My Amazing Indie Writer Journey

by Lisa Prysock           

Greetings friends!  I’m writing to you from my writing office in Kentucky—the land of horses, four-board fences, and many wonderful rural communities.  We’re blessed with the occasional farm and the splendor of bluegrass, violets, and wildflowers dotting our green lawns.

The Inspired Prompt crew invited me to write a guest blog post to inspire you to what we writers love: writing!  Particularly, being an Indie Writer.  I’ll try to share a few thoughts about being an Indie Writer to spur you on.

I have to be honest.  I was an Indie Writer before I even knew what “Indie” meant.  Don’t laugh, but I thought it was a reference to “Indiana Jones” and Harrison Ford.  It’s okay, you can laugh.  I thought we Christian Indie Authors were on an adventure to share the Word of God through our writing as we sort of wildly took over the writing scene, kind of like Indiana Jones and his pursuit of the Holy.  Believe me, it has been a completely fun and almost comical adventure for me at times.  Imagine my surprise to find out it simply meant “Independent.”  Well, that was definitely true!

It’s definitely a learning process.  I’ve felt myself go through about three major learning curves and each one has been amazing.  It’s also an incredible, amazing journey.  I recommend approaching it with joy and patience.  Settle in for the ride and let God lead where you’re meant to go and reach who you’re meant to reach.

Writers' Resolutions for 2017 by Karen JurgensDon’t be afraid to make mistakes—and when you do make them—don’t let them define you.  Keep going.  Try different things to see what works.  Aim high, do your best, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself along the way.  I try to include as much humor as possible in my novels.  Life is hard enough.  Readers expect us to share the truth in a creative way, and lighthearted novels can be so enjoyable.  So do it well.  Give it your very best.  I can honestly say, I’ve given it my very best with each book.

Surround yourself with as many other Christian authors as you can and ask as many questions as possible. You’ll learn a lot by joining a few Christian writing groups. I try to take notes and listen to each author.  They all have so many amazing things to share and you know, it’s true:  iron sharpens iron.

It’s a tremendously rewarding journey, but it will take your all to do it well. You’ll need all the help and prayer you can encounter along the way. There are long nights, absolutely loads of hard work, and many obstacles. However, I’ve noticed the Lord opening the right doors, training me, teaching me, guiding me, continuously equipping and surrounding me with support and a fresh flow of ideas through each stage of my writing journey. Psalm 45 was a huge source of writing inspiration for me.

Today, I’m nearing publication of my fourteenth novel. I’ve written both historical and contemporary romance novels, and a devotional.  There’s still so much for me to learn, but I’ve truly enjoyed each moment in the process. Most of all, when readers write back and tell me they’ve experienced healing such as loss recovery or being set free from something through my writing, then I know I’m doing exactly what the Lord called me to do.  These experiences bless me so much I can barely contain my joy.  I highly recommend it!

Writing Prompt: (Insert your character’s name here) carefully and lovingly packed her two trunks with each of the items she’d need to begin her new life across the Atlantic Ocean with her beloved.  (Mention some of the items she’s packing in each trunk, a little about her beloved, and something about her destination and current location.)

Click to Tweet: My Amazing Indie Writer Journey by @LPrysock via @InspiredPrompt Don’t be afraid to make mistakes—and when you do make them—don’t let them define you. #amwriting #indieauthor


Readers! Lisa is giving away a paperback edition of Annabelle (upon release) for leaving a comment.  [U.S. Addresses only, please] Estimated release date is August 17th.

Annabelle is book 2 in the Brides of Grace Hill Series.  She flees Edinburgh, Scotland from a grandmother with an evil tongue who has beaten her down verbally and emotionally.  Tall and plain, she doesn’t think she has much of a future, much less the chance to have a family and husband of her own.  She writes to her Aunt Millie in Kentucky who is up to a little matchmaking again and subsequently, receives a letter with an offer of marriage from an American with Scottish roots.  He’s residing in Kentucky during the Antebellum Era.  The offer has several conditions, including a perilous journey along the Oregon Trail to begin a new life in the Willamette Valley region of Oregon along the Pacific coast.  Things seem to be going well with her plans, until she disembarks from a riverboat on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky to discover her trunks containing her sole possessions from Scotland have somehow been lost.


