Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year To All!  Thanks for joining our blog in 2009.  We have lots of exciting things in store for 2010 to help promote your books so stay tuned...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Leads From Linda - Literacy Link

This week's lead is a donation suggestion.  Donating one or two books can make a big difference and you never know who might see your book.  Be sure to also check out Linda's sites:, and

Literacy Link - Leamos is a volunteer tutoring program operating in a small, rural community in Southwest New Mexico. We assist the area by tutoring adults and children, reading to children in classrooms, distributing information on the importance of reading and providing resources to those who cannot afford to buy books and supplies for themselves.

We are requesting books that will be donated to attendees at  "Love Your Library Day," given to such groups as: WIC, Headstart, El Refugio, SWAK (Southwest Advocates for Kids) teen group homes and the Mobile Library that goes to more rural areas. Our 501 (c) 3# is: 85-0384008.

Please mail donations to:
Linda Ferrara
Coldwell Banker Enchantment Realty
501 Silver Heights Blvd.
Silver City, NM 88061

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Author Interview with Emmett Rensin

Our interview today is with Emmett Rensin, co-author (along with Alexander Aciman) ofTwitterature

FQ: How did you come up with the idea of Twitterature? Were you trying to study for an exam and procrastinating or ?

Chicago is a very cold city. The double freshman rooms in The University of Chicago's Max Palevsky Dormitory are very small.

Alex and I were roommates during our freshman year, and in the dead of winter -- when a 20 degree day would have brought smiles, singing, and shorts -- we had run out of mediocre comedies on Netflix Instant Watch. I have no recollection of whether or not exams were happening just then, because the winter is hard on the memory and often times recollections from those dark days scatter like so many of the snowflakes falling do -- wait, nevermind. It was, by then, so cold that it couldn't snow. No water to evaporate.

At any rate, the first thing that occurred to us was the pun -- Twitterature. Being serious University of Chicago students, we had of course read Plato and to put it in terms that might please him, the pun is in relation to the form of comedy by the eponymy principle. That is, wherever there is a pun, comedy is there -- the two are the same. The Pun is the Platonic form of comedy, and so as soon as such a magnificent bit of punnery as "twitter" and "literature" graced our minds, the rest followed naturally. That, or we began reading serious literature at a very young age as part of a 19-year preparation for this book.

FQ: What was the first book you "twittered"? How did your friends react?

The first book we tweeted was 'The Stranger' by Albert Camus, mainly because Twitterature works best when there is a strong protagonist in a novel, especially if the narration is in the first person (since that's what we end up doing to all of them, even with a third-person multi-character-and-perspective romance novel like Anna Karenina). I don't believe our friends saw any of them until we'd done at least 20. How they might have reacted is a mystery to us. They may have thought it was funny, but others may have thought it was very childish, or gimmicky. (Since it seemed like a very hot idea and even though we would love to trust our friends, a mention is a mention to others is a mention to people you don't know, and we didn't want that. Also, it was very cold when we did this and so the idea of going out to show anyone who wasn't already in the building seemed daunting.)

By the time people did see it, the reaction was positive. It's a funny book, the children like to laugh -- what else could be expected? To be fair, most of our friends really didn't know what Twitter was at the time -- a year ago, there were less young people on the site and more older media types. A bit like a reverse Facebook, because I think parents caught onto Twitter before their kids.

FQ: Did you show any of your early works to any professors at school? Any English literature professors?

At the time, no. A few professors who have inquired have seen advanced copies of the finished book, but I can't say it occurred to us to show the book to our professors when it was being written. Also, 90 percent of the book was written during late June, meaning we were a few thousand miles away from anybody with UChiago tenure.

FQ: You cover a wide range of books. Did you have to re-read some of them to get the best points to include or do you have an amazing memory of all 80 plus books?

I'd like to say for public purposes that we both have encyclopedic memories that didn't need a bit of refreshing. And I do generally have the memory of an elephant, however, its an elephant occasionally beset by Alzheimer's. I'd say that in general we remembered the broad strokes of every one of the books, and the majority we remembered intimately (one tends to remember those better intimacies well, after all). From time to time we would leaf through a copy of a book when we were in need of one or two tweets that referenced specific lines, or when we needed an exact quotation. But for the most part, I think it was from memory. Honestly, I don't quite remember.

