Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Non-fiction authors understand the frustration of doing tons of research for a book and then having to whittle it down for publication, often leaving awesome facts and photos on the cutting room floor. This happened to me recently after finishing the book, We Bought A WWII Bomber. I kept thinking there must be something I can do with all this wonderful extraneous material.

Then it hit me. Do a photobook!

After the book came out new facts and photographs came to light. Where could I put all this new information so it wouldn't get lost? Where could I put it so it would be handy to share at presentations?

Do a photobook!

Folks kept asking me things like, where I got the idea for this story? Where I looked for information? How did I know where to look? Others were curious about my research and writing process.

It hit me again. Do a photobook!

There's nothing that says a photobook is just for photos. You can explain your writing process through the pages of a photobook.

And then there are photos taken at my Book Launch, signings, presentations and other events, not to mention awesome reviews and even a national award. Should they get filed away in a box or lost on my computer?

They could but why not put them in a photobook?

Photos not in book 
Ring made from Bomber Part
 to me at a book signing

Photos of bomber crash given to me
at a presentation after publication
What is a photo book? Traditionally, it's exactly as it sounds; a book full of photos. But it doesn't have to be. All photobook software offers options for backgrounds and borders. You can even put picture frames around the photos. Included is a texting tool to add photo captions. You can fill the page with words if you prefer. You choose the size, number of pages, cover design, hardback or paperback. The final outcome is determined by your pocketbook and your vision.

Multiple online companies provide the service for reasonable prices. Once listed on their website you will receive discount coupons for various shapes and sizes. You create the book online after downloading company software. Once you plug in your photos and text and push SEND, the book will arrive on your doorstep most often within 10 days.

Three of the most popular companies are, and The latter is the one I like best, probably because I've used it the most.

If you'd like to try a photobook from, I was recently sent a coupon code to pass on to my friends. (I do not work for nor will I benefit from sharing this offer.) From now until the end of 2016, you can receive 60% off on a photobook of your choice by plugging in the following:

 Code: PBLOVE2908TG14 Voucher expires 31st December 2016 

Check on the photobook website of your choice for additional coupons. There maybe a better offer especially around a holiday. 

I'm thrilled with the photobook I titled, The Story After The Story. In it I've collected all the things mentioned above. And yes, it was like rewriting the initial manuscript again, but it was worth it. Now the story of my journey to publication is not only preserved for my family, it's also a wonderful way for me to relive, all in one place, my fun-filled journey writing, publishing and promoting, We Bought A WWII Bomber: The Untold Story of A Michigan High School, a B-17 Bomber & The Blue Ridge Parkway.

One other tip: At every presentation, folks tell me the most amazing stories related to WWII. To preserve those stories and share them with readers, I've added a Stories Beyond The Book link to my website.

I'd love the hear how you've preserved your excess research and photos. Please share, or, if you have questions about my process, leave a comment and I'll do my best to find the answers if I don't know them off-hand. 

Sandra is always willing to answer questions you might have about her blogs or her books. She can be contacted at any of the following: 

Social Media Extraordinaire: Joan Y. Edwards

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

In an era when a writer's ability to get published is dependent upon not only having a great manuscript but also their presence on Social Media, one author stands head and shoulders above the rest. Joan Y. Edwards. In a mere seven years time she has managed to rack up over 340,000 reads on her blog and over 1400 followers on Twitter!

How did she do it? She did it by following the Cardinal Rule: HELP OTHERS.  

One needs only to click open her blog to find all sorts of helpful tidbits; inspirational thoughts, practical "how to" information for writers, book reviews and author interviews, each blog followed by impressive lists of resources. Click on a tab called SubPub to join a group of writers who commit to submitting a manuscript the third Friday of every month ; a Joan inspired idea. Additional tabs prompt organizational strategies leading writers through the writing process from preparing a manuscript to submission. Check out a yahoo group and Facebook page she created called, To Market To Market, a place for authors to share book release, book launch and sales information; a place to legitimately promote their work.  

While building her multi-faceted blog, Joan generously responded and continues to respond to every comment and question, often doing research to help or reply to a social media query she received. Her generosity is evident throughout the blog and Facebook pages she has created. 

When other wannabe authors sat back waiting for that first publication credit before starting a blog, Joan jumped in with both feet. She built her blog with only one book publishing credit to her name, a children's book that she self-published. And right now, as I create this tribute, her second book, an adult non-fiction called Joan's Elder Care Guide, is being released. Joan is living proof of what can be accomplished while building publication credits. 

So who is Joan Y. Edwards? What makes her tick? Why is she so generous with her time? I decided to find out. 

1. Through your blog you continue to inspire and support writers of all experiences with your positive views on life. Where does your effervescence for life and helping others come from?

At one time in my life, I was depressed and didn't want to go on living. My parish priest told me to go for counseling...that they had it for whatever I could pay. If I couldn't pay anything, it would be free. It helped me to have a different outlook on life and to realize that I was a worthwhile person. I asked the priest what I could do to repay God for helping to save me. He said, "Joan, just continue what you've been doing ever since I've known you. When someone comes into your path who needs help, you try to help them. Just continue doing that. Continue being you."

2. If I had had you in my classroom when you were a child, would I have been able to recognize that giving spirit in a young Joan Edwards?

