Sunday, June 29, 2008

I Have A Book Manuscript, Now What?

You've spent endless nights hammering away at your book. You've rewritten it, you've edited it, and you had it professionally proofed. Your baby is finally done and you're ready to send your precious manuscript off to a publisher, thinking that writing it was the hardest part. Wrong!

Actually, getting your blood, sweat and tears published may be the hardest part of the whole process. You'll need to determine if a publisher will be required, or if you'd rather self-publish your book. There are pros and cons to both sides, some of which are discussed below.

To work with a publisher, you'll need to send out query letters and/or a book proposal. This is a letter or a few pages briefly describing your text, why it is unique, characteristics of your target market and how you can help market the book. Most publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts, so you'll need to convince them to read yours. If they request that you forward your entire manuscript, you have one foot in the door. Be prepared to send more than one query and don't expect a response next week.

There are writer's guides that serve as excellent resources to find publishers who specialize in your particular genre. These guides list the percentage of new authors published as well as the percentage of sales they pay. You may find pay rates ranging from 5-10% of sales. Some pay on wholesale sales and others on the retail amount. Do the math. Perhaps your book will retail for $14.95 and the publisher will pay 6% on retail. This means you will earn 90 cents per book sold. Of course don't forget that the publisher is doing all the printing, distributing, and marketing of your text.

Another route you may want to consider is self-publishing. You will be responsible for all the printing, distributing and marketing costs involved, but you will also get to retain all the profits. There are book printing companies as well as companies that specialize in assisting the self-publisher through every step along the way.

Finally, there's age old debate about which method is better; using a publishing company or self publishing your own book. You know your situation and you know what will work best for you. You'll want to consider how much time or money you have to invest in the project. That should give you an idea which route to take. Using a publisher takes less time on your part, but you'll forfeit some of the royalties by using this method. If you self publish, you'll have to pay "up front" and do the initial work to get the ball rolling on sales of your book.

Either way, publishing is your call. With a little persistance and hard work you CAN get your book to Market. So, go for it!!

(C) Book Writing

Progressive Book Club Creates Fresh, Vibrant Online Marketplace

Progressive Book Club has launched its new website at, bringing a fresh, vibrant online marketplace and community to millions of avid readers and progressive thinkers nationwide.

Progressive Book Club is a new hybrid business that adds original and unique elements to the traditional book club model, including dynamic social networking capabilities, socially responsible purchases, topical content and thought-provoking political commentary. By tapping into the convergence of several trends, Progressive Book Club expects to build a substantial membership base from a diverse pool of 63 million self-identified socially responsible consumers and 72 million+ registered Democratic voters. Online books sales are also growing at astounding rates, accounting for 21 percent of all books purchased in the U.S. (Forrester Research).

"As Americans become increasingly involved with the political process and concerned about our nation's direction, the progressive movement is at a critical crossroads," said Elizabeth Wagley, Progressive Book Club founder and CEO. "We've created an innovative platform that encourages people to explore important issues and engage in debate, while empowering them to learn more - and do more - to make a difference."

Progressive Book Club has recruited an impressive roster of editorial board members that includes prominent authors, journalists, academics and veteran politicos, including Michael Chabon, Dave Eggers, Barbara Kingsolver, Hendrik Hertzberg, Gail Sheehy, Katrina vanden Heuvel, John Podesta and Andy Stern. The editorial board is responsible for selecting the Club's inventory of books and recommends additional content to complement monthly book selections.

"As the range and quality of books featured in Progressive Book Club show, there is resurgence in progressive thinking about how to tackle the problems now crashing down upon us," said Bill McKibben, author, environmentalist and Progressive Book Club editorial board member. "It's clear from looking at our political landscape that right-wingers are running out of ideas. Not progressives."

Unlike traditional book clubs and many bookstores, Progressive Book Club offers members the chance to give back with their book purchases. More than two dozen of the country's leading progressive organizations have signed on as Alliance Partners to help extend the Club's reach and mobilize the broader community, including Campaign for America's Future, Center for American Progress, Kos Media, Media Matters for America, Mother Jones, The Nation and the Service Employees International Union. With nearly every book purchase by its members, Progressive Book Club will donate $2 to support a progressive organization of the member's choosing dealing with such issues as environmental stewardship, public education, domestic violence and media reform.

Progressive Book Club makes book buying easy, offering members the opportunity to purchase the latest non-fiction and fiction books covering a broad range of topics from health care, the environment, religion and globalization to the economy. To join, members must simply select three books for $1 each and then can buy books at prices that are 10%-40% off list prices. With additional sales and specials throughout the year, members will save as much as 70%-80% off list price on select titles over the course of membership. Individuals can also choose to simply register with the Club's website if they want to participate and experience the Club before joining.

Members will have the opportunity to interact with authors, progressive opinion leaders and fellow members offline - at local events, readings and book discussions - as well as online in a lively forum designed to foster healthy debate and discussion. The site also features an interactive calendar, allowing members to tag, rate and review books, create a discussion, create a group or meet up with someone nearby to discuss a book.

"The Progressive Book Club is one of those things that when you hear about it, you say, 'How come we didn't think of that years ago?'" said Dave Eggers, author and Progressive Book Club editorial board member. "It's about time, and it's about great books."

"We're happy to be partnering with the Progressive Book Club and thrilled that recently released titles such as Arianna Huffington's 'Right Is Wrong' and Steven Greenhouse's 'The Big Squeeze' will be promoted by the club," said Sean Yule, Knopf's Director of Domestic Rights. "And, personally, as a liberal and a bit of a political junkie, I'm glad to know that there is one place I can go to find books that address my concerns."

