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Monday, May 24, 2010

 

Barbara Barth, author of The Unfaithful Widow, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Barbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the 'net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. Six at last count, five of them from local animal shelters. But who can keep it straight with all those tails wagging? This Georgia antique dealer and jewelry maker published a hobby newsletter for 13 years. After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays. When she isn't writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can't resist. The Unfaithful Widow is her first book.

Find out more about Barbara by visiting her websites:
Website: http://www.barbarabarth.net/
Blog: http://theunfaithfulwidow.blogspot.com/
Facebook Fan Page

The Unfaithful Widow: Fragmented Memoirs On My First Year Alone
By Barbara Barth

The Unfaithful Widow is a collection of candid essays on finding joy again after the loss of a mate. With warmth and laughter no subject is taboo. From dealing with the funeral home (Can I show you our upgraded cremation package? I looked at Miss Death, was I booking a vacation?) to dating again (He ran in the door, looked at me and said, "I've left something in the car." He never returned). Sprinkle a bevy of rescue dogs (Finally a good nights sleep with someone new in my bed.) and those questions you hate to ask (Condoms anyone?). The Unfaithful Widow is a story for anyone who has suffered loss and is determined to become their own super hero.

Genre: Memoir
Paperback: 246 pages
ISBN: 1432750755
Outskirts Press (April 2010)
Read an excerpt/purchase at Amazon.com
Watch the book trailer on YouTube

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Barbara Barth's book The Unfaithful Widow to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment.

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Welcome, Barbara! We're thrilled to be launching your blog tour today! The Unfaithful Widow is your debut book. Tell us a little bit about your writing history.

Barbara: Years ago I dabbled in writing and owned a hobby newsletter for thirteen years. I started collecting vintage Raggedy Ann dolls and discovered there was very little information available on this charming cloth doll. That was in 1988. I met a doll dealer at an antique show in Atlanta and we became friends. A few months later I contacted her and asked if she'd like to be involved in a newsletter I was starting about Raggedy Ann. She said absolutely. Then I contacted the family of the creator of Raggedy Ann and got them on board. The final step was an OK from Simon & Schuster, who held the rights to the books. Everything fell into place and I launched my first issue of RAGS in August 1988. The newsletter had a paid subscription following with collectors as far as Japan. It was published quarterly and had sixteen pages of articles, photos and all the Raggedy scoop of the day. I wrote an editorial each issue and wrote promotional articles for other doll newsletters and magazines. It was a lovely adventure but I was working full time and the newsletter had grown larger than I could handle. I sold it to a printer in Illinois. It was exciting to have put that community of collectors together.

WOW: How thrilling to establish your own newsletter and be able to resell it! When you were widowed, what made you turn to writing?

Barbara: I started writing out of grief to fill my lonely nights two years ago when my husband died. The writing become something fun to do. Finally I was hooked. I had to write. Writing my book became the bridge from my old life to my new life. It opened a doorway for me to meet people and have something to talk about that was uplifting.

I don't consider myself an expert on how to handle grief so I want to be sure no one thinks I am passing myself off as a specialist in that area. I do know what I went through and how I decided to handle it myself. I had flipped through a few self-help books for widows and read some online widow blogs. They were discouraging. Especially how long the sadness lasted and how dating and dealing with sex again after a caring relationship could be intimidating. I was already writing at night about the oddity of being on my own, doing all those things I never thought I'd do again. So I decided to share my experiences as a more positive viewpoint.

I joined an online dating service three months after my husband died. It was way too soon to take dating seriously, but it felt good to be out at night and have people around me. My online dating adventures did not bring me second dates but those dates brought me some unexpected surprises. The universe was speaking to me and I had to listen.

I like to think of my essays as stories shared with a good friend over a cup of tea or a great margarita. There is an intimacy in my book that I hope will encourage other women to realize they are not alone in their questions and choices on what to do next.

Through trial and error I have my own life now. My old life will always be in my heart, the sweet memories of my own husband always present, but I learned that by pushing myself to move forward I created a place of happiness where I can relax and smile. I am still waiting to see what the universe has in store for me. Moving forward and keeping an open heart is the message I want to pass along in my book. The choice on how to do it is a personal one.

WOW: So this book began as journaling. Was it difficult to present this part of your life to the world?

Barbara: Deciding to let go of my story and let someone finally read it was difficult. All my friends and my mother listened to me live the book as I talked about what I was doing. That part was easy. But looking at the words on paper made it official and I was nervous.

I was worried those who didn't know me might judge me. My essays are candid and there is always a risk when you open your heart. I lived with my husband for twenty years then we got married for the last five. Some may frown that we lived together, but it worked for us. I started dating too soon and have had eyebrows raised on that. I deal with things in an offbeat way and use humor to get me through the darkest times. Those close to me understand. I don't know if strangers will think I'm flip on such a serious subject. That's scary. I have letters to God in my book. Not deep religious essays, but chats with the man above. He's cool in my book. I wonder how that will be received.

I weighed all that and decided to let it rip. I think we all fear disapproval by others in the choices we make. Trying to survive the loss of a loved one is the hardest thing you'll ever do. It has been for me. Worrying what others think will paralyze you. I learned to laugh at myself on some of my follies. I let my friends laugh with me. It was good for my soul if it wasn't good for anything else. I hope my story will make someone else smile.

WOW: I definitely think that's a good lesson for writers to remember: "Worrying what others think will paralyze you." So, why was self-publishing the right choice for you?

Barbara: Self-publishing was the answer for me for several reasons. First, I needed something to do. I decided waiting to find an agent and then waiting for a publisher was too open ended for me. In the best of times I have no patience.

I also had a vision of how I wanted the book to look. I may have been the sixty-year-old widow but my story is young in spirit. I wanted the book to reflect that. The pink color on the cover expresses joy. The book is broken down by seasons. I knew how I wanted the layout to look. My book was a total art project for me. I didn't want someone to interpret their idea of what I felt. I was fortunate enough to have a sister who is a photographer and artist. She did the altered photos throughout the book and the back cover author photo. Her good friend is a commercial graphic designer. She understood what I wanted and gave me the perfect cover. I am thrilled with the look of the book. It is exactly as I dreamed.

I published doing print on demand (POD). It is different from regular self-publishing in that you don't have a basement full of boxes of books to sell. They are printed and shipped when ordered. The initial cash outlay for POD is painless. Self-publishing is expensive. I learned about this type of publishing through a course at Emory University.

Different POD companies offer different ways to handle book submission for printing which also can lower or raise the initial costs. Since I am not the best with a computer, Outskirts Press was perfect for me. I did not have to submit a print-ready file, just a word document. I was assigned an author rep to assist me. The program I chose allowed me to use my own cover design. I purchased an extra package for the illustrations.

Outskirts Press has a book pricing structure that is based on the program you choose. Some people have issues with that. I didn't. My profit per book on retail sales is low. I wanted to be as close to publishing standards as possible in approaching retail markets, so I allowed a full 50% retail discount with a return option. I can buy my own copies at wholesale prices to sell on my website.

Now that my book is published, Outskirts Press has assigned a marketing coach who sends me tips daily. I started doing my own marketing research while I was still writing and had many things in place prior to publication. My research brought me to WOW. How great is that?

I love all of this. It keeps me busy. I am meeting people. I am having fun with my book. From my view, self-publishing was the only way to go. Now if someone notices the book and wants to grab it up, I'm ready. If not, I am happily working away and would not have chosen to do anything differently.

WOW: Although it's not for everyone, it sounds like self-publishing was the right choice for you. We appreciate your detailed tips on Outskirts, too. One of our staff members published with them and were happy with the results. Your book turned out great! I really love the cover. Now, we know you're very busy with the marketing aspects of your book; are you still finding time to write?

Barbara: With six dogs, I have a wealth of material literally at my feet. Try dating and having a life with a six pack at home. My new book Covered In Fur is essays and lessons learned on living life with my dogs.

I write most days on my blogs. Five to date. If I am lucky, I'll soon have as many blogs as dogs!

WOW: Thank you, Barbara, for being so open and chatting with us today! You've been great, and we wish you the best of luck with your tour!

Readers, Barbara is having a book signing/charity event on Saturday June 26, 2010 to benefit Animal Action Rescue. If you're in the Atlanta, GA area, call Barbara at 404.326.7306 for more info, or visit the Animal Action Rescue's events page to check for updates. It will be held at Heartfield Manor Bed & Breakfast in Atlanta's Historic Inman Park: 182 Elizabeth St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. Reservations are necessary due to space limitations.

(Photo, right: Foxy, who has been with Barbara for fourteen years!)

Want to join Barbara on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

May 24, 2010 Monday
Barbara will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Barbara's book!
http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

May 25, 2010 Tuesday
Essayist Barbara Barth tells us about her love of books in the Write for a Reader feature "Because of a Book." Don't miss a chance to win her memoir The Unfaithful Widow!
http://www.writeforareader.blogspot.com/

May 27, 2010 Thursday
Stop by for an interesting interview with Barbara Barth about writing, dogs, grief, and her memoir The Unfaithful Widow.
http://www.sellingbooks.com/author-interview-

June 1, 2010 Tuesday
Don't miss a visit from author Barbara Barth and a chance to win her memoir The Unfaithful Widow.
http://www.momecentric.com/

June 3, 2010 Thursday
Stop by Readaholic for a review of Barbara Barth's memoir The Unfaithful Widow.
http://bridget3420.blogspot.com/

June 7, 2010 Monday
Stop by Writer Inspired to learn about essay writing from Barbara Barth. And enter to win her memoir The Unfaithful Widow!
http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/

June 9, 2010 Wednesday
Eliza Fayle has a few questions for memoir writer Barbara Barth. Stop by and ask Barbara a question of your own! You can also read Eliza's review and enter to win a copy of The Unfaithful Widow!
http://silverandgrace.com/

June 10, 2010 Thursday
Stop by to enjoy the musings of Barbara Barth, author of the memoir The Unfaithful Widow, about her six rescue dogs (at least six at last nose count). Don't forget to enter to win your copy!
http://4theloveofanimals.com/blog/

June 14, 2010 Monday
Barbara Barth, author of The Unfaithful Widow, is taking a break from her WOW blog tour today. April in Paris, a dog unlike any other is filling in for her today. Don't miss it!
http://tillyrescuedog.blogspot.com/

June 16, 2010 Wednesday
Stop by for a review of Barbara's memoir The Unfaithful Widow and some thoughts on book titles.
http://jodiwebb.com/

June 21, 2010 Monday
Barbara Barth stops by Choices for a visit. Come ask your questions about memoir writing, self-publishing, and marketing your book!
http://madeline40.blogspot.com/

To view all of our touring authors, check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

If you have a blog or website and would like to host Barbara Barth or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

And be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Barbara Barth's memoir The Unfaithful Widow! And check back in a couple of days in the comments section to see if you won!

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22 Comments:

Blogger cindyja said...

Congratulations on all your accomplishments! Just keeping one foot moving in front of the other must be hard many days when a big part of your life dies. Opening your heart and life to others will be healing to many people. I look forward to reading your book.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Cindyja - woke up to my wonderful interview. Jodi and WOW did a fab job. But that shouldn't surprise me. They always do.
I am forwarding the links to all my friends while drinking my coffee. The dogs are jumping around my feet wanting out, but they have to wait a minute while I take all this in. Thanks for your comment and I hope you will read my book. I think it will make you smile. Barbara

6:09 AM  
Blogger Wendy Brown-Baez said...

Barbara, Thank you for your courage to share your experience. I, too, am a widow, a poet and writer and sometimes it is hard to share this journey with strangers. People in our culture are in denial about grief and the weird twists and turns it can take. I tried to date too soon and found I couldn't handle listening to other people's problems. I just wanted to be whisked away, not brought back to reality!

I have also considered self-publishing my memoir as I have lost patience with the submission process. I love the fact that the book would be in my control. I am curious if you have found other ways to market your book, besides the usual bookstore signings, such as grief groups or women's groups.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Wendy - I understand completely not being able to handle other people's problems. Initially I found I could be out for only 4 hours, then came home to sleep. I was lucky my good girl friends kept me laughing. I did find I was not quite the caregiver I had been with other family members. I needed to dwell on how to deal with me, and they understood. Being more self-centered on my needs was strange for me, but I had to do it. I was still there for my family, but I put me first. It turned out good for all of us.
My book was released on april 12th. I have been marketing online mostly. I approached two book shops about a signing and they are reading my book to see if it fits their niche market. I found a great publicist, very inexpensive, in Florida, who is helping me market. Did my YouTube video, just took my book to a library convention, and has me online on his blog and facebook page. http://www.pageonelit.com/interviews/BarbaraBarth.html
He has been great. And only $250 for a lot of good work.
This is all new to me and I am on the computer every night reasearching where to market my book. I am on quite a few writing blogs and have several of my own. Doing it all myself is hard work, but it is great to learn the ropes.
I am having my own book lauch with Animal Action Rescue on June 26th. No one has done it for me, so I am taking charge. I've invited our local writer's club to participate. Will be in their newsletter and that goes to 2300 subscribers, so will be good press no matter what.
Don't be afraid to self-publish. An agent can always pick you up-but it is very rewarding to see your work in print the way you envisioned it. Did I say enough. I am a big talker. Thanks for your comment, Wendy. Hope I helped. Barbara

7:11 AM  
Blogger Joann said...

Sounds like a fantastic book to read and then pass on to my widowed mother. Sometimes I think there's more to be learned from someone who really has had to deal with loss, than a paid professional. To know someone else has been there too makes things a little easier. I'm in the beginning stages of working out a fictionalized version of my father's death, and it's so cathartic to get those deep feelings out in the open to purge them once and for all. Thank god for writing...

7:19 AM  
Blogger Lizzy said...

I would love to win a copy of Barbara's first book, Good luck Barbara!

7:24 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

People should be aware that writers who use Outskirts Press are NOT self-publishing, but are customers of a vanity publisher.

Vanity publishers often produce ugly, unedited, overpriced books that are seldom reviewed or sold in stores.

Outskirts often does terrible editing and promotional work for its authors. The company frequently lies to get business and makes many stupid mistakes.

Here's a link to comments from a very unhappy Outskirts author: http://bookmakingblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/outskirts-press-editing-is-like-no.html

Michael N. Marcus

president, Independent Self-Publishers Alliance, http://www.independentselfpublishers.org

author, "Become a Real Self-Publisher: Don’t be a Victim of a Vanity Press," http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661742

author, "Stories I'd Tell My Children (but maybe not until they're adults)," http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661750
http://www.BookMakingBlog.blogspot.com

http://www.SilverSandsBooks.com

7:46 AM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Michael - I was aware of the negative comments on Outskirts Press before I decided to go with them. If you google them, you can't miss it. My experience with them was wonderful. It was more expensive then some I researched, (i.e. Lightening Source) but they did a lot of the work for me. I did not have to submit a print ready file, which for me, the technophobe, was a big deal. I just sent a terrible word doc with all my instructions right down to photo placement and font changes at the beginning of each essay. My package allowed my own cover and a commercial designer friend submitted a print ready pdf for the cover. My book is available on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes & Noble, which I like. The leg work to get it noticed now is mine. I don't expect Outskirts Press to work past what they have done nor did they represent they would. They do send me daily marketing e-mails which I ignore. I'm on my own path.
My finished product will hold its own againt any big publishing house. I've been complimented on its looks (the content, my writing, is to be determined by the reader)by a literay agent in NYC who thought it looked pretty slick. Can't ask for a better words than that.
The rep Outskirts Press assigned to me was wonderful. Friendly and professional. I don't know how she had the patience for my stupid questions, but she answered everything almost by return e-mail.
A class I took at Emory by a well known author pointed me to print on demand. Outskirts Press was my POD choice after I researched the different companies. If you are not in the top percentage with a traditional book publisher you can still be on your own.
I can only go by my own experience and it was wonderful. Outskirts Press stood by what they initially advertised and then my rep gave a little more.
I am a member of the Atlanta Writer's Club and have taken marketing courses and have had a NY Times best seller author critique my work.
The hardest part, I had to do my own edits. And I am terrible with punctuation. That was a time consuming, but learning, experience.
The term "vanity press" devalues the quality of the writing as well as the look of the book. I would go this route again. I am marketing like crazy. I have a professional looking product that everyone likes.
I do have a hurdle with retail book sellers and I am working on that. I have set my pricing for retail dealers to be competive with the big boys. Same standard discount, and a return program.
I personally believe in online marketing and I am doing that. Last book siging I went to at my favorite book store here had twelve people in attendance. We ate tea and crumpets. Good news, I bought three other books from the shop, not the book they were promoting.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am happy and think Outskirts did a beautiful job for me. Barbara

9:31 AM  
Blogger Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

I did Pointer rescue for a decade. I think the most I ever had at one time was twelve. You must take very good care of your dogs to have a 14 yr. old.

Dogs are good at drawing us out of our grief. They still demand to be fed, walked, loved. You are lucky to have them.

I would like to win your book.

stephaniesuesansmith@gmail.com
http://blog.stephaniesuesansmith.com

10:26 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

One piece of advice just hit me between the eyes..."Worrying what others think will paralyze you." Absolutely! I needed to remember this at this moment. Thank you!

Also, thank you for what you are doing for our four-legged friends. We need more folks like you!

Can't wait to read your book. It sounds great.

11:14 AM  
Blogger The Lone Dollier said...

I read the excerpt on Amazon and this is a MUST READ book! Normally, I'm all for fictional dective stories and mysteries, but for Barbara, I'll make an exception. The excerpt I read was so well written, informative, and she just drew you into her story!

Smiles~
Marilyn

11:29 AM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Stephanie - everyone wants to come back as one of my dogs. I had a 95pound German Shepherd that lost the use of his back legs and was incontinent. He lived out his days happily taken care of. I learned to move him with a rear end sling. He actually had acupuncture. He road in a wheel barrow. He was a happy camper. Jake is a part of my book, he kept me a bit of a caregiver after my husband died. I'll do most anything for my dogs. Twelve dogs is a lot of wuf wuf. Six is about my limit at the moment. Good for you with Pointer rescue. Those dogs grab your heart. Thanks for the nice comments. Barbara

11:56 AM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Thanks Marilyn for such kind words! Barbara

11:57 AM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Joann - I think unless you personally deal with the loss of a loved one you can't imagine what it is like. I had been blessed most of my life with little death around me. So this was a definate eye opener. Paid professionals have their place and can be very helpful. I chose to dump on my dear friends and was fortunate to have a good support group that first year. I have a best friend who hangs with me on the phone still. For me I chose not to go the professional route, but each person has to make their own decision on that. I bought a vintage corvette, started dating too soon and rescued dogs and kept my journal. It is whatever gets you through the night, day by day. I hope your mother is doing well. Keep that bond with her because support of your family and friends, even way after the fact is so important. Barbara

12:04 PM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Linda - I think my dogs rescued me. I have to thank them! They are a riot to be around. Five in less than a year, and my old girl. They are all great buddies and we are couch potatoes some nights. Thanks for commenting here. Barbara

12:05 PM  
Blogger Confessions Of The Unfaithful Widow said...

Hi Lizzy - if you don't win the book I'll let you buy it!!! Thanks for leaving a nice comment and the good luck wishes! Barbara

12:07 PM  
Blogger Toni said...

I look forward to reading your book. I know several people recently who have lost husbands, my mother-in-law among them. I live with the everyday fear that my husband won't wake up. He has a congenital heart problem that is progressively getting worse despite treatment. Congratulations on working through the pain and grief. I admire you greatly. :)

12:56 PM  
Blogger gpc said...

I enjoy Barb's blog and am looking forward to reading her book!

1:25 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

Barbara,
Seven years ago, my husband passed away suddenly at age 39. How does one react when you lose the one you share your life with? I acted recklessly several times, and I'm sure my attitude was misconstrued by those I worked with.

Like you, I wrote several essays about my escapades. It was a time of personal growth and loss, but I learned that life continues, and because one part of my life disappeared, I didn't need to feel like I'd lost my entire life. I still had goals and needs, and I did what I needed to make a devastating situation tolerable.

Congrats and good luck with your blog tour. I'll be tagging along!

~~Annie

4:27 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

We need to start a Barbara club! I admire your pluck. You definitely personify making lemonade out of lemons life sometimes hands us.
I am a studio painter and give art works to SPCA and other animal rescue groups to support their valuable work. PBS in our area showed a program last night on the bond between pets and people, you should have been one of the interviewees! I laughed over your comment on your "six pack."
Best of luck on your book tour. I know you will have fun. I hope you will keep on journaling so you can share what a book tour is really like.

4:50 PM  
Blogger The Gaelic Wordsmith said...

It's always nice to hear about people who have suffered loss and come out the other side of their grief successfully. Writing can be a great catharsis and I'm happy to see you turned to it rather than so many other more self-destructive things in which you could have lost yourself.

Good luck promoting your book. My sincere wishes that you do well. I look forward to reading your work.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Wow! said...

Thank you for all your comments! What a lively discussion. :)

We held a random drawing by writing all your names on a slip of paper and picking one our of a bag.

And the winner is... cindyja!

You have won a signed copy of Barbara Barth's book, The Unfaithful Widow. Congrats!

I didn't see an email address on your profile, so please email blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com with your mailing address and we will forward it to Barbara.

Thank you all for your participation, and please visit the other stops on Barbara's tour for more book giveaways and plenty of great info for writers, dog lovers, and those who are coping with the loss of a loved one.

11:12 AM  

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