Monday, February 28, 2011

The Virtues of Virtual Publishing

Since I have decided to publish my books digitally, I have come to realize that there are many virtues to utilizing that form of presenting my work to the reading public.  Still, there is the other type of hybrid virtual publishing called Print-on-Demand, or POD. But after much pondering, and considerable consideration over whether or not to self-publish through publishing websites such as lulu or CreateSpace, which print copies of an author’s books as they are ordered, I have decided to wait on that decision. 

In the meantime, I am hovering on the notion that there is a benefit to digital publishing, not only for me, but for the environment as well.  While driving in my gas-guzzling SUV, I was thinking that I should get a smaller car and do my part to help the environment.  Then, I drove through a stand of trees that waved to me as I whizzed by and I realized that I already was doing my part, if only partly.  It was as if they were saying “Thank you, Brianna, for not killing our relatives by publishing your books on paper”.  I waved back (mentally because I didn’t want the other drivers to suspect that I had a mental problem) and I slowed down my vehicle a bit while all sorts of thoughts raced through my mind.

Yes, I was saving a few trees by using the digital method of publishing.  But then, I realized that other aspects of paper publishing were bad for the environment.  Gasoline was also a commodity that is used, albeit after the tree-killer books are published.  Lots of gas is wasted in transporting books to the brick and mortar stores.  Not to mention the gas that readers use to visit those stationary stores in the hope of finding a book that might not be on the shelves after all.

Electricity, too, is utilized when books are sold the old-fashioned way.  Lights illuminating those books in those archaic architectural edifices are constantly straining to focus upon the wares of the retailers.  Heating in the winter and air-conditioning in the summer to make buyers comfortable in their browsing experience are definitely delivery systems that devour electricity.  And then there is the eternal circuit of wall outlets for those plug-in devices such as computers and registers.

And I won’t even mention the publishing houses’ use of electricity to print those books.  I shudder at the thought, so I’ll take a deep breath and change the subject—a little.

Each coin, we know, has two sides:  Heads or Tails, Pros and Cons, your opinion and mine.  The other side of my coin and an argument that I often have with myself is that I love the smell of books and I’m sure other readers do as well.  Thankfully, there is a solution.  Lulu, CreateSpace and others offer print-on-demand, where books can be printed as they are ordered.  In this way, no books will sit around on shelves all over the world waiting for someone to buy them.  No books will be tossed into the bargain bin where they will collect dust while waiting for someone to buy them.  No books will be taking up space in someone’s attic, collecting paper-eating insects, waiting for someone to read them until they are tossed into a “box of books for a dollar”, a common form of yard sale fodder, waiting for someone to buy them.  Another deep breath…

It seems to me that paper books do a lot of waiting.  Meanwhile, trees are dying to be turned into paper books that are consistently waiting to be read.  At least with digital and POD, books that are waiting to be read are flying around in virtual bookstores that don’t use electricity, well except to keep those database computers running.  I am still deciding whether or not to submit my books to a print-on-demand publisher.  For now, I think I’ll just put them on sale in honor of Arbor Day and (mentally) tell the trees that I pass every day in my soon-to-be hybrid car, “You’re welcome!”


Saturday, February 5, 2011


Through the years, I have worked on honing my writing talent.  In high school, I excelled in my craft.  I entered several contests and won one or two.  Ribbons, trophies, certificates of accolades, all the tangible proof of my ability are stored away but still recollected in my heart and my mind.
Then I graduated, married and had two beautiful baby boys.  I put my writing projects on hold for a few years to concentrate on enjoying motherhood. 
Later, I began to write novels, poetry and short stories again.  I even started a children’s book series.  I submitted some of my novels to several publishers.  But in return, I received a lot of form letters that said that I was a talented writer but my work was “just not what we are looking for”.  They were always kind enough to add, “Good luck in your endeavor.” Over the years, I have gotten enough of those rejection letters to wallpaper my living room. 
Disappointed but not deterred, I continued to write.  I had to.  
I have to write. The words keep coming into my mind and I can’t ignore them.  I wouldn’t call my desire to create fascinating plots and to develop well-rounded characters an obsession, but, for me, it is more like an addiction.  The all-consuming need to put words together to form a plausible, if not entertaining story is essential to my existence.  And the satisfaction of finishing a novel, short story or a poem is a feeling of accomplishment that borders on intoxication.    
And so, I have indulged in my addiction.  While still crafting narratives and poetry, I concentrated on an alternative avenue for my creativity.  I wrote articles for a local newspaper that described how I came to be a citizen of Maryland, extracted from Texas by my new husband, and how I began to love my new surroundings.  This endeavor lasted for a few months, until the newspaper was sold and was moved to another town.
Five years ago, I hired an agent to represent the novel that I had just finished. “Golden Dreams” was entered into a national data base where publishers go to find prospective projects, but it got no bites.  Two years later, hard copies of the novel were sent to some of the publishers that the agent works with.  After several months, I received a report that none of them had accepted it.  A year later, she emailed me and suggested that I try vanity press, where an author pays for the printing, the promotions, well, virtually everything.  By then, I’d had enough of waiting for my “Golden Dreams” to come true, so I wrote a letter to the agency to “fire” them.  The letter was returned with “No Forwarding Address” stamped on it.  So, Literary Agency not mentioned here, if you still exist and you are reading this, please refer to the statement above.  
Dejected about the response that I have gotten from publishing companies, I have given up sending out query letters but I am still writing.  I have several poems, short stories, a series of children’s books and 6 novels rambling around in my computer including “Golden Dreams”.  And the writing projects keep coming into my mind.  (My addiction is eternal)
Wondering what to do about all those projects waiting to be shared with readers, I searched for ways to publish them for little or no start-up cost. And then, Eureka!  I discovered and the Kindle publishing program.  Last year, I published one of my novels digitally at, which downloads books to Kindle electronic readers or to a PC and other mobile devices.  I picked one of my novels that would appeal to Young Adults and “Ripple Effect” was published!  I listed it for $2.99, which is not a bad price for a first-time author.  That’s less than a gallon of gas, depending on where you live.
I’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to click on the link above and read the summary of “Ripple Effect”, a Contemporary Romance slash Action/Adventure.  If you decide to buy it, which I hope you will, please leave a review.  I appreciate constructive criticism.
If you like it, tell your friends.  If you read the summary and you don’t really like that kind of story, please tell someone who might enjoy reading it.  Thank you in advance for your help in spreading the word about it. 
Next, I published another novel, “Catch a Shooting Star”, which is set in the post-Civil War era.   I wrote this Historical Romance two years ago.  I  listed it on Amazon/Kindle for $3.49.  I hope you will click on it and see if that novel is to your liking. 
I am working on another Historical Romance that will soon be published there too.  Hopefully, “Enchanted Heart” will be up and running by Spring.  And then, I will add my “Golden Dreams” to the collection.
I look forward to bringing several genres to those of you who are looking for a different “voice” in my style of writing.  Some of my works will be posted here on my blog, free of charge but with the caveat of my copyright.   Others will be for sale on through the links on the top of my home page. 
I’ll keep you posted…