Each month, the editorial board will identify a "PBC Pick" selection for members. The Progressive Book Club website will provide content in the form of videos, audio files, interviews and additional reading recommendations to help bring the issues to life and deepen reader understanding and discussion. The "PBC Pick" selection for June is 'The Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker', written by acclaimed journalist Steven Greenhouse. As the downturn in the economy and the threat of job loss permeates America's collective consciousness, the news and the election discourse, this book offers an examination of the profound economic fears faced by millions of Americans, across the political spectrum.

"Progressive Book Club's appearance tells me that after decades of conservative dominance, we are entering a new era of political and cultural discourse," said Jeff Faux, Distinguished Fellow, Economic Policy Institute, and Progressive Book Club editorial board member. "The extraordinary depth and breadth of its offerings - and the PBC program to support face-to-face and online reader communities - reflects that our time has come again; liberal intellectual energies, long suppressed, are about to flower in the mainstream of our literary life."


Saturday, June 28, 2008

Exclusive Harry Potter prequel attracts fans to Waterstone's website

Book seller Waterstone's is using its competition microsite, created by Manchester digital marketing agency Code Computerlove ( ), to showcase an exclusive short story by Harry Potter author JK Rowling and drive massive awareness of the brand's latest What's Your Story? promotion.

The site received more than 70,000 visitors in the first 20 hours of Rowling's story going live online last week and has been getting thousands more hits daily from fans keen to read Rowling's 800-word prequel to the Harry Potter series, making it Waterstone's most successful online campaign yet. The competition has attracted nearly 4000 story cards so far.

JK Rowling's story is set three years before Harry is born and features the characters Sirius Black and James Potter, Harry's father. The story opens with a youthful Sirius and James cornered by two irate policemen at the end of a high-speed motorcycle chase. After a cheeky exchange with the policemen, the two teenage characters make their escape - using broomsticks, "drumsticks" and just a little bit of magic.

JK Rowling's exclusive short story is one of a number of stories that were auctioned off at Sotherby's, raising more than £47K for charity, as part of Waterstone's What's Your Story? competition. The Harry Potter prequel raised £25K alone. Bespoke stories written by the top authors especially for the promotion are being displayed in an online gallery, in store windows and will be published in a limited edition book.

Waterstone's promotion is searching for budding writers to be published alongside JK Rowling, Doris Lessing, Michael Rosen, Nick Hornby, Sebastian Faulks, Lauren Child, Tom Stoppard and Irvine Welsh. To be in with a chance of winning people simply submit their story that can be from three words long to three hundred - just as long as it fits onto the story card template.

This latest promotion follows the success of Waterstone's Save Harry Potter online petition that achieved more than 500,000 signatures last year.

This Month's Books 'n' Such Book Review Podcast

Diane Eble, author and book publishing coach/consultant, interviews a wide range of award-winning authors on this month's Books 'n' Such book review podcast, ranging from "the story behind the story" of the blockbuster 90 Minutes in Heaven, to a fiction series exploring women's issues, to how to stand out among the competition, to how to choose the best self-publishing companies if you want to get published. This podcast series is found at

Here's the lineup:

1. Cecil Murphey, award-winning coauthor of 90 Minutes in Heaven, the book that has remained on the New York Times Bestseller List since 2006, reveals the story behind the amazing story of Don Piper's trip to heaven and back. Find out what went into writing the story (including why Murphey almost didn't write the book, and who came up with the bestselling title), and the amazing impact it's had on people all over the world.

2. Award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick discusses the Change and Cherish Series, comprised of three novels, the last of which is her newest, A Mending at the Edge. The trilogy is based on the true story of Emma Giesy, a 1850s woman of courage who came West and helped settle Washington coast's Willapa Bay area. Discover how the struggles Emma dealt with then--in 1850--are like the struggles that modern women face now.

3. Singer, television actress and comedienne, now turned coach to performers and entrepreneurs, Tsufit offers insights from her book, Step Into The Spotlight!--'Cause ALL Business is Show Business! A Guide to Getting Noticed. What can business learn from show business? And how can you stand out from the competition and get noticed? Tsufit reveals the secrets.

4. Studies show that somewhere around 80 percent of Americans want to write a book. The question then becomes, "How to get it published?" Plenty of companies offer help--but many of them offer little value for the money they charge authors. Find out how to evaluate the best "self-publishing companies" as Diane Eble and Mark Levine discuss his book, The Fine Print of Self-Publishing: The Contracts & Services of 45 Self-Publishing Companies Analyzed Ranked & Exposed. If you've ever considered self-publishing, this interview (and book) could save you thousands of dollars!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Three Rules Of Publishing by Jerry D. Simmons

The business of publishing is old world, mature, and has changed only incrementally over the past fifty years. One thing that can be said about publishing is that the biggest companies lead and the rest tend to follow. This is why little has changed in the way these publishers conduct business. The biggest are the most stodgy and the result is an industry that continues to shrink, while technology and the new marketing of the 21st century speed ahead.

Book are published, marketed, sold and distributed the same way they have been since the birth of the business. Certainly prices have changed dramatically, shipments are better coordinated, cover designs have evolved, merchandising has improved, but the basic business rules have not. Today there are still three general rules that apply to the business of publishing.

Rule number one: Every book is guaranteed to the bookseller, meaning, if they don't sell at the bookstore, the publisher guarantees they'll take them back. Returned books are as common place as paper and ink. Books have always been returnable. There are few if any retailers still in existence that will purchase newly published non-returnable books. The fallacy of this is that today, 2008, there are still some publishers that force their authors to pay several hundred dollars for the right to have their book considered returnable. Returnable books should be standard for any book contract. This is a clear example of how some publishers are not fluent in the ways of the business, and as a result they take advantage and prey on the pocketbooks of unsuspecting, and uninformed authors.

