2/28/09

And the winner by 1 vote!


The voting was very close, with this image getting 14 votes. Avatar #2 got 13 votes. Avatar #3 only got 4 votes.

All of you made very good arguments, and there were times when I hoped in turn that each one of those three would win. But since I can only have one avatar, this one is it.


The winner of the "way cool prize" (selected totally at random) is: Jennifer! (An AZ Girl in TX)


What is the way cool prize? CLICK HERE to see.


Jennifer send me your snail mail address and I'll get that prize right out to you!

2/27/09

Credibility in Writing by Rebecca Talley


Rebecca Talley is guest blogging today. I read the following post over on her blog, Rebecca Talley Writes, and thought she brought up a great point when considering the setting of your story. Rebecca is the author of the novel, Heaven Scent.

This is a rant of sorts. I was watching a TV show on USA called, Psych. It's about a guy who pretends to be psychic and works with the police. He actually has a photographic memory and amazing observation skills, but uses the psychic thing as his cover.

The premise doesn't bother me--it's the setting. The show is supposedly set in Santa Barbara, CA. A city with which I'm intimately familiar because I grew up there and return to visit every year. When Psych shows the police station, for example, it is definitely not the Santa Barbara Police Station. No, I've never been arrested or spent time in the police station, but my best friend's father's law office is a block away from the police station and I used to spend time with my friend at her dad's office.

The city streets shown on Psych are not the city streets of Santa Barbara. Nor are the beach scenes. Santa Barbara has a very distinctive style.

On an episode yesterday, one of the characters was telling the police he'd eaten at a restaurant on On-new-paw-moo. The name of the street is actually Anapamu, pronounced Anna-pu-moo. See the difference? If they're going to pepper the show with the names of actual streets in Santa Barbara they should at least get the pronunciation correct.

On another episode a character is tossed into Cachuma Lake, except not. The lake they used wasn't even close to Cachuma--I know I spent several summers attending camp at Cachuma Lake.

Turns out the show isn't even filmed in the US. Now most people wouldn't notice the discrepancies. But, for me, it completely loses credibility because I know what it's showing is false. They should've set the show in a fictitious city.

My point? When writing fiction, it's important to have facts straight to have the credibility factor. Not all readers would pick up on a discrepancy in setting, but for those who do, you'll lose them as readers. So, for me, I need to get my facts right when I set a story in a real town.

As for Psych? The discrepancies about the setting bug me enough that I'm not interested in watching it again. See how that works?

2/26/09

Rejection Can Be a Positive Thing

I’m a newbie, writing for a national market, not the LDS market, but I’m hoping you can help with this anyway. I’ve been querying agents for my first novel. I’ve gotten three rejections but the rest haven’t responded yet. However, one of the rejections had a hand-written comment at the bottom. It said, “Sorry I have to pass this one up. Looks good. Please submit again.”

I may be stupid to ask this—(Thank goodness you keep us anonymous. You do keep us anonymous, right? Right.)—but would he mean that I should rework the query and resubmit it? Or to submit another book? Also, am I wrong or is this comment on a rejection letter actually a positive thing?

I can't speak for everyone, and there may be an agent/editor out there who has time to hand-write a little note on every rejection, but most of us are way too busy doing the other parts of our jobs to soften the blow of rejection out of the kindness of our hearts.

I only added hand-written notes to rejections if I thought they were very close to publishable or if the rejection was for some other reason other than quality of the work (like my calendar was full or it was too similar to something else we already have). So I would have to guess that yes, that comment was a positive thing.

He's asking you to submit a new book. That's a very positive thing.

2/25/09

Holes in the Market?

One of the things I get asked often is where is there a need in the LDS fiction market? Are there areas or genres that publishers are looking for but not getting?

A simple trip to an LDS bookstore will help answer this question. Imagine you're shopping for the Christmas that just passed and you've decided to gift everyone on your list with a fiction book. (I'm going with gender generalizations here so don't jump all over me for this.)

