Saturday, December 23, 2006

On The First Day of New Year My Agent Gave to Me

By Dee Power copyright 2006

On the first day of New Year my agent gave to me
A contract for my rep to be

On the second day of New Year my agent gave to me
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the third day of New Year my agent gave to me
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the fourth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the fifth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the sixth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Six editors bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the seventh day of New Year my agent gave to me
Seven offers landing
Six editors bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the eighth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Eight contracts waiting
Seven offers landing
Six editors bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the ninth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Ninety thousand advancing
Eight contracts waiting
Seven offers landing
Six editors bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the tenth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Ten more rights a selling
Ninety thousand advancing
Eight contracts waiting
Seven offers landing
Six editors bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the eleventh day of New Year my agent gave to me
Eleven weeks bestselling
Ten more rights a selling
Ninety thousand advancing
Eight contracts waiting
Seven offers landing
Six editors bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be

On the twelfth day of New Year my agent gave to me
Twelve months till we start again.
Eleven weeks bestselling
Ten more rights a selling
Ninety thousand advancing
Eight contracts waiting
Seven offers landing
Six editors a bidding
Five - days - to - auction
Four plot changes
Three revisions
Two critiques
And a contract for my rep to be


Happy Holidays

Dee Power


Monday, December 11, 2006

Words in Winter to Warm You Up

The Holidays: Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s. Just say; the words and
a nice warm feeling starts to flow through you. It’s that magical time once
again. But what to read?

The Night Before Christmas is a classic Christmas Eve story for millions
of households. For those who love merry ole England we have A
Christmas Carol,
which inspired at least six movie versions and three
cartoons.

For something a bit more modern there is the beloved How the Grinch Stole
Christmas.
And many people choose A Christmas Box as their favorite
yuletide tale.

There are several new releases which have a Christmas theme. Debbie
Macromber entertains readers with two stories for the price of one in
Glad Tidings: Here Comes Trouble\There's Something About Christmas.
Mary Higgins Clark writes with Carol Higgins Clark in what seems to be
an annual holiday tradition and gives us The Christmas Thief. For
something a bit unusual but still very merry Christmas try Comfort
& Joy by Kristin Hannah.

If you’ve always wondered what Christmas was like in heaven, take a peek
at Christmas in Heaven by the renowned psychic Sylvia Browne and her
just as well known psychic son Chris Dufresne. Yes there is snow in
heaven according to Sylvia, but it’s warm and fluffy, not cold and icy.

For the downside of Christmas, John Grisham’s Skipping Christmas fills
the bill, (spoiler here - it does have a happy ending.) Or the recently re-
released The Twelve Terrors of Christmas: drawings by Edward Gorey,
written by John Updike.

And from another top of the bestseller list author there is The Christmas
Train by David Baldacci. Love, romance, warm and fuzzy, this is not
your typical Baldacci read.

What is it about Christmas that inspires authors? Is it the easy hook of a
major holiday which is sure to drive up sales? Permission to write outside
their genre as Grisham and Baldacci have done and not irritate their fans?
Or is it something deeper? Perhaps it’s the desire to catch the spirit of this
hopeful time of year and hold it between the pages of a book, where,
whenever we need “a little Christmas,” we can always find it.

Below are more stories, essays and novellas to warm up your holiday.  
Make sure you get past the HOT AND SPICY warning to the five free 

novels.
*********************************************************************************
 Calico Country Christmas by Sharon K. Garner, The Wild Rose Press $1.50 

(3,600 words) What does a Christmas breakup and reconciliation look like from a cat's

point of view? Noel, a calico cat who was almost born on Christmas, is snowbound on

her birthday with two humans who have a relationship to sort out. It's no easy task, but

it is one that Noel handles with humor and delightful insights into human mating rituals.
http://www.fictionwise.com/ebooks/eBook41797.htm
***** 
MysteryAuthors.com just posted A Mysterious Holiday, a trio of Christmas-

themed flash stories. It’s
free at http://www.mysteryauthors.com just go to

New Holiday flash fiction on the right hand side bar.
*****
CHRISTMAS SHOWDOWN, The night before Christmas, a deadly
blizzard traps a lawman and a madam with a price on her head in a 

deserted town with a sadistic outlaw hell-bent on revenge.

High-class madam, Katherine Winter, caters to wealthy men and vows nobody in her
Kansas bordello will suffer the abuse she endured in the horrific marriage she’d
escaped. She can choose her lovers, but longs for one who can match her in bed
and out. Her senses tell her Daniel Creed is the man she's longed for—a man with
a dark secret like herself, a man who'd do anything to protect what’s his. But he's a
lawman, and dallying with him is playing with fire.

Sheriff Daniel Creed has known Katherine Winter is the husband-killer on the
wanted poster since she came to his town. The reward he'd get for turning her in
would make him rich, but something about the aloof beauty stirs longing inside him.
There's no future for a half-breed gunslinger hiding behind a badge and a wanted
woman except life on the run. So he keeps his mouth shut, figuring the most he
can ever hope for is to love the lady from afar—and protect her.

He never banked on the bounty hunter from his past hunting down Katherine, then
setting the town ablaze to force Daniel into a fiery showdown.
Availability: Dec 19, 06 from Samhain Publishing http://www.samhainpublishing.com ,
or from the link on http://www.jankenny.com.

****

The Christmas Star by Janet Lane Winters -- In trying to impress her mother and
sister with a perfect Christmas dinner and the perfect house, Ruth has lost the meaning
of Christmas. Her frantic preparations leave her little time for the real meaning of the
holiday until a bright star points the way. The price is 1.OO for a download. It's also
available in print. Price 5.50 for the mini-book, Janet Lane Walters

http://www.bookswelove.net/walters.html

****

Christmas Bells, by Dee Davis -- Free -

just go to http://www.deedavis.com/christmas.html
The cold wind blew up the busy street. Christmas shoppers hurried home, trying to beat
the quickly descending darkness. Shop windows glittered like jewels, dressed in their
Christmas finery. Everything was the same. Everything was different.

****

The Twelve Lies of Christmas by Kate Johnson -- Nate Kelly is a spy. At least,
he is until Christmas, when he's retiring to take up something more peaceful,
like alligator wrestling or bomb disposal. Because while he's tired of being shot
at, he's also not sure he really wants to live the life of a civilian. First, of course,
he has to finish his current case, complete with arms dealers, mobsters, and
celebrity parties.

