Sunday, February 22, 2009

How to Sell Your Book and Receive 100% of the Sales Price

DIY publishing is now considered trendy as opposed to thirty years ago, when mainstream publishers invited new and unknown authors along to preview prospective works. Self-publishing is business and should be treated as such. Without prior knowledge or a key plan, selling a book will result in wasted pounds. Use new kid on the block 'DragonCub' however, and your return is 1005 of the sales price.

Zip along to the nearest bookshop and take stock of how much cookery, gardening or books on warfare adorn the shelves. A flux of cookery books will make another tome on the same theme incredibly difficult to sell, especially to a mainstream publisher.

Assuming an author has X number of books printed either through a vanity publisher or even a small press, the next step is to get the book out there, to be read. Take time to decide the best strategy.

** Identify the target audience, age, income, career and residential location of prospective readers.

** Look at the competition and evaluate the market demand and prices.

** Devise a statement that spells out why this new book is special (often called the unique selling point or USP).

** Develop a market plan, work out the financial outlay required, and whether sales will recoup the cost of printing, binding etc.

** Advertise the publication in local papers, magazines, newsletters etc. Convince news editors to publish press releases about the new book.

** Seek audience on websites to promote the work with an image of the cover if possible. This costs around £299 per annum via some of the smaller publishing concerns.

** Get postcards, leaflets or flyers printed (fairly cheap these days) at a copy shop.

** Hire stalls at markets/fairs; get involved in community organisations at conventions, lectures and events. Display books and promotional material. Offer a special discount to get people interested. At least if they buy, the book is out there and being read.

Caution, almost no self-published book gives a significant return on an author's investment in time and effort, so don't give up the day job.

So where does it all end? Hopefully like the effort of one, now famous author, who initially made little profit from a self-published book but gained loads of publicity. Then one day a copy ended up on the desk of a creative consultant. The result, a well-known mainstream publisher snapped up the work. By the year 2000, the book sold over 300,000 copies and became a best seller. It can happen. How? Sign up at today for free and sell your book, for free! DragonCub is the new kid on the block - a force to be reckoned with in the area of online books sales. They are offering a special deal where 100% of the sales profit goes to the author / publisher. No gimmicks, no sales spiel, just pure marketing heaven for your new book.

Best-Selling Author Dan Poynter Selects Smashwords to Publish New Book, The Self-Publishing Manual Volume 2

Smashwords (, a publisher of ebooks from independent authors, today announced that Dan Poynter, author of the best-selling Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, now in its 30th year of continuous publication, has selected Smashwords as the first digital publisher for the book's much anticipated sequel, the Self-Publishing Manual Volume 2.

The book teaches authors how to take advantage of new technology and techniques to write their book faster, publish it for less, and use social media for promotion.

"Smashwords is a perfect example of the exciting new tools available to help authors publish, promote and sell their books," said Dan Poynter. "Authors simply upload their finished manuscript as a Microsoft Word file and then Smashwords automatically converts it into multiple DRM-free ebook formats, ready for immediate sale."

The book is priced at $7.97 and is available now in multiple DRM-free ebook formats at The first ten percent of the book can be read as a free sample. The book is also available for immediate sampling and purchase for the over one million iPhone and iPod Touch users of the Stanza e-reading app from the Smashwords Stanza store.

"I'm honored Dan Poynter selected Smashwords as the very first publishing venue for this timely new book," said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. "Dan Poynter has been a vocal self publishing advocate for nearly 30 years, and has helped train and inspire thousands of book authors, myself included. Despite the challenges faced by the book publishing industry, indie authors everywhere enjoy greater opportunities today than ever before to publish their book and reach their audience."

In an exclusive interview yesterday on the Smashwords blog at, Poynter discussed his views on the future of publishing. When asked to comment on the turmoil in the book publishing industry, Poynter predicted dramatic changes ahead.

