Advantages to Traditional Publishing


When I first thought about writing a book, I thought the same way that so many other would be authors thought. I imagined getting huge advance and being given the royal treatment when I went into New York City to meet my publisher. I imagined a limousine picking me up at the airport and driving me to an amazing suite where I would stay a week while I hit the circuit of going from television station to radio stations, to other interviews, having my own makeup artist and hairstylist, going shopping in the Fashion District and even seeing a Broadway show while I was there.
After my visit, the publishing company would distribute my book and put it in the front of the store in every major book seller in the country. I would be given a number of copies of my books that I could share with my family and friends, and I would “live the dream”.
Nice dream. Reality was far different. I learned later that advances were seldom given to new authors (although I have met one).

Disadvantages to Traditional Publishing

The first thing that I learned was that when an author signs a contract with a traditional publisher, the contract always benefits the publisher at the expense of the author. The contracts are written in legalese so if the author doesn’t have a lawyer to look over the contract, the author might have to do things that they didn’t realize was not to their benefit. I heard of one author’s contract where she had to pay the expenses for attending book signings in distant cities. She was paid a set amount per book, but the number of books that she was able to sell was not enough to pay for her expenses. I had another friend had to buy copies of his own books so that he could sell them at live events. He made more money selling at the live events than anything that the publisher did for him. In addition, the publisher wouldn’t allow him to sell his books in digital format at all. Both had sold their rights to their publisher so they had no recourse. I have heard of other authors who had sold all their rights to publishers. The author has to make changes in manuscripts, might have to use a title and cover design of the publisher’s choosing. The author might not have any say at all.
I also learned was that the traditional publishing process takes about two years before you ever get your book on the shelves. Afterwards, if you were one of the lucky few who were able to get an advance, you won’t get paid until you sell enough books to pay your advance.


While I was learning all about traditional publishing, I started looking into self-publishing. The differences were enlightening. There was no promise of any advance. Before I was ever able to sell a book, I would have to put out money for editing, formatting, and cover design.
Of course, there are other problems with self-publishing. There’s a huge learning curve and expense to self-publishing that doesn’t exist with traditional publishing. I would have to take charge of marketing and book distribution. Getting into major bookstores would be difficult and advertising would be on my own dime as well.
I found however that self-publishing has its advantages. As a self-publisher, I own my own work. I have complete control over the content of my book, editing, formatting and cover design. I have complete control over the creative process. I can decide how I market my books, both on-line and off-line. I can handle my own distribution by working directly with independent book stores. I can determine whether I want to go on a book signing or attend a specific event. I can decide what public relations I want to be a part.
As a self-publisher, I can set my prices and can earn 70 percent or more of the cost of the books that I wrote and designed. As a self-publisher, I am a creative and an entrepreneur.

The Plight of the Unnamed Crew Member

galaxy quest

The Crew of Galaxy Quest with the unnamed crew member on the far right back of picture

Last week we discussed the main characters which include the protagonist, antagonist, and the love interest (Haven’t Read it? Here’s the Link) In addition to a protagonist, antagonist, and love interest, there are other characters in the story and these are called secondary characters. What you don’t want for secondary characters is what I call the “unnamed crew member” in other words, you don’t want too many of those people who are only there to serve the protagonist and antagonist. If you’ve ever seen Galaxy Quest, you’ll probably remember the plight of the unnamed crewmember is vaporized at the beginning of the episode to indicate that the idyllic planet that they were on was not so idyllic.

Secondary Characters are Not Just Props for the Main Characters

It is too easy to use secondary characters as simple props for the main characters. You wouldn’t want someone using you for their own gains, and I don’t think that secondary characters like being used that way either. Therefore, just as you develop the protagonist, antagonist, and love interests, you want to develop their sidekicks as well.
So how do you do that? To develop secondary characters, I create character sketches and work to get inside of their heads.

How to Develop a Character Sketch

A character sketch is a document that tells the physical, emotional, mental and social aspects of a character. It takes you from telling about the character and actually getting inside of his head.

What goes into a secondary character’s sketch? To create a character sketch, you want to have a number of things that you know about this character. First, you want to know a little about this person’s physical appearance, but you want go a little deeper than what color hair, how tall, and the color of their eyes. Does this person have any scars? How did he or she get it? Was the protagonist or antagonist there when it happened? Do they have any other physical defining characteristics? Did he or she have an illness as a child or older that caused other physical defects, limps or whatever? Does this person have any bad habits like smoking or drinking too much? How does this person relate to the protagonist and antagonist? If the protagonist is controlling, how does the sidekick relate? Does he feel intimidated? Does he resent the main character’s control over him? What is his or her history with the protagonist/antagonist/love interest? Have they always known one another or how did they meet? What kinds of things did they do together in the past? The more well-rounded you can get your secondary characters, the more well-rounded your story will become.

