Friday, October 12, 2012

This Note From Amazon

We have corrected the font problems in a recent Kindle update 3.4. The most recent version of Kindle software is available for download from the Amazon Kindle Help pages. If your Kindle does not have the latest software, it's free and easy to download and install the update manually by following the instructions on the Kindle Software Updates Help page: This page also includes additional information about the features included in the latest software update. As for the navigation problem, ideally, I'd like to try some real-time troubleshooting to determine if your Kindle needs a replacement. You can reach Kindle Customer Support by phone or chat by clicking Contact Us on our Kindle Support pages at:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Problem With New Kindles Soon To Be Fixed

A thread I read has discovered that the newest Kindles - the ones that people will be upgrading to this Christmas - has a design flaw which means that when they upload our stories and books the font is so small the books are unreadable AND the font size can't be changed. In addition the Table of Contents does not work on these new models. The thread that I read has come up with fixes for the problem which they have shared and I will share below. But I thought this was a Kindle problem so I wrote them. After a few false starts we finally got to the problem I was talking about. This morning Kindle assured me that since the JK Rowling debacle - which involved that same problem - they were aware of the font problem with their new designs and it was design specific and they were fixing it for the next round of products. They still haven't given me a good answer for the Table of Contents problem but I'm not backing off asking them and I'll let everyone know as soon as they let me know. Thousands of writers are standing by to patch their stories and books if need be...which this close to Christmas when we should be producing new product is a colossal waste of time... because we don't want to lose sales because of a design glitch.... So if you're a writer don't go crazy yet....If you're an owner of a new Kindle and you have font or table of content problems it's not the writer's should contact Kindle. To fix the fonts.... Step 1. save your manuscript in .docx If you have older software without docx start at Step 2 Step 2. resave in Filtered html Step 3. using calibre convert to epub Step 4. load into kindle previewer (free download)check that the fonts work. Step 5. upload to kindle direct publishing as usual. To fix Table of Contents Step 1. Type every chapter heading or whatever you want in the Table of Contents (TOC) a heading using the tools in word. You'll know it's a heading because it will have a square bullet point in the left margin. Step 2. Go into insert and book mark the Heading...A box will come up when you bookmark and you have to type in the name of what you're going to connect to with no spaces between the words. Step 3. Go to the whatever it is you want to link to Go back up to insert select hyperlink....make sure you are in the area (on the first column second choice) called "Place in this document". All the headings you typed in will be there select the corresponding heading. Click okay. It looks like it's really's really not....BUT beware we can't test it in Kindle Previewer so we don't know if it's effective yet. I have written Kindle about this because it's part of that new design soon as I hear they've addressed it I will post it.

Friday, August 31, 2012

I-Pad is Kindle Enabled

Something else I just learned is that I-pad and I-phone are Kindle enabled. Which means you can read mobi on your I-products without having to buy a kindle. Kindle also has free apps for computers. I have read a number of books on my computer even though I own a kindle. Great for taking notes

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Few New Statistics About Publishing on the Digitals

In a recent report - “The Hunger Games” is reported to have sold 4:1 Kindle to Amazon on the Amazon platform. That doesn’t take into consideration books sales in bookstores, nor does it reflect other sales on-line but it’s a very impressive ratio since this is one of the best selling books today on what is the biggest on-line publisher right now. Simon and Schuster just announced that 21% of its sales were digital sales. That means a conventional paper book company is receiving nearly 1/4th of its income from the digitals.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What is Meant by High Concept

High concept movies are the formula movies the bit studios put out. They come from a pitch given to a producer that in only a few words describes the movie. The best pitch I’ve heard recently is “Cowboys and Aliens” – you simply don’t have to say more. Think of the pitch for Legally Blond – a stereotypical dumb blond goes to Harvard and becomes valedictorian of her class. Think of the pitch for Miss Congeniality. The least attractive, most unpleasant and unpopular woman in the FBI goes underground in a beauty pageant and wins the title Miss Congeniality. You give the pitch line and then you have to think of the ways in which to make that happen. The pitch line doesn’t have to completely describe everything that happens, just the through plot that makes the story interesting.

Monday, August 27, 2012

To Do Book Clubs / Not To Do Book Clubs

Book Clubs have a nice feel to them, so why won’t I do them? Because every minute I’m not writing I’m losing money. I have to get to a Book Club or Signing at my expense – gas, wear and tear on the car. 5-10 Book Club members may buy the books from Amazon or I may have to supply them. I make between $2.06 and $6.00 per book at the signing and perhaps I generate some word of mouth. Then I spend time talking about my book, signing my book and socializing. So that’s several hours out of a day not writing. Since I can write a $2.99 short story in an afternoon, two at the most, and I can sell 100 -1,000 perhaps more over time each time I post a short story, that’s $300-$3,000 I’ve lost not including gas by taking time to sell 5-10 books. As nice as it is, it’s not worth it. In the business world it’s called Return On Investment. Book Signings have even less to recommend them. Since I publish on the digitals, I limit my marketing to the digitals. I participate in every interview I can get on line. But mostly I figure out what people want to read and deliver it to them.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bar Codes For Other Products

Do not confuse ISBN numbers and their barcodes with product barcodes. By products I mean tapes, CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, etc. Product Barcodes are different animals all together. You can get product barcodes at: (888) 446-CODE (2633) Bar Codes are required for most in-store sales these days - they are used to track inventory and shopping patterns among other things. This is a good company, I've used it for Suzy Prudden's DVDs.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ISBN and Bar Code Information

ISBN numbers are numbers that have international recognition for books. manages ISBN Numbers. You can’t get into bookstores without one. However, you can post on most of the digitals without one. You see them on every single book you buy (paperback and hardcover)right in the bar code. You can get them at: Bar Code Graphics, Inc. 444 N. Michigan Ave #3500 Chicago, IL 60611 800-662-0701 x145 312-595-0725 Fax Bar Code Graphics will also sell you a bar code number so you don’t have to get one at Bowkers.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Expansion News From B&N and Amazon

The newest announcement of digital expansion comes from Barnes and Noble which has announced that it’s opening up business in England. It’s a couple of years behind Amazon in that respect – as it has been throughout the digital explosion – but it’s a good idea. I do well in England. However Amazon is already in Germany, Italy, Spain, France and as of today in India as well as England. I have some sales in Germany - none in Italy, Spain and France. Too early to tell about India. The interesting thing is what sells in which countries, informs what you write of course. The interesting thing is the way the world has opened to us. Quite marvelous.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Writing To Your Market

One of the people I communicate with said she writes her blog as if she was talking to a client. Indeed that’s how everything gets written. If you know your reader (or the person you want to be your reader) you talk directly to that person – in terms of fiction you write a novel for someone who likes your genre and reads your competition. As in every business identifying your market informs everything. I remember going out to rent an office and the needs of my clients informed access to parking, access to elevators and so forth. It seems like the most obvious bit of basic business 101…AND a surprising number of people don’t do it. Isn’t it fun how business is business whether it’s writing books or selling hardware?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Writing A Book By Blogging

