Friday, February 26, 2010

Reviewer's Tip - How to "Turn-Off" Reviewers

This week's tip comes from Lynette Latzko, a reviewer for Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

The Fab Four Things Authors Can Do To “Turn-Off” Reviewers

As a reviewer, I strongly believe that the author's actual writing is the most obvious and critical part of the review process. An honest reviewer will not be influenced into giving a great review by a flashy book cover, positive reviews from famous people, and most definitely cannot be bribed into the positive review.  But let's be honest here, first impressions do indeed have an impact. So with that said, here's my top four things authors can do to decrease their chances of giving that oh so important good first impression, after all, who cares what reviewers think, you've got a best-seller anyway!

Sending a Bad Review Copy – This means that your book can be photocopied, have tons of typos or grammatical errors, and even be in bad condition, because reviewers will forgive all those mistakes, they're nice people, right?

Mailing – Go right ahead and send it in a thin mailer that's been used ten times before, you need to save all your pennies, and the post office will get it there in pristine condition no matter what.

Ignoring the Reviewer – Don't bother having a synopsis on the book or attached to it. Oh, and once the review is over, don't bother sending a thank-you too, it's just a review, and you knew it was a good book anyhow.

Hassling the Reviewer  - Try to contact the reviewers of your book at least twice weekly to inquire about whether your review has been completed, they really should hurry it up already. And once the review is completed, and it's not exactly the most exemplary and flattering, email them and make sure you insult their intelligence and point out that your friends all loved the book. Better yet, just hire a hit-man, it's much easier.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Choosing the right paper for your project

Today's artice was written by Steve McDowell.  Please be sure to read his bio at the bottom of this post. 

Authors - you may wonder why we're including an article on choosing paper.  For newbies who haven't published yet, the type of paper you choose for your book is VERY important.  It's also important for producing press releases, etc. from your home printer.  Read and learn....

Choosing the right paper for your project

It isn't a surprise when people put in any sort of paper into their printer for the projects they need. After all, one sort of paper is just as good as another right? Why pay more for something else when they'll both work. The problem with this thinking is that not all paper is created equal. Different paper will work best for different projects. When you choose the right paper, you can get fantastic, high-quality results.

The hard part is figuring out which sort of paper you need. Paper comes in so many different types, sizes, weights, and finishes, if you don't know what type of paper your project requires it can be a little daunting. Some companies do make it easy by showcasing projects on the paper's packaging, such as business cards, invitations, or labels. However, there are others that simply tell you what sort of paper it is, not what can be done with it.

There are roughly six different paper grades: text, bond, cover, bristol, index, and newsprint grade. Grade is determined by the type of pulp it is made from, the treatments it receives, and what its ultimate end purpose often is. For example, text grade is rather common and often used, bond grade is lighter and frequently required for stationary, and cover grade is common for brochure covers.

Paper is often sold by weight (pounds), but it can also be measured in its thickness. The two do not always go hand in hand either. Paper can weigh the same, but be made differently so that one type could be flimsier than another. When doing everyday printing, certain printers often respond well to a specific range of paper weights, so before you try something different, it would be wise to consult your printer's manual in case there are any types of paper you should avoid.

Paper also comes in a very wide array of finishes. Many of these finishes will ultimately determine what you use when you decide to start printing your project. A short list of finishes includes: Dull-coated paper, matte-coated paper, glossy paper, antique paper, vellum paper, wove paper, smooth paper, felt paper, linen paper, laid paper, and parchment paper. Each paper will have a different smoothness and texture, and are often made for very specific purposes. Glossy paper is typically used when printing photos in order to get that shiny picture look. Antique paper can be good for scrapbooking or for themed projects. Vellum paper is often a little less opaque than other papers, as well as thinner.

Instead of guessing which paper you want to use for your project, you can experience them first before buying. A good idea is to go to a local printing company and ask for paper samples. You can obtain samples in the form of full sheets, paper promotions, or even a small swatchbook of different papers. If you get full sheets, you can experiment a little by printing your project on them to see how it comes out.

Choose wisely when it comes to paper; printing on the appropriate type will make all the difference with your finished project.

Of course, without ink cartridges, any paper you use will be useless.

Steve McDowell has an ongoing interest in photography and printing. He knows that the type of paper used is important and varies by product, and so does the type of ink cartridges you use. Different papers and inks produce different results.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Leads From Linda - Domain Names

Looking for a new domain name to promote your book?  Here's a great way to get that name at a very low price:

You can buy a .com domain name for only $7.49 per year. Visit:

Monday, February 22, 2010

More Reviews at Feathered Quill

It was a busy weekend at Feathered Quill Book Reviews.  Here are some of our latest reviews:
And we've got more reviews that will be posted tonight.  Titles include:
  • Raindrops: A Shower of Colors By: Chiêu Ann Urban
  • But and For, Yet and Nor: What is a Conjunction? By: Brian P. Cleary
  • The Grand Canyon By: Jeffrey Zuehlke
  • Maybe I'll Sleep in the Bathtub Tonight and Other Funny Bedtime Poems By: Debbie Levy
  • The Fox and the Hen By: Eric Battut
  • Diamond Jim Dandy and the Sheriff By: Sarah Burell
  • Puss in Boots Retold by: John Cech

Leads From Linda - Wikipedia

You might want to consider writing an article for Wikipedia. It could be an article about the topic of your book. - Start by doing a search from the home page and then you will be given an option to write an article. Make sure to work your book into your article and a link to your site.

