Vanity Press

I have recently published my first book… and it was a lot of work.  I self published, which is much different than going the traditional route of submitting to a publisher and having them sell and market your book.  How I would have loved to have been accepted to do that!  However it is very difficult to find a publisher and it is sometimes a long wait as well.  So I decided to go the non traditional route and self publish.

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There are a ton of companies out there dying to publish your book!  And some of them are basically thieves.  These thieves are also known as “Vanity Publishing” .  I had never heard of such a thing until I joined a facebook group about book publishing.  Thank goodness for them!  If you are thinking about publishing a book, I suggest you look for an authors group on facebook immediately!  If you join the right group, they are a priceless source of information.  I am so thankful for the groups I have found.

But back to Vanity Publishers.  A vanity publisher will a lot of times have a beautiful website with all types of “packages” for you to buy.  I am an artist, and both wrote and illustrated my book.  I naively contacted a company associated with a well known publishing house.  Within minutes of applying I had received an email, and a phone call!!  I was told that the best package for me was one that basically did what I already had done, for a few thousand dollars.  What I would get out of it is my book “finished” and a hard cover copy.  If I wanted to purchase additional copies, they would be around $30 a piece.  How would I ever make a profit from this?  The woman cheerfully told me all this info and I was actually quite angry.   This is downright thievery.

I have since then done what I can to inform other budding authors, because sadly many fall for this trap.

How do you spot a Vanity Publisher?watering can-image

The first rule of thumb is that if you have to pay to publish your book, it is a vanity publisher.  I do not mean to pay for actual books.  I mean to pay for services, such as marketing, creating, and distributing for thousands of dollars.  I have heard horror stories of people paying over $5,000 dollars with nothing to show for their investment.

Of course you may have just an idea, or the words for a book and need help finishing.  In this case you need to do things a la carte.  So go online, and do your research and find an illustrator.  A lot of them can even format your book for you.  Once you have your book, then look for someone to print it.  This is another tough decision.   I chose to print within the USA.  But that is usually twice as much as China.  I was lucky to find two different printers within the USA that were reasonable in their costs and had terrific quality when printing.  But that is another blog for another time….

The point of this blog is to tell you to do your research.  Skip the vanity press and learn to publish yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to answer questions, like myself, and online articles to educate you.  Go by that old saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t.”

If you like to give your money away I am sure there are plenty of charities more worthy than these companies.

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Vanity Publishing

If you are working on publishing a book, stay away from Vanity Publishers.

I have always wanted to write a children’s book and I finally did!  But how to get it published?  You can go the traditional route and submit a manuscript to established publishers and wait months or years for a refusal.    Or you can self publish.

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I learned how to create files to publish from a wonderful group on Facebook.  They were so informative providing so much guidance on creating the files.  If you are looking for such information, please click here to see group.

Once your book is ready, there are a ton of publishing companies.  Just like everything else in this world, you must do your homework because there are many companies out there that are waiting to take your money.  These companies are called “Vanity” publishers and they are honestly shameful.  And just because you find a publisher associated with an established, well known publisher does not mean they are not vanity.

                                 Basically if you have to buy a “package” or pay to publish,                                   you are dealing with a Vanity Publisher.  evs alone-sk4

That was what I recently found out when looking to publish my hardcover book.  I visited a website and found different “packages” for authors like me.  I had created my book from my own illustrations, and had a finished file ready to be uploaded.  Thinking this was a legitimate company, I filled out all the necessary information and was contacted within minutes, by phone and email.  I realized that their most reasonable package, which was over $1,000 dollars would be the one for me, although I had already done 80% of the work.  This package would give me about 10 hardcover books, and that was all.  I would have to purchase more books at an estimated $15 a piece.  Now I ask you how an author is supposed to make any money at that price?   This is what vanity publishing is, and honestly I find it disgraceful.  That is why I am writing this blog, hopefully to save others from their thievery.

What I ended up doing is publishing through KDP, which is Amazon, and Barnes and Noble Press.    There is another print on demand company called Ingram Spark, but I had gone to them first and had some issues.  Customer service was not very good, and I could not figure my book out.  So I could not use them.  If you are experienced at book writing, then you may have no issue whatsoever and they are very good at distribution.

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To get a physical book, and not use print on demand, I used a printer in Michigan named McNaughton and Gunn.  They were wonderful to work with and reasonably priced.  In fact their book was only 10 cents more each than Ingram Spark, and there were no charges for setup like Ingram Spark charges. The paperback book I received was very colorful and of wonderful quality.

Please click here to visit McNaughton and Gunn.                                                                            (I get nothing from this recommendation)

I am currently publishing a second book, a hardcover, and am trying a new publisher.  I have not received my book yet so I cannot vouch for quality.  But so far they have been easy to work with and I am looking forward to seeing my book!  A hardcover proof was $35, and if I do not like it, I am not contracted to purchase more.

Click here to visit Lakeside Publishing.                                                                                            (I get nothing from this recommendation)

Now there may be a time that a vanity publisher is not a bad thing. Such as you need an illustrator, need files created and marketing.  But nowadays with the internet there is so much knowledge to do things yourself, you just need to research it to learn!