Rule number two: The business is about revenue, selling books. However there are two ways to look at revenue. For the Independent publishers and authors, revenue is when a book is sold and the money changes hands, that is a sale and represents the cleanest form of revenue. For the biggest publishers and all the others that want to compete in the marketplace, revenue is both gross and net. Gross is the number of copies multiplied by the cover price. This does not account for the returns that will eventually arrive at the publisher's warehouse. The net price is what is left after all those books have been returned and counted. The big companies play with these numbers in a variety of ways and if you plan to compete in this market, you must be aware of this fact.

Rule number three: Bookseller real estate is for lease. When you walk into a bookstore and notice all those wonderful displays with multiple copies of the bestsellers, then you stroll down the aisles and look at the covers laying face up on the tables, keep in mind -- this is not accidental. These retailers aren't doing any favors. All of that space has been leased by the publisher of those titles for a specified period of time. In fact, virtually all of the floor space is for lease, if you can afford the price. Typically the front of the store is the most expensive real estate and the price goes down slightly as you move to the back of the store. Bottom line, retail space in major retailers, including bookstores and mass merchants, is for lease.

If you want to compete in the traditional marketplace, you must keep these three rules in mind: It's how the business operates.

About the Author
Jerry D. Simmons is the author of WHAT WRITERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PUBLISHING. He is the creator of TIPS for WRITING from the PUBLISHING INSIDER an eNewsletter that can be found at He is also the founder of the leading social networking website for writers, authors and readers Nothing Binding.

Canadian Horror Writer Shut Out of Genre-Free Canadian Publishing

Canadian horror writer G. Wells Taylor is sidestepping the Canadian literary establishment and giving free copies of the popular first book in his Apocalypse Trilogy, When Graveyards Yawn, to all visitors at or starting Friday, June 13, 2008 to celebrate the upcoming release of the second book in the series, The Forsaken, and to announce his break from the traditional publishing industry.

To qualify for government subsidies, mainstream Canadian publishers produce works with Canadian themes and locations, often with an educational component, that focus on contemporary or historical fiction. Taylor's horror novels are written with the wider mainstreams audience in mind, yet retain a level of writing quality that falls well within the borders of literature, Canadian or otherwise. But these works have been shut out of this restrictive Canadian literary world despite the fact that they contain Canadian locations, characters and cultural content. Fantasy and science fiction writers also need not apply.

Out of necessity, Taylor began courting the satellite offices of American publishers selling their own titles in Canada, only to find that his works could not be easily or cheaply sold in Canada due to Canadian government guidelines intended to protect and promote Canadian authors. He then decided to take his manuscripts online to promote his work internationally to readers and publishers, eventually attracting over half a million visitors to his web site. It soon became apparent that as the number of traditional bricks and mortar publishers dwindled, alternative forms of publishing without restrictive national literary regulations were rushing to fill the gap.

In 2001, friend and Chief Information Officer for a large national law firm, Richard Van Dyk suggested Taylor move to the Internet. "Taylor and I have had an ongoing dialogue for decades, sometimes aggressively so, on where print media was going and what form it would take. I think in the end we were both reasonably accurate and what is available now is the best of both the digital and hardcopy formats catering to readers, not a publisher's quarterly financial requirement."

More recently, Van Dyk has been watching the growing conflicts in technology regarding patents and copyright and the opportunities presented by the mass duplication and distribution of digital works. From this he formed an idea for a business model that he then presented to Taylor. All Taylor had to do was agree to give away one of his life's works. "Taylor has a franchise of material that is deserving of so much more attention than any publisher has given him. The entire publishing industry, be it music, movie or books, is trapped in an unsustainable business model and unable to view digital media as an opportunity, and those producing content suffer."

Using print-on-demand technology and sidestepping expensive traditional distribution methods, Taylor is able to re-release all of his titles at affordable prices for order as paperback or E-book download. Without the unjustified extra costs of outmoded distribution networks, the consumer pays half the price for paperbacks and E-books.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Author-Physicist Peter Freund has Passion for Storytelling

Peter Freund packed his book, A Passion for Discovery, with stories about important 20th-century physicists and mathematicians. The story of Emmy Noether is one that Freund, Professor Emeritus in Physics at the University of Chicago, liked to share in class.

Noether rose to scientific prominence in the early 20th century, in Göttingen, Germany, when the city reigned as the world's undisputed capital of mathematics. She changed the way mathematicians went about their work, nevertheless enduring gender discrimination in a male-dominated world.

Once Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933, Noether also was driven from the country as a Jew. She joined the faculty of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, but died of cancer in 1935 at the age of 53.

"The New York Times printed a short obituary, as it always did when a Bryn Mawr teacher died, but shortly thereafter, they printed a long letter to the editor pointing out that Emmy Noether had not only been a teacher at a girls' college, but the greatest woman mathematician of all time," wrote Freund in his book. "The letter was signed: Albert Einstein."

Freund gained an appreciation for how political upheaval can intrude upon the unsuspecting as an undergraduate in his hometown of Timisoara, Romania. Following the 1956 Hungarian uprising, Freund was among a group of students rounded up and nearly executed by communist authorities in Romania.

"To a large extent, it motivated my interest in the way historical events affect scientists: their behavior, their interests and sometimes even their style," Freund said. This interest culminated last year in the publication of A Passion for Discovery by World Scientific. The book explores how world affairs affect scientists and their interactions.

National Public Radio commentator, author and poet Andrei Codrescu has written an essay based on issues raised by Freund's book. Codrescu discussed the interweave between the foibles of humans and their sometimes brilliant endeavors, both in physics and in poetry in his essay, published on

Codrescu also recommended Freund's book in the online journal Exquisite Corpse ( "A wonderful series of anecdotes about great physicist, by Corpse contributor, string-theorist and distinguished theoretical physicist Peter Freund," Codrescu wrote.

Freund has written short stories for approximately three decades, but only in recent years has he started publishing them, including five in Exquisite Corpse. After he began writing A Passion for Discovery, Freund noticed certain narrative parallels between science and literature.

