Sunday, December 30, 2007

There was an article in BusinessWeek online that said more and more people are getting interested in earning money online. Not in one of those get-rich-quick schemes you see advertised on TV, but as a legitimate business.

I found this website PartyIdeas: Kids that was developed by a young mother to earn extra money. The site is still pretty young, only about a month old. It's a fabulous idea. She obviously has experience throwing parties for kids. I especially like all her ideas for Valentine Day Parties for Kids.

Shes' earning AdSense revenue from the Google Ads and money as an affiliate for amazon.com. I talked with her and she'll be developing an ebook on the subject of - what else - Party Ideas for Kids and sell that as well.

This is just one example of someone who had no experience earning money on the Internet and using her talents to start an online business.

Dee

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On The First Day of Christmas My Agent Gave to Me

By Dee Power copyright 2008

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

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

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

On the fourth day of Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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 Christmas 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

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

Hope you and yours have a safe, prosperous, happy 2008.

Dee

Dee Power is the co-author of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories of Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them, and two other nonfiction books. They've written Treasure In the Moonlight, a novel just waiting to be published and several screenplays. http://wwwBrianHillAndDeePower.com

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I've started my Christmas shopping a little early this year. Usually I wait until the weekend right before Christmas. I'm getting a bit sick of the big box warehouse stores. It's seems they all have the same kind of merchandise. And everybody knows what you paid.

The shopping malls are fun if you actually don't have to shop. If you do, they can be a nightmare. Every teenager is hanging out text messaging each other from 3 feet away. People are getting frantic and buying something - anything - just so they'll have a gift.

This year I thought I'd use the Internet to shop. Not just amazon.com or ebay but neat little websites that offer gifts a bit out of the ordinary.

First stop are baby toys. Lots and lots of baby toys. I found this neat little site called baby-wise.com They have toys for every age and great prices. It beats the mall and the big box stores. Now I just have to make up my mind which toys I want.

Dee

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

One of the areas I've been looking at is how to earn money on the Internet by writing, while cruising I came upon a neat little site that's focused on helping people find jobs. I'm not looking for a full time job but this job search site was a little different. The jobs are ranked by the members. So if someone investigated a particular offering and found it, let's just say not as straightforward as the listing, they could give it a lower ranking.

I also like the tone of the site. It's friendly and has a "we're all in this together" attitude rather than "we're the might job board and you're the lowly job seeker." Reminds me of some publishers I know.

It's too bad that writers only have elance.com and guru.com. It would be nice to have a similar writing job search where the writers could rate the clients. I know elance does have a rating system, but seriously is any writer going to bad mouth a potential client? No.

Dee

Over Time, the novel
A great gift for a football fan or a romance reader. Romance? Yes.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A rose by any other name.

Our Irish Setter, Rose, is very dear to us. She and her English Springer Spaniel sister, Kate, even have their own website, Rose and Kate's.

Rose is only 4 years old but she's been through a lot. When she was only 6 months old she was diagnosed with kidney failure which is fatal. Turns out the tests and diagnosis was wrong. She's fine.

When she was a year old she was bitten by a rattle snake. Yup. Brian was working in the yard and Rose kept pushing in front of him. Finally the snake struck Rose instead of Brian. She recovered, the snake didn't.

She's four years old now. Last week when I was brushing her, I noticed one of her canine teeth was a bit purplish. Odd. She was due for a check up and some immunizations so I took her to the vet. Her tooth had been chipped. The blood vessel inside had burst and was destroying the pulp inside the tooth. She had to have an emergency root canal. The dead pulp gets infected and travels down the root of the tooth into the jaw bone.

When a person has a root canal it's expensive enough, but with dogs (and cats) it's even more so because they have to go under general anesthetic. It seems puppies don't listen when the dentist says "open wide."

Dee

Monday, September 10, 2007

Do you ever get confused looking at all the diet books, websites, articles and blogs? I certainly do. Yesterday as I was grocery shopping (buying only fresh fruit and veggies and free range chicken of course) the headline "IS YOUR CELL PHONE MAKING YOU FAT?" hit me right between the eyes.

My cell phone?????

It turns out that cell phones emit Electromagnetic Frequencies EMF. EMF is interpreted by your body as a danger. The cells in your body freeze up in response to what they perceive as an attack and hold on for dear life to the toxins trapped within them. Trapped toxins lead to a sluggish metabolism and weight gain.

Of course the article went on to say that there was this little microchip that you could buy that counteracted the EMF and coaxed the body cell's to loosen up and start acting normally. The result was weight loss.

I dunno. It seems fishy to me. Oh, that's the other way to counter act EMF. Consuming 4 to 6 grams of Omega 3 fatty acids, or fish oil.

Oh well.

Dee

Friday, September 07, 2007

Fricasseed Troll -- or how to get rid of wild pigs

Have you ever been complacently posting on a board, and suddenly, without warning a troll shows up? You know one of those nasty little critters whose sole intent is to disrupt the discussion and turn all attention to itself? Well now you can do something with them.

Stun the creature with a well placed retort, then coax into the open with the promise of lots of platitudes. While the troll is mesmerized with its reflection, slowly squeeze the life out by totally ignoring it. Trolls can be stubborn and keep resurfacing, so diligence is required. On occasion a troll will try to escape by whining with a high pitched poooor meeee, poooor meeee, call.

After the troll is sedated, remove all double entendres with a freshly sharpened wit. Be careful of the narcissist gland, it is located right behind the full-of-it tendons, and must be gently cut out, other wise the bile is released and the entire troll is useless.

If the troll had a backbone, it would be best to discard it, but it doesn’t, so that’s a chore you won’t have to face. Remove all skin, both thick and thin. The female troll usually doesn’t have a lot of substance to it, but what is there, is tough and stringy and must be marinated. The salt brine mentioned in a previous post works well, but in a crunch, piss and vinegar will do.

After several days in the marinade, chop the troll to pieces and dredge in well edited prose. Season to refined literary taste and garnish with verbiage.

Then feed the whole d@mn thing to the wild pigs. They will never return.

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

Dee

Monday, August 27, 2007

Several more books I'd recommend:

The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile ISBN 068485743X and The Plot Thickens: 8 Ways to Bring Fiction to Life ISBN 0312309287, by Noah Lukeman. Both these titles focus on the craft of writing fiction. Literary agent Noah Lukeman represents many New York Times bestselling authors, and award winning authors. He’s read over 50,000 manuscripts in the past 10 years and knows what will sell and what won’t. The first five pages are critical to whether an agent, editor, or the all important consumer will make the decision to purchase a book. Think about it. The last time you picked up a book, you looked at the cover, turned over and read the back cover blurb, and then, most probably, took a look at the first couple of pages. Lukeman tells you how to improve your writing so it grabs the reader.

The Resilient Writer: Tales of Rejection and Triumph by 23 Top Authors, by Catherine Wald, ISBN 0892553073. Being rejected is an uncomfortable and often demoralizing experience. Writers are on the receiving end of more than their fair share by virtue of simply being writers. Catherine Wald handles the topic with grace and optimism. She has heart-to-heart talks with 23 leading authors regarding their personal experiences with
****************

Dee
Private Label Reports

Rose and Kate's

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Books I’ve read and recommend on writing and publishing.

