Y-Bridge Arts Festival Writers Showcase

I’ll be hosting a Writers and Poets Showcase at the Y-Bridge Arts Festival in Zanesville, Ohio on Friday, August 5, 2016 from 6 to 8pm.

I still have a couple of 10-minute slots available for writers and poets.  Preference goes to Muskingum Valley residents, but all are encouraged to apply.

Learn more about the festival here, or on Facebook here.

Please contact me ASAP if you’re interested in reading at bradpauquette@gmail.com.

Download Sejal for Free for Kindle

Sejal: The Walk for WaterThis week only you can download my novelette, Sejal: The Walk for Water for your Kindle for free.  Check it out on Amazon here.

Of course, you can always download Sejal for free, but this is a convenient way to get it directly on your Kindle.

Sejal is always a tough thing for me to promote.  I’m not interested in making it a best-selling book, I just want more people to be aware of the water crisis in India.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep those lines straight, and know what’s appropriate and what’s not when promoting a book like this.  I don’t want it be about me, not even by accident, so I too-often default to not push the book.

I hope that the Kindle giveaway will expose more people to the story.  If you can help by sharing the link, http://www.amazon.com/Sejal-Walk-Water-Brad-Pauquette-ebook/dp/B00B2WZ0L4/ that would be fantastic.  Together, we can expose more readers to the water crisis and facilitate action on this issue.

My friend Heather Shaw, who is an extremely talented writer, left a review on Goodreads.  Here’s my favorite excerpt: Before I read this book, I knew, in theory, that clean water supply was a problem for people around the world. But now I have a face, a village, a story to help me translate those statistics into a human reality. Though Sejal is a fictional character, she and her village are vividly imagined and intimately described. As with all excellent fiction, the reader identifies with Sejal’s humanity and shares her experience, and you cannot come to the end without caring deeply about the life-changing significance of a single well.

I hope this is true for lots of readers, and I hope it inspires real action.

If you’ve already read Sejal, please consider leaving an honest review on Goodreads.com or Amazon.com today (click the links respectively to find the book).  Community reviews are a great way to expose new readers to books that you find important, whether it’s this one or other great books you’ve read.

Thank you so much to everyone who has read Sejal, and even more so to folks who have taken action and/or given financially to resolve the water crisis in India and around the world.  A single well makes such a huge difference for real live human beings, and it starts changing lives immediately.

Download and share Sejal: The Walk for Water for free on Amazon through Friday.  Thanks for your help.

The Self-Publishing Handbook

The Self Publishing Handbook by Brad PauquetteIt’s my pleasure to announce that Columbus Press has released The Self-Publishing Handbook: Five Key Steps to Professionally Publish Your Book.  The book is available from all major retailers in print and e-book formats.

I’ve been working as a publishing consultant since 2008, for lots of different types and sizes of publishers.  Self-publishing is a mixed bag.  It can be done right, but it’s often done very wrong.

I’d like to see more people self-publish right.  The authors who are most successful approach self-publishing as a business, they’re starting a tiny publishing house.  Like any micro-enterprise, success is dependent on research, product quality and contracting the right experts.  This book helps potential self-publishers apply these principles to the world of publishing.

Self-publishing is nothing new.  Classic authors like James Joyce and Beatrix Potter were self-published.  What’s new is that today you can self-publish with virtually no investment.

Even as recently as 10 years ago, self-publishing required the investment of thousands of dollars for professional printer setup, print runs, etc.  Most people do a little research and commit themselves to excellence before they spend that kind of money.  But today, with print-on-demand technology and e-books, self-publishers can now “publish” a book with no investment.  You can literally upload an unpolished Microsoft Word document from your computer, and see your “book” for sale on Amazon a few hours later, at no cost to you and with no quality control.  As a result, lots of people are jumping into self-publishing without taking the time to put together an effective product and an effective business strategy.

I hope that more people will read this book and decide to self-publish right.  Even though they can do it for free, I hope they’ll commit themselves to producing an excellent, professional piece of literature that can stand up in the free market.

