Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: CreateSpace

#AuthorInterview ~ Angela Merlo


Angela Merlo - Author Angela Merlo is a featured writer on Wattpad. Her novel, Devil’s Lake, shot up into the top 10 in her genre within weeks of being featured, and recently she won 3rd place in @The_Night_Shift’s “Best First Scene” contestDevil's Lake

I’ve read Devil’s Lake and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants an engaging, lyrical, and astonishing experience.

Let’s get this interview started.

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Angela, you’ve been on Wattpad for about a year and a half now. Please tell us how you conceive of Wattpad and what motivated you to join?

I often refer to Wattpad as the “YouTube for books”. It’s large, popular, and free. Because it’s free, the quality of the content varies, and everyone’s on there for different reasons. The majority of users are readers, and not all writers are “serious writers” with big ambitions. But serious writers do come to the site, and even traditionally published authors have been posting their material on Wattpad in order to promote their work.

I joined for two basic reasons. First, I cared more about being read than making money.  The second reason was that I realized Wattpad’s method of syndicating a story would help me set deadlines for myself and encourage me to finish the novel.

Fascinating reasons to choose Wattpad, Angela.  Would you characterize yourself as what you called a “serious writer”?

Well, I’m dedicated to my novel. I’m a bit of a perfectionist with it; but, I grew up being told that the chances of getting published were like winning the lottery.  And the chances of turning fiction writing into a career were even harder.

There are a lot of people who are big on “You have to believe and shoot for your dreams”.  I view my writing as more of something I want to give back to the world. I don’t think any amount of money can compensate for the time it takes to write a good novel. For me, I have to believe that the value of the novel itself is worth my time.

For that reason, and the fact that I’ll be homeschooling my daughter next year, I don’t plan to write another.

Incredibly interesting that don’t you see your novel as something to make money with but as what you want to give the world Tell us a little about Devil’s Lake.

Devil’s Lake is a paranormal romance with some depth. The main character, Alison, struggles with some severe anxiety disorders. She is very disconnected from those around her and struggles to build meaningful connections. Then she meets Philip Dussault, an attractive young man from her past (or at least he claims to be. She has no memory of him…). She feels inexplicably drawn to him, like a moth to a flame, but the most alluring characteristic he seems to offer her is a cure for her anxiety. Throughout the story there is a question over what Philip is, just how far his powers go, and whether he can be trusted.

The story takes place around the real-life Devil’s Lake in Wisconsin, USA; and, in the course of development, I read a lot of myths surrounding the lake, mostly Ho-chunk legends.

I’ve just got to ask, Angela—why was this story so important for you to write?

Well, the story began as something I’d been writing back in high school, and it was one of those stories I’d think about from time to time. I knew Philip’s emotions affected the weather. I knew Alison had gone through some traumatic events when she was twelve.  But Philip had always been the one who struggled with his self-image.

To be honest, this theme occurred in a lot of my high school fiction. I always had some character who’s emotions caused dangerous things to happen. I’d never really noticed the pattern before. Once I did, I realized it was an analogy to my struggles with anxiety disorders and how I saw myself.  I started realizing I could parallel the paranormal elements with a real anxiety disorder, and the story provided plenty of opportunities.

It’s more autobiographical in theme rather than in actual events. It’s a story I’ve written most directly to my younger self. If I could dedicate it to someone, it would be to anyone struggling with anxiety and depression.

You’re currently preparing your book for release as a paperback through CreateSpace. Why did you choose this route to publication over others?

Devil’s Lake is already available in digital format, free, on Wattpad. It seems silly to me to sell another electronic format when my readers can already read it free on their phones and tablets.  I view the paperback more like a “collector’s edition”. If fans love the book enough maybe they’ll want to own a real copy rather than a virtual one. It’s also there for my friends and family who still aren’t big fans of e-books, but who’ve expressed interest in reading the book.

The other reason is that it gives me the opportunity to “release” the book at the real Devil’s Lake. I thought it’d be a fun idea to register the paperback with BookCrossing.com. This allows readers to update the location of the book as it gets shared. Plus, what a cool thing to read a book that’s physically started its journey at the location it’s about.

Fantastic idea, Angela! I did the same thing with my novel—bought ten copies, registered them with BookCrossing and left them laying out “in the wild”, for whoever might read them and pass them along

One last question—what do you think physical publication might do for your book?

Whenever I consider my approach to publishing this book, it’s all based around the idea that I might not sell a single one. I’m not making any decisions with the promise of sales.

Totally fascinating, Angela

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and share your story with my readers :-)

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Visit Angela at her blog.

And, just before you, perhaps, ask Angela a question or two in the Comments, check out this trailer for her book:

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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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NaNoWriMo Has Some GREAT Sponsor FREEBIES !!


National Novel Writing Month will start in two days—various writers with various motivations will write 50,000 words (usually not edited at all)—1666.67 words per day (for an 8 hour day, 208.33 words per hour…).

I’m not the type of writer that does something like this, though I’ve easily written 208+ words per hour many, many times.