Of course this list isn’t all inclusive, that would take hours, but the titles mentioned here cover all the bases and would be a good starter library for any writer.

Book Proposals That Sell, by Terry Whalin, ISBN 1932124640. A good primer on what should be included in your nonfiction book proposal written from an acquisition editor’s point of view, which is exactly what Terry Whalen is. The book contains 21 secrets to boost your proposal to its fullest potential, a checklist, a sample proposal and lots of straightforward, useful advice. The basics of the publishing industry and how the acquisition process works is covered from an insider’s perspective. This book will help you scale the walls to publication.

Making The Perfect Pitch, ISBN 0871162067 by Katharine Sands, a successful literary agent with the Sara Jane Freymann Agency in New York, corrals 40 top agents and experts from CAA, Trident Media, Meredith G. Bernstein, Jane Dystel Literary Management, and more and gets them to tell what really excites them about pitches, query letters and proposals. "Making The Perfect Pitch" is well organized and the approach is unique. While it's informative to have the expertise of one agent it's invaluable to have the opinion of a number of different agents'. Ms. Sands brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to writers they desperately need and seldom receive. If you're hunting for an agent, you need to know how to pitch and "Making The Perfect Pitch" gives you the ammunition to be dead on target.

The Frugal Book Promoter, by Carolyn Howard Johnson, ISBN: 193299310X. An author’s greatest challenge can be to climb the marketing mountain and get their title visible to potential customers. If a reader doesn’t know about your book, how on earth will they be able to purchase it? Carolyn tells you how to promote, from sending out your own ARCs (advance review copy), to why a website is important, to utilizing all the perks of amazon. This truly is well placed promotion on a shoestring.

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

Dee

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer is winding down and our marketing activities are starting up.

I've been spending the last few months studying the Internet to see how I could earn money by writing. I'm not talking about freelancing gigs so much as writing articles, web pages, and blogs.

As an experiment I took an old website or ours that was business related and changed it to a niche site on weddings on a budget. I included AdSense revenue links, a few affiliate links, and an Amazon book or two. Here's the site, Weddings On A Shoestring Budget

After writing the content and uploading the pages to the site, I wrote a few articles about weddings on a budget and summited them to Ezinearticles.com It took a few weeks to get traffic from the people who were looking for tips on how to have a wedding without breaking the bank, but now the site brings in a nice little income. Not a huge amount, but the site was just sitting there doing nothing before.

Dee

Golf on a Budget
Rose and Kate
Private Label Report

Friday, August 03, 2007

Is it easier to get a book published now? Part II

Publishers are Becoming More Risk Averse

“It just seems like it's getting harder and harder to get people to take a chance on an unknown.”

“Editors are buying fewer books, they are reluctant to take chances.”

“What does keep projects from being bought is the fact that lists are shrinking, and in a marketplace in which it’s terribly hard to win anyone’s attention – from buyers all the way to customers – everyone up the editorial chain is anxious about making the wrong bet … more often than not, ‘No’ is a safe answer.”

The Pessimists

“I base this on the number of rejection letters publishers have sent for well-written, well-plotted novels by new authors that would have sold if given the chance.”

“I don't see the market picking up much, and if the current trends continue, it will only decline.”

The Optimists

“Because I don't agree that the publishing industry is either for or against unpublished writers. They are FOR unpublished writers who have a brilliant first novel to offer or a nonfiction platform. They are AGAINST unpublished writers who are bad writers or (in the case of nonfiction, are not credentialed in their field, have a new original, high concept idea etc.)”

“The Industry is not a monolithic thing. Some genres (nonfiction especially, which more and more requires the author to have a major platform for promotion and media attention) will continue to become more difficult; some genres (upmarket fiction) exalt first-time writers. The “first novel" for literary fiction represents a unique marketing opportunity for the publisher; it's the second and third novels that tend to be far more difficult to publish well if the first novel doesn't take off.”

“Some trends favor new writers and new voices, however the money is often discouragingly small, so there is not the sense of a career being launched.”

The Impact of the National Economy

"Publishing is an increasingly tough biz in tough times--fewer people read."

So What Can a Debut Author Do?

1) Study the elements of a good query letter.

2) Make your contact letter succinct, positive, but not obnoxious. Stress that you understand the market for your book and how to address that market.

3) Learn what types of manuscripts individual agents are looking for and send yours out to the agents that match up the best with your topic or genre.

4) Don't give up.

Avoid scams and still get your book published. Get our free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report

About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them. Read Dee's blog or Brian's blog The Packer Literary Corner

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Is it easier to get a book published now? Part 1

Is it getting easier or more difficult for an unpublished writer to get their first book commercially published? We asked nearly 60 literary agents about the outlook for the next generation of authors. Their comments are in quotes.

Agents do not envision a great deal of change on the horizon. They are mildly negative about the next 12 to 24 months. When asked the reasons behind their forecast, the most common responses were:

Industry Consolidation, Changes Within the Publishing Industry Itself
Changes in Book Retailing
Publishers are Becoming More Risk Averse
The Pessimists
The Optimists
The Impact of the National Economy

Industry Consolidation, Changes Within the Publishing Industry Itself

“Editors no longer rely on their instincts and passions as selection criteria; instead they go by such formulas as, Bad Numbers, Author has no Platform etc.”

“Continuing consolidation and conglomeration of industry.”

“For non-fiction works, in particular, publishers need credentialed writers, which leaves out the many individuals who have great ideas but nothing to back it up. With fiction, they are more likely to take a chance on an unpublished writer IF it is in an area (genre) they are seeking at the time and the writing is passable enough.

Changes in Book Retailing

“Because of the pressure of the chain buyers, publishers are increasingly locked into publishing only the brand new authors with no record, and best selling authors.”

“Because as long as the retail market continues to consolidate in the hands of fewer and fewer retailers, the entire industry becomes dependent on the taste of a small handful of 'buyers' who choose which books get shelf space.”


End of Part 1

Avoid scams and still get your book published. Get our free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report

About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them. Read Dee's blog or Brian's blog The Packer Literary Corner

Monday, July 16, 2007

As you know I've been looking at different websites, blogs and discussion forms to see how I can better promote our books and our writing.

In my searches I stumbled upon a pretty nifty site SwitchPlanet.com. If you've ever wondered what to do with the books, CDS, videos, games, and movies you don't read, listen to, play, or watch anymore this site is going to interest you.

Joining and switching is free, no membership fees, or transaction fees. After you've joined, you list the items you want to switch. When someone wants, what you have, you ship it to them. You then earn switchbucs for the item you switched. You can use the switchbucs to get what you want.

No money changes hands between the switcheroos. If you're dying to get the DVD for King Kong, say, but are a dollar or two short, you can use your credit card to make up the difference. Everything is processed through SwitchPlanet.com

What's nice is that SwitchPlanet.com encourages its members to make donations to support several charities, like the Boys and Girls club, and the Red Cross.

Okay back to marketing and promotion. If you'd like me to review your website, book , or services just let me know.