There is one exception. There are 83 books in Twitterature. Alex and I have read 82 of them. A confession: Neither of us has ever read Twilight. For that, we relied on bits of the film, summaries prepared by others, and a glance through a few chapters. We hope to fill out our familiarity with the cannon by reading Meyer some day, but as of yet we can't quite find the time...

FQ: Do the two of you work independently when tweeting a book, bounce ideas off each other, or sit down together with a good drink and get silly?

Some combination of all of those. Well, I don't think much serious work was done with a drink. Those usually came after we were done for the day, although occasionally a good line would be jotted down on a napkin sometime between 2 and 4am in a dinner somewhere in Los Angeles. I'd say 85 percent of the books were written by both of us, trading off lines or generating them together. Those are usually the best, since Alex and I have different senses of humor and a combination of the two usually brought out the best. There are of course a couple of books only one of us had read (example: Alex has never read The Old Man And The Sea. I have never read Tristam Shandy), and those we did independently but always with at least a line or two suggested by the other. It was a fairly four-handed process.

FQ: I like the combination of classic and modern - CSI team and Frankenstein?! - was there a lot of discussion about whether to incorporate modern lingo, etc. into the classics?

There was debate as to how much modern lingo we were to include. It seemed obvious that to get the right pitch of bathos (a term first used by Alexander Pope, another great satirist of literature) we needed to throw in contemporary reference. In a book that is centered around the idea of melding the classics with the modern day, it would be strange NOT to throw in contemporary vernacular. But balance was discussed - sometimes a draft of a book would have too much modern slang, and sometimes a book that was a bit dry needed a bit more of it to lighten up the mood. In the end I think we found the mix that worked.

FQ: Anything else you'd like our readers to know about Twitterature?

Only that it would bring us no greater joy than to see the children of the world filled with mirth. We have been accused of "ruining the classics" (as if Shakespeare is going off the shelves now) and pandering to the ADD-generation. Perhaps those things are true (I think not), but when it comes down to it, we have no lofty aspirations towards making literature the last nail in the coffin of a lost generation (everyone knows Goethe did that). We just want to make the children laugh.

Monday, December 21, 2009

CPSIA Enforcement Date Extended Again

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

CPSIA Stay on Testing Extended Another Year

By Karen Raugust - Publishers Weekly

On December 17, the Consumer Product Safety Commission voted four to one—with Commissioner Robert Adler voting against—to extend the stay of enforcement on the independent lead testing and certification provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act for one more year. The provisions will go into effect on February 10, 2011. The extension will give publishers more time to adapt to the provisions.

“The extension of the stay was needed in order to give the agency more time to promulgate rules important to the continued implementation of the CPSIA and for the agency to educate our stakeholders on the requirements of those new rules,” CPSC chair Inez Tenenbaum wrote in a statement.

The Commission is still ironing out the testing protocols dictated by the Act, and needs to expand the list of independent laboratories authorized to do the testing, among other pending issues. While many children’s books printed after 1985 do not have to be tested, those featuring foils, laminates, spiral bindings and other components outside of paper and ink currently do, although the Association of American Publishers continues to lobby to have “ordinary” books exempted altogether. Toy-like novelty and book-plus titles also need to be tested. Although the Commission will not enforce the independent testing and certification rules until 2011, the products still must contain lead levels under the current 300-parts-per-million limit set forth by the Act.

“From our perspective, they did the right thing,” said Allan Adler, v-p for legal and government affairs at the AAP. “It shows that they’re listening, and that they’re looking for ways to make an otherwise rigid policy workable.”

The CPSC also voted to approve an interim testing policy that allows component part testing, something the industry has been hoping for, rather than testing of the final product. In other words, a publisher would be allowed to purchase an already tested and certified spiral binding or toy component to be attached to the book, rather than having to put the entire finished book through a costly testing process.

Meanwhile, on the legislative front, the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was signed into law by President Obama last week contained a Congressional directive to the CPSC that asked the Commission to write a report for Congress on the problems being encountered in implementing the CPSIA and offering suggestions for revisions. This signals that Congress may be willing to either amend the law or grant the Commission more discretion in interpreting it.

