Monthly Archives: December 2013

Newsletter 10

We had a great Holiday Party this Monday. A big thank you to Tina for hosting, and to Amanda Nikki for doing some outstanding caracitures (including the one you’ll see of Gregory in this newsletter interview).


Our conference is coming up! Don’t forget to register before the price increase on January 16th.

Interview with HWG President Gregory Kompes:

You’ve published with both traditional publishing and self publishing. What route will you choose for your next book?

The next several of my books will be self-published.

In your own experience, what are some of the benefits and drawbacks associated with each approach?

CharHeadShot121613I’ve always said that every project has the perfect route to being published. Traditional publishing has the benefits of someone else dealing with the details (editing, cover and interior design for print and ebooks, printing, and distribution). And, most traditionally published books receive at least a bit of promotion, at least 30 days. And, if it does well, more.

Self-publishing is perfect for those who like the challenge and also control freaks. When you take the self-publishing route, you manage the whole process. This is both a benefit and a drawback. It can become expensive if you’re paying for others to layout, design, edit, and distribute your book. At the same time, working with a Print on Demand (POD) publisher like Create Space takes out most of the middle people.

Of course, no matter how you publish, the marketing and promotion falls on the shoulders of the author, so building your platform and niche markets are very important.

Self publishing has experienced a radical transformation in the last decade. What is your opinion about the future of self publishing?

I expect Self-publishing will continue to grow. Even some of the big name authors are stepping away from their publishing houses and publishing on their own. It’s so easy to publish. There are some who say that the quality of published works is lower now, but I think this enhances the capitalistic model of publishing. (It is a business, after all.) When you read something you like, you go back to that author for more. When you don’t make it through a work or can’t continue reading because of poor grammar, typos, and head-hopping POV, you don’t buy any more from that author. The successful, quality writers will rise to the top of the heap.

The other thing I like about self-publishing is that the prices can be lower than traditionally published works, especially for digital works (i.e., Kindle). Low prices on your first few novels helps you build a following and readership, which in the long run will make for a healthier bottom line.

How much have you adjusted the prices on your books— is that even an option with a traditionally published book? And do you see a direct effect on sales when you adjust prices?

For traditionally published books, the publisher sets the cover price for all editions (print, electronic, etc.) and online discounts. It is possible for me alter that cover price on my website or for back-of-room sales because I have already purchased the stock and can resell it however I’d like.

As for self-published books, it’s always possible to alter the price. I’ve had a lot of success selling books when I speak if I offer a 2-for-special. So, instead of $15 each, I often offer my books 2-for$20. That’s a 30% slash, and about what my books sell for with an online (Amazon, B&N) discount. My digital editions I keep at around $5 or less. You tend to lose buyers over $5 when you’re not a well-known author.

Have you noticed a significant difference between the sales of your traditionally published book and your self published books? Has that marketing boost from a publisher positively affected sales in the long term or does most of the responsibility come down to the writer’s platform and personal promotion?

image366My traditionally published book has remained an Amazon bestseller for nearly 8 years. It’s early success was a combination of promotion opportunities created by my publisher for the first 30 days, and my own promotional efforts. They got me on over 40 radio programs. My own early efforts garnered a few column inches in USA Today. That said, all of those early efforts got me and my book press years ago. The ongoing success is because of my own ongoing promotion. In the end, and shortly after being published, all promotion falls to the efforts of the authors. Those authors I know who are most successful have many published books, not just one or two, and are continuing to build audience through promotion and speaking opportunities.

That reminds me of the saying “your backlist pushes your front list.” Last question, what links or resources have been most helpful to you in navigating how to self-publish?

The Well-Fed Self Publisher by Peter Bowerman (He’ll be at our 2014 conference!)

The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

1001 Ways to Promote Your Book by John Kremer

Lightening Source

Create Space

Adobe InDesign

Thank you for the interview Gregory.

Upcoming Meetings:

The group is holding weekly Monday meetings through the holidays. December 23rd meeting is at the Lutheran Church. December 30th will be a first chapter read at the Coffee House. For more information about when and where we meet (as well as when and where other writing groups in the area meet), visit our calendar.

Newsletter Nine

Fred Rayworth gave a good presentation on POV (that’s Point of View) at this week’s meeting. He compared POV to the angle the author uses to tell or show the story. His analogy about the point of view being a video camera was great, a good reminder to all of us to pay attention to that POV camera in our own writing. It should always help tell the story, not distract from the story.


Our Las Vegas Writer’s Conference is coming up this April 24th 26th. Don’t forget to register before the price increase on January 16th! The current cost is $425. After January 16th the price increases to $475. Also remember that members of the Henderson Writer’s Group get a $25 discount on the price of the conference.

This Monday, December 16th, is our annual Holiday Party! We will meet at Tina’s house. Please RSVP if you haven’t already, and contact one of the board members if you need directions. Its a potluck BYOB event and the group is also providing sandwiches from Firehouse Subs. See you there at 6:30.

The results from our Anthology are in. Thirty one members submitted their work. This year an independent group of writers and university professors evaluated the submissions according to a rubric written by the board members of the HWG. The judges ranked originality, voice, structure, style, and technical aspects. All those who submitted will receive feedback from the judges and notes about their submission.

Thank you to all members who submitted material for the anthology, and congratulations to the 19 members whose submissions will be included in the anthology:

Jenny Ballif,   Garry Buzick,   AL Campbell,   Sydnee Elliot,   Howie Erickson,   Richard J Feller,   Andres Fragoso Jr.,   Ray K Katz,   Judy Shine Logan,   Wolf O’Rourc,   Toni Pacini,   Kevin B Parsons,   Fred Rayworth,   Nancy Sansone,   Lauren Tallman,   Glory Wade,   William Walles,   Darrah Whitaker,   Bobbi White


Congratulations to Kathleen Mosko on singing with Bocelli last Saturday.