"There are really three narrative flows in physics," Freund said. "One is at the level of the individual paper." He added most papers in physics are short stories, in which concepts, rather than human characters, undergo adventures. "In the end, they emerge changed, occasionally with new concepts being introduced and promises that we will return to them, which is like what they call a sequel or a spin-off in Hollywood."

The second narrative encompasses science as a whole. "Each time a really good paper is written, the older papers automatically all get rewritten," Freund said. Undergraduates today can perform certain calculations in one line that in Sir Isaac Newton's day would have required two pages. That's because they know the mathematical descendants of Newton's original work.

The third narrative of science is the human story. Freund emphasizes this narrative in his book, "but it is always entwined with these other two stories of a given paper or of the subject as a whole," he said.

Freund's narratives range near and far in time and space, from the 18th century's Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, who claimed to have scientifically proven the existence of God, to the iconic Einstein.

They also involve several University of Chicago faculty members and alumni. These include Nobel laureates James Cronin (M.S.'53, Ph.D.'55), University Professor Emeritus in Physics; the late Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, the Morton Hull Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Astronomy & Astrophysics; and alumni Tsung Dao Lee (Ph.D.'50) and Chen Ning Yang (Ph.D.'49).

Freund devotes a chapter to Robert Oppenheimer, who oversaw the development of the atomic bomb at Los Alamos, N.M., during World War II. He carefully avoids discussing the famous feud between Oppenheimer and Edward Teller, in part because other books already had.

Another factor: potential accusations of personal bias. Both Teller's and Freund's mothers came from the town of Lugoj, Romania. "In fact his favorite cousin and my mother were best friends," Freund said.

After World War II, Teller became notorious for his advocacy of the hydrogen bomb. Nevertheless, he had previously maintained liberal viewpoints on political matters. Why the change?

Teller had experienced an oppressive, short-lived and mostly forgotten Soviet republic, which ruled Hungary in 1919. "He had suffered under communism at that early time," Freund said. His family then fled to Lugoj, from which the Dracula-portraying Hollywood actor Bela Lugosi took his stage name.

Years later at Los Alamos, Teller worked with Oppenheimer, who favored dropping the atomic bomb on Japan. If the erudite Oppenheimer took such a stance, Freund said, then Teller must have feared what a less civilized man like Stalin would do. "He was tremendously scared of Stalin."

Caption: Peter Freund, Professor Emeritus in Physics at the University of Chicago, is author of A Passion for Discovery. The book recounts stories about many key 20th-century physicists and mathematicians, including Albert Einstein, Robert Oppeneheimer and a variety of University of Chicago alumni and faculty members.

Bestsellers for the Month of June

Almost 200 years after she first published, Jane Austen remains atop BooksOnBoard's ( list of eBook classics authors. Not only does Austen top the classics ebook bestseller list for the month of May, she also ranks 9 overall in total eBooks sold for the month, even outgunning the romance machine that is Nora Roberts.

"Incredibly, nearly 200 years after her death, Jane Austen may be more popular than ever," said Bob LiVolsi, CEO of BooksOnBoard, "She's the original Romance author; her novels have inspired generations of authors who hope their works remain fresh and witty centuries from now. In partnership with Abbey House Classics, we currently offer the Abbey House version of her eBooks free at BooksOnBoard."

Sherlock Holmes creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, holds the number 2 classic eBooks slot for May with humorist PG Wodehouse in third position. Science Fiction and Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs and Dracula author Bram Stoker round out the list. BooksOnBoard currently offers books by all five authors in the "free ebooks" section of its online ebookstore.

In the non-romance categories (including thrillers, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, history, biography and more), Charlaine Harris topped the list with her instantly popular new release, From Dead to Worse, a southern vampire eBook mystery in the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse series. Suspense writer W.E.B. Griffin jumped into 2nd place, followed by bestselling eBook thriller writers James Patterson and Dean Koontz. Sebastian Faulks finished 5th on the strength of his new James Bond eBook and audio book, Devil May Care.

"James Patterson and Dean Koontz always sit near the top of the charts," said Jack Roesslein, BooksOnBoard analyst, "W.E.B. Griffin's epic military novels elevated him to a New York Times Bestselling Author, and his latest, Death and Honor, has received excellent reviews. His novels – finally available as both eBooks and Audio Books, are popular year-round. The eBook versions sold extremely well here over Memorial Day weekend."

Bestselling paranormal romance author J.R. Ward spearheaded the eBook Romance category with her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Lori Foster, Gena Showalter, Kresley Cole and Jacquelyn Frank followed in that order, driven by successful new eBook romance releases. Frank, Showalter and Cole all made the list with Paranormal Romances, heavy on vampires.

Classics eBook Bestsellers

1. Jane Austin
2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
3. PG Wodehouse
4. Edgar Rice Burroughs
5. Bram Stoker

eBook Bestsellers (non-romance)

1. Charlaine Harris
2. W.E.B. Griffin
3. James Patterson
4. Dean Koontz
5. Sebastian Faulks

Romance eBook Bestsellers

1. J.R. Ward
2. Lori Foster
3. Gena Showalter
4. Kresley Cole
5. Jacquelyn Frank

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Inside The New York Times Book Review, A New Weekly Program

The New York Times and 96.3 FM WQXR have launched a new weekly book program "Inside The New York Times Book Review" with host Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of the Book Review. The 15-minute show will start on Friday, June 6 and air every Friday at 6:05 p.m. on WQXR FM and be available online at The program will feature highlights from that Sunday's Book Review including interviews with distinguished authors, a "Notes From The Field" essay by reporter Rachel Donadio, and a Q. and A. between senior editor Dwight Garner and Mr. Tanenhaus on best-seller news. A podcast of the show will be available on

"Inside The New York Times Book Review" was a one-minute feature on WQXR for several years. In its new incarnation, the short segment has been expanded into a show with more content that will be provided by the editors, contributors and authors who write for or are featured in the Book Review. Mr. Tanenhaus' guests for the first program will be Augusten Burroughs, author of "A Wolf at The Table," and Kathryn Harrison, author of "While They Slept." The June 15 interviews will be with Jackie Collins, author of "Married Lovers," and Elizabeth Royte, author of "Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It." Ms. Donadio will also be covering the literary scene – much as she does in her frequent back page essays in the Book Review – with commentary on awards, festivals, parties and other publishing events as well as industry scuttlebutt. Mr. Garner will expand on his weekly column "TBR: Inside The List" with comments, musings and an occasional grumble about bestsellers and the lists.

