Wannabe Pride welcomes Guest Blogger Sara Bain!

Sara published her debut novel, The Sleeping Warrior, in 2013 under her imprint Ivy Moon Press. She is a freelance journalist, photographer, graphic artist and author living in South West Scotland.

“I demand that my books be judged with utmost severity, by knowledgeable people who know the rules of grammar and of logic, and who will seek beneath the footsteps of my commas the lice of my thought in the head of my style.”

Louis Aragon

There was once a time when the book review was called a “literary criticism” and involved lengthy scholarly theories that focused on analysis, description and interpretation of literary works, expounded in a critical essay. Sometimes constructive, often destructive, and occasionally even deconstructive, authors and publishers would hold their breaths while they waited for that important evaluation that would make or break a lifetime’s hard slog.

Daphne du Maurier’s critics hated her: they called her a second rank “romantic novelist.” Adolph Huxley’s Brave New World and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies were immediate commercial disasters after they received a harsh press from their critics.

Moreover, there were, and still are, a few mischievous columnists who would use a book review as an opportunity to showcase their own writing aptitude or expertise on literary theories to the detriment of the author’s finest efforts. Also, with any form of arts critique there is always a danger of over-analysis by attempting to get into the writer’s mind.

Whether we authors like it or not, criticism is unavoidable. Sometimes a novelist will use a plot device or sentence structure because he or she ‘just did’. There is not always a reason for placing every individual word in a certain series or introducing a particular character half way through the storyline. It just happens that way and, if the reader doesn’t like it, you just have to take the blow of their disappointment on the chin.

As DH Lawrence said, “the touchstone [of literary criticism] is emotion, not reason” and, thanks to the internet, the judgment of the literary critic holds little sway against the might of public opinion.

Emerging from the World Wide Web is a new breed of literary critic whose opinion counts for everything: the book reviewer. Today’s reviewers tend to be book lovers who wish to spread their enthusiasm through dialogue on social media sites. They give up their time to read your work and make the effort to tell others about their experience. Their opinions are as varied as the stories they read and they stand as representatives of the diversity of individual taste.

Sometimes waiting for a book to come back from the reviewer feels like standing in the gladiatorial arena, with one eye locked on the teeth of the lion and the other on the thumbs of the crowd. Will my efforts get that row of shining stars or will it be struck with one?

No author wants a bad rating but, at the same time, must realise that you can’t please everyone. The one star rating is inevitable. Some reviewers will complain about the story; some can’t invest any emotion in the characters; some don’t like the colour of the cover; and some are cross because the book didn’t arrive on time.

Taking a look on Amazon at the reviewers’ comments on a selection of the top-selling books of all time was a stark reminder that individual readers will applaud or jeer you for what they get out of your book, which is not necessarily what you, as the author, intended them to experience. Here’s a small sample of what some reviewers said about the world’s most successful books:

  • Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities (top-selling book of all time): “last 100 [pages] could have been taken out and, substituted for something a little less dull” – 2 stars
  • Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five: “OK, I read it, but I literally have no idea  what this is about” – 1 star
  • Virginia Wolf, To the Lighthouse: “Slow and monotonous” – 1 star
  • Robin Jenkins, The Cone Gatherers: “Awful, depressing and cruel” – 1 star
  • J D Salinger, Catcher in the Rye: “very annoying and extremely boring” – 1 star
  • Laurie Lee, Cider with Rosie: “What a load of rubbish!” – 1 star
  • Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None: “one of the most boring and, at times frankly irritating, murder mysteries I’ve ever read.” – 1 star
  • Herman Melville, Moby Dick: “too nautical for me” – (that one made me laugh) 1 star
  • Jack Reacher, Personal (Waterstones’ top seller 2014): “Unbelievably bad” – 1 Star
  • Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code: “foetid mess of a book spewed by accident from the substandard brain” – 1 star
  • Jeffrey Archer, Be Careful What You Wish For: “Boring and repetitive. Requires no brain!” – 1 star.
  • E L James, 50 Shades of Grey: 2,145 – 1 star.

Up until today, when I made the above list for this blog post, I was always afraid of that dreaded one star which would negate my efforts to publicise my precious work as an “excellent” read. My five-star majority ratings gave me a sense of pride and self-worth as I felt it somehow validated me as an author of good fiction.

I now understand there is a certain amount of freedom of expression for the self-published author. With the coming of the online book reviewer, who is more interested in a good story than a missing semi-colon, the once mighty literary critics are no longer the watchdog of readers’ tastes. I would advise any author, therefore, to write what you would like to read. Some readers will hate it, others will love it, and a few will completely miss the point. The number of stars don’t necessarily increase sales but the opinion of the reviewer is important. Even if those views don’t agree with yours or whether you feel they have got it wrong – everyone’s entitled to their own opinion and you’ll never get it completely right.

