Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Book Boomer Who Just Won't Quit

Launching a career at 58 is just another step in his journey, according to Eric Goldman. Some journey: he retired at 44 to solo-circumnavigate the earth in a sailboat. Years of research and training later, he took delivery of his catamaran, Bit-by-Bit. He sailed her across the Atlantic with one crewmember as a final warm-up. And then, in November 2002, Hurricane Olga struck. Single-handing from New York to Bermuda, he faced winds to 80 knots and waves to 50 feet. After 36 seasick hours of fighting to stay alive, he thought of ending his anguish by falling overboard. But he realised that he owed it to the people who loved him, to try every trick of seamanship to survive. He promised that if he survived he would sell the boat and write a meaningful book.

He spent four years researching, writing drafts, getting professional evaluations, revising and submitting again. Finally, the Iowa Book Doctors said, "Readers grow increasingly interested in literature that addresses political and cultural concerns of the twenty-first century. Topping this list are concerns about the ethics of our leaders and the state of our environment. Napoleon's Gambit throws down a gauntlet, offering a model for action in the face of the unknown. Our editors found the novel to be fresh and engaging, a book which appeals not only to readers of nineteenth-century history, but also to those readers seeking creative solutions to problems facing our world today."

But it turns out surviving the hurricane was easy compared to getting published. 18 months of rejection followed. Early readers seem to love the book, though, so he's adopted the field of dreams approach: Publish and people will read it. Here's its blurb: A modern sailor is recruited by the Royal Navy and finds himself on the deck of Impérieuse in 1813, as she sails into battle against overwhelming odds. At stake are $5 billion in gold coins, and the fate of the modern world.

The novel will be released one chapter a week (PDF and Podcast), beginning on July 28th, 2008. The first 12 chapters are free; the remaining 8 chapters can be purchased on October 15th, the book's launch date. Audio-books, podcasts, e-books, PDFs and paperbacks will be available.


Borders and Web Site for Fans of Author Stephenie Meyer Team Up for Aug. 1 Podcast

Borders will host a special podcast in conjunction with Twilight Series Theories, an online community of fans devoted to Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" book series. The "Twilight Live Show" podcast will be held at the Borders store in New York City's Columbus Circle Aug. 1 at noon and streamed live on . An audience of Stephenie Meyer fans will gather at Borders to share their plot predictions and speculations about what may happen between characters Bella, Edward and Jacob in Meyer's hotly anticipated "Breaking Dawn," the fourth and final book in her "Twilight" series. The podcast will be led by Kallie Mathews, Kassie Rodgers and Becka Grapsy from Twilight Series Theories. They'll be joined by an all-star panel of "Twilight" experts from the hottest Stephenie Meyer fan clubs online including Jen Lamoureux from Twilight Lexicon; Lisa Hanson from TwilightMOMS; and Bailey Gauthier from His Golden Eyes.

Podcast participants at Borders and those who listen will enjoy a lively discussion surrounding the Twilight Series Theories' Question of the Week: "Do you think (the humans or) anybody else will find out about the vampires or werewolves?" Fans at Borders for the live event can enter to win an official "Twilight" movie poster from Summit Entertainment. The poster is autographed by Stephenie Meyer and members of the "Twilight" cast including Kristen Stewart (Bella), Rob Pattinson (Edward), Taylor Lautner (Jacob), Edi Gathegi (Laurent), Cam Gigandet (James), Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria), as well as director Catherine Hardwick. Fans will also have the opportunity to participate in a trivia contest where several lucky winners will be awarded prizes for their "Twilight" series acumen including t-shirts as well as autographed photos of the "Twilight" actors.

The podcast will last approximately two hours, giving fans who want to attend Borders' "Breaking Dawn" midnight release parties, taking place at more than 900 Borders and Waldenbooks stores nationwide later that night, plenty of time to get ready for the parties. The "From Twilight til Dawn: A Night with a Bite" themed parties begin at 9:30 p.m. and culminate at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 2 when the book officially goes on sale. During the parties, customers can enjoy an array of fun activities including costume contests, trivia contests and lively debates on themes from the book series. In addition, customers who attend the in-store book release parties at some Borders stores will be among the lucky ones to view clips and other footage from the upcoming feature film, "Twilight."

