Saturday, August 25, 2018

August Wrap-Up: Work, Write, Maybe Sleep.



I don't know about y'all, but August was one blur of working and writing, with me dreaming of when I might find a little time to sleep.

I am so looking forward to the end of September when this cycle will break. I'll be going to ACFW, a writer's conference. And afterward I'll get to spend a week with two of my best friends! Meantime I'm laboring summer away trying to get my novels in spic-span shape while cleaning eight-nine houses a week. 

August has been a smoky month in Montana — a week ago we had a fire just a mountain behind our place. Thankfully, between the local people and volunteer firefighters the fire didn't hurt anyone. 

August Posts: 

Shawn Robinson has been over the blog sharing about what it means to self-publish and just how one might do that! So far we have two parts to share :) 


In this post, Shawn outlines some of the things that will cost writers when they consider self-publishing.





An Overview of Self-Publishing, Part II 

In this post, Shawn gives an overview of the platforms that a self-publisher can use to publish their work.





Our First Blogoversary: Featuring the Rebellious Writing Team was this month, too! Now that was a blast, seeing how far this blog has come in the last year. 



Social Media And Stats:
93 followers, 28,332 all-time views. 
56 likes, 62 followers.
319 followers, 496 tweets, 676 likes.
19 posts,127 followers 
123 followers (and says we are getting 89.9k monthly viewers).
65 members, 16 topics
28 followers 
47 subscribers


Around The Blogosphere:

Despite being too busy I stumbled over many great posts this month! 

Abi's post. How I Remain Productive Amidst Chaos really struck a chord with me as she talked about her goals and what she actually accomplished and sometimes productivity is just a matter of perception and not so much about stressing over the time we don't have but using the time we do have well. 

Belle Anne talked about Arranged Marriages over at her blog, a concept many of us writer's might not think important until we start delving into the why love works the way it does. 

Gray shared a fun post  talking about finished her first POV in her current WIP. 

Tada! in her fun, quirky way, Jack shared about her newest release along with a cover reveal; a fun retelling of Beauty And The Beast set during WWII. 

Gray talked about The Problem with Christian YA Books, honestly a sad conundrum as you'd hope Christian fiction would be the first to promote clean reads. 

Abi introduced something she and her friend started in 5 Reasons to Have a RAP (Reading Accountability Partner)

I haven't read the rest of Josiah's series, but part three of a digital pulse, A Happy Ending, was just so raw and beautiful as he told of his time of not being able to write for along time after a close friendship ended abruptly. 

Alexa encourages other bloggers all throughout the month in her Posts of the Week. So go show her some love y'all! 

Our dear Ivie won a Micro Fiction Contest and her entry is just beyond beautiful! With lines like I let my heart lead the way. I knew better than that. and The heart doesn’t play fair, something I learned long ago.





One of my best friends, Lauren, just joined the blogging community with a blog for artists of all sorts! She plans to host contests and challenges open to any avenue of art. It's called For Your Inspiration and I may have won the first contest with a sad poem ;D  



Final Thoughts:

August has been busy month, and I'm sure many of you have been with me in wishing it could have been longer. But if we stop to think about it, I hope you find, like me, it's been a fantastic month and time can go write itself a permission slip to enjoy what we were able to give it: our full selves, laughter and all.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

Guest Post by Shawn Robinson: An Overview of Self-Publishing, Part 2



Note from the RW Team: To give our writers a small hiatus, we are welcoming author Shawn Robinson to do a 5 part series on self-publishing over the months of August and September. We hope that this will prove very useful, especially to the teen/indie authors in our audience.  
 Next week will bring our usual Monthly Wrap-up post written by Keturah Lamb. In the meantime, please give Shawn a warm welcome! 

You managed to get through the first blog! Congratulations!

In this second blog, we want to start exploring some of the foundational "stuff" that you will need to understand as a Self-Publisher.

