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26. Work Wednesday: Lights, Camera, Trailer!

The great accomplishment of this past week—during which the family has been sick with a crazy, no-fun, icky, yucky virus—has been to create a book trailer for All Hallow’s ABC. What is a book trailer? Well, it’s basically a television... Read the rest of this post

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27. School Visits and Teachers

Nine ways to get teachers love your school visit. 


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28. Discussion and Activity Guides

Does creating auxiliary materials for your book help market it? 


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29. Tracking Mentions on the Internet

These tools will help you keep track of where/when your name and your book title(s) are mentioned on the Internet. 


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30. Proposing Conference Sessions

Here are some hints for getting your talk or workshop on a conference schedule. 


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31. YA INDIE Carnival : Social Media…what works for you?


Social Media, what works for you?

Relationships. It’s all about relationships. Social media is just our virtual pub or café or bookstore or our neighborhood park. It’s about introducing yourself, & maybe your dog and making friends. That’s really all it is for me. I try and help people out and people help me out all the time. When I have questions about things I get great advice and when someone has some good news we all celebrate.

I hang out where I feel the most comfortable, like in real life. Social media really isn’t any different. The cool thing about it is that you can make friends and even keep up a friendship that starts at a conference or vacation…where ever. It’s pretty cool to have friends all over the world and really cool to discover and read stories I might never have had the chance to without social media.

As an author, I’m most comfortable using Twitter ( @Laurawriting ) and Facebook. Facebook is a little harder for me. I’ve got two pages…one for my personal life and one for my readers and I try to keep them separate, but it’s a little like trying to take the chocolate out of a banana split LOL. So that confuses me a little, to be honest. I do love Pinterest because it’s so visual. My favorite boards are book swag I love, food that I love and of course the YA Indie Carnival :)  I wish I knew how to converse with my Goodreads fans better. I have an automatic feed which posts my blog posts there, but I find it a little more challenging to have a dialog with my fans there. I love discussing books and so I look forward to people who post with questions/comments about my books or reviews.

Social media is just the modern word of mouth. And that’s the way books have been recommended to readers for hundreds of years. It’s just more exciting now. But it is super confusing sometimes, especially for authors who are just getting into it. At UtopYA, I can’t remember the author, but she was so sweet and walked up to me and said she just didn’t know where to begin. I hear that a lot. The advice I gave when she asked me is the advice I heard when I was getting started. Pick one place, it doesn’t matter where, if Facebook feels good to you pick that, if it’s easier for you to post in 140 characters then use Twitter, if you’re visual maybe Tumblr or Pinterest is for you. Just pick one and use it and start to meet people the old-fashioned way in a high tech pub/café/bookstore/park :D Twitter confused the heck out of me when I first used it…I was like what is this thing? But it’s been a great way to meet amazing friends, whether they’re dog lovers, book bloggers, readers, other writers, artists, screenwriters…you name it. (hint: it’s all about the # hashtags :) )

I sat in on one of the panels and the fabulous Kallie Ross, an awesome YA Fantasy writer/incredible panel mediator/one smart cookie, mentioned that youtube is the most searched place on the Internet. So it’s a great place to make friends. I have a channel there and post videos I use in my research and my book trailers and follow channels that make me laugh, have something to do with food and books too. I definitely could do more with my channel. Click here to swing by sometime if you want to see how I use it.

Wattpad is another site that Amanda Harvard, talented author/incredible musician/and all-around fun person, talked about on one of the UtopYA panels. Loads of authors and readers love that site. I might get my feet wet there next. But, enough about my take…what works for you?

See what the other amazing carnis have to say about it too :) And check out YA Author Club for upcoming carnival topics!

1. Laura A. H. Elliott 2. Bryna Butler, author Midnight Guardian series
3. T. R. Graves, Author of The Warrior Series 4. Suzy Turner, author of The Raven Saga
5. Rachel Coles, author of Into The Ruins, geek mom blog 6. K. C. Blake, author of Vampires Rule and Crushed
7. Gwenn Wright, author of Filter 8. Liz Long | Just another writer on the loose.
9. Ella James 10. Maureen Murrish
11. YA Sci Fi Author’s Ramblings 12. A Little Bit of R&R
13. Melissa Pearl 14. Terah Edun – YA Fantasy
15. Heather Sutherlin – YA Fantasy 16. Melika Dannese Lux, author of Corcitura and City of Lights
17. Author Cindy C Bennett

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32. It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter — Marlene Dietrich


Wearing a peacock necklace–a little special swag I’ll be handing out at UtopYA this year :D

I’m thrilled to be attending UTOPYA COn 2013 this year. It’s a miracle that I’m able to make it. I know we’ve all had tough times. Honestly, everyone I’ve talked to about 2012 has said it was the suckiest year ever. Okay, I know that suckiest isn’t actually a word, but there’s no other way to describe it. I hope 2012 wasn’t that way for you. I have to give a shout out to the many, many people who’ve kept me on track despite the dark times this past year. There aren’t words to describe how much your encouragement and unwavering support has meant to me.

