Thank you for stopping by The Golden Pen Review, a blog dedicated to promoting authors, giving marketing tips, and publishing insight.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Running Towards Creativity

As writers most of us have that one thing that jumpstarts our creativity, mine happens to be working out. Running to be exact. By my house there is this beautiful long trail stretching from one end of the city to the next. Now, by no means am I able to run the entire trail. I generally average about 2-3 miles per trip. But, during that time my mind is free of all the daily drama which in turn allows my creative side to manifest.

This very morning I came up with a way to conclude the novel I am working on. The answer came to me as if I simply hit the Staples Easy Button, or if it was something I should have known all along. In essence it was there all along but buried by all of my other less creative thoughts. What’s for dinner? How are my children performing in school? Did I remember to pay the light bill? Well you get the point. 

Now I understand everyone can’t get out and run, but we all must find a little me time. Without the me time our brains will find it hard to stop processing our daily stressors and relax enough for the real us to shine through. So remember no matter how busy your day is take some time for you and let that creativity run through.

The Golden Pen

Monday, May 23, 2011

National Book and Literary Festivals

If you are an author then going to book events is a must. The problem is finding out which ones are a good fit. Some events are designed specifically for a particular genre, whereas others are open to all. Over the years I have attended several and you take the good with the bad. Some are great for networking but leave the pockets feeling a bit thin, while others have you running back to their website to sign up again for the following year. Here is my experience with the two big ones I attended so far this year.

The first stop was at the Arkansas Literary Festival in Little Rock. The coordinators of the Arkansas Literary Festival left me with a feeling of being had. They had completely changed everything from the previous year. Vendors Row had been reduced to Vendors Alley. We were positioned on the down slop of a parking lot and behind a tall building. If that wasn’t bad enough some poor authors didn’t even have the promised tent covering. They were set up directly in the sun on a 90+ degree day even though they paid the same amount as everyone else. The area was too far from the building in which the presentations were held and signage was minimal. As a matter of fact my car was actually parked on a side street and blocked the one sign I did find. It was not a good day for anyone. Many of the other authors on the so called Vendors Row were expressing their disappointment as well so much in fact many did not return the following day. In total maybe 25-30 people wandered past. I had more guests and sales at a ladies night in my home two weeks after the event.

After the nightmare of Arkansas I was a little on the nervous side about attending the SC Book Fest in Columbia. The difference was night and day. This event was well organized and publicized. From the moment you pulled up there were staff set up to help you unload and you were directed to your appropriate location. Even though I wasn’t in a prime location, not in the main hall, there was traffic driven to my location. Readers came by in droves making the day not only great for networking and enjoying my fellow authors, but good on my pocket book.  The Chairman was even kind enough to stop by and check on us. I will be returning.
Now I know registration fees can be overwhelming but have you ever thought about sharing a space? Don’t look at it as competition. In some cases I have seen people make sure to buy both authors just to show support. The key is getting your name out there. No one will ever know who you are if you don’t get out there to meet them. Start out small. Find events close by in which you don’t have to spend the night. Whatever you need to do to get out there do it. Not all will be great but you never know what it may lead to. 

Next stops for me are three book signings in Mississippi on May 28 http://conversationsbookclub.blogspot.com/2011/05/sat-may-28-2011-award-winning-author.html, then on to Chicago’s Printers Row from June 4-5. Hope to see some of you around!

Omegia Keeys
Passionate Playmates
Can You Keep a Secret
Unloved (anthology)
The Baby Girl (YA under Key Rollins)

Thanks for stopping by Omegia! Great to see you out on the grind and making a name for yourself. Sometimes we authors tend to forget about what is needed once we complete a book.

A few other large book events
Decatur Book Festival
Texas Book Festival
Miami Book Fair

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Up Close with B. Swangin Webster

1. What inspires you as a writer? What inspires me is I always feel that there is a story somewhere inside of me. My life was pretty full but I still felt that something was missing and that ‘something’ was writing. Now that I do it 60% of the time, I love it.
2.  When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer? In high school a teacher told me that I had a “voice” and that is when I KNEW, plus when I buy a card from the store, I HAVE to write on the blank side.
3.   What is your writing process? I do it by the seat of my pants. I don’t outline and I don’t sit down and think of where I want the story to go; it just happens.
4.   Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them? My favorite character is Cheryl. I love her; although most people don’t. I wanted to take the readers into a place that they had to use their emotions to get through her story and see her for what she really is; a great woman.

