Monthly Archives: November 2011

Don’t rush to get your book out


They call themselves often “Publisher” and almost everyone else uses this phrase too. But they are content managers / POD printers / book distributors – not really publishers. They do not pay any advances and are mostly not too concerned about any editing of your book – unless they can make a business out of it, using freelance editors, and charge you hefty fees.

Here are some tips for a smooth self-publishing experience:

Research the self-publishing company you plan to use thoroughly. Check out:

  • Ask lots of questions and let them know your expectations.  Read their website carefully.  Learn everything you can about the publication process and the cost.  Find out what type of author support is available, and what they expect from their authors.  Contact several of their authors.  
  • Take the time to submit a manuscript that is error free. A professional edit is a MUST.
  • Review proofs extremely carefully. Make sure corrections are done properly. Let it read by at least one more person.
  • Enjoy the process. Publishing a book is a major accomplishment. Instead of rushing it, take the time to savor each moment.



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Help is On The Way: Fiverr

I am not sure if you get someone to create an eBook cover for $5, but probably to send out hundreds of likes to Facebook friends or tweet your book to them.  With over 75,000 active listings on the site you might find a quick and inexpensive fix for many challenges in self-publishing, website issues and even lots of social marketing help. For me, it turned to be an instant success delivery for the tiny amount of $5 that I spent on each small gig, ordered at Fiverr.

There’s a flurry of practical micro tasks: CSS micro bugging, social marketing, resume revising and PowerPoint editing help. Here are some samples of “I will”:

• Will place 40 Delicious, 40 Diigo and 40 StumpleUpon bookmarks for you website/video for $5 

• Will send 350+ likes to Facebook from real human for you in less than 48 hours just for $5

• Will write original and effective content up to 500 words for your website for $5

• Will edit your FICTION eBook of up to 5000 words for $5

• Will create and manage a Facebook page and app for your website for $5

• Will tweet your product, services, or link to my 16,000+ twitter followers for $5

• Will translate any text from 50 to 200 words from English to Spanish and vice versa for $5 

• Will draw a cartoon with your messages or sentences for $5

• Will do 50 comments on your blog for $5

• Will post any message on my Facebook wall of 4,000 friends for $5

• Will convert ANY of your files from one format to another for $5

• Will edit, proofread and provide feedback on any document up to ten pages for $5

• Will write a positive REVIEW for your book on Barnes and Noble for $5

• Will audit your website design and usability from a DESIGNERS point of view for $5

• Will make a nice logo design for your business and deliver the LOGO within 3 days for $5

• Will draw a custom logo for your business or website and make it into a graphic for your use for $5

• Will do Performance Testing of your website for $5

• Will teach you how you can Set Up a Database in Excel for $5

• Will edit CSS for you for $5 is really easy to use, give it a try. Snippets from the Wall Street Journal:

“Although buyers pay $5, sellers receive less than $4, after PayPal payment-processing and Fiverr fees, which is the primary way the site makes money. PayPal is the payment method and posting a gig is free.” “, is a site that allows you to buy and sell (business) tasks for $5 and the site is a good match for this economy. Buyers are looking for cheap prices and sellers are often unemployed or underemployed, seeking freelance income. “There is a bizarre joy to browsing the sometimes hilarious user-created content on the site.”




What is the Role of a Publicist?


Barnes & Noble Baltimore, MD

Barnes & Noble Baltimore, MD

In traditional publishing it’s called publicist, for everywhere else it’s a Public Relations Manager. 
Here is a sample of their job description: The Publicist manages all aspects of a publicity campaign for approximately 2-3 titles a month.

In this role you will:
-Publicize books and authors; schedule interviews with broadcast and print media.
-Book local and national publicity in broadcast and print media as well as bookstore tours.
-Brief authors on how to handle interviews, develop media contacts, and accompany authors on interviews.
-Write press releases, pitch letters and other promotional materials relating to tours.
-Coordinate all publicity activities on assigned titles from the mailing of galleys to the development of proper angles and pitches; schedule and plan bookstore appearances and special events; coordinate publicity updates for division and sales force.
-Schedule/book author travel.

-4 year college degree or equivalent business experience
-3-4 years prior relevant work experience – including booking experience, thorough familiarity with the media, and experience with paperbacks
-Excellent written and verbal communication skills
-Must be detailed-oriented, well-organized and able to set priorities under pressure

Media Bistro has this current job offer by Harper Collins Publishers, New York right now on their website:




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Posted by on November 24, 2011 in Book Sales, Marketing, Publishing


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Author Beware…it’s a long post

Stop Sign99% of all manuscripts will be accepted by vanity publishers (aka subsidy publishers), and will be published – as long as the author is willing to pay their (totally inflated) prices.

I am sure you have seen these small ads in literary magazines or on the internet:  “If your book deserves publication, send your manuscript now to …”.  And authors do not have to wait long for a response to their submission.

The main goal of these vanity publishers is to have their printing company busy, so they are not really into executing the work of a traditional publisher.  A background check reveals in almost all cases that they are either printers or affiliated with a printing company.  I was shocked to learn that even one of the best Canadian book printing companies went into vanity publishing a year ago.

Authors are certainly surprised when they encounter a publisher who wants money up-front. It should be the other way around shouldn’t it?  After the author, having signed a hefty check, eventually learns that paying for publication is no guarantee that a single copy of his book will appear in any book shop, not even the local ones.

Many vanity publishers will charge somewhere between $8,000 to $20,000 (or even more) to publish a book depending upon its length. Why would an author pay $20,000 when he or she can have the same book printed for $1,500?

Nevertheless, the contract will be full of promises: What exactly will be paid to the author for subsequent reprinting, subsidiary, for audio and e-books, mass-market paperback rights, TV & Radio rights, merchandising and commercial rights and even film and foreign rights – to make the author believing that his “publisher” actively solicits his manuscript in Holywood.

Vanity contracts include usually a certain amount of “free” copies for the author; sometimes even as much as 10 books and if he/ she require more, they have to be paid. In reality, he / she is paying for them twice…

The stock of unsold books remains the property of the publisher, so if there is a chance to remainder them later, he takes the proceeds. In most cases, only a certain number of copies in an edition will actually be bound; the rest will remain in the warehouse as flat printed sheets until required, which is probably never.

Vanity / subsidy publishers are not concerned with editing, promotion, sales or distribution – unless the author pays additionally. For most vanity books, neither exists, and should review copies really being sent out: Reviewers are wary of vanity presses because they know that little attention is paid to the editing of the book. Unless the vanity house has a proven distribution and sales organization, the author is going to have to sell it himself and usually the book sells fewer than 200 copies.

As seen in a Vanity publisher contract:
In the event of bankruptcy or liquidation of the publisher for any cause whatever, the author shall have the right to buy back the publications at fair market value to be determined by agreement or arbitration.” (That means, die author has to pay a second time for all his unsold books).  “If the author does not purchase remaining copies of the book, the representative of the publisher shall have the right to sell same at the best obtainable price without payment of royalty to the author.”  Unbelievable! Unethical! Criminal!

Beware of these signs:

– Don’t trust flattering letters concerning your manuscript.
– Be suspicious of vague promises of quality production. You will not get it in writing…
– Be wary of promises to sell television and film rights, serial books and other money-making options.
– Read, read and read once more the contract.
– Don’t pay a dime, get a copy of the contract and show it to a lawyer that is specialized in contract / copyright law.
– Watch out for contract clauses, that allow the publisher to renegotiate his initial pitch, and also where the “Publisher shall have the right to license the rights set forth”.

Beside their over-the-top printing prices, Vanity publishers might cheat you in a contract that expires only 50 years after your death and with worldwide rights, even universe rights – a contract that a friend of mine signed in Ontario, Canada (and paid dearly).

“The author hereby grants the publisher, during the full term of copyright, the sole and exclusive right to manufacture, print, publish and sell and to otherwise use, as set out further in this agreement, including, but not limited to, acting as agent and/or exercising any or all subsidiary rights, throughout the universe the work.” And: “The copyright remains with the author, until fifty (50) years after the death of the author. All covenants and grants of the author shall bind the author’s successors or assigns.