The women are pretty much covered with romances and general or women's fiction. There are also quite a few romantic suspense novels out there. You can get the men a historical novel or suspense. (Not much in the way of westerns right now but maybe somebody's working on the next Stom Testament..?) You have some choices for teen girls. And you've got a great selection for anyone who likes fantasy.

But what about the boys on your list? If you've got a boy aged 10 to 18 that doesn't care for fantasy, you're out of luck. Girls in that same age range that don't like romance are kind of out of luck as well. I'd like to see some fun realistic (as in, non-fantasy) fiction for these ages, maybe some spy or adventure novels, sports books, humor.

The downside, though, is this is a harder area to sell. Adult books sell better than books for kids. But still, that's where the hole is and I'd like to see it filled.

2/24/09

Pressing Industry Issues!

We interrupt our regularly scheduled posting so that we may discuss an extremely important and pressing issue in the LDS publishing industry.

My new avatar.

Okay, okay. Maybe this isn't a pressing issue to the entire LDS publishing industry, but it is to me. Please keep reading. There are prizes involved.

It has been drawn to my attention that with the redesign of the site(s), I need to upgrade my avatar. (Scroll down a bit, right hand sidebar under "About Me") Words like silly and out-dated and downright hideous have been thrown at me concerning my existing one. So, I'm bowing to peer pressure.

I've narrowed it down to the ones below. When you picture me in your mind's eye, what do I look like?




Avatar #1












Avatar #2












Avatar #3










Please vote in the comments section. Embellish with why you think I look like a particular avatar and I will choose someone from the comments to win a prize.

(I don't want to say what the prize is because it's a surprise, but trust me, it will be way cool!)

Voting ends Friday, February 27, 2009.

2/23/09

To Read or Not to Read

I have an author friend who refuses to read any book in the genre she's writing in—ever! She says she doesn't want to be influenced by the writing of others. That she's afraid she'll be rejected if she sounds too much like someone else. That she wants to be a "fresh, new voice" in her genre. To me, this is just ridiculous (and we've had more than one heated discussion about this). What do you think?

I agree with you. I've heard this argument many times but it just doesn't hold true.

Like any other business, to be successful, you have to understand your competition. You have to know what they're doing and why you're different. I love submissions that say, "Readers who liked [books A, B and C] will probably like mine because [whatever reason that it's similar]. However, my book differs from those in that [your unique slant on things]." I immediately know where to put that book on the shelf, how to sell it, and who the audience is. It makes my job lots easier.

As for the concern that she'll be influenced by someone else's style. . . not if she reads widely enough. I could see someone putting their reading on hold for a few months while they're actively writing, maybe, but in general, I think this is a mistake.

What about you writers out there? What do you think?

2/20/09

George Orwell's Six Rules for Writing

One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

* From Orwell's essay “Politics and the English Language”

2/19/09

When is a Vanity/Subsidy Press a Good Choice?

Did I hear you scream, "Never!"?

Not so. There are times when you can and should legitimately choose to go with a vanity/subsidy press or a POD (print-on-demand) company.

But first, let's define these terms. Most publishers lump vanity and subsidy presses together as one—a huge insult to the true subsidy presses. I admit that I pretty much put them in the same category and I apologize to all the legits out there. There is a distinction between them, albeit small.

One of the links I gave you yesterday provided a good definition of the two types of companies. Just in case you didn't click on it, here is an excerpt:
A vanity publisher prints and binds a book at the author's sole expense. Costs include the publisher's profit and overhead, so vanity publishing is usually a good deal more expensive than self-publishing. The completed books are the property of the author, and the author retains all proceeds from sales. Vanity publishers may exclude objectionable content such as pornography, but otherwise do not screen for quality--they publish anyone who can pay. For an extra fee, some may offer editing, marketing, warehousing, distribution, and/or promotional services (often of dubious quality), or they may provide variously-priced service packages that include differing menus of extras.

