Marchbooks' Blog

March 15, 2010

Life Interrupted Presents New Possibilities

Boy, it doesn’t take much to throw me off my mark. I have had a bear of a cold for 3 weeks – yes, 3 weeks and it’s not over yet. I feel as though the dog has been dragging me around for 3 weeks and then someone threw me in the wash cycle – wash, rinse, repeat.

Needless to say, my focus has been less than lazer sharp. But, if that wasn’t enough, my computer decided to reek havoc on me as well. A crash necessitated the replacement of both my hard drives – egads! Fortunately, I live in constant fear of losing files so I have backups everywhere. But, that does not mitigate the hassle: 3 days without my laptop and another 3 days spent reinstalling files and software programs.

In the midst of all of this, I continue to work on merging my two lives (insurance advisor by day/writer-publisher by night). Sigh! What ever made me think this would be a good idea? Trying to switch back and forth between the left and right sides of my brain has proven to be quite a challenge.

I enjoy helping people to evaluate their financial situation and formulate a plan that will help them hold onto the money that they work so hard to earn. However, it is so vastly different from writing fiction. It is more than just putting on a different hat, it is like becoming people. The author, the publisher and the insurance agent, all vying for dominance.

In an effort to resolve this conflict, I have set aside my fiction writing (for the time being) in order to work on my first nonfiction project. The working title is ‘The Cardinal Sin of Capital Gains – Leaving a Better Legacy for our Children’.

In these tough economic times, perhaps I can help, in my own small way. Let’s see how it goes.

elizabeth marchand
author/publisher/insurance professional
www.marchbooks.com

January 11, 2010

Life Interrupted by M.J. Claire

Filed under: Comments from our Authors — marchbooks @ 4:13 pm
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Writing, at least for me, requires a tremendous amount of focus. I envy those people who can put a hold on their lives for a few minutes – just enough time to jot down a few lines of their current work in progress. I am not one of those folk. That is not to say that I need a quiet, sterile environment in which to work. In fact, the saying ‘ a cluttered desk is the sign of an organized mind’ could have been written for me. Well, I’m not sure about the organized mind part but I do seem to work best when surrounded by a certain amount of disarray. What I cannot do is spend several hours working in the office (on insurance matters), balance my finances, deal with the occasional personal drama and then sit down to write. At least not on anything of length.

I have those occasional inspirations; driving down the road, eating my lunch or riding my exercise bike when a thought encroaches which keeps banging against my head until I put it on paper. Those light bulbs are almost exclusively limited to poems, titles or ideas for new projects. Rarely, if ever, do they pertain to an ongoing project.

Once I have set the first few chapters of a novel down, the die is cast, that world has been created and my job as a writer becomes tuning into that world and those characters so that I can find out what is going on. I feel like less of a creator than a voyeur. In a way, for me, writing is like being a transciptionist with a radio. I play with the dial until I hit the right frequency, then I just write what I hear – ‘just the facts Ma’ am’ as they say.

If there is too much of my own life going on, there is interference and I won’t get clear reception. If that happens, I may get it wrong. Sometimes, even when my life is calm and I can devote all of my attention to radio surfing, the station in question isn’t broadcasting. That is why I always keep multiple projects going. If I am having difficulty falling into one story, rather than forcing it and putting words into my characters’ mouths, I will move on to another story.

So far, it works. Please feel free to share your own writing process. I am always interested to hear how a writer gets from a blank page to a finished manuscript.

www.marchbooks.com

August 29, 2009

March Books – Confronting Social Issues, One Novel At A Time

March Books is a green publisher. We believe that a good book is a treasure. We think, however, that there are some aspects of traditional publication that are outdated and environmentally unsound. Large print runs and huge stacks of returned books are a luxury that our planet can no longer afford. We strive to bring good literature to eager readers, but not at the expense of our environment. 

 

Print on demand may require a slightly higher cost, but it will benefit all of us in the long run. Good stories, printed affordably on a demand basis – that is what March Books is all about. 

 BothCoversforblog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please visit  www.Marchbooks.com for our list of current and upcoming titles.

July 26, 2009

Integrity in the Publishing Industry

It is difficult to become recognized as a new small publisher. With so many books being published every day, it is a challenge to stand out from the masses. Getting your titles reviewed is one way to spread the word about new releases. But, how does one separate the legitimate reviewers from the not-so-legitimate reviewers?

Darned if I know.I bet you thought I was going to drop some great pearl of wisdom on you. Unfortunately, I am fresh out. As a novice publisher, I anticipated a pretty straight-forward process when it came to getting book reviews: find a list of reviewers, send out the ARCs and wait impatiently by the mailbox for the flood of reviews.

