Developing your Image

jackie stitched

As an author, your online presence brings your readers into your world. The images and verbiage you choose will either create a deeper interest or a divide that will be difficult to mend. This article is for those who have had some works printed and have already started to bring a voice to social media outlets. It will help you to focus on ways to create a stronger bond with your audience.

Great you have created a few books and some online interest in what it is your producing, but what do you do in the meantime to keep them glued into your creative life?  You make sure that they feel like they matter to you. How do you do that? By giving them clues into your author lifestyle.

How do you create? Where do you create? Why do you create? Why should they care?

You’re a writer do what writers do best WRITE! Create a blog about writing… not necessarily. There are many blogs on how to write content, or how to create a full manuscript, and honestly, we don’t really need another one.  What I mean by write is to invite the curious into your life.  Write about what you like, what you feel compelled to care about, what your motivations are, how you like to relax, who you are interested in, & even daily little life events. How can you decide what to write about and when?

Many times writers are persuaded by their passions. They feel strongly about a particular method, a genre, ideology, strength, weakness, a dream, a deep desire to write that will not quit till they complete the task. These are the things you write about on your blog. Things that matter to you. They don’t always have to be about the genre you write, but they do have to have substance to keep your audience engaged.

What is it that you want your audience to know about you? How can you bring your life into your writing career without compromising your personal life?  Once you start building your blog around the suggested ideas, your audience will begin to interact with you, and they will lead you towards what they would like to know about you. You simply need to open the dialogue get people talking about you. It is though important to keep your private life private. Create a blog that is author content only. This way you can still maintain contact with your family and or close friends with whom you have a more intimate relationship with.  Do NOT cross the two ever. Once you start to mix the two groups, you will loose your private identity.

Now here is substance for you:

How often do you come into the mind-space of your audience and/or potential reader?

When you have captured their view what feelings do you invoke in them?

Does that feeling make them want to know more?

The above questions surround one main idea, and that is RELATIONSHIP.

How relatable are you? Do you evoke someone who wants to include others? Or do you push them to the side as you create? If you want them to be 100% invested in you and buy what you create then you need to be invested in them too.

Some of the potential readers you will come across are writers too. You will have a light bond to them already simply because you are both creatives. They will relate to you through writing style, through genre choice, through common postings, through groups, and sometimes simply because of gender.

Does it matter initially how the common bonding happens? No, but will it keep them interested solely on this first reasoning? Probably not. Think about this new found person as you would a potential friend.  Communicate with them ask them what brought them to your page. Recognize them for the fact that they decided to engage in your content.

You will want to write on a regular basis perhaps in the beginning devote 10-15 mins a day with something new. If you find that you have walked into an idea that is just something that fascinates you, then write longer, but make sure that you write with the idea of engaging your potential reader.

Did you recently finish a book written by a favorite author? Hear something on radio that struck a cord? Hear a conversation at the coffee house that made you do a double-take? See something on the drive into work, or on an errand? Had something locally happen in your neighboorhood that you think would make a good story line?  If the idea is touching or poignant in any manner, then write. These are all ideas to help you create your online presence and engage your potential readers.

Also, there are not really simply ways of posting videos online just short few mins to talk about something you find interesting, or just to simply say hello. As you get comfortable with creating the videos, you will also start to find your niche and find lots of ways to engage your audience.  For example, Facebook has Facebook live I will post a link for you to learn now to use this very simple Facebook live  f0rmat.

ONTO SOCIAL MEDIA

You want your username to be your name for your author works. If you want something more cutesy or daring you can make another account for that. Remember you are representing YOU. Make sure you keep it that way when your talking about your writer works.  Make sure also for all your author related venues you keep things with your name. (i.e. @DonStover, DonStover.com, facebook.com/donstover, twitter.com/donstover etc.) If your exact name is not available, try something like @DonStoverauth.

Your profile picture is a huge big deal make sure it is YOU. Not something sorta like you, not a filtered funny photo, but YOU. If you do not take yourself serious as a professional author then why should anyone else? This photo should be used across the board so that people who see you in one venue will start to recognize you in others. Make sure this photo also reflects who you are as a creative. It does not have to be a professional picture, but it does have to have a quality look to it. It may not be a selfie. Get someone I don’t care if it is a total stranger to take your photo as long as it conveys a great image on film.