(Editors Note: Foundational "stuff", in this context, is what types of publishing platforms are available). 

If this is all new to you, it might seem overwhelming.  Don't worry, the overwhelmingissness (I'm sure that's a word) will pass and this will all become clear in no time!

Offset Printing

It used to be that if you wanted to self-publish a book, you had to find an offset printer who would print your book for you.  The printing would, hopefully, be high quality, but we're talking thousands of copies.  The nice thing was that you could potentially get a book printed for around $2 (or less). 

The not-so-nice thing was that you needed to print about 5000 copies in order to get a price that low.  

That's a lot of money to shell out, and it's a lot of storage.  For perspective, I get about 26-28 books in a case.  5000 copies is nearly 200 cases of books.  Picture that stored in your bedroom.
If you thought, "Maybe I'll only print a few copies for myself and some friends and if the book is poorly written I'll also get a few copies for my enemies," you would end up paying a HUGE amount of money per copy.

In addition to this, once you had your books, you (as the Self-Publisher) would have to find a way to get your books out to all the stores and more!

This is a huge challenge for authors... 

Print-On-Demand (POD)

Fortunately, someone had the bright idea to try something called, "Print-On-Demand" or POD for short. What this means is that the printer only prints the copies that you actually need.  Both Amazon and Ingram (see below) do this and it's great.  You no longer need to print 5,000 copies.

Here's how it works:  Your book is up for sale on Amazon, but Amazon doesn't actually have any copies of your book printed (just a digital file).  Someone comes along and orders your book.  Amazon simply prints one copy of your book and ships it out to those people!

The great thing is that the cost isn't bad at all.  For that same book that might have cost $2/copy for 5000 copies through an off-set printer, you can now print one copy POD for around $3-$3.50.  Now, Amazon takes a fee as well for distributing your book in addition to the printing cost, but it's far preferable to the old, "buy 5000 copies and try to sell them yourself" option.


The eBook Option

One of the other great parts of self-publishing today is that you can publish your book as an ebook as well as print.  This generally involves using some software or websites to create the epub (general ebook file) or mobi (kindle) file.
I won't go into this in much detail, but some options for making your ebook files include Scrivener, yWriter, Calibre, Pressbooks and Kindle Previewer. 

Again, we live in a time with many great opportunities for Self-Publishing.

All right, there is one more thing we need to explore when it comes to the foundations of Self-Publishing:

Vanity or Subsidy Publishers

A Vanity Publisher or a Subsidy Publisher is a company that will help you publish your book for a fee.  This can include anything from editing to cover design to distribution.

Sounds great, right?

The downside is that they charge a ton of cash for their services, and, in the end of the day, you can do most of what they offer yourself for free or for very little investment.

Here's how Vanity Publishers work (more or less): You pay for services such as setting up the book, cover design and distribution.  When you're done, you typically get 5-10 copies of your awesome looking book and away you go.  Unfortunately, if you want more copies of the book, you're looking at a lot of money per book and it has to be ordered through them or, if you put it on Amazon, you can order it like a normal customer.  Unfortunately, they will also charge you so much that you will often have to set your book up for sale at $15-$20/copy in order to make a profit.

Vanity Publishers certainly have their place.  If you have a ton of disposable income, do not want to do the publishing work yourself and only want a few copies, they are ideal. If you want to save a bit of money, don't mind the work and hope to sell copies en masse, then you should avoid Vanity/Subsidy Publishers.

You should research to make sure they are a legit company, but, assuming they are, go for it. They will not identify themselves as a vanity press, you will need to be able to recognize them for yourself (or google, "Is ??? a vanity press?").

One more caution.  If you're thinking of going with a Vanity/Subsidy Publisher, consider carefully the services they provide.  For instance, if they say they will get your book out there and make it available for tens of thousands of book stores and libraries and more...that's great, but not all it's cracked up to be. You can do that yourself for free by using Amazon and Ingram.

