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Day Five Of The Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway Presents: Mary Andonian

Mary Andonian was one of the first writers I met after I moved to Oregon almost seven years ago. It’s my great pleasure to help her celebrate her first book publication. Please join me in cheering for Mary Andonian…

Mary Andonian is the author of the teen book, Bitsy’s Labyrinth. She is the former Agents and Editors Coordinator for the Willamette Writers conference, one of the largest writing events in North America. She currently serves on the board of Willamette Writers. When she’s not busy transporting her kids to soccer, theater, and hip hop, Mary is busy working on books two and three of the Bitsy series. For more information about Mary, please visit www.maryandonian.com.

Book Description:

It’s Summer Solstice and Bitsy Johnson feels utterly abandoned by her mom. She can’t wait to see her dad, even though he’s asked Bitsy to keep his visit from California a secret from his new wife. Bitsy’s mom, a recovering alcoholic, has dug up a piece of their lavender farm and replaced it with a labyrinth in order to better commune with God. Now Bitsy has to explain to her friends why her mom has uprooted perfectly good farmland for what looks like a swirling paver patio. Bitsy’s best friend Gina has her back so she’s cool with the labyrinth. Josie thinks it’s lame. Dylan is clueless. And then there’s Nick. Bitsy and Nick are buddies, but lately she’s felt, well, something more. When tragedy strikes Bitsy’s world, the unexpected happens, and much of it has to do with Bitsy’s labyrinth.

1. How has writing (either just the act of writing or writing this book or both) impacted your self-confidence?

Writing clarifies my life’s meaning, and my self confidence improves as I gain a better understanding.

2. What are three words that describe your creative book-writing process?

Three Rs: Ruminate, Rewrite, Resilience

3. What good has your book created in the world?

Bitsy’s Labyrinth was created to inspire young girls and women to take pause and find peace, not because of their circumstances, but despite them.

• • •

Thanks for participating, Mary!

Mary self-published her book with pride and panache. It is my belief that droves of writers will be self-publishing in both print and e-book forms in the years to come as the stigma to do so lessens.

What do you think about self-publishing, would you ever do it? Have you considered it? More importantly have you checked out the wide range of options available these days?

Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books). Please read the complete rules at least once!

Mary is allowed to answer too, but not until tomorrow, after her winner is drawn, because she can’t win her own books.

Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway! Please spread the word.

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  • Heidi Smith Luedtke May 5, 2011, 10:59 am

    I’ve read some on the debate about benefits of self-publishing vs traditional publishing and about whether traditional publishing houses will go under as the world becomes more digital. I want to write a book down the road, and when the time is right, I will thoroughly research the options. I’m not against self-publishing, and I wonder if it might be the method that’s most in-line with my own desire to make the work accessible to as many people as possible and (also) to make money doing it. Part of me is anxious about the idea of self-publishing but I know there are many wise mama writers out there who can give me insight and advice.

  • TaniaDakka May 5, 2011, 2:44 pm

    I am currently working on my first novel, so I have merely been researching the options. In the beginning, the prospect of self-publishing was exciting. However, the idea of doing it myself isn’t validation for me. If I can sell my book, then perhaps it means that I haven’t wasted my time; that I do have some shred of capability in this field. Secondly, I don’t have the funds or the wherewithal to market and such. I would prefer to hand that part over to a house that could fit my book with better cover art than I can and reach more people than I. That being said, in Jane’s interview with The Writer Mama, she mentioned that only the “paper sniffers” will maintain the traditional route and that all is moving electronic, that may be so. Thus, I think a viable option is to try to go the traditional route with the first, but then after I have gotten my feet wet, I could give self-publishing a try. In the meantime, I hope to continue to research and learn more about the whole game.

    I am a paper sniffer:)

  • Ann May 5, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Too much is changing too fast for me to start researching yet . .B.but there do seem to be definite advantages to the self- publishing route – no rejections / no years of waiting for replies from agents and publishers / far greater percentage of the profits stay with the author. Also from what I read , even if a publisher takes it, most of the publicity and marketing still rests on the author’s shoulders – so right now I can’t see too many advantages to the traditional route.

