What to look for in an Indie publisher…and win a book

birds of paradise giveaway and guest post by author kathy handley on capability mom blogI am pleased to present another guest post from the site WOW! Women On Writing™ (really lightens up the writing for me and nice to introduce other voices). This blog is one of the stops on the blog tour for Birds of Paradise and this post is by author Kathy Handley and her advice on what to look for in an Indie publisher. Thank you. Kathy and WOW! for the book and sharing a copy of this book with a reader…yes, a giveaway!
  Birds of Paradise, follows a group of runaway teens through a quickly changing world but one in which friendships and alliances are made and honored. There are connections and an underlying sense of caring and thoughtfulness in this tale of friendship and growth. Ms. Handley writes with both sensitivity and clear-sightedness and captures the language and feelings of teenagers.


After an author has taken on the creation of a book project, the question of publishing arises at varying stages of the process. The brand new writer often thinks that she is read to publish and starts asking questions and researching the avenues of getting the book into print. Conferences offer classes on “query” writing and general sessions and sometimes an agent will request a partial manuscript or even the whole manuscript.  Meanwhile authors are also encouraged to have their drafts critiqued and polished up–most need it. Often an author will ultimately turn to an indie publisher. It is lovely to talk to authors who have used small presses and found them to be professional and considerate.

I discovered two new presses in the New York-New England area–run by two amazingly capable women; Stephanie Blackman, of Riverhaven Books, Inc. who published my first two books, Birds of Paradise and A World of Love and Envy as well as several books by Virginia Young and several other writers, and Michelle Toth, of SixOneSeven, Inc. who published her first book, Annie Begins, and has opened up her business to other authors.

It is important to note that several very talented authors who self-published their books had them picked up by major houses.  Lisa Genova’s Still Alice and Brunonia Barry’s The Lace Reader are prime example of best sellers with fabulous second books to follow …

My personal needs in a self publisher (after the fact for me)

  1. An honest forthright person who readily and often communicates directly with the writer.
  2. A person who will get answers, investigating the nuances in the process and supporting the writer during promotions
  3. One who will give you an honest estimate of expenses
  4. One who will encourage promotion–planning events and working in tandem with the writer.
  5. One who will participate in an interview in person and/or by phone and provide references and samples of work
  6. Do it yourself:  Michelle Toth started her own company and published Annie Begins – only totally brilliant folks will do this!

Considering Indie publishing means that you are ready to do the work and celebrate when you hold your book in your hand.

Good Luck,

Kathy Handley

About the Author:

Kathy recently won Word Hustler’s Page-to-Screen Contest (2011) and currently serves as Prose Poetry Judge for the National League of American Pen Women Soul-Making Contest. A collection of her work has just been released under the title A World of Love and Envy (short fiction, flash-fiction, and poetry). She credits the folks at Grub Street, the creative writing center in Boston, for offering her the classes, encouragement, and schmoozing opportunities she needed to finally become a published novelist. Read Kathy’s Grub Street post here.

Author Websites:

Book Giveaway Contest: If you would like to win a copy of Birds of Paradise, please leave a comment at the end of this post to be entered in a random drawing. The giveaway contest closes this Sunday, October 16th at 11:59 PM, PST. For an extra entry, link to this post on Twitter with the hashtag #BirdsParadise, then come back and leave a link to your tweet.  The winner will be chosen at random from my favorite plugin “And The Winner Is…” and announced in the comments section of this post on the following day Monday, October 17th. Good luck!

Comment to win a cool t-shirt and do good without even trying

capabiliity mom blog shares some great affirmations and yoga tshirts from chewy lou designsCapability : Mom shares some great tshirts from Chewy Lou DesignsDoes yoga make me mellow? Umm, Yeah, good luck with that. Actually, I do love yoga and can be quiet if I try (really, really try). I also walk, run and occasionally consider doing ab workouts (not because I don’t need them, I do, I just do not care for them). One day one of my walking friends had on the cutest t-shirt, not only did I like the message on the front (CALM) but on the acronym on the back (you know I love acronyms) was Creative, Abundant, Loving, Mindful. Exactly what I need! My intention for the day starts off right – holding on to it while spinning through it is another. It turns out that my friend knows Alyssa Dinowitz (who founded the company) and connected us – and now you can win your own t-shirt (three people will win, actually).capability mom blog features chewy lou designs in a three t-shirt giveaway - breathe, hope, calm, live,

Chewy Lou Designs has generously donated three t-shirts (leave a comment below to enter to win and for extra credit – note from your mother – always do the extra credit) by ‘liking’ Chewy Lou’s Facebook Page). This generosity is nothing new for Chewy Lou Designs – that’s just who they are. Go here to learn more about Athletes Yoga and Alyssa.

From the website: Chewylou Designs is named after her dogs Chewbacca aka “Chewy” and Lexington aka “Lexi Lou”, their 100 pound chocolate Labrador Retriever. Inspired by her mother’s battle with breast cancer for the 3rd time, Alyssa Dinowitz created the shirt LIVE meaning Love, Imagine, Value, and Embrace. Drawing from life experiences, her husband Marc, and two children Cooper and Maddie supply an endless source of inspiration, optimism and unconditional love all reflected in her clothing. Qualities that Chewylou enhance are: FAITH, HOPE, DREAM, BREATHE, PEACE, LIVE and GRACE. Sold in Arizona Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle, these shirts are meant to inspire through positive thought and promote physical and spiritual strength. We proudly support the Faces of Hope Fund, Chemo Companions, Lupus Foundation of America, Susan G. Komen For The Cure Phoenix, Planting Peace, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

In keeping with Alyssa’s commitment to actively support non-profit organization, Chewy Lou’s t-shirts are screenprinted at Michael’s Garden. The printing is done by their adult clients in one of their production centers, which is a division of ACCEL (Arizona Center for Education and Lifeskills). At Michael’s Garden, adults with special needs learn vocational skills by trained professionals to create this quality product for Chewy Lou. This provides valuable training opportunities for adults with special needs.