“We’ve been working almost without let-up on this for a full 13 months,” Adler noted. “It shows you the complexity of it. The Commission is also working very, very hard, and it still hasn’t resolved some of the fundamental issues about testing. But we’re encouraged. There’s still a lot to do, but the Commission seems to be willing to exercise what creativity it can to resolve the issues.”

Leads From Linda - For Those with Parenting Focused Books

Motherhood Later…Than Sooner, an international organization devoted to those parenting later in life, with chapters nationwide, publishes a monthly email newsletter and a blog.  The newsletter features in each issue an inspiring, empowering woman who became a mom at 35+ (ideally 40+).  We are open to hearing from those who fit the bill.   Additionally, we invite writers and experts to submit guest blog posts re: content from books that might interest our readers, advice on parenting subjects, info. for women over 40, etc.  We feature reviews of children’s books, CDs and products in one of our newsletters, and welcome hearing about titles.  Our preference is to support more independent publishers, but we’re not exclusive to that.  Contact: Robin Gorman Newman, founder, at     

Leads From Linda comes to us from Linda F. Radke of Five Star Publications.  Be sure to visit Five Star to see what services they offer authors.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bookmarks for Marketing

Do you have bookmarks to promote your book(s)?  They are inexpensive yet, when designed correctly, an attractive promotional tool.  If you have more than one book, use your bookmarks to advertise all of your books.  For example, I have six books in one series.  Of course, within each book, I've got a listing of all the other titles.   But what happens when you come out with a new book and the others in the series don't list it?  This is where bookmarks are really handy.  They are inexpensive to print and can be updated easily. I slip one into each book that goes out (push them snugly against the spin).  That way, I know the eventual buyer will be alerted to all of my other books.  This is particularly useful when the books are going out to places where I can't include flyers.  (Think Amazon, Baker&Taylor, etc.)  A few may slip out during the handling process, but that's okay.  I believe most make the journey and help promote my books.

Bookmarks handed out at book signings work well too.  Customers frequently act as if they're getting a nice freebie.  If somebody stops at your booth and doesn't buy a book, hand them a bookmark before they leave.  They may just change their mind later.  Be sure the necessary contact information (company name/address, website, phone number, and email) is included.  You may even want to consider a special offer code on your bookmarks for, say, free shipping, 10% off an order, etc. 

Author Interview with J.B. Bergstad

Our interview today is with J.B. Bergstad, author of Screwing The Pooch

FQ: Young boys thrown into new surroundings/new friends are common themes in your stories. Do you feel a certain connection to the angst they suffer?

Milton, Puppy and Dear Daniel all share bits and pieces of my youth. Recalling, in my case, lack of judgment, false bravado and plain stupidity of adolescence wasn’t that difficult. Some of my experiences as a young man have burned deep, leaving scars in some cases and in others bittersweet memories. Neither will fade from my consciousness.

FQ: As I mentioned in my review, "The Puppy Murders" was a tough story to read but one that lingered long afterwards. Was it hard to write?

Yes and no. Some of those memories were fun to recall. Sometimes what appear to be simple, perhaps even merciful, actions mark the character of the person involved in unusual ways. Good or bad those marks remain a lifetime. Reliving the horror of standing over that helpless pup, so long ago, acted as a catalyst for me. First the writing experience laundered me in overwhelming grief. Then, the act of putting it all down in black and white, excised a guilt I’ve carried for many years.

FQ: "Dear Daniel" is a confessional letter from a father to son in which another common theme appears. "That night in August, 1956, haunts my memory. It is an open wound." Tell us your thoughts on making bad decisions and how they can eat away at a person many years later.

I think angst varies depending on the personality inhabiting any given human psyche. Unless a person has developed as a sociopath, we all regret bad choices made in the past. Some of us have a pang of remorse while others allow the past to destroy our lives. We all have feet of clay. Those with common sense don’t stand in the water.

FQ: You cover many different genres in your book from romance to coming of age. Do you have a favorite genre? If yes, which one and why?

