Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page


In Marketing on August 24, 2010 at 1:42 am

Publishers Weekly today announced PW Select, “a quarterly service for the self-published.” Aimed at the author-financed market, PW Select is a supplement that will include a complete announcement of all self-published books submitted during that period. The listings will include author, title, subtitle, price, pagination and format, ISBN, a brief description, and ordering information provided by the authors, who will be required to pay a $149 processing fee for their listing. At least 25 of the submitted titles will be selected for a published review. The first supplement is scheduled to appear in December’s year-end issue.

Read the complete announcement here.

Posted by Sara


How Readers Select Books

In Marketing on August 8, 2010 at 5:32 am

Huffington Post‘s Arielle Ford, a publicist and writer, recently contributed a brief post on how readers select books to read.

Posted by Sara.

Literature as Environment

In The Lighter Side of Writing on August 7, 2010 at 12:52 am

I’ve been collecting books ever since my parents enrolled me in a book-of-the-month club when I was very young. Over the years, my collection has grown, which is a big hassle when it comes to moving. But the physical presence of my books comforts me. I can’t imagine living in a house without books. So I was tickled to see these two art installations of “book dwellings” by Prague-based artist Matej Kren: passage and book cell. I enjoyed tele well, too, but I think this one is made of phone books. I’m not sure though; this page has yet to be translated from Czechoslovakian. To see more book structures, see Kren’s curriculum vitae and scroll to the bottom. To see larger photos, visit When the shows are over, all books are returned to their original form so that they can be read.

Posted by Sara.

The Importance of Setting

In The Retreat on August 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

The setting of a story can play such an important part in the overall meaning that it becomes a character itself. 

Elaine and her home, Bentley and Beemmer, the redwoods, the food, and Russell at the end, they all played such powerful parts in the overall meaning of our retreat that they take a staring role. I stand before them in a clapping, rousing, thunderous ovation now and forever.


It was Elaine’s mentoring and guidance and superb organizational skills and joyous, generous nature that made the retreat flow and feel so effortless.

But there’s more, for me personally so much more…

Elaine changed my life upon meeting her at Capitola Bookstore during the final two in a series of three plot workshops. She listed some of the writing workshop leaders she had studied with, all of whom I hold in high esteem, and told me she was learning things with me she hadn’t heard from the others.

My heart soared for two reasons.

#1: One of the workshop leaders she named is the famed Robert McKee. I first learned about him upon seeing the movie Adaptation starring Nicholas Cage playing twins — one brother a literary writer, the other a hack writer. The hack writer  convinces his literary brother to attend McKee’s workshop. Since the moment I saw McKee (an actor) on stage during the on-screen workshop, my dream has been to do that. Be on a big stage sharing my passion for plot.

For Elaine to put me in the same company as Robert McGee gave me the sensation of sliding all the way across the entire checker board in one move and being kinged!

For Elaine to have found unique value in my work humbles me to my core.

Everything internally has shifted for me after that. A new peace fills me. I feel as if I have arrived and I can be me…

I’ll forever love you, Elaine. 

Aw, how come whenever it comes to anything to do with the retreat, I end up with tears in my eyes and a thick throat and a full heart…

Love to each of you.

Oh, and I expect you’re each getting back to writing now… Correct???

posted by Martha

For the Writer Who Has Everything

In The Lighter Side of Writing on August 4, 2010 at 10:25 pm

I recently came across a unique gift for writers. Jane Mount, creator of Ideal Bookshelf, paints book portraits. Send her photos of the spines of your favorite books, perhaps childhood favorites, all the works of a beloved author, or what you read during a poignant period of your life. She could probably even paint a shelf full of the books you’re going to write. Of course, you’d have supply her with those future titles. What great inspiration that would be!

Posted by Sara

Creative Marketing

In Marketing on August 4, 2010 at 8:49 am

While I think most of us are plotting and writing away and trying to get published, somewhere in the backs of our minds we’re thinking about the next step: selling. Once our book has been published, we don’t get to wander back to the cozy solitude of our desks to begin the process again. No, we must hit the road and pound the pavement. Publishers no longer keep stables of publicists. The reality of being a “successful” writer (read: make enough money to write the next book) in today’s world demands that we apply our creative skills to marketing as well.

I once knew a motivational speaker who couldn’t get his self-published books into bookstores. The covers were slick enough; he had hired a graphic artist to ensure his book looked like it belonged in a bookstore, right down to the bar code. After knocking on dozens of bookstore doors, though, he finally came up with his eureka moment: reverse shoplifting.

Reverse shoplifting, as the moniker implies, required a certain amount of stealth. My friend would saunter into bookstores, looking like a regular, everyday bookstore browser (and hopefully not like a private eye from an old B movie), but one thing made him different: He had a few copies of his own book hidden beneath his coat. When no one was looking, he would leave the books shelved in the appropriate section.

His theory was that when an eager would-be reader tried to purchase the book, the transaction would create an error in the computerized register and the clerk would have to override the system. This would prompt some confusion and a check of the shelves. Seeing more books on the shelf, staff would manually add them to the inventory. When the last copy was sold, the store’s computer would prompt an order.

I never did discover how many books this scheme sold for my friend, but almost 20 years later I still remember it. It was definitely inventive. And today, one of his books is No. 47,518 on Amazon. Not altogether insignificant.

For another take on inspired marketing, read Jennifer Belle’s account of selling her latest book in her post, “I Paid Them to Read My Book.” Her idea garnered coverage in The New York Times‘ Sunday Metro Section and landed her on Page Six of the New York Post.

Posted by Sara.