- Sara Bain



Interview with Kickstarter Author Chris Votey

This week, Wannabe Pride welcomes writer Chris Votey who has recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finance his writing. Read on to find out about him and his project. I hope you will contribute the campaign to help a fellow hardworking writer!

Kickstarter Project

How long have you been a writer? What made you (crazy enough to) want to write?
I’ve been writing since about the age of 9. I was a big fan of Star Trek and loved every moment of it, and my first story was a Star Trek story. Over the years, I kept revising it, as I understood the principles of storytelling more and more. I never did finish that story.

What made me pursue it as a career? Well, in 2000, I tried writing a story that I hope one day to write again. I got about 70 pages into it when my roommates stole my stuff and pawned it. Luckily I had an early copy of the story, but I lost the will to write. Jump to 2012, I tried to get into self-publishing and got one book released before I suffered a brain injury. Seventeen months later was NaNoWriMo 2013, and, on a whim, I decided to do it. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a contest of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I did it in 14. I decided, even with my disability, I would do everything I could to be an accomplished writer.

What genre of book do you like to write? Any genres you haven’t explored but would like to? Alien erotica, perhaps?
Science Fiction will be and always shall be my first love. My two novels are both sci-fi. However, I want to write every genre I can. Not a big fan of Fantasy or Paranormal, but currently writing one now. Have a few horror novels I want to write. I would do erotica if there wasn’t such a stigma against authors who do erotica. I guess that’s why they invented Pen Names. I’m not a one genre sort of guy, I need to keep my options open.

Describe your writing process. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you wear pants while writing?
For NaNoWriMo 2013, I wrote the novel Karma’s Repentance. It was about a female Bounty Hunter of the future. I had a good design of the characters, and about the first 5 chapters somewhat plotted out. I had no idea of how the story would end, or what happened beyond that. In fact, my first 5 chapters turned into 7 chapters.

My writing process in general is that I get an idea and do the necessary research for it. I then try to think of as many major details I can. Then I design the characters. First I get a general sense of who they are, I then do a tarot spread of them (creating complex secondary characters part one and part two) .I then use 45 Master Characters and assign them a God and role in the book. I then flesh out their background story and write up a report on the major and secondary characters. Lastly, I write a little about their relationships between each other and the main character.

I feel the way I write, I build a build a sandbox, fill it with sand. Get my action figures out (and Barbies. They’re for research purposes… yeah, research purposes). Then I throw obstacles in their way and they tell me how they handle the situation (you’d be amazed how manly Barbie sounds).

When I need a break from writing, I often times act out scenes in my stories to see what they say and what they do. Probably seems like I’m talking to myself. I promise you I’m not.

I’m sure no one wants to hear that I sometimes write in the nude. I don’t think that is appropriate for this interview. Or that when I do wear clothes, I am in boxers and a t-shirt. No one needs that mental image, unless someone finds me sexy, then you’re welcome for that mental image.

What’s your favorite kind of ice cream?
I like a variety of flavors, from cookie dough, to chocolate, to any crazy flavors of Ben and Jerry’s.

If I had to choose just one, I would choose French Vanilla. Some of my friends find that ironic, given how eccentric and weird I am. I simply tell them that Vanilla was once an exotic spice. I guess you can say I’m an exotic spice.

What motivates you to write? Music? Coffee? Tea? Bourbon? Cigarettes?
There was a scene in Karma’s Repentance that involved storming an asteroid base and I got inspired from Robot Chicken’s clip of the rescue, and use that music as inspiration.

Due to my disability, I find it difficult to listen to music while I write. Sometimes I can, somethings I can’t. When I can, I listen to soundtrack music from video games and movies. I tend not to listen to anything with words. I also listen to 2 Steps From Hell.

I don’t drink coffee as it gives me a migraine. I do enjoy black tea, though too much makes me jittery. I occasionally do a Monster Energy Drink to help super charge my mind when my disability becomes too much for me and I have a deadline to keep.

Don’t drink alcohol too often, mostly can’t afford to. When I celebrate though, I will have myself a cigar.

Tell us about your Kickstarter project.

In June of 2012, I suffered a concussion and later got diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome. It is a condition that affects how my brain works. I have memory loss, issues with focus and concentration, light and noise sensitivity, and difficulties in public and new environments. I have been denied for Workers Comp, Long-Term Disability, and Social Security Disability.

Writing is a lifelong passion of mine and I want to make a career out of it. I firmly believe that I can use it to try to get the help I need, and to one day have a somewhat normal life once more. I am doing Kickstarter as a way to pay for five books to be published to help me do that. I am asking for $3000 to get 4 – 5 books published, so I can live my dream of being a full time author and my dream of being healthy again.

