Monday, May 25, 2009

Open Book Audio to offer On-Demand Audiobooks to Independent Authors

With the explosion of on-demand printing and yearly novel writing programs like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) the number of independently published books has skyrocketed. Now, Open Book Audio, which can be found on the internet at, hopes to offer their unique, on-demand recording process to the independent author community by creating high quality, professionally recorded audiobooks for up to 75% less than traditional audiobook recording.

Open Book Audio employs a unique pricing model that utilizes special agreements with actors and recording studios that allow them to create cheap audiobook recordings without excessive overhead costs. By engaging professional and semi-professional actors, Open Book Audio is able to get the most out of performing talent for a very nominal fee. And, since Open Book Audio owns their own recording equipment, all the recording, mixing and mastering is done in house--making Open Book Audio an extremely attractive for independently published authors.

"Our hope with Open Book Audio is to give a voice to the independent author and allow them to inexpensively record an audiobook--open their novel up to a wider audience," said Matt Armstrong, CEO and Co-Founder of Open Book Audio. "The best part is that at Open Book Audio, we're just as passionate about recording good stories as authors are about writing them. Bringing them to life is what makes our life interesting."

Traditional audiobook recording is an expensive process these days with most books being recorded at a cost of $20,000 to $50,000 a book--and that doesn't even take into account the duplication and distribution fees. With Open Book Audio, the independent author finally has an opportunity to tap into the hugely prevalent world of audiobooks and ensure that their story is heard by the burgeoning community of iPod and MP3 audiobook aficionados.

Open Book Audio was founded in 2009 by college friends Matt Armstrong and Andrew Parker. Both Armstrong and Parker have extensive experience working as professional performers in film, radio, television and on stage as well as a solid business background. Additionally, both Armstrong and Parker hold MBA degrees and have worked for Fortune 500 Companies including Microsoft and The Walt Disney Company as well as several other international clientele. Open Book Audio has offices in Seattle, Washington and Salt Lake City, Utah.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Self Publishing Author Earns Over $100,000 in Just Six Months with Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press, the fastest-growing full-service self publishing and book marketing company, today announced that one of its authors has earned over $100,000 in author royalties in six short months.

Gang Chen, the self published author of Planting Design Illustrated and LEED AP Exam Guide, will receive a first-quarter royalty check in the amount of $77,611.88 for books sold between January-March 2009. This follows a previous royalty check of $33,679.56 that Chen recently received from Outskirts Press for books sold between October-December 2008.

"Earning $111,000 in six months is an amazing accomplishment for any author, self-published or otherwise," Outskirts Press CEO Brent Sampson commented. "Of course, publishing with Outskirts Press certainly helps. We extend heartfelt congratulations to Mr. Chen, and also want to thank him for graciously granting us permission to publicize his success."

Gang Chen, an expert in the field of architecture, with a master's degree from USC and over 20 years of professional experience, was among the top-five performing Outskirts Press authors in the 4th quarter of 2008 and then went on to double his royalties for the first quarter of 2009. When notified of his earnings, Chen responded, "I'm in the process of publishing my next book in the LEED Exam Guide series through Outskirts Press, along with a book on architecture, so I hope to break this record soon."

After contacting hundreds of traditional publishers for his first book Planting Design Illustrated, Chen finally landed a deal with one major publisher, only to discover that he was dissatisfied with the substantial revisions they were suggesting. He promptly cancelled the traditional publishing contract and decided to publish the book himself. He compared various publishing options and chose Outskirts Press. "Their services do not end after the book is published," Chen stated. "They continue to provide excellent marketing advice, as well."

Outskirts Press understands that marketing is a huge part of an author's success and, unlike most self-publishing firms, offer promotional advice and marketing services extending for years after publication. States 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." For a partial view of the marketing services that are available for Outskirts Press authors, visit .

Friday, May 22, 2009

5 New Book Marketing Packages Answer Self Publishing Authors Needs

Outskirts Press, the fastest-growing full-service self-publishing and book marketing company today introduced five new, inclusive book marketing packages to its growing family of over 4,000 authors. Each package combines a select number of a la carte marketing products and services with a specific focus at a 25% savings.

"Authors are discovering how fast and easy self-publishing a book has become," Outskirts Press Director of Author Support Kelly Schuknecht states. "However, book marketing continues to be a hurdle. Not so for Outskirts Press authors. Once published, we share ‘The 7 Tactics of Successfully Published Authors' with our writers. And now our new book marketing packages help our authors fulfill these tactics quickly and easily."

One tactic is "Enhancing Your Online Presence," which is supported by the new Amazon Extreme Marketing Package. This package combines a Kindle edition of the book with Search Inside the Book and keyword search submissions.

Another tactic is "Announcing Your Publication," which is supported by the new Book Blast Marketing Package. This package combines a custom press release with the services of both a PR Publicist (to professionally distribute the custom release), and 5 hours of personal marketing assistance with a marketing professional. The book is also submitted to ten reviewers who commonly review self-published books. Lastly, a 60-second book video trailer is produced and then distributed to social networking and video sites like YouTube, MySpace, and many others.

Rounding out the new packages are the Promotional Materials Package (delivering to the author 2,275 branded marketing materials like bookmarks, postcards, business cards, and more); the Global Book Tour Package (showcasing the book at 4 different book events in 4 different countries); and the Book Award Submission Package (entering the book into 6 renown book awards including Writer's Digest, Benjamin Franklin, and ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Awards).

"From The New York Times to The Wall Street Journal, self-publishing is recently starting to receive the recognition and kudos it deserves," Schuknecht continues. "Our new book marketing packages are designed to make book promotion just as easy, fast, and convenient as self-publishing has become, and the only way to experience the ease of book marketing like this is to publish through Outskirts Press."

To learn more about publishing and marketing with the full-service support of Outskirts Press, authors can visit for a free author's center without obligation.

Introducing a New Science Fiction, Fantasy Adventure Series

Mantis Force, an entertainment company for Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Adventure media, will be launching twelve websites in order to create an interactive realm for enthusiasts, through graphic novels, movies, books and other media venues. This company has a Christian foundation, which makes the series so very different from the regular genre with its often space cowboy themes, as it interprets bible prophecies and commandments, including past ages and the age to come, all with a high tech twist that spans five galaxies.

On the company's website there is an excerpt from the novel, from which the concept for this series is taken. Two of the twelve websites will be operational soon. Become involved with the Book of the Prophets and the Guardians of Light. You will be quickly drawn into this complex yet relevant in today's society new world and civilization. There will be websites for each of the ten houses of Mantis Force. And this brave new world will encompass video, audio and text.

See and learn what happens as the perfect harmony of creation vanishes under the dark storm clouds of war. Read the novel first and get a sneak peek at the upcoming media sensation. You won't want to miss a minute as the adventure begins. You will be blown away by the intelligent and invigorating storyline, characters and concepts.

Quintastraya is a Castilianized Old Latin term meaning five galaxies, while Mantis is a Greek word meaning prophets.

In any language, Mantis Force, both the company and the new adventure, is a must see experience.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Romance Author Trades Sexy Banter For Serial Killers

After writing more than two-dozen best-selling romance novels for Harlequin Enterprises, the world's largest publisher of women's fiction, award-winning author Leslie Kelly found herself wanting to try something completely different. Though a long-time reader of romance, Kelly's favorite genres are dark suspense and horror. So, chucking the flirtation, banter, outrageous humor and steamy sex scenes for which she'd become famous, she took the pseudonym Leslie Parrish and immersed herself in the world of FBI agents, serial killers and danger.

Preparing a proposal for a series of books about an FBI Cyber Action Team tasked to solve Internet-related murders, Parrish crossed her fingers and had her agent submit it to all the major New York publishers. Within just ten days, she had an offer of publication from NAL-Signet (a division of Penguin Books.) Says Parrish, "I was thrilled, of course, but also a little overwhelmed at how fast everything came together."

