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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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!

 

What the interior designers don’t tell you….

reality in decorating your home

We all do it… we watch the beautiful decorating shows on tv, look at the stunning magazines, and walk into furniture stores and see the beautiful way the designers have decorated.  Everything looks so perfect, gorgeous and not realistic at all.  Why do you say that, you ask?  Because the items they decorate with are all generic, and similar.  They don’t take into account that you have lots of items that are sentimental, lovely and not at all stylish.  So how do you incorporate these wonderful items with today’s decorating styles?  I do it as much as I can in my home, and wanted to share my own hutch.

We purchased a lovely hutch a few years ago from Jordan’s furniture.  Oh how lovely it looked in the showroom.  All white dishes, with a few similar items, tied in with yellow flowers throughout.  Just lovely.  And unrealistic!  It sold me anyways, and we purchased the new hutch.  Then I got it home and struggled to make it work.  And struggled.  I finally think I got it, and wanted to share with you.  Instead of getting rid of all my lovely sentimental items, I grouped them together.

Yes I realize it looks a bit cluttered.  And it proved my point how their styling is unrealistic.  How many of us live with items from stores perfectly styled?  Most of us have knick knacs, inherited items, gifts and most importantly, items from our family that we cannot just hide away.  So I kept them arranged this way, but put them on the ends of my hutch, so they are not center stage.  I put a bunch of farmhouse styled items in the middle, to take center stage.  As shown below.

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And I think this worked in my new hutch.  But honestly, even if it does not work, I am fine with that.  Because they are all beloved items, which make me happy to see, rather than generic ones to make my hutch look stylish.  This means much more to me.

So below is my personally styled hutch.  With items from my parents, grandmothers, children, hubby, sister, and friends.  And that means so much more to me.  It may not be featured on a decorating show, but it takes first place in my home.  I hope this gave you some ideas as well!

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Hello my name is Misspelled……

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Growing up with an unusual name wasn’t easy. I can’t tell you how many times it has been mispronounced and misspelled, and still is. I absolutely hated it.
My mother found my name while watching the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Marnie. She loved Sean Connery, enjoyed the movie, and wanted something different. And she got it. But I longed for an ordinary name. One that I would find in stores, where they sold name plates, signs, hair barrettes or any one of the tons of accessories with names on them. I would always eagerly look for my name. I did find it two times. Once was a roll of stickers with rainbows, and then the other was a name plate for a room, which is still on my bedroom door at my parents house.

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I remember winning an art contest at a local church one time. I eagerly waited to see who had won, and heard that “Mamie Reynolds” was the winner. I was so disappointed! Lucky Mamie. A few minutes later I found out that I was the winner, as they had mispronounced my name.  And so it began…..
I remember asking my Mom to change my name, and her reply was to do it when I was an adult. Go to court and pick something else out, she would say. Life went on and I started to realize it was nice to have a different name. One that not many others had. I liked being different. And I was thankful my Mom had picked it. I called her out of the blue one day and thanked her for picking such an unusual name. That I loved it and was happy with it. She was shocked, laughed, and was happy that I had called. I am so thankful that I did that, as I am very grateful. So grateful to sign such a unique name to my art. And its all due to her. Thanks Mom!marnie.jpg

A few years ago a few other Marnie’s put together a facebook page called Marnie Squared.  They worked hard to join Marnie’s of all spellings together. You see not only is Marnie an unusual name, it has tons of spellings. Some are like mine with “ie” at the end, some are just an “I” and some end in a “Y”, or even an “E”. I am now friends with 172 Marnie’s. Which took some getting used to… as when I opened my news feed I would see updates from Marnie and wonder what I had posted, or done! Now I do not panic! And if I come across a new Marnie, I friend request her, and she accepts. It is like the Harley motorcyclists that wave every time they see another rider. If your name is Marnie, of any spelling, you are accepted. We post misspellings that people do, and even have our own hashtag, #thingsonlymarniesunderstand. After being a single Marnie my whole life, I am now in a community of them, and love it. Thanks to Marnie Kay, and Marnie Grundman for getting us all together!   As for the Shakespeare quote “”A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but it would not be as different!  Here’s to being unique!