Self Publishing – The Rule of Plenty

Let me start by saying that when you decide to embark on the voyage to self-publish, plenty will  undermine your confidence.  As a self-publisher, you will be acting as the writer, the contractor to find an editor, cover artist, interior designer/cover designer … and much more.  If you are doing all this yourself, there is much to learn, little time, and tons of roadblocks, that is, if you want to end up with a product that looks professionally created.  Print on demand may be inexpensive, and if you are just doing e-book format, then your initial expense could be $0.00.  However, this doesn’t mean that you will end up with an excellent product.  If you are a quasi-perfectionist, you may end up becoming your biggest roadblock.

So far, I have embraced the path to self-publishing and I have worked hard towards publishing my first book.  Since I decided to start the process, the rule of plenty has made its presence in my life.  I have had plenty to learn, plenty to do, plenty to cry about, plenty to ignore, plenty to work against, plenty to resist, plenty to embrace, plenty to doubt, plenty to stumble upon, plenty to create, plenty to hate, plenty to whine about, plenty to change, plenty to redo, plenty to cry about again, plenty to disagree with, plenty to fear, plenty to deal with – computer viruses, computer hackers, computer issues, software malfunction, hacked accounts …   And it may have seem that all of this has happened at once.  However, I’ve also had plenty to like, plenty to enjoy, and plenty to love.  Even that my confidence might have been undermined by the Rule of Plenty, I wouldn’t do it any other way.

I have chosen this path, and it is not an easy one.  I have found that the only way to beat the Rule of Plenty is to embrace Randomness when it shows up, and keep going.  Yes, embracing the random is the only medicine to cure a bad dose of the Rule of Plenty.   So, if you have been getting an incredible dose of the Rule of Plenty lately, don’t despair, embrace the randomness of it all, and push forward.  Sooner than later, there will be plenty to celebrate.

Building Your Brand – Author Nameplate Design

Yesterday, I set on a mission – to create an author logo/nameplate for my book covers. This may be a bit unconventional, but I wanted to create a cohesive way to identify my author name with future book covers. I’ve noticed that most authors, except  a few, use a free style when it comes to have their names printed on a book cover.  I never understood this, and while I agree that a book’s title is more important and the first thing you notice, besides the art cover, I like the idea of matching an author’s name to a style/logo that you can recognize.  I’ve noticed that Nicholas Sparks has a cohesive flow to his name on the covers of the books, and just by catching a glimpse at one of his covers, I already recognize the image and associate it with his work.  He is one of the few that I’ve noticed doing this, although not in all his books.  If you check out a few book covers from different authors you will see what I mean.

I came up with a nameplate that I will include in future book covers. I had fun designing it and think that it fits my personality as well as the essence of my stories – that author’s persona that leaks throughout the story. I will not include it in Moonlit Valley, since the cover is already set to go – a scene from the book. However, since I am planning to write for the long run, it will become part of my brand. To me, branding is important, as it becomes as essence, with time.

For authors, branding includes many things besides a pen name, but I think that details are important, even when you are a first time author trying to build your brand slowly, which is what I am trying to do now.  I have thought about many examples of branding from well-known authors and will use two examples to illustrate my point.  When you think of branding, you can visualize Stephen King, (who is the king) and see how he has built his brand around his name.  Or, you can think of J.K. Rowling and see how she built her brand around the Harry Potter series.  For her, publishing another book outside the series, got her harsh criticism because her brand grew and developed around this character.  On the other hand, Mr. King may publish anything he wants, and his name becomes stronger.  I am not sure if you follow my point, but what I mean is that branding for authors goes beyond the product.  This got me thinking about creating a way in which I can start building an author’s brand as I continue in my writing journey – a lifetime journey.

Here is the design I came up with, and so far, I think that I am happy with it.  I like it because it is different and simple enough that it will not compete with other details going on the cover – it can cohabit, but at the same time, starts building visual recognition – over time, that is.  I believe that it is never too early to start building your brand.

Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Design by Maria Antonia Diaz

Have you thought of branding your pen name/author’s name?  What do you think, as far as creating name recognition in future publications?

How I Scare Myself Silly


Ghost?! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This happened to me about two weeks ago or so.  The coincidence is so amusing to me, hence I am writing this post.  You are going to laugh when I tell you this, but come on, you know, what are the chances?  On Saturday night, hubby and I were ready to go to bed but decided to watch a YouTube movie on the lap top (they are free).  He picked 11-11-11 since we had not seen it and it seemed interesting.  Anyhow, this shows you what a way to spook myself silly.

So we start watching, he fell asleep for most of it but I watched it all.  It is about this man who keeps seeing the number 11.11 in different ways in his life – mom dies on that date, wife and son too, and other stuff.  He doesn’t believe in God, and his father is dying in Spain, his brother is a priest, but they have a strained relationship.  He travels to Spain and  soon, starts seeing weird stuff at his brother’s home – which happens to be a church too, He sees shadows, demons … and he thinks he has to save his brother, a prophet.  And I won’t tell you anything else because I don’t want to give it away.  So the movie ends, Eddie is up, and gets ready to turn the computer off, then, I happen to glance at the time on the clock near our bed, while the credits are rolling on the screen.  The time is 11:07, and I say “Oh my God” (just keep in mind that I just saw the movie).  This is our conversation.

Eddie – “Whaaat?”
Me – “Don’t turn it off, if what I think is going to happen, does happen, I will be so spooked that I will not sleep all night.”
Eddie – “Why are you looking at that crap (the credits)?”
Me – “Just watch the credits till the end of the movie, and watch the clock when the last one of the credits roll, just watch.”

So, he is looking at me like I am kind of a maniac, and I kept watching as the last of the credits roll, we look at each other (mouths opened).

Eddie – “This is so weird.” He starts laughing hysterically.
Me – “See, I told you, the movie ended at exactly 11:11.  That is so freaking scary, and why are you laughing, you should be as spooked as I am, now I will not sleep until you play some Mr. Bean clips or Eddie Murphy clips, to calm me down.”

Anyhow, he did, and then he was awake and he watched a karate movie and I went to sleep like a baby.  But it doesn’t end there, on Sunday, it was nice so we decided to go to the Collingswood Flea Market.  It was a good day for a good stroll.  Mind you, I still have the movie on my mind and thinking about synchronicity.

We picked up some coffee at the local Wawa.  The woman parked next to us, turns on her car, to leave, and it starts but shuts down, then quick starts on the next try, and she drives off.  We arrived at the market, and while I am looking at some old stuff on one of the tables, the man next to me tells the vendor – “the lights on your truck are on.”  The vendor says, “Thank you so much for letting me know,” and he goes to turn them off.

We keep walking and then it is time to head to the car.  We get in, and when Eddie starts it, it doesn’t start – the battery died because he forgot to turn the lights off (there was fog early).  So here we are, miles away from home, on a Sunday, figuring out how to get back (we don’t carry AAA).  Eddie gets off the car and walks towards a man who is heading to his car.  He asked him if he could jump us and explains what happened.  The gentleman says no problem, and he helps Eddie and the car starts right away (took less than a minute).  He didn’t want to take any money saying “No, I just did you a favor,” and he left.  I am inside the car all this time, and I look at the cap that the man is wearing, he is a Mason.  I can’t thank him enough for helping us.

Then, as we get ready to leave, this woman points to the eagle on the hood of the car and smiles, and yelled something that we could not make out, as she kept walking.  As we start rolling getting out of the parking lot, we stop just in time, because a car that is backing up, almost hit us.  I read the bumper sticker and this is what I see – “Don’t let the car fool you, my treasure is in Heaven.”  I said to Eddie, “come on, could this day get weirder or what?”  He, of course, is in la-la land and asks, “what are you talking about?”  I reply, “never mind, let’s go home.”

So this is a perfect example of how I spook myself silly, but you have to admit that some of the coincidences were amusing, none the least.

Announcing a Few Changes to Inkspeare

This is just a quick post to let you know that I have rearranged the site a bit and added a section at the top tabs – NOVELS.  Here, you will find announcements and updates about these projects, as well as release date – as soon as it is available, and other information …  Also, I will keep you posted via regular posts.

I added a FB link to the right of this blog, where you can link to my FB author page, if you would like to friend me.  If you Tweet, you can friend me there as well.

In addition, you may notice that under Inkspeare, I added my author name. I opted out of a pen name for a single reason, and this is thanks to a comment that was made by Indi author Cliff Burns on one of my older posts –Writer’s Wisdom 17, Pen Names – he commented,

“I have a real aversion to pen names/pseudonyms. I’m aware that some very fine writers have employed them but I want my real name on everything I write (including postings on the internet, I never hide behind safe anonymity).
Any book or writing project I would resist putting my name on probably isn’t worth publishing. I take responsibility for what I release and when it’s bad, I’ll to take my fair share of blame…”

Until I read that comment, I had considered the possibility of writing under a pen name that might sound a bit more “sophisticated.”  I have to say that Mr. Burns’ comment opened my eyes on this topic, and I thank him for this.  Therefore, I am using my real name as my author name – Maria Antonia Diaz.

Writers hand with pen

Writers hand with pen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two Serious Writing Goals for 2013

photo by M. Diaz

photo by M. Diaz

I am loving 2013.  After the many Doomsday theories that we had to listen to over the past year, I am glad that 2013 is here.  2012 was dark in many ways, I perceived the “doom” in many people’s moods, and in the overall atmosphere, both cyber and reality.  I had many personal challenges, which I view as lessons that I must go through so I can evolve.  In a way, I view 2013 as a year of possibility and light, a year of taking journey, of flapping wings and embracing the sunlight.  2013 is just the beginning of many good things to come our way.  At least, that is how I choose to perceive it.

I have set two serious writing goals, which I want to accomplish before the end of the year (pending dates).

  • The release of my first novel – “Moonlit Valley”
  • The release of my second novel – “The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit.” (first in the trilogy)

A third goal has been set to write the second book in the trilogy, which title is “The Book of Sharon;” however, I will be extremely happy if I get to the first draft on this one.  I am hoping to release this one by 2014.  I don’t know what the 3rd book in the trilogy will be, as it hasn’t knocked on my door yet, but it will, just as the others did.

Ideally, I would love to write a novel a year and to have it ready for release the next year.  However, reality tells me that I (still) have a pending move to a very rural setting (mind the internet speed here), and a farmhouse to restore by hand, and very limited funds, so let’s see how that goes.  For now, I will be happy if I can materialize these two major goals before the end of 2013.

Do you have a serious goal for 2013?  Feel free to share it here; let’s make this year one of amazing things happening 🙂

Why I Chose to Self-Publish in 2013

The decision to self-publish did not come easy to me, neither did it come after tons of rejections, since I stopped myself from sending queries, after sending one.  I realized that more than anything else, I had to define what I wanted out of my love for writing, before going forward.  I knew that I was not doing it for money (for most writers, there’s none in it), or to become a famous author one day … One thing that I knew for sure was that I loved to write, and it seemed that I could do that forever, if the opportunity to turn that passion into a career path presented itself.   Why choose to self publish without even making a real attempt at publishing a novel by going through the usual channels and motion?  It all came down to Creative Control.

Having control over the entire process, and not having to depend on others to decide how or when the story came out matched my working style, work ethics, and personality.  In addition, I never understood why someone who never gave birth to the story would understand it in a deeper level, enough to change parts of it (I’m not talking here about fixing gaps, and other valuable efforts/work of editors and the traditional industry in general).  I wanted the opportunity to craft the entire project, learn from it, and grow from it and with it.  The decision to self-publish was clear only after I understood that all I wanted was to have creative control if writing was going to be something that I would want to do for the long run, and possibly for the rest of my life.

I was aware that it would be a long, slow and tedious process, tons of work, and an exhausting venture, that is, if I was going to do it the right way, and not in a hurry to publish in digital or in print.  The need for getting published fast was not even an issue, when I considered the facts and information.  However, the need to control the process, the schedule, the dates, the story, the deadlines, the art, the release … and all the other issues that go along with it was what I seem to long for the more  I thought about the issue.

I have read about self-published authors who after selling many of their books successfully, have signed up with a well-known publisher.  I totally understand the need of having people taking care of the small details, sites, emails, and putting together a book … all that is a ton of work, and very difficult to do for one person, especially if that author has become a best-selling author; besides, it robs from the main purpose, which is writing the story, and many more stories to come.  So while creative control is a wonderful concept, it doesn’t come easy, and in an ideal scenario, the best of both worlds would be the “perfect balance,” if there is such a thing.  For now, I am very happy to have found my “balance” for the moment, and that is to have been able to understand and finally, make the decision of releasing my piled up novels in 2013.  In doing so, I go with the confidence and peace of mind that it is the right path for me and the decision has not been rushed by any external factors.

Are you unsure of which path to take with your writing endeavor?  Are you torn between traditional venues and the rapidly evolving self-publishing industry?  Is this the only thing stopping you?  For me, it was, but once I understood what I wanted from my writing, the path became clear.  Ask yourself this question, “What do I want from my writing?”

The Next Logical Step

What is the next logical step?

This is a question that I have learned to ask myself, although I don’t consider myself a “dead logical” person all the time. Yes, from time to time I let my mind dream and soar through illogical paths and fantasize about the not so probable but possible, and the totally illogical. However, when it is time to get serious about making decisions, I listen to my mind, then to my heart, and then ask – What is the next logical step? Most likely, I will find the correct answer; however, turmoil starts when the mind and the heart are pointing to different solutions. Then I must ask again, What is the next logical step, and why? This usually dissolves the turmoil, and an agreement between mind and heart takes place.