Said Poynter, "The large six publishers in New York have not altered their business plans since 1947. The downturn in the economy did not cause their problems but economics are making them reexamine the ways they do business. Brick-and-mortar store sales are decreasing. Online sales are increasing. We will see smaller advances, the elimination of returns, the abolishment of the three annual selling seasons and the proliferation of eBooks. pBook (paper) sales are decreasing. eBook sales are increasing. With change comes opportunity. The 86,000 self-publishers in the U.S. are prepared because they are closer to their subject than a large publisher and, being more nimble, are quicker to adapt to trends, conditions and changes. It takes a large publisher 18 months from manuscript to shelf. Smashwords can get your book out at the speed of light."

In fact, Poynter published with Smashwords in record time. His print book won't be available for another two weeks.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Amazon's Kindle 2 a Disappointment to eBook Industry

Amazon's Kindle is great for eBook awareness, but a disappointment as a device for eBook readers, according to Bob LiVolsi, CEO of BooksOnBoard, one of the leading online eBook stores.

"This is, unfortunately, not technological progress from a customer standpoint," said LiVolsi, "Content remains proprietary and key features like built-in lighting remain missing. All the changes are superficial. The same major issues remain. People who focus on the Kindle will miss the fact that there are better alternatives out there already.

"On the other hand, Amazon continues to spend millions on PR and eBook awareness. We appreciate that very much."

Among the alternatives to Kindle are Netbooks, Sony Readers with built-in light, Cybooks at 60% of the weight of a Kindle, Apple iPhones, BlackBerry phones, Treo phones, and other smartphones.

"Netbooks like the ones from Acer, ASUS and HP, offer much more value for the dollar," said LiVolsi, "They're backlit, take up about the same space, and they're non-proprietary. You can have the same eBook on four to six devices at the same time. Many of our customers share eBooks this way within their families, just as they might pass around a paperback. The Kindle does not allow for any of this."

Netbooks, according to the specifications of the Acer and HP, are very small laptop computers that can be purchased for less than $300. They run Windows XP – not Vista – and offer full computer functionality for email, Microsoft Office applications, and the ability to download several different eBook formats to them.

"Our customers also like Apple iPhones and Sony Readers," said LiVolsi, "Almost all smartphones can read eBooks and the Sony Reader, while expensive like the Kindle, has a built-in light and uses Adobe Digital Editions, a non-proprietary format that can also be read on Windows PCs, Macs, desktops, laptops, and Netbooks."

BooksOnBoard's eBook sales have grown by double digits every quarter for the last two years. Based in Austin, Texas, it is one of the largest resellers of Adobe format and Mobipocket format eBooks globally.

Website: BooksOnBoard (

Benetech Launches New Bookshare Library

Bookshare (, the world's largest accessible online library for people with print disabilities, has been completely rebuilt with state-of-the-art web technology to make it easier for individuals with print disabilities to access digital books. The new design provides improved support for Bookshare's rapidly growing collection of over 43,000 digital books comprising general fiction and non-fiction, educational books, children's literature, textbooks and best sellers. The new Bookshare library implements current best practices for website accessibility and simplifies the reading experience for those who have a print disability and the staff who assist them.

The improvements in accessibility and ease of use include a streamlined Google-like interface for search functions, better account management tools, easier navigation from a keyboard or with a mouse, and more Braille options for Bookshare members who are blind. The new library also offers two complimentary ebook readers (software applications that read text in synthetic speech). The Victor Reader Soft Bookshare Edition from HumanWare is intended for people who are blind or have low vision. The Read:OutLoud Bookshare Edition from Don Johnston Incorporated is designed to support people with learning disabilities with a variety of study tools that help students read with better comprehension.

In 2007, Bookshare received a $32 million five-year award from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to give all students in the U.S. with qualifying print disabilities, regardless of age, free access to the Bookshare library. Since the award, hundreds of schools have signed up their qualified students for Bookshare and many parents have registered their children with qualifying disabilities for individual Bookshare memberships. The number of new Bookshare school and student members increased tenfold in 2008. More than 43,000 people with print disabilities now subscribe to the Bookshare library.

The growing collection of digital textbooks, including U.S. K-12 textbooks from the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Center (NIMAC), helps students with print disabilities keep up with their classmates and encourages independent study. Bookshare works with state education agencies, schools, and universities to provide students with print disabilities timely access to the books they need for school.

"Bookshare is extremely helpful for school because when I enlarge pages in my textbooks with a photocopier, the font doesn't increase as large as the page and I still can't read it," says Dana Zarett, a high school student in Long Island, New York, who has impaired vision. "Now when I have a chapter assigned from textbooks, I download the text from Bookshare and use ZoomText software to read it in whatever size font I want. It's just amazing."

Bookshare was originally built by a community of volunteers and now adds over 1,000 books and textbooks a month with the additional support of worldwide nonprofit partners who assist with scanning and proofreading. Many publishers and authors also contribute digital content with global permissions to make books available to print disabled readers worldwide. Bookshare continues to rely on invaluable volunteer assistance to build the collection. To assist these essential efforts, the new library provides improved functionality for volunteers to scan, submit and proofread books more efficiently.

"The new Bookshare library is an exciting step forward as we continue to add thousands of new members and new books to the collection, says Jim Fruchterman, CEO of Benetech which operates Bookshare. "Our goal is to put Silicon Valley technology into the hands of people with disabilities to help them live powerful, independent lives. We expect to offer 100,000 books in the Bookshare library and serve hundreds of thousands of users by 2012. Thanks to the Department of Education funding, this complete rebuild of Bookshare will support the rapid growth of the Bookshare member community."


Women's Fiction Publisher Giving Away Free Downloadable Books

Harlequin Enterprises is celebrating its 60th birthday by offering free downloadable books to everybody in America. As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, the women's fiction publisher is inverting the tradition of receiving gifts on one's birthday by offering 16 free of its titles free of charge.

The 16 titles, written by some of Harlequin's top-selling and most popular authors, are available for digital download throughout 2009 at The total approximate retail value of the free books is $60.00.

In addition to giving away free books, Harlequin will be celebrating 60 years of pure reading pleasure through a number of events and commemorative programs.

In May, Harlequin hosts an exhibition of original cover art entitled The Heart of a Woman: Harlequin Cover Art 1949-2009, which includes some pieces that have not been seen in close to 60 years. Opening at the Openhouse Gallery in New York City on May 29, 2009, the display will feature more than a hundred original works of art and will include cover art from Harlequin's beginnings in 1949 to the present day. The exhibition offers a unique insight into the profound changes that have occurred in women's lives over the past six decades--changes that have been captured and reflected on the front of Harlequin novels--from shifts in private desires to shifts in the politics of gender.

The romance publishing giant will also be highlighting some of its most popular series in retail stores across the country in 2009. In March, June and September the Harlequin Famous Firsts Collection reissues some of the first books ever written for Harlequin by some of today's New York Times bestselling authors. Every month in 2009 the Series Spotlight program will highlight a different series from the wide variety of stories, authors, classic themes and returning families for which Harlequin readers clamor. Harlequin will also be presenting appearances by more than 70 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors over its series all year long.

Harlequin was founded by Richard Bonnycastle in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1949. In the early years, the small firm published a wide variety of American and British paperbacks--from mysteries and Westerns to classics and cookbooks. Harlequin began publishing romance fiction in 1957. By 1964, Harlequin was publishing romances exclusively. The publisher is, today, synonymous with romance fiction.

Sunday, February 8, 2009 - Where Book Videos Sell Books

In 2002, promotional book videos came on the marketing scene. However, consumers had no centralized place to go to find these videos. The purpose for ( according to Nightengale Media LLC founder and Nightengale Press publisher, Valerie Connelly, is to amplify the effectiveness of the book video concept to increase book sales online for authors and publishers.

"We expect YourBookTube to become the definitive, most easily accessed, non-competitive, centralized online library of book videos. The site makes it easy for readers to make literary choices by watching book video promos on one completely categorized, comprehensive, fully optimized website. It is easy for readers to buy the book either from Your Book Tube Shop, a fully integrated, Amazon-powered book shop, or to go to the publisher's or author's linked bookstore. Best of all, YourBookTube provides a beneficial tool to every contributor along with free advertising, article marketing and reciprocal links," Connelly says.

More Benefits:

All uploads are free
All common video formats accepted.
Fully optimized site
Unlimited bandwidth
Categorized content for all common book genres.
Full video description included.
Viewer voting and reviewing options included.

Nightengale Media web developer, Michael Connelly says, "As we researched the market place, we discovered a vast range of quality and pricing. Authors even made their own using video cams and music they hadn't licensed, creating a quality issue and a serious copyright infringement problem."

All the book videos produced by Nightengale Media through their services use licensed music from Free Play Music. "Freeplay Music eliminates copyright infringement anxieties by offering convenient and inexpensive music licensing services to production companies, prosumers and individuals producing commercial works," explains Free Play Music founder, Scott Schreer.

"In simple terms, book videos are commercials for books. Effective commercials do their work in 30 to 60 seconds. Take longer than that and the viewer mentally tunes out. A book video needs engaging content revealed through pictures, music, text, and if appropriate, professional voiceover," Connelly continued. "We developed YourBookTube to solve the accessibility dilemma for authors who have or want a book video as a means to focusing the effectiveness of book videos so consumers can easily decide to buy the book," Connelly says.

Lightning Source, Inc. has joined thier growing list of industry supporters by placing YourBookTube on their Publishing Industry Resources links page on the Lightning Source website. Also, founder, Irene Watson, posted more than ninety Readerviews "book previews" on the site.

Publishers, Printers, Reviewers, Publicists and Editors who encourage their authors and clients to post their book videos on YourBookTube will be able to post their services to a dedicated section of the site, to increase exposure, gain more traffic to their sites and sales for their books. Those uploading fifty videos or more earn a free one year banner ad on the YourBookTube homepage rotator.

"We expect the benefits of YourBookTube to reach every contributor. The more videos posted, linked and viewed, the more traffic flows to and from the YourBookTube site and all the reciprocally linked sites. We expect the growth of YourBookTube to be impressive in the first year, and we expect YourBookTube to realize the long hoped-for promise of the book video to directly increase online book sales and to bring more authors and publishers into the world of book videos."

Go to to upload book videos to this centralized site where readers can find and view book videos easily and quickly.

Tate Publishing Books More Likely to Sell With Video Trailers

Tate Publishing announced they would use video trailers and commercials to promote new books in the beginning of January. Since the start of this new project, response has been overwhelming.

According to Ryan Tate, CEO and President of Tate Publishing, "These book trailers are proving themselves to be extremely valuable marketing and promotional tools that are setting a Tate Published book and author apart from all others."

The video trailers and commercials are about 30 seconds in length and provide potential readers with a visual glimpse of the books' contents and story line. The videos and commercials were launched on the Tate Publishing online bookstore ( as well as social networking sites like YouTube, MySpace and Facebook.

"Customers are purchasing books after watching the videos because they are able to emotionally connect with the storyline before even picking up the book," stated Mark Mingle, Tate's Director of Marketing.

Tate Publishing has seen great success and value in the cost of production due to the increased sales volumes and general awareness that the video book trailers have helped to create. Most of these trailers include music, voiceovers with video, and images that help tell the story of the book.

More information on Tate Publishing can be found at

Friday, February 6, 2009

Successfully Publishing a Christian Book

Writing a book that caters to a particular audience - like the Christian community - is a direction taken by a writer to ascertain that they have applied not just a holistic approach towards successful distribution but also targeting it to the right market. The best part about writing a Christian book is getting them published and seeing it make a difference in readers’ lives.

The following guidelines will help you along the way when writing your Christian book.

First, try to conceptualize the kind of book you are writing. Penning a Christian book does not mean you can just babble off religion like it is daily fodder for the rumor mill. Christianity basically means living a life based on the teachings of Jesus Christ and holding true to the Christian faith. If you are to write a book with these essential elements, then you are already headed in the right path. Your book will be as lively as it is entertaining; inspiring as it is educating.

Second, your interaction with the Christian community adds to the foundation of your Christian values. Living the Christian lifestyle will always give you credibility as an author of a book on Christianity. However, communicating with a community of fellow believers will provide you with more knowledge and information on the Christian life that will be valuable for your written work. The truths that you glean from others will strengthen your book’s trustworthiness. Anecdotes will also give your book a personal touch as do quotes from real people.

Third, pray. Ask for guidance, focus and inspiration. If you are writing a book on divine matters, then you are going to need divine inspiration. Once you receive direction and guidance for your book, you can then begin your outline.

Fourth, be resourceful. Do not just rely on the Internet to help you with your content. Books about Christianity from published authors also are good content aids. Organize your materials and set a writing schedule. Add flavor by placing in your own experience with Jesus Christ – nothing beats personal encounters with the Lord in conveying your message to your audience. A detailed but not too lengthy testimonial will help you connect with your readers more.

Fifth, find a publisher. Once your manuscript is all set, search for a publisher and comply with their submission guidelines. Make sure they have services that will help you target your book to the right audience.

With these guidelines, you are well on the way to a becoming a successful author of a Christian book.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

How the New York Times Selects Books For Review

Book publicist Scott Lorenz discovers methods used by the New York Times to select books for review

At a Harvard University speech, New York Times Book Review Editor Barry Gewen revealed unknown details about The New York Times Book Review's "inner workings." Authors wanting to get the scoop on the process will find insight into the minds of the reviewers at "The Gray Lady." These inside secrets from that speech and gleaned from other sources may give authors a better idea if their book ever has a chance at making the cut.

As a book publicist, I talk to authors and clients every day and most have two ultimate goals: Get on Oprah and get reviewed by The New York Times Book Review. As one of the most influential and widely read book review publications in the industry, a write-up in the New York Times usually results in a strong sales surge and other media outlets writing about the book as well.

In the New York Times article, "Secret Workings of 'Times' Book Review Exposed!," Gewen discussed who takes part in the review, how books are ultimately chosen, and how unglamorous the job really is in the Times building.

Gewen says The Book Review does not print the names of its editors except when they write articles. Furthermore, he stated that there are only about 17 people on the Review roster including support staff.

First named is Editor Sam Tanenhaus who came to the Times with intentions of creating "fireworks," but found that with all of the "disgruntled authors, agents, editors and publishers who call to complain about coverage," reality can be wearing. "There is no bitchier industry than publishing," Gewen said.

In addition, preview editors - Alida Becker, Rachel Donadio, Dwight Garner, Barry Gewen, Jennifer Schuessler, and one other editor - are responsible for "choosing books, finding reviewers, and editing."

There is also Deputy Editor Robert Harris and Senior Editor Dwight Garner, as well as copy-editors, an art director, a children's editor and a clerk on the team.

The process of deciding what gets reviewed and what doesn't is quite demanding work. "It begins with the clerk who goes through the pile of 750 to 1000 advance manuscripts that the office receives each week," says Gewen. However, don't expect your self-help book, reference guide or travel manual to get any attention in the initial review by the clerk. Those books are "tossed."

Then, the rest of the manuscripts are taken to Tanenhaus's office where the senior editor and deputy editor divide them up and get rid of more.

This leaves the six preview editors with about 25 books to look through. Keep in mind this winnowing process has just cut upwards of 750 or more books! Gewen said he spends at least a half hour on each book and chooses four or five, then rejects the others. Reasons most often cited for exclusion, "too narrow for us" or "workmanlike."

In an interview with Tanenhaus by Michael Orbach of "Knight News, "If a writer is not bringing something new to the conversation or is not very well-established with a following, long-awaited book, or has really superb narrative or analytical skills, there's a good chance the book won't get reviewed."

In another article that tries to depict the workings of The New York Times Book Review, "The Book Review: Who Critiques Whom- and Why?" by Times Editor Byron Calame, Tanenhaus continued to say that books often get rejected because they "lack originality" or are "packaged assemblages of smaller pieces."

And for those of you authors who want your first novels to be reviewed, Tanenhaus said, "It has to be strikingly good."

Competition amongst similar books plays a role too. Often authors and even publishers are unaware of another book on the same topic being published at the same time. So the New York Times may decide which one is plowing new ground and is the better of the bunch. It may only review that one book and ignore the others.

Of his job Gewen said, "One has to have a hard heart at the Book Review."

Finally, after the preview editors choose their book selections, they meet again to discuss possible reviewers, all of whom have their own ideas of who to consider. Once they've made their picks from lists compiled from "scanning magazines and other publications" and talking to editors and friends, editors go to their own offices and start trying to reach people.

Overall, Calame said in his article, "Much of the judgment about the books falls into the realm of opinion - and beyond the public editor's mandate." As for the process, he believes that the Times editors "genuinely care about general readers and the literary world, and want their choices to have credibility."

Though choosing books to be featured in the Book Review is a time-consuming, important task, according to Gewen, the Review is isolated from the rest of the building and its influences.

Gewen said "The Sunday Magazine lives in an office down the hall" and "pays the salary of all the rest of us." Furthermore, he said, "There is a real class division here." The Review editors are not in the luxurious offices as the rest of the magazine staff, but they pride themselves in believing they are "smarter" than the rest.

The New York Times Sunday newspaper circulation is 1.5 million. A 1/5 page size ad in the Book Review (1 Column X 10.87 inches) will cost a whopping $8,830 for small presses. If you're a major publisher it'll cost even more! Check out the rate sheet at (website).

The Bottom Line: If you're an author with expectations of having your book reviewed by the New York Times Book Review there is hope. Just don't send them a self-help book, a travel manual or self published book. And if you're a first time novelist, save the postage and send a resume instead since it might first help to get a job at the Times. It's proven that Times staffers have a nice edge in the review process… not that I could blame them.

Or take the advice of Garner: When asked in another "Knight News" interview by Orbach, "What's the way to get your book reviewed?" Garner said, "Write a good one. Really."

One More Thing: Book reviews in newspapers are dying. The Los Angeles Times published its last standalone Book Review July 27, 2008. Newspapers around the US are cutting in-house book reviewers and running syndicated reviews. Why? First they can save money and as for the pressure to save money, it's all about a shrinking news-hole caused by advertisers shifting dollars to the internet and TV. Furthermore, conglomerates who own media outlets try to squeak the last dollar out of everything. And, finally it's the same thing plaguing the book industry in general, sadly, a decline in the number of readers.

About Scott Lorenz
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm with a special knack for working with individuals and entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz has handled public relations and marketing for numerous authors, doctors, lawyers, inventors and entrepreneurs. As a book marketing expert Lorenz is called upon by top execs and bestselling authors to promote their books. Learn more about Westwind Communications' book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090.

Novel Written in Ernest Hemingway's Attic Named as one of the Best Books of 2008

Hard to believe a contemporary novel could come out of a dark Victorian attic belonging to Ernest Hemingway. There is not much light and the wood is very dark and it looks like, well, an attic! But it is also the place William Elliott Hazelgrove has been going for ten years to hack out a new work of literature after not publishing for ten years.

The novelist had published three books before he began his sojurn up to the attic in Oak Park Ilinois. "I really couldn't come up with another Southern novel and that is what Bantam had published before," the forty eight year old author said from his studio in the attic. "So I looked around at what was going on and came up with this dissaffected guy named Dale Hammer and put him smack in the middle of the housing crisis and that's really how Rocket Man began."

The book came out in December and is already being hailed as one of the first novels to deal with the death of the American Dream. Rocket Man tracks a man in his last week of normalcy in a far western suburb, struggling to hold onto his home while losing the battle with "whitebread" conformity that surrounds him. The Chicago Sun Times led off with a review comparing, Rocket Man with the works of John Irving, Updike, and Richard Russo.

Maybe the irony of Rocket Man is that in the year 2009, the book that might just be the most contemporary, came from a place where it seems time stands still.