How to Find Your Audience

I’m about to write something that could shock you. The actual subject matter of your book is of no interest to a reader. It’s true! They don’t care if it’s a boy meets girl story, a mystery about human cloning, a business book about marketing or a self-help book on relationships. What they do care about is how it relates to their personal or professional life. Go to any book club meeting and you will find a group of people talking briefly about the plot of a novel and then immediately delving into their own personal experiences with death, divorce, birth, or marriage. Pick up a copy of a popular business strategy book and you will see that most of the highlighted passages refer to specific action tasks that readers can implement in their own life.

It is a universal truth that people want to identify with others and find their place in society. Why do you think so many magazine headlines are geared towards helping or improving reader’s lives? 10 Ways to Improve Your Love Life, 7 Strategies for Being More Successful at Work, Five Tips to Help You Love Your Job. We are all a little self-centered…and that’s okay! We’re trying to understand our lives, improve our lives and love our lives. There is nothing wrong with that. Finding a way to let readers know how your book can help them learn something or uncover something about themselves is a great step in making your book stand out.

Have you ever read a review where the reviewer mentions a personal struggle they experienced and how much they related to the content? How it helped them through a difficult time or inspired them with a complex character? Those are often the most powerful reviews and authors should take note. What is striking a chord with readers? What is creating the most visceral, emotional reaction? This kind of reaction could be universal and it is up to you, the author, to capitalize on that.

Something motivated you to write your book and not only does this make you an expert on the subject, it is also what is going to drive others to read your book. Did writing your book improve or change your life? Did it allow you to see things differently? Did it help you heal? If so, then use that in your pitch letters and press materials. Use that when being interviewed or talking about your book to friends or strangers.

When Gretchen Rubin was promoting The Happiness Project, every interview included some version of the question “Did writing this book make your life happier?” In essence, people were asking, “will this book change my life, will it make me happier?” There are so few hours in the day and more often we find ourselves sacrificing down time. If readers are going to invest what little relaxation time they have reading your book, they want to know there is a return on investment. Give them a reason to move your book up on their “To Be Read” list, tell them what’s in it for them. Then sit back and let them fall in love with it for their own personal reasons.

Yes, I may have scared you in the beginning when I said that the subject of your book (the synopsis, the back cover copy, the summary) meant nothing to readers but I was telling the truth. However, once you get them to read it, because they related to a certain aspect or perspective, they will then trust you to take them on a journey. If the material is strong and the writing is powerful, you will have a fan for life. Just keep in mind what brought them to you in the first place and build from there.

5 More Creative Ways to Improve Your Press Release

So hopefully I hooked you yesterday with 5 Creative Ways to Improve Your Press Release and now you are BACK FOR MORE…I will get right to it.

6. Be Social. Add links and addresses for all of your social media sites.

Include links to your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages. It shows how active you are in the media and lets reporters and producers know that if they run with your story it will have legs of its own through your own social stratosphere.

7. Create Instant Content

Press releases can become instant online content so write accordingly. Everything you send out should be print ready.

8. Don’t Ramble

Short and sweet. No one has the time or energy to read a three page press release. Keep it to one page and only highlight the most news-worthy and important elements of your book. You don’t need a full synopsis of the story. If they like the little bit you give, they will discover it for themselves.

9. Prove Your Credibility

Awards, degrees, published work, share it with the editors. Put all of those golden nuggets into your press release. For once in your life brag about your accomplishments! It proves that you are an expert and have done the work. It shows that you can speak confidently about the facts (Tip #3) you provided in your press release and help inform and educate the audience (Tip #2).

10. Change It Up!

Don’t be afraid to flip the script. Write a new press release every few weeks. Keep things fresh and different. Show that your ideas and angles are evolving and that you are open to change. It will also show editors and producers that your book is relevant and adaptable to a myriad of topics.

Do you have any success stories from press releases you have sent out? Why did they work? What made them special or creative? I’d love to hear from you! 

5 Creative Ways to Improve Your Press Release

In one way or another, you’ve encountered a press release in your professional life. If you are now pursuing a career as a writer, you will become very familiar with the press release. This is how your publisher, your publicist or you, personally, will get the nuts and bolts of your out to the media. The press release includes the release date, the publisher, the number of pages, the price, the ISBN and all of the nitty-gritty details about your book. It also includes a summary and possibly a quote or two (called blurbs) from authors or reviewers. Oftentimes, what a press release doesn’t include is excitement, need, urgency or enthusiasm. Let’s change that!

1. Create Headlines Fit for a Magazine!

You need to grab the attention of your media contact right out of the gate. Editors and producers are on tight deadlines and they need to be hooked from the first sentence. Your headline has to be something that is interesting, attractive, enticing and news worthy. If it already sounds like a magazine article or morning news show headline then you are halfway there. Of course, it has to fit with their audience so make sure to tailor your headlines for the appropriate media. It shows that you are familiar with the outlet and respect the work they do.

2. Inform, Educate and Provide Value

In a way, we are all a little self-absorbed. When we read an article or watch a segment on the news, it’s because it holds personal interest to us. You need to provide something useful, educational or interesting to your audience if you want them to pick up your book.

3. Prove it!

Nothing is more convincing than hard facts. Cite research statistics, facts and studies within the body of your press release.

4. Get Personal

Don’t forget you are pitching a human being so your press release should have some human interest aspect to it. Straight facts aren’t going to get you through the door but facts coupled with a personal anecdote from the author or a specific example from real life will certainly help.

5. Be Trendy!

Follow the news trends. If everyone is talking about the royal baby and your book is about a young mother, tie it together in a nice bow for the producer or editor. Show them that you are closely following the news stories of the day and that your novel/self-help book/memoir fits into that area.

Check back tomorrow for 5 *More* Creative Ways to Improve Your Press Release!

The Stress of a Book Release

Being an author sounds dreamy, right? Work from home. Write inspiring words for months on end. Create the perfect novel (self-help book, biography, memoir). Attend swanky book launches and have multiple sit-down interviews. Be whisked away to signings all across the country as you read all of your glowing reviews.

Yes, these things do happen, just ask JK Rowling or EL James. We have seen it happen with our very own clients. But it isn’t always this dreamy and it’s never effortless. It can be stressful and emotionally taxing. The writing doesn’t always come easy, the edits can be long and difficult to navigate, and dealing with the steps to publication can send an author into a tailspin of fear, insecurity and doubt. But there is one clear cut way to ease your end game. PREPARATION.

Look at the releasing of your book as a business. The book is done. It will never be perfect. Many authors don’t even like to re-read their work for fear they will find things they want to change. So let it go and move on. Move to the next stage of your adventure. Getting your book out into the public.

