Saturday, November 30, 2013

Top 5 Reasons to Publish Ebooks

Photo courtesy of goXunuReviews, Flickr
1. Format growth — According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), ebook sales continue to grow. This means consumers are hungry for ebooks!

2. Low price point attracts readers — Since ebook publishing is completely digital and does not require printing of any sort, authors can comfortably sell e-books for less than a paperback or hardcover book. Readers appreciate lower prices and are generally more willing to take a risk on a debut or unknown author if the price is low (especially in this economy).

3. Portability — Ebook fans love the portability of the ebook format. Readers are no longer forced to carry around heavy print books.

4. Buying Convenience — Readers can buy and download ebooks instantly. They don’t have to visit a physical bookstore or purchase a print book online that could take several days to arrive via mail.

5. Eco-friendly — Ebook publishing supports a healthy environment. Less book printing = more trees. Top Self Publishing Company

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How I Got a Literary Agent...and then Decided to Self-Publish (Thanks, Michael Hyatt)

It must have been sometime in 2007/2008 when I first bumped into Michael Hyatt on the Internet. Back then, he was CEO of Thomas Nelson (the world's largest Christian publisher) and he was somewhat new to blogging (I believe). Even though he wasn't the blogging powerhouse back then that he is now, he was still very visible. I stumbled upon a list on his blog, Literary Agents Who Represent Christian Authors (which has since been updated), and I'm pretty sure I felt like I had just found the Holy Grail of literary agent lists (it really is an amazing list!). I might have even queried every single one of those agents. In my "previous life in book publishing," I was an eager "aspiring author" trying to land a literary agent who could then help me sell my manuscript to a major traditional publisher. I didn't really know of any other way at that point. Maybe I had heard of self-publishing, but in '07/'08 there was definitely still a stigma attached to self-publishing... So, eventually I received a positive response from one of those agents on Michael's list. I sent my full manuscript to the agent and the agent ultimately decided to represent me. I also emailed Michael later on to discuss this agent and I'm still amazed to this day that I received a personal response from Michael Hyatt himself. It is so incredibly rare for the CEO of a major publishing company to respond directly to an outside author. It absolutely blew me away and made me a lifelong supporter of him!

Most of you know that traditional publishing didn't end up being the route that I chose -- or the route that chose me ... My (former) agent struggled with his health and we ended our business relationship amicably because he simply could not give my novel, Unconventional, the attention it deserved. I was kind of devastated by this, but by early 2009 the self-publishing stigma started to lessen. During this time, because of my dealings with the agent -- and because some of my author friends encouraged me to self-publish -- I decided self-publishing might be for me. I performed hundreds, maybe even thousands of hours of research and opened my own publishing company, MindStir Media, and self-published Unconventional. Thankfully, Unconventional became a huge hit, first as a serialized podiobook (i.e. podcast audiobook) and later as an ebook and paperback. The book has sold over 100,000 units as a self-published book and I'm proud of that. Since then I've helped thousands of other writers through publishing consultations and self-publishing services that I offer via MindStir Media.

I've been a loyal reader of Michael Hyatt's blog throughout the years. I've never met him in person and maybe I never will, but I'll always be thankful to him for his list and personal email response. Without either of those, I probably would have been lost. It's funny how sometimes the person who affects us the most is the person we've never even met, the person who simply took a few moments out of his/her hectic day to respond to our questions. It's people like Michael Hyatt who remind me that every little act of kindness matters. In honor of the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, I just want to share my thankfulness and at the same time share my little success story. And hey, if you're reading this, Michael (and I have a sneaky suspicion that you will via Google Alerts) -- thank you!

In case any of you are interested, Michael just self-published a new ebook under his very own publishing imprint, Fleming House Publishers (website coming soon at The ebook, entitled The Virtual Assistant Solution, explains how to be less stressed and more productive by delegating work to a virtual assistant. I use a whole team of virtual assistants myself and delegating to them has helped me immensely, so as always I'm on board with Michael's advice. A virtual assistant can be incredibly helpful for authors and book publishers alike.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Interview: Children's Book Author Toni Tuso Faber

I interviewed children's book author Toni Tuso Faber earlier this week. She's the author and creator of The Poodle Tales children's book series and brand. An excerpt below:

Toni Tuso Faber approached MindStir Media in 2012 about her children's book series, The Poodle Tales. Since then, nearly a dozen books in the series have been produced. Toni also launched a fantastic interactive website at; built up an amazing poodle-loving community of over 12,000 people on Facebook; and has attracted hundreds of Poodle Club members (sign up to get free stuff!). She even created other fun stuff like the Catch A Poodle game and anonline coloring & activity book, among other things. I'm so honored to be a part of The Poodle Talesand I'm looking forward to continuing to help Toni with children's book publishing and children's book illustrations and more. Without further ado, here's an interview I recently conducted with Toni Tuso Faber:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Writing a book is like creating a sculpture, when you feel an urge, you pursue it. In my case, I never actually realized I wanted to be a writer. One day I was just inspired! 