Lisa M. Prysock is an award-winning, bestselling, Christian and inspirational author of more than 13 novels.  She was born in Minnesota; raised in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Ohio as a child; and as an adult, has lived in Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio again, and Florida, before settling in beautiful, rural Kentucky near many horse farms in the countryside bordering Louisville.  She and her husband of more than 20 years chose to make their home in Kentucky where the rich heritage, scenic area, local culture and history, along with her faith, are a constant source of inspiration for many of Lisa’s books.  Together, they have five children, grown.

Lisa writes in the genres of both Historical Christian Romance and Contemporary Christian Romance novels, including a multi-author, Contemporary Western Christian Romance series, “Whispers in Wyoming” with Danni Roan, Kari Trumbo, and Rachel Skatvold.  She is also the author of a devotional.  She enjoys sharing her faith through her writing.

She has many interests, but a few of these include gardening, cooking, sketching, arts and crafts, sewing, crochet, cross stitch, scrapbooking, reading, swimming, biking, and walking.  She loves dollhouses, cats, horses, butterflies, hats, boots, flip-flops, espadrilles, chocolate, coffee, tea, chocolate, the colors peach and purple, and everything old-fashioned.  She adopted the slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl” because of her love for classic, traditional, and old-fashioned everything.  When she isn’t writing, she can sometimes be found teaching herself piano and violin, but humorously finds the process “a bit slow and painful.”  A few of her favorite authors include Jane Austen, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.  You’ll find “food, fashion, fun, and faith” in Lisa’s novels.

She continues the joy and adventure of sharing her faith through her writing journey as a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and LCW (Louisville Christian Writers).  Lisa’s books are clean and wholesome, inspirational, and family oriented.  She gives a generous portion of the proceeds to missions.

You can find out more about this author at www.LisaPrysock.com where you’ll find free recipes, devotionals, author video interviews and book trailers, giveaways, blog posts, and much more, including an invitation to sign up for her free newsletter.

Links to Connect with Lisa:

https://www.facebook.com/LisaMPrysock

https://twitter.com/LPrysock

www.LisaPrysock.com  

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00J6MBC64

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lisa-m-prysock

 

 

Indie Publishing: My Journey

By Gail Johnson

If you google indie publishing, you’ll find umpteen dozen sites offering advice on how to publish your book. There, you’ll also find an opinion on why, where, and when to do it. Believe me!

Warning: You can spend years obtaining endless trails of information, or you can write a book and publish that puppy. One thing is certain, you’ll have to make your own decision on what is the best technique for you.

TreasuresofHopeFrontFinalIn 2017, I published my memoir, Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past. In this article I will share a little of the process and some surprises I encountered through that experience. Note: I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert, so I’ve added links for you to discover your own path. Let’s get started.

Write

The first step is obvious. Write your story.

Editing

The second step should be obvious. We are not perfect. We will make mistakes. The more eyes you have on your story the better to catch those mistakes. Hire an editor. Apply those edits. I hired a developmental editor and a copy editor. It was one of the best decisions I made during my journey.

Formatting

Some writers hire formatters while others do their own formatting. I did a little of both. For the print book, I used a template by Book Design Templates. For my e-book, I hired a formatter. The reason for that was I ran into problems on the e-book that neither the template techs nor Amazon techs could figure out. As weeks turned into months, I chose to hire someone to do the e-book. (I would like to add, a friend used Book Design Templates for her historical novel and had no problems.) I still recommend the templates.

Covers

You can order e-book covers any time during the writing process. But a print book cover must have several elements in place before ordering. Formatting your book will give you the needed page number to determine the width of your spine. No guessing. The page number must be exact.

By now, you should have the title and an idea what you’d like the front of your book to look like. To choose your photo you can visit the following sites. You can either choose a free photo or you can buy one. The main thing is to make sure you get the rights to the photograph. The following sites were suggested to me.

Bigstockphoto.com
Depositphotos.com
Unsplash.com
Shutterstock.com
Fotolia.com
Istockphoto.com
Dreamstime.com
Peopleimages.com

Another thing you will need for your cover is a blurb. A blurb is a description of your story printed on the back of your book. Psst. I had someone to help me write mine. You will also need an author picture and bio.