Those awaiting the release of "Breaking Dawn" can see Stephenie Meyer on video discussing the upcoming book as well as her bestsellers "Eclipse" and "Host." These programs can be seen online at , where fans will also find a live book countdown and more information about this exciting title.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Relationships Over Revenue -- How One Small Publishing House is Changing the Rules

"The relationships we have with others in the industry are more important to us than getting a bigger piece of the pie," says Michael Visentine, the new COO at NavPress.

It doesn't make sense. It goes against the grain. How can a publisher come from a position of giving first and still make ends meet? That's the million dollar question facing the team at NavPress every day. And they love it.

"At NavPress we are first and foremost Navigators," says Executive Publisher Mike Miller. "Because we are connected to a world-wide ministry we are able to do things differently than other publishers. We are here to advance the Kingdom of God. When we concentrate on building Kingdom-based relationships with like-minded ministries, we can trust God for the revenue," he affirms.

"We have realized that we don't have to do it all, be it all, or create it all, nor should we try," adds Michael Visentine, the new COO at NavPress. "No one can be the best at everything. When we take the focus off of trying to match what the other publishers are doing we are free do what we do best and be who we are, a mission-based servant publisher."

It starts with ministries that have the same vision coming together to enhance and support each other. This benefits not only those organizations directly involved, but also enriches the customer experience by connecting people to products and services that will help them grow spiritually. This approach opens up multiple offerings for customers, creating one unique place to find everything related to discipleship and spiritual growth.

"In any company there are three basic options when it comes to meeting customer needs," says Jessica Chappell, Director of Marketing and Ministry Partnerships at NavPress. "You can make it, buy it, or partner for it. Our partners are those ministries and organizations that can bring to our customers expertise in areas we cannot, and vice versa."

Therein lies the difference between the old paradigm and the new face of publishing at NavPress. But this is not a new idea. It is grounded in what the Bible says about the structure of the church. Each believer is a unique part of the Body of Christ. No one part is more important than the other and the Body of Christ is strongest when all parts work together for the common good.

"NavPress is no more or less important than any other publisher or ministry" continues Visentine, "but we each have a distinct role. The focus needs to shift from trying to find ways to out do each other to discovering how we can best serve each other. The relationships we have with others in the industry are more important to us than getting a bigger piece of the pie."


Saturday, July 26, 2008

This Summer Stephen King's 'N.' is Coming to a Small Screen Near You

Beginning Monday, July 28, mobile phone users and web surfers can enjoy Stephen King's latest work in a groundbreaking series of 25 original video episodes. The series of video episodes was created through a unique partnership between Scribner and Simon & Schuster Digital, Marvel Entertainment, and CBS Mobile and is believed to be the first comic- style book adaptation specifically developed and produced for viewing on today's most popular small screen platforms. Starting today, viewers can go to or to see a preview of the episodes, which will also be unveiled at Comic-Con International in San Diego today at a panel event featuring the creators of this pioneering venture.

The series will also be available for purchase at major online digital content retailers.

The episodes are based on King's original and previously unpublished story "N.," the tale of a psychiatrist who becomes the victim of the same mysterious and deadly obsession as his patient, and which will be included in his forthcoming collection of short stories Just After Sunset (Scribner, November 11, 2008) and published as a comic book miniseries by Marvel, launching in 2009. Featuring sophisticated production values, the episodes were drawn by award-winning comic-book artist Alex Maleev, whose work has appeared on NBC's "Heroes," and colored by famed comic-book colorist Josà Villarrubia, best known for his collaborations with Alan Moore. They were adapted by Marc Guggenheim, co-creator of the ABC-TV series "Eli Stone" with creative oversight from Stephen King. The episodes are presented in a highly designed "pan and scan" format, complete with comic book-style graphics, an original score, sound effects, and a full cast of voiceovers that includes Emmy and Golden Globe award nominee actor Ben Shenkman.