We often say that authors need to take off the artist hat and put on the business hat but it’s a little more complicated than that. Yes, publicizing and marketing your book can feel like a job without much room for creativity. You feel like you are trying to get your “product” into as many hands as possible. But there is always room for creativity. Before the book launches, start brainstorming creative ways you would like your book to enter the world. Using small amounts of your time preparing for the launch will help minimize the stress that can grip you when that day finally arrives. Think of it as studying for your finals throughout the entire semester instead of waiting until the last minute.


  • Determine what it is you like about certain blogs. Narrow down a list of the blogs you frequent on a daily basis and see what it is about those sites that keep you coming back for more. What is it about the writing style and the content that you are drawn to? Do they use images? Do they link to news stories or write heartfelt posts. Are they short or long? Figure out what you like and then determine what feels comfortable to you and your writing style.
  • Read as many news sources as you can DAILY. Make a google alert for your book’s subject matter (this can work for fiction as well as non-fiction). See where conversations are developing. What topics strike interest and start drafting your ideas as blog posts. Blog entries can often be a great launching pad for full articles or essays that you can pitch to magazines and newspapers. They can sometimes even entice a producer with a potential story angle.
  • Write multiple “evergreen” blog posts weeks before your book launches so that you have fresh material that can appear daily on your site. Evergreen stories are those that don’t relate to an actual news event or even make reference to any particular time period. They can be posted at any given moment and still provide your site with new content. An active site excites people. It shows that you are a real person, not just a name on a book jacket. It also shows that you are actively involved and interested in the world you write about.


  • Reach out to authors whom you admire or respect. Tell them about your upcoming release and see if they have any advice or insight they can provide. Create real relationships without asking for anything. Not everyone will respond, people are busy so don’t take it personally.
  • Connect with writers at magazines and newspapers. They are regular people looking for stories on a daily basis. Follow their columns or reviews. Follow them on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram. Get out there and CONNECT!
  • Be more social. Hanging out with friends and family is a great way to continuously spread the word about your work. Don’t constantly be in self-promotion mode but also don’t be afraid to ask those closest to you to be your own guerilla marketing team. Make it fun for them! Give them goodies to give to their friends; bookmarks, magnets, pens, free copies of your book. Let your enthusiasm for your work be infectious!

These are just a few ways to get the ball rolling and help ease some of the stress that comes when launching a book. Don’t forget to make it fun! This is your job but it’s also your passion. Enjoy the journey and try not to focus too much on a destination that you have created in your mind and labeled “success.” There is no specific definition for success in life or in publishing, so learn new things every day, keep striving towards manageable goals and don’t forget to SHINE!



Interview with Marci Nault, author of THE LAKE HOUSE

Marci Nault is living proof that dreams come true. In 2008, Marci asked herself a question that would change the trajectory of her life forever. She asked, “What do I want from this life? If I wasn’t afraid, and didn’t play by the rules, how would I live?” Her answer was a life-list of 101 Dreams Come True that led her on a journey of self-discovery and adventure. Having completed almost ninety of her life dreams including publishing her novel The Lake House, Marci knows what it means to take risks, go after her deepest desires, live beyond fear, and to fall in love with life, the world and herself.

Hear what Marci has to say about inspiration and taking chances.

1.     Tell us the story behind the story. How did THE LAKE HOUSE come to be?

I was living in California in an apartment where I wasn’t happy, and every day I desperately searched for a new home. While in Boston for Christmas, I had a dream that I found my perfect house on a lake and bought it without doing any research. When I moved in, everyone in the small community was over the age of seventy, and some of the women were determined to set me up with their grandsons. I woke and knew that I had to write the story.

2.   What was the most challenging aspect of writing THE LAKE HOUSE?

I’ve never been a patient person. The saying, “God grant me patience now!” has always been my motto. Writing takes incredible patience. This book took many revisions, in part because there were many characters, and it spanned over fifty years with numerous flashbacks, and also in part because I was a new writer learning the craft. Each time I did a revision I wanted to finish it as quickly as possible, but writing doesn’t work that way. The characters speak when they’re ready. Sometimes I have no choice but to work around the clock, and at other times I stare at the television hoping my emotional and mental state will fire up.

But there’s something magical about finding a storyline or figuring out a plot. I feel fulfilled when a story is buzzing in my brain. I love getting to know my characters and seeing the world through their eyes: I laugh, fall in love, cry and get ticked off with them. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to write and share my stories with people.

3.   What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

The main theme of the book is the human need for a place to belong and the softness of home. I wanted to create a world where the reader could escape into the nostalgia of the Norman Rockwell time period.

I also wanted people to realize that our elders are important in our lives. We can learn from their stories and their life experience. We tend to care so much about youth and fear age that we don’t want to see our elderly. When I researched this book I spoke to women from the World War II generation, and they told the best stories. I was surprised by their spunk and liveliness in spite of illnesses or injuries. I think we’ve lost something in our lives by dismissing older people because they might not keep up with modern technology or are possibly set in their ways. We have this idea that life is over after a certain age, but in truth many people fall in love, travel the world, or take up new sports in their final years.

Also, sometimes what we think we want in life is the exact opposite of what we really need. If Heather had moved into a community with all young people, she probably would’ve continued to be uncertain of herself, always trying to keep up with what she believed she should be. By moving into a place where everyone was older, she was able to gain confidence and find what her heart desired.

4.     Describe your background.

I’ve been obsessed with the mind and how it either gets in our way or helps us to achieve great things. For most of my childhood I knew the person I wanted to be in the world but had no idea how to become it. This caused me to study psychology, mental training, and those around me. I think this is what allows me to write emotions well. Though I was an honor student throughout school, in some ways I’ve been rebellious about going the traditional route in life. I chose not to go to college because I didn’t want to start my life out with the heavy debt of an Ivy League school. I went to Massage Therapy School so I would always have a trade to rely on. I started speaking about the mind and meditation in my late teens, which led to me starting a small publishing and distributing business that I sold in my mid-twenties to pursue a career in fiction. I invested in real estate – buying, living in and fixing up a few select properties and then selling them for a profit, which allowed me to take a few years off to write The Lake House.

5.     Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I wish I had a writing schedule—it would make my life easier. But in truth, I never know when inspiration is going to strike: shopping, running errands, driving, hiking in the woods, and quite often on planes. I get some of my best ideas on flights. When I was writing The Lake House I had a “Beautiful Mind” thing going on. My walls were covered with papers: doodles of the community, historical time lines, character descriptions, and plots. Once the first draft was done I printed it all out and marked each character’s storyline with different colored post-it-notes. Then I worked out the entire plot on a dry-erase board to see the arc of the story.  This time, I’m starting with the dry-erase board.

