Saturday, March 30, 2013

New Arrival!!!

Months of hard work has finally paid off and today "The Best Basketball Player EVER" by Heather Payer-Smith is now available!! You can find the paperback edition on and the eBook edition from multiple eBook outlets, such as Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

According to the Midwest Book Review, "'The Best Basketball Player EVER' is an inspiring story to share with children ages 4-8, with special appeal and interest for mothers and sons...[It] is sure to strike a chord of recognition in its readership, and also will offer some good suggestions and ideas about how to rise above self doubt and fear of failure..."

Learn more about this book and our other titles at!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Illustrator Submission Guidelines

Lily Ruth Publishing is seeking illustrators for upcoming projects. We are looking for illustrators who can design supporting artwork for book manuscripts, as well as front/back cover illustrations and promotional material. Quick turn-around time is a must. Payment will be made on a per project basis as outlined in our illustrator contract. Pay will be discussed with candidates who are contacted by Lily Ruth Publishing for possible contract.

For any illustrators wishing to be considered by Lily Ruth Publishing's acquisitions department, please submit 3-5 sample illustrations along with contact information, links to your professional website and/or links to previous work to Please include sample illustrations in the body of the email. No attachments.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Character Development: Making Characters Real

As I sit in a bookstore coffee shop I carefully observe the hustle and bustle around me. From the middle-aged woman speaking just a little too loudly about her pending divorce to the young man who sits alone and can't seem to maintain eye contact with anyone in the room – I watch them all.

No, I'm not a serial killer or enemy of the state. I'm a writer researching characters.

One of the most effective ways to ensure your characters 'act' like real people is to always think of them as real people. Why do they feel/think/act the way they do? Would your sister/brother/best friend talk like that?

Keep in mind that characters typically change over the course of a story. They learn life lessons and new perspectives that cause them to grow and change. These characters are referred to as 'dynamic' characters.

Static characters, on the other hand, remain the same throughout the events of the story. They don't share in the changes of heart and mind that move other characters.

Of course, you could have characters who are moved by some events but not others, giving your story a mix of static and dynamic. Whatever qualities you chose to give each character, make sure it is consistent for the character. Consider their background. Culture and gender play great roles in making us who we are. So does financial status.

I find it helps to imagine my characters as new friends. I'm curious to learn about their past, their hopes and dreams, and their present reality. I make character profiles for each one - major player or not - to determine how each will move the story forward. That is the point to developing great characters; that they might bring personal experience and bias to each scene and intrigue the reader further.

When you remember the greatest stories ever read, it's the characters who come to mind. They were likable or vile, funny or dry, impressionable or 'set in their ways.' The characters involved are what make the events of a story important. Flat and uninteresting characters are an injustice to your story. Remember to always keep 'em real.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Overview of Self-publishing

This is a very short overview of self-publishing. I usually provide this list to authors who ask me what they should do if they want to publish their own title. While the overview might be an oversimplification of the tasks involved in starting up a publishing venture, the thing I stress most to authors in conversation is the need for further research into these topics and dedication to gaining attention for their book. 

1. Research book printing companies to compare prices and options if you are planning on keeping an inventory on hand. Otherwise, research print-on-demand (POD) companies.
  • Personally, I have printed inventory with Morris Publishing and BookMasters and have found good and bad qualities with each. Morris Publishing was easy to work with and shipped the books within three months (a very standard time frame in the book printing industry). However, they do not offer matte covers which I've found to be more durable, and they only offer white paper options. BookMasters was extremely difficult to work with, but produced beautiful matte covered books with cream colored pages. They were also able to shrink wrap each individual book for an extra charge.
  • Having kept inventories and researched POD companies, I believe POD has some distinct advantages. I especially liked the look of Createspace ( by They have an option to make your book available for free and they pay you royalties on copies sold.
2. Obtain an ISBN.
  • is the official distributor of ISBNs. If you purchase them anywhere else, they will already be listed with Bowker as belonging to someone other than you. There is no way to change who an ISBN belongs to.
  • offers ISBNs on their website ( in sets of 10, 100, and 1000, etc. You may also purchase a single ISBN.
  • You will also have the option to purchase bar codes through It is important to know how much your book will cost when purchasing your bar code, as this information is included on the bar code.
3. Obtain a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)
  • Use this website, to access the Preassigned Control Number Program of the Library of Congress. You will need a LCCN if you are planning to market your book to libraries and book dealers. Don't forget to send them a copy of your book once it's in print. This could lead to being kicked out of the PCN program.
4. Edit, edit, and edit your manuscript. Then find someone else who is willing to do the same – preferably someone who works with the written word on a daily basis. It is always a good idea to consider hiring a professional editor. It's money well spent if it helps you produce a book free of grammatical errors and typos.

5. Obtain an official copyright of your title once it has come through it's final round of edits.

6. Read “The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing” by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier for advice for every step of the publishing process, including many tips for marketing your title.

7. Design a cover and/or interior illustrations, or hire a graphic designer to do it for you.

8. Leave time between production and publication timelines to send out review copies to potential reviewers. Reviewers typically require three months lead time.

