Dare to Read

August 17, 2012

An artist at work

Filed under: Self-Publishing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 10:36 am
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by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

After watching this beautiful and talented artist at work, you will not want to use a photostatted picture as the cover of your book ever again.

Why using a mediocre picture when you can use instead an original painting created exclusively for you by someone who has read your book and shares your vision?

But you don’t have to trust my words, see for yourselves.


Disclaimer: The beautiful, talented artist is my daughter.

She created this painting for the special edition of the Kairos Mechanism by Kate Midford.

June 4, 2012

Bécquer eterno en versión digital / Bécquer eterno now available as an e-book


by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

For the ENGLISH text, see below.

A mis seguidores de habla hispana:

Después de sobrevivir múltiples aventuras, la versión española de Bécquer eterno ya está a la venta como un e-book. Por ahora solamente en Amazon (Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/B%C3%A9cquer-eterno-Spanish-Edition-ebook/dp/B0088JOJLG, y Amazon.es, http://goo.gl/kJlSE, entre otras) pero pronto lo estará en Barnes and Noble y Smashwords.

Así lo podréis leer independientemente del tipo de lector que tengáis, o en vuestro ordenador si no tenéis lector digital.

Y si vivís en Sevilla y visitáis la Exposición Bécquer tan cerca… a través del arte, no os olvidéis de visitar el patio dónde encontrareis entre otros libros y poemas dedicados a su memoria, una copia de mi sencillo homenaje al genial poeta.

After many adventures, the Spanish version of Bécquer eterno is available as an e-book. So far you can purchase it at Amazon (Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/B%C3%A9cquer-eterno-Spanish-Edition-ebook/dp/B0088JOJLG, and Amazon.es, http://goo.gl/kJlSE, among others) and soon too at Barnes and Noble and Smashwords.

And if you live or plan to visit Sevilla before June 25, don’t forget to visit the exhibit, Bécquer tan cerca… a través del arte. There in the beautiful patio of the Fundación Valentín de Madariaga you can see a printed copy of Bécquer eterno, among other books and poems that remember the unforgettable genius of this most beloved poet.

May 25, 2012

The Publishing Process: An Analogy

Filed under: On Publishing,Self-Publishing — carmenferreiroesteban @ 6:02 am
Tags: , ,


by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Picture this:

Authors and readers are on opposite banks of a river.

The authors hold their manuscripts and need to get them across the water to the readers.

Until recently the only way for the authors to deliver their manuscript to their readers was by crossing the bridge the Agents/Publishing houses provided.

As trolls did in Fairy Tales, agents and publishers controlled access to the bridge.

In Fairy Tales, travelers had to had the right answer or the right token to be granted permission to cross to the other side.

In the publishing business, queries and connections were the tokens that would grant or deny access to the bridge.

In the old times, the bridge was narrow and trolls denied most travelers the right of way.

Frustrated, many attempted to cross on their own. But the river was wide and deep, and the current swift and most didn’t know how to swim, and drowned.

But then something happened, somebody designed a boat and travelers starting using this new device to get to the other side. And some failed, but others made it and sold their wares successfully to the customers there.

With time boats became more sophisticated and easy to use until finally an engine was added to them creating a motorboat everybody could use. Now more and more travelers, even those who had access to the bridge, avoided it altogether and used a motorboat to get to the farther bank.

And the trolls saw this and realized that, instead of wasting their time questioning all the travelers arriving at the bridge, they could do a better business by helping those that had already proved their worth by crossing the river on their own.

As you have probably realized by now, the boats in the publishing world are the Print on Demand services and the power boat the e-book.

E-books have made it so easy to get your manuscript to readers, publishing houses are no longer necessary.

Or are they?

Following the analogy, the readers’ bank is crowded now.

So the problem for the author is not longer to woe the editor/agent but to woe the reader.

But that is another story.

May 3, 2012

My Road to Publication : Bécquer eternal



by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban



As I mentioned back in February (https://carmenferreiroesteban.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/Bécquer-eternal-and-astraea-press/), Astraea Press agreed to publish my paranormal novel, BÉCQUER ETERNAL, both in English and Spanish (BÉCQUER ETERNO).

Unfortunately my relationship with Astraea Press came to an end in March when, after two rounds of editing, my line editor discovered that one of my characters, Federico, was homosexual and, I was informed, Astraea Press does not publish books with homosexual characters.

They asked me, politely, to change this.