I tend to laugh at my first outlines because I know the story and the characters are going to lead where they want to go—I’m going to find out where they’re taking me when they’re good and ready. I like it this way, even if my editor and agent would prefer that I know the entire story ahead of time.

6.     What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

Bel Canto by Anne Patchett is my all time favorite book. It’s like eating really great chocolate. Chocolate because I love her descriptions. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle because it helps me with my patience issue and Stephen King’s On Writing. At the moment I’m reading Love Anthony by Lisa Genova.

7.     Which authors inspire you?

Anne Patchett, Lisa Genova, Kristen Hannah, Jodi Picoult, Mary Alice Monroe.

8.     What have you learned from this experience?

First of all—PATIENCE! Just because something doesn’t happen in my timeframe doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. I’ve also learned that sometimes, even though it’s hard for me, I need to ask for help. Writing a book can be consuming and challenging, sometimes even a little exposing emotionally and you need the help of friends and family to get you through.

9.     What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Writing is an art that takes revisions and patience. The first draft is just a sketch, the second colors in the lines, the third bring out the details that you forgot to see because you were busy writing the big picture, and the fourth is the flow to make the story seamless and easy for the reader to follow. With each revision I learned and I became a better writer.

I liken the editorial process to a coach and an athlete. I think it’s important if you’re not working with an editor to get a professional critique. Many times these aren’t expensive and they can help strengthen your weaknesses.

10.    What are you working on now?

I’m working on my second novel, The Memory of You (working title).

11.    In 2008 you asked the question, ‘What do I want from this life?’ It was that question that prompted you to create your inspiring website, Can you tell us about

In June of 2008, I was probably the saddest I’d ever been in my life: I had recently left an eight-year relationship and was living in California away from most of my family and friends; my brother had almost died from MRSA and was still in the hospital; my family was fighting; and the house I was renting was being sold. I didn’t have a career or a plan and I couldn’t remember the last time I’d laughed. I sat under a tree in Sonoma, CA—lost, scared, and trying not to cry while praying for reprieve.

Something told me to make a list of all the times I’d been happiest in my life, and I wrote down about fifteen things that included some previous travel or learning something new. I looked at the list and realized I was happiest when I was going after my dreams. I decided to ask, “What if I wasn’t afraid of failure? What if there weren’t any rules? What if I didn’t worry about money? What would I want?”

I began to write with conviction: I wanted to live in Florence for a month; return to figure skating and really train and compete; learn to dance salsa and tango; travel the world; lift someone up who’d lost all hope; find an incredible group of friends; become a published author and have writing be my career; own my own business. When I was done, I looked at the list and I had added 85 items to the first fifteen. I wrote one last thing—to laugh so hard with a stranger my sides hurt. I looked at the list and thought, yeah right, there’s no way I can complete 101 of my biggest dreams. I folded it up and put in my pocket planning to throw it away.

That night, at the hotel in Napa where I was staying, the concierge invited me to have a drink with her and some other guests. Within an hour she had me laughing so hard that I had to go to the bathroom because I was coughing and crying so hard that my stomach hurt. I saw myself smiling in the mirror and I realized that one of my dreams had come true, and I thought about the list. I took it out of my pocket and wondered, “What if?”

I went home and wrote all of the dreams on a dry-erase board. Across the top I wrote, “Settle For Nothing Less Than Magnificence in Life.” At that moment, I made the decision that I would pursue my dreams with everything I had. I would go after the life I desired with all my heart. One by one, my dreams began to come true and as my life drastically changed people asked me what I was doing. Friends encouraged me to share my story, and though I wanted to keep it private, I realized that maybe my story could inspire others.

12.    How has “101DreamsComeTrue” changed your life?

Since beginning my journey, my life has drastically changed. I have the career of my dreams. I live in a house I own outright. I train in figure skating and compete as an adult at the national level. Incredible friends who love to get the most out of life surround me. My family is back together (my brother is healed and healthy). I have an amazing community of salsa dancers. I own my own online bridal business, Elegant Bridal Designs. I’ve traveled the world and had incredible experiences that have made me realize that this earth is an incredible gift and it’s filled with the friendliest people.

More importantly, I’ve changed as a person. In the past I believed that I had to make everyone else happy in order to deserve my happiness. I thought by being selfless and putting myself last that I would be loved in return and someone would put me first. I didn’t stick up for myself until I was near the breaking point and I let people walk on me and use me. That person no longer exists. Now I know that I’m responsible for my happiness, and that when I give to myself, I have more for others, but I give only what I can. Most importantly I’ve realized that we are so much bigger than we can see ourselves being, and only in dreaming can we know how amazing our life is meant to be.

13.    You’ve checked off a lot of items on that list. Will you be creating a new list or adding to your 101 Dreams?

The list is almost 90% complete and as I strive to finish all of my dreams I’ve wondered about what’s next. I’m always going to want to explore and learn. This world is an incredible playground so I’m certain I’ll keep adding to the list. But most of all I want to enjoy the life I’ve built: figure skating, salsa dancing, writing novels, traveling, spending time with loved ones, and inspiring others to go after their dreams. People think of this as a “bucket-list” of what I want to do before I die, but for me it is a “life-list” of how I want to live.

14.    What is the best piece of advice you can give someone who would like to create his or her own Dream List?

It’s funny because I feel like a motivational poster on Facebook when I say this, but it’s completely true. Dream bigger than you can see yourself being. Go after the things that will hurt if you don’t accomplish them. Those are the things you fear the most because they matter the most. You won’t have any idea how you’re going to accomplish any of your dreams, but doorways will open where you least expect them. And I know it’s kind of a cliché, but you have to be willing to walk through them. The fear will never go away. I always feel like I’m jumping off cliffs wondering if I have the right materials to build my wings on the way down before I crash. I still get scared each time I attempt something new or go after the unknown, but the fear just means I want it more than I even realize. And age doesn’t matter!

Interview with Carrie Cariello


Carrie Cariello’s What Color is Monday? was recently featured on Fox News and was selected by Parents Magazine as the “perfect book for Autism Awareness Month.” We sat down with Carrie to discuss the motivation behind her memoir, how autism has changed her life and what words of wisdom she can share with others.

What motivated you to write WHAT COLOR IS MONDAY?

Both the title and the subject of the book were inspired by my autistic son, Jack.

