The Photo Traveler
by Arthur J. Gonzalez
Publication: February 20th, 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal/Time Travel
Seventeen-year-old Gavin Hillstone is resigned to being miserable for the rest of his life. Left alone in the world after his parents died in a fire when he was four, he was placed in foster care, which for him meant ending up in an abusive home with an alcoholic adoptive father.
Gavin’s only escape is in taking and creating images. His camera is his refuge from the unending torture and isolation of daily life in his “family.”
Until he learns by accident that he isn’t alone in the world after all. His father’s parents are still alive and living in Washington DC.
When he takes the plunge and travels 3,000 miles to find his grandparents, he learns that they—and he—are part of something much bigger, and more dangerous, than he could ever have imagined. Something that has always put his family at risk and that will now threaten his own life, while forever changing it.
He learns that he is one of the last descendants of a small group of Photo Travelers—people who can travel through time and space through images. But his initial excitement turns to fear, when he soon discovers that he and his grandparents are being pursued by the fierce remnants of a radical European Photo Traveler cult, the Peace Hunters. What Gavin has, they want!
His adventure will take him to past eras, like The Great Depression and the Salem Witch Trials. Gavin will have to discover who he really is and must make choices that spell the difference between life and death for himself, for the relatives he now knows and loves, and for the girl he will come to love.
For Gavin Hillstone, life will never be the same.
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by Arthur J. Gonzalez
The Self-Publishing Learning Curve
Over this crazy journey of self-publishing my Young Adult novel, The Photo Traveler, there have been one too many moments where I have nearly gone mad. If you are just starting out, I feel you- I promise. The process is OVERWHELMING! And while I must admit I’m still (and will always be) dissecting the perfect formula for publishing perfection, I’ve put together a list of tips that I think (and hope) any author can benefit from.
When I started writing, I couldn’t find the last pad I had written that ‘great idea or quote’ on. I’d have seven different pads lying around different parts of my house, my car, my work office. But when I needed them, I couldn’t find the one I was looking for. I would go crazy searching everywhere, flipping through all the pages, shouting, “I know it’s here somewhere!”
I’ve since dedicated one note pad to each story I have in development. If I’m somewhere where I don’t have it on me, ill record it on my phone and transfer it later to the appropriate pad or computer file.
Initially, adhering to this routine was a tad difficult, but eventually it helped tremendously with outlining stories and my overall organization (and sanity!).
Another thing I did was put together 3-inch binders for each story. When you are self publishing you are going to come across endless streams of information, and countless articles on marketing, printing, competitions, etc.
Don’t laugh at me, but there really were (several) times when I had three browser pages minimized with over 30 tabs opened on each browser. That’s 90 tabs! I wish I could say I am exaggerating, but nope- not the case. True story.
I promised to eventually read each tab and article, but having it opened on my computer didn’t help. I just kept opening new ones. What I ended up doing was printing every article and reading them physically, highlighting the best points. I’d file them appropriately in my binder. I cannot express how much of a relief this became.
For example, I made a COMPETITIONS tab. I’d print the rules and deadline for every competition I eventually wanted to enter, stick a post it over it with the deadlines and fees, and after I had entered the contest, I printed out the confirmation page. Soo helpful! I never missed a deadline and felt- once again- relieved.
We all want to increase our number of followers, right? Make us appear all mighty and important. Let me tell you- quantity does not equal quality. Do not settle on one of these services.
I will be very transparent and honest- I tried doing this to fluff my image. I attempted purchasing only 100 followers, just to test it out. It turns out they were all spammers or inactive accounts. Waste of time and money! There will never be a sale generated from any of these followers.
Instead, go to people whose followers may become potential readers, and follow their followers! 60% of people will follow back. That’s why my FOLLOWING list parallels my FOLLOWERS list.
CONTROL YOUR FATE. LEARN ALL YOU CAN:
File to eBook Conversion: I recommend downloading Smashwords how-to document to create your ebook (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/52). SOOO easy. I dreaded this until I actually did it, and then wanted to kick myself for not doing it earlier! It gives you control of the process. Learn everything you can.
Book cover: Don't settle on cheap, plain looking covers. This is the first thing a reader gets to see. If they don’t like the cover, and/or it looks like a self-published piece of work…well, you’ve just lost a reader.
Go above and beyond. Your cover needs to be of professional standard. Save up for this. Some of my favorite reviews are in regards to how much people enjoy the cover to The Photo Traveler, and how they insist on how professional it appears.
I used a website hosting a community of graphic designers on 99designs.com. I paid a small fee and had over 300 designs to choose from within a few days- without paying anything upfront! I was given access to inform designers what I wanted, and as they provided samples, I was able to direct them, and relay whether I liked what I saw or not. Some designers provided over 20 covers based on my recommendations.
Eventually I found the perfect cover. Even more so, I formed a relationship with my cover designer, who I now use for EVERYTHING!
Marketing Plan: Create an excel file from now, composed of all the websites and areas where you’d like to advertise on.
Since The Photo Traveler is a Young Adult novel, I focused heavily on bloggers’ websites whose main audience were YA readers. I inputted and arranged them by separate tabs, indicating the Website URL, Contact Information, Advertisement Rates, and Additional Information (some websites have specific requirements).
If you do this, once you are ready to dip into your marketing efforts, you will have a clearer path laid out ahead of you.
99% of bloggers have a review policy. Make sure you don’t just skim over this part.
I created another excel file solely for reviews. I titled the columns by email, web site, requirements, and shipping address. Once I identified the bloggers I wanted to reach out to, I emailed them with a brief description of the book and a polite message requesting a review and/or interview. If they accepted my request, I’d highlight the excel entry in yellow, indicating a done deal.
At the end of the week, I’d mail out a physical copy (or e-mail the digital file) to all bloggers that had accepted the request.
Bloggers are the crutch to the literary world. Writers would be nothing without these remarkable, hardworking and supportive individuals. Be respectful, kind, and form relationships with them. You will most likely need to work with them again in the future. If their backlog of to-be-read books is too long, many bloggers will only squeeze you in if they have worked with you in the past.
Again, these are just a few of the many tips I crafted to take my book from an idea to reality. There are countless, endless, infinite approaches. But if you have anymore questions, I’d love to help in whatever way I can. In the mean time, go finish writing that next best seller!
Email me! Just follow the CONTACT page on The Photo Traveler’s website: www.thephototravelerbook.com
Lots of Light and Love,
Arthur J. Gonzalez
Author of ‘The Photo Traveler’
About the Author
Arthur J. Gonzalez
My name is Arthur J Gonzalez. I’m 28 years old, born and raised in Miami, FL. I graduated from the University of Florida. I am currently releasing my debut novel, The Photo Traveler. The premise surrounds 17 – year old Gavin, who discovers he is part of a small group, called Photo Travelers, who can time travel through photos and images.