Let’s Have a Happy New Year!

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Self-Publishing: Step-By-Step

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Now, Lauren has added one more hit series to her list with the Chris Matheson Cold Case Mysteries. Set in the quaint West Virginia town of Harpers Ferry, Ice introduces Chris Matheson, a retired FBI agent, who joins forces with other law enforcement retirees to heat up those cold cases that keep them up at night.

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Visit Lauren’s websites and blog at:

E-Mail: writerlaurencarr@gmail.net
Website: http://mysterylady.net/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lauren.carr.984991
Gnarly’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/GnarlyofMacFaradayMysteries
Lovers in Crime Facebook Page:
http://www.facebook.com/LoversInCrimeMysteries?ref=ts&fref=ts
Acorn Book Services Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/AcornBookServices?ref=hl
Twitter: @TheMysteryLadie

Recently, a young author who I had worked with contacted me for some advice on getting his second book published. His first publisher had gone out of business and now he was trying to figure out how to release his second book.

Luckily for him, I had stopped him from contracting with an unscrupulous, very expensive, self-publisher (there are a lot of sharks out there, folks!), but now—here he was with no publisher and the second book in a series. So, he asked me, “What do I do?”

My suggestion: Self-publish it yourself. What you can’t do yourself, contract out.

“I can’t do that!” His writer’s eyes glazed over. “I can’t do it myself and I don’t have enough money to contract it out.” His face went white with fear.

Easy for me to say. I worked as an editor for the federal government for over ten years. I’ve been doing layout design since college (we won’t talk about how long ago that was.) I’ve spent the last several years as a publisher—until I decided to concentrate on my own books.

Now, at the urging of fellow writers, like the one previously mentioned, I am offering publishing services again. Check out my website at (https://mysterylady.net/acorn-book-services)

Really, the advantages of doing your own publishing far outweigh the expense and risks of contracting with a self-publishing company to do everything for you.

  • You have more control over quality—because you are the boss.
  • Less expensive. Even if you have to contract out each step in the process, you can easily publish a quality book with a professional looking cover for less than a thousand dollars. All you have to do is shop around, ask for references, and compare prices.

I know what you’re thinking—and probably saying. Seriously? Me! Publishing a whole book that can compete with books published by Random House? I don’t think so.

That’s because you are standing back looking at the process of publishing a book as a huge task. Take a deep breath. Sit down and think about it. Here, you’ve written a whole book. Beginning to end. That in itself is a huge task. Thus, you have already proven that you can tackle huge projects.

Now, we’re going to tackle the publishing side of getting this book out there. Remember when you were in school—whether it be high school or college? Most likely, you’ve had to write a research paper at some point in your life.

What goes into putting together a finished research paper?

  • Cover
  • Opening Pages (title pages. If you were like me, you had a template that you copied from. It’s the same with books!)
  • Table of Contents (if your book is non-fiction, you need this. Optional for fiction)
  • Body of the Paper. (You already got that!)
  • Author Bio. (Piece of cake! You know who you are!)
  • Index (Optional. See Table of Contents)

Now, what were the steps you went through in putting this research paper together?

  • Determining the subject matter. (Done that!)
  • Research (Done!)
  • Writing the Paper. (Completed!)
  • Reviewed in draft form by professor or friends. (In book publishing, this is called a beta read or editorial review. You may or may not have completed this step.)
  • Rewrite based on comments from review.
  • (I believe you are your own worst editor. Best to have this done by someone else—preferably a professional.)
  • (This is the step where you painstakingly lay out your paper in the proper format to present to the professor. At this point you attach the cover to your paper)
  • Proofread for mistakes.
  • Correct mistakes discovered during proofreading process.
  • Present to your professor. (In book publishing, this is the point where you release your book to the world.

But wait! I can hear you scream. This is a whole book. That involves copyrights and ISBNs and other stuff!

These legal registration steps are all small things that you can tackle yourself for little or no expense, depending on where you publish your book. Most do-it-yourself publishers will supply you with an ISBN for free.

