Giving Your All

Giving your all, striving to be the “best”, can sometimes lead to burnout. I love this piece from Chela Davison at The Daily Love exploring the idea that sometimes we need to save something for ourselves.

“I can only healthily give something my all when my identity doesn’t gather its worth from my action. Giving has to be sourced from wholeness.”


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 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!



Book Bloggers

The writer Allison Winn Scotch recently posed the question What’s your opinion on book review blogs?  Do you think people read them?  Do you expect that they’ll become an influential force in the publishing world?  Do you as an author consider them valuable?

It is an interesting and consistently asked question in today’s changing media. One of the reasons that the book sections of newspapers are shrinking is because in today’s social networking world people are more interested in a dialogue than a one-sided summary or narrative about a particular book. They want a more visceral, personal reaction with questions and an open forum for responses. People want to know how a particular book will impact their life, what questions it will pose and how others are reacting to it. I think book bloggers become, essentially, an extension of your “friends” and you want to know what they are reading, which authors are on their radar and what they like and dislike. Ultimately we all make our own decisions, but online blogs and book-related websites provide readers with an instant outlet to express their opinions and reactions to books that strike a chord.

Add “Read More” to your New Year’s Resolutions

Nina Sankovitch, the woman behind Read All Day has some pertinent advice for all of us. READ MORE! It is a great resolution to add to your list or dare to have it be the only item on your list. Either way, it is a positive change we can all make in our daily lives. Sankovitch points out in her Huffington Post essay that if we spent less time on Facebook and Twitter, we could devote more time to reading.

“Reading is a vacation and an education,” says Sankovitch, and honestly, how many things can that be said about?

Tips for Publicity


I am going to try and use this blog as a place to disperse some pertinent information regarding strong publicity tactics. With publishing houses shrinking in staff and budgets dwindling, many authors will have to put their own time and effort into an effective campaign.

Here’s an insider tip:


When faced with tight deadlines and mounting article assignments, journalists need as much information as possible at their fingertips. The press release can also spark an idea or give the journalist incentive to include your book in an article or segment they are already working on.

Here are three things a good press release should offer.

1.) What problem will your book or your expertise solve.
2.) Why are you a good authority. Why should you be called on?
3.) Explain what you would like to offer to help solve the problem or bring light to a situation.

Common Mistakes

As a publicist, I am constantly on tight deadlines and writing makes up 90% of the job. Unfortunately, speed does not lend itself well to correct spelling and grammar. Thankfully, I love to write and have always found comfort and solace in the written word. My partners and I all share a common trait, we are grammar nerds and this comes in handy when writing and proofing dozens of press releases, pitch letters, biographies and media questions on a daily basis. I found this great article about the 32 Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases. And here is a very interesting piece on 12 Grammar Rules You Can Toss Out the Window. Enjoy!


One of the best things you can do when building your writing career is to specialize in a certain area that highlights your expertise. By continuously covering topics in the same area, you will begin to build name recognition and essentially be “branding” yourself as the go-to person for your topic of choice. Specializing helps you to acquire media placements and creates a strong readership eagerly awaiting your next book.

This is essential for non-fiction writers but can also be applied to fiction writers, as well. One of our clients, Ad Hudler, writes about being the stay-at-home dad in two of his most recent works of fiction, HOUSEHUSBAND and MAN OF THE HOUSE. Both books deal with life in the home, whether you are taking on the role of Mr. Mom or trying to bring back your macho nature while still doing all of the household chores. Ad writes about what he knows and it comes across in his work. He is an expert on the life of the American Man/Dad and what that means to his life, his masculinity and his future. He is exploring a similar theme in both of these books and therefore creating his own specialty when it comes to fiction and viewpoint. He recently provided a book review over at GalleyCat on THE SCORE by Faye Flam. The review was a great outlet for Hudler to display his unique perspective and build a following.

The more you specialize in specific areas, the better your chances are for success in publishing.

Man of the House by Ad Hudler