5.   What are you currently working on? Currently I am working on the novel, The Teacher’s Lounge
6.   Any upcoming events? Yes, I have a few events coming up. Taste N Books will either be coming up or past by the time this posts and I also have a few events; during the summer. Baltimore Book Fair to name one.
7.   If you could be anyone you like, who would you be? E. Lynn Harris. Ok, I know that would require a few different things to happen; surgery, name change, etc…LOL…but he showed me what a hard working author was capable of doing.
8.   Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn? Yes. Never listen to your critiques as if they were the end all. Every person will have an opinion about your work and if you take everything too seriously, you will never sell one more book. You have to use criticism as the next step in your success ladder.
9.    Where can your followers find you? Wow…Just like VISA I’m everywhere you want to be.
Twitter: @SandraBSwanginWebster

10. Any last words? My last words are; if you have a story to tell; then you should tell it and let no one stop you. There will be naysayers but you have to learn that someone will ALWAYS have something to say. Your response has to be: “Thank you for your opinion” and keep it moving! 
Thank you for your time B. Swangin....gotta love the name!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Author Spotlight with Vandy

Vandy will be at the SC Book Fest May 14-15 at the Passionate Writer Publishing Booth.
Vandy (b September 17, 1981) is a new novelist on the scene that hails from Columbia, SC. She currently lives in Rock Hill, SC and likes to write about places she has been all over the world. Growing up, Vandy always loved to read books and write poetry. Vandy was first inspired to write romance novels when she was in her senior year in college. In these stories, big named authors became her inspiration and comforters through life as she became a woman.
In 2011, Vandy released her down-to-earth story about a young woman named Patience in A Patience to Love and a collection of erotic fiction stories called Twisted: Stories of Love, Sex and Betrayal. Vandy is currently working on the sequel to A Patience to Love, Twisted and a tell-all book about relationships.

Excerpt from Twisted: Released Inhibitions

Another lonely night. How many more times is she going to go through this? Mariah thought as she reclined back on her bed looking at the ceiling. For seven long years she put up with D’Angelo’s lying and scheming ass. How many more times was she going to sit at home and wait for him to show up?

Mariah signed as she sat up and looked out the window. D’Angelo was supposed to have been there an hour ago. After all, it was their anniversary. Mariah surmised he was probably out getting his dick wet. Who was it this time? She caught him so many times she lost count. Sad part was that she never really left him. At least not long enough to make it matter. The main culprit of the cheating had been by ghetto baby mother named Keisha. Why did there always have to be a “Keisha” involved in somebody’s drama?

Last year around this time, Keisha accidentally got pregnant with DJ, WHO TOOK THE NAME OF HIS FATHER. Mariah always envisioned giving D’Angelo his first son and using DJ or Junior as a nickname for their child. That fact alone almost infuriated her as much as finding D’Angelo and Tricia behind his workplace. D’Angelo couldn’t lie his way out of having Tricia’s mouth around his member. Sometimes a woman can live in denial until she sees it with her own eyes.

1.    What inspires you as a writer? What inspires me is the liberation of women and the smiles that show on their faces when they read my writing and say that they enjoy the empowerment of my characters and how realistic they are.
2.    When did you have that ah ha moment when you knew you were a writer? That moment occurred when a fellow coworker began proof reading my writing and he would jump out of his seat halfway through a chapter to tell me how great it was. I knew my work was worth submitting.

3.    What is your writing process? Simply, just writing as if I were watching a movie. When I write, I speak in naturally in order for the readers to follow along with the story. Too much thinking and stopping through the process will hinder fluid scenes and drama. 

4.    Tell us about your favorite character and why you chose to write about them? My favorite character is Patience from “A Patience to Love” because she embodies the average woman that is hard-working and trying to make it in her twenties. She has desires and issues from her past that can often hinder her desires. I wrote about her because I felt that a face needed to be placed to that woman that craves love and affection, but does not always get it.

5.    What are you currently working on? Currently, I am working on a sequel to the new collection of erotic stories called “Twisted: Released Inhibitions” and the sequel to Patience’s story called “Pain Before Pleasure”. Both books have been requested by readers of previous stories.