9. Research and pitch reputable book distributors such as Baker & Taylor or Ingram.

10. Be prepared to really market yourself. Develop a pitch for newspapers, magazines, tv, radio, etc. Look for opportunities to do book signings, and highlight why your book is relevant, different and needed by potential buyers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Review for "Graceling" by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore begins her novel with a dark heroine in a troubled setting. Katsa is her uncle's “lady killer.” Graced from childhood with an ability to kill, Katsa learns to have very few friends and keep herself numb of the emotions of others around her.

Thats is, until she meets Po, a Lienid prince who shows up at her uncle's castle looking for his kidnapped grandfather. As Katsa learns to trust and eventually love Po, she finds herself along the way. They team up to find his grandfather's abductor, traveling across the country side to Monsea where the king is hiding a deadly secret. Katsa and Po wind up trying to rescue King Leck's young daughter from his own hands.

My only complaint with this book is that I'm disappointed to have been built up and excited as I read through the plot, only to find a lack-luster ending.

I felt the last 60 pages were rushed. The defeat of the evil King Leck wasn't nearly as satisfying as it should have been. The ending just wasn't strong. The reader is swept along in the whirlwind of events that occur after the understated climax, and it seems the remaining surprises are wrapped up much too quickly.

I'm giving this book three stars for its fast-pace beginning and entertaining storyline, and hesitantly recommend it to readers of young adult fantasy, particularly those who like a love story woven into the fabric of fantasy.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Updates to Lily Ruth Publishing's Submission Guidelines

Lily Ruth Publishing is accepting submissions once again for children's fiction books ranging from beginner to young adult. All submissions should be directed to Please do not include attachments, as these won't be opened.

FOR MIDDLE GRADE AND YOUNG ADULT BOOKS: Lily Ruth Publishing is a publisher of children's fiction with an interest in growing our category selection. We will consider humor, action/adventure, fantasy, historical and romance provided it is wholesome and appropriate for children. Keep in mind that we won't accept any materials containing obscene language or themes.

All material submitted for consideration by Lily Ruth Publishing should be double-spaced. The publisher would prefer only the first three chapters and query letter or brief synopsis be sent to the email listed above. (See picture book guidelines below) Please remember to include you name, contact information, the title of your story and word count in the body of your email.

FOR CHILDREN'S PICTURE BOOKS: Submissions are now open for children's picture books intended for children ages 2-6 years old. For children's picture books please submit the complete manuscript along with your contact information and brief bio.

Illustrations are not necessary. Lily Ruth Publishing reserves the right to assign an illustrator to any manuscript as deemed appropriate. However, if you have illustrations for your manuscript, please feel free to submit 3-5 samples for consideration.

These guidelines can also be viewed at

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Why do I need an ISBN?

One of the greatest joys of writing a book is having the opportunity to share it with others. So much effort and creativity is put into a writer's work that the sharing of it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of the process.

This is one of the motivators that sends so many novelists in search of book printers and self-publishing companies. There they are inundated with vague information (at least, that's how it was in the past when I first started Lily Ruth Publishing) about ISBNs, barcodes, LCCN's, book layout, bleeds, etc.

So what are these items, and why are they important? I'll start with the ISBNs in this article and cover the other topics in later posts.

An ISBN is a 10 or 13-digit International Standard Book Number that identifies the publisher of the title. This number is assigned only to books published in the United States and can be purchased in blocks of 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000 and 100,000 numbers. It is also possible to purchase just one ISBN for a self-published book.

Beginning publishers often ask if it is necessary to purchase an ISBN for their book. The answer depends on what their publishing goals are. To publish a fiction or nonfiction title for the sake of sharing it with family members and close friends might not warrant an ISBN, as an ISBN useful and necessary in marketing.

I've heard it asked “Couldn't I put a barcode on my book and skip the ISBN?” While it is certainly possible to purchase a barcode without first owning an ISBN, keep in mind that most bookstores use the Bookland EAN barcode because it allows for the embedding of an ISBN.

The U.S. Bowker ISBN Agency states on their website that “the purpose of an ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.”

So if you wish to market and sell your title through bookstores and distributors (or even online, in most cases) you will definitely want to purchase an ISBN.

Finally, make sure you purchase your ISBN(s) through the official U.S. ISBN agency, Bowker. This is especially important because ISBNs purchased through Bowker are assigned to the purchaser and can't be reassigned.

There are websites out there that will try to sell you a 'used' ISBN. I encountered this back when I ran the first print run of “My Weird Family Series: My Vampire Cousin.” At the time, the Bowker website was less than user-friendly and I was having difficulty figuring out how to purchase a single ISBN from them. I ran across a handful of websites offering to sell a single ISBN and transfer ownership, and decided to call Bowker's customer support number before making a purchase. At that time I was told ISBN ownership could not be transferred and purchasing a single ISBN through another site or individual would result in them owning the unique identifier to my client's book.

Moral of the story? Always do your homework when it comes to book printing/publishing. There's a lot to learn and a lot of information to take in at once, but it's better to study it all up front so you can make decisions in the best interest of your book.