Posts tagged ‘authors’

April 15, 2009

Publishing for Kindle

Webmaster’s Note: This is the first in what I hope will become a regular series of posts written by Maryland Writers’ Association members discussing the art, craft, and business of writing. If you are an MWA member and would like to contribute a feature to this blog, e-mail me. Authors retain all rights to their work published here.

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Greetings! My name is Carol Plotnick. I am an MWA member, free-lance writer, and small business owner. Recently, Paul Lagasse invited me to write about my Kindle publishing experience with The following is an account of my journey into cyberpublishing:

The economy made me do it! Good excuse, but not totally accurate. When banks went belly up and the stock market took a dive in October 2008, I was on the verge of publishing my novel Flying Wires in paperback. However, with belt tightening now part of my business plan, I decided to publish a PDF. When I announced the release of my book in December 2008, a friend said she would buy my novel if it came out in Kindle format. At that time, Kindle was about two years old, but from what I’d read in the September 2008 issue of IBPA Independent – the journal of the Independent Book Publishers Association – it sounded like another avenue, albeit a road less traveled, for my self-publishing company to explore.

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December 7, 2008

Live-Blogging from the Art Market!

We’re inaugurating the MWA’s blog by live-blogging from the Annapolis Art Alliance’s Art Market at the brand-new Westin Hotel, where MWA has a table featuring members and their books.

We’ll be here all day Sunday, December 7, covering the festivities, talking with MWA members and visitors, and generally having a good time. If you’re planning on being in downtown Annapolis today to partake of the Holiday on West Street festivities, why not drop by and say hi?

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We’re located by the front door of the Westin’s spacious lobby — which is great for walk-ins, as the vibrant red Baltimore Chapter banner really grabs people’s eyes! However, whenever the big glass doors open to let someone through with a big load of luggage — and let in some of the c-c-cold and windy outdoors air — then I’m glad I decided to wear long underwear… 😀

annap-111:00 — People are starting to trickle in — Gary Lester, our stalwart VP, Pat Valdata, who was a guest speaker at the 2008 MWA Annual Conference, and Sally Whitney, our trustworthy treasurer have arrived. Mare Cromwell, long-time member, arrived a little while ago too.

12:00 — The festival has started with some sales already! So we’re off to a good start, our spirits buoyed. (And by the way, yes we fixed the banner.)

1:30 — Don’t mistake Gary Lester’s cell phone ringtone for Austin Powers’s car phone — “It’s Derek Flint’s, and Austin Powers stole it from him,” Gary says. “Derek Flint is my hero.” Yet Gary’s new book, Ursula the Yellow, isn’t about a super-suave secret agent. Rather, it’s a fantasy novel about a young woman who is trying to be accepted into a predominantly male world and has to prove herself by risking her life.

annap-2The cover is distinctive. “In her test, Ursula has to prove that she works well with all the elements,” says Gary.a lifelong fantasy and science fiction. “The cover depicts her calling forth fire.”

Gary’s book debuted at this year’s Baltimore Book Festival, the culmination of four years of writing, editing, “There were brick walls along the pathway,” he says. “It took me about ten months to write.” It won the 2003 MWA novel contest in the Fantasy category, the deadline for which encouraged him to hurry up and finish the book.

“I already have the next three books in the series all mapped out,” Gary says. We’re looking forward to them. Check out the details at the book’s page on the Grey Rock Publishing website.

1:30 — Lunch was a delicious pizza from Carpaccio’s across the street. The sausage and pepperoni slathered in dripping cheese should insulate us from the cold and hold us until closing — or until we hit Morton’s Steakhouse across the lobby . . .

3:00 — At this event we’re getting a sneak preview of Pat Valdata’s second novel, The Other Sister, which is hot off the press. The official debut is this coming Friday at a special event at the American Hungarian Foundation. What’s the book about? “That’s on the video,” Pat says.

Pat Valdata“The most fun for me was researching for it,” says Pat, “and the best part was ads in old newspapers.” She spent countless hours perusing the microfilmed newspapers in the University of Delaware library. The book covers three generations of sisters from 1904 to 1956. “What were people wearing? What were the baseball teams?”

Pat’s first novel, Crosswinds, was followed by a poetry collection, Looking for Bivalve. Her thesis advisor was Mark Doty, who won this year’s National Book Award. Find out more about Pat’s books at her website

4:30 — Before the pizza arrived, Mare Cromwell kept us going with a huge bag of Trader Joe’s dried apricots. “Because they are so yummy and there’s no sulfur to give that metallic taste,” she said. “And here’s the clincher: they keep you regular.”

annap-4Her first book, If I Gave You God’s Phone Number, is “composed of interviews with very different people, and each person was asked the question, “if I gave you God’s phone number, what would you do with it?’,” Mare explained. “It’s very different from other books that have ‘God’ in the title.” She confessed that she secretly hopes that someday someone will so misinterpret her book that they will want to have a book burning. “I’d bring the cider,” she said.

Mare started with people close by, then started to reach out to others, like an Afghan Sufi mystic in Philadelphia she met through a friend. She even talked to a person on Maryland’s death row. “There was an article in the Sun about the death row population and how they have access to computers to research their cases,” she said. “I contacted the writer and he encouraged me to contact one of the inmates in the article.”

She’s working — “intensively,” she says — on her next book, a spiritual memoir about working with her Cherokee medicine woman teacher. “I know that by the end of this winter I should have a manuscript ready to go off to an editor,” she says. You can find out more about Mare and her books, and read her blog, at her website.

annap-55:00 — In the afternoon, Louise Harris came by (too late for pizza). Her novel The 1776 Scroll is about “a 19 year old witch who is kidnapped over a magic scroll,” she says. “She’s the only one who can unlock the magic, and along the way she finds true love.” It’s set in modern times, but to divulge more will give away too much of the plot, she says.

Louise is a freelance writer and editor who hangs out with engineers because of her background in environmental reporting. She recalls how once she attended a conference with German engineers. “It was about 3:45,” she says, “and the speaker stood up and said, let’s hurry up and finish this so we can go get the beer.”

Sorry, Sally Whitney — I ran out of time to profile you! But we had fun talking, and thank you for handling all the finances!

And finally, what do you do with an empty pizza box in a hotel with no trash cans? Why, you draw attention to yourself by walking into the men’s room with it, of course:



Paul Lagasse, MWA Webmaster