Not to mention the glamorous Russian femme fatale who's hacking into the

same computer files as Nate, lying to the same people, and incidentally has

the worst Russian accent he's ever heard. But just because she's his enemy's

enemy, doesn't necessarily mean she's his friend. The Twelve Lies of

Christmas ..my true love lied to me

http://samhainpublishing.com/coming/the-twelve-lies-of-christmas

****

"Just 24 Days Till Christmas." Here’s a remedy for what
ails the modern Christmas. a book for all ages which delivers what
today’s Santas can’t—directions and fun for celebrating Christmas
as a family. A smorgasbord of activities foreveryone, young and
old, children and adults.
This book has a story,activity and
recipe for each of the 24 days leading to Christmas.
You can read more about it at website

http://www.daytodayenterprises.com


WARNING SPICY ROMANCE AHEAD,

You won’t need a cup of cocoa to warm you up if you read these.

****

OUT FOR CHRISTMAS by Emila Elias, is a gay romantic novella.

Christmas honeymoon in Australia $15,000
Refund on returned engagement ring 2,000
Taking the first step out of the closet  ”PRICELESS”
 Zach Myers dreamed of a Christmas honeymoon on Australia's Gold Coast for as 

long as he could remember, but having his bride back out only weeks before their

wedding put something of a damper on his plans.With the trip already booked and

paid for, he decides to go anyway. Besides, some time alone might help him

decide why he's having these strange urges to stare at other men.
 Sexy Aussie bartender Mitch Grey occupies much of Zach's mind during the first 

week of his vacation, only adding to his confusion. Mitch, however, isn't a bit

confused. He's been "out" for years and knows a good thing when he sees it.
Now he just has to convince Zach that coming out might be the best Christmas 

gift he can ever give himself.
http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/amelia-elias 
****
 Echoes From Heaven. by Mackenzie McKade www.ellorascave.com,
Celena, a Christmas angel, has been given the devil of an assignment—to teach Lon
Townsend how to love again. But the man is bad to bone—a playboy to the nth
degree—with no desire to change his wicked ways. Not to mention he makes her

incorporeal body burn with desire, which is wrong on so many levels.

The redheaded beauty in Lon’s bed is surely the present his friends promised. When
she explains she's been sent down from Heaven to find him a mate, he knows she
must be a fantastic actress or certifiably insane, but she is the sexiest little nut he
had ever seen. He can't keep his mind or hands off her.

Bound For The Holidays by Mackenzie McKade, releases with Samhain Publishing (www.samhainpublishing.com) on December 19th. An invitation too hot to pass
up, Angela Clarke finds herself bound for the holidays, literally. Not by one, but two
gorgeous men—a powerful executive and one sexy cowboy. Angie expected to spend
Christmas alone, not in the arms of her new boss after the office party. Their attraction
is hot enough to melt ice, and his wicked promises alluring. What he's offering she has
only fantasized about. To her surprise, the night not only involves silk scarves and a
set of handcuffs, but one tall dark cowboy. Ryan Tyler has never thought twice about
sharing his women with his best friend—until Ryan touches Angie. She stirs something
deep inside him. But it’s too late to stop the decadent night from unfolding. What starts
as hot sex with a warm, willing woman turns into something more. After tonight, Ryan
knows he'll never be satisfied with just one taste.

Could his fantasy lead to something lasting, or will it only be one night of pleasure?

END OF HOT AND SPICY WARNING

*****
Because We are Friends by Mabel Leo includes a heartwarming memory
about Christmas and her grandma -- CHRISTMAS SECRETS -- She made
dolls from socks and taught me to use blossoms from hollyhocks as ballerinas
and tree bark for play money. She fashioned a little hoe so I could help in the
garden. In summer, water for my bath was warmed by the sun in a tin tub
hidden behind the black walnut trees. In winter, she made ice cream from
fresh snow. She was a good grandma but she didn't like to play games or
listen to scary stories on the radio. She didn't have any imagination.
Available at http://www.booksbyleo.com

*****

Gifts That Keep On Giving by Pamela Brooks, Free -- A relationship with a
sister is like no other. It is not just the sibling rivalry or camaraderie; it is a bond,
a true sisterhood. It is a special kind of love and forgiveness, give and take and
trial and error. It evolves and grows like so many other relationships, yet has a
special connection that makes life both bearable and magnificent. She gave the
GIFT OF LOVE.
http://www.plbrooks.com/art-gifts.html

****


FREE

we're giving away special ebook downloads of our five Christmas-themed 

novels as part of a poll we're doing to select a name for our soon

-to-be romance imprint. The poll runs through the 15th, so there's

still time if you want to vote. All people have to do is send an

email to mailto:name_that_imprint-subscribe@yahoogroups.com then

vote in the poll. The ebooks are available in the Files section--

three adult romances and two books for kids. When the poll is done,

all the emails in a "bowl" and three winners will be drawn for $100,

$50, and $25 Visa gift cards donated by our authors. Those emails

will then be deleted.
Our offerings are:
Christmas Paradise by Gale Storm: 
http://www.zumayapublications.com/title.php?id=8
 
A Christmas with Sarah by Janet Miller: 
http://www.zumayapublications.com/title.php?id=10
 
The Christmas Village by Linda Andrews: 
http://www.zumayapublications.com/title.php?id=140
 
Bluegum Christmas by Marlies Bugmann: 
http://www.zumayapublications.com/title.php?id=5
 
A Troll for Christmas and Other Stories by Harley L. Sachs: 
http://www.zumayapublications.com/title.php?id=9

********************************

***************************************

About the Authors:

Brian Hill and Dee Power were inspired by their
own publishing experiences to research and write
“The Making of a Bestseller.” Hill and Power have
also co-authored “Inside Secrets To Venture
Capital” and “Attracting Capital From Angels.”

Besides nonfiction books on the exciting subject
of ‘success,’ they write novels and screenplays
in the suspense and action/adventure genres. Both authors have
Master of Business Administration degrees. Power has been interviewed
as a publishing industry expert from the author’s point of view by
the New York Times, Washington Post, Associated Press and
Publishers Weekly. Contact them through their website
http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Thursday, November 23, 2006

And another easy recipe.

Oriental coleslaw with or without chicken

Very easy, chop the following:

one cucumber
two stalks celery
one can water chesnuts
two cloves of garlic
one tablespoon of ginger
two bunches scallions (green onions)

Add small package frozen peas
and a package of peanuts about 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup

To the above mixture add:
1/2 cup peanut oil
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon seseme seed oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
If you like spicy food, add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper.

