I am an authorpreneur with a sole proprietorship, i.e. a type of business entity that is owned and run by one natural person. In a sole proprietorship, there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business. In order to acquire this kind of business, one must choose a business name and apply to register it.
So, how did I choose the name McRAC Books?
I remember being hurried and harried when I came up with that as I was on the cusp of publishing my first novel. Concurrently, I was trying to create time to write: we had recently adopted a canine rescue, CoCo, who required mega attention.
The first time I left CoCo –aka Her Highness– alone for twenty minutes so I could write, she chose to chew one of the corners off the couch. (I know you’re laughing! I wasn’t!)
However, it wasn’t long before that incident morphed from frustrating to funny. Then I experienced a round of nostalgia centered on the early antics of all the dogs we’ve had over the years:
Muffin, the first of three Pomeranians, ate half a box of tiny donuts and showed up looking guilty, his face covered in powdered sugar.
Cindy, our second Pom, was so miffed when we got a third dog that, for three whole months, she hid upstairs, barreling down only when she heard the sound of kibble hitting the bowl.
Rocky, the third Pom, another chewer, gnawed a chunk out of the headboard on our bed.
(Aside: All three Poms loved having their pictures taken and would pose upon request. The photo below was taken in a professional studio; we were in and out in twenty minutes.)
L-R: Cindy, Muffin, Rocky
Angus, a sweet rescued boxer cross, ripped up a square metre of linoleum. (Okay, the lino needed replacement anyway… and no, he wasn’t too crazy about that raincoat in the picture below.)
All the memories brought smiles. Loved those little critters! The business name, an homage to Muffin, Cindy, Rocky, Angus, and CoCo, popped into my head:
Next up, I needed an image to complement the business name.
Inspired by the picture on the left, a gift from my brother, I asked author/designer Michael Hiebert to create a simple logo that reflected my love of books and dogs.
I was thrilled with the result. >>
McRAC Books is definitely a keeper! 🙂
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Finished your manuscript? Turned it over to your spectacularly brilliant copy-editor/designer wizard? Breathing a sigh of relief, are you? Well, suck that breath back in! It’s time to get your pre-publication kit together!
Hopefully, you’ve been filing info as you go: organization makes the final stages easier. Right now, I am in the middle of gathering pre-production information for my novel, OF SEA AND SEED, The Kerrigan Chronicles # 1. While I’m at it, I’m sharing it because most of what I need, you will too.
Here is my list:
Acknowledgements.It takes a village. Remember to thank every member.
Author Bio. Keep the bio short.
Author Headshot. Make it professional.
Bibliography. This is a maybe, necessary for me, as my literary suspense series is set in historical Newfoundland.
Book Endorsements. You need a blurb or two or three for the cover of your book. So write a few authors and make a request. Ask and ye shall receive, or not. But ask anyway.(One of my favorite quotes comes from Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”)
Call to Action. In the back of your book, include some or all of the following: a link to your homepage and social media, a bonus offer if they sign to your mailing list, a chapter of your next book, a letter asking for review.
Cover Image. Use a stock image or hire an artist. (The image for my above cover mock-up comes from Shutterstock.) In your book, credit source of image.
Dedication. (for Mom? Dad? Dog? Place?)
Disclaimer. “A statement that is meant to prevent an incorrect understanding of something (such as a book, a movie, or an advertisement”~ Miriam-Webster Dictionary (This is standard in all fiction. For examples, just check the front pages of any novel.)
Epigraph. Short quote for front, if you plan to use one. Caution here: think Public Domain.
Flap Copy. Brief synopsis for back cover, one that will draw reader in.
Key Words for SEO. Brainstorm. Check genre.
List of other Publications. All other books written by you.
Map ? (Maybe you need a map inside the cover? I plan to use a map of Newfoundland as a frame of reference for readers.)
Pricing Strategy. Check others in your genre.
Questions for Reading Clubs. Compile a list and put it in the back.
Am I forgetting anything? Please share any info you have!!
A Free Short Story will be yours when you subscribe to my author newsletter by placing your first name and email address in the space provided on the right. Rest assured that your email address will be held in the highest confidence and will not be shared or distributed for any purpose.
My Valentine and I have been married for eons. During that time, all of our vows– to laugh with you in joy, to grieve with you in sorrow, to share with you in love, through sickness and in health– have come into play. A roller coaster, at times, as are all relationships, but we are still standing, strong.
Here are some of my favorite lines for Valentines:
A heart well worth winning, and well won. A heart that, once won, goes through fire and water for the winner, and never changes, and is never daunted. ~ Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend
You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought. ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The White Company
He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking. ~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life. ~Victor Hugo, Les Miserables
A thing of beauty is a joy forever: Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness. ~ John Keats, A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest. ~ W.H. Auden, Stop All the Clocks
I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love. ~ Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be. ~ Robert Browning, Rabbi Ben Ezra
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu
The problems of your past are your business; the problems of your future are my privilege. ~ John Watson to Mary Watson in Sherlock
My best to you,
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The Book Readers Appreciation Group Medallion for excellence in indie publications includes not only a shiny gold sticker, but also a host of other treasures: reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, mentions on Twitter, and images on Pinterest. B.R.A.G. also posts news provided by authors about their readings and publications. If honorees send B.R.A.G. a print copy of their book, B.R.A.G. will display that book at many book expositions. In addition, B.R.A.G. affords its recipients the opportunity to do an online interview about their winning work and their writing process. I jumped at the opportunity of doing an interview about my B.R.A.G. honoree novel, Castles in the Sand, and had the pleasure of working with Stephanie Hopkins of Layered Pages.
