Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

Lessons of an Independent Author

Celebrating a Commitment to Creativity

Celebrating a Commitment to Creativity
by Lisa A Kramer
I wrote a book.

That's probably not a surprise, but the thing is that I finished the first draft in 2020. Then, I gave up on myself. I thought the book was good and had potential. It is a book that truly represents me and my goals for the future. But I let my gremlins talk me out of it, so the book simply sat there being sad. 
A hand drawn gremlin saying mean things to a person crouched in front of it.
Gremlin of Doubt

 I couldn't face the fear of rejection, of not doing it right, of not finding an agent, of being completely wrong about my own work. I was mired in the world which believed that the only legitimate books were traditionally published, and that I would never find that perfect agent who could get me the perfect publishing deal. 

Of course, I realize, you can never find them if you don't try. Still a part of me didn't want to try.


Singularity Cover Reveal: The Power of Community, Support, and Social Media

by Lisa A Kramer
While the act of writing might be a solitary one, in the modern world of books the reality is that in order to succeed even the most talented author needs help. Sure, those with more traditional contracts have teams of support (if they are lucky) from editing to publicity , but there is no guarantee. When published through smaller, independent publishing houses (like Word Hermit Press) or self-publishing, it becomes even more important to develop a team of supporters to help spread the word and make sure your work is the best possible product. You need reliable  beta-readers, fantastic editors, and a supportive network that believes in your work and wants to see it succeed. This can be a challenge for...

A P.O.W.ERful Update

by Lisa A Kramer
I just spent the weekend celebrating my 25th college reunion with my daughter, surrounded by the incredibly talent, passionate, and amazing women who attended Smith College.

The theme for our class was "We are All Wonder Women" which I loved, although I do find the idea of striving to be Wonder Woman a complicated one. As much as we would like to believe we can have everything, we can't really, and I think it is healthy for us to recognize that.

Still, it was an empowering theme for this moment in my life. I loved spending this occasion with my daughter, especially walking in our Ivy Day Parade (a Smith Tradition) wearing our Wonder Women capes.

On the first day I was there,...

Books: The Story of When You Are

by Lisa A Kramer
I've been doing a lot of reading lately.

To be honest, I've been doing much more reading than writing. I know I should be writing, I know that becoming a "successful" writer means you must go beyond your first book. I still have many stories to tell, but at  the moment those stories are a jumbled mess of ideas that refuse to find their way to the page.

So I read.

In addition to reading, though, I am making a greater effort to review anything and everything I read (or at the very least give the book a star rating). Why? Because Reviews Matter!!!! {There's your (not so subtle) reminder to help your favorite authors by reviewing their books. That goes for P.O.W.ER as well. Here's...

Lessons of an Independent Author: The Power of Inspiration

by Lisa A Kramer
This post might also be subtitled: Lessons I Learned from Andra Watkins-Author I confess that I haven't been to a lot of author events or book readings, unless you count my attendance at two SCBWI conferences.  I have attended a lot of talks and presentations by theatre people who write, but rarely do I attend things that are specifically about one person's book or books. On those rare occasions of attending book readings and author presentations I've seen a gamut of styles, which can be broken down (in my opinion) in the following way:

1. Ben Stein Presenters: people who read their own work in a monotone voice that motivates their audiences to sleep even if the words are wonderful

2. Wonders of the World; people...

Lessons of an Independent Author: Book Store Signings (Part 2)--The Human Element

by Lisa A Kramer
Several people have asked how I did it? How did I, an unknown author with a debut novel, no publicist, and an extremely limited budget get onto the calendar at bookstores?

I wish I could say I knew the magic spell--that I could wave my wand like Hermione and make my books appear on shelves all around the world. Bookstoricus Popularitus! Trying out my new magic spell.

Unfortunately that's not the way it works. I have plenty of non-responses from people, if not outright "No's!" to prove that there is no magic spell. I have a long list of "must and shoulds"--of people I need to contact if I want to continue growing as an author/presenter/independent artist (because remember I...

