Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Release of The Open Book

 
 
Liza has called and The Open Book has responded. Now only two questions remain: Was it a good idea for the three of them to be in one place? And what if Liz wasn't the one who planned it that way? Read it here.


And a previously released favorite:
 
 
 
 
On Meadowbrook farms live three sheep, fifteen chickens and two little girls with their parents. So begins this delightful tale by Liz Daniels where playhouses come in all shapes and sizes, but don't necessarily last forever. Read it here.
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Kickstarter: Day 4


 
Day 4

 
Sometime after I turned forty (don’t get any ideas—it was only four months ago J),  my philosophies changed. Before that, everything had been about the future. Saving for the Future. Planning for the future. Getting things in order for the future. And then, like a light had flipped, I realized I was living in it; the future I mean. I started enjoying my life. Now, I’m not saying I’m blowing all the money I’ve saved for retirement, but I am living life. Every six weeks I do something. It might be a weekend trip with one of my kids, a massage, or a writing retreat in the woods. Whatever it is, I’m not waiting for later to live.

Until tomorrow.




 P.S.  I’ll be counting down over the next 17 days, offering some exclusive items, like original storyboards by Gail DiCarlo and setbooksfree.org T-shirts, cinch sacks, and bumper stickers. But I’ll be offering additional items here, for you, my loyal blogging friends. Including:
*$100.00 Amazon gift card:



 

**The cover storyboard for Garden House:

***Personalized dogtags
To qualify, share this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1531528220/ubooks-musically-enhanced-video-books to your blog/facebook/twitter. Then post the link on this blog in the comments or email the link to: melanie@melanieschulz.com. There is no limit to how many ways or times you can share, but please forward the link, so it can qualify for the official drawing at 12 midnight on the twenty-first.
 
*For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered.
**For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered. Valid for US residents only.
***Valid for US residents only.   



Monday, April 3, 2017

Kickstarter: Day 3


Day 3

 

Today marks the first day of this venture where work and everyday life is taking its toll. Like most of you, I have a regular job, so I when I decided to do this, I knew Monday through Friday posting would be tough. But here it is.

Have any of you considered Kickstarter before? I know of some people who have used it for pre-release book promotion with reasonable success. The reason why I chose to use this particular platform is because I loved the indie feel of it. I loved how passionate other people seemed to be about the projects they support, and I’d love to get some of that passion in play for Ubooks.  Passion is always good.

Until tomorrow.


 








P.S.  I’ll be counting down over the next 18 days, offering some exclusive items, like original storyboards by Gail DiCarlo and setbooksfree.org T-shirts, cinch sacks, and bumper stickers. But I’ll be offering additional items here, for you, my loyal blogging friends. Including:
*$100.00 Amazon gift card:



 
**The cover storyboard for Garden House:
***Personalized dogtags
To qualify, share this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1531528220/ubooks-musically-enhanced-video-books to your blog/facebook/twitter. Then post the link on this blog in the comments or email the link to: melanie@melanieschulz.com. There is no limit to how many ways or times you can share, but please forward the link, so it can qualify for the official drawing at 12 midnight on the twenty-first.
 
*For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered.
**For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered. Valid for US residents only.
***Valid for US residents only.   



Saturday, April 1, 2017

Kickstarter: Day 2



Day 2

Welcome. I’m two days into this Kickstarter thing, and so far I’m as uncomfortable as I thought I’d be. Like I’ve said here hundreds of times, marketing just isn’t my thing. But I also know how really truly important Ubooks could be, both for books and the people who read them. So I press on. If you feel like spreading the word, I’d greatly appreciate it.
 
 
 
I’ll be counting down over the next twenty days, offering some exclusive items, like original storyboards by Gail DiCarlo and setbooksfree.org T-shirts, cinch sacks, and bumper stickers. But I’ll be offering additional items here, for you, my loyal blogging friends. Including:


*$100.00 Amazon gift card:

 
 
**The cover storyboard for Garden House:
***Personalized dogtags
To qualify, share this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1531528220/ubooks-musically-enhanced-video-books to your blog/facebook/twitter. Then post the link on this blog in the comments or email the link to: melanie@melanieschulz.com. There is no limit to how many ways or times you can share, but please forward the link, so it can qualify for the official drawing at 12 midnight on the twenty-first.
Come back each of the twenty-one days for updates, exclusives, and stories.
Thank you all.
 
 
 


 


*For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered.
**For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered. Valid for US residents only.
***Valid for US residents only.   


