Sunday, September 28, 2008

Signed John McCain Books Found to be Fakes

The stories in the book may be real, but John McCain's signature on some copies of "Faith of My Fathers" are not the real deal, according to a publisher of autographed and collectible books.

Tim Miller, founder of FlatSigned Press, a Nashville-based publishing company specializing in rare and collectible books, says he purchased books that claimed to have an authentic McCain signature and sent them to a New York City auction house to be resold. But instead, an expert there determined the signatures were likely done by a secretary and not the presidential candidate.

Miller says it surprised him because signed books up until recently were being sold on Sen. McCain's campaign Web site at a premium price.

"This one auction house and others just discovered yesterday that they have unwittingly been selling secretarial-signed John McCain books for months and now they must do the very embarrassing and financially hurtful steps of letting their customers know that they had been wrong when they had previously sold ‘signed' John McCain books as being hand-signed by the presidential candidate," says Miller.

Miller says it's not unheard of for secretaries or other subordinates to sign books instead of the famous politician author. But he says it is unusual for someone to sell "signed" books at a premium when they are not authentic which it appears is what the McCain campaign was doing.

The campaign has since removed the ‘autographed' book from its Web site.

Miller says fake autographs undermine and even threaten what is now a $1-billion industry.

"In this economy you don't want to harm any sector of the economy," says Miller. "We in the industry feel the pain when fakes are presented as authentic."

Source Web Site:

From zero to business hero with Publisher's twelve week book challenge

Co-operative publishing house Ecademy Press has set business owners across the globe the challenge to get their book from manuscript to reality in just twelve weeks and for less than the price of a typical full page advert. With businesses continuing to feel the impact of the credit crunch, "many will have overlooked the positive impact that being a published author can have on their long term credibility and ability to gain valuable market share", suggests Andy Coote, co-founder of Ecademy Press.

According to Coote, many businesses will now be revising their marketing and communications strategy in order to survive the downturned economy, with a large number looking to increase their advertising spend in order to raise brand awareness as others fall by the wayside.

However, this may not be the only way to achieve success in the long term and Coote believes that their valuable marketing budget could be put to much better use through writing and publishing a book, which could be in print within the same time frame as placing an advert in a magazine.

"Many publications have extremely long lead times and so businesses may have to wait several months before they see any return on their advertising expenditure. When you consider that you can publish a book in the same time frame and for a similar price, it is astounding that more businesses aren't turning their efforts to getting their message out to their audience through publishing a good and credible book," explains Coote, who founded Ecademy Press with internationally acclaimed 'Book Midwife' Mindy Gibbins-Klein.

"Being the author of a business book gives you credibility in your field, whether you are the CEO of a large multinational company or a self employed consultant. It can be used as a promotional giveaway at exhibitions or sold to attendees at a business seminar and you can be sure that it will be kept for longer than an issue of a magazine which carries the single advert you just paid thousands for," adds Coote.

There are many other positive aspects to directing the marketing budget into publishing a book, including the fact the Print on Demand publishing reduces waste as books are printed exactly in line with demand.

"Many of our authors have been astounded at how fast, simple and cost effective it is to get their book into print - and on to online sites like Amazon. And the great thing about a book is that business owners, consultants and specialists across all sectors can create a lasting legacy that will help them carry their business and their brand not just through this turbulent time but for many years to come," adds Coote.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Website Brings Multimedia Publishing Made Simple

UK website launched today delivers anyone the power to publish online multimedia documents that include video, audio and flash - easily and instantly. YUDU ( also seeks to become a leading global marketplace selling ebooks, documents and other media: one that brings together creators and their audiences, to share, buy and sell their content globally.

Today's BETA launch of the new YUDU site is also the latest evidence that digital publishing as a whole is reaching a tipping point of mass adoption.

"YUDU gives anyone the power to publish, share and sell online," says Richard Stephenson, CEO of YUDU. But it's not just another document-sharing site. "It should appeal particularly to creative individuals and professionals who want to produce quality ePublications and monetize their creativity." It also offers exceptional value to small businesses wanting to place their publications and video-docs online for marketing purposes.

"The new site," adds Stephenson, "Takes the technology developed for our award-winning professional publishing system and offers it in a site that is free, intuitive, simple to use and delivers your publication online in minutes."

The sharing aspect of the new site works like a video- or photo-sharing site but with documents at its core. It lets you upload your own publications and view other people's. Users can publish multimedia brochures, magazines, catalogues and books, plus photos, video-docs, music, podcasts, and visual bookmarks for websites; and to add and organise them in their own personal YUDU library - for sharing, selling or just their own private reference.

Users who do not wish to publish themselves can still earn money on YUDU from referral sales, by embedding content onto external websites and blogs. Any sales made by new visitors who are attracted to the site to buy will pay out referral commissions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Five Self-Published Authors Earn Over $50,000 in Royalties

Outskirts Press, the fastest-growing full-service self-publishing company, announced that its top-five earning authors combined to gross over $50,000 in royalties in the second quarter of 2008. This is on the heels of a first quarter in which five Outskirts Press authors combined to gross over $75,000.

"Three of our top-five earning authors are different from the first quarter," stated Outskirts Press CEO Brent Sampson. "This demonstrates that not only does Outskirts Press produce bestselling books month after month, but that any author's book holds the potential for incredible success when published through Outskirts Press."

What increases an author's chances for success?

Write a good book and have it professionally edited. No amount of marketing muscle can overcome a poorly written or edited book. Authors with Outskirts Press take care of the writing responsibilities, and then have the option of partaking in optional copyediting service for the finishing touch.

Don't cut corners on the cover. Your front cover has three seconds to attract a buyer's attention. And since the majority of self-published books are sold on retail websites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the cover is more important than ever. Just ask Bob Seldon, a top-five author, whose book, What To Do When You Become The Boss (ISBN 9781432714284), features a custom cover from Outskirts Press. "I had my own initial design which I thought was pretty good," stated Mr. Seldon. "However, the custom cover designer at Outskirts Press played with my original concept in a way I had not thought of. The result is a striking cover that really stands out amongst similar type books in the management genre."

Promote your book! Your destiny is in your hands and no one else's. Just ask Frank P. Stiles, top-five author of Evil Brothers (ISBN 9781432710422). "I have given over thirty talks to various organizations since February. My book is in all the local libraries and I have been invited to a big book sale in Monroe, Michigan. Only thirty authors were invited from Ohio and Michigan."

And that's just for starters. Marketing support like the exclusive Marketing Coach provides Outskirts Press Diamond authors with promotion advice and marketing suggestions via email for years after publication. Four out of the five top-earning authors in the second quarter published with the Diamond package.

"In this day and age of print-on-demand, people are discovering that any old company can print a book," states Sampson. "But what good is that? Successful writers are separating themselves from the pack by publishing their book with Outskirts Press, a full-service, custom publishing company that provides authors with support before, during, and after publication."


Sunday, September 21, 2008

2008 Trends in Publishing Online by Lance Winslow

There are so many ways that allow authors and writers to put their work online now that it seems we have entered a whole new era in self expression. Even folks who many not have even ever considered writing a book or anything of that nature are getting their starts blogging, posting poetry, participating on forums and even writing and posting articles online. Better yet with the increase ability of word processing programs folks are even considering self-publishing an eBook or two.

The best part about this is the cost is nominal and they can concentrate on creating their work or telling their story rather than trying to chase down a publisher or go between. And even if their work is not perfect, it's a start and the more they do the better they get. Putting in pictures, formatting, and using templates is all something a new writer can learn quickly. Then they can publish in a .pdf file and post it onto the Internet for all to see.

In fact, there are websites online that allow authors and writers to post their poetry, articles, pictures, stories, essays, and even eBooks. Each sector has its niche players and some are quite substantial. One online article submission site has over 100,000 authors, many of whom are completely new to the writing scene. The online publishing trend is growing and we are noticing that the human race has a whole lot of information and insight still waiting to be collected and so this trend continues and there is no stopping it.

"Lance Winslow" - Online Blog Content Service. If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

Ghost in the Machine Podcast Welcomes Editors Lou Anders and Alethea Kontis

Lou Anders talks with Gail Z. Martin about his latest books and the state of the sci-fi and fantasy industry, and Alethea Kontis shares her thoughts on books, editing and what makes a great story.

