Ghostwriter Publication introduces the eChap

Posted in Writing on October 5, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

The eChap is our brand name for the electronic or digital chapbook.  Although most of the writers and avid readers lurking the dark, musty hallways of the internet are familiar with chapbooks, I’ve recently been asked exactly what one was. A chapbook is a small book containing poems, ballads, stories or religious tracts. They’ve been around since the 16th century. In the 1800’s they became popular as “Dime Novels” in the US and “Penny Dreadfuls” in the UK. Ghostwriter Publications (GWP) is one of the few publishing houses that still produces a large array of  hardcopy versions of the Penny Dreadful in the UK.

I love short stories. I love to read them, and I love to write them. I have a variety of short story collections, anthologies and chapbooks in my personal library. When I don’t have the time to commit to an 80,000+ word novel, it’s nice to be able to read two- to ten-thousand words and reach a satisfying ending.  Now, I can even read them on my phone.

GWP is releasing a series of digital chapbooks. Their authors range from the previously unknown to some very established names.

Our eChaps will allow the reader to test the waters from a large pool of new talent or to get a quick fix on some of their favorite authors.

Check back for details about each new and exciting eChap release.

 

 

Interview with John O’Dowd

Posted in Writing on October 4, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

Today’s Blog Guest is John O’Dowd, the author of “Mahko’s Knife” and “Pale Blue Jesus.” Both novels are available as eBooks on Amazon and Smashwords and in Trade Paperback on Amazon and at Create Space.

 Let’s jump in:

SJP:  John, please describe both books in one sentence.

“Can it be a Faulkneresque sentence?”

SJP: What’s that?

“A sentence that goes on for two pages.”

SJP: Let’s try a simple sentence.

“OK, ‘Mahko’s Knife’: Drug lord, Juan Martinez, kidnaps the teenage son of Mahko Anaya only to discover that he has made a very bad mistake.”

SJP: See, that wasn’t that hard.

“If you say so. ‘Pale Blue Jesus’: Marshal Geoff Walker discovers the crucified body of an old man and soon figures out that it may not be a crime as he understands the law.”

SJP: That sounds strange.

“It is. My mother refuses to read it. She was so disturbed by several of the scenes that she was worried that she might go to hell.”

SJP: Seriously?

“Seriously. She said that she is too old to be taking chances. This is not a book written for 82-year old women. It contains disturbing images and a disturbing plot line. I’m proud of it. But then again, I’m disturbed.”

SJP: Where did you get the ideas for your books?

“The idea for ‘Pale Blue Jesus’ came to me at an art exhibit of Southwestern and Penitente religious art.”

SJP: Penitente?

“I don’t want to give away too much, but it is a religious order in the Southwest that practices a very basic form of Catholicism. They believe in suffering as Jesus did as a form of payment for sins. It results in whipping and, with some of the more extreme practitioners, crucifixion.”

SJP: And you got this idea at an art exhibit?

“If I tell any more it will spoil the story. ‘Mahko’s Knife’ was inspired by any number of people I knew in the army. I know that you were in the army, so it doesn’t surprise you that we have some very talented and dangerous people wearing the uniform.”

SJP: No, it doesn’t surprise me. You’ve published both books through the eBook system, becoming known as Indie Publishing, why?

“Scott Nicholson, author of dozens of horror novels including ‘The Red Church,’ ‘They Hunger’ and ‘Drummer Boy’ convinced me that it was the future of the publishing industry. As an Indie Publisher you have full control of what you publish and when. Along with that comes full responsibility if what you publish is crap. You can publish for free and while that sounds great, you don’t have a publishing house promoting your book or getting your name out into the public. All of that is on you.”

SJP: Why do you think Indie Publishing is the future?

“The simple answer is dollars and cents. Book stores are closing, paper is expensive and there is an explosion of eBook readers. On Kindles, Sony Readers, Nooks and any number of other products you can download hundreds of books and carry a library with you. Schools are going to eBook readers and the industry is changing faster than they can put out the readers. I can write a book today and have it published by tonight. Soon it will be hard to find new paper books. You’ll have to go to antique shops and look in the sections set aside for 8-track tapes, Betamax and LPs. Even VHS is disappearing to be fully replaced by DVD and BluRay. No one thought that LPs would die, when was the last time you saw a record store with new records?”

