What’s So Great About Self-Publishing? Guest Post by Jeannette DiLouie

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by guest blogger and author/editor, Jeannette DiLouie.  Jeannette is an independent thinker, author of ten books, currently, in genres of Historical Christian Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, and Political Thriller. She is an avid reader and book collector. Check out her blog and website at https://www.innovativeediting.com/blog/

What’s So Great About Self-Publishing?

I went the self-publishing route, and I don’t regret it one bit.

This particular adventure began back in 2013, when I gave up on getting a Big 5 contract and decided to take authorship into my own hands. Since then, I’ve published 10 books through Amazon’s CreateSpace, and I plan on doing the same with another two novels this year.

Additionally, as a book coach, I’ve helped other writers take the same journey. It’s an authorial choice I’m willing to stand by, both personally and professionally.

Why do I think it’s such a good idea though? Let me count the ways…

  1. You have total independence throughout the writing process.
  2. You have total independence throughout the editing process.
  3. You have total independence throughout the designing process.

Whatever publishing step you’re at, you’re free to run your business as you see fit. And that doesn’t always happen with traditional presses, as I’ve seen one too many times.

One of the first books I read this year was an utterly phenomenal young adult fantasy novel put out by a Big 5 publisher. The plot was striking, the characters were stellar and the setting was 100% believable. I devoured that book and bought up the second in the series just as soon as I could justify it.

But its sequel wasn’t nearly as good. There were too many new subplots thrown in, too many new character perspectives added, and the setting expanded into something far more complicated.

Book 3 was even worse, to the point where I won’t even bother buying Book 4.

Since the author can obviously write and write well, it begs the question of what in the world happened after that debut novel. Yet I truly believe her deteriorating story line is the publisher’s fault. It felt like she was pressured to just get something out on the market after her initial hit, with truly disconcerting results.

As a self-published author though, that’s not a problem I’ve ever had to deal with.

I also don’t have to worry about a rushed editing job, while many book presses – particularly the smaller ones – don’t seem to care about quality control. Once again, they’re interested in getting a book out to market. Toot sweet.

People complain about self-published novels all the time, and I understand why. Too many of them are poorly edited, to say the least. But my counter argument is that I see the same thing on the professional end of the spectrum.

Missing words, scattered sentences, dangling plot points: You’ll find all of those and worse.

Self-published authors, however, get to choose their own editors. While this does cost me money, I don’t care if it means I can actually be proud of the books I put out there.

Then there’s the issue of my front cover designs, which I put together myself. Did you know that authors are sometimes told to change their stories in order to fit pre-selected pictures? They’ve had to alter character details or rework plot points just to suit their publishers’ dictatorial decisions.

Self-publishing, on the other hand, allows a creative liberty that, in my opinion, can’t be beat. I’ve designed each and every one of my front covers by using Shutterstock, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator; and I adore nine of them.

As for that 10th? Well, they say you can’t have everything in life and I guess it’s true.

None of this is meant to trash talk everything about traditional publishing. There are plenty of books by small presses and the Big 5 that are well-written, well-edited and well-designed.

Plus, authors who choose to unfurl their full individuality also have to handle their own marketing. And as I always tell the writers I coach, that can be a very tough job to fill.

But I still believe that’s a fair trade-off for the certainty that someone else won’t try to take over my story. My authorial independence is something I guard fiercely, so unless some other company can offer me realistic deadlines, thorough edits and a say in my cover art, I’ll stick with self-publishing.

That’s just the way I like it.

 

 

Continue reading

Forbidden Love (Continued from 5-12-17)

The trial would take place on Wednesday. Amelia’s nerves were on edge and she feared the only way Cade would be saved was through some kind of miracle. She couldn’t concentrate on anything.

She went to the stable and sat in the stall with Cade’s horse on Tuesday afternoon. She stroked his velvet soft muzzle. She let the memory of the day Cade had taken her, on horseback, down by the creek for a picnic replay in her mind. She closed her eyes and felt the warmth of his arms around her. Her fingers touched her lips as she remembered his soft, gentle kiss.

She wept, her shoulders sagged and she put her face in her hands.

When she quieted, Cade’s horse nuzzled the side of her face. She stood and wrapped her arms around the horse’s neck.

“Oh, what will I do if something happens to Cade? I suppose the Brody gang will take you with them, and I’ll be alone.”

* * * * *

Wednesday morning the sky was gray and threatened rain, so the trial would take place in the church, the only building large enough to hold the crowd.