While shopping the other day, I found this card at Cost Plus that read “It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter” – Marlene Dietrich. Srsly, if you can count even one person in the “4 AM friend category” you are truly blessed! Take some time to thank your 4 AM buddies today. I can speak from personal experience that you probably don’t thank them enough. And in the middle of it all this past year, when I didn’t think I’d ever write again, I had some amazing 4 AM friends to kick me in the A$$ and say, there’s beauty in the brokenness….now f-ing write about it. Well, I have. I just finished editing my first adult title called The Storytellers, about a group of writers whose stories all come true for each other. The Storytellers will always have a special place in my heart because it brought me back to what I love. I have much to be thankful for, one of which is the nomination of SHADOW SLAYER for Best Book Trailer of 2013. Working on this trailer is the first thing I did to try and find my way back to writing. I’ve always loved expressing my stories visually. This was just a natural extension of that. Here’s to a wonderful time in Nashville and to ALWAYS remembering to count our blessings no matter how dark life seems! <3

2 Comments on It’s the friends you can call up at 4 AM that matter — Marlene Dietrich, last added: 6/27/2013
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33. Getting Ready to Self-Publish?


The above slide points out two things I think are extremely important to the success of your self-published book. IMO, cutting corners on the cover design and copy editing can make a big difference in how many copies you sell.

The report found that getting help, paid or unpaid, with editing, copy editing and proofreading provided a 13 per cent bump in earnings. Those who added cover design to that list saw a 34 per cent increase over the average. Interestingly, ebook formatting help added only an extra 1 per cent.

It was estimated that about 68 per cent of authors who’d spent money on their book would recoup that cost within 12 months. For the rest, no amount of lipstick could improve the story. So make sure your foundation is good and go through all the steps you would to get a solid, interesting story.

Writers with agents earn three times more than those without. Romance writers earn 120 per cent of the average, but science fiction, fantasy and literary writers do much worse earning 38 per cent, 32 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Those who had already had books put out by traditional publishers earned 2.5 times more than authors who’d been rejected by traditional publishers or who had skipped the traditional route all together.

The Taleist survey found that most self-publishers are “old hands” with 40 per cent having been writing for more than ten years, and 60 per cent for more than five years. Only one in ten were newbies, writing for less than a year.

Getting positive books reviews is important. In book stores like Amazon, getting reviews is key to getting your book recognised by the site’s recommendation algorithm. The survey found that those authors who submitted to book review blogs has slightly higher than average reviews and revenue. But those authors who submitted their book to popular reviewers on Amazon received 25 per cent more reviews than average and 32 per cent more revenue.

What respondents did to seek reviews actively:


The authors who did best, however, did everything except pay for reviews: They gave away review copies, submitted to book review blogs and the mainstream press, sought popular reviewers on Amazon and asked their readers through email lists etc.

The results of the recent self publishing survey by Taleist.com shows Authors who submitted to popular reviewers on Amazon received 25% more reviews than average and earned 32% more revenue for their latest release.  But there can be potential risks, so spend the time to do your research. Getting a review for your fantasy book with a top Amazon reviewer who doesn’t like fantasy is not going to help your book.

Here is the link to the top Amazon reviewers: http://www.amazon.com/review/top-reviewers.

Did you know you do not need a Kindle to read an ebook from Amazon. Under its promise of “buy once, read anywhere”, Amazon provides free apps to read Kindle books on computers, smartphones, and tablets. Even if you have a Nook, you can use the Amazon App to read their books and everyday they have four Kindle book deals. These apps can be downloaded from Amazon here.

Here is the link to purchase Not a Gold Rush – The Taleist Self-Publishing Survey [Kindle Edition]

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: Advice, article, marketing, need to know, Process, Self-publishing, Tips Tagged: Importance of cover Design, Romance Writers earn more money, self- Publishing Statistics, Taleist Self-Publishing Survey

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34. Author Appearances

Author appearances can be more than just a book signing. 


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charlotte's receipt

When talking with Charlotte Bennardo on Friday at the conference, she showed me a receipt that she received at Barnes and Noble after buying a cup of coffee. I just thought this was so cool. Imagine seeing your book suggested on the receipt. Must have been very exciting for Charlotte. Another reason to make sure you look at your receipts.


In its nearly three centuries of existence, The Saturday Evening Post has published short fiction by a who’s who of American authors including F. Scott Fitzgerald; William Faulkner; Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; Ray Bradbury; Louis L’Amour; Sinclair Lewis; Jack London; and Edgar Allan Poe. Now you have the opportunity to join that illustrious line-up by taking part in The Saturday Evening Post’s Second Annual Great American Fiction Contest.