 


 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Kickstarter: Day 1


Day 1

It’s official! Today is the first day of Black and White’s Kickstarter Campaign. I’ll be counting down over the next twenty-one days, offering some exclusive items, like original storyboards by Gail DiCarlo and setbooksfree.org T-shirts, cinch sacks, and bumper stickers. But I’ll be offering additional items here, for you, my loyal blogging friends. Including:


 

*$100.00 Amazon gift card:
 

**The cover storyboard for Garden House:
***Personalized dogtags
To qualify, share this link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1531528220/ubooks-musically-enhanced-video-books to your blog/facebook/twitter. Then post the link on this blog in the comments or email the link to: melanie@melanieschulz.com. There is no limit to how many ways or times you can share, but please forward the link, so it can qualify for the official drawing at 12 midnight on the twenty-first.
Come back each of the twenty-one days for updates, exclusives, and stories.
Thank you all.
 
 
 


 


*For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered.
**For this option to be available, 100 entries must be entered. Valid for US residents only.
***Valid for US residents only.   


 


 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Five Year Goals in Review: March 2017

Last Friday of the Month
Today's the last Friday of the month, making it time for me to review some goals. This is part of a project put on by Misha Gericke where you make a long term (five year) goal and blog each month about how it's going. My goal is to have a world-class publishing company. In five years. Dream big or go home, right? I'm a little over a year into this venture, and so far it's going well. *Ubooks are patent-pending. Black and White has signed some amazing authors. But the one thing we don't have yet is an audience. You know, the reason behind all of it. So with that in mind, beginning tomorrow I'm starting a twenty-one day Kickstarter campaign. Partially to raise funds to hire some new people to produce more Ubooks, but mostly it's to force me to market--something I hate to do. Probably the only time I've done anything close to an actual marketing push is during the last few Aprils when I posted some of my work during Arlee Bird's A to Z bloghop. So I thought I'd apply that same thinking to this. For twenty-one days I'll be posting daily on this blog/Instagram/Facebook to let people know about this new book format. I'm way out of my comfort zone here, so any help you'd like to give spreading the word would be much appreciated. Here's the link to my Kickstarter homepage if you'd like to share it: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1531528220/1409684295?token=65115878
 
Thanks again!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*For those of you who don't know what Ubooks are, they're books/stories on video feed, which allow them to be read without interruption. This (I feel) greatly enhances the story, allowing a reader to remain immersed in the story without the distraction of a page turn or a finger swipe. It also allows music/sound enhancements. The best part? They're completely free. All of our Ubooks can be read/viewed free of charge on Black and White's YouTube channel or at www.setbooksfree.org.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

IWSG: March 2017

First Wednesday of the Month

I don’t know about where you live, but here March is always synonymous with snow. Lots of it. Yesterday it was sixty degrees out and I was working in the garden. The weather people say all this warm weather is bad and we’ll be sorry later when the fruit trees are barren because a frost killed all the buds, and can you just imagine what this will do to our maple syrup production? All of that might be true, and maybe it’s not, but why worry about something you can’t control? Why not enjoy the good part of this mid-winter thaw?

That’s what’s on my mind today as I sit down to write this month’s IWSG post. (Thanks to Alex and co-hosts for putting this on!) It’s about enjoying where you’re at. Sometimes we’re on a really good roll. Sometimes our writing is just flying out, but deep down the fears linger—how long can this possibly keep up? It’s not normal to write four thousand amazingly spot-on words in a day, is it? Surely all this production now means I’m missing something. I’m sure I’ll pay in the end. But what if you don’t? What if it’s just really good production and you’re just supposed to enjoy the moment? So, pull up a glass of summer sweet tea with me, and enjoy this day of sunshine, smack in the middle of winter.  

For those of you on my email list, you’ll be receiving advance released links to:

 
 
With Adam gone, Liz is faced with the truth that a Reader is useless without a Book. Determined to find him again, she comes out of hiding only to discover another truth: every Book has a Writer.
 
 
 
 
Meet Grandma Becky. She's pulled up a chair at her kitchen table and set out her favorite mugs filled to the brim with her special hot cocoa. Stay awhile and hear some stories about the farm she grew up on, her family, and the adventures they had together.


For those of you who aren’t on the list, look for them here in two weeks. If you’d like to join the tribe and get early access to our Freed books, you can sign up here.

 
 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

February Ubook Releases

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Here are the February's Ubook releases! Enjoy.  
 
 
 
 
Strange things happen to Liza Brown. Buildings fall down. Libraries start on fire. But the strangest of all is him--the phoenix who expects her to drop everything and follow him. View The Freed Book edition here.






Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman is a prequel to Past Due, the first book in the Coulter Men series. In the series, each of the three Coulter brothers has his chance to tell his story and find his happily ever after. In this story, Angel, the broken girl who sets the stage for her sister’s tragedy, gets a chance to tell hers. View the Freed Book edition here.