Mix.

In a separate big bowl, open a broken up package of uncooked raman noodles.
add one package coleslaw (no dressing just the cabbage) or 4 to 6 cups shredded cabbage. Poor the dressing and other vegetables over the cabbage noodle mixture and toss throughly.

You can add a couple of shredded or chopped cooked chicken breast meat if you want the salad to be a main course.

Put the salad in the fridge for at least a couple of hours for the raman noodles to absorb some of the dressing.

Dee author of
Over Time, the novel Money, Love, and Football: All the Important Things in Life

Friday, November 17, 2006

I have a couple of recipes I use during the holidays or any time of year when things get hectic. This pasta recipe is yummy, easy, and you can vary it.

Cook pasta for as many people as you're feeding. In the last few minutes of cooking the pasta add a bag of frozen vegetables, bring back to a boil, and cook three or four minutes. The veggies will still have some crunch but won't be raw.

Drain pasta and veggies

Add oil or butter

Add chopped fresh herbs

Add one chopped fresh vegetable

Add grated cheese

Add nuts

Toss. Serve immediately

Italian version
Add frozen chopped spinach to the pasta, add olive oil, chopped basil, chopped tomatoes, parmesean cheese, and pesto nuts (or almonds)

Old England
Add frozen peas, add walnut oil, blue cheese, chopped parsely, chopped carrots and walnuts

Greek
Add frozen string beans, add olive oil, add chopped rosemary, chopped olives, feta cheese, and shelled sunflower seeds. If you want to go all out garnish with cherry tomatoes.

American
Add mixed vegetables, butter, chopped thyme, chopped scallions, cheddar cheese, garnish with crumbled bacon instead of nuts.




Dee

Co-author of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Stepping stones, ladders and bridges.

Start small work your way up. Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves. Climb the ladder one rung at a time. Get your foot in the door and the rest will follow. Well worn platitudes all. But what does it have to do with writing?

Many writers think that the secret to getting published by a major house is working their way up. Write a book, get it published by a vanity/utility publisher and that’s the first rung on the ladder to success. But is it? Do these books count for anything other than massaging the ego of the writer that they are indeed now ‘published’?

No. The publishing industry doesn’t consider a vanity book as a writing credit because it hasn’t been vetted. No one has determined that the book is well written or has market value. Quite a few agents and publishers look down on a writer that includes a vanity book in their resume as being unprofessional and na├»ve. Some even consider it a disadvantage because they assume the writer couldn’t get the book published or they would have. A vanity book indicates to them poor writing.

What about the motivation that is sparked by holding your very own book in your very own hands? Well odds are your hands will be the only ones holding that book. The average number of copies a vanity published book sells is about 100. Most literary agents are unimpressed until the sales level reaches 5000 or so copies. And those copies have to verified, the author can’t just go on a credit card spending spree and buy tons of their own book.

It’s not really a fair assessment because it is next to impossible to get a vanity book stocked in a bookstore. Bookstores are where most books meant for the public are sold. The stores demand 90 day payment terms and most vanity books are publish on demand which means paid for when ordered. Most publish on demand books are not returnable and bookstores want to return unsold copies. Publish on demand books are priced from 30% to 50% higher than an offset printed book. Bookstores want competitively priced books. And finally publish on demand houses don’t offer discounts that allow enough profit margin for the stores.

Vanity published books are appropriate in lots of circumstances. The author has a book that appeals to a niche market that is too narrow for even a small press. The author lectures and speaks and wants a book that can be sold in the back of the house. The author has a book that is meaningful to their family or other personal relationship group but doesn’t have much appeal outside that group.

However much writers would like to believe it, a vanity published book is not a step up the ladder to a writing career, or a stepping stone to greater publishing achievements.

Dee

Friday, October 06, 2006

A day in the life of literary agent Jean Naggar

Jean NaggarJean V. Naggar is the founding agent of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Her agency is responsible for many book sales every year. Naggar was a former president of the AAR organization of agents. She is most interested in agenting strong, well-written mainstream fiction, literary fiction, contemporary, and suspense.

I would start by saying that there is no typical day.

That is the fun of it!

I never know if a phone call, an email or a letter will change someone's life for the better forever, make me able to dazzle by realizing a dream, or if the day will hold nothing but complaints and almost-offers that fizzle to nothing when an eager editor takes the project "to the board..."

I never know when I open a manuscript box and start reading if this manuscript holds infinite promise or will send me to sleep a few pages in. When a colleague steps into my office, I never know if I will have to help problem-solve or share in a triumph.

When I go to a meeting or a lunch date with a publisher or an editor, I never know if our conversation will offer me the link I have been wanting for a hard-to-place manuscript, or reveal a hobby that immediately speaks to a manuscript sitting on my desk to await resubmission.

Sometimes I make a new friend and hurry back to the office, energized and ridiculously optimistic.

Sometimes a difficult lunch meeting resembles nothing so much as playing tennis with a dud tennis ball. I patiently keep lobbing out the shots and the ball keeps falling flat at my feet. So I keep lobbing and smiling and munch on my lunch and heave a sigh of relief as I make my way back to the office.

I guess my typical day consists of answering emails, listening to my colleagues, proffering advice when asked, responding to correspondence and phone calls, soothing troubled spirits and castigating the tardy, running through the office to show off a wonderful jacket design that has just come in and making persistent and unwelcome phone calls about the jacket that the author and I hate and that the editor and the sales force love.

Yes, negotiating comes into it and offers its own challenges and rewards, as does the painstaking review of new contracts, as does the day-to-day runningof the business.

Manuscripts are strictly read in home time, evenings or weekends, and rarely encroach on the busy work of the day and the constant effort to wrestle the persistent avalanche of input into something resembling order.

Bored? Never!

Glamour? Rarely.

Multi tasking? The name of the game!

Disappointment and exhaustion? Par for the course.

But nothing beats the wild pleasure and satisfaction of being able to call an author with a good deal that I know will surprise and delight. (And they have usually gone away for a couple of weeks and forgotten to leave a forwarding address...)

In the end, that is what it is all about.

In the end, that is the joy that lies hidden in the relentless demands of every day, none of which is ever typical!

************************************

Dee Power is the author of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories from Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them and the novel, Over Time, A letter travels thousands of miles and through 20 years to reunite four friends and throw the game

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A day in the life of Peter Rubie


Just to give you an idea of what an agent's day is like here is

A day in the life of Peter Rubie

Peter Rubie Peter Rubie specializes in a broad range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction.

