At A4J Publishing, aspiring authors find an alternative way to get into print — and to reach audiences.

ORLANDO – Vikki Hankins remembers how it all began: with hard work, a strong dream … and plenty of disappointment.
Hankins had written a book she called “Trauma.” She felt strongly that it was a powerful story, that there was an audience for this book, that she could successfully market it to the general public. She had completed the first, critical step toward becoming an author — finishing the manuscript. It’s a dream shared by thousands of people who want to put down onto paper a story they really believe in.
And then she followed the same path so many other would-be authors take: she starting sending out her manuscript to all the big publishing firms – Simon & Shuster, HCI, and so on. And she got the exact same response that the vast majority of aspiring authors do: she started collecting a ton of rejection letters.
She was heading in the same direction as so many others: nowhere, and fast. And Hankins knew it.
But she didn’t give up. In fact, she went in an entirely different direction.
“After writing to 30 mainstream publishers, that made me know I was going to have to do it another way,” she said. That was particularly true after writing to HCI, she said, which publishes the Chicken Soup for the Soul books, which she felt was targeted to the same kind of audience she was trying to reach with “Trauma.”
“Heart, soul, spirit … I knew my book fit their criteria,” Hankins said. She resubmitted the book, and once again got rejected.
“Bottom line, they weren’t going to publish my book,” Hankins said. “After that particular company, I knew I was going to have to go a different route.”
Today, “Trauma” is available to be ordered at book stores like Barnes & Noble, or through online sites like Amazon.com.

Not only is Hankins a published author, but today she’s the one who decides if other manuscripts can get published – from standing on the sidelines to being completely in the driver’s seat. What changed is not only the direction Hankins opted to go in, but also the way publishing works today.“Everything is changing now,” she said. “There was the traditional way of publishing, but that was not happening for me. I didn’t know anything about self-publishing. But when I found out about self-publishing, I started doing a lot of research and I found out ok, I can get my book published even if no one else was interested, none of the mainsteam companies.”
Publishing truly has changed. It used to be that those mainstream publishers were the only serious option. Self-publishing was looked down upon – not good enough for the genuine publishing houses, and almost impossible to get into a book store.
Not anymore. The Internet has altered the landscape radically. Self-published authors now have a wide variety of publishing options – and different marketing options as well. They can publish a hardcover or paperback version of their book and get it listed through on online retailer like Amazon.com – but they don’t even have to get actual copies of the book, since Amazon.com has its Kindle Edition — books that can be downloaded onto a computer without the need for a hardcover or paperback version.
This trend may accelerate. Younger consumers are getting more used to downloading books, music, and movies onto their computer and bypassing the need for buying an entire compact disc, DVD or paperback novel. A laptop gives them the means of listening to their favorite songs, watching their best loved movies – and reading new books online. It’s a wave that Hankins is riding. She not only self-published “Trauma,” but she also went a step further, and started her own publishing house, A4J Publishing in Orlando.

Atlanta author Garry Jones, who published a novel with A4J Publishing, attends a book signing event at Barnes & Noble.

“The larger companies that have been around a while, they are not going to have any interest in your work unless you’re already a popular figure,” Hankins said, noting that large publishing firms save their resources for well known politicians or celebrities – books that seem guaranteed to pay back the high publishing costs.
But it’s not the only way to reach an audience today, Hankins said.
“You can publish books,” she said. “You don’t have to rely on the bigwigs.”
Hankins discovered Ingram, a book distributor for Amazon.com, which gave her a contract for her own publishing firm. Hankins recruits the authors, and has different package deals they can sign up for to get their books into print. Ingram helps distribute the books once they get printed.
“The thing that got to me was seeing there are so many other stories, and knowing there are things they want to share with other people, but there are no avenues for them, the doors are being shut on them,” Hankins said. “I wanted to be a conduit for them and create a way for other people to get their stories out.”
The Orlando-based A4J Publishing has become a source for new authors who want to get their work into print, and Hankins is actively looking for new authors. The firm – which stands for (A)dvocate (4) (J)ustice Publishing – can be reached by logging on to www.a4jpublishing.com, writing to P.O. Box 1101, Orlando, FL 32802, faxing questions to 407-237-0135 or emailing info@a4jpublishing.com.
There are other benefits to self-publishing a book with A4J.
“Another thing we offer is movie trailers and book trailers because it helps with the promotion,” Hankins said, noting that the trailers can be broadcast on YouTube and other Internet video sites.
She also works with authors to get media coverage, by sending out a press release on their book, organizing book signing events, and contacting local newspapers, radio stations and television stations to let them know about the event, the author, and the new book.
“We try to get some media coverage for them,” she said. But a lot of it, she added, depends on how passionately the author wants to get that book in front of an audience.
“They are the main promoters of their work,” she said. “They can’t rely solely on a publishing company to do it for them.”
A4J Publishing has a basic self-publishing package deal for under $1,500, which provides the author with five free copies of their book, the promotional and marketing services, and a book cover design. There’s also a deluxe package for under $2,000.
“There is a lot of justice in people telling their stories,” Hankins said. “These people need to be heard. That is a matter of justice for me. You can’t be heard if doors are shut in your face.”
Freeline Media is a proud affiliate of A4J Publishing and endorses their work.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