Okay, so there is no comprehensive list of reviewers. New plan – painstakingly compile a list of likely reviewers. We did, and it was painstaking.

Even with our list in hand, it did not seem advisable to send copies out willy nilly without the recipient knowing of their pending arrival. So, we sent out a shot of emails announcing our books availability for review.

Because we are new, I did not anticipate that people would be falling over themselves to respond, especially being that the list included major  reviewers like Kirkus, The Harrow and NY Times. What I did not expect was to have 50% of the emails returned to us undeliverable. Apparently there are others out there who are even more remiss than I about updating their websites.

We forged ahead, sending out 30 ARCs of each title to a select group of reviewers. That was two months ago. We had included Midwest Book Review on our list after hearing that they were particularly kind to those who were new to the publishing business.

Approximately one month after that mailing, I received an email from MBR saying that they were declining to review our books because we had sent advance review copies rather than finished books. My faux pas. We had not noticed that they only reviewed post publication copies. I replied with an email that apologized for the oversight and asked them to reconsider their decision. I plead my case. ‘We are a new small publication with a limited budget for review copies. And, after all, the ARCs that were sent were very close to finished (a sentiment that one of their reviewers, Hank Luttrell, readily acknowledged in an email AFTER WE DISCOVERED THAT HE WAS TRYING TO SELL OUR REVIEW COPIES ON THE INTERNET!).

Now, I get that reviewers have to be selective and cannot review every book that comes across their desk.  I would not ask or condone just throwing rejected books away. I think that donating them would be a highly acceptable option…but, trying to make a profit off of them…

This left little doubt in my mind that their request for final copies was not in good faith. After all, they show no compunction for selling an item which is clearly marked ‘Not For Resale’. What other possible motivation would they have for this insistence on finished copies only?

Starting a new business is an arduous task, made even more difficult by people like this who try to profit off of another’s efforts. These books; The Little Insanity and Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow  are the fruits of someone else’s labor. The publisher went to the expense of printing, packaging and shipping these books to the reviewer. The reviewer responded with a despicable and unscrupulous (in my opinion) act. Is this a cottage industry for MBR – soliciting review copies and then reselling them? Without question, this is not an isolated incident. We sent two titles for review and both copies became available for sale by Hank Lutrell.

Is there no integrity left in the world? It seems that this has become quite an accepted practice. Biblio.com has over 9000 titles listed which bear the ARC descriptor.

It comes down to this – Hank Luttrell, through Midwest Book Reviews, presented himself as a book reviewer. His name was not picked out of a phone book. On the basis of that representation, publishers send review copies (and if MBR has its way, finished copies) to them for review. Certainly, if the reviewer had deigned to read and review these books, I would not take exception to his selling the less-than-pristine copies. He would have earned them. But, sans the review, he has shown himself to be just what he is – an opportunist trying to make a buck off of another person’s sweat and effort. Shame on you.

July 14, 2009

Thoughts on Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ by Janus Kane

Filed under: On Writing and Publishing — marchbooks @ 8:38 pm
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I recently finished reading Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ for the second time. What a wonderful addition to any writer’s library. The first time I read it, I was on vacation. Understandably, it did not get my undivided attention, but I didn’t fret. I knew that it was a book I would be returning to.

Stephen King is a very generous author – he does not seem to hold much back. The first half of the book is a delicious buffet of reminiscences; the history that brought him to the typewriter and kept him there. For someone who admits to only spotty childhood memories, he manages to give us the full flavor of the experience.

Although it is autobiographical (not my first choice in reading matter), it is peppered with so many lively anecdotes and injected with so much humor, that I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. It is such a departure from his traditional horror/fiction, but he handles the transition with ease.

King then moves on to the nuts and bolts of his writing process. There is not much by way of revelation in this material but his analogies are interesting and thought-provoking. He begins by summing up his thoughts on what writing is. To King, (if I can paraphrase) writing is a form of telepathy between author and reader. It is an interesting concept that rings true to my ear. King takes you through an exercise where he ‘telepathically’ plants the image of a table covered with a red cloth. A cage, containing a rabbit with the number eight on its back, sits on the table.

That image, like so many that he has drawn before, easily takes shape in my mind. I cannot dispute the fact that writing is, in fact, a type of telepathy, sending stories, emotions and images across the miles. However, that is not the first thing that came to mind when I read the word ‘telepathy’.

I do not try to over-think it, but the question of where my own stories come from is one that trots through my head from time to time. After all, my own genesis as a writer came much later in life than did Mr. King’s. It is a strange and humbling experience, the first time you see a story take shape beneath your pen. Even stranger still is when you see that story take a U-turn, following a direction that you never anticipated.

My recently completed novel, ‘Fate Laughs’, was originally meant to follow a 15-year old Southern girl through the fallout resulting from an unexpected interracial relationship. Suffice it to say, the story took many twists and turns before it touched on that particular social aspect. Was it planned, plotted or contrived? Not in the least. I just put my pen to the paper and followed where it led.

That is what I think of when I hear the word ‘telepathy’ in relationship to writing. Call it your muse, the universe or divine inspiration, these stories seem to be coming from somewhere. At least for me, it does not seem to be an act of pure creation.

When I am truly in writing mode, I have come to see myself as a receiver (much like a radio receiver). Because I generally work on more than one story at a time, I sit with my brightly colored composition notebooks piled before me. Then, I tune into the story by reading the previous chapter. Once I get a clear reception, I write until the reception gets muddy, at which time I pick up another notebook and tune into that story. It is the greatest of entertainment. I hope you enjoy the results half as much as I do.

http://www.januskane.com

 

To Be Released in August 2009

To Be Released in August 2009

April 3, 2009

New Release Date for ‘Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow’

March Books Changes its Release Date for Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow

March Books has changed the release date for their upcoming YA title ‘Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow’. Originally, this title was scheduled for publication in April 2009. That deadline has been moved to August 2009 to accommodate the review and printing schedule.

The release of March Books first publication, ‘Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow’ has been changed to August 2009.

Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow

Author – M.J. Claire

Website – http://www.mj.claire.com

genre – YA fantasy

Publisher – March Books

Publisher’s website – http://www.marchbooks.com

ISBN 9781935367000

Publication Date – 8/1/09

Format – 6×9 Paperback

Pages – 148

Price – $12.95

 

Imagine walking through the park one night and being catapulted out of reality as you know it. Suddenly, you find yourself surrounded by mystical creatures called Animelfs. These creatures can transform themselves into any animal at will. Balthazar, Fagan and Maximillion also have the unique ability to travel anywhere, instantly, simply by stepping into a painting.
Nightsweats in Bigelow Hollow is a character driven YA fantasy. The story revolves around Kelly Black, a college-aged heroine who is one part Buffy Summers and one part Nancy Drew. Kelly is reluctantly yanked out of her hectic but infinitely normal life and into a Twilight Zone adventure she won’t soon forget. Her path leads to the unwelcome discovery of revelations about her family and herself that she might prefer remain hidden. Kelly learns that the Animelfs did not come upon her by accident. They sought her out because their destinies are, in fact, inextricably linked. Kelly must deal with the discovery of her mother’s deception about their true heritage and the startling insight into her father’s nefarious, secret endeavors.
 

 

 


 

Nightsweats is the first in a series of YA novels by M.J. Claire; it will soon be followed by ‘Bigelow Hollow Revisited’. The series speaks of courage and determination as Kelly discovers strengths and feelings she did not know she possessed. However, Kelly’s greatest challenge still lies ahead of her. She must confront her father about his inhumane treatment of countless innocent animals. The outcome of that confrontation has yet to be determined.

 

Serious review requests can be sent to elizabeth@marchbooks.com

 

 

Kelly and Fagan escape from the Black Institute

Kelly and Fagan escape from the Black Institute

March 6, 2009

Publishing in Today’s Tough Economy

Filed under: On Writing and Publishing — marchbooks @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , , ,

Is there ever a good time to start a venture of this magnitude? Entering the complex world of publishing is a daunting endeavor under the best of circumstance. These are certainly not the best circumstances. With businesses folding all around us, what besides temporary insanity would prompt such an undertaking?

The answer is simple. There has never been a greater need for a little dose of healthy escapism. What, other than a good book, can better transport us out of the sea of troubled waters that is now our reality? What else can give your mind the kind of vacation that it so desperately craves?

A good book may not cure your problems. It won’t make them go away. But, perhaps it will put us in a better frame of mind to come back and deal with them. And even if it doesn’t, it will still give us those blessed hours where we can focus on someone else’s problems, someone else’s life, someone else’s story – all for less than the price of a take-out pizza.

March Books is all about bringing good stories to eager readers. We believe in good, healthy escapism – wherever and whenever you can get it.

Read on.  Visit our website http://www.marchbooks.com

Kelly escapes from Black Institute

Kelly's escape from the Black Institute

Meet Jenn, Jason, Kyle, Kyra, Beth and Brad

Meet Jenn, Jason, Kyle, Kyra, Beth and Brad

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