A subsidy publisher also takes payment from the author to print and bind a book, but contributes a portion of the cost and/or adjunct services such as editing, distribution, warehousing, and marketing. Theoretically, subsidy publishers are at least somewhat selective. The completed books are the property of the publisher, and remain in the publisher's possession until sold. Income to the writer comes in the form of a royalty.

(Taken from SFWA, Vanity and Subsidy Publishers, Definitions. Kudos to them for providing great info on the subject. These are the same people that bring us Preditors and Editors. If you haven't already done so, you really should go spend some time surfing their site. )
There are also POD (print-on-demand) companies, which pretty much print the files as you deliver them, but they don't claim to be any type of publisher. They are on-demand printers, some of which will also provide light editing and order fulfillment services for a fee.

So, when would you want to use one of these companies? When you're publishing for a limited audience. This might include family or personal histories, a book of poetry, a collection of short stories, a book with regional interest, or a book aimed at a very specific, niche industry or reader.

In these cases, what you're looking for is a company that is upfront about what they are and that doesn't claim to be a real publisher. You want a company with a good reputation and reasonable prices for their services. If you want to make your book available for sale online, you can either do it yourself or find a company that also offers these services as part of a package.

I've seen decent products come out of BookSurge, Create Space, Lightning Source—and even Author House and Publish America. There's nothing wrong with using these companies, as long as you understand what they are and why you are using them.

And as long as you don't brag about them as if they're a traditional national publisher.

2/18/09

Let Me Tell You About My Publisher...

Not too long ago, I was at a writers conference. During the lunch break, the people sitting at my table were talking about their publishing credentials and the state of the publishing industry in general. One person was obnoxiously bragging about her national publisher and how wonderful they are—specifically, how quick they were to recognize the quality of her work and to accept her, when all of the LDS publishers had turned her down (one of which had the audacity to tell her that her writing was not up to par).

I could tell that some of the others at the table were very impressed with her, particularly one struggling unpublished author. When the bragging published author offered to connect the newbie with her publisher, I spoke up and asked who her publisher was.

Author House.

I could see most of the other people at the table mentally realigning their assessment of her and her talent.

But the newbie didn't know what Author House was, so she wrote down the URL the author gave her, excitedly promising to look them up as soon as she got home.

I didn't say anything at the table. In my experience, it doesn't do any good to tell an author like that the "truth" about her experience, but I did take the newbie aside before the conference was over. Not sure I convinced her not to try it but at least I did my civic duty, right?

So one more time for the record (and I realize I'm probably preaching to the choir here), Author House is not a real publisher. It is a vanity/subsidy press. So is Publish America. And iUniverse, and Vantage Press, and Xlibris, and. . . there's no way I can put a complete list here.

But I've talked about vanity presses before here and here.

And you can find more info on them here

Is there a time when a vanity press is a good choice? Yes. I'll talk about that tomorrow.

2/16/09

How Many Books Did You Buy for Christmas?

Every writer who hopes to become a published author should be an enthusiastic buyer of books, not just an avid reader. Why? Because you're supporting the industry you want to become a part of.

Another small LDS publisher recently called it quits. That statement may seem like it's unrelated to the previous paragraph, but it's not. Why? Because many of this small publisher's titles were pushed into the Dead Zone and sales tanked.

They were acquired by another small company so I'm not sure how that will shake out—if the acquiring company will keep it as an imprint or if they'll just sell through the current stock in print and let it die. Regardless, the whole thing makes me sad because now we have one less avenue to publication, which means by default, the control that Deseret Book/Covenant has over the LDS publishing industry has just increased.

I'm not dissing DB&C. The products they release are top-notch and despite the fact that their business decisions are hurting smaller companies what they are doing is not bad or evil. But when you have one small group of people deciding what is and is not appropriate for a market of readers, it's just not healthy. We need more small publishers, more opinions, not less.