SJP: Records are still released on wax.

“Sure, but they are rare and getting rarer. Amazon is now selling more eBooks than paper and brand name bookstores, Walden and Barnes and Noble, are closing daily. It’s a new world.”

SJP: That may be true but I notice that you published both books in paper in addition to eBook format. I know because I formatted them for you.

“True and you did a great job. I did it because I could do it easily and cheaply and because I have family and friends who still don’t own readers. The number is fewer and fewer every day but they are out there. Indie paper through Amazon is great because it is print on demand. There is no stockpile of books in a warehouse. The books are printed as they are ordered from a single copy to 1,000 copies. I will note that they are considerably more expensive than eBooks.”

SJP: Good point, how did you price your books?

“With the eBooks I followed the crowd. Most new eBooks by unknown or new authors are priced at $2.99. Paper books set a minimum print price based on size and quality. I chose the best quality Trade paperback and Premium distribution. For premium distribution channels I’m making about $1 a book. They won’t let you price below the minimum print price.”

SJP: Is there anything you would like to end on?

“Of course I would like everyone to read my books in either format. Of equal importance is that they review the books. All of the Indie Authors are walking in new territory and would like feedback on how it’s going.”

SJP: How can people contact you?

“My blog is: http://mahkosknife.blogspot.com/ and my email is shyster77@comcast.net I’d like to hear from any reader.

Guest Blogger – J.T. Warren

Posted in Writing on September 18, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

Today’s Guest Blogger is J.T. Warren, author of Hudson House.

Much like most of the other writers I know, I’ve wanted to be a professional author nearly all my life. It started when I wrote a short story about a raindrop that was born as it fell from a cloud and experienced all of the ups and downs of life while all the time falling and then died when it splattered on a concrete street. I wrote that in second grade. My teacher read it aloud. The kids clapped. I thought I was a star.

It wasn’t long before my fiction took an even darker turn. By high school, I was writing steadily about monsters living in basements, serial killers hunting unsuspecting women, and average people driven to the edge of their sanity–and typically well-past that edge.

Also like most writers I know, I’ve written a handful of novels that I was sure at the time of creation were fantastic. That they were, in fact, destined for bestseller status and that my days as an unknown literary neophyte were rapidly drawing to a close. Rejection letters helped me keep those grand delusions in check. At least most of the time.

Right around the time my sixth book (this one has got to be the one) received its fifteenth flat-out sorry-this-isn’t-for-us rejection, I realized that if I wanted to ever get published, I needed to get really serious about my craft. I couldn’t just write the first draft, proof for grammar mistakes, and send it out. I needed professional help.

That led me to Scott Nicholson, who has proven to be a literary angel on my shoulders. I’ve come to understand that he serves that function for many writers, struggling and established. Scott edited my young adult haunted house novel (then called The House and now, Hudson House) with a skilled editor’s eye and a unique understanding of what makes a book work. His recommendations were extensive but well-supported and in a seven page hand-written letter.

I was, at first, really depressed. How could I have thought this book was the one when Scott was insisting it needed an over-haul? After some healthy time apart from my manuscript, I returned to it and, most importantly, to Scott’s comments. I began to make his changes.

When all changes had been made and after I had polished those crucial first fifty pages over and over, I really felt that this book would be the one. The thing was so good now that agents would be fighting each other to sign me and that the book would ascend the Times’ list with eye-popping speed.

Again, rejection taught me to keep things in perspective. Around rejection letter twenty-two or three, I set the book aside and got to work on another novel. When I turned to Scott again for his editorial assistance, he asked about Hudson House. My story of endless rejections was nothing unique, of course, but Scott’s recommendation was so unsuspecting that dreams of bestseller status returned.

In the six months since I had first contacted him, Scott had taken his career in a whole new direction: he had embraced the new electronic wave of book publishing with fervor and gusto. And, he insisted, I could embrace it, too.

