Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, book selling, book signings, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

New film about the future of the book debuts at Tribeca film festival.

I suppose it was only a matter of time, but I was still surprised to see an announcement of a documentary film debuting a the Tribeca Film Festival, called Out of Print. Out of Print web siteThis film, directed by Vivienne Roumani, an independent producer/director based in New York City, explores the future of the book. Roumani, a former librarian has assembled an impressive group of interviews, including the late Ray Bradbury to consider the question of what will happen to the book.

On the web site for the film, the following description summarizes what the viewer can expect to see.

Web to Book: Drop Dead,” fun but jarring, was one of the headlines amid the growing barrage of news stories and books about the imminent death of the written word and the inevitable migration of our personal and collective knowledge and memory to machines. Especially as a former librarian, this growing view about the impact of the digital revolution was deeply troubling to me. Is the book as we know it really dead? Is the question even important in an always-on, digital world? I set out on a quest to find out what it really means to us as individuals, and as a society, to have the ability to answer nearly any question at lightning speed, anywhere, and at any time.

 The complexity of the architecture of information became evident from the first interview: the bookseller led to the author, which led to the publisher, to the librarian, the reader, the pirate web site, the educator, the cognitive scientist; issues of copyright, preservation, knowledge, democratization, and diversity of access and sources were all intertwined. “Is the book dead?” was simply the starting point to get to the bottom of a time of transformation that ultimately affects every aspect of our society. The late Ray Bradbury, Authors Guild President Scott Turow, founder Jeff Bezos, New Yorker and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin, are among the participants that helped me unravel the issues that impact the very core of our civilization. I hope that the clarity that Out of Print offers is a starting point around which we can engage in a candid and fruitful discussion that will help direct our future.

What do you think about the future of the book? My position is as long as we long to tell and hear stories that impact our lives, there will always be a place for the book. Use the comment section to let me know your views.

Author Solutions, authors, iuniverse, Publishing, self publishing, writing

A interview with author Leda Sanford about her book Pure Moxie.

Pure MoxieOne of the great joys of my job is having the opportunity to speak to a wide variety of authors. Their experiences and stories are always inspiring to me. At the San Francisco Writers Conference, I had the opportunity to meet Leda Sanford. Leda, was a very successful executive who broke the glass ceiling and wrote a book to chronicle her experiences. I had the opportunity to ask her some questions about her book. My questions and her answers are below.

  • What inspired you to write your book?

I was inspired by a desire to share with other  women my story of re-invention and success at a time when women were just beginning to examine the adequacy  of their roles as wives and homemakers.  In 1998 when I moved from Manhattan to California   I was constantly asked by women to tell them the story of my life…about ” how I did it” ..and how at 59 I had the courage to leave everything behind and move to California.  This always led to the other question of how did I have the courage to break up my marriage at age 33, and with two children age 5 and 11, get a job in a field I was not educated for  ( magazine business) and within 5 brief years break the glass ceiling in 1975 and become the first female publisher and president of a major American publishing company, and American Home magazine.

How I did it and what were the steps that I took along the way?

What was the “secret” of my survival and success and the continuing response to the age barrier as well as the gender discrimination ?

My  answer at a dinner party when asked this question now is : BUY MY BOOK!

Even though I was “famous” in my field and have many articles to prove it including my Wikipedia listing…  there is the validation that comes from being “an author”…,

  • What do you hope readers will gain from reading the book?

 I hope that readers will draw from my book the courage to explore the dimensions pf their unique destiny while not negating their designated roles and wives ,  mothers and caregivers because there is no better preparation for aging than the power that comes from being a multidimensional person . I hope that the readers will see the importance of having courage rooted in determination and a willingness to accept the possibility of failure without being crushed by it. 

  • You have had extensive experience in publishing. How do you think that helped you in your writing and publishing process?

My many years of writing for magazines and directing and developing the writers ,  editors and art directors who reported to me cultivated  in me the ability to “communicate” through writing, editing and the ability to be brief. Get to the point …Grab the reader..

  •  What tips would you give to aspiring writers who are thinking about publishing?

Read the new York Times especially the Sunday Book Review section.

Avoid critique groups of amateur writers. You can’t learn from these people.

 Submit your writing to the scrutiny of accomplished professionals that you have to pay.

Would you go to a free “doctor.?”

 My best teacher taught me that “Writing is Rewriting.”