A great way to write a book if you’re not a writer is to blog about your subject. An idea a day for a month or two will give you a meaty little book. If you’re in a profession you know a lot about that profession and each professional brings something unique to the way they do business. You can tell people about what you do in paragraphs – that way they don’t get overwhelmed while you talk about what you do. Ditto for a product – what attracted you to the product and how has it helped you. Ditto for the benefits of your product – for example who can use it, how and why. You can get a free blog at However…blogs and articles are not books. They have a different rhythm and a different arc. Make certain to adjust them to the book.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Writing Is 20% Writing 80% Marketing

Writing, like every other business is 20 percent writing and 80 percent marketing. Even if you’re published by a big house you’re going to have to do your own marketing. Do you remember Sarah Palin driving all over the country for book signings? Have you heard Robert Reich promoting his books on MSNBC? Every single blurb that I have published on Facebook and on my blogs are part of my marketing strategy and they take time, effort and thought. They also take time away from writing the books and stories that are my product. In many ways the product is the easy part. Whatever your business the 80/20 rule applies even when your business is in the arts.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Strict Pomodoro - A Chrome App

For those of you who spend too much time on the social media – or other on-line addictions – let me introduce a Chrome App to help. Strict Pomodoro can be activated when you want to get something like writing done and you’re experiencing resistance in the form of internet distractions. It gives you 25 minutes during which time you cannot access the social media. If you’re truly dedicated to work avoidance, you can then clean your oven – or you can do the writing or whatever else you’ve been resisting. At the end of 25 minutes the App gives you a break and then you can click it on again and get another 25 minutes of work. It’s a great way to build exercise into your day. Instead of going back on line to check your email, walk around the block before beginning your next block of work. It’s only accessible from Chrome. And it’s a marvelous little tool.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How To Handle Case Histories

Case histories are very popular in writing. They make pages of dull explanation come alive. AND you have to be very careful not to open yourself to legal action when using them. There are a number of ways to handle case histories in writing. First you can contact the person you are writing about and ask for permission to use their story in your book. Be sure go get that permission in writing and be sure to ask if you can use his or her real name in the book. If they say “yes” you’re covered. If they say you can’t use their real name make a footnote that says “Not her real name.” Referencing the real name is also done with a footnote. If a digital publisher program will now allow footnotes simply put the information in parentheses just behind the story or the story title. Finally, if you do not get permission to use a specific story you can write a composite story. Use different parts from different people’s stories so that it is clear to a client or patient that you did not use their story in your book. I generally put in “not his real name” for double protection and to give an edge of credibility to the story.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Your Competition Is Your Greatest Gift On And Off The Digitals.

By looking at what your competition has done you can research their keywords and learn how to place yourself on the internet. You can look at their covers and see what’s appealing about them, research consistent colors and themes. You can see what they’ve talked about and identify what you can offer to the field that’s different. Successful competition is your greatest teacher in all areas of your field. I’m fairly sure that applies across the board to every kind of business. Learning from your competitors doesn’t mean you are stealing from them. I am not promoting plagiarism. Learning from them means you are unearthing all the different possibilities in your own field. If you quote from your competition at length, be sure to check with their publisher for permission. Usually permission is given because it promotes sales, sometimes it isn’t and you open yourself for suits. And don’t forget to credit them if you do quote them. Honoring others in your field is the highest compliment.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Body in Character Development

Suzy Prudden and I have written a book called “Body Wisdom” which is about the connection between your body and your life. I used the information we developed in that Body Wisdom book in my book “The Character Book.” Example: The Nose represents how you present yourself in the world. The best story example of the nose is Cyrano – who was so embarrassed by his large nose that he used a surrogate suitor - the very handsome but not very intelligent Christian - to woo the fair Roxanne. Roxanne fell in love with Christian because of his intellect not his looks and both Cyrano and Roxanne were deprived of their great love because of Cyrano’s nose. Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” had a deformation in his upper back – the area of betrayal. Body parts and what they represent in people’s lives are wonderful character traits and great places to begin character development. Writing “The Character Book” was one of the most delightful exercises I’ve ever done. It made me so aware of the skill other writers bring to their craft. It makes me think when I’m writing about what I should add to my characters in their development. I wish I had had it when I was an actress. I consider it the best bathroom reading available because the information comes in small bits. Much like this blog.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Did I Say Keywords Are How Your Readers Find You?

They are vitally important to sales. When you’re working in keywords in Kindle in that front sales page, you will notice that on some of the keywords numbers come up. I used to think that that was the number of people searching for the keyword…it’s actually the number of people using the keyword. It is better to go with a lower number that is a closer fit than with a bigger number that 20,000 people are also using. Also, finding descriptions (several keywords in a cluster) rather than just single words will bring the reader you’re looking for closer to you. Look for the long string combinations with the shorter numbers and then make note of them and use them on Smashwords, Kobo and Nook as well. In this exercise, you are looking for YOUR reader, the person who is looking for your book or product with keywords, more in terms either of people searching generally or others using the same word is not necessarily better. The same hold’s true for your business. Narrowing your market in big venues like yellow pages is always better as long as you know that people are looking for what you’re selling. Example from my old days…”Weight Loss” are terrible keywords. They encompass everything and everyone everywhere. "Los Angeles Weight Loss" is better because at least you’re only competing in one city. "West Los Angeles Weight Loss" narrows the field a lot. "West Los Angeles Weight Loss Hypnosis" is about as narrow as you’re going to get. So, when the yellow pages salesman tells you that they got 50,000 hits for "Weight Loss"… don’t bother to be impressed. That’s not a good thing. Look into the narrower field and see what they got if they even bothered to check. 200-300 really interested possibilities would be a nice number in that narrow field because they’re probably looking for you.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Keywords are King

Keywords are how your readers find you. On the digitals, limit the number of keywords you select to 10… Kindle and Nook limit for you, Smashwords doesn’t tell you until after you’ve chosen too many. This is important: Kindle has two sets of keywords and it’s vital to make certain the second set is activated. The first set is implanted into the application page you fill out when uploading your book, cover and publishing information during you’re posting process. Once the book is posted, go to and type in your name and the book title. THEN click on the cover picture which will bring up the sales page. THEN scroll down to “tags customers associate with this product.” Type in a keyword. Start with the genre. You should see the number of people looking for books in this genre appear. If you don’t you’re not in a specific genre and you’ll have to redefine what you’re looking for. To do that look at the keywords your competition has selected. Put in ten or so keywords. If you’ve discovered that you don’t have the right keywords in the back end because you're getting better choice selections during this process – go back and fix it. The great thing about the digitals is nothing is written in cement.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Smashwords Insists On A Table Of Contents Even For Short Stories

That actually turns to your advantage. However, the first time Smashwords refused to publish a short story of mine (3,102 words) because it didn’t have a Table of Contents I threw a temper tantrum. Then I realized it was a blessing. I only need one link to my story, but I could then link to my author page and each of my sample chapters. This accomplishes two things. First, it makes all your marketing material really easy for the reader top navigate. Second it informs the reader right at the beginning that there’s more in this short story than just the short story - that you are giving away free samples. It informs them of the additional material right in their sample package before they even buy the story. The Table of Contents on the digitals does not link to pages (you don’t paginate on the digitals because that shifts according to font size, table size and other factors) it links to chapter headings and titles. Then, as an added benefit, you can link directly to sales pages for your samples. Finally, since Smashwords makes a Table of Contents for you anyway – something along the lines of “beginning, middle and end” if you have posted one short story, you might as well take charge of the process and make a really good Table of Contents that you use as a marketing tool.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Back Of The Book Cross Marketing Is Very Important.

