Thursday, August 25, 2016

What it Means to Self-Publish

Used to be, self-published authors were looked at with a wary, squinty eye.

No more.

Or at least, rarely.

There are still those moments, but things have changed. 

The best news is that though some retail book stores still take issue with self-published authors, and even some libraries, there's still an entire arena of folks who are open to self-published authors and the books they produce.

Being self-published takes guts, and I love that. These authors not only have to know how to write their books, they need to find a good editor, beta readers before that, know how to market, get out of their comfort zone and do speaking engagements. They must - backing up - know what makes a great cover and how to glean fans through social media and one-on-one exposure.

Though the traditionally published author must put their best foot forward, the intricacies of publishing are frankly, missing from the page. Much is done for them and though much is still expected from their publishing house, they don't carry near the burdens and opportunities as an author who has been self-published. 

I should know. I have experienced both.

I love the fact that I can choose my book's cover and layout. That I can decide on my book's price, and don't have to check back 'home' before I take a step forward in a creative direction. I love it that I can make up to 70% on each of my books over maybe 12% with a traditional publisher. And I love POD publishing, where I can order the copies I wish at one time: one, ten, or a hundred. I don't have to order a thousand books and have them sitting in my basement. I can buy as I need books.

Who wouldn't want that luxury?

I realize, of course, that there are authors out there fishing for traditional publishing, and my thumb is up for them, because, after all, we're all unique.There are authors that choose not to worry over many of the options mentioned above. It's hard enough just to write the book, though, if the entire truth be known, they will still be expected to do some great marketing so their book will sell.

But I'm glad I'm now a self-published author, and that I can assist other authors who want to be self-published on their book journey.

I can't think of anything greater.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wanted: Author Interviews, Character Interviews, Book Trailers

It's that time again to start thinking about the holidays. No kidding.

Come September, the rush is on to get those books out for holiday sales. Do you want to be a part of the rush? Let me know and I'll set up an author and/or a character interview with you.

So far, everything is scheduled out until October 10th, so anything after that is fair game. I usually post interviews on Monday's and Wednesday's with a Friday Flicks segment on, you guessed it, Friday's.

A am looking for authors in various genres to spotlight. Please send me an email at: and we'll discuss when we can place you. 

Things will be getting busy. Why not get your interview ready before the rush?



Monday, August 22, 2016

Need a break? Take it.

This past Saturday I needed a break. Things were very busy with my sister in town and because of all the planned family events, it was just nice to sit back and enjoy some music.

Granted, I was sitting on the lawn section and Josh Groban looked about as tall as my pinky finger, but the experience was heavenly. This is my third Groban concert to date and I loved being outside and listening to the music only Josh can send.

So, if you're feeling a big overwhelmed, a bit behind the eight ball, a bit stressed, take a few moments to just dream...

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Neils Knudsen author of The Singing Stones of Rendor

Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?

I’m a 68 year old introvert with marketing issues. I’ve always preferred letting others stand in the spot light which makes showing off my work difficult. I’m still working on that problem. 

I’ve always been involved with writing in one fashion or another most of my life. I did some guest articles in my high school’s student paper, wrote what is now considered flash fiction for my mother’s various social clubs (she read them out loud, not me—I wasn’t fortunate enough to get her social genes—just her allergies). After a couple of years in college my draft number came up so I went out and joined the U.S. Navy where I was immersed in the bazaar language of governmentese.  The Navy has (ahem) boatloads of very passive phrases and I became (aaaahem) submerged in it.

Fast forward 6 years, one month and 24 days. Honorably discharged from the military I went back to college and then worked for the U.S. Army at the Deseret Chemical Depot at an industrial facility dedicated to the research and development of chemical warfare agents. More . . . much, much more governmentese. Fast forward another 24 years to retirement.

I had a bout with cancer and my wife had a bicycling accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down. A normally active life became rather sedate and I bumped around trying to find something to do. My son suggested I write a book. It was a suggestion I had toyed with a few times but never took seriously.

