The Literary Rat’s Crowdfunding Chronicles – Part 1: Overview


Conseil_Tenu_par_les_Rats (Now Hear This)


I know I’ve been MIA a lot the last few months, and life stuff aside, it’s also due to a BIG project I’m about to undertake for my debut novel “GABRIEL” coming soon from Alten Ink-




Since Alten Ink is a small press, they face a unique set of challenges,

and after talking it over with my editor, I decided to launch a crowfunding campaign to be able to enlist the services of a professional illustrator, and cover other key expenses which I’ll detail prior to launching the campaign.



Before I go on, for those of you not yet in the know, crowdfunding is a process where authors and other creative types reach out to their wider community to not just donate money, but share in the belief of bringing their passion projects from dream to tangible reality. Below are a list of the most common crowdfunding platforms-

Kickstarter_Logo_a_lThe newest kid on the block in the crowdfunding arena. See a short tease from the “Kickstarted” documentary about Kickstarter’s Origins (which was also a successful Kickstarter project in and of itself! Talk about Meta-Much!)-





The oldest and most open global crowdfunding platform to date!* (*at the time this post is written).


Learn more About Indiegogo (and general advice from one of it’s co-founders) here-


Learn More about how the first Authors Only crowdfunding platform came to be from the VP/Co-founder herself-





As some of you long time T.A.A. fans may remember, in September 2013 we launched our “T.A.A. CARES” imitative, where we lend our time and money to promote and support authors and artists in need of a little extra help to bring them dream projects to life.


So far, the projects your lit. rat’s backed and spread the word on all met their funding goals, and are now published/will be seeing publication (Covers seen below)-

 T.A.A. CARES #1


by Adam Glendon Sidwell

Illustrated by Edwin Rhemrev

Publisher: Future House Publishing

(Check out T.A.A.’s review)


My LOVE for you is the SUN

by Julie Hedlund (@JulieFHedlund)

Illustrated by Susan Eaddy

Publisher: Little Bahalia Publishing

Pub, Date: September 9th 2014*

(Check out T.A.A.’s Review)


Chalky and the new Sports Car

by Stanley Potter

Illustrated by Jordan Henderson (@taleandteller)

Publisher: Little Thunder Co.

(Check out T.A.A.’s review)



While many children’s authors pitch picture books, comics/graphic novels, or projects with a serious educational bent, novelists like myself can and do use crowdfunding platforms to reach their publication dreams-


Learn The Story behind Rhoda’s Ocean-

Learn the Story behind “Steam In The Willows”


Soon, your lit. rat will be embarking on his crowdfunding adventure, and I hope you’ll be along for the ride. Check back T.A.A. throughout the coming weeks as I document my crowfunding saga.


You can learn see what Gabriel’s up to (and learn how to be part of our virtual promo team) on his newly launched OFFICIAL website! 


Next time, I’ll go over in-depth why I decided to enter the world of crowdfunding from more than the backer perspective.


Until then, have a safe weekend, and may the fantastical fauna be with you.


We’re still on holiday break during the 7/4 holiday weekend, but check back T.A.A. tomorrow for a special announcement regarding my debut novel GABRIEL (Tweet Gabriel and his friend via @GabrielandRum), enjoy the video below, and tell your friends to share the video and stop by to learn how you can be part of bringing Gabriel’s story into the world-




Until tomorrow, stay safe, have fun, as always may the fantastical fauna be with you.

*NOTE: the link in the video will go live 7/6/14 

When “Writing the Next Book” is NOT the answer…



After a significant hiatus, your lit rat is slowing getting back to his regular schedule, and today is the first in a multi-part series of post about “The Next Book Blues.” This is what many writers (including yours truly) face after they “finish” their current book.

Normally, I’d start a series like this by giving an overview of what “The Next Book Blues” is, but to keep you on your toes, I’m going to discuss this topic in reverse order for two reasons-


1. To help writers (who don’t have this problem) get why this is a problem so they can better respect/understand writers they know who directly or indirectly shows signs of “The Next Book Blues.”

2. Sometimes thinking about a problem in reverse eases understanding, like how some writers prefer to write out of order or with the ending first, or they’ll revise a complete draft from the end instead of the common linear “beginning to end” approach. With those points in mind, here we go-

(NOTE: The points below are for career-minded writers)

While it’s true that one book does not a writer make, writing alone doesn’t improve your skills either, by which I mean, drafting new work without revising or rewriting previous work as needed is only solving HALF the equation.