My children motivated me to begin compiling my essays into a book and consider publishing it.  As I watched each of them take delight in each other and Jack, and our family grow stronger as a result of his autism, I felt compelled to reveal the other side of the spectrum disorder; the uplifting, heartwarming, positive angle that often goes uncelebrated.

But I was equally compelled to reveal it with candor and honesty, to highlight the challenges that endless stimming and perseverations, limited communication and rigidity can bring to a family.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing WHAT COLOR IS MONDAY?

For me, finding the time and the discipline to write every day was the most challenging part of writing the book. And once the manuscript was completed, the tedious task of editing and proofing with the publisher was very difficult. I hated the book, then loved it again, then hated it once more.  Now I think it’s okay.

What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

I hope readers see the funny, frustrating, confusing, brilliant aspects of autism. I hope they can relate to both the challenges and joy of raising a larger family with a special-needs child.

I especially hope young parents with a newly-diagnosed child can read the opening chapter and see themselves in it, and understand that although the road ahead will be challenging, it will also be rewarding. And fun.

How did writing about your son Jack’s autism help you understand him better?

Since I started writing regularly, a certain phrase comes to my mind often: to see him is to write about him and to write about him I need to see him. Essentially, writing about Jack helps me to observe him at a distance and yet understand him much more thoroughly. It has helped me reflect. At the end of a long day of his obsessions, stimming, and tantrums, I sit and write and untangle it all until it becomes meaningful for me.

And likewise, after a day where he says sentences with a lot of words and shows me his quick smile and finishes his math worksheet without exploding, I sit and write and quietly celebrate.

Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

Unfortunately, I do not outline. I do keep a journal full of notes—funny things the kids say, interesting situations—and use them as a starting point. I typically start an essay or a piece first thing in the morning, and mull it over through the course of the day while I drive small people to gymnastics and cook Shake & Bake for dinner. Then, once the house is quiet again at night, I return to the computer and color in the details.

Are there any books on autism that stand out in your mind as the most inspiring and helpful?I

I thoroughly enjoyed Temple Grandin’s books, The Way I See It, and Thinking in Pictures. I was also inspired by her mother, Eustacia Cutler’s book, A Thorn in My Pocket.

Also, Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird has been very helpful when I feel overwhelmed at the task of writing another chapter, another essay, another sentence.

What have you learned from this experience?

I have learned—cliché alert—that I can do something once I put my mind to it. I have learned that my husband is a generous person who will give me the time and space I need to be creative.  I have also learned that making my family come alive in my writing has helped me enjoy and appreciate them even more in real life.

What advice you would like to give parents of autistic children?

I would tell moms and dads of an autistic child to get help when they need it, whether that help is in the form of a great babysitter who gives you time to yourself, or a psychologist who helps you figure out why your son or daughter is wiping soap all over the walls.

I would tell them to hang in there and to hold on, because one day they will realize that they have been given a gift in their extraordinary child.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

The best parenting advice I’ve been given has been primarily practical. Back in Buffalo we had a pediatrician—a towering Chinese man in his forties—who told us that babies need to learn to sleep and it’s our job to teach them.

Our psychologist once told us to always assume our children’s behavior has a purpose. This single piece of advice re-shaped my perspective as a mother and helps me deconstruct my children’s motives and emotions throughout the day, especially Jack’s.

And when I was a small girl my mother always said never put anything in writing unless you’re sure you want people to read it.  I’m not certain if this was good advice or not, but it’s always stuck with me.

What are you working on now?

At this point I’m writing weekly posts for my blog and quarterly submissions for Autism Spectrum News. I’m also trying to learn how to do a pull-up unassisted.


Carrie blogs regularly on her website and shares humorous, poignant and eye-opening stories of life in the Cariello house.


Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the tragedy that occurred at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. We are truly devastated by this tragic event.

Get Started!

This is it! I’m officially here. In this place, on this blog, providing advice, encouragement and tips. I’ve stopped and started so many times that it has become a source of endless frustration. I don’t have time. I don’t know what to write. I have nothing to say. I have too much to say. I’ll ramble. I’ll get blocked. But then I realize that what I do, what I offer and what I am giving to my clients, my friends, my family and my students is advice that is strong and helpful and powerful. It’s sometimes direct and straight to the point and sometimes it takes the scenic route. It’s the answer they’ve been looking for or the spark they needed to follow through. I want to share daily insight into building the career you dream about that so that everyone can be inspired. We can all use more daily inspiration and guidance. While I’m busy promoting authors and getting them to recognize and distill their own voice and mission, I can help others do the same.

That’s what this blog is, a place to be inspired. To find your voice. To hear a call to action. Because how many of you are out there doubting yourself? Doubting your voice? Doubting your ability to be newsworthy or a good storyteller or just plain interesting.  Well, now is the time to STOP doubting. I’m a media maven. An architect for books and authors. I’ll help you chart the course and give you the vision to complete it. Think of it as an infusion of creativity.

I’m not a fan of the word “branding” because it is overused and under appreciated but at its center, branding is all about recognizability. Creating your mission statement. What do you want to tell people? What is your book about? What do you WANT to write about? Who do you want to be? How do you want to affect people? What kinds of people do you want to have an impact on?

Whether you have written a novel, a memoir, a cookbook, a thriller or a self-help book, you have a mission. You have something to say, a story to tell, or you would never have picked up a pen. You wouldn’t have dreamed of being published if you didn’t want people to hear you, to find you, to want more from you.

I’m here to help you get those words out. To be news worthy. To give editors, readers, reviewers, producers something to grab onto. Something that ignites a fire in them to want more from you.

The only way I can help you is to be here for you. To give my advice. To give examples, case studies, positive affirmations, sparks of creativity and guidance. I hope that my words help. I hope that my advice rings true. I hope it opens your eyes to something that you never thought of before or something that was right in front of you all along. Either way, if I can push you in the direction of your dreams, then I will have succeeded. And I will be so thankful I started this blog. Finally!


What are your biggest questions about book publishing and publicity? Are you self-published, traditionally published or dreaming about the day when you will some day be published? Regardless of where you are on your publishing journey, questions will always follow you. So speak up! Let me know what’s keeping you up at night or causing you to stare longingly at the blinking cursor.


The Chase

You’re a writer. You have a novel published or are waiting to hear back from an agent/editor/critique partner. You click around on Facebook or Twitter and find that someone you know has a BRIGHT SHINY NEW BOOK DEAL!

You feel a moment of excitement for them and then suddenly the truth and reality comes crashing down. Why don’t YOU have a book deal or movie deal or even an agent? Why are you still toiling away at this manuscript without seeing any return on your investment of time + emotion + hard work + patience?