In Screwing the Pooch my goal was to provide entertainment for an audience that loves variety. I have two favorite genres. I love a well told thriller/suspense tale and the same can be said for the Western. When I read, I want to escape into another world where my mundane everyday problems seem nothing compared to the life threatening, hair raising adventures of the characters found in those two genres.

FQ: "BearClaw at the CoffeeCaker" did not have a high-tension, twist-a-minute plot. Rather it was about two lonely people who had both been dealt tough hands in life. The character development was so effective that I sped through the story to see what would happen to Nancy and Lincoln. Tell Feathered Quill's readers the importance of character development to all of your stories and how you work out the details about each character's history.

I love character study. Characters are what drive a story. If the reader doesn’t immediately feel a bond, imagined or real, with the character of a story, the story is as good as dead. I start out developing a character by using my value system and emotions as the yardstick. I know that sounds egotistical and it is but to pursue art, the artist must have an ego. In the beginning I ask myself what I would do if I were this individual in the story. How would I walk, talk, appear to others. Am I nice guy or gal, or am I an ass, a crook, a murderer, a thief. Am I brave or a coward. I give the character or characters conflict to overcome and from there these characters pretty well define themselves.

FQ: Do you have a favorite story in Screwing the Pooch?

Yes, I do. My favorite is "Hank Straker, SA." Hank’s story and Milton Sonntag’s will eventually become novel length works. That’s the plan at present.

FQ: Are you working on any books/projects that you would like to share with us?

I’m hoping my newest novel, Hyde’s Corner, will be ready for release within the next ninety days. After Hyde’s I will follow with one of four mystery/suspense novels I have in the works: Rainy Days and Deadly Ways, Hank Straker, SA, Heart Stopper, Milton Sonntag’s story, or Wake for the Dead. Excerpts of Hyde’s Corner are available

FQ: Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?

I’d like to thank you, Ellen, Bill Alberts, and all the readers of Feathered Quill, for the time you’ve all invested in consideration of my work. Life is so precious and fleeting and so to all who choose to spend time with my stories I am humbly grateful.

Friday, December 18, 2009

CPSIA is back...

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly

CPSIA: The Year in Review

This article originally appeared 
in PW's Children's Bookshelf. 