In non-fiction he specializes in narrative non-fiction, popular science, spirituality, history, biography, pop culture, business and technology, parenting, health, self help, music, and food. He is a "sucker" for outstanding writing. In fiction he represents literate thrillers, crime fiction, science fiction and fantasy, military fiction and literary fiction.

Well the joke has it as: make phone call, open check. Actually, one of the things I love about my job is that no day is exactly the same. It is a job that involves constant reinvention in order to stay abreast of the needs and demands of the times which are ever changing. Currently we're dealing with editors who take longer than ever to respond, companies who take longer than ever to pay, and faint rumblings from various quarters that the publishing industry is in its latter days -- something I don't believe. However, the approaching shadow of the electronic revolution is looming. and the role of an agent and the industry itself is undergoing -- or soon will undergo -- a profound change.

I start my day about 9:30 am by going over telephone and email messages from overnight. A lot of publishing, perhaps as much as 50% now is conducted electronically. I do some book-keeping, go over contracts, transact foreign business because of the time difference (the end of their day is usually the beginning of mine), attend a weekly staff meeting and chat with my assistants about ongoing projects, like developing sub rights leads for likely agency titles and so forth. Often there is a lunch date with an editor that lasts from 12:30 to 2:30pm where we get a feel for how and whether our tastes match. A good lunch can be defined by the editor wanting to see some of our current projects, and a sense that maybe a client will find a good home with this person. Agenting, more than anything, is about matchmaking and deal-making material that you care strongly about.

In the afternoon I catch up with lunchtime messages, make submissions and get them ready to be mailed. (Most submissions are still made on hard copy.) Make calls to editors to boost them along in their reading tardiness, and then I call Hollywood agents, and clients towards the end of the day.

Sometimes there are drinks meetings after work, though in my case I have a wife working in the theatre and a 3 1/2 year old, so I don't do a lot of after work events these days. Once my kid and I have had supper together and read some stories it's time for him to go to sleep. I unwind for an hour or so and at about 11 pm I start reading manuscripts and proposals for a while.

One day soon I hope to start work on a new novel. Wouldn't that be a kick . . .

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The agent said yes to the query letter!

Literary Agents Everything You Need to Know (well almost)

The agent will let you know what they want to see. Even with an affirmative response, they don’t always ask for a full manuscript. A nonfiction book hasn’t been written yet in most cases, so there isn’t a manuscript to send. What publishers and agents will ask for is a proposal for your nonfiction book.

Terry Whalin, the author of Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success, talked with me yesterday about nonfiction book proposals make sure you read his interview, http://brianhillanddeepower.blogspot.com/2006/09/conversation-with-w.html

A Nonfiction Book Proposal.

Concept:

A brief, no more than one page description about why your book is unique.

Market:

Who will buy your book and why. Include the demographics of your potential readers and how many of them there are. If you can, quote statistics, such as baseball is the most often viewed sport on TV with x million people watching. Or x number of people attend arts and crafts shows a year. Or $xxx dollars of revenues are generated by customers buying garden tools. Whatever is relevant to your book’s topic.

Competition:

Similar books that have been published in the last year or that will be coming out soon. You can get an idea of soon-to-be published books by going to amazon.com, and searching under key words. When you get a listing of books that you think are similar to yours, then rank by publication date.

Include the title, author, ISBN, and a brief description. Then state why your book is better or what your book addresses that the competition doesn’t.

Go to the library and read currently available books you feel are competitive to yours. Again include the title, author, ISBN, and a brief description. Then state why your book is better or what your book addresses that the competition doesn’t.

All books have competitors.

Promotion:

What you will do for promotion. How will you market your book? Be specific. If you are willing to give seminars or speak at events, try to line up a few. Publishers want authors that actively market their own books. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend money, but it does mean you have to expend effort.

About The Author:

Pretty self explanatory. What makes you the best author to write this book. This is not a resume; include what is relevant to the topic of the book. If you have previous books published list them, with a short description.

Media Placement:

Any newspaper or magazine articles you’ve been featured in. Include articles that you’ve written and have published. Offline, hard copy publications are better than online. Online is better than nothing. Plan ahead and in the months while you’re working on your book proposal see if you can get a few articles placed. If you have just a few, include clippings. If you have more than a few, list the publication, date, title of the article. Writing a book makes you an expert in the eyes of the media, but you have to let them know you’re available.

Endorsements:

If you can get a well known authority figure, expert, celebrity or author to give you an endorsement, or to commit to an endorsement, it puts you ahead in the game.

Chapter Outline or Synopsis:

Two to four pages. Each chapter is listed and the subheadings with a brief description, a paragraph or two explaining what will be included in the chapter.

Sample Chapter:

It doesn’t have to be the first chapter. Pick the chapter you’re most excited to write, or that you are the most knowledgeable about. The editor will judge the quality of your writing by this chapter.

The proposal not including the sample chapter can run from 10 to 20 pages.

Resources:

Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why, 2nd Edition, Jeff Herman, Deborah Levine Herman.

Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write: How to Get a Contract and Advance Before Writing Your Book, Elizabeth Lyon, Natasha Kern

Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction--and Get It Published, Susan Rabiner, Alfred Fortunato

And of course Terry Whalin's
Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success

***********************************************

Dee Power is the author of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors, and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them, Attracting Capital From Angels, Inside Secrets To Venture Capital and the novel, Over Time. You can reach her through her website, http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Friday, September 15, 2006

A conversation with W. Terry Whalin


W. Terry Whalin understands both sides of the editorial desk--as an editor and a writer. He worked as an editor for Decision and In Other Words. His magazine articles have appeared in more than 50 publications including Writer's Digest, The Writer and Christianity Today. He is the creator and webmaster for Right-Writing.com.

Terry has written more than 60 nonfiction books and his latest is Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Write Now Publications). Another recent book is Running On Ice: The Overcoming Faith of Vonetta Flowers (New Hope Publishers). See more about his writing at: www.terrywhalin.com. For more than 12 years Terry was an ECPA Gold Medallion judge in the fiction category. He has written extensively about Christian fiction and reviewed numerous fiction books in publications such as Faithful Reader.com and BookPage. He is the Fiction Acquisitions Editor for Howard Books. On a regular basis, he writes about the Writing Life. Terry and his wife, Christine, live in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Terry, thank you so much for taking time to share with us today. Getting published can be a challenge.