Ghost in the Machine features bi-weekly audio interviews with science fiction, fantasy and paranormal authors on topics of interest and controversy. Podcasts are available via RSS ( Archived podcasts can be download from iTunes and on

Gail Z. Martin is the author of The Summoner and The Blood King in the Chronicles of the Necromancer series, published by Solaris Books. Learn more at

Download Gail's new ebook "154 Power-Packed PR and Marketing Tips" for free at

Saturday, September 20, 2008

E-Books & Electronic Publishing Drive Growth in the World Publishing Industry

Internet, e-books, electronic editing, and emergence of online subscription business models have all irreversibly changed the publishing landscape. Technology innovation has helped publishers save time and money, and has afforded the flexibility to publish any type of information at the earliest with lesser turnaround time and minimal costs. Emergence of electronic commerce, and the ensuing efforts to digitalize publication has expedited the process of publishing virtually any kind of publishing material from newspapers to databases, in addition to reduction in cost of binding, distribution, printing, shipping and warehousing. On-line publishing is gaining in importance given the potential of this platform to reach wider audiences throughout the world.

Key factors wielding an influence on the world publishing market include favorable economic conditions, lifestyle trends, population growth, purchasing power, ethnic diversity and age composition, education standards, and foreign trade. Electronic publishing or on-line publishing is the fast catching popular medium for publishing books, newspapers, magazines, and other types of publications. There has been rising interest in the field of CD-Rom publishing with increasing number of publishers offering the CD-Rom version that enables convenient storage, search and retrieval. Due to the rising acceptance of on-line publications, several key magazines, local newspapers, regional newspaper and wire services have started offering on-line services.

The global publishing industry is highly fragmented with large numbers of publishers jostling for a foothold in the market. Besides commercial publishers, the publishing industry also comprises of non-profit publishers, university presses, and scholarly associations. In an attempt to retain global competitiveness, big publishing houses are seeking opportunities to achieve synergies in their operations through acquisitions and consolidation. Time Warner, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Random House and Penguin dominate the book-publishing market while Reed Elsevier, Thomson Corp, Wolters Kluwer, and McGraw-Hill take the lead in the professional publishing market. Reader's Digest Association and Time Warner represent popular publishers of magazines while,,, and offer latest in publishing.

The United States and Europe dominate the global publishing industry. Book publishing market in the US is witnessing an upward trend and is expected to sustain growth in imminent years. Sales of elementary/secondary education and higher education books are expected to grow at a moderate rate in the coming years. Paperbacks and hardcover sales are also expected to increase across all the segments including adult trade, juvenile trade, and mass market. The scientific publishing market is composed of books, journals, and databases, and between the three, the share of journals continues to grow, while that of books and databases is stable.

Emergence of newer forms of information media and entertainment has adversely affected the traditional publishing industry. Widespread use of mobile phones, the Internet and increased patronage of "new used book" stores that offer newly published books at considerably reduced prices have beset industry prospects. Internet sales have thrown in new challenges to both fixed-price sales and supplies from publishers through the distribution agencies to retail bookstores. A host of online bookstores such as distribute books directly through the Internet. Besides, the electronic versions are available at a substantial discount as compared to the paper versions. Major players in the book-printing segment are investing in novel technologies and equipment, in order to compete with electronic media and Internet.

In conclusion, transition of book, newspaper, magazine, and journal publishers from traditional to on-line publishing is a continuing trend in the industry. Online publishing market will gain a significant competitive edge over traditional publishing based on cost competitiveness, time saving, and quick access to mass market.,,, and are the new-age publishers offering on-demand, instant publishing of books., and distribute books through the Internet.

The report titled "Publishing Industry: A Global Outlook", published by Global Industry Analysts Inc, provides a collection of statistical anecdotes, market briefs, and concise summaries of research findings. The research paper provides a condensed overview of the global market, and extensively enumerates the recent mergers, and acquisitions together with latest industry developments. The reader stands to gain an understanding of the macro picture prevalent in regional markets across the globe. Annotated with 4 market data tables, the US market is briefly summarized. Other synopsized regional markets include Canada, Mexico, Japan, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Australia, China, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, and Ecuador among others. Also included is an indexed, easy-to-refer, fact-finder directory listing the addresses, and contact details of 616 companies worldwide.

For more details about this research report, visit

Friday, September 19, 2008

Aging Baby Boomer Eyes Get Relief With Periscope(R) Book Light in a Book Cover

As an entire generation of baby boomers age, they begin to realize their eyes are quicker to fatigue from everyday reading and in many cases this is due to reading in low light conditions that were never a problem before. The makers of the Periscope(R) Book Light in a Book Cover(TM) understood this reality and designed a reading light to provide a complete solution for an aging generation of readers.