"'N.' combines-cutting edge graphic content with the hot new digital medium for entertainment to showcase Stephen King's unique talent, and we think consumers will be excited to try this never before attempted way of previewing his upcoming story collection," said Carolyn Reidy, President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, Inc. "We are grateful to CBS Mobile and Marvel Entertainment for partnering with us to bring this wonderful Stephen King story to mobile customers and online consumers."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sound Authors Radio Show Features Live Interviews with Authors

Each Friday at 1PM Eastern Standard Time, Sound Authors radio show features live interviews and readings from all varieties of authors, known and not-yet-known; all soon-to-be bestselling authors from all walks of life, from Hollywood actors to marathoners, to PhD therapists or life coaches. On this talk radio show, it is the story that counts. Authors sound off on every possible topic, from cuisine to culture, and from nature to nurture.

Sound Authors Radio Show has thousands of listeners on the podcast, and is distributed on the Modavox, Voice America, World Talk Radio and Blog Talk Radio networks. The interview would be podcasted with all of the professional interviews... and grandfathered (staying on the site for as long as the site exists.)

On the independent show, aspiring talent will have the opportunity to take advantage of the wide variety of packages to help them take their work to the next level. The scope of services will include e-books on all aspects of radio interviews, such as How to get radio interviews, How to be a radio guest and How to promote your book with radio.

A 15-minute (recorded) training interview practice session is also included to help the author polish their interview skills before the actual live interview. The interview would also be provided in MP3 format to use for other radio stations, or on a CD. In addition, there is the possibility of a 2nd interview on the main Sound Authors show.

Several extra add-ons are available for the author such as podcasts that can be either on existing domain or new domain name. Their radio interview from the Sound Authors will be podcasted and they will receive a complete tutorial guide on how to continue podcasting on their own. In addition, packages can include 30-60 second spots for the publisher on the show each week, and podcasted to the world along with the interviews Author spots are available as well -- 30-60 seconds, on one show or several.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

American's Underground James Potter Sequel Gains Notice from Rowling Herself

For author George Norman Lippert, September's highly anticipated release of James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper, comes as just the latest high point in his wholly surprising writing career. His amateur fiction career (Lippert is a leading figure in the Harry Potter fan fiction movement) is already legendary. His work has attracted countless readers and provides the basis for an upcoming film. Lippert's work has even won over Harry Potter fan fiction's toughest critic: J.K. Rowling. The Curse of the Gatekeeper ( is the subject of wild chat room speculation from dedicated fans, all counting the days until the story is unveiled this fall.

The story of how that anticipation came to be, as befits a noted author working in the tradition of a beloved character, is a great yarn,

It was 2007 and Harry Potter fever was in full swing: tens of thousands of fans had queued up to read the story on the night of its release. The book was featured all across the international news media, with the author being interviewed by the London Times, Canadian National Radio, and Fox News all in the same week. Over a million readers worldwide devoured the story, and subsequently inundated Harry Potter websites with debate and speculation about its significance. This time, however, the topic wasn't J. K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", which had come out four months earlier. Now it was December, and the furor surrounded a fan-written story called "James Potter and the Hall of Elders' Crossing". The author, George Norman Lippert of St. Louis, Missouri, was almost as surprised as anyone by the vast response to his on-line story.

"It was a total lark," he says. "I was sad to see the story end with the last book, so I decided to write a sequel for myself and my wife and kids." The resulting 350-page novel details the adventures of Harry's firstborn son, James, as he begins his wizarding career in the shadow of his legendary father. "I read the book to my wife, who is my toughest critic," Lippert explains. "She said it was worth sharing, but I certainly didn't expect what happened."

Lippert, 38, is an amateur novelist and computer animator by profession, so when he decided to release his book on-line, he built a custom website for it. The website, (, became a viral hit because of its professional graphics and intro movie. "People were speculating that it was a test-market tool for a new book series, or a movie, or a video game," Lippert confesses. "I knew some mystery would be to my advantage, but I began to get a little worried when the response got so huge."

Indeed, curiosity about the website became so intense that J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros. became involved, repeatedly denying any connection. The Scotsman newspaper claimed that Ms. Rowling intended to sue Lippert for copyright infringement. Consequently, Lippert communicated with Rowling via her agency, offering an advance copy of his story for her perusal. This was accepted, and shortly thereafter came the announcement that Rowling supported Lippert's story and others like it. Lippert admits it was a huge relief. "I told her I'd have taken down the site if she'd asked me to. It's her world and I respect her desire to control it," he said.

"Still, it was really cool to know the creator of the Harry Potter world reviewed my story," he admits with a grin.