Dee
capital-connection.com
brianhillanddeepower.com
Over Time the novel

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Last week I said I was going to experiment with my squidoo lenses and I did. I was able to get the traffic to Dog Friendly Vacations up to about 1500 and 2500 to How to Get a Book Published

The Dog Friendly Vacations also received 20 ratings (people who gave stars) and 14 people posted in the guest book. The overall ranking increased to #77 overall and is still hanging in at #93. That's right I got in the top 100.

Interestingly, How to Get a Book Published lens had 1000 more visitors but only 10 people rated the lens and only 5 people posted in the guest book. The highest the lens got was about 130, it's at 255 currently.

It would seem that people rating lenses and posting in guest books is more important than traffic as far as improving ranking.

There was one sale from the how to get a book published and none from Dog Friendly Vacations It doesn't seem that a squidoo lense is effective in generating sales, at least not for me.

I'd like to see if ratings will boost the ranking of the how to get a book published lens, so if you have a few moments could you rate How to Get a Book Published

I'll report back in a few days.

In the meantime I'm going to see if social book marking will increase traffic to the website of our novel, Over Time. Currently we get about 50 visitors a day.

Dee
Brian and Dee's website

Capital Connection

Friday, June 29, 2007

21 Steps to Boosting Your Book Sales

I have been cruising around the Internet trying to find ways to increase book sales for our novel, Over Time, and for our new nonfiction book, The Publishing Primer. It seems everywhere you turn, you bump into someone that has the secrets to making a bazillion dollars marketing online. And yet when you try to find a simple step-by-step plan, there aren't any.

Now I don't know about you, but I need to keep myself motivated when I don’t see results immediately. On the Internet it takes time to build enough momentum to be effective in producing sales. So I thought I would post the steps I will be taking for the next 21 days and also post it to my blog. If you have comments or questions I'll do my best to answer them.

The basics I have in place are:

a website http://www.OverTimeTheNovel.com
a blog http://brianhillanddeepower.blogspot.com
two squidoo lense http://www.squidoo.com/overtime and
http://www.squidoo.com/howtogetabookpublished

The objective is to get visitors to these sites and then hopefully they'll purchase a book. Increasing traffic, targeted traffic, increases the odds a book will be sold. It's not really a complicated process.

If you want to join me on my 21 day plan I'd love to have you.

Step One

You're going to set up a squidoo lense, but first you need to do some research on key words. Trust me this is important.

Search engines find websites/blogs/squidoo lenses through key words and key word phrases. Think about the last time you searched on Google, what were the words you put in to find the information you wanted? Now if someone were looking for your book what words would they use? Long tail key words are phrases that narrow down the number of websites that would be appropriate.

For example I could put in 'sinus pain' (believe me I know what that is) I'd get millions of relevant sites. If I put in 'natural cures for sinus pain,' I get fewer but more relevant websites. And fewer still for 'natural herbal cures for sinus pain.' So if your book was on natural herbal cures for sinus pain, you wouldn't want to use the general phrase of 'sinus pain,' but the longer phrase of 'natural herbal cures for sinus pain.'

If your book is fiction, you can use the location, setting, time period, characters' occupation, hobbies, or sports in the keyword phrases.

Let's say that your book features a wedding on a tropical island. If I use the word weddings, I get a hundred million hits. I can narrow down the competition by using a longer phrase, those long tail keywords. So instead of wedding I'll use "weddings on a tropical island" as my search phrase. Someone planning a wedding on a tropical island might very well be interested in a romance novel that features a wedding on a tropical island.

So think about your book and come up with 4 or 5 long tail key word phrases. Pop them in Google and see what competition you're up against. You can also go to Google's adword keyword generator, https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal, Use the tab keyword variations, enter your key words and then hit the "get more key words" tab underneath.

Pick out eight to ten key word phrases.

Now go to http://www.squidoo.com and get your self a lense using your key word phrase as the name of the lense. Think of squidoo as a place where you can get a free one page - but it can be a very long one page - website. Set up your bio. Now write a 250 to 500 word essay using your key word phrase at least three times. Of course the essay should be relevant to your book. In the essay link to your book and to your website. You might want to use a teaser phrase to encourage people to click on the link. You can upload the cover of your book to be included in the essay.

You can then add additional text modules with more teasers and links to your book. You can add a poll, an amazon store, a news feed from google, or an ebay module. You can take a look at http://www.squidoo.com/dogfriendlyvacations and http://www.squidoo.com/howtogetabookpublished to give you some ideas.

It will probably take you 3 or 4 hours to do the keyword research and set up your lense.

Go to google, yahoo, and the MSN search engine and submit the lense as a url. Go to craigslist and set up a short ad, include your long tail key word phrase for your book using the squidoo url as the link. The search engines will index (include it in their database) more quickly.

Okay that should be enough for day one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day Two of Our Cool Mountain Vacation

The day started out early, 6:30 AM. And since the backyard of the cabin wasn't fenced we had to take the girls on potty break walk before we were really even awake. After breakfast we walked up to the little general store for a newspaper. Christopher Creek has really changed since the highway now goes around it. It's much quieter which is a good thing. But I think the businesses here are suffering. Once of the restaurants has a for sale sign and so do two of the lodges.

Deciding to be brave we packed a picnic lunch and drove up to the lakes. The first lake has a boat ramp, campground and a picnic area, but nowhere to sit on the lake shore with the dogs. It was all rocky. So we packed up and drove to Willow Spring Lake, that was much better. A nice shoreline, not too many people and the lake got deep pretty quickly.

Rose was tugging on her leash to get into the water, and straight away she did. Kate, who I thought would just go diving in, was a little timid. But finally she got up to her shoulders (which is only about a foot deep.) A swell from a nearby boat gently lifted her off her feet and much to her amazement she was SWIMMING. Dogs aren't supposed to express their feelings through facial expressions but I think she did. She look terrified and happy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day one of our cool mountain trip with Rose, our Irish Setter, and Kate our English Springer Spaniel.

The trip up to the mountains is about 2 hours. We took Rose and Kate to the dog park to romp right before we left. Unfortunately the sprinklers were on! No matter. Rose said hello to everyone else in the park. Kate chased birds like she always does. It amazes me that she can run so fast. I think she's going as fast as her little paws can carry her and then she goes into overdrive. After a quick drying off we're finally on our way.

Kate snuggled down on the floor in the backseat and promptly went to sleep. For some reason Rose feels it's her obligation to stand up and look out the front window while we drive. Eventually, after about 45 minutes she finally laid down.

The drive itself was uneventful. We arrived at the cabin. It's a cute two bedroom decorated in country farm. What was nice about this particular cabin is that it was built as a vacation home not as a rental cabin, so the bedrooms are full size and so is the kitchen and bathroom.

Brian and I unpacked while the girls stayed in the car. The first thing we did is throw old sheets over the living room furniture. That way we don't have to worry about dog fur on the sofas.

I usually take Rose and Brian takes Kate. We walked down the road for a potty break, then walked around the cabin and down to the creek in the back. The creek was only a couple of inches deep. Just enough to get eight paws wet and muddy. Thank goodness we brought old towels for that very reason.