By Karen Raugust 

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 has been in the news all year, and December is no exception, as the Consumer Product Safety Commission is scheduled to vote imminently on some key issues that will affect children’s book publishers. While the industry continues to await that ruling, Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA’s Washington office, was scheduled to meet with CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum on Thursday.
The Association of American Publishers, along with the Printing Industries of America and the Book Manufacturing Institute, has petitioned the CPSC to extend the “stay of enforcement” of the testing and certification provisions of the CPSIA.
Extending the stay, which is scheduled to end on February 10, is important because the CPSC has not yet issued guidelines about CPSIA-related testing and certification protocols—although the law dictated that it do so no later than 15 months after enactment, or by November 2009. This lack of direction makes it difficult, if not impossible, for publishers and other makers of children’s products to comply. Several other industries have made similar petitions, and the CPSC is scheduled to vote on the extension today.
“As we argued in our petition, how can you not extend the stay when these critical rulemakings aren’t finished?” asks Allan Adler, AAP’s v-p for legal and government affairs. The question is whether the stay will end on February 10 as originally planned (likely accompanied by some interim testing and certification protocols), extended for a certain finite period, or be tied to the timing of the rulemaking (e.g., having the stay end six months after all the protocols and standards have been finalized).
Meanwhile, as publishers, booksellers, libraries, and schools approach the end of a tumultuous year of trying to understand and comply with the CPSIA, U.S. Representative Henry Waxman drafted an amendment that would have created an exception for books (among other things), representing a significant shift from his previous position. The amendment, which some observers considered flawed—including Rick Woldenberg, a leading commenter on the CPSIA and chairman of Learning Resources, a producer of educational materials—did not end up being attached to the Defense Appropriations Bill this week as was planned. However, the fact that it was drafted is seen by some as a signal that Congress may take some action on the CPSIA in the future.
What a Year It’s Been
Enacted in August 2008, the CPSIA was a reaction to high-profile toy-industry recalls that took place in 2007. It required, among other provisions, that all products intended for children under age 12, including books, not exceed certain lead levels, and that they be independently tested and certified to ensure that. The publishing industry was not consulted during the formulation of the Act and was taken by surprise late last year when it found it would be regulated under the Act.
The CPSIA has caused significant confusion for the children’s book business throughout 2009. It initially was believed that the Act could cause children’s books to be removed from schools, libraries, and stores; nonprofit groups to lose the ability to accept donations; and retailers, printers, and publishers to potentially go out of business. The publishing industry, led by the AAP, argued that ink-on-paper and board books should be exempt, since there has never been any evidence that books pose a danger of lead exposure.
Just before the CPSIA’s provisions were scheduled to take effect in February 2009, the CPSC granted the above-mentioned one-year stay of enforcement on the law’s certification and testing requirements, to give the multitude of children’s product industries and the CPSC itself time to interpret the law and issue guidance on how to comply. At the same time, it stressed that products on store shelves after that date must be “safe,” according to the law’s provisions.
Shortly thereafter, the CPSC declared a permanent stay of enforcement for “ordinary” children’s books printed after 1985, saying it would not impose penalties against anyone for making, importing, distributing or selling them. This gave the industry some relief, but still did not preclude states’ Attorneys General from enforcing at their discretion.
Throughout the year, the industry continued to lobby the CPSC to exempt “ordinary” books entirely, and there have been occasional rumors that Congress might take action to amend the law. While neither has happened yet, several rulings came down that were positive for the book industry. Most publishers and other book-industry players say things have settled down now and that they are in compliance, although a few loose ends remain.
Where Things Stand
Here is a snapshot of how the CPSIA has affected various constituencies within the industry, and the issues still pending as the year ends:
• Publishers of “ordinary” books: These were the houses potentially most affected by the law at the beginning, since they had no testing mechanisms in place. In August, the Commission declared that many of the components of ordinary books printed after 1985 were either “safe” (for example, paper and CMYK inks) or “inaccessible” (adhesives used for bindings). This made publishers breathe easier; however, the Commission went on to note that it had doubts about whether lead levels in foils, laminates, spot colors, saddle stitching, spiral bindings, and other components were safe.
Thus, “ordinary” books printed after 1985 are not entirely out of the woods yet; some do need to be tested and certified. The CPSC issued a statement of policy in October that included an illustrative example relating to books, in which it said that “a book made with a cardboard cover glued to pages made with paper and printed with CMYK process printing inks does not need to be tested for lead content and no certificate is required by the Commission.... If, however, the book was bound with a metal spiral binding rather than inaccessible glue, the metal spiral bindings would need to be third party tested for compliance with the 300 ppm lead content limit, and the product would need to be certified.”
In addition, the Act requires publishers and other manufacturers to provide tracking labels—permanent distinguishing marks on the product and packaging that indicates the manufacturer, date and location of production, and batch or run number—whether they need to test or not. The CPSC issued guidelines for tracking labels in August that were in line with what the publishing industry wanted, allowing flexibility in how the information is provided. Many publishers print a code on the book that allows consumers to find the required information on a Web site.
• Publishers of book-plus and novelty books: Because of their toy-like attachments, plastic components, glitters, foils and the like, book-plus publishers must comply with all of the Act’s provisions, from tracking labels, to testing and certification of lead levels, to testing for phthalates (a chemical used to soften plastic). Most of these publishers already were testing their products extensively, in part due to demands by their mass merchant and other key retail accounts. The impact of the CPSIA on them has primarily been to add more cost, paperwork, and time to their testing procedures.
As noted, book-plus publishers are still awaiting the CPSC’s guidelines on specific testing protocols, and are hoping for an extension of the stay of enforcement while those issues are resolved. The longer stay also will give the CPSC more time to expand the list of approved independent laboratories, which currently is limited to just eight globally, far too few to meet demand.
• Bookstores: Although children’s booksellers initially were worried that they would have to dispose of significant inventory, that fear has been alleviated by comments from the CPSC that the burden of liability and the responsibility for testing remains with manufacturers and importers rather than with retailers, and most are now comfortable selling ordinary children’s books printed in 1986 or later. Still, booksellers theoretically could face lawsuits or fines if they sell or display a lead-containing or undocumented product, and the AAP continues to lobby the CPSC for some sort of “safe haven” ruling to prevent their liability, if an exemption is not forthcoming.
The primary effect of the law on booksellers to date is the need to make sure that they have access to paperwork, which most publishers and manufacturers are making available on the Internet, showing that any required testing has been done. This has been a time-consuming and expensive process, especially for stores that sell a significant amount of book-plus or toy product in addition to books.
• Schools and libraries: These constituencies face unique challenges from the CPSIA due to the fact that many have books in their collections printed before 1986. Initially some libraries and schools thought they would have to destroy or hide all of their older books, but most are currently taking a wait-and-see position, as suggested by the American Library Association and other groups. The CPSC has reiterated that it does not consider older books in libraries and schools safe, but has promised it would issue separate guidance to address the concerns of these organizations.
The industry continues to await that ruling, but Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA’s Washington office, is scheduled to meet with CPSC head Inez Tenenbaum today and is hoping that means guidelines will be forthcoming soon. “Libraries have been called on to do a lot this year for our communities in this economy, and this is something we shouldn’t have had to deal with,” Sheketoff says. “The CPSC has been working with private industry to address their concerns. If these books are a problem, they should be doing something to help us address it. If it’s not a problem, as we believe, then they shouldn’t have put us through this, especially in this year.”
• Used booksellers: Sellers of used children’s books face many of the same challenges as libraries, since their inventory often includes older books. The CPSC has addressed their plight somewhat by stating that, like other retailers, resellers (including flea markets as well as other sellers of used products) do not have to test the items they sell, although they must not sell anything “unsafe.”
Some purveyors of used books have said they have stopped purchasing or selling children’s books due to the law—either because they are older printings or because they cannot prove they have been tested for lead—while others have labeled their older children’s books “collectible,” to signify they are intended for adults rather than children. Still others have continued with business as usual because they believe the risk to children is minimal and that the harm from destroying children’s books outweighs any danger of lead exposure.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Borders eBook

