Tag Archives: Publishing and Printing

Yay! The big Announcement for Paper Wishes!


I am super-excited to announce that I have signed a contract with Astraea Press for “Paper Wishes”!

Paper Wishes is the Re-envisioning of “Jack and Jill, Volume One”, which went out of print about a month ago due to Still Moments being purchased by another publisher.

We’ve started new edits, and “Paper Wishes” will be bigger, brighter, and cleaner than ever!

I am totally excited about this new opportunity, and I am really looking forward to working with a publisher as diversified as Astraea.

Stay Tuned!

Release date and

new cover to follow




When you are lucky enough to have choices. Stuff to thing about

When searching for a publisher, many authors target who they want, but settle for who will publish them.  Right?  This week, I found myself in the thrilling and cushy position of having a choice after being offered multiple contracts for Paper Wishes.

What’s Paper Wishes?  Ha!  I’m glad you asked!  Paper Wishes is the re-envisioning of Jack and Jill Volume One.

As most of you know, Still Moments Publishing was purchased by another publishing house on March 15, and Jack and Jill was not one of the titles automatically shifted under their fold.

This was not a huge surprise to me, as Jack and Jill was not traditional Romance.  The book really was a better fit for Christian Romance, so the minute I got my rights back, I began querying Christian Publishers.

Now – should this happen to anyone else, be prepared because the greater percentage of publishers out there (at least in Christian) DO NOT WANT previously published work.  This surprised me at first.  I had the nicest discussion with a really big house that liked my work, but had to decline because it had been published too recently.

But they were really a long shot anyway… and not so much on my radar.  I was mainly focused in on one publisher that I contacted the day Still Moments made the announcement.  I spoke with this publisher, explained my predicament, and we chatted about the publishing business in general for a while before I had even sent them my work.  We were very much on the same page, so I bit my nails as I sent them my submission, and to a few other houses as well.

Less than a week later, I had two contract offers, and a third arrived last night. I have the luxury of matching up what each publisher has to offer, and also weighing the changes each publisher wants. (Yes, there will be changes)

Requested Changes:

1.        Two of them want the cursing removed – and for anyone who has read my work, I really don’t curse.  But what I WILL have to remove is dernit, darn, gosh, Hell, heck … anything even remotely looking like an explicative.

2.       I will need to tone down the make-out scene to bring it more within the boundaries of Christian novels.

3.       One of the publishers wants me to change it from First Person to Third Person.

So I am weighing the required changes alongside royalties, distribution, foreign rights, cover design, print rights and overall package offered.

It’s wonderful place to be, and I hope to be making an announcement shortly.


Another Publisher Bites the Dust

It’s one of the risks we take as authors when we put our work out there, especially with one of the smaller publishing houses.  A week ago, Still Moments Publishing closed for submissions “due to the que being full”.

Hmmm.  Odd, huh?

Yesterday, it was announced that Still Moments Publishing is being absorbed by another publisher.  Which one, I don’t know yet.

Do I regret my decision to go with them?  Not at all.  I learned a lot about Romance Writing through them.  The experience with my editors was overwhelmingly positive, and my writing grew because of it.  The mild inconvenience I am experiencing now is a small price to pay for growing as a writer.

The transition has been as painless as possible.  Still Moments has been very good about it.  I already have my rights back, and am seeking a new publisher.  I wish everyone at Still Moments the best in their future endeavors.

So, if you’ve been thinking of picking up a copy of “Jack and Jill”, or “For the Love of Christmas”, you might want to do so sooner than later.  Most Still Moments titles will start disappearing in the next few days.



Give that Publisher What They Want Dernit! #4: Formating #2 (Advanced)

I am uber stoker to be able to dig into the wild and crazy brain of someone who is out there doing this crazy publishing stuff professionally. When you read this, you’re gonna want to slap yourself silly, because this is hearing it right from someone who does this for a living. For the next few weeks, we will be delving into the slush pile with professional editor and author Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Here we go…

The Writer’s Toolbox: Give ’Em What They Want! Why Formatting Is Important By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

(Originally published in Allegory Magazine ©2011)


So far, we’ve discussed that nothing will help your manuscript if the editor in question is not even willing to read it.