So, how do we help? What can we do to influence the market and insure that alternate avenues to publication stay open? We can buy books.

You influence the state of the industry with your checkbook. When you find a book that you really like, buy it—especially if it's published by a smaller press. Buy several copies and give them as birthday and Christmas gifts.

Another thing we can do is to support published authors by attending their book signings and other appearances when possible. Even if you've already purchased their book, even if you've met them before, go out and meet them again. A well-attended signing says something to a publisher and author, even if the sales at that signing are low.

So here's your assignment:

1. In the comments section of this post, name one (or more) title(s) published by a small press that you purchased in the past six months.

2. Take my poll in the sidebar.

3. Go over to LDS Fiction and post some recommended reading comments for titles by smaller presses—titles that you've read and you like.

4. If possible, buy a book this week.

Correction: When first posted, I mistakenly identified Spring Creek as the small publisher that had been acquired by WindRiver. That is not correct. Mapletree was the company that was acquired by WindRiver. I apologize for the confusion here.

2/13/09

Overcoming Writers Block

Some writers claim never to be troubled by writers block. I suppose we have to believe them because no one would lie about that, would they? (cough, cough).

I certainly have had my share of writers block—particularly lately as I've been promising this new and improved blog, chockfull of wonderful tips. All I need for a good case of block is high personal expectations + my own natural fear of failure and boom! I'm blocked.

Under the assumption that most writers will experience some degree of writing blockage during their writing careers, here are a few tips that have helped me.

  1. Pack away the perfectionism.
    When I'm starting a new project, getting the basic plot and characters down, I have to consciously give myself permission to do it imperfectly. The important thing is to get something down on paper, I can always go back and fix it later. Sometimes I even intentionally write poorly, just to break my brain out of that "gotta do it right" psychosis.

  2. Work on multiple stories.
    I always have a couple of projects going at the same time. If I get blocked on one, I can switch to something else for a bit. Usually I can find something that will get the creative process started. Once I've had a little success with one project, I can go back to the one that is stumping me.

  3. Write a never-to-see-the-light-of-day book.
    If I'm not immediately in the mood to write when I sit down at my computer, I'll open my "silly book" and work on it for about 15 minutes. This book is a clich├ęd story (for me, usually a mystery) with no outline and no plot. I pick up where I left off last time and write—not knowing what is going to happen next until it shows up on the screen in front of me. Working on this book also helps break that perfectionism cycle.

  4. Interview your character(s).
    Ask them silly questions, like what they had for breakfast that morning or what they've got planned for the weekend—or even, what the heck is your problem? Sometimes I've discovered amazing things about my character(s) that add richness to my story.

  5. Watch really bad television or movies.
    Some days when I can't get going on any of my projects, I'll watch a show that I know is pretty bad and think about how I would have done it differently. This helps get the creativity going and then I can apply it to my novel.

  6. Stick to a schedule.
    I know, easier said than done. But I've found that when I stick to a regular schedule, my brain learns that at a certain time of day, it's supposed to shift to a creative focus and the blocks become less frequent. Kind of like eating at a certain time of day trains your body to be hungry at certain times.


These are just a few of the things I do to overcome writers block. What are some of your best tips?

2/10/09

Feedback Wanted

First, the "Second Chance" winners for November's Comment Contest are posted HERE. Along with Trivia Tuesday and links to a Jennie Hansen book contest. You should put the contest site on your reader or feed, or get used to checking it regularly because very soon now, I'll stop mentioning that all contest information is being posted OVER THERE.

Now for the feedback. As I'm thinking about what to post and how to organize it, I've come up with some basic categories, such as writing, submitting, publishing/self-publishing and marketing. These sort of go in a linear order beginning with writing and ending with marketing. However, as readers, all of you are in different stages of the process.

So my question is, would you prefer that I post in a linear way and go through the stages from start to finish? Or post about each area on a different day so that no matter where you are in the process, you'll get some advice you can use at least once a week? Or just post all mish-mash as the mood strikes?