  • Carol J. Alexander May 5, 2011, 4:09 pm

    I definitely see myself self-publishing. I guess because I’ve already put out two e-booklets that I sell on my blog. I also would like to do more of them as a way to help my readers (good useful information offered inexpensively) and generate some cash for myself. However, long term, I do have a book idea that I would like to publish traditionally. For some reason, possibly my age and my educational background, I seek the validation that traditional publishing puts on my work.

  • Diane J. May 5, 2011, 4:32 pm

    Oh my. I have dreams of being published traditionally. I won’t rule out self-publishing, but it scares me.

    I have read many self-published books and have noticed a lack of editing in most. Misspellings, omitted words (she walked car and got in – seriously, this was a line), and plot holes, or sketchy research leave me cringing. However, I have read a few books traditionally published and encountered the same errors. I guess it depends on the day. Some days I’m all for it and others, not so much.

  • Pattie May 5, 2011, 5:50 pm

    I’m really torn on this issue, to be honest. I have read several self-published books that are just not any good, or have way too many errors in them. I have also seen many people who self-publish who are obnoxious in their marketing—but then again, some traditionally-published writers are also obnoxious when it comes to marketing! If I had a manuscript that was ready to be submitted, and I had submitted everywhere I knew and still no takers, AND I knew that book needed to be published, then I would self-publish. But not unless I’d exhausted all other avenues.

  • Cara Holman May 5, 2011, 6:00 pm

    You know, I don’t have a problem at all with self-publishing. In fact two of my published works appear in POD anthologies; one was published by Booklocker and the other by Lulu. It seems to me the perfect solution for publishing for a work that is intended for perhaps a more limited distribution. Let’s face it. With the glut of books on the market, and more appearing in print and electronic versions every day, not every book is going to be a New York Times bestseller. I think POD is a very cost effective solution for creating books in a timely manner, that fill a certain niche. I’m not sure who coined the term “vanity publishing”; I don’t see any more vanity in wanting to be self-published than in waiting for one of the bigger publishing houses to discover you.

  • Lara May 5, 2011, 7:20 pm

    Would I ever self-publish? Yep. I already have. And I’m so glad that self-publishing is beginning to gain some credence (I’m tired of hiding my illegitimate baby). I’m not sure I’ll self-publish a bound book again any time soon since it’s a big gamble. If I did I’d more than likely go the POD route. On the other hand, digital versions are very appealing to me right now. I just released my original book in e-book format and I’m looking forward to putting together other valuable content in digital format as a way to build my platform and promote my message (once I clarify all what that is).

    Kudos to Mary on Bitsy’s Labyrinth. Looks like a good book (and I have a near-teen daughter who would love to read it).

  • Kathleen Plucker May 5, 2011, 8:09 pm

    Yes, I have considered self-publishing, but I have not pursued it seriously (even though AuthorHouse is based here in my own town!) I tend to write very short pieces (for anthologies, magazines), so what I have written to date does not lend itself well to a collection or book. Maybe one day down the road. Were I ready to publish today a book today, I might prefer to have the weight of a bigger publisher behind me (for promotion, especially).

  • MaribethPGraham May 5, 2011, 8:26 pm

    It seems that self publishing success has been on the rise lately. I commend any author who has taken this route and found happiness. When I began writing, I knew getting published could take a long time so I prepared myself for the wait and the rejections. For me, the golden ticket is having someone else believe enough in my writing to want to publish it. I have one mg novel complete another ya almost complete and several in the works. I refuse to self publish (call it pride) but I won’t consider myself published until I get the call or the offer to become published. Writing for me, is more than seeing my name on the cover of a book. I need to know I went through the proper avenues and made someone else believe in my work enough to want the rest of the world to as well.

  • Tebbertrevalee May 5, 2011, 9:10 pm

    Since I’ve mentioned my own Mama Writer in every other post, why stop now? She is no doubt rolling in her grave as I’m self-publishing my first book.

    I would have presented my manuscript proudly to anyone, I would have made the rounds, I would have walked the walk of wooing a publisher except…

    There’s the matter of sweet, sweet time. I’m a six-year cancer survivor and a daily bipolar survivor, the mental illness that robbed me of much of my life. It took far longer to write “View from the Rollercoaster” than it would have if I were healthy and I didn’t want to take the time to beg for publication. So it should be out by June 15 and I’m moving on. I think she’d understand if she were in my shoes.