When I was about 5 years old, I bought my Mother a compact, lipstick, and powder. Out of my five dollars, I had only 3 pennies left. I cried. Mother asked me what was wrong. I said, "I wanted you to have these things for your birthday. But now I don't have any money left."

That was my first feeling of not enough. What Mother told me, set things straight in my mind. She said, "Always save some for yourself when you're giving to someone else."

At a later time in my life, I realize that she could have meant, "Think in abundance." Once you think in abundance, you're not worried about not having enough. Your focus is saying I'll have enough. Say: “God will provide me with an abundance of all I need.” When you have an abundance, you have enough to meet your needs and leftovers to share with others.

My childhood friends and high school friends say I shared with them on a personal level. I was shy in class. We always invited children to play at our house. We shared peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, and bologna with them. One time we shared so much our cupboard went almost empty. We got in trouble for doing that. To me, things seem to be more fun when I share them with someone.

3. Dr. Phil and others in psychology say we as humans are defined by a few significant events in our past. Would you be willing to share one event in your life that shaped you into the Joan Edwards we know?

My first online experience shaped my courage for trying other online ideas. I taught Children's Liturgy at our church for nineteen years. After Mother broke her hip and wasn't able to get out much, I realized there might be children who couldn't get to church. These children might enjoy reading devotionals and working puzzles related to the Gospel stories in the Bible. I asked the pastor if I could put the devotionals and puzzles on the church's website. He said, "Yes."

Therefore, I did the devotionals and puzzles for the next Sunday and sent them to the man who took care of our church website. Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! It was a wonderful success. People from all over the United States and other parts of the world (England, Trinidad, Philippines, Scotland, Australia) wrote me. They asked if I could do them two weeks ahead. I kept producing and sending things faster than the man at our church could upload them to the church site.

This encouraged me to learn how to create a website of my own. I took an online course at Central Piedmont Community College. I created my own website in July 2002 - I sent those who requested a link when I uploaded new devotionals and puzzles. I even added skits. This early success encouraged me in other online endeavors. It led me to a writing contract for Liturgical Publications for 3 years writing devotionals and being an editor of creative things for children's liturgy.

4. Each blog post you do contains lists of resources. Where do you find the time to not only write interesting blogs but also compile the resources?

Once I've decided a topic on which to write, I use Google search to find out what others say about the subject. When I'm watching television with my husband, I copy and paste the links into Notes or send them in an email to myself. Then I copy and paste them into my draft blog post. I read through the links and decide which are the best ones to leave in the post. I delete the ones that don't seem helpful. Sometimes I write the post and then look up resources to backup my opinions.

5. How much time do you set aside for researching and writing your blog posts? What does your average schedule look like? Day? Week?

It takes me from three to four hours to write a post (including the search for helpful links). Sometimes, I work on three different posts during a month. I post the one that I finish first. The other two came close behind.

6. I see that you write adult books as well as children's. Which do you prefer and what should we expect from you in the future? 

I love telling and writing stories for children. I wrote and illustrated the picture book, Flip Flap Floodle in 2004. I'm working on illustrations for a chapter book, Larry, the Terrifying Turkey.
I've written two screenplays: one for teens and one for adults. I've written a young adult novel called Immigrant Heart. After I finish my illustrations for Larry, the Terrifying Turkey, I'll focus on getting Immigrant Heart ready to submit again. I enjoy writing for adults and children. I'll read over my children's books, young adult books, and screenplays. Then, I'll decide where my heart leads me. Blog writing for adults will continue! I love interacting with readers!

Flip Flap Floodle available Amazon:

I enjoy reading self-help books. While I was caring for Mother, there were no elder care books. Mother's situation kept changing. I discovered that if I left plans for her care, things went better. These plans were very detailed, much like lesson plans that I left for substitute teachers during the 35 years I taught elementary school. Caregivers who came kept telling me that my plans helped them. I thought writing a book with things I learned might help others caring for their elders. My focus was to help the caregiver take care of her needs as well as the needs of the elderly.

Guide, Paperback:

8. When I asked Joan about the intriguing cover of her new, Joan's Elder Care Guide book she sent me this quote from it's creator, talented artist Aidana WillowRaven: 

"This particular cover is a digital compilation sketch and painting using a couple photographs of Joan's mother, making it a personal tribute for her, as well as an encouragingly informative guide and handbook. I include a B/W sketch on the title page, too."  

9. Does Joan Edwards ever sleep?

I admit that if a project is on my mind, I work on it until it's finished, even into the wee hours of the morning. Other times I might work late because I'm in the creative zone...not realizing there is anything else going on. I'm completely in the story with the characters, or completely in the blog post. I also love to begin a book and keep reading until I finish it.

Thank you Joan for sharing this personal glimpse into what makes you tick. Thousands of  blog readers are grateful for your continued contributions. 

If you would like to share in the accolades and/or suggest future blog subjects for Joan to research, feel free to leave a comment or contact her through one of the links below.

Sandra Warren is the author of Arlie the Alligator, We Bought A WWII Bomber and other books for children and adults!

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Hi! I’m Sandra Warren, a writer with very eclectic writing tastes. I’ve been fortunate to have publications in multiple genres including children’s, gifted education, parenting, how to, poetry, journal, educational activity guides and biography as well as audio and video production. I'm a city gal recently transplanted to the mountains of NC where glorious mountain vistas inspire latest renderings.

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