Anything else you’d like Wannabe Pride readers to know about you? Any secrets you want to tell us before we find them out on a Google search anyway?
Despite my disability, I am a fun-loving guy. I love helping other writers and created my own coalition of writers for the purpose of being able to help each other out. I am big on education and my blog is dedicated to that. I also have a Worldbuilding series. Right now I am doing Map Making for people who can’t draw.

Chris Votey @authorvotey

Wannabe Pride’s Official Book Recommendations List!

Looking for a great read? Check out these recommended books!

**Wannabe Pride Favorite Selection


**THE BLAKE MISTAKE by I.C. Camilleri


KHAKI=KILLER A Young Adult Paranormal Thriller (The Color of Evil Series) by Connie Corcoran Wilson





Paranormal Romance

**IMMORTAL BLOOD by Magen McMinimy


**CHASING JUSTICE by Danielle Stewart

Male/Male Romance

**COLD by Brandon Shire

**FROM THE ASHES (Naughty Nursery Rhymes) by Kayla Jameth






FONTANA by Joshua Martino

**SECRET THINGS by Robert Thompson

**SAVING LIAM by DP Denman


FURBALL FEVER by Maureen Fisher



**PAINTED FACES by L.H. Cosway


DIGGING DEEP: A Writer Uncovers His Marriages by Boyd Lemon





ONE BOY’S SHADOW by Ross A. McCoubrey


THE RISE OF THE DJALL by Talon Windwalker

SHADOWWATER by Wendy Shreve






WRITE, PUBLISH, REPEAT  (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

MY WAY by David P Perlmutter

**Join my email list for all these book recommendations and writing advice! Contact me at if you have a book you would like me to consider for the list. **

Should I Register My Self-Published Book with the Library of Congress?



It’s only necessarily to register your book with the Library of Congress if you plan for your physical book to appear in libraries. However, it is free to obtain the number so you may want to go ahead and get one just in case.

I confess that I wanted one for my book because it makes it look more official….

The Library of Congress is the National Library of the United States. It is actually the world’s largest library. The Library of Congress does not house every single book published in the United States, but it has an awful lot of them. According to their website, they add over 12,000 new items per day and have 838 miles of shelves! You can take a tour of the three buildings that comprise the Library of Congress and you can look at the books while there but you are not permitted to check out any materials.

The Library of Congress website states it priorities as follows:

First, to make knowledge and creativity available to the U.S. Congress on a continuing basis. Second, to acquire, organize, preserve, secure and sustain for the present and future use of Congress and the nation a comprehensive record of American history and creativity and a universal collection of human knowledge. The library’s third priority is to make its collections maximally accessible to Congress, the government and the public through such means as its website. Its fourth priority is to add interpretive and educational value to the basic resources of the library to highlight the importance of the library to the nation’s well-being and future progress.

The Library of Congress catalog number (LCCN) is the unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book its collection. Technically, the number is for the bibliographic record and not the actual book. Librarians use the number to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress or from other suppliers. There are two different types of control numbers: Cataloging in Publication (CIP) and Preassigned Control Number (PCN). The PCN is simply a LCCN that is assigned pre-publication. The CIP is for books that expected to be widely purchased by and circulated in libraries throughout the nation. The CIP and PCN programs are mutually exclusive. You cannot have both, and most self-published books will fall under the PCN category. Self-published authors and publishing companies who have published fewer than three authors are not eligible for the CIP.

You can apply for one at book must be at least 50 pages long to qualify, so many children’s books may not be applicable. The application itself is a two-step process. First, you fill out the online form with the publisher name, contact information, and your ISBN. Second, they will email you a username and password so you can complete the application. It usually takes about 1-2 weeks for the process, depending on their current workload. There is no charge for an LCCN, but you must submit a physical copy of the finished work once it is published. Failure to do so may result in suspension from the program. The books will not be returned.

Send a copy of the book for which a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) to:

Library of Congress
US & Publisher Liaison Division
Cataloging in Publication Program
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C.20540-4283

It is important to note that a Library of Congress catalog number is not a copyright. The U.S. Copyright Office is located on the fourth floor of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress, but obtaining an LCCN does not mean your work has been copyrighted. The copyright can be used as proof of ownership. The LCCN is simply a number assigned to a work that may be included in the collection of books at the library of congress. In order to obtain a copyright, you must contact the copyright office, fill out the appropriate paperwork, and pay the fee.

Inclusion in the Library of Congress Catalog is not automatic following submission, and the library does not provide status updates. However, you can view the database at most PCNs are processed within 1-2 weeks.

- Linda Fausnet

Helpful links:

What is a Library of Congress catalog number?

Library of Congress preassigned control number program

What is a Library of Congress Control Number FAQ

**Join my email list for Writing Tips and Book Recommendations! Contact me at if you have a book you would like me to consider for the list. **


How to Start a Writer’s Group

Wannabe Pride welcomes guest blogger Antony Wootten!