On the digitals after you write “The End,” refer readers to your author page which will take the reader directly to everything you’ve written. Kindle, Pubit and Smashwords all have author pages. I don’t have a sufficient number of stories up on Kobo to figure out the author page yet but I’m sure it’s there. Follow your author page link with your sale page blurbs and 200 word samples for a select number of your good sellers – or stories you want to be good sellers. You can get live links because you’re on the digitals. Make certain that your links are specific - Kindle to Amazon, Nook to Barnes & Noble and Smashwords to Smashwords. It’s a great thing to put up 200 tantalizing words because Kindle only allows 10% display of your story which (a) might not be juicy and (b) includes all your introductory information so it’s a teeny sample and giving away more is better. I keep all my individual links on separate word documents for easy cut and paste access. Notice that in the paperbacks you read they very often have the first few chapters of the next book that’s coming out in the back of the book. Same idea here. Don’t be afraid to give stuff away, lots and lots of stuff. You want to give enough to get people interested in what you have written.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Series Sell Better Than Isolated novels

...which holds true in non-fiction as well. For example people who write diet books, follow the diet book with cook books, and exercise books, and smart shopping books. The same holds true for produc ts and how they build on each other. I see buying series in my own purchasing patterns - if I like a series, I’ll snap up every book in that series because I want to find out what happens next. Every novel has an arc that takes it from beginning to resolution. Series have longer arcs. Sometimes each story is complete within itself. Sometimes a novel is actually a bridge to the next novel – same for movies. An example in a familiar movie series “The Return of the Jedi” is one of those bridge stories that gets us from the first to the third movie – a good story but not nearly as satisfying or stand alone complete as the first and third. Almost every third book in the Harry Potter series is a bridge book although JK Rowling pulls them off better than many series authors. Lee Child with his Reacher series really writes stand alone stories that are not at all dependent on each other and you can see the character evolve through the series. Always think in terms of how you can use what you’re writing in a series right from the beginning – whether you’re working in fiction or non-fiction.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Self-Publishing and Distribution Houses.

If you self publish paper books Baker and Taylor (which for some reason is also on Smashwords) is probably the easiest distribution house to work with - although there are different distribution ho uses for different purposes. I have them list in my “How To Write A Book That Positions You As An Expert In Your Field.” Distribution through the distribution houses is a bear. The big distribution houses expect that if you are going to work through them that you have a national program in place. Even if you tell them that you are only going to work the California market they do not listen and then they get annoyed when you don’t make New York sales. You have to decide early in the game of writing exactly what you are going to use your books for and realistically how you’re going to market them. And most importantly how many you really need. You have to decide how much of your time you’re going to spend marketing, how you’re going to market and where. If you only need a few dozen books for back of the room sales you can go the print-on-demand route. You make less profit but you still make profit. You can make your books available on the digitals and you can make your paperback books available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Be very realistic about how much time you are going to spend marketing and what you project the results of your efforts are going to be. If you order 2,000 books that is going to mean that you have boxes and boxes of books that have to be stored somewhere. If your business pops and you suddenly need 2,000 books you can get them in a matter of weeks from your on demand printer. My advice – be very, very conservative in the beginning. Read over Create Space for print on demand. It’s an Amazon company – and I’ve had good luck with Amazon so far. Keep in mind that the bookstores don’t like Amazon – BUT the bookstores particularly the big chains like Barnes and Noble are not Indie writer friendly any way.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Why Borders Failed

An interesting side note. This week’s Smashwords informed us that five of their authors are on the New York Times Best Seller’s List. That doesn’t mean that Smashwords put them there all by itself, but it does signify the significance of the digitals in the publishing industry. If you don’t know the story – Borders went out of business because it failed to see the new digital trend. By the time Borders realized the power of the digitals, Amazon was already making 50% of its sales on their Kindle platform. Barnes and Noble had introduced Nook and was well on its way to the 50% point. Borders woke up and found that the world had changed and that didn’t have either a digital reader or a digital platform. It simply could not compete. As someone from South Africa told me – back in the paper book days they would first have to figure a way to send dollars and then they’d have to wait six weeks for a book to arrive. Now they pay in whatever currency they pay in and they get the book they want in ten seconds. The book world has been placed on it’s head. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

“” (that’s write or die) - a marvelous program for people with writer's block is a program into which you type the number of words you want to write in a given time frame. Then you start to write. If you stop f or any reason, the computer starts turning colors and then it starts yelling at you. You’re allowed one bathroom break. It’s a phenomenal way to get started when you’re not in the mood to write. I use it a lot during the Write A Novel In a Month competition. Last year I got pushed by the program (and myself) so hard that instead of writing 50,000 words in the month I wrote 93,000 and now I have to unscramble all the overwriting. Generally I use it to start myself and then I copy what I’ve written and carry it back to a Microsoft page and continue without the bells and whistles. I don’t need that kind of stimulus for too many hours. It’s a brilliant program and for those who get writer’s block because it doesn’t give your internal judgmental editor time to stop you.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A word about (negative) feedback.

A few years ago I had a client who got some really negative feedback from an agent. The agent was absolutely right about every single thing she said. My client took it personally, completely lost his temper and dug in his heels about doing anything she suggested. Needless to say he didn’t get anywhere with his book and eventually I dropped him as a client. Indeed he was the last client I will ever work with anyone when it comes to actually writing books. I only guide people toward getting published on the digitals once they have their book ready to publish. Here’s the deal about feedback. If someone in the industry takes their time to give you feedback get on your knees with gratitude, do everything they tell you to do and write them a long letter of appreciation. Feedback from someone who knows the industry is about helping you not hating you – even if it’s hard to take. Getting feedback is an indication that there is interest in your project if you’ll make the necessary changes. These people are in the industry, they know what’s selling, they also know what their friends in the publishing industry are looking for – feedback is a good thing even if it hurts your feelings. Swallow your ego and take advantage of the gift.

Monday, July 30, 2012

More About Digital Publishing from Smashwords

Another bit from the Smashwords newsletter that I found interesting was about pricing and how the big publisher’s pricing on the digitals is actually hurting authors. Big publishers charge more for their digital uploads than indie publishers like me (although it doesn’t cost them any more to post a book since the service is free and they cheat the reader by not allowing Amazon to loan to friends or even different readers owned by the same person – while I have to agree to that loan or charge less than $2.99 and receive 35% instead of 705). The publishers charge more because it justifies the high price of their paper books. However, they confuse money made with units sold. And units sold is what builds your following and your brand. From Smashwords: “One surprise, however, was that we found $2.99 books, on average, netted the authors more earnings (profit per unit, multiplied by units sold) than books priced at $6.99 and above. When we look at the $2.99 price point compared to $9.99, $2.99 earns the author slightly more, yet gains the author about four times as many readers. $2.99 ebooks earned the authors six times as many readers than books priced over $10. If an author can earn the same or greater income selling lower cost books, yet reach significantly more readers, then, drum roll please, it means the authors who are selling higher priced books through traditional publishers are at an extreme disadvantage to indie authors in terms of long term platform building. The lower-priced books are building author brand faster.” What is amazing and delightful is that only five years ago the digitals didn’t exist.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Publishing Companies Still Don't Get It

I was reading the Smashwords newsletter today and came across this information “There are signs that some publishers are beginning to realize they need to implement strategies to bring indie authors back into the traditional fold, as witnessed by Pearson's acquisition last week of Author Solutions, Inc., which will be operated under its Penguin imprint. I'm still scratching my head over this.Does Pearson think that Author Solutions represents the future of indie publishing? Author Solutions is one of the companies that put the "V" in vanity. Author Solutions earn 2/3 or more of their income selling services and books to authors, not selling authors' books to readers. Does Pearson think so little of authors that they've decided they can earn more money selling them services than selling their books?” That’s the racket in most of the companies that you see advertised on facebook and other social media sites. They get you to pay them to publish your book and then the sales start. They sell you an editor, they sell you a cover artist, they sell you reviewers, they sell you the opportunity to go to overseas book conventions….they sell you and sell you and sell you but you don’t make sales of your books and in some cases they never pay you for the books they sold. You’re much better off using the digitals yourself or using Create Space – Amazon’s print on demand.

Thursday, July 26, 2012 A Free Copyright Substitute is a substitute for copyrights. If you don’t want to pay for a copyright…and with short stories, if you publish many of them, sometimes that’s a bear of an expense – is a way to prove that you have written what you have written – the paper trail as it were for your intellectual property. It’s a free site for anyone storing less than 1 GIG….which is a lot of material. It’s for any kind of artist, writer, song writer, photographers and so forth. For large works I would suggest copyrighting with the copyright office, for smaller works this is a great alternative. For more information visit:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Digital Feedback

I have another client who I’m guiding into digital publishing. This week our conversation was about which of the digital sites to publish on. His choice (because it services so many distributors and therefore reaches so many markets) was Smashwords. My suggestion was to include Kindle in the mix because of the feedback. Kindle gives you daily feedback in terms of sales in almost real time. Every day you can see what’s selling. That is so important when you get into multiple lines of sales or you’re experimenting with a new market or series. Smashwords, on the other hand, doesn’t know itself what’s sold until after the close of each quarter when the distributors send in their reports. Eventually you figure out what has sold (although it’s a difficult process because their record keeping is to say the least primitive) but getting sales information three of four months after the fact is really slow in the digital age. Barnes and Noble’s Nook is no competition for Kindle.I sell 3 to 5 times the number of books on Kindle and I sell a greater variety as well although the feedback when it's there is excellent. Getting real time feedback allows you to make adjustments to your covers or blurbs or prices in almost real time because you can see the results. This holds true for every business. Test and measure. Test and measure. You can’t do that in slow motion in the digital age.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Digital Publisher Breaking News

Breaking News. Kobo is now publishing independently. That means there’s another place to which you can upload your digital books. Kobo is also one of the members so it you want to do one-stop-publishing you can leave it with Smashwords and take less money. Over the next few weeks I will remove every single one of my titles from the Kobo section on Smashwords and uploaded the books and stories onto Kobo itself. I have previously removed Nook and Kindle from Smashwords. The pay is better if you aren’t splitting it with another entity although Smashwords is really good about taking only a small share. At my writer’s breakfast today we discussed the benefits of moving to Kobo. Kobo is a Japanese firm that as put a great deal of money into their new system. What sets it apart from all the other systems is that if you make a mistake you can upload a new version WHILE the original is still being uploaded. That is very different. Aside from not splitting your fee, the other reason to use Kobo itself is that Smashwords is not as reliable as one would like it to be. It sometimes gets the covers wrong, or the blurbs wrong, it fails to upload. Sometimes it doesn’t upload to the distributors it claims to upload to. It’s an ambitious company and I’m sure it will improve but it is not the one-stop magic maker it advertises. I like Smashwords and I make money on Smashwords, and I’m glad I’m working with Smashwords, but I would definitely advise uploading separately to Kindle, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Business Of Writing

As some of you have commented, writing is a business. Your book is your product. It takes every bit as much effort to get your book out to the public as it takes to get any other product out to market. For a long time – before the digitals – I had given up doing anything except writing for pleasure because, since I’m quite introverted, meeting agents and publishers was a non-starter for me. The publishing industry absolutely does not support up and coming authors who aren't socially connected. So it was secretary by day, author by night. And then came the digitals. Suddenly none of us needs the publishers – Oh the industry won’t die, we’ll just make money for a change and we don't have to come out of our rooms. We still do a ton of work to get known, but we don’t give 95% of our profits away for the pleasure of seeing our names in print. Even if your writing is an adjunct to your real business it still must be marketed. And the publishers still will let you do 100% of the marketing unless you are already famous in which case you’re probably out there marketing anyway. The big difference in the famous person’s case is that when you call up a radio show to see if they’ll interview you they say “yes.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal - Final Step

Assembling your proposal. Start with your cover art. Cover art is not just a picture. It looks like the cover of a book with the title, subtitle and your name on it. Behind that goes your title page with the same information but without the picture. Next is your synopsis or overview, your table of contents, your annotated outline. These are followed by your three sample chapters in order. Finally is your bio, your comparison sheet and your marketing plan. Do not bind them. This is not a book you are submitting and the agent or publisher may want to Xerox it. They will not be happy if they have to pull it apart. Do make certain that you have 1.5 inch borders on the left and right, one inch on the top and bottom. Leave room for agents and editors to make notes. NOTE Make very sure that your copy is clean of typos and misspellings. Run every sheet through spell check just to be sure. I have hired copy editors to check for grammar and typos. If you want a good copy editor message me I will refer you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal Step 8 – Cover Page.