How important is an author’s platform?

To the editor, an author’s platform or visibility in the market can be the critical deciding factor whether they will publish your book or reject it. It’s not the only factor because the editor will also consider your writing (nonfiction or fiction) but it can be the critical element in the consideration process—whether you get a rejection letter or a book contract. Another essential step for the author is to understand how publishing executives make these decisions. In Book Proposals That Sell, I give authors a window of insight into how these discussions take place and how editors consider book ideas.

While writing is a creative endeavor, publishing is a business and the executives at a traditional publishing house are looking at your submission and judging what will make your book sell to readers. What level of expertise do you have about the topic of your book (fiction or nonfiction)? Have you written magazine articles? Do you speak on the topic? Do you have a following? Do you have a newsletter list? An author’s platform is the sum total of these types of elements and the estimation whether there is a big enough market for your book.

Now if you don’t have these elements, don’t be discouraged. Instead, figure out how you can build them. I suggest you Google the words “author’s platform” and begin reading different articles about how to build your presence in the marketplace. It will help you in the process of submitting to publishing houses. Beyond proving with your prose that your book should be published, you have to prove to the publisher that you will be a partner with them in selling the book and getting it into the marketplace. Your answer to these concerns should be your platform. One of the best articles that I’ve read recently about this matter was in The New York Observer from June 2006: http://tinyurl.com/fbvu4 and as a second resource, study this article from Annie Jennings PR with a Powerful Platform Checklist: http://tinyurl.com/j3wgl and finally, Annie Jennings PR will send you a free CD on the topic called Create A Powerful Platform. You have to fill out a request form at: http://tinyurl.com/zqgfg.

Your Secret #10 Get High Profile Endorsements, how can an author do that when the book hasn’t been written yet?

I know it sounds backward from your expected path. You would expect to write the book then get the endorsements. As an acquisitions editor, I’ve presented book ideas to a room full of skeptical publishing executives and sometimes what turns the discussion from a no to a yes are the endorsements for the author. Who is in your personal network of friends and business relationships? Is there anyone who is well-known or high profile? If so, can you get a few words from this person about you? Or can you draft some “possible words” for this high profile person to change or OK?

Every single one of these high profile authors or celebrities or business people are regularly asked for these words of endorsement. Your task as the author is to do everything possible to make it easy for them to say “yes.” Often the author will “draft” something for the person. You’ve made it easy for the other person to handle and say yes. One of the best examples in this area comes from self-published author Jacqueline Marcell. If you google her name, you will learn this author has been on the Today Show, CNN and many other venues to promote her book, Elder Rage. Read this article but don’t just read it—study it: http://snipurl.com/Elder and here are some of her endorsements for the self-published book: http://www.elderrage.com/Review.asp Marcell’s persistence and hard work paid off and you can do it too. If you get such lines of endorsement, it may tip the balance so your book gets published and someone else’s idea gets rejected. If you gather such endorsements, it will distinguish your proposal from the others in the editor’s consideration stack.

Should authors query literary agents first or just send the entire proposal?

I’ve heard this question many times—and it implies something that I’d like to answer first. Writers are always looking for a single answer or one way to approach agents or editors. There isn’t one single path. The business is a mixture between of creative and craft. Now if you want to get rejected, the most certain way to accomplish a pile of rejections is to fire the same material to each agent. Instead you want to target the preferences (likes and dislikes) of an agent. Do your homework and study the agent’s website and know what kinds of clients they prefer. A little research will go a long way to assuring your connection with the right agent for your work. Also make sure you are working with a legitimate agent—anyone can hang out an agent shingle and there are plenty of crooks who represent themselves as literary agents. Follow the advice in this article about the Safest Way to Search for an Agent: http://snipurl.com/safest

One of the best ways to get an agent is to make a great first impression—whether you query or send your proposal or meet with them in person at a writers’ conference. Your opening paragraph or first few minutes of a face to face meeting are your best shot so make sure you take it. Too many authors don’t spend enough time on their query or their book proposal. To learn more about crafting a great query, here’s an article from literary agent Noah Lukeman loaded with wise advice: http://snipurl.com/greatquery One of the best ways to get a top agent’s attention is with a well-crafted book proposal: http://snipurl.com/bkprosell


What is the most critical mistake authors make in nonfiction book proposals?

After reading hundreds of proposals, my answer may sound a bit simplistic yet true. In their eagerness and enthusiasm to get published, writers fire off to the editor a half-baked, incomplete book proposal which is missing a critical element and incomplete. For every element of publishing, whether it’s a magazine article or a press release or book proposal or you fill in the blank __________, one of the most difficult things to find is the missing element. How do you proofread something which isn’t there? It’s hard to think about the complete package and make sure it is really complete.

There is a high volume of submissions in every publishing house. To the receiving editor, your submission is the equivalent of drinking out of a fire hose. It’s an image that writers should never forget. Yes, editors “supposedly” develop proposals and work with authors (aren’t they called developmental editors?) but in reality the demands on their time and energy are limited. As an acquisitions editor, I quickly learned that unless the author’s proposal is 80-90% complete, then I don’t have the time to develop it. If you forget something critical like your marketing plan (every proposal should include a realistic marketing plan http://snipurl.com/marketingplan ) or the competition for your book (every book competes with something) or even your manuscript word count, then you are asking for the editor to give you their quickest answer that you don’t want to hear—no.

As an editor, some times I’ve called authors when they are missing some element—for example their word count. Excited to talk with a real editor, the author will answer my question with a question, “How long do you want the book? I’ll write whatever you need.” That’s the wrong answer because you are “the expert” in your subject. How long do you need for this book and what’s your vision for it? If you don’t have a big picture vision, then you do the necessary work to get one—before submitting your proposal. Use a checklist to make sure you’ve covered all of the expected elements. I include a checklist in Appendix A of Book Proposals That Sell.

If you need an extra day or two or week to complete your proposal, take it and send a complete package. You will not regret that extra polish and the editor will take your submission with increased interest.

By the time a book is published, it has been in the works for 12 to 18 months, how can an author know what trends are hot when there is such a long lead time?

What type of book are you writing and what is your goal for the book? Do you want to be “trendy” and a flash in the pan or do you want to write a book which stands the test of time? My goal as an author is not to catch the latest wave or trend but to write a book which will steadily sell for years to come and be a bright star on my publisher’s backlist. As an editor, I also look at books in the same way. I’m eager for the book to be relevant for the reader in five years as well as during the months the book is first released.

