Monday, June 30, 2008

Character Relationships

Great stories require believable characters and they must interact properly with other characters.
Since relationships are the focus of my fictional work, this is a really important aspect of writing to me.
And ultimately, relationships are the number one thing in life as well!
So some fantastic books on the subject of relationships-
The Five Love Languages and The Five Love Languages of Apology by Gary Chapman
Personality Plus by Florence Littuaer
Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus by John Gray Ph.D.
How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends by Don Gabor
The Friendship Factor and Bringing Out the Best in People by Alan Loy McGinnis

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not All Authors Are Odd!

Recently I realized that I am just a little too normal to be an author!
But not all of us are odd! The weirdest thing about me is that I am a vegan - a complete vegetarian. Plus I am a bit optimistic. That is definitely not a standard author trait, though.
But relating to our audience, and communicating with them, requires some normalcy! And I don't mean conforming to a standard normal - I mean no weird personality traits or habits. Good speaking skills are a must, as we find ourselves with an audience quite often. (And lousy speakers really stand out!) We need our fans & readers to feel comfortable with us, like they could be our friends...
None of my close friends are vegetarians, so I guess that's not a hindrance for me!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Editing, Progress, & Stuff!

The first four books are edited and done! Woo-hoo! (Or Yoo-hoo if you like that particular drink.)

I can now complete edits & revisions on Book V. I completed "Heather" in January and it has sat there quietly for several months now. I felt a break would be good for it!

Also, a message came in from someone who is reading Book IV right now. He stated that it was causing him to think about his relationship with God. That really touched me!

Book festival tomorrow! Only one this month, too...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

New Listing

I have a new speaker listing at My Quality Writing -

If you are an author or speaker, contact Dennis for a listing!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Author Mary Connealy

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
Calico Canyon Barbour Publishing, Inc (July 1, 2008)
Mary Connealy
MARY CONNEALY is an award-winning author and playwright, married to Ivan a farmer, and the mother of four beautiful daughters, Joslyn, Wendy, Shelly and Katy. They live in Decatur, Nebraska. Mary is a GED Instructor by day and an author by night. And there is always a cape involved in her transformation. Mary has also written
Petticoat Ranch, Golden Days, and her latest, Alaska Brides that will debut in August.
Let yourself be swept away by this fast-paced romance, featuring Grace Calhoun, an instructor of reading, writing, and arithmetic, who, in an attempt to escape the clutchs of a relentless pursuer, runs smack dab into even more trouble with the 6R's - widower Daniel Reeves, along with his five rowdy sons. When a marriage is forced upon this hapless pair - two people who couldn't dislike each other more - an avalanche isn't the only potential danger lurking amid the shadows of Calico Canyon. Will they make it out alive? Or end up killing each other in the process?
Running from her Abusive foster-father, a man intent on revenge, the prim and perfectly proper Grace Calhoun takes on the job of schoolmarm in Mosqueros, Texas.
As if being a wanted woman isn't bad enough, Grace has her hands full with the five rowdy and rambunctious Reeves boys─tough Texan tormenters who seem intent on making her life miserable. When, in an attempt to escape from the clutches of her pursuer, Grace is forced to marry widower Daniel Reeves, father of the miniature monsters, she thinks things couldn't get any worse. Or could they?
Daniel Reeves, happy in his all-male world, is doing the best he can, raising his five boys─rascals, each and every one. Since his wife's death in childbirth, Daniel has been determined never to risk marriage again.
When God throws Grace and Danielt together─two people who couldn't detest each other more─the trouble is only beginning.
Will this hapless pair find the courage to face life together in the isolated Calico Canyon? Or are their differences too broad a chasm to bridge?
If you would like to read the first chapter go HERE
The book link is:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Author Opportunity Surprise

Sometimes one goes and goes and goes, never knowing if they are making an impact...

I received an invite today to a literary weekend event - and the person who referred me was unknown to me! But the chairperson had been to my website, knew of my seminars, and I was first on her list to contact outside of their county. I have been asked to do a publishing workshop - maybe two - and it is a paying position. The chairperson was very excited to include me and was impressed by my website as well. I hope to meet with them in a couple months as planning begins.

I could never have planned this! The person who referred me apparently attended one of my seminars and was impressed. I'm just - WOW!

Just another example of the incredible things that will happen when you just keep moving forward...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Seven Habits

From the fantastic book "Jump Start Your Book Sales" by Marilyn & Tom Ross!

"The 7 Habits of Highly Sucessful Publishers" (summarized - go pick up a copy!):

1. - Own your niche. Decide what major subject area you'll publish in and concentrate on it exclusively.

2. - Select highly promotable authors and treat them as your partners. Their passion & energy make them the book's best salesperson.

3. - Cultivate word-of-mouth.

4. - Make it easy. To get people to do what you want, make it easy for them to cooperate.

5. - Ask for what you want.

6. - Apply the 80/20 rule. You'll get 80% of your PR results (or orders) from 20% of your efforts (or customers.)

7. - Follow up follow up, FOLLOW UP. ...the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Editing & Creating

Book III is now off to the editor and I should have my own edits complete on Book IV this week.

Then I can finally complete Book V! I finished writing in January, but still have not transfered it all to the computer and done final edits. Yes, I am one of the few who had-writes everything first before transferring it to the computer...

Still working with PageMaker... No idea how to tell it that I want page 11 to be called #1 though... Sigh....

I've already got a test reader for the new version of Book I, too! Fingers crossed...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Websites to Explore

I come upon new websites for writers, authors & speakers on a daily basis. Here's a couple you might find useful:

[link] My Quality Writing lists authors, speakers, writers, etc.

[link] Sharing With Writers & Readers does just that!

[link] Publicly Available Angst has thoughts on writing & publishing.

And [link] Reed 'Em & Weep is a collection of rejection letters, just so you don't feel so alone!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Author Mike Dellosso

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
The Hunted (Realms - June 3, 2008)
by Mike Dellosso

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Mike now lives in Hanover, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Jen, and their three daughters. He writes a monthly column for Writer . . .Interrupted. He was a newspaper correspondent/columnist for over three years and has published several articles for The Candle of Prayer inspirational booklets. Mike also has edited and contributed to numerous Christian-themed Web sites and e-newsletters. ike is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, the Relief Writer's Network, and International Thriller Writers. He received his BA degree in sports exercise and medicine from Messiah College and his MBS degree in theology from Master's Graduate School of Divinity.
You can read a great interview with Mike, over here on TitleTrakk

A town's deadly secret will drive one man to the edge of his faith...
After learning of the disappearance of his nephew, Joe Saunders returns to his childhood home of Dark Hills to aid in the search effort. When Caleb is found, badly mauled and clinging to life, Joe embarks on a mission to find the beast responsible. But the more Joe delves into the fabric of his old hometown, the more he realizes Dark Hills has a dark secret, shrouded for three generations in a deadly code of silence.
As Joe unravels the truth behind a series of unexplained animal attacks, murder, and corruption at the highest level of law enforcement, he is led to a final showdown where he must entrust his very life into God's hands. Will his young faith be strong ehough to battle the demonic forces of The Hunted.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE.
Mike Dellosso could very well be the next Frank Peretti-if you liked The Oath and Monster, you are going to love The Hunted. --C.J. Darlington, Cofounder and book editor,
A spine-tingling tale of hidden secrets, buried hopes, and second chances. A story best read with all the lights on and an extra flashlight--just in case! --Amy Wallace, author of Ransomed Dreams
Mike Dellosso's pins-and-needles thriller hurtles the reader down a dark and twisted path. I dare you to take this one home! --Jill Elizabeth Nelson, author of the To Catch a Thief suspense series
With hints of Frank Peretti and Stephen King, The Hunted is a chilling debut." --Creston Mapes, author of Nobody
A vicious enemy, a family secret, a thirst for revenge, and a need for reconciliation all drive The Hunted from intriguing beginning to thrilling conclusion." --Kathryn Mackel, author of Vanished
Read this someplace safe as you experience the incredibly descriptive world of The Hunted. And sleep with the lights on. --Austin Boyd, author of Mars Hill Classified trilogy

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm Saved!

Ask and ye shall receive - my buddy, author p.m.terrell, knows PageMaker top to bottom!