This discussion is about the cover page for the proposal not for the book. You usually have no control over the cover art if you are working with a publisher. When Suzy Prudden and I wrote “Change Your Mind Change Your Body” we told the publisher about our experience with “MetaFitness: Your Thoughts Taking Shape” and why we thought the cover should have a more metaphysical picture and definitely not a picture of Suzy in a Leotard. I’ve posted the cover picture we ended up with below. Obviously the publisher did not listen and the book didn’t sell well. It was not a fitness book in the conventional model and the metaphysical audience it was intended for would never pick up a book that looked like that. Putting a picture on the proposal that you really think speaks to your reader is your only shot at influencing the publisher’s ideas about cover art unless you are famous enough to demand final cover approval. So choose carefully. I’ll cover back of the book blurbs at another time – there is no back cover in a proposal and no back cover on the digitals.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal Step 7 – Bio

Your bio should be one page (double spaced) or shorter. It should focus on (a) what makes you the expert in your field that justifies this book, and (b) what you do that can result in sales. If you have done something that links you to a group of people that might conceivably buy your book – note it. If you are a public speaker who has large back of the room sales, note it. If you’re blogging with thousands of followers – note it. And don’t forget that if you’re all over the internet, publishers can look you up and check your bio, your claims and you’re your numbers. And if you aren’t all over the internet, that will be noted too. I sound like I’m droning on and on about your proposal constantly relating to sales, sales and sales – but that’s the bottom line for publishers. This is a proposal for publishing companies. You don’t need much of this if you’re going the self-publishing or digital route – although the annotated outline is a real plus for writing the book itself. In getting a publishing house to pay you money to publish your book you have to show that you are a person who can and will sell books.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal Step 6 – Marketing Plan

It is important for publishers to know that you can market your book. If you are writing for an established group like the American Cancer Society and you can make a deal before the fact that they are going to advertise your book or sell it on their site that’s the kind of marketing book publishers are looking for. What they are NOT looking for is a statement like “I will go to every radio show you book for me.” They probably won’t book any radio shows for you. One of the most startling things about publishing today is how little publishers do for their authors. Plan to do it all yourself. Plan to schedule your own book signings – if you want to spend the time. Plan to write your own self-promoting blogs. Plan to pay for a bunch of reviewers to review your book and don’t be disappointed when that doesn’t result in sales – you will be able to post the reviews on your website and on the digitals. They do give you credibility. If you are doing a lot of public speaking before large audiences you are the person the publishers are looking for. Do not make statements that are obvious pie in the sky like “I am going to speak on every radio program in America.” Unless you have a really good publicist who can get you on those radio shows. Make your marketing plan doable, grounded in reality, a plan that you can and will carry out. What publishers are really looking for is writers who are connected to legitimate markets where sales can be guaranteed.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal Step Five – Comparison Sheet.

This is actually a step I do early in the process, before I start writing anything. I go to the bookstore (not the library because library books can be old and already out of print) and I search out my competition. I’ve said this before – you HAVE to know which section your book fits into if a bookstore is going to carry you. You will find your competition in that section - your competition may be your guide to the section. This research is always fascinating. You get to see which publishers publish your competition. You get to see what’s selling right now. You get to see how your competition has handled a similar subject. You probably have half the information at home in your library but a trip to the bookstore is always instructive. NOTE – do not skip this process or just skim over it. You want to read some of these books if you haven’t already. You have to know and write down what your competition is writing, what you have to add to the conversation that is similar and what you bring to the table that is different. List at least five current books (those in the bookstore today rather than your library or on Amazon) Remember that you’re going to be approaching the same publishers so they know what’s current. They’re looking to you to make the comparison and contrast). Write title and author at the head of a paragraph and then describe briefly what each book is about. Finally describe what’s similar about your book and most importantly what’s different about your book.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Writing a Book Proposal - Step Four - Synopsis

Now that you have written your table of contents and annotated outline it’s time to write the synopsis. This is a one page attention grabber that is a summary of the book. It’s like those back of the book teasers except in this case you do give away the end. Since it will be placed up front in your proposal it’s your early shot at attracting the agent or publisher’s attention. It is also good practice at writing powerful material that sucks the reader in. I can’t tell you how to do it, but I can tell you what it feels like. It comes directly from your own excitement about your material. It almost writes itself because you believe so much in your subject and the need to share it with others. When it’s good and powerful it kind of explodes out of you. Think about that excitement that motivated you to get into your business in the first place. Think about the results of what you do and why it excites you. When you are charged up….tackle the synopsis.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal - Step Three - Sample Chapters

Write three complete sample chapters. Leave them unfinished in the annotated outline so the editor has a sample of how you work with your outline (of course you can fiddle with the outline as the chapter develops it’s not written in stone). One of your sample chapters can be your introduction where you have talked about your background including why you are qualified to write this book. Cardinal Rule Number One – NEVER belittle yourself in your book. The person who buys the book assumes that if a publisher put your book in a bookstore that you are an expert on your topic. Never delude the reader with statements like, “You may be wondering why you’re reading a book by a middle aged housewife from Denver…” No. The reader didn’t wonder why he was reading a book by a middle aged housewife from Denver, the reader thinks you’re a God in your field. Don’t ever tell them otherwise. There is no room for humility in writing. Even if you are a middle aged housewife from Denver you must have done something fantastic to get the publishing contract. You can say, “I started as a middle aged housewife from Denver but when my husband came down with cancer I mastered the art of getting him treatment when we didn’t have insurance and I’m going to tell you how to do it.” You turned yourself into that God. Stay godlike.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Writing a Book Proposal Step Two - Annotated Outline

An annotated outline is an outline in which you write the first two to five paragraphs of each chapter and then outline the rest of the chapter. It gives the editors a good sense of your writing, of how you will follow up on what the table of contents promises. You don’t have to write all of the chapter, you do have to write enough to show your stuff. What is really important about the annotated outline is that it’s the first place where you truly begin to see problems if they’re going to occur. It answers questions like: Do you have enough material for a book (which isn’t so much of a problem with the digitals)? Can you write? Are your chapters balanced – are you interested in everything you’re talking about or did you add chapters because you thought you ought to and they don’t fit or you have only a page worth of information and it shouldn’t be a chapter. Suzy Prudden and I have sold books from conversations, from an outline on a yellow pad and from this kind of proposal. Believe me when I tell you that writing from an annotated outline is easier to sell and easier to write from. It leaves no room for miscommunication with an editor about what the content of the book is to be about. It’s incredibly important.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Writing A Book Proposal - Step One Table Of Conents

Step one: The Table of Contents. Notice I didn’t start with the title, because titles are subject to change as the book progresses. So for that matter is the table of contents, but you start with a list of what you want to put into the book. You start with an introduction (which is where you can fit in a bit of your autobiography). You list chapter headings. You don’t list pages because you actually won’t know pages until you have pages and even then pages change when you go from the computer to the book. You actually reduce the number of pages by 1/3rd. Here’s the most important bit of information about chapter headings especially in non-fiction books. They should be stand alone catchy. The best chapter heading I ever wrote was for “Suzy Prudden’s One Stop Diet Revolution.” The chapter was “Why Sex And Exercise Are Best In The Morning.” I cannot tell you how many comments we got on that chapter which is actually about the lymphatic system. When a buyer (and remember it’s all about sales) comes in contact with your book there will be certain touch points. The cover, your name and reputation, the title and the table of contents. Your books stands a much better chance of selling if all of those ducks are lined up beautifully right from the beginning but I’ll get to cover and title last. This part is about Table of Contents. Spend time with those chapter headings. Get clever. It will pay dividends later.