I recommend setting up your own account at Bowkers, which is free. Set up a name for your book line. If you are writing a series, then use a name that will make your readers immediately connect that name with your books. For example, C.S. McDonald, a cozy author, uses the name McWriter Books, a variation of her name. Her books are listed on Amazon with the publisher’s name listed as McWriter Books. Yet, the only books published by McWriter Books are Cindy McDonald’s Fiona Quinn mysteries.

So, what are the steps necessary to publish your own book? Same as the steps you took in school for your fifteen-page research paper. Only now you have many more pages!

  • Cover: All you have to do is search the Internet to learn the do’s and don’ts of good cover design. There are also a number of websites online where you can design your own cover in a step-by-step process. If you are going to contract this out, then be sure to allow enough time for the artist to get it done. (including Acorn Book Services) Graphic designers are artists and some have problems working on deadlines. I suggest you start looking as soon as you are certain that you are going to publish this book.
  • Editorial Review. Many refer to this as a Beta Read. Every professional author, one who is selling books and getting great reviews, has their book read after they have completed writing it and before it goes to the editor. As the writer, you are too close to the project to see mistakes like loose ends, plot holes, etc. Don’t ask your spouse or mother or BFF who has never read a book to beta read your book for you. Your beta reader needs to be someone who:
    1. Reads and knows books—in particular your genre
    2. Is not afraid to hurt your feelings
    3. Someone you will listen to
  • Rewrite based on Editorial Review. Now don’t feel like you have to do everything that your beta reader tells you to do. Remember, it is your book. But, I can say that 100% of the time, I do a rewrite based on an editorial review.
  • Send off to the editor.
  • Go over the edits after it comes back from the editor. Don’t just go through and accept (or reject!) everything your editor changes without looking at it. Also, don’t only go through the edits and not look at everything else. At this point, you have probably not seen your book for weeks. Take advantage of it being fresh again. As you go through the editor’s marks, read through the book one more time. It is a fact that editors are human. This means, they make mistakes. They miss things. I have worked with many editors and not one has been perfect. So before your book is formatted for publication, go through it yourself to look for errors that your editor missed.
  • Formatting. There are a ton of resources on the Internet to help you format your book both for print and ebook publishing. A simple Google search will turn up many websites that offer free downloadable templates for formatting your book in MS Word, as well as other formatting programs. Anyone, with some effort, can learn how to format their book for ebook publishing, unless it requires fixed layout (usually the case for books with a lot of pictures and graphs.) If you are computer savvy, you can certainly do this yourself. If not, then you may want to contract this out. Acorn Book Services will do the formatting starting at $400. (Well worth the cost if you tend to want to throw your laptop out the window when dealing with headers and footers.)
  • Proofread. This is not the same as editing! Some writers think they can save money by contracting with an editor to “proofread” their manuscript—before it has been formatted. We are talking about two different things. Proofreading is going through the book after it has been formatted to look for grammar and punctuation errors that may or may not have been missed by the editor. Checking page numbering. Etc. I recommend that you either pay an editor to do this for you or ask a friend to do it. Studies have proven that if you look at something enough times, then your brain will automatically correct it. It’s sort of like your Internet browser automatically loading up a website that you regularly visit without updating the site with recent changes. In this case, you need to clear the cache. The fact is, by the time you get your proof, most likely you can’t see the mistakes in it. You need someone with fresh eyes (a clear cache) to read it. Note: This is not the time to rewrite the book! You are simply looking for mistakes—that’s it.
  • Correct Mistakes.
  • Release Your Book
  • Celebrate! You are now an author!

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Cover Reveal!

Synopsis:

Chris Matheson’s Most Personal Cold Case Yet!

Things have finally settled down into a pleasant routine for the Matheson family. Chris’s daughters have adjusted to life on the Matheson family farm with their grandmother. Chris is enjoying taking care of his horses and activities with his book club, aka the Geezer Squad. He feels especially blessed to have a second chance with Helen Clarke.

All is going his way until he has a chance encounter in the city with his late wife—an encounter that ends with a dead international hitman and Chris on the run from a highly skilled team of assassins.

Teaming up with an ultra-secret government agent with a thorny deposition, Chris has to go off the grid to evade the unidentified forces out to kill him and anyone connected to his supposedly dead wife. Luckily, the members of the Geezer Squad are experts at “old school.” They can even teach a phantom a thing or two about old-fashioned investigating.