Periscope's patented LED Book Light in a Book Cover is easy to use and only requires three AA batteries rather than clunky cords, wires or plugs. The bright LED book light is stored in the spine of the book cover, protecting the book you are reading while making it impossible to forget the book light.

"Whether readers are reading at night or just need additional evenly dispersed light, the LED Book Light in a Book Cover provides a simple solution to an aging problem," said Eric Fisherman, president of Periscope. "As we get older, the unfortunate truth is that our eyes strain in low light conditions. We simply refuse to accept this limitation and have designed the Periscope(R) Book Light in a Book Cover(TM) to provide bright even light coverage over the entire page. Reading enjoyment is enhanced and eye strain is reduced!"

The Periscope(R) Book Light in a Book Cover(TM) is now available nationwide, in versions for both hard cover and paperback books, at Barnes & Noble stores and at

How bright is the idea behind Periscope?

The patented Periscope(R) Book Light in a Book Cover(TM) eliminates all cords, clips and clutter and lets you read what you want where you want in all types of low-light reading environments -- while protecting your reading privacy. These Periscope products feature a LED book light, a book cover, and a bookmark in a single lightweight unit. Unlike other reading lights, the Periscope book light is always with the book you are reading!

Readers never have to search for or carry a separate light for the hardcover or paperback book they're reading. Simply slip the book into the Periscope book cover (there are separate covers for hardcover and mass market paperback books), pull up the retractable light that's stored in the spine of the book cover and start reading in all low light environments! The Periscope adjustable twin, wide-angle LED light automatically turns on when the arm is extended and shuts off when collapsed into the cover. What's more, because the light is totally adjustable, readers can put the reading light precisely where they want it for maximum reading comfort. And, because Periscope is battery powered by three AA batteries that deliver over 40 hours of continuous light, there are no cords or plugs to worry about.

The Periscope(R) paperback Book Light in a Book Cover(TM) fits all mass market sized soft cover books and carries a suggested retail price of $34.95. The Periscope(R) hardcover Book Light in a Book Cover(TM) carries a suggested retail price of only $39.95 and accommodates best-seller hardcover, trade paperbacks, and Bibles. Both models come with a built-in bookmark and inside pockets to hold tickets or other travel documents. A mini travel AC adapter is available for both models for a suggested retail price of $14.95.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Blog Chock Full Of Book Publishing News

A new self-publishing blog from Outskirts Press is keeping authors up to date with must-read news on publishing industry trends, book marketing tips, and inspiring success stories from published writers.

The Self-Publishing News blog, launched Aug. 1 at, provides insider perspective on self-publishing tailored to the needs of authors. With a rapid posting schedule of at least 3-times-a-week, posts have already included interviews with two successful self-published writers, expert advice on increasing a book's chances of being a hit, and insight into the self-publishing industry's future. Upcoming posts will spotlight author accolades, examples of hot new marketing tools (such as book video trailers) and case studies of what's working for other self-published authors.

"At Outskirts Press, we never want our authors to feel like they're in this business alone. Our new Self-Publishing News blog is one more way we support all writers before, during and after publication," states CEO Brent Sampson. "At the same time, we envision the Self-Publishing News blog as a place to recognize the vast accomplishments of our Outskirts Press authors specifically, including awards and marketing triumphs."

As with any blog, Self-Publishing News is open for anyone, whether or not they are published with Outskirts Press. The blog offers valuable insight into the industry along with cutting-edge media, rich in graphics, video, and audio presentations.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Define Yourself as an Expert through Writing and Speaking

"Most aspiring writers don't understand what it takes to become a published author." That's what Award-winning author and professional keynote speaker Robin Jay says when people tell her they are working on a book or that they dream of writing professionally some day. "Being naïve about the publishing industry doesn't mean you can't get published. You just have to be willing to take the time to learn how to do it. I enjoy helping people move forward with their writing goals." Jay says.

"You wouldn't just sit in the cockpit of an airplane and think that just because you've flown before, you would know how to pilot an airplane. Yet people write manuscripts every day, hoping to find publishing success. There are so many businesses just waiting for new writers to come along so that they can take advantage of them. If you don't know what you're doing, you could end up spending a ton of money and still not get published," Jay warns.

Jay, whose signature book is "The Art of the Business Lunch - Building Relationships Between 12 and 2" (Career Press), mentors writers and offers a keynote presentation on "Defining Yourself as an Expert: Using Publishing to Make Your Mark." Jay, who has been featured on MSNBC-TV, in Newsweek and on, says that in the highly competitive world of business, being published can help you to rise above your competition. She shares her personal experience in publishing, as well as many short-cuts available today for anyone who wants to become a published author. Some people dream of writing professionally while others understand the significance that being published can have on their career.

Originally self-published, Jay later hired an agent who then sold her work. Her book has since been sold in NINE languages worldwide. She is a contributor to "Chicken Soup for the Wine Lover's Soul," as well as several editions of "The Power of Mentorship" anthologies. She is also a featured mentor in "The Power of Mentorship - The Movie" along with "The Secret's" Bob Proctor and Marie Diamond.

She is the producer of the "Author's Secrets" audio program, in which she not only shares her first-hand experience but also interviews several experts in the field of publishing. Included in the program are her talks with John Kremer, author of "1001 Ways to Market Your Books" and Don Boyer, publishing mogul and founder of "The Power of Mentorship" series of books.

As a published author and professional speaker, Jay said that hardly a day goes by that an aspiring author doesn't come up to her to ask about writing, printing, publishing or speaking professionally. She said that speaking and writing go hand-in-hand; professional speakers should have books to promote their work and writers should be able to speak professionally as a means of promoting their written work. She offers coaching to aspiring authors and speakers to help them achieve their goals and become successful in the pursuit of their passion. Jay is also the founder and president of the Las Vegas Convention Speakers Bureau, so she knows what it takes to be a successful professional speaker.

In the "Author's Secrets" audio program, one of the guests she interviews is author Susan Zimmer. "Zimmer's story is positively shocking to anyone who is new to the publishing industry. Susan excelled at promoting her books," says Jay. "Yet, after selling 40,000 copies of her self-published book, she found herself nearly $80,000.00 in debt! Aspiring authors are stunned when they hear this. I included Susan in this program because most people who want to write have no idea how to monetize their passion. Without a blueprint for success, there are countless landmines just waiting for unsuspecting authors."

Jay introduced Zimmer to her agent who quickly sold her work, moving Susan into the ranks of "Professionally Published Authors," where she enjoys simply being an author and personality, no longer having to print or publish her books herself.

Jay said if you take the time to learn how to achieve your goals first, the path to becoming published or becoming a professional speaker can be quite simple. She believes that anyone can become a published author and thinks that people who don't take advantage of today's publishing opportunities are missing the best chance to define themselves as an expert in their field.

"I struggled to write my first book," shares Jay. "I was working 50-60 hours a week at my sales job and forced myself to write on Sundays. I never had a chance to recharge my batteries…I was a walking burn-out. I didn't know the publishing business or any of the fabulous short-cuts to becoming a published author. I only knew I wanted to write professionally. Now, I know simple ways to get published or create information products that will help other authors or speakers to realize their dreams. And I love to help business professionals create books and programs that will help them to stand out in their chosen field."

For more information or to book Robin to speak to your business or association, e-mail her at

Author's website:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cold Tree Press Adds Two New Imprints

This year, three presses, dedicated to new and exciting works by previously unknown authors, have emerged on the publishing scene.

The first, Cold Tree Press, is not new in name, but is heading in an entirely new direction. Until early this year Cold Tree Press was known as one of the foremost self-publishers in the industry. As a self-publisher, Cold Tree was dedicated to quality--both editorial and design. The press abided by a very strict acceptance policy that allowed its books to stand out not only among other self-published titles, but among independent titles as well. Cold Tree authors have won honors from Foreword Magazine, Independent Publisher, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, and the ARPA Foundation for Film, Music, and Art.

Because the standards were so high, and because Cold Tree wanted to maintain an author-centric attitude, Cold Tree Press ceased being a self-publishing company in March 2008. They have converted to a traditional, trade paperback house so that they can focus not just on new authors and their voices, but getting those new voices heard.

As a companion to Cold Tree, Hooded Friar Press was conceived as a press where award-winning, previously unknown authors of fiction could at last be recognized.

In addition, they have also launched Moorsgate Press. Moorsgate will be a partnership press, dedicated to giving an opportunity to authors who would be otherwise overlooked by traditional houses. The criteria for publication will be as high as their standards have always been, and their commitment to quality will remain unmatched, which allows them to continue to give new authors a chance in the marketplace.

The missions for each are simple.

Cold Tree: Cold Tree Press is an independent, traditional, trade paperback press committed to introducing fresh, exciting voices to the reading public. It is its mission to take a chance on deserving authors and achieve the highest quality when bringing their words to the marketplace. Cold Tree believes in the power of words and ideas and strive to introduce readers to new, creative writers.

Hooded Friar: Hooded Friar Press is a small, traditional publishing house dedicated to publishing high-quality books by new authors. This new press believes in the importance of creative collaboration between writers, editors, and designers. In the spirit of that collaboration, they strive to treat every author as they would like to be treated with honesty, trust, and respect. The staff of Hooded Friar love books, and they believe that, in order to make books the world will love, the publishing process must be inspired.

Moorsgate: Moorsgate Press is a partnership press dedicated to taking a chance on writers with good ideas and well-written manuscripts, allowing previously unpublished authors the opportunity to have their works published in an uncompromising manner, to give them the best chance to succeed in the marketplace at large.

All three presses believe in the power of books, and they believe the public is hungry for new ideas, new worlds, and new voices to share their stories.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Benefits of an Agent For an Author by Mary W. Jensen

When I first started writing, I never considered the idea of having an agent. I have examined many publisher websites. I also follow blogs of some people in the industry (authors, agents, editors). Now I'm seriously leaning toward targeting an agent first instead of directly querying a publisher. Let me tell you why.

What can an agent do for me?

* Send your manuscript to editors. Not only does it give you access to publishers that do not accept queries from authors, but agents know the editors involved. They know the tastes of those editors, increasing your chances of a good match for your book.

* Negotiate more money for you. Research has shown that on average, authors with agents receive higher advances than those without.

* Review contracts from publishers. They are very familiar with the legal ins and outs of contracts.

* Get you offers from multiple publishers, giving you more options and possibly more money.

* Sell other rights such as foreign and movie.

* Career planning. An agent is much more stable than an editor. Editors move to different publishing houses, retire, change projects. An agent will be able to follow all that for you and be with you the entire time. They can offer advise on new books, explain industry lingo, and give encouragement.

* Guide you through the entire publishing process. After an offer is accepted, there's many more steps until a book is published. Editing, cover design, publicity. An agent can answer questions and help mediate concerns every step of the way.

Makes me wonder why someone wouldn't look for an agent. Especially as a first time author with no experience in the business.

But how do I get an agent?

There are two approaches to getting an agent.

1. Query agents first. Write query letters to agents that represent your genre. If they like your query, they will ask for either a partial or complete manuscript. If they like that, they will offer representation. Then they will begin sending out your manuscript to publishers.

2. Get an offer from a publisher first. If you have a specific publisher you want, or would rather go through the initial process yourself, you are welcome to it. There will be some doors closed to you, but fantasy does have more open to first time authors than most genres. Once you get an offer, you can ask them for some time to think it over. At this point, it is perfectly acceptable to call any agents you are interested in. Let them know you have an offer, and give them a time frame in which they can look at your manuscript. An agent is much more likely to offer representation at this point, as it's a guaranteed sale. An agent could then step in and negotiate the contract for you, or even suggest turning the original offer down and getting a better deal elsewhere.

Never pay for an agent upfront. A good agent gets paid on commission. They get a percentage of what you make. And that will get taken care of between the editor and the agent, so you're never responsible for the money. The better deal an agent can get you, the more you will both make.

There are plenty of authors who do make it without agents. Go with what approach works best for you. Whichever route you go, research your target before submitting. Be informed. Be prepared.

About the Author
Mary W. Jensen is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing. She is an editor for the Fantasy newsletter, and the cofounder of an offline writing group. Mary is working on a fantasy novel, Emergence of the Fey.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Romance Author Writes Enchanting New Series While Husband Snores

Some authors listen to Bach or Beethoven for inspiration while they're writing, but Kathryne Kennedy's prose is accompanied by the snoring of her sleeping husband. "I often just tune it out," says Kennedy, "although sometimes I find my fingers pausing on the keyboard, waiting for that next snort."

Kennedy's most productive writing time is in the wee hours of the morning, when the rest of her household is asleep. "I have one of those adjustable beds and a laptop, so I find my bed the most comfortable place to put in long hours of writing. After I'm up and dressed and in my office, I find my creativity just isn't as fresh. I'm beginning to wonder if my husband's snoring is some sort of catalyst."