The last thing to think about for your print cover is the ISBN number. Some authors buy their own while others use a free CreateSpace ISBN. Read more here.

Now you are ready to order your cover or make your own if you so choose. I’m not that creative. I hired a cover designer.

Categories and Keywords

While you wait on the cover, think about your categories and keywords you’ll use once you’ve uploaded your manuscript. Categories describe the genre while keywords are the words you think people will use when searching for your book.

For instance, my book is a memoir, but it can be, and has been, used as a devotional and a study guide. So, three out of the seven keywords were memoir, devotional, and study guide.

Publishing

This part of the journey was a surprise to me. When my covers arrived in my inbox, the e-book was a jpeg, and the print copy was a pdf. Who knew? Next, I visited my friendly neighborhood publisher, such as KDP, CreateSpace, BN, IngramSpark. Again everyone has their opinions.

As with every new project, we may feel apprehension in the doing. I did! So, let me encourage you. It isn’t as hard as you think. Once you create your account, you’ll be taken to a dashboard that will lead you through the entire process. Just follow the direction and you’ll do fine. And if you run into any problems, contact the publisher. I had no problems getting my questions answered.

After uploading a pdf of your cover and manuscript to CreateSpace, they will review, print, and snail mail you a copy of your book. You will need to proof it. If you find a problem, correct it, and reorder. They will send you another proof. When you are satisfied with the result, you are ready to share your story with the world.

So there you have some of the interesting things I learned while publishing my book. If you’re an indie, what things would you add? If you published your book, what were the surprises in your journey to publication?

Click to Tweet: “So there you have some of the interesting things I learned on my publishing journey.” @GailJohnson87 for @InspiredPrompt #indie #author

Writing Prompt: Today, make a plan and add a date to publish your book.

A Month of Indie Publishing

I was indie published before it was popular—back when it was a bad, sad thing. At the time, they still referred to it as self-published, or “vanity” published, a choice for those who couldn’t get published the “right way”. So, I paid someone to publish a manuscript.

I had a whole list of reasons. Fear topped that list.

A few other reasons why:

  • I didn’t want anyone changing my “work of art”–*sigh*
  • Agents and editors told me the story would never sell
  • I had no idea what I was doing

These were not my only reasons, but I’ll stop there.

Indie Publishing is now a viable, respectable choice.

Years later, I removed those books, rewrote them, edited them, paid a designer to do eye-catching covers, and re-released them through a reputable company. You might be wondering how you find a good company? What other choices are out there? Can you do it yourself?

These are some of the questions we’ll explore and answer this month on the Writing Prompts blog. I hope you’ll join us for each one of our posts and discover what we’ve learned.

As always, if we don’t have the answer, we’ll find someone who does.

In case you’re wondering what happened with my writing journey, I met a woman who made a big splash in the Indie Publishing pond. Fellow Kentuckian, Hallee Bridgeman, heard my story. She and her husband were helping other writers get started. They were willing to help me.

Welcome to Sign of the Whale Books (an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press)!

Gregg Bridgeman took my humble manuscript and turned it into something beautiful with his interior editing. Graphic artist, Debi Warford gave each book a brand, spanking new cover that brought tears to my eyes. Their artistry and attention to detail far outstripped the writing in those first novels!

Make Your Story Shine

The best advice I can give, whether you choose to DIY-it, have a friend help you, or pay someone to publish it, is this:

  • Perfect your work
  • Get help from a critique group and/or use beta readers
  • Find a reputable editor and pay for editing
  • Find a good graphic artist and pay for an eye-catching cover. Cousin Lucy may not be a good choice—you want someone who will still speak to you afterwards, preferably not related to you.

We Need You

Join us here at the Writing Prompts blog as we talk about alternatives, pitfalls, and share our experiences. If you have questions or comments, please join the conversation. Let us know what you think of the industry.

Have we helped you? Let us know. If you have a comment or a question that doesn’t seem to fit the post you’re reading, use the contact tab above. We’ll do our best to get the answers you need.


Click to tweet: I was indie published before it was popular! #IndiePub #Writing

Writing Prompt: It was the desire of Julie’s heart—to see her book in print—not just for herself, but for…

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