The winning story will be published in the Jan/Feb 2014 edition of the magazine and on our website. The winning writer will receive a payment of $500. Five runners-up will be published on our website and receive payment of $100 each.

Helpful Hints:

“We like a good story! Entries should be character- or plot-driven pieces in any genre of fiction, but keep it readable, please! “We are looking for stories with universal appeal touching on shared experiences and themes that will resonate with readers from diverse backgrounds and experience,” says Joan SerVaas, publisher of The Saturday Evening Post.” Think local. The Post has historically played a role in defining what it means to be an American. Your story should in some way touch upon the publication’s mission: Celebrating America, Past, Present, and Future.

Submission Guidelines:

Stories must be submitted by the author, previously unpublished (excluding personal websites and blogs), and 1,500-5,000 words in length. No extreme profanity or graphic sex scenes, please. All stories must be submitted online and should be in Microsoft Word format with the author’s name, address, telephone number, and email address on the first page. There is a $10 entry fee, which helps defray a portion of the cost of operating the contest.

Click on the “Fiction Contest Entry Form” link below to upload your story and make a secure payment. Deadline for entry is 11:59 p.m. (EST), July 1, 2013.

Fiction Contest Entry Form

Thanks in advance for participating! The Editors

We’re pleased to announce “Wolf” by Lucy Jane Bledsoe the winner of our 2013 Great American Fiction Contest! Click here to read the prize-winning fiction from our winner and six runners-up.

- See more at: http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/fiction-contest#sthash.sEifrf2J.dpuf

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Competition, Contest, Kudos, magazine, marketing, opportunity Tagged: Charlotte Bennardo, Natalie Zaman, Saturday Evening Post Contest, Sirenz

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36. Creating an Author and/or Illustrator Website

How to create a website that will draw the attention of teachers and librarians. 


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37. Press Kits

Press kits put information about you and your books all in one place. 


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38. Pinterest

Use Pinterest to help market your book. 


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39. Star Tour Sum up

I have completed, what I hope was a very successful promotional tour for my new book, Isabella Star of the Story which came out April 1, 2013. I am sure I will tell you more details and show you pictures someday, but as still have two other tours and photos to tell you about, I will just sum up for now.

The tour included such wonderful highlights and accolades as:

  • “You look much leaner than last year” (perhaps my favorite comment in San Jose from a returning fan…did I mention returning fan? at Hicklebee’s)
  • Ethan in Philadelphia who changed schools and has now seen me THREE TIMES thanks to Children’s Book World.
  • A Southern CRM and a go-getting book loving principal in Bucks county that almost sold triple digits of my books at just one little old school. And a school that puts me on their outside sign always makes me feel so welcome!
  • An event at Changing Hands in Arizona, not just a regularly scheduled story time and having folks attend and having Eddie and Brandi and Faith reward me with “Keeper of the Lost Cities” by Shannon Messenger which I am reading and loving between doing what I am supposed to be doing (i.e. writing thank you notes, looking at expenses, writing a new book, you know…)
  • Seeing old friends and new in Chicago, home of Sourcebooks, Anderson’s Bookshop and some super smart kids who noticed new things in the book I had not seen yet!
  • Meeting Mike Litwin and crew (i.e. his entire gang of girls, minus the new one that won’t be here for a few more weeks) for the first time and doing wonderful events in North Carolina, including Mike’s hometown B&N (where his own brother, James, pushes our books!) and Quail Ridge Books. Wow, can that man color! (and draw a bit too!)
  • A quick trip to Miami to visit a totally tatted up lover of kidlit named Becky (someday I will show you some photos and you will get all that) and beautiful school visits with Books and Books
  • Minneapolis… and snow… and B&N and some super engaged schools and Red Balloon and the library and Marianne Richmond for wine (shh… don’t tell, it was a work meeting) and did I mention SNOW!

  • Salt Lake City – wonderful Headstart staff, and B&N Cali transplant and Provo library, did I tell you how gorgeous the scenery is there? Those mountains, the lake… beautiful old stone buildings. A window decal with a practically life sized me? The King’s English set up an interview with a puppet, hope it went well, Earl E. Literacy, spokespuppet for the Salt Lake Public Library was a tough questioner. A cool Band, Matteo.
  • Some local schools with great local stores, Towne Center Books, Kepler’s, Copperfield’s, Books Inc. I even got a school lunch. It was packaged food day, and interesting, but greatly appreciated because it was a quick trip to the next school.
  • Did I mention LA – a lovely library night with Mrs. Nelson’s in which even adults chuckled at my own special brand of humor.
  • The Target children’s stage at the LATimes Book Festival. I felt like a big deal, met a bunch of famous authors back stage and the Imagination Movers, Choo Choo Soul and THE JUSTICE LEAGUE.
  • Top it all of with a trip to Fort Worth for the Texas Library Association Annual Conference where I signed books for a bunch of lovely librarians, who were anything but “types” and met the TEXAS LIBRARIAN OF THE YEAR, wearing her medal as she should be!

