Tag Archives: Mary B. Banks

Indie writers, don’t throw in the towel!

Mary B. Banks, Baltimore indie author, proudly holds her debut short story collection, Street Magic: Stories and Tales.

I have been working hard to promote Street Magic: Stories and Tales. To date, here’s my progress so far: Street Magic is at Atomic Books and Amazon.com. My next step is to get reviews for my book. I have received great feedback from two people, a classmate from the University of Baltimore and my former English teacher, and that makes me feel awesome! As a writer, I feel like when I write, I am writing in a dark room. I don’t know if people will love my work, hate it, talk crap about it, criticize it… So when people say that they actually enjoyed reading my book, well that’s icing on the cake. It makes me feel that my hard work paid off, that my countless hours of writing and designing the book weren’t done in vain, that I’m not delusional to think that I have something that people will not only read, but will pay to read. Before I started La Muse Press, I would have given my work away for free, because it’s not about the money, it’s about the art, but now I have to run a business; therefore, I need to make a profit. However, no dollar amount will ever compensate for the feeling you get when readers have kind, sincere words to say about your work–it’s an instant picker-upper. An espresso shot of confidence and reassurance. Always remember the best form of publicity and/or advertisement is WORD OF MOUTH. No dollar amount can pay for the natural buzz and momentum that surrounds a product when people enjoy a product so much that they HAVE to tell their family and friends. So, if you’re an emerging writer, please hang in there, because you never know if you might have a hit on your hands. Be honest with yourself and write every day. Your wish might come true. Keep dreaming and find ways to make your dreams become true one step at a time.

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The Best Darn Profession!

Marketing, marketing, marketing is key to promoting and selling your book. You can have one of the best books out there, but if it isn’t marketed properly, your book will never see the light of day. Being a writer, I never realized how much of the publishing process doesn’t involve writing. Once you are published and have a book, it’s a different ballgame. I know firsthand because I’m trying to promote my debut short story collection, Street Magic: Stories and Tales (2011), and it is kicking my tail. I find myself spending countless of hours using social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and Goodreads to generate publicity…and what are the results…NADA! I know I’m being impatient, but darn, how much patience do I have to have (I know if you’re a self-published author, I know you know what I’m talking about!)? But I will be patient and keep pushing. I will keep researching potential publicity opportunities to promote my baby, Street Magic: Stories and Tales. If you too are having the marketing blues, here’s your opportunity to express yourself. Just leave a comment and let’s get through our writing woes together. Hey, maybe one day we might see our names on The New York Times bestsellers list, until then we have our journals, our tears, and our frustration to keep us going. Cheers! We are writers, the best profession in the entire world (wink).

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My First Published Book

Well, it finally happened. My first book, Street Magic: Stories and Tales, is published! I’m so excited. The book is a bit wacky, zany, sad, and gritty. It is composed of nine short stories that I wrote during my enrollment in the MFA Creative Writing & Publishing Arts program at the University of Baltimore. I designed and typesetted my book, which was an arduous task. Choosing the right cover design was the hardest. At first, my book was a pure typographic design with a black and white color scheme, but my teacher who is a graphic designer suggested that the cover lacked magic. She suggested that I take a picture of asphalt to provide texture to the back cover. I thought about her suggestions, and then I thought about a photograph I took for a class assignment during my undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. The photograph is an image of my shadow against the pavement. I chose the photograph for my cover because it has a magical yet gritty quality. I decided I would print 50 books for my first print run because I plan to sell Street Magic at local independent bookstores including Atomic Books and Cyclops (cross fingers). I will be reading a selection of my book at the MFA student reading at the University of Baltimore, Student Center, 5th floor (21 West Mount Royal Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201) at 7:30 pm on Friday, May 6th. I am selling my books for $12. If you are unable to attend, you can purchase Street Magic online.  To read the table of contents, click here. Look forward to seeing you at the reading!

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