by R. Lewis Cordell
The act of teaching is audacious. The professional educator is possessed in the best of cases with a hybrid dose of humble hubris. The educator believes with every fiber of being that learning brings change; changes brings hope; hope can change the world. This intoxicating intrigue is lens through which the teacher views the world. The educator is driven by zeal and conviction to share a view of the world that has been informed by study and observation. A teacher is always cognizant of fellow travelers. A teacher believes that everyone has exactly the same opportunity to access knowledge, knowing, and power to change.
It was such an act of audacity that compelled me to write my little book, New School, Chasing Excellence: Yesterday's Schools, Today's Teachers, Tomorrow's Learners , for the 1.6 million new teachers who will enter the profession in the next decade. Obligation not choice propelled me. My grandmother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in the early 1900s in America. Her name is Coleen. At 19 years of age, she educated children ranging in age from 6 to 15 years. She did this without a support network. It was her alone who would sell these children on the belief that they could learn, and that they can bring change to their world. She was guided by a simple principle: honest human connection is the path way to learning.
In a similar act of audacity, I grabbed a few hard copies of my book on the way out my door to the airport. I was leaving San Diego, California to start my summer vacation. I reasoned that I might run into a friend or meet someone to whom I would like to present a copy of my little book. This was actually an act of imagination, audacity, and hubris. I thought perhaps I would surreptitiously drop a copy in a first class seat or somewhere hoping that someone with a voice would pick it up and quote me someday.
As I am standing in line waiting for the widely accepted indignities of pat- downs and body scans that are now a common part of traveling in the post 9/11 world, I spot a familiar face in the crowd. I had not spoken to this man before our post-TSA shared experience. I did not know him, but thanks to the innovation of information sharing and digital venues such at TED Talks, this man has been a regular guest in my home.
Both of us made it through the polite interrogation process simultaneously. I approached him, extend my hand, and addressed him. “Sir Ken Robinson”, I said. “My name is Ron, and I am a fan of your work”, I continued. “I have an odd request of you. I would like to know if I may present you with a copy of a book that I have written about education”, I said. He is an English gentleman educator through and through. “It would be an honor”, he said. He is obviously a teacher. He obviously detected that my subtle case of nerves betrayed my conjured confidence. I suppose one is not given the title of Sir without a proper reason. Sir Ken Robinson politely asked me the questions that allowed me to talk about what I had approached him to talk about—Me. Now that is indeed gracious. That is what a teacher does.
Thank you Sir!
R Lewis Cordell (40,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, June 25, 2012)
Review courtesy of
and the St. Augustine Record
"A Bone in Her Teeth" by Ann McAllister Clark; Infinity Publishing: $16.95.
Anna Wells, who grew up in Michigan, finds herself suddenly in St. Augustine the owner of what she thought was the home of a dear aunt. Instead she finds she’s inherited a 1956 outfitted barge moored at Safety Harbor Marina. Life looks pretty grim for the widow who, with her husband, once owned a bookstore in Michigan.
But eventually caught up in the unusual family of boaters at the Safety Harbor Marina and hired by the dear man who owns Thoberry’s Bookshop in historic St. Augustine Anna finds her life taking twists and turns she never expected — including romance and murder. Along the way, Anna meets some fascinating and some frightening individuals.
As author Clark explains, “A Bone In Her Teeth” is a “nautical term for a vessel with a prominent white wave at her bow as she’s well under way.”
And the author also notes that this book in “the first in a series of the charm and mysteries of St. Augustine, Florida.”
Clark’s first book is fast paced, weaves an intriguing tale of murder and for residents of St. Augustine provides further challenges as the reader tries to figure out just where the marina is located, especially in regard to the bookstore at which Anna finds a position.
And there are “fun” characters woven through “Bone,” like the Crumb Sisters, who operate a sightseeing carriage and call the marina home; and others who show Anna how to adapt to life on a boat “home.”
You’ll find “Bone” a fun read, especially great for the winter nights which have descended now upon the ancient city. Snuggle up to a roaring fire and become immersed in Anna’s new life in the oldest city. You’ll find Clark’s book a quick, fun read.
17th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards are Now Open
Jenkins Group and IndependentPublisher.com are proud to announce the opening of the
17th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards are Now Open
conduct the "IPPYs" to honor the year's best independently published titles, and to give them the recognition and credibility they deserve. Books published in English with 2012 or 2013 copyrights or release dates between Aug 1, 2011 and March 15, 2013 are eligible.
Click here to visit the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards webpage:
The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing community. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles published each year. Since the inaugural contest in 1996, over 5,000 books have received IPPY Awards, and all the recognition, credibility, and increased sales that a book award can bring. Entry fees range from the early-bird fee of $75 to $95 when you enter closer to our final deadline of March 16th, 2013. Regional and E-Book category entries are just $55 when added to a national category entry.