Lessons of an Independent Author: Bookstore Signings

by Lisa A Kramer
At the beginning of my signing.

I suppose the people with the big names and the big contracts get to have the dream signings at a bookstore. You know, the ones you see in the movies, where people gather around wine and discussion all because of one author. Perhaps it is a reading as well, but the author is treated as royalty and fans swarm around in the hopes that some of the genius will rub off. If you've ever seen the film CROSSING DELANCEY (1988) you know what I mean. (Although, I admit that the events are a little snooty and over the top).

I don't think that happens as much in the current world of books.


Lessons of An Independent Author: The Power of Facing Your Fears

by Lisa A Kramer
I sit at a table in the middle of a bookstore, surrounded by magnificent shelves of books of every shape and size. It might be described as the place of my dreams . . . except . . . 

In between the stacks of books sit other authors, at their own tables, with quickly dwindling piles of their own wares. The lines of avid readers anxiously awaiting their autographs snake around the stacks, up and down staircases,  over tables and chairs, out the doors, around the building. This dream bookstore is huge and beautiful, with secret nooks to curl up and read, and books soaring to the arched ceilings. The energy of excited readers is everywhere . . . except at my...

Lessons of An Independent Author: The POWER of Good News

by Lisa A Kramer
I would be lying if I said that everything is a breeze once the book has actually been published. It's more like a roller coaster, with very steep peaks that take forever to climb and fast-paced drops into lows so long you feel trapped forever.

Perhaps, I suppose, if you are with a top 5 publisher who pours publicity power into your book, it might feel more like the journey of a rocket. But, if you are published through a small house, have to do most of your own publicity work, don't have a huge budget and are also juggling things like jobs, family, life . . . it can feel a little bit more like climbing Mount Everest with words.


Lessons of an Independent Author--Questioning the Power of Reviews

by Lisa A Kramer
At least once a month (or more often depending on how busy and I am and how voraciously I read) I wander into the library and leave with a stack of books.

While I occasionally look for a specific book, and sometimes try to find something off of my ever-growing "to read" list, more often than not I simply browse the newest collection and pick out books that look interesting. I trip over to the librarian recommendations and pick out books that call my name. I skim through the young adult section, or sometimes the children's section, and add books to my pile. I may even pass through the classic section and choose something I've always wanted to read but never had.


Lessons of an Independent Author--The Power of Patience

by Lisa A Kramer
Reality check!!!

The chances of one book becoming an overnight sensation (especially when published by a small independent publisher and there isn't the funding for a huge publicity campaign) is astronomically tiny.

Most books fizzle out soon after launch.

Depressing thoughts for a newbie author who really believes in her work.

When I reached a low point recently . . . as I felt like everything had stalled and it was all hopeless, Cameron D. Garriepy --new friend, talented author and publisher--sent me these words of wisdom: "What you have to hold onto is that you are playing a long game, especially when you're on a budget as an indie author. Keep doing what you do, make noise, write books. They aren't going out of...

Lessons of an Independent Author: The Power of Labels

by Lisa A Kramer
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate labels?

Seriously, I hate having to categorize something as just one thing: one genre, one career, one type, one LABEL.

Some of my (and my books) labels . . . but there are many more.

I find it difficult to categorize any of my work into one genre because I write the story that needs to be told, in whatever format I need to tell it. Here at Woman Wielding Words, I blog about whatever inspires me or whatever I feel like. I can't call myself a Mom blogger or a comic blogger or a journal blogger or a political activist blogger  or anything else, even thought I write about all...

Lessons of an Independent Author: The Power of Your Personal Story

by Lisa A Kramer
I have a theory about how people read in our world.

Of course, I can't prove this theory without launching a massive research project, but if my theory is correct it influences how people buy and sell books.

Basically, my idea goes like this. With an increase in technology and access to information of all kinds, we (as a society) have become ever more fascinated by the lives of people we will never actually meet. This suggests that even an avid reader of fiction (like myself) yearns to know a little bit more about the person behind the book. We want to feel like this author would be our best friend, or at least would enjoy scintillating conversation over a cup of...