A sample for you, of my interview…
Stephanie: Hello Annie! Congrats on the B.R.A.G. Medallion for your book, Castles in the Sand. How did you discover indieBRAG and what has been your experience with self-publishing thus far?
I discovered indieBRAG on Twitter. Another author tweeted that her book was a BRAG Medallion recipient; I was curious so I followed the link to indieBRAG.
A steep learning curve, that of self-publishing. At times I felt as though I were scaling a vertical wall. I had to learn (am still learning) not only the business of writing, but also the use of technology. (Three years ago, I didn’t have a website, didn’t know an analytic from a hashtag, etc.) I sacrificed writing time to acquire skills in both these areas; unfortunately, that was necessary. But now, writing comes first and I squeeze marketing and tech into whatever time is left.
On Layeredpages.com, my armoire/office was Closed. Here’s the Open version. (No vacation today!)
A Note to Indie Writers…
For a nominal fee, B.R.A.G. Medallion will consider your self-published novel on basis of Plot, Characters, Writing Style, Dialogue, Copyediting, Cover/Interior Layout.
Visit B.R.A.G. for a potential boost!
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I originally come from the island of Newfoundland but right now I’m coming to you from the island of my sofa. I have the flu and, due to my husband’s medical history and resulting weakened immune system (detailed in Olympic Hope), I have placed myself here, in solitary confinement, with only tea, books, and tablet as companions. A good place from which to comment on my favorite reads of 2014.
Here are the books that I found inspiring, compelling, challenging, or truly entertaining this past year:
The Book Thiefby Markus Zusak Set in Nazi Germany with Death as narrator. A young girl, through the theft of books and with the aid of her foster father, develops a passion for reading which sustains her through the reign of Hitler. This novel is classified as YA but its power and eloquence defy such limitation. Searing. Grim. Indelible.
This is the Story of a Happy Marriageby Ann Patchett This memoir contains a collection of previously published articles (NY Times, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s) about love, friendship, work, art. Clean, clear language. Honest. From the soul. Inspirational.
Larry’s Partyby Carol Shields Set from 1977-1997. A fumbling man discovers his love of mazes and finds his way to self through his labyrinth of a life. Quiet. Arresting. Realistic.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyby MaryAnn Shaffer & Annie Barrows This epistolary novel is set on the Channel Islands during WWII. A tribute to book lovers, it details the journey of a cast of courageous book club members whose island is occupied by the Nazi regime. Nostalgic. Enchanting. Inspiring.
419by Will Ferguson (2012 Giller Prize Winner) A literary thriller set in Canada and Nigeria, this is a woman’s crusade to find the man she deems responsible for the downfall and death of her father. (The term 419 is a code for Nigerian email scams.) Taut. Intriguing. Educational.
After Thisby Alice McDermott An apt portrayal of the reality of life in an Irish Catholic American family. Lyrical. Engaging. Poignant.
All the Light We Cannot Seeby Anthony Doerr Set in France during WWII, this novel has two surprising protagonists, one a blind girl, one a Nazi soldier. The beauty in this lies in the author’s ability to create sympathy for the young soldier and to help the reader see through use of sound. (A must read for any writer seeking to improve sense of sound in writing.) Ambitious. Authentic. Riveting.
Behind the Scenes at the Museumby Kate Atkinson Atkinson’s first novel, this exquisitely-written piece details , from conception onward, the life of Ruby who takes us into the world of her quirky British family. Complex. Funny. Heartbreaking.
My favorite book of the year? I must cite two from the above list: 419for the education I received (until I read this, I would have assumed 419 to be an area code, no more) and The Book Thieffor its innovation, power, and simplicity. (In case you noticed… yes, I am currently reading a lot of WWII fiction: my work-in-progress, Book II of a trilogy, is set during that era.)
And now… I’m looking for some good reads while I remain quarantined on the couch, Kindle at the ready. Any suggestions?
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My 2015 calendar from the Federation of British Columbia Writers arrived the other day and, from all of Ben Nuttall-Smith’s stunning illustrations, one jumped at me– Pianist. It triggered memories of my beginnings at a keyboard: the Leila-Fletcher-on-staff-Middle-C-approach to the piano, taught by Sister Mary John Hughes and her trusty pointer. Ouch!
Over the years, I worked my way from Fletcher’s C-D-E to Debussy’s Reverie. I never mastered the art of sight-reading (the ability to pick up a piece and play it as you would pick up a book and read it.) Once, when I was a student of music at Mount Allison University, a friend suggested we partner up and plunge into the world of sight-reading, an attempt to conquer the beast. I started, half-heartedly, and fell away from it: for me there was a gaping hole where passion, drive, and above all, confidence should be. My friend persevered and became a long-time professional musician. (Thank you, T: I never did excel in sight-reading but I did learn from watching you gain mastery.) My piano, except for the annual Christmas carol, is now a silent shadow in the hallway of my home.
However, another keyboard has replaced it.
My passion is writing. I dipped my toe in the water seven years ago and I stayed. In that time, I have written three novels, each better than its predecessor, and I have a fourth awaiting editing. I have also penned forty+ short stories, sixty-five blog posts, and a few articles. Apparently, what I could not apply to music–commitment and perseverance– I can apply to writing. Doubt may knock once in a while but I don’t let it in. I just show up and write, daily. My routine: coffee, crossword, computer. Three hour minimum.
In the coming year, whatever your passion, just have at it. If writing is your passion, park yourself at that keyboard and plunk away. One letter, one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page… eventually becomes one book.
Just show up and you will create a wonderfully accomplished, well-written new year. One key at a time.
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