Where Are YOU in Your Own Story Arc?

Lincoln by Howard MunnsThe other day I was being interviewed by a reporter at the local paper for a weekly column called A Day in the Life of …  These columns feature local, everyday people, from business owners to artists to worker bees to civil servants and volunteers. My particular column was to be A Day in the Life of a Writer. The reporter and I know each other, so the mood was casual, more a friendly chat than a grilling. He asked many of the questions I’ve fielded before: what genre(s) do I write, how did I get started, etc. Pretty much your basic interview. Suddenly, though, he asked me a question that poleaxed me. I sat there, mouth agape, brain churning, trying to figure out the answer to something I’d never thought about before. Continue reading

Book Brief: Seed Savers – Treasure

Seed Savers Treasure by S. SmithTreasure (Seed Savers)
by S. Smith
Genre of this Book: Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
Word count: 36,000

Two kids, two bikes, and an idea they can change their world.

It’s 2077. There’s no apocalypse, but some things are different. Things like the weather, the internet, and food. In twelve-year-old Clare’s world, blueberry is just a flavor and apples are found only in fairy tales.

Then one day Clare meets an old woman who teaches her about seeds and real food. The woman (Ana) tempts Clare with the notion that food exists other than the square, processed, packaged food she has always known. With Ana’s guidance, Clare and her friends learn about seeds and gardening despite suspicions that such actions are illegal.

When  the authorities discover the children’s forbidden tomato plant and arrest their mother, Clare and her brother flee.  Clare has heard of a place called “The Garden State,” and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom?  And can they, only children, help change the world?

Seed Savers: Treasure is available on Amazon.com, Smashwords, and Amazon UK.
Continue reading

Pressbooks: another formatting resource for Indie writers

Pressbooks LogoI recently mentioned using Pressbooks to format books in my post about memoirs. It occurred to me that I had yet to wax lyrical about this great website. So, this month I’m going to give you a guided tour.

I found Pressbooks.com a few years ago, when I wanted to generate epub and mobi files of a book that would never see a formal distribution channel. My client just wanted to be able to place files on a website for readers to download free of charge. At the time it was a new site, still in beta, and those of us who used it chatted back and forth with the developers occasionally. I found them charming, clever and helpful; I remain fond of the site as a result.

These days it’s pukka, with paid services, distribution channels and a string of glowing reviews from small publishers. Although it now goes way beyond simple ebook production, you can still access the services completely free. Who would want to though, and why? Continue reading

IU News Bits

Indies Unlimited NewspaperWell hello, folks. It’s the end of January, and there are some things you should know, whether you like it or not.

Indies Unlimited Excellence Awards

There are only five days left to nominate the sites of your choice for the IUEAs. Yes, this coveted award is almost to the voting stage. Will your favorite sites make it in? They won’t if you don’t nominate them! Please make sure to follow the rules when nominating. The admins are getting gray hairs. Don’t know where to nominate? Start here on nominations home page.

Have You Been Scammed?

Has a vanity press or other self-publishing service provider done you wrong? It’s happened to lots of people – and we want to hear your story. Just drop us a line through the contact form and we’ll shoot the guest post guidelines over to you.

New Vetting Procedure

As you may or may not be aware, Indies Unlimited puts each book through a rigorous vetting procedure before it can be featured on the site (self-service posts not included). As the number of queries has increased dramatically, we’ve found it necessary to streamline the vetting process. Starting in January 2015, we’ve split it into a two-phase process. First phase: books will be evaluated on the basis of their cover, categories, and linkage to the author’s Author Central page. Although the words inside are the most important, the book’s cover is the first thing a reader might use to drop the book from consideration, and the committee approaches each book as a prospective buyer might. If a book passes those criteria, it will move on to the second phase: reviews, book description, and book’s look inside feature. If it does not pass the first round, the author will have the opportunity to make adjustments and/or enhancements and then resubmit.

The vetting committee is comprised of volunteers who spend a lot of time evaluating books as well as providing thoughtful feedback to authors so they can produce a more professional product. They do this in hopes of dispelling the myth that indie author books are inferior. A big kudos to them for donating their time and energy to the cause.

Just Ask Us

That’s right, we’re here nearly 24/7 – and all for free. (Crazy, isn’t it?) We work overtime to get the answers you need to those pressing questions, such as: What the heck is a meatgrinder? How do I format for Createspace? And, why has no one ever seen Big Al and Hugh Howey together at the same time? (Suspicious, isn’t it?) In any case, drop us a line via the contact form with what you need to know about writing and publishing and we’ll get back to you, either with a link to an article we’ve got on hand or, with a brand new article written by one of the expert minions on staff. If you wish to remain anonymous, we can do that. No one will get your name out of us. We’re plenty accustomed to torture. So don’t be shy! Ask away.

Flash Fiction Challenge Rule Update

Don’t forget, the rules have changed for the 2015 Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenges. We’ve implemented a panel of judges to select the top entries before public voting. Read more about the 2015 rule changes here, and don’t forget – you can’t win if you don’t enter!

New Administrative Assistant

Last, but definitely not least, Kyle Phillips has joined the staff in an administrative capacity. Kyle is studying English and Marketing and, for some reason we can’t comprehend, will be donating his time to assist the Admins by fielding query emails and coordinating Vetting Committee input. Remember, everyone at IU is a volunteer – so please, don’t shoot the messenger. Let’s extend Kyle a warm welcome, and if you want in on the pool of how long he will last, squares are five dollars.

Thanks again for being a part of Indies Unlimited. Don’t forget, you can show your support by telling your friends about us, and if you’re feeling particularly generous, you can always make a donation. Happy Writing!