Buttons in Your PDF Documents




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Interview with Cynthia Vespia

What genre do you write and why?
I do mostly thrillers. I like to write real-life situations that you could possibly find yourself in but hope to God you never do. It's the everyday with a twist. I've also been known to turn out a few fantasy novels. I read alot and those are the two genres I enjoy most so it lends itself to what I'm writing.

Tell us a bit about your latest book.
My latest release is called Demon Hunter: Seek & Destroy. It is the second in a series I like to call a "trilogy of terror." As the newest demon hunter, Costa Calabrese has alot to contend with when the portal to hell opens up in his backyard. Aided by his constant companions, Talisa and Paralay, they must face evil in many forms.

What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write the series of Demon Hunter from the growing interest in all things vampire. I thought what if you took not only vampires but also add in werewolves, demons, dragons, and everything else paranormal and stick them into one book? Well, that one book exploded into three because one just couldn't contain all the many stages of hell I had these characters go through.

What are your marketing strategies?

I'm very active with marketing. I have my own website with a blog I update regularly. I'm a part of the growing social networks like Facebook and Twitter. I also make the rounds doing alot of interviews, chats, and guest appearances. I love getting feedback from my readers. It's one of the greatest accomplishments as a writer to know you've led someone on a little adventure that they means you did your job well.

Do you have any tips for new writers wanting to enter this writing genre?
Do your research and come up with something original. For instance don't try to clone Twilight because it's popular. That particular series of books came out in a big way because they were original, now everyone under the sun is doing the same thing. What happens is the genre gets burn out because its flooded with all the same stories. Make your work stand out. Write what you're compelled to write, NOT what you think will sell.

What is the best and worst thing about being a writer?
The best thing about writing is creating memorable characters. I absolutely LOVE that part of it to a degree that these people are REAL to me. They never actually go away even when the story is done. The worst part is the "lonely work" that no one ever sees in the process of getting the manuscript to the public. There is rewrites, editing, marketing, selling. Alot of energy expended on administrative tasks. It's difficult but a necessary evil.

Where can people find out more about you and your work?
Visit me on my website or my blog
You can also follow me on Twitter:

Anything else you’d like to add?
The trailer for Demon Hunter: Seek & Destroy is currently running in a contest. I invite you all to view it and cast your vote. I'm proud to say that no professional design site were harmed in the making of the trailer...I made it myself.
Thank you for the support.
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short story contest on BookRix

There is currently running a free-to-enter short story contest on BookRix for writers and readers. The theme is "Family Stories".

Prizes on the line include $1.800,00 in prize money for writers, "fame!" and Amazon vouchers (each worth $20) for voting readers.

The 10 best-rated stories will be given to an independent jury consisting of the Georgia Writers Association, Elite Editing & BookRix.

Perhaps you want to submit your own story into the competition or become a judge and vote for others to win great prizes. If so, please go to the following contest pages:

Or you might want to take part in our Poetry Contest, "Winter & Poems", with $1.600.00 in prize money and more at:

BookRix features the latest in digital flip book technology providing you a unique online reading experience.
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Video: Social Media Revolution

Social Media Revolution: Is social media a fad? Or is it the biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution? This video details out social media facts and figures that are hard to ignore.

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Review: The Cabin

Title: The Cabin
Author: Smoky Trudeau

Reviewed by Malcolm R. Campbell, author of a time portal novel “The Sun Singer” and the comedy/thriller “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire.”

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There was a deep connectedness between mountain women in the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia, a connectedness that transcended the tangible, yet was as real as the forest itself. It was a part of the mountain magic, her grandmother had taught her when she was a young child, and it was particularly strong between Corrine and her sister, Catherine.

Faerie folk and an old cabin in the high country link characters in modern times with those living during the American Civil War. Those who “know” tell the doubters to “believe what you see.” Lives are at stake across time and the one chosen to help is in the dark.

Smoky Trudeau, who also wrote “Redeeming Grace,” brings to “The Cabin”
an obvious and highly detailed love of plants and animals, the mountains, and the old wisdom of one attuned to the natural world.

This novel is a very satisfying, very magical reading experience. Highly recommended to everyone, but especially to those interested in time portals, mountain wisdom, Native American beliefs, the Civil War, slaves and bounty hunters, folk medicine, and mystery.

“The Cabin” is available in paperback at Amazon and other online booksellers and in multiple e-book formats at Smashwords.
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Site of interest- Friday Traffic Report

The Friday Traffic Report is the place to find daily tips on professional social and blog marketing strategies from Jack Humphrey. Useful information for anyone in the writing industry. Jack deals with a variety of topics including to name a few; youtube, twitter, facebook and blogging. Well worth a visit!

The site also has a direct link to the Internet Radio Show which is also worth listening to.

Who Is Jack Humphrey?