Also in the news -

Lynn Tincher has an ezine and is looking for authors to interview!

This is her profile on Book Marketing Network:

Author interviews are fun to do! I look forward to hosting p.m.terrell this fall when her next book, "Exit 22" comes out and hosting Bob Johnson and his 9-11 book, "I Saw God".

Monday, June 16, 2008

PageMaker & Photos

Just an update on progress...

Or the lack thereof!

My Adobe PageMaker 7.0 came in this weekend and I've been slogging through the program. Starting to get a grasp on it, but the thought of actually putting together all of the pieces into a book and it coming our correct have me nervous! Wish it were like Nike and had a "Just Do It' button!

And finally had some professional photos taken this weekend. A friend and professional photographer took them Sunday and I can't wait to see them. Nothing is more difficult than taking them yourself, either with a novice helping or on a tripod. So looking forward to some good ones for my website and new brochure.

Working on edits for Book IV now - hope to have it completed in two weeks and then I can package up & complete Book V!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

And the Winner is...

I had a contest on my Deviant Art site, challenging my Watchers to create a prose or poem describing this scene:

Kira73 won with this beautiful & sad tale:


As I walked down the quaint main street of my hometown, I wondered to myself if things could possibly get any worse, although I knew the answer already. They couldn’t. I had sunk as low as I could go.

Living with my parents at forty-one wasn’t exactly what I had aspired to do with my life. Who would? After college, I had landed a job at one of the most prestigious emerging software companies on the West Coast. Shortly after moving to California, I met a woman who loved me enough to take her vows with me, and we made three wonderful children together. We had a beautiful house in the suburbs with two fancy BMW's in the driveway. Life couldn’t have been better. But somewhere along the way, I had screwed up and lost everything. A failure at all that I had achieved and held dear to me those many years ago.

Coming home was my only choice. It was either that or surviving on the streets somewhere in Los Angeles. Even my friends had refused to help me out after things got out of hand. So the decision to move back in with the folks wasn’t that difficult. I missed Mom’s southern cooking, anyway, and she missed her only child. 'Her little boy', she still called me. Dad was a little less than enthusiastic about it, but he kept his mouth shut about my problems and agreed to let me stay with them rent free. He understood my issues personally. But there was one condition to our arrangement…I had to go to these ridiculous get-togethers two times a week. And tonight was my first one.

Once I arrived at the one and only Presbyterian church in town, I hesitated, checking my watch. Ten minutes early. Making uncomfortable small talk with a bunch of strangers while we all waited for this thing to start was not exactly what I had in mind for a Friday night. But neither was being here in the first place. So I stalled, using a smoke as my excuse not to go inside. I lit up my cigarette, inhaled its bargain basement flavor and exhaled, a cough soon accompanying it. I am never going to get used to this habit...especially when this is all I can afford. The light breeze blew the smoke back into my eyes, causing them to tear along with the hacking. Embarrassed at being the novice smoker that I was, I turned my back to the wind. And that’s when I noticed it on the opposite side of the street.

Hidden beneath layers of vines and weeds lie a house which had seen better days. Much better days. What a dump! For some reason, the original occupants had decided to abandon the place, leaving it to be taken over by its surroundings. I wondered why. Maybe they decided living in an older home was too much? Maybe they just gave up? Whatever the case was, after they had left the gnarled vines had slowly crept onto and even into the dwelling, strangling the supports which held it up and rendering it uninhabitable. I shook my head at the horrid eyesore. Something seriously needed to be done about the place and its troubles. Not only was it unattractive, but it could be a danger to anyone who went near it. Which, oddly, is exactly what I felt compelled to do. After throwing my cheap half-smoked cigarette to the ground, I crossed the two lane street to take a closer look.

On further inspection of the has-been, I noticed through the glassless windows that the insides were gutted. Empty. Just weary studs and trusses stood where walls once would have been, and I could see further evidence of Nature’s invasion wrapped around the frail timbers. This place seemed to weep in front of me, and for some reason I felt obligated to see more of its unfortunate predicament. I went around the side of the house and soon discovered the kitchen, which I could see clearly through a gaping hole in the disintegrating exterior wall. At least I assumed it was the kitchen, although it bore no resemblance to a cheery area for gatherings. Rusted cast iron pipes throughout the open walls hinted that water once ran to this room. But there was no sink, cabinets, counters or even flooring for that matter. Just oxidation and vines. Vast masses of those smothering vines. Like a deliberate lingering sickness, they had completely taken over and claimed this building as their own.

Looking down, I caught a glimpse of numerous pale bugs as they scurried across the gray cedar boards of the broken outer wall. It took me a few moments to recognize what they were. Termites. Since the vines had ripped the skin of the house apart, it was no problem for the nasty creatures to get within the soft rotting wood, eating away at the house from the inside out. It was the final stage of the disease for this home…there was no hope left. This place might as well be dead.

I was sure at one point in time, this house was beautiful. Friendly. A place where people wanted to be. But years of neglect and abuse had taken their ultimate toll on it, leaving it unsafe, hollow and dilapidated. I couldn’t help but feel pity for the house. It was at the mercy of the elements, helpless to its doomed plight as it stood in eternal and progressive disrepair. It couldn’t do a thing about its problems.

But I could…

Sighing, I accepted this simple truth. I could do something. But did I want to travel that road? It would not be easy and I knew it. But if I could get back a small piece of what I had lost, it would be worth it. Wouldn't it? I made my decision and crossed the street once more.

Many curious eyes focused on me as I entered the church's activity hall, somehow much later than I had intended. Several rows of folding chairs were filled with people, some of whom I recognized from my youth. They all make this look so easy. Seeming to sense my nervousness, the leader smiled warmly and directed me to have a seat. So I did while the rest of the gathering stared on, waiting for an introduction from the newbie. After a few awkward moments of silence, I swallowed the lump in my throat and took my first step.

“Hello. My name is Robert…and I am an alcoholic.”

©2008 *Kira73

Visit the original at :

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ask a Publisher or Editor Part Two

The members of The Writer's Meow compiled a list of questions and ten publishers & editors were gracious enough to respond. Below is part two of their responses. Thank you to all who participated!

6- What genre is currently selling best?

A better question you might ask is, "What genre of book is easiest for me to sell?" Non-fiction is the easiest type of book to promote, especially how-to books. Whether you self-publish or have someone else publish your book, you will be instrumental in promoting it. Traditional publishers, if they promote a book at all, typically promote your book for no more than three months and then stop.
It's a good idea to study the bestseller lists and look at the authors and topics. Ask yourself why they might be bestsellers. Some bestsellers are by long-time best-selling authors. Others are helped by Oprah appearances. Others are simply timely.
Don't ever stop writing what you love to write. But if you want to sell what you write, do your homework first.

For my company, niche market how-to.

Do not be concerned with genre, especially if you write fiction. By the time you scribble out a book on a given genre then that genre may have come and gone. Or, the publisher will just say to you, that they "already have tons of books like yours".
Westerns were a “dead” genre for many years, and then come ‘Lonesome Dove’. Think about that.
Here is my way, I write about what I know first of all. That means what I have experienced and reasoned out. Most of my work is in the self-help genre. So I write about PTSD, adrenal stress conditioning and its effect on learning and memory etc. But I wrote novel to, Dog Soldiers MC.
I never expected it to sell really, and it has not. I wrote it simply because I wanted to.
Now, my only novel gets excellent reviews and even from two best selling authors as well. But that alone will not even get me a return phone call form any publisher or a written reply to my query. So do not allow yourself to be discouraged by this industry. It is just a business. Never feel some publisher’s rejection of your work is reflection on its quality. Publishers do not care in general about such an abstract concept as “literary quality”. Their rejection of your work only means this from that publisher: “I do not think I can sell your book and make a good profit”.