Seems like everybody is getting into the eBook business.  Borders has just announced the upcoming launch of their eBook store, currently scheduled for a mid-2010 release.  There's not a lot of information available yet, but Borders claims customers will be able to purchase eBooks from them via iPhones as well as other palmed-sized phones, etc.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Cool Widgets

Speaking of Authorsbookshop...the site offers a neat new widget to help promote/sell your books.

Here's a sample:

Dubbed the MiBookBox Widget, it's available exclusively from  The book becomes searchable and available from any website, blog, forum... or anywhere HTML is allowed.

Looking for a new place to market your book?  Check out  The brainchild of Brad Grochowski, the slogan for the site is: "Buy Indie. Sell Indie. Be Indie."

Why list your books on Authors/bookshop?  Foom their site: 

"Because we are the best place in the world for independent books!
How can we say that? Well, there are a lot of reasons. Mostly, because we are here specifically for independent and self-published authors. And because it is our mission to serve you, you can feel confident that we will do it best. Sure, you can - and should - offer your books elsewhere online. They will carry your books despite the fact that you are independent. But we want to carry them because they are independent!"  Check the site for more information.  

Monday, December 14, 2009

Leads From Linda - Mailing List Sources

From The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing by Linda F. Radke.

Please visit Five Star Publications to learn about services offered to authors/publishers.

If you decide to buy a mailing list, make sure it’s current and specializes in the types of publications that will help generate sales of your book. We use Cision for our list of media outlets. Their list is kept current, but the fees may be prohibitive for small presses, at least in the beginning. You might to consider sharing an account with other small press publishers — if the company gives you the OK to do so. 

The same is true for media outlets of all sorts. Purchase a current list of radio talk shows that either use a variety of authors or direct their efforts toward reaching your specific target audience. In every case, your marketing efforts must not only be economical, but they must also be effective. 

You can buy mailing list databases that will also allow you to print out mailing labels as you need them and keep a record of the places you’ve contacted. Being able to print labels is a good idea, even if you compile your own personalized database while you’re doing your Internet research.  Printing labels on your computer can save time and energy that will be better used to explore new reviewing opportunities. Make sure to back up your database on a hard copy in case of a computer meltdown. Keep detailed records of your contacts and the outcome of those contacts. 