So I hope this blog was helpful to you, and if you are looking to publish, please avoid a vanity publisher.

Good luck!

 

If you are interested in my books,  The Watering Can can be purchased by visiting my website, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.  It is a story about the circle of life, with flowers.  I am close to having an empty nest, but my Granddaughter showed me that life goes on.  Its a touching story that exposes children to flowers and love.

My second book, Cousins, is about family and dear friends.  This book explores the bonds of cousins, has a map of USA to talk with your children about where family lives, and a family tree to fill out.   Not available just yet, but hopefully within the next few weeks.

Click here to visit my website to purchase The Watering Can.

 

My first book!

An empty nester finds comfort in her new Granddaughter

I finally published my first book!   I was inspired to write my book when my new Granddaughter walked into my garage and picked up my Daughter’s small watering can.  Which reminded me of when my own little girl helped me water my flowers… and got me thinking…..

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My Daughter is a senior in high school, and I am on the verge of empty nest syndrome.  Something I never even gave a thought about.  When your kids are little, you are so busy that you never give a second thought that someday they will leave and be on their own.  I took each day for granted, never thinking that one day it would end.  So here I am, helping my Daughter pick a college and feeling bad for myself.  One day my new Granddaughter visits and while we are enjoying a warm day, she goes into my garage and grabs my Daughter’s abandoned watering can.  At that moment I realized that my life had just circled around. Although my kids were grown, I still had a new little one to love and be there for.  So I started working on a book.  Thinking about the flowers we would water, and looking at pics to inspire me.

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It is my hope that my book helps other older Mom’s to realize that life goes on.  And I also hope it inspires the younger generation to enjoy flowers.  As an added bonus, maybe it will remind the younger Mother that the busy, hectic days are temporary.  And to savor them.  I wish I had such a reminder back then.  But I have learned not to be sad at my mistakes, but to learn from them.  So I hope that my book is enjoyed by many generations!  If you purchase one, please let me know what you think… I would love to hear from you!

If you are interested in purchasing my book, you can purchase it on my website.

Please click here to purchase.

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Empty nest cometh

Another summer has passed, making me wonder where the time has gone. Did I do enough with my daughter? Did we make lots of memories? Why did I not do this or that? And the answer to all these questions is, It was enough. Because it has to be. Regret is one of the worse things for me, and I tend to let it go as fast as I can. Because if I cannot change it I have to let it go. Otherwise these things will just harm me.
This summer flew by not making me think about its importance. The importance of being my daughters last summer of high school. The importance of being the last summer before college. And an almost empty nest. When I started this journey of mother hood, I never once gave a thought to my children growing up. Not once. I traveled through my daily tasks in ignorance of the sorrow I would feel once they were no longer under my roof. The daily tasks of making meals for them, clothing them, chores, blinding me, instead of savoring these moments. I was at a party the other day with a Mom going through the same feelings. She said imagine if you knew the last time you would carry your child? The last time they slept with you in fear of the night? Or the last time that they lived with you. Of course the last one is much more obvious, but the other moments pass without you knowing. And how thankful I am for that. I wish that this empty nest would also pass without me knowing…..
So this summer was bittersweet, as my Daughter is shared my studio with me. She is taking an AP art class in school, and ever the procrastinator, she had a few pieces left to do. (Thankfully not many) So instead of doing some tradition, or making a new one, we passed this milestone doing something we love together. Art.

I am passing what I can, to her, in hopes she learns, enjoys, and maybe helps her decide what she wants to do for her future. She is already feeling the pull of the easel, and the need to create. And I am working on holding onto these last moments, because if I think the first day of senior year is tough, I am going to be a true mess dropping her off to college next year. So to anyone struggling like me, I tell you that you are not alone. And that although these moments are torture, thankfully we still have them. It is like the Dr Seuss quote, Don’t cry because its over, be thankful it happened. And that is precisely what gets me through most of my life’s trials. Gratitude. How lucky am I to have my two wonderful children, so different but still so important to me. And although they may not both be living with me, they will be loved and cherished until I leave them. It is never too late to savor a moment, if you have not been. It is such an easy thing to start. And the sooner you start, the easier it will be when the time comes to let go……..because you have those moments to be grateful for.
Photo is of my daughter at my easel. 🙂

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Sunflower fields and Plein Air Painting

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am not a fan of plein air painting…. there I said it.  It is very hard to do for me.  I typically get a rough painting on the canvas, let it dry overnight, then work on the painting till its done.  Unfortunately if you keep mixing paint, you end up with what artists refer to as “mud”.  So moving wet paint around a canvas can be pretty difficult for me.  So Plein air has always been daunting.  Nevermind lugging all your equipment, dealing with the elements, and being on display while you paint.  All tough for me!

But it looks like the universe was giving me a push this year! My daughter is starting an AP art class for her senior year, and on her list of things to do this summer is paint plein air. Plein Air painting would be a much different experience with my daughter. So we packed up our art supplies and headed to a local farm that has stunning sunflower fields.

If you have not painted plein air, one tip I have always found helpful was to cut the canvas shape out on a piece of paper, and use it to frame your painting.  So helpful!

