Author Archives: Eiry Thomas

Eiry Rees Thomas/ Featured Member/ KidLit TV


KLTV2016-02-27 at 12.18.43






My thanks to the welcoming and informative KidLit TV community for this appreciated Featured Member article.

KidLit TV is a storehouse of multimedia interviews with authors and illustrators, booklists and book reviews for readers of all ages. Their tutorials on book trailer creation and animation are excellent, as are their step-by-step drawing lesson videos. From up-to-the-minute news to their commitment to promoting diversity in children’s literature, KidLit TV is an indispensable resource.

Featured Member_ Eiry Rees Thomas – KidLit

A Publisher’s Story by Mari Barnes/ Flying Turtle Publishing

My thanks to Mari Barnes for this insightful article that details her route to self-publishing. It details welcome information for the benefit of authors at various stages of their writing career.

Mari publishes under The Flying Turtle imprint.

Established in 2009, Flying Turtle Publishing is a micro business that is growing and which specializes in educational books that families can share.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 21.59.43


A Publisher’s Story

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, I spent my early years listening to the vivid stories of family members. My great-grandmothers, grandmothers and my jazz musician grandfather were generous with tales of their lives and adventures. My path to publishing was set early on, but it took me years to get here because, well, life happened.

I chose to self-publish because of a very kind rejection letter from a literary agent. In response to my query and synopsis, she requested the full manuscript after reading my query. If you’ve ever received a request for a full reading by an agent, you know how excited I was. And she was only the third agent I’d contacted!

She acknowledged that the book was funny and entertained her, but she didn’t want to represent it because she preferred books with only one main character. I could have taken the hint and re-written the book, possibly submitting it to her again. But I decided that I had written the book I wanted to share and that book had an ensemble cast.

Her response did make me think: If an agent who liked the book could turn it down, it could be turned down forever and for a slew of different reasons.

I’d written the book with a specific market in mind. I wanted to offer my work to that market to see what the response would be. In order to do that, I needed an actual book. I needed to publish myself.

In the beginning, I had ZERO clue as to what I was doing, but I did know how to research. The most important thing I learned was the difference between self-publishing and subsidized (or pay-to-publish, formerly called vanity publishing).

Publishing options

You can use a subsidy publisher (iUniverse, Authorhouse, Xlibirs); you can try the traditional route; or you can self-publish. As a major point of clarification, if you self-publish, you literally become a publishing house. You’re starting your own business.

I try to steer people away from the subsidies. They are frightfully expensive and their money is made in providing publishing services and selling books TO THE AUTHORS for them to market and resell. There have also been quite a few complaints alleging that many subsidized publishers are lacking in the scruples department. However, some authors have used these services and been completely satisfied. Preditors and Editors tells it like it is about publishers, publishing services and much more at

If you decide to pay for publishing, you can cut the costs by using freelance or contracted services. Agencies such as Fiverr and Odesk are useful, but take your time to find a provider that you’re comfortable with and communicate with that person before offering them your job. I use Createspace as one of my printers/distributors. I have not used the Createspace publishing services, so I don’t know how easy/hard they are to use or how much they cost.

Note: the majority of self-published or subsidy published books only sell about 200 copies. Going with companies like iUniverse, Xulon or Xlibris and using their marketing programs won’t improve your odds. No company, big or small, is going to guarantee that their marketing package or department can absolutely sell your book.

Here’s another fact: Most self-or subsidy published authors LOSE money. You may not make back your expenditures. For that reason, I suggest prudent spending on all publishing services. Don’t forget that if your book is priced too high because you’re trying to recoup money, it will not sell and you won’t make anything anyway.

Tips from someone who’s made many mistakes

1. Have an idea of who your audience is BEFORE you start writing.

Knowing your audience is vital to determining how and where you market your book. Your book about pineapple farming isn’t going to have as large an audience as your murder mystery.

2. You cannot proofread your own work.

I’ve been in the proofreading/editing business for about 30 years. And the first printing of my book had mistakes. I couldn’t catch them and neither did the college student I hired. Care enough about quality to hire professionals. And believe me, quality does matter if you want anyone other than your family and friends to read and enjoy your book.