Tell me what you Think, Feel, and Hear! Entertain Me.

~Jackie Chin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So You Have Been Stitched Now What?

Have you ensured your Amazon book page has a great book description, amazing cover and your book is competitively priced and has plenty of reviews?

Your answer:

Have you looked up similar books to yours on Amazon and noted their Amazon categories and possible keywords? If yes, please input categories & keywords.

Your answer:

Have you placed a back page in all book versions with a request for reviews and a link to the book on Amazon and a mention of other books you have available and a link?

Your answer:

Have you identified prizes to offer readers who sign up for your email list?

Your answer:

Have you imagined a series of blog posts you could write related to the book and started writing them? If yes, please write the subjects you will be covering.

Your answer:

Have you identified people who can share or post your blog posts https://stitchedsmilepublications.wordpress.com/ and asked them will they do so?

Your answer:

Have you identified book advertising sites such as https://twitter.com/ReadersGazette  &  http://www.readersintheknow.com/list-of-book-promotion-sites to advertise your book?

Your answer:

Have you identified controversial, emotional or helpful themes from your book for use in posts, graphics or Tweets https://twitter.com

Your answer:

Have you created animated GIFs for Twitter https://imgflip.com/images-to-gif  and a book trailer http://www.booktrailersforreaders.com/How+to+make+a+book+trailer? (Michael Freeman and Lisa Vasquez can also be a huge help in this department.

Your answer:

Have you sent out review copies far and wide?

Your answer:

Have you reviewed a book at the Stitched Smile Publications Facebook Review group and submitted your book for reviewing?

See: (Work In Progress)

Your answer:

Have you checked your website and blog and Facebook page and Twitter profile and any other sites you are on to ensure they are up to date?

Your answer

Have you added any new social site you might need?

Your answer

Have you created a list building page with an incentive to build your email list?

Your answer

Have you created a Nouncy http://nouncy.com/ or Thunderclap https://www.thunderclap.it/ campaign to get group promotions and have you promoted it?

Your answer:

Have you sought endorsements from anyone prominent?

Your answer:

Have you prepared a press release https://www.standoutbooks.com/book-press-release-template/ and sent it out to media contacts and newswire services?

Your answer:

Have you had a live book party and enjoyed your moment?

Your answer:

Have you put the first few pages of your book on your site and created a Soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/upload audio recording?

Your answer:

Have you created #tags http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/creating-twitter-hashtag-7-steps and used them?

Your answer:

Have you a SmartUrl http://authorbookpromotion.blogspot.com/2014/03/using-smarturl-to-promote-your-book.html for tracking hits to your Amazon book page?

Your answer:

Have you posted about your book to Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/user/sign_up?connect_prompt=true  & LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/ or Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/ or Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ , as appropriate?

Your answer:

Have you written anything provocative about your book?

Your answer:

Have you set up Google Alerts https://plus.google.com/  about your book’s themes and are you adding comments to posts about them?

Your answer:

Have you personally thanked ALL your supporters?

How to Build an Email List for Authors

What is list building?

You offer something of value for free in exchange for an email address. You can set up auto-responders which are automatic emails that go out directing the person to more useful information.

This is permission marketing. You have given something to the person and in exchange asked permission to send them more useful information.

List building is NOT list-buying. It’s the growth of your own list over time in exchange for something of value.

What is the point of having a list?

If you have people’s email addresses, and you are a trusted provider of useful information,  people will open and read your emails. This means you can use the email list to market your books (if the list has been set up for that purpose).

Imagine how powerful it is to have a list of 10,000 people and to send an email saying “My book is available now. Click here to buy”. This is the basis of all the Amazon bestseller campaigns which generally use other people’s lists. If you build one yourself, you have a much more targeted list, and you are a trusted provider to those people. Remember, if people know, like, and trust you,  they are more likely to buy your book.

How do you build a quality list? 

You need to have something to give away for free that is:

  • Valuable and useful to people
  • Related to your product/book

Once you have that, you set up an email signup box like the one designed by Mail Chimp People enter their email and then get the free product.

