Self Publishing?

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WRITING WEDNESDAY- Rerun

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

SELF PUBLISHING

I am not an expert in Self-Publishing but I know a lot of self-published authors and I am planning to self-publish myself, in the future so I have been taking notes.

There are a lot of advantages to Self-Publishing:

  • The Author has total control
  • The time frame. Your book can be published in a few months vs. 18 months-2 years
  • Royalties of 20-80% vs. 5-15%

The disadvantages of Self-Publishing are evaporating quickly. The success stories are mounting. Like any business venture (yes writing is a passion but publishing is a business) it will take research, investment, hard work and most importantly a great product to have any chance at success. No matter which publishing choice you make it will be difficult at times and will take time and patience but it will be so worth it. I cannot even describe how amazing it feels to hold your first book in your hands.

Bristol boyz stomp Louie

Once your manuscript has been critiqued and professionally edited by a literary editor and you are planning to self-publish on your own, you will need an ISBN number [International – Standard Book Number] for your book. This is a social security number for the book. There are a lot of company’s out there that will be happy to sell you an ISBN # but BOWKER is the International clearing house for these numbers so you might as well skip the middleman and get it from them. The cost is $125.00. If you are using a company to assist you with self-publishing they may offer to get the ISBN# for you. Deep discounts are offered to companies that buy multiple #’s so they may offer it to you for less or include it in their package. If they charge more than $125.00 you can easily apply for it yourself.

Quote You are Amazing today!

You will need a business plan/proposal or an outline for fiction

If you are planning to self-publish 100% than Amazon is the place for you. Smashwords is One of the Amazon companies for e-books and Create-Space is used for print books.

If you use Amazon for publishing your book will never be available in an actual book store. This is because Amazon Publishers will not process returns. You will have to design all of your marketing around online booksellers. Amazon offers a KDP (Kindle Direct Program) a program that offers some marketing opportunities.

amazon_200x200

Lightening Source is a company you can use if you want your book to be available in book stores. They process returns, for a charge. All publishers, even traditional ones charge you for your returns.

To have any chance at having your book in a book store, your publisher has to be willing to offer your book to them at a wholesale discount price of at least 55% off the cover price. The books must be returnable if they do not sell within the stores allotted time-frame.

All print books are delivered through a book distribution center. The two major distributors are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If the publisher you are planning to use does not use one or both of these distributors, move on from that publisher.

Here is a list of random Self Publishing Boutiques that offer a variety of packages to authors and come with some good references. As always never sign a contract unless you have had it reviewed by an attorney.

  • Blue Lobster Book Company
  • She Writes Press
  • Book Locker
  • Turning Stone
  • Lucky Bat Books
  • Assisted Publishing

Tate Publishing and Enterprises- Tate offers a publishing package that includes editing, formatting, cover design, ISBN#, copyrighting, marketing assistance and they handle returns. They deal with Ingram so your book will be available to any store, school or library that wants to stock it or make it available for order. Once your book sells 1000 copies, Tate refunds your investment. They basically operate like an Independent publisher. There are many other companies out there like this one and new ones are being started every day.

I cannot stress enough for you to have any contract reviewed by an attorney and ask for and check references. It is also a good idea to order books from several authors of any company you are considering, so you can check the quality of the printing etc…

A good book to read is Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur/ Guy Kawasaki

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*FYI-Tuesday is the only day of the week that new books are released

Traditional Publishers make their money selling 100’s of copies of only several titles verses other publishers that make their money selling 100 copies of thousands of titles.

If you have any experience with self publishing it would be great if you could leave tips in the comments. Did you work with a company that you were thrilled with, please share.

Did I tell you I wrote a chapter in this book and you can get it for FREE? It is full of fabulous information!

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If you have any questions please leave those in the comments and I will do my best to answer or find someone who can.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

This Saturday August 1, 2015 (Can you believe it is almost August?) I will be at The Big Blue Marble Bookstore (7pm) with author friends, Maria Casale and Dylaan Rhea. We will be reading from our books and talking about writing and women under pressure. We are bringing snacks…

Big Blue Marble Book Store

551 Carpenter Lane /Philadelphia, PA 19119

I am SO excited and such a nervous wreck because I am going to be co-hosting (for the first time) The Insecure Writers Support Group for August! Next Wednesday right here!