It’s not that I couldn’t do NaNoWriMo, it’s that I don’t have sufficient motivation to be in a “contest”—still, I don’t think it’s a bad thing—great discipline for lots of folks—riotous fun for a few

And, the companies who’ve given $6,000 dollars or more to support NaNoWriMo are giving some super great freebies!

We can thank My Best Friend for letting us know about these 16 Fabulous Offers:

Two free paperback copies of a finished book for NaNoWriMo winners

CreateSpace is proud to support Wrimos. We invite you to explore easy and rewarding independent publishing, take advantage of free tools, or choose from our everyday low priced professional services. In addition, NaNoWriMo winners can get two free paperback copies of their finished book. Get started here.


Scrivener - Outline. Edit. Storyboard. Write.

50% off Scrivener for all NaNoWriMo winners, and 20% off for all participants

Scrivener is an award-winning word processor and project management tool for the Mac and Windows that has been enthusiastically adopted by best-selling novelists and novices alike. As a NaNoWriMo 2013 winner, you will be eligible for a 50% discount on Scrivener’s regular license on either the Mac or Windows platform—see the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details. For those who participated and didn’t make their 50,000 words, use the code NANOWRIMO for 20% off until January 1, 2014.


Write on Wattpad; Win $2,000.

Wattpad is a free writing and reading app that unlocks a global audience of more than 18 million readers. It is mobile and web-based, meaning that your writing is always with you, wherever and whenever you find inspiration and time to write. In honor of NaNoWriMo, Wattpad will be offering a $2,000 prize to one lucky NaNoWriMo winner who is also a Wattpad user. Find out how to enter.


Free Manuscript Review and Hardcover: Learn what kind of writer you are and who’s most likely to read your book

Lulu.com and The Book Genome Project invite all NaNoWriMo participants to receive a free personality profile of your book – a customized analysis of your manuscript, with insights into what makes your writing unique and who the best audience is for your book. When you’ve reached a good stopping point with your manuscript, you can privately and securely upload it to receive this free report through the end of 2013.

When you’re ready to print your book, you’ll receive a free copy of your First Edition Hardcover when you publish your book on Lulu.com.

Claim these exclusive WriMo offers now at www.letsgowrimos.com


Storyist Software

50% off Storyist for Mac for NaNoWriMo winners, 25% off just for participating!

Storyist is a powerful novel writing environment for Mac,  iPad, and iPhone. Storyist for Mac has some great self-publishing tools, too. Perfect for NaNoWriMo! Get 50% off Storyist for Mac if you win—see the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details. If you don’t make it to 50k this year, you can still get 25% off Storyist for Mac at the Storyist Store through December 15, 2013 using the coupon “NANOWRIMO13″. And be sure to download the special NaNoWriMo trial version which allows you to use Storyist for Mac for free for the month of November.


Swoon Reads is looking for teen romance manuscripts! Submit to be considered for a $15,000 publishing contract

Writers whose manuscripts are considered most Swoon-worthy by both the community and the publishing board will be given a standard Macmillan publishing contract with a $15,000 advance, and their book will be published in both print and e-book formats—including editing, design, marketing and sales. Submit your manuscript today!


Write your novel on Leanpub and share your royalties with NaNoWriMo

Leanpub is a free publishing service designed to let you publish your book while you’re writing it. Its powerful features let you publish your book early so you can get reader feedback, and let you publish new versions as often as you like with one click. You can set your own minimum and suggested prices and earn great royalties, or you can make your book free. And you can share a portion of any royalties you earn with NaNoWriMo, directly supporting the cause with your own writing.


Planners/Winners save 40%, all participants 20% off our normal $US40 price

We are once again proud to sponsor NaNoWriMo by offering special discounts on Aeon Timeline for both Mac and Windows users. Aeon Timeline is a timeline tool for creative thinking, designed specifically to help writers capture, create and explore complex ideas in an intuitive, attractive interface. Whether you are a planner or a pantser, Aeon Timeline can help you nail down those plot points before you race towards 50,000 words or edit your work afterwards. We will be posting special NaNoWriMo content throughout October and November, so check our NaNoWriMo page regularly for discount codes and support material.


Ten free eBooks for NaNoWriMo Winners!

Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is hard work, so we made the next step easy for you. Kobo Writing Life is a one-stop, do-it-yourself publishing platform helping authors reach millions of readers in over 190 countries. For all NaNoWriMo participants, we are delighted to offer a free eBook copy of Joanna Penn’s excellent title, How To Market A Book. Head over to kobo.com and enter the code NANOFREE at checkout (code expires 9/30/2014).

NaNoWriMo winners will get 10 free eBooks chosen by the Kobo Writing Life staff, ranging from books on writing and marketing your book, to our favorite new fiction picks. See the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details.


Get a free copy of “Twitter for Authors in Ten Minutes a Day”

In this exclusive guide for NaNoWriMo participants, BookBaby (the largest eBook distribution network for independent authors) outlines a strategy for you to effectively promote your book on Twitter without getting sucked into another social media black hole. After all, if you’re going to get to 50,000 words, you can’t spend all day tweeting!

Download your free copy of “Twitter for Authors”.


Join Book Country and find your first audience; 30% off publishing package and featured placement!