Leads from Linda comes from Linda F. Radke of FiveStarPublications.  Thanks, Linda!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Author Interview with Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner

Today we're sitting down to talk with Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner, authors of Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! (A signed copy of this book is being offered in Feathered Quill's monthly "Win A Book" contest.  You can enter here.)

FQ: You both obviously love dogs. Do you have a dog(s)? If so, would you tell us a little about him/her?

Between the two authors, Shelley is the dog person. Sadly, her Australian Shepherd, Ginger, passed away as we were working on this book. She appears as the last dog in the book, reading in bed. Diane is a cat person, and enjoyed working with dogs via photographs.

FQ: How did you come up with the idea of showing children what dogs can and can't do? And who came up with the idea of using real dogs and adding "fake" accessories?

Diane and Shelley wanted to collaborate on a project, using Shelley's photographs and Diane's new venture into digital art. They brainstormed one night, trying to come up with a good concept for a book that included dogs. Diane was trying for a narrative story, while Shelley suggested a simple concept book. Shelley finally came up with the "Dogs do, Dog's Don't" idea, and together they created all the do-don't ideas for the book. It took a while to find just the right balance between the photography and the digital art. It finally evolved into what you see in the book.

FQ: Would you explain to our readers how you got the amazing/hysterical photos for the book?

Diane designed the dummy and engineered the flaps. Shelley followed this design, trying to get the dogs in the closest possible positions shown in the dummy. But of course a dog can't read a newspaper or brush it's teeth! So Diane used pieces from different photographs to make the dogs look like they were doing human things. It was done using Photoshop CS3 and a Wacom drawing tablet.

FQ: Where did you find the dog volunteers for your book?

Shelley met many of the dogs that appear in the book as she regularly walked Ginger around her hometown. She met dogs as she traveled with Ginger to Martha's Vineyard, MA, and even in New York City. She also has many friends who have dogs, and she is acquainted with area breeders who helped supply the puppies.

FQ: Did you have a dog that had the perfect look for the book but just wouldn't cooperate?

For the most part, all the dogs co-operated, especially if Shelley used food bribes. The hardest part was not being able to use more dogs in the book and not having more breeds represented.

FQ: I have to ask - you have a photo of a dog, um, "doing his business." Did you have to follow him around for hours to get that shot?

Shelley followed "Lily" around with the owner until she was "ready." There's a funny video on the website where the owners talk about the experience. Lily had to hold it in until Shelly found just the right lighting for the shot!

FQ: I love the "special thanks" page at the end where you have a picture of each dog, their name and breed. How have the dogs' owners responded seeing their best friends in the book?

The dog owners were thrilled. In our culture many people consider their dog "part of the family." They were amused and very proud to have their "baby" published.

To learn more about Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More on Google Settlement

At Google Fairness Hearing, DoJ Justice Slams Settlement

Andrew Albanese -- Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly 

At today's Google settlement fairness hearing, U.S. attorney William Cavanaugh slammed the Google settlement, telling Judge Denny Chin that the class action vehicle was inappropriate, and that the settlement "turned copyright on its head." Though the settlement may or may not offer tangible benefits, the U.S. attorney stressed, "procedural rules cannot be used to modify rights." He also told the judge that the Department of Justice has an active, "ongoing antitrust investigation" open on the settlement, suggesting that if the judge does approve the deal, DoJ intervention still could be a factor.

At issue, Cavanaugh said, is the settlement's "grafting on" of a sweeping, forward-looking business model in a deal that was to decide whether Google's "copying and snippeting" was fair use. "Either litigate the case as presented," Cavanaugh stated flatly, or "settle the case as presented." Cavanaugh noted that no one appointed the parties to be their "agents" in this matter, and even stated that making the settlement opt-in would not necessarily solve the government's issues with the case.

The strongly argued objections of the U.S. government came after a full day of bashing by objectors, who expressed a broad range of concerns with the deal, from class action, antitrust, and copyright issue to privacy and rights issues. Those arguments, however, were vigorously countered by lawyers for Google, represented by Duralyn Durie, and plaintiffs' attorneys Michael Boni and Bruce Keller. In his remarks, Keller refuted Cavanaugh's claim that the settlement would turn copyright on its head, calling the deal fair because it settles Google's past scanning by offering a license, gives class members a chance to opt out of the deal at any time, and even gives absent class members "a place" at the table by holding money for them.