3. You cannot edit your own work.

Editors help you craft your story. A good proofreader will catch the fact that the guy you called Ed is Chapter 1 is being called Steve in Chapter 3. Your editor will tell you that you should have killed him off while he was still Ed because it added to the conflict the story desperately needs.

4. Consider having your cover done by a professional.

I loved the first cover for my book. My son did the art, based on my instructions, and a professional designer did the layout. But my son didn’t have the professional tools and I have no artistic sensibilities whatsoever. The cover looked homemade and the professionals I consulted after the first printing ripped it to shreds.

Don’t wait to be ripped to shreds. Go with a pro from the start. I have never used a template, such as the ones offered by Createspace, but I know authors who have been pleased with them. There are many freelance services such as Fiverr and Odesk where authors can examine portfolios and contract for publishing services.

5. Don’t rush to publish.

Remember that you want to be read and enjoyed by as many readers as possible. They will still be there when you publish and new ones are being born every day. Don’t waste money by throwing it at the first contractors to come along. Do some research, make some connections, get some referrals. Take your time to produce a good product. You may be able to barter for services: I’ll proofread yours if you design mine.

Do your research. Do your best and enjoy your publishing journey.

Mari L Barnes writes for children under the pen name of Mari Lumpkin and for adults as ML Barnes. Her books, Parting River Jordan and Crossing River Jordan are proof that church can be funny. Mari’s company, Flying Turtle Publishing, specializes in books that families can share.

She is a member of the Highland Writers Group as well as being a member and serving on the board of the Indiana Writers Consortium. Mari has created a workbook, Life Authors: It’s Your Story, to help people jumpstart writing their life stories. For more information, go to





The Flitlits /App1/ The Funny Fair/ 5 star Review by The Educational App Store

Educational App Store:U.K.

Waiting for app reviews can be tense, especially when the star rating depends on testing by teachers and students, which is crucial.

However, The Flitlits and I couldn’t be happier with the following 5 star review of Flitlit App 1/The Funny Fair/ from The Educational App Store:

The app will now feature on their Recommended list.

Link to the app:
Subject:  English, Welsh, Languages
Age Group: Primary Education
Developer: The Flitwits Ltd
EAS Certification: 5
In App Purchases? No

Learning Outcomes:
Cognitive development
Communication Skills

Fabulously surreal and lyrical app that will engage kids, teachers, parents and grandparents. This is an app that has been made with love and care. The app deserves an EAS Certification of 5 Stars and subsequently receives EAS Recommended Status.

The team behind this app have really taken a lot of care to create something that is magical and original. As we poured though the app, we were fascinated by the level of lyricism in the language, the depth of the characters and the dimensions of the story. As a reader, you are drawn into a magical world with curious characters and happenings.

It is the perfect story to read together as a family or as a special treat in the classroom.  There are many opportunities where you can stop the app and discuss the story or talk about the different characters. Older children and adults will appreciate the variety of vocabulary and how the usage of words has additional meanings that provide further depth to the story.

The app is extremely functional and easy to use so learners can be left alone to read if you wish. The app is split into two. The first section talks about the land of Fussbut, Seldom See, about the variety of Flitlit characters; their personalities and backgrounds as well as information about the key landmarks that feature in the story. The second section is the actual story that readers scroll through in order to improve their literacy, concentration and communication skills.

The app is laid out so that you have the option of having the app read to you with timed highlights on the words so that readers can follow the story easily and learn new vocabulary. Another option is to have these two features turned off so that children can practice by themselves.

The combination of simple design, artistic illustration and functionality make the app simple and effective. It helps to develop memory skills, to maintain attention and concentration and to develop auditory and visual processing. Readers can use the app in Welsh as well as English and teachers and parents will be very pleased to know that they can choose between British English and American English (a real plus)!

This is the first story in the series about the Flitlits and both children and parents will fall in love with the characters. The characters have very well developed personalities so that kids can develop their own emotional intelligence too.

This is a super app and perfect for encouraging bed-time reading. Enjoy!