So what does a fledgling writer do with unprecedented and unexpected success? Write a sequel, of course.

"While I was writing ‘Elders' Crossing', I knew it was meant to be a part of a series," Lippert acknowledges. "I just didn't know if I'd write it. Now, though, loads of people do seem to want to hear the rest of the story. What more could a writer ask for?"

In fact, the official James Potter forum has nearly four hundred active members, all debating the upcoming sequel, "James Potter and the Curse of the Gatekeeper", due to be released on-line in September. The sequel's official website ( has garnered over thirty-thousand hits in its first few weeks and is already causing a buzz in the Harry Potter fan community. "I get a lot of emails, but the two big questions I see most are, will these ever be published as books, and will there be a movie," Lippert admits.

Valid questions, considering the current legal ambiguity of Rowling's case against Steve Vander Ark and his Harry Potter Lexicon, as well as the fact that Warner Bros. will soon begin filming the last of its wildly successful Harry Potter films. With Harry Potter fever still in very high gear and no new books or movies forthcoming, Lippert's stories could be poised to fill a very large vacuum.

"The James Potter movie is already being made," Lippert says with a grin. "I shouldn't talk much about it, but I am quite curious to see how it turns out." For now, at least, Lippert isn't talking about an upcoming blockbuster feature film; he is talking about the fan-film being created by a California teenager and his friends, all of whom loved Lippert's story so much that they refused to wait for any official Warner Bros. movie deal. Like the James Potter novels, the film will be released in serial form via YouTube and the teen's website, "They consulted me by email about the screenplay and casting," Lippert says, obviously flattered, "but that's about it. It's their creation entirely, and I can't wait to see how the story looks through their eyes."

Strangely, Lippert's story has even spawned its own genre of fan-fiction. "People ask my permission if they can write their own stories based on my James Potter adventures. It feels extremely weird, but I always tell them to go for it and have fun. It's all about the story."

And will Lippert's James Potter novels ever be published in book form? Lippert smiles cryptically. "It's all about the story," he repeats. "Sure, I'd love to see my books printed, since a lot of people won't read novels off of their computers. But I won't make a big legal mess like Vander Ark [writer of the disputed ‘Harry Potter Lexicon'. I'd love to get Ms. Rowling's permission to publish if she thought my stories were worth it. I've told her that I'd split the proceeds with her for charity. But I won't fight her over it. I just want to keep the story going."

Does that mean a James Potter book three? Lippert shrugs. "It already exists. I just haven't written it yet. Let's just wait and see what people think of book two."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Creative Byline Gains New Publishers

Globe Pequot Press and Orange Avenue Publishing have joined Creative Byline (, a new web-based technology serving the publishing industry. Creative Byline's innovative program streamlines the process of connecting writers to publishers, while keeping writers' manuscripts secure and private. The two publishers join Dutton Children's Books, St. Martin's Press, and Tor/Forge in using the Creative Byline program.

Globe Pequot, based in Guilford, Connecticut, has published nonfiction works on health, style, fishing, nature, gardening, travel, art and reference, and much more. Founded in 1947, its imprints include skirt!, Lyons Press, Globe Pequot Press Life.

Through its imprint, Zest Books, San Francisco-based Orange Avenue publishes nonfiction books on issues and challenges of particular interest to teens. Founded as a book packaging company, Orange Avenue began publishing its own projects in 2006.

All of Creative Byline's participating publishers receive submissions that match their criteria online through the Creative Byline website; they can change their criteria as the market changes. Creative Byline's expert readers and process tools save them time in reviewing manuscripts. Convenience and quality make Creative Byline a source of choice for publishers, which in turn benefits writers.

Writers can identify editors interested in manuscripts like theirs and then submit digitally for a modest fee--$19 for full-length manuscripts, $9 for children's picture books (roughly the cost incurred to print, package, and ship a hard copy of their work). Writers can find editors with specific interests, submit directly to them, and get a response much more quickly than through the traditional, paper-and-snail-mail-based process.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

U.S. Trade Book Market Facing Poor Sales

Simba Information expects the balance of 2008 to be difficult for the U.S. trade book market and is projecting a sales decrease of about 5%; erasing the gains of 2007, the year of runaway hits such as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and "The Secret." The projections were made in "Business of Consumer Book Publishing 2008," the latest strategic market report from Simba, a leading media industry forecast and analysis firm.

"There are several factors at work here -- the lack of a blockbuster book drawing in sufficient store traffic, consumers feeling the heat of a tough economy, and bookstores under pressure to perform -- all combining to make 2008 a rough year for the U.S. trade book market," said Michael Norris, senior analyst at Simba.

For the first time, "Business of Consumer Book Publishing" has a detailed analysis of sales channel allocation, which provides a much-needed perspective on the challenges of book retailing in the current market landscape. The expanding role of 'non-bookstores' is well documented in the report and helps show why the largest bookstore chains seem to be having many of the same challenges of independent booksellers.

"In a bookstore, the future of the store depends on the book. In a non-bookstore, the future of the book depends on the store," said Norris, who added that the concentration of attention around a small number of blockbuster titles and the ability of non-bookstores to price these titles as low as they want has created a "volatile situation."

The report wasn't all bad news, as Simba identified several consumer book categories that are the most likely to see an increase through 2008. Some of the 18 categories covered extensively in the report include Biographies, Cookbooks, Political Science, Business, Mystery, Self-Help and Graphic Novels. An overview and assessment of electronic books is also provided as well as detailed breakdowns of publishing trends.

The report also provides a detailed breakdown of leading publishers by net revenue and where they stand in this difficult industry, as well as a thorough analysis of leading booksellers including Barnes & Noble and Borders Group.

As with previous editions, the latest edition of this annual report offers data analysis from a number of highly respected sources, such as the Association of American Publishers (AAP), Simba's own "Book Publishing Report" newsletter, the monthly intelligence briefing on the state of the publishing industry, Simmons Market Research Bureau, Stuart Johnson & Associates, and R.R. Bowker's Books in Print. Qualitative and quantitative analysis from organizations in the industry's value chain provide a comprehensive overview of the trade book business.

Source: Teams Up With Scribd to Offer Most Popular Free Content via iPaper is partnering with Scribd to test iPaper, Scribd's document viewer built for the Web. users will test iPaper on select content for a three month period beginning in July.

iPaper is the first full-featured viewer that lets users view any type of document directly in their web browser, serving as an Internet alternative to a PDF. There is no software to download, allowing users to publish and view documents more quickly while retaining the popular features of a PDF, such as full text search within documents. iPaper also allows documents to be easily indexed by search engine crawlers.

Scribd ( offers a set of tools that allows anyone to use iPaper on their own website. Now iPaper offers new distribution options for Lulu creators, including one-click emailing documents, embedding documents simply on any websites or blogs, and various networking features, like the ability to share documents with friends. will include a broad sampling of some of its most popular free content in the test. Select titles will be from a variety of genres, including cookbooks; biographies and memoirs; photo books; computer and Internet; and arts and photography. At the conclusion of the test period, Lulu and Scribd will explore rolling out iPaper to include more content on

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Authors Earn Free Gas Cards for Purchases of Marketing Services and Books

AuthorHouse, the leading provider of self-publishing and marketing services for authors around the globe, is helping authors overcome high gas prices and realize their publishing goals.

For every $500 worth of marketing services purchased, authors will receive a $50 gas card from their choice of Shell or Speedway. Those purchasing books can also participate in the promotion based on the quantity of books purchased:

-- 50 books purchased; receive a $25 gas card
-- 100 books purchased; receive a $50 gas card
-- 200 books purchased; receive a $100 gas card

"Gas prices are hitting everyone in the wallet, but we don't want it to discourage authors from achieving their publishing goals, so AuthorHouse will buy the gas for authors committed to promoting and selling their books," said Keith Ogorek, AuthorHouse director of marketing.

There is no limit to the number of gas cards that can be earned through this promotion, which runs through Aug. 3. Call AuthorHouse today at 1-888-519-5121, or log on to, to learn more about this special offer and other publishing package specials.

Write Your Life Story in 28 Days

It is not uncommon to hear people say that they would love to sit down and write out their life story -- a bit of history to leave behind for their children and grandchildren -- but that they simply don't have the time or even know where to begin. Author Dee Dees is out to assure all who aspire to share the experiences of their life that it can be done easily and efficiently with her new book, "Write Your Life Story in 28 Days" (published by AuthorHouse -

Short and to-the-point, "Write Your Life Story in 28 Days" takes a seemingly daunting task and makes it refreshingly simple, nixing all the theory, philosophy and excerpts of other people's stories that often make getting started more difficult.