  • Phewww… wonderful.

    Related posts:

    1. BFNBT #2 – My Name is Not Alexander – Jennifer Fosberry Tour
    2. Target Book Festival – Color me Star Struck!
    3. Big Fancy National Book Tour begins at home for Book #3

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    40. Carnival Of The Indies

    I'm part of this month's Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies at The Book Designer. I'm under Marketing and Selling Your Books. I mention the sub-category because this is a big carnival.

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    41. EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Editorial & Marketing Assistant Molly O'Laughlin

    Welcome back to the Overlook Press Employee Spotlight Series! Looking for some insight into how the publishing process works? You've come to the right place. Over the last year and a half we've introduced designers, contract managers, editors, sales staff, and publicists, all in the hopes of better acquainting blog readers with our team, as well as educating fans about the methods behind our

    0 Comments on EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT: Editorial & Marketing Assistant Molly O'Laughlin as of 4/25/2013 11:33:00 AM
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    42. Undiscovered Voices – Writers and Illustrators – No Cost

    Welcome to Undiscovered Voices 2014!

    Before everyone gets excited, this opportunity is only open to SCBWI members in good standing that reside in one of the current 27 countries of the EU, 4 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, or 5 candidate countries (as listed here

    Since I get close to half of my visitors from outside the United States, so I wanted to make sure those visitor knew about this. There is a separate contest for unpublished illustrators (see bottom).


    Undiscovered Voices is a competition for unpublished and un-agented writers and illustrators living in the EU. In partnership with SCBWI British Isles and Working Partners.

    Open for entries: 1st July to 15th August 2013

    An anthology will present a selection of novel extracts from 5+ to Young Adult novels and be sent to editors and agents in the UK. The anthology is produced thanks to the kind support of Working Partners Ltd. To submit your written extract, please read the following eligibility criteria, rules and information, and then go here to fill in the online submission form and upload your entry.

    Submission eligibility:

    • You must be a member in good standing of SCBWI and reside in one of the current 27 countries of the EU, 4 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, or 5 candidate countries (as listed here).
    • Only un-agented writers may submit work for consideration. Writers must remain un-agented until the anthology is published in February 2014.
    • You must be an unpublished fiction author. This means you have not had a novel or collection of short stories accepted for publication or currently published in any country. Authors with only picture books published may submit. Authors who have only published non-fiction books or who have only been published in newspapers, magazines, anthologies or non-print medium (i.e. radio, web, etc.) are also eligible. Similarly authors who have ghost-written for book packagers or have self-published may submit work (but not an extract from any self-published work). Authors with adult fiction published are not eligible.
    • Any submissions that do not follow the following guidelines or include the appropriate information will be disqualified. 

    Submission rules:

    • Find out more about previous Undiscovered Voices finalists here.Your submission must the first 4,000 words of an already completed novel for children, aimed at any age from 5 years to Young Adult.
    • Your submission must be written in English.
    • No picture book texts will be considered.
    • You must include a synopsis of your novel at the end of the extract, which should be a maximum of 75 words.
    • The author’s name must not appear anywhere on the extract or synopsis.
    • The document should be written in 12 point, with a page number on every page.
    • The document that is uploaded must be a .doc, .docx or .rtf file.
    • Only one submission per member.
    • You must fill in every required field in the online form, including a biography of a maximum of 50 words, written in the third person. Should you be selected, this is how it will appear in the anthology.
    • You may not resubmit any extract from a novel you submitted for consideration in previous Undiscovered Voices anthologies. Authors included in previous anthologies may not submit an entry for the current anthology. Honorary mentions from previous anthologies may submit, as long as it is from a different novel.
    • Submissions must be entirely the original work of the author and must never have been published, self-published or published on any website.
    • Submissions should not include or require any graphic art or special fonts.

    Submission information:


    Find out more about previous Undiscovered Voices finalists here.