Each shirt is hand embellished with Swarovski crystals. The shirts are sold throughout Arizona, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. They are also carried in several spas, resorts and yoga studios. The list gets longer everyday! You can also find them on line at : Mom shares some great tshirts from Chewy Lou Designs and gives away three tshirts to lucky readers

What I love about these shirts is the message you send – wearing them – hopefully mindfully – I can remind myself to breathe more often (oddly, it is something I say to myself, a lot). So comment and enter to win – there will be three winners and you can choose your t-shirt from Chewy Lou Designs. You have a good chance of winning, but if you don’t win (much sadness!) – there is a great sale at Chewy Lou which includes Grace, Peace, Dream and Give shirts.

chewy lou dasigns gives three tshirts to lucky readers of capability mom blog

Contest will run through 8/28/2011 and three winners will be chosen by widget And the Winner is…

Comments must be made on Capability : Mom ( to be included in the contest.

Newly noted: Chewy Lou Designs is offering a special from now until September 1, 2011 – 20% off everything – no promo code needed!

capability mom blog found great yoga tshirts with an inspirational message from chewy lou designsSorry for the delay in announcing the winners but due to Tropical Storm Irene and some power outages, it took me until now to get to do this. And The Winner Is…(or And the Winners Are…in this case)…

Debbie L.



All winners will be contacted by email. All winners to contact Chewy Lou Designs at to order shirts. If you did not win, don’t be too sad, Chewy Lou Designs is offering 20% off until September 1st!

A tidy not-so-little-giveaway from Tidy Books and Capability : Mom

little miss tidy roger hargreavesOnce upon a time there was a pretty little house. One day a family moved into the pretty house and brought with them all types of things, including toys and books for the small children of the family. The pretty little house grew crowded and a wee bit untidy. One day, the mother, who actually had a fairly high tolerance for untidiness but a low tolerance for actual mess (read germs), had had enough.

“How can I make this house tidy again?” she wondered aloud as she looked around the family room, strewn with brightly colored toys and picture books. “Oh, I know! I will Google ‘tidy kids’.  She was the kind of mom who loved to Google things. Google was especially helpful for the “Why” questions. You know, like “Why does glass not break and plastic does?’ “Why did it stop snowing?” (and other questions that the mom preferred were asked after her morning tea) and she did, and this is what she found…Capability:Mom tidies up with Tidy BooksTidy Books.

It was a company who understood how to tidy up by organizing those hard to keep neat picture books. Of course, it was started by another mom, a talented mom who designed and made her own bookshelves (here is a link to an interview with that mom, Geraldine Grandidier over at oh, my! handmade goodness blog) when she couldn’t find what she wanted. So clever.  The mom of the pretty little house was thrilled and you will be, too.

Okay, I am the mom in the story and this is what I found – Tidy Books –  the bookshelves are beautiful, well-made and perfect for those odd-sized picture books. Here is a nice before and after post from oh, my!. The best part of all of this is that Tidy Books is letting me give away one of their sweet book caddies (a $100 plus value) and you can win it. Really, it is easy and you will love the clock (similar to a Judy Clock on the side (removable for when the children outgrow it). Here is a link to the Tidy Books Box– it is so sweet.

Tidy Books also generously donated a book caddy for the Newton Free Library’s annual fundraiser, Spring Fling. The evening was a huge success (I still haven’t written about it but it was lovely) and the Tidy Books book caddy that I was elected to put it together (very easy, especially with the Allen wrench included in the tidy box) was filled with picture books and was a charming and much sought after silent auction item.

Enter Now

So how can you win? Simple. “Like” Tidy Books on Facebook – Tell them your favorite children’s store – on-line or local – and if you can picture Tidy Books there!

You can get one additional entry for each of the following tasks you complete, up to seven (7) super easy bonus entries:

1. Visit the Tidy Books website & let us know what color you would choose if you won the Tidy Books Box and/or what your favorite Tidy Books product is.

2. Sign up for the Tidy Books email newsletter by entering your email address in the Newsletter tab on the Tidy Books website (bottom left in the sidebar) & leave a comment here to let us know.

3. Follow Tidy Books on Twitter

4. Follow Capability : Mom on Twitter!

5. “Like” Capability : Mom on Facebook

6. Tweet about this giveaway or share on your Facebook page (be sure to tag @capabilitymom)

7. If you have a blog, write about this giveaway with a link back to this post (comment and let me know you are linking back).

This contest is open to U.S. residents only and closes on Friday, April 22, 2011. Tidy Books will ship the book caddy to the winner.

If you don’t win you can always order the Tidy Books book caddy here on Amazon – Tidy Books Box.

email capabilitymom (at) verizon (dot) net with any questions.

This giveaway is closed and the winner is…Barbara Baker of Blogfully. Barbara will receive her book caddy from Tidy Books.

1 2 3

%d bloggers like this: