Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Dirty Secrets Self Published Authors and Publishers Never Tell, a Taste of My New Class

Reading my award winning flash fiction.

This coming Tuesday, March 10th, from 7:30 to 8:30 I'll be teaching a one night class in Navigating the New Publishing World for the Boise Community Schools. It will be at Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho. The fee is $8.95, cheap! Details and sign up here: Navigating the New Publishing World.

So this is a bit of a teaser for the class, but also two of the main secrets new authors need know while path finding a way through this amazing new biz of publishing. 

First secret: The huge majority of well-selling self-published authors are those authors who already have name recognition, a distinct brand, a platform and a large fan base. Such an author may have been traditionally published, popular in another media, or excellent at marketing, or in a very few cases, just plain lucky. But for almost all new self-published authors the way to sales is a difficult path.

Second secret: If you have sold your manuscript to a publisher, you have lost much of your control of that manuscript. The publisher is the one who edits to their standards, provides a cover and publication date, and sets price, including when/what and where to have the title on sale. True, many small indie publishers now allow authors to have a lot of input on much of this, but it's not the same as having total control. 
Though these two "secrets"  may be discouraging, the truth is that authors have more opportunities than ever before for success. We'll talk about those in class.

Now, I suspect that some of my author friends may be of a differing opinion, or may want to add to what I've said here. Please comment away!

A Character Interview from Black Cats and Ballet Slippers

Black Cats and Ballet Slippers, a Fun Middle Grade Supernatural Mystery!

Today we have Gemma Mayfield here from Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. Great to have you here, Gemma! Can you please tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

Gemma: Hi guys! Thanks for having me! Well, to start off with, I go to Middleton Middle School. My best friend Izzie and I do A LOT of dance. I love ballet! I wish I could dance everywhere I go. Now that I think about it, sometimes I do! Anyways, one thing that really stands out about me is that I’m SUPER tall. I’m taller than Trevor Davis, who I have a huge crush on. I also keep having bad hair days, which doesn’t help the situation. It’s hard to explain these things to my parents or my little sister. Only my cat, Mungo, seems to understand me. Or maybe he just doesn’t say stuff because he can’t talk.

What type of conflict are you up against in Black Cats and Ballet Slippers?

Gemma: Everyone who’s been to middle school knows that it’s pretty weird. I mean, boys are from Mars! They are so strange. But I think something REALLY weird is going on at Middleton. I think that my teacher, Ms. Pruett, is a witch! She’s been casting spells on people, including Trevor! I just don’t want anyone else to get hurt, and I think it’s up to me to figure out how to save our school.

Wow, that seems super scary! You do a really great job writing down all of your adventures in your diary. When did you get your first diary?

I just LOVE my diary! I used to think that diaries were for silly people. Izzie gave me my first diary for my birthday. Now I write in it all the time. If you don’t have a diary, you gotta get one! Just make sure that no one steals it from you when you’re in math class. If some of the stuff I wrote about got out… sheesh! Especially the stuff about Ms. Pruett and her witchy shenanigans. And then, of course, the List of Cutest Boys is in there, too. Now THAT would be embarrassing to pass around!

Do you have a goal that you have recently set for yourself?

Well, I’d really like to get along better with Demonica… er, Monica. She’s this girl at my school. She is pure EVIL, but I’m wondering if maybe I’m just not giving her a chance. Maybe she’s a nice person underneath it all! I think there’s truly a possibility for goodness in all of us. Argh. Who am I kidding? She really is a demon in disguise!

Okay, so here’s a fun question to wrap things up: Name five things right now that are in your backpack.

Yay! This is sort of a fun question. Let me take a quick look…

1.     A hair scrunchie. This is an absolute necessity! You never know when you are going to have a bad hair day and your hair looks like a broom. It’s best to just put it back in a ponytail.
2.     My math homework. I actually finished this in class yesterday. Math… so easy! But I don’t really like saying that out loud—it’s not good for the popularity status. Which I need to work on, by the way.
3.     An extra pair of ballet slippers. These could come in handy at any time.
4.     My Bubblegum Bliss lip gloss. It’s supposed to make your lips look more pouty. Unfortunately, Trevor never seems to notice.
5.     Aha! Mungo’s cat collar! Now how did THAT get in here? Weird.

Thanks again, Gemma, for visiting today. Hopefully Mungo will be happy to get his cat collar back. It’s been great getting to know a bit more about you!

Iva Valentino lives in Arizona with her husband and their dog, Lupo. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Education. She loves living year-round in the warm desert.

Iva spent many years as a middle school teacher, where she enjoyed teaching her students all about science. She currently works as a science editor at an educational publishing company. She loves travel, yoga, and photography. There is nothing that brings her more happiness than a good dance class!

You can visit Iva at the following sites:

Purchasing links for Black Cats and Ballet Slippers:

Conda here. Thanks for being on my blog, Iva (and Gemma too). It was a delight to find out more about a character in Black Cats and Ballet Slippers. Readers, questions for Iva or Gemma?