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Sunday, January 22–Panel Members:

  • Phil Sexton–Moderator of Panel; Publisher, Writer’s Digest
  • Karen Cooper–Publisher, Adams Media
  • Michelle Howry–Senior Editor, Touchstone (an impring of Simon & Schuster)
  • Donya Dickerson–Senior Editor, McGraw Hill

A. What is the most common mistake writers make in nonfiction proposals?

  • Too much emphasis on the manuscript.
  • Not enough evidence of need. Why does this book need to be in the marketplace?
  • Not enough emphasis on the author platform.
  • Not enough competitive analysis. Need to do research: a) Where will this book go on the shelf in Barnes & Noble? b) How does this book contrast with competitive titles? c) What does this book provide that no other book does? Check publicity volume of competition and occupied shelf space in bookstores. Also check Book of the Month Club offerings and other visible signs of a book’s sales/popularity.
  • Writer is not realistic about competition for books by a “new author.” In proposal/query, presents him/herself as “the next ___________ (fill in the blank with a famous author’s name).” This approach brands the writer as inexperienced and unrealistic. Instead, the writer should answer: a) Here’s how my book fits into the market, and b) Here’s how my book differs …”

The approximate length of a nonfiction book proposal should be thirty pages, not including any sample chapters.

Include suggestions about where book could be sold outside of the trade (ex., Walmart, Costco …) Research should include publishers and where they sell.

———————————————————

B. How important is the author’s writing in nonfiction?

  • Depends on the imprint, the book idea, and how hungry the editor is for an acquisition.
  • Authors should not have someone else write the proposal. Both the manuscript and the proposal need to have the same style. Editors can tell if they’ve been written by different people.
  • Editors/publishers vary regarding how important the writing is. If the concept is great, the quality of writing is not as important. Writing can always be beefed up through input from agents, editorial staff, or even ghost writers contracted through publishers.
  • The author’s platform plays a role in how important the writing is. The more the author already has in place to help sell the book, the less important the actual writing becomes.
  • Editors differ with respect to the weight applied to a) good writing, b) promotion, and c) platform.

————————————————————

C. How has the view of self-publishing changed?

  • All three editors said they would enthusiastically look at proposals that included self-published books.
  • Writers should keep in mind that, if an author is doing well with self-published book saes, then there is a strong case to be made for not going with a traditional publisher.
  • However, publishers can offer access to additional distribution channels, unique book promotions, etc.

———————————————————

D. What is the most compelling proposal you ever received, and why?

  • Wreck This Journal. Original proposal was a mock-up that was intended to be torn apart (as is the final product). Sometimes editors have to do a hard-sell job with odd ideas like this one, when channels like Barnes & Noble and Amazon have decided to passed on a project.
  • The Starbuck’s Experience. Author had gained full access to Starbuck’s operations. (The publisher was instrumental in changing the title from the original.)
  • The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Author had secured permission from J.K. Rowling to use the Harry Potter name.
  • Retail Hell. The proposal came in as a self-help book. The publisher reworked it into a memoir.

Editors and publishers want authors who are cooperative and willing to listen, who respond positively to input, and who want to work in a partnership to produce the best quality book possible.

–Cheri’s Note: I’m now studying up on how to write a nonfiction book proposal. I will keep you posted on what I’m learning and how the process unfolds once I actually begin writing the document.–

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URGENT: Update on Separation of Faith/Newly Designed Blog/Etc.

Hi, everybody! Sorry I’ve been a little awol, but I had an unexpected stay in the hospital last week for three days preceded by the infection and fever that had me out of commission for five days prior to being admitted. I’m fine now–just a little bump in the reconstruction process.

Meanwhile, lots of things started happening ahead of schedule and have sort of launched Separation of Faith a smidge prematurely. (But at least you’re all getting to see the cover now … 🙂 …) The social media group at the publisher developed the new blog site, which is supposed to be secondary to my standard “Journey from Publishing Obscurity” site. I’ll be straightening that out on Monday.

Also, since we had to pull the book back briefly (see blog post #57), Separation of Faith is not actually available yet–and consequently, this new blog site should have been held back as well. I’ll also be straightening that out on Monday.

In short, we’re almost there–and I’m deeply grateful for the excitement I saw from several of you once this new site hit the air waves. I do apologize, however, for your need to put the horse back in the gate for just a little while longer. The updated galley for Separation of Faith should be in my hands this coming week, I hope, and assuming all is well, the title should go live again shortly thereafter. I’ll post at least a sentence or two daily to keep you current.

Last November I promised to share everything that happens on this Journey–the good, bad, and the ugly–and this little situation is sort of a real-time issue that I will be unwinding before your very eyes. 🙂

Meanwhile, since there’s lots of information available on this new site now about Separation of Faith, I welcome any comments and input regarding your first impressions, the cover, etc.

Hurray! The Truth About Cinnamon Reduction Edit Is Complete–At Last!

Those of you who’ve been following this Journey will know how monumental these words are: Last night at 10:30 I emailed the edited Cinnamon manuscript along with cover updates to the publisher! Honestly, I was beginning to think that this part of the Plan was never going to be finished. Last week while I was in the hospital, I worked many hours on the edit, simply because there wasn’t much else I could do there while lying there on IV antibiotics. All I can say now is, “Thank God that part is over!” (The edit as well as the antibiotics.)

Once the new version of Cinnamon goes into production, the original version will become a First Edition and will no longer be available on Amazon, etc. Hopefully the Second Edition will become available by the official (the way it’s supposed to happen) launch of Separation of Faith in September.

I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’d like to secure a First Edition copy, you can still do so through Amazon, etc., or directly through the bookstore on my Web site (www.cherilaser.com) where you can also request a customized autograph.

Sorry Again for Any Mixups/Confusion about Separation of Faith

This was one moment in time when dealing with breast cancer and trying to bring out a new book didn’t gel very smoothly. Hopefully, order will be re-established early this coming week.

Thanks so much again for hanging in there and for being excited. You’re going to love the video book trailer, which will be ready very shortly and then linked into everything as soon as the title becomes live again (I will post when that happens).

Here Are a Couple of Interesting Links I Found While in the Hospital. Hope There’s Something of Value/Inspiration for You!

Take Care & Have a Terrific Weekend!

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After the Writing Comes the Pitching

Pitch, pitch, pitch! In every writer’s conference, there’s at least one seminar and breakout session on the fine art of pitching. Then there’s usually an opportunity to actually deliver a pitch to an agent or editor (or several of each/both). And last year I attended a three-day conference in New York City devoted exclusively to the pitch (http://newyorkpitchconference.com/) where small groups, each under the leadership of a different agent or editor, worked on and practiced pitching until our eyes were crossed.

Now that I’m in a window of time where I’m focusing all of my energy on the promotion of Separation of Faith (at least until I start working on novel #3 shortly), my extensive (and ongoing) pitching education has finally arrived at a fully relevant juncture. Consequently, anything in print on the subject of “the pitch” springs off the page (or screen) at me. This morning I saw a post (again by Jane Friedman of Writer’s Digest–obviously one of my favorite sources) titled “What Writers Wish They’d Known Before Pitching.” The word “before” is what caught my attention.

After reading the post, I was struck by the fact that this same list might be wisely considered by writers before they actually write the book (a timely thought for me with respect to novel #3). If the “12 Things that Matter …” by Dennis Hensley are not an integral part of an author’s thought process while writing the book, I’m having a hard time imagining them being used effectively in a pitch.

At least this is something else for all of us to consider … http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/2010/07/29/WhatWritersWishTheydKnownBeforePitching.aspx.

Separation of Faith Update

Yesterday I received a copy of the soft cover for my final review. Hopefully the hard cover will arrive today. When I have them both in hand, I’ll take and post a picture here for you.

I’m now designing the invitation for my Book Launch Party on September 23. That sounds like a long time to wait. But before I fully launch the book, I need to make sure that the title is available everywhere, which takes several weeks. I’m also hoping for additional testimonials once I can send key people actual copies of the book rather than a manuscript, and they will need time to read the thing. Then, of course, I need to get through my next surgery on September 2. Consequently, I want to make sure that all the pieces are fully in place before I launch the promotion in my local area.

The online launch will happen more quickly. As soon as Separation of Faith is available through Amazon, etc., I’ll upload the video book trailer (which has turned out to be incredible, by the way) to YouTube and about 15 other video sites. A press release will then go out to the world. So this piece of the plan will hit the streets in just a couple of weeks! Yay!

Meanwhile … the Reduction Edit of The Truth About Cinnamon

There’s only one more chapter to go, and then a final proof. Getting this element of the Journey off my plate is going to be a huge relief!

Taking a Look Back

If anyone is interested in seeing how the specifics of this Journey got started, take a look at the Blog Launch Posting on November 4, 2009 (https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/). Even I’m having trouble comprehending how far we’ve come and how many steps have been mastered in almost exactly nine months! (And I’m trying not to fret about the hundreds of steps/promotional to-dos that are still ahead … 🙂 …)

Hope Everyone Has A Terrific Weekend!

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First …

Please forgive the distance between this post and my last one. I have been popping in through comments and tag surfing. But otherwise I’ve been so consumed with everything that’s going on, and with everything I’ve been learning, that the time hasn’t been available until this Saturday morning to sit down and write a post about what’s been going on and what I’ve been learning. I’m uncomfortable with this much space in between posts, and I’ll do my best not to go this long in the future.

So …

What’s Been Going on with Separation of Faith?

We’re still in the final proofing/revision stage, which is where we’ve been for about a month and a half now. The other editing stages moved along at a nice clip, but things have really slowed down to a frustrating pace at the moment. The change in momentum started when the proofreader at the publisher took a month instead of the quoted 2-3 weeks. I then had to review the proofreader’s recommendations and then accept or decline each one. In a book that will print at 300 pages, there were only 39 notations, almost half of which were formatting errors that happened when the manuscript was changed from a Word document into the publishing design. I declined five of the remaining issues, which were all semi-colon situations.

After completing that process, I had to go through the entire manuscript again because I was allowed up to 50 additional revisions/corrections, which could be as small as a punctuation mark or as large as adding a paragraph. I ended up with 48 changes, 99% of which were tiny-to-small issues, and there was only one big change where I added a paragraph to the Acknowledgments. In three cases, I added clarifying words to a sentence or reworked the wording. That entire process ate up several days.

Then I returned to the publisher the proofreader’s changes, my changes, and the required changes to the cover all in one email on June 28. The cover changes were done almost immediately, except for one error that’s currently being fixed. Yesterday (July 9, almost two weeks later) I was notified that the proofreader’s revisions had been implemented. But my 48 changes haven’t even been started yet.

There’s a big promotion through the publisher that lasts until July 30, which will enable me to purchase a large supply of my books (for submission to reviewers, contests, etc) with free shipping, a free extra 10% copies, plus substantial author discounts. But in order to take advantage of that promotion, Separation of Faith has to be live.

The editorial staff and everyone else at iUniverse as well has been unbelievably fabulous to this point, and I have every expectation that this little log jam will be unplugged come Monday. But I do admit to some frustration. This is amplified, I’m sure, by the fact that I’m going through breast reconstruction at the same time, so my patience is somewhat altered by the cement bowling balls currently attached to my chest wall … 🙂 … At least I’m getting a shape back, though. The only problem at the moment is that “they” don’t move, and if someone hugs me too hard, they get broken ribs. This situation will be rectified by my next surgery, hopefully in early September.

This sort of production issue (I’m referring to the novel again now … 🙂 …) happens all the time when a book is coming out, regardless of the publishing method. So no matter which path you’re considering (or that you’ve already selected) for your own publishing Journey, be prepared to be patient. Setting expectations levels in advance for a long gestation period is a good idea.

That said, my cover is absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait for you to see the gem. And reading through the beautiful proofed PDF, which is already in the book design format, does turn on the light at the end of the tunnel, even if the train has temporarily slowed to a crawl.

If all goes well this coming Monday and things get back on track, I could be holding my first copies of Separation of Faith in my hands by the end of this month. Considering how long we’ve been talking about that event in this blog, that is going to be one heck of a day! I will take pictures and post them here. 🙂

Once Again, Let Me Emphasize the Importance of Editing!

This sounds like a broken record, I know, but seeing the quality of my novel now, as compared to six months ago, I can’t believe I even entertained the idea that I was good enough to edit the book myself (or that any of my relatives were good enough). Professional editing makes more difference than you can imagine!

Separation of Faith has been through two editorial reviews, a copyedit, and a proofreading, each of those followed by at least one and usually two revisions cycles in which I incorporated recommendations from those edits. Yes, the steps have added months to the publishing process. And yes there was a financial investment involved along with the additional time. But when the novel is released, I will challenge any person in the traditional publishing world to tell me that this book would have been more beautifully edited coming out of a traditional house.

And because the do-it-yourself/self-publishing/print-on-demand world is so flooded with every level of book imaginable, a major key to rising about the pack and having a shot at getting noticed resides in the quality of both the writing and the editing. And some will say that the latter is more critical than the former. So even if you’re still pursuing the traditional route on your Journey, invest in having your manuscript edited before you ever start querying. The odds of getting anyone’s serious attention become slimmer by the minute without that investment.  

The Video Book Trailer for Separation of Faith

The more I study the importance of video book trailers, the more I wonder how anyone could consider publishing a book these days without a video as part of the promotion. If you’re at the stage where you’re trying to decide if one is necessary, the answer is yes. Again, this business is so competitive that trying to get attention for the book you’ve slaved over for months/years/decades is a batlle under the best of circumstances. So we all need to be automatically adding a video book trailer to our plans.

The video for Separation of Faith is about half finished. The fellow who’s helping me is a technical/video genius–but he also has a real job plus a wife and three children (ages 5, 3, and six months). So even though the video is only going to be 60-90 seconds long, we’re still only halfway there after three multiple hour sessions together and I-have-no-idea-how-many hours of individual time for both of us. I know I spent about six hours hunting down appropriate royalty free pictures to use along with others I’d already taken and collected during my initial research for the book.

The music on my video will be an original song by my tech genius, and the “script” (words across the screen) is something we’ve designed together (and is very much a work in progress still). But as this thing comes together, I literally get goosebumps on my arms thinking about this film promoting Separation of Faith being on YouTube and every other conceivable site.

There is a ton of information online to help you if you’re at the point where you need to start thinking about a video book trailer. Everyone seems to have a different formula, and the best one for you will undoubtedly be a combination of what you read, who you know, and what you can contribute yourself. But here are a few links to get you going:

Yes, there’s a lot of work involved–but boy is this part fun!

The Press Release Preparation

The actual publishing date of Separation of Faith will be the day my author copies are ready to send to me. But I will need to wait several weeks after that before officially launching my promotional campaign. That’s because of the time required for the novel to go live on all the online and traditional distribution sites.

Sending out press releases to get people excited about the book would not be a good idea if the book isn’t yet available for ordering everywhere. Even though this novel won’t actually be stocked on the shelves of book stores yet, once the title is live you’ll be able to go into any Barnes & Noble, and any other brick-and-mortar bookseller, and order a copy. And, of course, the title will be available on the major as well as minor online sites as well (not to mention my own book store on my Web site: www.SeparationOfFaith.com).

So I have some time to get all of my ducks in a row. And I’ve been studying up on press releases. Over and over again I’ve been reading that sending out a blanket press release–something identical that goes to bazillions of people–is a bad idea. Press releases need to be tailored and individualized. And since I do have a lot of categories of people/organizations to contact (see my blog post on June 18 https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/), I’ve begun the process of creating different versions. There are core pieces that will remain the same from one to another, but I really do see the importance of tailoring.

The press release that will go to my little local county newspapers, where I can be billed as a “local author” and already have some publicity history through my community service work, will be vastly different from a press release I’ll send to a potential reviewer. I’m not sure how many versions I’ll end up with. As many as it takes, I suppose.

Update on the Rising Star Application (also discussed in my June 18 post: https://cherilaser.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/48-journey-update-whew/)

When I launched this blog last November 4, I promised to share the good, the bad, and the ugly involved with this Journey. Well, I was not accepted into the Rising Star Program–yet. I’ve asked for more detail regarding what was missing from my marketing and promotion plans, and hopefully that information will be forthcoming. But the important point to note is that I will automatically be reconsidered for the program as soon as 250 retail copies of Separation of Faith have been sold.

I know that doesn’t sound like very many copies, if you haven’t been “out there” trying to sell your book yet. But keep this statistic in mind: More than 90% of all books published (whether they’re published via traditional or alternate paths) sell fewer than 1000 copies total throughout the life of the book!

So, as we all hear all the time, if we’re writing because we want to make money, we’re probably in the wrong business. A tiny group of us amidst the tens of millions reaching for the dream will end up earning a few dollars–and a handful of those will eventually earn enough to make a modest living–and a handful of those will do very well–and a couple of those will become celebrities.

Now, as I say to myself almost every day, after hours of all the stuff I’m summarizing in this post, I absolutely cannot believe I’m doing this voluntarily!

At any rate, once I sell 250 copies of the new novel through retail outlets, the Rising Star option will again become available. Getting into that group would raise the realm of possibilities up a bit within the tens of millions of other dreamers on the Journey.

What’s Been Going on with the Reduction Edit for The Truth About Cinnamon?

Substantial progress is finally being made on this element of the Journey’s Plan. For those who are here for the first time, The Truth About Cinnamon was my first novel. And in preparation for the release of Separation of Faith, I’m re-editing Cinnamon, cleaning things up a bit (because I didn’t have someone hammering the editing advice into my head seven years ago) and shortening the length (all without my many Cinnamon fans knowing that anything is missiing … 🙂 …).

But this is a long novel (as first novels often are), and the effort has been huge. Plus, this part of the Plan has been secondary to getting Separation of Faith as perfect as possible. (And things were set back even further through April and May after my breast cancer diagnosis … I’m doing great, by the way). However, I’m now in the midst of a hard copy edit, and as soon as I’m finished with that effort, I’ll key in the changes, do another proofreading, and then I’ll be finished at last! Yay!

The hope is that the 2nd Edition printing of Cinnamon will somewhat coiincide with the launch of Separation of Faith’s promotion.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to check out a free serialization of Cinnamon‘s original (1st Edition) ten chapters, you’ll find them at: http://www.filedby.com/author/cheri_laser/2721580/documents/24081497/

What’s Been Going on with My Other Writing (Articles, Short Stories …)

A new book is taking shape that chronicles my surgery and reconstruction. Obviously, until the physical process is complete, the book won’t be either. But I think this one might be a new slant on what’s become an epidemic event among women in this country. I’ll keep you posted.

If you’d like to check out the free reads on my other stuff, I recommend that you start with the short story Life at Bat, which is hundreds of times more popular than any of the other pieces, for some reason. You’ll find the story and all my other offerings at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/32280899/Life-at-Bat.

Interesting Reading Links that I’ve Been Collecting to Share with You

Stats

  • This blog: 2809 (last posting 2669)
  • My Web site (www.cherilaser.com): 38,515 (last posting 38,017
  • Scribd: 1291 (This is the first time I’ve posted this stat, but it’s been a lot of fun to watch, so I’ll start tracking it here now.) Click on this link to get to my page–http://www.scribd.com/claser–and then click on Documents up at the top.)

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July! I’ll look forward to hearing from you, as always.

All the best–Cheri

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A Huge Exciting Discovery for Self-Promoters!

Hi and good morning! One of the key blogs that I follow is by Jane Friedman, strategic director of Writer’s Digest (http://blog.writersdigest.com/norules/). She published a post this morning about a site called Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com), where anyone–writers, artists, you-name-it–can try to get backing on a project they’ve developed/are developing/are thinking about developing.

People pledge money (doesn’t have to be much) to back a project, but no one actually pays unless the project reaches its pledge goal within the prescribed time frame. Project creators seem to offer give-aways for backers that are appropriate/relevant to the project, and you can see how the pledges are doing and how much time is left. The whole thing is really fascinating and really caught my attention.

And this isn’t just for writers but for anyone who’s trying to get a dream off the ground.

Perhaps this will be another avenue of promotion for Separation of Faith …?

I did pledge to back one project–a woman in Boston who’s trying to start her own publishing business (http://kck.st/9NwlvH). We’ll see if she meets her goal.

Just thought some of you out there might find this of as much interest as I did.

Later …

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Update on Cinnamon

Here’s a quick update: I just learned that the Ebook and PDF formats of The Truth About Cinnamon are now available on Lulu.com for $4.80 (http://www.lulu.com/product/e-book/the-truth-about-cinnamon/5739733). If anyone who’s been following this blog is interested, this would be a great way to acquire the 1st Edition version.

Just wanted to get the word out.

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Video Book Trailer

After finishing a draft of this post, I decided to put this part first because it’s so much fun!

This past Tuesday evening, I had my first meeting with the fellow who’s going to be developing my video book trailer for me. He’s incredibly talented–not only a computer whiz but also an accomplished musician/singer/songwriter. So, in addition to his skill with assembling the graphics, photos, etc., for the one-minute film, one of his original songs (which is absolutely amazing) will become the soundtrack. And I can’t wait for you to hear it!

That video will, of course, be a huge part of the book’s promotion, and I’ll post the trailer on this blog first (right before YouTube … 🙂 …) As we make progress with the production, I’ll keep you posted.

I think I’m more excited about this part of the plan than anything else except the book itself.

Rising Star Application

Earlier this afternoon, I emailed (finally) the completed Rising Star application that I’ve been working on for the past several weeks. As a refresher regarding what that’s all about: Because Separation of Faith earned the Editor’s Choice designation, I became eligible for the Rising Star program. Reaching that level would be incredibly important since, among other things, a commissioned sales force would then begin presenting my novel to booksellers through privileged publishing avenues that writers (especially unknown writers) can’t get to.

This is the type of support that mainstream authors receive from traditional publishing houses. But such assistance in the self-publishing world is difficult, if not impossible, to find. I’m not sure what other POD (print on demand) organizations offer, but iUniverse has varying levels of marketing assistance available for books that have met their quality criteria (writing as well as editing) and that have been written by authors who are already motivated and organized with a marketing and promotion plan.

Well … the novel did earn Editor’s Choice … and I’m certainly motivated. Also, as I’ve indicated in previous posts, I’ve had plenty of marketing and promotion ideas and directions in mind for a long time. But I hadn’t pulled everything into one place, which is what the Rising Star application forced me to do.

Then, once I was immersed in the process, I started to get a little overwhelmed. The undertaking that will begin in a few weeks when the novel comes out is hugeand as I’ve said to a few friends recently, I must be nuts to be doing this voluntarily. But onward we march.

In an earlier post, I shared a few of the questions in the application, the majority of which required narrative answers. Here are a few more of those:

  • While marketing your book, what will be the challenging areas where you might want to seek professonal help?
  • What kind of research did you conduct when writing your book?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Specifically, how do you plan to market to your target audience?
  • What is the one unique thing about your book?
  • Who are you planning to approach for endorsement quotes, a foreword, or other testimonials?

Sort of thought-provoking, right? How about this one: What things do you not want to do while marketing your book?

I answered, “Other than dancing with a stripper pole, I’m guessing not much.” 🙂

But here’s where the answers started to become overwhelming when all of things I want to do were pulled into a single place:

Question–What publicity do you have planned?

Answer:

1. Publish electronic press release, with testimonials and link to video book trailer to all of my social media sites:

2. Send electronic press release, with testimonials and link to video book trailer to:

  • My email list (1000)
  • Distribution lists of three of my contacts (another 2500-3000)
  • Rotary District Newsletter
  • Hackensack Rotary Club
  • Felician College “Older Is Better” Group (where I’ve been a speaker)
  • Cresskill-Demarest Rotary Club (where I’ve been a speaker)
  • New Jersey state and regional newspapers and magazines (where I’ve lived for ten years): The Record, The Chronicle, The County Seat, 201 Magazine—Northern New Jersey, two regional newspapers
  • Newspapers in areas germane to Separation of Faith and places where I lived for extended periods of time: Kettle Falls Focus (Kettle Falls, WA), The Statesman-Examiner (Colville, WA), The Seattle Times, Bellevue Reporter (Bellevue, WA where I graduated from high school), San Francisco Chronicle (I lived and worked in the Bay Area for 14 years), San Mateo County Times, Atlanta Journal Constitution (I lived and worked in the Atlanta area for 18 years), Cartersville Daily Tribune (Cartersville, GA), Bartow Neighbor (Cartersville, GA)
  • Chambers of Commerce: Kettle Falls, WA, Bellevue, WA, Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA, San Mateo, CA, Charlotte, NC—All locations are significant to the novel.
  • Libraries: Alpine, NJ (where I live), Bogota, NJ (where I used to live and where there are six copies of my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon), Cresskill, NJ (my local area), Hackensack, NJ (where I used to live and where there are three copies of my first novel, The Truth About Cinnamon), Teaneck, NJ (local area). Personal calls will also be made at each library, with particular emphasis on those where I have contacts on their boards of trustees.

3. Upload Video Book Trailer to:

And then …

Question–Please include any marketing plans, suggestions, ideas that you would like to use to market/sell your book:

Answer:

In addition to everything listed in both this document as well as the Title Information Sheet:

a)      Every element of the marketing process will be tracked and discussed through my blog: A Real Journey from Publishing Obscurity to Somewhere Else (www.cherilaser.wordpress.com). The mission of the blog, launched in the fall of 2009, is to share the entire process surrounding Separation of Faith (writing, editing, revising, publishing, marketing) with other writers. Also included are postings of information and links to lots of writing/publishing-related issues, so any writers following me can learn along with me. The launch of this novel will be a very big deal on this blog and one that a lot of people will be anticipating.

b)      I will enter Separation of Faith in the following contests, all of which are distinctly open to self-published books:

  1. Readers Favorite Award–June 30, 2010 (Doubt I’ll make this deadline now.)
  2. ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year–Opens Summer 2010
  3. 7th Annual National Best Book Awards–September 30, 2010
  4. The Eric Hoffer Award–January 2011
  5. DIY Book Festival–January 25, 2011
  6. The IPPY Awards (Indep. Publ. Book Awards)–March 2011
  7. 2011 Writers-Editors Int’l Writing Competition–March 15, 2011
  8. National Indie Excellence Awards–March 31, 2011
  9. Writer’s Digest Self-Published Competition–May 2011
  10. 2011 Hollywood Book Festival (just missed 2010)–June 2011
  11. The Independent Novel Award (by Podler)–Chosen from books reviewed

 c)      I will seek reviews from the following:

  • ForeWord Clarion Book Reviews
  • Twitter Reviewers
  • The New Podler Review
  • Readers Favorite Reviews
  • Top Reviewers at Amazon
  • Kirkus Discoveries
  • Publisher’s Weekly
  • Library Journal
  • Booklist

d)     I will promote Separation of Faith on Kindle, Sony Reader, and the Barnes & Noble Nook.

e)      Once my marketing plans develop legs, I will pursue guest posts on strategic blogs, beginning with “There Are No Rules,” the blog of Jane Friedman, strategic director of Writer’s Digest.

f)       I’m going to create and distribute a podcast of Separation of Faith. (Will attend a webinar on June 24 to learn the specifics of how best to accomplish this line item.)

g)      Using the results from the first six months of marketing and promotional activity, I will approach the following sites for coverage, which are not typically receptive to self-published books unless there’s some sort of buzz:

  • Bookslut
  • Beatrice.com
  • Chicklit.com
  • Bookreporter.com
  • Curledup.com

Stop. Breathe.

I also had to list all of the specific events I plan to hold. Of course, since I don’t know yet the precise date when the book will be live on Amazon and all the other online bookseller sites, I couldn’t list the event dates. (Mid-July is looking possible.) But I do have commitments from the different venues–and there will be twelve events in the first 6-8 weeks, the largest of which will be the Book Launch Party, which I’ll be holding at the Hilton in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, where my Rotary club meets every week.

The answers I’ve shared with you in this post represent three of the thirty questions asked in this application. And even though I’ve been grumbling a lot as I put the thing together, the end product has actually given me a very well organized plan to follow. So, even though I’m praying that I’ll be accepted into the Rising Star program, I’ll be very clearly directed if I’m not.

And reminding myself about the mission of this blog (see Blog Launch Posting on November 4, 2009), I should have a shot of getting there on my own with this new, comprehensive map I’ve managed to develop as a result of the application process.

Guess we’ll start finding out soon enough.

Quotes and Testimonials

This is a really important part of credible promotional materials. I’ve approached several people who I admire very much and who are respected in the world of publishing/journalism/entertainment. Four have said they’d be willing to read the book, and three of those are already doing so. Of course, there’s always the chance that one/some/all of those folks won’t like what I’ve written. (Yikes!)

But that’s a chance we have to take, if we want to get some of those great quotes we see on other authors’ books. Right? Right. Scary, though, to be sure!

As soon as I actually have the/any/some quotes/testimonials in hand, I’ll let you know who’s given them to me and what they’ve written. (Did I say yikes yet?)

Authors as Entrepreneurs–Interview

Regardless of whether you’re a writer determined to exclusively pursue the traditional Journey to publishing, or an author who’s looking at the different (and viable) options now available to us, I strongly recommend your taking a look at this seven-part interview: http://www.sramanamitra.com/2008/07/10/opportunity-within-the-long-tail-of-book-authors-iuniverse-ceo-kevin-weiss-part-1/. Kevin Weiss is the CEO of iUniverse, and even though the interview was done two years ago, his comments are still hugely relevant today (a good indication of his insight).

Hopefully, you’ll find something enlightening (or at least somewhat interesting) in what he contributes to the conversation.

Time for a Nap

Don’t I wish. Now that the Rising Star application is finished, I need to focus (again … more … still …) on the reduction edit of The Truth about Cinnamon. Who knew six or seven months ago that all this other stuff was going to take so long. (Of course, my surgery thing got in the way a little. But I’m really doing well now, thank heavens.) At any rate, I need to get that edit finished pronto, because the 2nd Edition of Cinnamon is very important to the Journey in the long run.

Short Stories and Essays/Articles

If you’d like to check out a little free reading, I’m mentioning again that I’ve published several of my short stories and essays/articles on the following Web sites. The free serialization of Cinnamon can also be found at the FiledBy and Scribd links.)

Thanks So Much for Stopping By. Please Let Me Hear from You! And I hope Everyone Has an Absolutely Fabulous Weekend as Summer Officially Rolls In!

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