IAM 15 Guest Post…Geoffrey Saign

IAM 2015 - TopperHello! Welcome to day three of Indie Author Month, we hope you’ve enjoyed the first couple of days and features…there’s a lot more to come with a new visitor each day.

Today we’re joined by author Geoffrey Saign, sharing his writing journey (so far) with Aside from Writing. Let’s see how he found himself becoming an Indie Author…


Geoffrey Saign  WhipEye has won the 2015 International Book Awards for Children’s Fiction, but I’m not an overnight success.

In fact, if I didn’t love writing, I would have quit at rejection 599, or thereabouts. Over several decades, I had 6 NY agents, some of the best, in several genres—though most of my books had elements of fantasy—my favorite genre. The last agent told me we’d have 50K in thirty days (he’d just sold a $20 million screenplay), but it didn’t happen.

Fast forward to a year ago, and the small publisher that had picked up WhipEye ran into financial problems, and informed me I’d only get 3 cents/book. I decided to form KiraKu press and publish it myself.

A year later, WhipEye won a number of accolades, including a Top Pick on LitPick, the number one site for kids reviewing books. To have kids reviewing your book, and loving it, is a great thing. WhipEye was also awarded a Notable in Shelf Unbound, and came in as a bronze finalist in eLit Book Awards.

Most of my writing includes my passions for nature, wildlife, water, and adventure. I’ve sailed all over the South Pacific and Caribbean, and was lost at sea for 3 days on my first charter out of Key West. That was pretty funny—and another story. I live by intuition, another element in WhipEye. I teach in special education, and work hard to build self-esteem and get students to trust themselves. I was able to include those aspects in WhipEye naturally, so the reader isn’t hit over the head with those themes. WhipEye is still a fast-paced ride that reluctant young readers love. I’m proud to say that adults love WhipEye too—it’s a great to please so many readers of varying ages with a story.

Since age 15 I’ve cared deeply about the planet (nature and wildlife). Thus, I mention 100 different species of wild animals in WhipEye. It’s my way of educating young readers without their knowing it. I wanted to create a protagonist who is an animal nerd, Samantha, so the reader sees the world through the eyes of someone in love with wildlife, and nature, and isn’t attached to electronics. I try to get my students into nature and the outdoors every chance I get, and hope they will do more on their own. There are also themes of love in the story, and what that means when we’re faced with a choice of helping others or doing what is right.

My vision of life is that we all suffer and go through pain, but at the end of the day we learn and grow and become happier for it. In WhipEye, Samantha, the main character, and her side-kick, Jake, are grieving losses, but they come out better for it. I also like to joke around with my students, so it’s important to me to have humor in my writing. Charlie, the wise-cracking thousand-year-old parrot in WhipEye, keeps the story from being too dark when things are tough for Sam and Jake.

I’m currently finishing up Book 2, Gorgon, WhipEye Chronicles, which should be out Sept. 1, 2015. My goal is a movie for WhipEye. I don’t know where all this will lead, but intuition is guiding it, and as long as it’s a blast to write, I’ll keep at it. Right now I have an environmental book proposal with a publisher, a non-fiction book I just finished, and a YA epic fantasy series that I’m ready to put out. It’s all exciting, and I’m glad I’m off summers from education so I can write. A fun day for me is writing, swimming, seeing friends, and sharing great food. It’s a great life.


WhipEye Cover

A thousand-year-old wise-cracking parrot convinces animal nerd Samantha and her spunky side-kick Jake to save him and two worlds. The two children are hunted by magical Great Ones, and have twenty-four hours to decipher the supernatural staff, WhipEye, and find the courage to stop a traitorous guardian and his enslaved monstrous animals.

   …a story about love, nature, wildlife, intuition, and trusting yourself…


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Geoffrey Saign can often be found looking for interesting critters, and magic, while swimming, snorkeling, sailing, or hiking in the woods. His passion for nature and wildlife inspired his series, WhipEye Chronicles, and led to his nationally endorsed book, Green Essentials: What You Need to Know About the Environment, as well as African Cats and Great Apes. He has a background in biology, assisted in field research with hummingbirds and humpback whales, and sailed as far away as Australia. With more than twenty years of experience working in special education, he has taught adults and children everything from sailing to self-awareness and novel writing. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Website: http://www.geoffreysaign.net

You Tube Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQQt4_0PIO0

Personal: https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.saign

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/geoffreysaign/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20508452-whipeye

Twitter: https://twitter.com/geoffreysaign

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/geoffreysaign

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/WhipEye-Chronicles-Volume-1/dp/0990401308

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/whipeye?store=allproducts&keyword=whipeye

iBooks; https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/whipeye/id926521924?mt=11

Smashwords;  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498116

Kobo; https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=whipeye

Guest Post…My Journey by Tony Talbot

 Blog regular Tony Talbot’s latest book was released last week! It looks fantastic and you can check out the book and teaser beneath today’s special guest post from Tony himself, talking about his writing journey, from first sentence to Eight Mile Island, his fourth novel. Speaking of the new book: you can enter to win your very own copy in our giveaway! **CLICK HERE**


“Even a journey of a hundred miles begins with one.” – Chinese proverb

In case you missed it, I’ve just finished writing my fourth book in four years. I know, sometimes I can’t believe it either. Four books is four times as many as some people many in a lifetime; on the other hand, to some people, it’s nothing but the start of their career.