    • There is no submission fee for this contest, but you must be a current member of SCBWI and live in one of the current 27 countries of the European Union, 4 European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries or 5 candidate countries.
    • The contest opens for entries on 1st July 2013. The deadline is midnight on 15th August 2013.
    • To submit your entry, go here to fill in the online form and upload your extract. Submissions are only accepted by this means. They will not be accepted by email or by post.
    • By submitting your entry, you agree to give SCBWI-BI permission to publish and promote (both online and offline) the extract in the 2014 anthology together with your name, as it appears on the SCBWI roster, and email address. No pen names can be used.
    • A panel of children’s book editors and agents will make the final selection for the anthology in autumn 2013, and the long-list will be announced in December 2013 and the selected entries in January 2014.
    • The ebook will be produced in early 2014 and copies of the anthology will be distributed free of charge to a comprehensive list of UK children’s book editors and agents, as well as a select list of US agents and editors. It will also be distributed to the media in order to achieve the most widespread industry attention to the authors and their stories.
    • The authors of the selected works will receive one copy of the anthology (in ebook format). In addition, they will receive judges’ written comment sheets on their work. The selected authors will be invited to attend a ‘getting discovered’ workshop (18th January 2014) and the book launch party (26th February 2014) to meet in person with the judges and other agents and editors who attend.
    • To become a member of SCBWI, visit http://www.scbwi.org/Registration.aspx. For membership queries, please email membership@scbwi.org. You can find out more information at www.scbwi.org or www.britishscbwi.org.
    • Copyright remains with the author.
    • The judges’ decision is final.
    • No corrections or alterations can be made to submissions after receipt. The selected pieces will be proofread prior to publication.
    • Entry implies acceptance of the rules and eligibility criteria, as listed above.
    • A list of selected authors and honorary mentions will be posted on the Undiscovered Voices Blog and updated on the website once the judging is final and the results are compiled.
    • You can contact us with any queries about the anthology, the submissions process, rules or eligibility at: scbwianthology “AT” hotmail.co.uk


    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Artist opportunity, authors and illustrators, Competition, marketing, opportunity Tagged: Must be SCBWI Member, No cost, Opportunity for Euopean Illustrators, Opportunity for European Chidlren's Writers, Undiscovered voices

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    43. Can An eBook Author Do The Book Fair Thing? A Report From The Trenches

    On Wednesday night, I was a featured writer at the Norwich Free Academy Book Expo in Norwich, Connecticut. This was the first time I'd been invited to such an event since my books have been available only in eBook editions, and the first time since self-publishing Saving the Planet & Stuff as an eBook in February. As you may recall, I had plans:

    "What I plan to do," I wrote back in March, "is show up with a laptop that will have a display of my four available books. I don't know if I can get Internet access there, so I'll have various pages from my website loaded onto the computer and available for viewing. And, of course, the Saving the Planet & Stuff trailer. This techie set-up, I've read, is how authors such as myself can make public appearances." 

    And that is what I did.      

    Because my four eBooks were published in paper and ink back in the day, I did have "books" people could see and handle, though they couldn't buy them. But additionally I had the laptop loaded with
    the Saving the Planet & Stuff trailer

                      The Saving the Planet & Stuff page from my website
    and the website, itself, which I could maneuver through there on the hard drive, meaning I wasn't dependent upon the high school library where we were located having WiiFii. (Though it did.)

    So how did all this work out? Well, there are two factors to consider.

    1. Sales. No sales have yet been generated as a result of this appearance. This isn't necessarily an indication of failure. Many authors with paper-and-ink books making public appearances will make no sales at all. Selling just a few books at an appearance is about as much as most writers can hope for. Years ago, I had a bookseller tell me that if he could get four sales from an in-store appearance, he was happy. I've attended many book fairs that generated long lines for the one or two big names who were invited to draw customers while the rest of the writers sat looking bored or embarrassed. This is a fact life.

    2. Connecting with the reading public. Here is where I saw a big difference between the NFA event and other events at which I've appeared. I definitely did more chatting and interacting than I've done in the past. I think this was due to two factors. A. Though there was a book sale going on, because I had eBooks, I did not expect to make any sales that evening. The only people who would be buying my self-published book, the one I was really promoting, would be people who owned a Kindle or a Nook, because those are the only two platforms we've published it to so far. In all likelihood they would make their purchase, if they were going to make one at all, at some other time, not right there. This took a big burden off my shoulders. There was no anxiety about whether I was going to "succeed" or "fail" with sales, because I went in there knowing there would be none right there on the spot. I was feeling kind of light-hearted. Jolly, even, which is not what anyone would call characteristic of me. B. Look at the next two pictures. Notice the difference between Gail with the laptop and without it?                    
    Without the laptop, I am behind a table, as most authors are at festivals and book fairs. There's always something between the writers and the public. You sit and hope someone will come talk to you. There is a stilted conversation between the person on one side of the table, who is the "writer," and the person on the other side of the table, who "is not."

    With the laptop, I had to be at least to the side of the table, so I could get to the front and operate the mouse, arrow keys, etc. There was no physical barrier between  the person on one side of the table, who is the "writer" and the person  on the other side of the table, who "is not." There was far more natural give and take. I talked with other writers far more than I have
    at other events, because I was moving around and could. I got into a discussion with a couple of people about Goodreads, one of whom had never heard of it. I wrote "Goodreads" on one of my business cards so she could remember it--and me, presumably. In fact, I gave out more business cards than I usually do. Which, okay, wasn't many. But it was still a different experience.

    The connecting with the reading public part of an appearance is important. In the short-term, invitations to speaking engagements and school visits can (and, in my case, have) come about because of connections made with the public. In the long-term, meeting other writers, librarians, teachers, and booksellers and making new Facebook friends of all kinds can help out down-the-line in ways we can't foresee at the time of the meetings.

