Be a Part of the Blog Tour!
Cocktails at Le Carmen
Cocktails at Le Carmen is pure fun from page one.
Be a Part of the Blog Tour!
Cocktails at Le Carmen
Cocktails at Le Carmen is pure fun from page one.
Muriel Vega, a food + travel writer based out of Atlanta found herself baking pies as a way to sooth her chronic anxiety and the end result was a year-long personal challenge to bake 50 pies, that became known on Instagram as #muriels50pies. While the pie challenge did eventually end in December 2014, the experience inspired Muriel to create a darling pie zine with memories, recipes and photos all about … well, pie.
I have Muriel’s zine sitting on my desk at home and it’s one of my favorite ways to take a break and have some pie without actually having to have a slice!
Thanks to Muriel for joining us and for sharing her experience in creating: PIE: A Zine about Memories and Eating Pie
What is your experience with creating zines? Is this the first one you did?
It was really fun! I spent weeks collecting pieces from all of my social media channels and friends. It was my first zine, but several of my friends have done some so I was able to talk to them about it..We have a really neat non-profit organization here in Atlanta, Murmur Media, and they focus on promoting DIY and zine media culture in the city. One of my favorite coffee shops hosts the Atlanta Zine Library, where I spent many afternoons looking at zines for inspiration and Murmur also plans the annual Atlanta Zine Fest, where vendors from all over the city sell their homemade zine.
How did you pick the stories and recipes to share?
Initially, I thought about just doing a zine about my pies, only by me. But as the challenge evolved, I kept getting more and more stories from people trying to make my pies and memories of them baking with their family members. It kind of went from there and I decided to make it about others, instead of just me. Originally, the zine was only going to be a few pages long, but I had such an incredible response from friends and fellow ladies around the country. At that point, I decided to do my best to fit as many as I could in the zine and it quickly grew to 30 pages! I’m eternally grateful for everyone who took the time to submit poems, illustrations, recipes and anecdotes. You guys really made my life!
How has the response to your pie zine been?
Amazing! I sold out within a week! I think people really connected with the subject matter and the nostalgia of it all. I worked really hard to put a good compilation together to culminate my 50-pie project and I’m glad everyone appreciated that. A few local boutiques and stores carried a few copies as well and in the end, I donated over $500 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. This was around Christmas time too so I’m glad I was able to help people in need. I had a few people interview me about my project and zine as well (hi!) and one of my favorite writers, Ann Friedman, even contributed a pie chart for the zine. Let’s just say, I fan-girled so hard when she said yes to my request.
After eating and baking all that pie, are you still doing it to help your anxiety? Or have you moved onto to a new dessert? Shall we be excitedly looking forward to a doughnut zine? Ha! That’s an amazing idea. Donuts! I still bake pies here and there, but not as often anymore. After dedicating most of my time to them last year, my other goals kind of fell through the cracks so I’m trying to tackle a few other things this year instead. The challenge really helped me feel more centered and OK with life’s ever changing things. My anxiety is an all-time low (yay!) and I still work on it every day. I would love to do another zine. I’ve thought about maybe a pizza or taco zine? I wanted to do a trilogy of food zines about food that people are really obsessed with. This summer, I’ll be working on a podcast about snacks so look out for that!
Any advice to others who want to create a food zine?
Of course! Zines are unbelievably approachable and easy to make. My PIE zine was on the fancy side by choice, but most zines are black and white copies, stapled and only a few pages. Prices range between $2-5. It’s a great thing especially if you have only a few things to say, without having to write a whole book! Pick something you’re passionate about and make it happen. Stop procrastinating because you think it will take a long time, it really doesn’t. If you need inspiration, check out Pinterest (I promise they have more than mason jars and wedding things!) and Etsy. Or come to Atlanta and check out the Atlanta Zine Library at Hodgepodge Coffee!
Muriel currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. with her boyfriend/travel partner Alex and their three pets: cat, Pancakes + dogs, Jack and Alta. While they would love to quit their jobs and travel the world, it’s not in the cards for them, yet. But that doesn’t stop them from trying to seeing the world – all within their 10 vacation days from their 9-5 jobs.
