Looking for Some Advice on How to Approach a Project

Good Morning, Folks! Hope your Freya’s Day is off to a great start, and you have a wonderful weekend ahead!

I’ve been contacted by my friends at the Enterprise Museum on behalf of someone who wants to tackle an ambitious project. She isn’t sure where to start, and wondered if self-publishing via Amazon was the way to go, or if she needs to seek out a smaller, inexpensive traditional publisher. I have no experience that is really helpful for her, but thought some of you might. 

In a very condensed version of her own words, this is what she’d like to do:

“I want to develop a history of Enterprise through illustrations, maps, drawings, portraits, etc. beginning with the indigenous inhabitants of the area  …  and up to today. “

This would be just the highlights of Enterprise history that would interest the general public and secondary students, not an academic record of all the history of the area  ….  It would include a series of side-by-side “then and now” illustrations … Text would be limited to captions, side bars, callouts, brief snippets, … “

Yes, it’s an ambitious project, but a worthy one, I think. Her idea  is to make this a small, probably paperback book (not a coffee table tome) that could be sold in gift shops and the like, and she’s hoping to find a way to pull it together with some volunteers for funding, etc, but that’s another topic.

What I would like to find out for her is if Amazon is a good fit for this type of book? (I’ve heard some conflicting opinions on how well they do with books that have  a lot of photos and  illustrations.) Or do any of you know of better publishers to handle this type of project?

Any advice you have, or experiences (good or bad) you can share would be very helpful to her. While she is chock full of historical knowledge about the little town of Enterprise, she’s never attempted anything like this before. The director of the museum put her in touch with me, because of my experience with self-publishing, but I write fiction novels and poetry. I know nothing about what would be involved (besides a lot of work) in a project like this, or if Amazon is even a place to start. But I figured it wouldn’t hurt to put the question out there to see if any of you had suggestions.

I’d love to see this idea become a reality! Thanks for any help you can offer.  😊


NOTE TO ALL: My new friend, Lani, is having a hard time accessing the blog in order to respond to your comments. She asked me to tell you this:

“Hi to everyone who commented! I am immensely grateful for your wonderful outpouring of suggestions and truly helpful advice for my proposed project! I will try to print them out. Maybe Marcia can tell me how to do this because each one has valuable information that I need to review. Marcia, esteemed hostess, how do I do this or can I get this page sent to my email?
I am bowing in humble appreciation for all of your kindness and encouragement! Such nice people!! You have all made my day/week/month. Sorry for the delay posting this message. I had tried to post several times over the past two days, but I had huge problems with WordPress which dear Marcia has since resolved.
The most important thing I got from your posts is encouragement, that so many writers(!) no less think it’s a good idea. Wow. That in itself is priceless. I will start (as many of you suggested) by checking out similar local history publications and see where and how they were published. I am also going to check out the links to the online publishing websites/aids you so kindly provided. This is SO helpful! I have been totally in the dark. You each turned on a light for me. Endless thanks to everyone, Lani


To Shelve or Not to Shelve, That Is the Question

Good Morning, Folks! I stand (sit) before you (on your monitors) today to ask a question. Or two. About writing. Specifically, when to admit that you are getting nowhere with your latest WIP.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have the proverbial writer’s block, and I never have had it. Yet. What I have is a bit more insidious in some ways. This is how it’s all been playing out. When I finished the third book in my Wake-Robin Ridge series, I ended on a note that would work if there were no more books forthcoming for Rabbit and his family. I left the ending open so I could write more if I decided to, but I really didn’t plan to. I wrapped things up in a way that gave readers a pretty good idea of what was waiting for the Cole family in the years ahead, then moved on to the 3rd book in my Riverbend series, which I intend to continue for some while, yet.  And following that book, That Darkest Place, I wrote The Emissary, my first novella, as a spinoff of the Riverbend books.

During the interim, I began to get requests for more stories about Rabbit. Lots of them. Okay, then. I figured if that’s what readers wanted, I’d write a 4th book, and I got started on WRR4–about two days before we were slammed by a tornado spawned by Hurricane Irma. Many of you know that normal life around our house came to a screeching halt at that point. We spent more than six months dealing with every headache you can imagine. Weeks of carpenters hammering, electricians cutting the power, and roofers stomping around overhead. And that doesn’t include all the frustrating calls to the insurance company, inspectors, and the like .

tried to keep writing, really I did. But I don’t work well with non-stop interruptions and headaches of every kind for months on end. Suffice it to say that try as I might, I fell farther and farther behind  on my book. I also felt less and less joy in the process of writing, something I’d never had happen before. The end result was that even though I have what I think is a pretty good story to tell, I completely lost my enthusiasm for working on this one. I was plodding through the draft without a shred of joy in my storytelling.

So, I took a few weeks off and reassessed, thinking maybe I should just scrap the whole book and move on with my next Riverbend story. My beta readers (who follow along with my draft, chapter by chapter, and keep me on my toes) weren’t happy with that idea at all. They seem to like what I’ve done so far, so I thought about it some more.

My final decision was to shelve WRR4 for a couple of months and write a second novella in my Emissary spinoff series. The first one was the most fun of anything I’ve written to date and only took me 2 months to go from draft to published. Seemed like a perfect fit, so that’s where I am. I’m starting on The Emissary 2 and after it’s published, will take a look at WRR4 again. Hopefully, taking a break for a couple of months will let me get back to work on it with fresh eyes and a joyful approach to finishing the tale. It has good bones, I think, so that’s what I’d like to do.

My question for you guys (you knew I’d get back to it, didn’t you?) is this: was shelving this book for a couple of months a better plan than just scrapping it? Have you ever come back to a book after taking a break to write something else,  and found you were able to finish it? What about the ones you may have scrapped completely? Do their ghosts haunt you in the dark of night? 

Inquiring minds wanna know. Hope you’ll take a minute and share your thoughts. THANKS!