Book Country is a free online writing and publishing community dedicated to helping writers connect with each other to create their best books and discover the first audience for their work. Come workshop your manuscript with our supportive community and we’ll feature it on the site so everyone will know you’re a NaNoWriMo writer. Ready to publish? To celebrate 30 days of hard work, take 30% off Book Country’s Landmark publishing package through December 31, 2013 with code NANO. We’ll also feature all novels in our bookstore. Check back Nov. 15 for a special offer for NaNoWriMo winners!


50% off Spark: A Creative Anthology for winners and 20% off for all participants

Published quarterly in print and eBook formats, Spark: A Creative Anthology features the freshest writing from a range of talented writers, from established professionals to newly-emerging authors and poets.  We’re delighted to offer 20% off single volumes or one- and two-year subscriptions for all NaNoWriMo participants and 50% off for all winners. Use the coupon code NaNoWriMo13 to claim your 20% discount, and check the “Winner Goodies” page on December 5 for the winner discount.


Save 40% on Wide Distribution from FastPencil—and win a consultation with bestselling author Angela Sage Larsen!

FastPencil offers easy-to-use tools to help you write, edit, and format your book. And our Wide Distribution service will make your book available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other major outlets. For a limited time, you can save 40% on our Wide Distribution package—just use Promo Code NNWM40 when registering. Also, sign up for free to try using FastPencil and you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to win a free consultation with bestselling FastPencil Premiere author Angela Sage Larsen along with free Wide Distribution packages.


One-year all-access Golden Ticket to any LitFactor event; discounts from Authoright

Sign up to LitFactor and receive a special one-year all-access Golden Ticket to any LitFactor event, anywhere in the world. These events include seminars, pitching events, and meetings with literary agents. Sign up a friend to LitFactor and they will receive a Golden Ticket to any LitFactor event, anywhere in the world, too.

LitFactor helps authors submit to literary agents—we are a literary matchmaker, designed to unite unpublished authors with literary agents, online, to support the discovery of new writing talent. We also provide you with up to date news direct from agents such as what they are looking for right now as well as expert advice from agents and inside tips from published authors. And it’s all free. All Wrimos signing up with us will also qualify for exclusive advance invitations to reserve a place at LitFactor’s online events featuring panels of literary agents, experts and publishers. Once you have signed up, email us at nanowrimo@litfactor.com.

Also, all NaNoWriMo participants can have a free consultation and receive 10% off Authoright’s extensive list of services and 25% off any editing services.

Authoright helps authors self publish well. We are the only author agency with offices in both the UK and US, and since 2005 we have become the leading provider of book marketing services, working with authors and publishers alike. We also support and advise authors who are thinking about publishing. All NaNoWriMo participants qualify to receive 10% off Authoright’s extensive list of services and 25% off any editing services.


50% off Author Concierge Service membership for NaNoWriMo winners ($120 value), and 20% off for all participants.

Now that you have written a novel, BiblioCrunch can guide you through the process of publishing your book through our Author Concierge Service. We provide a personalized concierge service for authors, complete with phone and email contact, an opportunity for one-stop shopping for your entire project, and more. We’ll help you find quality, award-winning professionals you need to take your NaNoWriMo work to the next level. Need an editor for your novel or maybe a book cover? Post your project and watch the proposals pour in from our group of rated and reviewed editors, designers, proofreaders, and other quality publishing experts.

The best part is that it is free! So, try us free first on BiblioCrunch.com, and if you like what you see, consider upgrading to a premium membership. All winners get a free phone consultation about their novel. See the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details.


All NaNoWriMo writers are invited to submit their stories to compete for monthly cash awards!

We are thrilled to be a part of NaNoWriMo this year—and a proud sponsor! Our publishing platform helps aspiring and published authors get their stories discovered, polished, and promoted. Plus, all stories get to compete for our top 30 monthly cash awards. It’s easy to submit and we only ask for the first chapter. We invite writers of all genres, fiction or non-fiction, to check out JukePop Serials to learn more. So take your NaNoWriMo challenge to the next step and get your story discovered by submitting your story starting December 1, 2013.
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Promotion ~ All Authors Must Deal With It


I can’t recommend the way I promote my books. Sure, I’ll tell you what I’m doing but it’s probably not for you.

I’m self-published and I’m a maverick. Luckily, there are other ways to promote :-)

I can’t assume all my readers are aware they can search for past posts with the “Subject Index Links” section in the left-panel. You’ll find “publish”, “self-publish”, and “promotion” there; and, clicking on them will give you the posts I’ve done on those topics.

I do, however, want to bring a couple links to past posts here:

Traditional vs Self-Publishing ~ Is The Promotion/Marketing Different?

Too Much Advice Can Be Dangerous

More Book Promotion Tips . . .

Joel Friedlander, cutting-edge writer on all things publishing (who I’ve linked-to here often), recently wrote the introductory articles for a new service at CreateSpace.

First, I must say that CreateSpace is one way to self-publish but I recommend FastPencil

Also, I hate the term “marketing”, mostly because far too many marketers don’t know much about the importance of real, human relationships in the realm of creating an author’s audience.

All that said, do check-out all the articles on CreateSpace’s Marketing Central.
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