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After picking her view, my daughter sat down at her easel to paint, and I immediately was inspired.  Why not paint my daughter?

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I did what I could at the site, and will add a few more details once it dries.  Overall it was a great painting day, with only a few casualties of bugs flying into my painting.  So if you are an artist, and thinking about painting Plein Air, I encourage you to try!  It is always great to step out of your comfort zone, and I certainly did today!

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If you would like to see these sunflower fields, there is a festival this weekend, July 20-21st.  It is located at Buttonwoods Farm, off of Rte 165 in Griswold.  They sell bouquets of sunflowers, and the proceeds go to the Make a wish foundation.  As an added bonus they also sell delicious ice cream!  So if you are local to Griswold, Ct, you should make the trip!

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Easy Peasy Photo Centerpieces

creating beautiful, personalized centerpieces for any celebration.

I am at the age where aldone-5ot of my family and dearest friends are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversaries.  I am one that has celebrated this milestone too!  My cousin and her hubby are the latest lovebirds celebrating, and a surprise 25th was planned for them, and I volunteered to create the centerpieces.  Shortly after I volunteered this, I got nervous, wondering what the heck was I thinking?  I always do this to myself, volunteer, then worry about if I can do it…. well I am happy to report I did it, and I am very happy with the result!

I wanted something with their photo, to make it more personalized.  Plus some of the guests had not been at original wedding, and I thought it would be cool to see photos from actual wedding.  So I contacted the Moms of the lovebirds, and got lots of wedding photos.  I scanned these wedding photos in, and then looked for something to put them on.

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I luckily found some lovely glass jars at Christmas Tree shops.  They were perfect!  They had that country look, but also had a large flat side which would be perfect for a photo!

I then asked on a wonderful face book group called Image Transfer Artists, for some advice on how to get a photo on these jars.  They had lots of suggestions, but I went with the one that was to use transparent stickers then apply them to the jars.  I ordered them from Amazon, and then used Photoshop to make them to the size of the squares on the jars. I put one on a jar to try it, and it was very transparent.  Like stained glass.  So I decided to paint the rectangle white, so it had a background.  This worked perfectly!  I also recommend printing them out and letting them sit to dry overnight. Or more.  They take a while to dry.  And some still seemed tacky to the touch.  I have to add you have to be very careful, as they do also scratch easily.

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Once applied I decided they needed a spray of sealer. So I took a piece of thick clear plastic, cut out a rectangle the same size as photo,  and taped it to side of jar, and sprayed.

Now came the hardest part!  What to put in them……  I wanted to do fresh flowers, but did not realize you had to order them pretty early. So I had missed the boat on that sadly.  I visited a local grocery store, who told me to come back on Thursday as that’s when they would have a fresh delivery.  In the meantime, I needed some painting supplies at Michaels, so my daughter and I stopped in at our local store.  And there were some pretty bouquets, artificial on sale for 60% off.  Jackpot!!flowers2

My daughter and I picked through and got the exact number of bouquets we would need, with a few extra.  What a deal…. now I would not have to worry about what variety of fresh flowers were at store, or if they would bloom in time, or how they would look.  Instead, I would have a pretty centerpiece that would last forever, not need water and not wilt.  Thank you Michaels.  My daughter and I took each bouquet apart, removed tags and placed them in each jar.  Then we positioned them, cut ends so they fit jar nicely, added an extra flower if needed, then wrapped them with some twine or a ribbon.  Once they were done, we dropped them into jar.  So now no one had to worry about rearranging them.

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Below is the finished product! I am happy to report they weree a big hit with everyone.  On our way home, I told my hubby how I was happy everyone liked them.  And he replied that he was not surprised as everything I create always comes out well.

Isn’t he a keeper?

 

 

Hope this inspires you to create something as well!

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Reaching an epiphany

Most artists struggle with comparing themselves to other artists.  I try hard not to do this, as it can be very damaging.  It can even make you avoid painting.  I enjoy reading and living by quotes, and one of my favorites is one by Theodore Roosevelt.Thief of joy

That quote is so true!  When I am working on a painting, I will sometimes look at other paintings to see how other’s have created their art.  And I always wish that my art would look more like theirs.  Today though I thought more about that wish, and realized that maybe I don’t want my art to look more like theirs…. maybe I want it to look different.  Like the style I have.  I have heard my art described as whimsical, and I think that is a good thing. Especially when you want your art to be an escape and to make people happy.

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So maybe I should embrace my whimsical interpretation.  I have always liked being different, and I think it finally sunk in today, that I should enjoy my interpretation, and listen to Teddy Roosevelt.  And enjoy my colorful art, rather than compare myself to others.  As usual, I find that this lesson also should relate to my life as well, and I should not compare myself to others. I feel as though the older I get, every day life’s experiences and podcasts I listen to are enlightening me.   So please take my little epiphany today and learn from it as well.  Don’t compare yourself to that person that seems to have it all, or is thinner than you.  Or has more than you.  Because as Teddy says, “Comparison is the thief of joy”.  I for one will be embracing my whimsical side, and enjoying being different. And I hope you enjoy it as well!