Keller also blasted the deal's objectors for putting forth "illusory" issues and called the objectors' argument that the settlement should be restricted to settling claims over Google's copying and snippets a case of "extreme reductionism." He told Chin that publishers were "alarmed and afraid" of the deep-pocketed Google's initial scanning program and fearful of its implications for the future of publishing and authorship, and that the plaintiffs had the right to address all of its fears, known or unknown. "To make this a case about copying and snippets," he said, "is simply wrong." He said the deal was a "fair and reasonable" compromise that met the standard set forth in rule 23. Plaintiff attorneys also argued there was no antitrust issue, and said that if there was, they would know about it by now-a remark that drew a confused look from one of the DoJ attorneys.

For the most part, the 26 speakers (21 against, five for) said little new, and the case will certainly turn on the judge's interpretation of the law and the submitted written briefs rather than today's five-minute oral presentations. For his part, Chin was hard to read, beyond moments of clear impatience when arguments were repeated or did not address the specific issues of the settlement. He did seem to internalize the questions raised by objectors engaging in a Q&A with Boni for example, while hardly interrupting Cavanaugh. But at the end of the hearing, he offered only that he had been given a lot to think about.  

New Reviews at Feathered Quill

We've posted quite a few reviews in the last few days.  Check them out!  Here's a sampling:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

S&S Debuts Digital Author Widget

Reprinted by permisssion from Publishers Weekly.

By Calvin Reid
S&S has developed an author widget that will display information on all the books of an S&S author, and is using its recently launched business Web site,, to distribute the software. The widget displays an author’s entire catalogue of S&S titles, starting with the author’s most recent books. The author widget is described as easy to install on any Web site and is designed for use by authors, agents, fans, bloggers, and social networking sites. It also allows its users to link to retail sites and earn referral fees from sales.

Ellie Hirschhorn, executive v-p and chief digital officer at S&S, called the author widget “a one-stop digital tool,” and said it is part of S&S’s strategy to “facilitate e-commerce wherever consumers may be online by enlisting our authors as partners in the effort to create that all-important buzz.”

The author widget was developed in a partnership with GetGlue, a social recommendation engine. The author widget offers a brief description of the book, reviews, and reader rankings, and it is automatically updated with new information about the author. More information about grabbing and embedding the widget into a Web site can be found at the S&S Business Web site.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Author Interview with Peggy Sue Yarber

Today we're excited to talk with Peggy Sue Yarber, author of The Judas Ride.

FQ: Some of the teens in The Judas Ride are amazingly selfish and messed up. Did/do you really see/work with such confused kids?

My first reaction...being selfish and messed up is not limited to teenagers! So are adults. I do work with and see many teenagers who are selfish. In fact, I think it is a very normal behavior for teenagers. But I did at times focus on the ill effects of being too self absorbed. We are all self absorbed and messed up but there is a fine balance and many of these characters just cannot find their balance.

FQ: The tying in of the title with the end of the story is perfect. How did you come up with such a comparison between some teens today and Judas Iscariot?

I have always been fascinated with Judas. I went to a catholic school when I was young and he was always portrayed so mysteriously and rebel like... I guess he was my James Dean of the Bible. But in a good way! In the way that he did something so wrong so that the entire world could be saved. He had to betray Jesus in order for the rest of the story. I have always wondered what it would be like to not do that one bad thing that would lead to that one great thing. So I had the Vader character sort of run through the paces of Judas.

FQ: Sonia is a hard character to like. Do you believe that teens will identify with her?

I really hope so. There are a whole lot of Sonia’s out there. Some are just better at hiding their flaws. But then, what is so unlikeable? She is honest about being pretty and wanting to get by on her looks. How is that any different than adult men and women? She constantly is telling everyone exactly what she wants and what she feels and still everyone projects on to her their own feelings. She says all throughout the book she is not worthy but does anyone really listen? No.

FQ: Not all teens find redemption in The Judas Ride. Was it important to you to show the negative outcomes as much as the positive?

I really wasn’t thinking in terms of positive and negative but I do see how you arrived at that point. I was really trying to be as honest as I could with the band of characters in the book. I see people daily that have even more screwed up lives than these characters. Many times our lives cannot be wrapped in finely wrapped boxes. Sometimes there is not an ending to the madness unless someone dies. Then even after the death the ripples still linger.

FQ: Xavier and Vader are so different and yet Sonia was involved with both young men. Why?

I think that many girls everywhere understand this. We all at some time in our lives have liked the bad boy better than the good boy. Even if we never acted on these emotions we have always wondered what it would be like to be with the maverick or the rebel. Many of us girls have wondered, "would our love be the one true love to change him?" So, yes..some of us may not want to admit it but we have at least entertained the idea of falling in love with the wrong boy for the wrong reason because he seemed so exciting, challenging and handsome!

FQ: Is Pastor Manny based on anybody you know? He's a very brave and caring individual.

I am glad you picked up on that about Pastor Manny. Yes and no to whether he is based on a real person. I know Pastor Manny but he doesn’t look anything like the character and he doesn’t really act like the character. But his devotion and faith is similar to the character. I guess I took the inside of my Pastor Manny and gave him a new outside for the character of Pastor Manny.