Maybe you have a deal and your book has been published. Congrats! You’ve gotten a few reviews but nothing substantial. You open up People Magazine and smack dab in the middle of the book review section you see a four star review for a writer you know, maybe one you feel you are more talented then or has already achieved their fare share of attention. The inevitable crash of disappointment sets in again.

Why does it seem that the writing life is filled with so much disappointment? It seems that way because we are always chasing the next best thing. If we don’t have an agent, all we see are writers with agents. If we get an agent, other writers are getting better deals + bigger advances. Even if we’ve scaled the mountain and gotten the agent, the book deal and have been published, now we’re not getting the right media exposure. We are climbing up a mountain and we can’t see the top. We’re not sure if we’re even going in the right direction.

So what happens? We burn out. We quit. We look around for other careers because this one is too hard with too much rejection and competition. If we keep searching for something better or more impressive, we will soon learn that we will never reach the top of the mountain because we will never be satisfied.

The problem is that we are only seeing the narrowest view of this climb. If we don’t get an agent, then we are a failure. If we don’t get a six-figure book deal, then we are a failure. If we don’t achieve starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly or People magazine, then we are a failure.

Writers are too busy chasing their ideas of perfection instead of looking around at how far they’ve come. Think back to your 4th grade self. If you told your 4th grade self that you had written a 75,000 word novel, wouldn’t 4th grade you be impressed? If you told your 4th grade self that you had written an article or published a book review, wouldn’t 4th grade you be impressed. If you told your 4th grade self that you can search a website called and find your book with a cover and a price and people can actually buy it, wouldn’t 4th grade you be impressed? (PS- While you’re at it, tell your 4th grade self to invent, then you’ll really be impressed!)

But seriously, we forget to appreciate how far we’ve already come in the direction of our dreams because we are always chasing + comparing. We continue to chase an idea of success without seeing it all around us. We compare our success to the success of others. We need to learn that there is no such thing as perfection and as Roosevelt said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” There is always going to be a better deal, better sales, better coverage, better reviews. But if you love what you are doing and can appreciate the steps you’ve made in the pursuit of your dreams, then you are already a huge success.

Tips for success:

-Do one thing every day that moves you toward your ultimate goal. Write a thousand words a day. Pitch one magazine article to an editor. Write one important blog post.

-Feel grateful for the success you have achieved, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant. Remember, your 4th grade self would be impressed.

-Look at where you were last year vs. where you are today. I guarantee you have made strides towards your goal.

Move forward. Keep going, moving, progressing, learning. You can’t feel like a failure if you are always learning and growing.

-Stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone’s journey is unique, with equal parts high + low. And in the words of your 4th grade teacher, “Keep your eyes on your own paper.” 

The K Street Affair by Mari Passananti {Interview}

1. What was the inspiration for The K Street Affair?

I’m a bit of a political junkie, and I’ve always been fascinated by the nexus of money and politics. At this point in our nation’s history, large corporations hold unprecedented sway over laws and lawmakers. Which is problematic, because as Lee Raymond, the CEO of Exxon/Mobil famously said, his multinational corporation isn’t a U.S. company, so he doesn’t make decisions based on what’s good for the United States. Think about that. These are the people with nearly bottomless resources. They employ armies of lobbyists and spend mind-boggling sums to shape the laws of the land in their shareholders’ favor. Since the Supreme Court decided Citizens United, there is no way to prevent corporations and even foreign interests (whose agendas may conflict directly with our economic and national security interests) from making enormous donations to political causes. In writing The K Street Affair, I set out to answer two questions: What if a politically wired multinational corporation set out to start a war to advance its own economic interests? And if one relatively ordinary citizen stumbled upon their plans, should she risk everything, including her life and the lives of her family members, to stop them?

2.     The K Street Affair is very different from your debut novel, The Hazards of Hunting While Heartbroken. What inspired you to go in this direction?

I actually wrote a draft of the novel that would become K Street Affair before I wrote The Hazards. The most interesting rejection that manuscript received said something along the lines of “You can write, but the world isn’t ready for a female Jason Bourne. Try something less far fetched.” I shelved the project and focused on The Hazards, which is a less quirky women’s novel. Once The Hazards was published, I decided to dust off K Street Affair. It was a fascinating exercise. Plots involving secret offshore money laundering and terror finance (whether witting or unwitting) by politicians and their corporate friends somehow seem less far fetched that they did five years ago. Ultimately, both novels feature a young woman protagonist forced to find her backbone through a series of unwanted events.

3.     Did you do extensive research into politics and corporate America while writing The K Street Affair?

Yes. I cite some of the books I devoured in the Author’s Note at the end of the book. I had extensive conversations with a private equity executive, who for obvious reasons wishes to remain anonymous. He was the first person to whisper the words “offshore money laundering” to me, and for that I am grateful. The central crimes in K Street Affair wouldn’t have been feasible without the series of blind trusts and blocker corporations the villains set up outside the reach of the IRS.

4.     What is your typical writing day like?

Sometimes I wish I had a typical writing day. I usually write while my son, a newly minted three-year-old, is in preschool, which gives me twenty uninterrupted hours a week (if I’m lucky). I wish I could say I’m one of those people who can work late into the night, but I’m exhausted by the time my son goes to bed. Whenever I work during the wee hours, I write the most awful drivel, which I inevitably end up deleting. Once in a while, if I’m on a roll, I’ll hire a sitter. I get nothing done if I try to work while watching my kid. Because he’s three, he’s permanently set to self-destruct mode. I’m pretty sure that any parent who claims to work while minding a preschooler either gets accomplishes very little. Small kids are wired with invisible antennae that alert them to rivals for parental attention. In our house, my work is my son’s nemesis.

5.     Can you tell us about your writing process? Do you outline? Are you a planner?

I always know how things will end for my main characters when I start writing, but I don’t write extensive outlines. The downside of this method is that I write myself into corners every so often. I suppose that’s part of my process. If something a character does isn’t working, I go back, unravel and re-write until the scene makes sense.

6.     What is the best writing (and/or life) advice you have ever received?

Failure isn’t an option. If you suffer a set back, you dust yourself off, maybe even lick your wounds a little, but you always get back on the metaphorical horse.

7.     What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

THE SHOEMAKER’S WIFE — My book club’s pick this month tells the intertwined stories of two young people from the Italian Alps who emigrate to America before the First World War. A well researched novel, told in a charming voice and presented on a nearly epic scale. The Constant Gardner—John LeCarre’s best spy novel ever, in my humble opinion. I saw the movie years ago but never read the book until this summer. DRIFT—I confess I’ve been waiting to read this look at the military-industrial complex until the galleys for K Street Affair shipped, because when it released in May, I was making the last edits to my manuscript and I was terrified this critically acclaimed book would inspire another massive re-write.