6.    Any upcoming events? At this time, there is a South Carolina Book Fair that is in Columbia in May and local book signings in the works. 

7.    If you could be anyone you like, who would you be? Myself. Becoming someone else creates a world where you take on their problems along with their fortunes.

8.    Do you have any advice for new writers and something that a seasoned vet can learn? Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. If you love to write and that is in your heart, that’s something that cannot be taken away from you. Also, do not let life’s circumstances block your blessings.

9.    Where can your followers find you? I am on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Myspace, BlackPlanet, Blogspot, and authorvandy@hotmail.com and most importantly readers can find me at www.authorvandy.webs.com.

10.  Any last words? Aspiring writers should know that if they publish a book and one person buys that book and says that it is great… That’s enough. You have blessed that one person.

Thank you Vandy for letting us get to know a little more about you. Vandy's books are available at Barnes & Noble and Amazon in hard copy or electronic format. Get yours today. I have already downloaded mine. Getting read to find out what The Set Up is all about! 

The Golden Pen 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Are You Ready to Self-publish?

They always say never judge a book by its cover well then how about the horrible formatting job? I wanted to enjoy the book I purchased the night before, I truly did. Instead, I could not get past the words pushed so far down on the page. The words appeared ready to run off at any moment. As if to add insult to injury the novel was also formatted for internet content and not a published book. The poor thing screamed at me that it was self-published.

There are many advantages to self-publish. No rejection and higher, if not 100%, royalty rate are among the top. These are great advantages but if you are going to self-publish know what you are truly getting into. Self-publishing is more than slapping your manuscript together to make a book. Self-publish should not translate to lower quality. Ask yourself these things before you seek out self-publishing.

*Is my book edited (someone other than yourself)?
*Do you have a cover designer?
*Do you know how to properly format your novel (ebook and hard copy)?
*Do you know how to obtain an ISBN# and barcode?

Those are just the beginning. If you answer yes to those then you will still need a printer, distributor, and a great marketing plan in order to get your books into the hands of readers and reviews. There are several companies that offer the basic steps of publishing a book for a fee. The key is to make sure they offer exactly what you need and that it is included in the upfront cost or you can end up paying for it later. A lot of companies charge extra for editing and formatting.

Know exactly how much you are willing to spend in order to get a quality book. Without quality you will never be able to get your book inside of booksellers such as Barnes & Noble or Books a Million. If by chance the book does slip through the cracks then you risk upsetting a reader. Readers can make or break you by word of mouth alone. Think about it have you ever bragged or suggested to one of your friends to read a crappy book? I would hope not so in turn don’t be a crappy self-publisher. Give your reader something to recommend to others.

If you are ready to self-publish here are a few places to help you get started. I chose these because I have actually seen them at book events, in book stores, reviews on books and plan on using them myself.

Some self-publishing companies:

Help with Marketing and Promoting:

Reviewers for Independent and self-published authors:

The Golden Pen

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Author vs Writer

From the time I was able to hold a pen and string sentences together I was compelled to write down the things I witnessed or overheard. I would write with extreme detail describing the colors, textures, and even smells of the places or how I imagined them to be. When given the task of writing in school with an end of the semester deadline, my work would be near complete that very evening. Writing, it seemed, was something that came easily for me. It wasn’t until I set out to have the world read my work that it became a daunting task.

“You mean after months or even years of writing this I may get rejected?” I almost died inside of the mere thought. I was more willing to walk across hot coals than to release my work onto the unforgiving world of publishing. The end result—my manuscript sat for years.

It wasn’t until one of my endless trips to the bookstore that I had an epiphany. The book I had just purchased and read was terrible but yet there it was in print, and I had bought it. This person had achieved something I had not. They went from Writer to Author. Not by having the skill, but by having the courage to let the world judge their work.

After closing the book (yes I read to the very end) I immediately opened up my manuscript on my pc. I reviewed it, polished it, and actually convinced myself to let it go. That is when I had become an Author. It was that courage to show myself through my writings that allowed me to cross that divide.

My question to all aspiring authors is are you really an Author or still a Writer? To become an Author you must be ready to face and handle the criticism, both good and bad, that come along with it.