To learn more about The Judas Ride, please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Leads From Linda - Display Your Books

Free opportunity to have your book on display at the Massachusetts Library Association Annual Meeting and Exhibit.   Here's the link.

Leads from Linda comes from Linda F. Radke of Five Star Publications.  Linda is an author, publisher, and marketing guru.  Be sure to check out her sites:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Reviewer's Tip - Using Magazine Contacts

This tip is really a marketing tip, but we thought we'd include it here.

We've said it here and you've probably heard it from other sources too...authors need to get out and be seen.  One of the ways to promote themselves/their books is through magazine writing.  Write for speciality magazines in your niche market.  You'll get great exposure.  What else might you get?  I wanted to share a few examples from my own marketing experiences to show the sort of results you might expect if you really apply yourself. 

First, I write pre-teen horse adventures.  I've also written for numerous horse magazines for years.  One of my magazines, Tri-State Horse, asked me if I had any ideas for an upcoming issue.  Here's the result:

Want another example?  Young Rider Magazine is a national equine publication geared specifically to pre-teen/teen girls, my target audience.  The editor and I have worked together on articles in the past so she's familiar with my books.  Recently, she asked if I'd like to participate in the magazine's monthly giveaway contest.  Here's the result:

How's that for publicity?  Page 5 of a national publication, with a circulation of thousands.  I have lots of examples like this so next time you're wondering why you're taking the time to write all those articles, think of the publicity you'll get....

Bookstore Sales Down

Reprinted with permission of  Publishers Weekly

Bookstore sales finished 2009 on a weak, and disappointing, note falling 0.6% in December, to $2.03 billion, according to preliminary estimates released this morning by the U.S. Census Bureau. In contrast, the entire retail market had easily its best month of 2009 in December, with sales up 5.7%. For the full year, bookstore sales fell 0.8%, to $16.60 billion; compared to 2007, when bookstore sales were just under $17 billion, sales in 2009 were off 2.2%. Sales for the entire retail market were down 6.2% in 2008. Census may adjust the 2009 figures later this year.

Editor's Tip - Try to Remember - Part 2

Here's part 2 of Barbara Ardinger's "Try to Remember" post.  (Part 1 was posted on 2/11/10)

What if it’s the middle of the night and you don’t want to sit up, turn on the light, find your glasses, find the pencil, and start writing? What if you’re going 75 mph on the freeway and really should not take your hands off the steering wheel? What if you’re typing along at 60 wpm and what’s flowing across your screen is brilliant—and suddenly someone knocks on your door? Or the phone rings and it’s someone selling carpet cleaning or asking for a donation to some political cause? If you’re focused on traffic or an important task, you can’t start writing in your notebook or typing on your electronic thingie. And it’s tacky not to answer the door or the phone.

Here’s the solution. Try to remember. More than that, learn to remember. Train your memory. Develop or practice some kind of mnemonic system that helps you remember what that 3 a.m. idea was or where the sentence ends that was interrupted when you had to get up to answer the door. This very thing just happened to me. I was a couple of paragraphs back, and a neighbor came to ask about cat food for the feral cats we feed in the parking lot. She also needed a bandage for her finger. Then we had to gossip about one of our other neighbors. Five, ten minutes later, I finally sat back down at my computer. Now, I asked myself, where was I? What on earth was I writing about? I could have just lost it and never finished this blog.

Editors learn to remember. We get lots of practice. We remember details our authors forgot. We remember the names of characters whose names change from chapter to chapter. We remember what the author said on a previous page that he has suddenly contradicted on this page. We remember useful and germane books on the topic at hand and recommend them to our author for additional research. We remember historical facts that the author has gotten wrong. Whether you’re a writer or an editor, remembering is a useful skill.

Try to remember. Learn to remember. Learn to use a system of cues and associations, learn mnemonic aids like the one medical students learn the bones of the human body, count on your fingers and assign a phrase or key word to each finger. Over the years I have developed my own system. I’ll share it with you. When you’re in that hypnagogic state before you fall asleep, tell yourself that you will remember good ideas. Say it out loud. Further, I also tell myself that if I seem to have forgotten, the idea will come back. This is a common principle in guided meditation, where you recall what the Goddess or the wizard taught you in your meditation. Still further, I tell myself that if I don’t remember, then the idea wasn’t worth remembering anyway, and I just let it go and go on to the next one that sleets into my head. When you begin your next project, remember what you’re doing and where you’re going, and you’ll be more productive.

Future of Kirkus

Reprinted with permision of Publishers Weekly

After reports of the death of Kirkus Reviews circulated in December, followed by news that the literary review magazine would continue publishing after all, the New York Times reported this morning that the publication has been bought by Herb Simon, an entrepreneur who made his money developing shopping malls and also owns the NBA basketball team, the Indian Pacers.