Coming Soon!!

Sophie Book Cover

 

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Threat Level Elevated

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One of my biggest complaints about VA medical centers is the unsafe feeling I have whenever I am in one. Am I crazy for thinking that here in United States any facility attached to our military should be the safest property in the country?

Weapons not permitted sign

Was Jack Nicolson’s character in A Few Good Men correct when he said, “We live in a world of walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns.” He went on to say, “You want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.”

Last week we had another attack on homeland military properties and four Marines and one Navy sailor lost their lives. These are no longer random attacks. The bodies are piling up and before more are added it is time we rethink the decision to unarm our armed services.

For the past nine-years whenever we pull up to the guardhouse at the VA Hospital in Philadelphia more often than not the sign on the post reads ‘Threat Level Elevated.’ There is a guard there who is either smoking, talking on a cell phone or sleeping. The sight would immediately cause me to feel overwhelmingly frightened. These guards aren’t even military which if you ask me is ridiculous. Is our nation that short of MP’s that we have to hire security guards to protect (or not) our armed forces, our veterans and their families?

Threat Level Elevated

Once past the guardhouse the parking garage is dark and unattended.

Inside the building the first thing I notice is the dingy, dirty floors, windows and walls. I don’t want to touch anything. The next thing I notice are homeless people sleeping on garbage bags filled with their belongings. Are they homeless veterans?

You never know who you will be riding in the elevator with. It could be a veteran fighting with his wife, someone having a severe PTSD episode or someone under the influence of something or all of the above.

I was thrilled last week when we pulled up to the guardhouse and were asked for ID, finally!

It lasted only a few days. Last night we drove up to and right past the guardhouse where the guard was sitting inside the house with his eyes on his phone. He never looked up as we drove past. My heart sank and my anxiety rose.

I want to know there is a man or woman on that wall, behind the camera or in the guard house protecting us, all of us.

Marine

What has more impact on our feeling of safety and security and what has more impact on someone with criminal intentions, a sign that says no weapons permitted past this point or a Marine in full uniform with a handgun on his hip?

 

 

 

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So Many Publishing Choices…

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my path to being published, marketing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Publishing Choices

The publishing business has changed so dramatically over the past few years and there doesn’t seem to be any slow- down in sight. It is still so unclear who the winner will be in this evolutionary process and that can cause more than a bit of anxiety for new as well as established authors. The good news is if you want to be published, you have choices…

This is a brief overview of the different Publishing Choices available and the pros and cons for each:

Traditional Publishing

Traditional Publishing is still number one through six in sales, in publications and in best -selling titles, in the world. Those top six companies (not in order) are:

 

Hatchette Book Group

Harper Collins

McMillan

Penguin Group

Random House

Simon and Shuster (name owned by CBS)

books

 

Each of these companies also own dozens of smaller companies known as imprints. An imprint may be used when publishing in a narrow field such as sci-fi or fantasy.

 

How it works:

Traditional publishers in most cases will only work with literary agents. If you want to be traditionally published you will first need an agent.

Submit your query and then if requested submit your finished, professionally edited manuscript to an agent that specializes in your genre.

If they decide to sign you they will have you go through another round of edits

They will try to sell your manuscript to a publisher

They will negotiate a contract on your behalf

They will receive a percentage of your sales

 

Once they have sold your manuscript to a publisher:

You will go through yet another round of editing

A cover will be designed and a title will be decided on

Conceptual editing will be done (styling)

 

The Advantages of Traditional Publishing:

 

They put up the front money for editing, copyrighting, distribution, listing with vendors,   ISBN number, some marketing and advertising. They may even provide an advance.

 

Chances are much better for international sales

 

The big Publishers have connections w/ T.V., radio, Magazines etc…

TV

Your book will be released in Hardcover and then 8 months to a year later it will be re- released in paperback.

 

Prestige and credibility

 

Disadvantages of Traditional Publishing:

Lack of control over everything involving your book including style, title, where it is sold, how it is marketed etc…

 

Earnings- You do not get paid until your advance is paid back (if you received one), royalties tend to be paid at lower percentages than other publishing choices.

 

The process tends to be impersonal.

 

If the Publisher does not make their initial investment back in two-years they may drop you.

 

The time frame from signing to publication can take up to two-years.

 

Independent Publishing

 

Independent Publishers tend to be smaller companies and can be imprints of a larger company. Most of them operate ‘under one roof’ meaning they have editing, marketing etc…in house.

There are hundreds of Independent Publishing companies with new ones starting every day. Just a few examples in no particular order are:

 

Publishing Genius Press

Akashic Books

Coffee House Press

Black Balloon

A Strange Object (new)

Tin House

Gray Wolf Press

 

Advantages of publishing with an Independent Publisher:

 

They may or may not require you to be represented by an agent

 

Offer better royalties

Dreamstime image id 138166

 

More individual author attention

 

Prestige and credibility

 

Time from signing to publication can be as quick as one year

 

More willing to work with new authors

 

Disadvantages:

 

Less opportunity for international sales. Not impossible but unlikely

 

You will need to do most of the marketing

 

Your book may be released as an e-book prior to paperback release. It may not be released in hardcover.

 

Subsidy, Vanity, Print on Demand and Assisted Self- Publishing Companies

 

This is where the publishing water gets very murky. These companies charge fees for services. Some of them are very good companies that do exactly what they say they will do and some of them are very bad companies. Some of them are extremely choosy over what they accept for publication and others will print anything. If you choose this route for publishing you must research the company. Have any contract looked at by a literary attorney, request author references and order a few books that the company published to check the quality.

These companies may offer different publishing packages ranging in price from $10,000 for complete preparation to release services, $5,000 for less services and $600 or less for assistance with self-publishing such as ISBN number (your books social security number) copyrighting and formatting for Amazon and Barnes & Noble listings.

 

Advantages to these types of Publishing:

 

More control artistically

 

The highest royalties paid

 

A good option for special interest, regional, self-help, speakers, cookbooks and celebrities

 

Quick turnaround time, a year sometimes less.

 

Disadvantages:

Some of these disadvantages are changing, rapidly. The stigma surrounding self -publishing is eroding. To break through these barriers, write a good book and make sure it is professionally edited.

 

Some libraries and book stores, still will not stock these books.

Barnes and Noble

 

Perceived Lack of credibility.

 

Some professional reviewers still will not review these books.

 

Some authors self-publish poorly edited or not edited at all books and it hurts all self-published authors.

 

Again, this is changing rapidly!

 

Companies to avoid at all cost (This list is not complete. Always research, check references and have a literary attorney read any contract.)

 

Author House

Xlibris

Vantage Press

i universe (also known as Writers Club and Writers Showcase)

Trinity

Trident

Publish America now known as America Star

 

Whatever route you choose for publishing, if you write a great story and have it edited professionally, the readers will come! Just like anything worth having in life, you will need to make an investment to get a return.

 

Are you a published author? What Publishing choice did you make and why?

 

Are you a writer hoping to be published? Which publishing choice do you thing would be right for you?

Happy Writing,

Doreen

Quote writing

 

 

 

 

 

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To Agent or Not…

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WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

On Wednesday I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

To Agent or Not and How the Heck do you Find One…

Writing a book is such a personal even solitary act, a creative process. Publishing, marketing and selling a book is a difficult even brutal at times business process. Authors have choices today and if your decision is to give traditional publishing a try, you will need an agent. Agents handle the business of selling a book to a publisher and negotiating the best possible contract for you.

Before querying an agent your manuscript needs to be complete which includes having been professionally edited by a literary editor. Believe me the editing is not a step you want to skip. It isn’t all about grammar. It is also about plot and character development, story flow and identifying holes in the story. It is an expense and it takes time but it will save time in the end and will definitely improve your chances of landing a good agent and a lucrative publishing deal. Consider it an investment in your book and in your future. The book should also have been beta read by at least three readers. You will also need to have a complete proposal which includes a synopsis and a query letter.

