Friday, January 30, 2009

Self-Publishing Leads to a $14,000 Payday for One Successful Author

As traditional publishers continue closing their doors on hopeful authors in this gloomy economy, self-publishing continues its tremendous growth, which is good news for many talented writers. Just ask Gang Chen, an Outskirts Press author who self-published Planting Design Illustrated (a ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist) and The LEED AP Exam Guide. Both books are enjoying tremendous sales and success even during the economic downturn.

Earning $14,803 in royalties in just one month (November 2008), Gang Chen was among the top performing Outskirts Press authors in the 4th quarter of 2008. Chen is an expert in the field of architecture, with a master's degree from USC and over 20 years of experience. After contacting hundreds of traditional publishers, he finally landed a deal with one major publisher, only to find that he was very unhappy with the substantial revisions they were suggesting.

Eventually, he canceled the contract and decided to publish the book himself. He compared various publishing options and decided to go with Outskirts Press. "Their services do not end after the book is published," Gang Chen says. "They continue to provide excellent marketing advice."

Unlike the majority of self-publishing firms, Outskirts Press understands that marketing is a huge part of an author's success, and they offer promotional advice and marketing services extending for years after publication. States Outskirts Press president and CEO, Brent Sampson, "Successful authors have the potential to separate themselves from the pack by publishing with a full-service, custom publishing company that provides support before, during, and after publication."

Gang Chen couldn't agree more. "The author representatives and others at Outskirts Press were hardworking and very responsive. They really know what they are doing. They walked me through the publication process step by step and made it very easy."

For writers who have made publishing one of their New Year's resolutions, Outskirts Press allows authors to keep 100% of their publishing rights, 100% of their author royalties, and 100% of the control. Now there's no better time to get started. Through the end of January, Outskirts Press is giving away up to 30 free copies of published books, three times as many as normal. Details are at .

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Harper's Magazine Names Benjamin Moser as New Books Columnist

Harper's Magazine has announced that Benjamin Moser will write the magazine's monthly New Books column. Moser's first column is scheduled for the May 2009 issue. From January 2003 to December 2008, New Books was written by the late John Leonard, the prolific, talented critic whose wit and style were widely admired.

"New Books, as written by Guy Davenport and John Leonard, was never less than a tour de force," said Roger D. Hodge, editor of Harper's. "Guy and John were both writers with unmistakable voices who invariably were able to comprehend a month's worth of fresh titles and find the elegant patterns of significance that tied them all together. Ben has the same kind of mind and an equally strong style. I'm delighted that he has agreed to write the column. "

Jennifer Szalai, a senior editor of Harper's who is responsible for the Reviews section, said, "Ben brings with him a breadth of knowledge and an array of interests that are nothing short of tremendous. His tastes as a critic and his skills as a writer are such that we look forward to reading him in Harper's each month."

Moser was born in Houston in 1976 and currently resides in the Netherlands. His work has been published in The New York Review of Books, Condé Nast Traveler, The American Scholar, and Newsweek, as well as in many other publications in the United States and abroad. In Harper's, Moser has written on subjects ranging from Texas history to the fiftieth anniversary of Brasília to Dutch still-life. He has published translations from French (Elie Wiesel, Bernard-Henri Lévy) and Portuguese (Bernardo Carvalho, Luiz Alfredo Garcia-Roza). Why This World, his biography of the Jewish-Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, is forthcoming in August from Oxford University Press.


BooksOnBoard Makes Over 30,000 Titles Available on iPhones

BooksOnBoard, the web's premiere ebookstore, has released over 30,000 eBook titles for iPhones. iPhone owners can now get most new release books anywhere on either Apple iPhone or iTouch with direct downloads to the device through the AT&T 3G network or through local wireless networks. Titles must be in the eReader eBook format and include, among 30,000+ others, titles by Gena Showalter, Nora Roberts, Michael Connelly, David Baldacci, Stieg Larsson, Susan Mallery, and Harlequin's One Click Buy January Blaze Bundle.

Users currently require the free Stanza application found in the iPhone apps store in order to download and read the books. Detailed, easy instructions for new users can be found at .

"This provides another way for our customers to keep their reading with them at all times," said Bob LiVolsi, president of BooksOnBoard, "eBooks are about portability, convenience, and being green."

He added, "Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices are the first of many for which we will be enabling for our customers. Most eBooks can reside on several devices at once for personal use without violating copyright. In this way, our readers can have a read-able copy of a title on their iPhone, on their notebook, and on their PC or Mac at the same time. The eReader format is limited in that it does not work on any of the dedicated readers, but it is a leap forward for the format. For dedicated eBook reading devices, we offer Mobipocket for the Cybook, and Adobe for the Sony Reader."

There are several ebook readers available on the iPhone currently with more expected in the coming year. BooksOnBoard plans to work with any of them that allow its customers to read popular new titles from the publishing community.

BooksOnBoard also offers over 5,000 MP3 recently released Audio Books which can be downloaded from BooksOnBoard and added to iTunes for inclusion on iPhone, iTouch, and iPod.

"We will continue to work to bring as much content as possible to customers with, wherever possible, solutions open to everyone," said Nathan Johnson, BooksOnBoard Director of Operations. "Our first iPhone release in November was with over 1,000 industry standard DRM-free ePUB books from Samhain Publishing and Abbey House Press, and we recently partnered with Harlequin and Stanza to bring free ePUB titles for people to try on their iPhones. We will work to support every quality publisher that wants to bring easily accessible digital content to readers."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Well-Known Author Coach Writing Book In 30 Days -- In Public

Author coach Joel Orr is practicing what he preaches by writing a full-length non-fiction book in public, on Facebook. He is posting each day's progress to his Facebook group, "Joel's Book-Writing Mastermind." He is inviting and responding to comments on each segment.

"People keep telling me that writing a book is simply too hard for them, and they have difficulty believing that any method can make a difference. So I decided to demonstrate the process by actually writing a book publicly, 60-90 minutes per day, and finishing it in 30 days or less," said Dr. Joel Orr, an author coach in Mountain View, CA.

Orr has been helping aspiring and "blocked" authors break through to completing their book projects, both as a coach and through his website,

Orr's BookProgram(tm) approach is based on separating structure from content. He claims that doing so enables the author to control the flow of the book-writing process and not get distracted by research and other important but often non-essential activities.

"A book is a unique artifact in our world today," says Orr. "It not only has the potential to encapsulate powerful and useful content, it sheds on the author a glow of authority unmatched by any other object." He believes that coaches, consultants, and service professionals can greatly profit from having their own book.

Orr has published an open invitation to follow the progress of his book via his Facebook group, "Joel's Book-Writing Mastermind."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Interviews with Authors Leslie Banks and Michele Andrea Bowen

Books of Soul ( has posted interviews with Leslie Banks, the 2008 Essence Magazine's Storyteller of the Year, and with Michele Andrea Bowen, bestselling African American Christian fiction author.

Leslie Banks is a New York Times bestselling author, writing over 35 novels and 12 novellas, as well as being a contributor to magazines, newspaper columns, and other commercial fiction for a variety of major publishers. She has won several business as well as literary awards, and writes in genres as diverse as romance, women's fiction, crime suspense, and paranormal. Reflecting that diversity, she is known under a variety of pseudonyms: L.A. Banks, Leslie Esdaile, Leslie E. Banks, Leslie Banks, and Leslie Esdaile Banks.

Banks has written the book series for the popular cable network television series, "Soul Food" and the novelization of the movie, "Scarface." In addition, Banks penned a four-book crime thriller, beginning with "Betrayal of the Trust," under her alternate pseudonym, Leslie Esdaile Banks. From there, Banks transitioned into another hot genre—the world of paranormal fiction, in the form of the 12-book "Vampire Huntress" legend series under the pen name, L.A. Banks, as well as a hot new werewolf series, "Crimson Moon." In her interview, she discusses the support that she receives from her readers, the conclusion of her "Vampire Huntress series" with "The Thirteenth," and what 2009 will look like for her.