Unless your book is quite specialized, you may want to target high circulation publications. However, nearly every book fits into some sort of interest category, so you may do just as well or better by targeting smaller publications that cater to readers with an interest in the field your book covers. Reaching one person with a passion for your book’s subject matter is worth dozens of general interest readers who aren’t. Another advantage to the smaller publications is that they’re more likely to review your book. After all, if it’s of interest to their readership, they want to tell those readers about it. To specialized publications, your book may actually be newsworthy, rather than just filler material—which is what it often would be to a large general interest publication. 

When you’re compiling your own list, get fax numbers, telephone numbers, and email addresses of the appropriate people. If you can’t find the exact person, you can send inquiries in care of a departmental editor, such as the sports editor or the food editor. 

Google Book Settlement

Goggle has just sent out a mass mailing to authors/publishers regarding:

Supplemental Notice To Authors, Publishers And Other Book Rightsholders About The Google Book Settlement

If you did not receive the notice, go to for further information.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Reviewer's Tip - Show, Don't Tell

"Show, Don't Tell" is a classic line editors are known to lament when working on a manuscript.  We frequently read books where the author has forgotten this well-known, but easy-to-forget rule.  You want your readers to experience the story through your characters thoughts, feelings and actions, NOT by reading your narration.  

Not sure what the difference is?  Consider:

Tell: In a horse story - "the horse had been ridden all day and he was tired."
Show: "After a long day of hard work, the horse's head hung low and his hooves dragged along the ground."

Another example:

Tell: "When Billy threw his baseball through the Hendersons' window, he was terrified."
Show: "When Billy threw his baseball through the Hendersons' window, his heart began to race."

Dialogue can also fall victim to "show, don't tell" as characters explain their actions to their fellow characters.  Your readers will appreciate less tell, more show.

To add a little confusion to the mix, there are times when a little "tell" is okay.  When?  According to James Scott Bell ("Exception to the Rule". Writer's Yearbook 2003 (F+W Publications): p. 20.)  "Sometimes a writer tells as a shortcut, to move quickly to the meaty part of the story or scene. Showing is essentially about making scenes vivid. If you try to do it constantly, the parts that are supposed to stand out won't, and your readers will get exhausted." Showing requires more words; telling may cover a greater span of time more concisely. A novel that contains only showing would be incredibly long; therefore, a narrative can contain some legitimate telling. (wikipedia

Kirkus Staff Leaving By Year's end

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly

By Jim Milliot 

Although it is unclear when the last issue of Kirkus Reviews will be published, the staff for the prepub book review will be gone by the end of the year, a spokesperson for parent company Nielsen Business Media said. On Thursday morning, Nielsen announced that Kirkus, along with Editor & Publisher, will cease operations while the company sells its core business-to-business magazines to the newly formed investment group e5 Global Media Holdings. There are no plans to run online Kirkus reviews or a strategy to try to keep the Kirkus brand alive. It is also uncertain what Nielsen will do with the Kirkusreview archive. A total of 18 people worked at Kirkus and E&P.
Nielsen is also home to The Bookseller. The spokesperson said there are no plans to close that publication or to change the publication schedule of the magazine that covers the U.K. book market. Nielsen (then known as VNU) bought The Bookseller and started the since-closed The Book Standard in a bid to increase its coverage of the book market.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kirkus Closing

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly

As part of the sale of its business to business publications, Nielsen Business Media has announced that it is closing its book review publication Kirkus Reviews as well as Editor & Publisher. No details on the closing have been released yet. Nielsen is selling its major publications, including The Hollywood Reporter and Adweek to e5 Global Media Holdings.

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Book Award!



(CHANDLER, AZ)—With nearly 25 years of experience under its belt, Five Star Publications knows award-winning books. Its own titles recognized in numerous national writing contests, the Arizona-based publisher is taking its industry expertise to new heights by honoring the work of others. Preparing for its first annual Purple Dragonfly Book Awards competition, Five Star Publications is raising the bar for children’s books in 19 categories—from stories about families, hobbies and pets to tales about the environment, religion and health. Five Star will begin receiving submissions for its 2010 contest this month, with all submissions due by June 14, 2010. Winners will be announced at the Arizona Literary Awards Banquet on November 6, 2010 in conjunction with Arizona Authors Association Literary Contest and Book Awards.

