Thursday, April 20, 2017

Becoming a Published Author!

MindStir Media put together this funny video depicting a celebratory new author. I think the video is somewhat self-explanatory. Publishing a book is a big deal. Why not celebrate?

Hiring A Children's Book Illustrator

For a children's book author, part of publishing a book also includes finding and hiring a children's book illustrator. At MindStir Media, we've been illustrating/publishing children's books since 2010, and many of our illustrators have been illustrating much longer than that on their own. Some of our illustrators are even award-winning illustrators. They've illustrated in nearly every illustration style imaginable and have worked on hundreds of picture books.

Recently, I had one of my illustrators at MindStir Media create a mascot for our children's book division. Check it out below.

Click here if you want to learn more about getting your children's book illustrated. We follow a simple 3-step illustration process and our rates are affordable considering the quality. We even include free revisions as part of the process and fees.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Interview with Author Christy Day

Christy Day is a New Hampshire author born on a Wyoming ranch in the USA. Apart from writing, she is also a passionate traveler, sailor, and she even holds a private pilot’s license. In this interview, she talks about her debut book, Walking from Here to There: Finding My Way on El Camino, published by Seacoast Press, a Division of Mindstir Media, LLC.

1.How would you define yourself? I am curious, I love life, and am passionate about doing good in the world. It goes without saying that my daughters are the most important part of my life.

2. At what age did you start to show interest in the outdoors? Growing up on a ranch in Wyoming, I was introduced immediately to the outdoors. Some of my earliest memories are of being put up on the back of a great big, gentle horse. I also remember following my father’s tracks in the deep snow. Rivers, lakes, and oceans, mountains, deserts, and plains – I feel at home in Nature and I respect its power and beauty. I enjoy writing about Nature and photographing it. 

3. What drove you to become interested in El Camino, Spain? I watched the movie, “The Way,” starring Martin Sheen and written by his son, Emilio Estevez. I found it intriguing and moving. Then a Pilgrim who had walked El Camino de Santiago de Compostela (that’s the full name of the pilgrimage) spoke at my local library in Amherst, NH, and I realized it was something I could do. Once I realized that, I knew I had to do it!

4. Why a Pilgrimage? “Why a Pilgrimage” is a question I have asked myself since I decided to do it. I am not deeply religious. Like everyone, though, I search for meaning. In the beginning, I did it partly because of the challenge of doing it. As I moved along El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, I became more involved with everyone else’s challenges and searches for meaning. It is quite amazing to meet so many people of so many religious persuasions and engage meaningfully in conversation and shared struggle. If anything, the mystery of Pilgrimage deepens as you walk along. 

5. What were the logistics involved in walking 500 miles? It took me 39 days of walking which was an average of 12.4 miles per day. In addition to that, I also took two days of rest. This Pilgrimage has been in existence for over 1100 years, and Pilgrims have always been well-support. A great guidebook shows you what to expect for walking conditions and where the inns (called albergues), restaurants (called bars) and other support services are. Thios makes logistics along The Way easy. It is also made easy because of the amazing Spanish hospitality. The logistics are most important in the planning stage. Every decision you make about equipment is critical. You must have just the right shoes and socks that suit you and your feet. Your backpack has to fit just write.   Beyond that, common sense and trusting your judgment come into play. What to take and what not to take is complicated.  It took me a year to choose the right equipment, to pack and repack dozens of times, and to decide what to leave out of my backpack to make it as light as possible. 

6. What was the most challenging part of the Pilgrimage? Oh, there were lots of challenging parts. Being disciplined about the rigors of walking 500 miles was one of the most challenging – always using sunscreen, always paying attention to problems with feet as they developed, always tending to blisters and infections. The most challenging part of the Pilgrimage for me was having the courage to say “Yes, I can do this.” The fear, joy, and angst of saying goodbye to my younger daughter at the sign in Roncesvalles and taking that first step of 500 miles is something that will stay with me forever. 

7. What was the most rewarding aspect of your experience? My younger daughter told me that when I arrived at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, she wanted me to fully prostrate myself and thank the powers of the universe for all the good that got me there. Your feeling when you arrive at the Cathedral Plaza makes you want to jump for joy. You can’t believe that you have actually arrived. Instead of jumping for joy, I fully prostrated myself. When I did, the World went silent for me. It was  as if I felt all the powers of the universe right there with me. I had a profound sense of gratitude.

8. Do you have any plans for the future? I want to spend as much time as possible with my daughters. I plan to write a novel. I want to keep traveling – lots of places to see.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Is A Wikipedia Page Worth Having as an Author or Business?

“How do I create a Wikipedia page about myself?”

“How do I get my business listed on Wikipedia?”

As an author and business owner myself, I’ve heard many different versions of the above questions from fellow authors and entrepreneurs, but I feel like they’re not asking the right questions. My company, Mindstir Media, was listed on Wikipedia for a few months in 2016 (more about that later), and during that time, I learned some valuable lessons I want to share with authors and business owners alike. Surprise, having a business Wikipedia page isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Yes, it can be a nice ego boost to stumble upon your name on Wikipedia, and it can add credibility to you and your company, but there are some major downsides to having a Wikipedia page that you should consider as well…

  • Many pages include inaccurate information. Anyone with an active Wikipedia account can create a page or edit one, so Wikipedia is notorious for providing inaccurate information and not always being the most reliable source. Yes, the site has some amazing, hard-working volunteer editors, but they’re imperfect people nevertheless, and they lack knowledge on certain topics.
  • You’re not supposed to promote or advertise on Wikipedia. As part of Wikipedia’s long list of editorial guidelines, a page/article is supposed to be devoid of advertising or promotional copy. It needs to read as an unbiased encyclopedia entry and include reliable and independent references. So, basically, the copy needs to be dry and unwelcoming. It’s not the place to write a fun and exciting bio about yourself or your company.  In fact, you’re not allowed to write about yourself at all! Don’t expect a Wikipedia page to “promote” your company.
  • You need to constantly monitor your Wikipedia page. I noted above that many articles have inaccuracies and you are not allowed to write about yourself. Well, you’ll also need to keep a close eye on your Wikipedia entry for any sudden changes so that you can take action if needed. In most cases, inaccuracies are just honest mistakes. In few other cases, changes to your page are meant to harm you or your company.
  • Making lasting changes to your Wikipedia page is difficult to do. Since you can’t edit your own page, you’ll need to enlist a trusted Wikipedia editor to make necessary changes if you detect anything erroneous or questionable mentioned on your page. And then hope and pray that the changes stick and aren’t reversed by another editor/admin. Keep in mind that Wikipedia frowns upon “paid editing,” and it will be incredibly difficult to locate a volunteer editor to help you with your article.
  • Your page can be deleted at any time. There is a long list of editorial guidelines on Wikipedia. Again, the editors and admins are imperfect, so mistakes are made often. Articles are deleted every day for various “reasons.” That’s what happened to the Mindstir Media Wikipedia page a few months back. One day it was there in all its glory and the next day it disappeared because the editors decided suddenly, after several months, that the references in the Wikipedia Mindstir Media article weren’t independent or large enough sources. Of course, there are other companies far less notable on Wikipedia. This was a tough pill to swallow initially, but ultimately, I saw it as a blessing in disguise for Mindstir Media.

Due to all the reasons above (and more), I’ve concluded (for now) that Mindstir Media is actually better off without a Wikipedia page. In my opinion, you’re probably better off staying away from Wikipedia, too. Your time and resources are much too valuable to spend on a website that you can’t update yourself; isn’t in any way promotional; needs constant monitoring; and can be altered or deleted at any time without your consent.