How long does it take you to write a book? There are no time limits as far as writing a book, as writing a book is a very personal endeavor. The questions are many. Is it a novel, is it poetry, is it simple children's verse, or perhaps a complex review of one’s life issues? Hmm, difficult to answer; however, I believe the answer is, whatever it takes to make it great! It could take a month, a year, or even a lifetime … as long as it is good! 

Read the rest of the interview... Top Self Publishing Company

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Top 50 Quotes on Writing

Photo courtesy of Alex France, Flickr

As a writer, I've always been interested in quotes about writing. They help to remind me that I'm not alone in writing. The writing journey is, for the most part, a solitary trek, so many of these quotes have really offered me comfort and some laughs throughout the years. I've even shared some of these quotes with my authors at MindStir Media book publishers. Here are the top 50 quotes on writing (in my opinion). While they are technically in "no particular order," I believe they all belong somewhere on this list. Enjoy!

  1. “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typwriter and bleed.” –Ernest Hemingway
  2. “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” –Maya Angelou
  3. “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” –Madeleine L’Engle
  4. “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” –Stephen King
  5. “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” –Stephen King
  6. “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” –Toni Morrison
  7. “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” –Lloyd Alexander
  8. “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” –Robert Frost
  9. “If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.” –Isaac Asimov
  10. “Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” –Neil Gaiman
  11. “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.” –John Steinbeck
  12. “Cut out all these exclamation points. An exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald
  13. “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” –Jack London
  14. “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.” –E.B. White
  15. “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” –Thomas Jefferson
  16. “Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.” –Margaret Atwood
  17. “Grand. There’s a word I really hate. It’s a phony. I could puke every time I hear it.” –J.D. Salinger
  18. “You can fix anything but a blank page.” –Nora Roberts
  19. “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.” –Kurt Vonnegut
  20. “I never exactly made a book. It’s rather like taking dictation. I was given things to say. ” –C.S. Lewis
  21. “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” --Graham GreeneWays Of Escape
  22. “Writing is a job, a talent, but it's also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with in the afternoon.” --Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty
  23. “There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges.” --Ernest Hemingway
  24. “You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.” --Stephen King
  25. “Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.” --Elie Wiesel
  26. “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don't feel I should be doing something else.” --Gloria Steinem
  27. “I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” --Gustave Flaubert
  28. “The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.” --Robert Cormier
  29. “Always mystify, torture, mislead, and surprise the audience as much as possible.” --Don Roff
  30. “Writing fiction is the act of weaving a series of lies to arrive at a greater truth.” --Khaled Hosseini
  31. “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything good.” --William Faulkner
  32. “The desire to write grows with writing.” --Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus
  33. “Throw up into your typewriter every morning. Clean up every noon.” --Raymond Chandler
  34. “If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it.” --H.G. Wells
  35. “There is no such thing as an "aspiring writer". You are a writer. Period.” --Matthew Reilly, Area 7
  36. “If you want to be a writer-stop talking about it and sit down and write!” --Jackie Collins
  37. “Books choose their authors; the act of creation is not entirely a rational and conscious one.” --Salman Rushdie
  38. “In the end, fiction is the craft of telling truth through lies.” --Lauren Groff
  39. “You either have to write or you shouldn't be writing. That's all.” --Joss Whedon
  40. “Writing is a delicious agony.” --Gwendolyn Brooks
  41. “One should use common words to say uncommon things.” --Arthur Schopenhauer
  42. “If you can quit, then quit. If you can't quit, you're a writer.” --R.A. Salvatore
  43. “Write,' she said, 'as if you'll never be read. That way you'll be sure to tell the truth.” --Lori Lansens, The Girls
  44. “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing.” --E.L. Doctorow
  45. “But the truth is, it's not the idea, it's never the idea, it's always what you do with it." --Neil Gaiman
  46. “Writing is really a way of thinking--not just feeling but thinking about things that are disparate, unresolved, mysterious, problematic or just sweet.” -- Toni Morrison
  47. “It's a wonderful thing to be able to create your own world whenever you want to.” --Woody Allen
  48. “As a writer, I am just an actor in a play, telling a story that needs to be told.” --Rita Webb
  49. “I write with all my heart.” --Ursula K. Le Guin
  50. “I love revisions…We can’t go back and revise our lives, but being allowed to go back and revise what we have written comes closest.” --Katherine Paterson
  51. Top Self Publishing Company

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Why Self-Publish?

I created this nifty infographic for MindStir Media self-publishing. The graphic consists of 5 reasons why it makes sense to self-publish. Feel free to share!

Top Self Publishing Company