But how could I? Federico was a real person (Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936)), a Spanish poet who, as I mention in my story, was killed during the first days of the Spanish Civil War, because, among other reasons, he was homosexual. To change or not to mention his sexual orientation felt like a betrayal to him and would also destroy the plot of my story.

So, with regret, I told them I couldn’t do it.

Although, soon, I found another publisher interested in the English version of BÉCQUER ETERNAL, they do not publish titles in Spanish.

Too late now, to query Spanish Houses, I decided to publish BÉCQUER ETERNO myself.

Right now, a Spanish POD publisher is printing the galleys.

If things go as planned, a printed copy of BÉCQUER ETERNO, my humble homage to Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, the most romantic of the Spanish poets, and Federico Garcia Lorca, IMHO, the greatest Spanish poet of the XX century will be at the Exhibit Bécquer tan cerca… A través del arte in Sevilla from May 25 to June 24.

How I wish I could be there!

March 15, 2012

My Road to Publication : Terry Spear


Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban




Today, I’m pleased to have, here with us at Dare to Read, Terry Spear.

Terry is the award-winning author of the urban fantasy and medieval historical romantic suspense novel, HEART OF THE WOLF, named in Publishers Weekly’s BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR, NOR Reader Choice for BEST PARANORMAL ROMANCE.

I asked Terry about her new YA novel The Dark Fae and she kindly answered my questions.
Here is what he had to say.

Hi Terry,

Welcome to Dare to Read and congratulations on your new novel The Dark Fae. Tell us, first of all: What made you want to write The Dark Fae?

A. I love both historical fantasy and urban fantasy and wanted to write a book about the mischievous fae and how they impact on the human world.

Q. What genre is it?

Teen historical and contemporary fantasy.

Q. Who designed your cover (which, BTW, I think is very intriguing).

The cover was available at one of the photo stock companies, and I used PhotoShop to add the title and byline.

Q. How would you describe your cover?

Dark, mysterious, fae-like girl on the cover. Each of the covers has a similar theme.

Q. In which formats is your book available?

A. e-book and paperback

Q. Why did you choose to self-publish?

An agent told me I ought to self-publish my vampire stories since they were such a glut on the market. That led me to publishing some of my YA that I hadn’t sold, and a couple that I had sold and had received the rights back on.

The Dark Fae was my 14th book to upload, had been turned down by two agents, and I never sent it out again. I didn’t think anything would come of it. But it began selling a 100 copies a day and has remained on the best seller list at Amazon and does well at B&N, so the book turned into a series.

Q. What are you working on right now?

I’m on deadline for a wolf and jaguar shifter series for Sourcebooks, but I am also writing another medieval Highland story because that series is doing so well, and am working on The Dragon Fae, book 5 in the series!

Q. Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

Keep writing, editing and submitting. If all else fails, try self-publishing!

Blurb for The Dark Fae:

Ever wonder why you trip over your own feet when there’s nothing there to trip you up? Why you spill a drink when there’s no reason for the mishap? Why you can’t find something that you just set down and there’s no one else to blame but yourself? But maybe there is.

Alicia’s always known she’s different–that she can recognize the mischievous fae when they show up to “play” with the humans. Only now she’s faced with one highly annoyed dark fae and she’s certain he knows the truth about her. She can see him, which means her life is forfeit.

Add to that, his sister arrives, who wants to play, too. And their mother, the queen of the Denkar, will want Alicia’s head, once she learns what Alicia can do.

And all because Alicia was attempting to rescue her friend, Cassie, on their beach excursion at South Padre Island, from the wicked fae. Now, Alicia has really gone and done it–and she’s thinking she should have let the fae have his fun. Her friend’s broken heart would be a lot easier to deal with, than Alicia losing her life.

But it is too late for regrets. As soon as she threw the soda at the dark fae’s chest, she had declared war on the fae. And he is happy to take up the challenge.


Terry Spear is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves and has an MBA from Monmouth University and a Bachelors in Business and Distinguished Military Graduate of West Texas A & M. She also creates award-winning teddy bears, Wilde & Woolly Bears, to include personalized bears designed to commemorate authors’ books. When she’s not writing or making bears, she’s teaching online writing courses or working full time at a library in the heart of Texas. You can visit her at her website: www.terryspear.com

February 9, 2012

My Road To Publication: Robin Helm






On the other end of the spectrum from last week blogger, Sabrina Beluris, today we have as guest, Robin Helm, an indie author who tells us candidly why she chose to self publish and explains how to do so.

As different as the road to publication of these two authors was, they both share a common thread in their stories as both their series have angels as protagonists.