"We'll be drawing on the full range of the Book Review content, including Rachel's incisive reporting and commentary on the literary-cultural scene and Dwight's smart and witty take on the literary marketplace," said Mr. Tanenhaus.

"Bringing the podcast to WQXR is a reversal of what has been the usual pattern of having radio programs migrate to the Web," said Tom Bartunek, president, New York Times Radio and general manager, WQXR. "It's a testament, first to the quality of the podcast; and second, to The Times's commitment to create engaging audio for distribution across the whole spectrum of platforms."

Past podcasts from the Book Review have included interviews with many prominent authors such as Umberto Eco, Ian McEwan, Richard Price, Robert Stone and Tom Wolfe. The podcasts have developed a loyal following online and are archived, along with past reviews and other content from the Book Review, at

Suggestions for guests to appear on the program may be sent to Blake Wilson at the Book Review:

Professor finds publishing niche with bilingual biographies for kids

Inspired by her Peruvian-American heritage and passion to share Latino stories with children, Monica Brown's writing career is taking off like one of magic carpets she writes about in her newest bilingual biography for kids.

My Name is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez, published by Luna Rising, sold nearly 10,000 copies in its first three months. National Book Network is printing thousands more.

"Gabito is not only a biography, but a book about imagination, observation and the unending possibilities of our own creativity," said Brown, an associate professor of English at Northern Arizona University, who specializes in multicultural literature and cultural studies. "Gabriel García Márquez was one of my earliest literary inspirations, and I wanted to introduce children to the concept of magic realism."

Based on García Márquez's 2003 adult autobiography Living to Tell the Tale, Brown's lyrical narrative transports young readers to "Gabito's" early childhood in northern Colombia. Brown engages her young readers by asking them in both English and Spanish to imagine some of the mysterious realities he wrote about during his influential career as a journalist and a Nobel Prize-winning novelist. "Can you imagine a man with enormous wings falling from the sky? Can you imagine flying through the air on a magic carpet?" Brown asks.

Now Brown's own contribution to literature is taking off. My Name is Gabito received a starred review from the School Library Journal and was a Junior Library Guild Premier Selection. My Name is Gabito also was one of the Críticas magazine's best books of 2007. The book's artist, Raúl Colón, won a 2008 Puré Belpré Award for its dazzling color-pencil illustrations.

In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Brown's speaking schedule is keeping her busy. After delivering the plenary at the National Society for the Study of Multiethnic Literature in the United States conference this spring, she recently was a featured speaker at Book Expo America in Los Angeles on a panel titled "Children's Books for Latino Voices of the Future," along with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Oscar Hijuelos and actor-turned-author Cheech Marin.

In July, she will be delivering a keynote on Children's Literature and Social Justice at the National Council of Teachers of English Literacies for All Summer Institute in Tucson.

HarpersCollins Rayo publishers recently contracted with Brown to complete her next three books: Pelé, King of Soccer and Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez, and a forthcoming fiction picture book. Brown's two young daughters are excited that Pelé, King of Soccer, due out in January, is already chosen as a Scholastic Book Clubs and Fairs selection.

Brown began re-creating images of community in multicultural children's books with My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz, which won the Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature and a Puré Belpré honor for its illustrations. Her second picture book, My Name is Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral, shares the story of the first Latina to win a Nobel Prize.

Brown features writers such as Cruz, Mistral and Márquez because she wants to inspire young readers with the "rich and imaginative legacies of these thinkers," she said. "I try to be a meticulous researcher and honor historical records. It is my dream that my books provide the opportunity for children to understand their communities and others and ultimately celebrate the connectedness of all of us."

Children's books aren't Brown's only bailiwick, she has authored numerous scholarly articles and the book Gang Nation: Delinquent Citizens in Puerto Rican, Chicano and Chicana Narratives, which looks at novels and memoirs exploring Latino/a gang culture as it intersects with violence, citizenship and identity.

This summer, Brown also is working on her first novel for adults.

For information, go to

DailyLit Offers Free Harlequin Romance Novel

DailyLit, the leading digital publisher and service that allows entire books to be read via short email/RSS installments, has released a front list Harlequin romance novel that is part of one of their most popular series, at no charge, for a limited time only.

Newly released SPANISH BILLIONAIRE, INNOCENT WIFE (, part of the successful Harlequin Presents series, is now available for free via DailyLit. Written by popular Harlequin author, Kate Walker, the romance book will be free until August 31, 2008 as part of this summer promotion. Over 200 Harlequin romance novels are currently available for purchase from

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Eighty Percent of Americans Want to Write a Book

A recent survey showed that more than eighty percent of Americans want to write a book. This extraordinary statistic is somewhat puzzling considering that the National Endowment for the Arts estimates that only fifty-seven percent of Americans have read even 1 book in the last twelve months!

What is it that makes people -- even non-readers -- want to put pen to paper?

Perhaps it's the desire for fame and fortune, the need to earn the respect of others, or maybe it's just the wish to leave some mark on the future, a permanent record of a life lived.

Whatever the reason, for those who actually complete a manuscript, the odds of seeing it published by a reputable firm are slim.

For the estimated 2 million manuscripts currently completed, there are only 64,000 publishers of record, and only a fraction of those are actively seeking new manuscripts.