We’ve discussed remembering your contact information, and some basics… How to identify yourself, and your manuscript.

Last week we discussed basic formatting.  Now we’ll go into some special stuff.

Formatting #2

Special characters/formatting – originally when manuscripts were all submitted in hardcopy it was not possible to implement certain formatting or characters in print. Because of this certain conventions were developed to represent the formatting desired. As technology progressed, this changed, thanks to the advent of electronic typewriters and word processors, which had features for special formatting. This formatting issue was rendered all together moot once computers were on the scene. However, even once we had the ability to represent format true to form, manuscripts still had to be physically typeset to create the plates used on a printing press as recently as the mid to late 20th century, and publishers held to the traditional conventions because formatting was often easy to miss, causing errors in the typeset manuscript. Even now that most books are digitally typeset some publishers still require these methods of marking the format be observed. Here they are, for your writerly edification:

Bold – represented by asterisks bracketing the text to be set in bold.

Italic – represented by underlining text to be set in italics.

Underline – I am afraid I could not find a reference to how this was represented originally (before the age of computers) particularly given that underlining was used to indicate italics. I can only presume that is because it was and/or is exceedingly rare for underlined text to appear in books. (That, or I’m just not hitting the right search phrase that would give me the information I’m looking for.)

Next week we’ll discuss my personal nemesises… ellipsis and emdash.

Be there or be square, or, ummm… rejected?

Award-winning author Danielle Ackley-McPhail has worked both sides of the publishing industry for over seventeen years. Currently, she is a project editor and promotions manager for Dark Quest Books.

Her published works include four urban fantasy novels, Yesterday’s Dreams, Tomorrow’s Memories, Today’s Promise, and The Halfling’s Court: A Bad-Ass Faerie Tale. She is also the author of a single-author collection of science fiction stories called A Legacy of Stars, the non-fiction writers guide, The Literary Handyman and is the senior editor of the Bad-Ass Faeries anthology series, Dragon’s Lure, and In An Iron Cage. Her work is included in numerous other anthologies and collections, including Rum and Runestones, Dark Furies, Breach the Hull, So It Begins, By Other Means, No Man’s Land, Space Pirates, Space Horrors, Barbarians at the Jumpgate, and Mermaid 13.

She is a member of the New Jersey Authors Network and Broad Universe, a writer’s organization focusing on promoting the works of women authors in the speculative genres.

Danielle lives somewhere in New Jersey with husband and fellow writer, Mike McPhail, mother-in-law Teresa, and three extremely spoiled cats. She can be found on LiveJournal (damcphail, badassfaeries, darkquestbooks, lit_handyman), Facebook (Danielle Ackley-McPhail), and Twitter (DAckley-McPhail). To learn more about her work, visit http://www.sidhenadaire.com, http://www.literaryhandyman.com, or www.badassfaeries.com.

Website and/or blog www.sidhenadaire.com, http://lit_handyman.livejournal.com, http://damcphail.livejournal.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/DMcPhail

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/danielle.ackleymcphail

Amazon author page   http://www.amazon.com/Danielle-Ackley-McPhail/e/B002GZVZPQ/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1331314265&sr=8-1

Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/989939.Danielle_Ackley_McPhail



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The Road to Publication #1: The Contract

Wow, did I TOTALLY not expect to be writing a heading like that so early this year.

This will be a series of posts, but it will most-likely not be weekly.  Honestly, I don’t know everything that’s involved yet, or how often I’ll even have anything I can tell you.

Why am I writing this?

I realize that I am in a position of extreme interest to most of you.  As always, my mistakes, or my good fortune in this case, are an open book for you all to learn from.

To start with… the contract.  Wow.  Nothing makes things more real than seven scary pages filled with very serious sounding words like “Breach” “Grant” “Term” and “Indemnification”


Luckily enough for me, part of my day job is reading contracts, so this wasn’t as scary as it could have been.  I would highly suggest that if you DON’T have a background in contracts, or have a clear understanding of the publishing business, to bring your contract to a lawyer to get it explained.