In his most personal cold case, Chris fights to uncover why the state department told him that his wife, the mother of his children, had been killed when she was alive. Where had she been for the last three years? And why would anyone send a death squad halfway across the globe to hunt down a low-level state department employee? Not only that but what is to become of his relationship with Helen now that he’s married?

Pre-order available: January 28

https://amzn.to/2Rkbill

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To enter the drawing for an advance
reading ebook copy
of Winter Frost,
just leave a
comment below naming
one New Year’s resolution. The

winning name will be drawn on
Wednesday evening, January 2nd.

Something’s Afoot

Hey there! Some of you may have noticed I’ve
been kind of in and out recently and I figured
it’s time to ‘fess up. See, I’ve been a little distracted
lately with packing because my daughter and I have
bought a house in St. Augustine, FL, and we’ll
be moving from Richmond, VA, on January 8th.
Well, actually, the movers are coming on the 8th
and we’re hitting the road on the 9th, with
three cats and a dog on board 😉

It seems as though we’ve been packing forever
because, well, we have. I mean you can’t just
twitch your nose and it’s done, can you? I’ve been
in this house for 32 years and my daughter grew
up here, then came back, so you can imagine the
mounds of STUFF we’ve had to go through. The good
news is we’ve really cleaned out and unloaded a lot.

So, time is catching up with us awfully fast and
I have to really buckle down. That means I’ll have
to be kind of spotty here on Buried Under Books
but I’ll be posting a few things here and there.
Hang in there if you can and we should be back
to normal, sort of, by mid-January.

The new place—

and my new favorite place to hang out 😉

   

Book Review: A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin

A Stone’s Throw
An Ellie Stone Mystery #6
James W. Ziskin
Seventh Street Books, June  2018
ISBN 978-1-63388-419-9
Trade Paperback

A Stone’s Throw strikes me, for some reason, as more indicative of the 1940s or 50s than of the 60s. Lordy, Lordy, didn’t people just smoke, then? Or at least the characters in this book do. But that’s only a small, amusing detail in a book with a heroine as downright cool as Ellie Stone.

A Jewish “girl reporter” –yes, I’m reminded of Lois Lane–who is determined to make it in a man’s world, Ellie is Johnny-on-the-spot when a fire destroys a rundown barn on an abandoned property. The property used to be the center of a horsebreeding operation, until a long ago fire put an end to it. Owned by the wealthy, and politically important Shaw family, the barn is deemed to be no particular loss until Ellie walks through and discovers two bodies, both burned beyond recognition, in the ashes. Who are they? Ellie is determined to find out.

Even then the sheriff isn’t terribly concerned, and it isn’t until Ellie starts investigating that secrets are revealed which will involve many in the horse racing community of Saratoga Springs, New York. Owners, trainers, jockeys, and bookmakers all have something to hide, and it will take Ellie and a cadre of quirky friends to discover the truth.

The writing is good, the dialogue snappy, the setting appropriate. Most of all, the subject of horse racing, which is dear to my heart, a hoot to visit. I’m worried about Ellie, though. Her lovelife is a bust and I’m afraid she may have a drinking problem, although a full bottle of Dewars proves a godsend. A fun read.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, August 2018.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder, Four Furlongs and Hometown Homicide.

Book Review: I’m Keith Hernandez by Keith Hernandez

I’m Keith Hernandez
A Memoir
Keith Hernandez
Little Brown and Company, May 2018
ISBN: 978-1-3350-1692-8
Hardcover

Full disclosure:  A Die-hard Mets fan, I have had full-season tickets for 32 years, and attend an average of 75 games each season.  I have also been an avid fan of Keith Hernandez, formerly the Mets first baseman and currently a member of the broadcast team that announces each Mets game, and the author of this wonderful memoir.  So I cannot lay claim to impartiality.  That said, this book is every bit as terrific as were/are the talents of its author.  When a book begins with the words “I Love Baseball,” what else can it be to its readers, most if not all of whom feel the same emotion?