The cabin had some comfy lounge chairs in the little back yard so all four of settled in to watch the creek, listen to the wind in the tall pines, and bark at the squirrels. Well two of us barked at the squirrels.






The Dog Lover's Guide to Traveling Don't leave your Canine Companion at home this summer have a dog friendly vacation. Dogs need vacations too. Your family and your puppy buddy can have a great time at the beach, a Manhattan hotel or camping. Over 20 pages crammed with where to go, what to pack and how to have fun when you arrive. Your dog can have a dog friendly vacation.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

29 Full Grown Elephants? That’s a Lot of Books.

(Fountain Hills, AZ- June 5, 2007) The year 2006 saw 291,920 new titles released in the United States, according to Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information. The number of new titles increased slightly from the 2005 level of 282,500, but didn't reach the level of 2004, an all time high of 295,523. If these numbers sound a little different than last year, they are. Bowker, in their news release of May 31, 2007, says "Due to a change in methodology this year to more accurately track and report on these figures, the statistics cited in this news release differ from the statistics cited in previous years." 291,920 titles is still quite a few books.

Dee Power, the author of The Making of a Bestseller, and the soon to be released The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success, puts this number into perspective. If the books were shelved side by side one would need four and ½ miles of shelving. If the books were stacked one atop the other, they would reach almost 15 times higher than the world’s tallest building, the Taipei 101, which measures 1,677 feet. To transport one copy of each title, the vehicle would have to be capable of hauling 118 tons or 29 full grown elephants. Laying the books down in a straight line would require a little over 23 miles of railroad tracks.

If an average person read a copy of each title, it would take them 249 years to get through the entire pile. If one cup of coffee was drunk while reading each book, nearly 18,245 gallons would be consumed by the time the last book had been read.

If a copy of each title was purchased at retail, the total expenditure would be enough to send 33 students to Harvard for four years.

If each author received a $5000 advance, the total would nearly approach $1.5 billion. And most interestingly of all, if one author wrote all these books, consecutively, he or she, would have had to start writing during the time of Neanderthal Man, nearly 145,000 years ago.

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

About the Authors

Brian Hill and Dee Power are the authors of several nonfiction books including The Making of a Bestseller, Dearborn Trade. $19.95 trade paperback, ISBN 0793193087 and the soon to be released The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success, trade paperback, $19.95, Javelina House Publishing, ISBN 9780974075442 trade paperback. Contact them through their website www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Monday, June 04, 2007

Book Publishing: Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a book published?
On the average about a year. Six months to write a nonfiction book or revise a novel after a publishing contract has been signed and six months for production from editing the manuscript to finding your book in a bookstore.


Why does production take six months?
The actual production process of revising and editing, copyediting and proofing the galleys could be quicker. But enough time has to be allowed for obtaining endorsements, distributing ARCs (advanced reading copy) and bound galleys to reviewers and promoting the book to booksellers, libraries and such. Many major review publications like Publishers Weekly, insist that they receive the review copy at least four months prior to publication. Many newspapers will not review a book currently available.

What is the typical advance and royalty?
There isn’t one. The advance can range from $0 to over six figures. Royalties can range from 5% to 15%, based on the net price the publisher receives to retail. The percentage can also be on a sliding scale based on how many books have been sold, the more books, the higher the royalty percentage.


Do I have to pay the advance back?
In most cases, no, only if you don’t deliver an acceptable manuscript by your deadline. If the actual sales of your book don’t reach the amount that was advanced, and 90% of books don’t, you don’t have to pay the difference back.


Which is easier to get published fiction or nonfiction?
Nonfiction. Of the 150,000 books less than 10% were fiction.


What category of fiction is the largest.

Romance, 55% of all mass market paperback books sold are romances.


What is backlist, mid list and front list?
Backlist books are those written in the prior year(s) but still selling and still being published. Publishers select a small percentage, probably less than 5% of the books published in a season and actively promote those books in the front of their catalogues with full page descriptions including national promotion, book tours dates, advertising budgets, first print runs, as their front list. 95% of books published are mid list, in the middle of the catalogue, no ad budget, no promotions, no book tours.

What is the difference between mass market, trade paperback and hard cover?
The way the books are produced and consequently how they’re priced. Mass market are the smallest in size usually 4” by 6”, they are the least expensive from $4.99 to $9.99, the binding is perfect which means the pages are glued in. The cover is paper. Trade paperback is 5” by 7”, mostly nonfiction titles, the prices range from $9.99 to $24.99. The cover is paper and the binding is perfect. Hardcover or hard back comes in various sizes, the pages are stitched to the binding, and the cover is cloth covered over cardboard. The price ranges from $19.99 upward.

You can send for our free report The Pitfalls and Perils of Publishing: Who Can A new Author Trust?





Sunday, June 03, 2007

Do Online Matching Services or Email Blast Programs Work?

How to get a book published can be a daunting task for any writer. Should you use an Online Matching Services or Email Blast Programs?

These services, for a fee, put your query letter, synopsis and first chapter online. Acquisition editors and literary agents then have the opportunity to peruse the offerings. You have to ask yourself if you truly believe that the average literary agent, who receives 1100 unsolicited queries a year, has the time to look at these websites. Don't be surprised if you're contacted by an editor that works at a vanity/subsidy publisher.

The reverse, or maybe it’s the inverse, are services that have databases of agents and publishers. You specify the genre of your book and up pops agents/publishers who have said they are interested in your genre. Sometimes the agents/publishers have provided their acquisition specs and sometimes the owner of the database has just input the information from other sources.

Finally there are services who will email blast your query letter to agents/publishers. If the participants have agreed to receive the query letters there is a higher probability you will be successful. But, again you have to wonder, with all the unpublished manuscripts out there looking for a publishing home, why would an agent/publisher feel it necessary to sign up for these types of services. Agents who require an upfront fee (never pay an agent upfront) are members of these services. Before you get all excited do a brief search on the agent before you send them your manuscript or book proposal.

Every author asks the question "How to get a book published?" If you're considering using one of these services ask for references. You can also ask about the success rate of the program.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The wrong book publisher can turn your dream of becoming an author into a nightmare. One out of every eight people call themselves a writer, which means there are roughly 24 million people in the United States who carry that banner. Unfortunately there are charlatans and scam artists just waiting to ambush the unsuspecting author. How can a novice writer protect themselves against unscrupulous book publishers?

Anyone can call themselves a book publisher. Always remember money flows towards the author from the book publisher, not the other way around.

What to look out for: The book publisher charges the author a fee up front, to have their book accepted, considered or read. These fees are sometimes called a reading fee, intake fee or administrative fee.

The book publisher directs authors toward specific editing services or gives authors’ names to these services, with the caveat that if the author hires the editing service, their book will be published. Every book needs editing. It is part of the publisher’s job to provide that editing at no cost.

The book publisher offers a contract where the author has to pay for part of the publishing costs. The acquisition editor will sometimes say that the publisher’s list is full for that season, but the author’s book has so much going for it, they would still like to publish it. However the publisher’s resources are fully committed and the author will have to share in the costs.

Some book publishers offer contracts that are unfair, such as they obtain rights that should remain with the author of the work. Some book publishers’ contracts contain a clause that if the author says anything negative about the book publisher, there is a monetary fine. There are also book publishers who hold the rights for a lengthy time period, regardless of whether the book is still in print or selling.

