Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December Member News

Congratulations to all our WWW members for their awards and new publications! Head on over to WWW Member News to get the latest scoop on the newly published and the winners.

Monday, December 16, 2013

WWW Honors Books, Authors with its WILLA Awards

 2013 WILLA Winners in Attendance

by Pamela Tartaglio
Women Writing the West honored the recipients of its 15th Annual WILLA Literary Awards at the WWW conference in Kansas City, Missouri. These books, listed below, represent the best of 2012 published literature featuring women’s or girls’ stories set in the West and include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, children’s/YA.

“Fascinating, excellent, gripping, engaging, wonderful,” are some of the words the professional librarian judges wrote about the Winning and Finalist books. A number of the winning authors traveled to Kansas City to accept their awards at the October 12 Finalist Luncheon and the evening WILLA Banquet, where each Winner was presented with a crystal trophy and $100. The ceremonies, at which every title is recognized with comments written by the librarian judges, are highlights of each year’s WWW conference.

The recipients of the 2013 WILLA Literary Awards are as follows:

WINNER: Theft by BK Loren (Counterpoint Press)
FINALIST: A Growing Season by Sue Boggio and Mare Pearl (University of New Mexico Press)

WINNER: True Sisters by Sandra Dallas (St. Martin’s Press)
FINALIST: Tributary by Barbara K. Richardson (Torrey House Press)
FINALIST: Dance with a Gunfighter by Joanne Pence (Quail Hill Publishing)

WINNER: The Bones and the Book by Jane Isenberg (Oconee Spirit Press)
FINALIST: In Need of a Good Wife by Kelly O’Connor McNees (Berkley/Penguin)
FINALIST: The House on Swiss Avenue by Irene Sandell (Eakin Press)

WINNER: Kissed by a Fox and Other Stories of Friendship in Nature by Priscilla Stuckey (Counterpoint Press)

WINNER: Women in Wonderland: Lives, Legends and Legacies of Yellowstone National Park by Elizabeth A. Watry (Riverbend Publishing)
FINALIST: Divinely Guided: The California Work of the Women’s National Indian Association by Valerie Sherer Mathes (Texas Tech University Press)
FINALIST: Colorado Women: A History by Gail M. Beaton (University Press of Colorado)

WINNER: Steam Laundry by Nicole Stellon O’Donnell (Red Hen Press)
FINALIST: Reluctant Traveler by Laurie Wagner Buyer (Seven Oaks Publishing)

WINNER: Liberty’s Christmas by Randall Platt (Texas Tech University Press)
FINALIST: The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas (Sleeping Bear Press)
FINALIST: Outcasts of River Falls by Jacqueline Guest (Coteau Books)

 2013 WILLA Finalists in Attendance and WILLA Chair

 WWW is now seeking entries from authors or publishers for the 2014 WILLA Literary Awards, which will honor books published in 2013. The deadline for submission is February 1, 2014. For 2014 Guidelines and Application, visit or write Women Writing the West, 8547 E. Arapahoe Road #J-541, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80112.

The award is named in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winner Willa Cather, one of the country’s foremost novelists.

Pamela Tartaglio, 2013 WILLA Chair/Past President, was delighted to read aloud the comments from the librarian judges and hand trophies and plaques to the authors.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Finding Gold

by Doris McCraw 

In 1848 gold was found in California. Although there had been some placer gold found in the southeast, this was a game changer. When word arrived back east of the Mississippi the rush was on. Unfortunately many of the thousands who sailed around the southern tip of South America, crossed at Panama or traveled across country in wagons and carts failed to find enduring riches.

Then in 1859 another rush was on. There was gold found in Colorado and many who had missed the first rush headed west across the Great American Desert with Pike's Peak or Bust painted on their wagons. From 1859 on gold was found in most of the Western states, the Dakotas, Nevada, Montana, etc. The last rush was in the 1890′s in the Cripple Creek region of Colorado and in the Alaskan territory. Many people followed one rush after another, most to no avail.

In looking at the pattern, so many rushed over true wealth. In California some of the pristine areas were forever blighted. The Great American Desert was in reality part of the breadbasket of the nation. Forest, mountains, rivers all were all sacrificed to the need for quick wealth.

The quick wealth was another matter altogether. Some miners found gold nuggets just lying around, but most prospectors and miners worked hard, long hours and barely broke even. In the long run it was those who supplied the gold seekers, or processed the gold ore that won the prize.

Perhaps you are wondering why the history lesson. For me it is the lessons learned that make it worthwhile. Many times we search for the quick answer and the bonanza strike of gold in our lives and work. We dream of bestselling books, an easier life and more money. Those dreams can definitely come true. The thing we need to watch for; not rushing by and missing the true gold. Friends,family, home are the true gold. In our rush to find gold, savor the journey and those we share it with. In the end, they will be the ones who help us find our own gold.
written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

A Wilder Rose Goes to the Library

by Susan Wittig Albert

I’ve been writing traditionally-published fiction and nonfiction for nearly three decades. But this year, I decided to publish a stand-alone novel—A Wilder Rose—under my own imprint, Persevero Press. All things considered, I’m glad I chose to take this route, but there have been bumps. A few potholes. Big trees across the road. Getting the book into libraries, for example.

