Saturday, January 4, 2014


Greetings everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful end of year celebration! Now that we are into our first week of 2014 it is time to GET BACK to work. LOL.

I know many of you still kept busy writing schedules over the holidays, BUT if you were like me, well, (hangs head in shame), you did not do much writing at all. I know we all have our, ehem, excuses, but no more will be accepted. LOL.

One of our special blogger friends, N.A. Windsor, affectionally know as Nutshell, has brought together an anthology with co-editor, Alana Garrigues. It is an amazing collection of writing exercises and their collective works written by the children's book writers of Los Angeles.

This is a book ALL Indie writers should have in their library. And what's even more special, through January, 50 percent of the proceeds will go to help aid in the Philippine Relief Efforts! SO... this is THE perfect time to break in all your Amazon gift cards and help support the many people devastated by this wicked force of nature.

Here are the highlights!

Story Sprouts Blog Tour: The Many Roles of an Indie Author
Last year my nonprofit writing group, CBW-LA, published its first ever anthology. It was our first foray into the challenging yet wonderful world of self-publishing. 
We learned a lot during the four months it took us to publish the anthology, including the fact that indie authors have to play many roles. 
This is the most important role you have to play. As an author, you give birth to new characters, create worlds for them to live in and bombard them with a thousand conflicts to make them grow. You will rewrite and revise your manuscript until the plot holes have been filled and the story flows seamlessly.

As an indie author, you’re advised to hire editors before you self-publish. But before you even hire a developmental editor to see how your story flows, and a copy-editor to make sure you have dotted all the i's and crossed all your t’s, you still need to make sure that you have personally edited your manuscript to the best of your ability. Sending a polished manuscript to your editors will ensure that you can publish it sooner rather than later. This also saves you money in the long run. A polished manuscript will have none of the unnecessary scenes and wasted words—which means less work for the editor and less pages for the printers to print.

A book is judged by its cover—at least initially, so as an indie author, you’re advised to hire a book cover designer, particularly if you’re not artistically-inclined. If you happen to have graphic design skills, then you’re one of the lucky few who can save some money to create your own cover art. But whether or not you do hire a designer for your book cover, you still need to learn about what makes a book cover stand out. You’ll need to learn about fonts, colors and text and graphic placement so you can apply it to your own book. Since you know your story inside and out, you’re the only one who can give the graphic designer the concept so he can create a cover that gives readers an idea of what your story is about.
As an indie author, you’ll need to format your book not just for print but for the different e-book platforms out there (mobi, epub, pdf, etc). Thankfully, this is one role which you can delegate to a professional, if you so choose. When we created STORY SPROUTS, we made sure that we hired a formatter like Morgan Media to work on our manuscript because we wanted to make sure the anthology looked professional and polished on all platforms.

Will you be publishing your ebook withAmazon, iBooks, Smashwords ,Barnes & Nobles’ Nook or all of them? How much will you sell your ebooks for? How about your print book? Will you be selling them just domestically or internationally? Will you be selling to bookstores and libraries? These are just some of the questions you’ll need to answer and work on as you fulfill the role of distributor.

You’ll have to create a marketing plan and put it into motion. How will you get the word out about your book? Will you be doing book tours? Will you do Blog tours and promote your work through various social media? Will you give away swag on your blog? How about promotional items related to your book like bookmarks, pins or t-shirts? As an indie author, you’ll not only have to be your own marketing representative, you’ll also have to be your own publicist.  This will include setting up your own events, asking for book reviews, and creating publicity materials such as a press kit or press releases.

As an indie author, you’ll also have to be your own project manager. You’ll need to create a financial plan and stick to it. You’ll have to make sure everything from writing to editing to publishing stays within your set timeline. This goes for the allotted budget as well. Spreadsheets will become your best friend as you also play the role of accountant. You’ll have to keep track of your sales, your vendors and your taxes. 

These are the major roles an indie author has to play, along with being a multi-tasker, problem-solver and go-getter as well. It takes a lot of time and hard work, but it is so worth it to be a part of every step your book takes from its inception to its publication. 

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: CBW-LA Publications (October 18, 2013)
Edited by: Alana Garrigues, Nutschell Anne Windsor
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0989878791
ISBN-13: 978-0989878791
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)

19 Authors
38 Combined Anthology Entries – 2 per Contributing Author
6-hour Workshop
10 Writing Exercises (included in Story Sprouts)
Dozens of Photo, Character and Conflict Prompts (included in Story Sprouts)
240 pages

What happens when linguistic lovers and tale tellers workshop together? Inspiration. Wonder. Discovery. Growth. Magic. 
Brave and talented, the writers featured in this anthology took on the challenge of dedicating one day to the raw and creative process of writing. 
A rare view into the building blocks of composition, Story Sprouts is made up of nearly 40 works of poetry and prose from 19 published and aspiring children's book authors.
This compilation includes all of the anthology writing exercises and prompts, along with tips, techniques and free online writing resources to help writers improve their craft.


Learn more about Story Sprouts at
Join the Children’s Book Writers of Los Angeles at  

Find Nutschell at:

Thanks for having me on your blog, Michael!

It was TOTALLY my pleasure, Nutshell! I wish you all the best with this incredible Anthology.

