How to be Happy: Not a Self-Help Book. Seriously

July 26 marks the official release date of the new book by Iain S. Thomas, the poet behind the blog and book: I Wrote This For You. How to be Happy is a combination of Iain’s many creative talents wrapped up in a story of one man’s journey to publication.

The story opens with an email from Iain’s publisher who is over the moon that Iain would like to publish a book on how to be happy since the self-help market is quite lucrative. What follows is a multi-platform struggle between publisher and author on creative differences and Iain’s internal struggle with what happiness really is, how to convey that to his readers and whether or not he really knows it.

It’s an interesting journey into self-discovery and publishing told via short stories, poetry, emails, tweets, blog posts, magazine articles and sketches brought together with drafts of the book that our protagonist is attempting to write.

Ebook Preorder Now: Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo

Print available July 26 2015

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Cover Reveal: Soul of a Crow by Abbie Williams

We have a few new releases coming up this year, and we’re excited to show off the cover for Soul of a Crow by Abbie Williams. Coming on August 31, this second book in the award-winning Dove Series follows Southern orphan, Lorie Blake and her companions as they travel northward to forge new lives for themselves after the Civil War.

The first book, Heart of a Dove, recently won an Independent Publishers Gold Medal and  Publishers Weekly called it a “passionate opening volume.”

Stay tuned for giveaways and more news about this wrenching yet romantic saga.

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Getting Ready for Book Expo America

IMG_0715The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. When we learned about Abbie Williams’ win of a Gold Medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, I made the quick decision to attend the gala in New York and also display our 2015 books at Book Expo America. This meant making sure I had samples of books to display, as well as postcards and other materials that people can take away with them.

For the most part, it was easy, but one of the books wasn’t that close to getting a proof done – but I really wanted to show it off. Luckily, my wonderful colleague Meghan Tobin-O’Drowsky did a great job on proofreading and Dean Mayes did his part on making sure everything got back to me in time so that we could unveil The Recipient at BEA. But it’s my one and only copy – so while copies of the other books have been shipped directly to the booth organizers in New York, this one I’ll be keeping close to me so I can pop it on the shelf when I get there.

I leave in less than a week and it’s looking like things are coming together: meetings are arranged, seminars have been added to my calendar, hotel and flights are booked, marketing materials are ready and I’ve laid out my plans for the booths I want to visit. And, since I’ve never been to NYC before, I’ve even figured out which sights I want to see. Now all I need is an outfit for the awards gala. Oh, and I might get my nails done too.

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IPPY Gold Medal to Heart of a Dove

IPPYGoldWow, what a joy-ride the past week has been. A few months ago, we submitted a few books to the Independent Publishers Book Awards – also known as the IPPYs. It is the largest book competition – not necessarily by fame or cache (it’s not a Man Booker) but but by sheer number of books that are submitted every year. I’ve submitted our books to this competition and to many others for years now and always come up short.

Last Thursday was the day that they were announcing the winners. That morning, I had checked my inbox every 10 minutes and finally gave up – figuring I ought to buckle down and get some work done. I ended up forgetting about the announcement and since I didn’t see any pertinent emails come in, I shut my work day down that evening. I was retrieving messages later from my phone and picked up one from a colleague who was congratulating me on winning a gold medal! I rushed to my computer to find the missing email in a junk folder and sure enough, there it was: A Gold Medal had been awarded to Heart of a Dove by Abbie Williams.

Of course, the first thing I did was call the author. I’m sure I sounded like a complete idiot, babbling my way through the conversation. But she understood me and we both remained in shock for the rest of the night. Abbie’s book had tied for first in the Romance category – a huge category to win – simply by the number of books that get released every year. Heart of a Dove is simply fantastic. When she sent the first draft to me, I couldn’t put it down.

Winning has had some time to settle in now, and both Abbie and I continue to feel pretty good about it. The funny thing is that I told myself that “if” I won, I would go to New York to accept the award personally at a gala they hold, and also go to Book Expo America which is the biggest trade event for books and publishing in North America, and among the biggest in the world.

I won, so now I’m going. And, I’m bringing some friends with me. I’m thrilled that Abbie will be joining me in New York to accept the award for her book and come to the trade show. But I’m also very excited since I bought some space at the Independent Book Publishers Association’s booth where I’ll display our releases for 2015. So while Dean Mayes, Iain Thomas, Jon Ellis, Molly Ringle and Talia Aikens-Nunez can’t join me in person, they’ll be there in the form of their books.

What a wonderful time I’ve had this past week, booking travel plans and designing postcards for the show. In a huge show dominated by the Big 5, I know we’ll be a needle in a haystack. But we are there, and someone might just poke themselves and notice us.

Oh, and showing off those gold seals will be a lot of fun too.

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Cover Reveal: The Recipient by Dean Mayes

The Recipient will be released on October 25, 2015

The Recipient will be released on October 25, 2015

The next year will see us release quite a few books and the first one I’d like to introduce is The Recipient by Dean Mayes.

Fans of Dean’s won’t be disappointed. His flowing prose and ability to create engaging characters come through again – but this time they’re coupled with a scary, gripping story. It is the story of Casey Schillinge, a heart transplant recipient who undergoes not only a life-saving operation but upon recovery, a life changing transformation.

Three years later, Casey has become a withdrawn shell of her former self: she is estranged from her loved ones, afraid of open spaces and rides the line between legitimate and criminal work. The worst of her troubles come in the form of violent night terrors; so frightening that she resorts to extreme measures to keep herself from sleeping. When she can take no more, she embarks on a desperate search for the source of her dreams. ​In so doing, she makes a shocking discovery surrounding the tragic fate of the donor whose heart now beats inside her chest. As she delves deeper into the mystery of her donor, she realizes her dreams are not a figment of her imagination, but a real life nightmare.

The Recipient is due out on October 25, 2015.

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April is National Poetry Month

Large-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoYou may or may not be aware that April is National Poetry Month in many countries. There’s a great website called Poets.org with all sorts of information about how to celebrate this wonderful form of writing, in this month and all year round.

We are quite proud to publish poetry. We have three resident poets, Sara Bond, Geoff Moeller and Iain S. Thomas who writes under the pen name of pleasefindthis. All of them have a unique and free way of writing poetry, capturing the emotion of life succinctly and accurately.

Poetry is important. In a world of instant gratification and micro reading – poetry is as relevant today as it ever has been. It appeals to readers of all ages, genders, nationalities and religions. It is both ancient and modern. It satisfies a need for literature in the shortest time possible and stays with the reader well after the poem has been read.

Let me leave you with a poem that I’m currently grooving on.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou

The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own.

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.

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New Release: I Wrote This For You and Only You

9781771680288On March 1, we will release the latest book based on the I Wrote This For You project. The follow-up to the international #1 bestselling collection of prose and photography, this is the third book in the I Wrote This For You series and gathers together the very best entries in the project from 2011 to 2015.

Started in 2007, I Wrote This For You is an internationally acclaimed exploration of hauntingly beautiful words, photography and emotion that’s unique to each person that reads it. The project has become a worldwide sensation. The prose has been quoted countless times by celebrities, large companies and the wonderful, resolute fans of the project. The first book has been translated and published in Asia, is carried in North America’s largest bookstore chain and has hit international bestseller lists over and over again.

It’s available for pre-order now in all online bookstores and will be available alongside the first book at Barnes & Noble in the US by the end of March.

We are truly proud to publish these books and if you haven’t had a chance to read any of the creators’ work, please take a moment to visit their blog, or pick up one of their books.

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