Our community for creating and marketing Words, Music, and Village

You all make me happier than anything, even more than my tea addiction. (Photo by my tea-sharing friend Andrea Beaulieu.)

See this grin? That’s me, sharing creative works and ideas with you. (Photo by my tea-sharing friend Andrea Beaulieu.)

I’m so glad you’ve found my little online community! Here,we share ideas to create and market better writing, music, and “village.”

Throw in a few “Coffee CommuniTea” coffee and tea-shop reviews, and we’re golden, right? What better places for writing, enjoying music, and creating village?

I’ll also link you up with some word-of-mouth (WOM) strategies, stemming from my marketing background as owner of Videan Unlimited, LLC.

Our goal is to generate success together, using fresh tactics to get the ‘verse buzzing about our—and others’—cool creative endeavors.

Come on in and join us…

Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

P.S. Learn more about my novels on Google+.

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The right tools to publish, inexpensively and efficiently. Savvy?

Photo: @2104 ANVidean

My bookshelf represents books published in all three areas: traditional, indie and self-published.

You already developed marketing content for your business. It may take the form of articles, blog posts, Web content, Twitter tips, Top 10 lists, white papers, or tools you’ve created for clients. You can leverage that valuable information by compiling it into a print or e-book. With today’s accessible publishing tools, it’s also easy, inexpensive, and valuable, too:

  • Books position you as an expert in your field.
  • Books can create a form of passive income.

So, do you know what tools are available to you? Do you know the effective shortcuts that keep you from cutting off an arm and a leg to pay for it? Here are some starting points.

Traditional publishers

Of course you can always pursue publishing with one of the Big 6 traditional publishers—Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Random House, Macmillan, The Penguin Group, and Hachette—but you lose time and control there. It’s typically a two- to three-year process of finding an agent, working through editing to the house specs and the design, and the actual production of the book. You also will need to, for the most part, go with their editing suggestions and cover design. Marketing is still on you, except for a short initial push, and that valuable shelf space in book stores.

Independent publishing

Indie publishers, a segment of which is considered vanity press, offer an option in between traditional publishers and self-publishing. They hold your hand through the book creation process and charge you for various steps, including printing. You often will need to store your own inventory and manage your own distribution with these companies.

Almost all the publishing folk I’ve run into like Lightning Source. Many say their printing quality is excellent, but their best benefit is their association with Ingram, the book distributor. They’ve recently added a print-on-demand service, as well, which stops the need for inventory.

LuLu offers many of these same benefits, but one of its differentiators is that it prints  hardcover books as well as the softcovers typically published by other providers.

Here’s a Live Hacked article comparing Lightning Source with some of the other publisher options to be covered below.

A note of caution: There’s quite a bit of speculation about the integrity of a group of indie houses, including Author House, iUniverse, and Abbot Press (Writer’s Digest). Do your research.

More and more boutique e-publishers are entering the market no, too. I happen to edit for one very reliable e-book, and now print, publisher—Desert Breeze Publishing—out of California.

Again, I urge you to do your research before using or, especially, giving any book rights to an indie or e-book publisher. Search online for ratings and comments, or talk to a publishing consultant. Find the great ones, amidst the chaff.


My favorite publishing option, and the resource most accepted in the publishing world to-date is the Amazon platform including CreateSpace (for print books, CDs, and videos), Kindle Direct Publishing (e-books), and ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange).

This on-line portal allows you to do everything yourself or, for a fee, can help you with various publishing steps from book creation through marketing. To use CreateSpace for a print book, here are the basic steps:

  • Open an online account
  • Fill out their online form, to get an ISBN, pick book size, paper color, pick distribution options. You may opt to pay a minimal fee for extended distribution, which gets you into the computer systems of the larger book store chains.
  • In the online form you’ll also upload a book blurb and author bio.
  • The site provides access to design tools and templates to help you create your cover spread and interior layout.
  • Once the materials are completed to your satisfaction, you upload PDF files.
  • You review an online proof once CreateSpace approves your materials (usually within 48 hours)
  • When everything’s perfect in the proof, you click a button to publish.
  • CreateSpace will automatically generate an Amazon book page for you (typically within 48 hours)
  • Then, your book is available and CreateSpace will print up any books as they are ordered (print-on-demand)


You manage Kindle e-book creation through CreateSpace.

