Monthly Archives: February 2012

KickStarter – Have You Heard About It?

Photo Petr Kratochvil

Last year I found  KickStarter on the Internet and became one of the many people who funded a community garden / small park to transform an ugly, abandoned parcel of land in a downtown area into a blooming paradise. Then I learned that a couple of writers use KickStarter to fund their book publishing projects. Maybe you read recently about the fantastic success of “The Order of the Stick” and its Reprint Drive, a comics project by Rich Burlew. He managed to raise $1,254,120 (his initial goal was only $57,750)

However, the famous KickStarter is not the only “Crowdfunding Community” on the Internet:

Crowdfunding pulls together a community over the Internet to fund a project, business or cause. Rules differ from site to site. Generally an idea is pitched, a fundraising goal and a deadline are set for raising funds. Potential patrons can review the pitches and decide if there are any they’d like to support. They might be rewarded if the project comes to fruition, but will not own any part of the business or project.

Start with a pitch to launch your own project, describe your project, specify what rewards patrons will receive if the fundraising is successful, and create a funding goal and a timeline.  Pledges are made with a credit card, however, the patron’s credit card won’t be charged until the project is successfully funded. If you don’t reach your funding goal by the deadline, no money changes hands.

Here are just some of many tips to help you secure funding:

  • choose the right crowdfunding site
  • know your target audience & leverage your social networks
  • plan ahead and prepare email blasts
  • create a compelling name, description, image and video to stand out

“The Order of the Stick” success has shown that crowdfunding can provide funding for authors at a level, equal to or higher than traditional publishers’ advances. Right now is an exciting time to be an entrepreneurial author. 
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Fiction Writing Workshop Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas

April 8-15, 2012 • with Richard Bausch

This week-long workshop sponsored by the Cape Eleuthera Writers & Artist Workshop series will bring together a small group of dedicated fiction writers on the Cape Eleuthera campus to work with celebrated author Richard Bausch. Participants will further develop their writing by receiving expert feedback on their own manuscripts in a safe and constructive environment as well as by engaging in writing exercises, by considering issues of craft and of the writing life, and ultimately by cultivating a community based upon the shared love of writing.

“Sense of Place,” a concept deeply integral to the philosophy and mission of The Cape Eleuthera Island School, will be interwoven into the fabric of the week, both in the actual workshop activities and in “exploration time.” The workshop ultimately promises to be a perfect mix of instruction, inspiration, relaxation, and celebration of the art of fiction. Highlights of the week include:

• Intimate workshop experience with veteran writer Richard Bausch
• Individualized feedback on a manuscript
• Afternoons to enjoy the beaches, waters, and Cape Eleuthera
• All-day “Sense of Place” writing retreat at Lighthouse Beach
• Optional activities, including SCUBA, snorkeling, and biking
• Accommodations in the new sustainably-designed Hallig House
• Variety of evening social and literary events, including sunset cruise and catered final banquet
Cost  $2,500 includes lodging, meals, local transportation.

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Like To Do A Book Signing in San Antonia, TX ?


Nancy Oakley

Nancy Oakley

Nancy Oakley invites authors: 

“I am inviting authors to do book signing at my own bookstore at the RiverCenter Mall in San Antonio Texas, “The Thai Princess Bookshop.”
Email me if you would like to do a book signing so I can schedule you.

A native of Thailand, Nancy Oakley Suku came to the U.S. during the Vietnam War. After working in civil service for over 20 years, she embarked upon her dream of entrepreneurship (as a successful author of business books among others). She initially delved into the world of real estate and in 2008, she began her career as a retail business owner along the beautiful San Antonio Riverwalk.

Nancy Oakley currently owns and operates a prestigious jewelry and gift shop, a bookstore and is also an accomplished author. She lives with her family in Spring Branch, TX.



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7 Easy Ways to Promote Your Book


Authors need to keep in mind that their books are their business. Dozens of free or very inexpensive ways – other than time – can help to promote their books. Here are the ones you can call “Marketing on a Shoestring”:

Add a link to email/forum signatures
This will only take you a couple of minutes – and could get your e-book in front of hundreds of people. Just add a line to your email signature, such as …. … (name) author of ….. (book titles), available from …. (link).
If you are a member in forums, check whether it’s okay to link to your e-book sales page in your signature.

Mention your book(s) in your “about” page
New blog readers or visitors on your website want to see who you are and what your blog is all about.
The “About” page is a fantastic place to mention any products or services – including books and e-books.
Add your e-book’s cover image, plus a short description of key benefits (perhaps in bullet-point format).
Encourage readers to “click here to find out more” rather than “click here to buy now” – it’s not such a big

Send a sample chapter to everyone on your email list
Your newsletter or mailing list is a superior marketing tool, however, avoid overloading your readers with offers and promotions. Instead provide an exclusive free chapter to your email list. Use the last page of it to tell readers where to get the full e-book. Your readers will be thrilled – and you may make some new sales. If you don’t have an email list yet, or if your list is very small, a free sample of your book makes a compelling sign-up incentive for your blog.

Guest post on a relevant Blog
Your own blog my not have many readers. Yet, it’s not too hard to get your new book in front of an audience of  ten thousands of readers: Write a great guest post on an established blog and promote your e-book in the bio /
signature. Find a blog that has readers who are constantly looking for new, exciting books.

Comment on other writers blogs
When you comment on another blog, most of the time the form asks for your web address. If readers think your posts are valuable, they will be interested to learn more about you and will click on this link to find your blog or website.

Join more Social Media sites
You are busy already with the ones you have?  Believe me, it is almost the same effort to “feed” one Social Media Site as it is for five. Write your info or comment ones and send it to all your sites. Or copy and paste the latest info from one site and post it on the other ones. Or add your own photographs on multiple sites. It is not important how much time you spend on each of them, rather than how interesting your post(s) are. If can also use social bookmarking programs: write a new blog post or edit your website and with one click on your computer your article or web entry is spread all over the internet to each and every social media site or blog roll you ever registered before. This way you save a lot of time – time you can use to comment on other peoples post and be “social”.

Join HARO, Help-A-Reporter-Online 
Several thousands of journalists across the country are constantly on deadline for stories they need to finish. Often they need to interview experts for the insights that build their stories. You are probably more qualified than you think to serve as an expert on many topics. Journalists love to interview authors and authorities on certain subjects, and they will introduce you as the author of …. book, which will give you free publicity.

Do you use all these practices to promote your book – and some more?
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Are You Attending The Frankfurt Book Fair?

Book Trade Show Representation
If you are wary of the cost for a booth at the world’s biggest book fairs, not to mention the travel cost, consider to have your book displayed there. Check out ForeWord who is one of the companies who offer this service.

They write:
By exhibiting in the ForeWord cooperative booth, your titles may potentially generate rights interest from foreign publishers (typically, a foreign rights deal includes a non-refundable advance and a royalty rate of 7 – 8%.) So, with no out-of-pocket expense – except for the $175 exhibit fee to have your title displayed at the ForeWord booth – you have a chance to earn an unexpected windfall – in the best scenario.

Among other International Book Fairs ForeWord exhibits at:
London International Book Fair April 16-18, 2012
BookExpo America June 5-7, 2012
both are $175 per title or  $600 shelf (5 books)
However the best option and the world leader in book contract sales is the
Frankfurt Book Fair October 10-14, 2012

To accurately describe the Frankfurt Book Fair, one word cannot be avoided: “overwhelming.” The numbers alone are daunting: nine show halls, more than 6700 exhibitors, publishers from over 100 countries, and a stunning 150,000 !!! attendees. Luckily, with excellent train / metro services, ample hotel space, and German efficiency, Frankfurt’s just the place to pull off such an event. Historically, ForeWord’s booth is across from Random House assuring fantastic traffic. Worldwide Audience.
$175 per title – $600 shelf (5 books)

Representatives from ForeWord direct visiting agents and reps to the appropriate shelves (books are arranged by genre), pass out literature, and collect business cards and contact information when interest in a certain title is expressed. ForeWord will then pass on the contact info to the corresponding publisher.

