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Friday, March 9, 2012

Smashwords: a Writer's Road to Self-Publishing

Self-publishing books has become a more popular choice these days. Once, it was called Vanity Press, and it was looked down upon by writers and readers who preferred dealing with well-established presses. Literary agents would be queried, manuscripts would be submitted, and authors and readers would wait, sometimes for months, to hear whether the manuscript had been accepted by a publisher. If the agent was successful in lobbying for the book, it would receive the publisher's promotion, advertising, and perhaps interviews of the author in major newspapers and book stores. Ah, the good old days that some recall: the chosen, the few. And the dreary days recalled by many who amassed a multitude of rejections, and the resulting disappointments.

But we live in a different world now. Authors can choose self-publishing and still hold their heads high, for the technology that makes this possible has a huge following: Kindles, Nooks, E-Readers ... and paperback books sold on-line by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and independent booksellers. Some self-published authors have such a large following in the cyber world that they are eventually recognized and offered publishing deals with mainstream publishers. Some accept those contracts and soon discover smaller royalties, as the book sales now have to pay for a full staff at the publishing house. It seems the tide has turned, and self-publishing is gaining in popularity and choice. Readers have a much wider range of books to choose from, no longer limited by the selective eye of agents and editors. Writers have a larger job to perform, for they no longer just write the book, but they edit or find editors, they market or find marketers, and they promote or find promoters. Often, writers help to promote each other, and that is the main purpose of this blog, where I post reviews of books I've read.

Some of you may have noticed that most if not all of my reviews are five stars. Does that mean I'm "padding" the grade? Not at all. What it means is that I'm posting the reviews of the books I've enjoyed and believe others will enjoy. Books I've read that I haven't finished due to lack of interest, or I have finished but found the message lacking, don't appear on this blog with reviews. So, when you come here, you will find only the books and authors that I have enjoyed, and do truly recommend for your reading pleasure.

Here's a story that an author wrote last December. I read it then, and made some suggestions for editing it. The author followed through, and continued to work on it, checking in with others to receive feedback as well. And now she is ready to publish it again. It is a Christmas-flavored story, but carries a message that is universal to season and to people. You can read the story by going to Smashwords, a site that helps authors publish and promote their work. Smashwords has a rigorous publishing standard, and once it is met, the book will be made available to both Kindle and Nook readers. It is very challenging, and I have yet to succeed in meeting that standard with my books, and I applaud those who have.

Here are the reviews that Shani has received from readers of her work:

 First Review:
We all have a holiday story that means the world to us. what about the poinsettia’s do you have a story about them or do they mean anything to you? In this short story you will fall in love. You will learn that sometimes it’s not the gifts that mean the most. Its all about the poinsettia to some. What the poinsettia means in this book will melt your heart. I loved this book I wanted to cry in spot and had chills going down my back in others. Anyone of any age or holiday they have will love this story. I give it a 5 out of 5

A second reviewer

I loved this short story with the paranormal events happening to the grandma and her daughter and her granddaughter. It was cool to read about the Grandpa still watching after his loved ones even after passing on. I loved the amount of detail put into this short story and it is a short story that I would recommend to anyone. 5 stars

And my review:
I read this book when it was an early draft. It was much shorter, and a little choppier. The author took my recommendations, and the recommendations of others, and continued to work at it. Draft after draft followed, until the full story emerged, with additional characters and settings to elaborate and extend the warmth and sentiment of the story. While no author is ever truly satisfied with their own work, and we always want to tinker a bit more, there comes a time when the story needs to be told, and the message needs to be shared.
This story has reached that point, and is asking to be read and appreciated. Five Stars, Shani!

You can read this story by going to Smashwords and selecting a format that suits you as the reader. You can read it in Kindle format, Nook format, or PDF on your computer. There are many more formats that I am not familiar with, but you may recognize and want to choose. Here is the link:


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