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Tag Archives: self-publishing

Do You Have the Right Writing Team?

Team of 4-yr.-olds on stage

Team of 4-yr.-olds on stage

We hear it all the time: You’ve got to be a team player. Take one for the team. Come on, team. Let’s win this.

And it starts young. At summer camp my wee grandson is on stage performing with his group. (Read team.)  We applaud their cute antics as they learn to work together and perform a song or act out a skit.

“All you ever need to know you learned in kindergarten.” So goes the saying. Of course I never went to kindergarten but you get the idea. We all have to learn to coexist with the other people on the planet and most of what we do is with, for, or instigated by others.

So it goes with writing. Yes, I know. The actual putting words on screen is usually a solitary process but after that loads of people are crucial to me.

This graphic from last year’s Ontario Writers’ Conference demonstrates how together we make something beautiful. The organizers took the last names of all of those registered who had published a book that year and made this lovely picture. Each of us has our name up there several times, large and small. I was delighted to be a part of the larger whole.

On front wall at writers' conference.
On front wall at Ontario Writers’ Conference.

In a similar way I am surrounded by amazing people who help me achieve publication. For the first two books in my trilogy I used an interior designer from Paris, France for helping to choose the typeface, the setup of chapters, and generally the whole look of the interior of the books. Her knowledge and helpful suggestions saved me hours and hours of learning all this myself.

Even more so, my cover designer, a suggestion from my awesome printer in Victoria, British Columbia, was, and continues to be, a ready and reachable source of knowledge on everything from just what the purpose of the cover is to formatting my manuscript for the different e-book platforms. And she is a dream to work with, always sunny and excited about the project at hand.

So, too, my printer, who does rush orders for me with nary a whimper, smooths out any little bump in the printing road, and is just generally a pleasure to work with.

But what about before those people get their hands on my work?

I get to bounce ideas off my friend, author and poet Robyn Marie Butt, and various others of my friends who are writers and readers. Luckily my inner circle allow me to natter on about my work in progress and offer ideas and suggestions when I ask. My family does this all the time, especially my daughter and my husband. My son, with his question to me when I confided my writing dreams, got me thinking large enough to write a novel. He asked “If not now, when?”.

And my beta readers! These people are the ones who keep me honest and searching to improve all the time. Millie, particularly, gives me an excellent critique and is wonderful at discussing the work-in-progress. The others offer insights, too, all from the vantage point of their particular talents and experiences. We writers do not see everything about what we’ve written. We need fresh eyes on the work and I, for one, really treasure those who help me by venturing into the final (?) draft of my novel.

I’ve used two different editors, both excellent and both thorough, for edits large and small. Because I taught senior English for twenty-some years my eyes are pretty good at sourcing out grammar or other errors but these editors are good at looking at the overall novel. I may not use all of their suggestions but I definitely consider them thoroughly.

So there you have them–the people behind my author’s name on the cover. And here’s a great big THANK YOU to all of those on my writing team as I work on the third book in the Loyalist trilogy.

How About an Authors and History Tour? Click here for details of this amazing cruise. Come join us!

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction! Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship

Short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Canada Self-Published Book Awards

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.

With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife here.

 

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How My Workspace Fuels My Fires: 12 Points, With Pictures

“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

When I step into my sunny office I’m surrounded by objects and remembrances I treasure and that fill my heart (and my head) with joy and thanks. Every morning I put my glass of water on a stone coaster imprinted with Eliot’s quote. This coaster has been a talisman for me for over eight years and each time I read it, I’m refreshed and ready to push on with my writing.

1-3.  The picture on my computer screen is bright and beautiful to me, my light, which I originally bought for beading, bathes my workspace, and a card on the left at the back tells me to Celebrate! I got it from a lovely couple at my first book launch.

desktop

4.  A bulletin board to the right of my desk holds pictures of many of my life’s treasures.

bulletin board in office

5-6.  I have a long table attached to my desk where I can assemble the projects I’m working on and, in the foreground, my book selling paraphernalia are stacked ready for the next person who comes to my door for a copy. Yes, they do that and it’s wonderful both for the sales and for the personal visits.

books on office table

7.  One evening my husband and I were dining in a new restaurant on a trip and this painting caught our attention. The local artist (the restaurant was in Orillia) had several of her paintings displayed there but we loved this one. My lovely husband promptly bought it for me and I painted my office  to match it. (My snapshot hasn’t rendered the colour of the paint at all correctly!)

office scene

8-9.  As we circle around the room past the door, my own framed photograph of a spot we found walking one day in Hilton Head, South Carolina hangs above my “imagine” sign. A perfect gift for a writer that sign, and I received it long before I’d published any books. How wonderful for writers to have people believe in us!

imagine

10. Here are more family pictures. I’m there at nine and at twelve, I think, posing for a record of our good times. I didn’t think much about it then but now I smile into the memories.

photo[7]

11-12. And on the other side of the window my siblings and I are posing for our last family photograph while we were all still alive. My family is so much a part of who I am. Oh, and on the filing cabinet beside my desk in a pottery dish I myself crafted is my collection of rocks and minerals which I and my wee grandson have rearranged thousands of times.

photo[17]

Things in and of themselves are not all that important I know, but these things glow with the memories they elicit and wonderful memories are worth everything. On a day when I have just a bit of an urge to chuck the revision and go walking or just watch a movie, being surrounded by my things and my people reminds me to keep working at being what I can be. Thanks, George Eliot.