If that's the case, Kennedy should continue her early morning writing, as her Victorian fantasy romance series, the Relics of Merlin, has garnered critical acclaim. Publisher's Weekly calls it "simply delightful," New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James says its "really fun and imaginative," Fresh Fiction praises it as a "feel-good fairytale set in a spellbinding world" and Barbara Vey of PW's Beyond Her Book promises that it "will give adult lovers of Harry Potter the fix they've been missing."

The first book in the series, Enchanting the Lady, was released January 1. Double Enchantment will be available on September 1, and look for the third book in the series, Enchanting the Beast, in May 2009. Each book features one of Merlin's thirteen magical relics and can easily be read individually.

Kathryne Kennedy is currently running a contest on her website for the jewel featured in Double Enchantment. You could win a stunning diamond and garnet necklace by visiting her website at and signing up for her reader newsletter.

Regarding the success of her lighthearted series, Kennedy says, "I'll never complain about my husband's snoring again. Well, maybe not as much."

New Video Book Club Episode Features Author Christopher Paolini

Although Christopher Paolini's upcoming fantasy tale "Brisingr" doesn't officially go on sale until Sept. 20, starting today, customers can visit and watch an unscripted hour-long discussion between Paolini and his fans on the "Borders Book Club," the retailer's popular video book club program. The eagerly anticipated "Brisingr" is the third installment in Paolini's Inheritance cycle about the farm-boy-turned-Dragon-Rider Eragon who must save the world from an evil king. Borders expects the book to be one of the hottest selling young adult titles of 2008. The retailer has been taking pre-orders for "Brisingr" since January.

Borders teamed with Shur'tugal, the world's most comprehensive Inheritance cycle fan site, to select nine Paolini fans to participate in the book club discussion. Paolini traveled to Chelsea, Mich. to talk with the fans personally about the stories behind the books in the Inheritance cycle, among other themes. Paolini and the participants talked extensively about his creating "Eragon" and "Eldest," the first two titles in the Inheritance cycle, including how he developed the characters' names and their unique languages. Paolini even wowed the book club by reading from "Eldest" in one of the fictional foreign tongues he developed for his stories. Participants shared their theories and predictions about what they think will happen in "Brisingr," and peppered Paolini with questions about the upcoming book, some of which had to go unanswered until the book's release. Beyond discussing his books, Paolini also shared advice for young and aspiring writers, highlighting the importance of writing every day-and reading extensively.

With a first printing of 2.5 million copies by its publisher Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (an imprint of Random House Children's Books), "Brisingr" has the largest initial print run ever for a Random House Children's Books title. "Eragon" and "Eldest," both of which topped the New York Times bestseller list, together sold a total of 15.5 million copies worldwide.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Harlequin Launches Tell Harlequin Reader Panel

Harlequin Enterprises Limited has launched Tell Harlequin ( -- an online advisory panel that allows readers input into the direction of future novels by voicing their opinions and sharing their book experiences directly with the publisher.

Tell Harlequin is an online advisory panel designed to enhance Harlequin's relationship with its readers through an ongoing dialogue whose insights will help guide the evolution of the publisher's business and allow Harlequin to publish the best in women's fiction.

Participants on the Tell Harlequin panel can make their voices heard on topics such as cover designs, new miniseries ideas, new series concepts, new promotional ideas and more. The staff at Harlequin will then consider Tell Harlequin suggestions along with the publisher's own plans as it develops editorial for the future.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Media, Publishing, Printing and Photography : The Brave New World of Self Publishing by Vera Jane Cook

I've been writing novels now since 1997 in between my day jobs, which pretty much translates to Sundays, holidays and stolen moments. I was a purist when I began and under the false assumption that if I'm good, I'll be published. I'll not only be published, I'll receive an advance so I can write my next book. I'll not only receive an advance, I'll hit best seller status because I'm good and because I'm so damn good my books will be easily accessible to the average reader and in no time at all Oprah will be sending me praise and congratulations. Oh, least I forget, she'll want me on her show so she can give the entire audience copies of my book and promote me from here to Mars. I'll send her jars and jars of Macadamia nuts forever because I know she loves them and paper my walls with Os.

What a life we envision for ourselves when we don't know any better. I'm no dummy, I just thought it was easy and turning to self publishing was the mark of failure and I'd carry the stigma of writing for friends and family and not the reading public. I believed that self published authors were not very serious and their professional coffin would be forever sealed, their tombstone engraved for eternity: Here Lies a Self Published Writer, poor thing.

You might be wondering how I came to my senses. Well, I spent the first year of my writing career on the Writer's Market website scanning their database of literary agents. I had a nice form query, that I paid handsomely for and a long list of agents biting the erasers on their pencils as they awaited my thrilling piece of undiscovered literature. I now have a trunk full of rejection letters from that year. I came close with one agent who wrote to tell me that my manuscript had made it as far as the final acquisitions meeting. Big Woo. Several seemed titillated by my query and asked for more, only to reject me later on. Mostly, no one wanted my manuscript and I began to think it was me and my oversized ego, and not them and their undersized vision.

Oh, I'm not bitter. I'm really not and I do understand industry trends and just what kind of upscale women's fiction lights a fire under the asses of the publishing industry. I just don't write it, nor do I write formula fiction that is sure to perform and fly off the shelves of every airport Hudson News in America. After that first year I was just about to bury my head in the sand forever, accept that I was writing for the closet and let the wounds heal.

But then I found a literary agent. Now this woman was smart. Only problem was she couldn't sell peanuts to elephants. She liked my work enough to represent it, which really means that she was a renegade, a crusader that took a chance on my writing, despite the industry trend for something else. I'm not saying the industry wants bad writing; it just wants safe writing, proven writing; writing with guarantees. I mean, we all have to eat and if they can't get a publisher to snatch it up, we're all standing on our haunches for dog biscuits.

My agent tied up two manuscripts of mine for over a year, with out moving either one of them an inch. At the end of year two I was back where I started. I had nowhere to go. I took my little bruised ego away and wrote two more novels, just to get my mind off reality. So where was I? Four novels in that no one was going to read. It gets pretty defeating, especially having gone back to the drawing board for two more manuscripts that I knew I wouldn't be able to sell. My manuscripts are even in different genres. You'd think science fiction publishers would be different than mainstream but they have their formulas too, and if your little book doesn't come out looking like everybody else's chocolate cake, your cake gets tossed. That isn't to say it isn't good dessert, it's just, perhaps, one layer away from being a seven layer, too rich for a mousse and too creamy for cheese cake.

Forgive the analogy, just comes to mind that it's all subjective. When I decided to self publish I blushed when I told people, as though I were admitting to being an unprofessional vanity writer, as though I wasn't really serious about it. The mere mention is upsetting, vanity press. Well, damn it, I'm not self publishing because I'm vain. I'm self publishing because I'm a writer and if you're a writer you know what I'm talking about. It's a drug and you need to spread it all over the planet because it gets you high, must be others out there who want to get high on your drug too.

When I published my first novel with a POD I felt so damn powerful I almost exploded. I really hadn't expected it to feel this good. It was an incredible experience to be able to see my book in print and to know that there are people who are going to get the opportunity to enjoy the way I tell a story, people just like the audience on Oprah's show, average readers who can go home and weep and laugh over what I've written, people who appreciate good writing even though it isn't published by Bantam or Dell. Oh, and just for the record, I don't know of anyone who goes out looking for a publisher, readers go out looking for a book. They might get attracted to the book because it has a great cover, or it's got great word of mouth, but they're not buying it because they like the publisher. They don't give a damn about the publisher.

If you are thinking of self publishing I would recommend checking out POD companies who will retail your book for a decent price, offer a return policy and offer the same kind of distribution as a major publisher. Also make sure they'll give you a library of congress number, and of course, an ISBN. Check their covers on line to make sure you feel comfortable with their work, and try and find a self publisher who will work with you directly and not be a void identity, some phantom at the other end of cyberspace.

Publishing is an incredible process. Do not let anyone dictate your place in it or your value to the general reading public. Your voice is unique and if you wait for Penguin to send you a contract, you might forget how good you are. Write, publish, promote. If you can do all three, you just discovered that success is something created through your determination to be heard. Oh, more on promoting later. That's the next layer of hell to experience before emerging victorious.

About The Author
Dancing Backward In Paradise was published in November 2006. It is Vera Jane's first published novel. The book has received rave reviews from Armchair Interviews and Midwest Book reviews, as well as an Eric Hoffer and Indie Excellence award in the Literary fiction category. Vera's next book, Hearts Upon a Fragile Bough, will be published in 2008. Vera Jane Cook has completed five novels and is presently working on a non-fiction book about getting creative in corporate America. Vera also plans to give seminars on the subject. To learn more about her books you can visit her web site at