Any opinions? (You can leave a comment and/or vote in the sidebar poll.)

Also, anyone know what's up with "Ly"? I haven't gotten any smark-aleck comments from him/her in a long time.

2/9/09

2008 Whitney Finalists Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Robison Wells, Whitney President – robisonwells@msn.com

WHITNEY AWARD FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

SALT LAKE CITY, UT: The Whitney Awards committee today announced the finalists for the 2008 Whitney Awards, a program which honors the best novels by Latter-day Saint writers. Sponsored and endorsed by LDStorymakers, an LDS authors’ guild, the Whitney Awards offer national recognition to authors whose books win in one of eight categories.

To be eligible for consideration, a book must have received at least five nominations from its fans. More than one hundred works by new and established authors in both the LDS and national markets met the preliminary criteria. Once a book is nominated, juries of authors and critics narrow the nominees down to five per category.

This year’s nominees are listed below in alphabetical order by genre:

ROMANCE: Seeking Persephone, by Sarah Eden, Servant to a King, by Sariah Wilson, The Sound of Rain, by Anita Stansfield, Spare Change, by Aubrey Mace, Taking Chances, by Shannon Guymon

MYSTERY/SUSPENSE: Above and Beyond, by Betsy Brannon Green, Do No Harm, by Gregg Luke, Fool Me Twice, by Stephanie Black, Freefall, by Traci Hunter Abramson, Royal Target, by Traci Hunter Abramson

YOUTH FICTION: The 13th Reality, by James Dashner, Alcatraz vs. The Scrivner’s Bones, by Brandon Sanderson, Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague (Book 3), by Brandon Mull, Far World: Water Keep, by J. Scott Savage, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by Jessica Day George

SPECULATIVE: Ender in Exile, by Orson Scott Card, The Great and Terrible: From the End of Heaven, by Chris Stewart, The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, Book 3), by Brandon Sanderson, The Host, by Stephanie Meyer, The Wyrmling Horde: The Seventh Book of the Runelords, by David Farland

HISTORICAL: Abinadi, by H.B. Moore, Isabelle Webb, Legend of the Jewel, by N.C. Allen, Master, by Toni Sorenson, The Ruby, by Jennie Hansen, Traitor, by Sandra Grey

GENERAL FICTION: Bound on Earth, by Angela Hallstrom, The Reckoning, by Tanya Parker Mills, Waiting For the Light to Change, by Annette Hawes, Fields of Home, by Rachel Ann Nunes, Keeping Keller, by Tracy Winegar

BEST BOOK BY A NEW AUTHOR: Bound on Earth, by Angela Hallstrom, The Reckoning, by Tanya Parker Mills, Spare Change, by Aubrey Mace, Traitor, by Sandra Grey, Waiting For the Light to Change, by Annette Hawes

NOVEL OF THE YEAR: Bound on Earth, by Angela Hallstrom, Fool Me Twice, by Stephanie Black, The Hero of Ages (Mistborn, Book 3), by Brandon Sanderson, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, by Jessica Day George, Traitor, by Sandra Grey

This ballot now goes out to members of the voting academy, a select group of LDS publishers; bookstore owners, managers, and employees; LDS authors; print and online magazine publishers; reviewers; and others working in the field of LDS literature.

Winners will be announced at a gala banquet on Saturday, April 25 at the Marriott Hotel in Provo, Utah. Tickets are now on sale at www.WhitneyAwards.com.

Special Lifetime Achievement Awards will also be presented that night to two persons whose bodies of works and tireless efforts have made a significant impact on the field of LDS popular fiction. This year’s honorees are Kerry Blair and Orson Scott Card.

For more information on the Whitney Awards, visit www.whitneyawards.com.

2008 — By the Numbers

I'm not absolutely certain that my list of fiction titles by LDS authors published in 2008 is complete. If you find that I have missed some, please e-mail the information to me and I will update the list and the LDS Fiction site.