    So I think there is a workable method that eBook writers can use for public appearances. A much bigger problem will be, I believe, finding opportunities for public appearances in the first place. Most festivals and book fairs are fundraisers for some group. (The one I attended this week was not.) The group sells the writers' books, just as a bookstore would, and the profit it makes is its fundraising. Groups aren't going to be able to sell an eBook, self-published or not.  Kobo has an arrangement with independent bookstores that enables participating stores to keep a percentage of the sale of eBooks sold from their websites. Will there one day be a similar arrangement for book fair and festival organizers, which will then welcome eBook authors? Until there is, I don't know how often writers like myself will be appearing at public events.

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    44. How Can An eBook Author Do The Book Fair Thing?

    While I have four books "in print" and available to the public, they are all eBooks. How does an author such as myself make an appearance at book fairs, festivals, or signings when she has no paper and ink book to show, sell, and inscribe? I've read it can be done, and next month I'll have a chance to try to do it.

    I was invited to a school book expo at which there will be an eclectic array of authors. Some of them will be local, some of them graduates of the high school who have been recently published. And there will be me. It's the school's first attempt at doing this, and this seems like a safe place for me to experiment.

    What I plan to do is show up with a laptop that will have a display of my four available books. I don't know if I can get Internet access there, so I'll have various pages from my website loaded onto the computer and available for viewing. And, of course, the Saving the Planet & Stuff trailer. This techie set-up, I've read, is how authors such as myself can make public appearances.

    I don't expect to make any sales. Assuming I attract any members of the public at all, my expectation is that any of them who own Kindles or Nooks will make any purchases at their leisure. I know that's what this Kindle reader would do. So I'm wondering if this could end up being a more comfortable situation than writers usually have to deal with where their books for sale are piled up in front of them or somewhere nearby, and money is changing hands somewhere in the room.

    Without that "Is he going to buy?" "Is she upset because I'm not buying?" "What if I make a mistake signing her book?" "No one is going to her table; what a loser." "No one is coming to my table; I'm such a loser" vibe, will author and readers be able to interact more naturally. Will we chat about eBooks and the state of publishing?

    We shall see. Report to follow next month.

    2 Comments on How Can An eBook Author Do The Book Fair Thing?, last added: 3/15/2013
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    45. Connecticut Writers: A Home Demo Opportunity For Book Marketing

    Connecticut Bloggers reposts the Connecticut Children's Lit Calendar each month. The people who run that blog also run some marketing blogs, and have started running product review parties. On Saturday, April 6, they'll be having a book review party from 2 to 6 p.m. at the blog owner's home.
    They have books coming from over 50 authors across the country and  are interested in letting local Connecticut authors who might like to be included know about the event. And they're particularly interested in children's authors. Writers who want their books included may attend, but it's not necessary. You can have books included without being there.

    They ask that authors provide physical books, up to 5 copies of each title they want featured. They will be strongly suggesting to their guests and bloggers who attend that whatever books they take they review  either on their blog or on Amazon. Each person will be able to take up to 4 books with them.
    The blog company organizing this will be putting a post together with links to the authors' online book information. They will need links to Amazon or wherever the books' are sold.

    I have never been  involved with anything like this. It reminds me of the old time home demonstration parties, such as Tupperware, except there will be no sales made. It also reminds me of a tea my publisher organized years ago for New York City librarians. Authors with books coming out that year did readings for the invited guests and then we all ate smoked salmon on toast. The purpose of these things is to create interest, buzz. If this one works and there are bloggers inattendance who actually do review the books later, it could be a marketing opportunity. For that matter, if anyone reviews them at Amazon or Goodreads it would be a marketing opportunity, since those reviews matter.

    You can contact the organizer at sweetiesreview@gmail.com  with questions or to let her know you'd like to be involved

    0 Comments on Connecticut Writers: A Home Demo Opportunity For Book Marketing as of 3/20/2013 9:21:00 PM
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    46. Book Bling--Generating Trash?

    In last week's comments, David Elzey raised the question of self-published eBook writers using business cards at appearances, because otherwise they won't have anything material to show potential readers. My response included the news that business cards are the only real-world promotional items--the kinds that are created, touched, and thrown away--I plan to use for Saving the Planet & Stuff.

    During the years that I've been publishing books, marketing materials have increased dramatically. In days of old, you were talking a bookmark, maybe a post card. Now you see pins, cups, pens, pencils, and shirts. Bumper stickers, mouse pads, and key chains. Lip balm. I heard that rolls of toilet paper were sent to bookstores to promote Walter the Farting Dog. Evidently whoopee cushions went out, too.

