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The PENfro Book Festival

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Just spent a lovely weekend in West Wales, visiting family and also taking part in the book fair at the PENfro Book Festival. I met some wonderful people, most of whom were Earth Angels! Angels, Faeries, Old Souls and Starpeople… … Continue reading

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Visionary Author Insight – Daveda Lamont

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This week I interviewed Visionary Author Daveda Lamont. Daveda is a fellow founder of the Visionary Fiction Alliance and the author of The Way of the Eagle. On Spirituality Have you ever had a spiritual experience, involving synchronicity, angels or Spirit … Continue reading

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Ready to launch!

Well, it’s very nearly launch time, I have everything packed, ready to go tomorrow. It’s amazing how much preparation has gone into getting everything ready for a two-day event! And it’s amazing how many awesome people have helped me to … Continue reading

The last six months – January

Okay, it’s taken me a little time, but here is the first column that I wrote for the Newbie Writers Newsletter, about my self-publishing journey. Hope you enjoy!

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was about eight years old, and I’m finally now taking the necessary steps to make that dream a reality. Though I’ve been writing for years, it was only in 2009 that I finally wrote a full-length novel, using the technique devised by Chris Baty, founder of Nanowrimo and author of “No Plot? No Problem!”. Since then I have written another two and a half novels, all in various stages of progress. Despite wanting to be an author more than anything, I’ve found it difficult to motivate myself to actually get my book edited to perfection (or something near) and published, so I decided that in 2011 I would make myself accountable to someone, in order to make it happen. This is where you come in.

I started a blog, called “Confessions of a Self-Published Author”, where I have been writing about my progress with getting my novel out there into the world. There’s nothing like having all of your friends and relatives (not to mention plenty of strangers) read your blog and hassle you every now and then to “just get on with it”. So far, it’s working well, I am currently in the midst of another massive edit of the novel, and am finding that I need to make not only a few spelling and grammar edits, but also change entire scenes that don’t actually work!

I suppose it may well be a good thing that I have waited until now to properly pursue my dream of being an author, it is certainly a whole different ballgame these days. In the past, self-publishing had a stigma attached to it, as it was usually associated with ‘vanity publishing’ whereby you paid hundreds or even thousands to print your book, then you would end up with a garage-full of boxes of your novel that you would then have to sell. You can still publish in that way today, but why would you go to the expense now that Print on Demand exists? It’s the perfect way to publish, especially if, like me, you are not a particularly well-off writer. For no initial outlay, you can usually print a very professional copy of your book for just a few pounds, and it will be available to buy online, and the price that you set not only covers manufacturing costs and fees, but could even give you a nice little royalty. So, self-publishing using POD, certainly to me, seems like the way to go. I also like that fact that you can easily upload your novel to be available on the Kindle, which is something else that I will be looking into once my novel is ready for publication.

Which brings me to my plan of action, which has also been a bit of a work in progress, seeing as I started this journey with no plan at all. The list of things that need to be done stand as follows:

  1. Finish the final edit of the novel.
  2. Design the cover
  3. Get reviews for the back copy.
  4. Write the back copy.
  5. Write the Acknowledgements and dedications
  6. Compile a bibliography of any books I have found inspiring of helpful, and also for any quotes used in the novel.
  7. Use social networking sites and websites related to the subject matter of my novel to drum up some interest in it before it is published.
  8. Build a website for the novel.

The other thing I have been considering doing is a trailer for my novel. It seems to be quite a popular thing to do these days, having a book trailer, and I would really enjoy the challenge of putting one together. The main problem will be finding the time to do it! As well as having a challenging full time job, writing books and self-publishing, I also have many hobbies which I’m trying to fit in, all the while still doing everyday things like food shopping! It does seem that the busier I get, the more I get done, but my mind still boggles when I try to figure out exactly how to get everything organised and completed.

Before I sign off and get some very much needed sleep, I thought it would be a good idea to give an idea of what my novel is about, and then a short excerpt from the novel itself.

The title is: The Earth Angel Training Academy. It’s based on the other side, in an Academy for beings from all different realms. There are Angels, Old Souls, Faeries, Mermaids and Starpeople. They go to the Academy to learn how to become human, so they can go to Earth and help with the Awakening. The novel follows several of the characters as they experience the final term of the Earth Angel Training Academy. Anyone who has read any of Doreen Virtue’s books will understand the term Earth Angels, and maybe even know which realm they themselves are from!

Wow! It’s so beautiful!”

Amethyst and the little green Faerie gazed around their room in awe.

The spacious room was bright and airy. There were three huge beds dotted around,

 draped in beautiful linens. There was a notice board on the wall that had a large

sign on it.