Watch C-SPan Book TV on Sat. & Sunday  channel 109

  • What has been the most satisfying thing about publishing a book?

For me he most satisfying thing about publishing a book is the feeling of immortality.

Even though I was “famous” in my field and have many articles to prove it including my Wikipedia listing…  there is the validation that comes from being “an author”…,someone who dedicated  time and energy to sharing their soul with other people . And there is the ego gratification that I enjoy when giving my book to someone or when people come to hear me speak about it..

Author Solutions, authors, book selling, Editing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

3 more tips and a new term for publishing from Guy Kawasaki

Guy suggests self-publishing should be called Artisinal publishing.

Guy suggests self publishing should be called artisinal publishing.

In a previous post, I made note of a key-note address given by Guy Kawasaki at the San Francisco Writers Conference which I thought was quite good. Based on the traffic and comments on that post, I think many of you found his simple and clear insights helpful. So I thought I would share three more that I thought were important to remember and share the term he used to describe the new era of publishing. 

  1. Hire a copy editor–I know you have probably heard this comment over and over again, but I don’t think it can be emphasized enough. Too many self published authors think they are one draft wonders. I did not have the exact stats, but Guy shared a personal example where he had gone over the manuscripts numerous times and then submitted to the editor and was shocked at the number of corrections needed.  It’s not because he wasn’t a good writer. It just simply illustrates how important it is to have another qualified set of eyes on your work.
  2. Hire a cover designer–One of the scariest phrases I hear from authors is, “my daughter is an artist”.  She may be, but that doesn’t mean she knows how to create the right cover for your book. I have other posts on this blog that talk about cover design.  One of them is Six Tips from Wicked Good Book Cover Designers. Lots of good info there are how to determine what you need a cover designer to do.
  3. Never give up–Again, if you have read this blog, this is not a new statement. In fact one of the secrets of successful self published authors is believing in their work. It was just reassuring to hear Guy say it as well.

Finally, Guy suggested that there is a new term needed to describe the way self-publishing has evolved. He compared it to craft brewers or bakers. He said authors now need to think of their work as artisanal publishing. In other words, self publishing is no longer to be thought of as less value, but rather as an important craft. Not everyone agrees with his take, but I think it is further evidence that self publishing has fully arrived.  He gave three books as examples of Birds of America by Audubon, Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  Quite a diverse list, but each was first self-published and went on to be a big seller and classic.

What do you think? Do we need a new term to describe self-publishing? Do you agree with Guy’s suggestion? Use the comment section to let me know what you think.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, self publishing

5 Slightly Unexpected Tips For Self-Published Authors to Find Success

There are many voices out there today giving their opinions on self-publishing.  Unfortunately, many of those who are the loudest are promoting one path to publishing as the only way.  As you know, I don’t agree with that perspective because there are more options and choices than ever before for authors to get their books into the hands of readers.

Jeremy Greenfield

Jeremy Greenfield

That’s why I found the post by Jeremy Greenfield very refreshing. Jeremy is the editorial director of Digital Book World and speaks at many of the key conferences around the country.  He  is a considered a thought leader in the industry and I appreciate his perspectives. I was particularly struck by the blog post he did based on a talk he gave at a conference.  You can read the full post here, but I thought there were some specific points he made that bear repeating. With his permission, I have provided some excerpts for your edification.

Beware of people who tell you that it’s absolutely wrong to use one self-publishing service or another; or someone who tells you  you can’t do it without an established publisher; or that you shouldn’t do it with one.

One thing I hear a lot these days is that “self-publishing” is a misnomer. The reason? There’s no way that one person can do everything necessary to properly and effectively publish a book. (Obviously there are a lot of qualifiers there, but you get the idea.)

Misnomer aside, there are many people out there trying to publish books without the aid of an established publishing company. Some of them gathered at the Tools of Change Author Revolution conference in New York today to share information, network and learn more about the craft of publishing.

Since so much of what you hear and read about self-publishing is common sense or things you’ve heard before, I decided to pick out five things from the programming that are slightly unexpected or things you may not have heard before.

1. Give content away. 

“Free is your best friend,” said founder of Wildfire Marketing (and DBW Expert Blogger) Rob Eagar. “Giving away part of your content or sometimes the whole book for free” is one of the best ways to generate book sales.