Despite all the warnings, there are still writers who fall into the trap of vanity / subsidy publishing. As soon as one vanity publisher goes out of business, another fills the gap.  




Hyper Smash

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Posted by on November 23, 2011 in Publishing Contracts


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Amazon’s Sales Rank Express

Want to check your books sales rank?
Get all these details for FREE from Aaron Shepards website:

– Sales rank checking for Kindle Books in four countries.
– More detailed stats on Customer Reviews, with a breakdown by number of stars.
– Quick sales rank checking of multiple print books on Amazon in nine countries,      including Spain, Italy, and China.
– Charts of the last week’s sales ranks, with visible peaks that let you make quick sales estimates and spot trends. In order to see charts, turn on “Tracking” for each title.

Aaron Shepard, the author of “Aiming at Amazon” and a dozen more books offers this great service tool for fellow writers on his website (since 2008), check it out:

The New York Times wrote once about it:





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“Failing Mr. Fisher”

Just enjoyed this book:

Failing Mr. Fisher“, Kindle Edition, by James Wintermote

Book: Failing Mr. Fisher
Jim Fisher is a first year teacher who quickly learns that his job is more than simply educating his students.  He has to battle indolence in the classroom, enabling parents, and an educational system which caters to student and parental incompetence. 

Fisher tries to keep his standards and expectations high, even when he has to go head to head with an administrator who becomes his nemesis.

The novel also takes a glimpse into Fisher’s personal life as he tries to balance the perils of dating with the trials and tribulations of his profession. 

The result is a hilarious explosion of absurdity, both in and out of the classroom, that takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride of entertainment and edification.

Failing Mr. Fisher is based on the teaching experiences of James Wintermote and his family and colleagues.  Using humor and candor, the novel gives us an insider’s perspective into why the foundation of the American public education system is crumbling and how it affects not only the students, but more importantly the teachers who have been given the responsibility to educate our nation’s children.
Author Information
James Wintermote was born and raised in El Centro, California. After high school, he spent six years in the U.S. Navy, and then entered the University of Wyoming, receiving a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After working in radio for two years, he returned to UW and earned a second degree in English/Journalism Education.  While teaching language arts at various high schools in Nevada, he earned his Master’s degree in Teaching. In 2004 he was admitted to the Great Basin Writing Project’s Invitational Summer Institute (an affiliate of the National Writing Project) and later become its technology liaison from 2005 – 2009.

He was selected as a participant in the Japan Fulbright Memorial Fund teacher exchange program for the October 2006 cycle and spent two weeks in Japan visiting schools in the prefecture of Eniwa, as well as staying with a host family and learning about the local culture.  Coming from a family of educators has been a major source of inspiration for his novel. His father is a retired science teacher, and his older brother Michael, younger sister Judy, and younger brother Kelly are also teachers. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Posted by on November 22, 2011 in e-Books


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Checklist for Your Author Website

Web Presence Name

Before you (or your web designer) start creating your website make a plan that should cover at least these points:

Checklist for Your Author Website

– Domain Name
– Web hosting
– Programming language **
– Font type*
– Page layout
– Text preparation and editing
– Image preparation for web
– Customer tracking system
– Payment systems
– Usability tests
– Website marketing
– Search Engine Optimization

* Arial or Verdana are available on all computers
** HTML or XHTML & CSS, if you sell your book(s) from your website: shopping cart PHP embedded

Create a quality website, interesting content, be genuine and give your customers value.

Bulletproof Webdesign

Book Dont Make Me Think

Webdesign books on Amazon:

  • Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition, by Steve Krug
  • The Web Designer’s Idea Book, Vol. 2, by Patrick McNeil
  • Learning Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide to (X)HTML, CSS, by Jennifer Niederst Robbins
  • White Space is Not Your Enemy, by Kim Golombisky
  • The Principles of Beautiful Web Design, by Jason Beaird
  • Bulletproof Web Design: Improving flexibility and protecting against worst-case scenarios with XHTML and CSS, by Dan Cederholm 
  • Head First HTML with CSS & XHTML, by E. Freeman and E. Robson
  • Beginning HTML, XHTML, CSS, and JavaScript, by Jon Duckett 





Hyper Smash




Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Marketing, Website & SEO


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