The Write Life has some good tips for querying:

http://thewritelife.com/ask-a-literary-agent-query-letter/?utm_source=The+Write+Life&utm_campaign=a663795067-main_list_11_6_13_11_5_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ae07a22b59-a663795067-96873517&mc_cid=a663795067&mc_eid=c62f5fcd41

I used query tracker to research agents. You want to read their bio and make sure what they are looking to represent is what you wrote. You also want to learn something personal about them. Most importantly you want to spell their name correctly and follow their submission guidelines carefully. If your query is not formatted and submitted correctly there is a 99.9% chance it will be discarded. Agents receive 100’s of queries a week. They do not get paid unless the author gets paid so of course they will choose to work with authors who can follow directions.

The best way to pitch an agent is in person and the way to do that is to attend writers’ conferences, workshops and pitch fests. If pitching in person you also want to research the agent. Learn something personal about them and use it to start a conversation.

Prepare and practice your pitch. Include who your target audience is, the word count, why you are the best person to write this book and a brief synopsis that includes the beginning, middle and end of the story. Have a few questions for the agent in mind as well as a few talking points to use if you have time to fill.

The New York Pitch Conference: http://newyorkpitchconference.com/pc-registration.htm [all genres]

New York Writers Workshop: http://www.newyorkwritersworkshop.com/fiction-pitch-conference [fiction]

#PitMad on Twitter is another great resource to get your work in front of agents who are actively looking for authors to represent. For information on PitMad:

http://www.brenda-drake.com/pitmad

My tip would be to plan your tweets and schedule out ahead of time and have fun with the process. I have personally heard a few success stories from PitMad participants.

Quote Believe in HOPE

Good Luck and Keep Writing,

Doreen

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How to get your book in a book store…

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publication, marketing and writing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips please share them with us…

How do you get you and your book in bookstores…

To have a chance at having your book stocked in a book store, your publisher has to be willing to offer your book to them at a wholesale discount price of at least 55% off the cover price. The books must also be returnable to the publisher if they do not sell within the stores allotted time-frame.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes & Noble Bookseller

All print books are ordered and delivered to stores through a book distribution center. The two major distributors are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If the publisher you are planning to use does not use one or both of these distributors, move on from that publisher.

It is possible to have a CRM (Barnes & Noble) or an Event Coordinator (Independent) to allow you to bring books to the store and have them manually put them into the store’s inventory. This is not something they like to do so you will have to convince them the book has received decent reviews and that you can get people through their door.

Big Blue Marble Book Store

Big Blue Marble Book Store Mount Airy, Pa.

If you have an agent or a publicist they will most likely ask you for a list of place’s you would like to have a book signing or a reading.  Chances are they have a business relationship with the event coordinators for those stores and will have a better chance at booking you than you will have on your own. If you don’t have an agent or publicist, don’t give up. Follow the stores on social media, share their events and most importantly attend other author’s events at the stores and get to know the employees.

Once you have an event scheduled you will need to do your best to get customers through the door. Social media alone will not work. You also cannot count on foot traffic in the store. Once people realize you are selling something they will go the other way. You need to be creative to get them in front of your table. I use chocolate and promotional items like book markers, pens and notebooks.

Chocolate is the reason

Print postcards and ask the book store to keep them on the counter, mail them to everyone on your address list and ask other stores if you can pin one on their bulletin board.

Print flyers, do an e-mail blast, send press releases (see PR post,) post the event on the calendars of every local newspaper and magazine (online and in print if available,) write a blog post, social media posts  and place a small add in your local newspaper.

Once the promoting is done it is time to completely stress out over what to wear, just kidding (no I’m not!)

Other suggestions for book signing/reading locations:

  • Libraries
  • Gift shops
  • Book Fairs
  • Holiday Fairs
  • Charity Events
  • Book Clubs

Did you know that if you go into a library and donate paperback books it is possible (highly likely) they will be thrown in the trash can? Libraries prefer hardcover books. Like bookstores they also use their own major distributors to order books.  Ask the librarian what their policy is before leaving books. You would be better off donating books to Hospice facilities and homeless shelters if they will take them.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

I will be at the Big Blue Marble Book Store on August 1,2015-/551CarpenterLane/Philadelphia/19119/ Time 7:00pm. There will be lots of chocolate and cupcakes. For more info:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1608653506076683/

 

 

 

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It’s Wednesday I must be Insecure…

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The first Wednesday of every month is officially

Insecure Writer’s Support Group day #IWSG

IWSG badge

Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your writing doubts and the fears you have or have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

To join us, sign up here:

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

Visit our Facebook Page here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/IWSG13

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

It is also Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Writing Wednesday is the day I like to share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publishing to marketing my first book and then doing it again. The type of information I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

Summer Writing Slow Down

I am officially fighting the summer writing slow down. Of course it would hit me when I have a final draft deadline for my 3rd book on August 1st, my second book being released in September and numerous freelance projects that are due in July. Yikes.

There is no good excuse for me not sitting down to write because I am on medical leave from my day job.

The only thing I have to blame is the summer. I want to sit by the water with my husband, walk through the park, play with my grandchildren and take naps.

Florida Does Beach Feet

I’ve been sleeping in and it feels so good but it must stop. I’m writing it and saying it out loud. I will be in my chair writing from 6am-10am. No social media, no e-mail, no phones, just piling up the word count. I think I can make it work if I give myself some time each day to enjoy being outside or taking a nap.

Writing is hard

I can do this, right?

Do you neglect your blog and your writing once the thermostat heats up? If I didn’t have these deadlines I would allow myself to slow down for a few weeks. How about you?

Happy Writing,

Doreen

Fall Schedule  is filling up. I hope to see you…

 August 1, 2015-Blue Marble Book Store/551 Carpenter Lane/Philadelphia/19119/ Time-TBD/Panel

September 3, 2015– I will be facilitating a workshop at the 2015 Power Conference/ ‘Books Are The New Business Cards’ Registration info coming soon…

The 2015 Power Conference

The Power Conference will take place Thursday, September 3 at the Montgomery County, Maryland Conference Center/North Bethesda Marriott (near White Flint Metro).  The Power Conference is an annual business development conference for women in business in the greater Washington, DC area, that includes over 40 business workshops led by professionals/experts, a tradeshow with 90+ exhibitors, a Booksellers Cafe for women authors, an inspirational keynote lunch, and a  presentation of the annual StartRight! Business Plan Competition winners.  More than 800 people attend this conference.  

September 16, 2015– Boscov’s/1067 Baltimore Pike/Media/19063/ 6-8p.m./Author Panel

September 21,2015-Ridley Township Library/100 E. Mac Dade Blvd./

Folsom/19033 Social Media Workshop/ 6-8pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To Pen Name or Not…

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publication, marketing and writing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments. If you have any tips please share them with us…

To Pen Name or Not

I never considered using a pen name until recently. My first three, probably four books are nonfiction. I eventually want to write fiction and wondered if I should consider a pseudo name.

I think there are good reasons on both sides of the argument to use a pen name or not. In some cases publishers own/trademark names and hire ghostwriters to write under that name. Sara Shepard (Pretty Little Liars) started her career doing this sort of ghostwriting.

author sara shepard book cover

A pen name will not protect you from legal action so if you are considering slandering someone you would be better off giving them pseudo names and changing the scenario up a bit.

  • If you write erotica at night and teach school during the day you might have a good reason to choose a pen name.
  • For too long women authors had to use pseudo names or their initials because female writers weren’t respected. Thankfully this is no longer the case.
  • If you are writing about highly controversial topics and want to avoid any backlash you might want to change your name. I think this is a terrible reason to use a pen name. If you are passionate and believe in your words, own them.
  • You want to write in several genres and don’t want your readers to get confused. This was my reasoning for considering a name change. I decided against it because I hope my readers read my work because they like the way I tell a story, not simply because of the genre.

pen and box

How about you? What reasons can you think of for using a pseudo name or not? Do you use on? Would you?

