Mary Fran Bontempo

Mary Fran Bontempo

In keeping with Chrysa’s “sailing” theme, I’ve come to think of my two new author friends, Chrysa and Carmen, as lifeboats.

Writing is a solitary and sometimes lonely profession/career/hobby–whatever.  If you write, you spend lots of time alone, wandering around in your own head, which for me can be a very dangerous place.

And, I’ve found that writing, whether it be your book, an article, a blog or any number of things, is only half of the battle.  You get done your piece, you want to jump up and down and shout, “Look at me!  I’m a writer!” and then you realize that you need readers in order to complete the circle.

Talk about taking the wind out of your sails.  (Yes, still going with the theme.)  Once you write your masterpiece, you have to publish it and then market it.  That’s right.  Contrary to what you might secretly wish to believe, unless you’re J.K. Rowling, the likelyhood of  a) signing with a major publisher and  b) having said publisher launch you on (and pay for) a national book tour is slim to none.

Which is where my lifeboats come in.  Chrysa, Carmen and I have all battled our way to publication through various means.  We have different audiences, subject matter and styles.  But what we have in common is so much more.

We have shared information and leads on writing and publishing.  We’ve served as each other’s sounding boards for ideas and griping, both.  (And we’ve done our share of well-earned griping!)  Most important, we’ve been there for one another when looking at that blank computer screen just gets to be too much and we need a break.

So I hope that in some small way, we can be your lifeboats.  We’ve fought the good fight, won some, lost some, but ultimately, learned much, which we are only too happy to share.

Leave us your ideas, thoughts, questions and together, we can create a community of lifeboats to help navigate these tricky waters of writing, publishing and marketing.  A fleet of lifeboats.  Somehow, it feels the writing life just got a little less lonely.


Setting Sail


by Chrysa Smith

Where to begin? Well, among the best things that have happened to me lately are the success of my self-published children’s fiction series: The Adventures of the Poodle Posse, and some of the new friends that it has brought to me. I love the kids I meet at school visits and book signings. They say the uncanniest things. But beyond my chattery, giggly and bouncy reading audience, when I return home and to my computer, two adult women have not only been the strength, the support and the sounding board for a solitary writing career—they have become genuine friends and now associates. Carmen, MaryFran and I are all authors, all with different genres, all published in different ways, who met through different networks. But now, we’ve all congregated together in mutual support and editorial professionalism, to help each other navigate our ways through the murky world of authorship. Based on mutual experiences, we all realized that when we’re out talking to people, there are innumerous varieties of other wordsmiths; waiting with manuscripts in drawers, on desks and in the recesses of minds, waiting to be discovered. Yet, they go nowhere, because, as the three of us discovered, figuring out what to do next, how to do it, who to talk to, how does it work translates into hours of internet research, meetings with published authors, piecing together a whole lot of loose information and loose ends and weaving it all into a finished product that the world can finally see. It takes patience. It takes time. It takes creative thinking. It takes creative research. And after all is said and done, it finally takes guts.

So, three women with solitary writing careers decided to have some fun and solve some dilemnas. We now travel around with a seminar entitled “Three Women. Three Authors. Three Different Approaches.” We speak in educational institutions, to community groups and would-be authors, telling our tales of getting published via traditional, print-on-demand and self-publishing methods. As the saying goes, we all came here on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.

chrysa Smith

Espresso, Latte or Mocha

Carmen Ferreiro Esteban  by Carmen Ferreiro Esteban

Coffee and writing being my two drugs of choice, EspressoLatteMocha seemed to me the obvious title to represent the three roads to publishing we’ll be discussing in this blog.

Espresso, coffee only, dark and strong, stands for flying solo. Yes, you have guessed right, I’m talking about Self Publishing, because, in this case, you’re on your own.

Latte is the route I chose. The coffee (my book) and the milk (a publishing house) were partners in the deal.

Mocha stands for “On Demand”, for what would be sweeter for an author than print books somebody already wants?

So whether you are an espresso, mocha or latte kind of guy (and guy stands for both boy and girl, woman and man, I checked) please feel free to stop by and ask your questions. Soon your manuscript, the coffee, if you please, will be on the way to become a fancy beverage. Whether that would be an espresso, a latte or a mocha, that’s for you to say.