Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Stories, Linda Boulanger

Today's guest for Saturday Stories is someone you may not know by name but you've seen her influence. Her publishing company is the home to Elizabeth Mueller's Darkspell and Silvina Niccum's Veiled (among many others). Along with being a guest on our blog today she has also donated three amazing self-publishing prizes that anyone interested in self-publishing will surely want to win.

To kick things off let's start with our Saturday Stories interview.

Q—Tell us about yourself. Who are you?

Along with being author Linda Boulanger, book cover designer, book formatter, and publisher, I am the mother of four 8-17 year olds that keep me running. My headquarters reside within my laptop, netbook, Kindle Fire, cell phone, and spiral notebooks with ample supply of pens for that very reason – It’s all portable. I’ve written, edited, formatted, anything to do with books, while waiting for my children to get out of school, between matches at a tennis tournament, at the dentist … just about any place you can think of.

I also have four rescue pets: 2 big dogs and 2 little cats. My How Sadie Learned To SMILE: See Magic In Life Everyday fully illustrated children’s book which is now available for Kindle, in color, on Amazon, features my local Animal Rescue Foundation, where we adopted three of our four fur babies. The youngest, a gray Tabby/Russian Blue mix, is diabetic and I have to give him insulin shots twice a day even though I am needle phobic to the point that getting shots myself or seeing others get them usually makes me extremely light headed and/or pass out. I’m okay as long as I don’t accidentally touch myself with the needle! One gross fact about my animal ownership (and something my FaceBook friends seem to think is oddly funny) is that I get some of my best writing ideas or my stories often come together while I’m scooping poo in the back yard. Eeeww!
Q—How did you get into writing?
Growing up on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, you’d think I would love the snow … but I don’t! I do have to credit the snow for keeping me indoors quite a bit, which led to entertaining myself with a lot of reading and by writing stories. I learned to love the written word.
I wrote my first full-length novel at 26 though thinking about it makes me shudder, and not in a good way! It’s a Historical Romance, but I really didn’t want to take the time to do the research to make sure I was getting it right. I still love the premise of the story so maybe someday I’ll revive it.
Early marriage and a decade of childbearing saw me putting my writing dreams on hold. It wasn’t until my youngest started Kindergarten that I pulled out that old dream. It was awfully dusty, though thanks to the encouragement of my social networking friends, I blew it off and opened up to a blank page in a new chapter of my life.
Q—What was your publishing journey like?
Author and awesome video producer Patrick Sipperly probably helped me the most in taking my first steps toward being a published author. I think he knew I would never do it alone so he took his place as co-writer and hand holder. He found places for us to submit our writing. Amazingly, my shorts started winning weekly challenges immediately and one was even chosen as an Editor’s Choice to be included in a printed anthology. I was ecstatic.
I went from being satisfied with that to wanting a hold-in-your-hand book and Pat once again stepped in. We decided on a collection of short stories that we would publish ourselves, opting to use Amazon’s own CreateSpace. It turned out to be a great option for us and eventually for the authors I published through my own publishing company: TreasureLine Publishing.
Honestly, I didn’t have the patience to go through the game of submit, reject, submit, do it again, that is required so often when working for a Traditional Publishing deal. I also needed flexibility since my family always comes first. My greatest concern about self-publishing was the cost. I knew we would need to do the majority of it ourselves, so Pat and I taught ourselves everything we needed to know, which I have perfected over the years with my own books as well as those I have helped get published.
Q—How did TreasureLine Publishing come about?
Working through the process myself, I ran across numerous authors who had the same dream of seeing their work in print but had no idea how to go about it. I’d had hand holders, and since I knew the steps to take, I wanted to be that person for others. I started out offering limited book services only and evolved from there to Traditional Publishing, structuring my company to treat the authors as I’d want to be treated. Amazingly, all the authors working with TreasureLine Publishing (both Traditional and Work-For-Hire authors) have forged a generous and caring family that help each other with every aspect of this crazy life we have chosen.
Q—What is your favorite part about working with authors?
Making dreams come true is what it’s all about for me. The excitement of knowing an author is going to see his or her work in a format that the rest of the world can readily enjoy makes me as giddy as it would if it was my own work. I’ve lost track of how many happy tears I’ve cried after opening a box containing another book that I know I’ve helped create in some way, whether it’s by designing the cover, formatting the interior, championing the author along, or simply putting the TreasureLine name on it. Okay, so I’m an emotional person and cry at silly things! But these books truly become a part of me.
Q—What is your least favorite part about working with authors?
Other than feeling frustrated sometimes when authors don’t understand the demands, I don’t really have a least favorite part. It can get difficult when I’m juggling odds and ends for upwards of 25 different authors on any given day. There’s also a lot to getting everything done for a polished book. Even though I tell everyone that anyone can learn formatting, there are little tricks and tweaks that have to be performed and it takes time if you want it done right. Cover design as well. It may look easy, but there’s a lot of work that goes into every layer of that design. Sometimes even just getting an author to submit the manuscript formatted the right way is like pulling teeth. Thankfully, with four children, I’ve learned to be extremely patient over the years. It helps to love what I do as well.
Q—A lot of people refer to writing as therapeutic. Have you ever discovered personal truths or gained better insight into your own life through the characters you create?
Although I’m not sure if I’ve discovered personal truths, I’ve always used writing as therapy. Last year, my oldest daughter collapsed from a massive brain hemorrhage and writing played an important role in my ability to cope through it all. Although the book has nothing to do with the incident, I wrote Arms of an Angel  during her initial hospital stay and healing time before she could have actual brain surgery. My daily escape with those characters was extremely therapeutic for me.