It's always best to do the work yourself if you can.  I would, personally, advise you to avoid a Vanity or Subsidy Publisher.  

In Conclusion...

There you have it!  The Foundational Stuff of Self-Publishing.  In our third blog, we'll talk about two of the big Self-Publishing Services out there.


Meet the Orator:
Bio and author picture are sourced from Author website (www.shawnpbrobinson.com). Used with Permission.

I’m a writer, a husband, a father, a Christian, a hiker (or at least I was till some recent health problems), a lover of coffee, a biker (not the cool kind, but the kind that rides around on an old motorcycle and has a blast) and someone who enjoys watching movies with my sons and playing cards with my wife.

I have written (so far) four books. One is a book of short stories, the other three are a series (Arestana series). They are geared to younger readers and I have a blast writing them! You can check out my books here: www.shawnpbrobinson.com/books



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Our First Blogoversary: Featuring the Rebellious Writing Team




On August 9, 2017, 9 young women collectively held their breath as their first blog post was released to the world.

Two months of explosive growth and support on social media after a small insignificant blog post on one blog had been the driving force. The excitement was heated as the movement, on it's own, started to fly around the Internet - reaching everyone from the pressured teens, to concerned family members, to the lonely authors. All who were hoping, praying, and working towards higher standards in Young Adult literature. 

A year later, we are still going strong.

To celebrate this important milestone, our team members have compiled their reflections and thoughts in a Round Table - in similar fashion to the one that was featured in that very same post that began this blog.

Note: Please send our other Twitter Co-Coordinator and blog writer Melissa Gravitis lots of support - she's going through a lot of exams at this time and couldn't write for the Round Table.

Without further ado, we give the mic to....

Gray Marie Cox
Founder, Blog Writer, Pinterest Coordinator, Assistant Goodreads Moderator

It’s amazing to think that a whole year has passed since the start of this movement. It still feels like yesterday when I pushed the publish button on my blog post Dear Writers.

That post had a call to action in it at the end. Little did I know at the time how many people would answer that call and what our collected posts, dreams, and thoughts on #RebelliousWriting would turn into.

I’d like to thank you all for everything. Thank you for the support, the guests posts, the book reviews, the follows, thank you for believing in us and this movement. Thank you for helping us raise the standards for young adult.

You guys inspire me to be a better writer, and I hope this blog has inspired y’all.

To many more years,





Keturah Lamb
Blog Writer, Youtube Coordinator 

When I was younger I loved books so much. (Not that I don’t still, I’ve just learned to love other things, too . . . ) My favorite thing in the world to do was to go to thrift stores and yard sales and sort through all the books and spend all my change on stacks of books which I’d devour in a week. I usually looked for specific authors or titles I knew I liked (or might like), first hearing of them through friends or catalogues or backs of other books.

But oftentimes I’d find myself looking at a new book and had no idea if I’d like it or not . . .
Or worse yet I’d buy a book and read the whole thing only to discover I hated it (I had a hard time quitting a book. Just felt wrong).

And so when I was a young teen I dreamed of growing up and writing honest book reviews and collecting them all together in one place so that people could check out the site and know what the book was about before wasting money or time on it. For awhile I wrote a book review for every book I read in a notebook, just for my peace of mind’s sake.

And then one day I stumbled across Gray’s movement. I was overjoyed! Here was something even better than what I’d dreamed of. While I haven’t done much as a YouTube coordinator, I’m still honored to be a part of this group and all it stands for, and hope that I can start creating content that’s acceptable for what we all stand for.

It encourages me so much to see so many young readers standing against inappropriate fiction, and inspiring one another to be BETTER even if better is looked down upon.