But assuming the list is complete, here's a run-down of the numbers. Pretty impressive, I think.


Titles published: 136


Authors publishing: 109


Authors publishing four titles: 2
(Anita Stansfield, Orson Scott Card)


Authors publishing three titles: 5
(Christine Feehan, Marcia Lynn McClure, Brenda Novak, Chris Stewart, RaeAnne Thayne,


Authors publishing two titles: 19
(Traci Abramson Hunter, Amanda Ashley, Michele Ashman Bell, Allyson Condie, Wendie L. Edwards, W. Dave Free, Jessica Day George, Betsy Brannon Green, Jennie Hansen, Christy Hardman, Lynn Kurland, Stephenie Meyer, Rachel Ann Nunes, James A. Owen, Anne Perry, Leora Potter, Brandon Sanderson, Obert Skye, G.G. Vandagriff)



By LDS Publisher

Covenant: 34

Deseret Book/Shadow Mountain: 20

Cedar Fort: 16

Leatherwood Press: 3

Parables: 1

Spring Creek: 1

Zarahemla: 1

National Publishers: 39

Small Press/Self-Publishers: 16
(Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, so I lumped these two together. Best guess: equal split.)


By Genre
(Some books are included in two categories.)

Romance: 41
(including Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance, Paranormal Romance)

Speculative: 41
(Fantasy/SciFi/Paranormal Romance/YA & MG)

Mystery/Suspense: 23
(including Romantic Suspense)

Middle Grade: 18
(all genres)

Historical: 16
(including Historical Romances)

General: 14

Young Adult: 13
(all genres)

Christmas: 6

Sports: 1

2/5/09

More Blog Updates

We (as in me and my ever lovely and helpful assistant) have spent all day today working on the blogs. We have decided to call it quits until Saturday because we were getting frustrated and a little slap-happy. We're like Dumb and Dumber, only between the two of us, we know just enough html to be seriously dangerous!

Sigh.

We did get the ad links, shopping cart and all that set up and working on this site and the LDS Fiction site. So if you'd like to replace those lovely burgandy and gold "You Book Here" images with your own book covers, go here to get the info and purchase ad space on LDS Publisher or here for LDS Fiction. (Ads are half price during February.)

And Jennie, the sponsoring links should no longer take you in circles (assuming we didn't break those links after we fixed them).

I won't have a lot of time to work on this over the weekend but I'm hoping to get it tweaked and mostly functional by the end of next week and to start posting that series on writing and publishing that I mentioned before soon.

In the meantime, if you know of an event that would be of interest to authors or if you have a booksigning scheduled in the near future, e-mail me with all the pertinent information and links and I'll start getting it loaded up on the LDS Author Events site.

2/4/09

February 2009 Prize Sponsors

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

The Stranger She Married by Donna Hatch

When her parents and only brother die within weeks of each other, Alicia and her younger sister are left in the hands of an uncle who has brought them all to financial and social ruin. Desperate to save her family from debtor's prison, Alicia vows to marry the first wealthy man to propose. She meets the dashing Lord Amesbury, and her heart whispers that this is the man she is destined to love, but his tainted past may forever stand in their way. Her choices in potential husbands narrow to either a scarred cripple with the heart of a poet, or a handsome rake with a deadly secret. Cole Amesbury is tormented by his own ghosts, and believes he is beyond redemption, yet he cannot deny his attraction for the girl whose genuine goodness touches the heart he'd thought long dead. He fears the scars in his soul cut so deeply that he may never be able to offer Alicia a love that is true. When yet another bizarre mishap threatens her life, Alicia suspects the seemingly unrelated accidents that have plagued her loved ones are actually a killer's attempt to exterminate every member of her family. Despite the threat looming over her, learning to love the stranger she married may pose the greatest danger to her heart. (Read review at Night Owl Romance.)