For All Lovers of Historical Fiction, Just Out!

Book Two in The Loyalist Trilogy!

Purchase The Loyalist’s Luck Here.

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.indd
John and Lucy escape the Revolutionary War to the unsettled British territory across the Niagara River with almost nothing. In the untamed wilderness they must fight to survive, he, off on a secret mission for Colonel Butler and she, left behind with their young son and pregnant once again. In the camp full of distrust, hunger, and poverty, word has seeped out that John has gone over to the American side and only two people will associate with Lucy–her friend, Nellie, who delights in telling her all the current gossip, and Sergeant Crawford, who refuses to set the record straight and clear John’s name. To make matters worse, the sergeant has made improper advances toward Lucy. With John’s reputation besmirched, she must walk a thin line depending as she does on the British army, and Sergeant Crawford, for her family’s very survival.

The Loyalist’s Wife, Book One in The Loyalist Trilogy!

by Elaine Cougler, winner of the WCDR 2014 Pay It Forward Scholarship

and

short-listed for Inspire! Toronto International Book Fair’s Self-Published Book Awards

The Loyalist's Wife_Kindle_1563x2500

When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple caught in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant, and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.

With vivid scenes of desperation, heroism, and personal angst, Elaine Cougler takes us back to the beginnings of one great country and the planting of Loyalist seeds for another. The Loyalist’s Wife transcends the fighting between nations to show us the individual cost of such battles.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife here.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 3, 2014 in Authors, Awards, Writing Tips

 

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5 Answers to Writing Questions

20141019_132341

From The Loyalist’s Luck launch party. Great cake!

Today I’m being interviewed on Patricia Zick’s illustrious blog. Here is the link where you can read Patricia’s questions and my answers. I bare my soul. Well, about writing anyhow. I even mention Stephen Leacock Medal winner, Terry Fallis, and his contribution to my writing. Come join us now as I answer her five questions.

Author Wednesday on P.C. Zick’s site.

Voting is going on as I write this for the People’s Choice Toronto International Book Fair Self-Published Awards and my first book, The Loyalist’s Wife, is a finalist. Thanks to all those who have already voted to help me out. Voting closes on Friday and the winners are announced  on Nov. 16 in Toronto. I’ll be there! Hoping to win but happy to be nominated–never thought I’d say those words!

If you’d like to join in the voting fun, come along. Here’s the link. It only takes a minute.

And if you were naughty and didn’t click on Patricia’s site above for my interview, please do it now.

 

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Authors, Awards

 

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We Had a Book Party!

The Loyalist’s Luck_cover_apr1.inddIT’S HERE, IT’S HERE, IT’S HERE!

My days are mostly spent in my office sitting at my computer, moving my projects along at what always seems more like the turtle’s pace rather than the hare’s. In fact, the more I’ve sat here over the past seven years, the more I’m even coming to look like that turtle! (Hence my new walking regime!)

In June, 2013, my publishing company launched The Loyalist’s Wife and I was ecstatic. So much work, so many miles traveled, so many people met, places visited, and ideas acted upon. And, finally, a book to hold in my hand.

And before that book was even published I was hard at work on its sequel, The Loyalist’s Luck. This month of October has been crazy busy as we launched number two in the trilogy. In one fell swoop, I went from a mark of 33% to one of 67% for finishing the Loyalist trilogy. (Once a teacher, always a teacher.)

YAY!

Here are some pictures from the formal launch here in beautiful Woodstock, Ontario.

Fellow author and person extraordinaire, Sharon Clare, Helped me out by reading a section from my new novel. David Butler, an amazingly gifted person in his own right–the man can write!–happens to be descended directly from Colonel John Butler of the famous Butler’s Rangers. He figures in both of my Loyalist novels so far. David said a few kind words of welcome and congratulations. You can learn about David’s famous father, the artist Ross Butler, here.

Launch

Laughing at a small slip up I made at the podium.

Laughing at a small slip up I made at the podium.

Sharon Clare expertly reading.

Sharon Clare expertly reading.

Sue Garner hosted and read, her sassy smile flashing throughout.

Sue Garner hosted and read, her sassy smile flashing throughout.

20141019_132341

We had to have cake! Thanks, Ron, for arranging this and all the other details.

This book table had to be refilled several times as people bought a lot of books.

This book table had to be refilled several times as people bought a lot of books.

Joyce and Donna welcomed everyone to the festivities.

Joyce and Donna welcomed everyone to the festivities.

Book club friends going through a copy. So wonderful that they came!

Book club friends going through a copy. So wonderful that they came!

We drew names for two free books. I was so happy to see the winners: Olive, my dear friend, and Keith, one of my many wonderful brothers.

We drew names for two free books. I was so happy to see the winners: Olive, my dear friend, and Keith, one of my many wonderful brothers.