The book publisher doesn’t disclose they are a Publish on Demand (POD), or vanity/subsidy publisher, or actually denies they are a POD book publisher. There is nothing wrong with an author using a subsidy/vanity book publishing company as long as the author is well aware of the disadvantages.

Publish on Demand books are not, as a rule, stocked by bookstores. Some POD book publishers will insist that their books are available in book stores, as a way to get around this issue. Available is not the same thing as stocked. Available only means the book can be ordered through the bookstore. Since the majority of books sold, are stocked and sold by bookstores, this situation puts a damper on sales.

What else can a writer do to check if a book publisher is legitimate?

Go to the local bookstore and see if any of the book publisher’s titles are stocked. Ask the manager if necessary.

Search the Internet using the book publisher’s name plus the word ‘scam’ or ‘complaint.’

A book publisher’s website is targeted to its customers. If the website promotes the books they’ve published that’s a good sign. If the website is focused on recruiting writers, that’s a bad sign.

Go to forums or bulletin boards that are for writers and see what the authors who have published with the book publisher you’re considering have to say about their experience.

Want to find out how you can avoid scams and still get your book published? You can receive a free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report

About The Authors Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

How to find an agent is a question asked by most writers these days. It seems next to impossible to break down the barricades to publishing a book without one. How to find an agent is almost as difficult as how to find a publisher.

What Is The Most Critical Mistake Writers Make When Approaching Literary Agents For Representation?

Over 60 successful literary agents responded as follows:

Poor writing or poorly prepared contact letter 44%
Inappropriate subject or genre for that agent 22%
Author’s hype, ego, arrogance 18%
Uneducated about publishing process 16%
Lack of knowledge about the book’s competition 8%
No platform for nonfiction 6%

Poor writing or poorly prepared contact letter

It comes as a surprise that agents report they get so many weak query letters. A number of books have been written on the subject of crafting a query such as Making the Perfect Pitch by agent Katherine Sands. Numerous writers’ conferences also cover this topic in depth. A query letter isn’t really that complicated to compose—particularly compared to writing a 100,000 word novel.

Inappropriate subject or genre for that agent
The second most popular response to the question reflects that the writers don’t do their homework when selecting agents to contact. Sending a wonderful query about your, say, cookbook, to an editor that 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 and Literary Agents point out very clearly what individual agents are looking for. Not that some of their preferences don’t seem odd, even a bit nonsensical. In one reference guide 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% of the mega-royalties author Clancy has earned in his career?

Author hype, ego, arrogance
Agents report that creative people oftentimes have big egos. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Part of the problem stems from author’s 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. Of course, then some of the agents go on to contradict their colleagues by warning against over-selling and arrogance. “Trying to act more like a sales person, and not like a writer,” one agent said. “Hyping the agent. A straightforward recitation is much more effective.” But another one said the worst mistake was, “Not writing an engaging query.” “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”?

Uneducated about publishing process
The author who is truly talented and dedicated to the craft of writing has a clear advantage right from the start; the overwhelming response from agents was that the quality of many submissions they receive is poor. 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.” They must be able to address the question, Who is going to buy your book and why? Authors who can show they will be helpful in selling the book once it is published are particularly sought after in today’s marketplace. Writers should not assume that an agent, or an editor at a publishing house, will automatically recognize who the target audience is for a book, or how large that audience might be.

Lack of knowledge about the book’s competition
The responses below point up something that many authors don’t even stop to consider what the competition for their book might be. They have no idea whether their book is really new and different (nonfiction) or whether it fits into a fiction category that is “hot.” Food product manufactures talk of the keen competition for shelf space at the grocery story. The same holds true in the bookstore shelves. Can you imagine where in the store your book might appear?

No platform for nonfiction
“Platform” is something everyone in the publishing industry is talking about these days—it should be nominated for the coveted “Industry Buzzword of the Year” award. Having a “platform” is one of the best means of getting your non-fiction book to the top of the agent’s to-do list. Platform simply means the built-in audience you have for your book, and the media exposure you can generate for your book, apart from the marketing done by the publishing house. If you can say, “I am a frequent guest on the _______” (nationally syndicated radio program). Or, “I publish an Internet newsletter that has 20,000 subscribers.” You are telling a publisher that a potential audience already exists for your book—lots of readers know who you are—and therefore you represent less of a risk to the publishing house, because awareness often translates into sales.

After you've accomplished the task of how to find an agent don't make the above mistakes.

Want to find out how you can avoid scams and still get your book published? You can receive a free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report

About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Marketing Challenge the First Week

Back in February I said I was going to challenge myself for 30 days and use the Internet to market two of our books. Well dismal failure, not that Internet Marketing doesn't work, it does, I just didn't do it.

You know how it is. Lots of good intentions but no follow through.

So.

I'm doing it again. But a little differently this time. I've signed up for a challenge. It's called bum marketing, because it's so uncomplicated that even a bum could do it. No, that wasn't my name for it.

It works rather simply. You select a product, in this case I'm selecting our new book The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success. You could select your own product or promote someone else's product. If you promote someone else's product make sure it's offered through an affiliate program like clickbank, commission junction, or even amazon.com.

Set up a website, a blog on blogger or a squidoo lense about your product or the product you've selected to promote. The website doesn't have to be new or even relate to the product. I used brianhillandeepower.com and set up some new pages.

Now here's the easy part, at least for us writers. Write 250 to 500 word articles about your product. Develop a bio that intrigues readers of the article to click on your website, blog or squidoo page for more information, a free report, or additional articles.

The tricky part is the title of the article and the first paragraph. You want to include key word phrases that will be indexed by the search engines. You also want your title to grab the reader. Sometimes that's a contradiction.

For practice I wrote an article "Weddings on a shoestring budget - flowers for your wedding"
the key word phrase is *weddings on a shoestring budget*. The article showed up on google on the first page for *weddings on a shoestring budget* the day after I submitted it to an article directory.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Dee

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

How to find a literary agent. There's lots of competition.

Most aspiring authors begin their careers with little or no understanding of how to find a literary agent to represent their work. They quickly learn that most major publishing houses only accept submissions through literary agents. So, they begin sending query letters to agents and, usually, meet with a cool reception, or even hit a high, solid, impenetrable brick wall. We surveyed over 60 literary agents, from both large well-known agencies as well as smaller “boutique” agencies, to get a perspective on how authors can improve their chances of attracting an agent, and to find out the outlook for new authors trying to crack into the publishing industry.

We asked the agents:

§ In attempting to find an agent, how much competition does a new author really face?

§ What is the most common reason you decline to represent a writer?

In order to obtain the most candid comments possible, we told the agents their responses to our questions would not be attributed to them (and as a result they were even more candid than we expected).


How Much Competition Does A New Author Really Face?

Unfortunately, the response was: a tremendous amount. The agents reported that they receive, on average, 90 unsolicited submissions per week. Out of these more than 4,500 submissions that come in each year, the agents, on average, took on 11 new clients. This means that the typical agent agreed to represent a little more than 2 out of 1000 of the authors that contacted them with unsolicited submissions. Regarding the 998 authors who did not receive a contract, we asked the agents:

What Is The Most Common Reason You Decline To Represent A Writer?