He explained the world of ebooks to me and the future of the publishing industry as he saw it. He answered all my questions, even the stupid ones. He assured me my book was good, as good as what was currently being published in the genre. He formatted my book for the Kindle market. For a book cover, he led me to Neil Jackson (a man who seems to work all twenty-four hours of every day), and Neil created a cover that captured the book’s creepiness and simultaneously made me feel like I was a real, credible author. I was getting closer to that elusive dream of success.

I’m a high school English teacher (not a terribly surprising career for a wannabe writer), and when many of my former students found out that I was, actually, a writer, they offered to help in any way they could. A particularly passionate young woman named Karla took it upon herself to get my presence on the Internet. Thanks to her, I have the necessary Facebook, website, blog, and Twitter needed to get anyone’s attention these days. She also put sample chapters of my book on every site she could find that catered to writers and readers.

People started to read it. Within a few days, the sample chapters had been viewed over a thousand times. The comments began to pile up. The praise was so surprising and so completely gratifying.

Karla asked about a paperback edition. The thought had always been in my mind, of course, but now it seemed like maybe a few people out there might buy it, even if there was already an ebook version. I turned to Scott. He led me to Stephen James Price. Stephen assured me that he could take my book and format it so it would be as professional as anything released by a major house.

As with Scott, Stephen guided me through the process. He answered all my questions, especially the stupid ones, and helped me every step of the way. He took Neil’s front cover and created the back art needed for full product. He worked fast and created a wonderfully-designed book.

Today, I hold the proof copy in my hands and marvel that I wrote this book, that I am actually the author of a real, physical book that looks so damn good. Online, the sample chapters of Hudson House are approaching five thousand views. Project Fiction is featuring the sample on their main page. Readers are posting glowing reviews.

I wrote this book because I wanted to create a haunted house story that was also a coming-of-age tale about loss and friendship that was also completely accurate to how teenagers actually interact with each other. I wanted to create a story that would give readers nightmares but do it through characters readers would genuinely care for. I had the original idea but Scott Nicholson helped me shape it into the affecting work I envisioned, and Neil Jackson gave it the art to lure in readers, and Stephen James Price was the mad scientist who brought Hudson House to life, who put the haunted place directly in my hands, who made me feel like a real writer.

Hudson House is available for Kindle and will be available in paperback in time for October, the perfect month for a spooky story about a trio of teenage boys who venture into a house where something unspeakably evil waits for its next victim.

Maybe this is the book. The one destined for greatness. If so, I have so many people to thank.

I can almost hear the applause.

Check out Hudson House for Kindle here

Read the sample chapters and vote here

Stay connected with J.T. Warren through 

Facebook

Blog 

Twitter

BookLooks Formatting Service

Posted in Writing on September 9, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

Most self publishers don’t have a background in graphic design and find the task of laying out their book to be a very daunting project. The thought of learning typeface and font styles and sizes, front matter (preliminaries), margins, headers and footers, text flow, orphans and widows (yes, these are actual layout terms) and back matter is downright scary to most authors who would be better off writing their next novel than formatting their last one.

If you’ve completed an eBook, you probably have a simplified formatted file and a front cover. That’s really all you need to enter the exploding eBook market, but many authors also want the hard copy book to go along with the electronic version (I have both.) Whether it’s personal (my mother and wife wanted a paperback) or financial (copies are selling), I think it’s a good idea to keep a foot in each corner (new electronic market and old-school hard copy market.)

I am a writer and a professional photographer with a background in graphics design and I offer a manuscript layout and back cover creation service that will take your electronic files and turn them into a formatted PDF file suitable for printing. I have formatted fiction, non-fiction, text books, picture books, graphic novels, comic books and instruction manuals.

I also offer an ebook service if you’ve completed your manuscript but don’t have the electronic format available to readers yet.

My formatting and layout services require a completed (edited and polished) version of your book. If you need editing services, I can direct you to the best in the industry.

Contact me at stephenjamesprice@live.com for more information.

