Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year from Andrea Buginsky

A new year is upon us, and that makes it the perfect time to evaluate ourselves and determine just what we want for ourselves in the coming year. Now’s the perfect time to look at the changes you want to make in your life, whether it’s your personal life or your professional life.

If you’re looking to make changes in your personal life, such as living a healthier lifestyle, doing something that will make you happier, changing a bad habit, or starting a project that will make you feel better about yourself, now’s the best time to begin planning for it. If you’re looking to lose weight, or just start living a healthier lifestyle, begin to eat healthier and exercise more. If you’re trying to break a bad habit, do it in small steps that are easy to reach. If you’re looking to start a project that will make you feel good about yourself, check out local volunteer organizations in your neighborhood.

If you’re looking to make changes in your professional life, start by determining what kind of change. Do you want to find a better job? Apply for a promotion at your current job? Work less hours? Once you figure out the best course of action for you, you can begin to determine how to go about doing it.

If you’re having trouble determining the best course to take to create the new you for the New Year, ask a friend for help. Having somebody to help coach you and give you a little push and some encouragement can go a long way to you achieving what you want in 2012. Happy New Year!

Andrea Buginsky is the author of “The Chosen,” a Young Adult fantasy about a young dwarf who learns her true calling in life and sets off on a quest with a group of warriors to save their home world, Phantasma.

Halli is a shy, young dwarf who has no idea of her true calling.  When the evil Prince Gastle sets out to detroy the world of Phantasma, Queen Laurali of the Elves comes to tell Halli she’s a Holy Paladin with the power to heal, and will join The Chosen, a group of brave warriors being sent to defeat the evil beast and save Phantasma.  Will Halli be accepted by her group, and be able to keep them alive through their adventures?  Will the evil Prince Gastle be defeated, freeing Phantasma from his destruction?  Only time will tell.

Available from Solstice Publishing and for the Amazon Kindle

You can find Andrea:

On her website, Andi’s Realm

On Twitter: @andreabuginsky

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lessons learned - musings of a first time published author

I'm departing from my usual routine of posting author interviews to share with you some of what I've learned so far about publishing. I've got one book published. A coming of age story titled Invisible. Invisible only took four months to write. I was very lucky. I wrote it while on a break from writing my paranormal thriller, Dark Angel, which I am still working on (big sigh).

After finishing Invisible, I tried for a time to find an agent and though I came close, was ultimately unsuccessful. Lesson number one, it is extremely hard to land an agent. My advice to new authors is to skip the agent. Go directly to an indie publisher.

Invisible was rejected by only one indie publisher before finding a home. Now here comes lesson number two - don't expect to make a lot of money. I can hear hearts breaking from here, but the sooner you realize this, the better. Having that first book published by an actual publisher (indie or not) will bring you credibility and that is something you cannot buy. 

Lesson number three - writing a book and having it published costs money. Not for the actual publication of the book. Never pay a publisher to publish your book. Editing, cover art, etc. should all be free. But be prepared to dish out the dollars for promotion - mailing your book to reviewers, blog tours, and in some limited instances review companies.

After having a published novel under my belt, I will try for that elusive agent in the hopes of finding a large publisher for my next novel. The bigger houses will get your book into bookstores (more credibility). This is something an indie publisher cannot do. And the reason is because most indies are print on demand publishers (POD) which means that when a book is ordered, it is printed. Lower print runs mean higher prices for the book and lower profit margins for the stores. So, large chain stores will not stock your book. Also, PODs cannot be returned. This is another reason a bookstore will not stock your book.

Last lesson - once your novel is released, the real work begins. Be prepared to spend countless hours on promotion. There will be no time to write and you will miss that. You will be sick of talking about yourself and your novel - promotion and marketing sucks! But it is a necessary evil. Publishers won't do this for you. It is entirely up to you to sell your book. The lesson here - don't be shy. Do what you have to do to get your name out there and to build a platform. You're going to need it for the next book.