Donna Hatch has had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when she wrote her first short story. During her sophomore year in high school, she wrote her first full-length novel, a science fiction romance. She wrote her second novel during her senior year, a fantasy romance. Needless to say, English and Creative Writing were always her favorite subjects. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband) she manages to carve out time to indulge in her writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although she writes most often late at night instead of sleeping. A native of Arizona, she is currently a member of the Desert Rose Chapter of Romance Writers of America and a member of Beau Monde, a Regency Chapter of RWA, as well as the LDS writer's group, ANWA, or American Night Writers Association. And yes, all of her heroes are patterned after her husband of 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.



Lemon Tart by Josi S. Kilpack

Cooking afectionado-turned-amateur detective, Sadie Hoffmiller, tries to solve the murder of Anne Lemmon, her beautiful young neighbor—a single mother who was mysteriously killed while a lemon tart was baking in her oven. At the heart of Sadie's search is Anne's missing two-year-old son, Trevor. Whoever took the child must be the murderer, but Sadie is certain that the police are looking at all the wrong suspects—including her!

Armed with a handful of her very best culinary masterpieces, Sadie is determined to bake her way to proving her innocence, rescuing Trevor, and finding out exactly who had a motive for murder. Read chapter 1 here.




Josi S. Kilpack was born and raised in Salt Lake City, the third of nine children, and accounts much of her success to her mother always making oatmeal for breakfast. In 1993 Josi married her high-school sweetheart, Lee Kilpack, and went on to raise her own children in Salt Lake and then Willard Utah where she currently lives. She loves to read and write, is the author of eight novels, the baker of many a delicious confection, and the hobby farmer of a varying number of unfortunate chickens. In her spare time she likes to overwhelm herself a multitude of projects and then complain that she never has any spare time; in this way she is rather masochistic. She also enjoys traveling, cheering on her children, and sleeping in when the occasion presents itself.

Josi is the author of ten novels, including Sheep's_Clothing, winner of the 2007 Whitney Award for Best Mystery/Suspense. She loves to hear from her readers and can be reached at Kilpack@gmail.com

2/3/09

Introducing the Contest Site

Networked with this site and the LDS Fiction site is a Contest site. (The Contest site was formerly the LDS Fiction site, but we did some juggling. You'll need to reset your bookmarks and readers.)

The Contest site is where I'll post all the contest information for the LDS Publisher and LDS Fiction sites. (As suggested by a reader. Thanx.) You'll want to check the Contest site often because it helps you earn entries for the free book giveaways on the other two sites.

For example, starting today and continuing every Tuesday, we'll have Trivia Tuesday (an amazingly clever title illustrating why publishers get paid the big bucks for thinking up book titles). Go play.

I'll introduce another contest beginning this coming Friday, called Friday Favorites—another way to get an entry for a free book.

Of course, you can also leave a comment on the LDS Fiction site at any time and be entered to win one of the free books.

In addition to the LDS Fiction contests (for more details, click here), we'll also announce the winners of the LDSP Monthly Comment Contests on the Contest site.

AND (this is the good part), if you're doing a book giveaway on your blog or website, you may send me an e-mail with all the specifics (start and end time, book title, contest requirements, links to your contest, etc.) and I'll post it over on the Contest site as well. (Yea!)

As always, leaving a thoughtful comment anywhere on this LDS Publisher site earns you an entry for the free book giveaway here. (See books at the top of the sidebar.)

2/2/09

Winners (Finally) Announced

The winners of the LDSP Comment Contest (Dec & Jan combined) are announced HERE.

I've also (finally) finished all the comments on the Christmas stories. Rachel Jensen, send me an e-mail with your mailing address ASAP so I can have the sponsor send your prize!

Lastly, two prizes from November's contest were unclaimed: Reunion by Ally Condie and Three Angels for Christmas by Lori Nawyn. Leave a comment on THIS post by midnight on Friday, February 6th to be eligible to win one of them.

2/1/09

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...