It seemed like a good time to take a look back and see if I’ve learned anything. How is Eight Mile Island (2011-2012) different from Over the Mountain (2008-2009)? What have I learned from it all?

One of the biggest differences for me is this, what I’m typing right now. My self-promotion for OtM was non-existent. I posted about it a few times on the Amazon boards (The awful ghetto of the meet-the-author forum was still a nascent nightmare back then). I didn’t have a webpage or a Facebook account. Didn’t tweet, didn’t know about Goodreads (Did it even exist?).

I’d finished OtM and sent it off to a few agents with no real results before I read an article about self-publishing. Figuring I had nothing to lose, I commissioned a woman I work with to design me a book-cover and I started to self promote. So there were all the twists and turns of uploading to get to grips with…

Initially I started SP’ing without much enthusiasm or sales, but I’m a persistent guy and I stuck with it while I started on my second book, Taken.

I’d finished that and number three – American Girl – when I stumbled across Goodreads at the start of this year.

And that’s when things started to happen. I offered some of my books up for review, and I’m getting some good feedback now – 4 and 5 star reviews, I’m delighted to say, and a growing group of people have me on TBR lists. I affiliated with this blog, and I started my own. I have a Facebook account for myself and all of my books, a website and a Twitter account.

And all that’s happened in the last seven months! It feels like I’d been feeling around in a dark room and suddenly found the light switch.

Self promotion is as least as important now as writing the book. And tied up with that is the book itself, how it looks and reads.

Something new for EMI…I decided to commission a graphic design company to do the cover for me. It was the first thing I did after I finished the first draft, and when the cover came back, it made me realise that something that looked this professional should be professional. Having a cover so good, it felt like I should step up a gear and do something more professional as well, but what?

I looked around on Goodreads, and quite a few people were talking about editors – my wife does a first edit for me, but she can’t catch everything.

OtM wasn’t read or edited by anyone but myself before it went live on Amazon, and I realise now how much of a mistake that was. A good edit would have caught some of the typos, and polished the parts I didn’t even realise are dull. A good editor can make a difference with just a few commas and a handful of comments.

So for EMI, for the first time, I hired a professional YA editor (jennifermoorman.com), and it made a world of difference. Literally, in my case, changing one word changed the whole of the book. Editing is something I have definitely improved. Buying a Kindle has helped in that regard. Funny how the loopholes and the typos jump out when it’s a different format!

And even when Jennifer and I were batting edits back and forward, there are still things we both missed. Editing never really stops…I’m a lot easier on typos in books now I know how hard it is to pin them down. EMI went through six edits compared to OtM, as a comparison.

All of this is, of course, expensive. Facebook is free, but my web hosting and blog costs money; my editor wasn’t cheap, and my cover set me back a few pennies. I’ve spent more money on EMI than any of my other books. It’s also, with all the editing and self-promotion, a book that’s taken me longer to write.

But I look at it as an investment. Make your writing look professional and people will respond to it. Have it professionally edited…do it for your readers if not for yourself.

I exist as a writer almost exclusively virtually and digitally, and all people know about me as a writer are the things they read about me on web pages like this and my cover photo. All they have to go on is my book covers and the samples they read. There are a lot of books to read out there, and I have to – and YOU have to, if you want to be a digital writer – make life easy for them. Be good to your readers, and they’ll be good to you in return.

Do I write the books any differently now? The mechanics of writing is easier now with all the writing I’ve done. I know where the commas go and what to do with paragraphs. That’s sublevel stuff now, a foundation I can rely on. I’m still learning it though – that’s another advantage of an editor – but I can concentrate on the story now without having to worry about speech marks.

I plan them out a little more now as well. I have a magnetic board in my office (a spare bedroom…I aspire to a writers shed at the end of the garden!) where I stick up a mind-map rough idea of what I want from the book. I don’t follow it to the letter though; it’s more of a spark for my imagination.

So that’s my journey from book one to book four.  It’s been a blast, and there’s no way I’m done yet! I have a plan for Book Five already…

At this rate, I’ll be back in a few years to talk about Books Six to Ten, the books I haven’t written and the characters I haven’t shared lives with…yet.

See you in five years!


You can also enter to win your very own copy for Kindle in our giveaway! **CLICK HERE**

Welcome to Eight Mile Island. 

Dylan James is used to boarding schools. He’s been thrown out of so many in the past two years, he’s lost count. So when an elite academy in Oregon offers him a place, he doesn’t think he’ll be there more than a week.
But Eight Mile Island isn’t like anywhere Dylan has been before. In the dense forests around the school, there are things that look human but aren’t.
Things that are hungry, and waiting.
But that’s just the start of the mysteries, mysteries that mean Dylan may never escape. Even if he wants to…

About the Author: Tony Talbot was born in the 1970s and started writing in 2008 after a dream he had and couldn’t shake. Eight Mile Island is his fourth book. Tony regularly contributes to the Aside from Writing blog and so look out for future features and posts from this great author.


Want to know more? Check out the links!

Website: http://www.tony-talbot.co.uk    Twitter: @authortony

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonytalbotwriter

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/tony-talbot