All about Loomis Park Press!

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Around 4 months ago, when I first started blogging, I posted a short paragraph about Loomis Park Press. Now that we are up and running, I thought it would be a good idea to share some more info!

YA & NA Publisher We publish YA & NA fiction. There are no upfront fees and we provide: ISBNs, editing, eBook formatting, book covers, and more!

Submissions We are currently open for submissions! Simply email submissions@loomisparkpress.com with the title of your manuscript as the subject line. In the body of the email include a short summary or “blurb,” word count, and if the title is YA or NA. Below that, paste the first five pages of your manuscript!

We are excited to offer Fresh Reads! You can read advance copies of our publications for free in exchange for honest reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and/or your blog!

Every month, there is a different event happening. Sometimes it’s a book release (Outside & The Trouble with Family out now!) We had an event called Pair Me where we matched 60 people with critique partners and will do that again 1-2 more times this year. We are also hoping to launch a forum where people can find critique partners & beta readers, and chat about books. In the future we also plan to have writing contests and giveaways. To stay informed about our events, check out our eNewsletter The Owl launching this month!

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The Owl is named after our cute purple mascot!)

Questions? Let me know! So far this has been a really fun adventure and we can’t wait to see where it takes us!

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My favorite book sub boxes!

I happen to love subscription boxes (love.) The ones I typically try out are beauty or lifestyle-related (ipsy, birchbox, etc.) but did you know there are some great book-related subscription boxes out there as well? I don’t have room to list them all (there are a lot!) but here are my top three:

Book of the Month: I received an annual subscription to this as a Christmas gift and I’m absolutely loving it! Each month you choose between five titles. The books are chosen by various judges and there is usually a new guest judge each month (Mayim Bialik, David Sedaris, and Whoopi Goldberg have been past judges.) Every title you get is a hardcover!

Pros: You get to choose your book, you can add on extra books, you can skip a month if there is nothing that sounds interesting.

Cons: The forum to discuss books isn’t very active.

LitCube:This is a fun subscription for people that love all things book-related! Each month has a theme and the boxes come with books and goodies such as book-themed coffee mugs, jewelry, and snacks!

Pros: You get fun items in addition to your books, the themes are fun (past boxes include Home Sweet Oz, Royals, and Supernatural), and they have limited edition boxes as well – Gilmore Girls is up next!

Cons: Unlike Book of the Month, you do not get to choose your book titles.

Powell’s Indiespensable:This subscription is delivered every 6-8 weeks and features books from independent publishers. This is a great way to discover books you may not normally be aware of.

Pros: The books are often signed first editions! You also tend to get extras in the box including bookmarks and snacks.

Cons: I find that it’s often hard to get signed up for this box. They sell out quickly and you have to wait weeks until you can subscribe.

If you read a lot of YA, Owl Crate is also really popular, though haven’t tried it yet!

Do you get any book subscriptions? What is your favorite?

Just FYI, the above are not affiliate links, just adding them to be helpful 🙂

eBook? Paperback? Both?

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When it comes to topics of writing and publishing, I find that I have more questions than answers. Being new to the publishing world, I suppose that comes with the territory!
Today I’m wondering about eBooks vs. Print when it comes to self-publishing.
For now, I’m only selling my novel as an eBook. I may sell copies in paperback down the road but I’m just not sold on it yet.
As a librarian, I totally understand the love of having a physical book in your hands. If one of my favorite authors publishes a new title, I definitely buy a hard copy. But…I also love my Kindle! I like that I can just push a button and the book appears. I like that it’s (usually) cheaper to buy. And it’s a lot easier to cart a thin Kindle around with me.
I guess I’m wondering about the advantages of publishing your title as both an eBook and a paperback.
If you have self-published a book, did you sell both eBook and paperback copies of your title? If so, was it worth the time, effort, and cost?
If you’ve sold your novel as only an eBook – would you do it again?
Any other thoughts?

Critique Partners, Beta Readers, and #PairMe

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I’m re-posting this from the Loomis Park Press blog! This is a great way to find a beta reader and/or critique partner.

Here is the link to sign up, for those interested! http://www.loomisparkpress.com/2016/02/11/critique-partners-beta-readers-and-pairme/

Original Post:

We’ve got big news! Loomis Park Press is hosting a Critique Partner matching event this month called Pair Me! More about that later, though. First, let’s talk about critique partners, beta readers, and why both are absolutely critical to the writing process.

No matter where you are in your writing project, you’re going to need some feedback. That’s where beta readers and critique partners come into play. There’s often a lot of confusion when it comes to CP’s and Betas. What’s the difference between the two? Which one do I need? What makes a good beta reader/critique partner? Where do I find one?

The difference between a critique partner and a beta reader is simple. Beta readers usually offer a final opinion on a well-polished finished draft. A critique partner, on the other hand, is with you from chapter one of your first draft, giving you feedback every step of the way. Since it’s a partnership, you are, in turn, reading their work-in-progress and offering you own feedback.

Every writer needs beta readers. If you intend to make your work available to the public in some form, you definitely need to get an array of opinions before you put it out there to help you understand who your work appeals to, which areas are working and which areas need more work. Most of the time, asking close friends and family members to read over your work will result in soft, unhelpful feedback because they’re afraid to be honest. Finding strangers to give your work a once over is usually much more helpful. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t let your friends and family read your work. Just know that their opinions may be a bit more reserved than someone who doesn’t know you.

The same way that everyone needs beta readers, everyone needs at least one solid critique partner that they can trust to be brutally honest and help shape the story from the get-go. Having a critique partner can save you hours of editing and proofreading time, as well as help you solve development/plot/pacing issues long before you even get to the second draft.

The truth is, in order to achieve your best work, you’ll need both; a few beta readers and at least one critique partner.

Good beta readers can be hard to come by. Many times someone will agree to read your work, only to never be heard from again. That’s why it’s good practice to offer a swap of services. You agree to read their work in exchange for them looking over yours. 90% of the time, you’ll get your feedback and in a more timely manner than if the reader doesn’t have anything to gain from beta reading for you. It can also be helpful to give your beta readers some guidelines as to what kind of feedback you’re looking for. Otherwise you may end up with broad, unhelpful comments like, “it was a little boring at times.” Sure, it’s helpful to know if you have a boring part in your story, but without knowing where that is, the comment is useless. Remember to take all opinions with a grain of salt UNLESS all your beta readers make the same comment/suggestion.

Good critique partners can be just as difficult to find, if not more elusive. CPing is a long term commitment and finding someone to match your particular needs and level of commitment isn’t easy. Plus there’s that whole “getting along” thing. With beta readers, you don’t have to get to know the person really. It’s a “one and done” thing most of the time. With CPing, if your personalities don’t mesh, the partnership is doomed. And finding someone who gives consistently helpful feedback can be a challenge. You don’t have to be on the same “writing level” to be partners. Many times someone who is a less experienced writer can pair with a veteran and really up their game and grow in their ability. At the same time, the veteran writer may find themselves getting a unique perspective from someone who critiques more from a reader’s point of view than a writer’s.

Finding a good critique partner means being a good critique partner. You have to keep each other motivated to stick with a story, build each other up on days that you or your partner thinks their writing is crap, and deliver thoughtful, honest critique and suggestions in a timely manner. You also have to be as excited about your partner’s story as they are. You have to be as into the characters and vested in the outcome. Understanding your partner’s vision for their characters will help you identify areas where things are out of character or deviate too far from the plot. In turn, your partner should love and understand your characters as well. You should work together as a sounding board for each other, bouncing ideas back and forth, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Critique partnerships will end up as incredible friendships if done correctly. After all, writing is like baring your soul and sharing a part of yourself with the world. A critique partner sees that unpolished, messy, nightmare of a work-in-progress and helps you clean it up so when it comes time to share it with everyone, it’s not nearly as scary as it would be otherwise.

Now that you know what they are and how they work, where in the world do you find such people?
Here! We are pleased to announce our very first Pair Me event! Pair Me will appeal to anyone who has ever participated in #CPMatch or any other matching event hosted on other popular writing blogs. It should help you find a much needed critique partner. Between now and February 29th you can sign up below to offer your services as a critique partner. On April 1st, Loomis Park Press will send out an email with your perfect matches! Okay, no guarantees they’ll be a perfect match, but you’ll have the option to review entry forms and choose to contact them to partner up or swap works as beta readers if a long-term partnership just isn’t working out.

Sign up today using the form below and then spread the word using #PairMe! The more entries received, the better the odds of finding your perfect match!

 

January – Goodreads Challenge

As I previously posted, I am participating in a Goodreads Reading Challenge. It involves reading 30 books throughout the year. I thought it would be fun to post my results at the end of each month; it might just keep me on track, too!

For January, I had to read (1) A book I really liked when I was little, (2) A book I couldn’t fit into a previous challenge, and (3) A book that’s becoming – or is – a movie.

The results? Success! I managed to read a book for each category so I’m off to a good start (phew!) Instead of a full review, I think I’ll talk about why I picked each book and offer a few of my favorite quotes from each.

  1. A book I really liked when I was little. I read the BFG by Roald Dahl. I chose this because I remember my mom reading it to me before bed when I was little. We both laughed so hard at the funny words the BFG used (it stands for Big Friendly Giant, if you haven’t read it.) It’s a super fun book for kids, if you are looking for something sweet but also funny. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

 ‘You is trying to change the subject,’ the Giant said sternly. ‘We is having an interesting babblement about the taste of human bean. The human bean is not a vegetable.’

‘Of course not,” Sophie said. ‘I just love the way you talk.’ ‘How wondercrump!’ cried the BFG, still beaming. ‘How whoopsey-splunkers! How absolutely squiffling! I is all of a stutter.’

  1. A book I couldn’t fit into a previous challenge. I haven’t actually done a previous challenge before so I just read whatever I wanted. I chose Gone Baby Gone by Dennis Lehane. (This also could have fit into category 3 and if you haven’t seen the film, I highly recommend it.) This is book 4 in the Kenzie and Gennaro series, which is a series I”m really enjoying. Hopefully I can fit a few more of his books into the challenge this year. Honestly, this was a tough read about a child abduction. After I finished the last line, my thought was people are the worst. But I’ll give you a few quotes anyway:

Each day in this country, twenty-three hundred children are reported missing.

But amid all that noise, nothing is louder than the silence of a missing child.

  1. A book that’s becoming – or is – a movie. For this I picked Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. This book was actually pretty hilarious, which is hard to pull off when one of the main characters is dying of cancer. The way it’s written is really different style-wise. I’m looking forward to seeing the movie! A few quotes:

One thing I’ve learned about people is that the easiest way to get them to like you is to shut up and let them do the talking. (Note: I find this so very true.)

Maybe ‘awesome’ is too strong a word. The sentence should be: ‘I was pleasantly surprised when the first day of senior year did not make me want to freak out and hide in my own locker pretending to be dead.

Are you doing a reading challenge? What did you read in January?

It’s a tour! It’s a blitz! Does it work?

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As the release of my book, The Trouble with Family, approaches, I am starting to think about promotional tools. Actually, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. But now I’m finally ready to start actively trying to schedule things!

The problem? There are so.many.options. And such a wide variety of prices! I’ll cover the various promotional sites I end up using in a later post, but for now I want to talk about book blog tours.

If you don’t know, a book blog tour is a virtual way for authors to promote their books. There is usually some type of giveaway involved and the various promotional blog posts can include interviews, excerpts, reviews, guest posts, etc.

I’ve been reading a lot about these tours and feelings seems to be mixed. Some writers consider a tour an essential part of promoting a book while others consider it a waste of money.

Instead of a full-out book blog tour, I’ve decided to do a book blitz with YA Bound Book Tours.  The blogger’s posts will include my book cover, summary, buy links, and an excerpt. The cost is $30 (compared to the $100+ a tour can cost.)

The blitz will start on my release date and run for a week. I will come back and post the results of the blitz, for those that are curious!

So, my question to you…If you’ve participated in a book blitz or tour, what was your experience? Would you do it again?