Luckily for me, J.Taylor is a great publisher.  Their contract is concise and fair, and there are things in there to protect me and my family, as well as them.  Everything that I wanted was already there in the contract.  Whew!

Be prepared that there is a lot of negative stuff in the contract.  This is because the document is made to protect both sides if something “bad” happens.  It can be a little daunting to read all the stuff that can go wrong, but don’t worry.  This is just part of business, and is standard for almost any kind of business agreement.

What I really liked is J.Taylor Publishing softened the blow of the contract with a pretty “Welcome packet” wonderfully written with an air of excitement outlining some of the things that they will expect of me, and all of the great services that they offer.

After all I have heard about publishers dropping marketing in the lap of the author, leaving them to flounder on their own, I am tickled to find out that My publisher will be creating a marketing plan, and will do everything in their power to make sure the work is a success.

Marketing your novel while querying.

How do you do this?  Should you do this?

Everything I’ve read, and every author I’ve spoken to says: “Yes.”

When I pressed the submit button to the Publisher for my novelette LAST WINTER RED, I mulled for a little while about how important Marketing was to them.

Now, don’t let that surprise you.  All publishers are interested in authors who are marketable or able to market themselves.

As I’ve said before, my Facebook page stinks. (From my perspective)  My website/blog, however, I spend a lot of time on, and I am very proud of it.

I hoped they would see the value of that.  But then, as I thought it over, I took it a step further.

I decided to post my LAST WINTER RED query on my website.  I gave it its own tab.  But that was boring, and I don’t do boring.  I need to spruce it up a bit.

As most of you have noticed, I have an arsenal of artwork, and I am more than capable of manipulating graphics and text to bend to my will. (All of this artwork is copyrighted and paid for, by the way.  Don’t copy it—that’s stealing)

A short while of scanning brought me to a model that looked just like my MC Emily.  Throw an ashen Victorian dress on her and plop her into the snow in the middle of the woods.  Perfect.  Now, add the red cloak, laying on the snow.  Pout, Emily, you’re sad and confused.  Walla! Instant marketing piece.

If you look long enough, and if you are willing to pay for it (it’s not too costly) you can almost always find exactly what you need.

Now, I plopped this “advertisement” up really quickly, and spent more work on the art than the text since I used the actual query that I submitted to the publisher.  I’m not crazy about the tone of the query for the advertising purposes, but I wanted to get it up quickly, in case the publisher stopped by.

In the next few days, I tightened the query to be a little more readable, and make it look better visually in conjunction with the picture.

A little extra effort shows that not only am I marketable, but I will also be willing to, and have already, marketed my novel.

Please take a look and let me know what you think!

Is this a great idea?  An awful idea?  Whattya think?

Click the LAST WINTER RED tab in my title bar or click HERE to take a peek.

Published Author Brinda Berry takes on the Little Blue Lady from Mars: (An Interview)

I want an interview

Sorry Little Blue Lady from Mars.  I don’t have time to interview you today.

Unacceptable!  I will be interviewed!

Wow!  Did you just get bigger?  Ummmm… Will you answer questions?  Give helpful comments?

Ha Ha!  No!  I am here to take over the world!



Ummmmm.  Maybe next week. 

Today we are talking to the lovely and talented Brinda Berry

Hello, Brinda!

(Imagine Brinda waving madly)

Your first novel, The Waiting Booth was published in 2011.  It was your very first published piece, right?

 Yes, The Waiting Booth was my debut novel.

Do you have an agent? 

I don’t have an agent.  I have experience in querying agents but not in obtaining one. That was supposed to be funny. If you are an author, you should be smiling. 

A brave lady.  Publisher direct, Huh?  So, How many publishers did you query before finding Etopia?

I have a spreadsheet with the exact number and details, but I’d say I queried a dozen before receiving the offer from Etopia Press.

What was your funniest/most memorable rejection letter?

Most of what I received were form letters. I don’t remember any specific letter that stands out. It’s all a blur.  You begin to feel that you can recite the first paragraph of a rejection letter before you read it.

How did you settle down with Etopia press?