It is very important to use a reputable service that:

  • manages this all for you automatically and is scalable (yes, you could have 50,000+ subscribers within a few years!)
  • lets people to unsubscribe easily (mandated by anti-spam laws)
  • enables you to send out broadcasts when you like as well as setting up auto-responders
  • enables you to manage and download your list
  • allows you to set up multiple lists from one account

What free giveaway can you do?

As authors, we are uniquely placed to offer some great free giveaways as we produce quality information relatively easily. It is also very important that you giveaway something that is related to what you are selling. There’s no point in giving away an e-book on finance if you want to sell romantic fiction on your blog.

Here are some ideas for your free giveaway:

  • First 3 chapters of your book, or a short story, or the first novella in a series of 3
  • Top 10 tips for <insert your niche here> e.g. Top 10 tips for creating authentic characters / Top 10 tips for writing horror
  • Audio of you reading your work or talking about the subject you are writing about

The most important thing to remember:

You want to be a valuable resource to people, either for information or entertainment. You do not want to be seen as a spammer. So give away great information, offer quality on a regular basis for free, and people will be happy to buy from you when you have something they are interested in. Don’t send unrelated offers. Don’t abuse the list or they will unsubscribe. It’s all about respect.

If you are interested in housing your creative horror works with a publishing house that puts the author first contact us TODAY! Stitched Smile Publications

 

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents: Bram Stoker Nominees 2015

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents: A Night with a few of the 2015 Bram Stoker Award Nominees
2-26-16 Starting at 8 pm EST
Your not gonna want to miss this set your clocks, and mark your calender’s
1. 8:-9 pm EST
JG Faherty for “The Cure” (Samhain Publishing)
IN: Superior Achievement in a Novel
http://tinyurl.com/z277x3g
2.9-10 pm EST
Patrick Freivald for “Black Tide” (JournalStone Publishing)
IN: Superior Achievement in a Novel
http://tinyurl.com/gptl2k4
3.10-11 pm EST
Mercedes Murdock Yardley for “Little Dead Red ” (Grimm Mistresses) (Ragnarok Publications)
IN: Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
http://tinyurl.com/grtvejd
4. 11-12 pm EST
Nicole Cushing for “Mr. Suicide” (Word Horde)
IN: Superior Achievement in a First Novel
http://tinyurl.com/z5fcv5
&
Nicole Cushing for “The Mirrors” (Cycatrix Press)
IN: Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
http://tinyurl.com/znsyrxk
5. 12-1 am EST
John M. Mcllveen for “Hannahwhere” (Crossroad Press)
IN: Superior Achievement in a First Novel
http://tinyurl.com/hcdhknf
Listen Live on YOUTUBE: http://tinyurl.com/lgmnndo
or
Live on Google+: http://tinyurl.com/zt2hcof
To be continued…
Type a message…

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents Authors On FIRE

Some great press for Stitched Smile Publications and its Founder/CEO Lisa Vasquez

Zombiepalooza Radio Live Presents 2-12-16
The Business Of Being An Author

8:00-9:00 pm EST Author Ed Cardillo
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/hf3rsxr

9:00-10 pm EST Author & CEO Lisa Vasquez
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/zhhzfdj
CEO Page: http://www.stitchedsmilepublications.com/

10:00-11 pm EST Author Nick Cole
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/hhlwq3y

11:00-12 am EST Author Deno Sandz
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/h2qng9o

12-1 am EST Author Forbes West
AUTHOR Page: http://tinyurl.com/hn8begs

LISTEN LIVE or on DEMAND
Zombiepalooza Radio LIVE http://tinyurl.com/lgmnndoProfile_Picture

Putting Your Best Face Forward

12669191_10208529163207659_937273983_oWhy is it important to put your best face forward as an author?

The image you choose will follow you for a long while. Making sure it is done properly to signify you as an author/genre specific will help you relate to your potential audience.

Things to be aware of that distract from a great author shot:

  • Desks cluttered with knick-knacks, stacks of paper, file folders
  • Busy, boldly-patterned clothing
  • Wrinkled sheets hung up as a backdrop
  • Bad lighting, harsh flash
  • Standing head-on, shoulders back, against a plain white wall, unless you’re going for a mug shot look
  • Improper background settings.