Not literary fiction (which is my favourite and the one I tend to work in!), and not poetry. But that's no reason not to work in it. If you're writing solely for money, you should be taking Peter Bowerman's excellent advice (The Well Fed Writer) and go into copywriting. Otherwise it's all about creating something new and wonderful. The money won't come until you're really well established in your career, or already famous in some other career, or as lucky as a lottery winner. That said, non-fiction how to books are much better sellers than anything else. If it's lifestyle or diet related you'll probably sell copies even if it isn't well written. After that, I would take an educated guess and say young adult books do better than adult books, and young adult books with a fantasy theme and empowered youth do best of all (but the market is glutted). Then romance, chick-lit, thrillers, sci-fi. Probably in that order. But you should never write a genre book because it's selling. The market is fickle and today's bestseller is tomorrow's remainder. You have to write what you read, what you love, what you believe in, the way you see the world. Anything else will surely fail.

7- Are there certain steps I need to take to get my book out there, or does the publisher take care of that?

Whether you sell your manuscript to a traditional publisher or publish it yourself, there are many steps between manuscript and publication--and many steps after publication--that the author is involved with. The author (including the self-publishing author) has to work--professionally and collegially--with a development editor, who helps shape the book in terms of overall quality; a copyeditor, who focuses on the details of grammar, punctuation, and style; and a production editor, who shepherds the project, arranges for design, composition, and proofreading, and theoretically sends the author finished pages for a final check before printing. Depending on the publisher and the details of your contract, you may also have input into design and cover design decisions. Around and after publication, the publisher will expect the author to be a full participant in any publicity activities--online and radio interviews and possibly the dreaded book tour. These days all publishers expect authors to shoulder a significant part of the publicity effort, and saying you're too shy won't get you off the hook.

You always are responsible for promoting your book. Many writers don't like to hear that writing is a business as well as a joy. You need to remember that no one cares as much about your work as you do. A good publisher will do certain things to sell books. But publishers generally have other books to sell and other things to worry about. Once your book has basked in the sun for its fifteen minutes, publishers will move it into the shade to make room for the next big thing. This becomes all the more urgent now that digital technology can be used to keep books "in print" long after they have stopped selling. This often makes it difficult for authors to get their rights back even when the book has stopped selling. One way to avoid that dilemma is to use your own personal efforts to keep your book selling.

The publisher certainly doesn't take care of that, and that is pretty much the same whether your publisher is a big house or a small one. The author needs to get his or her own book out there, and even better, has to get his or her own self out there -- making connections, creating buzz and getting his or her name on people's lips. There are many good books on this topic, so I can only brush the service, but as a quick overview, like real and virtual book tours, blogging, social media (myspace, youtube, twitter, etc), videoconferencing, running courses, creating a website, newsletter, media room, creating videos, talking to people, doing interviews, creating ancilliary art, sending out media releases -- these things are all part and parcel of getting the book out there. Bookstores probably won't sell many books for you unless you're already famous, so relying on this kind of promotion (I've even seen an author doing books signings on Second Life). One good book on the topic which I love is Carolyn Howard Johnson's The Frugal Book Promotor, which provides a ton of low cost ideas to help authors promote their books on a shoestring budget. I've used it tons.

What will happen on the day your book is published?
Nothing at all will happen unless you make it happen. Yes, you are able to give freshly printed copies to your family and friends. You can take copies to the next meeting of your writers' club and put them out on the "member's books" table for everyone to see and admire. But such pleasures do not put money in your back account, get books on the bookstore shelves, or convert you overnight into a media celebrity. When such things - at least some of them - do happen, they do so as the result of hard work, in part by the publisher but mostly be the author. What a publisher can do is limited by time and money. And such companies as IUniverse (see below) are very clear about it: they do no marketing whatsoever. They leave such things entirely up to the writer who publishes with them. The work of getting visibility for your book, getting it reviewed and getting it sold is slow, painstaking, and constant. It must be carried on relentlessly by taking advantage of every single opportunity for promotion that comes your way. (See the letter of Ruby Boxcar in Appendix One.) Small publishers do not have time, staff or financial resources to keep up day-to-day promotion over the long haul; and the big publishers will simply abandon your book in favor of those that are bringing in immediate big bucks.

In my opinion, the age of authors doing little or nothing to promote their book ended a century ago. Competition today is fierce. Those authors who are prepared to supplement their publisher's efforts are most likely to succeed --- and it doesn't matter what size the publisher. We frequently receive submissions from authors previously published by top national publishers who felt that neither they nor their books received any attention. Authors need to understand that there are two modes of publishing. One is to focus on a small number of well marketed best-selling titles. The other is to publish a large number of "adequately" marketed titles. Fiction tends to fall into the adequately-marketed path. Larger publishers have more resources to focus on marketing, but also tend to publish an enormous number of books, most of which will only be adequately marketed. Smaller publishers tend to provide more personal attention and more focused marketing, but also have fewer resources to provide. My personal preference is for my authors to focus on their local marketing, freeing me to focus on national marketing. Since national marketing is slower to react and more expensive, the local marketing (especially in the beginning) is critical to the book's success. Given that the quality of two projects are equal, the author who is unwilling or unable to assist today's publishers will be rejected in favor of the author that will help ensure the project's success.

8- Regarding the very likely fact that Shakespeare, Marlowe, Wilde and I guess others as well - gave nothing on technique - but just wrote their poems as they did think they are good - what do you think about technique when writing poetry? Would you just publish such poetry you could find the flow within - or would you give a try and understand the writer and what he wants to express?

Poets need editors, especially poets who ask questions in incomplete, unparsable, badly punctuated sentences. The point of editing is to improve the work. Editors work in service to authors, in other words, and are not to be feared. A good editor will help the poet perfect the poem, not run roughshod over it with rules and techniques.

Poetry is not made with ideas of "what a writer wants to express," but with words, rhythms, sounds, images. The difference between "my girlfriend has a beatiful body" and "Whenas in silks my Julia goes...."

9- Is there anywhere that you know of, a database or the like, with information on Editors and Publishers, by which I mean, the individuals. I'm interested in information on their lives and journey, rather than just contact details. Perhaps any books by editors/publishers?

No, why don't you think about writing one? But use the net and see what is out there now. But that does not mean you can't sell another title on this subject. I have a friend who was a A multimillionaire. He then made a business mistake and was all but overnight rendered all but homeless. So, he wrote a book on this phenomena and he went to interview other millionaires and once millionaires. The book sold decently. Now he is writing another book on big lottery winners. As you may expect, most of them lose all their winings too.

None that I know of.

10- How long have you been doing what you do? How have you progressed through the ranks/when did you?

I started Silvercat in 1988. I published books for about 10 years. Then my distributor went bankrupt. I turned to book packaging, editing, and consulting almost in self-defense. Then I returned to publishing in a very limited way a few years ago. I get to work with good people and rub elbows with a few famous ones, and I'm able to give back as much as I've received. I'm never going to be a major player. But I like my niche and I love the business, so I am content to exchange psychic rewards for some of the financial ones.

I've been editing since 1960 and setting type slightly longer than that.

I decided early on that I wanted to earn my living "with words and books." And with hard work and a lot of trial and error, I have done just that.
I took the usual detour that many would-be writers take: I became a teacher of literature. In my case it was comparative literature in the University of North Carolina system. I published the usual "scholarly" articles in journals that nobody reads, but soon discovered that I was far more interested in the writing than in the scholarship. I decided to branch out. I began sending out queries and sold my first article, "How to Teach about Poetry" to a magazine called Teacher's Scholastic. Not long thereafter, the University of Georgia Press published my first book, Mallarmé and the Language of Mysticism. Then, in a great stroke of luck (but luck that came about because I was a relentless sender-out of queries) I sold an over-the-transom article to Esquire magazine that managed to be featured on the front cover. With that clip to send out, I was a made man in the freelance business.
But like an actor who itches to try directing, I wanted to try my hand at editing and publishing my own periodicals. In 1979 I was able to buy a weekly newspaper with no cash up front by assuming some of its debts. As it turns out, I was a pretty good editor. I increased circulation by 400% and ad revenues by an even larger percentage over a three-year period before selling out to one of the newspaper chains. I started and published many magazines, including Tar Heel: The Magazine of North Carolina (a statewide magazine), The New East magazine, NCEast Magazine (regional magazines) and Washington Magazine (a city magazine). I published Welcome to Wilmington, a newcomer guide, and the North Carolina Travel and Tourism Guide. I wrote extensively of my own magazines, dealing with freelancers from the other side of the editorial desk. I know what freelancers need to learn about querying magazines and writing saleable articles because, in my role as editor, I saw almost everybody doing it wrong.
I started Venture Press, my home based publishing company, to self-publish my own books. This worked well. Titles such as How to Make $100,000 a Year in Desktop Publishing and How to Publish Your Poetry became Writers Digest Book Club selections. What Happens When Your Book is Published and What You Can Do about It is a successful eBook. I later expanded Venture Press and began to publish books by other writers as well.
The result of all of this? I learned, step-by-step and from both sides of the editorial desk, how to succeed in freelance writing and in writing and publishing books, magazines and newspapers. Now my web site, WritersMentor.Net, will offer you every trade secret I have mastered, a very great deal of it free to you.
In order to support myself in the modest but delightfully civilized style to which I have become accustomed, I still write, publish and sell my books, and I do one-on-one consultation, workshops and seminars for a fee. But mainly I "gladly learn and gladly teach" (as Chaucer said of his Clerk of Oxenford). If you want to learn how the writing and publishing business really works, PubMart.Com is a good, friendly place to start... PS. You can call me, Dr. Tom Williams, directly at 912.352.0404. I answer my own phone!