An executive at Simon's company told the Times that the Kirkus staff would stay in place and that one reason Simon, who also co-owns the independent Telecote Books in Montecito, Calif., acquired the publication is because he is a "voracious reader." Simon also told the Times that, given the shifting dynamic in the book industry with publishers moving from creating and distributing physical books to digital ones, "turmoil like this creates opportunities." A rep from Kirkus told PW that an official statement about the sale would be issued later today or tomorrow.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Editor's Tip - Try to Remember

Here's another great article by Barbara Ardinger, freelance editor.  Barbara is an experienced editor who has worked with many authors. If you have questions about your book and/or need an editor, contact Barbara at You can also visit her website at

Yes, this is the title of one of the songs from The Fantasticks, which ran off-Broadway for something like forty-two years. It’s a simple, lovely show. I could also, of course, refer to the beautiful song, “Memory,” from Cats for this column about remembering ideas. (If you’ve been to my web site, you know I’m gaga over musical theater.)

But using a Fantasticks song title as my title here is not meretricious decoration. It’s not just a fancy allusion. A writer needs to have or develop a good memory.

Ideas for books, articles, blogs, dissertations, school essays, and collateral literature can come from anywhere and at any time. A bit of a song lyric we hear on the radio when we’re not really paying attention but that somehow sticks in our head. A phrase we see on Facebook or in a spam we open by mistake. Disconnected words that fly by when we’re engaged in a conversation with friends (or in line with strangers) and somehow make a connection with something else in our head. An idea that slaps us upside the head when we’re standing, all soaped up, in the shower. Something brilliant that comes when we’re sound asleep and hear a voice speaking the beginning of a narrative or the best dialogue in the world. Something that blows in the car window when we’re stuck in traffic and zoned out.

Back in the late ’80s, I had a friend who worked in PR and carried a tiny cassette player everywhere she went. When one of these ideas arrived, she spoke it into her cassette player. Today you can just type stuff into your BlackBerry or whatever other electronic gizmo you carry around. I’ve also known people who are so nerdy (moi?) that they carry little notebooks and pencils everywhere they go. They even have little notebooks and pencils on the bedside table and the coffee table.

Whatever that idea is, and however it comes, you need to capture it and write it down, either in the little notebook or on your handy electronic thingie. Capture it before it flies away and lands in someone else’s head. You don’t want to be reading a book or an article or a blog and say, “Hey! I thought of that first!” But you didn’t remember it until you read it above someone else’s bionote.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Importance of Branding - Part 2

Here's the second part of our article on branding.  The first part appeared on 2/9/10.

Select a brand name and tagline - The first step to establishing your brand is to select an attention grabbing brand name and tagline. Brand name and slogan should be concise, relevant, unique and easy to remember. Your branding slogan should be precise so that it can convey your message easily and people can get the idea of your products. For e.g. - The brand tagline of Nokia is ‘connecting people’.

Create presence online – To increase the awareness of your brand online it is very important to have a professional looking website and a blog. Most customers make their decisions on the basis of the appearance of your website. So it is very important for your business website to be elegant and user-friendly.  In addition to the website and blog, you should also consider adding your business to local business directories like Google local business center, Yelp, Yahoo local Business directory and organizational directories which list the businesses of your niche.

Participate in discussions - Create accounts on popular social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to communicate with your target audience and try to help them wherever possible. Find out the online forums or communities where your target audience interacts and be the part of it. The more you participate in such online communities, the more people will be aware of your brand and the more popular your brand will be.

Trade shows and events – Participating in local trade shows and events is the oldest but still the most effective and affordable way to promote your brand because of the numerous opportunities you get for interacting with your target audience directly. Such local events provide you with a great platform to interact with your customers.  All trade shows do not have the same impact hence it is very important to do some basic research before participating in a trade show. Having a booth at the trade show in which your competitors are also participating may not be the best choice.

Promotional products – Giving promotional products imprinted with your logo is a great way to increase the awareness about your brand to your target audience. These products help you keep the name of your brand in the mind of your audience whenever they use your products.  Select promotional products which are relevant to your own products and have a longer visibility period for your branding campaigns. For example - custom flash drives could be ideal promotional products for business related to computers, similarly, if your business is related to kitchen appliances then you should select Promotional knives as your promotional products.

Mark Thompson is working for Fortepromo Promotional Products which creates high quality custom flash drives that help IT companies to promote their brand in market.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Importance of Branding for Small Business Owners

What initially strikes your mind when you plan to buy new shoes?

Nike! Reebok! Adidas!

Am I right? It is the enormous power of Branding that makes customer start to associate your company name with the products. A strong branding strategy is crucial because it will get you much more than just new customers. It will help you to get more loyal customers or I can say followers who can easily associate themselves with your company. It also persuades them to buy your products. Studies have revealed that customers always get more satisfaction from buying the products of the brand with which they can associate easily.

But doesn’t branding require lot of time and a large marketing budget? Is it possible for small business owners to establish themselves as brands?