Here's the link to download the 2013 IPPY Awards guidelines and entry form in PDF format:
I've pasted basic info and more links below. I'm always happy to discuss category options, etc.
Thanks for your interest and best of luck in the Awards!
Jim Barnes, Managing Editor & Awards Director
Independent Publisher Online / Jenkins Group
1129 Woodmere Ave, Suite B
Traverse City, MI 49686
Ph: 1.231.933.4954 x1011
Announcing the 17th Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards
"Recognizing Excellence in Independent Publishing"
Calling all independent authors and publishers! The 17th annual Independent Publisher Book Awards, conducted to honor the year's best independently published titles, are now accepting entries for books with 2012 or 2013 copyrights or released from August 1, 2011 to March 15, 2013. The annual contest is presented by Jenkins Group and their book marketing website, IndependentPublisher.com, headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan.
The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. Independent spirit and expertise comes from publishers of all sizes and budgets and books are judged with that in mind. Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded to winners in 75 fiction and non-fiction national subject categories, 22 regional categories, and 10 E-book categories.
The first early-bird entry fee deadline is Saturday, October 13, 2012. Save $20 per national category entry. (This is a POSTMARK deadline.)
Click here to visit the 2013 Independent Publisher Book Awards webpage:
Click here to view the 2013 IPPY Awards category list:
Click here to download complete guidelines and entry form:
Click here to view 2012 IPPY results, award ceremony photos, etc:
Click here to view the 2012 IPPY press page, with more photos, etc:
For more details about the IPPY Awards, please contact:
Jim Barnes, Managing Editor & Awards Director
IndependentPublisher.com / Jenkins Group
IPPY Awards on Facebook
Ph: 1.800.644.0133 x1011
by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Amazon sales ranks is one of those things that is always top of mind for any author monitoring their book sales. If you’re looking for a tool to help move the number on the dial, look at email marketing. I’m not talking about just sending a few emails out to family and friends. I’m talking about a professional, targeted email campaign.
Email marketing for authors.
The most successful email marketing campaigns are tied to something special. The release of a new book, a local book signing event, a buy one get one free offer. There is some call to action that drives a potential buyer to open the email and then make a purchase.
Here are the top five tips for making your email marketing a success:
Targeted list. Make sure your list is targeted. Sending an email out to 500 people who are interested in your book genre is better than sending to 5000 people that have no interest at all. You can buy email marketing lists but I recommend partnering with other authors to do cross promotion, or contact other business professionals or organizations that have a connection to your book’s subject. Let them help you market your book to their email or newsletter list. (See Author Success Story below on how one Infinity Publishing author used a targeted list to climb the ranks of Amazon.)
Grab them with your subject line. Use the subject line to peak the receivers interest. Give them a reason to open the email. If they don’t open it, they won’t have the opportunity to see your valuable offer. Don’t say, “Buy my book” you want something intriguing. Using the words “free” and exciting words like, “best” “amazing” and other buzz words will help.
Provide a clear and concise email offer. Your call to action in the email should be direct and to the point. Dress up your offer to make it sound appealing of course. Think of your offer like reading a menu at a restaurant. Even fast food restaurants are creative in marketing their menus. Make your offer sound inviting. You want the email to get them to buy, or order or take an action.
Send them to a buy now page. Once you get them to click through to your offer, be sure you’re sending them somewhere they can make the purchase. If you’re sending them to your website be sure to create a special landing page that will either capture their information (if you’re trying to build your own newsletter list for example) or send them directly to place the order.
Send out an email thank you. There is nothing more frustrating than “placing an order” and not getting a confirmation that the order went through. If you’re sending your buyer to your online storefront at buybooksontheweb.com your buyer will get an order confirmation, so this is already taken care of for you.
How can you be so sure all of this works? Take a look at this Author Success Story…
Email Blast Moves Daring Caution Up the Amazon Sales Rank in a Flash!
Author Robert F. Sherlock ofDaring Caution: The Executive's Guide to Pricing Improvement is enjoying some incredible success. With an email blast and endorsement from Verne Harnish "Growth Guy" and Gazelles, CEO, Daring Caution went from:
1,200,000 on Amazon to #111 of ALL books; and #24 of ALL biz books!
His marketing and networking paid off BIG! Congratulations Robert on your success!
Will your book be the next big seller? Need help with your marketing. Contact an Infinity PUblishing Author Advocate for more information on what we can do to help you market and promote your book.
by Dr. Kathy Gruver
I've grown to understand that life is a progression. I started out by writing articles to attract people to my local massage business. Then I wanted to reach more. So I put all those articles along with projects from my masters and PhD together and came up with my first book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet. I had so many people ask me why in the world would you self-publish? Why don't you go to a “real” publisher?
