Monday, May 30, 2011

Free Webinar and Videos to Reach Your Goals

Wow! 2011 is already almost half over. Are you on track to meet your goals for this year? or are you overwhelmed and stuck in maintenance mode? If it’s the latter, then I have good news!

For the first time ever, my friend Allison Maslan International/CEO of Blast Off Business and Life Mentoring is offering a FREE webinar, “Six Steps to Reaching Your Goals Once and For All! Your 2011 Mid-Year Success Check-Up” and a FREE video series called “The 6 Ms of Success."

And you’re invited! All you’ve got to do to access BOTH the call and the video series is sign up here:
During the three videos, Allison will share her experiences as a serial entrepreneur – and her favorite techniques for harnessing your own brilliance so you can blast off into a fulfilling, abundant future of your creation.

The first video, available now, covers:

* Components Allison has used to build 9 successful businesses of her own from the ground up.

* Her story of how she built a national advertising and PR firm with no experience, by the time she was 25.

* How she overcame her fear and walked away from an unhappy life toward a better, more fulfilling life she loves.
* How you can design your destiny, rather than being thrown around by it.

* An overview of Maslan’s 6 Ms of Success – a set of ideas necessary to create a long-term thriving and enlivening business that withstands the test of time and life in general.

Reserve your spot:

This webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, June 8th at 5:00 pm PST, is for business owners – or future business owners – who want to get focused, and turn their great ideas into stellar, life-changing growth. Your time is NOW!

Are you among the many brilliant business owners who set goals but don’t have the time or the focus to bring them to fruition? Are you ready to change all that?

Then you definitely won’t want to miss this 75-minute webinar, during which you discover how to:
1. Apply laser focus to what’s critical so you power through 2011, achieving all your biggest, most important goals and dreams.

2. Follow through on your great ideas, so you can turn those ideas into actions and reach your goals this year.

3. Choose which ideas deserve your full attention – and then follow those through to completion, every time, without distraction.

4. Stop finding reasons why your great ideas won’t work – and start figuring out how to THINK and ACT BIG to make them happen.

5. Become aligned with what you do, so you can build a business and a life that energizes and excites you, daily.

6. Stay on track with your short- and long-term goals of every size, without feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

The year is almost half over! It’s time to get out of overwhelm and into overdrive so you start achieving your most important goals now. Are you ready? If so, you’re going to want to be on this webinar.

Remember, the call absolutely FREE with no obligations!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Nashville's Notables Come Together for Literacy

The Nashville International Book Festival comes to RiverGate Mall June 3rd through 5th for a weekend of fun and learning. Aimed at encouraging students to read at least two books per week, this event has added a new component.
The New "Celebrity Read Out Loud" will begin Friday the 3rd at 11:00 a.m. with meteorologist Barak Shapiro reading to eager students. Throughout the weekend many of the Nashville's recognized talent will take 30 minutes to read to students grades k-12. Individuals such as Meteorologist Lelan Statom and Kelly Cox, News Anchor Heather Jensen, State Rep Brenda Gilmore and many more will delight young audiences while showing them that reading is fun.

Two stages will be setup through the common areas of the mall. The public is invited and there is no admission. We encourage other community leaders to join us in our quest to boost the reading levels of students and adult that may need assistance in these areas.

Through our R2Books program 1,000 area students will receive a certificate redeemable for one brand new age-appropriate book. Schools, churches and civic organizations who may want to receive certificates for their students should email a request to

Questions about the "Celebrity Read Out Loud" can be directed to Takaya Sweeny at (313) 862-5000 or

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Friday, May 27, 2011

4 Solutions to the Book Discount System

by Joel Friedlander

I’m finding in talking to new self-publishers that many people don’t quite get how the discounting works in different parts of the book distribution system. This is vital to understand because it affects whether your publishing company will make a profit or not, whether it will be a viable business enterprise. Besides, you want to know how much you make for each book you sell, don’t you? Sure, and why not. So let’s step through it together.

As a publisher, you are a retail product manufacturer. You are supplying a unique product to the market and it’s up to you to set the terms on which you’ll sell your product.