It is very critical for small business owners in today’s competitive market to make branding an integral part of their marketing strategy. Gone are the days when only big companies were capable of affording branding and small business owner didn’t pay any attention to it. Online marketing has completely changed the scenario by giving lot of opportunities to small business owners to brand their businesses in a cost effective way. In the online world, with a solid branding strategy your company name can easily get the attention it deserves amongst your target audience.

Of course branding requires time, effort and even some money. There are some inexpensive tips which you can follow online and offline to begin establishing your business as a brand. Tomorrow, we’ll continue the article with those tips. Stay tuned!

About the Author - Mark Thompson works for Fortepromo Promotional Products which creates high quality custom flash drives that help IT companies to promote their brand in market.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Press Release from the Dept. of Justice, re: Google

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEThursday, February 4, 2010

Justice Department Submits Views on Amended Google Book Search Settlement

Department Says Despite Substantial Progress Made, Issues Remain

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today advised the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that despite the substantial progress reflected in the proposed amended settlement agreement in The Authors Guild Inc. et al. v. Google Inc., class certification, copyright and antitrust issues remain. The department also said that the United States remains committed to working with the parties on issues concerning the scope and content of the settlement.

In its statement of interest filed with the court today, the department stated, "Although the United States believes the parties have approached this effort in good faith and the amended settlement agreement is more circumscribed in its sweep than the original proposed settlement, the amended settlement agreement suffers from the same core problem as the original agreement: it is an attempt to use the class action mechanism to implement forward-looking business arrangements that go far beyond the dispute before the court in this litigation."

On Sept. 18, 2009, the department submitted views to the court on the original proposed settlement agreement. At that time, the department proposed that the parties consider changes to the agreement that might help address the United States’ concerns, including imposing limitations on the most open-ended provisions for future licensing, eliminating potential conflicts among class members, providing additional protections for unknown rights holders, addressing the concerns of foreign authors and publishers, eliminating the joint-pricing mechanisms among publishers and authors, and providing a mechanism by which Google’s competitors can gain comparable access.

In today’s filing, the department recognized that the parties made substantial progress on a number of these issues. For example, the proposed amended settlement agreement eliminates certain open-ended provisions that would have allowed Google to engage in certain unspecified future uses, appoints a fiduciary to protect rightsholders of unclaimed works, reduces the number of foreign works in the settlement class, and eliminates the most-favored nation provision that would have guaranteed Google optimal license terms into the future. However, the changes do not fully resolve the United States’ concerns. The department also said that the amended settlement agreement still confers significant and possibly anticompetitive advantages on Google as a single entity, thereby enabling the company to be the only competitor in the digital marketplace with the rights to distribute and otherwise exploit a vast array of works in multiple formats.

The department continues to believe that a properly structured settlement agreement in this case offers the potential for important societal benefits. The department stated that it is committed to continuing to work with the parties and other stakeholders to help develop solutions through which copyright holders could allow for digital use of their works by Google and others, whether through legislative or market-based activities.

The settlement agreement between Google and the authors and publishers aims to resolve copyright infringement claims brought against Google by The Authors Guild and five major publishers in 2005 arising from Google’s efforts to digitally scan books contained in several libraries and to make them searchable on the Internet. The district court’s hearing on the proposed amended settlement agreement is scheduled to take place on Feb. 18, 2010.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Reviewer's Tip - Email Interviews

At Feathered Quill, we offer "Author Interviews" as one of our services.  We email questions specific to the book being reviewed to the author, who returns his/her answers to us.  Simple.  There is no time limit on returning answers, so why do so many authors fail to read/edit their responses???!!!

When the interview is returned to me, I always read it before posting.  I will correct typos but it is not my job (nor is it allowed, IMO) to correct language.  I recently had an interview returned that was so full of typos that it seemed to take me forever to correct before posting.  Unfortunately, the answers were also full of statements that just didn't make sense.  In essence, the author was "un-selling" (is that a word?) himself.  Please, please, please!  Remember that, like every other marketing opportunity, the author interview is a chance to sell you/your book.  Re-read your answers, edit, and have a friend take a quick look too.  A second pair of eyes can do wonders for catching errors.

BEA - Why You Should Go!

Book Expo America - THE tradeshow for the book industry.  Held in NYC, it's the place to be in late May.  You'll learn a lot and have a ton of fun.  Here's information on the show, provided by BEA.


BEA is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals, typically attracting between 20,000 – 30,000 people.

Book industry professionals who attend BEA include: booksellers (independent, specialty, and chain); book distributors; marketing and publicity professionals; editors, agents; scouts. BEA is also attended by assorted film and TV professionals and is covered widely by the media for the attention it brings to upcoming books as well as for the notable authors it attracts to the event itself.

The show occupies approximately 175,000 – 200,000 square feet of exhibit space, not including conference sessions, autographing or the Rights Center.

Approximately 1000 authors participate in BEA.

There are over 1500 exhibitors at BEA.

There are approximately 75 educational conference sessions offered at BEA.


