Annette's blog

You want me to do what with my words? Smash ’em!

Since I’ve started this journey, I’ve had a lot of technology catching-up to do. I started this blog. I started two professional Facebook pages. I set up a Twitter account. I downloaded and learned to use IrfanView. I opened a Linkedin Account. (Note: my daughters deserve nearly all of the credit for these successes).

But apparently, I have a long, long way to go. More is expected. As Tirgearr Publishing and I walk our way to the debut date of my first novel, Celebration House, on August 1st, I need to know more.

This email from my publisher:

“The (promotional) postcards would be a good place to offer a small discount for people who buy the book through Smashwords. We can set it up where anyone using a code can get 10% off the price of the book when they buy the book on Smashwords. SW has all the e-reader formats so it’s one stop shopping. The code is limited time only, so they’d want to get home and download ASAP.”

What in the world is Smashwords?

Turns out, Smashwords is the world’s leading e-book publishing platform for indie authors and independent presses. According to their website, “…we make it fast, free and easy for any author or publisher, anywhere in the world, to publish and distribute e-books to the major retailers.”

Okay. That sounds good. How does it work?

The author, or in my case, Tirgearr Publishing, uploads my book to Smashwords, who then makes my book available to Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Sony, Baker & Taylor, and the Diesel eBook store.

The company was started in 2008 by a husband and wife team, Mark and Lesleyann Coker. The couple wrote Boob Tube, a satirical novel about the soap-opera industry. Despite representation by a highly respected literary agent, they were unable to find a publisher willing to gamble on first-time authors. Too busy publishing the words of Kim Kardashian, I guess. Anyway, Mark and Lesleyann Coker started Smashwords. In 2008, they offered 140 books; in 2010, they published more than 20,000.

The company prides itself on being good to authors. They return 85% of the net proceeds to the books’ creators. According to their website, they will pay authors millions this year.

Wow! Okay. Let’s smash some words.

Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Next: creating sexual tension. Huh?

Annette's blog

Introducing myself

Day 2 of the western Washington SCBWI conference started differently than the first day. I’m so glad.

After the first day of my conference, I was convinced I wouldn’t attend again. This is the fourth year I’ve taken part in this writing conference, and I found myself in the same place: sitting in the audience, an unpublished author, wondering when or if I’ll ever get an offer to publish anything I’ve written.

Well, that’s not completely accurate; there are a few differences in 2013. This is the first year I’ve come as a married woman; wearing a wedding band still surprises me. And I am sort of a published author: my e-book, Celebration House, will be published in August.

On the first day of the conference, when I looked around at the sea of faces, I felt alone. I felt like this meeting was just a get-together for writers in the western Washington SCBWI chapter. It was like being invited to a party and everyone is celebrating around you but you. To introduce myself seemed an impossible task. Heck, I’m an introvert. I’ll conveniently forget to mention the two writers who invited me to join them for lunch at their table.

So on day 2, I’m headed for the closest Starbucks and upon getting there, I realized it was closed. As I walked away, wondering why on earth any Starbucks is closed until 9 a.m. on Sundays, I saw two women walking toward me. I told them the store was closed, and they expressed the same disbelief I had. There’s another Starbucks that way, they said, and they changed direction. I thought, heck, I’ll just follow them.

While waiting in line at the other Starbucks, I boldly introduced myself. Then I followed these two women, Shannon Grogan and Tera Stivers, back to the conference. I told them I was stalking them and asked if I could sit at their table for the morning keynote speech. The three of us introduced ourselves, and before I know it, we were exchanging business cards. Through these two women, I made more connections, including two writers from Spokane. Then the group grew when my first two stalkees, er, new acquaintances, introduced me to Deb and Linda from Canada. Before long, I had given out six of my brand-new business cards. Six! So, I took a picture of us, my first “party pic.”

Shannon told me she would follow me on Twitter. I thought that was so cool. Shout-out to my daughter, Bailey, who set up my Twitter account, or as I call it, my Tweeter account. (I do it now just to annoy her).

Throughout the day, I kept running into this same group of women. Over lunch, I learned of Query Tracker, an online referral service for writers who want to find an agent or publisher that might be interested in their work. At the end of the conference, I approached Tera and Shannon and thanked them for including me. I was hustled out to the lobby to take another party pic!

I attended the conference for the sole purpose of finding an agent to represent my middle-grade novel. I can’t help but think I found a lot more.

Hey, Tera and Shannon: See you next year!

Annette's blog

Party Pic!

Party Pic!

As mentioned in my earlier blog, here is a party pic from the SCBWI conference this weekend, but not quite the one I had planned. Instead of new friends, here are two of my biggest supporters. My daughter, Megan, (left), spent Friday night designing my business cards and reviewing etiquette for handing them out. She spent Saturday night building my professional Facebook page ( My daughter, Bailey, fulfilled the duties of stylist, planning my wardrobe for the conference.