Thank you all for stopping by today and showing support for a very worthy cause! Have a GREAT weekend everyone.


Briane said...

Very interesting idea for a book. I like the charity part, of course (cue Steve Martin SNL skit reference) but the idea of not just throwing out a book of writing tips, including also actual stories by actual writers using those tips, is a good one.

Michelle Wallace said...

This is definitely a book I'd LOVE to get my hands on... a unique Indie perspective and 50% of the proceeds going to such a worthy cause! That's a double win!
Congrats to Nutschell and her team!

Wishing you a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2014, Michael!
Writer In Transit

DEZMOND said...

You know, I expected a delightful recipe for cooking sprouts when I saw the post title, Michael :)
And greetings to Nutshell!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Congratulations again, Nutschell! The indie author wears a lot of hats, that's for sure.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay! This is such a great concept! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michael .. well we need to go slow sometimes .. but I love the sound of Nutschell's book and it's for such a good cause ...

Have a very happy and successful year ahead .. and look forward to more of your blurbs, posts et al .. cheers Hilary

mooderino said...

Nice to see Nutschell here promoting her excellent book.

Moody Writing

D.G. Hudson said...

Good Luck Nutschell with your project! Do teachers in the area know about this?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Most writers don't realize what is involved. If they are going to self-publish, it all falls on them, and the only way they will succeed is if they treat it like a business.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

What a great list. Just reading it makes me feel a bit tired. Got to respect an Indie writer- the new pioneer!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Congrats, Nutschell! Indie publishing is hard -- great thought to mingle tips with stories. Happy New Year to you and Michael!

Heather said...

Love this, on my way to check this out! Have a wonderful new year. WIshing you all the best!

Anonymous said...

I have the Amazon page bookmarked and plan on reading this. Great indie publishing info here.

Unknown said...

Hey Nutschell and Michael,

Great tips not only for the indie writer, but for all writers, even those taking the traditional route. I do these steps for all my writing, even my email! Of course, I jest about the last—sort of.

Great cause, too. I've recently written a short for the anthology, Composers for Relief: Supporting the Philippines to benefit those affected, too. As a matter of fact, it's posted on my blog right now, if you'd like to look. If not, that's okay too.

At any rate...good show, Nutschell!

M.L. Swift, Writer: The Best is Yet to Come

Susan Oloier said...

Congrats to Nutschell! There is so much work that goes into being an Indie writer.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Congrats to Nutshell! And Happy New Year, Michael! Hoping you have an awesome year. I have the sense that lots of good is going to happen for you.

Anonymous said...

Co0ngrats to Nutshell, I know this book will be a success.

I too am in the middle of self publishing a book hard work yes but rewarding after completed.

nutschell said...

Thanks, Briane! It's amazing what a writer's mind can accomplish when given an opportunity to just write!
Thanks, Michelle! The cause is definitely dear to my heart.
Dezmond, haha! It does sound like a recipe for bean sprouts, doesn't it? But the book is a recipe for stories--that's for sure :)
Thanks, Alex! So many hats to keep track of!
Hilary, thanks! The cause makes it even more worth it.
Thanks for dropping by Moody! Love seeing you here!
Hi D.G.! Thanks! We haven't gotten around to promoting it to schools yet, but that's definitely on our list!
Diane! I couldn't agree more. Self-publishing isn't just about being able to publish whatever stories you want. It is most definitely a business that requires a lot of time and effort.
Elizabeth, Thanks! An indie author is a tired-and tireless one!
Heather, Thanks! Hope you find Story Sprouts helpful.
Medeia, Thanks so much! Looking forward to dropping by on your own website soon.
M.L. Thanks! I'll be checking out Composers for Relief soon!
Susan, Thanks! A lot of work, that's for sure. But if writing is a passion, it's all worth it.
Natalie, Thanks! A happy new year to you too
Yvonne, thanks so much! Looking forward to checking out your own book. :)
Michael, Thanks ssoooo much for hosting me here today!! big hugs to you all


Karen Jones Gowen said...

It sounds like an extremely helpful and thorough book! Best wishes to all involved for its success. And a big happy new year to you, Michael. I hope you have your best year ever!

shelly said...

I didn't have a computer for a month. So I tried writing on my iPhone and irritated my carpal tunnel. And so I didn't write too much.


Hugs and chocolate!

H. R. Sinclair said...

Happy New Year! I have so neglected no.s 6 and 7!

Alana said...

Elizabeth - I was just thinking the same thing, and Nutschell and I lived through it together! Co-editors and working as a team definitely made it more manageable ... and a lot of fun!

Alana said...

Thanks for checking it out Heather. Hope you love reading it and trying out the exercises as much as we all loved putting it together!

Alana said...

Great minds think alike! It's so wonderful when we can use our talents to help others. Good for you on that anthology!

Alana said...

Thank you so much to all of you for reading, visiting and commenting here! Nutschell and I had a blast putting this together, and we learned A LOT in the process. If you check out the book, please enjoy, and let us know if you have any questions at all about the process. We love talking about it!

Denise Covey said...

Great post Nutshell and Michael. Sounds like a great book concept and lots of care went into its production. Lovely that so much of the proceeds will go to the Philippines.