In 1902 Mark Twain was the guest speaker for the first official gathering of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) Convention. It was held at New York’s Herald Square Hotel and 60 people attended. The ABA Convention is now called BookExpo America (BEA) and instead of being held in a hotel it is being held this year at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City and instead of playing host to 60 people, it is playing host to approximately 25,000 industry professionals.

BEA has evolved to become a global event, attracting an international audience, where a range of book industry business may be conducted. First and foremost, however, BEA is known as a preeminent venue for launching books and creating buzz about current and new titles which are just hitting the marketplace. With all forms of social media interaction taking place throughout the course of the 3-day convention, and with more than 1500 members of the media in attendance, including wire services, national TV and radio outlets, newspapers, magazines, and lit bloggers, BEA serves not only as a gathering to learn about new books, but it also provides content which serves the media through a wide range of programming including Keynotes, Author Breakfasts, ongoing Author Stage presentations, and a full educational program.

While BEA has adapted to changes in media and communication, it has never strayed far from its root tradition of being a place where authors gather to meet the people who publish, sell and market their books. Public figures who have participated in the convention include Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. In 1982 President Jimmy Carter made his first appearance at the convention and five years ago (’04) President Bill Clinton spoke to BEA’s audience. From James Baldwin to Walter Cronkite; Eudora Welty to Tom Wolfe; Isabel Allende to Colin Powell; Ray Charles to Stephen Colbert; the list of past and present authors who have entertained booksellers include some of the greatest – and most disparate – voices of the modern age.

James Patterson, Inc.

James Patterson has really built an empire, not just around his books, but his name.  Interesting article in the NY Times about how he/his publisher work to promote both.  Click here.

Win A Book!

Feathered Quill Book Reviews is pleased to offer our readers the chance to win a FREE book. Once a month, we will award a brand new book to one lucky reader. Simply submit your email address here and you will be entered into our monthly contest. Note: We NEVER sell our email addresses and in fact, delete them all after each contest.

February - This month's book is a SIGNED copy of Dogs Don't Brush Their Teeth! by Diane deGroat and Shelley Rotner. Read the review here.

TV Interviews

Reprinted with permission from The Economical Guide to Self-Publishing by Linda Radke.  Please visit Five Star Publications for more information.

Hi, Mom, I’m on TV!

Let’s say that you made the connection. A producer wants you to come on and talk about your area of expertise.  You aren’t bumped or canceled from the show. You figure that you’ll mark the day on your calendar, show up, answer a few questions, walk away, and viewers at home will respond to what you say. It sounds simple enough, but it’s not quite that easy.

You Look Mahhhhvelous!

What does being a good guest mean? If all goes well, being a good guest means that you’ll be someone who will be called again. You’ll be someone who is recommended to other producers by the person who booked you. And many times, being a good guest means that you were able to get your point through to the viewer. Before you appear for your interview, you should prepare some objectives for yourself that are clear. This way you’ll have some guidelines to say everything you want to say. (Many times you won’t end up
covering it all, but it’s good to have a game plan.)  On many shows, the producer will call you up a couple of days (or sometimes a couple of weeks) before the interview to confirm everything with you and may also do what’s called a pre-interview. In this pre-interview, the producer will prepare you by asking questions that will be similar to the host’s questions. This isn’t always done, but if it is done, two reasons for doing it are: 1) The producer can get a better idea of how you will respond on television, and 2) it will give you
an idea of what will happen during the segment. Often, however, a pre-interview is in the form of a casual conversation between you and the producer.  Don’t worry if you’re not given a pre-interview (and don’t
subsequently bother the producer for one). You’ll be informed before the show of how the segment will go and what will be expected from you. The best preparation you can do is by yourself. If you need to, go back over all of your press information. This will help highlight the important points in the interview.  You definitely don’t want to be labeled as a needy guest.  One of the biggest pitfalls is becoming an overeager or needy guest. You could end up shooting yourself in the foot. If this is your first time being interviewed, great. Don’t think that just because you’ve been booked on the show that your new friend, the producer, can speak to you constantly about every worry and concern. If you have questions, jot them down and try to ask them all at once. High-maintenance guests are the first ones who find themselves cut on a busy day or end up getting their air time shortened. Be confident. You got this far, so you’ll be fine.

Here are a few other things you should keep in mind to ensure that this interview won’t be your last. If you follow these tips, you’ll ensure a successful appearance and will increase your chances of being called to appear again. You will, at the very least, have a good tape of your fine interview that you can show to future producers.

• Be on time to the studio.
• Match your style of clothing to the style of the show.
• Look well-groomed.
• Be a high-energy guest.
• Act friendly and cooperate with the host(s).
• Elaborate fully—don’t give one-word responses.
• Use short anecdotes to illustrate ideas.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amazon vs. Macmillan

Have you heard about the fight going on between Amazon and Macmillan publishers?  It's all over the net.  Here's an article from Publishers Weekly on the, um, spat.

