Friday, September 21, 2012


   Five Simple Truths for Indie Authors

Those of us who are writing today know that we’re writing in an amazing place and time. Publishing has changed (a lot!) and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of those changes slowing down.

But with all of the fluctuations—all of the tweaking and adjustments and tossing out of the old way of doing business—there are a few things I think are timeless. When my head begins to hurt because I’m not sure what to do next, I think of these things that are like simple truths for indie authors:

Simple Truth #1: When you invest in your book, you invest in yourself.

Hire a professional editor. There is no way a book is going to be the best it can be without one. Readers have become more savvy and discerning than ever before. They’ve learned to download a sample and if that sample is weak, they aren’t going to care about your cover or your title or your trailer or the fact that it’s free.

Speaking of covers (*wink*)… I believe that I sold at least a couple of copies of Red Tide because the cover was intriguing. Unless you are an amazing graphic designer, with all the tools at your disposal, hire someone who will work with you and tweak your cover until it can’t be tweaked anymore.

Simple Truth #2: What one person loves about your book, another person won’t.

I love this. Life would be pretty dull if we all loved the same stuff. Some people aren’t going to be drawn to your book. Period. Get over it. Embrace the diversity.

Simple Truth #3: Manipulation can lead to strangulation.

There’s a fine line between gentle persuasion and cramming your book down someone’s throat. Remember that ‘social networking’ is exactly what it says. It is not your own private billboard. If I follow you on Twitter or friend you on Facebook, that does not give you permission to blast your book in my face. If you push me hard enough, I’ll push back.

Simple Truth #4: Readers are gold.

Readers owe you nothing. When they reach out to you, take the time to respond as graciously as possible. You build your audience one reader at a time.

You owe readers everything. They validate you every time they pick up your book and read it. They affirm that the thing you love doing you do well.

Simple Truth #5: Never stop improving.

Keep learning. Read books on craft, don’t just buy them and stick them on your bookshelf. Go to conferences, take workshops. Talk with other writers. Work to make your next book better than your last one.

And finally, one more (call it a bonus):

Simple Truth #6: Trust the process.

If you write a good book, invest in it, lose your ego and appreciate the people who find your book in that great ocean of books, things will shake out wonderfully in the end.

What about you? Is there another simple truth you’d like to share?

Peg Brantley is the author of Red Tide. In six months, Red Tide has found its way into the hands of more than 30,000 readers. Her second novel, The Missings will be available in October, 2012 wherever books are sold.

Friday, September 14, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER: Juli D. Revezzo

Writing Through the Storm

Hey, I’m Juli and I’m a writer. Yes, I know everyone is these days right? It’s fun, exciting, they say. Hey, maybe you can even get lucky and make some money.
(Okay, okay, now that we’ve all stopped laughing, ask yourself this: What drives you to it? To create, to put yourself out there, to try again and again?
That, I think, is the question we all have to ask ourselves once we move these tales out of our computers. What drives us to give them to critique partners, to let them tear open our veins, for better or worse?
For me, it was not an easy road. Every writer has stories of rejection, of wrong turns. In my case, I think it was Fate slapping me in the nose that led me to finally listen to the gurus that urged, “Come on; you should just try this once.”
And Fate’s a real bitch, sometimes. What can you do when life smacks you in the nose? I got smacked pretty hard the last few years, but I didn’t sit down and feel sorry for myself.
No. I wrote.
And wrote.
And wrote some more. I fouled up a couple times, and a couple manuscripts; but then I sat down, and thought real hard. Was I squeezing myself into a box I just wasn’t going to fit in?
If I continued on the path I’d been following for half my life (yes, half my life), and tried and tried and tried really hard, what were the odds that I’d ever get further than I had in all those years of trying? Was I becoming better at querying? Or worse at writing?
Yes, believe it or not, I’m coming to realize practice doesn’t always make perfect, if you are practicing the wrong things. And practicing in a storm of upheaval—which Patty can attest to—doesn’t always yield results.
But hey. It’s a learning process, right?
The end result added to what I’ve done today. It compelled me to take a real look at Legacy publishing and I realized, maybe its brass ring wasn’t so shiny after all. The stigmas have been swept aside and maybe not everyone needs to take the same path to enlighten--erm, I mean publication. The realization, or the sting of the smacks whatever you want to call it, the storms I weathered went into the storms of my first book, The Artist’s Inheritance—and helped me to deepen and publish it, for better or worse.
So, the question all comes down to this: What can you trust more in the storm? The rusty brass ring? Or the sails of your own making?
I know what I think. So, if you’re thinking of what to do with those sails of trying, and trying again. Then do. Get out there, and hoist those sails. We’ll see what’s over the horizon.

Want to learn more about my book The Artist’s Inheritance? Okay.

Settling into their new home in Gulf Breeze, Florida, Caitlin finds strange changes coming over her husband Trevor. He seems obsessed with a beautiful chair he’s carving.
When the nightmares deepen and ghosts begin lurking—she knows something’s not right, and not just her newfound precognitive abilities. It’s the damned chair, she’s sure. Could it be just what it seems: a mundane piece of furniture? If so, why is it attracting dark forces—the forces she suspects drove Trevor’s siblings to insanity and suicide?
Before the same happens to Trevor, Caitlin must convince him to sell his art. But armed with only a handful of allies, and little experience of the supernatural, she must proceed with caution against the hellish forces besieging her family. If she succeeds, she will break the ancestral curse. If she fails, she may lose forever the one thing she cares about most: her beloved Trevor.

It’s available at Amazon for Kindle
and coming soon in paperback.
Thanks, Patty, for inviting me here!

About Juli D. Revezzo

Juli D. Revezzo has long been in love with writing, a
love built by devouring everything from the Arthurian
legends, to the works of Michael Moorcock, and the
classics and has a soft spot for classic the “Goths” of the
19th century. Her short fiction has been published in Dark
Things II: Cat Crimes, The Scribing Ibis, Eternal Haunted
Summer, Twisted Dreams Magazine and Luna Station
Quarterly and Crossed Genres' "Posted stories for Haiti
relief" project, while her non-fiction has been included in
The Scarlet Letter. She has also, on occasion, edited the
popular e-zine Nolan's Pop Culture Review... But her
heart lies in the storytelling. She is a member of the
Romance Writers of America, the Tampa Area Romance
Authors, and the special interest RWA chapter Fantasy,
Futuristic and Paranormal. To learn more about this and
future releases, visit her at:

Juli D. Revezzo’s site links:

Friday, September 7, 2012


I sat staring at the screen for weeks, trying to figure out how to write this. Fairy Queen of Spencer's Butte and Other Tales
is the first book I've published that I've actively tried to push -- and I suppose, if I'm being honest, "actively tried to push" isn't quite right. Still, I've done more to get the word out about this book than I have with my other indie published book -- and I think this book has a wider audience appeal. 

 That said, talking about it is hard. I'm new enough at indie publishing that I haven't yet made up in my mind how I want to present myself, publicly. And this indecision has caused me angst. This, I think, is going to be the most difficult part of publishing independently. It's preventing me from pushing the book as well as I could be. Why?
 I haven't yet figured out if -- or how -- I can speak about Fairy Queen of Spencer's Butte and Other Tales without mentioning the fact that the whole collection is written in homage to the spirits of this place. I can't speak of The Elk Prince without pointing out that it's a retelling of a common Pacific Northwest native tale; I can't talk about The Girl with Mushrooms in Her Hair without speaking of walks along the beautiful McKenzie River and the tale the rapids had to share. I can't tell you about When The Hills Come Courting without mentioning the small, secret, liminal spaces tucked away all around this city, wanting and waiting to be discovered. I don't know how to talk about this collection that was a thanks-giving to the spirits in our adopted home without pointing out that the collection is, first and foremost, a thanks-giving. So, I suppose, let me tell you about that.

 In 2008, my partner and I packed up our house and moved West. We came West just as the American economy was crashing, without the promise of jobs, with a small cushion from having sold her house, with a very small support group cheering us on. We everything we needed and more in Eugene, Oregon. Fairy Queen of Spencer's Butte and Other Tales is, simply put, about my love for this city, the region, and its people.

It wasn't easy, moving across the country from nearly everyone I know and love. It's not easy remaining here -- I feel constantly torn in two. Yet, I walk through my neighborhood, so much like any other neighborhood outside of an urban city, and I can't help but be infused with the spirit of this place. It goes deeper than simple surface impressions. Yes, Eugene is a college town. We have fresh blood coming in every year to help keep place young and hip. We have our long established tradition of hippies, half in this world, half in other worlds, wanting to build community, wanting us all to see the brotherhood of man. We have a fair number of homeless and transients, some by choice, others by circumstances and hard economic times (and a number of them caring for unwanted dogs and cats, to boot, which can only ever be a good thing. Everyone should know love and kindness). And this is just the humans I'm speaking of. This doesn't touch upon those who may not be incarnate, or those who are flying about the skies or crawling through the underbrush, or those who were flesh but came before and are now beloved ancestors of this place.

Downtown, in front of our library, sits a bronze statue of the man who gave our city its name: Eugene Skinner. Across the street, at the bus station, a statue of Rosa Parks sits upon her bus-bench. Down the street further, Ken Kesey sits reading to a gaggle of bronze children. Regularly, these statues are adorned with flowers and other gifts. Ancestor veneration is alive and well in this city; it's not unreasonable that I should add to it with my humble offering of stories.

But, do I talk about that? Does this not detract from the stories themselves? Should I not just be talking about the collection, and indie publishing? In my mind, it's all interwoven. I moved here somewhat randomly, but fell in love with Place. Moving as I did, away from what was known and safe into the unknown, risking much in the process, engendered a sense of kinship with those who had come before -- explorers, homesteaders, pioneers, and even further back -- people not fulfilled or satisfied with the life offered back East. This whole mindset synchs up with indie publishing very nicely: though it works for some people, it's not the answer for everyone, and alternate options should (and thanks to the technology at our hands, is) available for people. We are living in exciting and interesting times, and I, for one, am fascinated by the changing dynamic between creator and consumer.

Fairy Queen of Spencer's Butte and Other Tales is a collection of 12 stories, all inspired by or set in and around the Willamette Valley of Oregon. They are inspired by the local folktales, by the shadow of Spencer's Butte in the valley, by the California poppies ringed around stones, by faces hidden in the blackberry clusters. They, hopefully, share with you the beauty, magic, and wonder this place has inspired within me, and it's my greatest hope that they leave you as nourished as they've left me.