Michele Andrea Bowen is the author of three inspirational novels: "Church Folk" (June 2001), "Second Sunday" (June 2003), and "Holy Ghost Corner" (September 2006). Her next novel, "Up At The College," is due to be released early next year. It is the second novel in a three-part series about the lives of contemporary African American church folk who live in Durham, North Carolina. Taking a contemporary view of church-life and its politics, romance, and relationships, Bowen's novels have appeared on Essence Magazine's bestseller lists and have spiced up African American fiction with Christian themes. In this interview, she discusses her writing and Christian fiction.

In addition to these interviews, the Books of Soul website also features its monthly bestseller list of African American books, including children's books and urban fiction, selected from the website. The site mostly recently highlighted an interview with Wayne Jackson, first-time author new book of suspense and horror, "In Lieu of Light," and an article by Dr. Claudette McLinn, who reviewed African American children's books for Halloween in "Witches, Haints, Bloody Bones, and Conjures."

"These interviews provide a unique insight into writing and, more specifically, into writing for the African American reader," remarks Eric Brasley, founder of "We're hoping that reader and writer alike will discover something unique and something enticing.", founded earlier in this year, continues to focus on sharing new and upcoming releases of books and other literary works about African Americans and African cultures and supporting the authors, publishers, bookstores, book clubs, and libraries who share the same interest.

America Loves "Southern Appalachian" Fiction

"Books based on life in small town southern Appalachia sell like hotcakes!" stated one publicist.

According to book sales data, from 1998-present, America can't get enough stories about small town life in Southern Appalachia. Over twenty-five million books about life in the Appalachian mountain regions of America have been sold in the last decade alone. "That's an incredible statistic," said one industry spokesman, "I don't know of another region of the country that can tout such sales figures."

Interestingly, this phenomenon isn't a recent development. For many years, life in Southern Appalachia has been a favorite destination for readers of all ages.

Some of the best-read Southern Appalachian authors include: John Fox, Jr. (Trail of the Lonesome Pine), Jan Karon (Mitford Series), Adrianna Trigiani (Big Stone Gap), Ann B. Ross (Miss Julia), Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain), Gail Godwin (Evensong), Robert Morgan (Gap Creek), Sharyn McCrumb (The Rosewood Casket), Lee Smith (Fair and Tender Ladies), Harriet Arnow (The Dollmaker), James Still (River of Earth), Barbara Kingsolver (Prodigal Summer) and Wilma Dykeman (The Tall Woman). Others in this genre include: Bobbie Ann Mason, Silas House, and Fred Chappell.

According to Tom Cannon, author of Mountain Empire, "Perhaps we love books about the Southern Appalachian region, because they give us a sense of belonging, and remind us of happier, gentler times - a time and place we all long to find, and would love to call home."

In a recent interview, Jan Karon (Mitford series) gave definition to our love for small-town fictional settings, that quite possibly reflects the reason many of us have fallen in love with Southern Appalachian-style books, "I think I was born with a kind of deep affinity for the rural, the rustic. In addition, I'm very drawn to the pastoral novels of the English genre -- the village novel where a small group is used to paint a picture of a larger society. I still have in me a great love for the agrarian -- for what this country was, for what we still are. People say, "Oh well, I guess there's no such thing as Mitford." Well, the good news is there are Mitford's all over the country, and there are still great stretches of open land and pastures and meadows and fields. It's not all bad news. There's so much left of this country that is reasonable and moral and strong. And that's the part I relate to."

Apparently, 25 million+ readers are thinking the same thing. That's how many readers have purchased fictional books about the Southern Appalachian region since 1998. And seemingly, there's no end in sight. Ann B. Ross (Miss Julia series) said, "I think the South grows storytellers like it does peanuts, sweet potatoes and kudzu." And that's good news for fans of Southern Appalachian fiction.

A new book, "Mountain Empire" by Tom Cannon (Jonesborough, TN) is the newest work to join the ranks of Southern Appalachian, small-town fiction. Reader's reviews suggest it will become a favorite.