I've been a bad, bad blogger lately. I've been writing this blog for just a few months shy of three years now. When I started it, things were going well for me. I worked regular hours, got regular paychecks, and had time to whip off a post during my work day. It was a labor of love and I felt I was doing good in the world. Professionally, my company was stable and growing. Personally, our family income was enough to cover our needs and some of our wants.

But things have changed. The economy has changed. Books cost more to produce and fewer people are buying them. Small publishers are crashing and burning all around us and even the larger national publishers are tightening their belts and making cuts. Personal goods and services cost more but no one is getting a big enough raise to cover them. Lots of people are getting laid off and losing their homes. I don't know about you, but at our house, both my husband and myself have had to pick up extra jobs to make ends meet.

As the economy squeezed tighter and tighter (both professionally and personally), I found myself carrying a greater work load than I was comfortable with. Eventually, it became obvious that I couldn't continue to do everything I was trying to do. It became difficult to keep up this blog with the ever increasing demands of my job(s). I was reaching a personal breaking point and I seriously considered dropping this blog altogether because it was just one more thing for me to do. I no longer had the time to write it at work and although I loved writing this blog, it was hard to justify why I was spending limited personal/family time on something that sounded like work but that wasn't generating an income.

Not too long ago it was suggested to me that I might want to consider a career change (that's the polite way of saying that I realized I might not have a job in the future). I could continue as I was for awhile or I could look for work at another company, but honestly, I've been working harder, yet getting further behind financially. And I'm tired of it all. Tired of rejecting good manuscripts because we can't afford to publish them. Tired of trying to collect money from bookstores who are feeling the pinch and can't pay their bills on time. And just plain physically tired of working longer days for less pay.

So I've made some decisions and plans are being implemented—including changes to this blog and the LDS Fiction blog.

First, my career move. I'm going freelance, aka semi-retirement, aka mostly unemployed. I'll no longer work a regular schedule at a publishing company—partly due to the current state of the economy and partly due to my own desire/need to slow down a little and stop working 16 hour days. That sounds like I'm moving backwards, doesn't it? Perhaps I am. We'll see.

Instead of working in-house for one publishing company, I'll be auctioning off my services to various publishers on a project-by-project basis. Right now, I have agreements with four publishers—two projects lined up and a few more tentatives. I think it'll be a win/win situation—they don't have to hire, then fire staff when things are slow and I can take a health break when I need to.

Now for the blog changes. No, I'm not shutting it down and going into blog retirement. Instead, I'm going to ramp it up a bit and hopefully make this a more valuable resource for LDS writers. I've just about got it all worked out, with the help of a friend who's working on some design changes for me. Everything should be in place and working by the end of this month.

Here are just a few of the changes that are on the way:
  • The LDS Publisher blog will be updated to a classier, more professional look. The LDS Fiction blog will also be updated to match the look and feel of this blog.

  • While your questions will still be answered, the focus of this blog will shift to step-by-step how-to articles covering the entire gamut from novel idea conception through publication and promotion.

  • Author interviews and the occasional guest post will find a place here.

  • Monthly contests will continue on both this blog and the LDS Fiction blog where readers and commenters can win books and authors and publishers can promote their books by sponsoring the contests—but there will be a few changes (to be announced later).

  • Reasonably priced ad space will be made available in the sidebar to authors/publishers who want to promote their newest releases, to companies who offer professional services to authors, and to other companies/individuals with a connection to books, writing and/or publishing.

  • An LDS Fiction Review site will be networked in where newly released LDS fiction will be reviewed (as opposed to simply listed as on the LDS Fiction blog).

  • Various LDS Publisher links pages will be added, including links to LDS publishers and their submission guidelines; links to LDS author websites and blogs; links to workshops, events, networks, and other items of interest to writers.

  • And probably a few more things that I think of as we go.
Please bear with me as these changes are made and new code is installed. If you stop by one day the whole blog has exploded into nothingness, be patient. It just means something went berserk in the new template code and it'll be fixed soon.