Read the Locket Saga

The Locket Saga 5 books


Have you read the books of the Locket Saga? In the first book: When God Turned His Head, Kanter starts the tradition by giving the locket to Drusilla. From that time on, the Locket was passed down from bride to bride. Join the Tradition, read the books of The Locket Saga and discover what all the fuss is about.

(Have you read Book III of the Locket Saga: A Coward’s Solace? If not, a copy May 22-28, 2018 at a discount.)

Available on Kindle
Available in Print

Strange Dreams Lead to New Ideas

Last night I had some vivid dreams. I dreamed about my husband. I dreamed that he was at work with me and we were working with young children. He seemed to enjoy the time with them better than I did. Then I started\ dreaming all over the place and my mind was trying to make sense of it all. I became suddenly confused about what was real and what wasn’t. I dreamed that I lost my phone. When I awoke for real, the first thing I did was look to see if my phone was on the side table and it was. Now I knew I was out of dream world and into the real world. So what was going on in my dreams that they were so vivid yet so confusing?

I think what my dream was trying to do was to try to help me find a good topic for this blog as well as give me some fodder for my current NaNoWriMo project. The hours I slept did both. After finding my phone, I had the ideas for what I was going to write for both. I have ideas for two scenes in my next book that I now call Sunrise on the Mississippi (book 8 of the Locket Saga). The dream sequences are no direct part of this blog nor of the book. What they did do was remind me the value of the muse in the writing process, especially writing the first draft.

Yesterday I wrote a scene in my book, but realized that I also needed an earlier related scene. I just didn’t know how I was going to make it happen. Also I started two topics for this blog that didn’t seem to be exactly what I wanted to write for this blog today. So I slept on it and the dreams were the result of allowing my muse to take some time to play.

What Made the Muse Rebel

I think it all started with something I did a few days ago. I was teaching some students about metaphors and similes. We worked on poems about feelings.

They went something like this:

Love is pink.

It smells like apple blossoms on a tree.

It tastes like chocolate in my Easter basket.

It sounds like birds twitter-pating.  (a term from the Bambi movie)

It feels like a baby bunny’s white fur.

It looks like a field of white clover.

It makes me feel alive again.

I believe this triggered my muse to complain that I haven’t allowed her to play for a while. The past few months I have been neglecting her. I have been editing old material, researching historical events and writing nonfiction. Even as I started writing this new book, I haven’t given the muse much room. I have been organizing the material that I researched, but not allowing my creative juices to flow. Today that ends.

Today I take heed of my muse’s complaint and give her a chance to play. Today my NaNoWriMo project turns a page and I will allow my muse free range on the pages of my manuscript. Today she can play all over that book’s draft by allowing her the ability use the five senses to create metaphors and similes and most importantly, emotions for the reader to experience.

Can I Allow the Muse out more often?

I think it a shame that I have kept my muse under such a short leash for such a long time. NaNoWriMo is a great way to give the muse a chance to do her think, but I really need to find ways of allowing her to play more often. One of the areas where I can utilize her talents is in identifying with my readers. Most people buy books not because of need or rational thought, but because they are moved by emotions. When this NaNoWriMo project is done (at least for the day), I am going to look into how I can create emotion for potential readers that encourages them to purchase one or more of my books.I am sure there are more ways to tap into the muse for better writing results.

When and why do you let your muse out to play?




Writing While Watching Irma

This weekend, I had been watching the progress of the catastrophic storm that Irma has become make its way up the coast of Florida. I am writing this on Sunday, so the storm has just started coming onto land in Florida. From the looks of it, the storm will be hugging the west coast of the state maintaining its strength as a category 4 storm most of the state’s length. My prayers are with the residents of that state just as they were with residents of the Houston area during Hurricane Harvey.


Here in Missouri, the weather is perfect. Temperatures are in the upper seventies and low eighties with low humidity. Ironically, here in Missouri, we could use some of rain (haven’t had any for almost three weeks) and it doesn’t look as though we will be getting any of Irma’s rain.

Living Today, The Power of Now, Live on Kindle

Cover B

My latest book, Living Today, the Power of Now, is now live on Kindle. The book is only $2.99 on Kindle (higher cost in print, of course) and like all of my books, it is free if you use Kindle Unlimited.