Well I'll tell you, self-publishing has moved into a realm where it's just as valid as a traditional publisher. And for me, Infinity Publishing fit the bill of what I needed. Do you need to do most of the legwork? Yes. Do you need to do pretty much everything yourself? Yes, but from what I've heard of people that have gone the traditional publishing route you still have to do all that. I wanted control of everything from the cover image, to the smart aleck comments throughout the manuscript. I didn't want anybody telling me what I could and could not do with my first book. And it looks like that control paid off.
The Alternative Medicine Cabinet – Indy Excellence Award Finalist.
In 2011, I was selected as a finalist for the Indie Excellence Awards. I was honored and thrilled to have my work acknowledged. I did most of my own publicity for the book and a lot of legwork to make sure that I got noticed. I did local book signings, at both bookstores and non-traditional venues such as Whole Foods Market and a New Age metaphysical store. I paid a couple hundred dollars for a PR rep who sent a press release to about 50,000 national media. From that exposure I gained more and more radio shows, reviews of the book, articles written about me and by me. This marketing strategy proved invaluable as I found myself in early 2011 on Lifetime Television’s The Balancing Act. With a strong background in performing, having been a theatre major and acting since fifth grade, I found being a guest on a television talk show was the perfect venue for to spread my message. I was already used to doing public lectures by this point and to date I've done over 50 nationwide about health, wellness and mind-body medicine. But this TV show opportunity reignited my interest in performing and I realized my true goal was to have my own TV series. I had several friends’ remark, “Oh my God you're so good at this. Why don't you have a show called The Alternative Medicine Cabinet and you can host it and it'll be based on your book.” And I said, “What do you think I'm trying to do?” And so I decided to pursue it.
Taking the First Steps.
I contacted old producer friends of mine in LA to pitch them my idea. Three minutes into it they told me it was neither original nor creative and that many other people were doing it and why me? It was a good question, after all who was I? I wasn't a world-famous doctor, I wasn't an athlete, I didn't start out at 500 pounds and get down to 120. Who was I to host a TV series? Well I took all my skills, my strength in self-promotion, my little self-published book, my massage DVD, my personality, my ease in front of people and my ability to make others laugh and I rolled that into a television show pitch and the network that I showed it to wanted it. Thanks to a friend of mine with a friend who would look at it, I became a TV show host.
Making it Work for YOU!
At this point it looks like it’s all so easy, right? You have some articles to turn into a book and then win an award, get on TV and then have a series. It was not that simple. And as I mentioned it was a progression. I played on my strong suits. I'm really good as a radio guest so I've done close to 100 radio interviews. (If you are not good at radio interviews, please learn how to do them before you try to do a bunch of them.) I have a good website which I promoted (I recommend you have one as well, not just your page on Amazon). I filmed health tips and started my own YouTube channel on which my TV series is based. I have a newsletter that I promote. I’m on LinkedIn and Twitter and Facebook and I do what I can to educate…and sell books. Honestly, I have not sold a ton of books, yet but sales have been steady. I don’t look at it as a disappointment. What the book has allowed me to do is place myself as an expert in the field and I can build on that to grow new and marvelous things. The book did exactly what I wanted it to do, help lead me to other things. Whatever stories you have in you, tell them. Don’t expect to be rich and famous, maybe you sell 15 copies to friends, maybe you’re the next Harry Potter, but tell the story. This is the gift of self-publishing. It allows everyone to have a voice. My TV show, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet will be airing this fall on OTV nationwide. My next book, Body-mind for the Bodyworker will also be out this fall. Please check out my website to keep track of the show and my new book. And good luck to you all! www.thealternativemedicinecabinet.com
Kathy Gruver earned her Doctorate as a Traditional Naturopath, her Masters in Natural Health and is pursuing her PhD. Gruver has been featured as an expert is publications such as Massage Magazine, Discover, First for Women, DermaScope Magazine, and Pacific Coast Business Times. She has written dozens of health and wellness articles and has appeared as a guest on over 30 radio shows covering topics such as back pain, mind/body medicine, healthy pregnancy, homeopathics, nutrition, and patient advocacy. Kathy has produced, directed and hosted an instructional massage DVD, Therapeutic Massage at Home; Learn to Rub People the RIGHT Way. www.thealternativemedicinecabinet.com
by Beth Kallman Werner
Learn, Live and Breath these Tips for Simple, Savvy book Selling
Some people believe that selling is a natural talent; more about being liked than being trained with a skill. Truth be told, like most other things, pitching a book is a little bit of both – tossed with some old fashioned luck, positive energy in the universe, a good hair day, the right blouse or tie, and mostly, what kind of day your listener is having, which you have NO control over.
Selling isn’t easy, but it can be done, and it can be fun – especially for authors – because who is more passionate about their product than an author pitching his/her book? Yes, some of you may be natural salespeople, and yet some of you may cringe at the thought of self-promotion. Regardless of your past experience, if you have a creative mind, an excellent book, and a keen ability to listen with intuition, you can sell like you never imagined.
This article is intended to serve as a sales training guide for authors; a checklist to help you craft a series of pitches to have ready at any moment. There are three things to remember:
The four Ps of marketing:
Product – First and foremost, you must have an excellent book. If your book is not of fantastic quality (content, cover design, editing, layout and production, etc.), you have to ask yourself why readers will notice it, then spend precious time and money on buying and reading it. You also need to consider whether your book will not only be bought and read, but mentioned, discussed, and recommended to others. Will word of mouth help your book take on a life of its own? Considering these questions will help you start to form marketing ideas, along with realistic goals and expectations.
Position – Who are the layers of your target audience? What will your book mean to them? Will it enlighten, entertain, empower, educate? All of the above? Is it a light, chick lit summer vacation book, or a seasonal tax prep guide for dummies? Think about who your readers are, and how you can promote in seasonal message themes throughout the year.
Pricing – Today’s book pricing is, in a word, anarchy. There doesn’t seem to be an agreed standard of right or wrong, but there are loads of opinions about both. My suggestion as a sales trainer is, price to sell. Go with introductory sale pricing or even FREE launch days to kick off a new title. Do your homework. Research other books in your genre and how they are priced per format by various sellers. Consider your margins with each distributor to determine realistic financial goals and a successful pricing formula.
Promotion – Promotion actually breaks down into even MORE Ps… people, prospects, platform, presentations, pitching, press and PR, the list goes on. Promotion is essentially the mix of media channels and tools you select to integrate for massive yet targeted book exposure.
The four keys to any successful pitch: Simple. Concise. Informative. Entertaining.
When you can accomplish this mix in each of the pitch scenarios listed below, you will have a winning pitch prepared and ready every time, and you will never blow an opportunity to sell your book. There can be many reasons why a...store manager or producer might reject a book, but you want to walk away from every exchange knowing that you were prepared, professional and convincing.
If you’ve done all you could, and the book simply isn’t a fit for them at this time, you move on with your chin up and no regrets. Rejection is a natural part of sales. The gift is when you wisely prepare, then approach each encounter with confidence, so you can walk away with dignity regardless of how it turns out.
Successful Book Pitching (Part 2).
Beth Kallman Werner is Founder and President of Author Connections, LLC. The Author Connections mission is to showcase talents and titles that deserve to shine. For more information about Beth Werner and/or Author Connections (AC), go to: www.authorconnections.com.
Image courtesy of kwschenk.
Here is another Infinity Publishing Author Success Story. Thanks to author Thomas M. Cirignano for sharing it with us. Are you an Infinity Publishing author looking for more exposure? Just want to tell the world about a new review, online interview or other media coverage? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include your Author Success Story in our blog!
Jordan Rich, one of Boston's most respected radio personalities, expressed the following remarks after reading 67 Cents: Creation of a Killer.
"If it’s insight into what the crime scene in Southie was really all about, look no further than this book. Tom Cirignano was an eye witness to it all and captures the flavor of the city in this crisp, fast-paced novel!" ~Jordan Rich: WBZ-Boston
Author Thomas M. Cirignano will be a "featured reader" at the November 2nd Dire Literary Series, staring at 8PM. This prestigious event, is in its 11th year. Hosted by Author Timothy Gager, the Dire Literary Series was awarded “Best of Boston”designation by Boston Phoenix Magazine for 2008. Location: “Out of the Blue Art Gallery” 106 Prospect St., Cambridge, Ma.
For further information about the Dire Literary Series please visit http://www.timothygager.com/
Book synopsis. Enter if you dare. The underworld of Southie was an environment of unbridled crime and violence; a place where street justice ruled, judgment was final, and penalties were brutal.
Within 67 Cents: Creation of a Killer, you will meet Nick, a man who thirsts for respect and acceptance, and thus, can't seem to say "No." As a young South Boston auto-repair-shop owner, he is slowly drawn into the Mob, accepting increasingly risky assignments. His large, secure garage is prized as the perfect place for storing hijacked trucks, holding covert meetings, and much more. In the midst of this dangerous and complicated environment, Nick finds rare moments of peace and comfort under the strangest of circumstances, but trouble always lurks around the corner. During his intense existence, dishonesty sows the seeds of deception. The resulting violence calls for the ultimate revenge; murder. Not only does Nick find that he's good at killing, but he actually enjoys it!
*Contains adult language and violent scenes.
"67 Cents: Creation of a Killer" is a fictional adaptation of the author's true life story, "The Constant Outsider, Memoirs of a South Boston Mechanic". www.TheConstantOutsider.com
Originally published and courtesy of Armchairreviews.com.
Molly Lake, by Samuel Endicott
Set mainly in Canada in the midst of the French and Indian war, Molly Lake is a historical novel of epic proportions. After her mother is kidnapped and her younger brother is murdered in a French raid of her home, Molly Lake sets upon a journey that is ripe with adventure. From serving as a powder monkey aboard a naval ship to attending to the medical needs of a powerful general, Molly is a tough and intelligent young woman who impresses everyone she meets--even her enemies.
This book is very exciting and well written. Part of the appeal of the novel is that it has something for everyone. There is romance, rivalry, humor, and adventure that will touch anyone's heart. Several story lines intertwine seamlessly to form a cohesive novel.
The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way is how wonderful Molly was. Anyone and everyone who came across her loved her dearly or at least deeply respected her. It would have been nice to have a respectable character who genuinely didn't like her. Not even Molly Lake is that perfect!
The author does an outstanding job of incorporating just enough history. From my United States citizen perspective, I didn't know much about the French and Indian War, let alone what happened in Canada during this time period. The author educates you about the circumstances in an entertaining way. You get enough history to understand the life and times, even inspire more independent research, without too many potentially boring historical details that can detract from the excitement.
Armchair Interviews says: Molly Lake is a novel that is an entertaining and educational read that a wide range of readers will enjoy for generations.
4th Annual Living Now Book Awards
Last Call for Entries - 5 Days Left to Enter
"Books for Better Living"
If you write or publish books meant to improve peoples' lives, this book awards contest is for you.
The Living Now Awards were created to bring increased attention to newly published books intended for readers who seek healthier, more spiritual and productive lifestyles. Personal Development, Health & Wellness, Parenting, Cooking -- these are some of the hottest categories in publishing today.
Gold, silver and bronze medallions will be presented in a range of 27 lifestyle/homestyle non-fiction categories and 3 inspirational fiction categories.
Peace. Love. Reading.
Lifestyle publishing categories such as home, health, family and personal development are some of the fastest-growing segments of book publishing today, and the Living Now Book Awards help demonstrate the importance of these books to readers and their vitality in the marketplace. The Living Now Award seal on a book’s cover is a symbol that says,
"This book will improve and enrich your life!"
Entry fee is $95 per category
Final entry deadline is July 14, 2012.
(This is a postmark deadline.)
Open to all books written in English and published since August 2010, the Living Now Book Awards bring participants the credibility and publicity they need to further their book marketing and sales success. Winning a book award extends your publicity campaign, gets you a new round of attention from the press, and opens doors to distributors and vendors, royalty publishers and foreign rights agents.
Among the categories are Green Living, Enlightenment/Spirituality, Health/Wellness, three Cookbook categories, and Inspirational Fiction.
To view complete list of categories visit our category page HERE.
Print out the Living Now Awards guidelines and entry form.
To view last year's Living Now Award winners click HERE.
Enter your books at our secure online entry site HERE.
Now is the time to capture the recognition you deserve.
Enter the Living Now Book Awards today!
To learn more visit www.LivingNowAwards.com
Click HERE to download the complete guidelines and entry form.
Questions? Contact Jim Barnes, Awards Director
phone: 1.800.644.0133 x1011
Please let us know if you've registered for this book award by posting your book title below...
by Maralyn D. Hill
Where do you find time to write? That is a question most writers ask themselves at one time or another or all of the time.
I’ve taken more time management classes than I can count and always pick up a hint or two that I can incorporate. However, I discovered most people taking these classes are those who never bother to implement what they learn and others don’t need the classes in the first place. I could teach the courses, as well as improve my own time management.
Like thousands of other writers, I have discovered you have to make time. Otherwise, distractions will eat rapidly your time away. You have to determine where writing is as a priority.
Famous author, John Jakes, originally made his living by copywriting during the day. He set aside 2 hours a couple of nights a week to work on his writing. He was consistently diligent and it paid off. Most writers do not have the benefit of being able to quite their day job.
Of course there are alternative, like copywriting, editing, writing slogans, or learning more by employment where you learn the nuts and bolts of the publication industry. This can be at a variety of places such as publishers, newspapers, ad agencies, public relation firms, marketing departments, etc. You will improve your skills while developing a better understanding of following your passion.