What should you do to prepare for a great quality author shoot?

Wear something you love. This is really important for anyone having a portrait done. You may think it is less-so for authors, as generally, pictures of authors in books tend to be headshots, and so who cares what you wear, right? Wrong. Having your photo taken is a somewhat unnatural and potentially daunting situation, often involving posing. Most people (including me!) don’t like getting it done. Anything you can do to make yourself feel more relaxed and at home (especially if you’re out on location with others around) is great. If you feel relaxed and good in what you’re wearing, it will show on your face. I also always recommend people bring a couple of clothing options, so we can have a play and see what works best – and if you’re working with me, stay away from busy patterns in clothing, they just distract from your face.

  1. Take multiple outfits with you so you have options.
  2. Plan for multiple locations, or backgrounds.
  3. Pay for the session rather than per photograph. It’s more up front, but better in the long term.
  4. Make sure that you negotiate the right to reproduce the photos so you don’t need to keep coming back to get permission every time you have a new book. Studios that cater to actors are used to this.
  5. Wear make-up. Yes, you too, gentlemen. It doesn’t have to be visible makeup, but it will help your features pop. In person, the animation of your face is enough, but a photograph is a static image.

Work somewhere with the photographer that has some special significance for what you like to write about – for example, if your books feature famous landmarks, discuss incorporating recognizable features into the background of your headshot. You do not want an overly busy background, but it is still nice to get a suggestion of place in any shot – it makes it instantly more interesting. In addition to the interest in your shot, it will get you in the mood for being photographed as an author, and remind you of why you are doing the shoot! I suggest chatting with the photographer about possible locations, and seeing what suggestions they have in response to information you give them about your work.

Once you have the photos

  1. Narrow it down to no more than a dozen that you like.
  2. Get second opinions before you make your choice.
  3. Ask your editor, agent, and the marketing department at your publisher for their opinion. This is a selling tool, remember.
  4.  Look at your photos and ask yourself, “Would I want to read a book written by this person?”

So you see there are multiple steps when working to place your best face forward in the author world.  The staff at Stitched Smile Publications will not only create the best looking book for you, but will also walk you through what it takes to put your best face forward.

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Pull (Client Building)

The Art of the Pull

Social media, when it first came to be, was the place to push a creatives work. Get it to the masses quickly, and efficiently. However, as with all things, the approach to new clients changes with the times. Sites like Facebook are taking the ability to get information regarding our works away to the point where they are forcing creatives to pay in order to get their message out. If you have tried this technique you know it is a waste of time and money.

So what is a creative to do?

It’s all in the approach.  From the very first minute you or your works are seen by a potential fan or buyer there must be an air of approach-ability.

Does your cover art have curb appeal?

Do you have an inviting creative photo of yourself?

Do you conduct interviews or are you being interviewed?

Do you have experience being on a panel of experts in your creative field?

Are you engaging your fan on social media/website within your creative field?

Are you in multiple venues to get the best coverage and reach for your creative work?

When you are engaging with your social media base its important to not just say, “Buy my book!”  One of the quickest ways to be ignored and/or deleted is to sound desperate.  One of the ways you can become more engaged in your potential base is to find sites that are interesting to you, move the work around that you have just created, and allow for conversations.

Yes, that very thing that many have forgotten how to do. Some things to think on:

Is your work thematic?

Does it have a strong genre base, and sites where potential buyers are already engaging?

Talk about things that are important to you as the creative.

Have you found something that makes creating easier for you?

Are there techniques which you have come across? Did you find it to be useful to others?

Being supportive of others creative works also shows that you are confident in your own work.

Do you know people who have their own radio show, blog site, book club, coffee house or business that may be Indie friendly?

Do you have business cards, or a virtual card where those with smart phones can simply click on it and find your internet presence?

When you are out and about do you seek out opportunities to chat with those who show an interest in things you like, too?

All of the above are potential openings to talk about what you love to do without sounding pushy. When you start to build a comfortable presence either on-line or in public settings you then open more doors to show them how you create. This is the Art of the Pull instead of the push.