Depending on how your book is produced, you may have more or less flexibility in how you deal with the rest of the chain of distribution. Here are some scenarios:

You ignore it completely

You do this by not selling your book wholesale. In other words, you, as the manufacturer, sell direct to the end user. For example, John T. Reed who I’ve written about before, only sells his line of books from his website. He has no need for a discount schedule because he is outside the chain of distribution. This method has some advantages, too. You capture 100% of the sales price, since you don’t have to share it within wholesalers, distributors, jobbers, or retailers. You also can capture the names of everyone who buys a book, which can build an asset that’s very valuable when it comes time to offer other books or services to the same market. The disadvantage is that you have to do all the work yourself, or pay for fulfillment through a fulfillment service. Also, some people may be reluctant to buy from a self-publisher’s website, trusting big companies like Amazon to protect them and offer services like bundled shipping or free shipping, returns, and other amenities. In addition, you will have to do all the marketing for your book, and any interruption you have in your website hosting will cause a financial loss from lost sales.

You use a print on demand supplier

Most print on demand suppliers restrict the size of your discount, demand minimum discounts, or don’t allow you any say at all in discounts. Other suppliers, like Lightning Source, allow you to set your own discount within limits, but offer just that one discount to every retailer or jobber who buys your book from Ingram, whom Lightning Source supplies. So if you set your discount to 20%—the minimum allowed—bookstores won’t buy the book because they need a minimum 40% discount. But if you set your discount at 40% to appeal to the bookstores, and then end up selling most of your books on Amazon or, you will have given up 20% and gotten nothing in return.

You print offset

If your book has to be printed offset (and examples might include color books printed overseas, odd-sized books, and books that can’t be produced by print on demand methods) you will have to be your own distributor, unless you sign with a distributor (see the next option). That means that you’ll have to come up with a discount schedule that applies to retailers, maybe a separate one for libraries, and other terms for special sales or direct sales. In addition, some retailers will demand steep discounts, up to 55% off your retail price, and you’ll have to agree to take returns of unsold merchandise. In addition you’ll be responsible for shipping books to retailers, effectively reducing your profit margin even farther. And, as it should be clear by now, you will spend a lot more of your time handling all the details of wholesale selling, including paperwork, invoicing, tracking payments, packing and shipping books, and all the other minutia of doing your own fulfillment and distribution.

You sign with a distributor

In this scenario your book is of wide enough interest and large enough potential or proven sales that you can get a distributor to take over supplying your book to retailers. Distributors will put your book in their catalog, their sales reps may help promote the book to booksellers, and they will deal with the bookstore bookkeeping, returns, shipping, warehousing and may even offer fulfillment services for single copy sales. The downside to having a distributor is what you have to give up: usually 65% or more of the cover price. Let’s say your book costs $10. You will receive $3.50 for each book sold after giving up 65%. If the book cost you $2.00 to produce, your gross profit is 15%. This is not significantly better than the royalty offered by most trade publishers, and it’s taking you a lot of work and risk to earn it. The only way this option makes sense to me is if you genuinely have a book that you think you can promote nationally, and for which you realistically can expect to have sales of 5,000 or more copies per year. Distribution also becomes a more viable option when you start to have more books in your line. If you have 5 books, you might find distribution an advantage, because if any one of them sells well it will help the others get a foot in the door.

When you plan your publishing project, think about the eventual buyers you plan to market to. Where do they buy their books? Knowing this can help you make smart decisions about how you approach dealing with retailers and, consequently, how you choose to discount your books.

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.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Got Writer's Block? Try a Change of Scenery

By Dana Micheli

This week, I've been juggling a heavy workload with my preparations for a trip to Arizona to see my family. It will definitely be a working vacation, and no small source of stress, as I contemplated how this change in my routine would impact my efficiency in meeting deadlines. There were so many things to consider, not the least of which is my odd hours. I tend to work best in the middle of the night, a habit that's certainly not conducive to spending quality time with my firmly diurnal family.

But then I remembered how a change in scenery is often the best way to get my creative juices flowing. I've often found that a different climate—along with different people and conversations-- tend to bring about a shift in energy that allows me to view even the most challenging projects through new eyes. Most importantly, perhaps, is the fact that I will have to reign in my inner workaholic (to which I usually give control over my daily life). The restorative effects of this, I suspect, will remain with me long after I've returned home. And that is never a bad thing.

Now, I know you can't just hop a plane every time you feel blocked. But, you can certainly take a walk in a nearby park, write in a new coffee shop, or talk to a friend you haven't seen in a while. You may be surprised by what appears on your next page.