I’ve been doing this internet thing for a long, long time. I wouldn’t give up the freedom, nor the feeling I get when I see clients and students succeed, for anything.

I started messing around online in 1991.

I started getting serious in 2000 and in 2002 wrote the most widely-downloaded and respected book on link building called “Power Linking.”

Friday Traffic Report Radio Every Friday, 2 p.m. Eastern, a site building membership center, was started in 2005 and quickly sold out in one day. From there we continued to evolve to what we have today,, the most complete professional blogging training center on the web.

Over the last decade I’ve been responsible for billions (with a B) of visitors for myself and my clients and students who have learned what I have to share about marketing online.

Today, the Friday Traffic Report,, and a few social sites are the most likely places you’ll find me as an active participant. Though you can find me with over 2000 keyword phrases on Google and links to this and my other sites in practically every corner of the web you surf.

See for more
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Interview with Gill James

o What genre do you write and why?

I usually write Young Adult science fiction / fantasy, though I also write for younger children, some real life for teens and young adults, some educational materials and some academic papers. I did teach secondary school for a good many years, so I'm very familiar with teens and older teens. I think using fantasy and science fiction as a setting gives some objectivity to the way young people view society.

o Tell us a bit about your latest book.

The Prophecy is the first part of a trilogy with a science fantasy setting. It is actually the story of Kaleem Malkendy, who struggles to come to terms with his otherness. Each part of the trilogy has a discreet story, though an overarching story runs through all three parts.

o What inspired you to write this book?

I came across the idea of a Peace Child whilst writing a resource for secondary school children. The Peace Child was exchanged after warring tribes in Papua New Guinea had reached agreement. Thus, a child is born to one tribe and raised by another, so can understand both and act as a go-between. Kaleem has something of this role. He feels he doesn't belong anywhere. He has to learn to be content with himself ... and some quite amazing things happen to him on the way.

o What are your marketing strategies?

I take every opportunity to network. I blog, I tweet, I join in forums. I also get other people to help me - like Ollie, the publicist for The Red Telephone. Publisher's publicists are very important in the process.

o Do you have any tips for new writers wanting to enter this writing genre?

As with any writing, write, write, edit, network, write and get tough about rejections. Call them rewrites. To write for young adults, you must read what they read and get to know them. If working with a fantasy or science fiction setting, spend as much time carefully researching it as you would a real setting, or as you would for an historical novel. Think out how everything works in that world. It's also important to know your characters really well.

o What is the best and worst thing about being a writer?

The best thing is creating your own stories. The worst thing is facing criticism.

o Where can people find out more about you and your work?

Look at my website., follow me on Blogger and I'm also on Twitter.

o Anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say to anyone wanting to write - you can IF you really want to. It is a big IF, however.
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Call for Submissions: Broccoli to Writing: and Everything In-Between

Authors Promoting Authors offer an opportunity to be included in a new anthology.

The WORKING TITLE is: Broccoli to Writing: and Everything In-between.

We have extended the date of entries until April 2, 2010, due to the Christmas Holidays.

This anthology is open for submissions of short stories and poems from all levels of writers in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. All submissions must be the original work of the individual submitting it, and rights for publication in this anthology must be clear.

Word count must be 1,000 (minimum) to 7,500 (maximum) words for short stories or essays. We will consider poetry of any length.

It is not necessary to have known Dick Stodghill in order to participate. However, the book is a dedication to him. The proceeds of the book will go directly to an established charity of Jackie’s choice, in Dick’s name. We will be announcing the charity she selects soon.

Please adhere to the submission guidelines put forth in this letter. The same rules apply as if you were submitting to an agent or publisher, which are as follows:

1. Short Stories and Poems may be on any topic in any genre. The title promotes all things Dick liked and disliked, so no topic is off limits.
2. Format all submissions in Word doc using Times New Roman, 12-point font, with 1” margins on all sides, and double-spaced with the pages numbered in the lower right-hand corner. Type the title of the piece and author’s name in the upper-right hand corner of each page. Example: Title/Author Name
3. Poetry should follow the same guidelines, minus the double-spacing.
4. A cover letter, with the title, the name you want used on the story, your contact information, and any other relevant information, should be included. If this is not included, we cannot accept the submission.
5. We will edit and proofread all accepted submissions.

Works included in the Anthology will be decided upon by April 10, 2010 and notifications made by April 15, 2010.

Once a submission is accepted, a release form will be sent to you for your signature, giving us the right to use that particular submission for this anthology, as well as any advertising and/or marketing used for promoting this anthology. You will retain the rights to your submission.

Projected release date of this anthology is sometime in late spring or early summer. A definite date will be decided when we have received all the submissions.

Please submit your work to or mail to Weaving Dreams Publishing, P. O. Box 194, Watseka, IL 60970.

We are looking forward to your submissions!

Marie Pacha and L. Sue Durkin

Visit for more details
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