Monday, December 13, 2010

Going Beyond Online Recognition to Selling Your Book

By Yvonne Perry

Suppose you have a Web presence, but people aren’t buying your book. There could be several reasons why, but the first place to look for the problem is at your own Web site or blog where you sell your book. Having a well-functioning point of purchase is a must.

WITS works with authors to help them promote their books online. One author who came to me for marketing assistance asked me to visit his site. What I found surprised me. It was so disorganized that I felt overwhelmed and didn’t know what to read first. There were Google ads, video clips, and all kinds of things not related to the author’s book, but there was not even a “buy now” button or a “click here to purchase” link! As simple as it may sound, some authors do not know how to create a site where a book can sell itself. Let’s look at some of the components that make a Web site work.

1. Don’t put everything on the front page. The landing page should have a welcoming message and a lot of “white” space without a bunch of text or graphics. Include a cover photo of your book so people know they are in the right place to learn more. Set up links or navigation tabs that invite your visitor to view different pages on your site.

2. Make a separate page for each thing you have to offer. For example, your book may have a companion CD, DVD, teaching guide, testimonials, reviews, or other things related to your book, but each page of your Web site should deal with only one aspect of what you have to offer. Use keywords, labels, and meta tags that are relevant to the items and text on that page.

3. Be specific about what you offer. Tell how your particular product, book, or service helps the user. Give people a reason to buy. Tell what’s in it for them, how it benefits them, or makes their life better/easier. Extend an invitation to take action, and provide an easy way to buy your book.

4. Cross promote all your pages to drive traffic further into your site. Not all your pages have to be listed in your navigation tabs. Some may be back pages that are reached by clicking on cross promotion links. Let each page promote other products or services without distracting from the primary purpose of the page containing the link. Make sure the text you use as the link or anchor text contains keywords.

5. Make it easy for someone to buy your book. Make sure your marketing efforts include links that go directly to the page where your book is mentioned. Many authors have sent me a link to’s home page where I had to type in the name of their book to find it. Copy the URL or Web address (starts with http://) of the exact page where your book is listed on Amazon. This may be a very long link that will separate or break during email transition. It will have too many characters to use on social networking sites, so shorten the link using,,,, or some other program before sending.

6. Promote your Web site online. Once you have your Web pages ready for visitors, start building your network and inviting people to come to your Web site and take a look around. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites are great places to meet potential buyers for your book, but remember, those are “social” networking sites. The social activity should be focused on friendship rather than sales.

Once you’ve created a buzz, got your followers and network established, people will see you as an expert on the topic of your book, and they will want to learn more. This should intrigue them enough to purchase your book.
Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer, author and keynote speaker who enjoys assisting people on a spiritual path by writing about topics that inspire excellence and uplift the spirit. She is a graduate of American Institute of Holistic Theology where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Metaphysics. As a ghostwriter, Yvonne helps people get their message into a well-written book or article. She is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, a team of full-time writers offering ghostwriting and editing for books, articles, Web text, resumes, and business documents.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Network with Us December 2010

Smash Cake’s new writer's-block-busting, get-to-know-each-other-better, find-your-inner-child books are finally out!
Each Hook Book features gut-grabbing prompts to get the juices flowing, and you might be surprised what you create. We were taken off-guard by some of the things we wrote--and we created them! Find your own inner and hidden corners, or start conversations with those you care about.
Pricing, cover image, prompt examples, and full details here:
~~Tracy Lucas, Editor
Smash Cake Press


Sybil Baker's new book, Talismans, is now available on
Book Title: Talismans
Author: Sybil Baker
Publisher: C&R Press
Available on

Elise understands her father--a Vietnam vet who abandoned her when she was an infant--about as much as does her church organist mother adn the rest of their suburban Virginian town. When even that thin thread of connection is suddenly severed, Elise is flun across the world, to Southeast Asia. Tracing the steps her father took through the war, Elise searches for a connection--with his ghost, with other travelers, with the foreign culture and environment she experiences. In a series of linked short stories, Talismans follows Elise's journey to learn what she must hold onto, and what she must leave behind.

Unicorn Writers’ Conference, April 9, 2011
Saint Clements Castle
Portland, Connecticut
Time: 8AM-7:30PM

Unicorn Writers’ Conference is uniquely designed to arm visionary writers with the practical know-how they need to get their manuscripts through – or around – the gatekeepers to the publishing world. In today’s world of multinational media corporations and global entertainment conglomerates, getting a publisher’s attention takes more than a great idea and a flair for the written word. Whether you like it or not, publishers view your manuscript as much a business proposition as a work of art. The Conference will offer dozens of workshops involving the inside world of book publishing from the perspectives of various departments within a publishing company— Contracts, Copyrights, Permissions, Legal, Subsidiary Rights, Foreign Rights, Audio, Electronic, Special Sales and Premium Sales, Marketing, Advertising, Promotion, Publicity, Sales, Royalties, Art and Design, Production, as well as Editorial workshops focusing on key genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Memoir, Children’s Books, Mystery Writing, Screenwriting, and more. Plus, we’ll have agents, publishers, and editors at the event.  Carol Higgins Clark will be the guest speaker.

For more information visit


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Writers’ Podcasts for December Suspend Disbelief.

Writers in the Sky guests will transport the listener into the world of fiction writing.

Nashville, TN, November, 2010— during the month of December Writers in the Sky audiences will enjoy interviews with five fiction authors. December’s guests have written a range of fiction from an espionage thriller, a paranormal romance, to crime, sports and human dramas.

The month of fiction begins with espionage and intrigue. Week two introduces a tale of Druidic magic and romance that transcends the limitations of time. Week three’s author keeps you guessing with a series of murders. Week four carries us onto the Soccer field with a story of sports and human drama. December comes to a close with a poignant story of a father’s struggle to overcome a woman’s betrayal and love his son.

On December 3, Vonnie Faroqui will interview author Olivia Rodan Jacobs about her book, The Poisoner’s Agenda. Set in 1996, Jerusalem during a time of heightened Israeli-Palestinian antagonism and the 3000 year anniversary of Israel’s claim on the holy lands, this is a murder mystery with a twist of espionage. The author shares writing tips concerning character and plot development in historical fiction and how she incorporated historical facts and people into her writing.

On December 10, author of 40 top selling romances, Claudy Conn, comes out of retirement after nine years to present her latest book, Spellbound. This is the first paranormal romance she’s written but it is just the beginning. “What I have done is outlined my series in my head. Each installment will have a new heroine and hero with circumstances that will develop for them alone. The ongoing story will evolve through each of them. Important secondary characters will take part in all of the books.” Claudy continues by sharing that “Writing is a must for me. Inspiration comes from everything, but especially from my hot Irish husband, our incredible daughter and her handsome husband.” Claudy brings a wealth of writing experience, talks about eBook publishing, and romancing the book industry.

On December 17, Author Jennifer Chase makes her third visit to the WITS podcast to discuss her new release Silent Partner. As in her previous two novels, Compulsion and Dead Game, Chase brings her background in forensic psychology to her captivating and chilling writing. Silent Partner features a series of murders and traumatized characters that will have you guessing until the last page. And, the undercurrent running through the entire story is the devoted relationship that exists between humans and their dogs, particularly the trained canines that assist police officers in tracking down the most vicious of criminals. During the interview, Jennifer Chase will discuss why she chose this novel to share her personal passion for dogs and the special bond they offer, how her writing process has evolved now that she is the author of three published novels, and the advice that she wants to give to writers who are preparing to enter the world of publishing and marketing for the first time. Silent Partner can be purchased both in traditional and Kindle format at

On December 24, WITS presents an interview between Garasamo Maccagnone, author of, St. John of the Midfield, and WITS author’s assistant, Vonnie Faroqui. From December 16 through 24, 2010, Mac will be taking a virtual blog tour with Vonnie as his virtual tour manager. The two will talk about Mac’s book and what it takes to put together a great tour. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to learn from this incredible author’s experience. WITS will also be hosting a special tour bonus, on December 25, when Vonnie offers a review of Mac’s, For the Love of St Nick; an illustrated short story about two boys who seek the help of St. Nick after the tragic loss of their mother. Visit for a tour schedule, Dec 16, 2010.

The podcast series for December ends on New Year’s Eve in an interview with award winning poet Kevin Hull. Kevin will be sharing writing insights, his publishing experience, and his book, When the Song Left the Sea. This is Kevin’s first full length novel, and Vonnie will ask him questions about the differences and considerations involved in publishing a novel, as compared to poetry. The two will also discuss his choice of themes and the inspiration behind the story.

About Writers in the Sky: Writers in the Sky blog, podcast, and newsletter is a three-fold production filled with information about writing, publishing, and book publicity created by Yvonne Perry as part of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services.

Writers in the Sky Podcast is a weekly podcast where we interview guest authors, publishers, and book marketing experts. Each Friday a new show is uploaded to and is also available at WITS podcast blog features more information about those who are guests on our podcast.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Author Jennifer Chase Returns to WITS E-zine to Discuss New Novel

Today we welcome back Jennifer Chase, author of the new thriller Silent Partner, to our writing blog. Jennifer has previously published the novels Compulsion and Dead Game and this new release shares the same psychological tension and gripping crimes as the first two books.

SARAH: Welcome back to Writers in the Sky! We’re glad that you have made our company a regular stop to discuss your work.

JENNIFER CHASE: Thank you! It’s a pleasure to be here.

SARAH: Please share the premise and general plot of Silent Partner with our readers.

JENNIFER CHASE: Silent Partner is a crime fiction thriller. The story revolves around a police K9 officer, Deputy Jack Davis, who becomes involved with an agoraphobic woman accused of brutally murdering her sister. Readers are first introduced to the life of K9 officers as they apprehend two murderers after a high-speed chase. This barely scratches the surface of a bloody trail from a prolific serial killer that leads to unlocking the insidious secrets of one family’s history, while tearing a police department apart. There are twists and turns from the beginning to the end that will keep you guessing. Also, my previous series heroine, Emily Stone, is a secondary character in this story.

SARAH: You make the relationship that exists between dogs and humans, both while hunting criminals and just relaxing at home, a central theme of your book. And, you often speak of your own love for dogs. What was it like to write and bring to life a topic for which you have such a personal passion?

JENNIFER CHASE: Honestly, I never thought about incorporating a canine supporting character before. I’ve written previously about characters having a dog, but not as an integral part of the story. Silent Partner was originally penned as a screenplay after I researched and trained with the local police K9. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to rewrite this story into a novel format. I felt that for a police procedural type of story it added a fresh, new dimension to the typical cop thriller. The more I thought about it, the more I became excited about the possibilities of the story. It was challenging for me as a writer. But make no mistake, this isn’t a warm and fuzzy dog story; this is a cop thriller that involves finding and apprehending a serial killer.

SARAH: Emily Stone was the primary character in your first two novels. She plays a pivotal role in Silent Partner as well, but this book also introduces and features Deputy Jack Davis. Why did you decide to make this shift with the third novel?

JENNIFER CHASE: My first two novels, Compulsion and Dead Game, featured Emily Stone and that was a fantastic writing experience for me. I didn’t realize that I was going to write a series until I finished Compulsion. I wanted to keep this series fresh and evolving, so I decided to take a break and write a cop thriller in between before writing my third Emily Stone novel. But, I did incorporate Emily Stone and Rick Lopez as background characters, along with some surprises, in Silent Partner.

SARAH: Your publication page lists JEC Press as the publisher of Silent Partner, meaning you decided to go a different direction in terms of publishing this time around. Is JEC Press your company (an assumption I am making from the initials)? If so, is this an aspect of your work in the writing industry that you would like to expand?

JENNIFER CHASE: Yes, JEC Press is my own publishing company. I’ve learned quite a bit from publishing my first two novels, some great, some interesting, and some disappointing. I decided to research the prospect of starting my own publishing company and I spent time talking to authors, publishers, and marketing specialists. For me personally, it just seemed like the next logical step in the writing business. I felt that I have more flexibility with my own books and others, such as allowing major bookstores to return books if necessary, keeping the retail price down, and more control in words per page (more) that in turn saves more paper. I feel that I can offer better customer relations because I understand the publishing world from both the writer and publisher perspective.

SARAH: How has your writing process changed and stayed the same since you began your first novel, Compulsion?

JENNIFER CHASE: I’ve found that outlining offers the best foundation for writing a novel and my extensive outlining process has stayed the same in that regard. I’ve learned a few tricks by experience to move through the outlining process faster so that I can be more relaxed and confident as I write the actual chapters. However, there are no shortcuts through the editing and rewrites. I wish there was!

SARAH: I’m sure that your marketing efforts are becoming more refined and focused with each release. What have you learned through the process? Can you list the top three ways in which you recommend all new authors publicize their work?

JENNIFER CHASE: Marketing a book requires a combination of efforts and there is no simple recipe. What’s amazing is that there are so many ways to market via the Internet that weren’t available five or ten years ago. I keep a few things in mind for the publicity of my books. Never stop marketing or promoting your book! Keep everything moving forward. If something doesn’t work, then cross it off your list and move on. Don’t let it bog you down. I would recommend for new authors to have an active blog as well as a simple website. Keep these sites updated on a regular basis and interesting because you will always have new visitors stopping by. The social networking capabilities out there is extremely effective with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn and writer/reader specific sites such as Goodreads, AuthorsDen, and Shelfari. And, always take the opportunity to promote yourself and book through local venues such as book signings, interviews, artist events, businesses specific grand openings, flea markets, and any type of author appearances.

SARAH: What is next for you? For Emily Stone?

JENNIFER CHASE: As you’ve probably guessed, I’m currently working on Emily Stone’s next adventure that will take place on the island of Kauai. I’m now refreshed and ready to write about more of her harrowing searches for serial killers, child abductors, and pedophiles. The island offers many colorful opportunities for chills, thrills, and of course a truly evil serial killer that is swept up in the folklore and history of the Hawaiian Islands. This will be Emily’s most dangerous serial killer opponent yet.

SARAH: Where is your book available? Do you have a Web site or blog where we can learn more about you or your book?

JENNIFER CHASE: Silent Partner is available at Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and can be ordered from any retail bookstore. My blog: My website:

SARAH: Any other comments you would like to share about your new novel, Silent Partner?

JENNIFER CHASE: This has been such a wonderful project and I hope that readers enjoy a little more insight into the unique connection and bond of police K9 units. I welcome questions and comments anytime about my books, publishing, or me.

SARAH: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to have another discussion with you and learn more about your new release Silent Partner.

JENNIFER CHASE: Thank you, Sarah.
Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 3, 2010

Quick & Easy Book Production: Do You Know the Secret?

By Joel Friedlander

It never fails to surprise me. I realize that I should know better. Believe me, I’ve been down this road too many times, yet I still get caught flat-footed, my dream of a quick and easy book production vanishing into thin air.

You see, when I’m planning out a book, I’m looking for the best way to put it together. Since every book is different, this involves adjustments to a standard workflow for book production.

Look at the steps we have to go through:

Examine the manuscript

It’s vital to know what’s in the book. While this is true for all books it’s particularly important for nonfiction books which are likely to involve more complex structures with parts, sections, chapters, notes and other elements like sidebars, graphics, tables, illustrations and other non-text material.

Analyze the formats used

How many different unique formats will be required? Each has to be accounted for in the design scheme for the book, and it’s important to understand the way the author is presenting her information.

Verify a consistent hierarchy of information

This is particularly important if you suspect the book was not edited by a professional book editor, who is trained to pay attention to subheads, section titles, and the need for consistency throughout the manuscript.

Look at the word processing files

Some book files have been worked on for years, and by different people reviewing, marking up, revising and commenting on the files. Some of the material may have come from other publications and be patched together. All of these files contain varying amounts of “junk” codes that have to be eliminated.

Determine the optimal way to import the files

Different books call for different strategies. Books heavy with complex drawings or lots of photographs may be split into individual chapter files to keep the file size down. Special characters, symbols or formats might be coded with search and replace functions in Word before being imported.

Prepare the files

Once all of the preparation is complete, the routines are put into action to clean, and prep the files for import.

And About That Secret

This all seems very orderly and precise. And these initial steps have a lot to do with how smoothly your project will get to completion.

There’s only one problem: It never happens this way.

There’s a bomb waiting to go off, and it goes off almost every time. And you know what the bomb is?

The file you’ve been slaving over isn’t the final file.

Oh, you thought it was final. The author or publisher told you it was final. You believed them. But halfway through the book layout you find a chapter missing. Or this chapter has no subheads, while all the other chapters are full of them. Or every chapter has an epigraph, but Chapter 9 has a cartoon.

Or the author discovers the book is too long and decides to remove 30% of the copy. Or half the illustrations are still 72 dpi and can’t be used for print production. Or the author discovers the missing file with the rest of the endnotes. Or that last peer reviewer just got back from vacation and can’t we fit his essay in, too?

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your project has gone off the rails, and you’re looking at re-doing all your lovely schedules.

The Secret to Quick and Easy Book Production

This is the single most important thing you can do to make sure your book production runs smoothly. It’s the difference between staying on schedule and on budget, and the books that end up months late and costing more than they really should have.

So here’s my message: The biggest secret to quick and easy book production is this:

Make sure the final manuscript file you release for production is actually the final, finished, fully corrected, consistent, edited, and ready-to-go-just-the-way-it-is file.

That’s it. Now you know the secret too, and I’m sure all the books we publish will go without a hitch. Won’t they?

Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, a book designer and blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at He's also the proprietor of Marin Bookworks, where he helps publishers and authors who decide to publish get to market on time and on budget with books that are both properly constructed and beautiful to read.