8.     What do you think is the biggest myth of being a novelist?

I think there’s a perception among many non-writers that if you publish a book, you’ll make a good living. While that certainly happens for some authors, it’s not the norm.

9.     What advice would you give to an unpublished writer?

You need thick skin. Writing involves a staggering amount of rejection and criticism. As to process:

(1.) Write a draft.

(2.) Put it away for several weeks.

(3.) Take it out a revise ruthlessly.

(4.) Show the manuscript to an editor or writers’ workshop—people other than your mom or best friends.

(5.) Revise again.

(6.) Repeat steps 2 through 5 until satisfied.

10.  What are you working on now?

I’ve started work on my third novel, about a woman who sacrifices her legal career in order to follow her celebrated humanitarian husband to the third world. If he works tirelessly to save countless children, but treats his own family abominably, is he still a great man? In aid to the developing world, do appearances matter more than results? Does modern marriage have room for two big, ambitious personalities, or does one partner always end up yielding? I also have an entirely different book percolating: a courtroom tale about a big firm lawyer assigned to a capital case. I want to look not only at the legal system, but at the personal toll a case with such stakes takes on the lawyer, a young wife and mother.

Read more about Mari on her website and be sure to pick up a copy of THE K STREET AFFAIR.

Headline Hitters: Video Games Are Good For You!

Video games continue to grow in popularity and widespread use. Genese Davis knows this world well. She is a gamer. She’s also a writer, a pilot, a horseback rider, an athlete, a model and a manager in a financial organization. In other words, she is a highly accomplished, well-rounded woman. She also loves video games. Genese gives us 6 WAYS VIDEO GAMES CAN IMPROVE OUR LIVES.

1) Life Skills Acquired Through Video Games

Video games improve comfort level with professional and social expectations. They require strategy skills, team leadership, problem solving, quick decision-making, delegating responsibility and raising awareness. Building these skills in games can be easily transferred into professional life. Work skills will be enhanced, confidence will grow and leadership skills will develop.

2) Video Games Build Confidence

In video games, the player is the hero. Women must learn to be the hero of their lives. So often, women relinquish this role or downplay their successes. Storylines in video games empower women to believe in themselves and give direct and immediate feedback, i.e., “We couldn’t have won without you,” and “Thank you so much, you saved us!” As simple as this sounds, this positive reinforcement can do wonders for your confidence.

3) Video Games Benefit Relationships (Shocking but True!)

Healthy and content relationships blossom when both partners take a proactive interest in each other’s lifestyle. Even if video games are not your “cup of tea” right now, give one a try. You may be surprised how many positive and artistic attributes are uncovered. Video games offer couples a hobby to explore together. Time playing a video game together is time well spent. Couples can bond while playing video games because they are interacting on new micro and macro levels. Communication improves when playing video games together much more than when watching television or movies. Video games require adaptation and quick decision-making. Video games will constantly challenge the player and can significantly improve brain function.

4) Video Games are NOT Just For Men

When we hear the term “video game players,” people often think of a throng of children, or a group of men. However, the average age of every video game player is thirty-three. Video games are an important form of entertainment for all ages. In fact, video games offer crucial validation for women and men.

5) Video Games Enhance Social Behavior

Video games are a way for women to discover new perspectives, meet new people, hear new theories, and discuss new topics.

6) Video Games Are Healthy

All humans need time to unwind. When we relax, our minds have the chance to process our daily stress and to rejuvenate. Additionally, more and more video games are being created for overall health and wellness Video games give people the means to enhance their lives.

A 2011 study conducted by scientists at Brigham and Young proved that video game exercise can help achieve physical wellness. Active video games such as Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Boxing allow players to experience enough exercise to meet recommendations for physical health. Georgetown University researchers conducted a separate study on overweight teenagers in Washington, D.C., using the Wii version of Sports Active. They found that children who played various games felt better about themselves, lost weight and developed increased focus necessary for academic achievement.

Genese Davis’ debut novel The Holder’s Dominion (Beaver’s Pond Press, March 2013) explores the world of video games from an outsider’s perspective. She has been working in the world of video games for the past few years and has started the online movement, The Gamer in You. More information on Genese can be found at her website,



Headline Hitters: Meningitis Explored in TEN DAYS

Dr. Janet Gilsdorf’s brilliant debut novel, Ten Days (Kensington, September 2012) is an emotional novel that opens up the world of medicine from all angles.

Dr. Gildorf’s novel explores something she is quite familiar with in her work as a pediatrician specializing in infectious diseases, a topic that has been making tragic headlines recently, meningitis:

  • The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention has counted 419 cases of meningitis in 19 states linked to tainted steroid injections. At least 30 people have died. Hearings have been held on the deadly U.S. outbreak.
How can Dr. Gilsdorf use her expertise to help the general public while gaining name recognition?
  • Dr. Gilsdorf can advise people of the signs to look for and the realities of this terrible disease. She can also calm people by explaining the rarity of such cases and real statistics of meningitis.
  • Dr. Gilsdorf can explore the doctor patient relationship from both sides. With healthcare being a primary concern of U.S. citizens, it is important to understand the best way to communicate with your doctor and your family.
  • Dr. Gilsdorf can provide a window into a world that few know but many are fascinated by, the world of modern medicine and its impact on our lives.

In her novel, Ten Days, Dr. Gilsdorf portrays the world of medicine from both sides, that of a parent and a physician. What if a parent doesn’t recognize an illness in their child? What if they don’t seek medical attention quickly? What if one of the parents is a physician?

Ten Days introduces the reader to Anna and Jake. Although Anna and Jake Campbell interact with the world in very different ways, she as a cautious worrier and he as an optimistic realist, they successfully navigate the everyday problems that percolate through their marriage until the night their young son, Eddie, becomes ill. Anna has a bad cold and longs for the peace of evening and Jake, an orthopedic surgery resident, spends the night at the hospital, taking care of other people’s sick wives and children. As a result of their irreversible, achingly regrettable inactions, Anna and Jake face losing their child.

The characters in Ten Days represent the many parents and physicians Dr. Gilsdorf encounters during her work as a pediatrician. Dr. Gilsdorf is the Robert P. Kelch Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the University of Michigan, Director of Haemophilus influenza research laboratory, Director of the Cellular and Molecular Biology in Pediatrics Training Program and Co-Director of the Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases.

Visit Janet Gilsdorf on her website and read her blog for insight into the world of medicine.

Interview with Jan Surasky

We are kicking of the New Year by bringing the fascinating lives of our authors to the Kelley & Hall blog. We will be featuring interviews with our authors and giving readers a glimpse into the writer’s life. Today we start off with Jan Surasky. Jan has worked as a book reviewer, movie reviewer, and entertainment writer for a San Francisco daily newspaper. Her many articles and short stories have been published in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers. She has also taught writing a t a litterer center and a number of area colleges near her home in upstate New York. She is graduate of Cornell University and has studied English literature in the graduate department of the University of Rochester. Her novel Rage Against the Dying Light has won the Eric Hoffer Award for commercial fiction. You can find her at

Q:     Tell us the story behind the story. How did Rage Against the Dying Light come to be?

While I was researching an entirely different topic, I came across the entry on Boudicca to which I was immediately drawn. I was impressed with her courage and the beautiful and tragic life she had lived. I knew I wanted to tell her story.

Q:     What was the most challenging aspect of writing Rage Against the Dying Light?

Imagining Boudicca’s story based on the very few facts available and trying to get it right was the greatest challenge. I wanted to do justice to the society and culture in which she lived. Also I wanted to depict the beautiful English countryside which so inspired her courage.

 Q:     What is the message you want readers to take away from your book?

I want readers to see that although Boudicca was a queen, she was also under the same constraints as any human. I want to show that courage lies in all of us to be tapped when necessary.

Q:     Describe your background.

I have worked for a San Francisco daily newspaper as a book reviewer, movie reviewer and entertainment writer. My many articles and short stories have been published in national, regional and local magazines and newspapers.

 Q:     Describe your writing schedule. Do you outline? Any habits?

I write every day. I do not outline but for this book, I had a one word chapter heading for my use only as a guide. I edit my work daily.

Q:     What books are on your nightstand? What are you currently reading?

The book on my nightstand is a book of Hemingway’s letters recently released from Cuba and so far unpublished. The book I have enjoyed the most this year is The Elephant’s Journey by Jose Saramango.

 Q:    Which authors inspire you?

Many authors have inspired me including the authors of the many fairy tales I have read, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Thomas Hardy and Ernest Hemingway.

Q:     What have you learned from this experience?

I have learned that a woman who summoned her courage inspired so many.

Q:     What is your advice for aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers is to hang in there, be true to your work and believe in it, and never give up.

 Q:    What are you working on now?

My second novel Back to Jerusalem is in the launching stage and I am working on a third novel.

Planting the Seed

We often equate book publicity with planting a seed. You have a written a novel (or self-help manual or cookbook or memoir). You have published it (either through a major publishing house, a small press, self-publishing, or e-book). It is ready to go out into the work or it’s already out there on shelves or online.

Now you’re ready for people to start talking about it!

So where are all the reviews, interviews and coverage?

According to Bowker, 3 million books were published in 2011. Consider the staggering fact that 248,000 books were published in 2003 and the figures continued to double every year after that. Bowker estimates, as reported by Seth Godin, that the figure will grow to 15 million in 2012! That’s a lot of competition.

So how do you get your book noticed?

Slowly and with great determination, patience and effort. There is no other way around it. If you want your book to be read and reviewed, you have to reach far and wide in the media landscape. You have to be prepared to send out many review copies, and you have to wait. Following-up with the media outlets is essential, but you can’t force people to read and react to your work. You have to change your approach, think of different angles and find ways to make your story newsworthy. You have to think like a journalist and constantly scan the news for appropriate angles or areas where you can offer expertise.

The more coverage you can accumulate, the more news-worthy you will be to other media outlets. You are building “buzz.” You are building a brand. But it does take time. There is an old joke said by actors that it takes decades of hard work and dedication to become an overnight success. The same can be said for authors. The most successful publicity campaigns last for years, not months. Don’t expect to get readers and fans right out of the gate. Many times we read about instant successes and yes, they do happen. But people also win the lottery. If you want to be realistic about the process, you have to be prepared to do the work. You are building an audience slowly. Most “break out” authors have been working at this tirelessly for a very long time.

Publicity is like planting a seed. You have to nurture it, give it plenty of time and attention and it will grow. It just takes time and a lot of effort.


What have we learned during this presidential election? That negative commercials don’t really work? That automated phone calls are really more of an annoyance than anything beneficial for a campaign? That voters don’t want to be spammed with emails forcing issues and ideas down their throat?

Authors seeking publicity can learn from the tactics used in a presidential election. What really matters are the issues at hand and how they affect your life. This is what voters and readers relate to and seek out. As an author, what is your purpose? What are you hoping to teach, show, or do? The reading (and voting) public is much more interested in being enlightened than choosing something because it has been forced upon them. They don’t pick a book (or a candidate) because they see it everywhere. Intelligent readers, and voters, make a choice because it opens their eyes to something that personally affects them. It draws them in, inspires them, teaches them, excites them. But the only way people will know if your book is going to do all of these things is if you get your voice out there. You need to let people know what they will find in your work. You need to let them hear your voice. Just seeing your face everywhere is not going to make a lasting impression. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan, you want to build a lifelong audience. That takes time and patience and dedication to your readers and your voice.

Don’t forget to vote today! 

Capitalizing on Disaster

We are often advising clients to find news hooks in order to help promote their work and spread the word about their particular areas of expertise. We suggest they offer themselves and their work for platform building and name recognition. This is very important when it comes to book publicity. Finding a way to stand out from the thousands of books published every month. However, there is a line. When you are trying to profit from a disaster, things can turn ugly. The old adage is “any publicity is good publicity” but does this stand true?

Superstorm Sandy left millions without power and created massive destruction and fatalities. It was a tragic event with catastrophic results. Some companies, however, used the storm as a “hot story” to garner sales. Gap, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel offered online “Sandy Sales.” American Apparel released an ad targeting the states that got hit the hardest by Sandy with a 20% off for 36 hours, “in case you’re bored during the storm.” The problem with a PR stunt like this is that you are going to offend people. Yes, some sales might be incurred, but the end result is going to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths and might result in a backlash. The public doesn’t like to be taken advantage of or used. They want to be educated, informed and enlightened. We advise our authors to use their expertise, their experience and the work they created to open people’s eyes to things they may not have been aware of before, not to take advantage.

What are your thoughts on the Sandy PR? 