Set in the fictitious town of Empire, in East Tennessee, "Mountain Empire" is a lively, adventure-filled coming-of-age story about a young boy (Jesse Jones) who finds himself, and his family caught in a sudden and unexpected transition from his childhood home in Mississippi to the unusual world of Appalachia. The story begins when Jesse's father (Pastor J. Paul Jones) is forced to leave his church in Natchez, and accepts the pastorate of a church in East Tennessee.

Web: or

Friday, January 16, 2009

Beachfont Press Launches a New Concept in Publishing and Marketing Books

Beachfront Press is seeking a broad spectrum of diverse writers. Our focus is on mainstream fiction. However, non-fiction manuscripts do catch our eye from time to time. Any manuscript that is a good match for our unique vision for book sales and marketing will merit serious consideration.

What is unique about the way Beachfront Press sells books?

The next time you go to the beach, take a look around at what people are doing. You'll see happy couples walking hand in hand, children frolicking at water's edge, teens sporting the latest trends in swim wear, young adults sneaking a peek at one another as they stroll confidently along, families diggin' in coolers for an afternoon snack, overprotective moms slathering on the SPF 50 sunblock as their toddlers impatiently wait, youth group leaders buried up to their necks, grandparents surveying the whole scene with a smile on their faces, lifeguards waving overly ambitious dads in toward the shore....and thousands of people READING!

That's right, READING.

Beachfront Press sells wonderful books to these people. The beachfront is our venue.

Beachfront Press doesn't do book signings/events in places where people don't know you and don't care unless you're already rich and famous. We hate to break it to you....but, unless you're already making millions in book sales, that's the way it is.

We don't try to get your book into stores where people don't know you and won't be able to find your work--even if we spent tens of thousands of dollars on marketing your book. The sad truth is that your book is going to be lost under the prioritized pile of new releases--as dictated by the giant publishing houses and their distributors.

Getting our author's books on the shelves at the chain stores (you know their names), only to be lost in the endless circus of "big time" promotions is irrational and pointless. Spending ridiculous amounts of money to play this game with the "big boys" doesn't make any sense to bookstores/booksellers and it shouldn't make any sense to 99% of publishers and authors.

There must be a better way!

We don't play that game. We don't play by the rules designed to bury your work underneath such an enormous stack of Harry Potter books that it would take a real-life wizard to ever get it noticed.

Beachfront Press has created a new game, with new rules, played in a unique venue. We sell our authors' books at beachfront resorts and hotels. We sell our books and do book talks, signings and events at beachfront resorts and hotels.

We bring books and book events to people instead of the other way around!


You're sitting under a large sun tent at a table, with a stack of your books and a nice cool drink glistening in the late morning sun. Two posters greet the beachgoers, one detailing the front cover of your book and a teaser, the other extending an invitation to partake in some goodies. Freshly baked cookies and a plate of assorted fruit add a colorful, friendly, yet unspoken greeting.

Your table has been strategically placed on the green, between the resort pool and the pathway that twists its way through the dunes and onto the beach.

Curious passers-by stop to chat, pick up your book and take a gander. Maybe they pick up one of the brochures that gives a synopsis of your book and an author bio. Questions are sparked quite naturally, unlike the cold isolation generated by the stand-offish stares of isolated shoppers at a Barnes & Noble or Waldenbooks. Whispers. Awkward second glances....never- heard-of-you-brows, furrowed, at a suspicious distance.

Beachfornt Press does not take on many authors. Those that we do publish get personal attention, even before a contract is signed.

For example, when we ask for your full manuscript, we will assess it and offer you a comprehensive overview.

After an author has signed a contract with Beachfront Press, additonal editing commences that is focused on improving grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, structure and continuity.

Additionally, we work with our authors when it comes to taking an in-depth look at the manuscript's content, including: stylistic considerations, pacing and plot.

Our authors will have an individualized web page at Beachfront Press' website.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Online Promotional Tools For Book Writers, a creative networking for the book community, has added various online tools to promote authors and their works. The facility for published authors includes adding and updating their profiles, blogs and articles and book extracts, reading guides, news and discussions.

Authors bookshelves have expanded to include Julian Baggini, Stephen Booth, Gervase Phinn, Peter Kerr, Jessica Fellowes, Lucy Coats, Rachel Elnaugh and Jo Gambi. Bookshelves created include, 'Books which have had the greatest influence upon me', 'Brilliant contemporary non-fiction', 'Books I'll never Forget', 'My Favourite Black Comedies' and 'Desert Island Books'.

Booksconnect is also inviting new and established writers to promote their unpublished works to the book community which involves editors, agents, publicists, publishers, librarians, booksellers and readers. This will help the authors in receiving peer review and readers recognition and securing the commisssioning they deserve. Booksconnect has received interest from both English and non English writing authors.

Countrybookshop, the online retailer of books since 1997 and a pioneer of various online initiatives now offers Free Books!

Over 300 titles have been included in the initial launch. Countrybookshop is in the process of adding more titles to the offer and plans to expand it significantly.The Free Books offer is initially limited to the UK.


Book Publishers Want Better Forecasting Systems

IBS completed a survey of publishers and book distributors at the Frankfurt Book Fair and found that 95 percent wished they could have better forecasting. 94 percent say they kept stock in their warehouse for three months or more, which creates financial pressure on the business that they would like to ease.

IBS Publishing ERP software was at the heart of the International hall at the Frankfurt Book Fair, confirming its position as the industry's leading provider of complete ERP software solutions specifically designed for publishers and book distributors. Once again, IBS carried out an industry survey with more than 120 publishers and distributors visiting the stand and completing the survey.

The survey covered important issues facing publishers and distributors, including warehousing and distribution, inventory management and forecasting.

Mike Irving, VP Publishing for IBS, comments,

"It is a difficult and uncertain time for businesses throughout the world. The results of our survey show very clearly that publishers are looking to reduce costs in the supply chain as much as possible in order to maximize potential profitability. Good inventory management, tight control of warehousing and distribution and sophisticated forecasting and demand planning techniques can help to deliver these benefits and are some of the major strengths of IBS Bookmaster."

Survey results


The split between publishers using third party warehouse facilities or their own is close, with 53 percent operating their own warehouses. Just 33 percent of publishers have stock held at their printers. The survey highlighted that just 18 percent of publishers ship more than half their books directly from the printer to the customer.


58 percent of publishers and distributors in the survey do no print-on-demand at all. Just 5 percent say that more than half of their business is print-on-demand, but this figure is growing. Of those that do print-on-demand, 33 percent ship only direct to the consumer, 7 percent only to the retailer, while 60 percent send to a combination of both.


33 percent of publishers have no defined method of forecasting sales of new books and 37 percent have no method for backlist sales. Of those that do have a defined method, only 19 percent of these methods are automated. On average, 95 percent hold stock for three months or more, while 94 percent would like to hold less stock for less time. 97 percent of companies said that they could benefit from better forecasting.

System Management

29 percent of publishers and distributors have an integrated IT system. 60 percent have individual applications covering a range of services and 11 percent outsource their IT requirements.


Self-Publishing Powerhouse Strengthens Industry Leadership

Author Solutions, Inc. (ASI), the world leader in the fastest-growing segment of book publishing, will acquire Xlibris - a pioneering leader in print-on-demand self-publishing services. Kevin Weiss, ASI president and chief executive officer, made the announcement to Xlibris employees.

"ASI is pleased to add Xlibris to our industry-leading portfolio of self publishing brands," said Weiss. "This acquisition solidifies our leadership position and strengthens our ongoing commitment to offer the world's most comprehensive set of publishing, promotion and book-selling services to authors."

Xlibris joins AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Wordclay and Inkubook in ASI's expanding family of self-publishing brands. According to Weiss, "Xlibris brings a demonstrated expertise in marketing services, which perfectly complements the strength of AuthorHouse's publishing and illustration services and iUniverse's industry-leading editorial services. Both first-time and mid-list authors, writing in all genres, will find one of our brands offers the services they need to accomplish their publishing goals."

With the addition of Xlibris, ASI published nearly 19,000 titles in 2008; or about one of every seven U.S. titles in the print-on-demand/short run category and nearly one of every 20 new titles in distribution.

Weiss added, "From the outset we believed ASI could help lead the way in transforming the publishing industry. This acquisition gives us an even stronger base from which to help both authors and publishing companies compete successfully today and in the future."


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Former Copywriter with Fatal Disease Challenges Himself to Publish a Bestselling Novel

He's been bedridden over a year, but former copywriter, Alberto Rios, now hopes to meet his ultimate deadline: to publish his debut novel, "A Death for Beauty" before undergoing risky open heart surgery, December 15, 2008.

Diagnosed with Marfans Syndrome (a connective tissue disorder) in April of 2007, Alberto Rios is prepared for the worst, but is praying for a miracle. He's been wheelchair-bound since he was stricken with the disease over a year ago which has crippled him. He has recently journeyed to Puerto Rico, closer to his family, under the good care of the Veteran's Medical Center in Rio Piedras where they will perform surgery to replace a damaged aortic heart valve.

"This disease has also affected the tissue in my right hip which needs replacing too," confirms Alberto. "The connective tissue is gone and has immobilized me. Yes, it's devastating but hopefully I can call some attention to this very rare disease that silently affects one in every 5000 Americans. I'm hoping the public will be better informed and I'm encouraging anyone with a heart murmur to take it very seriously." he said.

He's optimistic for a full recovery after surgery and rehabilitation and with proper treatment he plans to keep the deadly disease from ravaging the rest of his body.

"It's not an easy thing to live with, but my deep faith in God and the support of my family keeps me going. I choose to believe that my affliction is a blessing in disguise and I'm trying to make people aware of this devastating disease. I've also taken advantage of my spare time and have written what I feel is one of the many important stories of our times. I've been very focused and diligent and I've taken this writing task seriously from day one and I've put my heart and soul into it because I believe there's a deeper purpose in the story's details."

Alberto's debut novel, "A Death for Beauty" is self-published via CreateSpace but currently seeking representation. It will be available via, January 1, 2009.

The link to author's website:

About The Author
Alberto Rios has also authored various screenplays: "Sleepers" and "The King of Hoboken". He has published numerous essays throughout the internet and on his Blogspot for the past 5 years. His Memoir, "Journey to the Center of my Heart—La Finca y El Barrio", is his next challenge.

Random House Publishing Group Makes Free Titles Available on Lexcycle's Stanza Reader

Random House and Ballantine will be the first major book publishers to make full-length books available for free on iPhone through Lexcycle Stanza, the most popular electronic book reader for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

This promotion will allow over 500,000 Stanza users to enjoy free eBooks from a varied list of authors including Alan Furst, Julie Garwood, Charlie Huston, David Liss, Laurie Notaro, Arthur Phillips and Simon Rich. The initial offerings will be drawn from each author's backlist and will include excerpts for any new hardcovers coming in 2009. Random House is providing links to retailers like Amazon, Barnes and,, and to encourage readers to purchase more books by these authors.

"A free eBook is a great way to sample a new writer, and help spread the word," says Charlie Huston, whose novels 'Caught Stealing', 'Six Bad Things', and 'A Dangerous Man' will all be available on Stanza. "Besides, it's good to give things away. They're books. We write them for people to read them."

Stanza users already have access to a public domain library which sees nearly 40,000 downloads a day.

"Stanza has clearly tapped into an audience that's hungry for content, and we're happy to modify our traditional marketing methods to make use of the new technology available to readers today," commented Avideh Bashirrad, Deputy Director of Marketing for Random House.

The free Random House and Ballantine titles will be available beginning today to all iPhone and iPod Touch Stanza users. Stanza for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch is available as a free download from the iTunes App Store or from