Faith Thompson
Blog Writer, Facebook Coordinator, Assistant Goodreads Moderator

I still remember the first few books my innocent eyes came across in the Young Adult section of my library. Nowadays, I know that these are the sort of books no one with tact enjoys and that everyone should avoid… but back in the day when I could only go off the blurb, I grabbed them and have never forgotten. The lines that made my cheeks burn and forced me to slam the book shut. The covers and titles of books that I still walk past in my library that look down at me condescendingly: “You’re a wimp,” they seem to say. “Your taste in books has declined greatly, hasn’t it?”

That was before I joined Rebellious Writing. Before I began to network with dozens of readers and writers who also seek clean fiction, books that don’t make your cheeks burn or make you want to shove them under the bed to hide them even though you know that they’re wrong and you want nothing more than to get rid of them. I still search the YA section of the library for books— but now I understand that it’s okay to look for clean lit. I am not ashamed of my desire for books without content. And you don’t have to be either.

This is a community. This is a place where you can find your people and really, truly be aware that you are not alone in the search for clean YA. You’re not alone. We at Rebellious Writing are with you. We’re a team, and you are part of this team.

Thank you for making this first year something to remember.


Lila Kims
Blog Writer, Google+ Coordinator, Assistant Goodreads Moderator

It's odd how the adrenaline of doing something “big,” something important that actually makes a difference, can fade over time. And yet, even when you're not pulsing with energy over it like you did when it all began, you never give up on it. It’s a passion.

I’m passionate about clean fiction. Yes, there have been moments when I’ve watched on as other readers throughout the world obsessed over SO many books I know aren't clean and thought, “Wow. They have it easy. They don't care as much, so they don't worry as much.” I do have these dim moments sometimes, when a thin strand of envy unfurls, but I joined Rebellious Writing because I do care. And my appreciation for stories that aren't overwhelmingly dark and gritty (but rather light-filled and clean) has definitely grown since we published our first post last year.

The past months have revealed to me piece by piece, post by post, that I’m not alone in the difficulty of DNF-ing a book due to glorified or casually thrown-in elements that make me uncomfortable, how impossible - and revolting an idea - it would be to write a story with such elements. That encourages me. This movement and my Rebellious Writing companions (you guys!) are an encouragement. The stand we’ve taken throughout this year, with our blog and social media, is an encouragement. I dearly hope that Rebellious Writing has encouraged many of you this past year as well.

Let’s continue to edify and exhort one another as the movement keeps growing. Let’s not give up on our love for clean fiction, not even when we’re tired or not feeling the adrenaline rush of our passion.







Clare A.
Blog Writer, Blog Scheduler

I had just about given up hope. Several times I had screamed out loud, “Isn’t there anything good to read anymore!!??” I was in the “depths of despair” (Anne of Green Gables). Then, I saw a post. After following the link I came across Gray’s post. “Yes! I am not alone!” was my first reaction.

I had never dreamed of being part of the movement, I had never dreamed that we would have come so far. A year ago we launched this website, Rebellious Writing. So many things have happened, first of all: we learned that this is not something easy. But just because something is easy doesn’t make it right. There have been times when we have thought it was too hard. But it is you, all of the people who continue to support us, that give us hope.

All I can say is: thank you. Thank you for all your stories and encouragement. Thank you, from all of us.

Yours &c.
Clare A.



Audrey Caylin
Blog Writer, Twitter Co-Coordinator

Reading has always been a passion of mine. In the past years when I searched for good, clean stories and found so few of them, I began to think the problem wasn’t the stories, but me: I just had to lower my standards for the amount of “unclean” content in them and I would be fine. Thankfully, my conscience helped me to avoid doing that, and for a while I thought I was one of the only readers in the world who longed for clean YA fiction.

Then I stumbled across a movement called Rebellious Writing, and I realized I wasn’t so alone, that other people cared about clean young adult books as much as I did.

I think that realization -- that we’re not alone in our search -- is one of the greatest blessings of Rebellious Writing. When we realize we aren’t alone, we’re empowered, emboldened, and encouraged. The community that has grown because of Rebellious Writing is beautiful in that way, and I’m incredibly thankful that I found it.