So what are the millions of hopeful authors to do?

Well, the first step would be to ensure their manuscripts are the best they can be. This can be done by re-writing, editing, proofreading by an outside firm or even by a well-read and literate friend.

Even then, most of those two million books stand no chance of being accepted by a traditional publisher. Those authors that do make the cut are not necessarily the best writers, but rather are those who can sell themselves and their stories most convincingly.

Some authors, after rejections from the trade, will find themselves victims of vanity publishers, who take advantage of the hopes and aspirations of writers to extract an exorbitant fee to 'publish' their book.

Luckier will be the writers who publish through firms like iUniverse and Lulu, for although their books will likely never see wide distribution, at least their losses will be minimal.

And finally there are the select few who decide to become publishers themselves, even if it is only to self-publish their own book.

These publishers will find great obstacles, and a great deal of work in this route, but the challenge and reward of having one's success or failure entirely in one's own hands is a powerful feeling.

Whether they choose to publish electronically, or use short run printing service like Lightning Print, or even to go full boar with a print run of 1,000 or more, their success depends on how well they sell themselves and their story to others.

And so, if you are about to embark on a new manuscript, educate yourself thoroughly about the industry, its scams, and potential pitfalls. And more importantly, learn to market yourself well, for this, more than any other skill, is the determining factor in your success or failure.

(C) Book Writing

The National Indie Excellence Awards

Ellen Reid's Book Shepherding and ask: Why is it that in our world today, an independent film producer is a hero while an independent publisher is viewed as someone who couldn't get a "real" publisher to take on his or her project? It's time to challenge that mind-set.

Receiving this award is a powerful statement for both publishers and authors because it acknowledges the entire book, in addition to the writing. It is an award of integrity that emphasizes a book's overall excellence. Stand with us as we let the world know that independence and excellence combine to provide an unexcelled reading experience!

The National Indie Excellence Awards:

Ellen Reid's Book Shepherding:

U.S. Book Production Flat in 2007

Bowker, the global leader in bibliographic information management, has released statistics on U.S. book publishing for 2007, compiled from its Books In Print database. Based on preliminary figures from U.S. publishers, Bowker is projecting that U.S. title output in 2007 increased slightly to 276,649 new titles and editions, up from the 274,416 that were published in 2006.

While traditional book publishing was basically flat last year, there was a staggering rise in the reported number of "On Demand" and short-run books to 134,773, pushing the grand total for projected 2007 U.S. book output to 411,422 books. To maintain the continuity of statistics, Bowker is excluding this output from its traditional reporting and has begun tracking the On Demand industry segment separately.

"Our statistics for 2007 indicate that the book publishing industry has regained its footing since the rough year that many publishers experienced in 2005, when the numbers showed a nearly 9% decline in new titles, but clearly they are still being very selective about which titles they believe have the most promise of achieving commercial success," said Kelly Gallagher, general manager of business intelligence for New Providence, N.J.-based Bowker.

"The most startling development last year is the reporting of 'On Demand' titles, leading to a stunning five-fold increase of new titles in the unclassified category, which mostly consists of reprints of public domain titles and other short-run books," said Gallagher. "It will be interesting to monitor this category in 2008 in order to get a sense of whether this is a sustainable trend or a one-year spike."

Category Winners and Losers

According to Gallagher, among the major publishing categories, the big winners last year were once again Fiction and Literature. There were 50,071 new fiction titles introduced in the U.S. last year, up 17% from 2006, and the number of new titles in the category in 2007 was almost twice what it was as recently as 2002. Similarly, there was a 19% rise in new literature books last year to 9,796, which followed a 31% increase in new literature titles in 2006.

"Adult fiction continues to be a reliable category in the U.S. book publishing industry and one of the niches that a number of publishers have counted on through the peaks and valleys of the past several years," said Gallagher. "On the other hand, it's noteworthy that juvenile title output, which makes up more than one out of every 10 new books introduced into the U.S. market, was down again slightly last year and has now seen steady erosion in each of the last three years since its Harry Potter-influenced peak in 2004."

Moreover, Bowker benchmarked fairly steep declines in the Business and Sociology/Economics categories last year. The number of new business titles fell to 7,651 in 2007, down 12% from 2006, and the number of new sociology/economics books dropped to 24,596, an 11% decline from the prior year. Gallagher noted there were also slight dips in the Religion (down 5% in 2007) and History (down 3%) categories, both of which had experienced double-digit increases in 2006.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Revive Your Book Writing Dream! by Earma Brown

Did you start writing your book and quit? Yes, I know you're not a quitter. Like many of us, you may be making some simple mistakes that block your book's progress and success. Correct the following mistakes; complete your book and prosper:

Mistake 1: Failure to keep going after life interrupts.

It is a common challenge to find your place after being interrupted by family, work and daily life. After all that's why many think you must get away to get it done effectively. Yet, there's hope for those who can't get away or choose not to. Successful writers all over the world use the tracking approach. They succeed because they commit to doing a little each day.

Solution: Set yourself up for success; use the tracking approach. The most popular method to use for tracking is time. Time is the method where you commit to a writing a certain amount of time each day. With the cumulative factor involved your commitment doesn't have to be that much.

For example, to accomplish my book writing goals I commit to writing one hour a day in a.m. (my most productive time.) With this method don't be overly concerned about how much you write, just keep the time commitment.

Mistake 2: Failure to find writing rhythm.

You don't have to write each chapter one after the other. If you get stuck on chapter two, you could be stuck a very long time. This type of thinking comes from grade school where we are ritually taught to do everything in order.

If you have been thinking that way stop right now, no need to raise your hand. You have my permission to work on whatever chapter moves you or you feel passion bubbling for at the moment. Feeling stuck on a chapter, try another. There you have it now go with the flow.

Solution: Don't become chained to writing in order.

Jump around and fill in the blanks. Review your chapters and whatever subject or topic you most drawn to, begin there.

Mistake 3: Failure to push past writer's block.

I am stuck. I have to stop writing until I feel it again. Unseasoned writers may play the martyr, give up and try again another day. We would never get it done like that. When you get stuck simply close that chapter, pull out your chapter outline and choose another chapter. Choose a topic from that chapter and begin there.

Solution: Maintain your momentum. Don't give in to writers block. Move on to work on the chapter you feel passion bubbling for at that moment.

Mistake 4: Failure to turn off editor mindset when writing.

Many newbie and seasoned writers are perfectionist. When writing, they feel the urge to stop and change something every few paragraphs. Or they finish a page and want to perfect it before continuing. Turn off your editor voice while writing your first draft. Your goal should be to get the message on paper.

Solution: Avoid re-writing during your first draft. After your message is written completely out, then you can turn the editor's voice back up. It's true successful authors rewrite and organize their ideas for the strongest impact.

But in the beginning stages of writing your book, concentrate on finishing each chapter. Use later writing sessions to self-edit. When it's time to edit, check your ideas for flow, grammar, spelling, and chapter endings. Work on your chapter titles and lead in introductions.

Mistake 5: Failure to ask for help.

Many writers are natural loners. So it's no surprise when they fall into thinking, "I have to do it all myself." Do your research and reading time apart from your writing sessions. You may be able to ask your spouse, a teen-aged son or daughter, a friend to help with your research. Know when to let go of your chapters and book. Don't self-edit and pick your book apart word by word.

Solution: Learn to use your skills at the highest level possible. Some of the mechanical tasks of proofreading ask a family member, part-time employee or again a friend to help. After you have done the best job you can with your manuscript, don't be afraid to pass it to a professional. Learn to delegate faster and faster.

You may not make all of these mistakes. Yet one or two will stop your book dream in its tracks. Your audience is waiting. Implement the above solutions, get your book written, release it to the world and prosper.

About the Author:
Earma Brown, 12 year author and business owner helps small business owners and writers who want to write their best book now! Earma mentors other writers and business professionals through her monthly ezine "iScribe." Send any email to for free mini-course "Jumpstart Writing Your Book" or visit her at

Best-Selling American Author Breaks All Records in South America

As BookExpo America opens in Los Angeles this weekend, attendees can put to rest the rumor that lightening doesn't strike twice in the same place. For Los Angeles-based author Steven Carter, author of the best-selling "Men Who Can't Love," it truly has.

Carter skyrocketed to literary fame 20 years ago when his book "Men Who Can't Love" -- which brought the word "commitmentphobia" into the American parlance -- hit the New York Times best-seller list for four weeks in a row, and the Publisher's Weekly list for eight weeks in a row, going on to sell 4 million copies worldwide. With co-author Julia Sokol, he went on to pen seven other best-selling relationship books.

Now Carter is topping the best-seller charts again -- but this time, in Brazil, the booming Latin American country with a book buying market of 186 million readers. Carter's "What Smart Women Know" has been amongst the Top 10 on that country's best-seller lists for 89 weeks running. Now a second Carter/Sokol book, "Men Love Women Who Love Themselves," has joined the best-seller lists for the past six weeks. The first title has already sold 350,000 copies and is still going strong. Together, the two titles are selling at the rate of almost 20,000 copies per week.

"They didn't even tell me 'What Smart Women Know' was on the best-sellers list until 50 weeks after it first appeared," says an elated Carter, who lives with his wife in the mid-city area of Los Angeles. "A royalty check for $60,000 arrived in the mail without warning, and I thought it had to be a mistake. I called my agent Barbara Lowenstein to report the error. She informed me there was no error. I was stunned."

By contrast, four days later Carter received a royalty check for the Chinese version of the same title. The royalty? $1.47.

What's the explanation for Carter's recent surge of popularity in Brazil -- some 20 years after his initial success in the U.S.? "Brazilian women have reached the same sociological and economic spot that American women were at in the '80s when our books were on the American best-seller lists," says Carter. "There's been so much upward mobility and movement toward equality, and it's all new. Before, roles were very, very rigid. Women didn't have the emotional and financial choices that they have now with Brazil being one of the fastest growing economies in the world."

Carter says Brazilian women, with their new economic and personal power, are now running into the same issues of "commitmentphobia" and "push-back" by men that their American counterparts first faced in the '80s -- and still continue to face. "Their culture had to be at a defining moment for it to happen," said Carter in awe. "To think that the cultural overlap would be so close!"

But now, says Carter, Brazilian women are indeed facing those issues: "They're facing the trap of looking too successful, of having too much power, and how that threatens men, and turns many off. These challenges are resting heavily on these women's minds in Brazil, along with issues of self-esteem and a shortage of available men."

Just back from a whirlwind book tour of five Brazilian cities -- "the media in Brazil is so smart, the questions were so incisive, and everybody, but everybody, reads" -- Carter was blown away by the pervasiveness of his book in the marketplace. "I just could not get away from my own stuff," he noted. "My books were everywhere -- in airports, in train stations, up front in the stores. It was incredibly exciting and flattering."

Perhaps not so coincidentally, the other cultural phenomenon sweeping the Brazilian population at present is an obsession with "Sex and the City," the television show now playing in syndication in that country.

"Nothing is bigger in Brazil than 'Sex and the City,'" said Carter. "Sarah Jessica Parker's photo is plastered everywhere. Brazilian women are fascinated by this portrayal of smart, single women, and their extravagant lifestyle of Manolo Blahnik-like conspicuous consumption. All the reporters I talked to wanted to get my take on it. Which ties back into my original thesis -- Brazilian women are finally experiencing the type of change, both positive and negative, that their American counterparts faced one or more decades ago. It's an incredibly interesting cross-cultural story."

(And the third current Brazilian obsession? "They just love Naomi Campbell," notes Carter. "Her photo is plastered everywhere. And don't dare make a joke about her cell phone throwing habits -- she's like a goddess there!")

Spurred by the rabid demand for two of Carter and Sokol's works, Carter's Brazilian publisher GMT Sextante has already made plans to release "Men Who Can't Love" into the Brazilian market next year, hoping for equally astounding results.

"That's the book that topped the best-sellers lists in the U.S., so it will be fascinating to see how it does in Brazil," says Carter. "Of course, I'd love to see it take off in other South American countries as well." Carter adds, "I suspect that 'commitmentphobia' will be the greatest problem women in Brazil will face during the next ten years."

Sunday, June 1, 2008

How That Novel Idea Becomes A Novel by Jim Ross

One day you wake up and announce to the world that you would like to write a novel. Pardon the pun, but that is a novel idea. At some point in time that is what everyone dreams about. Let's face it; we all have a story to tell, don't we?

In reality though, how does it all really come about?

For me, the writing itself is relatively easy. The sentence structure; the punctuation; the correct spelling are all general tools that don't cause much of a problem for me. And I assume that is true for a lot of other writers.

In my opinion the challenging part of writing is dreaming up the topic. It takes much thought to come up with a story line and develop a plot. Creating scenes is a taxing exercise of the mind. Putting the actions in a readable sequence is also tricky. The story must flow and force the reader to stay interested enough to turn the pages.

In my personal experience it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to figure out how I'm going to make a story work. Once I identify the subject matter that I want to write about a subconscious energy sort of kicks in. Even though I continue to live daily life, the inner thought process is constantly at work trying to figure out the details of the story.

One trick that I found was that exercise helps me to reach a state of relaxation that allows for my mind to reach an open phase. While jogging I have found that the demands on the respiratory system and muscle groups have allowed for me to reach a freedom from within.

Another valuable time of discovery is in the middle of the night or shortly after awakening in the morning. For some reason the mind is not clogged and burdened with the goings-on of everyday life. Still another mind-enlightening time is while I am driving down the interstate in my car. During those moments I have found that it is always a good idea to have a pen and pad of paper easily accessible to jot down ideas.

At any rate, as I mentioned earlier, the time that it takes to sort events out in my mind varies. One of the things that I love to do is create characters. I can actually see them and hear them. Once the scenes are figured out and put into the proper sequence, then I have the freedom to place my characters into the action and have them deliver the message of the story.

It is fun to create twists and turns as the story is delivered. It is enjoyable to place hard-to-attain hurdles in the path of a main character as he or she travels on their journey. It is pleasurable to exploit their weakness and make them vulnerable to the actions of the other characters. Most of the characters have some sort of a purpose. Even if it is merely wallpaper in the action of the story, they seem to fill out the scene is some way, shape, or form.

So, in a nutshell, even if you decide to sit down and write a novel, just remember that it takes a great deal of planning to actually decide how the story is to be told. It is so very important to have an orderly procession of events and actions that follow in a logical manner. Characters have the freedom to deliver the message. The trick is putting them in situations that allow for the message to be delivered in an entertaining and meaningful way.

Good luck! Writing is a fun exercise of the mind. You'll find that it becomes a little easier if you do some sort of pre-planning before you start. After all, when you take a drive in your car it is always better to have a destination in mind. Otherwise you merely wander aimlessly.

About the Author:
James Ross, a University of Missouri-Columbia graduate, went to a keyboard and let the words flow through his fingertips. Lifetime Loser is his first novel. Consumed by the writing bug, he is working on more books. Visit James Ross.

Author Seeks Participants for New Book

Dr. LeslieBeth Wish, respected expert for today's women and love, is conducting a ground-breaking survey about relationship issues of women smart in work but not in love. The survey is research for her next book Strong Woman and Love, to help women break unhappy love habits. Survey participants will be entered to win a prize. To participate click Strong Women and Love Survey.

"Three lucky women who complete and submit the survey will be chosen at random to receive Strong Women in Love, the book, when it is published, and an hour of free relationship advice on the phone," says Dr. LeslieBeth Wish. The advice includes a personal discussion of survey results and help with smart dating tips, relationship coaching and choosing men more wisely.

Dr. Wish is a former Masters and Johnsonian researcher and therapist who has helped thousands of men and women love smarter for over 30 years.

To take the Strong Women and Love survey, click here.

Imagine Owning A Copy Of Galileo's 1632 Book

Imagine owning a copy of Galileo's 1632 book, Dialogo di Galileo Galilei (Galileo's Dialogue), challenging the traditional thinking that the universe revolves around the earth. At the time, the book and its concepts were so controversial, that Galileo was convicted of heresy in 1633 and the book was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books.

Or perhaps a first-edition, autographed copy of H.G. Wells' The Time Machine is a more suitable choice for your own personal library?

These books and more will be made available to the public, beginning this fall, through a unique partnership between Canada's McMaster University Library and U.S.-based companies Kirtas Technologies, Inc. and

With the support of Kirtas' Canadian reseller Ristech, McMaster University will be using the Kirtas APT BookScan 2400RA to digitize rare, out-of-print books. Once the books are digitized and processed, files will be made available to the world on the Internet through the university library and for sale as print-on-demand books on

"We have significant collections that we would like to make more widely accessible through digitization," said Jeffrey Trzeciak, University Librarian at McMaster University. "The digitization technology provided by Kirtas, the support and service we receive from Ristech, and the ability of Lulu to pull it all together increases both the electronic availability and the availability of the books in print for those who choose print on demand."

As the publisher of these unique books, the Library also hopes to generate revenue through the print-on-demand service.

"We see more and more universities taking advantage of the print-on-demand option that is enabled through the digitization process," said Kirtas Founder and CEO Lotfi Belkhir. "Not only are these institutions sharing their unique collections, but they are also creating a revenue stream that allows them to reinvest in their access and preservation efforts."