Author Comments:

“Stephen James Price uses his expertise to create polished, professional documents that convert easily into beautifully-formatted paperback books. He was able to complete my book’s cover and format the entire novel efficiently and with an artist’s eye toward creating a pleasing, professional physical book. Perhaps even more importantly, he offered his insight into the ever-changing world of publishing and helped guide this novice self-published author through the sometimes overwhelming steps leading to publication. I am indebted to him and every time someone holds one of my books, I am reminded how lucky I am to have found someone who is not only a professional author and book designer, but a true fan of books and genuine ally to burgeoning authors. I look forward to using his service for every book I publish.”

-J.T. Warren, author of Hudson House, available on Amazon

“I have high standards for my work, and I trust my book layout to Stephen Price. He understands the reader experience.” –

-Scott Nicholson, author of The Red Church, Skull Ring, Speed Dating with the Dead, Forever Never Ends,

“Stephen Price turned my books into polished manuscripts that looks as professional as anything I’ve ever read.”

-Stephen M. Sullivan, author of The US Error Note Encyclopedia and Small Sized High Denomination Notes

New Review from Kindleobsessed.com

Posted in Writing on August 20, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

Here Kitty Kitty!

August 19th, 2010

There is nothing more powerful than the imagination. As children we use it to pass the time playing cops and robbers or planing fairytale weddings. As adults we use it in different ways, we design websites, create video games, or even make up bedtime stories for our little ones. It’s a quality that will never fail us. We are always in control of our own imaginations, we decide how we want things to be and then *poof* that bite sized movie screen you have in the back of your brain comes to life, filling in the blanks.

Stephen James Price wrote a prime example of “use-your-imagination- literature.”

“Pages of Promises” is comprised of 15 “dark fiction” short stories boasting anything from a confirmed (*ahem*) hatred of Stephen King to the more literal “You are what you eat.” All are unique in there own way and (I’ll admit) kept me VERY entertained, (and sometimes laughing) but none of these attributes are what caught my eye. Nope, it was Price’s amazing way of letting the READER finish the story. Each of his tales were detailed without actually being detailed. (Ok… that was a ridiculous statement so let me explain.) Price gives his readers the set up, he gives the characters, and tells the story, but then… right when you are sucked in, and your mind is running a million miles a minute… BAM! He throws a wrench into the plot line, and then stops writing completely. Normally this would annoy me, (I have thrown my Kindle on more than 1 occasion for this very thing) but for some reason this was the clincher for me. This is what made me appreciate and love these sometimes quippy, sometimes creepy stories.

On a side note: the horror that was so eloquently expressed in each and every story was only made better with the explanation of their matriculation at the end of the collection. Knowing the thought process of such off beat stories was almost as entertaining as the stories themselves, and the introduction Price threw as an his preface made me belly laugh. Nice bonus.

Overall: HUGE success, and… (pay attention, this is the important part) a collection that even the newest of horror fans can appreciate.

Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Sometimes all you need is a “pretty kitty” to solve all of your problems.

It takes a lot to make me speechless

Posted in Photography on July 10, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

I shot a wedding tonight and about halfway through the reception I took a quick restroom break. I was pulling the door open from the outside at the same time an elderly gentleman (approx. early seventies) was pushing it open from the inside. He stumbled forward a little. As he righted himself, he spotted the large camera hanging from my neck.

“You didn’t want a picture of that did you?” he asked.

I told him that I did not.

“Good,” he replied. “You don’t have a big enough lens.”

I struggled for the appropriate comeback as the door shut in my face. I could hear him laughing from the other side. I never did think of anything to say.

Photography

Posted in Writing on June 27, 2010 by stephenjamesprice

As some of you know, I’m a professional photographer when I’m not writing (something has to pay the bills.) Last night, I was at a wedding that included 3 dogs in the guest list: two fat poodles and a black lab. The lab and one of the poodles were wearing bow ties. The owner, an elderly woman dressed to the nines, was all smiles as I snapped a few shots. When I asked why of the dogs wasn’t wearing a tie, her smile faded a little and she looked at me like I was stupid.
“Because,” she said in an indignant tone, “that one is a girl.”

Well, DUHHH!