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

Authors Guild Calls Macmillan Fight "Necessary"

By Jim Milliot
The Authors Guild is the latest industry organization to come to the support of Macmillan in its battle with Amazon over e-book terms. In a note posted on its site this morning, the Guild called the fight with Amazon “a necessary one,” with the stakes high for Macmillan authors. The Guild commended Macmillan for its “bold move” and said that if the publisher does prevail “the economics of authorship in the digital age are likely to improve considerably.” The Guild, while firmly supporting Macmillan, made clear it wasn’t giving the publisher a blank check in terms of the digital future, saying there may be some rough patches ahead before authors get what they deserve in the digital publishing age. While the Guild didn’t spell out what tough patches might lie ahead, it was most likely referring to higher royalty rates, something that agents mentioned yesterday as an issue that needs to be addressed soon.

The Guild’s post was also notable for its criticism of Amazon, which it said “has a well-earned reputation for playing hardball.” The Guild called the removal of buy buttons “a harsh tactic,” by which Amazon uses its dominance of online bookselling to punish publishers who fail to fall in line with Amazon's business plans. “Collateral damage in these scuffles,” the Guild added “are authors and readers. Authors lose their access to millions of readers who shop at Amazon; readers find some of their favorite authors' works unavailable. Generally, the ending is not a good one for the publisher or its authors.” as more industry revenue is diverted to Amazon. “This isn't good for those who care about books. Without a healthy ecosystem in publishing, one in which authors and publishers are fairly compensated for their work, the quality and variety of books available to readers will inevitably suffer,” the Guild said.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Using the Internet to Market Yourself

Using the Internet to Market Yourself

[This is a guest post by Stacey Cavanagh, who works in Online Marketing for Tecmark: SEO Liverpool and Manchester]

The Internet Revolution has completely changed the way we do, well, almost everything! It’s changed how we shop, socialise, conduct business and collaborate amongst a host of other things too. But how can you use the web to promote yourself and your work?

Social Networking Sites

Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, MySpace, Bebo... and that’s just scratching the surface. I’m not suggesting by any means that you need to set up an account and become a complete addict to them all! However, having a presence on one or two (my personal recommendations are Facebook and Twitter) is a great way to network. It makes you easy to find by people looking for the type of thing you do and it enables you to share parts of your work or an insight into it with potentially millions! These websites have burst into popularity at a phenomenal rate. Create a presence for yourself there. In terms of marketing your writing, release excerpts and teasers through these sites to generate interest.


If there’s one thing a writer will have little trouble doing, it’s blogging! Blogs are available completely free of charge through and, if you do not want to register and host a domain yourself. Set up a blog and keep it up to date. You needn’t post every single day, but post at least weekly if you can. How you approach a blog will depend on exactly what you want to market through it. But the most successful blogs have a personal touch. By all means, market your work through excepts, insight and up to the minute news, but don’t forget to let a bit of your personality shine through. It often helps to post a photo on your blog and a brief bio to add a little bit more of a human touch.

Guest Blogging and Commenting

As if you weren’t busy enough with your own blog, I’m now suggesting posting for other people! Yes, guest posting is a great way for you to gain exposure to someone else’s audience, many of whom might not otherwise have come across you. Contact bloggers in a similar niche and ask if they’d take a post from you. Many of them will be happy to and will often offer a link to your site or blog in exchange. This is also a great means of networking.

As for blog commenting, well again, that’s about networking. The blogosphere is incredibly powerful. Millions of bloggers, millions more readers! It enables you to find someone or something of interest in your niche quickly and easily. And the most successful blogs are established within their niche, network with other bloggers in a similar area and are known for doing so. Blogs are fundamentally discussion platforms. So respond to blog posts by other people with a comment and get actively involved in the blogosphere in this way. It will eventually drive traffic to your site, increase your followers and make you more known within the niche.


This is often more fundamentally important from a commercial viewpoint, for businesses. But SEO can work for individuals marketing their own work or freelancers too. SEO, for anyone not aware, is search engine optimisation and is the process of making your own blog or website visible within the search engines for the search terms relating to you. 73% of people in the UK start any internet related research or shopping with a search engine. If you are a freelance writer and someone types in ‘Freelance writing services,’ into Google, for example, you would hope they would find you. But the vast majority of people will never venture beyond the first page of the Google results after a search. So unless you rank highly for the related search terms, those people are unlikely to find you through search engines. SEO is the process of optimising a website for its related keywords in order to achieve higher search engine rankings for those words.


Forums are, like blogs, a discussion platform. Only there is much more of a level playing field for an open discussion since it isn’t only the one blogger who can set the topic. Anyone can decide on a topic! Participating in conversations in forums relating to your area is a great way to network and gain contacts. It has a lot of traffic driving potential for your website too.

These are just a few ways in which you can market yourself and your material online. The key thing to remember when networking online, however, is the human touch. Be personable. Photos and bios make a huge difference. It lets people get to know you. A big downside to the internet is the element of facelessness. Letting people see and read a bit about you for themselves goes a long way to rectifying that as best as possible in a digital environment.