Happy writing,

Doreen

Quotes Writing

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Post Concussive Syndrome…

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The woman was driving much too fast for a neighborhood.  She ran a stop sign and hit my car’s passenger side.  I felt a very sharp pain in my neck, shoulder, arm and I thought 2 of my fingers were broken.

Stop Sign

She attempted to leave the scene then came back and shouted at me. I called the police. An officer took the report and I went to work. While at work, I had a bit of a panic attack. I was also developing a headache. I left early and went home.

By the time I arrived home, I was a basket case. My head was pounding. My husband told me to go to bed and he brought me tea, toast and Advil.

I slept horribly. I had vivid nightmares. I woke up with the worst headache. I was sick to my stomach the entire day. Convinced it was my nerves, I took it easy and rested.

The next day I called my husband at work and told him my shoulder, arm and fingers were hurting. He made an appointment for me to see an orthopedic doctor that afternoon. He prescribed the usual muscle relaxers; steroids and pain medication. He thought I had a neck and shoulder sprain and suggested physical therapy.

Emergency

 

I headed out to my daughter’s house. I drove 45 minutes past her exit. I stopped the car got out, was sick and got back in the car and drove to my daughter’s house and acted like nothing happened.

Something was amiss because the {real} me would have immediately known I had a concussion.

I would have been familiar with the symptoms because I suffered several concussions as an adult and most likely a few as a child.

Two-and-a-half-months later I was finally diagnosed with post-concussive syndrome.  There is no specific treatment for this syndrome.  Instead your doctor treats the individual symptoms. The types of symptoms and their frequency are unique to each person.

Concussion 2

I thought this was an important post to write because people die from concussions, or as they are sometimes called, closed head injuries.

The worst symptom I was experiencing was dizziness.  It was head spinning, vomiting inducing dizziness.  I was sent to a balance center. Balance therapy actually makes you dizzy supposedly so your balance system will re-learn how to balance you. This was awful. I went twice a week and was so sick in between I was useless.  I was also sent for MRI’s and hearing tests. There was evidence of bleeding that healed and I suffered significant hearing loss in my left ear.

 

Headaches that occur after a concussion can vary and may feel like tension type headaches, cluster headaches or migraines.  Most are however, tension type, which is most likely due to a neck injury suffered at the same time as the head injury.  In some cases, people experience behavior or emotional changes after a mild traumatic brain injury.  Family members are usually the first to notice that the person has become a bit more irritable, suspicious, argumentative or stubborn. {Insert fast food and police rage here}.

Concussion 3

Memory, cognitive and thinking problems may also appear.  No medications are currently suggested or recommended for these symptoms.  Brief focused therapy on how to use a pocket calendar, an electronic organizer or other techniques to work around memory deficits are often helpful.  I suppose this would be helpful if you could remember where you put them.  I had no idea how forgetful I was.  My husband was becoming more and more frustrated with my ‘forgetfulness’.

Depression and anxiety are also symptoms.  It was suggested I see a psychologist who had experience working with people with brain injury.  In my case because of a history of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and severe OCD issues anti anxiety and anti depressive medication was prescribed.

Some experts believe post-concussive symptoms are caused by structural damage to the brain or disruption of neuro-transmitter systems, resulting from the impact that caused the injury.

My symptoms were being treated and I was finally starting to feel more like myself.

I had a lot of catching up to do….and then out of nowhere, I was curled up with gut wrenching pain.  My gall bladder needed to come out.  Six days in the hospital, different medications and I was dizzy and sick again.  I was devastated.

I started to pass out.  I ran back to the neurologist.  Medications were adjusted and I returned to therapy.  The crazy thing is I am aware of my memory loss.  I go nowhere without my calendar and a notebook.

Did you know that a 15-mile an hour accident generates 10 G’s of force on the head—a fighter pilot can start to lose consciousness at 6 G’s.