Amelia sat on the left side near the front, and when her father escorted Cade into the building and down the aisle, Cade’s eyes met hers and he offered her a small smile before her father pushed him into the pew two rows in front of her. She twisted the handkerchief in her hand.

As the judge entered, Amelia noted he was a thin, wiry little man with a pointed nose, beady eyes, his mouth in a grimace. She lifted a silent prayer that God would make him merciful and tried not to doubt that it was possible.

When the room grew quiet, the judge spoke to her father. “Sheriff Williams, what charges are being brought against this man?”

Her father rose to his feet. “Kidnapping and horse thievery.”

Amanda willed herself to remain quiet, though she wanted to stand up and refute the charge of kidnapping. She would wait, but if she felt a need to speak out, she would not hesitate. She wouldn’t allow Cade to be hung for kidnapping her when she had not been kidnapped.

“Do you have witnesses?” The judge addressed her father again.

Her father called one of his deputies forward. Deputy James Tanner came forward curling the brim of his hat in his hands. He glanced in her direction and Amelia could see his Adam’s apple rise and fall as he swallowed hard under her gaze.

“Deputy Tanner, what do you know of this Cade Jeffries’ involvement in kidnapping and horse thievery?” The judge questioned.

“Uh, well, a couple of weeks ago, Miss Williams, the sheriff’s daughter was missing one afternoon. We formed a search party and couldn’t find her anywhere in town, and Miss Williams doesn’t stray from town. As we were preparing to expand the search, Mr. Jeffries came riding into town with Miss Williams on his horse with him. We stopped him and Sheriff Williams grabbed Miss Williams down from the horse and instructed Mr. Jeffries to dismount.” The deputy curled and uncurled his hat brim the entire time he talked.

“Did Mr. Jeffries do as instructed?” The judge glared at Cade.

“Yes, sir. He came along to the jail without any trouble.”

The judge grunted. “What about the horse thievery?”

Deputy Tanner looked at Amelia’s father and then back at Judge Reinhardt. “I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t know nothing about that, except that there’s a wanted poster circulating about it.”

Judge Reinhardt dismissed Deputy Tanner and looked to Amelia’s father. “Do you have any witnesses in regard to the horse thieving?”

Her father tugged at his collar and cleared his throat. “No, sir.”

“Are there any here who have anything more to offer on the charge of kidnapping?” The judge scanned the crowd.

Amelia stood. “Yes, sir. I’d like to speak.”

A collective gasp went through the crowd and Judge Reinhardt’s beady eyes looked Amelia up and down appraisingly. “And you are?”

“I am Amelia Williams, the woman Cade Jeffries is charged with kidnapping.”

Murmurs rose from the crowd.

“Quiet!” The judge glared at the people in the room, then he looked at Amelia. “You may come forward and speak.”

Amelia could feel her father’s eyes boring into her back as she moved past him.

“Your honor, I was not kidnapped by Cade Jeffries. I willingly went with Mr. Jeffries to a pleasant spot by the creek outside of town for a picnic on the afternoon in question. However, I neglected to inform my father of my plans. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.” She never moved her eyes from those of Judge Reinhardt as she spoke.

The judge sighed. “I see. You may be seated.”

Amelia strode back to her seat, her back straight and chin slightly raised.

The judge glared at Sheriff Williams. “It appears that we cannot convict Cade Jeffries of kidnapping. However, since the wanted posters have been circulating for a while and many men have been seeking Cade Jeffries and the Brody gang for stealing horses, I declare . . .”

A disruption at the back of the room prevented the judge from completing his sentence. He stood, his face red and looked to the back of the room. “What is the meaning of this?”

Luke Brody marched up the aisle to the front of the church. He looked at Judge Reinhardt not bothering to remove his hat.

“I’m Luke Brody. I’m here to tell you that Cade Jeffries is not a horse thief or outlaw. Yes, he’s been traveling with me and my gang for six years now, but that’s because he needed someone to look after him after his ma died and his pa became a drunk. I might not be anyone’s idea of what a father should be, but I couldn’t leave a boy to starve, so I took him with us.”

“And you expect me to take the word of an outlaw? And, if Cade Jeffries has been riding with you for six years, I’m sure he’s been with you when you’ve stolen horses, so that makes him guilty.” Judge Reinhardt had remained standing, and he now faced Brody with a red face, fists clenched at his sides.