According to Dees, her book is different from others with the same topic because "it offers a promise that anyone can complete the highlights of their life's experiences in 28 days, that it needn't be a long drawn out process." Dees offers readers a daily exercise for each of the 28 days. The completion of these short writing assignments leaves the reader with a comprehensive overview of the highlights of his or her life.

Dees also addresses research, including when and why an author may need to do research and where they should look for needed information, and the organization of materials gathered. She includes many helpful and in-depth writing tips for those who feel they are not writers, offering "simple, easy techniques that can help anyone write a cohesive, colorful story about the events they feel are most important to them." "Write Your Life Story in 28 Days" covers the use of the mind-map technique, plot, character building, dialogue and more.

In the final chapters of the book, Dees discusses extras that can be added to the reader's book, such as photos, recipes and quotes, how to turn all the stories, photos and extras into a completed book, and where to go from there.

The book has already garnered praise from Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series:

Everyone has a story. "Write Your Life Story in 28 Days" is a user-friendly book that helps you record your stories and compile them in a meaningful way for future generations.

Dee Dees became interested in personal histories after helping her 90-year-old grandmother write the stories of her life. A resident of Gilbert, Ariz., Dees is a workshop and seminar leader and a member of the Association of Personal Historians. Married with two grown children and one grandson, Dees enjoys reading, writing, travel, hiking, needlework and Texas Hold'em Poker. For more information, visit

Book Sales in Decline as U.S. Economy Contracts

As consumers seek to compensate for budgets threatened by spiraling fuel costs and the rising cost of essentials such as food, one of the discretionary budget areas where they're cutting spending is on books.

The book business in the United States in 2007 registered $29.93 billion in sales, producing 2.377 billion units, about the same as 2.383 billion in 2006, according to the Book Industry Study Group.

While the book business has been relatively stagnant in recent years and even months, it now appears to have turned the corner downward.

Net sales of books in April fell 3.5 percent to $472.7 million, based on data from 79 publishers as reported to the Association of American Publishers.

Not all sales were down. Among the book categories registering increased sales were inexpensive e-books, up 19.9 percent to $3.4 million; university press hardcover sales, up 12.1 percent to $5.6 million; adult mass market sales, up 4.7 percent to $53.2 million; adult trade paperback sales, up 4.5 percent to $118.3 million; and audiobooks, up 1.7 percent to $12.6 million.

The categories showing sales increases were offset by those declining. Among the book groups registering decreased sales were higher ed, down 30.5 percent to $8 million; religious books, down 21.5 percent to $34.2 million; children's/YA hardcovers, down 19.9 percent to $39 million; university press paperbacks, down two percent to $2.7 million; the important adult hardcover sales category, down 4.6 percent to $110 million; and children's/YA paperback sales, down 3.1 percent to $39.3 million.

According to Great American Bargain Book Show organizer Larry May of Knoxvile, Tenn., one of the strategies bookstores and other book retailers might pursue in the wake of declining sales is to acquire inventory at lower cost.

"Most bookstores buy stock for 20 to 40 percent off suggested retail," May said. "But they can buy remainders and other bargain books for as much as 90 percent off retail price. That means they can sell the books for less in a time when consumers are spending fewer dollars on books, and still make a higher profit margin."

May said an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 bargain book titles will be offered to buyers at bargain basement prices at the Great American Bargain Book Show, scheduled to be held at Atlanta's Cobb Galleria Center on Aug. 1-2. "It's a great opportunity for bookstores and other retailers to stock up for the winter holiday season, which accounts for a disproportionate part of annual book sales," May said.


Finding a Publisher is Harder than Finding An Audience with The Pope

Weeding through the 154,000,000 Google pages of book publishers is an obvious daunting task. It's a clear indication of how many people want to publish a book.

But given the financial problems that have beset successful publishers like Altitude (shutting down its operations, while transferring some of its assets and rights to another publisher) and Raincoast Books (closing its publishing program to focus exclusively on distribution and wholesaling), a mainstream publisher is difficult to get. Not to mention that traditional publishers are quite selective about their titles. It's probably easier to land an audience with the Pope.

There are a lot of options out there, particularly for those who can think outside the box. In fact, there isn't anything a publisher can do for you that you can't do for yourself, and maybe even a little bit better. For sure, you'll see more money in your jeans on a per book basis with self-publishing versus traditional royalty publishing. You don't have to wait for rejection letters, and you have complete unmitigated control. You control distribution. You control pricing. You control editorial.

However, you need to be aware that there are many unscrupulous "Print on Demand" firms that will lure you with lavish praise in order to get your money. It doesn't mean they will produce a good product and it doesn't mean you get to retain control.

Before you start, there are three things every author needs to know:

1. By understanding the publishing process and what's involved, the author can see and believe in the fact that they, too, can publish a book.

2. Regardless if they self-publish or land a traditional publisher, they need to do the due diligence in creating a professional product that would be welcome in any bookstore.

3. No matter what the venue or how the book is published, the author has to come up with a succinct and ongoing marketing plan.

There are so many options for authors to get published today, including traditional publishers, small publishers, self-publishing, and print-on-demand publishing. It's no wonder inexperienced authors have a tough time finding the right option for their books.

The first place you can find help is through the pages of Self-Publishing 101 (Publisher: Self-Counsel Press, ISBN 978-1-55180-639-6). This book shows authors how to make a self-published book a success in today's difficult book market in a step-by-step manner and what information they need to make the right choices. It is available throughout North American bookstores and Amazon.

For more information:
Debbie Elicksen
Freelance Communications

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Author Uses "The Secret" to Attract Her Own Book Deal

Denise Coates, author of the newly released book "Feel it Real! A Guided Approach To Bringing The Law of Attraction Into Your Life"(Atria Books, June 2008), is a walking testament to the effectiveness of The Law of Attraction.

A few short months ago, she was living in a hotel after an environmental health issue forced her to suddenly flee her home in the polluted Central Valley of California for the coast of Santa Barbara. She and her husband ended up in a hotel for several months as they tried to rebuild their lives. Coates was already a successful Law of Attraction coach with a self published book on the subject, but she wasn't prepared for being suddenly uprooted.

"It was all kind of a blur. One day, we're in our home getting ready to celebrate Christmas. The next day we're in a hotel with all of our pets and just a few of our belongings, wondering what happened." (Coates had been exposed to some agricultural pollution that gave her a condition known as RADS or Reactive Airway Disease. Her doctor advised her to leave the area. She has since recovered).

One day while showering in her hotel bathroom, Coates had a thought. "Why don't I use the Law of Attraction to manifest my own book deal with a big publisher?" At that time, Coates had no agent and no contacts in the publishing world. She had read "The Secret" and liked the format of the book, so she set a goal to attract a book publisher just like the ones who put out "The Secret."

"I got this emotional download to start emailing publishers about my book. It was definitely inner guidance. "

For the next couple of weeks, Coates used the games she teaches in her book, "Feel it Real!" to pretend that she had already received a big book deal. She celebrated as if it was already happening. "I got into all the feelings I thought I might have if I had gotten a book deal with a major publishing company. I felt gratitude, joy, relief. I even started celebrating as if I had already gotten a deal! My husband thought I was crazy. He was more interested in us finding a place to live than in getting a book deal!"

After about a week, Coates got the inspiration, "I got this emotional download to start emailing publishers about my book. It was definitely inner guidance." She was surprised to find several publishers requested a copy right away. After about three weeks, and with no book agent in sight, Coates received an offer from a major publisher. It nearly blew her mind when she realized that the publisher making the offer was none other than the publishers of the best selling phenomenon "The Secret" (Atria Books). These were the same publishers she was admiring just a few weeks prior. From there, Coates quickly secured one of the top self help literary agents in the business, again with no real effort except pretending like it had already happened.

Coates' book, "Feel it Real! A Guided Approach to Bringing The Law of Attraction Into Your Life" is, in effect, its own testimonial. Coates used the games she teaches in the book to attract a book deal with the publishers of "The Secret". If the success of "The Secret" is any indication of how Coates' book will do in the marketplace, "Feel it Real!" may just become the next household name in the genre of Self-Improvement books. Either way, one thing is sure. Coates will be celebrating the book as a New York Times Bestseller long before it actually happens.


Mystery Writer Kicks Off His Fifth Online Serial Novel

Two years ago, Robert Burton Robinson set out to write a free serial story online---like a soap opera. With no experience and no plot, he began writing three chapters per week, never dreaming the story would lead to a four book series of mystery novels. He has just started writing and posting the chapters of his new cozy mystery, Sweet Ginger Poison. It is available to read free on his website, along with his other four novels.

Robert Burton Robinson has just kicked off his fifth online serial mystery novel, "Sweet Ginger Poison." It is free to read on his website at He is writing and posting two to three chapters per week.

His mystery writing began two years ago, as an experiment. He would try his hand at writing a free serial story online---like a soap opera. Would people read it? Would they like it and keep coming back? With no experience and no plot, he began to write and post each chapter, not knowing where the story would lead.

After a few weeks, he had picked up faithful readers who were anxious to know what was going to happen next. "It was crazy. I didn't even know whether I could really do it. I just made it up as I went along." He began to realize that his story was a murder mystery. So, the little serial story he had named "Private Music Teacher" became the serial mystery novel, "Bicycle Shop Murder."

That first book grew into the Greg Tenorly Mystery Series, which had been read by tens of thousands of visitors from around the world. The series consists of "Bicycle Shop Murder," "Hideaway Hospital Murders," "Illusion of Luck," and "Fly the Rain." All four books are available to read free at Paperbacks are also available, from Amazon and other retailers.

In preparation for his new serial mystery novel, "Sweet Ginger Poison," Mr. Robinson took a different approach. Before writing the first chapter, he created a detailed plot, character profiles, a murder suspect list, back-story, etc. "But my characters still surprise me sometimes. Once I've created them, I only have limited control over what they do." This fifth book kicks off his Ginger Lightley Cozy Mystery Series. What is a cozy mystery? Think "Murder She Wrote."

Mr. Robinson's biggest surprise from his online fiction experiment? It turned him into a writer.

New Imprint Utilizing Breakthrough DIY Publishing Technology

Using state-of-the-art technology from world leader Author Solutions, Inc., HBF Publishers (HBFP) is leveling a digital cultural imbalance by giving African American authors opportunities never before available: control of the content and delivery of their books with immediate access to a growing and profitable African American reading market, cultivated over the years by QBR The Black Book Review and the Harlem Book Fair.

Since 1992, QBR has been the leader and innovator in showcasing books exclusively dedicated to the African American experience. The New York Times has called QBR "the African American book review of record." From this evolved the Harlem Book Fair, the largest African American dedicated book event in the nation, now in its tenth year, drawing tens of thousands of people annually. Now, the Harlem Book Fair offers the prestige of its own publishing imprint through HBFP.

The launch of HBFP is an ideal marriage of literary dreams to state-of-the-art high-technology publishing. The Author Solutions, Inc. DIY (do-it-yourself) turnkey platform enables publishers to maintain their own unique identity, with authors publishing books via a self-controlled, online system, managing content and delivery, all under the HBFP imprint.

"Our fundamental mission is to provide a unique and simple opportunity for African American authors to share their stories with the world. It's that easy," says Max Rodriguez, founder and president of the Harlem Book Fair and HBFP. "The publishing revolution of the past decade has left cultural gaps between African American readers and authors. HBFP closes those gaps through technology and allows authors to inform, enlighten, and entertain their target audiences."

"It is a true synthesis of technology and vision. HBFP's mission is to give access to writers on a large scale, and the technology makes it possible," continues Rodriguez. "We consider it publishing innovation meeting literary aspirations."

"Previously unheard voices can and will be heard-and read," adds Scott Walters, director of business development for Author Solutions, Inc.

The Harlem Book Fair will include samples of initial titles released under the HBFP imprint, and authors will be discussing their books at various fair venues. C-SPAN's Book TV will once again televise the book fair nationally; continuing its preeminence among African American book events nationally.

"The Harlem Book Fair has always been considered a very special African American literary event," Rodriguez adds. "With the launching of our publishing imprint, this year, our tenth, will be even more memorable."

Events from July 17- 20, 2008, West 135th Street, Fifth Avenue to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, Harlem, New York.