Author of "Leaving Fantasyland"

Follow Baggs McAlister through the grit and grime of Little Rock crime, here at James E. Parker books.

James E. Parker is also the author of "Leaving Fantasyland."

Monday, November 28, 2011

Chalk Outlines (They aren't just for murder mysteries)

What's a good murder mystery without a dead body outlined in chalk?   One of the things I've learned early in writing is that I need my own "chalk outline" to write by.  It can be altered, re-shaped, or even erased but starting without knowing exactly how you're ending or precisely how to get there presents lots of problems.

When you write do you outline?  If so, then how do you outline?  I've finished my first novel "Leaving Fantasyland" and learned a LOT along the path to getting it done.  As I work now on my second novel one of the MAJOR lessons learned is the absolute necessity of an outline.  I like to write free form but I've found that ALL free and no FORM gets complicated.  I especially struggled as I began to draw conclusions, connect characters and bring the book to a logical and hopefully entertaining and exciting conclusion.

I had a basic idea of where I was going and how to get there from the beginning of my last novel.  What I lacked was a lot of those details that tie everything together.  Needless to say I had to do a fair amount of rethinking and rewriting along the way and afterwards to make everything flow.

So here's my question, or better yet, question(s).  What are you doing in regards to outlines in your own writing?  How detailed are your outlines?  Does every detail make sense to you before you start or do you figure some of it out along the way?  Please share with us your process below. We all love to hear how well other writers are writing, but we also want to know how you are writing well?  Thanks in advance for your input.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Self Publishing. Magic or Misery?

Last week we conducted a short survey here at James E. Parker Books, among self published authors.  We asked them four questions focused on their experience with the whole self publishing process and their satisfaction with the results.  Fifteen self published authors took part in the survey.  And here is what we found out.

The self publishing route met the over all expectations of nearly half the authors surveyed.

Over 70% of the authors surveyed would highly recommend self publishing over the traditional publishing route of securing a literary agent and ultimately a traditional publishing house.

Over half the self published writers surveyed said that they were at least somewhat satisfied with the financial returns they have earned from their work.

Also over half of the writers surveyed would DEFINITELY choose self publishing over the traditional route if given the choice.

Here are a few other interesting random facts we found about writers who have self published.  Only one of the fifteen authors surveyed said that their self publishing experience fell FAR SHORT of their expectations.  Only one of our fifteen authors said that they would NOT choose self publishing over the traditional route if given the choice.  Three of the fifteen however said that they were NOT SATISFIED AT ALL with the financial returns thus far on their self published book.  One self published author however, said that he had  doubled his royalties every month for eighteen months.
You can see a detailed analysis of the entire survey  by clicking here.
Official Survey Results
Make sure and take a look at the responses written under "other" for each of the questions answered.  You may glean some key insights there as well.

Thank you to all the self published authors who took part in this short survey. I know as I am grappling with the best publishing route to pursue your insight as been invaluable.  Feel free to give feed back below on your own feelings about self publishing as opposed to the traditional route.

Check back soon here at James E. Parker Books for more informative surveys from the writing world.  We believe writers help shape culture and think its important to let their voices be heard.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Take The Self Publishing Survey

I'm currently conducting a self publishing survey.  Like many of you I want to know exactly what kind of experience self published authors are having.  The wave of the future seems to be self published ebooks.  But find out what actual self published authors say about four very crucial questions concerning their self publishing experience.
If you have self published your own ebook please CLICK HERE and  take the simple and short four question survey.

I will post the results here on my blog as soon as I have enough data in to do so.

Thanks ahead of time for all of you who take part.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Writing Fantasyland

I've finished my brand new baby novel "Leaving Fantasyland."  It is a cop fiction about Tram Taylor,  a washed up wannabe cop that finds himself living the life of a hum-drum comic book store owner instead.  Tram's world is turned upside down though the day he finds a body in the dumpster behind his store.  Now its up to him to use is his former cop training to find the killer responsible for the body in his dumpster and to save his now kidnapped wife in the process.  Fantasy Land will take you through lots of twists and turns up down the mean streets of Milwaukee all the way to the last page.

Now the hard part has begun, editing and revisions. I'm learning lots from the absolutely excellent community of writers I've found on twitter.  Writers of all levels share openly and freely and I'm loving gleaning from the entire community there.  Any and all input you have on seeking publishing would be greatly appreciated.  I'd really rather pursue the traditional publishing route first.   Especially insight on critical keys to procuring an agent and/or publisher.  I've been investigating self publishing as well, but just don't know if I could build the steam required to really get my name out there via that route.  So, whether it be successes to aspire to or land mines to avoid, I'm open to it all.  Please share away.

Thanks You Guys,