I participated in an online conference with authors and publishers. This conference, Digicon, accomplished two things for me. It gave me tons of information about digital publishing as opposed to traditional publishing. It exposed me to the changes taking place in publishing. It also gave authors the opportunity to participate in online pitch sessions with requested publishers. I received two offers as a result of the pitches. I chose Etopia because of the quality of their published works and their input on my manuscript. 

I have a fifty pound poodle that could eat your cairn terriers.  Either that, or she’d roll around with them making a mess of the lawn.

I hope she’d roll around with them.

Chloe is licking her chops looking over the screen.  Don’t let her bows fool you.

Brinda:  One of my  cairns believes he is a bull mastiff.  If challenged, he acts like a lunatic.

Sounds like a two-on-one puppy derby!

Okay, back on topic.  Your first novel, The Waiting Booth, was told in “mostly first person” you switched to another POV in a few chapters.  New writers are told to shy away from this.  How’d you get away with it?  Did the publisher have any concerns?

Although I felt this was the right thing for me to do in my story, I did have reservations. I quizzed my editor about the risk in another POV, and she whole-heartedly supported it. She had no reservations and I trusted her instincts. You will see this again in the second book of the series, Whisper of Memory.

So, interdimensional portals hidden in the woods, huh?  Where did that concept come from?

I have a wild imagination. What can I say? Actually, I’ve always loved stories about portals. Also, I spend two hours daily in a car for my commute. I enjoy listening to NPR podcasts about string theory, black holes, and alternate dimensions.

Sexy government agents are always a hoot too.

One of mine is a hoot. The other is just sexy.

Just sexy works for me 🙂 Let’s see… If you had a choice between a pound of Godiva chocolate, or a week’s free Starbuck’s coffee, which would you take?

Could I take 1/2 lb of Godiva with the 3.5 days of Starbucks?


You are drill sergeant tough. I guess the chocolate. One Christmas, my husband gave me a 5 lb. box of Godivas. The man loves me.

Yeah for thoughtful hubbies!

I hear you’re an internet junkie.  What’s your favorite internet site?

I spend most of my time reading blogs. I like Amazon a lot because you can find anything there. I spend a limited amount of time on social media like Twitter and Facebook.

Yeah, I’m not much for Twitter or Facebook either, although I have met some interesting people on Twitter. 

Your new novel, Whisper of Memory,  is out on March 16.  How long have you been working on it? 

I worked on it for approximately three months. That does not include time editing after it was submitted to my editor. After submission and contract signing, you can add several additional months.

Because I work a day job, I’m a slow writer. I hope to get faster at some point (or not require a day job).

Quick Brenda Run!


Okay, I just blocked her with my cyber-super-blog-o-blocometer.  We’re safe.  Quick, before she breaks back in, tell us about your new novel.

Are you sure it’s safe?

Yeah, I’ve got my finger on the blocometer button. go ahead.

Okay.  Whisper of Memory is Book 2 in the Whispering Woods series. It was actually more fun to write since I knew the characters so much better. I like to have lots of action, and it was interesting to create problems for my characters.  Mia Taylor, the main character, is a high school senior who is a synesthete. Her sensory perception is different from the norm.  Beyond the typical synesthesia experience, Mia is able to sense portals. In Book 1, The Waiting Booth, she wanted to find her missing older brother. This book still includes that goal but adds the tension of a romantic relationship.

Did you have this plot in mind when you finished book #1, or did that come later.

I already had this book plotted when I finished Book 1. Otherwise, the first book might have ended differently.

 If anyone wants to get a taste of Brinda’s first novel, here is the trailer.  You can pick up book one now so you are all ready for the release of book two in a few days.

Check out the book trailer here!


Just curious, did your publisher ask you for another novel, or did you wave and say “Hi, I have more!”

When I pitched my story for the first book, I let them know that I had plans for three in this series. I was asked to give the details for the entire series arc.

What is one bit of advice you can give to “soon to be published” authors?

One rejection does not a failure make. Seriously.  Also, authors should be open to new ideas and challenges.

Great!  Thanks, Brinda.  As you know, Q & A is a prerequisite to stopping by here.  Are you ready to answer questions?


There you go guys.  Brinda is now all yours! 

Buy the Waiting Booth

On Amazon

On Barnes and Noble