Unconventional types: Authors turn to self publishing to share work

January 2014 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
Unconventional types      Authors turn to self publishing to share work

The Annotated Cartoons by Homer C. Davenport, researched & compiled by Gus Frederick

By Brenna Wiegand

It’s getting so an author needn’t wait on tenterhooks for an acceptance letter or having no say in when his book is released.

The tide of self publishing “indie authors” continues to swell – and local authors are bobbing to the surface right and left.

“It’s the way to go these days,” Silverton author Eric Rappe’ said. “I have a feeling major market publishing’s going to disappear and they’re going to turn into just marketing companies because they don’t have anything to offer that you can’t do yourself.”

Silverton resident Gus Frederick self-published editions two and three of The Annotated Cartoons of Homer Davenport.

“My ongoing ‘Homer Research’ keeps digging up new info and with the ‘print on demand’ paradigm it is relatively easy to make subsequent updated editions since I am not hobbled by having to print tens of thousands of copies,” Frederick said. “This year should see The Collected Works of T.W. Davenport and in 2015 an annotated second collection of Homer cartoons, The Dollar or the Man.

Darla Luiten is in the final stages of a seven-year project – a 1,000-page supernatural thriller romance with nine main characters and a glossary. Luiten said it became such a “convoluted story” that it will require a trilogy to tell.

“Think of Jim Butcher meets Stephen King meets Nora Roberts,” Luiten said. “There are some really really scary things, but beautiful things as well – lots of love story.”

Luiten was a painter first, trained in Florence, Italy, for four years in an apprenticeship.

“That was my life,” Luiten said. “Then I married, had two kids, and got sick with fibromyalgia and a couple other things that just left me a lot of time on the sofa and in bed – life happens.

“I read novels and books and novels and books … As a girl I would read until 4 in the morning because I had to see how a book ended,” she said. “After awhile I started thinking, why can’t I start writing too?” As the process began, Luiten was pleasantly surprised to discover she didn’t have to stay up that late.

“Ideas just come to me,” she said. “A lot of my book has been written while I’m half asleep; the characters come to me and it’s like a movie.”

Barbara Hettwer of Scotts Mills, author of "The Seamstress of Jamestown."

Barbara Hettwer of Scotts Mills, author of “The Seamstress of Jamestown.”

As D.J. Luiten, the Silverton author will self publish The Beckon Call as an electronic or “e-book” through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

“It really gives me a lot of control over what happens to my book,” Luiten said. “If it catches on and people like it, maybe I can get a publisher to look at it.”

Barbara Hettwer of Scotts Mills is a retired math teacher whose story came to her in the middle of the night.

Other family members and friends agreed it was good, and Hettwer took to fleshing out her tale and getting it on paper – which only took about a month.

“I just pretty much sat at my computer for several hours every day,” she said. “It just flowed out of my fingertips; only took me about three hours to write a chapter.”

The Seamstress of Jamestown

The Seamstress of Jamestown

The Seamstress of Jamestown is about a woman in a gold mining town around the beginning of the Civil War, but Hettwer says it’s really “the story of every woman.”

To publish it, Hettwer chose to invest $10,000 with Winepress Publishing that merges “the best of self-publishing and traditional publishing.”

She wanted the extensive editing and fact-checking Winepress provides; the help with printing copies, preparing for interviews and landing her a few newspaper and radio spots.

She also does her own legwork and sold 108 copies at the last state fair in an exhibit of local indie authors. Seamstress is available at Roth’s, Mount Angel Senior Center and Silver Falls Library; online via www.winepressbooks.com, Amazon and others.

Over the past eight years, Eric Rappe’s family has been bombarded with loss and grief.

“We lost my grandparents, my mom, my mother- and father-in-law; my wife’s grandmother; then after my cousin was murdered his mother killed herself…”

He landed in the office of his wife’s pastor, Steve Knox at First Christian Church.

“He asked me, ‘If you could do anything in the world with your life, what would it be?’ I said I’d probably be writing.

“He took the pen out of his pocket and handed it to me.”

Eric Rappe’ and his sons Evan and Eric Jr.

Eric Rappe’ and his sons Evan and Eric Jr.

“Writing is absolutely therapeutic,” Rappe said. “Honestly, between the writing and these two kids – they’re the reason I’m still alive.”

Rappe’ used the free services of Amazon’s createspace.com to publish Redemption: Chronicles of Caldor, it in both softcover and e book editions. It came out October 2012.

The following month Rappe’s brother Jacob disappeared under suspicious circumstances while on a Thanksgiving pleasure cruise.

The bereaved brother plunged headlong into getting answers, uncovering in the past year a plot with “best seller” written all over it. In the past two months, Rappe’ has lobbied in Washington DC and been flown to New York by 20/20 for an interview. The 20/20 feature about the cruise industry is expected to air this month.



A stay-at-home dad, last year Eric Rappe’ was “dragging” his sons Eric Jr., 7, and Evan, 4, around to book signings. Before long Junior, a Eugene Field second-grader, was “bugging” dad for a book of his own. He already had a story in mind; a “moral” hadn’t crossed his mind.

Last month Eric Rappe’ Jr. eagerly opened a box of hardcover copies of Chase And His Search For Friends, which turns out to be about not judging people by appearances. Its protagonist is an oddly shaped rock. Friend Jordyn Blasko, 11, illustrated the colorful book.

“The idea just popped into my head; nothing inspired it,” Eric Jr. said. “Nobody actually picks on anybody at my school…

“I was thinking about rocks and that’s the only thing that I thought of,” Eric Jr. said.

Now the father and son authors enjoy going to book signings together, each autographing their own books for people.

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