I had my first book published 22 years ago. I published it for two reasons. I knew something through personal experience that most people did not know about. That was hand to hand fighting for your life, not martial arts. I wanted the truth to be out there on this subject as I clearly saw it was not out there. There was only disinformation out there really.
But I knew that while the book might sell, it would never make me a living. I wrote it to gain a "platform" to teach self-defense (not martial arts). It worked and now I am internationally recognized in this field and people come from many parts of the world to the million dollar training facility I have built in the Rocky Mountains where I also live.
So please understand get this very important idea, my royalties over say those 20 years are no more I would guess than 50,000 or 60,000 dollars. That means about (20 years X 12 months = 240 months). Hence 240 months into say $60,000 total royalties would just be $250 dollars a month.
But on teaching self-defense and fee paid I have made many, many times more money than on royalties form the sales of my books. I also have most of my time to spend as I choose.
On the down side the IRS is garnishing 85% of my income streams now.
I now make as much money of my self-published books as i do on the ones through my publisher now. But I got the name first, the platform first through my publsiher that now gives me the "fan base" and name recognition to sell self-published works. Do not over look CreateSpace.COM either as a potential way to develop a personal platform.

I started out in the early 1980s as a newspaper reporter, so I know the pain of being edited. I got my first publishing job in 1984, and that was with a very small company in Colorado. I eventually moved on to Simon & Schuster (Pocket Books) in Manhattan, and then to Churchill Livingstone (a Manhattan medical publisher later subsumed first by W.B. Saunders and then by Elsevier). When I worked in-house, I always remained on the production side of things, preferring to work with freelance copyeditors and the people who get a manuscript made into a book rather than sit in a lot of meetings with acquisition and managing editors. The more experience I gained, the bigger the title I was given, the more responsibilities I had, and the larger the raises I got. Being smart and asking a lot of questions helped too, as did a willingness to go the extra mile for my job.
I went solo in 1995 as a full-time freelance copyeditor after tiring of train commute and wanting time with my children, and now I work on a freelance basis with in-house production editors and managing editors and sometimes directly with authors. It's always a pleasure to work with authors because I get to know the mind and the person behind the story. Authors teach me every bit as much as I teach them, and that's wonderful.

11- Would a twenty influence your decision in any way?

This is funny, but it's also timely. You'd be surprised how often we receive submissions that include an offer to cover some amount of the cost of publication and marketing. I remember one that offered up to $50,000, which, of course, begged the question why he hadn't been published yet...
Frankly, I think the issue of author co-participation in the publishing process (a polite way of saying "bribe") is becoming a hotter and hotter topic of worry (not discussion, worry) among publishers. The increase in print-on-demand vanity publishing has made it a tempting market to get into. There's a lot of sensitivity in the publishing world concerning vanity and subsidy presses, the ethical questions about co-participation, and the risk of being perceived as a subsidy publisher --- which is why there's little discussion --- but that market is getting so valuable that I'd be surprised if you didn't find the big national publishers had become quiet investors in the growing POD phenomena.
However, there is a big difference between printing an author's book and making it available to the trade distributors (POD publishing) and trade publishing. As project quality decreases so does the potential for author participation to impresses us. Quality, in this case, must be king. I would prefer not to say that, like marketing, given that two projects are equal, the author willing to reduce our risk will be selected over the author unwilling to do so --- but I've yet to be faced with that decision. Frankly, I would prefer that author's not make the offer so that I never have to make the choice.
(Personally, though, I react very well to cookies. Especially chocolate oatmeal cookies. Yum!)

Show me the money.


Lorilyn Bailey
CEO, NewsBuzz, Inc. Founder of - Promote your book through radio interviews
Author and Publisher: The Original Lovers' Questionnaire Book and The Little Book of Online Romance
Raleigh, NC

Dick MargulisDick Margulis Creative ServicesEditing • Book Design • Book Production

Tom Williams, PhD, is the author of the forthcoming "Self-Publishers Bible" (summer, 2008) and of such standards in the field as "Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Weekly Newspaper.", (912) 352-0404. 1317 Pine Ridge Drive, Savannah, GA. 31406

Peyton Quinn
Author of :Freedom From Fear: Taking Back Control Of Your Life & Dissolving Depression (0975999605 , Real Fighting: Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training (0873648935) And the novel, Dog Soldiers MC (1598004182 )

E. Keith (JB) Howick, Jr.President
WindRiver Publishing, Inc.

Robert GoodmanSilvercat / Written and Printed Communication Services www.silvercat.comSilver Threads / Memoirs and Memoir Services
Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader at She is the author of Sleep Before Evening, The Art of Assessment, and Quark Soup. Her work has appeared in a wide range of journals, and has won many awards.

Barbara Friend Ish
Credentials: Publisher, Mercury Retrograde Press
Mercury Retrograde is a new independent press based in Atlanta, Ga. We publish fantasy, science fiction and the unclassifiable; we are dedicated to unconventional authors and works that might undeservedly slip through the cracks at bigger houses, and to developing stories and artists that matter to us. Our first book, Shorn by Larissa N. Niec, is in pre-release now and scheduled for official release on October 1st. We plan to publish two books this year, three or four next year, and to ramp up to ten to twelve per year. I never expect Mercury Retrograde to get terribly big: I see us as a boutique house, and I want to always remain intimately involved with the entire life-cycle of each book and the development of each author, and in order to do justice to more books than that I’d have to give up my own creative life.
We are accepting submissions; guidelines are on the website.

Katharine O'Moore-KlopfKOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
Member of the Editorial Freelancers
Member of the Council of Science Editors

Karen Schader
KAS Editing
copyediting -- substantive editing -- project management

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bookstore to Avoid

I'm rarely negative, but for those in NC, I have a bookstore you should avoid.

ABDebs Books & Gifts in Knightdale, NC put out a PR seeking authors for a big event. Local book clubs were invited to come meet local authors and get to know their works.

When I called, the owner was indifferent to me and told me to email her my information. I figured she was having a bad day. I sent my information, but never received a reply.

Well, my friend p.m.terrell was schedule to attend this event. Trish is an awesome person and accomplished mystery writer. She is definitely my hero! A moment in Trish's presence will bless you, because she is so genuine and caring and positive.

When Trish called to confirm that her books had been ordered, the owner was rude to her! Rude to the point that Trish did something she's never done before - she backed out of the event.

Now, indifference to me is one thing, but to treat someone as sweet as Trish so rudely is inexcuseable! And Trish isn't a nobody - she's an accomplished author with several books and two movie deals in the works.

So, ABDebs Books & Gifts is definitely off my list! There's enough other book stores in NC - with owners, managers & employees that are awesome - that I won't be hurting for places to visit!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Author Robert Liparulo

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing a double pair
House of Dark ShadowsandWatcher In The Woods
(Books 1 and 2 in the Dreamhouse Kings Series)
Thomas Nelson (May 6, 2008)
by Robert Liparulo

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.
Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.
Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.
Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!
And his third book Deadfall. debuted to rave reviews!