The twist in Mrs. Helm’s story? The human girl’s name is Elizabeth Bennet. Her guardian angel’s? Xander/Darcy.

Below, Mrs. Helm tells us how her story became a book.

I taught high school English for twenty-five years. A few years ago, I noticed that my students were obsessed with the Twilight Saga, so I read it. The hero was a beautiful, intelligent, talented, self-sacrificing, natural bad guy trying his best to be good. The story was every girl’s dream scenario.

My story line would flip that. My protagonist would be the ultimate good guy, a guardian angel, gifted by God with emotions. He would fight his growing love for his charge, seeking instead what he thought was best for her.

I wanted to ensure that my work would actually be read, so I chose to write a Pride and Prejudice fan fiction and post it as a WIP (work in progress). Because it was my first effort, I chose to write about what was familiar. I set my story in a small southern town, similar to the one in which I live. I graduated from a religious college, so I used Scripture to introduce my chapters and develop the spiritual warfare angle of the books.  The time period matched my own life, so I knew about the technology, clothing styles, and music.

My genre is religious fantasy fiction (similar to Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness, or Twilight with a religious angle), and I am an Indie author. I have published the first two books of The Guardian Trilogy, Guardian and SoulFire, through CreateSpace, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook. My books are available in both paperback and e-books, and are doing very well. SoulFire was a “Hot New Release” rated in the top three of its genre for the entire first month of its publication. (One month is the period of eligibility for that list). Both books are on the top rated list for the genre, and both have been consistently in the top 100 in sales of that genre on Amazon. Self-publication through these avenues is free, and the author receives 70% of the royalties. I did spend $40 to buy the pro-plan through CreateSpace, because it was a smart marketing decision.

CreateSpace provides a free ISBN, publishing template, and choice of cover templates. Phil Thompson, a friend of mine who is a professional photographer, provided the cover photography for free. Six friends of mine who are also writers served as “betas” or editors, and one of them did the final edits after the books were formatted. I in turn beta for them. My books were published, available, and in the hands of readers within six weeks of completion. I began writing Guardian in March, 2011, finished writing it in June, and published it at the end of August. As soon as I finished writing Guardian, I began writing SoulFire, which I finished in November and published at the end of December. I am now writing the third book in the trilogy, Legacy, and I hope to publish it by the end of April.

The photographer, seeing the continued success of the first two books, did a photo shoot for the third cover and helped me with design. That cover is already completed. All of my covers have spiritual significance; for instance, the cover of Guardian shows light breaking through dark clouds, symbolic of good overcoming evil.

I chose this route on the advice of several of my friends who are published by traditional publishing houses. They wait up to eighteen months to have their work published and no longer retain the rights to their work. They also receive about 30% of their royalties, and they have to do their own publicity, just as I do. I don’t see a down side to self-publishing in my case, though if I could be guaranteed help with marketing and promotion, I would consider signing with a traditional publisher.

Robin Helm has published the first two volumes of The Guardian Trilogy, Guardian and SoulFire, and is presently writing Legacy, the third and final volume, posting as a work in progress on four different forums. She has also published two Regency short stories. She and her husband have two grown daughters and a Yorkie-Poo named Tobey.

February 3, 2012

The Fairy Tale Trap Giveaway Winner

Filed under: Self-Publishing,YA — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:22 pm
Tags: , ,

And the winner of The Fairy Tale Trap giveaway is:


Congratulations Katey.

I know you’ll like this imaginative and fun retake of my favorite fairy tale as much as I did!

January 26, 2012

My Road to Publication and Giveaway

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today, we have with us Emily Casey the author of the YA fantasy The Fairy Tale Trap, a delightful and imaginative retale of my favorite Fairy Tale, Beauty and the Beast I highly recommend.

Emily has generously agreed to give a free copy of The Fairy Tale Trap to one lucky commenter. So, don’t be shy and leave your comments below.

Hello, Carmen! Thanks for letting me visit your blog. And hello to all the book lovers out there! I’m really excited to announce the release of my book The Fairy Tale Trap

Hello Emily! You’re very welcome. And talking about your book, why don’t you tell us

Q. Why did you write this book?

A. I wrote it because… well… you’ll think I’m crazy, but the honest truth is that my main character (Ivy Thorn) made me do it. Ivy is a fictional character that I created to fill some creative space. I was between books and wasn’t ready to start my next one, so I created this character that hopped from fairy tale to fairy tale, wreaking havoc wherever she went. Ivy became such a strong character, that I felt like she needed at least a whole book, maybe even a series.