Poor writing 60%

Book was outside the agent’s genre 17%

Agent’s client base was full 10%

Writer’s work and agent don’t click 8%

Other 5%

The good news is that the top two reasons given are factors that are under the writer’s control. Most authors develop and improve their craft over a number of years, and even bestselling authors say when they were first starting out their initial literary efforts left something to be desired. A dedicated writer certainly doesn’t have to remain in that “poor writing” category.

But what exactly is “poor writing”? In the decline letters they send to authors, agents often say they turned the author down because they aren’t enthusiastic enough about the material. A favorite phrase used by agents in turndown letters is, “I simply didn’t fall in love with the writing.” This is probably the source of more author frustration than any other aspect of trying to get published. Success or failure hinges on extremely subjective judgments, and once the judgment is rendered, it is final. Talking an agent out of an opinion is pretty much impossible. Think about your own reading experience. How often do you pick up a novel, read 10 pages, decide you aren’t interested in it, and put it down? Does that mean the writing was “poor”? Not at all. It simply means you didn’t connect with the story, for reasons you may not even be able to articulate. Every individual’s literary taste is different.

One frequently received type of rejection isn’t really ‘rejection’ at all: The agent has all the clients they can handle at the present time, so they really have no choice but to send a decline letter to unsolicited submissions. The agent in this case was doing the author a favor; far worse it would have been to accept a new client that would not get the necessary attention from the agent. Too often, though, authors interpret receiving a decline letter such as this as, “my book must not be any good.” Actually, the agent may not even had time to read your submission package.

Notice that the fact a writer was unpublished was not a significant reason for being rejected as a client.

How to find a literary agent is a question every new writers asks. Hope this helped.

There's lots more information in our new book The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success

Dee



Saturday, May 19, 2007

Boosting Book Sales Through Discussion Groups

Discussion Groups can be a gold mine for generating interest in your book. Search discussion group sites like Yahoo Groups and Google Groups for groups that are relevant to the topic of your book. You can also search for discussion groups by subject matter. Type in the search engines +discussion +groups +mothers +young +children, for example. Join the groups that have at least 500 members and are active. It's better if the group is un-moderated. You're not going to spam, absolutely not. But groups that are un-moderated usually have higher activity levels. The posts don't have to go through the time lag that's required for the moderator to approve it. If the group is moderated you can see if the activity level is high by looking at the number of posts in a month.

Some groups are un-moderated, but a new member's first few posts have to be approved. That cuts out the spam, which is a good thing.

You want at least 500 members so the base is large enough to have enough members that might be interested in the topic of your book.

In your profile make sure your signature includes your website, blog, and title of your book and brief description with a link. Some discussion lists have limits on what can be included in your signature and how long it can be.

Now take a few hours and read the previous posts to get the flavor of the group. That first day just introduce yourself. Members will most likely welcome you aboard. You can reply with a thank you. Every time you post you are gaining visibility, but don't overdo it. It's annoying to see the same person just post "I agree." or "me too," just for the sake of posting.

Over the next few days respond to posts that are relevant to your book. Provide helpful information, resources or relevant links. You don't have to mention your book because it's in your signature. What you're doing is establishing yourself as a valid and valuable member of the group.

You could also write a couple of articles and post them to an article directory like http://www.ezinearticles.com, Ezine Articles. When the subject comes up in a post in your discussion group, you can include the link to the article as a resource. Most of the article directory sites allow you to include a bio box. In the bio box include a statement such as "If you want to learn more about – subject of your book -- please visit http://www.mywebsiteurl.com"

Posting articles also establishes your credibility with the discussion group as an expert.

When a group post addresses a problem that your book solves, save that post in a folder. Most groups have options that allow you to either bookmark a post, or separate it and file it in a folder. After you've been a member of the group for a week or so, start replying to the posts you've saved with a very gentle response that you can help the person. Ask them if you could send them additional information about your book? In this way you're asking permission for them to become a sales lead for you.

Even better is to compile a brief report, say 2000-3000 words that's relevant to your book. At the end of the report include a description of your book and links. Offer your free report. When they request the report you can follow up with an email about your product.

This procedure works with fiction as well as nonfiction, although it's a little bit more of a challenge. Just think of your characters, the location of your story, and the theme. Say your book is about a woman who solves mysteries while running a flower shop. You could address gardening groups and flower arranging groups for example. I'm sure you can come up with lots of ideas.

If you spend 30 minutes a day participating in discussion groups you can substantially increase the visibility of your book, and hopefully sales.

Find out more about book publishing. Join their newsletter Words for Writers and Readers Just send an email to theauthors@(nospam)brianhillanddeepower.com with the subject as subscribe. Remove the (nospam) from the email address.

About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success, and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories from Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them,. They are also the authors of a novel, Over Time - Love, Money and Football: All the Important things in life.

Reach them through http://www.BrianHillandDeePower.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

How to find a literary agency without getting scammed is a challenge for any new writer. Anyone can call themselves a literary agent or a publisher. The listings in the literary agency directories are not necessarily vetted, or checked by the publisher. Literary agents vary widely in ethics, dedication and competence.

Here's what to watch out for with literary agents:

• Charging the author a fee up front, to be accepted as a client. This fee can be called a reading fee, or a monthly “office expenses” charge. The best agents, and most successful ones, only charge a percentage fee of royalties the author earns, typically 15%. Suppose a realtor charged you a fee to come over and tour your house before getting the listing? How quickly would you show that realtor the door. . .

• Charging back unusually large “postage and copying fees” to send out an authors’ work. One crooked agency accepts almost every client that contacts them, but in the fine print of the contract they charge “postage and handling” of up to $10 per submission they send out on your behalf. It doesn’t cost $10 to send a letter and a sample chapter of a book to a publisher. This company makes a fortune from these fees whether or not they successfully market any of their clients work.

• Directing authors toward specific editing services or giving authors’ names to these services. Sometimes they even own the editing service. Some agents make a significant portion of their income from referral fees from these services.

• Demanding that a critique be completed before the agency decides to offer representation. The fee for the critique may be minimal, perhaps even less than $100. But if the average agency is contacted by 90 writers a week that fee can add up.

• Terms in agency contracts with writers vary widely. The contract must be read carefully.

• The agent contacts publishers pretty much at random. The agent’s value to you is in the relationships they have with publishers, so that if the publisher hears from them, they know the book is worth taking a look at. Ask to see copies of rejection letters that come back from publishers. If it looks like just a form letter response, rather than a letter you would send to an acquaintance, you can bet the agent may be just picking names out of a directory of publishers.

• The agent refuses to provide the names of clients or titles sold. Sales are an agent’s life blood and reputation. If an agent won’t name names it could be because there aren’t any sales.

• Puts forth a weak effort or gives up on the client’s project after a few months. You have a right to ask how active the agent is going to be. How many publishers are they going to contact, how will they follow up? You have a right to periodic reports as to whom they have contacted and the results. You must determine how much time and attention they are really going to give you.