Jon Clinch on The Thief of Auschwitz

Jon Clinch, author of the bestselling novels FINN and KINGS OF THE EARTH, is making a big publishing move. In January, he will be releasing his riveting novel, THE THIEF OF AUSCHWITZ, and publishing it independently. Recently, he was interviewed by Ron Charles of The Washington Post. Check out that piece here.

Below Jon answers a few questions about the direction of publishing today and why he chose to forge a new path for himself.

Q:        We hear a lot these days about the death of big publishing. Are the rumors true, or premature?

A:        It’s not over yet, that’s for certain. What becomes of publishing in the months and years ahead will be a matter of making the best use of technology on one hand and humanity on the other. Technology is really good at the physical stuff—at solving manufacturing and distribution problems. Witness e-books, and the electronic marketplace that has sprung up around them. But when you start looking beyond the physicality of the book as an artifact, you begin to see the parts of it that technology can’t touch. Not just the skill that goes into writing it, but the intelligence that goes into vetting it, the insight that goes into marketing it, and the personal connection that goes into getting it into the hands of readers. Big publishers have been fairly competent at those things all along—particularly as regards large, commercial projects—but the distribution side of things has begun falling apart under its own weight.

I believe that the technology-savvy independent who managed to deliver on the human part of the equation—the connecting with readers part—will be the one who thrives.

Q:        What have you given up by going independent? Editorial input? Marketing support? Credibility?

A:        Editing is a very personal thing that varies by the writer. When the time came for a detailed discussion of Finn, for example, my editor had three little Post-It notes stuck to the manuscript. We dispatched them in a couple of minutes.

Marketing support, of course, is huge. Big publishers create bestsellers by spending energy and money on them. They also create failed books by ignoring them. It’s pretty simple. As a long-time marketing guy myself, I believe that I can make something happen in that department on my own. I can certainly make enough happen on my own. (A big publisher will, of course, define enough very differently than I do.)

As for credibility, I’m lucky enough to have published a couple of novels that were extremely well received by the press. Finn was named an American Library Association Notable Book and was chosen as one of the year’s best books by the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor. Kings of the Earth was named a best book of the year by the Washington Post and led the 2010 Summer Reading List at O, The Oprah Magazine. So I enter into this with some good credentials and name recognition.

Q:        Why haven’t other literary writers done this?

A:        I have friends who write all kinds of books. Literary stuff, of course, but also thrillers and mysteries and horror and chick lit and so on. The genre folks have been much more willing to adapt to the new world of self-publishing than the literary folks have been, and I suspect it’s a matter of perspective. Literary writers revere the publishing system itself and everything that goes with it—the imprints where their heroes were published, the long apprenticeships through Bread Loaf and Squaw Valley, the physical weight of a hardcover book—far more than they revere the part of the business that has to do with commerce. They’re willing to take a small advance or no advance at all to be published by even the smallest of small presses, because it signifies that the house has found them worthy. Writers in the genres don’t see it that way. To them, a reader is a reader is a reader. I have to confess that they’re probably right.

The 50 Shades of Grey Phenomenon

It seems that everyone is talking about 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Libraries are debating stocking it, more than 10 million copies have been sold, it is putting feminism in the hot seat, but most importantly it gets people talking about publishing. According to The Atlantic, “The erotic novel became a New York Times bestseller without a traditional publisher, thanks to word of mouth.” 

More than anything, I think 50 Shades of Grey highlights the attractiveness and ease of e-books (which is where it got its’ early notoriety) and the power of word-of-mouth, whether spoken, emailed or sent via text. The fact that it started as an e-book meant women could buy it and read it without anyone knowing. And the more women who bought it, the more they talked about it. It became a secret club, it was the definition of a Buzz Book.

It also has a David and Goliath edge to the story. According to Sarah Fay in The Atlantic, “Self-published authors are the literary equivalent of self-made men and women.” E.L. James had no traditional distribution channels and therefore had to go through other methods to get her book read…and read widely. She tapped into a genre that has a huge fan base and it became the scandalous book everyone was itching to read out of pure curiosity. The more people talk, the more books sell.

Whether or not you agree with the fanfare, you can’t deny it has become the publishing story of 2012.

Why do you think 50 Shades of Grey has taken on a life of its own? Have you read it? Do you plan to read it? Do you agree with the attention?

Finding Your Self in Self-Publishing

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of reasons to go the self-publishing route. Maybe you have a great idea that is tied into a specific time/place/event and you want to get it out into the world IMMEDIATELY. You are head-over-heels in love with your novel but the agents (or publishers) just aren’t biting. You want to retain all artistic and editorial control. You don’t like the financial offer that is being made by a publishing house. The list goes on and on.

In today’s publishing climate, self-publishing no longer has the stigma it once did. In fact, big names are jumping ship from traditional publishers and doing a lot of the work on their own (just ask Jackie Collins). It’s also becoming easier to gain attention for your self-published work thanks to social networking, the internet, the tremendous growth of e-books and even support from brick and mortar stores who are becoming much more receptive to carrying self-published titles.

Self-publishing still has its downfalls. The rush to put out a book before proper editing, strong cover design and an overall weak story remains evident in a number of titles. But a strong point made in a recent IndieReader piece by Terry Giuliano illustrates that “The difference is, when a traditional title garners negative reviews, only that book gets panned. No one cites examples of poorly written traditionally published books to support any conclusion about all traditional titles.” Why are all self-published titles forever linked? Why does one bad egg ruin the bunch?

The self-publishing market is growing and gaining strength. If you can put the proper resources behind your self-published book (including editing, cover design, a strong and relevant publicity campaign) and it is work that you are proud and excited to share with the reading public, then by all means, take that giant leap forward. Do it for your SELF! Keep in mind that you can’t avoid criticism. You can’t force people to read (or like) your book. You will be overlooked at times just because you are “self-published,” but if your writing is strong, if your story is engaging and if you remain optimistic, you will succeed. And in the meantime, keep writing!

We’re Back!

We are back!

If you have been a follower of this blog, you are well aware of the fact that we took a bit of a sabbatical from writing to restructure the website. We’ve also  been working on some exciting projects, working with some fantastic authors and further immersing ourselves in the unchartered terrain of the ever-changing publishing world.

We’re excited for this new journey and have so much to share. We want to help you build a successful career as a writer. We want to teach you the skills you need to stand out and create a demand for your work and your voice. We want to educate authors, both successfully published and aspiring, how to make the most of your talents and build buzz around your book.

We are going to not only show you the ropes of the publishing industry but teach you publicity techniques that will help you navigate this ever-changing terrain. We will share interesting news from the publishing industry and answer any questions that readers and writers may have about book publishing, book publicity and more.