Q. Who is the expected audience? (List 3 books similar to yours)

A. She’s around fifteen years old and even though she’s running around with princesses and fairies, she has a voice similar to Rachel Hawkins’ character Sophie from the Hex Hall series (spunky and smart). Gail Carson Levine also comes to mind, since she likes to put strong heroines into fairy tales with a twist. And of course, anyone who ever enjoyed a fairy tale would be a match for The Fairy Tale Trap.

Q. In which formats is it available?

A. At the moment, The Fairy Tale Trap is only in ebook format. Since I’m self-published, all the costs come out of my own pocket, so a print version hasn’t been a possibility. I’m currently trying to make that happen, though.

Q. Why did you choose to self-publish?

A. I chose to self-publish for two reasons: 1) I couldn’t put Ivy in a drawer. I realize she’s a fictional character, but whenever I tried to move on and write something new, the stories always fell flat because I was thinking about Ivy’s next adventure. 2) I couldn’t stop reading about self-publishing. Eventually, I realized I was putting a lot of time into researching it, so I prayed about it. I felt strongly that I should at least move in this direction. I was never promised success if I self-published, but I feel that I’m meant to be on this path.

Q. One of the perks of self-publishing your book is that you get to choose your own cover. This is also a challenge for those of us not artistically oriented. How did it work for you? Did you design your own cover or hire somebody to do it.

A. The cover for The Fairy Tale Trap was a collaborative effort. A friend of mine (Ryan) is really good at Photoshop. He chose the photo of the girl running and put it into the woods and worked on blending and lighting. I added the text, extra color, and sparkles. I love the cover. I’ve already made the cover for the second book in the series, based on its design. I did this one all on my own, but I credit Ryan’s creative mind for laying the groundwork.

So you have already finished the second book in this series. Congratulations. I hope you publish it soon so we can have you again at Dare to Read to talk about it.

Q. Before we end this interview, is there any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

A. Self-publishing is a hot topic and a lot of people are considering it. My advice is to take a step. Don’t sink a lot of money into it, but go ahead and act on it. You may find that the stress of marketing and coordinating release dates isn’t for you. If that’s the case, what have you lost? A little time. But if you turn back to traditional publishing, you’ll understand a lot more about the process and you may be a bigger asset to your future publisher.

Emily Casey is a writer from Tallahassee who chases two crazy kids around the house all day before collapsing in front of her computer. Her debut young adult fantasy, THE FAIRY TALE TRAP is on Amazon and Smashwords. If you want a taste of the book first, you can watch the book trailer.

You’ll find Emily on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Thank you so much Emily for being with us and best of luck with your book.

January 19, 2012

My Road to Publication

Interview by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Today we have with us my friend and fellow author Chris Bauer.

I met Chris at the Bucks Country Writers Workshop when Chris was writing his wonderful and scary, and wonderfully scary novel SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD: THE DEVIL’S BIBLE. So I was privileged to have a first peek into his story, while accessing his expertise as beta reader for both TWO MOON PRINCESS and its sequel THE KING IN THE STONE.

I confess I am no fan of horror stories (life is scary enough as is) but I loved his protagonist and was enthralled by his strong and distinctive voice.

I highly recommend you try this book, it’s above all a well written and compassionate look into a human soul

Why did you write this book?

SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD: THE DEVIL’S BIBLE started as an attempt to exorcise some demons re an apparent cluster of mentally and physically impaired children in my old northeast Philadelphia neighborhood in the 1960s. It ended up with a more epic sweep when my research turned up a religious artifact known as the Devil’s Bible, a 13th century manuscript with a demonic legend. The massive book became a spoil of more than one European war, and is currently on display in the Royal Library of Sweden.

What genre is it?

Urban fantasy/horror. Maybe horror fits its description best, considering it was an EPIC Awards finalist as best for that genre for 2010. Alas, it took home the silver as runner-up. It’s been blurbed by multiple Bram Stoker award winner and NYT bestselling author Jonathan Maberry and Scott Nicholson, a majorly independent horror/thriller writer who is currently breaking some records in self-pubbed offerings. (Wow. This sounds like boasting. Sorry.)

Who is the expected audience?

Folks who liked Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist and to some extent The Da Vinci Code might like this. I’ve been asked if it’s a religious book. Nah. There’s a religious bend to it but the subject matter dictated this bend, and it’s not preachy in the least. Anyone who enjoys a few twists, a forty-year love story and some apocalyptic mayhem would be the intended audience.