Well, that's it for now. I hope my words of wisdom have helped and not discouraged. I'd love to hear from other published authors. Please leave a comment and let me know if your experiences in publishing are similar to mine.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Interview with author, Vanessa Grillone

Today, I'm pleased to host author, Vanessa Grillone on my blog. Vanessa has written a book comprised of poetry and prose that started as her journal and before she knew it, became a book that she hopes will inspire and help other young women coming of age.

A bit about My Pen, My Voice -
Every girl has secrets. Every girl experiences things she is afraid to talk about. And every girl has her own outlet. For Vanessa Grillone, that outlet is writing. My Pen, My Voice artfully records the trials and errors one girl endures in order to become an independent and strong young woman. Through a mixture of prose and poetry, Grillone digs into the heart of the often difficult teenage years, when emotions are high, changes are fast, and life is all-consuming. Grillone's entries encompass the turbulent range of teenage angst. From struggling to understand her need to go her own way to trying to come to terms with her frequent mood swings, her poems reveals with painful intimacy the confusion and heartbreak of growing up. Her vivid language and heartfelt words convey not only her honesty, but her fragility. With a keen eye for the human heart, My Pen, My Voice offers compelling compositions. Journey with Grillone on her path to self-discovery, one that ultimately offers insight into the female mind during its most fragile years.  

Tell us something about yourself aside from writing.

When I’m not writing I am usually working, completing school assignments or spending time with my family and friends. My family (including my puppy, Waffles) and friends are very important to me and I love being able to spend time with them. I have just caught the “travel bug” so to speak and hope to spend a lot of time traveling within the next few years. I’m also a huge fan of food, coffee, and downtown Toronto so whenever I can go downtown for dinner I’m in absolute heaven.

What inspired you to write your first book?

To be completely honest while I was writing this book, I had no idea that I would actually publish it. I’ve always loved to write and knew that one day I wanted to be a published author. This particular book started out as a diary of sorts, a way for me to get out my feelings. It wasn’t until I turned twenty that I decided I wanted it to be my first book published.

Tell us about your novel and where readers can purchase a copy.

My Pen, My Voice is a mixture of poetry and prose written in a diary/blog type of format. You can find the full synopsis on my publishers website (, on, or on

How much of the marketing do you do?

I find the marketing aspect of book publishing to be the toughest part. I self-published My Pen, My Voice last February and my means of marketing has been limited to word-of-mouth, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites. When you self-publish there is a part of your package that includes some marketing but most of the marketing has been done by my family and myself. I have a great support system and a huge family, which is sometimes the greatest marketing tool you could have. I also have the support of my current bosses at Caruso Gourmet Pizza, they have been kind enough to let me advertise my book there.

Anything you’ve found to be particularly helpful in marketing your book?

The book signing I was able to have at Chapters Woodbridge was a great experience and it brought in new people to check out my book. It was a very big part of my marketing plan when the book was first published. However, it seems like the Internet is your best friend when it comes to marketing nowadays.

Are your books available as eBooks? If so what was your experience of that process?

Yes, My Pen, My Voice is available as an eBook but I didn’t have much to do in that part of the publishing. Many people that know me decided to buy the print version of the book so I am afraid I don’t even know how the eBook turned out.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

My intention for this book is for young women to realise that they aren’t alone, that we all go through the same things. I want them to see how important it is to find an outlet to deal with the many tough situations you find yourself in when you’re growing up. I want this book to give them hope in knowing that just because things seem horrible in the moment, doesn’t mean that it will last forever.  I also hope that parents will read this book and try to understand what their daughters are feeling and how certain things affect them.

Where can readers find you?

I am also a contributing blogger on but my first post has not been put up yet.

Thank you very much, Vanessa for allowing me to interview you. I wish you all the success in the world :)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

INVISIBLE is 99 cents

Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day
she does just that...
For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.
Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.
Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…
Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.
A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.

For a short time, the ebook edition of Invisible, by yours truly, is available for just 99 cents.  The promotion is on for the duration of my upcoming blog tour with Pump Up Your Book - December 5th to the 16th. Hope to see you on one of my many blog stops.