It is a chance for small publishers to sell foreign rights. In the worst scenario you loose $175.



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This Is NOT Your Book – Or Is It?

Misspelling, formatting errors, grammar flaws – are self-publisher AND publishing houses not editing anymore? Joel Friedlander wrote a great blog about the the editing process.

What readers / customers say on the Kindle Forum about these issues:

Carol Hannon says:
I, too, have discovered numerous misspelled words, punctuation, hyphenation, special character errors, and missing text in many Kindle books. And I’m not talking the little self-published books, either — I’m talking professionally published books from the major book houses. I have no idea why this is happening, but I’ve left feedback on some books’ pages about the errors. There’s no excuse for it in this electronic age. What I hope is that when these errors are fixed, if they ever are, will Amazon automatically download the revised version since our purchase is on record?

jh says:
I’ve bought a couple of books that had particularly frequent and glaring errors, hinting at poor OCR* rather than human error. Things like “1” turning up in the middle of a word instead of “l” or “I”, which a human wouldn’t accidentally type.  But yes, plenty of poorly proof-read copy in titles that aren’t by big-name authors. Though you do see that in physical books too, especially early editions. Misspellings, funky punctuation, even the old “there/their/they’re” issue…
*OCR = optical character recognition, in case anyone’s not sure what that meant. Basically a computer scanning the page of a physical book/manuscript, recognizing the letters as best it can, and digitizing it.

Santo de Vaca says:
@Carol Hannon: I bought a book with some really terrible formatting issues. In the physical book the first letter of each chapter was elaborately drawn and this didn’t transfer well to the electronic version. They fixed it a few weeks after publication and I had the option of downloading a fixed version of the book, which I did. I’m not sure if this is the norm or not for corrections.

Granny Daisy says:
As an avid reader, I often find errors in print and kindle books. Even in established authors you find misspelled or miss used words, or incomplete sentences. I am beginning to think publishers are saving money by not paying proof readers.

J. Robertson says:
I have found spelling and grammar errors in many paper books as well. So I think its all about the proof reading being done.  I have downloaded several “free” books, unfortunately, they were not free of misspellings , missing words, and other errors. I just overlook them since they didn’t cost me anything. I haven’t had that problem with the books I’ve paid for. Guess the old saying is true, ” You get what you pay for”!

What do you think as an author?  Should a book be free of grammar and spelling errors, professionally edited and formatted? Well I guess it is a non-brain-er for every author who wants to be seen as a professional and who has already invested months or years into the manuscript.



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Top 6 Most Common Query / Cover Letter Errors

Query and cover letters are not fun, but they are necessary evils. I don’t know of anyone who has ever gotten away without writing a single one. However, in order to avoid sounding naive, lazy, inexperienced, or just plain crazy, avoid these common mistakes:

  • First of all: Find out if the publisher interested in your genre / type of manuscript. Sending out a question about the type of books they are interested in, shows clearly that you did not do your homework and did not even read their website / submission guidelines … Why should they be interested in publishing your book, if you are not even interested in their publishing genres.
  • Address the letter to the correct person.
    Nothing is more annoying than getting a letter addressed to someone else, or addressed to the wrong agency / publishing house, or without a salutation or to the name of the editor / publisher.
  • Do not make unrealistic claims about your story.
    Your book might become a best-seller someday, but you have no way of knowing that. However, if you already have (in writing) a deal from a charity to purchase 10,000 copies or you self-published and sold 45,000 e-books or you’ve already sold the rights in 15 other countries – that information is worth including.
  • Do not make demands.
    You can ask things politely, but don’t tell me that I have to print this, or that I have to respond by a certain date, or that I have to give you XXX royalty or … I don’t know about you, but nothing irks me more than a bossy letter from a stranger.

Read the whole post “The Poorly Written Query

The author describes herself as “Editor/Publisher, Location: Texas, United States and: overworked, underpaid, with a teething tantrum-throwing toddler. What I Do: Talk about writing, submitting, publishing, and marketing children’s books and teen books.”



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