Hi there, Wannabe Pride readers! Like many of you, I am a self-published author, and I’d like to tell you about something that I think could benefit all writers. I have to admit, it’s not something everyone will relish, and some will think it’s definitely not for them. But it is something worth immersing yourself in; the impact it has on you may well be unexpected, and most likely will be immeasurably positive if you approach the experience in the right way.

When I was living in London (UK), I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a writers’ group (the Willesden Green Writers’ Group, to be precise. I’m sure they won’t mind me mentioning them!). I already considered myself a writer, although in reality, I was a primary school teacher. I had written several novels, which had been languishing on my computer’s hard drive for years, totally unseen and unknown by the rest of the world. I had no idea that writers’ groups existed, so I was intrigued and excited to join.

The group met every week in the local library. I don’t know how many members there were in total, a great many I think, although they were never all there at the same time. Sometimes more than twenty would turn up, and sometimes it would be less than ten. In each session, we went round the group, taking it in turns to read out a story, poem, section of a novel, or some other piece of writing they had produced. The rest of the group would listen or read (members were advised to bring print-outs so that those who wanted to read at their own pace could do so). Then, the listeners would give feedback on what they had heard.

If you’ve never been to a writers’ group before you might think the whole process sounds nerve-wracking and potentially humiliating. And, to be honest, you may well have to put up with a bit of that. If your fellow writers are just kind and complimentary all the time, you will learn nothing. Even the best writers need to hear the opinions of readers in order to hone their skills and develop their work. But, if you are prepared to listen to what others say about your writing, you will become a better writer, no matter how good you might think you are to begin with.

There’s a caveat to this: in a writers’ group, you will often hear a range of conflicting opinions. My advice is that you listen to everything, and filter it all through your own considered opinions. You are the writer, and the one who ultimately has to make the decision about what works and what doesn’t. Your fellow group members are not there to tell you how to improve your work, they are there to tell you how they think your work could be improved. They will not always be right. They will not always agree. You will not always agree with them. But, whether or not you like what they say, it is vital that you at least consider it. Sometimes, you will hear advice you flatly disagree with. If everyone else disagrees with it too, it’s probably worth discounting. If, however, other people agree with the advice, it’s almost certainly worth bearing it in mind. Sometimes, your fellow members will hit upon something you had completely failed to notice: a plot-hole, a contradiction or continuity error, dialogue that doesn’t sound right, imagery that doesn’t convey what you want it to convey, pacing problems that you hadn’t noticed, humour that fails to amuse, a missed opportunity, a boring bit. Chances are, you will have been too close to your writing to see those things yourself, but they may leap out at other people. That is the beauty of joining a writers’ group.

I remained a staunch member of Willesden Green Writers’ Group for several years, and the experience was immeasurably valuable: I made some fantastic friends; I heard some wonderful stories, novels and poems, and, crucially, I learned how to write. If I had never found that group, I’d have continued to write, without exposing my work to the views of others, blindly believing it to be good, and not realising how much I still had to learn. Worse still, in my naivety, I may even have self-published it, and it would have received embarrassingly terrible reviews! Just thinking about what could have happened makes my toes curl.

So, hopefully you now want to join a writers’ group. But what if there isn’t one near you?

Well, eventually, my life led me away from London, and away from the writers’ group, to the rural climes of Grosmont, North Yorkshire, where my wife and I still live today. In total contrast to London, where we had both lived for well over a decade, Grosmont is a tiny country village, through which a steam railway runs, and if there are twenty people in the local pub no one can quite believe how busy it is. There was no writers’ group here. So, around the town, I put up notices asking if anyone would be interested in joining one. I left my contact details for people to take, and I waited. At first, there was a small glimmer of interest, mostly from people I already knew, and who, really, were just being kind; they were responding to my plea more out of pity than anything else. “Of course,” they all said in one way or another, “I don’t write. But I’ll come along anyway, to see what it’s all about.” I really didn’t think it was going to take off. But, about six writers, as well as some non-writing but interested supporters, came to the first meeting. It was held in the village’s slightly strange and very tiny real ale bar (yes, Grosmont has both a pub and a bar!), against a backdrop of locals chatting over their pints, and some brave folk actually read out pieces they’d written. Some of it was stuff they’d written as teenagers, or an extract from a memoir, or even a magazine article. And, to my enormous surprise (I say that because of the low expectations they’d all led me to have in the build-up), the writing was good!