    Some of these things are more utilitarian than others. It seems as if some of them would get a little use before making the trip to a transfer station. But we are talking material items here that are being created not for functionality but to get attention, and they will, indeed, one day end up in a transfer station. Or, in the case of the Walter the Farting Dog T.P., maybe a septic system of some kind. But given that to this day everything I read about bookselling and marketing suggests that the publishing world doesn't have a clue what sells books, it seems to me that bling is generating trash for nothing. Note that in this 2012 post at Meghan Ward's Writerland, not a soul she quoted said, "A key chain put me over the top!"

    Given the futility of it all, it seems very inappropriate for me to be generating this kind of trash for a book in which a main character actually voices her frustration with people squandering resources on promotional items. It would be a hypocritical act (of some kind) for which I believe I'd have nothing to gain.

    Now, this is not to say I haven't done my share of producing marketing trash in my day. I've been personally responsible for creating and distributing thousands of bookmarks to elementary school students. I always had them made on the cheap at Kinko's because, being an experienced mom, I knew what was going to happen to them. Some other experienced parent was going to find them at the bottom of a backpack weeks later, if the recipients didn't toss them themselves. I would be surprised...no, stunned...if any of those bookmarks generated one sale for me. I got a kick out of signing them all in the evenings before my appearances and giving them out, but the reality is, that's the extent of what I got from them.

    I've also done postcards in years past and even mailed out some of them with all kinds of info on the back to booksellers. However, even ten years ago I was hearing from more experienced writers that that was a waste of energy (not so much talk of resources) because booksellers are buried in promotional materials such as postcards. You've got to send them something really unusual--say that toilet paper for Walter the Farting Dog--before those poor people will be able to lift their heads up over the heaps of stuff in their offices and take notice.

    Refusing to create bling isn't a big stand for me to take because Saving the Planet & Stuff is now an eBook. Booksellers aren't involved so there's no one to send postcards to, even if I believed that would do any good. And you don't use bookmarks with eBooks. On the other hand, I may be shooting myself in the foot by not making some of this other cr-- junk because being able to offer bloggers bling to give away through their blogs might get me more attention there. But, once again, any evidence that blog reviews really sell books? I'm not aware of any.

    So, for now, I'm sticking to distributing business cards when I want to distribute something. Why use even those? Because I keep business cards on hand, anyway. I don't have many opportunities to give many away. I don't know anyone in any field who does. But they're something I keep around, with one book cover or another on them, and something I can use in a number of situations, not just for marketing one book.

    I think they're a better use of resources than, say, Saving the Planet & Stuff pot holders.

    0 Comments on Book Bling--Generating Trash? as of 3/21/2013 9:42:00 PM
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    47. Do We Really Need To Rebrand Books?

    In MIND MELD: Rebranding Fiction as Young Adult  (SF Signal back in January) a number of writers give their suggestions for adult titles that could be rebranded as YA.

    I think some of these people may not have a very good understanding of what YA is. There's lots of talk about things like "suitability," suggesting the people making the suggestions don't read much fiction for teenagers. "Suitability" of material and language is far less a concern in YA than that the book's themes, situations, and characters relate to YA experience. If raw language and ugly events relate to said themes, situations, and characters, than they are suitable for YA.

    Additionally, I wonder if it is necessary to actually rebrand a book for a YA audience with a new cover and marketing campaign. Once you do that, the book shifts to YA, and while you pick up YA readers, you're going to lose adults. How many people believe that Ender's Game is a YA or even children's book, for instance? How many people believe that To Kill a Mockingbird is a YA book, in large part because it's taught in secondary schools?  In spite of all the talk about adults reading YA, many older people won't pick up a book they think is for kids.

    And does labeling something as YA really make it YA? Julius Caesar is often taught in high schools. Has that become YA? Should some put a YA cover on it? Years ago I saw both Grendel by John Gardiner and The Awakening by Kate Chopin in the YA section of bookstores. Is there any kind of rebranding that could possibly make either of those books (particularly The Awakening) YA?

    Maybe the adult world should simply be directing these adult books, just as they are, toward YA readers, which will then be helping them make the move to adult books, rather than telling them they should read them because "Look! We changed our minds! It's YA!  See? It has a YA cover!" One of my fondest early teen memories involves my Uncle Mickey's trunk. He was the only person in my immediate family to have been to college (He married into the family, obviously; he wasn't actually a Gauthier.), and his trunk was filled with paperback books. He handed me a couple of volumes of Ray Bradbury short stories one day. I did, indeed, read them.

    This young person, at least, experienced a thrill moving on to adult books. I had a sense that I was doing something very different by reading these things. Okay, maybe that was in part due to the fact that Uncle Mickey had been to college, as I said, while my own father hadn't finished eighth grade. In my early adolescence, I may have been attracted to anything that my own parent was not. But, still, imagine being handed Ray Bradbury short stories with a YA cover. Wouldn't the magic go up in smoke?

    2 Comments on Do We Really Need To Rebrand Books?, last added: 3/26/2013
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    48. School Visits

    Some pros and cons of doing school visits. 


