Tag Archives: author

An Idea Shared is an Idea Improved

A few years ago, I decided to make Prevail Press a different kind of publisher. I was excited to be able to provide the kind of help I was looking for myself as an author. Typically, I would embark on such a venture on my own, but this time I was prompted to try a different path.

Integrity had to be the watchword, so I gathered several people;

  • Tom and Debi Walter: Tom is a successful businessman, and he and Debi run a marriage improvement ministry.
  • Bob and Bonnie Anderson: An engineer and humor blogger, as well as an author shopping a book around to traditional publishers and agents.
  • Bill and Colleen Hufford: A retired businessman and both are civic-minded.

I laid out my plan; open Prevail Press to authors traditional publishers let down. To become a new kind of publisher that is neither traditional, vanity, or self-publishing, but had aspects of each.

Then I asked them to be my Board of Directors. While I am confident of my integrity, I knew having independent parties with whom I would be accountable and transparent could only help. I looked to them for equal parts integrity, encouragement, and business sense. Color me thrilled when they agreed even though it didn’t include compensation.

We’ve met several times, and wonderful ideas came out of each meeting. And so, Prevail Press began and a few authors with great books found us. Yet I did encounter problems.

Social Media is hard on start-ups. My Facebook posts describing Prevail Press were re-colored as just another vanity press. Not true on several counts. Vanity Press accepts any book, we do not. VP makes their money on authors, we do not. VP depends on order-minimums, we do not. It became discouraging, I’ll admit it.

I’m not a big fan of getting email spam, so I don’t want to create an email list (eventually, when we have enough authors to call for regular, fresh content, we’ll revisit that decision). Promotion is mostly networking authors who help each other promote; the more authors, the wider the reach. Tom suggested a weekly blog, which you’re reading right now.

We met again last Sunday. I had some new promotion ideas (you’ll see them soon) and shared some issues. It was for the sake of transparency, but when they all began piping in, “I can handle that.” “Give me that issue,” “I have that one…”  I am not an emotional guy, and I think I hid it well, but tears burned my eyes. There is such STRENGTH in groups! They cared enough to lift things off my shoulders!

We also spitballed a new operating model, making a good deal even better.

Writers who contact us will get a FREE evaluation of their manuscript. No reader’s fee, just personal feedback about what works and what doesn’t. My evaluation team will access the suitability of your book for Prevail Press. Even if not selected, you’ll get feedback for improvement or affirmation of quality.

If we all agree you’re a match for Prevail Press, we’ll move forward. For the low price of $100, you’ll get:

See the source image
Never go it alone!

  • An ISBN for each version of your book, print and Kindle.
  • An Author’s Page on Prevail Press
  • A professional book design
  • A round of editing
  • A single book cover design
  • If greater editing or a different cover design is necessary or desired, an introduction to partner professionals who offer reasonable rates.
  • All publishing details handled
  • An introduction to the other Prevail Press authors
  • Consultation on building a platform

That’s a $2000+ value for just $100. Why? Because no one should go it alone. To really serve authors struggling to find a publisher, cost must be low.

Thereafter, author keeps 90% of royalties, Prevail Press a mere 10%.  Traditional publishers reverse that ratio.

Some authors are diehard self-publishers. That’s fine and more power to them. If you’re not well-versed in self-publishing, if you don’t want to go it alone, go to www.prevailpress.com and click Submission Guidelines.

Let’s take this adventure together!

Dear Writer, do you know how important you are?

If you author a humor blog, you may think you “just make people laugh,” or if you write novels, you may think you just provide “an escape,” and non-fiction writers may think they just inform, and all other writers may think a “just” is the sum of their writing. It isn’t so.

Every time a reader reads, she is exercising her imagination. In Chapter 6 of my book Creativity Wears Boots, I discuss what imagination is and its role in life. To summarize, Imagination is the ability to visualize what isn’t there. This is a vital skill, and like anything, it requires regular exercise to get stronger.

Helping the planet dream…

Imagination is necessary to ideation, product design, teachers, parents, entrepreneurs, construction workers, marketers, financial planners, assemblers, sales, and really almost every role on the planet. And those few that don’t require imagination will be improved by it.

As a writer, you demand people visualize your content. They’ll base that visualization on their own experience, and it won’t be much like yours, but unlike most other art forms, your canvas IS imagination.

Have you ever noticed how “inspire” and “imagine” are very similar? Inspiration is the dawning of something new in the mind. Anything can kick it off, and most of the time, it is a wellspring of imagination, that thing you strengthen.

You make people stronger every time they read your work.

You make the planet better every time someone reads your work.

You are not “just” anything; you are a vital cog in the machinery of society, culture, business, and family.

Can you feel how awesome you are and the gift you’ve been given?

What’s in a Name? EVERYTHING!

Name recognition is a big deal. It’s a cornerstone of your platform. You have to get it See the source imageright.

Way back in my freelancing days, I had a decent platform. Enter my name in a Google search and there I was on the first page. Not the top, but somewhere in the middle, behind the Real Estate guy and Genetics CEO, but ahead of the musician. I turned down more business than I accepted.

Then Parks and Recreation came out, and suddenly “Rob Swanson” Google-corrected to “Ron Swanson.” Business dried up, I got another job and… but that’s another crazy story, and this one is about names.

“Robert” and it’s derivatives, “Rob” which means to steal, and “Bob” which means to float… badly… is one of the most popular names in America. “Swanson” to my surprise, is also way up there, and a common name can be death on Amazon for a writer. I could use my old stage name, but armed with that, some things may turn up on Google search better left hidden.

That’s why I use my full formal name for my books: Robert Alexander Swanson, a mouthful, but nonetheless almost unique. That was my only real option if I wanted personal credit for my books and screenplays. Married women have an alternative. Can you guess what it is from the choice of a couple of my authors?

Bonnie Manning Anderson

Debi Gray Walter

It isn’t my intent to publish only people with common names, but Rob, Debi, Bonnie, Steve, Cindy…. them’s the breaks.

Bonnie and Debi used their maiden names, yet there are other options for us plain Janes and Johns. Look to literature:

S.E. Hinton– Initials used to obscure the fact that the Outsiders writer was a woman. Far too cagey for male publishers to figure out.

Robert B. Parker – Author of the Spenser series. I thought about going with my middle initial, but I like my name block with all three names of various lengths being the same width.

Thorson D. – I’ll be honest and admit I’m not sure if he used his last name initial or got his first initial out of order. He wrote short stories back when the world was black and white.

Bill Quiverlance – A pen name I used in my ego-driven college days. Bill = William, Quiver = Shake, and Lance = Spear, for the sharp-witted, William Shakespeare (I said it was ego-driven).

Aron Osborne – Okay, this is Aron’s real name, but because his parents can’t spell, he’s got a unique name with a missing “n” and an extra “e.” Check out his book, So Many Mountains, Which Ones to Climb. You, on the other hand, can purposely misspell your name. I could be Ron Swanson with an instant platform… but, naw.

Is this a problem you have? Or are you one with a name so unique no one can spell it (Aloysius – how you get Al You Wish Us out of that, I don’t know)? How will you/have you handle(d) it?