Precious Gems Publishing – Giving Debut Authors Their VOICE!

Readers – and writers, of course – we have been speaking about this brand new publishing company over the past few weeks and the response has been astronomical. Not a big shock, considering the way the literary community (i.e., traditional publishing houses) are working right now. The amount of authors that are being overlooked, or thrown into a ‘slush’ pile (even though their manuscript was asked for by someone in the company); and the unbelievable amount of form rejection letters that are being sent back, are unbelievably horrific.

Somewhere along the way the ‘form rejection letter’ became the way to turn an author down. This is completely unacceptable in more ways than one, folks. The first, is that an author works their tail off, and puts their passion and drive into their manuscript for a reason. A writer is not created – they are born. And there are many who have put together a book that the masses very much want to read and would love. How does the author know this for a fact? The power of digital publishing and eBooks, but we will get to all that proof in just a minute. What is another reason why the ‘form rejection letter’ is unacceptable? Because it is simply a ‘way out.’ All of the websites that you research, making sure to send your query letter to the right agents and right publishers who deal with your genre – where the website states in big, bold ink that they WANT to read your query – are the ones that seem to keep the query letter for a month or more just to then send back a letter that states: “Thank you for sending us your book, (fill in title here). Although it sounds very good (etc.) it is unfortunately, not what we represent.” Even though, on their site, it is very much what they represent.

Quite frankly, if someone does not like the first three chapters then say why. Criticism IS good, because it allows the author to take a ‘fresh’ look and see if changes should be made, or if it was simply a case of an agent or publisher with no time on their hands who didn’t bother to read in the first place.

Now, perhaps agents and publishers out there are about to get mad. But they shouldn’t. No one is saying that a query letter can’t stink. There are many letters (sorry, authors) that are not good. The spelling, grammar, punctuation says it all sometimes. And there are times when the plot is just something you may NOT want to represent. Which is absolutely fine. BUT the author should be told why. There is no way for an author to get better at their chosen career without knowing, in the first place what they did wrong. And, when a form letter is sent, it very much leads the author to believe that it was not read in the first place, and that the person clicking the rejection letter is just doing it because it is their job.

Authors, agents, publishers – this is a trio that needs to work together. And even though the agent and publisher may not believe this – the author does understand the bottom-line. They do understand that certain genres are hugely popular in this day and age (i.e., YA, paranormal, gothic, etc.), and that other genres have fallen behind (i.e., Christian fiction, bodice-ripper romance, etc.) and that there are very specific publishing companies for that material. But, let’s face it, when reviewers and bookstores are getting some of the new fiction that is being published, it speaks to the masses that perhaps agents and publishers do NOT know what is selling. There has been a wealth of YA books that are turning toward child abuse, drugs, suicide, etc. that are, quite frankly, NOT selling. So it becomes a question of “Who actually knows what readers want?” And, if anyone is still ‘in the game enough’ to choose the best titles and take a chance on a new author with a new idea?

We have spoken before about how the literary world has become jaded; even articles are popping up where people who have quit and left the industry are speaking out about the fact that they saw the ‘inside world’ and didn’t like it. This writer has listened to remarks made from industry people regarding how they saw great books being overlooked because of other…situations that should not have happened. And they have also remarked that some queries (if not a great many of them) were never read. They were assigned to an intern to “get rid of.” Again, there are some truly great agents and publishers still out there who DO still believe in authors…but that number is dwindling.

It was no surprise when authors began to take it upon themselves to “see” if the people rejecting them were right. Turns out, they weren’t. E-Books and the world of digital publishing is slowly taking over, and providing a platform that allows authors to lend their VOICE to the literary community. And, in fact, some of the most brilliant voices have been found there – marketing their books on Kindle and garnering not only rave reviews, but extremely high sales.

Branding has been the key for these authors. They not only had the passion and drive to write – but they carried that passion and drive over to branding themselves and causing fans to flock to their side. Only then, did the ‘Big Six’ take the time to “see” them and bring them on board.

Precious Gems Publishing was a company that was created BY authors FOR authors, because of the way things have been running in the past decade. Precious Gems Publishing KNOWS that great books are being completely overlooked, and they are tired of what could be stellar authors shelving their manuscripts or throwing them in desk drawers simply because they received that form rejection letter. Precious Gems Publishing researched and worked for a long time before coming together, making sure they could give the author and readers what they wanted and deserved.