If you are trying to catch a hot trend with your book, then you will be frustrated. Yes, you need a hook for your book with the media and when the book releases. This hook can be tied to the trend for your release. Also understand your book marketing plans aren’t cemented in stone but can be reworked and shifted as needed. The publisher has plans but those plans change and are fluid. As the author, you should have the same flexibility.

Nothing in publishing is guaranteed. I have a simple philosophy: All You Can Do Is All You Can Do. Yes, you have to use wisdom to work smart and not hard but your task as the author is to write the best possible book for your reader. Then as the book releases into the market—and long beyond that release—work with your publisher to reach your audience for the book. It’s not a one-time effort but an on-going effort. Some books take several years of effort before they show up on any bestseller list. Yes, they appear to be an overnight success—which was years in the making.

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Thanks Terry.

Tomorrow More about agents.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Resources For Finding An Agent
Part Three of Literary AGents Everything You Need To Know
(well, almost) :

Publishers Weekly, www.publishersweekly.com. is both a hard copy weekly publication and an online site. It includes articles on the state of the publishing industry, interviews with authors, the bestseller lists, and lots and lots of book reviews. PW is directed toward booksellers. The books are reviewed three to four months prior to publication so you can recognize upcoming trends. PW also includes two very informative columns, “Behind the Bestsellers” and “Hot Deals.”

Publishers Marketplace, www.publishersmarketplace.com is one of the most useful sites to find out what’s going on in the world of publishing. It’s not free but the cost is minimal ($20.00 per month) and well worth it. There is a searchable database of book deals, including the author, agent, advance amount, and contact information for both the agency and the editor of the acquiring publishing house.

The Writer, writermag.com hard copy monthly magazine and online website, focused on writing, selling and publishing your writing. Often has small press publishers directories, niche publishers, and regional publishers.

Writers Market
, and the online searchable database at www.writersmarket.com provides contact information for agents and publishers as well as what they’re looking for.

www.agentquery.com searchable online database

Jeff Herman's Guide To Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 2006: Who they are! What they want! How to win them over! Jeff Herman lists thousands of agents and publishers, what they’re looking for, what they’ve represented or published.

Agents, Editors and You, Edited by Michelle Howry

Making the Perfect Pitch by New York Literary Agent, Katharine Sands.

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Next: What do Agents want from you.

Dee Power and Brian Hill are the authors of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors, and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them, Attracting Capital From Angels, Inside Secrets To Venture Capital and the novel, Over Time. You can reach her through her website, http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Find an Agent Part Two of
Literary Agents Everything You Need to Know (well almost)


Most aspiring authors begin their careers with little or no understanding of how to go about finding an agent to represent their work. They quickly learn that most major publishing houses only accept submissions through literary agents. So, with great anticipation, they begin sending query letters to agents and usually get a cool reception, or even hit an impenetrable brick wall.

To understand how authors can improve their odds of attracting an agent, and to learn the outlook for rookies trying to crack into the brutally competitive publishing industry, we surveyed more than 60 literary agents. Their backgrounds range from large, well-known agencies to smaller “boutique” agencies.

Among the questions we asked were these: Where do agents find clients? What is the most critical mistake writers make when approaching agents? What is the most common reason you decline to represent a writer? And, do you see the publishing industry becoming more or less favorable for new (unpublished) authors?

We think our survey results and agent comments offer some good insights for all types of writers.

Where do agents find clients?

39% Referral from one of their other clients
33% Direct contact by the writer
9% Referral from editors and publishers
8% Referral from other authors not their clients
5% Referrals from other agents
3% Attendance at writers conferences
3% Other

It is no surprise that referrals from the agents’ current clients were the top method cited. Publishing is a relationship-based industry, and contacts are extremely important. A recommendation from someone whose opinion an agent trusts is always valued and receives prompt attention. Several top-selling authors’ careers were launched when another bestselling author took them under their wing and introduced them to agents or publishers.

What might be surprising is that as many as a third of the agents said direct contact from the writer was the most common way they found new clients. So, most definitely, there’s hope for all the authors sweating blood over the last draft of that perfect query.

What is the most critical mistake writers make when
approaching literary agents for representation?

Most of the answers were clustered in the following four areas:

Poor writing or poorly prepared contact letter

It’s curious that agents report getting so many weak query letters, since a number of books deal with the subject, including Making the Perfect Pitch by agent Katharine Sands, and many writers conferences cover the topic in depth. Once you see some examples of successful queries, it isn’t really that complicated to compose your own—particularly compared to the task of writing a long novel.

Here are some representative comments from the agents:

“Declining to divulge the contents of their manuscripts in their queries—they just don’t get that it’s the writing, not the ideas.”

“Writing a clumsy, uninformative, grandiose, marketing-heavy, casual or just poorly composed query letter.”

“Not being professional, succinct or specific, and for inexperienced novelists they most often have what I call the ‘first 50-page ho-hum.’ The story really begins somewhere between pages 56 and 100. This is a downfall which crosses my path more often than it should.”

“They don’t know the components and priorities for writing a good pitch letter, especially about listing their professional credits up front.”

Inappropriate subject or genre for that agent

The second most popular response to our question about critical mistakes indicates many writers don’t do their homework when selecting agents to contact. Sending a wonderful query about your amazing revolutionary cookbook to an editor who specializes in placing mystery fiction is simply a waste of everyone’s time. Reference books such as Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents clearly point out what individual agents are looking for. (Some of the agents’ preferences and prejudices can seem odd. In one guide, for example, an agent warned, “Don’t send me any right-wing Tom Clancy stuff.” Did this agent really mean to say he’d turn down the chance to earn 15 percent of the mega-royalties Clancy has earned? This poor fellow should be seeking career advice, not dispensing it.)

Author hype, ego, arrogance

Agents report that creative people often have big egos. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Part of the problem stems from the authors’ awareness of how many other writers they are competing with for the agent’s attention. The temptation to use hyperbole to differentiate oneself can be overwhelming.

A significant number of the agents warned against overselling and arrogance—”Trying to act more like a sales person, and not like a writer,” as one agent put it. “Hyping the agent. A straightforward recitation is much more effective.”

Yet, others said the worst mistake was “Not writing an engaging query,” or “Writing dreary query letters describing the plot of the book.” Now we’re starting to get confused. Do the agents want an exciting query or that “straightforward recitation”? Most likely they want both.