You can find The Self-Publishing Handbook on Amazon.com here, or look for it from your favorite retailer.  Columbus Publishing Lab is also offering a free PDF of this book, find that offer here.

If you get a chance to read the book, please leave an honest review on Amazon.com and/or Goodreads.com.  Thanks!

Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown

Full disclosure: my company, Columbus Press, produced this book.

I love post apocalyptic stories.  Nothing brings out the true nature of a character like being one of the last human beings alive in a hostile world.

The problem with post-apocalyptic fiction is that you normally have to wade through a bunch of near future sci-fi bullshit to get to those amazing characters and stories.  Zombies, plague, nuclear war–apocalypses are just so tacky.

Cormac McCarthy does a classy job in The Road by never addressing or even hinting at what calamity decimated humanity.  But Samuel Snoek-Brown does him one better.

Hagridden by Samuel Snoek-BrownHagridden by Samuel Snoek-Brown, published by Columbus Press, is an absolutely phenomenal book.

Snoek-Brown (which is pronounced like Book-Town, if you’re curious), discovered and utilized an actual apocalypse from our nation’s history.  Unlike most post-apocalyptic stories, the technology will never be outdated, and the typical suspension of disbelief, as far as the world is concerned, has been eradicated.  He even works in werewolves, yet we never leave the real world.  It’s truly brilliant.

Hagridden is set in the final days of the Civil War, and primarily follows the lives of two women struggling to survive in the Louisiana bayou.  All of the men have been conscripted to the Confederate army and left the swamp a year or more ago, the economy has collapsed, and what land remains in tact has been ravaged by hurricanes.  These two women are deposited into a hostile landscape, alone and with no preparation, and we see their human nature overcome their proprieties.  We question their decision to murder and steal, but while we can’t justify it, we can’t condemn it either.

This book defies genre.  I’ve spent cumulative hours in conversation with early readers trying to categorize this book without success.  Officially we’ve called it Historical Fiction, but it really fits into so many categories–from literary fiction to action/adventure to romance to war–it’s all there.  There’s something for everyone, and there’s enough of whatever you’re after to carry you through.

Best of all, this book doesn’t take itself too seriously.  While the subject matter is terribly dark, grave even, and the timescape and landscape are authentic and accurate, Snoek-Brown isn’t afraid to use his imagination.  You won’t find a dry history lesson disguised in a fictional story.  Instead you’ll find real characters, gritty and alive, doing sometimes bizarre, yet believable, things, realistically woven into a credible time and place.

I might have published this book, but don’t let that tarnish this review.  In fact, it’s the greatest credit that I can give it.  I’m not a rich man, and believe me, I have enough activities demanding my day, but I liked this book so much that I invested my very limited time and resources into it.

I receive hundreds of submissions to Columbus Press every year. Eager writers, many of whom are very qualified.  Yet this is the book that sifted to the top, this is the book that stood out as something that could be truly exceptional.

You might not love this book as much as I do.  And you will complain about the lack of quotation marks.  But I haven’t found a reader yet that didn’t think this was a solid book and a great read.

You can pick the book up from Amazon here in hardcover, paperback or for your Kindle.  It’s also available from Barnes & Noble here.  Alternately, if you can find a bookstore, just ask for it and they’ll get you a copy.

You can also learn more about the book at www.HagriddenBook.com.

Stories While You Wait at Comfest

Comfest is one of my favorite holidays.  For the first time, Columbus Creative Cooperative will have a vendor booth there.

Every year, Comfest turns away a couple hundred vendors.   So we’re pretty excited to have made the cut.

As an added spectacle, I’ll be in the CCC booth with my typewriter, writing stories live while you wait.  I originally got the idea from this guy.

It’ll be a suggested donation of $10.  I’ll be taking pictures of the stories that I write, and will post them here and around the interwebs as I’m able.

I hope to see you there!  I’ll be writing stories from 2pm to 6pm, then Emily Hitchcock will be taking over for me.

Columbus Arts Festival – Saturday, June 7

I’ll be reading from my novelette, Sejal: The Walk for Water, this Saturday at 11:00 a.m. on the Word is Art stage at the Columbus Arts Festival.