House of Dark Shadows(Dreamhouse Kings Book 1)
Dream house...or bad dream?When the Kings move from L.A. to a secluded small town, fifteen-year-old Xander is beyond disappointed. He and his friends loved to create amateur films . . . but the tiny town of Pinedale is the last place a movie buff and future filmmaker wants to land.But he, David, and Toria are captivated by the many rooms in the old Victorian fixer-upper they moved into--as well as the heavy woods surrounding the house. They soon discover there's something odd about the house. Sounds come from the wrong directions. Prints of giant, bare feet appear in the dust. And when David tries to hide in the linen closet, he winds up in locker 119 at his new school.Then the really weird stuff kicks in: they find a hidden hallway with portals leading off to far-off places--in long-ago times. Xander is starting to wonder if this kind of travel is a teen's dream come true . . . or his worst nightmare.
Watcher In The Woods(Dreamhouse Kings Book 2)
It's not just the house that's keeping secrets.Pretending everything's all right is harder than it sounds. But the Kings know that even if they told the truth about the bizarre things happening in their house, no one would believe them. They're hyper-focused on rescuing their lost family member before anyone finds out what's going on. But when a stranger shows up to take their house, their options start dwindling fast. Why would he be so interested in a run-down old place? And what secret is he hiding--just as he hides the scars that crisscross his body?The mystery gets stranger with each passing day. Will the Kings be able to find a way to harness the house's secrets and discover who is watching their every move before another gets snatched into an unknown world?The Dreamhouse Kings Series has three contests that you will not want to miss...Dream the Scene, a weekly "Thanks For Reading Trivia contest, and the Dreamhouse Kings Street Team contest. There are also free bookplates that you can request, and a chapter of each book that you can download!
You can get all those goodies HERE.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Ask a Publisher or Editor!

The members of The Writer's Meow came up with some questions they would ask a publisher or editor. Nine of these talented professionals were gracious enough to respond and the response was so overwhelming, I am posting their replies in two sections!

Part One today!

1- Would you say that's it's safe for a writer to trust someone over the internet who says they'll publish what you write?

Yes, just as soon as the check clears. Let me try to say this in a way that cannot possibly be misunderstood: Publishers pay authors. Authors do not pay publishers. Authors do not pay agents, either. If any part of the transaction involves you pulling out your checkbook or providing a credit card number, stop. And do not sign any document that says you'll pull out your checkbook or credit card at a later date, either. Read the fine print. If you are self-publishing, then YOU are the publisher. That means you own your own block of ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers), you hire and pay an editor, you hire and pay a designer, you hire and pay a publicist, you find and pay a printer, etc. Those are the things a publisher does. You can do some of those things yourself if you have the skills and experience. You can hire a packager to do some of them for you. But the key factor is that you are in control. If you are signed by an agent who sells your manuscript to a traditional publishing company, they pay you an advance (usually) and royalties. In that case, as the publisher, they are in control. A so-called "self-publishing company" is not anything of the sort; it is a vanity press that is in business to separate authors from their money. If you believe otherwise, you are allowing yourself to be deluded. That said, there are legitimate reasons to use the services of a vanity press (subsidy press and publish-on-demand company are other terms for the same thing). For example, if you just want nicely printed holiday gifts or if you are producing a corporate giveaway, one of these companies may have a package that will do the job for you economically. But don't confuse that with publishing.

Never without vetting the publisher carefully. The Internet makes it easy to check on the legitimacy of practically any business or service. E-mail lists and chat rooms allow writers to ask colleagues about their experiences. Most publishers on the Internet probably are above-board, but every business has its scoundrels and naifs, and there are no Internet filters that separate the good guys from the bad. Especially in fields like writing, where aspirations and desires often overwhelm experience, writers need to perform their own due diligence.

This is an excellent question. To be honest, that's exactly what I did when I signed a contract with my novel's publisher BeWrite Books. But it wasn't blind trust. I hadn't actually met my publishers, who are based in the UK -- a different country to mine -- and still haven't! But I did plenty of research on them before I even submitted. I checked on the editors and preditor's website, I asked several of their authors (some of whom I knew from various writing groups) for their candid opinion, and I did plenty of Internet based research. By the time I had a contract in front of me, I felt like I knew at least as much about BeWrite as I knew about Random House or Penguin. Their authors were extremely enthusiastic, many publishing several titles with them, which was the best recommendation I could find. So to cap my response I would say that sometimes you do need to accept that you will be doing business with people you will never physically meet, but blind faith is never a good policy. Doing research on a publisher these days is very easy and well worth investing a couple of hours in.

Despite America's long history of capitalism, the individual often forgets the basic premise of unregulated commerce, caveat emptor ... "let the buyer beware." As digital technology improves the quality, productivity, and economy of printing books the temptation to take a shortcut to publication grows. Just as gambling tends to prey on the poor who look for a swift solution to their problems, online publishing frequently preys on authors who are unaware of or desire to avoid the rigors of traditional publication. It is safe for the educated and wary to utilize the many opportunities for building their writing career that are available on the Internet. It is unsafe for those who refuse to understand the nature of who they're dealing with.

Not safe, and a very risky business.

Of course not. Before entering the publishing world, you need to do a lot of research so that you know how it all works to help you determine what's real and what isn't. Whether you plan to independently (self-) publish or not, you should read the books on publishing by Dan Poynter, and by Tom and Marilyn Ross. Also read John Kremer's "1001 Ways to Market Your Book." They are required reading.
After you've digested that basic information, it's time to talk to others in the business. Join discussion groups, and talk to as people as possible. If you can, attend the annual American Booksellers Assocation's BookExpo America, usually held in Chicago or Los Angeles. If you want to publish your book yourself, join the Publishers Marketing Group (, and attend their seminars.

In general, no, not without some sort of corroborating evidence. There are an unfortunate number of people hanging around the fringes of the business who are making it their business to prey on the hopeful but naïve. It’s true that the book business is growing rapidly, particularly in the small/independent publishing segment, so a small house may very well be legitimate—but it’s important to check up on any house you’re considering. Google is your friend; Preditors & Editors, is a good place to get reasonably current information on Publishing Professionals Behaving Badly, and its Warnings section has many links to even more market intelligence. One of the great rules-of-thumb for playing in the book industry without getting hurt comes to us from James D. Macdonald, a longtime champion of writers, who writes, “Money flows to the writer.” In practical terms, this means that any so-called publisher or agent who attempts to charge you for any service they provide or expense they incur in the process of getting your work published is in the business of separating writers from their money rather than the business of publishing. This rule emphatically includes publishers and agents who try to refer authors to paid editors.
That being said, the landscape of publishing is changing, and the many small publishers springing up worldwide are not all pursuing the business model those of us raised on Traditional Publishing expect: author compensation models at smaller houses are much more about long-term royalties than advances, in part because these publishers tend to take a longer-term view of book life-cycle. There are a number of worthy small presses that don’t offer advances, for example, which used to be a huge red flag. But the standard principles apply, even here: Money Flows to the Writer, and it’s important to get corroboration on the publisher and how they do business before signing over the rights to your work.