Here are a few suggestions:
Write first thing in the morning for 30 minutes or 2 hours (only you know what you can schedule). Do this before checking e-mail.
If you plan to write later in the day, set an alarm clock, stop what you are doing and start writing during your allotted time.
If you are more effective at night—do it then. Not everyone is a morning person.
As for all of the wonderful newsletters with writing tips and suggestions—how many do you really have to read? Pick two or three favorites and bookmark the other ones for reference when you have time. I had over 30 good newsletters coming to me. If I read every one, I would not have time to write. Do I miss something? I’m sure I do. But I pick it up another time.
The Internet is a wonderful research tool. However, it is best to limit how much time you spend surfing and stopping to read other interesting articles, if it is interfering with your writing time.
Your biggest commitment to writing is to write. Be sure to allow time for it—even if it’s only 15 minutes a day journaling. If you want to be a writer, you have to do more than think about it—you simply have to write.
Maralyn Dennis Hill, The Epicurean Explorer, is President of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association and Editor-at-Large for CityRoom. She contributes to numerous publications.
The majority of Maralyn’s articles are now geared to the luxury market, spas, corporate retreats, business events, and culinary tourism, from simple to gourmet.
Maralyn’s description of herself: I was born to travel and tell the tale. I’m energized by different cultures in every aspect of their lives, from food, wine, and destination, to how they conduct business. Travel represents a continual geography lesson.
Image courtesty of cema.
by John Warner
Steven M. Moore, whose books include Survivors of the Chaos and The Midas Bomb, talks about his approach to writing and his plans for the future. Interview originally posted at
Why do you write? Is it something you’ve always done, or always wanted to do? Or is it something that you started fairly recently?
Although I released my first book Medical Clones Mutants Series in 2006, I’ve been writing for years. I wrote my first novel during the summer I turned thirteen. It was terrible and went into the circular file when I left for college. The plot was similar to the one in City of Angels, although the protagonists’ sexes were switched (not that it matters—angels don’t have a sex). Over the years, writing has been part of my life. It seemed like the thing to do when I left my day job—I can’t play golf.
Tell me a little about your books.
Survivors of the Chaos takes the reader through the futuristic social singularity I call the Chaos. Vernor Vinge and others have pushed the idea of a technological singularity. That’s fine, but considering the lag of social and political progress relative to our scientific and technological progress, I think the Chaos that I imagine will happen first.
Our institutions are already breaking down and the politicos are incapable of solving society’s problems; fundamentalist subgroups of the U.S. are destroying our nation as much as any in the Third World; and multi-national corporations are acquiring tremendous riches and power. I simply extrapolate this to the future in the grand tradition of dystopian sci-fi. In my sci-fi thrillers, though, there is always a glimmer of hope. Survivors… is no exception.
Are there any authors who inspire you?
Certainly. All the traditional dystopian sci-fi authors from Wells to Atwater. I’d like to think I’ve progressed beyond them. They were worried about WW II, the Cold War, and communism. I’m worried about getting through the 21st and 22nd centuries. For the writing itself, I learned from N. Scott Momaday, although he was not aware of it (that’s the problem with big lecture classes). Also, being part Irish, maybe the blarney comes naturally?
How do you write? Do you make yourself write a certain number of words per day?
No. I just write until I’m tired. I never count the words until I finish the novel and that’s only for editing purposes (I usually have to cut). However, I wrote The Midas Bomb in two months. The editing usually takes longer than the writing.
Did you try to get a conventional publisher or agent interested before you opted for self-publishing?
Sure. The traditional dream of a big fat contract with one of the Big Six drove me nuts before the digital revolution in publishing. I tried to find agents with several books. I even succeeded in some sense, getting beyond that ubiquitous form letter or e-mail. In fact, several agents said they were interested and sat on books for many months. One even told me after a long time that the book just wasn’t for her after all. To paraphrase Joe Konrath, I decided to eliminate the gatekeepers. The digital publishing revolution offered me a new avenue to try and it has been fun ever since.
What goals have you set yourself? Do you want to sell a certain number of books in 2012? Is there some way you measure success, on your own terms?
I measure my success only through readers (that includes reviewers, of course) – their number and their saying they like the book, even if there’s an “except…” caveat tacked on. Readers rule. And why write if you don’t have readers? For me, they’re more important than making wheelbarrows of money, although I do have to recover costs.
How have you marketed your book(s)? Have you used social media (Twitter, Facebook etc)? Have you paid for any advertising (Facebook Ads, Google Ads etc)? And how did it go?
