Thanks for visiting. If you are an author or a reader or both, you've come to the right place.

You will be able to access thoughts on the current state of self-publishing, writing, the world of independent authors and Barry's Book Reviews.

You will also be able to locate books written by Barry Terenna on this website.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Reading Group Discussion Questions

Many readers love to become involved with book discussion groups.  It's a way to connect with friends and family, as well as to meet new people. I think that both authors and readers would benefit if authors included these at the end of their eBooks and print books.  After all, reading not only entertains but stimulates the thinking process.  As we all age, this can not be a bad thing. 
Here are the questions that are included at the end of my own novel, "Take the Silk Road Home." 

1. What are some of the book's themes? How important were they? 

2. Did you learn any interesting facts from the book? What were they? 

3.  How realistic was the characterization? Would you want to meet any of the characters? Did you like them? Hate them? 

4. Did the actions of the characters seem plausible? Why? Why not? 

5. How do the setting and locations figure into the book? Is the setting a character? Does it come to life? Did you feel you were experiencing the time and place in which the book was set? 

6. Gianni and Vinnie made choices that had moral implications. Would you have made the same decisions? Why? Why not? 

7. The brothers enjoyed their mother’s and grandmother’s cooking as well as some meals in China and Viet Nam. What are some of the favorite meals that your mother, father or grandparents made for you? What are your favorite Asian dishes? 

8. In what ways were Gianni and Vinnie different? In what ways were
they similar?  Do you recognize aspects of your own brothers or sisters? Do you recognize aspects of yourself? 

9. Which “life lessons” described in “Take the Silk Road Home” do you value most? How have the relationships in your life affected your thinking on the direction of your life? 

10. Do you believe that success in life is random or are there other factors involved? What are they? 

11. Gianni was very interested in uncovering his past. Do you have a family custodian? Do you feel that Americans do not care about the past and their family ancestry? Why or Why not? 

12. How does the history described in the book interlace with the development and relationship between the brothers? 

13. What concepts of religion and philosophy could you identify with in the book? 

14. What was your favorite humorous comment or anecdote? 

15. How are the book's images symbolically significant? Do the images help to develop the plot, and/or help to define characters? 

16. Did the book end the way you expected? 

17. Would you recommend this book to other readers? To your close friend?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Take the Silk Road Home" Author Interview: Barry Terenna

1.           Patrice Dalton, Southampton Patch Blogger:  What inspired you to write your first book?

Barry Terenna, author:  I worked for many years in the business world.  I finally was able to take the opportunity to retire and therefore was able to do anything that I wished with my days.  My son, Brian Terenna, asked me to review the upcoming release of his paranormal fantasy book, “The Revolting Road to Liberty.”  I became interested in the whole writing scene and decided to write my own novel.

2.          PD: How long does it take you to write a book?

BT: My first novel took about a year to write.  I write when the mood strikes me and balance my day with other activities. I am currently starting to outline my second novel.

3.          PD: Where do you get the information or ideas for your books?

BT:  Many of the scenes in “Take the Silk Road Home” come from actual events in the lives of myself, my brother and other family members and friends.  The book is filled with facts about food, places, cultures, popular products and historical events that were all researched in detail, mostly from many sources on the Internet.

4.           PD: What do you like to do when you're not writing?

BT: I like to spend time with family and friends, travel, practice yoga, garden, and volunteer for various activities.  I have recently been devoting a considerable amount of time to the promotion of my novel. 

5.           PD: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

BT:  The world of publishing has been turned on its ear by the capabilities for self-publishing.  An entire industry has developed in the last few years that uses computer technology to support the creation, publication and marketing of new books. Whereas it may have taken years and many rejections to get a book published ten years ago, today it is possible to self-publish and to have some degree of commercial success.  It is not easy and nowhere near guaranteed but it is possible.

6.          PD: What do you think makes a good story?

BT: Great characters, interesting plot lines, things that educate and entertain and a message that helps to make people’s lives a little bit better.

7.           PD:  Do you have a specific writing style?

BT: I like to educate my readers so I think this is reflected in my writing style.  A good writer will develop interest and tension in the characters and the plot.  I think a book should be intriguing but not too difficult for people to follow and understand.

8.          PD: How did you come up with the title?

BT: The original running title was “Brothers in the East,” however, I wanted a title that was a bit more intriguing.  “Take the Silk Road Home” gets across the idea of the Chinese connection and has a family oriented feel to it.

9.          PD: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

BT: Good question.  There are several themes that pervade in the book.  The importance of family is a central theme, however, other themes are interwoven in this message including heritage, culture, the importance of discipline to achieve success and learning from history.

10.      PD:  If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

BT:  Recently I’ve read many of the Clive Cussler ocean adventure books.  I learned several writing techniques from them. Clive starts most of these novels with one or two historical events that form a foundation to the current events that occur in the book.  They are skillfully woven into the story line.

11.      PD: What book are you reading now?

BT: “Big Stone Gap” by Adriana Trigiani.  Adriana is an Italian-American author like myself.  Her novel, “The Shoemaker’s Wife” is reminiscent of my own novel. The funny thing is that I wrote my book without ever having heard of her or her novels.  I guess you could say that I bring the male perspective to the stories surrounding an immigrant family.

12.      PD: Is there anything that you find particularly challenging in your writing?
BT: Development of complex plots.  This usually takes a considerable amount of planning and outlining in advance.  I have a tendency to want to write in free flowing form but I recognize the importance of outlining.

13.      PD:  Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

BT:  There is a lot of information about Italy, China and Vietnam in the book, however, I had already traveled to the Italy and China in connection with my previous career so I had plenty of first hand knowledge of those countries.  Nothing beats actual travel to different locations, but in today’s world much can also be learned on-line.

14.      PD: Who designed the book cover?

BT:  I designed the cover and back to the book.  The cover is an artist’s rendition of several silk moths and a silk worm, from the genus Bombyx Mori, the moth of the Mulberry bush. The one large moth shown on the cover is particularly striking.

15.      PD:  Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

BT:  Yes. My hope is that my readers will enjoy the book and maybe relate some of the scenes to their own lives.  I wrote the book to entertain my readers.  They are the most important aspect of my writing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Royalties for Self Published Books

I've completed some research into the world of self-publishing for your fiction or non-fiction book.  There are many decisions to be made regarding which service provider, eBook formats, physical copy format, booksellers and marketing techniques should be considered.

The following data is meant to summarize one of the most rewarding of the decisions: how much money you will be paid.  All of the on-line book sellers are competitive and the decision that you make needs to be specific for your situation.  However, here are the numbers.  The chart is not comprehensive but includes the companies that I considered in the publishing and sale of my new novel, "Take the Silk Road Home." One final thought. Should you go with Amazon Direct Publishing "Select" Program.  Well, once again it should be based on your situation.  However, my research has lead me to conclude that it was a wise choice for me.

May 2012 Self Publisher Royalties
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
PubIt! (Barnes & Noble)

List Price at or between $2.99 and $9.99 =65%
List Price at or below $2.98 or at or greater than $10.00 (but not more than $199.99 and not less than $0.99)



60% of list, sold at one of retail partners

80% of list if sold at Smashwords

Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon)

70% between $2.99 and $9.99
Otherwise 35%
List price must be at least 20% below the lowest physical list price

CreateSpace eStore=80% of list price; Amazon.com=60%; Expanded Distribution=40% (Minus fixed costs which for a black &white 5.24 x 8 book of 250= around $5.00 per book.)
Use Royalty Calculator on CreateSpace Website to determine correct royalties after their fixed and per page printing charges. Minimum price required for Expanded Distribution Books.