Uneducated about the publishing process

The author who is truly talented and dedicated to the craft of writing has a clear advantage right from the start, since the overwhelming response from agents was that the quality of many submissions they receive is poor. But the author who can articulate the market for his or her book is also way ahead. The author needs to think of himself as a small businessperson entering a new industry, not as a “literary artist.” Prospective authors must be able to address the question: Who is going to buy my book and why? Writers should not assume that an agent or an editor will automatically recognize the target audience for a book, or how large that audience might be.

Authors who can show they’ll be helpful and energetic in selling the book once it is published are particularly sought after in today’s market.

Some representative comments from the agents:

“They fail to think about who the audience is for their book, and how best to reach that audience in real (as opposed to airy-fairy) ways. Lack of original thinking . . . lack of professionalism in that they have no real clue how the industry works or what an editor or agent does for a living.”

“Less a mistake in approach, more a mistake in knowing what makes a publishable book. Most writers really don’t know.”

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The process of finding a publisher or an agent is similar. Research, research, and more research. Develop a list of 10 to 20 agencies/publishers who are a good fit with your book. Don’t bother contacting an agent who doesn’t represent fiction for your novel. If a publisher only publishes romances don’t send your mystery.

Your list can be developed by searching through the online databases listed below or the hard copy.

Many agents insist that you query them on an exclusive basis, meaning you contact them one and a time and wait for that one agent to decline before approaching another agent. That can waste a tremendous amount of time; the agent can take months to get back to you. Even the quickest agents take at least 30 days.

Publishing houses don’t seem to mind that more than one is considering the same manuscript, and interestingly agents contact a group of publishers at a time.


Next: Resources For Finding An Agents

Dee Power and Brian Hill are the authors of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors, and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them, Attracting Capital From Angels, Inside Secrets To Venture Capital and the novel, Over Time. You can reach her through her website, http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Thursday, August 31, 2006

What if Business School Reflected Reality?

September is back to school month and thoughts turn to classes, homework and textbooks. What if business school reflected reality? I've come up with some courses that should be considered mandatory.

Management 501 -- The Theory and Practice of Working With Obnoxious People.
Learn the personality types to watch out for when you take a new job—The Blowhard, the Backstabber, the Lech and the Liar. Study effective coping strategies that, for the most part, do not involve bloodshed.

Macroeconomics 2004 -- Taking Credit for An Improving Economy.
Analyze the advanced techniques by incumbents to make certain the national economy peaks in time for the November elections. How fiscal & monetary policy are used to moderate the business cycle. And learn how pigs fly.

Accounting 501 -- Tax Camp For Freshman.
Students visit lovely Camp Ficafuta where they have an immersive two-week experience in learning how to fill out the 250 or so tax forms now required of all small businesses.

Management 123 -- Coping With the Clueless.
Learn to work cooperatively with mentally challenges colleagues. How to conduct an entire conversation with one syllable words. Recognize the signs of eyes glazing over in a meeting. How to communicate with hand signals when necessary. Finding out that you don’t need orange hair and floppy shoes to be a Bozo.

Marketing Lab 101 -- The Theory and Practice of Being Rejected in Sales.
Eager young stock broker trainees are plunged into the world of cold calling. The lab meets from 2:00-4:00 each Thursday, or until half the class in tears. Students are required to bring Prozac and at least one change of underwear. This is well known as the toughest elective class available.

Management 8:45 Fundamentals of Overtime.
Dr. S. Legree. Students learn how to apologize to their spouse for missing dinner four nights in a row. How to concentrate on their computer while the night crew is running the vacuum. How to determine which convenience stores are safe to shop at after midnight.

Business Law 101 -- Lawyers are People, Too.
Aspiring entrepreneurs learn the subtle differences between a $200 an hour lawyer and a $500 one. Why female attorneys don’t wear make-up. The meaning of the secret handshake your lawyer gives the opposing one before a meeting. Why a lawyer’s office is always nicer than yours.

Real Estate 501 -- Obtaining a Bank Loan to Start Your Business.
This is taught by the real estate department because if you don’t put up your house as collateral, you ain’t getting no loan bud.

Finance 666 -- How to Be a Venture Capitalist.
Young financiers learn the art of printing out large numbers of form letter rejections from their laptops while they are at a two-hour lunch. Methods of recycling old, unread business plans into festive holiday packing material. Choosing a secretary who can say, “I’m sorry, he’s in a meeting.” 256 times a day and still sound marginally convincing.

Finance 50210 -- The Art of Appearing Rich On a Limited Budget.
How to lease a Lexus one evening at a time. Shopping the Stafford College at J.C. Penney. Painting Platinum enamel over your starter American Express Card. Ordering wine for your boss in a restaurant without puzzling over how long it takes the French guy to get the screw-top off the bottle.

Finance 459 -- Fantasy Financial Forecasting.
Baby budgeters learn the similarities between a planning session and a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. How choosing a fancy spreadsheet software program can add credibility to even the most ridiculous numbers. Why the hockey stick approach nearly always works. And last but not least, why investors consider business plans works of fiction.
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Dee Power and Brian Hill are the authors of several business books and the novel "Over Time" Money, Love and Football: All the Important Things in Life, ISBN: 0974075418. You can reach them through their website http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A few minutes with Dan Poynter, author and sky diver.

Dan Poynter fell into publishing. He spent eight years researching a labor of love. Realizing no publisher would be interested in a technical treatise on the parachute, he went directly to a printer and "self- published." The orders poured in and he suddenly found he was a publisher himself.Over the years, Dan has developed a system of writing that makes it all so easy and fun. His books are loaded with facts and figures and contain detailed inside information. They are always up-to-date because he revises them before going back to press. Dan has sold millions of his books, including several best sellers, for ten of millions of dollars in sales. Many of his books sell at the rate of 10-20,000 copies per year, every year. He is the author of The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book, 15th Edition His website http://www.parapublishing.com has literally hundreds of resources to help writers, authors and publishers become successful.

What is the biggest mistake most authors make in marketing their book? Not promoting. Most people think the only way to promote a book is with radio, TV, and autographings. Most writers are introverts. They do not want to go public. So they do nothing at all. There are many other ways to promote books and these ways should be done by both introverts and extroverts. Too many authors write for themselves and their book fails in the marketplace. The secret to sales success is to write for your potential reader-an identifiable and locatable reader.