Final Edits on Two New Books

Yesterday I got the final edits back of two new books. These books I will have to work making the changes my editor recommends and then start preparing for publication. I have developed a pretty good system of getting the editing and formatting in print and in digital formats done. I also need get a good cover for my books and then they will be ready to be launched. These two books will be Book VI of the Locket Saga: The Anvil and a nonfiction book: Write a Book To Ignite Your Business.

Other Books in the Works

In addition to the edits on the two books already mentioned, I am also working on the second draft of Book VII of the Locket Saga: Two Rivers.


In addition, I am thinking about what I am going to write about in Book VIII of the Locket Saga (the exact title has not yet been determined. I was talking with someone about the ideas that I have for this next book. One of the things that I found during my research was about what happened during the first steamboat trip down the Mississippi. I’ll tell more about that history at a later date.

Finally, there is marketing both online and in person. I have been working a lot on twitter during the past few weeks, but one of my main events is coming up. Next weekend, I will be in Marionville, Missouri at the Meeting Place on the main road in the town from 11-3pm. I will be signing and selling not only my new book, Living Today, The Power of Now in print but also the other books that I have written. These books include all five novels of the Locket Saga, Simply Vegetable Gardening, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

My life goes on the same as usual and I will continue with all the writing that I am doing.. However, everything is not life as usual for everyone. People are still cleaning up from Hurricane Harvey and soon the cleanup will begin in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. There are ways that we all can help from praying, sending monitary support and volunteering with the cleanup.

(Scripture Reference: The book of Exodus)

israelites in captivity

The Israelites spent over 400 years in Egypt after Joseph’s intervention on their part. For a while things went well for them. They seemed to prosper there, however, as the years passed, the Pharaoh didn’t remember Joseph’s dreams and his help to Egypt.

The king saw how the Israelites were blessed in material goods and healthy children and he was afraid that they would take over the country. He determined that he would control them to the point that he asked that all the baby boys be killed so that the Israelites would have to marry their boys so that the Israelites would assimilate into the Egyptian culture and would no longer separate themselves in Egypt.

Egypt is associated with our sinful nature. Something similar has happened in the US in recent years. We have played around with sin. Even we Christians have seemed to have forgotten the positive effects that God has played in this country. Now the Non-Christians of this country see how God often blesses Christians and the world around us becomes jealous over our blessing from God.

The children of Israel spent more than four hundred years in captivity. For over 400 years, the children of Israel begged God to deliver them from their servitude. Today, Christians in our country are seeing their rights and blessings eroding before them.

When God finally rescued them from their servitude, the Israelites continued to have their doubts about God. God kept them wandering in the wilderness until Joshua trained up a generation who would not doubt God’s promises.

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at .

joseph and his brothers

During our first week of this series, we learned that bad things happened to Adam because of his own sin. His own sin separated him from God. If you haven’t yet read this, read When God Seems to Turn His Head, Adam’s Story The next week, we learned from Noah’s experience that sometimes God’s wrath is what causes bad things to happen to us.  However, his wrath never comes before he patiently allows us to repent. Check out when God Seems to Turn his Head-Noah. Last week from Abraham, we learned that bad things sometimes happen to us because we don’t wait on God’s timing. We try to help God by doing things ourselves and having Ishmaels around to remind us of our impatience. If yyou haven’t read it yet read last week’s post here.. What Happens When We Try to Help God with his Plans

In other cases, bad things happen to us because of what people do. Joseph had a promise from God. He was his father’s favorite son from his favorite wife. Joseph was a dreamer who had several visions that his family would bow to him. He made certain that everyone knew about his dream. This made everyone angry with him including his father. His brothers became so jealous of him that they sold him into slavery. Joseph was a good honest man. His master, Potiphar put him in a place of authority in his home. Potiphar’s wife wanted to sleep with Joseph, but Joseph respected his master too much and refused. Potiphar’s wife was so angry with his refusal that she lied to her husband and accused Joseph of making a pass at her.

Potiphar sent Joseph to prison. The king’s butler and baker went to prison and they had dreams. Joseph correctly interpreted their dreams. One was punished with death while the other returned to his position in the king’s house. He forgot about Joseph’s interpretation of his dream until the king started having dreams and he told the king about how Joseph could interpret dreams. When Joseph interpreted the king’s dream, the king made Joseph his number two man. There were seven years of prosperity just as Joseph had said. Then during the seven predicted years of drought and famine, Joseph’s family came back into the picture because they needed the king’s grain to survive. When Joseph’s brothers discovered that Joseph was still alive, they were frightened. Rather than being vindictive, Joseph told them that what they had meant for evil, God made for good. He told his brothers, “What you have meant for evil, God has destined for the good.