2. Don’t go it alone. 

There are self-publishing advocates that will tell you that you can do it all yourself. That you should do it all yourself, especially if someone who might help you wants to charge you for the service.

According to agent Jason Allen Ashlock (head of Movable Type Management and also a DBW Expert Blogger), it’s not a good idea.

“None of us goes it alone,” he said. “Publishing is a team sport. Allies, alliances and partners are more vital than ever.”

.3. Maintain a relationship with your audience. 

The old publishing cycle was: write, edit, produce, pre-sales and marketing, book release, big sales and marketing push, sales fade, repeat. The new publishing cycle is drawn out and never ends. Marketing starts the day the author gets her first Twitter follower. The sales and marketing cycle never ends.

In the old way of doing things, authors would go on book tour and get in front of readers for a set period of time and then likely wouldn’t be heard from much again until the next book. Today, authors — the marketing-savvy ones — are always communicating with their audience, building and cultivating it.


People like being a part of the writer’s life, of the writing and publishing process, according to Amanda Barbara, development director of PubSlush, a crowd-funding platform for books. Essentially, an author who maintains contact with her audience keeps them primed for new releases, new free content, new development, back-list sales pushes and more.

4. Know your rights. 

Copyright is complicated. You can’t copyright an idea but you can copyright the expression of that idea. You can copyright a book, but not a book title. When you create a work, it automatically gets a copyright attached to it and here’s what that allows you to do:

– Reproduce the work
– Prepare derivative works
– Distribute the work
– Perform the work
– Display the work

Copyrights last the life of the author plus 70 years.

5. Be open-minded. 

This wasn’t a tip that I heard at the show but it’s one I think is important. The publishing landscape is shifting and today it might be better for you to self-publish. Tomorrow it might be advantageous for you to take a publishing deal with an established publisher. And next week it might be better for you to do something in between.

What you should do may also depend on what kind of book you are publishing, what else you do for a living, what your goals are when publishing and so many more variables. So, keep an open mind when it comes to publishing decisions.

Beware of people who tell you that it’s absolutely wrong to use one self-publishing service or another; or someone who tells you you can’t do it without an established publisher; or that you shouldn’t do it with one.

The publishing landscape is shifting and today it might be better for you to self-publish. Tomorrow it might be advantageous for you to take a publishing deal with an established publisher. And next week it might be better for you to do something in between.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, Ebooks, Editing, Indie book publishing, self publishing, writing

4 great tips for every writer from Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki speaking at the San Francisco Writers Conference,

Guy Kawasaki speaking at the San Francisco Writers Conference,

In my last post, I mentioned my attendance again this year at the San Francisco Writer’s conference, which took place back in February. One of the keynote addresses at the conference was given by Guy Kawasaki. Guy has published a dozen books using both traditional publishers and by self-publishing. He most recently self-published a book titled, APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepeneur. As he was researching the book, I had conversations with him about the services offered by Author Solutions  and other topics related to self-publishing.  I had never met him till the conference, but in our conversations I always found him to be a very reasonable and insightful person. His keynote only reinforced my opinion. He shared ten tips for authors today. With his permission, I am sharing a few with you in this post and in a  post to come.

  1. Write for the right reasons-According to Guy, writing for money is the wrong reason. Money is a consequence of writing a good book, but it should not be the primary motivation. He suggested there are others, such as enriching people’s lives, furtherng a cause or meeting an intellectual challenge. Could not agree more.
  2. Write everyday-I thought this was interesting challenge, but his point was writing is a skill and the more you practice  it, the better you get at it.  For a busy person, this can be hard to do, but it is a worthy goal.
  3. Build your marketing platform-This is not a new thought. Many have said it, but I thought he had some insights that bear repeating. The first point he made is you should build a platform so that you can “earn the right” to share your book with potential readers. That means you have to give to your audience before you ask them to buy your book.  One of the best ways to do that is “curate” content about the topic your potential book buyers are interested in.  Become a “sector expert” as Guy suggests, offering content that is of interest to your readers. In other words, become the go-t0 person for a particular topic.
  4. Tap the crowd-Seth Godin called this building a tribe, but it is the same idea. Use social media to build a following long before you publish your book. Use them for input on your title and your cover and even as beta readers. Their input will likely improve your book and give you a base of potential customers. Writing is a solo sport, but publishing should be a group activity.

Writing is a solo sport, but publishing should be a group activity.