Welcome new students! I hope your room is everything that you desire.

To change the décor, simply touch the item and state your desire.

To manifest anything, just speak your request out loud, three times.

 If there are any problems, questions or concerns, write them down on

this board and they will be dealt with. We will be reconvening in the

main hall later on today. See you there! Velvet.”

The Faerie’s eyes widened. “We just touch things, and they change?

I’ve gotta try this!” She flew over to the nearest bed and touched the

sheets. “Green!” Instantly, the sheets turned the colour of spring grass.

The Faerie squealed in delight, and started zooming around the room,

touching things and yelling out colours and patterns, until the room

looked like the inside of a kaleidoscope.

Amethyst looked around, amusement showing on her face. “Hmm,”

she said. “I may just change a few things around my bed, if that’s

okay with you?”

The Faerie was bouncing up and down on her bed. “Okay!”

The Angel went to the bed opposite and touched the sheets.

“Amethyst,” she said. Instantly the sheets turned a shimmering

 lilac colour. The Angel nodded happily. She touched the wall behind

 her and said: “A meadow on a breezy summer’s day.” The wall took

on the appearance of a meadow, with a bright blue sky, lazy clouds

 drifting along, wildflowers in bright colours and the long grass swaying

 in an unfelt breeze.

Ooh!” the Faerie said. “That’s so beautiful! I’m going to try!” She

 flew to her wall and touched it. “A lawn from a Faerie’s point of view.”

Giant blades of grass appeared, a huge ladybug crawled slowly up one

 of them, and a massive ant ambled past. The Faerie flew around in circles.

“It’s so life-like! It feels like I’m back home again!” She stroked the moving

image of the ladybug. “I wonder how Larry is,” she muttered to herself.

Michelle Gordon © 2011

Happy New Year!

It’s weird to look back at where I was six months ago, it seems like both five minutes ago and a lifetime ago. But apart from number three on my plan, I did actually achieve what I set out to do six months ago. Which is pretty amazing for me! I will post February’s column soon!

To self-publish, or not to self publish… That is a very good question!

I realised that perhaps I haven’t really explained why I’m self-publishing, or what my novel is even about, and thought it might be a good idea!

First of all – the subject matter of my novel. I dread when people ask me what my book is about, because I find it difficult to categorise – not a good thing when it comes to publishing a book! The title is: The Earth Angel Training Academy. It’s based on the other side, in an Academy for beings from all different realms. There are Angels, Faeries, Merpeople, Old Souls and Starpeople. They go to the Academy to learn how to become human, so they can go to Earth and help with the Awakening. The novel follows several of the characters as they experience the final term of the Earth Angel Training Academy. Anyone who has read any of Doreen Virtue’s books will understand the term Earth Angels, and maybe even know which realm they themselves are from! I will possibly add some excerpts from my novel on here, to give a little bit of a taster.

Now then, my reasoning for self-publishing. I must admit, I initially wanted to publish this book the traditional way, and like I mentioned before, did start sending it out to agents and publishers, and received a few replies. I only did e-mail submissions, I didn’t quite get into the hard copy submissions. I suppose you could say that going down the self-publishing route  is me being a bit lazy, and not wanting to bother printing out the first three chapters of the book and sending them out to people, which would be quite true. I don’t really want to go through all of that process, just as I don’t really want to spend all my money on the postage, printing and paper costs! Then there’s the time thing – I’m just far too impatient to wait years, or if very, very lucky, months before finding someone to take on my novel.

In 2007, I self-published my novella – Heaven Dot Com, because at 18,000 words, it was too short to be published by a publisher, and too long to be sent to magazines, so just because I wanted to see it in book form, I published it on the POD site, lulu. Though the quality was good, I wasn’t too impressed with the postage costs, or the high manufacturing costs, so I was pleased to find a different company this year. I re-published the novella, and found that the quality is excellent, the manufacturing costs are low, so I can make the price lower, and the postage is very reasonable. I also like the function on the site that allows people to read a certain number of pages online.  So, although I would love to have the benefits of an Editor, Proofreader, and marketing department, I’m afraid that I just don’t have enough patience or stamps to go the traditional publishing route.

Which means of course, that the editing is entirely down to me, the cover is down to my wonderful sister, and the marketing and selling is also all down to me. Which should be interesting. Aside from social networking, I have no actual marketing plan, I may be calling on some other friends in that field to help me out. I also love the book “How to become a famous writer before you are dead.” by Ariel Gore. It has some excellent tips.

I think that’s more than enough information for one post, so time to print out that extra copy, I think!