I can’t say anything worthwhile in 140 characters or less, so I’ve never tweeted. I do have a Facebook account and a fan page. I’ve tried Google Ads and was terribly disappointed with the result. Promotions seem to be the best bet. The key seems to be to have a decent product, market as best you can, and have a great deal of luck. I can’t afford the usual book marketing and publicity services. I almost forgot, I have a website and an active blog that also seems to make a big difference.
Have you signed up for KDP Select? If you have, how has it gone for you? Do you think free promotions are helping with your paid sales? If you haven’t signed up, why not? Are you worried about the exclusivity clause?
The exclusivity clause is only for 90 days. I had a problem with the idea of giving away the efforts of my hard work (writing, although fun, is work—you bleed and sweat, especially in the editing). I recently did a KDP Select 3-day give-away for Full Medical (sorry you missed it). I rationalized that by saying it was a way of investing to increase name recognition without investing any of my scarce funds. The publicity and marketing experts can tell me whether I would have been better off going through them. I’d like to see them work pro bono like lawyers. If they can generate the sales, then they get to keep a percentage. None of them work that way, but I could go for that.
Away from Amazon, have you had much luck with other outlets? Do you use Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc?
Full Medical (now in the KDP Select exclusivity period), Evil Agenda, and my YA novel The Secret Lab were on Smashwords, hence B&N, Sony, etc – Evil Agenda and The Secret Lab still are. I like the coupon idea from Smashwords, but my promotion of Evil Agenda with coupon was not successful. My other books, including Survivors, are Infinity Publishing releases. All have eBook and pBook versions except Soldiers of God (I’ll eventually get around to making an eBook version).
Do you worry about Amazon gaining a monopoly in the ebook market?
No, at least not yet. Joe Konrath recently had a blog post that defended Amazon against its detractors. People should read what he has to say. So far they are doing things that work for me.
What’s next? Are you working on anything at the moment? Do you have anything new coming out in 2012?
Oh, where to start? Angels Detectives, a tale of terrorism and Mexican cartels and the sequel to The Midas Bomb, is being formatted for KDP Select release right now – I’ll probably do another 3-day give-away promotion, for those interested.
I’m doing the final editing for Sing A Samba Galactica, the sequel to Survivors, where you will find out the future of those Eureka star colonies; I’ll send it soon to my formatting wizard (Ms. Donna Carrick, of Carrick Publishing, an excellent author in her own right). I’m also editing two short story collections for later release this year. In addition, I have outlined a new YA novel that my muses are pushing me to work on more. It fits in the Universe beyond Samba.
Steven M. Moore’s books, including Survivors of the Chaos and The Midas Bomb, are available at Amazon. Many of his books are also available at Barnes & Noble. You can also visit his website.
by Margo L. Dill
Original version of this article published on www.wow-womenonwriting.com.
Welcome...readers! We have an interesting interview today with these two ladies. We're interviewing Author Advocate, Laura Pici, with Infinity Publishing and author, Katherine Blanc, who used Infinity for her book. According to their website, Infinity Publishing has been the leading innovator in print-on-demand book publishing since 1997. They have worked with over 4,800 authors and published over 6,000 titles. We hope this interview will shed some light on a company that may be a great choice for you if you are considering self-publishing.
WOW: Welcome, ladies. We are so excited to have you here today! If you could each share a two to three sentence bio with us, just to give us a bit of your background before we get started, that would be super.
Laura: I started at Infinity nearly five years ago and have worked with over one thousand authors at all stages of the publishing process. My role now as an Author Advocate is to guide new authors prior to submission of their book and make sure they are well-informed and well-prepared for publication.
Katherine: I have spent most of my life surrounded by cartoons and other interesting characters. My father-in-law was the late Mel Blanc, known as the “man of 1000 voices” including most of the Looney Tunes® characters for Warner Bros. My husband, Noel Blanc, carries on his father’s tradition.
WOW: Thanks, ladies—Katherine, what an exciting family to marry in to! You decided to self-publish your book, Gold Mountain Girl, with Infinity Publishing. Why did you choose to self-publish, and why did you choose Infinity?
Katherine: Gold Mountain Girl is a novel of historical fiction, set in 1901 in Southern California’s last Gold Rush days. I felt that it had a small target audience; so rather than approach traditional publishers, I decide to self-publish with Infinity. I chose Infinity over competing self-publishers because it ranked highest overall in the book, Top Self-Publishing Firms by Stacie Vander Pol.
WOW: Thank you for sharing the title of that book with us. It looks like a great resource, and I’m sure many readers would be interested to read Ms. Vander Pol’s book! What was the process like with Infinity Publishing?
Katherine: The process was simple and user-friendly. After completing Infinity’s straightforward, no-nonsense publishing agreement, I formatted my manuscript in Microsoft Word and sent it via e-mail. Then, by phone, a wonderful lady named Michelle Shane (I call her my “publishing angel”) walked me through the rest of the process. Chris Master designed the book jacket, which was better than I’d anticipated it could be!
WOW: It sounds like you had a terrific experience! Have you had any special challenges with marketing or distribution because of your choice to self-publish? What are some strategies that have worked for you?
Katherine: Infinity handles the distribution, including online retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble and Infinity’s own store. I also paid a small extra fee to include Ingram’s distribution, which allows brick-and-mortar bookstores to order my books.
As far as marketing: that pretty much falls on the author’s shoulders. I could have done more to “push” my books, but I’m a bit shy about self-promotion. Fortunately, people enjoy reading my book, so it has gained its own little following via word of mouth.
But more aggressive authors can have huge sales if they arrange personal appearances, conduct seminars, and use social media.
WOW: Thanks for the tips, Katherine. Now let’s turn to an Infinity Publishing Author Advocate to get the lowdown on how to get started with Infinity. Laura, can you describe two or three of your most popular packages that authors often purchase?
|Laura, Author Advocate
Laura: Because e-books have been increasingly popular, any package that includes an e-book is popular right now. We offer a variety of print, e-book, and audio programs. It really depends on the needs of each individual author and their book. Having more than one product available allows our authors to be more visible in the market and have greater success reaching all types of customers. It also keeps a book current and valid in today’s ever-evolving book market.
WOW: That makes sense--authors AND readers have many different needs these days. It's nice to have different formats to reach everyone. What’s the process like on your end when an author buys one of your packages?
Laura: Our process is very hands-on, so each new package receives attention from every part of Infinity’s team. Each author starts with an Author Advocate, such as myself, who provides them with in-depth assistance prior to their submission. Once the book is submitted, the in-house representative serves as that book’s coordinator throughout the process and assigns the ISBN, the interior of the book is formatted and laid out by the editing department, the graphics team custom designs a cover for each book, and the production department prints, binds, and packages book proofs and orders. Our entire process, from receipt of the manuscript all the way to publication date, takes approximately three to four months. Through it all, we make sure the author is always involved and in control of their book.
WOW: That is very important—especially if you are self-publishing! To both of you, why do you think many authors are choosing self-publishing today?
Laura: In today’s publishing world where choices abound, I believe that authors choose Infinity for our quality products and service with a personal touch. We do our best to make sure that authors have a positive and successful publishing experience. We offer simple, yet high-quality, packages that provide our authors with attractive products and great distribution to some of the largest book outlets in the world. Infinity authors retain the rights to their book; however, we treat that book as our own, always working to make the book (and author!) as successful as possible.
Katherine: First of all, the number of traditional publishers is shrinking dramatically. This means that more manuscripts are submitted for fewer acquisitions. Secondly, e-book sales are soaring, and Infinity has a great e-book publishing program. And finally, the old image of self-publishing as “vanity” publishing is disappearing, and the quality of published work is increasing (although I strongly recommend having your manuscript professionally edited–something I didn’t do the first time, but will DEFINITELY do for my revised edition!).
WOW: Thanks for sharing your opinions. You have great insight into today's publishing world! What is the first thing an author should do if she is interested in working with Infinity?
Call me! (smiles) Really, contacting one of our Author Advocates is the best way to get started because we possess the knowledge and materials you need to publish with Infinity. We can answer any question you might have and make sure you’re fully knowledgeable about Infinity’s packages and services. Of course, you can also always visit our website, www.infinitypublishing.com
Katherine: Contact them. Even if your manuscript is huge and intimidating (like my friend Craig Tennis’s 400+ page tome: Show Business is Faux Business), they will make the process a lot less painful than if you tried to do it yourself.
WOW: Is there anything you would like to add about your work or experiences?
Laura: After years of working in publishing, I can honestly say that now is an amazing time to be an author. There are so many options and so much potential, even if you’re not a big name with a big publishing house. I suspect things will only continue to get better, and that’s why being with an author-friendly place like Infinity is so exciting right now.
Katherine: I’d like to add that Infinity is much more than a “self-publisher”; I think of them as my publishing partner. The true self-publishing process is a nightmare—trust me, I did it once. You have to buy your own ISBN number and bar code, do your own formatting, work with a print broker, and find your own distribution. Then you have to store a ton of books in your garage. Yuck!! Let the pros at Infinity handle it instead. They’re an all-in-one publisher—they even do their own printing. Not many other companies do that.
WOW: Thank you for your time and sharing your experiences, Laura and Katherine. Muffin readers, if you have questions about Infinity Publishing, you can leave them in the comments or contact email@example.com. To schedule a time to talk to someone, go to this link: http://schedule.timetrade.com/S9Z26.
Interview conducted by Margo L. Dill