“Five Star Publications is proud to announce the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards,” said Linda F. Radke, Five Star founder and president, “because we want to help parents give their children only the best in reading excellence. Geared toward stories for children between the ages of four and 10, the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards are designed to bring families together with great children’s literature, and a Purple Dragonfly seal on a book’s cover lets parents choose new titles for their bookshelves with confidence.”

The Purple Dragonfly Book Awards are currently open to children’s books published between the 2007-2010 calendar years. Exceptions include titles by Five Star’s employees and their immediate family members; contributing editors and writers; affiliated authors; and close acquaintances and relatives of contest judges. Participation is open to authors of both traditionally published and self-published books from any press except Five Star Publications. A Grand Prize winner and First and Second Place Winners in each category will be selected based on content, originality and overall readability, with emphasis on innovation and creativity. The Five Star judging panel will include experts from the fields of editing, reviewing, bookselling and publishing. “Being honored with a Purple Dragonfly Award will confer credibility upon each winner, as well as provide extra positive publicity to further their success,” said Radke.

Based in Chandler, AZ, Five Star Publications has been publishing and promoting award-winning fiction, nonfiction, cookbooks, children’s literature and professional guides since 1985. For more information, visit

Leads From Linda - Registering as an expert

You might want to register as an expert at:

They send daily media leads. Not all apply, but some just might work for you. It’s up to you to do your own pitching.

Leads from Linda comes to us once a week from Linda F. Radke, of Five Star Publications.  Learn more from her book The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

New Harlequin imprint continues to stir controversy

Recently, we posted an entry about Harlequin's plans to introduce a new imprint, Harlequin Horizons.  This new imprint was designed to give self-publishers a chance to publish and get their books out to the general public.  Romance Writers of America, along with other writers' groups, didn't like that idea.  They told Harlequin that if they went ahead with using the Harlequin brand name with the self-publishing imprint, Harlequin books would no longer be eligible for entry into any of their award competitions.  Harlequin bowed to the pressure and renamed the imprint DellArte Press, thus removing any implied connection between the two.    Now another organization, Mystery Writers of America, has followed suit and removed Harlequin from their list of approved publishers.  According to Lee Goldberg, a member of MWA, (from his blog) 

"We did it because Harlequin remains in violation of our rules regarding the relationship between a traditional publisher and its various for-pay services.  What does this mean for current and future MWA members? Any author who signs with Harlequin or any of its imprints from this date onward may not use their Harlequin books as the basis for active status membership nor will such books be eligible for Edgar® Award consideration."  For the full post, please read Mr. Goldberg's blog.

Harlequin's "self-publishing" imprint is not true self-publishing, but rather what many consider a vanity press.  People are quite vocal about their feelings on this - just check out all the comments.  Should Harlequin's books be removed from award consideration from the various organizations and should people no longer be granted membership based on books published through a vanity press?  What do you think???

Friday, December 4, 2009

Library Sales

From - The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing: How to Produce and Market
Your Book on a Budget by Linda F. Radke.  Published by Five Star Publications.

Library Sales 

If possible, try to get your book reviewed by a library publication—or at least by one of your local librarians. Scan a couple of copies of Library Journal or School Library Journal to find out which people are reviewing books for them. If you can garner a good review in Publishers Weekly or Library Journal, you may be able to encourage librarians from around the country to add your book to their shelves. At Five Star, we’ve gotten from 50 to 1,000 orders for books that 
were reviewed in just one of the major library journals—and those orders weren’t just from libraries. We’ve often seen an increase in sales from Baker & Taylor after a book was reviewed in a library publication, as well. 

Mailings to acquisitions librarians can also be beneficial, as long as those librarians have budgets of more than $25,000/year to work with. You can use co-op mailings to help make reaching those potential buyers more affordable; 
you should include a one-page flyer and an order form in a co-op mailing package. 

You can also offer to give talks at your local libraries. Although you generally won’t get paid to speak, you might sell books, both to attendees and to the library itself. 

Creating a bookmark and contributing to your local library can help get the word out to library patrons—and your kind gesture will also garner attention from other librarians.