Monday, July 9, 2012

If You Want To Get a Publisher

If you want to go the big publisher route you have to understand the dance. The bottom line of publishing is sales – which may sound like an obvious statement but it’s about as obvious as the saying that bottom line of all kinds of dancing is to move. Each part of the publishing industry, and that includes bookstores and agents for purposes of this discussion, are puzzle pieces that are interrelated all based on helping your market find you.. So start at bookstores. Bookstores have areas where your look for the books you’re interested in. If you’re interested in children’s books you’ll go immediately to the children’s book section. Same for every genre – self-help, psychology, medicine, history, science fiction, romance – down the line. So your first question is what shelf does my book fit on? (Be very certain that it fits on only one shelf which will be the topic of another blog.) The second question is who publishes in my section? You will find that different publishers specialize in different genres. The big publishers have bought up little publishers that specialized in certain areas that generally compliment the big publisher and they still specialize within the context of the bigger publishers. Notice how many of the books you read for your field have the same publishers. Then come the agents. Most publishers tell you that you cannot submit a book to them without an agent. Which isn’t totally true but true enough for this discussion. Agents generally have come up through the publishing ranks. They have made connections in certain publishing houses and just as the publishers specialize so do the agents. There are numbers of books in the resource section of your library or bookstore which will guide you to agents (who are your first step to getting into the publishing houses). Those books have sections which break the agents down according to their specialty. They will often tell you which houses they work with. They will often list the books they have placed. Pay attention. You want the closest fit possible between your book and your agent because then it will have the greatest chance of being accepted by a publishing house. This is very humbling information because most of us think our books will sell because they’re interesting. They will only sell if they are interesting, but the dance of matching the agent and the publisher is what gets you and your book in the door. – That and an excellent proposal.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Use Short Stories To Create Buzz

Use short stories or articles to build your brand on the digitals. A book doesn’t have to be 90,000 words to be published on the digitals, it can be 5-10,000 words. I write novels. I am now going to start writing short thriller stories using my novel characters so that people can sample my writing in short form at lower prices as introductions to major characters and series. I can write new stories for the characters that I’m going to use in a series and introduce them in cheaper versions. Very big writers do that. I recently read a short story by Lee Childs that introduced his series character Jack Reacher in his youth. It’s not just me being brilliant with this suggestion. This is particularly important if you’re going to write series. Right now I am offering my novels at $.99 to generate reviews and conversations. This week I’m offering my novel Provenance which is inspired by a true accident in New York and contemplates why the major characters played their roles in this riveting drama.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

How Much Do You Charge On The Digitals

How long does a book have to be and how much do you charge on the digitals? Kindle now offers three months at $.00 during which they promote your book. The idea is to generate reviews and conversations. For the indie writer, pricing starts with short articles in the $.99 area. That’s around 2,500 – 3,000 words. Over 3,000 words to 6,000 or so charge $2.99 (you have to write six $.99 short stories to match the income from one slightly longer $2.99 short story because the price point on Kindle changes from 35% to 70% at $2.99 – just saying. My novels at $4.99 are anywhere from 50,000-100,000 words. $4.99 is the demarcation line for impulse buying so take that into consideration when you’re pricing. The $9.99 price point is what the big publishers use to justify their hard cover paper book price - Because Kindle set that as the top price by making the percentage go down over that price. Because there’s generally no cost in publishing on the digitals people resent the high prices. I’ve read some scathing criticism on price points in otherwise good reviews. For more information visit Right now I am offering my novels at $.99 to generate reviews and conversations. This week I’m offering Provenance which is inspired by a true accident in New York and contemplates why the major characters played their roles in this riveting drama - Provenance means origin so the story is about the origins of the characters and why they played a part in the accident.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Where Do You Start Your Novel?

Where do you start a book? Very few people can sit down and write a book start to finish without revision. The best thing about computers is that you can start writing a book anywhere and you can cut and paste easily and effortlessly. It isn’t like it was in the days when I started writing when you wrote the first draft by hand, typed the second draft on a typewriter. Cut and pasted with a scissors and glue. Typed. Cut, pasted and glued the third draft. And if you were lucky that was the last draft. Once you get rolling you’ll find that the process feeds the book and that a natural order appears. You should expect to start in the middle and build in several directions. One of my favorite stories is about the time I published an article inspired by a physics class I was taking. My physics professor said, “I’m so impressed, it would have taken me at least five drafts to write that.” My thought was, “What makes you think it didn’t take me five drafts?” Today I am announcing a $.99 special on my book “The Provenance.” It is a story inspired by a real rescue in New York laced with the new age theory of rebirthing. Rebirthing teaches that you make life long- decisions at or around birth and during early childhood. It deals with the question what led the prime characters to act out the hero, victim and savior roles they played in this dramatic rescue.

Friday, June 29, 2012

You Don't Have To Do Everything Yourself

Getting an editor, a ghost writer, a copy editor, even publishing your picture books on the digitals (which is more difficult than simply getting an unillustrated book up) is as easy as advertising on Craig’s List. In this economy there are many people looking for jobs in the field. A friend of mine advertised for a copy editor recently and got 57 replies. The important thing to know about writing is that you don’t need to do it all yourself. And you don’t have to let not being a writer stop you from writing about your area of expertise, particularly if having a book would help you with sales or clients.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How To Write A Book If You're Not A Writer

Writing a book if you’re not a writer. Most everyone in business knows enough about what they do to write a book, BUT not everyone is a writer. Most people who don’t write can talk. Simply get a recording device and talk into it. Or start explaining your business in paragraphs as I am doing with publishing on the digitals and at the end of a few months you’ll have a small book. The important part about writing a book is that you start with a point of view. What part of your business do you want to explain? I have a book on writing for speakers. I have a book on character development. I will soon have a book on how to get published on the digitals. Each of them is about a certain aspect of writing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

PR Tips For Writers And Others

The following advice is not specific to writers, it’s for everyone who is looking at generating a little more PR. I’ve gotten all kinds of coverage through subscribing to “Reporter Connection” and HARO “Help A Reporter Out.” Just Google and subscribe. Notices come to your email every day. On these sites reporters ask for experts of all kinds – for radio, TV, magazines, newspapers and blogs. If you fit what they are looking for, contact the reporter by filling out the form on the sites. In some cases it just gets your name out. In other cases it gets your business out. In still other cases it gets both. Some of the radio stations on HARO are weird, which is not a reason not to give them a shot. If you look on my URL Press Page you can see some of the interviews and reviews I’ve gotten in the past year many of them from these sources.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Bookmarks as Business Cards

If you are a writer bookmarks can serve as your business cards (your info on the back). That advice comes with a caveat. Business cards that are not the same size and shape as other business cards are annoying and apt to get thrown out really fast. That’s a note to people who aren’t writers as well. Get clever with design not with size, shape and material. A fancy card may look good but if I can’t staple it to my paperwork it’s useless.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Make Bookmarks for Book Signings

Another marketing tip. If you are doing book signings – book signing parties – or other such things, include a bookmark in your book with your contact information on it. Include a thumbnail picture of one of your books. Your website address (where you have other books you’ve written posted), another item you’re marketing. Bookmarks can be made (20 on a page – two sided color and cut) by laminating at most print shops.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Test Marketing On The Digitals

The best thing about posting on the digitals is that if you make a mistake with a title you can post it under another title (just mention that you did that somewhere in the manuscript) – experiment until you start selling. The same holds true with keywords and descriptions, with covers and with back of the book cross advertising. With paper books you can’t do that – so test market with the digitals and go paper once you’ve tested what you’re doing – that is of course if you feel you need to go paper – which most of us don’t need to do unless we need the books for back of the room sales. For the next two weeks I’m lowering the price on “The Initiative” on both Kindle and Nook to $.99 so you can save $4.00 on the purchase price. It’s a five star rated book which received rave reviews which is about the CDC uncovering a terrorist anthrax attack on NYC and Dr. Cassandra William’s fight to stop terrorists from using another anthrax bomb on the city which will kill millions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why The Digitals Are So Great

Why the digital sites are so great. The big publishers and the agents and bookstores that are aligned with them do not support developing writers. They really only support the writers who don’t need their support – low hanging fruit. The digitals give you a chance to write, publish, market, find out what sells and why and to grow as a writer. There is no charge for publishing on the digitals. You don’t need an agent or a publisher. If you are a writer you’ll write anyway, you might as well get immersed in the business of writing and learn how to market what you write so you can make money doing what you love.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Getting Noticed on Barnes and Noble

Having said a lot about Amazon and Kindle supporting their readers let me go to Barnes & Noble and Nook. Unlike Amazon Barnes and Noble’s Nook doesn’t require reviews to actually be posted by readers. On Nook I can upload five reviews in the back section (where I upload the book itself) and simply reference the source. Unlike Amazon which has the “Like” function, Nook suggests that you should have read the book before rating it. There is space at the bottom of the books sales page for star ratings and reviews. As with Amazon, the more a book gets noticed on Nook the more they push sales, so if you are a Nook reader the same requests for going to nook and giving my books five star ratings (that is until you have read them and want to give a two sentence review) would be great.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tracking Your Digital Sales

Amazon and Barnes and Noble have really good tracking systems so you can see what’s selling and what you may want to revisit in terms of descriptions, keywords, titles, covers and so forth. NOTHING is more fun than visiting the reports pages once you start selling – especially toward the end of the month. It is impossible to track Smashword sales so you wait and see what happens every quarter.

Friday, June 15, 2012

About Five Star Ratings

The third way to get noticed by Amazon is by Star Ratings. Star Ratings are between one and five - five being best. I usually get 4-5 star ratings for my novels. Stars -like reviews - are located on the sales page lower down near the reviews section. It’s always nice to be able to say you’ve gotten five star reviews or ratings. It also helps Amazon notice and then push your books. Amazon of all the digital sellers works hard to push its writers that sell. You’d think that would be a no brainer for a digital publisher since they make money on what you sell – I assure you it’s not.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Reviewing on Amazon Changes Your Algorhythms

The second way to get noticed by Amazon is by reviews. 20 reviews and you are definitely included in the “If you liked this book you might also like…” Reviews are usually never longer than a couple of sentences although reviewers often recap the stories as part of a review. It’s not necessary to do that but it makes writing longer reviews easier. All of this liking and reviewing is very, very helpful to the author. Although I have been fortunate not to receive bad reviews even those are helpful because they are feedback.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Liking on Amazon

When people “Like” your book on Amazon it changes the way Amazon algorhythms view those books. “If you liked this book you might also like...” The Like symbol is on the book sales page which comes up when you click on the books picture in a general list. Liking is close to the top. The more attention a writer and his or her various books receive the more Amazon pushes them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing

The address for Amazon self-publishing is kdp stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. Kindle is very separate from Amazon so if you have problems you have to contact them directly...just go to help when you are in Kindle direct rather than trying to contact them when you are in Amazon. You can get to them through Amazon help eventually. Amazon customer service is MARVELOUS. I am very impressed with this company I think they stay awake nights thinking about how they can make money creating opportunities for their authors. Very different from the publishing industry at large. Amazon also has the self-publishing opportunity Create Space which I'll write about at another time. I haven't used it yet but it's a way to turn a successful seller on the digitals into a paperback. It's downside is that Amazon products are being boycotted by the bookstore competition. Which is really dumb and is not a reason to avoid publishing on Amazon.

Monday, June 11, 2012

More About Pen Names

Another word about using pen names. Limit the number you write under because each one of them has to have content in order to build following. The more stories, articles and books you have under a pen name the greater your chance of being discovered. But even short stories (2500 words and up) take time to write. It’s better to write a great deal under a few names than to thin out each pen name’s content by writing under a great many names.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Using Pen Names Strategically

The reason to write under pen names is because switching from genre to genre under the same name can make your readers furious. Just imagine how a devoted Robert Ludlum fan would react if he suddenly used the Ludlum moniker to market a romance novel. Ken Follet did that and it was very bad for him as a writer. His agent actually told him not to do it. The agent was 100% correct. One author name for one genre is the unwritten rule. My goal in this group is to put my books on the best sellers lists. It will help me if you go to my books and Like them on Amazon at the top of the book’s sales page.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

More About Smashwords.

A note about (which is a site that translates your book into the languages of eight other sites and is a path to I-Pad, Sony, Nook and Kindle if you want to consolidate). If you are using a pen name then you have to create an account for each name you are writing under or sign up as a publisher. It’s not difficult, but if you’re going the separate writers route Smashwords requires separate email addresses. My goal in this blog is to put my novels on the best sellers lists – so if you read books please check them out.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Benefit of Smashwords is a great site to publish on first (before you upload to kindle or nook) because you have to have a clean manuscript in order to get it accepted by Smashwords. They also give great formatting directions on how to create clean copy . It’s amazing how many glitchy little things can get into your manuscript if you aren’t diligent. Publishing on the digitals and particularly on Smashwords takes special skills if you publish charts and pictures but for straight writing it’s really easy to use.