Q—What one author (living or dead) would you love to have the opportunity to sit down and visit with? What would you like to ask them?
Don’t shoot me, but I don’t have a favorite author that I don’t currently call friend, whether they are a flesh and blood - let’s get on the phone or meet for lunch – friend, or an internet friend. I have the ability to visit with them just about any time I want. And I do. Social networking has been amazing in bridging gaps and bringing our worlds together.
As far as what I ask them – we talk about everything from story ideas, to book cover designs, to the keys to the magical kingdom of getting your book into the hands of readers, and more.
Q—What’s your take on the self-publishing industry? Where do you see it going and what pitfalls do you think writers should watch out for?
Today’s ability to self-publish has changed the playing field beyond what most authors could have ever imagined. As I mentioned above self-publishing provides a flexibility and release from the hassles that can be associated with trying for traditional publishing. I think those are just two of the benefits of pursuing self-publishing.
There are some great books out there today that would never have seen beyond the slush pile had the authors not taken the initiative to self-publish. My very good friend, bestselling author Andrew E. Kaufman, is a prime example. He was told over and over again that his first book, While The Savage Sleeps, was fantastic but they just didn’t know how to market it because it didn’t fit the mold. It’s a Paranormal Suspense Thriller that broke out onto four of Amazon’s bestseller lists, including the top spot on Movers and Shakers. And now, more than a year after its release, it’s still on the top of several bestseller lists. Had he not self-published, his book would probably still be sitting on his computer!
Pitfalls. Yes, there are pitfalls that I see. Soooooooo many books, many of them slapped up there without proper editing or formatting. Don’t let yourself get overly excited just because there’s an open door. If you want people to read your work, you’d better be taking the time to make it the best you can, giving them a pleasant read all the way from your awesome cover, to your well formatted interior, to a well-polished and fully edited absolutely fantastic story!
The sheer number of books out there also makes it more and more difficult to get noticed. Authors so very often think just writing the book is it. Even if you were to get picked up by one of the Big 6, unless you have a recognized name, you’d better be prepared to do the majority of your own marketing. And that’s where your true work will come in.
Q—If you were given the opportunity to spend one evening with a personal chef who not only could expertly cook anything you wanted but also had access to the ingredients, what would be the one meal you’d request?
Cringing again. Do I admit that I am not overly domestic in the kitchen so anything a chef would like to prepare for me would be greatly welcomed! I think rather than concentrating on the food as a meal, I’d like to use the opportunity as a writing exercise. I like to study people, to see how they do things, how they react in certain situations.  Do I also admit that this question has given me a story idea? A man with superb culinary skills meeting up with a woman who thinks there’s nothing wrong with TV Dinners or Cheetos for lunch! Thinking that would take a lot of research on my part…
Q—What is your favorite genre of books to read and why?
I am pathetically and completely 100% Happy Ever After. I joke that it’s because I was born so close to Valentine’s Day that I am in love with love. I see it everywhere and, if it’s not there, I make it up!
Romance has always been my favored genre to both read and write, though I prefer what Regency Romance author Jaimey Grant and I call Love With The Lights Off.: Romances that fall somewhere between “clean” and “graphic”. As a reader and a writer, I enjoy the tension without the details, if that makes sense. Jaimey and I have even created a Goodreads Group for others who enjoy the same thing:
Q—What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring authors? 
I almost always give new authors the same advice because I think it is outrageously important, especially in this day and age where so many books are available. That advice is KEEP WRITING. No matter what you’re doing, make sure you are working on your next piece. When readers finish one of your books, if they like it, they will immediately want more. If they can’t get that from you, guess what? They are going to jump to another author. Then, when you get your next book done, you get to go out and find readers all over again! Oh, you’ll have those who wait for your work, but mostly you’ll be reinventing yourself every time. One bestselling author recently mentioned that she has to put out at least four books this year to maintain her foothold. FOUR BOOKS! That’s one every three months just to keep herself on the bestseller list.
At the same time, though, you shouldn’t rush it. Seems impossible to do both, huh? No matter what, even if you have to work harder at your marketing, you don’t want to put out bad stuff. A book that is poorly written, edited, formatted … those can all turn away future readers or even those who might have picked up your great story because of word of mouth.
So, bottom line, my advice is to write constantly because that will help you hone your skills while pushing you toward completion of that next book and don’t skimp on polishing your beloved story. Remember none of those things: formatting, cover designing, etc, none of it has to cost you a fortune to get it done right. There are places out there like my TreasureLine Publishing Book Services that can help you without a huge cash outlay that you may or may not ever make back. It’s a tough business, this business of writing, so use sound judgment, not your heart, when making decisions.
One thing I always tell people is that “talk is free” - which means I have no problem advising or sharing what I know to get you from a manuscript sitting on your computer to a book on Amazon dot com! I also do those things through the Book Services section of my publishing company … and I know what I’m doing! I’ve walked the road of aspiring author as well as held the hand of many, many other authors in those same shoes. If you find yourself tying up your laces as you contemplate entering into the big race, please feel free to drop me an email. I’d love the opportunity to champion you along. Just remember, if you ever send me a copy of your book, I require tissues to go along with it.

If you'd like to learn more about TreasureLine Publishing click here to visit their website or click here to visit their blog.

If you'd like to learn more about Linda you can click here to visit her website or click here to visit her blog.

Facebook links:
          TreasureLine Books & Publishing
          The Shelf Life of Linda Boulanger

Now we can focus on the fun stuff, the prizes. To do that I'll turn things over to Linda...

Hi! I’m Linda Boulanger, owner of TreasureLine Books & Publishing. At TreasureLine, our dream is your dream ~ filling shelves one book at a time. That’s why we’re excited to participate in the awesome month-long celebration of the Mormon Mommy Writers Anniversary.
Because your books are our business, we’re giving away 3 different Author’s Treasure Packages. That’s right! 3 prizes ~ 3 winners. Specifically geared toward authors, we are offering:
1 ePub Book Publishing Package ($125 value) -- an author's already fully edited manuscript formatted and placed in Amazon's Kindle store. This package includes a front cover.
1 Paperback Book Internal Format ($75 value) -- an author's manuscript formatted into a layout appropriate for POD publishing (does not include the actual publishing of the book or a cover). This package includes mentor services for an author unfamiliar with process of getting his/her book on via CreateSpace.
1 Full Cover via the custom book cover service ($125 value) -- winner may substitute 2 ebook front cover only services ($75 each).
The winners will be chosen randomly from those who comment on this post, however, we’ll need to know that you’re interested in the prizes and not just offering comment love (which we love very much!) – so, how about telling us if you’re interested in a particular one of the 3 prizes we’re offering. Make sure to leave an email address and feel free to give us the elevator pitch for your book.
If you’d like more information on TreasureLine and our services, please visit us at:

Thanks Linda!

If you are interested in self-publishing then these prizes are exactly what you're looking for. Just because it's called self-publishing doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Sign up for the contest so Linda can help you.

Just to give you guys a little more insight into what great prizes these are here's a little testimonial for you... (it's on the right)

Here's how to win:
ALL ENTRIES MUST BE MADE by 11:50 MST tonight, January 21, 2012. Check back tomorrow morning in our "Winner's Circle" to see if you're one of the lucky winners.

There are multiple ways to earn entries. Take advantage of them all!

1.  Comment on this post.
2.  Be a follower of this blog.
3.  Be a follower of Linda's blog.
4.  Be a follower of TreasureLine's blog.
5.  Follow MMW on Facebook.
6.  Follow Linda on Facebook
7.  Follow TreasureLine on Facebook.
8.  Post your elevator pitch in your comment.

That's EIGHT chances to enter!

Be sure in your comment to tell which prize package you'd like to win. If you're interested in more than one package let us know and we'll split your contest entries between multiple prizes.

Good luck!