You’re an entrepreneur. You have a brand to build, and works to sell.  No matter if you go at it alone in the publishing industry, or if you choose a publishing house, you still need to make sure you have the very best online presence. This is your chance to share how much you love to create and why you believe what you have produced is worth attention.

Stitched Smile Publications knows its difficult to get the message out, alone.  We are part of a new movement to aid each one of our authors to become the very best creative possible.  We will assess where you are currently, provide a great media plan, and amp up your accessibility to potential fans and buyers.

 

 

 

 

Marketing 101: Building Your Author Platform

Marketing 101: Building Your Author Platform

If you are a writer you may have come across the phrase “Author Platform.” There are many sites that say you need to have one, but creating one; well that’s a whole other hurdle. This article will help you through some of the obstacles of creating an Author Platform that is right for you.

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Google That: Everyone has heard of using google to do research for projects, have fun while finding new ideas and different places to hang out, but have you ever thought about googling yourself?

Google your author name. Does your website, Facebook page,        twitter profile, Instagram, guest posts, Amazon Author page, & Goodreads page show?  Terrific this is what is known as your Author Platform.

Now that you know what you look like to others online the next step is to determine if it truly speaks of who you are as an author. Does it reflect your goals, your personality, and your quest to engage readership?

Other Pieces That Reflect Your Author Platform:

Do you have a professional author photo?

Do you have a tagline that conveys your creative work?

Do you have several venues where potential readers can   search for you? Facebook is a great place to start, but you need to have multiple reach in order for you to receive the largest reach.

The fewer places you are able to be searched the less reach you have internet wise. The fact is that most online will not take more than a few minutes to search for a new author they have heard of & that means less sales for you.

Once you have these different sites available for your potential readers you must remain coherent and cohesive in your persona. Understand fully the genre you intend to reach.  Where are they most likely to be involved? Research is not only important when you’re creating the latest amazing read; it’s imperative to define and reach those whom would love to read your work.

Defining a solid approach to your Author Platform is a necessity.

  • Describe yourself as an author
  • Provide contact information
  • Describe your books
  • Link to your book sales pages
  • Have some way for readers to stay connected to you, i.e. newsletter signup
  • Social media accounts, including Face
  • book fan page and personal account
  • Extras like guest blog posts, articles for magazines, and interviews

YOUR WEBSITE PRESENCE:

The website isn’t just the information hub of your Platform, it is also the design hub. Pick colors, images, patterns, fonts, and concepts that you can carry over to other Platform spaces. Some authors create mood boards so that the elements they use across their Platform is easy to remember and reuse.

Defining your genre, using specific images geared towards enhancement of your works. Using these same images on all of your sites so that you’re consistent. Your Facebook cover image, Twitter profile picture and other sites where there is an image must be the same. As you grow as an author your tastes will change. Make sure that your photos reflect this movement.  Define your space online as a uniquely as you can to stand out from the others who are within your genre.

Do you have a signature item?

Do you live in a unique area?

Do you enjoy a particular hobby?

Make sure you use your time wisely

There are so many places on the internet to give time to.  Remember, your time is valuable and you really should be writing and creating most of that time. You’re an Author after all.

Once you determine your design elements make sure to use them on all forms of social media. Same author photo and cover/header on every site. DO NOT use a book cover as your profile picture.  WHY? Because those seeing this will many times assume you’re a one hit wonder. Getting that just right photo will be discussed in the next article.

Bottom line: Your design should be eye-catching, consistent with your genre, and the same everywhere.

 

Marketing 101: The Art of Branding

Marketing 101:  The Art of Branding

One of the things to consider during the writing process is to think about how you want to be viewed by your readership.

Yes, you want to create and connect with like-minded people, but you also need to consider how you will connect. Your choice of communications will determine if you will fit into the niche in which you seek.

Understanding your audience, giving yourself a sense of direction and purpose. Identify your goal, define your purpose, and understand who you are trying to reach.

Communicating clearly to engage your readership. Did you know the even the font on your web page, the colors you choose, the way you have your videos, which photos you choose all define you?

Companies such as Starbucks, Target, & Google are known for their exceptional branding. The focus on the customer and their customer service standards are extremely high. This allows for each of the stores to work as a team and sell effortlessly.

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What should you be considering when you’re designing your brand as a writer?

Identity: Own the fact that you are a writer. Among other things you do; you are also a creative who writes. Be proud of the fact that you decided to take your ideas and bind them to paper.

Express yourself clearly:  Do not try to be evasive. Do not pick so many things that you like in order to fit into the genre. Pick a few things that are important to you and connect with your readership on social media. Doing this will help you be seen as an expert. Or at the very least concerned about things that are important to them.

Remain focused: Pick topics of discussion no matter if you are on social media or in person that pertain to those around you. Your audience will decide if they are hearing what you’re saying, or if you’re off path. You’re not going to appeal to everyone. Here is a clue – You’re not supposed to. Once you have found your niche you will be more focused. Relax it takes time and perseverance.

Wash, Rinse, and Repeat:  Repetition helps people understand that your values, rationales, & nature will remain the same. Never take for granted that people will follow you no matter what you throw out there.  Always be in the process of helping others to move forward. Allow for others to see how you’re motivating yourself to stay on track. Teach others what works so that they too may be successful.

Everyone has a story:  Engaging people on multiple levels will help you not only gain traction for success; it will allow those who may not be where you are now to learn from you. Tell your story, be sincere. If you have had trials and have risen above tell them.  Engagement is extremely important to convey who you are and stay in the spotlight.

An Interview with Lisa Vasquez of Stitched Smile Publications

Back in October, Cate and I attended a festival in Beaufort (South Carolina). Though it was only a one day affair, Cate and I made it a weekend get-away with no children. After the festival we went to the house we were staying in and settled in for the evening. Before I went to bed that night I checked the good old Facebook (don’t judge me, you do it, too). While scrolling through posts about politics, religion, kittens, memes and some book-related things, I came across one that simply read something about someone’s book being published by Stitched Smile Publications.

I had never heard of that publisher before. I took out a pen and wrote these words: Research Stitched Smile Publications.

After arriving home the next afternoon, I sat at the computer and started researching. I found a Facebook page and a website that was in the process of being built.

During the information gathering, I came to realize Lisa Vasquez was associated with SSP. I contacted her, and guess what I found out? She wasn’t just associated with SSP, she was the founder. Being that I know Lisa works very hard at everything she does, I wanted to interview her and learn a little bit more about Stitched Smile Publications.

Let’s hop right in, why don’t we?

AJ: Lisa, not too long ago you made a decision to open a publishing house. What led you to do this?

LV: I’ve been sitting on the idea for quite some time but I think the fact that I didn’t know the ins-and-outs sort of held me back. Which is a good thing, I think, because I sat back and learned and did my time behind the scenes. As an author, I understand the pain of wanting to put your work out and having more control over what happens to it. An author’s choices are:
1. Submit to a “Big House” Publisher and hope for the best.
2. Submit to an indie publisher and hope they don’t get screwed over.
3. Publish it themselves.
The problem with publishing it yourself is not having the skills to wear all the hats necessary. I used my own book as a guinea pig, helped and volunteered whenever I could, and then finally felt confident that I could do it. That’s when Stitched Smile was born!

AJ: When you say you sat back and learned, what do you mean?

LV: I have a background in graphics and have been doing it for about 20 years for various industries. Printing, however, is so much different. If you don’t know about dpi and bleeds, you kind of spend a lot of time tossing things out that you spent hours on. So that was the first thing I tackled, because let’s face it, people do judge a book by its cover.

The second thing was learning about the industry itself. What publishers were doing that were good, and what they were doing that left room for improvement. What I found was a lack of author focus and development. The author ended up losing their identity in a lot of cases or just became a “new release”. Fans love to know things about the author and engage with them. There were other things like contracts, distribution, and marketing. I did a lot of promotional work but the book world is its own animal. Same basic concepts but different language.

AJ: How did you go about learning the things you needed to in order to feel confident in starting Stitched Smile Publications?

LV: I asked a lot of questions, trial and error, talking to others in the industry with more experience, and then I took on a position with another publisher (Burning Willow Press) as their Design Manager and got to see firsthand how it was done in real time. I applied what I knew, added what I didn’t, did a lot of trial and error with my own book, which I still continue to do, and then realized my approach was definitely unique and had some good results. I set money aside and then dove into it.