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    49. Goodreads Sold! What Will We Do?

    Facebook is on fire over the purchase of Goodreads by Amazon. What little I've read about this deal suggests it has a lot to do with Kindle and eBooks. But I'm seeing people fearing for indie bookstores, which don't sell eBooks as a general rule, because Goodreads presently has "Get a copy" buttons for a very wide variety of on-line stores that includes "Indiebound"--at the bottom of the list. "Amazon" is already at the top, and Barnes & Noble, has its own button. Even if Amazon gets all "It's our site, now, and we'll do what we want to," I think it remains to be seen how great an impact this will have on independent bookstores. How much were they relying on Goodreads? 

    Some people aren't addressing the impact of this on independent bookstores. They just seem to feel that Amazon is bad on principle, because it is hugely successful. I think it's kind of like hating Anne Hathaway, except that she's also young and beautiful in addition to being successful, whereas Amazon makes up for the youth and beauty thing by being really, really successful.

    2 Comments on Goodreads Sold! What Will We Do?, last added: 3/28/2013
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    50. Book Talk and Kudos


    A few weeks back I posted an article about Hugh Howey’s dystopian novel WOOL, because it was such an inspirational success story. Since I own a Kindle Fire and the first part of the book was free, it was a no brainer to slip over and get it. After reading part one, I wanted to read the rest. For those who have read about the journey of WOOL and how Hugh started by publishing part one of WOOL  as an ebook, you may want to run off and do the same with your book.  I want you to know his writing is the reason for his success. If you decide to read the first part for free, I think you will see that we put up a polished story. Something we all should strive to achieve.


    undertheneverskyAfter getting my Kindle, of course, I wanted to buy some ebooks to read.  Since I was enjoying all the YA dystopian novel series, I was looking for some new ones to read.  I looked at all the ebooks listed for $2.99 or lower and bought Under the Never Sky.  A few weeks later, I was on facebook and Carol Ferderlin Baldwin said she had just read Veronica Rossi’s Under the Never Sky and loved it, so I started reading, while reading the hardcover of Requiem. I never tried that before, but both books kept me reading and wanting to turn the page. Then I found myself away with only my Kindle and I tore through the second half of Veronica’s book. I have to agree with Carol Baldwin – I loved it! I tell you putting up her book on Kindle for $2.99 really  is a good marketing strategy, because there wasn’t any question about paying $10.00 plus tax for the second book, UNDER THE EVER SKY, which I am reading as we speak. Of course, I finished reading Requiem before I started Veronica’s second book. Veronica is represented by the wonderful Adam’s Literary Agency.

    And have you noticed the other marketing tool that authors and publishers are using? Most of the authors are writing short stories about various characters in their books. This works really well, because they charge a few dollars for the ebook, so it brings in money and it keeps the excitement going while the author finishes their next book. Plus, if the author probably has the stories of the other characters in their mind in order to write the series, so they can put it out without having to come up with another plot. I see this as a great boom for authors and their fans.


    Requiem is the third book in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Series. It came out on March 5th. I highly recommend all three. Sometime the second book can not live up to the first, but I actually think the second was even better. If you like dystopian YA novels, don’t miss this series. When I noticed that Lauren lives in Brooklyn, I immediately suggested the New Jersey SCBWI Conference Committee consider Lauren for the keynote speaker. Lauren agreed and better yet, Stephen Barbara is Lauren’s agent, so we’ll be treated to both at the conference in June. Come join us: www.regonline.com/njscbwi2013conference

    What a great book month March was for me.  I have twenty ebooks sitting in the cue on my Kindle and a bunch of hardcovers on my nightstand waiting to be read. I really didn’t think I would enjoy reading books as much on the Kindle, but I was wrong. The funny thing is I read the ebooks much faster, which has surprised me. I am looking forward reading in April:

    Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    Crossed by Ally Condie
    See you at Harry’s by Jo Knowles

    The little character study “Hold you over” ebooks for Marie Lu’s Legend Series and Veronica Roth’s Divergent Series that are sitting in my Kindle to keep me going until their next books.

    What are you planning to read this month? What are some of the recent books you  loved?


    At Little, Brown Children’s, Pam Gruber has been promoted to associate editor.

    At Abrams,  David Blatty has been promoted to director of managing editorial, Dervla Kelly moves up to senior editor, Laura Dozier has been promoted to editor, and Samantha Weiner moves up to assistant editor.

    Regional publisher Tilsbury House in Maine, which has a successful line of children’s books, was sold to Jonathan Eaton and Tristram Coburn, founders of Cadent Publishing. They plan to grow the company’s lines.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: Agent, Book, marketing, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Hugh Howey, Lauren Oliver, Marie Lu, Requiem, Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi, Veronica Roth

    5 Comments on Book Talk and Kudos, last added: 4/4/2013
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