In Romans 8:28 it says, “All things work to the good of those who love the Lord who are called according to his purpose.”

Joseph realized that God had a purpose for his life. He knew that no matter what happened to him God would live up to his promises because Joseph knew God had a plan for his life and all that he was going through had something to do with that plan. Learn God’s purpose for your life by asking God to reveal that purpose to you and do it. Remember, that as long as you are still breathing, your purpose is not yet fulfilled on this earth. Have faith in the fact that God always has reasons for delaying his promises. Trust him. He has everything under control.

(Scripture reference: Genesis 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45)

IMG_8330 final copy

As Author Cygnet Brown, Donna Brown  has  published  several nonfiction books including Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Using Diatomaceous Earth around the House and Yard, and Help from Kelp.

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga,  Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag is also on sale now!

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and buy her books, check out her website at



If you have read any of my recent blogs, you know that I was on a working vacation up in Corry, Pennsylvania to visit family and to participate in several events including Corry Fest and a book signing at the Corry Public Library. I had a great time. Everyone treated me like a celebrity. Most of the way home I was basking in the afterglow of the good time that I had there, however, shortly after I crossed into Missouri, at the 18-mile marker on Hwy 57, the rear driver’s side tire blew. The tire blew in front of the weigh station and I pulled the truck off the side of the road to inspect the damage. The tire was in ribbons. I would have to have the tire changed, but after about 12 hours of driving I was too tired to change the tire myself.

In the past I might have panicked, but not this time. I knew that God had everything under control so I did the first thing that came to my mind. I called a friend where I live. I was still 3 hours for home, but calling him seemed to be the right thing to do. After discussing my options we agreed that the best thing that I could do was call 911 (Incidentally, I later learned that I would have had a quicker response if I would have dialed *55 which has access to the highway patrol.) After a couple of calls, I talked to the highway patrol which said that they were sending someone to come help me. Before the highway patrol arrived, however, the inspector from the weigh station came out to help me with the tire. He was trying to loosen the first lug nut when he broke the tire iron. We had no choice but to call for roadside assistance.

I Saw Good in the Situation Immediately

You would think that at this point I would be panicking, but I looked at the bright side of the situation and saw God’s hand in the events. The tire blew in front of the weigh station so I was able to pull off on the shoulder where the off ramp of the weigh station was. The inspector called and asked that the weigh station be closed while my truck was there so I had room to maneuver around the truck as did anyone helping me.

About this time a highway patrol officer arrived and let me sit in his car in the air conditioning while we waited for the road side assistance. The inspector was off duty so he went home. When the truck offering the roadside assistance arrived, we learned that the problem was more than just a blown tire. I discovered that the bearings and the axle were the real problem. He said that the extreme wabble of the wheel caused the tire to blow. (I had to have the front passenger bearings replaced recently, so I knew that he was telling me the truth.) My truck would need to be towed into their garage if I were to get my truck back on the road.

About a half hour later the tow truck arrived and my truck was loaded on the flatbed trailer and taken to their shop. They said that they could have it done by the next mornig so it was in my best interest to spend the night at a motel.

The Silver Lining

In this situation, I found favor all the way and I could see God’s hand in all of it. Everyone who tried to help me were extremely kind. I made it a point to thank the highway patrol officer for helping me because I knew that his was a thankless job. His response was that he was just doing his job. My response to him was that I knew that he didn’t get thanked like he should for his job and that I wanted to make it a point to thank him for his work. He said that he appreciated it.

The people at the garage helped me not only find a motel in which to stay, but also drove me to the motel and brought my truck to me. In addition, rather than charging me extra for anything, they actually shaved expenses for me so that my bill wouldn’t be too outrageous.

In addition, God provided more than enough to pay for everything that they did for me at the garage.

When I finally got back on the road to travel my final three hours home, I was smiling. I was elated as I thought about God’s provision in this situation. Again, God had my back.

God’s Favorites

The following morning, I woke up and as I was thinking about what God had done the day before, I sensed that God was telling me that I am his favorite. He then told me not to put too much ego into that statement because anyone who believes that God is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him are all his favorites. (Hebrews 11:6).  I asked him how he could have so many favorites and it was as though he laughed, “I can have all the favorites I want, because I am God. I can do anything.”


IMG_8330 final copy

Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church  1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm.   As Author Cygnet Brown, she  has  published a nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener

She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga. The next book Book IV of the Locket Saga: Sailing Under the Black Flag will be out in the near future.

Her most recent publication were two booklets Help From Kelp and Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard. Available in paperback

.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her books, check out her website at .

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