In the years to come, I can’t wait to see how far this movement goes as we spread the word of the necessity of clean YA, helping readers find good books and encouraging authors to write them. Something beautiful is growing from the seed planted by Gray’s first blog post, and I believe the work Rebellious Writing has done in the past year is just the start of it.

Blessings,
Audrey




Catherine Hawthorn
Blog Writer, Communications Manager, Blog Post Formatter, Assistant Goodreads Moderator, Book Scout Coordinator

The fire that started in my heart when I read Gray’s Dear Writers post hasn’t died yet. In fact, it’s only grown stronger, even as I’ve changed hats many times.

This movement, even though it’s only existed for a year has already given so much: a wonderful circle of friends, new books to read, and great writing advice. But, the biggest benefit that it has given is it has helped people detach from the toxic literature that is being offered as literary “food” to us book dragons. And it all started by words - 882 to be exact.

Since becoming a part of Rebellious Writing, I’ve made a huge change in my standards in reading books. I’ve learned to catch lustful references that I glanced over as a teenager, and have backed off on reading lots of romance. Reviews of perspective books and blurbs are now more scoured over for objectionable content. I’ve even done the unthinkable and deleted books from my Kindle that I used to to really like because they don’t meet the higher standard that I have. Because I’ve stopped taking in such trash, my mind and my soul are starting to become more purified and aimed at Heaven - a goal that I’ve struggled with for years.

Communicating and collaborating with other writers of all ages has really given me hope that this movement will continue for years to come. It started with words, it has grown by words, it will continue by words. Let us continue the Rebellion by continuing to spread those words around - both on AND off the computer screen.



In Conclusion.....

In some ways, we haven't changed that much. We've stayed true to our mission of clean reading and writing.

In other ways, we have changed much. We've taken on new challenges, we've made plenty of mistakes, and learned lots of lessons along the way.

Our biggest change has been the faces behind the movement. While we have added some, we have also lost some.

Many of you have probably wondered where Anna C.S. has been. Some of you may have already known that she was having major computer issues earlier. Back in May 2018, her computer finally crashed with no hope of resurrection. As a result, she has stepped down from her active role in Rebellious Writing. We miss her terribly, and hope she comes back soon!

Abby Lennah, another founder and our beloved tech guru, also stepped down from active participation earlier this year. She's still in the background and has recently been helping us draft up a website redesign that could take place later this year.

With that said, we have two social media positions available: Goodreads Coordinator and Instagram Coordinator. Because of our personnel shuffling and coordinating author requests, blog posts, and team discussions, we've been very remiss about advertising and reviewing of candidates for both positions. 

If you are interested in, or would like to know more details about both of these positions, please email the team at therebelliouswriting@gmail.com.

In the meantime, we still have a long, dark and treacherous road ahead of us. Let us shoulder our weapons and....

REBEL.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Guest Post Featuring Shawn Robinson: An Overview of Self-Publishing, Part 1



Note from the RW Team: To give our writers a small hiatus, we are welcoming author Shawn Robinson to do a 5 part series on self-publishing over the months of August and September. We hope that this will prove very useful, especially to the teen/indie authors in our audience.  
Next week, we will be publishing our second Round Table in honor of Rebellious Writing's first blogoversary, and our wrap-ups will remain the same. In the meantime, please give Shawn a warm welcome! 


Hey everyone! 

I'm glad to be able to share on the Rebellious Writing blog! I've been following RW ever since I heard about it. I am always thrilled with the idea of people who want to write quality work without compromising morality and values.

It is such a joy to be able to write! Writing ends up being an opportunity to create, to explore, to face the challenge of grabbing hold of a reader's interest and taking them on an adventure! Writing is... fun. :)

Writing, however, is not the end goal. I remember reading a while back that many writers would give just about anything to have one person read at least one line of what they've written. Now, for those of you who struggle with hyperbole, that statement will drive you nuts. For the rest (those who are writers), you get the point. We do not just want to write. We want to share what we have written.