A Wilder Rose is a biographical/historical novel about the collaboration of Rose Wilder Lane and Laura Ingalls Wilder in the writing of the award-winning children’s series, the Little House books. Since most libraries have copies of Little House in the Big Woods and the other seven books in this pioneer series, I had the idea that a book about the Little House books might be a pretty strong candidate for library acquisition. I decided to try to get A Wilder Rose into libraries.

But I ran into a few roadblocks, and I learned that even libraries that might want an author-published book may find it difficult to purchase it. If you’d like to see your book in the libraries, here are some things to consider:

1. Of course, you’ve already seen to it that your book is absolutely the best work you can produce—well-written, edited and copy-edited, and with a professionally-designed cover. It should also have a standard copyright page that lists your publishing information, including the ISBN number. As well, libraries prefer books that have a CIP-data block: a Cataloging-in-Progress data block that makes cataloguing your book easier. The Library of Congress produces this for publishers, but not for self-publishers. However, you can obtain a CIP-data block from a vendor. (I did.) Joel Friedlander has posted a good discussion of this process, along with helpful links.

2. Your hardcover book needs a sturdy binding, but it doesn’t need a dust cover. A case laminate cover is excellent. (Here’s Joel Friedlander again, explaining.) Libraries also buy paperbacks and trade paper editions, which they may rebind. But again, make sure the binding is sturdy.

3. Public libraries almost always prefer to buy from their usual distributors: Baker & Taylor and Ingram. I chose Lightning Source as the print-on-demand (POD) supplier for the library edition of A Wilder Rose, because Lightning Source distributes books through both Baker & Taylor and Ingram. Libraries may be more likely to buy your author-published book if you offer the standard institutional discount, 30-40%.

4. Before libraries can acquire your book, you have to let them know it’s available and entice them to order it. For this, you’ll want a press release (print or digital). It should describe your book in beguiling terms and (of course) feature your cover. Mention appealing extras such as index, photos, resource list and/or bibliography. Describe the book’s binding and be sure to include ordering information. One librarian told me to put all of this all on one side of a 9x12 page, or on a postcard. Several librarians reported that they did not want emailed releases.

5. I bought a mailing list of public libraries that serve populations over 40,000. I mailed postcards advertising the book to the 1284 libraries on that list. I have also taken advantage of the mailing services offered through the Independent Book Publishers Association (As a member of this organization, I have used several of its marketing programs. The staff is very helpful.)

6. Consider placing your book on NetGalley. I’m told that librarians often preview books there. I posted A Wilder Rose on NetGalley in July and the book is still being downloaded by reviewers, including librarians.

7. Librarians would like to see a review of your author-published book in at least one of four major review venues: Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly. Of the four, only Kirkus and Publishers Weekly offer reviews to self-publishers and indie authors—for a fee. Uncertain whether you should pay for a review? Read Susan Gottfried’s helpful post on assessing the value of paid reviews. I took advantage of both the Kirkus and PW indie programs and earned starred reviews from both. The Kirkus starred review led to two feature articles (one in September, the other in November) in Kirkus’ print and online publications—coverage I wouldn’t have had without the review and definitely worth the up-front investment.

8. On your book’s website, offer resources for libraries, to tweak their interest. You can take a look at what I’m offering here.

9. Your local library may be a good place to begin your marketing efforts, with an offer to talk to library patrons or a Friends’ group about your book. And don’t overlook your state library association. I’ve given talks to three groups of Texas librarians since the publication of Rose, and have been invited to talk (and sell books!) at the Texas Library Association conference in April, 2014.

I’ve found a way to measure the success of these efforts: the number of libraries that are acquiring Rose. I’m keeping track via WorldCat, which lists the holdings of more than 10,000 libraries around the world. As of the day I wrote this post, 159 libraries had ordered or already shelved one or more copies of the book. (Some large library systems have ordered a copy for every branch.) And since only about a third of U.S. libraries belong to WorldCat, it’s reasonable to suppose that Rose is already on the shelves of quite a few more libraries—and that the numbers will continue to grow.

These are the strategies that have worked for me—but I’ll bet there are others I haven’t tried. And of course, library technologies are changing as fast as the publishing industry. I haven’t even thought about trying to get the eBook edition of ROSE into libraries, for example. That a whole ‘nother kettle of fish!

If you’ve had experience in getting your books into libraries, please share. The more we know, the easier this will be—or at least, so we hope!

First written by Susan Wittig Albert for Blood Red Pencil 

"If you loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books about her pioneer childhood, you should read A Wilder Rose by Susan Wittig Albert. If you are reluctant to believe that Laura’s daughter Rose may have written the books, you must read this novel...." Linda Hasselstrom