Over the coming weeks, several new members came along, and one or two original members fell by the wayside. Now, almost two years on, we have a solid core of about nine writers, as well as a few guest members who join us when they are in the area, and we meet every fortnight to listen to each others’ writing and offer our feedback. For a tiny little village like ours, nine regular members is pretty good going. After less than a year, we published a collection of our short stories. This was an incredibly exciting community project – we funded it partially ourselves, but were also given very generous sponsorship by several local businesses and organisations. Initially, we had two hundred paperback copies printed up, all of which we have now sold, and we are working our way through our second print-run. Not only that, but we are likely to publish our second book in the not too distant future! And, despite the initial, very self-deprecatory claims about their own writing abilities, at least six members of the group have written – or are well underway with – a novel, and the others have amassed huge collections of excellent stories. I am blown away by the talent and commitment of this group of writers.

I originally set up the Grosmont Writers’ Group because I wanted a bunch of writers who would be able to offer me advice on my own writing, and who would all benefit from each other’s feedback too. But, just as with the Willesden Green Writers’ Group in London, I’ve found the Grosmont Writers’ Group also provides two other things: a great range of interesting fiction, and a great range of interesting friends.

So, I cannot recommend highly enough the benefits of joining a writers’ group. And if there isn’t one near you, start one yourself!


Antony Wootten writes under two names: his own name, when writing for children, and David Hall, when writing for adults.

As David Hall, he has recently published ‘And I Wish I’d Asked Why’ (currently only on Kindle, but paperback will follow), which Red City Review described as ‘a collection of eighteen amazingly compelling short stories’. He has also written ‘Gordon Medley’s Final Frontier’, which he refers to as a Sci-fi Adventure Space-Opera Comedy Star Trek Parody, a genre which few have tackled previously… Find out more here:

As Antony Wootten, he has self-published three books for children roughly aged 9-12: ‘A Tiger Too Many’, which is a novel set during the second world war, about a young girl’s desperate crusade to save a tiger in London Zoo; ‘Grown-ups Can’t Be Friends With Dragons’, a novel about an unhappy young boy who meets a strange creature in a cave by the sea; and a collection of limericks, which is called ‘There Was An Old Fellow From Skye’. Find out more here:

Follow Antony on Twitter: @antonywootten

and on Facebook: AWEskdale





Advice From a Novice Writer

Wannabe Pride welcomes guest blogger M.C. Simon

Photo Artist: Angela Waye

Yes, you heard it right… advice from a beginner. You, the writer who has climbed to a higher level, just saw these words.

Sounds too bold? Can a novice writer do this?

I bet she can! In life we can receive advice from any level of consciousness and if we are able to perceive what’s behind the lines, we can always learn something new… or we can see the same thing from a different perspective.

It is said “When the student is ready, the teacher appears”.

Life has shown me many times the depth of these words. They are not saying that the teacher must have a specific degree or diploma… but for sure we came into these human bodies to learn about life. And this life is teaching us so many things, in so many different ways through various people. Some of them are experts and some beginners in your field of interest. Let yourself hear a novice’s advice also.

David Bailey said once “The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading”. And this advice was given to him by a student when he was sixteen.

According to Merriam Webster, an advice is an opinion or suggestion about what someone should do.

Than permit me to write here what I consider to be the first advice which any writer should receive. And let me be straight.

GO TO THE ROOTS! Define very well what your reason to write is. Without a clear reason, you will succeed to start writing, but being nourished by a temporary impulse, in a short time the impulse will disappear and your writing life will also reach an end.

I am not a fan of giving direct advice. I always prefer giving subliminal advice which lets the reader choose what is right for him or not. I am doing this because one of my mottos in life is that I am never doing to others what I don’t like someone else to do to me. I always prefer having a choice, no matter what.

Are you wondering what connection there is between advice latent with choice and the writing process itself?

Well… a distinction must be made here: on the one hand there are technical advices which of course I prefer to be direct; I would never try to dig behind the words if we are talking about technique, procedures and so on. All these can be learned by anyone and I personally appreciate people who are giving technical advice… especially for free. Doing this they also involve their hearts and the advice touches the reader’s heart in a very deep way.

Now, my advice can be considered direct and indirect also. Direct because I told you exactly what to do. Indirect because I never mentioned how and when you will reach the roots.


Dig deep into your heart and see the roots where your desire to write emerged from. Embrace the roots and start to write.

I know… I know… we are human… we need proof also. So let’s do it like this. You like to write. You have a sudden inspiration. Start! Write. Put your heart on the paper. Do it; and somehow on a cloudy day you will meet what is called a writer’s block. I know it, I already touched that level.

That block can be scary sometimes. If it lasts more than a few days, it can induce a very strong doubt in you. The experiment which I’m proposing for you is that when this moment comes, do not panic, and do not start to doubt yourself.

So just relax. Add some of your favorite music if you need it. Breathe deep and… smile.

After you have totally relaxed and the smile shines upon your face, dig into your subconscious mind and find there the roots of your desire to write. Don’t stop when you find the superficial reasons… dig deeper and bring to surface the ultimate roots of your reason. Listen to your heart; it knows best when these roots are discovered.