Friday, June 1, 2012

E publishing At Barnes and Noble

Publishing on Barnes & Noble (“Nook”) can be a royal pain in the beginning because their digital publishing company is so hard to find. Here is the address where you can sign up at pubit for your own publishing account – create an account or log in at the upper right hand corner -

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Publishing Paradigm

There is a new paradigm in the publishing world thanks primarily to and the introduction of Kindle. It is now quick and easy to publish your own books bypassing agents and publishers all together. There are many benefits to this new paradigm not the least of which is that you don’t have to wait two years to be published. It’s more difficult if your work has lots of graphs and pictures but plain writing takes about fifteen minutes and all it requires is a good cover.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More About Book Signings

Another place to sign books is at a store that is related to your book subject. Example… an antique store if you’re writing about antiques – You become their draw. Let them do your marketing to their list – you bring your own books so you get the profit. They get people who hang around and shop after they’ve met you.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back Of The Room Book Signings

Do your book signings at the back of your own workshops. That way you’re already there, you have an audience that already is excited about you and may want to know more about what you have to say.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Stores and Indie Writers

Big bookstores are not friendly to indie writers. They are still married in a symbiotic relationship to the big publishers. If you are an indie writer your indie publisher has to guarantee that they will buy back any books that don’t sell at a book signing. That buy back guarantee may cost you between $350 and $1000 – it’s a profit center for many unscrupulous indie publishers who generally nickel and dime writers to death and deliver nothing better than they could make happen for themselves.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Figuring Out Your Genre

I tell all would-be writers to go to the bookstore to find the sections in which their competition is carried. Bookstores need to know exactly where to put your book in their store or they won’t carry it. Smart publishers put the genre of each book right on the spine. Books too much unlike any other won’t be carried in a bookstore. Knowing your genre is still very important even on the digitals. Readers have been trained to search by genre. You want to make absolutely certain that your book fits in one genre and only one genre. Cross genre tends to make readers of both genres unhappy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Surprising Character Moment

Writing fiction is a constant surprise. Once you start the process you never know what the characters are going to do. I had no idea how “Relentless: The Search For Typhoid Mary” would end. I knew the facts since it was based on a true story but not what the character would do with them. Yet it is the end that makes Mary Mallon simply marvelous to any of us who has ever stood up to and triumphed over a bully.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What a Character Doesn't Do or Have...

Sometimes what a character doesn’t do or have is as telling as what he does do and does have. Movies are particularly good at visually demonstrating that. In Bone Collector the Angelina Jolie character has not unpacked her moving boxes after months of living in her apartment… In Angel Eyes the Jim Caviezel character simply has a mattress on the floor of his large apartment. That is the first sign of a character with an interrupted life – the grounding of the ark of change.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Robert Reich Goes Digital

Why did Robert Reich a really famous author publish his newest book Beyond Outrage as an e-book? Because it takes two years to get a book out in the standard book publishing world and what Robert Reich had to say he wanted to say now while it was still really relevant. A publisher might have put it up for him – or he might be getting 70% instead of 15% on the profits from the fruits of his labor. The digitals are more than 50% of the market right now.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Conflict Makes Great Writing

In writing fiction conflict is the driver of the story. I spend hours figuring out conflicts not only between villains and heroes but between lovers, children and parents, dogs and cats…. The more conflict there is the more interesting the characters, their relationships and the story itself. The Initiative is available on Kindle and Nook for only $2.99

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In Your Choice Is Your Talent

My teacher Stella Adler said, “In your choice is your talent.” She was one of the inspirations for my book “The Character Book.” I love creating characters and it shows. Here’s what one reviewer said about me: “The first big thing that hit me about this book is a specific talent that Joan has as a writer that I've rarely seen, and I've read A LOT of books. Throughout the book we're presented with several characters who have contracted the anthrax virus through one means or another. In a matter of a few short paragraphs, Joan was able to make me care about those characters.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's Impossible To See Your Own Typos

In my book “How To Write A Book That Positions You As An Expert In Your Field” I explain that it’s close to impossible to see your own typos so at the very least you need a good copy editor to give your book a once over. Writers have killed their reputations by publishing badly written, badly proofed material on the digitals.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be Careful Who You Publish With

Be careful who you self-publish with - I learned that with “The Initiative”. There is a site called writerbeware that evaluates self-publishing companies in terms of honesty. At this time I recommend Amazon’s Create Space. At this time Amazon is definitely helping its writers more than other companies. Although you should know that other publishers, bookstores, and pub sites are making war on Amazon – it’s a war they will not win.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why You Don't Need Agents & Publishers

The reason publishers and agents are no longer necessary for must of us will be addressed in my classes on "How To Make Money Publishing On The Digital Sites." It's a new world fraught with potential rip offs and at the same time very exciting.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

How Price Points on the Digitals Impact Your Bottom Line

I learned the hard way that if you’re going to post short stories on the digitals make them over 3500 words long and sell them for $2.99. On Kindle you earn 35% for stories you sell under the $2.99 price point, but you earn 70% of your sale over $2.99. Quite simply you have to sell six short stories at the $.99 price point to equal the income generated by the sale of one short story at $2.99.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What I Learned From Publishing "Relentless: The Search For Typhoid Mary"

I learned with “Relentless: The Search For Typhoid Mary” that I could capture a worldwide audience by publishing on the digital sights – Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Smashwords which services Apple, Sony and six other e-pub sites. The best part - just as I don’t have to wait to publish, readers don’t have to wait to read.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Premise Of My Triller Novel

The premise of my thriller “The Initiative” is that “Within every solution lie the seeds of the next problem.” In this story our President employs germ warfare to end an unpopular war….and two of the bombs are returned to be used on New York. The story is a race to save New York. I quite like the ending which took my own breath away even though I had set it up.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tip From Date Rape It's Not Your Fault

In my book “Date Rape: It’s Not Your Fault” I advise women in bars and at parties never to drink anything that they haven’t opened themselves. Never drink anything you left on the table while you dance or use the restroom even if you did open it yourself. 1 in 4 women 16-24 are raped – be vigilant.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Notes on Writing 5/7/2012

In my book “How To Write A Book That Positions You As An Expert In Your Field” I explain why you shouldn’t write your autobiography. What you DO and how you do it is often more salable than who you are. Even movie stars wouldn’t get bios if they were simply pretty housewives.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Body Wisdom Daily Reading February 17, 2012

JOINTS - Represent your ability to move in any direction while feeling supported. February 17th in numerology is a number six day, a day to focus on home, family and immediate community. It is an excellent day to recognize that you can move in any direction you want while being supported by your family and immediate community. You can also make important moves within your home, family or immediate community.

Affirmation of the Day: It is now okay for me to make important moves within my home, family or immediate community.

To draw your personal card for the day, go to

Special Offer Free Half Hour Coaching Session with Suzy Prudden call 310-640-8885

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

US Fighting Two Wars

Panetta says America can't fight two wars at the same time... it cant fight one war at a time if you count winning. It would be better to focus on benefits than on trying to wage asymetrical wars that it hasn't and can't win going forward.