How many times do we hear our children really smack their heads, we are so scared, and the doctor says it is only a mild concussion? If you take anything away from this post, let it be that there is no such thing as a mild concussion and if another is suffered, it is worse and so on.

I cannot help but wonder if forms of ADD and autism can be caused by head or neck injuries during birth or just from playing as a small child.

Please put those helmets on your kiddo’s and if you have that ut-oh something is not right do not stop until you are satisfied with the diagnosis.

bike helmet

With all of the changes happening in health care it is so important that we all become vigilant and well informed when it comes to our health.

http://www.painclinic.org

http://www.themayoclinic

http://www.traumasoma.com

Stay healthy,

Doreen

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Writing Wednesday…Post PWC

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

Wednesday is the day I share what I have learned on my journey from writing to publication, marketing and writing and publishing again. If you have any questions please feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. If you have any tips please share them with us in the comments…

Post Philadelphia Writers Conference

I hadn’t attended the Philadelphia Writers Conference for a few years because my schedule and life got in the way. This year I was determined to make it and I am so glad I did.

No matter where you are in your writing career, a beginner or a best- selling author I believe there is something we can all learn by networking with other writers.

The Philadelphia Writers’ Conference represents a broad range of writing categories, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as editing and public relations.

The annual June conference attracts conferees from most of the United States as well as a few from Canada, although the core of attendance is still from the Tri-State area.

The conference was held at the Wyndham Philadelphia. I decided to stay in the hotel this year to get the complete conference experience. I was a bit disappointed that so many writers chose not to stay in the hotel.

Our room was beautiful but I have to say the service at the front desk and of the hotel in general was horrible. The restaurant was atrocious. We ordered lunch, only salads and after an hour and ten minutes we had still not received them and in fact they never arrived. We attended our afternoon workshops hungry.

I shared a room with Toni McCloe, a friend from the Lower Bucks Creative Explorers writing group. Toni is the author of Rude Awakening. (A powerful story with Philadelphia roots.)

We checked into our room at 8:30 Friday morning, dropped our suitcases off in the room and hurried down to the lobby to meet fabulous friends, Kelly Deeny, Helene Cohen Bludman and Cathy Sikorski.

PWC Friends

The opening speaker was Sara Shepard. Her bestselling young adult series, Pretty Little Liars, is loosely based on her experiences growing up on Philadelphia’s Main Line. The book series has also inspired the ABC Family television series of the same name.

author sara shepard book cover

 

In a more informal session later that day Sara shared some tips on protecting ourselves and our work should we be lucky enough to have interest from film or TV producers.

author sara shepard 2

The workshop that I got the most out of was short story writing facilitated by Fran Wilde. I signed up for this workshop because I needed some inspiration to get some of the shorter stories I have rolling around in my head on to paper, before I forget what those ideas are.

Fran Wilde writes science fiction and fantasy.   She’s taught writing and digital media at two colleges, a high school for the creative arts, and a long-distance program for young writers.

Her first novel, Updraft will be published by Tor in September 2015.

I also signed up for a Free Verse workshop. Ken Pobo teaches courses in literature and creative writing at Widener University, where he has won the prestigious Lindback Award for teaching. The award was well deserved he was very inspiring and his workshop sessions went SO fast. I used to love writing poetry. The last poem I wrote was for a memorial service for my brother who was murdered in a road rage attack. Since then I haven’t been able to write poetry. I needed inspiration to try again and for me the class was a success. Ken and other attendees have inspired me to try again.

Apples to Writers, a sort of writing prompt game was hosted by the brand new PWC Board President, Jim Knipp. Jim is the author of over a dozen short stories and several novels. I was so nervous to participate but it turned out to be a lot of fun. How could it not be, Jim is fabulous!

I love all writers and have very few favorites. Stephen Fried is one of my favorites so I was thrilled that he was the keynote speaker for Saturday’s Awards Banquet. Stephen is an award-winning investigative journalist and essayist, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s graduate school of journalism. He is the author of the highly praised books Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia, Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs, The New Rabbi, and Husbandry: Sex, Love & Dirty Laundry—Inside the Minds of Married Men.

author stephen fried

Stephen’s best-known magazine article is “Cradle to Grave,” his investigation into the deaths of all ten children of Marie and Arthur Noe, which led police to reopen the 30-year-old Philadelphia case as a murder investigation. The day after the story was released to authorities, the Noes were taken in for questioning and Marie Noe confessed, and later pleaded guilty to multiple charges of murder. For his role in the case, Fried received a medal—he became the first journalist ever to receive the Medal of Honor from the Vidocq Society, the elite international group of criminologists, pathologists and police investigators.

Fried’s wife, Diane Ayres is a fiction writer and the author of Other Girls. He shared some funny stories with us on what it is like to be a nonfiction writer living with a fiction writer.

I am a fan because Stephen writes about mental health, crime and the pharmaceutical industry and that is what I write and like his writing has done I can only hope that my work will one day make a difference the way his has.

Author Stephen Fried Cover

Another exciting but extremely nerve wracking event was the opportunity to pitch a literary agent. I have no idea why I let my friends talk me into it but I did and it went well. Do I have a new agent? Stay tuned, more on that experience later.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Ayesha Hamid, editor of Philadelphia Stories. I am looking forward to submitting an essay to them later this month.

Philadelphia Stories

Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting Facebook friend, Kerry Gans who is also fabulous as well as several other social media friends. I just love meeting people that I feel like I already know, in real life.

The conference was a great experience and I got out of it exactly what I needed which was the inspiration to go home and write like crazy.

Happy Writing,

Doreen

 

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Scary Medication Side Effects…

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A few months ago I came home from work to find my husband acting strangely. He had been having trouble sleeping and now he was full of anxiety and speaking loudly and fast but making no sense.

The scariest part was he had no idea anything was wrong.

I knew right away to check his medication. Just a month before he had the same reaction to a generic version of a medication he takes to help him sleep. At that time we thought his doctor had solved the problem by calling the pharmacy and instructing them not to substitute this medication with another.

Pills 2

 

As I spilled the pills into my hand that night and saw they were the wrong ones I was furious.

We spent hours in the ER that night.

BloodPressure pic

His doctor now calls the prescription refills in personally and for now that is working.

If we had not read the information that came with the medication we never would have known the symptoms my husband was experiencing were actually side affects to the medication.

It is so important to ask your doctor about possible side effects at the time he prescribes a medication and also a good idea to ask your pharmacist as well.

The slightest change from one manufacturer to another, such as a dye or a time release ingredient can trigger a reaction. If your pills look different don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist.

 

*This post is a joint effort with the American Recall Center for World Health Month and to spread awareness about medication safety. For more information visit:

The American Recall Center:  http://www.recallcenter.com

Have you ever had a reaction to a medication?

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

 

FYI:

Zofran and Zuplenz Side Effects

Patients who are hypersensitive to selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists have experienced hypersensitivity reactions to Zofran and Zuplenz, including anaphylaxis.

Other reported adverse effects of these drugs have manifested in the form of electrocardiographic (ECG) changes (including QT interval prolongation) and cases of Torsade de Pointes. The Zofran and Zuplenz labels also carry warnings regarding serotonin syndrome, a potential side effect of having an excess of serotonin in the body.

Scientific studies indicate there is also a risk that Zofran may cause congenital birth defects.

In one study, researchers noted there had been reports of transplacental transfer of Zofran during the first trimester of human pregnancies.

A 2012 study that examined data from the National Birth Defects Prevention Study found more than a doubling of risk of cleft palate among babies whose mothers took ondansetron during the first trimester of pregnancy.

A 2014 study by Danielsson et al. determined that the risks of certain heart defects in newborns whose mothers took Zofran during early pregnancy were “increased and statistically significant.” Some of the most frequently encountered of these congenital malformations due to Zofran exposure were ventricular and atrial septal defects.

Pills Zofran 2

For more information on Zofran:

http://www.recallcenter.com/zofran-zuplenz

 

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