Nude dads, celibacy contests, bath houses and more: It’s not Howard Stern, it’s Justice being Outloud!

David Justice is the host and executive producer of Outloud Orlando: The Homo Happy Hour every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

WINTER PARK – He calls himself Justice, pledges to speak “Outloud” in Orlando, and proudly admits he’s not the least bit timid about the subjects he tosses at you.
And as if to prove it, he starts talking about the recent day he walked into the bathroom and found his father inside, naked, and shaving.
Or how he lost a Celibacy Challenge on June 15.
He debated the definition of “lecherous,” then held a “Drunken Homo Trivia” contest. And the hour was only half over.
It’s just another “Homo Happy Hour” for Justice, as he sits in the radio studio in the basement of Mills Hall at Rollins College, where he’s the host and executive producer of “Outloud Orlando,” an irreverent, typically zany, often in bad taste, but rarely slow or monotonous, program that could be called gay-but-accessible.
“This is my baby,” Justice said.
Known during business hours as David Justice, a former criminal defense attorney, he’s a longtime fan of Howard Stern who started hosting the show in May 2009, in the WPRK Studio at Rollins College. He’s been doing it ever since, every Tuesday at 4 p.m.
“This is one of the last small independent radio stations in Florida,” Justice said, sitting in the lounge just outside the studio. Outloud Orlando has been a radio program aimed at Greater Orlando’s gay and lesbian community for the past 17 years, and past hosts have included Christopher Alexander Manley, who runs the Gay Days celebration every June, and Michael Vance, executive director at The Center, Orlando’s gay and lesbian community center on Mills Avenue.
“I came along and started co-hosting with him in 2009,” Justice said.
For the past two years, the show truly has been his “baby.” In an era of political correctness, Justice has taken the show in the opposite direction, tossing aside concerns about offending anyone with the content, but heightening concerns about being potentially bland and forgettable.
“I grew up a child admiring the career of Howard Stern,” he said. “I definitely have my own take on doing radio. I don’t want to be Howard Stern. There’s only one Howard Stern. But I can evaluate the ideas behind attention to detail, and being entertaining to people.”

Outloud Orlando: The Homo Happy Hour is broadcast on Tuesdays at 4 p.m.

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A self-proclaimed “military brat,” Justice said for a long time he was a lot more reluctant to publicly acknowledge his homosexuality. But today, those days are over.
“I’ve only been out for three years,” he said. “I never identified myself that way, but as a guy with all this other stuff – who happened to be gay.”
That attitude had an impact on the way he hosts Outloud Orlando. Justice said he isn’t trying to wage war with the straight world, and welcomes as many straight listeners as he can get.
“I’m trying to do away with the us-versus-them mentality,” he said. “An avid lover of Key West, my theme has always been that we’re one big family. It may be a dysfunctional family, but we’re still one big family.”
Not everyone in the local gay community appreciates his approach, he noted.
“One of the big things I’ve learned is that the mature GLBT community, some of them are so set in their ways that my show is considered an affront to what a gay show should be,” he said. “But I make my basic decisions based on what I think will be entertaining. When I choose a guest, I say, ‘Is this someone who will be engaging for my listeners to hear?’ Everyone has a story to tell. This radio show has been a great way to share people’s stories.“
His approach appears to be working. Outloud Orlando now averages around 2,000 listeners, and from all over the globe, since the show can be picked up not only on 91.5 FM, but also on Justice’s Facebook page or on the Internet at http://www.outloudorlando.com/. The audience is definitely not all queer, he added.
“There’s nothing that makes me more happy than when people befriend me on Facebook or write in and say, ‘I’m not gay but I love your show,’ “ Justice said. “The show has completely evolved to a new level.”

Justice hosts Outloud Orlando: The Homo Happy Hour in the WPRK Studio at Rollins College. (Photo by Michael Freeman).