Having written only fifty pages of one book for the proposal, she found herself having to write three full 100,000 word novels based on just a few ideas. Because Parrish and her new publisher made the decision to release the books in quick, back-to-back succession during the summer of 2009, she had about fifteen months in which to do it.

The result was a trilogy of dark romantic-thrillers populated by FBI agents and serial murderers. The first, Fade To Black, deals with a race to find a brutal serial killer called The Reaper, who is auctioning-off means-of-death at a deviant cyber playground.

Parrish says her roots in romance fiction enabled her to instill the books with emotion and strong lead characters. "I have always enjoyed writing romance," Parrish says, "but when I combined my two favorite types of books, romance and thrillers, I absolutely found my niche."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Smashwords Introduces Ebook Publishing Solution for Book Publishers

Smashwords (, an ebook publishing platform and online bookstore that launched one year ago to serve self-published authors, today expanded its focus to serve publishers as well.

Smashwords helps book publishers make the transition to ebooks, and offers an attractive alternative to traditional online retail outlets because it pays publishers 85 percent the net proceeds from sales of their titles. Ebooks are sold to customers DRM-free and multi-format, making them readable on any e-reading device.

The first publisher to take advantage of the new Smashwords publisher solution was eXcessica Publishing, an indie e-publisher of quality erotica. eXcessica now publishes nearly 200 titles with Smashwords from 61 authors. About twenty small independent publishers have beta tested the new Smashwords publisher solution over the last three months.

"Smashwords represents the future of ebook publishing, distribution and retailing," said Selena Kitt, president of eXcessica Publishing. "Their publisher-friendly royalty structure recognizes that ebook publishers deserve more favorable terms than offered by conventional ebook retailers. Smashwords backs their so-easy-even-your-mother-could-use-it publishing platform with super-responsive support that enhances the reading experience for our customers."

The Smashwords service is free to publishers. Each publisher is provided a custom-branded online bookstore, and can list an unlimited number of ebook titles from an unlimited number of authors. Publishers gain access to numerous free promotion and selling tools offered by Smashwords, including the popular Smashwords Coupon Generator which makes it easy to run creative promotions across online social networks, blogs and web sites.

"Smashwords makes it easy for publishers to publish, promote and sell their ebooks," said Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. "Publishers simply upload their books as Microsoft Word .doc or .RTF files and we automatically convert them into multiple ebook formats, ready for immediate sale online at a price set by the publisher. Our books are also distributed in the native catalog of Stanza, the popular e-reading app used by over 1.5 million iPhone and iPod Touch owners to read ebooks."

Prior to Smashwords introducing a publisher solution, publishers had difficulty listing titles with Smashwords because the service was architected for individual self-publishing authors, as opposed to multi-author publishers.

How Publishers Can Register

The Smashwords Publisher program is open to any publisher of more than two authors or pen names. To register, simply visit, click join, and then follow the instructions. For an overview of publishing options, visit

Smashwords to Launch Affiliate Marketing Program

In the coming weeks, Smashwords is preparing to release a new affiliate marketing program that will allow publishers, authors, third party online marketers and specialty bookstore operators to receive generous commissions on Smashwords ebooks, simply by sending book buyers to Smashwords titles. Authors and publishers who opt to participate in the affiliate program will receive up 70.5 percent net royalties, and affiliates will earn 11 percent or more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Social Networking is Redefining Traditional Book Clubs

The world's largest social network is home to millions of avid readers, many of whom are discovering the advantages of online book groups. Book Clubs, a new social media application on Facebook, offers proof that the era of online reading groups has arrived.

Launched in late 2008, Book Clubs ( features more than 6,000 book lovers and several hundred online book groups, both public and private in nature. Book Clubs makes it easy for Facebook members to instantly create or join a reading group devoted to any category, region, interest or author. The application is free to any Facebook member.

"If you want to connect with people who share your passion for books, this is the place to be," said Rusty Weston, Co-founder of Book Clubs and the owner of Third Set Media ( in San Francisco. "Online book clubs aren't intended to replace face-to-face meetings, but many book lovers can't make monthly gatherings or don't want to wait that long to discuss what they're reading."

In Book Clubs you can post comments about a book or author, rate or review books, build or search a library of titles, entirely at your convenience. If you choose, you can arrange meetings in person, too, and use book clubs as a place to chat or post club news between meetings.

"What Book Clubs is for me is a place to connect with others from around the world over a book each month," says Jennifer Dodde Conner, author of the popular Literate Housewife book blog ( and leader of the Historical Fiction Lovers club on Book Clubs. "I live in a smaller, rural area of Virginia and don't have as much access to a physical book club as others do. I've tried a couple of times to create my own e-book club, but I found it was too much work for me to set it up and keep it running by myself. With Book Clubs, the structure is already there, leaving me free to focus on the conversation and enjoy myself."

Marcia Larsen, author of The Printed Page blog (, says she enjoys being a member of Book Clubs on Facebook, "Because I've made so many new friends who share my passion and who I wouldn't have met if I'd been limited to my hometown book club."

Book Clubs on Facebook succeeds because it's both fun and convenient, says Weston, adding that "Social networking helps eliminate the space and time differences that keep book lovers apart."

For more information about Book Clubs on Facebook visit: ( Facebook users can visit (

Monday, May 11, 2009

Publishing Your Book in the Midst of Economic Woes

The world is talking about only one major issue today: the global economic crisis. From the loss of confidence by American investors in the value of US securitized mortgages back in 2007, to the worldwide shockwave of this economic downturn, the reality of a weakening global economy has impacted every company from different industries and every individual from all walks of life.
With corporations downsizing and households economizing, what are authors to make of the global financial crisis? How are writers, who are looking to get their books published, respond to this economic downturn? Is the current state of the world’s economy a blessing or a curse to one’s publishing dreams?

To answer that, let us take a quick look at one of history’s pivotal economic moments: the Great Depression. During the 1930s the world was plunged into unprecedented economic woes, which gave the era its well deserved name. Much like today, the Great Depression threw a great shadow of uncertainty over every aspect of human life, including the publishing industry.

However, a deeper look into this period of history shows us that there were many authors who have had their books published, and a few have even achieved critical acclaim. The Great Depression produced great written and published works like John Steinbeck’s ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall’s ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’, and Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Farewell to Arms’ to name a few. If these writers achieved their dream of publishing their books in a time of financial uncertainty, why couldn’t today’s author do the same?

If anything, there should be even more reasons for writers to become published authors today. With all the innovations in the industry, the wide selection of publishing services available, and the health competition between publishers that result in multiple benefits for authors, achieving one’s publishing dreams is made easier to attain. Recession or no recession, writers who wish pursue the publication of their books can go ahead and do so.

The global financial crisis should not necessarily be a hindrance to your publishing dreams. If you are determined to pursue success as a published author, or looking to publish another book, you will find many avenues to take on the way to your desired goal. Publishing companies like Xlibris offer many options from which aspiring authors can choose.

Among these are the various publishing packages that cater to the specific needs of each author, the discounts given on these packages, the monthly promotional offers on marketing and publishing services, and the special rates for specialty publishing. These are all designed to make publishing your book more attainable even in the midst of economic woes.

The Great Depression produced great works of literature. The current global recession should not cause the proliferation of literary works to recede. Rather, times like these should becoming a challenge and a stepping stone for writers to become published authors.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Down Economy Breeds Aspiring Authors

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the past 12 months (as of March), unemployment has grown by some 5.3 million people, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percent. Some of the jobless are nervous -- they need an income to live. Others, who have a little bit of money squirreled away, are seeing their opportunity to finally turn to projects they dream of -- like writing a book.

Even those who still have a job are re-evaluating their priorities and, for many, that means dropping expensive leisure and entertainment activities and using the free time to work towards a desire to write and publish.

Saunderstown, RI resident, Lisa Tener, a book coach who serves on the faculty of Harvard Medical School's CME publishing course and offers private coaching in writing and publishing books, has only seen an increase in business since the downturn. "People are deciding it's time to focus their energies on the things they feel most passionate about," says Tener. "Many people want to feel more of a sense of purpose and excitement in the work they do."

Says Tener, "For some folks, writing a book is about fulfilling this lifelong dream. For others, like small business owners and solo practitioners, they see the book as an opportunity to set them apart from their competitors, to bring in more work and attract ideal clients." Many of them are looking for a writing coach or book coach to de-mystify the writing and publishing process and help their chances of getting published.

A Rhode Island teacher who doesn't know if she will have a job next year recently contacted Tener to help her understand the publishing process and help with her book proposal. "Taking the steps to get a publisher has empowered her so that she doesn't feel like a victim of fate, but rather is taking her destiny in her own hands and feeling excited about the possibilities in her future," say Tener.

Four of Tener's clients--a nationally recognized psychologist, a philanthropy consultant, an international mediator and a psychoanalyst and professor--are under contract with major publishing houses and three of those will have their books published in January of 2010. A handful of others have signed contracts with top agents.

Tener has several local offerings for Rhode Islanders this month who want to write a book, or just explore writing:

Express Yourself in Writing and Transform Your Life
An interactive presentation that is part of
Aspire Media's Inspiring Women Speaker Series

May 13, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Crowne Plaza, 801 Greenwich Ave. Warwick RI

Tickets: $30 advance; $35 at the door.

Group discounts available.

Registration and information:
Contact: Linda Joy; 508-265-7929

Write Your Book: First Draft, an 8 week course

Starting May 15, Fridays from 9:00 – 10:30 am
Sponsored by University Professional Development Center
237 Robinson Street, Wakefield, RI

Registration and Information: Tim Armstrong

Writing in the Zone

Free Workshop: May 7 6:30 pm
Half day workshop: May 16 12:30 – 4:00 pm
Sponsored by All That Matters

315 Main Street, Wakefield, RI

Information and registration:, 401-782-2126

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is This the Book the White House is Reading?

It was supposed to be a new slogan to mark the president's first hundred days in office. Speaking at his prime-time press conference on April 29, President Barack Obama promised to lay a 'New Foundation' for growth.

But this was three weeks after New York publishing house Atlantic Monthly Press released ULTIMATUM, a debut political thriller by Matthew Glass in which a Democratic president is elected pledging a 'New Foundation' for America.

'It may be coincidence,' said Glass's agent Ben Evans, 'but it does seem interesting that the phrase 'New Foundation' appeared in the president's speech so soon after ULTIMATUM was released.'

Refusing to reveal the true identity of Matthew Glass, which is a pseudonym, Evans added: 'This is a fantastic thriller with all the hallmarks of being written by a political insider. It wouldn't surprise me at all if people in the West Wing are reading it.'

The Obama White House has been remarkably free of the leaks that have plagued many previous administrations in their early days. Apart from one now notorious slip over the Special Olympics, the president's handling of the press has arguably been the slickest since Ronald Reagan.

But after the president used that phrase last week, it seems that he, or one of his staff, may have taken their cue straight out of the pages of a novel.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bestselling author Rae Bridgman sets books free in parks, coffeeshops, laundromats

Emerging fantasy author, Rae Bridgman is now tracking THE MIDDLEGATE BOOKS which have been released into the wilds of North America. Rae Bridgman's books are available in all of the usual places, but this time she has chosen to place her young adult fantasy series in cities throughout North America and around the world…on park benches, in coffee shops, hair salons, airports...or a library, anywhere someone might pick up a book and wish to read.

Where are they now? Rae Bridgman has heard from readers in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Gimli, Toronto, Ottawa, Fredericton, Calgary, Frankfurt, Cairo, Reykjavik, Glasgow, Minnesota, New York, Los Angeles, Johannesburg (South Africa), London, Sydney (Australia), Rome.

Rae Bridgman has released ONE HUNDRED COPIES of The MiddleGate Books during the month of February 2009, inspired by the time-honoured concept of bookcrossing. The series has been distributed in order, beginning with the first in the series The Serpent's Spell (copies 1 – 50), followed by Amber Ambrosia (copies 51 – 75) and Fish & Sphinx (copies 76 – 100).

Why send books into the wild? Books take on a life of their own and travel the world looking for new readers. A book is left on a park bench, in a restaurant, or at an airport, laundromat or library. Perhaps one friend gives it to another. The idea of leaving a book for someone else to find and read combines serendipity, adventure, altruism and literature in a unique mix that true bibliophiles find irresistible. With its similarity to releasing messages in a bottle or notes in helium balloons, bookcrossing hearkens back to fond childhood memories. It's an ideal activity for parents and teachers to encourage children to read and share, and an excellent way to encourage literacy and learning.

Rae Bridgman believes passionately in helping to promote the love of books, the love of reading and literacy, along with the love of fantasy books for kids. "This began as an opportunity to celebrate February as I Love to Read Month and Freedom to Read Week (the last week in February)and now we realize that it's taken on a life of its own. Why not read a good fantasy book today? Go to for a list of more than 100 authors writing fantasy books for kids."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

You Certainly Can Judge a Book by Its Cover, the marketplace for digital content on the Internet, makes it even easier for authors for profit from their work with its new Lulu Cover Wizard. The new wizard is free and entirely browser based so there is no need to download software.

The interface is intuitive and the tools are easy to use which allows for quicker cover design creation, without the cost that is typically attached to hiring a professional designer. The expanded features and enhanced photo capabilities encourage authors to be creative and further enhance the marketability of their book.

The Lulu Cover Wizard allows authors to create compelling cover designs themselves for free, further empowering them to profit from what they publish.

Authors who used Lulu's original Cover Designer can opt to easily revise their cover using the new Lulu Cover Wizard. Both options will remain available to users.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Book Expo Cancellation Increases Need for Online Book Publicity

The recent cancellation of BookExpo Canada (BEC) in Toronto has rocked the Canadian publishing industry. Scheduled for June 19-22, 2009, the event has been closed in an unprecedented move for the Toronto book fair. Hajni Blasko, an online book publicist and president of Substance Books Online Book Publicity, has cited the annulment as evidence of the decline in print media and the increasing dominance of online publications.

"The BEC cancellation really shows the rocky state of the Canadian publishing industry," Blasko said. "Authors, publishers, and booksellers can't rely on traditional promotional avenues anymore. Online book publicity is fast becoming the norm."

The cancellation was precipitated by the withdrawal of three major publishers from the Toronto book fair, forcing the close of BookExpo Canada. Formally announced in February, many speculate that the cancellation of the Toronto book fair will increase attendance to the upcoming BookExpo America, held in New York in May.

"The decision to close BEA Canada was not easy," said Greg Topalian, Senior Vice President of Reed Exhibitions. "But our primary focus has always been serving the needs of our customers and the market. Over the last 18 months, it has become clear that the dynamics of the publishing industry in Canada is no longer best served by a traditional trade event. Our focus on the publishing industry now centers on our event in New York and we look forward to serving the needs of our customers in North America most effectively with a singular event."

Blasko will be exhibiting at the New York book fair, but remains skeptical of the overall long-term effectiveness of events like BookExpo Canada (BEC) and BookExpo America (BEA). For Canadians and Americans alike, she asserts that promotional networks like Substance Books are stepping in as the next wave of online book publicity with Search Engine and Social Media Marketing. Blasko's company offers a variety of services, including promotional web design and site makeovers, search engine optimization, and a variety of other web-related services specifically geared towards authors and small publishers.

"Book expos are great for networking, and generally an important part of book publicity," Blasko said.

"But the real action nowadays is in online book publicity."

Hajni Blasko is an online book publicist specializing in Search Engine Marketing and Social Media marketing. She is president of Substance Books, Authors' Web Design, and Top Site Makeover.

For further information, see