There were many more at my launch, including my 93-year-old aunt and a carload of cousins from as far away as Miami who completely surprised me. They drove all the way from South Carolina. So, as any reader can see, my heart is full. All the hard work has paid off when family, friends, people I’ve met over the last year and a half on speaking gigs all show up for the new book. As well, people I don’t know who joined us just thrilled me.

This is a small word to contain the huge joy I feel but here it is:

THANK YOU!

See you all in two years when The Loyalist Legacy has its debut!

Next week this blog will be back to writing about historical fiction, wonderful readers and tips for writers. Come join us!

The Loyalist’s Luck on Amazon

The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon

also available on Kobo and in many fine bookstores.

PHOTO CREDITS: Sherry Isaac, Brian Jackson

 
8 Comments

Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Marketing Books, Publishing

 

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How To Publish and Keep Control

IMG_2433_editedSo you write a book, and it takes you a year, and you think the next step is handing it to a publisher. That’s what I thought seven years ago. And then came revision, character arcs, economy of words, and a host of other writing no-no’s and must-do’s.

For five of my six years to publication, traditional publishing was absolutely the way I wanted to go. The marvellous books I’d read were published by the big houses, and I longed to follow that tradition.

Throughout all the conferences, workshops, online searches, critique groups (even one I started myself), and connections with writers, I dreamed of finding a publisher. I pitched, queried, rewrote and rewrote and rewrote. Somewhere along the way, however, I learned something else. Read the rest of this entry »

 
10 Comments

Posted by on June 11, 2014 in General, Writing Tips

 

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Inside the Writer’s Mind

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be on a local television program here in the heart of Ontario where I live.I enjoyed the experience but watched the result with the critical eye of someone watching herself, always an uncomfortable position. For those writers who may be in a similar situation, the main take-away from my point of view is dress for television. I am chagrined that I didn’t, even though I know better.

Here, then, is the result. View it knowing my caveat, okay? Hopefully others can learn from my mistake.

Interview of Elaine Cougler on Rogers TV, September, 2013.

video Rogers Set 2013

The interviewer who came to film me was good at just letting me talk. He asked a number of questions which the viewer doesn’t hear and then edited them out so that the clip is totally of me talking about writing and The Loyalist’s Wife. I liked that technique because it allowed me to get into my own thoughts and experiences about writing and just run with them. The downside is the chagrin I feel when I hear the sentence errors which come about when one talks in that sort of rambling and thought-provoking way. Still the experience was great fun and I thank my local Rogers TV group for doing it.

Purchase The Loyalist’s Wife on Amazon here.

Sign up for my email list to receive my quarterly newsletter, the next issue of which is coming next week!

 
5 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2013 in General, Presentation Tips, Videos

 

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Christmas in July For Writers

Last Christmas I was wandering through a lovely bookstore in Victoria, B.C. and I turned a corner to see the long wall of magazines. Of course I always look to see what is there for writers which usually entails pushing aside dozens of knitting, mechanics, numismatics publications to find maybe one or two writing selections.

What did I find? What I always find in Victoria, a city which embraces creativity like a cat does a ball of yarn. So many mags of the writing persuasion called to me that I actually had to browse to see which ones I would buy as I couldn’t possibly take them all. I decided on the Writer’s Yearbook 2013, a special issue of Writer’s Digest.

And then that yearbook sat in a pile until a month ago. (Do other writers have so much reading they just can’t get to it all?)

I am so glad I finally picked up this issue as it is fantastic. Here are the cover headlines:

  1. 100 Best Book & Magazine Markets for Writers, Want to get Published? Start Here!
  2. How to Get an Agent: Insider Tips for Writing Query Letters That Work
  3. The Top 101 Websites for Writers
  4. The Year in Publishing: Is the Industry Finally on the Rebound?
  5. Blog Your Way to a Book Deal
  6. Freelancing Secrets: How to Sell More Articles
  7. 50 Easy Ways to Build Your Platform One Step at a Time
  8. Book Contracts: What You Need to Know

No wonder the tag at the top calls this issue “Your Annual Handbook for Writing Success.” There is so much information that I had to limit myself. Can you guess which articles got my attention?

At the time I was working pretty hard on query letters so that headline grabbed me right away. And I love to look for other writers and writer-friendly websites so number 3 was a sure thing.

But the one which surprised me and which held my attention the longest was number 7. I loved reading about author platform on the web. Christina Katz had about nine categories under which she gave instructions which were clear, concise and useful. Even though I’ve been on the web for years there were still many things for me to learn. Some of the things that I feel I need to work on are: my Amazon.com page, recycling content, holding an online event, putting my best blog content forward, and shaking things up a bit in my online presence.

This magazine is still listed for sale for just over $5 on their site which I’ve linked here. Treat yourself to a summer Christmas gift. You’ll be glad you did.

The Loyalist's Wife_cover_Mar18.indd

The Loyalist’s Wife by Elaine Cougler

Amazon.ca

Amazon.com

Kobo

Authors: Your free copy of 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing. Download from the link in the side column!

Consider leaving a comment below with your best writing magazine find. A lot of writers will be glad you did!

 

 

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