Another author favorite is Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of indie e-books. The beauty of this platform is its ability to publish e-books in all reader formats: for Apple, computer, Kindle, Nook, etc. Its upload process is very similar to CreateSpace, but may take some additional formatting.


I often tell authors to budget at least $5,000 to create a quality book… your biggest investments will include editing, design and layout, and the base cost of books you plan to sell yourself.

If you already invested time in creating  quality blog entries, for example, you should be close to having finished documents to compile into a book. This means you could get away with a medium-priced editor and a design contest—through Mycroburst.com for example, upload everything yourself and spend only a few hundred dollars.

You can save a ton, if do almost everything yourself, but you a solid skill set in design, writing/editing, and marketing to be able to do this effectively. Your best bet is to hire professionals, especially for editing and design.

I challenge you to build your credibility and generate passive income. Simply look at your marketing materials to see what you might already have on deck to compile into a book.

Tell us about your book publishing experience or tools…


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

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Axyl Thorne: Reveal #1

Reveal #1: Axyl Thorne, a famous Fae rock star

Logo for Thorne, a band in the Delfaerune Rhapsody series of novels

The logo of Axyl’s band “Thorne,”
a modified skull and crossbones.
Image: Stacy Lefevre

He may be a Dark Fae, or maybe he just chooses to hang with them. He may carry a full Fae bloodline, or he might not. One thing for sure, though, Axyl is a brilliant musician.

Constantly followed by a gaggle of fangirls, he’s a charmer, but he also holds a place in his heart for the heroine’s sister B’rook, who you will also meet in the coming days.

Axyl’s story unfolds in Song of the Ocarina, the first book in my new-adult fantasy adventures — the Delfaerune Rhapsody series.

Watch for more character image reveals this week of Axyl here in my blog, and also in my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds.


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

Posted in All Posts, Delfaerune Rhapsody, Words: Serious Play | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Key insider tips on formatting a readable book interior – ALWAYS author roundtable

interior book formatting on Rhythms & Muse. Photo: @2014 ANVidean

I did my own interior book formatting on Rhythms & Muse using MS Word, and can’t wait to gain some additional tips from Caren Cantrell, founder and CEO of 102nd Place, at our next ALWAYS meeting, May 8. Photo: @2014 ANVidean

Do you want a resource to help you with your book’s layout? Caren Cantrell, founder and CEO of 102nd Place, who formats book interiors using MS Word for clients self-publishing through Createspace or Kindle. She joins us at our ALWAYS roundtable discussion in May to share her insider tips.

Phoenix, AZ-area established authors, feel free to join us! Please RSVP.

Next gathering:
THURSDAY, May 8, 2014
11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

(ALWAYS meets on the second Thursday of each month.)

Romeo’s Euro Café
(downtown Gilbert, AZ)
207 N. Gilbert Rd. #105
Gilbert, Arizona 85234
(480) 962-4224

Back-up location:
Joe’s BBQ
301 N. Gilbert Rd.
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 503-3805

Cost:  A writing tip, and your own lunch.

RSVP:  PLEASE show the consideration of reserving your spot at the table by RSVPing through the “Join” link on our ALWAYS Facebook Event page or contacting Ann Videan.
If you’ve RSVP’d, please SHOW UP. If you run into a conflict, please let me know BEFORE the event so I can make the necessary adjustments for the group meeting. Cheers!

So, what’s your best tip for creating an excellent interior book layout?


  • Need contacts to help your writing?
  • Want advice about your writing?
  • Like to hang with other cool writers?

If so, our tribe – the Alliance for Literary Writers, Authors & Yabbering Scribes (ALWAYS) – is the place for you. We’re an informal group of established writers looking for camaraderie, ideas, enlightenment and connection with writers, especially in the Phoenix metro area, to talk about our craft and businesses.

