Call Marcia Bennett a late bloomer if you will, but we prefer to think of her as a perennial.
For Bennett, 82, writing wasn’t a lifelong calling, although she’s proven she has an aptitude for it. The Outskirts Press author was a 40-something, “non-traditional” college student when she stumbled upon a latent talent for prose. Required to write a book for a children’s literature class, she learned she enjoyed the process–and great things came out of it.
Bennett has penned five books since then and is riding a recent wave of interest in her newest work, the children’s book “Umbrella Town,” about a girl who bucks her village’s black-umbrella penchant for bright colors.
First, a newspaper near her home town of Spring, Texas, profiled her. That attention lead a local magazine to offer Bennett a commission to write two articles, slated to run in July. An interview with ABC affiliate KTRK about “Umbrella Town” soon followed and a lengthier profile is in the works.
And to top off the whole publicity storm, Bennett’s retirement facility planned a launch party for her with a live reading of “Umbrella Town”–complete with a slideshow of the illustrations–and a white umbrella painting activity.
When Bennett’s not writing, she’s creating in other ways, with jewelry art and other creative pursuits.
Summary: Little Katarina sees beyond the bleak parade of black umbrellas in rainy Umbrella Town. Her decision to transform her own umbrella into one full of color brings scorn from the townspeople, but Katarina’s determination overcomes their prejudice and brings surprising changes to the little town. Umbrella Town won first prize in the Texas Katherine Anne Porter Literary Contest.
Are you planning to self-publish a book? Let’s talk…
On January 29, 2011, self-publishing Outskirts Press author, Jerry Snodgrass, held a book signing at Hastings Super Bookstore in Killeen, Texas. At the event, he was able to sell and promote all three of his published titles: Forgotten Honor, Lone Star Destiny, and Moments to Remember 1957.
Gerald “Jerry” Snodgrass grew up in the small college town of Indianola, Iowa, in the fifties. After high school, he entered the military, fulfilling his childhood dreams. A Vietnam veteran, he is the author of Frontier Justice and Forgotten Honor. His love and fond memories of growing up in the Midwest, and of being a graduate of the high school class of 1957, prompted him to write Moments To Remember 1957, a fictional memoir of the senior class of Indianola High School. Jerry currently resides in Killeen, Texas, with his wife Elizabeth, and their little dog, Stormy.
Recently, Jerry’s writing career was jump-started, and he was invited to publish a book with Strategic Book Publishing. Jerry was kind enough to stop by to answer a few questions about his keys to success with his fellow self-publishing authors:
OP: What is your author platform? How did you build it?
JS: “Internet. Email. Posters. Flyers. Marketing visits to local book stores. Word of mouth by readers. Pursu[ing] book signings, even in grocery stores. My first book signing was in a grocery store.”
OP: We saw on Strategic Book Publishing’s website that any authors they “pick up” must have a minimum of 1,000 book sales in the past year. How did you accomplish this?
JS: “They took a chance on me and I split the publishing 50-50.”
OP: If you could start your self-publishing journey all over, what would you do differently?
JS: “I would do more editing. Edit, proof, edit!!”
OP: If you could pass one piece of advice to other self-publishing authors, what would it be?
JS: “Follow the instructions your publishing marketing people tell you. The author sells the books. Get out and market your books. Get posters, flyers, and business cards made. Present yourself and your book to local book stores. Attempt to arrange book signings.”
OP: What are your plans for the future (as far as publishing is concerned)?
JS: “I write daily, just trying to come up with the right subject. I have started screenwriting. I am positive that Outskirts Press is the right fit for me. I hope my next book will be published by Outskirts Press.”
Summary: From the steamy jungles of Vietnam, to the ancient city of Istanbul, Blake Tanner is a man you want on your side. Follow him as he travels from his home in Colorado to New York City, Atlanta, London, Istanbul, Naples, Athens, and Barcelona in search of clues and answers connected to his friend’s death.
Summary: It’s the summer of 1956, and how teenagers lived and loved and played, when James Dean was the coolest and rock ‘n’ roll was the only music worth listening to, comes to life in Moments to Remember 1957. In a small town in the Midwest, at Indian Falls High School, we meet the greaser and the misfit, the farm boy and the girl next door, and the dreams they thought were “made in the shade.” Here’s a slice of American life – both good times and bad – that will have you digging up your old 45s, sipping on some cherry Coke floats, and wondering what happened to all the friendships that were going to last forever.
Summary: It is 1878, as young John Wesley Steel leaves home for the wild Texas Frontier. It is a deadly time in the state’s fledgling history as Indian, Mexican, and white men fight for their beliefs. Wes works as a cowboy and then begins the life of a Texas Ranger, he soon falls in love and marries. But as Steel’s family grows, so do the dangers, and now he must fight to save his dear ones and the land he loves.
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