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  • Ayn Cates Sullivan

Indie Publishing

Indie Publishing by AynCates on September 19, 2017 in Spiritual Inspiration

PLEASE PUBLISH MY BOOKS… When my daughter called from college to ask me if I would publish the children’s books I had written for her as a child, I was intrigued. I wondered why college students would want the stories I had written for my children? “My friends are depressed and they need the messages you shared with me,” my daughter said. Kathryn was very clear. Obviously she just wanted me to get on with the project. One thing I really like about home schooled and Waldorf students, is that they are very sure about what they feel needs to happen. They have “sparkle.” I had published titles with a few British publishers and had worked as an editor for Kingfisher Books, as well as some literary magazines, so I was familiar with the publishing industry. Since I was living in California, I contacted both American and British sources. I was told there was not a market for metaphysical children’s books. “They are really stories for children of all ages,” I said. I was told that category did not exist. “They are out of the box fables for unusual people,” I added. And in that moment, I knew my books had defined themselves. They are out of the box stories for cultural creatives and their kids. I had to smile as I realized in my own small and independent way, I am continuing in the lineage of the rambling houses of Ireland, the folklorists, and mystic poets that keep wisdom traditions alive. There must always be an alternative to mainstream media. Grassroots cultural creatives need a voice. Even though we are in the digital age, I am not giving up on art and literature. It feeds my sustenance, my inner life! I decided to start a small publishing company. I contacted my attorney and drew up an outline for Infinite Light Publishing LLC. That was a start, but I needed help.

Honoring Ellen Reid Bookshep As if in answer to my prayers, I met Indie Expert Ellen Reid and worked with her from 2014 until her death early this year. Ellen was a wonderful woman, I learned so much from her and miss her. Ellen loved Independent Publishing and was very knowledgeable about it. Instead of turning my books over to a publishing company, I was now involved not only in editing, but also design. Illustrator Belle Crow duCray spent hours hand drawing all the the illustrations in the Sparkle series. We learned about lay out and design. Then there is the world of printing: paper options, dust jackets, digital and off-set printing options. Thrilled that our books were finally being printed, we then had to face the distribution issue. Getting into the commercial bookstores like Barnes & Nobles is difficult for Indie authors. One reason people go to a mainstream publisher is because they get larger distribution. But that is changing now. Just about all books sell through Amazon, and that market is open to anyone. I was able to make a relationship with distributors that link to other markets, but so far Amazon is really where our books sell. We contacted local mom and pop bookstores, and also New Age shops. Some of these, such as Rainbow Bridge in Ojai, or Paradise Found in Santa Barbara, Watkins in London, Gothic Image in Glastonbury, England, do sell our books for us regularly. New Leaf Distribution has also been very helping getting our titles out for us, as has BCH. We carry our books in the back of our cars and tell people about them. To sell books you do need to know your market. Since we have sold over 250,000 books, we have discovered that there is a need for metaphysical books. It is a niche market. So many people, young and old, need to be reminded that although we are in times of change we can turn this planet around. We can make a difference and one effective way is through literature. If we can imagine a healed humanity we can create our dream. Stories of young men and women who believe in the Earth, remind us that we can collectively clean up the mess and evolve in the process. This is the time for the cultural creatives to dream in the New Earth! Ellen Reid also was a big fan of literary awards. I really think literary awards help authors. Every time you win an award, or even receive an honorable mention, your title is seen. The author is able to mingle with other authors at award ceremonies and exchange ideas. My favorite book awards ceremony was a private dinner in Paris for the Paris Book Festival. It was very intimate and I made several new friends. I also really enjoyed Nautilus at the Book Expo America. They have an excellent selection of books. Readers Favorite and Literary Classics also have award ceremonies, and offer really helpful reviews. I will miss Ellen Reid’s Indie Excellence Awards. Since she cheered on so many people, I hope Ellen is awarded a wonderful place in the Otherworlds.

Belle Crow duCray, Illustrator Our surprise book was a story that I had given to my kids as a holiday gift. I had originally printed it on the computer and stapled it together. The kids had drawn their versions of the illustrations. Belle Crow duCray, who was helping me with some interior design, saw the book and started reading it. When I came back in the room she was sitting on the bed in floods of tears. “I want to illustrate this story!” said Belle between sniffles. It is my belief that if you want to do something, you might as well have a go. Belle put her body, heart and soul into imagining the story. It is about an apple tree who goes through all sorts of challenges, such as being eaten by deer and recovering, being struck by lightning and transforming, being studied and misunderstood. These are themes anyone who has experienced illness, divorce or bereavement would understand. The message is that we can go through all of this and come back stronger and wiser than ever before. This book was marketed as a fable for children of all ages It won 18 literary awards, was a best seller on Amazon all of 2016 and is still in the top 100 kindle books in New Age Self-Help. My children’s book did not fit it’s category, but it found it’s own: New Age Self-Help and Short Story Classic.

“The Miracle Tree” “If you ever find yourself at the base of the miracle tree say, ‘Thank you’ aloud, for she likes those words. Then give gratitude to the sun, the moon, the water, the soil, all the stars, and to the wind. If you lay down under her branches, a dream might visit you with otherworldly faces. And if you are very lucky, a golden apple might roll off the highest branches that have been kissed every morning by the sun and the chorus of birds.” – from A Story of Becoming

When a young child comes up to me and wants to know if they can be a writer too, I love to say, “Yes!” Of course, there is a lot of work involved in writing a book. No one knows how much time it will take until they undertake the project.Often it takes a year, or two, or even longer to take a book to print. Then there is the marketing, which the Indie Author is responsible for. Actually, all authors- indie and traditional- must sell their books. And no matter how much a book sells, or does not sell (most Indie books sell 200 copies) just writing a book is an amazing educational experience and well worth it. I am an avid supporter of Independent Publishing. I also believe there is a place for the traditional publisher. It really depends on the subject matter and market. The question you must ask yourself is – do you want to be in the driver’s seat and take your book from idea, through three rounds (at least) of editing, through design, printing, marketing and distribution, while keeping your copyright? Or do you want to hand your book over to a traditional publisher, let go of the reins and hope for the best? Both ways can work well. In our hearts we know which way to go. So, close your eyes, take a deep breath. What is your literary path?

Honoring Louise Hay

If there is one quote by Louise Hay that has stayed with me throughout my life it is this one: “Every experience I have is perfect for my growth.” That really means that EVERYTHING that has come my way (including: divorce, rejection, betrayal, fires, illness – as well as love, marriage, children, health, abundance, etc) has been perfect for my growth. I first began reading Louise Hay’s books in England and had the privilege of meeting her. I liked the fact that she started her own publishing company because she wanted her message to go out into the world in her own way. She did not want to edit her book the way a traditional publishing house generally demands. After selling 40 million books or so, I’d say she really did create a wonderful reality for herself. Obviously there was a lot of work involved, but it seemed to come effortlessly to her. Of course, it is a constant practice to remember the benefits of positive thinking. I often have to stop myself in the middle of a negative thought and reframe it. It’s a valuable practice! It is why I have created my Positive News site. Louise Hay left a great contribution to humanity. May her journey Home be blessed and filled with grace and Light. The angels are probably celebrating her return as I write these words. Thank you Louise Hay for being authentically and positively YOU.

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