In general, no I would not. Most of these people are not publishers really but POD printers. That is they buy a block of ISBN numbers and then offer you a cheap and easy way to get your book printed and so they entice you with the idea of holding printed copy of your book in your ‘hot sweaty writers hand’. This can be a very strong in inducement to do business with them too so they make it easy an apparently “cheap” to have your book printed up.
But here is the thing, you can buy your owe ISBN numbers and do it all yourself, just as they are really doing actually.
You get your ISBN block of 10 numbers, write your book, pay to have it proof read and the page layout done and then get your finished corrected PDF bearing your ISBN and your “Imprint name”. Your ”Imprint Name” is just the name you make up for your “publishing company”. Like ‘Big Bills Books’ or “Genius Publishing” (neither of these is recommended as names though).
Then you find a POD printer or an offset printer and get bids to have your PDF printed up. In the end this will make your books cost less for you, as much as 50% lower than “Publisher” like say “Outcast Press” will sell them to you for.
But Outcast Press is a reasonable way to go if you just want to make 100 copies or less to send to your neighbors or friends etc. Or frankly even if you just want to indulge your vanity and just have your name on your printed and bound book.
Yet, understand this too. Real publishers will very seldom (read ‘virtually never’) publish a work that has been previously offered as a POD book or by a self-published person of almost any kind. They only want the “first shot” at releasing title.
Hence, if your ambition is to be a best selling author, do not self-publish or go with any of these “POD Publisher” entities. The quality of your wring won’t sell your book, do not fool yourself there. Herman Melville could never sell “Moby Dick” today any more than Victor Hugo could sell “The Hunch back of Notre Dam” now could he?
To get your million to one shot at major publisher you can’t put nay hurdles in your way. Moreover, you have to market your book yourself almost 24/7. The first thing a publisher would ask you (if he ever talked to you in the first place of course) would be “How will I sell this book?” You better have a good answer ready too, that is be able to tell him or her who will buy it, why there are tons of such people and your marketing strategy to reach them.
Because believe me, the publisher won’t often have clue one about any of these things as a rule. One of the largest publishing companies in the world top executive (new title acquisition) explained it to me like this some years ago, “Peyton I do not give a dam if Monica Lewinski can write a grocery list. If she gets in touch with me I will be over to see her immediately and with an advance check for two million dollars and publishing contract that I will leave with signed”.

2- What do you wish writers would or would not do when submitting their proposals to you?

Take the time to put together the best work you possibly can, only submit works that are in line with what the house publishes, and follow the submission guidelines. No matter what you’ve been told, the publishing editor is not there to handle silly mechanical mistakes; it’s his or her task to help writers take their work beyond what they can do on their own. Submission readers can only assume that the work submitted represents the limit of the writer’s ability; don’t leave them thinking you are incapable of spelling, punctuating, and using decent grammar—or, worse, that you don’t respect them enough to bother with those things. Don’t waste your money and everyone’s time on sending a publisher a work they won’t be interested in; all reputable publishers offer very clear guidelines on what they do and do not publish, and they mean what they say. And the submission guidelines, whether or not they make sense to outsiders, represent things that particular publisher needs in order to give your work the attention it deserves.
Remember every time we open a new submission, we are hoping to fall in love. Make it possible for us to do that.

I only publish book reviews at The Compulsive Reader ( and what I receive as proposals are generally requests to review their books. So what I wish they would do is to follow the guidelines for submissions which are clearly stated on site. That is, to send me a few paragraphs synopsis of the book so I can judge whether the book is right for my site and perhaps circulate the query through my 20 or so reviewers. What I wish they would not do is to send me a full .pdf or a synopsis in an attachment (it's oddly irritating to have one paragraph of text sent in a separate Word file that I have to virus check and detach before I can read it), or lots of links, or lots of ancilliary information. Also I wish that all writers would behave in a way that is professional. That is, to accept my kind refusal with dignity (it's usually because the genre isn't right and has nothing to do with quality), rather than get upset. Sometimes I get queries that are full of typos or are extremely casual or even silly. Those don't bode well for the book and will often result in a refusal.

I could write a book to answer this one question alone. Here is a very short response. I wish writers would take the time to understand their audiences, and then take a moment in their proposal to convince me that they do. I wish writers would take the time to understand their competition, and then show me how they meet or exceed the expectations established by that competition. I wish writers would use the resources available to them (libraries, colleges, writer forums, etc) to vet their work before submitting it to me (more specifically, I wish they'd have two dozen non-family, non-friends, non-work associates read their books and provide feedback, then utilize that feedback to improve the product, before I see it). I wish writers wouldn't focus on the physical form of their book --- it's layout or design --- the message needs to be perfected first. I wish they wouldn't treat editing like an unnecessary evil. And I wish they wouldn't assume that I have the time to read their entire manuscript --- their first five pages are therefore critically important.
Be succinct. Show me that they can write prose that people want to read, meet a deadline and know what they are talking about.

3- What’s the standard rate for editing?

Editing encompasses many levels, ranging from light copyediting, which is more mechanical, all the way up to developmental editing, which involves broad recommendations for the structure and organization of the work. While you can generally expect to pay higher rates for a more complex edit, there is no uniform industry-wide definition for each of these levels, and rates also vary among editors.
Given this situation, what's the best way for writers and editors to proceed? In coming to terms with an editor, be explicit about what you think your writing needs, but also be open to the editor's suggestions. You are, after all, hiring a professional whose input will help you polish your work.
While this question can't be answered with a single number or even a meaningful range, there is one important consideration: Make sure you and your editor both agree in advance on what the edit will involve so that whatever the fee is, you will know what you are paying for.

How big is a hole? There is no standard rate. Most editors will ask to see a sample of the manuscript or the whole manuscript before offering a rate. Most editors base their rates on a standard page of 250 words. Those who edit on paper request that you actually print the document formatted to put about 250 words on a page. Those who edit electronically just use the word count in the file. But the rate per page depends on what level of edit the work requires and how much editing at that level it requires. If a vendor offers you a flat rate, sight unseen, you might want to question whether you are dealing directly with the editor you will be working with. Some large editing services send manuscripts offshore for a cursory edit, amounting to little more than an automated spell check, and are thus able to offer attractive prices. Experienced freelance editors expect to make a living from their work and do not come cheap.

Sorry, but there is no standard rate for editing. How much it costs to get a manuscript edited depends on the level of editing needed and desired (see this page for descriptions of various levels of editing:, how quickly editing must be done (rush rate?), and how many pages there are in the manuscript.
That latter parameter does not mean how many physical pages Microsoft Word says that a manuscript is. It means how many 250-word pages there are in the manuscript. To obtain this number, go to the toolbar when your manuscript file is open and click Tools > Word Count on the toolbar. Then write down the total number of words. Divide that figure by 250, and that will tell you how many industry-standard pages your manuscript has.
That said, you can get an idea of the range of rates charged by freelance copyeditors by perusing the information found at these links: (Note that copyeditors are called subeditors in the United Kingdom.)
The more specialized the topic (e.g., medical editing), the higher the cost. I split my workload this way: about 60% is medical editing (textbooks, monographs, and medical-journal articles, a lot of the latter for authors from outside the United States whose first language is not English) and about 40% fiction and nonfiction for large mainstream publishing houses.
Generally, you will need to negotiate the project cost with each freelancer you work with, and negotiate each project separately even with the same editor, because each project's parameters are different.
Peruse the web site of any freelance editor whom you're thinking of working with. Get a sense of his or her level of experience and areas of expertise. Write and ask for references, and then follow up on those. Ask to see a résumé. And don't be afraid to ask for a sample edit to see the editor's working style, because it's important that you like and respect the person to whom you'll be entrusting your manuscript. You don't want someone to rip it to shreds, unless that's really what you've asked for, but neither do you want someone who is too "nice" to speak up when there is a major problem. And if a prospective editor says that it would be best for you to do more work with your critique group on your manuscript before getting it edited, please listen. You don't want to spend more money than you have to.

I charge by the project, not by the hour. And "editing" is a very broad term, covering everything from rewriting to simple proofreading.

Between $45 and $85 and hour in my experience. But editing has to be separated and defined: Do you mean Proof Reading? Copy Editing or Page Layout ? Some people will moonlight from their newspaper or book publishing company or magazine production job and do “editing” for as little as $3 a page.

4- What are a few things I can do to look professional? Are there any "secrets" that I can apply to be taken more seriously than just a newbie?

Know the rules, the etiquette, the conventions of writer-pbusliher contact. Make it your business to find out these things. There are good books out there, including my own "Get Paid to Write" (Sentient Publications). Write professionally. Write a professional query. Position yourself from the git-go as a professional and never look back.

Please don't go wild with formatting your manuscript. Just use a plain, easily readable typeface (Times New Roman, Century Schoolbook, etc.) and a point size that is comfortable for eyes of all ages (meaning: please don't use 8-point type!). Use double-spacing and at least 1-inch margins all around (top, bottom, sides). No confetti in the package, no decorations, no cookies ; your writing really must speak for itself.

All you can do is to learn and understand the common mistakes that immediattely identify your work or presentation as Amateurish. Go to Amazon and do a search on such books that teach this knowledge. Remember the main job of a publishing companies 'new book' acquisition reader is to eliminate as many books as possible as quickly as possible. So have no "flags" that say "eliminate it now,don't waste timebother opening it"

Honesty is the best policy. Don't pretend to be what you are not, because setting realistic expectations helps put everyone at ease. If you puff yourself up as an experienced author and then ask questions any experienced author would know the answers to, I'm going to conclude that you're either an idiot or a liar.
There is one thing you can do to BE a professional, though, no matter how new you are: Separate yourself from your work. Don't be defensive, in other words, and overreact to edits. It's not about you, as my first copy chief told me in 1968; it's about the words on the page. The editor's job--and your own job once you've entered into an editing transaction--is to improve the product. You have every right to disagree with a specific editorial suggestion; I'm not saying that the editor is always right and the author is always wrong. But get your head screwed on straight so that you and the editor are both focused on making the manuscript as good as it can be rather than on whether your feelings are being adequately considered.

1. Tell me who your audience is and why they'll read your book. Do not tell me that "everyone" will like your book. With incredibly rare exceptions, all books have very specific audiences, and most new authors don't know who they are and what they like. (Best example: children's book authors who write books for 2nd grade readers that would be a difficult read for high school students.)
2. Show us that you understand your competition. Do not tell me that your book has no competition or is unique. All books have competition, even if it's only the adjacent books on the bookstore shelf. Few books are truly unique --- especially fiction. Not knowing the books that must be displaced for an author's book to succeed and how that will be accomplished is a sure sign of a new author.
3. New authors usually don't understand that the average first-pass submission review is three minutes or less. The publisher's first impression is critically important to surviving the first cut. Spend more time checking spelling, grammar, and syntax in your cover letter and synopsis than you do your manuscript. Make sure that you properly balance the amount of project, marketing, and personal information (for example, fiction requires that I know more about the project and less about the author. Non-fiction frequently requires the reverse due to the usual requirement of the author's credibility to sell the product.)
4. Providing an initial marketing analysis is becoming a requirement due to increasing competition. Too frequently, new authors think this analysis boils down to "my book can be sold through Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Wal-Mart." This isn't at all what publishers want to hear. We want to know about trade shows, association conventions, fan groups, professional contacts, and other promotional opportunities --- especially in the author's local area --- that we can use to kick-start the promotion process. Could we figure all this out for ourselves? Sure, but that takes time --- especially for local references. It also shows us that you've some understanding of what publication will do to your personal life.

The best way to look professional is to follow the professionals that you admire. Have a look at how other writers of your genre are packaging themselves and promoting themselves and follow suit. Check out their websites, social networking pages, and books and promote yourself in a similar way. Think of yourself and present yourself as a professional and you will appear that way. Also, and this is a key point, always always proofread everything you send out, from a quick email to a book length proposal. In this age of fast media, writers often skimp on the proofreading and that can lead to very unprofessional looking manuscripts. Those aren't secrets of course -- just a little common sense! Oh, and one more thing -- try to get a few awards and good reviews. They're an excellent, objective way to demonstrate that you are serious about your work.

5- Is it true that if a story is even put on the web, does that constitute it as published?

This is just a matter of semantics alone to me. One can righfully say for example " I am well published on the net". Fr example , while wrote nothing or almost nothing for the net (except my own web site if you enter my name "Peyton Quinn" on any search engine you will find hundreds of articles that I have written over the years for one magazine or another or for my own website "published" all over the net. Who put them there? I have no idea.To me "publish" means mainly to "make public". If it is on the net it sure is public now isn't it?

When it comes to electronic distribution, be it in the form of eBooks or open text, publishers are primarily concerned with sellability. Publishing is like investing. We're risking money and resources on the potential sales of a book. As exposure of freely available material increases on the Internet, so, too, does the risk of investing in that material's publication. However, this isn't a simple cut-in-stone rule. For example, publishing a short-story version of a longer manuscript on the Internet for promotional purposes is little different than including a direct excerpt from the book. If digital publication allowed the author to collect contact information for a fan base --- a large group of people that would represent initial sales --- then the risk of publication is reduced. If the author can show value for digital publication, then a trade publisher will be more amenable to pursuing print publication. If the author can't show this, the trade publisher may conclude that the product has already been published and pursue another project.

A matter of definition. If I had a story on the web, I would consider it 'Published," that is, made available to the public., but I would not consider it a particularly strong credential, since so many stories go online, good, bad, and indifferent. Mostly bad. And in writing as elsewhere you are known by the company you keep.

There are a variety of different flavors of publication rights associated with any written work. Most publishers want to buy First Rights, which means more or less what it sounds as if it means: the right to be the first to publish the work in question. If a work has already appeared in any public forum, including the internet, the writer cannot sell First Rights, because that right has already been exercised. There are some publishers who are less interested in First Rights than, say, audio—and others who specialize in other subsidiary rights. But when you publish a work on the web, you do render it very difficult to sell.

Technically and probably legally, yes. The work has been made public. It is protected by copyright, even if a copyright application has not been filed. And the rights you can offer to a publisher have been compromised. For example, it is considerably more difficult to sell first serial rights once the writing has been placed in circulation. That's not a reason NOT to use the Internet for you own benefit. But understand that the Internet is changing the way the world works. Definitions of words like "published" are not as quick to change. Having your work published in a blog or an e-zine is not the same as having it published in a literary journal.


Lorilyn Bailey
CEO, NewsBuzz, Inc. Founder of - Promote your book through radio interviews
Author and Publisher: The Original Lovers' Questionnaire Book and The Little Book of Online Romance
Raleigh, NC

Dick MargulisDick Margulis Creative ServicesEditing • Book Design • Book Production

Tom Williams, PhD, is the author of the forthcoming "Self-Publishers Bible" (summer, 2008) and of such standards in the field as "Publish Your Own Magazine, Guidebook, or Weekly Newspaper.", (912) 352-0404. 1317 Pine Ridge Drive, Savannah, GA. 31406

Peyton Quinn
Author of :Freedom From Fear: Taking Back Control Of Your Life & Dissolving Depression (0975999605 , Real Fighting: Adrenal Stress Conditioning Through Scenario Based Training (0873648935) And the novel, Dog Soldiers MC (1598004182 )

E. Keith (JB) Howick, Jr.PresidentWindRiver Publishing, Inc.

Robert GoodmanSilvercat / Written and Printed Communication Services Threads / Memoirs and Memoir Services
Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader at She is the author of Sleep Before Evening, The Art of Assessment, and Quark Soup. Her work has appeared in a wide range of journals, and has won many awards.

Barbara Friend Ish
Credentials: Publisher, Mercury Retrograde Press
Mercury Retrograde is a new independent press based in Atlanta, Ga. We publish fantasy, science fiction and the unclassifiable; we are dedicated to unconventional authors and works that might undeservedly slip through the cracks at bigger houses, and to developing stories and artists that matter to us. Our first book, Shorn by Larissa N. Niec, is in pre-release now and scheduled for official release on October 1st. We plan to publish two books this year, three or four next year, and to ramp up to ten to twelve per year. I never expect Mercury Retrograde to get terribly big: I see us as a boutique house, and I want to always remain intimately involved with the entire life-cycle of each book and the development of each author, and in order to do justice to more books than that I’d have to give up my own creative life.
We are accepting submissions; guidelines are on the website.

Katharine O'Moore-KlopfKOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)editor@kokedit.com
Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association
Member of the Council of Science Editors

Karen Schader
KAS Editing
copyediting -- substantive editing -- project management

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Opportunities Abound!

Always be prepared for a new opportunity or a soft touch of success!

I've considered offering my services as a speaker/teacher to my church, but simply had not done so yet. Just this morning, my pastor asked me to teach a several week class on publishing!

And a little sparkle of success came from one of our church members who is leaving. He had purchased my fourth book directly from me and then surprised me yesterday by arriving with the others in his hands, asking if I would sign them! (He had ordered them on Amazon.)

Both of these were complete surprises, and yet I have been working steadily and faithfully for many years. Persistence and consistence is the key!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Kung Fu Panda

Don't let the 'childish' aspects of this movie fool you - it's for everybody!
A delightful (and incredibly funny) tale of believing in oneself. The message is pure, the animation gorgeous, and you will believe that you, too, can be a Dragon Warrior!
If you've not seen this movie, I highly recommend it!
"A healthy self-identity is seeing yourself as God sees you - no more and no less."
- Josh McDowell

Friday, June 06, 2008

Brochures for Books!

Do you have a brochure? Why not?!

A professional brochure is a powerful tool. Always remember to include an order form, too. And in addition to listing your books, you can list your services as well.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Author Tamera Alexander

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing
From A Distance (Bethany House June 1, 2008)
Tamera Alexander
Tamera Alexander is a bestselling novelist whose deeply drawn characters, thought-provoking plots and poignant prose resonate with readers. Tamera is a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award
Remembered, and has been awarded the coveted RITA® from Romance Writers of America Revealed, along with Library Journal’s Top Christian Fiction of 2006 Rekindled. Having lived in Colorado for seventeen years, she and her husband now make their home in the quaint town of historic Franklin, Tennessee, where they enjoy life with their two college-age children and a precious—and precocious—silky terrier named Jack.
A Note from Tamera:Stories are journeys, and each story I write is a journey for me.Rekindled began with a dream—the image of a man returning home on horseback. He came upon a freshly dug grave and when he knelt to read the name carved into the roughhewn wooden cross, he discovered the name was…his own. The inspiration for Revealed grew from two characters in Rekindled whose stories needed to be told. But even more, whose stories I needed to tell. Writing Revealed was a very personal journey for me, and a healing one. For Remembered, I met that story’s heroine (figuratively, of course) while strolling the ancient cobblestoned pathways of a three hundred-year-old cemetery in northern Paris, France. And From A Distance came from a question I was struggling with in my own life at the time, “What happens when the dream you asked God for isn’t what you thought it would be?”For me, the greatest thrill of these writing journeys is when Christ reveals Himself in some new way, and I take a step closer to Him. And my deepest desire is that readers of my books will do that as well—take steps closer to Him as they read. After all, it’s all about Him.In the Potter’s Hand,Tamera
What happens when dreams aren’t what you imagined,
And secrets you’ve spent a lifetime guarding are finally laid bare?
Determined to become one of the country’s premier newspaper photographers, Elizabeth Westbrook travels to the Colorado Territory to capture the grandeur of the mountains surrounding the remote town of Timber Ridge. She hopes, too, that the cool, dry air of Colorado, and its renowned hot springs, will cure the mysterious illness that threatens her career, and her life.
Daniel Ranslett, a former Confederate sharpshooter, is a man shackled by his past, and he’ll do anything to protect his land and his solitude. When an outspoken Yankee photographer captures an image that appears key to solving a murder, putting herself in danger, Daniel is called upon to repay a debt. He’s a man of his word, but repaying that debt will bring secrets from his past to light.
Forced on a perilous journey together, Daniel and Elizabeth’s lives intertwine in ways neither could have imagined when first they met . . . from a distance.
If you would like to read the first chapter, go HERE
“…a rich historical romance by possibly the best new writer in this subgenre.”--Library Journal
“…a most amazing story. The characters are more than words on the page; they become real people.”--Romantic Times

Monday, June 02, 2008

Author Karen Salmansohn

Welcome, Karen! Thanks so much for answering these questions. I admire what you have accomplished!

Thanks for having me on very fun and inspiring site!!

What prompted you to leave your job as Senior VP ad creative director? What went through your mind at that time?

I have many good horror stories about working in the ad biz ..In one I was helping Purina come up with the 'chow-chow-chow' theme for the 90s. My boss told me that it was okay to do three chows in a row in a jingle, because that was copyrighted, but I couldn't do two chows in a row – but then again, I could do three chows and then another chow. Soon after I found myself in a recording studio for an hour discussing whether four chows was three chows then one -- or two then two. Add on a few more experiences like that and I was ready to give up advertising to become a fulltime writer. I figured if I could make it in a profession I wasn’t passionate about – if I just followed the same principles for success, I could perhaps make it as an author – which I was very very passionate about.

Twenty-nine books! Where on earth did you find time to write so many books in such a short amount of time? How long does it take you to write the average book?

I suppose I’m very self motivated – and a fan of caffeine. Plus I pick topics to write about which excite me – so I stay in an empassioned state of mind to research and write. It usually takes 1 to 2 months to write a proposal to pitch a book. To publishers. Then after the book is sold it takes anywhere from 6 to 9 months to write it – sometimes a year – depending on the book.

Your latest book is The Bounce Back Book: How to Thrive in the Face of Adversity, Setbacks and Losses – talk to me about this book! Why would someone want to read it?

My book is called “The Bounce Back Book” – and has a symbolic red rubber cover on the outside. Inside are all kinds of tips on how to thrive in the face of adversity, setbacks, and losses -- covering everything -- a bad breakup, a serious illness, the loss of a job, the death of someone close, bankrupcy, slander, rejection…all kinds of life challenges. But I guess one of the main principles in the book is to always purposefully look for meaning and insights from whatever your challenge. If it’s a love break up – then tell yourself you’re going through the break up that leads to the ultimate break-through, and that you’re now a wiser partner due to what you went through – lucky unlucky you. Be a student – not a victim!

You offer many seminars – how did you get started? Which ones do you enjoy presenting the most?

After I left my job in advertising and became a best selling author I began doing seminars to women’s organizations about how to pursue and snag your dream career. I was on the phone with my agent before a seminar, and as a joke I said “I gotta go – I have to give my how to succeed in business without a penis seminar.” She laughed – then insisted I write a book with this title – and kept insisting. I wrote the book – it became a big best seller – and soon after I did lots of business seminars – for men and women alike. One of the principles in that book is that a woman doesn’t need a penis to succeed – just ballsy. Soon after I wrote a book called Ballsy – and have a seminar with that title too. I lovelovelove giving my Ballsy Seminar. It’s a lot of fun to give that seminar.

How did the BE HAPPY DAMMIT HOUR come about? You’ve also got things going on with TV & film – give us the scoop!

I was giving happiness tips on a Sirius show – and they liked my tips – and my voice – they thought I had an appealing radio voice – so they offered me a full time radio gig on Sirius. I also have sold a bunch of sit com ideas to the networks – but so far none of them have made it to air. Thankfully I follow my own bounce back career advice, and I’m still out there pitching sit com ideas – so you never know…

I’m all about ‘spunk’ and attitude as well! How important are these elements to authors & speakers? What advice would you give to those struggling up the ladder?

In The Bounce Back Book I say…you gotta view work failure as “fullure”--full of lessons.
And if you’ve just endured a career adversity, join the crowd—which is by the way a very distinguished successful crowd. Many members of the Fortune 500 Club could easily earn membership in the Misfortune 500 Club. Successful people are not people who never fail. They’re people who know how to fail really, really well. If they fall on their faces, they use that leverage to push themselves up higher. Bill Gates actually relishes the lessons of failure so much, he purposefully hires people at Microsoft who have made mistakes. “It shows that they take risks,” says Gates. And Harvard business school professor John Kotter says it’s more worrisome to executives if a job applicant claims they’ve never failed--because this means they’ve never taken risks. So if you’re someone who’s fumbled recently, seek out the positive lesson—dust yourself off – and go at it again!

And the final word, Karen?

If I had to literally pick the final word…well, I’d pick the final word of “forward.” If you’re bouncing back from a tough time right now, and tempted to dwell in the past, get yourself to repeat this single word: “Forward” whenever your looking backwards. Then brainstorm one positive thought and action to use to keep you moving forward.

Enter my Bounce Back contest for a chance to win a FREE Fairmont Spa vacation! (Yes! A fabulous spa package for 3 days/2 nights for two people -- and 2 personalized spa treatments for each person at Willow Stream Spa in gorgeous Fairmont Newport Beach, California. You will be indulged like never before in one of seven decadent treatment rooms appointed with oversized spa beds!)

Simply buy THE BOUNCE BACK BOOK before July 1st and send me the proof of Amazon receipt to Then you have until August 1st to send me an uplifting story of glory over a tough time. Submissions should be between 400 and 1200 words and depict your personal tale of "woe" to "wow." Looking forward to hearing about your incredible come-back!!

For more information about Karen Salmansohn’s Bounce Back Book tour, visit