To say that the book is replete with statistics and historical recreations of wonderful moments in the sport would be an understatement.  But that is all to the good!  To quote the author: “I want to talk about my development as a baseball player and how it got me to the major leagues; I want to talk about how I gained the confidence to thrive in the bigs despite a grueling haul; and, finally, I want to talk about how my development as a young player affects how I see the game today from my seat in the broadcast booth.”  And he does all of that, and more!  As he also says: “I want to get to the core of my baseball story.”  And he does just that, and more.

The tale begins in 1972, when Keith Hernandez “was getting ready to go to my first spring training.”  I should state here that the biggest influences on this young man – 18 years old at this point in time, were, and always continued to be, his father (a former professional baseball player), and his brother Gary (the starting first baseman for the University of California Golden Bears baseball team), to both of whom he pays tribute throughout the book, deservedly.  His Dad is a first-generation American, his parents having emigrated from Spain via the Pacific, arriving in San Francisco in 1916.   His father “broke all kinds of school records, leading his team to a championship game at Seals Stadium, Mission High School, was named MVP, and was christened by the city as the next big star to come out of the Bay Area.’ Keith had been signed by the St. Louis Cardinals minor league team, whose spring training complex was in St. Petersburg, picked in the 42nd round of the June 1971 amateur draft, one of the 500 players taking part in the spring training games, with a mind-set of “baseball superstar or bust.”  At age 18 he played in the Florida State League in 1972  “Some execs, scouts, and coaches claimed that young Keith Hernandez was the best defensive first baseman – at any level – they’d come across in quite some time.”  He talks about Pacifica, in 1961, when he was 7 and Gary 9, both trying out for Little League.  We then jump to the time after the 1972 season in St. Pete, when he was “itching to get back home to San Francisco.” But unexpectedly he joined the Tulsa Oilers, the Cardinals’ AAA team, at his father’s insistence.

The author’s prominence in his chosen field of endeavor is indisputable.  He earned more Gold Glove Awards (11) than any first baseman in baseball history.  Since 2000, he has served as an analyst on Mets telecasts for the SNY, WPIX and MSG networks, and is a member of the Fox Sports MLB postseason studio team.  Personally he and Gary Cohen are the absolute best in the business, and if I ever have to miss a game, at least I make sure I always have his play-by-play in close proximity.  His book is reflective of all of that brilliance, and it is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Gloria Feit, August 2018.

Book Review: High Crimes by Libby Fischer Hellmann

High Crimes
The Georgia Davis PI Series #5
Libby Fischer Hellmann
The Red Herrings Press, November 2018
ISBN 978-1-938733-95-6
Trade Paperback

High Crimes by Libby Fischer Hellmann is the fifth book in her Georgia Davis private investigator series. It closely reflects the unsettled U.S. political climate of the past two years. Dena Baldwin is the leader of a resistance movement that begin after the U.S. presidential election of 2016. At the beginning of a major protest demonstration in Chicago, a sniper shoots her and several of her colleagues from a nearby hotel roof and is presumed to have killed himself with a bomb. Baldwin’s mother hires Georgia to learn more about the killer and what prompted him to kill her daughter, since the local police and the FBI have drawn a blank. Sifting through the backgrounds of more than 40,000 members of the organization to identify potentially problematic members is the only lead she has, and she enlists tech support to help her. She learns the victim’s estranged father is a political lobbyist in Washington, DC, with questionable associates, giving her another avenue for her research. And the shooter’s sister has vanished, leaving Georgia to wonder why.

In the meantime Georgia’s lover is pressing her to move in with him. Georgia is seriously considering it, as her younger sister and baby have taken over her small apartment. But when she mentions it to her sister Savannah, Savannah takes the idea as a sign of abandonment, creating family complications that Georgia is at a loss to deal with.

Georgia balances family needs against a progressively more complex investigation, creating an involved mystery with multiple threads that come together in a credible but not-too-neat conclusion. Well-written, smoothly paced. For fans of books with strong women leads, private investigator mysteries, and contemporary political thrillers.

Libby Fischer Hellmann is a versatile award-winning writer with two crime series, stand-alone thrillers, and many short stories in her bibliography.

Reviewed by Aubrey Hamilton, November 2018.

Good Tidings of Great Joy

May your holiday season
bring you peace and comfort