For six full months a stared at a computer writing the worst stuff I could imagine. Fortunately, my wife has a degree in English and she plowed, blasted and pulverized my story (and me) until it was readable. After 500,000 words of garbage, loving every minute of it, I managed to learn the basics. I then joined the League of Utah Writers to commiserate with other writers. I had no idea there were so many wordsmiths out there. The next year, 2013, I received first place for the first chapter in my book, The Singing Stones of Rendor. In 2014 the book received the leagues coveted Silver Quill Award. That’s when I thought I might actually have some skill.

How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?

My schedule revolves mostly around my wife’s needs. She no longer drives so I take her to her appointments and watercolor seminars and workshops. When her schedule is clear, I make time in the afternoon to write for a few hours, unless there are other unscheduled events like our kids and grandkids dropping in. Family is far more important to me than pounding out a set number of words.

How and where do you write? Do you prefer a laptop or some other method of getting your words down?

A small pad of lined yellow paper is my preferred note-taking device. Weird ideas, metaphors, idioms and a whacky turn of phrase are my favorite ways to develop a character or scene. If I’m watching TV I listen for those unique lines of dialogue that in my mind just fun. I realize my ideas of fun may be outdated, but I’m not writing for anyone but myself. If I’m having a good time, maybe my readers will too.

My main writing instrument is my PC. When my wife is in her water coloring  workshops I’m sitting nearby with my laptop.

What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?

My favorite part is how the voices in my head tell me what to write. I can always trust my characters to figure out how to get something done.

My least favorite is marketing. However, if you don’t consider that part of writing then I guess it is editing my work for the umpteenth time and still not satisfied with the details. That’s when I go looking for some good editors.

How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write?

My son suggested a fantasy novel with an antagonist based on my cancer. The idea evolved into a trilogy that I’m still working on. It took four and a half years to write and publish the first book—that includes the learning curve to do creative writing. The second book, which I hope to publish in late August, took two years.

What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?

You may have guessed by now that I’m a reticent marketer. What marketing I have done is limited to Facebook, my blog at and some online book events. At a recent event, I met our host, Kathy Jones, at the “Spring Into Books” event at the Viridian Center in West Jordan, Utah. I’ve spoken to some small press publishing companies who have expressed interest in the trilogy when it is done. I’ll probably tuck myself under one of their wings and hope they will guide me in that arena.

What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?

I’m wrapping up book 2 in the trilogy. Tentatively titled, “The Call to Empire,” the novel currently stands at about 110,000 words (about 360 pages) and should be out by late August or early September. If my muse (wife) and/or my editors say it needs more work it may take a bit longer.

Get the Book at Amazon
Do  you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.

Yes, I do. It is a prequel to the series and about half written. It is about the main character in first chapter of the trilogy, a witch with a particular skill you don’t see in other fantasy novels. At least none that I’m aware of. She dies at the end of that chapter. The book is a kind and powerful witch and the tragedy that turned her to anger and vengeance. It is also about how, even after death, one’s life can have a great impact on others.

What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?

Write it for the fun of it. Do it for yourself. Take an idea and run with it. So what if it doesn’t work, you learn through the process. Do it again. Don’t be afraid of writing junk. There is plenty of free, enthusiastic help out there to teach you. Join one or more writing groups. Toss around your ideas. Let them grow. Don’t worry about all the rules you are going to hear—that’s what editors are for. I don’t recall who said this, “there are three ironclad rules to writing, the trouble is, no one knows what they are.”

And, last but not least, develop a thick skin. Listen to the constructive criticism and toss the rest. The test? Knowing which is which.

My Question for you:
Do you consider yourself an introvert? Have you ever had trouble promoting yourself and/or your writing? If so, how did you overcome it?

I'm definitely not an introvert, though I was a pretty shy gal growing up. Once I went to college in my 40s, however, and graduated, I decided that I would do all it took to get my books out there. Sure, I still get nervous speaking in front of groups, but I do it. And you know what? The journey has gotten easier. I can speak about my book in front of writers, readers, non-readers, even people I've just met in line at the supermarket. But this has taken time and a daring sort of attitude.

Learn more about Neils:

NWKnudsen's Knotty Corner Post