From professional editors who have been in the industry for decades; to hiring the best graphic designers to create covers that will live on in the readers’ imagination long after the book has been read, Precious Gems Publishing covered all the bases. But they also went one step further. The creators found a way to make sure that the author would receive a digital platform and a FULL marketing campaign. Precious Gems Publishing wanted to make sure, before even attempting this, that all authors would be getting radio programs to speak about their books; would receive tweets and postings on Facebook and Twitter; professional book trailers; and, articles in magazines and newsletters .reaching millions of readers. In essence, Precious Gems Publishing not only wanted to find the outstanding fiction books that are out there right now, but they also wanted to be able to brand the author and their book

While in the midst of setting up their website, Precious Gems Publishing doesn’t want to make the author wait any longer. They will receive a real “live” editor to work with, as well as a real “live” designer to work with. They will receive a full marketing department standing behind them to get their message to the masses, and brand them for all time. And they do this for $899 and nothing more. There are no ‘scams’ that you must pay more for this, this, and that. There are no premiere packages to sign up for, or a demand that the author purchase copies themselves. Precious Gems Publishing has brought their wisdom into the digital publishing world – and they are looking for Fiction Authors who are necessary to the literary community.

That means YOU! Stop giving up. Send your query to someone who will actually READ it!!

Until Next Time, Everybody

For more information go to:
www.preciousgemspublishing.com

The Holocaust as Seen Through the Eyes of Students at Park Vista High School

The Holocaust and other tragedies in history may seem unimaginable to today’s youth. But Park Vista High School came up with an innovative and stimulating program to bring awareness of these atrocities to students that also translated into relevant issues facing teens today. For three months, they have studied the White Rose resistance movement, when a group of courageous college students almost their own age from Munich were the first to stir up the ranks of Hitler’s Nazis during l942-3. Students honored those who lived and died during that time on Holocaust Remembrance Day last month when they wore white roses, most probably a symbol of peace and purity. Donations from the effort were sent to the Save Darfur Coalition.

Mr. Moskovic from Hobe Sound was l3 years old when he was taken by the Nazis and when he was released in l945, was the only surviving member of his family. He escaped death three times from nothing short of miracles. His goal in sharing with students is “to keep the memory alive and to help our youth carry the truth in the future so people don’t forget.”  Students also shared how they have grown from the project, similar to PSAs, and posters which are part of a large quilt that covers a wall in the main cafeteria.

The White Rose program at Park Vista was made possible through a grant provided by LEAH, the League for Educational Awareness for the Holocaust based in Boca Raton, an organization that educates and advocates about the Holocaust and other genocides. It seeks to engage teachers in inspiring and motivating students to actively contribute to a kinder, more compassionate world.  To date, LEAH has funded more than 300 education grant awards which have touched the lives of 36,000 students in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

The White Rose group are most well-known for their leafleting and a secret organization started by Sophie and Hans Scholl of which several award-winning movies, documentaries, books and plays have been made. All seven members were convicted of treason and beheaded at a very young age.

Media Specialist and coordinator of the school-wide program, Brigitta McTigue, spent her early years growing up in Munich, Germany where Sophie and her brother Hans Scholl and the White Rose students were considered heroes.

“Our l6 and l7 year olds need to know this, so that they learn how to deal with prejudice, bigotry, bullying, and other human rights issues they face today. We hope this program has given them some tools to become more tolerant in their daily lives and to find healthy ways to stand up to hurtful and cruel actions done to other people merely because of differences.”

Also collaborating and working together on the project was Sue Mehok, English teacher, as well as reading and social studies classes. Activities included reading chapters or books about the White Rose movement and watching the film “Sophie Scholl: The Final Days.”

“As we teach students about the Holocaust, and other examples of genocide such as Darfur, Rwanda and Bosnia we are in a very real way repairing the world,” said Amanda McGee, executive director of LEAH. “They are taking the lessons that happened in the Holocaust of these very brave young people in the White Rose movement so that they can hopefully become better human beings.”

Educational programs such as these are designed to help children learn about time periods and events that may seem incomprehensible to them.

“They have no concept of what freedom is, because they have it,” said Ms. Mehok.

While many schools offer only a few paragraphs in their history books about the Holocaust, Park Vista High School has a dedicated program, under the leadership of Eileen Shapiro who heads up Holocaust Studies for the school district of Palm Beach County. It was at her suggestion that McTigue applied for the grant from LEAH.

FAU Fireworks: FUN and Family

FAU Campus is the place to be on the 4th of July.

6 p.m. – Family Activities, games, children’s rides, arts and crafts, walkabout entertainment

6:30 p.m. – Stage Show – RED, WHITE & BLUE TRIBUTE (AZMC Production)

7:10 p.m. – Zumba Demonstation – mass audience participation

7:30 p.m. Concert – WIND SYMPHONY OF FLORIDA, Dr. Kyle Prescott

9 p.m. – FIREWORKS DISPLAY

Florida Atlantice University, located on Glades Rd, just East of I-95

Cost:  FREE

IMPORTANT:  Personal fireworks, sparklers, alcholic beverages, dogs, open fires are not allowed.  No stopping or parking along Glades Rd.

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