So has the audience, said his co-host, Daniel Haas.
“We’ve been getting more and more Canadians,” he said. “The Canadians really like us.”
Justice said that’s because the show aims to be entertaining and funny – not confrontational and angry.
“I’m really glad we’ve been able to get away with being on this station,” he said. “It’s a show that goes on without any restrictions as much as can be.”
And if it sounds peculiar to some conservative listeners to hear Justice talk about seeing his father naked, interviewing drunken gay men at local clubs, planning a trip to a local bath house, or losing a challenge to stay celibate for a month – “I did fail the celibacy challenge,” Justice declared, adding “I was just using sex as a complete ego boost” – his co-host Rob Ward said this particular show had been surprisingly tame.
“This is one of the least TMI hours we’ve ever had,” he said.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

Federal tax charges against Guetzloe go before a judge on June 8

Doug Guetzloe, host of The Guetzloe Report, will face a federal judge on tax evasion charges next week.

ORLANDO — Political consultant Doug Guetzloe, now in the Orange County Jail, will appear before Judge Donald P. Dietrich on June 8 to face federal tax evasion charges.
Guetzloe’s hearing will be at 10:45 a.m. in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division.
A Writ of Habeas Corpus Ad Prosequendum was issued on May 25 for Guetzloe to be brought to the court next Wednesday. The political consultant and host of The Guetzloe Report on the Phoenix Network is facing two counts of willful failure to file a return, a misdemeanor.
Guetzloe stands accused of having failed to file returns on nearly $187,000 in income in 2005, and more than $188,000 in 2006.
Guetzloe is now in protective custody at the Orange County Jail, where he’s serving a 60-day sentence for a campaign law violation, also a misdemeanor charge. In the order for Guetzloe to appear before Judge Dietrich, the warden of the Orange County Jail has been instructed to deliver custody of Guetzloe to the United States Marshal.
The court order requires the United States Marshal to “have the body of the said Douglas M. Guetzloe now detained in custody as aforesaid, under safe and secure conduct, before this Court by or before 10:45 a.m. on June 8 … for initial appearance on criminal charges.”
At that hearing, it’s likely the judge will set bail for the defendant.
Guetzloe’s current sentence in Orange County Jail dates back to 2006, when he was charged with a first degree misdemeanor for sending out a political mailer during a Winter Park mayoral election. Guetzloe is a well-known political activist who has long been associated with the Florida Republican Party and conservative, anti-tax causes, although in the past year he’s also been a consultant to the Tea Party of Florida, which advocates limited government. He’s also the founder of the group Ax The Tax.
Guetzloe was charged with a first degree misdemeanor because he did not include the term ‘paid electioneering communication’ on the ad — which reproduced the arrest report of one of the candidates — as required by Florida law, or put his name on it as the person who paid for the ad.
In November 2006, Guetzloe pleaded no contest to 14 misdemeanor counts under state election laws, and Judge Jeffrey Arnold sentenced him to 60 days in jail. Guetzloe appealed, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled that he could be prosecuted for his failure to include ‘paid electioneering communication’ on the mail out.
Judge Arnold ordered Guetzloe to report to the Orange County Jail by noon on May 11, and imposed a $1,000 fine on the political consultant, and $50 in court costs. The judge also denied a motion by Guetzloe’s attorney, Fred O’Neal, to allow Guetzloe to be released on bail or to let him serve his sentence under home confinement.
Guetzloe is in protective custody at the jail because he’s well known in the community. He had initially qualified for a work release program, and was taking part in the seven day work release orientation he was brought back into custody pending the federal charges.
“Doug Guetzole was removed from Work Release per our policy due (to) him having new federal charges,” the Orange County Jail’s public information office noted in an email to Freeline Media.
Guetzloe is the founder of The Phoenix Network, a radio station that broadcasts live over the Internet, through a host Web site, www.PhoenixNetwork.US.
Guetzloe had been scheduled to return to the studio at Hovey Court in downtown Orlando to oversee the radio station, although it was not clear if the work release program for inmates would have been allowed him to return as host of The Guetzloe Report show, which airs at 11 a.m. daily.
In the meantime, the station continues to operate in his absence. Heidi Bolduc, program director for the fledgling station, announced on Tuesday that Phoenix was launching a new program that she would co-host, called the Phoenix Interview Hour.
“Essentially the show will be focused around interviews conducted with various authors, website developers, and/or political figures,” Boldac wrote in an email announcing the new half-hour show, which she will co-host with Victoria Torres. It premieres on Tuesday, June 7 and will be on the air from 12:30-1 p.m.
Guetzloe has turned down all media requests for interviews.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

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