Amelia lifted a hand to her throat as she watched the scene unfold.

A smile slid across Luke’s lips. “I know you’re itchin’ for a hangin’, but if you want to string someone up, make it me, and let Cade Jeffries go.”

“No!” Cade was now on his feet.

Amelia swayed in her seat. The room became a blur and then everything went black.

* * * * *

“Amelia, wake up honey.” The words in Amelia’s ears seemed far away. Someone was squeezing her hand and stroking her forehead.

Amelia’s eyes fluttered open. Cade Jeffries was peering down at her. He let out a deep breath and his blue eyes were shining as they met hers. A slow smile spread across his lips, exposing those dimples she found so irresistible.

“Cade?”

“Yes, I’m here. How are you feeling?”

She tried to sit up, but a wave of dizziness stopped her. “I’m a little dizzy. What happened? Is Luke . . .?”

Luke lowered his eyes to his hand on hers. “They’re preparing to hang him.”

“Oh no, Cade!” She sat up and put her free hand on his cheek.

“If you’re okay, and you’re still willing to marry me, we have to leave right away.” He searched her eyes, and she could see the tendons standing out in his neck, his pulse visibly pounding.

She leaned toward him and placed her lips on his. Her kiss was soft and brief. Her hand still cradled his face as she pulled back just a little.

“Of course I still want to marry you. Why must we leave so quickly if they’ve found you innocent?”

“Because the Brodys are planning on grabbing Luke and making a getaway, and they don’t want me anywhere near so I can’t be blamed for being part of it, and they won’t be able to grab me and hang me when they lose Luke.”

“Then let’s go.” Amelia got up, grabbed a satchel and put a couple of dresses and some undergarments in it, grabbed a shawl and stood before him.

“Are you sure about this?” Cade pressed his lips together and shuffled his feet.

Amelia moved closer to him, looked up into his cornflower blue eyes and smiled. “Cade, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

She put her small hand into his large one and he squeezed it. He leaned down and captured her lips with his own. His kiss was hungry but he broke it off quickly, and gripping her hand in his led her out of the house she had grown up in and out to his waiting horse.

He lifted her onto his horse, swung up behind her and dug his heels into his horse’s sides. The horse galloped out of town, Amelia leaning against Cade’s chest, his arms encircling her, and neither of them looked back.

Enough Time to Write

If you’ve been visiting or following this blog for long, you probably already know that in addition to being a writer, I am a homeschool mom and I am doing my best to live a healthy lifestyle – eating the Trim Healthy Mama way and exercising.  This means making everything from scratch, no processed foods. It also requires protein at each meal, low carbs and no sugar. It’s going well, but it can be time consuming to make everything from scratch, though not overwhelming.

My family has to take priority over my writing during this time in my life, which I know is the right thing, but I sometimes get frustrated because I WANT to write everyday, but that is just not possible right now.

Then, when I attended the Super Saturday writers’ conference this year, the keynote speaker, Mike Dellosso, addressed this very issue. He works a full-time plus a part-time job, is the father of five daughters in a homeschool family and writes books, and, like me, his family comes first, so his keynote speech was of great encouragement and help.

You see, I’ve been frustrated and feeling guilty because I’ve had so many people say, “If you really want to be a writer, you need to write everyday, AND, you need to treat it like any other job, which means you can’t NOT do it. You have to schedule time and park your behind in your seat and write — no excuses!”

Well, that’s fine for those whose children are grown and no longer living at home, but that is not where I am at. Therefore, when Mike talked about how we have a dream for writing much more than we do, but that might not be God’s plan for us right now, that made sense.

Mike reminded us of the story of Joseph from the Bible and how he had dreams that took twenty-two years to come to fruition, but that during that time, Joseph kept his faith and remained patient and made the most of each and every circumstance. (This was both encouraging and a bit discouraging to me because as a 50+ woman, I want to complete as many books as I possibly can before I am either unable or unavailable to do so anymore.)

However, Mike went on to say that wherever we are on the road in our writing, that’s where God’s want us at this time, and we should simply be content in that AND do our best with the time we have.

So, that is what I am trying to do in my writing life right now. I am trying to be content with the time that I have to write and use it to the best of my ability. I am working on cleaning out our spare room to organize my books on the bookshelves in that room and put my little desk up there, so that when I have time to write, I will have a place where I can go and not be distracted by other things that might need doing, or by interruptions and other distractions, so that my writing time will be as fruitful as possible. I am also trying to write at least twice a week and the first chance I get at the beginning of each month, I try to write and schedule a month’s worth of blog posts, so that I can concentrate on my WIP for a month at a time, since I normally get about four hours of writing time twice a week for the most part. That plan seems to be an encouragement for me as I actually feel like I am accomplishing something and making progress.

What about you? Where are you at in your writing journey?

Forbidden Love (continued from 5-5-17)

Two more long weeks passed before the stagecoach arrived in town and a man dressed in black climbed from it.

Amelia heard gasps from people in the street, followed by murmurs. “Judge Reinhardt, the hanging judge.”

Several ladies looked Amelia’s way before raising their noses in the air and passing by.

Amelia’s legs went weak and she felt faint. A strong arm wrapped around her waist and held her up.

“Luke, where have you been? I haven’t seen you around lately.”

“I had something to take care of.”

“Judge Reinhardt just arrived.”

“So I heard.” He saw the fear in her eyes. “Don’t worry. Cade will be all right.”

“But doesn’t a hanging judge already have his mind made up before a trial? How will Cade’s trial be fair?”

Luke’s eyes met hers and she saw what – resolve, determination?

“He might be a hanging judge, but he won’t be hanging Cade.” He scowled and walked away.

That evening Amelia was extremely quiet during dinner.

“Something on your mind, Amelia?” Her father leaned toward her.

“I’ve always known you to be a fair man. Until now.” She formed a tight, thin line with her lips.

“My job in this town is to uphold the law, but I have a more important job, and that is to protect you.”

“So you bring a hanging judge to be sure that Cade Jeffries can never be a part of my life.”

Her father lowered his eyes. “I didn’t ask for Judge Reinhardt, but he just finished a trial in Jasper. So he was closer to town than any other judge, and he was available.”

“You’ve had Cade in your jail for a month. Did you ever speak to him with an open mind, or have you had your mind made up about it from the start?”

“Amelia, he’s been riding with the Brody gang for six years. A young man can’t possibly be in the company of outlaws for that long and not be affected.”

“I take it that means you’ve had your mind made up from the start. I’m disappointed in you, Daddy, and if.” She took a deep breath and willed the tears not to start. “If this judge hangs Cade, I’ll never forgive you. Now if you’ll excuse me.”

Amelia went to her room, flung herself onto her bed and sobbed into her pillow.

Do We Have a Responsibility in Regard to Our Entertainment?

Entertainment surrounds us — social media, movies, music, books, DVDs. It invades our sight, our hearing, our minds, and our hearts. Therefore, don’t we have a responsibility to be careful about what entertainment we allow to invade us?

The book of Proverbs in the Bible is a book of wisdom and in that book it says, “Pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body. Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.”  (Proverbs 4:20-27)

Also, in the book of Philippians we read, “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

Therefore, it is my understanding that we are responsible for whatever we fill our senses, our minds and our hearts with.

So, why am I talking about this? Because of a brief conversation I had with some friends recently. These friends are also believers, and we were talking about writing and one mentioned the writings of Diana Gabaldon, especially her “Outlander” series, to which I commented, “that’s garbage”. Two of my friends responded with, “No, it’s not. Her writing is fantastic.”

Now, I will admit that I have not actually read any of Diana Gabaldon’s works. So maybe she is a very skilled writer. However, I do know that her Outlander series has a lot of explicit sex in it, and a lot of it is rape, which she romanticizes.

In my opinion, that is wrong, and it certainly isn’t something I want to read and invade my mind and heart with.

Whenever I’ve made these comments about Ms. Gabaldon’s writing, I’ve heard the same thing from both Christian and non-Christian women who read these books, “That was the way it was in that place and time period.”

To which I must say, “I’m sure that NOT EVERY male/female relationship in that place and time period involved rape, just as I’m sure that EVERY woman who has ever been raped has experienced a violent, invasive, traumatic event and would not find it in the least bit romantic. Therefore, I find it irresponsible that a writer would have women romanticizing and fantasizing about their rapist(s) and the act of rape.

I find it disappointing and disheartening that Christian women are reading such things and finding them great entertainment. I refuse to read that type of so-called entertainment.

I am also very careful with what I write because I do not want to be responsible for leading someone down a crooked path. I don’t write preachy stories or stories that will have a strictly “Christian” label, but I do write with the same responsibility with which I read, and though my characters face temptation and sometimes yield to it just as any human, they will also grow and learn and find redemption.