I think you just come to that moment where you feel like the only way you’re going to know if you got it is if you try it. I love what I do, and I love helping people and that added the final touch to my decision. If you don’t love what you do, you’ll never give 100%. That’s how I decided to just put my ducks in a row and start the process. I had the support of my amazing staff who got the word out, and then Jackie Chin teamed up with me and things rolled without much effort. We all knew we had a winning formula.

AJ: Sounds like you’ve done your homework. Where did the name Stitched Smile Publication come from?

LV: I wanted to branch out from my normal “persona”. I had Darque Halo Designs, and I always used wings or a halo as a brand. I wanted something that was reflective of this other side of me. It’s dark, it’s scary. It was a smile…with the darker element added to it. I don’t think there’s anything more unsettling than a maniacal grin. Since the publishing company specializes in dark content, I wanted something that appealed to both men and women. And one that would appeal to the reader. So I sat there and thought, ‘what would be the epitome of this?’ Well, one of my favorite characters is The Joker. His most memorable feature is his grin. It hit me right then that this is what I was looking for.

AJ: My favorite bad guy of all time is The Joker, and his smile is what people remember about him. I like the name and the logo. I think it fits.

LV: Thank you!

AJ: How did Jackie Chin come to be on your staff?

LV: Jackie and I were friends previous to this. I designed her new logo for her. We bonded rather quickly and she had me on her show, Zombiepalooza Radio. From there we just kept talking and when I told her what I was doing she sat back and watched me. One day she grilled the HECK out of me—which I loved because it showed me that I was really ready for this.

Then she asked, “I want to be involved, what can I do?” Now see, this was a scary decision because I love that woman and I respect her, so now the stakes were high because I didn’t want to let anyone down but least of all her because she’d done a lot for me and I know others had taken what she’d done for granted. Slowly, we began formulating an approach for marketing and I just let her run with it. Since that first day, she’s really put her heart into it and I’m happy to say she feels like it’s her home, as well. I couldn’t be more excited that she believes in us.

AJ: I’ve listened and watched Zombiepalooza Radio and I think she does a great job. She’s also quite intimidating, but she seems to have a heart of gold.

LV: Jackie is a go-getter. She’s a strong woman and knows her stuff. She comes off as hard, but she is focused and knows exactly where she wants to go.

AJ: One or two more questions and I’ll let you get back to work. I’m a writer. What do you have to offer me that other small presses (or even larger ones) cannot?

LV: What Stitched Smile Publications offers is a personalized plan for each author. We find out what they are great at and what they aren’t so great at and we build up the weaknesses so that they are a well-rounded author. Let’s face it, you have got to sell your book. It’s a product. Some people don’t think they can sell anything but in reality, anyone can sell.

What we do is take away the “car salesman” selling and teach them how to just do what they love. Work their personality into the marketing and put it out there. We also allow authors that have the skills to format their books, or design their own covers, a higher portion of the royalties. Finally, we have Jackie’s radio show. So now we’re reaching a global network with numbers that are nearly unattainable in the conventional way. We aren’t spamming the link to amazon on every Facebook group we can join, we’re inviting the readers to come to us.

Other than that, we have a badass team who are loyal and sincere in their intentions. We hold weekly meetings and allow the authors to attend. Everyone is an equal and every person’s ideas are considered when we brainstorm. There’s no one more important than the author. If the author isn’t happy, you aren’t going to have a productive relationship. It’s like a marriage. If one person isn’t happy they’re going to be looking for a way out. When we put a ring on it, we try to keep the honeymoon going!

AJ: That is an awesome way to go at it, one I am not sure I have seen or heard from any other publisher.

One last thing: Lisa, where can writers and readers find out more about SSP?

LV: We have a couple websites. The first one is the Stitched Smiles Publication Website. This is our landing site and a good place to start. In addition to that we have our SSP on Word Press where every staff member is allowed to post, including the authors! So potential readers get a place to learn about the authors, what they’re like and what’s in the future for them. And finally, we are on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

AJ: Lisa Vasquez, thank you for your time. I’m sure you and your staff are going places

LV: Thank you, Jeff, for talking with me. It’s been fun!

AJ: Yes, it has.