 
Meet Grandma Becky. She's pulled up a chair at her kitchen table and set out her favorite mugs filled to the brim with her special hot cocoa. Stay awhile and hear some stories about the farm she grew up on, her family, and the many adventures they had. View the Freed Book edition here.
 
 
 
 
 
On Meadowbrook farms live three sheep, fifteen chickens and two little girls with their parents. So begins this delightful tale by Liz Daniels where playhouses come in all shapes and sizes, but don't necessarily last forever. Illustrated by Gail DiCarlo, music by Nathan Moran. View the Freed Book edition here.
 
 
 
 
 
A sad but quirky romance by Melanie Schulz where time is precious and life is something not to be missed. View the Freed Book edition here.
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

IWSG; February 2017

First Wednesday of the Month

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, making it IWSG time Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on each month. For those of you who don’t know, IWSG stands for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, an online community of writers supporting each other through and in this crazy work we chose to do.

This month my insecurity is about control, or lack of it.  My husband is training to run a marathon. He’s already run a half, and while He’s always been very athletic and in really good shape, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea. He’s forty-six. Now I know that’s still relatively young, but I had an uncle who died of unexpected heart failure at forty-six, and I just can’t shake the worries that come along with having lost someone I love so young. But I’m not the kind of wife to tell her husband what he can and cannot do, so I just supported him the best I could, and let the worries fester. Last night my husband was out on a run, nothing crazy, maybe four miles, and I got the phone call. Thankfully, it was from him and not an ambulance, and thankfully it was his knee and not his heart. As I helped him hobble to the car, dreams and plans shattered in an instant, I realized how little any of us can plan for anything. We have no idea what’s going to happen today or tomorrow because none of us in control. Sobering thought. And you know what? That’s okay. Because maybe my husband’s blown-out knee might have saved us from something much graver later on. What does this have to do with my insecurities as a writer? Nothing. Everything. Ask yourself this: How can we feel secure about anything when we have control over nothing? I guess that’s where faith and trust come in.

What are you trusting in?

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 2017: Five Year Goal in Review

Last Friday of the Month

I can’t believe it’s the last Friday of January, but it is and here we are, at another Five Year Goal Review day. For those of who don’t know what I’m talking about, The Five Year Goal is a monthly blog hop put on by Misha Gerrick (thanks Misha for putting this on!) where you make a long term goal (five years) and work towards it, posting your progress on the last Friday of each month. I started this venture a little over a year ago, so I’m a little vested.

My goal is to have a world class publishing company.

A little history:

My husband and I started Black and White Publishing Co. several years ago, but at that time we did not actively seek out other authors. Honestly, I didn’t think we had anything to offer a person that they couldn’t (with a little time and research) do for themselves. Face it. Today you can hire an editor, a cover designer, someone to format your book, and someone else to market it. In five minute you can upload your book onto Amazon, Nook, Kobo, iTunes and in ten you can be earning royalties, without someone like me taking a cut of anything. I care about authors. I want them to succeed. Why would I stick my hand into something they don’t need me to? And then *Ubooks came along. This is something authors can’t do for themselves. This is something only Black and White can offer. Last Spring we offered our first contract to an author besides me. Now we are up to seven, some with multiple books in contract. This is such an exciting time for us. It’s still in the beginning, still at the top of the hill, still pushing the boulder with two hands, barely inching forward. But it is moving.

I can’t wait to see it fly.
 
 

 

 
 
 
*Ubooks are a patent pending book format where books are set on video feed with or without audio. Check them out at setbooksfree.org

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

IWSG: January 2017

First Wednesday of the Month

Hello everyone. Today’s the first Wednesday of the month, which makes it IWSG time. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh and co-hosts for putting this on. For those of you new to this concept, IWSG stands for Insecure Writer’s Support Group, and it’s just what it sounds like, a support group for writers. And all writers are insecure; I don’t care what they tell you. We all cringe a little when we read a bad review, all stare at a blank screen from time to time, wondering if “it” has left us.

Neither of those are my issue this month, although I have plenty experience with both. This month I’m struggling with something completely new: with the thought of being done as a writer. Not done, done in the sense of the word, as in I will never write again, more like an honest evaluation thing. For the last two years I’ve only written shorter pieces. I’ve done a few anthologies and a lot of flash, a couple children’s pieces, but that’s about it. I haven’t worked on a full length novel in over two years, and while I do have some ideas floating around (that middle grade fantasy still haunts me), I don’t have any plans to start plugging away at them in the near future. I’ve got other things on my plate. Important things. Things I am purposely choosing. Is this what it feels like to be done?  Has anyone else out there been at this place before?