There are important lessons persevering on a particular story or novel can teach us. If I didn’t spend eight years on GABRIEL, I’d never have the stamina to stick with a new project, not just to revise or rewrite as needed, but to sell it, and edit it again with my publisher’s editor via the traditional model, or put in the vast amount of money and time to indie publish.

Sometimes that “Next book” lecture does more harm than good. Again, depending on the kind of writer you are, and the nature of the project.

While many successful writers swear by the thinking of “Only writing NEW books will I improve as a writer” it’s not my experience, and I’m not alone.

While it’s true that building a body of work is vital for many writers, that doesn’t mean we can whip out quality work in that often idealized “Assembly Line” fashion.

While the common wisdom is “Deadlines empowers most writers” they don’t for me.

Now that doesn’t mean I never meet or set deadlines, nor am I saying deadlines don’t matter or aren’t important, but I couldn’t do everything on a strict deadline, or at least not without turning into a harried, witchy troll that is NOT going to help me connect with the readers I want to have, and turn me into  the “No. 1 marketer” for my writing, and remember, not every writer used to be a master marketer before coming to publishing, and we need to give newcomers unversed in marketing a break.

We are only one person. We can’t do it all and that’s something more easily business-savvy writers NEED TO GET, or they’ll lose the people who most need your help and guidance.

One of the issues I take with the “Long Tail/Blacklist” mantra many indie authors are screaming to the virtual rooftops is that it puts too much emphasis on quantity over quality.

As I say often among my writer tribe-

“There’s a BIG difference between writing 10 books and those same 10 books being a equal quality and substance.”

Too many writers preach quantity without talking about the nuances and patience necessary to have a (QUALITY) body of work.

Also, understand I say this from the perspective of writers who don’t work in highly competitive genres, like  romance (ESPECIALLY category) that demands high output and working in certain restraints if you want to break in commercially.

Finally, keep in mind some writers have more multifaceted skill sets than others, and that effects how fast or slow they work as much any external shake ups in publishing.

Not all authors can ghostwrite or do work for hire projects, or write nonfiction (an eternal market as I keep hearing…) which can be a BIG way to up your publication credits and further establish you in the industry.

But there are ALWAYS authors who may not be as versatile, but are GREAT at what they can do.

Some writers don’t need as much time to draft, revise or rewrite, and others like myself , simply require that extra effort and time,  even though we may wish otherwise…(for reasons of mortality aside from our low capacity for patience….)

Also, keep in mind that every story is different, and every writer’s career track is different, some will require more or less time, and often the greater the learning curve for the writer, the longer it takes.

I’m in no way devaluing or downplaying the personal and professional reasons why it’s important to build your body of work and not to be stuck on one book.

But especially for highly impatient writers (of which I’m one) not being able to persevere means that story may not reach salable quality.

We as authors have to VERY CAREFUL to not confuse diligence with procrastination when it comes to drafting new work versus revising/rewriting older work that hasn’t published yet.

Not all past work is inherently “un-publishable” just because the first draft or three didn’t pan out. and giving up on it too soon could start a chain reaction of producing but stopping short of reaching the level it can sell an reach readers.

Bestselling author Jackie Collins once said that she wrote one book after another, and while her craft may have improved, she wasn’t trying to publish anything! (partly because she was given polarizing discouragement from others growing up)

But I suspect (I don’t know her personally, BTW) it’s  also because she had such a forward-thinking mindset, she overlooked that she wanted to get published, but just produced book after book for her own amusement, which is valid, but it can also be out of fear, external, internal or both.

It was only until her husband made her rethink a previous book she’d written that she persevered to sell. I say all that to say that drafting book after book isn’t enough.

Crafting drafted books is no less important, especially when we’re starting out and those first sells are especially “Hard Won” as in my and other author’s experiences.

Sometimes writers can be so forward-thinking, they don’t take ENOUGH of a step back to realize, “Hey, I can sell this book and write others, too!”

This is where I stalled.

I admit I did put Gabriel on such a high priority that it kept me from doing other books, but I will NEVER regret taking the time I did getting it up to snuff enough to reach my selling it, even if I’d been a better writer and already established with well-received books already, that’s a story I’d slog in the trenches for,  while hopefully writing/selling other books, too, of course!

Regardless of our experience/skills/professionalism, some books-





The key thing I hope all writers (and even lay readers) can understand is that sometimes quality must override quantity.

As writers, we can’t beat ourselves up to the point of nervous breakdown-

Breaking/Staying in publishing is already hard enough. We needn’t make it harder by being crueler to ourselves than even the worst teacher or boss treated us!

Writers with especially keen business savvy, please hear this-

“Self-discipline and accountability is no excuse to be a slave driver to ourselves or others in our corner.”

Writers, what you think? Do you feel there’s too much (out of context) pressure toward quantity over quality?

How do you navigate the push-pull between productivity without taking shortcuts that will hurt your books and career in the long run?

 If you know a writer suffering from “The Next Book Blues” I URGE you to guide them to this post.

Readers, what’s your stance on this? I’d to see some conversation brewing in the comments. 


Weekly Readings VI (National Pet Month Double Feature)


 dog-reading father_cat_reading



Welcome one and all to another edition of Weekly Readings!

For those new here, Weekly Readings is when your lit. rat reviews picture books I’ve read here and there. While T.A.A. focuses on animal stories, we do give humans their due now and again…



This week, in honor of “National Pet Month” your lit. rat brings you two exceptional books, both of which were Kickstarter projects that met their goals and are now available for you to check out, once you’ve read our reviews, of course!

Before getting into our reviews, I have , as long time T.A.A. fans know I participated in spreading the word as well as donating my money  with the hopes of seeing these books to publication, and prompted me to launch “T.A.A. CARES” as a way to spotlight and support authors and other creatives in need, but that said, I still reviewed the books below on their own merits as I do every book I review, just being transparent.






Written by: Stanley Potter

Illustrated by: Jordan Henderson (@taleandteller)

Publisher: Little Thunder Co.

Pub. Date: February 1st, 2014

I got to be honest, I wasn’t always a fan of cats, as I had bad experiences with them in real life, this was long before I took the title of “Literary Rat” but after watching “Oliver and Company” several times in my youth (during the pre-Netflix era)  I slowly started to see the feline world differently…


I’m still an unabashed dog fancier, but there may come a day when a lad or lass of the feline persuasion will enter my life, but that’s another story…

While I often lament the “extremist minimalist” movement in picture books these days, this is one book where I don’t mind the spare narrative as it gives the reader and pre-reader lots of room to make the book their own.

The art truly LEAPS off the page, and the spare text does its job while leaving a lot to the imagination. The most apparently noticeable touch for all us wordsmiths or ones in training is the creative use of fonts.

(If you’re read Jon Scieszka’s “The Stinky Cheese Man” or the “Geronimo Stilton” series you know of what I speak) 

GS and Cheese



Most books about cats (at least when I was growing up) were stereotypically aimed at girls, and while that persists, this a book that I’m sure girls would love is also something boys would enjoy given Chalky’s rambunctious spirit and physically charged curiosity.

As my feline friend and colleague, Dempsey Woyzeck (of Swinebert and Dempsey) has said when I read him the story-

“For every dog lover who got ‘stuck with a cat’ will find newfound respect and interest in the feline mystique.”

High praise straight from one well-read kitty!

(Since he too has a human who still wants a dog, but learned to love cats thanks to Dempsey)

Plus, those of you who LOVE kernels of truth in your reading will be glad to know that titular cat has a real life basis!




Even when I had issues with cats in real life from a personal perspective, I still found them fascinating from a writer’s perspective, and while I’ll always be a dog lover, “Chalky and The New Sports Car” is a short and sweet bold taste of my newfound appreciation for cats, and I was honored to have had a small part in bringing this book to readers everywhere!






Written by Adam Glendon Sidwell

Illustrated by Edwin Rhemrev

Publisher: Future House Publishing

Pub. Date: May 15th, 2014

Of course, being a dog lover, this book couldn’t escape my radar, this  also has the honor of being the first Kickstarter that your lit rat put up some of his own limited finances, and inspired me to launch our “T.A.A. CARES” initiative to help authors and other creatives achieve their passion projects, and lend a proverbial paw to the word of mouth and when possible, contribute money to ensure they reach the finish line.


Learn how FETCH came to be-

Now having read the final book I can say without bias that it proved to worth the wait!

Like “Chalky and the New Sports Car” this books uses spare but effective text, letting the breaktaking illustrations give you a sense of transcending to a whole other world.


Fans of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” will find this world of canine majesty just as full of enchanting possibilities as Equestria, and if anyone from the Hub Network reads this, you may want to snatch up the television rights to this one! (just some friendly advice from The Literary Rat)

This a true love letter to dog lovers everywhere and I’m honored to give it T.A.A.’s Blue Ribbon of Approval-

FETCH (Blue Ribbon Ver.)


This is one book that will NEVER

leave my private library-





That’s it for Weekly Readings, check back next time!


NOTE FROM THE LITERARY RAT: If my ramblings convinced you to buy one or more of the books mentioned above, please support T.A.A. by clicking on the affiliate cover images above or links within the review.



From The Desk of The Literary Rat (My Writing Process Blog Tour)


 Hi All,  


It’s no secret your lit. rat’s had a hard month emotionally, but I want to end on a positive note, so today I’m sharing a little peak into my writing process courtesy of the “*My Writing Process Blog Tour.

Jami-Full-Picture-e1280895288949*Special Thanks to author Jami Gold (@JamiGold) for the open invitation to take part in this blog tour event!







For those of you newcomers, when I’m not “The Literary Rat” on T.A.A. I’m a novelist specializing in animal fantasy, hence our site’s name and theme, and my debut novel, GABRIEL, will soon be published by Alten Ink. (You can watch the first round of book trailers on T.A.A.’s YouTube Channel!)

What Am I Working on?


 Aside from edits on my debut mentioned above, I’m working on various WIPs, one of which is a sequel to GABRIEL, the other two are new books outside the world of GABRIEl. One of which under the working title “The Baroque Weasel.”

How Does My Work Differ from Others of Its Genre?


I flip and/or rewrite the rules all too common in the animal fantasy, the most common being- One of the common tropes in my world is a human who can talk to animals, but it has to be a secret from all for various reasons.


I choose to have it be open, meaning anyone can communicate across species, but for some stories, you have to be willing to listen (Think Peter Pan and being willing to believe in fairies and other “impossible” things in order for them to happen)

Another thing writers of animal stories need to consider (assuming we’re not writing nonfiction) is how “Real” our animal characters are.

Do they take the cartoony approach, as zany and unreal as possible? Are they human-like, wear clothes, and if so, are humans out of the picture, or is it a hidden society deal.


Or do we opt for something 100% naturalistic. They don’t speak, have no human-like autonomy and thoughts, and would just as at home in an issue of National Geographic as in the fiction we’re writing. (Think Shiloh) 


Or do we dare, as I do, to be in the hazy nexus of semi-naturalistic, we use real world facts and knowledge of our animal heroes and heroines when possible, but exercise the right to be as zany and a little bit cartoony.


Many classic and contemporary characters walk this line. Some more obvious than others.


In my novel, Gabriel, I made the decision to be in that hazy middle with my nonhuman cast, in this case, rats.   They do speak, wear minimal clothing, and live amongst humans in their “hidden” society.


But while they (and other animals) can speak to humans, many choose not to, for various reasons, most common the distrust they have with humans, such as my antagonist.


Too often humans are portrayed as the ultimate evil from the animal’s perspective. I wanted Gabriel to explore the idea that just like animals we humans demonize in our culture (wolves, weasels, and RATS too!) there are just as many (I’d argue FAR MORE) humans who respect the natural world, and while we may not all be vegetarians or vegans, we see animals not solely as food. Or condone them being objectified for trophy and sport.


For every “Cruella Deville” there’s a “Jane Goodall” For every “Hunter” in Babar’s world, there was also a kind soul who treated him and other with respect.


But I also gave them as much of their naturalistic traits as possible in terms of what they eat, where they live, and the dangers they face in the wild and in human-centric environments like small towns and cites.


Another thing to consider is how the world is set up. Some stories like the “Redwall” series are animals only, and that frees you up from having to think about the logistics of animal-friendly tools and weaponry.


Some stories, like “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Wind and The Willows” have animals and humans co-existing in the same world, but separated.


Humans live in one, animals live in another, and in most cases, rarely if ever the two meet, and often not positive for either side, which also harkens back to how real or not your animal characters are and humanity’s response.


The “Doctor Doolittle” approach thrives here, but hinges on the idea that only one person can hear what most people cannot, and thus, secrecy to avoid presumed insanity on the human’s part.


A contemporary example would be “Littlest Pet Shop” an animated series based on the popular toy line franchise of the same name where a teenage girl can talk to animals through unexplained (at least thus far) means, and forms a deep bond with a particular band of day care pets where she works part time.

Why Do I Write What I Do?


First and foremost, because I love it, and having been raised on it since age 4, I don’t have the “suspension of disbelief” hang-up other readers do who either don’t read/watch much fiction, or are Type A academic realists who are strict taskmasters for accuracy at all times, and don’t get me wrong, I love historical fiction for a lot of the same reasons I can’t write it.


But as an author myself I don’t like being married to fixed of thinking and being.  


I hope readers will start to see animals a little differently after finishing one of my books. Science is now proving they feel many of the same emotions, fears, and needs we do, they just can’t tell us in ways we easily understand. We can teach them to fear us, just as much as we STRUGGLE for them to trust us, and it’s no secret (especially those of us pet owners our there, myself included) that when we earn an animal’s trust, its no less gratifying than earning the trust of others our own species.


While I bend the rules of natural science a bit, I truly believe every animal has a voice, the trick in real life is working that much harder to hear it, in the world of my fantastical fauna, I just make it a little bit easier, and more fun, to let them speak for themselves however I can.


But the journey taken still requires work on the human’s part, mind you!


Even though I may not follow the laws of science in expressing that, I do believe they have much to teach people, if we’re willing to listen, for the many of the same reasons we underestimate what our ALL TOO HUMAN children can teach us about life.


Animals have had roles in nature long before humanity, as we know it today, so it makes sense that we can learn from them, and hopefully in spite of the harm and extinction we’ve caused, the creatures left among us today will find positive things in us, too.

How Does My Writing Process Work?


While every book has its own process, there are lot commonalities for my work thus far, often the title or the name of the protagonist will come first.   With Gabriel, the premise came first, a toymaking rat and exploring friendships and how they evolve or at times, stagnate.


In the case of “The Baroque Weasel” the title came first years before I really started working on it. It was actually a legend from another book idea I had but I liked it so much it became its own thing entirely.


Also, this title has multiple meanings, the main character is a weasel, but it also relates to something key in the story.   For Gabriel, I took the approach of having the character’s name be the title since he’s the protagonist and the heart of the story.


When it comes to the actual writing, I prefer to draft from beginning to end in a linear manner, it’s easier to keep in my head, and I’m less likely to write the same thing twice than if I hopped around (i.e. write the end before the beginning)

Handoff Time!


In the spirit of inclusion, just as Jami Gold has done, I open all bloggers who follow T.A.A. to share their writing process stories. 

To participate, write a blog post next week (or when you can!) and-

  1. Acknowledge the person and the site who invited you into the tour (that’d be me and you’d link back to this post). I’d also appreciate linking to our Twitter feeds (@TAA_Editor/@Taurean_Watkins)
  2. Label your post as part of the My Writing Process Blog Tour.
  3. Answer these same four questions about your writing process in the post.
  4. Nominate and link to up to three people to participate who would then post their answers the week after yours. 


Finally, please share your post in the comments below and I’ll update this post with your submissions!

Giveaway Winner! (Finally Announced)

Good Word Friday Banner

This week’s “Good Word Friday is brief” even by my standards (Long time T.A.A. fans know full well what I mean…)

This week’s been CRAZY in some good and not good ways. But to begin the weekend on a happy note-

I Am Otter


It’s high time to announce the winner of our ” I Am Otter” book giveaway!

The winner is…Marissa from Seattle, WA!

Congratulations Marissa, send us your contact info to and we’ll ship your copy of “I Am Otter” in the coming week.

Thanks to all who entered, and fear not if you missed out, we’ll have more giveaways throughout the year.


If you’re interested in this book, read our review! 


That’s it for today. Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.

“Reading Up” for Children’s Book Week!


Today’s post is brief but important.

Children’s Book Week 2014 will soon be upon us and T.A.A.’s celebrating in a BIG way-  


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Subscribe to our YouTube Channel so you’ll be among to first to see our special series of videos all next week! I’ll share more details tomorrow.


Also, there’s still time to enter our “I Am Otter” giveaway (Open to U.S. and Canada Only)

Head to our review for details on how to enter to win a cope of the book!

That’s it for today, I’ve got to get my munchies ready for the “My Little Pony” season finale! If you’re a fellow fan of the show, keep an eye out for tweets from your lit. rat later this morning!


Until next time, may the fantastical fauna be with you.