In relation to my writing and deciding which route to take on publishing my novels, which have been pilling up waiting for the turmoil between mind and heart, and current reality to dissipate, I have asked myself this question by the end of this year. Part of my reluctance to publish, besides having to decide which venue to take – traditional route (agent) or self-publishing, was that I will be relocating to another state, but the move has been postponed for a while, and that affects the way I would do marketing for a particular area (thinking local of course). So this is what has happened between mind and heart, in respect to this important decision.

MIND – “You should go the traditional route, and find an agent. The self-published stigma is still out there, although things are changing fast and the publishing industry is undergoing a revolution.”

HEART – “You know what you want but won’t admit it; self-publishing is what you long for, and what matches your work ethic and personality very closely.”

MIND – “Once you self-publish, there is no going back; it is done, out there, and cannot be undone. Besides, you will join the chaos, and will end up in the same pile – garbage or not, it is one big messy pile right now.”

HEART – “What if you do? What if you don’t?”

MIND – “Giving the current situation, the change of tide, your likes and dislikes about the whole thing, what is the next logical step?”

HEART AND MIND – “The next logical step is to decide, either way.”

A compromise is agreed between Heart and Mind, and ONE query (only One) is sent. Immediately, Heart and Mind agree on something.

HEART AND MIND – “Oh, I wish I hadn’t sent that query; it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I hope it never gets answered. Oh, I see now.”

Queries are stopped from going out and soon, there seems to be no dilemma, there is no sense in sending a query, that is, when I am not sure that the right path is traditional publishing.  Later on the right path emerges – Self-publishing is the right path for me.  For me, the right way to do it was to come to a halt, to be able to go on.

I am probably one of the few people who has decided to self-publish without sending out queries (well, I sent one), and feels good about it. Therefore, I am planning to publish my novels this year, hopefully with a few months apart in between, date pending and will be announced soon.

If you have reached a crossroads, why not ask yourself, “What is the next logical step?”

I Think, Therefore I Am – Not!

English: Picture of the super starbrust galaxy...

English: Picture of the super starbrust galaxy. The green and red splotch in this image is the most active star-making galaxy in the very distant universe. Nicknamed “Baby Boom,” the galaxy is churning out an average of up to 4,000 stars per year, more than 100 times the number produced in our own Milky Way galaxy. It was spotted 12.3 billion light-years away by a suite of telescopes, including NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The French Philosopher Renee Descartes gave us a lot to think about when he said, “I think, therefore I am.”  I used to ponder a lot on this phrase, and although it seems to explain a lot of our behavior, somehow, it always felt incomplete to me.  Why?  Well, lets take this example, and this happens to me a lot.  My husband jokes, “Oh, she’s thinking about it, soon I’ll see it.”  And this is true for me, when I start thinking a lot about something, I end up doing it, and the ball starts rolling, unless I stop myself somehow, usually for a good reason.  But I think that Descartes phrase applies to emotion as well, if I think that I am upset, unhappy … I end up feeling that way.  However, this is where the phrase feels incomplete to me – in the “doing” part.  For the thinking to pass the threshold into reality, an action is required.

Creativity is in our nature, implanted in our right side of the brain; too bad that we have not developed it fully.  For me to think of something and make it real, the act of creation, of doing, must follow.  Rene Descartes phrase tells us of the great capacity of imagination and wonder that we have; our whole existence is based on ideas that came to reality, inventions that came to be, and gave birth to other technologies, but for all that to happen, one of us had to have an idea, imagine it, designed it, dream of it – Think of it.  The threads of reality vibrate when we think about this miracle – all you see around you, was an idea in someones’ mind at one point in time.  The computer in front of you, the cup of coffee next to you, the pen, the paper, the little knickknacks sitting on your desk… That reality came to be only, and only, after someone imagine it, and later it was created.

The magnificence of that realization, is so deep and beautiful that it only tells us that nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible – it just hasn’t been imagined yet, created.  Science, technologies, ideas, dreams, hopes … all of it swirls in a dance of creation, and in the end, it comes to be – it materializes and joins what we call “reality.”  Think about this, how profound … it spells no limits!  Reality comes after thought, after creativity, after creation – not before.  Many times, technologies have to be in place first, and this is where its beauty and amazement starts – we depend on each other to imagine, so we can create.  And we create because it is our nature, as we are part of creation itself, one source to it all.  Reality exists when one idea meets another and another and another … We are creators of reality and that is how we come to be – I THINK, IMAGINE, I CREATE, THEREFORE I AM!