A critical reason it is imperative to have a reputable agent is that the publishing house typically pays the agent, who deducts their “cut” and sends the remainder to the author. It’s a frightening thought that a less than honest person gets their hands on the money you’ve earned from sweat, blood, and even tears.

Now you know how to find a literary agent without getting scammed. And remember:

A bad agent is worse than no agent.

Want to find out how you can avoid scams and still get your book published? You can receive a free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report

About The Authors Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

If you think weddings on a shoestring budget means you have to skimp on flowers, think again. Every little girl dreams of a fairy tale wedding with arches of roses, armloads of orchids and baskets of gardenias. Then we grow up and find out just how much one orchid costs much less an armload. You can have fairy tale flowers at your wedding without nightmare prices, but you need to go to the nursery not the florist.

Blooming plants in pots are perfect for weddings. Here are some ideas that could take your breath away and the sting out of your wallet.

Geraniums come in pinks, purples, reds and whites. You have your choice of the one quart size which is about a 4 inches high container or one gallon which is about 8 inches high.

Miniature roses, which refers to the size of the blossom rather than the size of the plant, come in a variety of colors. Most of the time they’re in 4 inch pots.

Standards are flowers which have been trained to have a trunk-like sturdy stem and then a burst of flowers at the top. The trunks can range from a foot high to four or five feet high. Roses, hibiscus, bougainvillea are just a few of the flowers you can find in the standard form.

Azaleas are available in late winter, spring and early summer and come in white and pinks. The bushes have glossy dark green leaves and are loaded with blossoms. Azaleas also come as a standard, but these can be a bit pricy.

Chrysanthemums are available at nurseries only in the fall, but you can find them in grocery stores nearly year round.

Okay so now you're really into the weddings on a shoestring budget mode but now that you’ve got all these pots what do you do with them?

The first thing is to cover the ugly containers or to repot. You can buy cheap baskets. You can repot in decorative pots. You can buy cheap terracotta pots and spray paint them in gold or white and then stick the nursery pots inside. You can buy gift bags (the kind without the handles) and place the nursery pots inside and then tie a ribbon around the stems of the plant.

For smaller pots you can buy cloth napkins, place the pot in the middle of the napkin, and bring up the four corners, then tie. You can also do this with larger pots with fabric.

Take your decorated pots and line the aisle or the entry way to where you wedding ceremony is being held with gallon containers. Place pots on stairs. Put several pots on each table at the reception, at your cake table, or on food tables.

You can vary the height of your arrangement by placing one of the pots on an over turned empty pot and then surrounding it with contrasting flowers.

Rather than placing a flower arrangement on the alter, use a standard on either side of the alter table.

You can group several pots in a basket and then cover the pot brims with moss, available at a crafts store.

If you don’t want to take the pots home, let guests take them, or donate them to a retirement home or your church.

Weddings on a shoestring budget don't have to be cheap

Want to know more about weddings on a shoestring budget? Visit Your Beautiful Wedding and You didn't break the bank.

About The Authors
Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How readers choose new books Part Two

The infamous back cover blurb overwhelmingly had the most votes, but in second or third place, not in first. The back cover blurb wasn’t the key deciding factor for many readers. Perusing a sample chapter either clinched the sale or resulted in the reader deciding not to buy.

Readers said:

“The description on the back cover is the first test. Then, I read the first couple of pages. If I'm not hooked, I keep looking.”

“I pick the book up and flip it over to read the back cover.”

“Then I read the blurb and a sample chapter if they provide one. If not, I look for the author’s website and see if they have a sample chapter up.”


While many authors valiantly struggle to get reviews and endorsements from well known celebrities and authors, it really doesn’t hold much sway over the majority of readers. Reviews increase the visibility of an author and their books, but it isn’t the deciding factor of whether to read that particular book.

Readers told us:

“I don't go by recommendations generally...such as the pages and pages of book recommendations by newspapers, magazines, people I never heard of.”

“I only take notice of reviews from reviewers I respect, and who I've been reading regularly for some time.”

“I don't even look at the endorsements on the cover/inside the book by other authors. I once bought a book based on an endorsement by an author that I liked, and I hated the book. It left me wondering if these authors actually even read the book.”


Of course being selected by Kelly Ripa in Reading with Ripa, or by Oprah Winfrey is the exception to the rule. Carly Philips’ “The Bachelor” went to number one on amazon.com in a matter of hours after being selected by Kelly.

So it would seem that the main factors in the buy decision are:

Personal recommendations Cover art, Back cover blurb, The writing itself

But there were some interesting comments that really don’t fit in any of those categories.

Readers mentioned:

“I also like to attend local author presentations my library to show support for fellow writers.”

“I rarely will even look at a book with less than 375 pages long-- unless it's a beloved author or the subject matter has influence upon something I'm writing.”

“One of the authors in the anthology had such enthusiasm in her postings about her first published novel, that I wanted to show her that at least one stranger in the whole world cares enough to buy her book. I felt good doing it, and now I find it was a darn good purchase. I love that.”

“If it is by a new author I have met online or at the book fair at I felt was nice towards me I'll buy a book from them. I know this sounds vain but I refuse to support a person who is rude to me.”

Monday, April 23, 2007


Dog Friendly Vacations - 5 Tips for a Fun Dog Friendly Vacation

Many families these days consider their dogs a member of their family, so when vacation time roles around they want a dog friendly vacation.

1. Make sure your canine companion is up to date with their vaccinations and that you have paperwork from your vet that says so. Some hotels require documentation and if you arrive to check in, after your vet has closed, you're stuck.

2. Your pet must have a strong collar, leash and ID tag and should wear all three any time you're outside your car or hotel room. Even if your dog is well trained to walk off leash at home, in a new and strange environment, they may get distracted. Make sure you put your cell phone number on the ID tag. If you're not home, your home phone number won't do you much good.

3. If you're traveling by car, take at least a gallon of water for each day for the first few days of the trip. Remember to pack a water bowl. Puppy pals drink a lot more water than you might think and it's difficult for them to get enough to drink out of a glass or bottle. Dehydration is not a good thing and can lead to a sick dog and ruined vacation.

4. Prepare for emergencies. Have your vet's phone number handy. Pack any medications for your dog. If your vet approves, pack medication for diarrhea, allergies, and motion sickness. Take a few moments and do a web search to find an emergency vet clinic in every location you visit. Make a note of the vet's address, phone number, and the nearest cross streets. Take the list with you when you travel. You'll save precious time.

5. Remember to have fun. Take your dog's favorite toy, chewie and blanket. You can use the trip to teach him or her a few new tricks. Or just snooze under a shady tree.

Use common sense and you and your canine companion can go on many dog friendly vacations.

If you plan on traveling with your dog this summer find out more great tips at The Dog Lover's Guide to Traveling Dee is the proud companion to Rose, a four year old Irish Setter and Kate a two year old English Springer Spaniel.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

How do readers choose new books? Part One

Fans of bestselling authors make a beeline for their favorite writers at the bookstore, hardly pausing on the way from tables stacked high with the latest and greatest to the cash register. But sometimes another John Grisham, Nora Roberts, or Danielle Steel isn’t quite what you’re in the mood for.

When browsing through the stacks of novels at the local bookstore, how does a customer choose a new author? Marketing research firms spend thousands of dollars trying to determine consumer behavior and ways to manipulate that behavior.

Have you ever watched customers meandering through the aisles, picking up one book, perusing the cover, then selecting another? Why do they select any one particular book?

We conducted an unscientific survey to see if we could find out. Most readers, even when selecting a new author, will stay within their favorite genre, whether romance, mystery or thriller.

Word of mouth,or recommended by a friend was the factor most often mentioned as the number one factor. Some books are simply so memorable that readers become anxious to tell their friends about them. Publishers spend millions of dollars on advertising, book tours, etc., but one of the most powerful forces driving a book’s success is basic grass roots, one-on-one word of mouth.

Readers told us:

“Someone tells me about a book they really like, so I try it. If I like it too, then I pass on the information as well as looking for other books by the same author.”

“I buy a lot of books based on comments made on one or two online book groups where we post our reads for the month. Again, I particularly note comments from people whose tastes I know are similar to mine.”

“How do I select to read books by a new-to-me author? Almost totally from recommendations from people I know. In this case word of mouth sells. If I hear enough people raving about a new author...I will get the book.”

The cover either entices or detracts. Cover art was most often mentioned in the number one or number two spot. The importance of the cover is reflected in the enormous amount of time and effort publishers and authors devote to designing the cover, often going through dozens of variations before deciding which one is perfect (they think).

Another interesting aspect of covers is how successful ones are imitated. Just look at how many recent chick lit novels feature bright colors, highly stylized lettering and cartoon type characters.

Don’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t ring true with most readers.

They told us:

First, I look at the cover. If it has a half-naked woman, I put it back.”

“I take my books with me to read while I'm waiting and I'd rather have a nice scene on the cover.”

“If I'm just looking through the shelves, the cover catches my eye first.”

“It's the cover that will attract me pick up the book.”


But not every reader feels this way.

“For me, the cover has no effect on choosing a book.”

“I do most of my book shopping online. I rarely buy in the store. Having said that, the cover does not sway me at all.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Five Tips to have a dog friendly vacation at a hotel

Whether your plans include a beach resort, downtown hotel, or a mountain lake retreat here are 5 tips to keep you and your dog happy at dog friendly hotels.

1. After checking in, take your dog for a short walk around the grounds, going back to your room several times. Your dog will leave a scent trail and feel more comfortable in the strange surroundings. Go down the hall, up the stairs, out the front entrance of the hotel and down to the pool. Your dog is curious about its environment just like you are.

2. Whenever you take your dog outside your room carry a small spray bottle of cleaner, a few paper towels and of course plastic bags for cleanup. You can pack this in a fanny pack to be less conspicuous. Always take it with you, if you don't, you can be sure that's the one time your puppy pal will go potty.

3. Never leave your dog in the hotel room alone, even if it's crated, or otherwise restrained. The dog may not be able to destroy anything in the room if it's confined but it can bark and howl. And that's exactly what the dog will do when separated from its family. Most dog friendly hotels insist that dogs are not left in the room alone. Don't be tempted to run out even for five minutes.

4. Even if your dog is well trained to walk with you off leash, keep him/her on the leash at all times. Most cities have leash laws. And just as importantly it's common courtesy to the other guests. It's hard to believe but not everyone loves dogs. Small children can be easily frightened by dogs, even if your dog has the sweetest nature, the child doesn't know that.

5. Pack an extra leash. If it's time for a potty break that's not the time to go frantically looking for Rover's leash.

There are many great dog friendly hotels. You and your dog can have a fun vacation.

If you plan on traveling with your dog this summer find out more great tips at The Dog Lover's Guide to Traveling Dee is the proud companion to Rose, a four year old Irish Setter and Kate a two year old English Springer Spaniel.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Do Readers Pick a New Author? Part III

The infamous back cover blurb overwhelmingly had the most votes, but in second or third place, not in first. The back cover blurb wasn’t the key deciding factor for many readers. Perusing a sample chapter either clinched the sale or resulted in the reader deciding not to buy.

Readers said:

“The description on the back cover is the first test. Then, I read the first couple of pages. If I'm not hooked, I keep looking.”

“I pick the book up and flip it over to read the back cover.”

“Then I read the blurb and a sample chapter if they provide one. If not, I look for the author’s website and see if they have a sample chapter up.”

While many authors valiantly struggle to get reviews and endorsements from well known celebrities and authors, it really doesn’t hold much sway over the majority of readers. Reviews increase the visibility of an author and their books, but it isn’t the deciding factor of whether to read that particular book.

Readers told us:

“I don't go by recommendations generally...such as the pages and pages of book recommendations by newspapers, magazines, people I never heard of.”

“I only take notice of reviews from reviewers I respect, and who I've been reading regularly for some time.”

“I don't even look at the endorsements on the cover/inside the book by other authors. I once bought a book based on an endorsement by an author that I liked, and I hated the book. It left me wondering if these authors actually even read the book.”

Of course being selected by Kelly Ripa in Reading with Ripa, or by Oprah Winfrey is the exception to the rule. Carly Philips’ “The Bachelor” went to number one on amazon.com in a matter of hours after being selected by Kelly.

So it would seem that the main factors in the buy decision are:

Personal recommendations
Cover art,
Back cover blurb,
The writing itself

But there were some interesting comments that really don’t fit in any of those categories.

Readers mentioned:

"I also like to attend local author presentations my library to show support for fellow writers.”

“I rarely will even look at a book with less than 375 pages long-- unless it's a beloved author or the subject matter has influence upon something I'm writing.”

“One of the authors in the anthology had such enthusiasm in her postings about her first published novel, that I wanted to show her that at least one stranger in the whole world cares enough to buy her book. I felt good doing it, and now I find it was a darn good purchase. I love that.”

“If it is by a new author I have met online or at the book fair at I felt was nice towards me I'll buy a book from them. I know this sounds vain but I refuse to support a person who is rude to me.”

Find out more about book publishing at http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Dee and Brian are the authors of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them and the novel Over Time

Saturday, April 07, 2007

How do readers pick a new author to read? Part II

The cover either entices or detracts. Cover art was most often mentioned in the number one or number two spot. The importance of the cover is reflected in the enormous amount of time and effort publishers and authors devote to designing the cover, often going through dozens of variations before deciding which one is perfect (they think).

Another interesting aspect of covers is how successful ones are imitated. Just look at how many recent chick lit novels feature bright colors, highly stylized lettering and cartoon type characters.

Don’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t ring true with most readers.

They told us:

“First, I look at the cover. If it has a half-naked woman, I put it back.”

“I take my books with me to read while I'm waiting and I'd rather have a nice scene on the cover.”

“If I'm just looking through the shelves, the cover catches my eye first.”

“It's the cover that will attract me pick up the book.”

But not every reader feels this way.

“For me, the cover has no effect on choosing a book.”

“I do most of my book shopping online. I rarely buy in the store. Having said that, the cover does not sway me at all.”

******

Find out more about book publishing at http://www.BrianHillAndDeePower.com

Dee and Brian are the authors of The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents and Booksellers Behind Them and the novel Over Time