Who designed your cover?

Deena Fisher, publisher, Drollerie Press. Drollerie Press is kaput, sorry to say, because of Deena’s debilitating health issues. (Hi, Deena. Hope you’re feeling better.)

How does the cover reflect your story?

It depicts the misty, eerie quiet of an early morning in the small town of Three Bridges, PA, just before tragedy strikes. People have asked me about the black bird. He’s just hanging out, waiting for something bad to happen, and it does.

In which formats is your book available? Ebook, hardcover, paperback?

Ebook if you want me to earn anything on it. A small number of trade paperbacks are still available on Amazon from the original publisher but I doubt I’ll ever see those royalties. Plus the ebook has some revisions vs. the original. Here are the links: amzn.to/tV3K0g (Amazon); bit.ly/smashwords_scars (Smashwords).

Why did you choose to self-publish?

Aforementioned sudden closure of small press Drollerie Press, the original publisher. Closed its doors in October 2011 and returned all rights to me plus threw in the cover art. Yes, it was kind of ugly the way it went down (internet silence from the publisher as she mended from a devastating illness while the press tanked), but she tried to do more right than wrong for her authors. I could have either a) held off as I shopped my new book, hoping I could entice a prospective agent and/or publisher into re-launching SCARS as part of a two-book deal or b) re-launched it myself. Extremely unlikely a publisher will be interested in it as a second book, considering its only modest success when originally published. And let’s face it, Amazon and Smashwords now have some very attractive royalty programs. And don’t forget that much of a book’s success depends on the author’s own marketing, which I have to do anyway. So why not try to direct that chunk of income into my own pocket, you dig?

What is your marketing plan?

Hit up as many reviewers and bloggers as I can find. Giveaways, guest blog posts, reviews. Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, other social media. So far I’ve had a number of takers, all breadcrumbs for this new bend in the changing publishing environment. Here’s where the breadcrumbs lead, in case you missed the earlier links: amzn.to/tV3K0g (Amazon); bit.ly/smashwords_scars (Smashwords).

Any advice you want to share with our readers who are considering self-publishing?

It looks very attractive, but it’s deceiving. Authors who are doing well by self-publishing their work brought their platforms and readership with them. J.A. Konrath and Scott Nicholson are examples. Then, of course, there’s Amanda Hocking, whose success has been freakish. My advice: Have your work critiqued (a must): peers are good, professional is better. Read your work aloud! Attempt to take the normal road to publishing first. Find an agent who can sell your book/series to a traditional publisher and establish a readership before entertaining self-publication. I’m following my own advice, am currently pitching a new novel to agents. But going the traditional route is easier said than done. Rejection sucks. Do it anyway.

C.G. Bauer writes horror, crime, mystery, mainstream and anything he damn well pleases, most of it really good. In addition to his novel SCARS ON THE FACE OF GOD his short stories have appeared in Shroud Magazine (“Zombie Chimps From Mars,” Spring 2011 print edition) and Thuglit, and his “You’re A Moron” short was podcasted by Well Told Tales (tale #60) with more than 94,000 free audio downloads/plays to date. “Sink,” a short-short, will be released late January 2012 in the new anthology 100 HORRORS. He’ll be releasing a collection of short stories later this year.

November 11, 2011

The Book Cover as Visual Blurb

Filed under: On Publishing,Self-Publishing,Two Moon Princess — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:00 pm
Tags: , ,


by Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban




Shelli who runs a wonderful blog, Market my Words, has been blogging for the last few months about her road to self-publish her YA novel Untraceable.

Today she revealed her book cover in her blog post (http://faeriality.blogspot.com/2011/11/untraceable-cover-reveal-finally.html), and as I read her explanations of how she came to choose this particular shot, I realized what she was trying to do with her cover was to give us a visual blurb of her story.

Yes, I know, it sounds obvious. But it wasn’t for me before, because I am not a visual person, and I find very difficult to summarize my story in a picture.

I didn’t have to do this with my first published book Two Moon Princess. Tanglewood Press did it for me. In fact I had no saying in the matter. This was good (I didn’t have to worry about it) and bad, because the cover didn’t fit my expectations. How could it really, when I didn’t know what I wanted in the first place?

But now that I am older and wiser, as I consider self-publishing my second book, The King in the Stone, I have given a lot of thought to its cover, and although I will hire an artist to do the real design, I do have a clear image in my mind of what I want.

And this is, I think, how it should be for who knows better than the author the particular mood she wants to elicit in the reader with her story?