One of the things that I've had the privilege of being a part of over the last while is the fun process of Self-Publishing. While it can be a lot of work at times, it's very rewarding and exciting. Not only that, we live in a day when a Self-Publisher can easily publish a well-written, well laid out and well-designed book with the same quality of print that a traditional publisher offers.

What we'd like to do in this post (and the next 4 parts) is to explore the basics of the self-publishing process for an author. 

So, let's dive in!

Self-Publishing Overview, Part 1

We certainly live in challenging times in a lot of ways, but one of the wonderful parts of living in 2018 is that there are many options for writers to get their work out to the unsuspecting public. If an author takes the time and puts the effort in, he or she can self-publish a professional quality book and make it available for sale all around the world!

The exciting part about this (for most of us) is that this can be done for little to no cost!

Now... let me point out a couple areas where there can be some significant cost, just so that you don't think I'm trying to fool you about the cost part of this. 

Here are some areas where your self-publishing process can cost you some cash:

Artwork

Unless you know an artist who is willing to do your artwork for free, this is likely going to cost you. There are many options. If you do a search, you can find sites that will sell you a cover starting at $20. Generally, the more you pay, the nicer cover you will get. 

 Be careful. You can end up spending $1000 on this, and you might not be happy with what you get. You also have to be careful with covers to make sure that you have the full rights to use the cover (even if you buy it, you may not have the rights you think you have).

Let me give you a quick scenario: imagine you wrote a sci-fi romance children's crossword puzzle historical fiction book and your book sells 500k copies. You're thrilled and excited and you're the new J.K. Rowling of SFRCCPHF genre books. You're now rolling in the cash, but you find out that someone is suing you because you are using their cover and they want a piece of the action. This is an unlikely scenario, but best to make sure you own the full rights to the cover. 

 One option is to hire someone on Fiverr.com to draw up an image and use Publisher or other software to design your cover yourself. You can then purchase the image and you should own it completely (assuming they are not using stock photos). But always confirm with them that you own the image...

Editing

You NEED to use an editor. If you are a great writer with a firm grasp of punctuation and grammar and syntax and prose and more (if I was a good author, I could come up with a longer list), your editor will have less work to do. But you'll still need an editor.

You don't need to necessarily hire one (although a professional editor is generally good at what they do), but you need people to edit your work. Personally, I've made use of upwards of 20+ editors and alpha/beta readers on a book and I still find issues here and there after they go over it. Editors are important. :) 

 You should self-edit, but self-editing is never enough. If you're struggling with the cost of an editor (on average, 2 cents a word), I can recommend some quality editors who will not charge too much. They might give you a decent introductory rate as well.

Advertising

We'll talk about this more later on, but this is a cost that can grow...

ISBNS

ISBNs are your book's identification number, used around the world. We'll talk a bit more about ISBNs in a later blog. They are very important and can cost a lot, unless you can manage to get them free or buy them in bulk.

In Conclusion...

All right, those are some of the areas that will likely cost you. In our next blog, we'll start working through some of the foundational information you need to understand in order to sound smart as you talk with other Self-Publishers and to help lay a foundation for you to make solid decisions when it comes to Self-Publishing. If you'd like some more detail on any of these areas, head over to my blog and check it out: www.shawnpbrobinson.com


Meet the Orator:
Bio and author picture are sourced from Author website (www.shawnpbrobinson.com). Used with Permission.

I’m a writer, a husband, a father, a Christian, a hiker (or at least I was till some recent health problems), a lover of coffee, a biker (not the cool kind, but the kind that rides around on an old motorcycle and has a blast) and someone who enjoys watching movies with my sons and playing cards with my wife.

I have written (so far) four books. One is a book of short stories, the other three are a series (Arestana series). They are geared to younger readers and I have a blast writing them! You can check out my books here: www.shawnpbrobinson.com/books