Everyone should read your book? Yeah, right! Look I write books on skydiving. For me writing books is not just a profit center, it is a passion center. I want everyone to jump out of airplanes and I want them to enjoy themselves. But I am realistic — everyone is not interested in skydiving. Who is interested in your book? Who is your primary audience, secondary and so on? Make a list of the groups or types of people who need and should want your book.

The next secret is to narrow your target audience. Here is an example: Marilyn Grams, MD, wrote a book about a technique she developed so that a new mother could breast-feed and return to work. She wanted to sell her book to every new mother. But there are lots of breast-feeding books so we suggested she title her book "Breastfeeding for Working Mothers." She resisted, insisting she did not want to limit her market. We discovered that over 55% of the women who give birth return to work within one year. So when new mothers see eight books on breast feeding on the shelf in the bookstores but one is specifically for working mothers, guess which one 55% will identify with and buy? The other seven generalized books share the remaining 45% of the customers. Don't aim for the whole pie—you won't get it. Target 100% of a large slice!

Self published and Publish On Demand authors often have difficulty getting their books stocked in bookstores. Any advice for them? Some publishers can't get their books into bookstores because of their business model. They can’t afford the 40% discount to stores. My advice, change the model. All self-publishers have to do is get a distributor. Bookstores no longer order directly from most publishers. They prefer fewer vendors and quicker service. The best way to reach the book trade (independent bookstores, chain bookstores, estores, wholesalers and libraries) is with a distributor.You need a single distributor on an exclusive basis. They have sales reps who visit the stores, show your book (cover) and take orders. Stores do not want to deal with individual publishers because they do not want to write 15,000 cheques each month. Now the question is how do you find the right distributor? The secret is to match your book (or line of books) with a distributor that already offers titles of the same type. They will have a relationship with stores that have major sections of that type of book and they may be serving other appropriate stores outside the book trade.

You have written 100+ books, lecture, give workshops and run a publishing company, how do you find the time? Automation, organization, discipline--and I do not have a family. I do not feel guilty being away.

How did you get started sky diving and do you still participate? I was taking finals in law school when a friend suggested skydiving. It sounded like a great idea. One jump and I was hooked. I am very active in the association and events.

The publishing industry has gone through a major consolidation, what changes do you see for the next three to five years? Consolidation? 8-11,000 new ISBN blocks are issued each year. The industry is growing. The larger publishers are struggling but the smaller ones are proliferating. I project more large print runs moving to China and more books printed here on-demand.
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My thanks to Dan Poynter.

Dee
Co-author of
Over Time Money, Love and Football: All the Important Things in Life.
co-author of Over Time, Money, Love and Football: All the Important Things in Life.

Monday, July 31, 2006

A Chat with Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's first novel, This Is The Place and her creative nonfiction, Harkening A Collection of Stories Remembered, are both award-winners. Her fiction, nonfiction and poems have appeared in national magazines, anthologies and review journals. She speaks on Utah's culture, tolerance and other subjects and has appeared on TV and hundreds of radio stations nationwide. She is an instructor for UCLA Extension's Writers' Program and has shared her expertise on publishing and writing at venues like San Diego State's world renowned Writers' Conference, Call to Arts! EXPO and Dayton University's Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop. She was recently awarded Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment by members of the California Legislature. She has also published a nitty-gritty how-to book, The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't which won USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004"

Carolyn, thank you for taking time out of your hectic schedule to join us. Self published, or authors who use a publish on demand company face an uphill battle in getting bookstores to stock their books. Are there any shortcuts? Any tips?

Dee, for some kinds of books, how-to or self-help books as an example, it might be best to simply avoid worrying about bookstores. One well-known marketer says, "Bookstores are not the best place to sell books," and he's right. At least in regard to some kinds of books. Did you know that big publishers are purchasing display space in prime spots of bookstores? This, while yours (however it is published unless you happen to be a big publisher's favorite child) go languishing, spine out, on a shelf along the wall along with thousands of other books.

What do you do instead? Use the Net. As you know The Frugal Book Promoter: How to Do What Your Publisher Won't shows people dozens, if not hundreds of ways, to put the power of the Web to work for you. There are other ways as well, Speaking and teaching are among my favorites.

Your book, THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER, contains a myriad of marketing strategies, a plethora of promotional ideas and a ton of tips. If an author only has $100 to spend on marketing for a one month time period, what would you suggest?

Not spending it. Go to my chapter on Amazon perks and use them. It doesn't include this very one (Amazon plogs) but it will in the next editions. It will get you started on Your About You page, using their reviews, using Listmanias, and my favorite, their So You'd Like To.... essays.

Branding seems to be the buzz word of late. How does an author brand themselves when they write both fiction and nonfiction?

Oh, yes. Do I have this problem! You bet. I am a poet and literary novelist. I also have a book of creative nonfiction stories out called , Harkening. I'm known best by my The Frugal Book Promoter: title (which, be the way, is soon to become a series). The way around it is to brand your name. When Stephen King wrote his book On Writing it sold big. People know his name. Many of his readers couldn't name more than one or two of his book titles.

You mention writing articles as a way to promote yourself and your book. I can certainly see how that works for nonfiction, but could you give some examples on how it would work for a novelist?

Unfortunately, novelists don't think of their books as commodities. They are. This Is The Place is set in Utah, home of the 2002 Olympics. It has an underlying premise that even subtle prejudice is corrosive. It is set in the 50s. It is about a protagonist with Mormon ancestors, a huge topic every time polygamy comes up in the news. Now that Big Love is a hit on HBO, that is a tie-in for publicity. I've put those subject in red. Those are my angles to get features, radio spots and, yes, for articles. As a novelist, you ask yourself, what are your novel's best angles? What do its characters do for a living? The articles will suggest themselves to you.

The publishing industry is a dynamic industry. What changes do you foresee in marketing and promotion of books in the future.

Just like politics, I see people using fewer benefits to sell their books and more fear tactics. An example: For my next book THE FRUGAL EDITOR: HOW TO AVOID HUMILIATION BY PUTTING YOUR BEST BOOK FORWARD (or something like that) even the title will suggest why editing is important. It's even more important if a book is a tough sell. Why is this book a tough sell? Because so many authors think they are great writers and therefore don't need an editor and also don't really learn to be one on their own. Being a great editor is not the same as being a great writer. Even people who aced English, need to develop editing skills or hire someone who has. Preferably both.
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My appreciation to Carolyn Howard-Johnson for spending a few minutes to chat with us. I know I'll be implementing some of her suggestions to promote The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories from Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them.