Any established writer can connect with us online through our ALWAYS Facebook page, get listed in our directory of writers on our ALWAYS LinkedIn page, or you can meet with us in person at a lunch meeting. We’d love to have any experienced writer join us at our next meeting…anyone who spends a significant part of his/her week writing, and wants to rub elbows with other writers

Posted in All Posts, Village: You+Me+Us, Words: Serious Play, Writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Three top options for easy book printing

#15 Writing Tip: Three top options for easy book printing

Now, you’ve written your book and want to make sure it’s produced beautifully in printed form. [A future post will cover the ins and outs of e-book creation.]

Rhythms & Muse books

My first novel, printed on demand by CreateSpace. Almost all the authors I know — even those traditionally published before — are now using this Amazon company to produce their printed books.

So, where do you start? First, ask yourself some questions to help you decide between the three main options:

Option 1

  • Do you want your book publisher/printer to lend credibility to your book?
  • Do you want others to worry about publishing your book?
  • Do you want your book to appear on book store shelves?
  • Are you willing to give up most of the control as to the book’s content and design?
  • Are you willing to wait at least a year to obtain printed copies of your book?

If you answered yes to any of these, you probably want to go through a traditional publishing house that will print your book for you. These are known as the “Big Six.”

  • Hachette Book Group
  • HarperCollins
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin Group
  • Random House
  • Simon & Schuster

[Learn more about the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing in my previous blog.]

Option 2

  • Do you want at least some help publishing your book?
  • Do you want a bit of control regarding the book’s content and design?
  • Are you willing to pay a few thousand dollars for publishing support?
  • Do you want a book within a few months?

If yes, you’ll want to consider an independent publisher, sometimes called small press, that will print your book for you. You might consider these publisher/printers as “self-publishing with support” I know authors who have successfully published books through:

  • AuthorHouse
  • Abbott Press (a division of Writer’s Digest)
  • CreateSpace (with a paid support package)
  • Lightning Source

My research into this area pointed me to Lightning Source, because other indie publishers outsource to them for printing, and they are affiliated with Ingram, a leading distribution house. But, I ended up going with Option 3 in the end.

Option 3

  • Are you willing to do most of the work to prepare your book for publishing/printing?
  • Do you want total control regarding the book’s content and design?
  • Do you not care if your book appears on book store shelves?
  • Do you want to publish as inexpensively as possible?
  • Do you want a book within a month or two?

Your option is a print-on-demand publisher that will print your book only when someone orders it. I went this way for my Rhythms & Muse novel, and enjoyed working with CreateSpace. This Amazon affiliate is also linked with Kindle. You can’t beat the cost [nothing until you order your book(s)], and they provide easy do-it-yourself (DIY) tools to help create books and other media. Upload, proof, print. Your book is on Amazon.

As a caveat,  I will add one additional option. You may want to find a printing house and work with them directly to create your book. I recommend this option if you fully understand the printing process, want to babysit your book as it goes through every step of the process, and have a very large bank account. [In other words, I don't recommend this option.]

Tell us how you produced/printed your book and where we can find it!


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

Posted in All Posts, Words: Serious Play, Writing tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What do John Denver and Fred Stobaugh have in common?

They both wrote touching music for their wives.

John Denver's guitar at the MIM

Though probably not on “This Old Guitar,” displayed at the Musical Instrument Museum,” Denver did compose “Annie’s Song” for his wife. Just like Fred composed “Sweet Lorraine.”

One of my all-time favorite John Denver songs, “Annie’s Song,” he wrote for his wife at the time, Annie Martell Denver. It became Denver’s second number-one song in the United States, so ranked for two weeks in July 1974. [It carries a specific connection for me, too, as it inspired a pivotal scene for my Rhythms & Muse novel.]

Fred Stobaugh wrote “Sweet Lorraine” after the passing of his wife of 73 years in 2013. He entered it into Green Shoe Studios‘ songwriting contest, by sending in an old-school, hand-written letter. Touched by the heartfelt lyrics, Green Shoe brought Fred’s song to life through its generous creativity and production. The song reached #1 in the iTunes singer/songwriter category in August 2013.

For the whole story, see the sweet little documentary, “A Letter from Fred,” on YouTube.

I simply needed to share this, even if it is a year old. Prepare for inspiration and subsequent tears.

Can you share a similar story?


Write on! (or in this case, “Far-r-r-r Out!)
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

Posted in All Posts, Music: Causing Treble, Rhythms & Muse novel, Village: You+Me+Us | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coffee CommuniTea form: Add your own favorite tea/coffee shop

Add your favorite tea or coffee shop to this community! I’m looking for hot spots all over the world, so please share any place you truly admire.

Ann at Carmel's Cafe in Phoenix, AZ

Ann at Carmel’s Cafe in Phoenix, AZ

I created the Coffee CommuniTea blog  because I deal with a lot of indie businesses and authors, and — since I love connecting people and ideas — what better place to do it than a coffee or tea shop? Besides, I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in such venues.

I already covered many of my favorite hot spots on this site, but want to include your favorites, as well. I would be delighted to add your perfect little meeting place for a “cuppa.”

Simply copy my “Coffee CommuniTea” form (below) into the comments, and fill it out. Or, you can print it out, complete the form, and email it to avidean@videanunlimited.com. 

I will follow up with the owner/manager to fill out any missing details, secure photos, and post everything to this site. Cheers!


Coffee CommuniTea Blog
Contributor Form

Contributor: (your name, city, state, and other contact info you wish to make available, even a mug shot – pun intended)

Today’s Cup o’ Tea (name of shop, its city/state location, its Web site and/or best online site, with its owners’ names and contact emails)

Perks (what I really like!)

Share a Cuppa (the stories about the owner, building, history, name)

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

The Grind (what I would change)

The Grounds (location)

Tea Times (hours)

Yelp rating: ____ stars from ___ reviews


Write on!
Ann Narcisian Videan
Write • Edit • Self-publish • Word-of-mouth

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Coffee CommuniTea: Talebu Coffee & Wine Bar – Chandler, AZ

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Talebu Coffee & Wine Bar—Chandler, AZ

Sweet spot in Chandler, AZ.  Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

Sweet spot in Chandler, AZ.
Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)

  • Use of Coffee Kids Grounds For Hope, which supports projects in coffee-farming communities throughout Latin America to help confront their communities’ most pressing needs.
  • 20% discount for military or veterans
  • Free wi-fi

    In a hurry? You can get your caffeine on the run here. Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

    In a hurry? You can get your caffeine on the run here.
    Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

  • Plenty of comfy seating, also high and low table for conversation, meetings or work
  • Drive-through lane!


Share a Cuppa (the stories)

This spot was recommended by Shayne Gardner, owner of Flex & Relax Muscle Therapy.

Ah, a cuppa and a couch! Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

Ah, a cuppa and a couch!
Photo: ©2014 ANVidean


What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

    • Nice, loose-tea selection in the Specialty Tea Bar
    • Great coffee
    • Smoothies
    • Pastries
    • Gourmet sandwiches
    • Salads
    • Wine
Cool local art and gathering areas. Photo: ©2014 ANVidean

Cool local art and gathering areas.
Photo: ©2014 ANVidean


The Grind (what I would change)

I found the metal chairs slightly stiff, but as soon as I moved to a couch, I settled in nicely.

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

  • Live music by local musicians
  • Drop-in open mic nights
  • Exhibitions by local fine artists
  • Spacious venue
  • Quiet atmosphere (mid-day)

The Grounds (location)
2095 N. Alma School Rd., #2
Chandler, AZ 85224

Tea Times (hours)
M        6 a.m.–9 p.m.
T–F    6 a.m.–10 p.m.
Sa       6:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
Su       7 a.m.–8 p.m.

Yelp rating: 3.5 stars from 21 reviews


I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel and Delfaerune Rhapsody series-in-progress in coffee/tea venues, so I found it natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Posted in All Posts, Chandler, AZ, Coffee CommuniTea, Village: You+Me+Us | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment