Affiliate: Crab Apple Books

Interview conducted by: A.L. Mabry

Today we interview Brandon Soale, the owner of Crab Apple Books, a brick and mortar store we are proud to be affiliated with.

13281925_10209379439787842_346194402_nWhen did you decide you wanted to own a bookstore? What motivated that decision?

I have always had a passion for books and I always wanted to be a writer. When my book From Foggia to Freedom came out I had a terrible time finding independent bookstores who would carry my book. I contacted several stores in Dayton and Cincinnati offering to speak about my book and sign copies for them. None were interested so I decided I would create a place where local writers were welcome.

In what ways would you like your bookstore to serve our community?

My background is in education. I graduated from Miami University with a degree in history and social studies education. I have worked for the Butler County Historical Society as curator of the Heritage Hall Museum in Hamilton. My goal is to create a place in Middletown where like minded people can gather to share ideas and learn. I will be hosting writers workshops, historical exhibits, art programs, book clubs and local history lectures. All of which will be free and open to the public. Middletown needs a place where everyone is welcome and learning can be fun instead of frustrating.

What kind of books do you personally enjoy?

I read mostly nonfiction books about military history. However, I recently have been reading the classics. I am currently reading Moby Dick and I just reread Lord Of the Flies and Don Quixote. I am usually all over the place when it comes to reading because I always ask people what their favorite book is and when I see it used somewhere I always grab it. My next two books will be Cooper’s Pathfinder and then Calico Joe by Gresham.

If you could take any fictional character and rewrite their story, who would you choose?10955639_864966013574358_5030771329088987667_n

I would probably “rewrite” or perhaps add to The Sun Also Rises. I think Jake and Lady Brett Ashley should have attempted a relationship instead of just ending with “Yes, isn’t it pretty to think so” when they discuss what life together could have been. However, the nostalgic look back on the adventures in the book and the WWI experiences Jake had make Hemingway’s book feel genuine. He was portraying through those two characters what the whole world thought life would have been like without the war changing the world. So nevermind, I guess it is perfect the way it is, haha!

What kind of author involvement would you like to see in your store?

I want local authors and their books to be the center of attention. I also want writers to benefit from my store in ways other than money from sold books. I will be hosting a writers collaborative each month in the store starting this summer. I would like to see writers helping each other with everything from marketing and publishing to copyright laws and contracts. Each month we will have someone speak about a topic of interest for writers. It could be a beginners guide to poetry one month and a workshop on the layout and formatting of a photography book the next month. This should be community driven and based around teamwork.

Writers should not feel like they have to be alone when they set out to create something.… Click To Tweet

What impact do you feel digital books have had on brick and mortar stores? Does this intimidate you at all?

13278085_10209771927555769_303659563_nI know a great number of people who read ebooks and my friends all read ebooks. They have a time and a place. They are great for travel and wonderful for research. For instance there were tons of rare and expensive WWII books I needed to reference for my book. Instead of spending hundreds on out of print books I could not easily obtain I used digital copies to get what I needed. But most of my friends read an ebook to see if they like it enough to buy a hardcopy. Now when people read an ebook and realize they like it enough to add to their collection they can come to my store and buy a hardback that will look great on the shelf and will be there to pass along to others.

How long will a book remain on your shelves before it is returned to the distributor?

I buy all of my books on a non-returnable program for a greater discount. It makes the inventory less expensive but I cannot return what I order. It makes choosing books much more difficult but in the long run I research each book more and when customers come in with questions I can tell them more about each item on the shelf. The good thing about books is that they never go bad. Just because a book might sit on a shelf for a few months doesn’t mean the story gets stale.

What are some non-book items you have available?

We sell a line of literature related t-shirts from a New York Company called Out of Print. They produce shirts with the original cover art from classic novels such as Sherlock Holmes and children’s books like Where the Wild Things Are. We also have book related mugs and we always have gourmet coffee and tea available for customers to enjoy while they browse the store or relax with a book.

Do you encourage shoppers to stay and read in the store? Do you offer comfortable seating and lighting?

Brandon Soale

Brandon Soale

I want people to come in and read. I tried to set up the store with several places people could escape to and do what they want. I wanted to give people areas to read, study and meet but not have the different activities interrupt each other. So there are tables to work at and chairs in other rooms for individuals to relax. We will be opening two spaces in the basement where groups can go to have meetings or individuals can use to read quietly. It will be another opportunity to accommodate everyone.

Do you sell or rent eBooks? What about eReaders?

No, but we will probably start selling eReaders at the store in 2016 if there is enough demand for them.

How are you utilizing social media in your business model?

Social media is a huge chunk of any businesses marketing right now. People rely on their friends and strangers for information concerning places to go and things to do. I used social media to sell my books and I am still learning how to incorporate the tricks I learned self publishing into the business. Right now I am just trying to have an online presence while I work out the day to day problems a new business faces. I am really excited about some of the things I have planned for the interaction between customers and the store itself. I want the public to have a say in the authors we invite to sign, the programs we have and the books we sell. I also want people who can’t make it down to the store to be able to benefit from the things we do for free online. That will include posting videos of author interviews and programs as well as asking people to contribute to our newsletter. I want the newsletter to be printed as well as digital.

If you could choose any five writers (living or dead) to hold a presentation for your customers, who would you choose?

Hemingway, Stephen Crane, Voltaire, Robert McCloskey and General Erich von Manstein. I have so much to ask these guys about things other than their books.

What are your most and least favorite aspects of being a book seller?

The best part about running a bookstore is ordering books! I love books and sitting down to order new things for the store allows me to learn about authors, genres and topics I never would have researched for my personal collection. Everyone has a favorite book and when you talk to the customers they always have a favorite title or author they are passionate about. The worst part about selling books is that when I take their advice and order all of these interesting books my personal reading list gets out of control. I am going to need to find someone to read to me while I work or I will never get caught up!

FoggiaYou have written and published your own book, what was the most challenging part of the process for you?

The most challenging part was doing the editing work. The book is nonfiction and the stories came from interviewing more than 30 World War II veterans who flew with the 15th Air Force in Italy, many of which were shot down and held in German POW camps until the war’s end. The stories were being told to me and I actually had more information than I knew what to do with. I did not want to leave anyone’s interview out because these men were 88-94 years old and for many it was the only time or final time they could get their story into the historical record. I began the interviews in 2008 and today there are none of the original crew members I started with living today. That was a challenging burden I did not expect to deal with when I began.

Last question, what is your all time hands down favorite book?

That is a difficult question because I read both fiction and nonfiction, but my favorite fiction book is For Whom the Bell Tolls and my favorite nonfiction is EB Sledge’s WWII book With the Old Breed.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. 

You can follow Crab Apple Books on Facebook

Publisher: Crimson Edge Press

We are delighted to add another publisher to Our Write Side affiliates. Crimson Edge Press is a small press that focuses on fantasy, dystopia, and historical fiction.


Joshua Robertson, the founder of Crimson Edge, took time to answer some questions for us. You can also find answers to specific publisher questions at the end of each Wednesday Writers Wisdom.


1.Introduce yourself, if you would? 
Hey, I’m Joshua Robertson, owner of Crimson Edge Press. I started Crimson Edge Press in October 2014 to provide a better publishing platform for the writing community.
I have spent  years meandering in and out of writer circles, and wanted to create a small press that provided authors like myself a little more. 
2.Tell us a little about the history behind Crimson Edge Press. What motivated you to 
become a publisher? 
Crimson Edge initially developed under the design of a typical small press with a solid business plan to promise a healthy progression. In the past year, we have tested the waters
and found the system to offer our authors and associates a greater reach and greater royalties. 
3.Do you have a mission statement? Would you share it? 
Our mission is to publish quality, progressive fantasy fiction to meet the literary needs of writers. We focus on helping our writers become better, challenging them to meet
the standards of great fiction. 
4.Publishing is a big business. What sets your company apart from the rest? 
You can look at hundreds of presses and discover the basic structure is similar for each company. What sets Crimson Edge apart from other publishing agencies is our unique 
experiences, and our approach as a company. Our team—and our authors—have scaled writing groups, social media, self-publishing avenues, and more. We have been around
the block a time or two, and have a good handle on what is effective and what is not. But, beyond that, we prefer to include new authors into the Crimson Edge family.
Publishing is a big business, and we recognize we are better equipped as a unified team than running as a lone wolf. 
newsletter-header-CEP  podcast-CEP  received_988174407910600-CEP
5.What are your goals for yourself and the company in the next 3-5 years? 
Growth. We are not aiming to have hundreds of publications a year. Instead, we prefer to focus on a few, well-written works, which add value to avid readers. With that being
said, we want to discover new talent among fantasy writers, who understand writing can always improve, and very few authors will write a one-hit wonder. 
Other goals include producing more quality content for authors through our podcast, ​The Writers Edge​, offering more through our newsletter, ​Weekly Fantasy Fix​
and prepping our first anthology, ​Maidens and Magic​. 
6.Do you have a profile page or portfolio to help new clients view your work?  
Our website is at ​​. You can find links to the published works of our authors, our blog, and links to our podcast. 
7.What is the biggest challenge you faced in launching Crimson Edge? 
We have yet to face any major hiccups. Though, if I had to pick something, it would be maintaining visibility in the vast sea of independent authors and small presses. 
8.How do you define success? 
Success is doing what you love. 
9.What has been your most satisfying moment in business? 
Research would tell you most small presses crumble in their first year [or even the first six months]. We didn’t. That was relatively satisfying.  
10.What social media site has been your most productive for marketing and promotion? 
I have to be honest, I am not a fan of the question. Social media sites are never the answer when it comes to being productive in marketing or promotion.  
11.Tell us about your bookstore. 
Our bookstore is looking to grow exponentially over the next year as we bring on more authors and publish more books. We currently have our books available at
Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, & Amazon. Crimson Edge plans to open up more distribution options in the near future. 
12.If you could apply one famous quote to sum up your dream, what would it be? 
“Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” ~Alice Walker 
13.What advice do you have for new writers?  
This is the same advice I have given in many interviews, and I have yet to find better advice; keep writing. 
14.What is the future of writing? 
I am afraid this is a question which could get me in some hot water, because I often see the opposite of what I would prefer. I would hope the future of writing would
reflect the history of writing. I would like to see stories told with a message, which causes a reader to grow and learn indubitably about themselves and their own
existence. Writing should be eloquent, fervent, and heartrending. Every story should leave its mark on the minds, hearts, and souls of those who read them. 
15.We see that there is a blog on your site. What do you use your blog for? Is the content created in house or do you accept submissions?  
The blog is truly used as an open marketing source for writers, whether affiliated with Crimson Edge or otherwise. We frequently will partake in blog tours, promotional
events, or present a featured story on our blog. Interested parties can send their inquiries to  
16.Give us your elevator pitch. What can you say that will convince our subscribers to submit to your press? 
Crimson Edge is seeking serious writers. We know you have crafted your manuscript with blood, sweat, tears, and coffee stains. We know you have written, edited, and
rewritten until your eyes were bloodshot and your fingers were calloused. We know you have battled your darkest demons while shunning those who showered you with
false praise.  Be forewarned, we will do the unthinkable. We are going to ask you to go one more round. Crimson Edge aims to have your tale stand against the test of time.
If you want to take an adventure of a lifetime, then submit your manuscript to our press.  
17.What do you look for from a manuscript? How do you decide what to publish? 
Submissions are first received by our Acquisitions Editor, who reviews the manuscript for content, development, and the potential of the proposal/author. We are looking
for manuscripts which would complement our current publications and reach our target audience.  
18.Do you charge to publish anyone? How are royalties decided? 
We do not charge our authors to publish them. Royalties for our authors are above-average for the industry standard. 
19.What does Crimson Edge Press provide for an author? Is marketing part of your publishing plan? 
Crimson Edge provides detailed, editing services [developmental, copyedit, & proofreading], custom cover design, social media goodies, distribution channels, access to
specialized blog tours, writing groups, and promo groups. Though, every small press requires the author to have some accountability in marketing, Crimson Edge does
the majority of the legwork of marketing. The writer needs to focus on writing. 
DyndaerCoverThe Grimm Chronicles Coversdsebookcovergrimsdalrcoverpretty-things-final-cover


As you can see, Crimson Edge Press follows the same sense of giving and growth as Our Write Side does. We know they will be a great addition to the site and make a wonderful affiliation for our writers and readers alike.
Don’t miss out on a single thing. Subscribe to their newsletter today. Join the Facebook Book Club.

Mother Spider Publishing

We are pleased to announce our affiliation with Mother Spider Publishing. We search daily for publishing companies we could work with to offer our community something more.

With a diverse literary branding, and everything a new author seeks, we highly recommend submitting your work to one of the many publishing labels under their direction, from erotica to adult romance, science fiction and dark fantasy, to YA and children’s, they have a vast network to help you become a successful author.



We look forward to a wonderful, long lasting relationship with this fantastic publisher and hope you will, too!

Visit their website for submission guidelines, keep up with their events, read the blog, join their book club, meet their authors, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions directly in our forum, Our Write Side Cafe.

Now get busy. They want to read your work!


Online Services

All sites need support. We have been very blessed to partner with a few fantastic companies to bring you this blog. Online Services is one of them.

Online Services logo

Online Services is focused on providing Freelance Online services with the highest levels of customer satisfaction and do everything they can to meet your expectations.

They provide a wide range of graphic design services for both small and large businesses with a focus on professional and integrated branding.

Logo Design

Graphic-Design-ServicesThey design logos, this can then be incorporated in an integrated offer of business cards, Letter Heads, Memo Pads, advertising banners and any other item you may wish to have produced.

Book Covers

Custom designed superb quality bespoke Paperback and Kindle Book covers. They can also include in your cover your own Illustrations. Appointing a professional design Company can give you the edge over your competition by adding an integrated and cohesive look to your marketing materials. If you would like to know more about their design process then please contact them for further discussion.

Right-Choice-Reality-Responsive-ViewWebsite Design

 The present day business world demands every Company has a high impact designed Website that is easy to navigate, integrated, and fully functional. Online Services offers you a professional bespoke website design service second to none. We are able to build you a Website that confirms your presence in the marketplace with a resounding message, bespoke, quality, high impact, fully functional, informative and cutting edge. Contact us  with your Website ideas and we can discuss how to move those ideas onto the screen as a superb quality Website.


BooktrailerWe Produce Book Video Trailers for ALL Genres

The book video trailer production service will provide you with a trailer that is exciting, high impact and to the point. We will combine your script with images, music, video clips and sound effects to create a unique experience that will ensure your watcher will want to know more.

A book trailer is a video advertisement for a book which employs techniques similar to those of movie trailers to promote books and encourage readers.

Quality Ebook and Paperback Formatting

Online Services has years of experience and a long credit list as a testament to their formatting success and would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you further how you would like your Book to look as a quality bespoke finished product. They require that you contact them first for use of this service.

Peruse their portfolio to your hearts content and use our links when working with them. #OurWriteSide stands behind their quality. Did you know they have a sister site for book marketing and promotion? Their motto there is:

To provide Authors with as much EXPOSURE as possible! We also want to satisfy our readers and we believe that together we can do just that!

Visit EBook Corner today!

Thank you for partnering with us, Online Services. Here’s to a long and beautiful business relationship!





When Our Write Side made the transition to self-hosting, we had choices. We went with SiteGround, and we have not been disappointed.


Not only is it one of the two referred WordPress hosts, but it also offers monthly signup to 3 month chunks, at the discounted rate. We didn’t need to pay the moving fee to have WordPress do it for us as the host utilizes fantastic technicians who worked hard to do it for us. Even after the site was transferred, they are quick to respond to your needs.  They are always polite and respond quickly.

Here are some of the reasons we chose SiteGround:

  • They have good testimonials praising their approach to web hosting
  • They impressed us right away with the courteous chat service. Unlike other hosts, we didn’t wait a long time to connect to anyone.
  • SiteGround is easy to navigate and they are upfront about their services and fees from the gate.
  • The transfer took less than 24 hours, and they notified us of every step as they went. They don’t charge additional fees for doing the transfer or fixing issues.
  • They have top rated security, speed, and support.
  • They offer special packages and pricing to clients.
  • We received a free domain name, unlimited emails, and lots of extra resources.
  • The price is right.

Here are some of the things we discovered about SiteGround after the transfer completed:

  • We had access to all of the WordPress themes we had in and more, plus we didn’t have to pay out for premium themes.
  • They don’t just help you with your blog transfer. They answer questions and help you learn new tricks to managing your blog and fix any issues that arise.
  • SiteGround utilizes a well-trained, patient, and courteous staff that is available 24/7 to meet your needs. They don’t stop until you are satisfied.

If you are considering moving to self-hosting, Our Write Side highly recommends SiteGround.

Untold Press-Publishers

Untold Press

There are an infinite number of stories, most of them remain unheard.

No tale should ever remain untold.

We are a pair of authors dedicated to sharing these tales. Thus began Untold Press LLC. A US company (based out of Florida) with Canadian parts.

Untold Press does not publish many books a year. We pride ourselves on publishing works which are exceptionally edited, formatted, and have gorgeous covers!


Interested in Submitting to Untold Press?

  • Contract terms are normally for 4 years, English language, ebook and print, 50% net royalties
  • We work one on one with authors in all aspects of the publishing process
  • A blog tour and giveaway are provided for new releases
  • We offer free graphic services (making of banners, ads, bookmark images, sell sheets etc)
  • We work with authors on their marketing strategies, helping find sites, bloggers, reviewers etc and are open to having sales, giveaways and promotions. Some ads are paid for by us.
  • Have questions? Please feel free to email us!

See our Call for Submissions page to see what and if we are currently accepting.

Connect with Untold Press:




Some gems from Untold Press:

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar