Nittany Valley Writers Network Self-Publishing Discussion Panel

The Nittany Valley Writers Network discussion on self-publishing at Schlow Library this past Tuesday went very well. We had a crowd of over twenty come out to hear Michelle Weisen, Cindy Keith, John Swisher and me share our experiences in the brave new world of self-publishing.

The meeting including a demo of how to format and upload a book to a self-publishing service. There were a lot of questions during and after the discussion. It became quite heated at the end with members of the audience disagreeing with each other over self-publishing in the world of academia. Some thought it was a career killer. One said that at her age, she couldn’t wait around for a publishing company and decided self-publishing might be the way to go.

Here are some useful links for those interested in self-publishing:

  • Joe Konrath’s Newbie’s Guide to Publishing has everything you need to know from writing to pricing and tips on a good cover:
  • has the best royalties for self-publishers that I could find.
  • Amazon’s Kindle self-publishing site: If you want to sell ebooks, you want to sell to Kindle readers.
  • is an ideal site for the less tech savvy or for those who may only want to print a few copies of their work for friends and family.
  • Barnes and Noble’s Pubit site:

Below is some information about our panel.

Michelle Weisen, is English professor-turned-author. Lavinia’s Window is
her first novel and third children’s book. She self-published it in 2008. Michelle has since formed her own publishing company called Words of Mercy. A portion of the proceeds from sales of her books support

Cindy Keith is the owner of M.I.N.D. in Memory Care. She consults with families nationwide who struggle to care for a loved one with dementia. She is the author of “Love, Laughter, & Mayhem – Caregiver Survival Manual For Living With A Person With Dementia,” as well as “Love, Laughter, & Mayhem In Eldercare Facilities: The Master Key For Dementia Training.”

John Swisher, a professor emeritus of Counselor Education at Penn State, is the author of Two Paths Crossing: Then and Now. The novel was stimulated during a tour of Greece that focused on ancient sites including Delphi. He wondered what happened to real treasures given to the Oracles.

Self-Publishing Discussion, May 10, 7 p.m.

I will be hosting a discussion about self-publishing at the Nittany Valley Writers Network meeting on Tuesday, May 10 at 7 p.m. at the Schlow Library in State College, Pennsylvania. Anyone interested in learning more about self-publishing is encouraged to attend.  The discussion is free and open to the public.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, self-published authors are shaking up ebook sales thanks to Amazon’s Kindle and the Nook from Barnes and Noble.

Many of the top selling Kindle books are from self-published authors like Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. Hocking’s books became so successful, traditional publishers took notice. She recently signed a contract with St. Martin’s Press for a four-book deal reportedly worth at least $2 million.

At the same time, some traditionally published authors like Barry Eisler are walking away from lucrative publishing contracts. These authors believe they can make more money by self-publishing. More importantly, the authors will have more control over their books and the timing of their release. Instead of waiting 18 – 24 months for traditionally published books to hit the store shelves, self-published authors can release their books as quickly as they can write them, have them edited, and a cover produced. Some authors publish several a year.

We will talk about these and other topics at the meeting. I’ll also demonstrate how to upload your book to the Amazon Kindle site,, and

Kindle Best Seller

Welcome to Scranton is back as a Kindle Best Seller…in a very narrow category.

It was right behind Ann Patchett’s Truth and Beauty and ahead of Thicker Than Blood:Friendships of Womyn by Maureen Jones-Ryan.

It reached #22 in the following category:

Again, I’m amused as the novella is fiction. It’s definitely not a How-to book on anything except perhaps how not to have a relationship. But I’ll take what I can get.