Congratulations to Tina Willis and Kathleen Mosko on setting up a basic writer iphone ap.

Congratulations to Amanda Skenadore on being one of 52 finalists (selected from over 2,700 applicants!) in the Pitch Wars contest!

Congratulations to Morgan St. James on a full calendar of local events this January surrounding her new book “La Bella Mafia.”

Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

Last week when I was sitting with Jo at her kitchen table, I learned something good about writing synopses:

A one page synopsis is not a *true* synopsis. It’s a sales pitch. Like the query, the one page synopsis should draw the reader in, it should create an emotion of “I want to read that book.” A chapter by chapter synopsis is a true synopsis, where the author is expected to lay out every significant plot detail.

If you’d like to learn more about writing a synopsis, Chuck Sambuchino has a great series on topic at Here’s a link to a Writer’s Digest post featuring 8 great articles about writing a synopsis.

Quote of the night:

“He can grow a beard. I can’t. That obviously gives him a superior point of view.”

Interview with Judy Logan:

Judy Logan is currently the librarian of our Henderson Writers’ Group. She maintains a great selection of books about writing. If you’d like to borrow one, or several, contact her at jeslogan1 at hotmail dot com.

Judy, tell me when and how did you start writing?

I’ve always written both fiction and non-fiction. I like to joke that I began writing so early, I probably signed my own birth-certificate.

JudyWhen I was a young wife and mother, one of my pastors suggested I start writing columns for our church newsletter, which I finally did. Because those columns were well-received, she asked me to take the Certified Lay Speakers Training and begin preaching in her absence.

I wrote and delivered about 30 sermons over the years  for many pastors, and I am now crafting them into book called “Spiritual Reflections.”

Your first novel was published this month (congratulations!). When did you start writing it, and what inspired you to write about the friendship between a widowed woman and a battered woman?

sheltermeYes, this is my first novel. I started writing it in the late 1980s as a short story based on my grandmother’s widowhood. Then after spending six years working at Boston Regional Medical Center in the psychiatry department, where I saw lots of battered women and children. I had to purge those horrible stories from my mind and heart. I began writing my recollections of the commonalty between their abuse and feelings.

One day, I wondered what would happen if you put two women at opposite ends of the love spectrum (good love and bad love) together and forced them into a circumstance where they had to help each other.

The novel was finished in 1990 and called “Entitled to Love.” After sending out queries and chapters for several years I put the novel away and concentrated on my husbands deteriorating health.

It wasn’t until my husband’s death that I realized I was really ready and able to write the widow’s part. The pain had become up close and personal: the terror,the disbelief, the anger, the sadness, the total-disconnection with and dissolution of everything that made him and me a “we.”

It took a long time to become “me” again.  I was booted from the empty nest and forced to fly again, thanks to God’s help and that of family and friends.

I started working on my novel again when I came to Vegas in 2010. My children insisted that I try to publish it. They were my greatest cheer-leaders and “fanny-booters.”

Ink and Quill picked up the book in January 2011 and it’s now published and called “Shelter Me: When friendship is all that remains.”

At the end of the day, I guess you could say the novel was an overnight success, only 24 years to publication!

Thank you very much Judy! 

Upcoming meetings and events:

Monday December 16th is the Holiday Party at Tina’s house! Next Wednesday December 18th is the Poetry meeting at Skinny Dugans.

We will be meeting the last two Mondays in December. On the 23rd we’ll be at the church on Tropicana. The meeting on the 30th will be at the Coffee House and we’ll do a first chapter read.

Thanks for reading.

Jenny Ballif- Newsletter Editor

Newsletter Eight

About twenty people gathered this Monday to listen to and critique six readers. Here’s a bit about the meeting and our upcoming events:


Nancy Sansone has a connection who does graphic art work, if you’re interested for help with an illustration or cover for your book, let her know.

The Battleborn Book Festival is this Saturday at the Nevada State Museum in the Springs Preserve, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Our own conference is coming up in April. The webpage has been updated to include some of the faculty and agents who are attending. Check it out at:


Congratulations to Judy Salz on her article in Let’s Talk Nevada. If you didn’t read it already, you can find it here:

Congratulations to Judy Logan on a radio interview on KLAV’s Aspects of Writing this week.

Congratulations to Darlien Breeze on the release of her book “Power Words and Action Verbs,” now available on kindle.

Congratulations to Donald Riggio on a radio interview.

Congratulations to Gregory Kompes, Alba Arango, and Jenny Ballif for each completing 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo.

Writing Tip from Jo Wilkins:

To cut a scene, or not? If you find yourself asking this question, consider the following: does the scene advance the main plot or a subplot? If something is just “not right” with a particular scene, consider deleting it to your “junk file” or “extras file” and starting over from scratch. Sometimes editing can not fit bad structure, but starting over and writing fresh can take your story in the right direction.

Upcoming Meetings:

Our next weekly meeting is December 9th, at the Lutheran Church on Tropicana. HWG member Fred Rayworth will be speaking on Point of View.

Writer’s Pen and Grill is next Wednesday, December 11th at the Peppermill Fireside Lounge.


On December 12th there is an officer’s meeting at Angelina’s house. Members of the group are welcome to attend, or to contact their favorite officer if there is an issue they would like to see addressed at the meeting.

And, last but not least, on December 16th we will NOT be having a standard Monday meeting at the Coffee House. We will be gathering at Tina’s for our holiday party! If you haven’t had a chance to RSVP, please do.

Thanks for reading,

Jenny Ballif, Newsletter Editor