Breathe deep and smile again. And after this WRITE!

Write and see what’s happening. Write from the depth of your heart. Spread on paper your truth… nothing else than your truth.

Can you see the difference now? Well… even if you see it or not… my next advice is: DON’T follow any advice, no matter how good it is, until the moment when your heart is telling you to do so. Ultimately, my advice is to follow your heart… and WRITE!


Writer, translator, researcher, engineer… and much more. What else can I ask for? :) I have breathed on this planet since January, 29, 1967, being born in Romania, a country which I always liked, in a city crossed by the Danube river, where my mother was in a short holiday before she was to deliver her first child. I recently decided that I am a writer. This writer started to ask for her freedom and I intend to set her free. So, the first move was to choose a Pen Name… like any writer who has a reason to choose it. What’s my reason? Only one: intending to write only in English language, my real name would be hard to spell; but loving too much my name, I simply couldn’t get rid of it and I decided only to cut the last letters. “Everything is based on contrasts. You can read these lines only because it is enough contrast between the letters and the background”. Yes, that’s me also. Fire and ice, sweet and bitter, warm and cold… I will not continue anymore here; I am sure you caught the main idea. And I am wondering now… can the letters which I will choose bring out enough contrast on the paper to keep your attention awakened?

Noveltunity® Is Growing – Help Us Help Wannabes & Readers

Wannabe Pride welcomes back Rick Karlsruher from Noveltunity®, which is the world’s first ebook book club that exclusively features new or undiscovered writers.

Thanks for inviting me back, Linda.

Noveltunity® has been quite busy over the past few months. We have gone from a wonderfully successful beta test to being fully live. Since December, our website ( ) has had over 2,200,000 page views. WOW! How did that happen?

There have been members from over twenty countries. We’ve had submissions from over a dozen countries. If any of you want to submit ( ), please do. Here’s what we need:

Book Cover

Personal Bio

3 Chapters

Tell us if you have won any awards for writing

Ann Andrashie was a Wannabe. Her book Dog Island won our selection vote. This month a publisher has signed her to a contract. Way to go Ann!

Since last I posted her, we’ve added several small publishers, an agent or two and a number of valuable partners. In fact, an international rights company is putting together a distribution flyer for the world’s biggest book fairs and is offering Noveltunity® members a 30% discount.

Whether you are a reader or writer, please come over and join us help Wannabes live their dreams. We need all of you. In that vein, we understand that Wannabes and their supporters could use a little help in these tough days. Fear not, use this code RICKNOV25 to get a 50% discount for each of the next two years.

For the cost of a pizza and some sodas, you’ll get 36 ebooks, get to meet readers and writers from around the world, vote on selections, go to classes to learn more about the industry and much more.

Please help up help Wannabes and empower readers from around the world. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me directly –

By the way, if you have a blog or website and like what we’re doing, I’d love to share Noveltunity®’s story with your readers and followers.


After Twenty Years of Waiting, TODAY IS BOOK RELEASE DAY!!!


**  Kindle **  Paperback **Smashwords



I’ve been a writer for twenty years, but today I am an author.

These days anyone can write a book and publish it on Amazon, but I know in my heart that I’ve put in the years of hard work, heartbreak, and sacrifice that it takes to be a real author. I started writing in 1994, when I walked across the street from my childhood home and sat by the stream to write in my notebook. That story eventually became my first novel, RAIN ON THE WATER, which was also a screenplay optioned by two production companies in Los Angeles.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve written more than ten screenplays, four novels, countless blog articles, newsletters, training videos, and much more. I’ve also sent hundreds of query letters, and yet have only had a handful of literary agents even bother to take a look at any of my writing. The few agents that did read my work samples were complimentary, but none offered representation. One literary agent in New York expressed serious interest in representing me. She turned out to be a scam artist. As it turned out, what I thought would be my Big Break turned out to be nothing but a big lie.

For a long time, I dreaded my approaching twentieth anniversary as a writer. That would mean I’ve spent twenty years – the majority of my life – on a career path that hasn’t exactly panned out. Twenty years as an unpublished writer. It was a hard thing to face.

Then, two years ago, I decided that I would publish my first book on my twentieth anniversary as writer. Rather than being ashamed of that anniversary, I’m announcing it to the world. Twenty years of damned hard work is nothing to be ashamed of. Plenty of other writers have quit along the way. I’m still here, and I’m more determined than ever.

I have spent the entire past year editing and perfecting QUEEN HENRY, which I wrote in 2011, and learning the self-publishing process. I don’t do anything half-assed, especially when it comes to writing. After blogging every week for an entire year, I’ve made it from 52 Weeks To Publication to now. Today is the day. It has been so hard to wait, but the time is finally here and I’m ready.

Some will like my story and some will not, but I can promise you that QUEEN HENRY is as good as anything you will find on a bookstore shelf. I’ve put it through rigorous beta critiques and professional edits. I’ve cut out parts that I’ve loved for the good of the story and the characters. I got a professional cover design. I did my homework. My goal is to add to the prestige of the world of self-publishing, not add to the stigma by releasing a mediocre book.

Not one agent would even consider QUEEN HENRY, despite the fact that the screenplay version of the same story was a finalist in a national contest. They told me that, since it was “gay-themed”, it wouldn’t sell.


We’ll see about that. (Why I Decided to Self-Publish My Novel)

The secret to writing success, whether it’s traditional publishing or self-publishing, is simple, not easy:

1. Write a damn good book.
2. Promote the hell out of it.

I think I’ve done the first one. It took me years, but I think I did it. Now comes the second part.

Queen Henry 12-31-13

You can buy QUEEN HENRY here:





Publishing this novel, my favorite story of everything I’ve ever written, is about sharing QUEEN HENRY with the world and making my dream come true. It’s not about turning a profit.

My next book, though? Yeah. That’s about my dreams AND profit. The publishing business IS a business after all. Stay tuned…

Thanks to everyone who has helped contribute to making my dream come true and has put up with me blogging, tweeting, and posting about it for the last 52 weeks straight.

Today is one of the most important days of my life, but in a fairly quiet way. There will be no big launch party, no announcement to the press, no display at my local bookstore. I don’t know. There’s something kind of nice about that. Though many people participate in the final product of the book, writing is mostly a solitary venture. Much of my journey as a writer has taken place in my head. It’s kind of fitting that I’m celebrating my book launch day in a quiet way. As always, when celebrating a writing accomplishment, I watch one of my favorite movies (which I will have already done the night before this blog is posted, It’s Time For Peach Schnapps and Drag Queens). My plan for today is to sit at the kitchen table and watch Back to the Future (which inspired me to be a writer when I was ten years old) while tweeting and posting about my book. (My Love Letter to Back to the Future on its 25th Anniversary). After that, my sister and I will head to the airport to go to Minnesota to participate in the baseball All-Star festivities as per our tradition. I will be the one at the airport in the Harvey Milk T-shirt  tearing up at the slightest provocation. And that’s a good thing.

So today I am an author. No matter what happens now, from this day forward, I will have my book QUEEN HENRY to have and to hold. In good sales days and in bad, I won’t ever have to wonder “what if I’d actually had the guts to publish my book”?

I did it. I actually did it.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

- Linda Fausnet


Book Release Day – Known as Wednesday to Everybody Else….

 This article is part of my ongoing Wannabe Pride Self-Publishing blog series in preparation for publishing my novel, QUEEN HENRY, in July of 2014. Proceeds from this novel will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation. My author page is

Book Release


After counting down from 52 Weeks to Publication, I’ve now made it to one week. The day is almost here. 

It’s funny how my book release day is one of the most important days in my life, but it’s just an ordinary workday for everybody else. It doesn’t really bother me.  It’s just an observation. When you get engaged, get married, have a baby, or get a new job, even people that don’t know you know that it’s a pretty big deal. I remember when my bridal party and I were standing out on the lawn of my church getting pictures taken and people were honking at us as they drove by. They were honking because they knew somebody’s wedding was a BIG DEAL.

Publishing my first book after all these years is a BIG DEAL, but it’s mostly a big deal to me. I can’t tell you how many times someone has overheard me talking about my book and said “ Wow, did you get your book published??” And I say “I’m publishing it myself, “ and they say “Oh.” As in “Oh, you’re not REALLY getting published.”

To be honest, I always thought I would feel the same way. I thought I would feel like I was selling out by “settling” for self-publishing or I thought I would feel like I just wasn’t good enough to hack it in the traditional publishing world. I can’t say I’ve never felt that way, but it’s pretty rare. The vast majority of the time, I just feel empowered and in control of my own work. Nobody can predict what’s going to be a success and what isn’t, but I can control the quality of my writing. When I look at my published book, I think – I DID THIS. I MADE THIS HAPPEN. I stopped sitting around and waiting for somebody to tell me it was okay to publish my book. And yes, it‘s “just” self publishing. Which means I “just” wrote a whole book, had it edited, formatted, got a cover, got an author photo, got a Library of Congress number, an ISBN, had it printed, corrected, printed again, did tons of publicity and marketing, started an email list, and blogged every week for an entire year, all while having two kids at home and holding down a full-time job.

And what, pray tell, have YOU done to make your own dreams come true, ye naysayers, you?

Anyway. Come next Wednesday, I won’t be walking around in full length fancy gown, nor will I be holding a newborn baby, or having a huge, celebratory book launch party. No, I’ll just be wearing my Harvey Milk T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Strangers won’t be able to tell just by looking at me that I just published my first book after twenty years of writing. Who cares? I’ll know. 

- Linda Fausnet

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On Having Realistic Expectations for Self-Publishing


The average statistic that is bandied about as far as self-published book sales is 100-150. Meaning, most self-published books will not sell more than 150 books.

So my goal for Queen Henry is to sell at least 200 books.

I would really love to sell 200 books in the first year of release, but I suppose it’s more realistic to just aim for 200 for the lifetime of the book. It surprises me that the average is only 150 books, especially since you can keep your book available for sale for as long as you like. With traditional publishing, the book will eventually be yanked from the shelves — and rather quickly if it’s not selling. I am a longtime writer but first-time self-publisher, so I’m sure I will find out the hard way how difficult it really is to sell a book as an unknown author. It just seems that, eventually, you’d be able to sell a fair amount of copies IF your book is good and IF you keep up with marketing. In theory, your book could be on the virtual shelves for the rest of your life, which should be plenty of time for any truly good book to gain traction.

The book-selling statistic above kind of makes me wonder how many people give up after a while. Their book doesn’t sell like gangbusters right away, so they sort of lose interest. I know that will never happen to me. I’ve been writing for twenty years, and my passion for writing has only increased in that time. Despite the years of ups and downs, I’m still here and I’m still enthusiastic about the craft of writing. I don’t have to be a huge success to stay interested in being an author.

I think my longevity as a writer plays a big part in my ability to have realistic expectations concerning book sales. Nobody knows better than I do that writing is no get-rich-quick scheme. I’ve been doing this for twenty years for free, and I’d still be doing it for free if it weren’t for self-publishing. I’ve had close calls with success before, but so far the only people who have read my books have been my parents, close friends, and the occasional literary agent. It kind of boggles my mind to think that, finally, other people are actually reading QUEEN HENRY. Instead of having crazy fantasies about making lots of money and quitting my job (the proceeds from QUEEN HENRY will go to the Harvey Milk Foundation, but I still wouldn’t plan on quitting my day job even if all the proceeds went to me….) I am excited about each and every sale and for each and every reader. For so long I’ve been writing in silence, pouring my heart and soul into stories and characters that have been destined to gather dust on the shelf. No more. Even if, despite my best marketing efforts, I am only destined to sell a handful of books, I will still be incredibly grateful for all of those who took the time to read my story.

I really am glad that it took me twenty years to get to this point. I’ve come to understand that just because I never made it in the traditional publishing world really doesn’t mean I don’t have what it takes. I’ve paid my dues, done my time. I’ve spent years studying the craft, and I’ve written and rewritten thousands of words. I’m not perfect, but I’m ready. I’m grateful for all the time that I’ve had to spend working on the craft of writing. If self-publishing had been a viable option when I first started out, I probably would have published too soon – a mistake that far, far too many new writers make. The idea of having your work published is exciting, and it’s awfully hard to wait.

But wait I have.

Not only did I spend about a year or so writing and rewriting the novel, QUEEN HENRY (which is not to mention all the time I spent reworking the screenplay version first), but I took an entire year to learn the self-publishing process. I don’t do anything half-assed when it comes to writing. I decided if I was gonna do this, I was gonna do it right. That meant paying for professional editing, professional formatting, and a professional cover. There’s nothing wrong with self-publishing, but I wanted to make sure my book would be indistinguishable from a traditionally-published book. I believe with all my heart that the writing of my book is up to traditional publishing standards, and I want to make sure the outside looks just as professional.

My journey to publication has been long and winding. I feel like I’ve earned the right to call myself an author and I’ve been through so much over the years that I’m able to appreciate every success, no matter how small. Just selling a handful of books was a huge accomplishment for me because it’s was more than I’ve sold in twenty years of writing. I sold 65 books in my first week of publication, which surpassed my expectations!

I also appreciate each and every good review because I’ve experienced my share of rejection in two decades. I also know that I can handle bad reviews because I’ve experienced them before. Many times. That’s how you learn. And that’s something that brand-new writers have never experienced. If you’ve never submitted to an agent or a publisher, you’ve never experienced rejection. Rejection is part of the process. It’s a badge of honor, and I wear it with pride. It means that I tried, and tried hard. If you self-publish your very first novel, you don’t know what it feels like to “not” be published. I do.

As wonderful as it is to be published, I don’t really harbor any delusions about being a breakout writing success. I just want to be an author. Whatever happens, I will always know that I did my best. I never took shortcuts by publishing before I was ready and I never took the easy way out by skimping on editing or using a stock cover for my book.

What happens now is up to fate.

- Linda Fausnet

**Join my email list for Writing Tips and Book Recommendations! Contact me at if you have a book you would like me to consider for the list. **