  1. Great post! It's nice to see someone willing to help other authors even with so much on your plate. Kudos and much success to you! Oh, and I am interested in winning a bookcover :)

    Adrienne Thompson, Author of Bluesday and the forthcoming Been So Long

  2. Fantastic interview Linda! I enjoyed reading more about you and how you came to do this.
    I am currently working with Linda on my second book, first with TLP; and I'm loving it!
    I plan on doing much more work with Linda and I can't imagine not enjoying every step of it!
    I would be interested in the book cover for my next work!
    Ursula Gorman, Author of Old Acquiantances and the upcoming The Best of Us...published by TLP!
    authorugorman at mediacombb dot net

  3. Love this! I've worked with Linda before and she is so much fun. :) I would definitely be interested in any of these prizes! I've got a few different things I've been working on - a book about the realities of motherhood, a book of short stories and a fictional story that I'm not sure where it's headed! ;)


  4. Wow! Thank you so much to Linda for these wonderful prizes! Having just done it ourselves on MMW with "Totally Cliche" we understand the value of these prizes and are very excited for our readers to get a chance to win them!

  5. I forgot to add my other entries! :) I follow Linda's blog and TreasureLine's blog - and I also follow Linda and TreasureLine on Facebook!

  6. Linda is a terrific and I have worked with her. What a wonderful interview, Linda! Thanks to Mormon Mommy Writers for the chance to get to know Linda. These are terrific prizes and you will not be disappointed. Blessings and keep writing! Laura Hern

  7. It is amazing what you can do from a seat in your living room! And so nice to know that even busy mothers can have their dreams come true. I must say, as one of the authors you mentioned needing a hand, I am completely grateful for what you offer.

  8. You are an inspiring author, publisher, and Mom! To handle all that you do while still on the run with the kids activities ... wow!

  9. Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to join me here. Hopefully it came through in the interview that I love what I do -- both the writing and working with other authors to help make their dreams come true. One of the biggest thrills of my life was holding a book with my name on it. Then to hear the virtual squeal of the first author I helped when she received her book was right up there. Nikki commented on knowing the value of the prizes having gone through the processes with MMW's "Totally Cliche" -- it's not easy, but oh so worth it! Thanks again to everyone for stopping by.

  10. What a wonderful interview! It was great getting to know you better, Linda. You're very talented. Thank you for offering these valuable prizes.

    I'd love to enter the drawing for the PB internal format for my Western WIP. How long is the offer good for? LOL!

    1. I've commented.
    2. I'm a follower of MMW.
    3. I'm a follower of Linda's blog.
    4. I'm a follower of TreasureLine's blog.
    5. I already follow MMW's FB Page.
    6. I follow Linda's FB Page.
    7. I follow TreasureLine on FB.
    8. My elevator pitch for Spinster's Folly (Book 4, The Owen Family Saga): Looking for a way out of an unsuitable betrothal, Marie Owen discovers she's jumped from the frying pan into the fire when she runs away with a charming stranger who promises her the sun, the moon, and the stars.

    I hope I win!
    (Sorry. I'm so bad today!)
    Marsha Ward
    Author of The Owen Family Saga novels
    Writer in the Pines blog

  11. As an author who has used Linda's services, I'm impressed by the prizes she's offering --they're extremely generous and will not disappoint. If you're thinking self-publishing, this is a great opportunity. Having a book's interior formatted or cover created is a time-consuming and costly process. Having them done by her is the added icing on the cake. She's one of the best!

  12. I'm actually doing a month long discussion on the topic of self-publishing on my own blog. This post has been really great for answering some of my recent questions. I think I'm going to add a link to this giveaway.

    I'd love a chance to win, though it wouldn't matter what prize.

    I'm a follower of all three blogs now (MMW, Linda's and Treasureline) and a facebook follower of the same three.

    As for the elevator pitch? Yah, I don't have one yet. I've really got to work on that!

  13. Chiming in here to make sure Karla Brown is entered for a chance to win. Karla has been leaving some great comment love on my blogs, FaceBook pages, etc. I don't want her to miss out! It appears Karla is a children's/YA author interested in ePub on Amazon's Kindle. Having recently learned how to incorporate images into Kindle formats, I LOVE that ebooks are beginning to have greater personality.

  14. Hey...thanks for the heads up Linda. I appreciate it. I am going to head to the website you linked to me next, but thought I'd better get here first as it's almost 11:30pm :) Yikes. Great interview and I'd really like the epub package. darlene at darleneshortridge dot com

    I have several books I am looking to republish from another publisher. I'll talk with you more about that later. Thanks!

  15. Congrats to the winners! Check our "Winner's Circle" page to see who they were.

    Thanks Linda for your generous prizes. You're amazing!

  16. Thanks, Lisa -- and thank you to everyone who responded, taking the time out of your Saturday, to join us. Please keep in mind that when I made the comment that "talk is free" I meant that! If you have any questions or need direction, I hope you'll drop me an email or message me on FaceBook. Thanks again and best of success to everyone on your publishing ventures.


  17. Love Linda B.!!!! She is Wonder Woman! I don't know what I would do without her!



Related Posts with Thumbnails