  • Mary Drew May 5, 2011, 10:13 pm

    I think self publishing is in its infancy, as far as becoming a trusted way to publish books. Many people in the industry still don’t trust that self published books will have the quality that the traditional publishing process attempts to ensure for the public. A traditionally published book has been through many hands, has been revised by many experienced people, and has passed the criteria imposed by knowledgeable agents, editors, and publishers. Self published books do not go through such an exacting process, and so poor quality can slip through.
    All that being said, things are changing so rapidly, and e-publishing has become a huge wild card. So I would not rule out self publishing at some point. Anything is possible, given the big changes happening almost daily in the publishing industry.

  • Anonymous May 5, 2011, 10:41 pm

    As I am writing my first novel, I have already looked at different self-publishing and traditional publishing methods. Self-publishing is definitely a great option, and it doesn’t come with the anxiety associated with wondering whether a particular publisher will pick up your manuscript or not. The only downside to self-publishing, is that you need to market your piece more. This is also required if you publish in a traditional route, too, but even more so if you self-publish. One note of caution: there are a lot of scams in the world of self-publishing. A few years back, a fellow mama writer went the self-publishing route and paid extra for “special editing” services. Needless to say, the book was not published the way she would have liked, and there were a lot of errors throughout.

  • Beth K. Vogt May 5, 2011, 11:31 pm

    I’ve never considered self-publishing, although I’ve a number of writing buddies who have self-pubbed or who are considering it. So far I’ve had success with traditional publishing and I’m content to continue pursuing publication that way.
    It’s been interesting to see how the view of self-publishing has changed in the last 5-10 years. And I’m still grappling with all the changes in publishing overall–wondering when things will settle down. Or if they ever will.

  • Suelick May 6, 2011, 12:58 am

    I have self-published, and I am planning to do it again. I think it’s good that we writers can take control of our careers by publishing how and when we choose. I published one book with a POD company, and I won’t do that again–I spent more than I earned, and I didn’t like the resulting book. I have also published a book with a local printer, and that was great. I am about to release an e-book, and then publish it in paperback. I would caution that nobody should do this without having it professionally edited. Self-publishing has a bad reputation because some folks publish bad books. But not us, right?

  • Mar Junge May 6, 2011, 3:19 am

    Self-publishing is the future. Maribeth said she refused to self publish because of pride. But with printing costs skyrocketing as hardcopy book sales plummet, fewer publishers will risk picking up a new author. Plus sometimes if you build up a following, your self-published book could land you a contract. With an estimated nine million ebooks in print, and e-readers like Kindles and iPads so popular, the distinction between the two processes is getting slimmer. I edited “Radical Accounting,” a self-published book by Madeline Bailey, and have helped her use the book to market her QuickBooks Consulting practice. Since very few authors “get rich” off their books anyway, I’ll definitely self-publish when I’m ready. Besides, if you’re a good writer, why let traditional publishing houses determine your future?

  • Terra Moore May 6, 2011, 4:39 am

    I have looked into the pros and cons of self-publishing, and if I ever get to the point of being ready to take that big step, I believe that I would go the route of self-publishing. It would be a challenging endeavor, but the amount of people that could be reached this way would be more than worth it. I think that while it is a scary thing to do, if you have patience and are resilient and persistent, it can pay off in the end.

  • Judy May 6, 2011, 3:11 pm

    I’m late commenting, so don’t count me. Plus, I have a copy of Bitsy’s Labyrinth; it is WONDERFUL!

  • Mary Andonian May 6, 2011, 6:01 pm

    Mary Andonian’s Comment: Thanks to everyone who posted yesterday! I decided to self-publish because my book was good enough to attract a literary agent and a film producer. Although it didn’t sell traditionally (in either book or movie form), I had enough outside validation to tell me to “go for it.” Bitsy’s Labyrinth has since received a good review from Publishers Weekly so that’s helped my self-confidence as well! If I may offer any advice it would be to have your manuscript critiqued by an outside source (such as a critique group – not your family), professionally edited, and validated by a literary agent before you consider self publication.

  • Mary Andonian May 6, 2011, 6:03 pm

    Thanks, Judy! I am so happy you liked it. :0)