Say hi to Muriel at her website: www.piesandtravel.com
In the ever-evolving land of book publishing the small press and its indie authors can get lost in the shuffle, just ask Lucie Simone publisher of small indie press Simon & Fig.
The Southern California small press, (which, also published my debut novel Heartbreak Cake) has been around for 4.5 years and has published nine titles that specialize in Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction and Lad Lit.
We spoke recently with Lucie just after she received an email from Kirkus Reviews letting her know one of her authors Lisa Doyle and her new release “MILKED” made it to the print edition, which according to Kirkus is an honor that only goes to 10 percent of their Indie Reviews.
For Lucie and her company Simon & Fig, this was a victory. Perhaps a small one to a big press, but to a small company like her own — these are the kind of strides she hopes to continue to make as she pushes forward to introduce new and exciting voices to readers and also to remind the book industry that Chick Lit is alive, well and thriving.
We sat down and chatted with Lucie to get some perspective on the landscape for independent publishing houses and how she stays in the competitive game.
For a Small Press what does a Kirkus Review mean? For the press and for the author?
Discerning readers respect the opinions put forth by Kirkus. A positive Kirkus review lets readers know a book is worth their time. There are a lot of books out there, and readers want some assurance that buying a book by a debut author won’t turn out to be a disappointment. So, when a small press like Simon & Fig receives a great review from Kirkus, it serves as a terrific form of recognition for the work we’re doing, which is definitely a labor of love. And for the author, it can lead to many great opportunities as Kirkus Reviews is read and respected by industry professionals as well as those simply hoping to discover a great book to add to their shelf.
According to Kirkus only 10 percent of indie authors get this chance, what are your thoughts on that number and how did you separate yourself from other small presses to get the chance?
With the number of submissions Kirkus receives, it’s easy to imagine how hard it must be to select a handful to feature in their print edition. Simon & Fig prides itself on publishing high quality work, ensuring that everything from the editing to the cover art is to professional standards. We also have a narrow niche, which allows us to be really selective. And most importantly, we only publish what we love. We carefully consider what titles we wish to take on, and that often means that we only put out a few titles a year. This separates us from many small press and e-presses out there that are uploading books every week and doing so as cheaply as possible. We aren’t afraid to invest in our books and that translates to readers as quality reading. Readers can count on a Simon & Fig title being top notch because our own standards are really high.
What are the challenges for reviews and marketing for indie authors and small presses? How does one get noticed?
With the relative ease of eBook and Print-On-Demand publishing these days, the publishing industry has seen a huge increase in the development of small and micro presses. Add to that the multitude of authors self-publishing their works and it’s easy to see how quickly the online eBook market can become flooded with books. Amidst this sea of literature, it’s hard to stand out. A positive review from Kirkus lends a certain credibility to an author’s work and a publisher’s reputation.
What types of marketing (events, author fairs) do you participate in?
A staple in our marketing plan is blog tours. These are great for reaching a specific audience who wants to read what we publish. We’ve also had some good experiences with local book signings in the authors’ home towns. But we’re really excited about a big event we’re sponsoring in June, Celebrating Women’s Fiction, which brings together a panel of Women’s Fiction authors to discuss the impact Women’s Fiction has on the publishing industry, writers, and ultimately the readers. We’ve got an incredible line up of authors speaking at the event, such as Laura Dave, Liz Fenton, Anita Hughes, Juliette Sobanet and several others including Simon & Fig authors, Cindy Arora, Lisa Doyle, Anna Garner, Nancy Scrofano and Lucie Simone. It’s sure to be a great event!
Any advice for indie authors on getting any kind of notice out there?
First and foremost, write a great book. Make sure it is the best it can possibly be (and this may mean spending some money to hire an editor). If you’re self-publishing, don’t rush to publish. Take your time to make sure it meets the same level of quality that traditionally published books do. Basically, you’re launching a small business and that takes determination, direction, and knowing when to hire professionals to polish things up. And be a part of the community you’re writing for. If you’re a Chick Lit author, participate in associations or groups that support that genre, visit and interact with bloggers dedicated to the genre, and read and celebrate your fellow authors.