Learn more about the festival here.

Four authors were selected to read tomorrow, for a one hour program.  I’ll be joined by fellow CCC author Heather Sinclair Shaw, whose story “Chrysalis” was also featured in Best of Ohio Short Stories.

The festival is free to attend, including the Word is Art stage.  It’s always been a really cool festival, you’ll want to find a time this weekend to check it out.

Realism in Sejal

I read recently that when John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath, it was criticized as being a polarizing exaggeration of the situation facing America.  In fact, Steinbeck was toning down the true stories of the dust bowl that he was basing the story on.  Today we celebrate the story as a remarkably accurate, though anecdotal portrayal of real life for many during the Great Depression.

When I wrote Sejal: The Walk for Water, I presented it to a CCC writers’ workshop and feedback that I consistently received was that I didn’t make Sejal’s life bad enough.  But when I created the character, I wanted her to seem normal, I wanted to demonstrate that the water crisis is horrible for regular people.  I wanted the reader to know that these are things that happen to normal people every day in rural India–the worst thing that could happen would be for the audience to write off Sejal’s situation as some sort of outlandish worst case scenario.

Yesterday, my friend Kirby sent me a link to an article about two teenage girls who were brutally gang raped and murdered in India.  They had left the safety of their homes at night to use the restroom in a field, that’s when they were assaulted.  Their homes had no running water or plumbing.

Just like Sejal, one of the girls was fourteen years old.

The water crisis is real, and the effects extend far beyond thirst.

It’s true that a clean, fresh water well wouldn’t have averted this particular assault and murder in India.  And no amount of indoor plumbing will address the culture of intolerance and hatred which fueled an incident like this in the first place.

But it’s a start.

It’s estimated that 5,000 children die every day around the world due to unsafe drinking water.  Many of those are in India.  And that doesn’t even begin to factor in the many, many stories like this one, or the violent confrontations spurned by competition for water resources, or the lack of productivity due to time spent collecting water, non-fatal sickness and chronic dehydration.

When Kirby sent me that article, it broke my heart.  It crossed my mind that sharing it with me might have been a vindictive act designed to ruin my night.  But I know the truth is that lots of people, including Kirby, share my despair over situations like these, and share my passion for the very real steps that we can take to improve the lives of so many.

If you haven’t read Sejal, I hope that you will.  And know that this story is the rule, not the exception.  The exceptions are so much worse.

You can download Sejal for free here, or you can buy it from Amazon.com or most other major retailers.  If you purchase it, all of the proceeds I receive as the author of the book will be donated to The Water Cycle Project.

Shakespeare in the Park

Update: I received an email on Friday morning cancelling CCC’s involvement with this event.  The Actors’ Theatre Co cited short staffing as the reason.

Join me this Saturday at Schiller Park in Columbus, Ohio.  At 7:00, I’ll be reading a chapter from Capital Offense, a book I wrote with a couple of other guys under the pen name Kurt Stevens.

At 8:00, The Actors’ Theatre will present Shakespeare’s Hamlet.    Shakespeare in the Park is always a great time.  When the weather’s nice, there’s just about nothing better than hanging out in the park with a bottle of wine and enjoying good theater.

The Actors’ Theatre is a primarily amateur organization, but the level at which they produce these shows is nothing short of impressive.

Thank you to The Actors’ Theatre for partnering with Columbus Creative Cooperative to present readers ahead of the show!

Bexley Book Marketing Seminar

Thanks to the Bexley Public Library for inviting me to teach a seminar on book marketing.  Last Saturday, I talked through some basic book marketing strategies with a small but energetic crowd.

To my surprise, there was a spectrum of experience levels there, which provided great fodder for Q&A.  From those just beginning to explore the self-publishing process, to authors published by small presses, we had a lot of great cases to explore.

Specifically, thank you to Whitney at the Bexley Library for arranging the seminar, and for making me feel at home.  And thank you to all of the attendees for coming out and being a great audience, I hope it was a valuable experience for you.