Dana Micheli is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and journalist. She has written and edited works of fiction and nonfiction, including novels (ghostwritten), news articles, resumes, business plans, and restaurant reviews. She also researched and wrote the legal and housing sections of New York: The Complete Resident's Guide (Explorer Publishing). She is also the business writer for WITS.

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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book with a View May 2011

The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children
ISBN: 978-0982572207
Price: $15.95
Publisher: Write On!
Pub date: October 2009
Pages: 54
Genre: Children, mind-body-spirit

The Sid Series is an endearing collection of twelve short stories for young children. Each story shows how Sid and his grandparents experience universal truths about living and loving on Planet Earth. For example, Sid encounters angels and fairies, explores the magic and power of his imagination, and learns to look within for love and guidance. I love that the stories speak clearly to three year old children, and also excite the mind and heart of my nine year old daughter. If we can read books like The Sid Series to our youngest children, we can begin life-long conversations about self-discovery and the loving spirit that lives in all things universal. Thank you, Yvonne Perry, for condensing universal truths into beautiful tales that hold the attention of our toddlers. I feel this book is an act of creation not only for the hearts of our children, but for the wellbeing of our planet.

Alexandra Folz, author of Indigo's Bracelet

What Would You Do? A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers
Author: Melissa Ridenour
Publisher: Headline Books, May 2011
ISBN-13: 978-0938467113

Obviously, there is a need for this information. A copy of this book arrived the same day that my step-granddaughter told me she was learning about "safe touch" at school. She had a difficult time explaining what she had learned, and since she is an A student, there must have been some flaw in how the material was presented. Written so children can understand without feeling panic, What Would You Do: A Kid's Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers is the way I prefer my grandchildren learn about being safe.

From understanding how to use caller ID, setting a family code word, establishing an ICE (In Case of Emergency) list of safe people, to knowing what to do if a stranger comes calling, this book has everything a child needs to know about staying safe whether on the Internet, phone, or at home. With puzzles, quizzes, and a checklist to empower parents, this is a great handbook to help children discover their own answers to personal safety issues. This should be required reading for elementary school children.
Reviewed by Yvonne Perry is the author of Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You and The Sid Series—A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. She is also a member of the National Writing for Children's Center.


The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself
Author: Dr. Eric Pearl
Publisher: Hay House (October 1, 2002)
ISBN-13: 978-1561708192

I read The Reconnection, Heal Others, Heal Yourself in preparation for an hour-long interview with Dr. Pearl on my show, We Are One in Spirit Podcast. From the time I began chapter 1, I kept hearing in my mind: "impartation of gifts." This is something I hadn't thought of since my intercessory prayer days. For many years while serving as a worship leader, I had witnessed people being healed. I suppose I was hoping that the source of this Reconnective Healing would miraculously infuse Eric's writing and that by reading the book, I might sense an increase the gift of healing in me.
When I reached the close of chapter 8, I found Dr. Pearl's assurance that an impartation can occur with the reading of this book. I could feel the energy when I "played" with it as is taught in the book, but I can't say that any increase in my ability to heal myself or others manifested as a result.
In my interview with Dr. Pearl, he explained how the activation process of this all-inclusive spectrum of healing frequencies can be taught and caught in his weekend seminars. At first, this might sound like the author is trying to get money from people by urging them to attend his seminars. But, in reality he has witnessed doctors, energy workers, and healers as they begin to access a level of healing (light and information) beyond anything any of them has been able to access prior to the seminar.
I may be somewhat skeptic, but I always want to know if something is real. When I posted an announcement on Facebook that Dr. Pearl was going to be a guest on my show, my friend, Wayne, emailed me. Three years ago Wayne attended a lecture given by Dr. Pearl. My friend had been in agonizing shoulder pain for almost nine months, so he raised his hand when Eric asked if anyone had shoulder pain. Eric invited him to come up front. Eric waved his hand in front of Wayne's shoulder. Wayne felt something cool, then warm, then cool again like a breeze blowing inside his shoulder. After a few minutes he was able to raise his arm over his head with barely any pain at all. The next day he was pain free and noted an increase in mobility. Two years later, Wayne had x-rays that showed an inoperable and severely-torn rotator cuff. The doctor couldn't understand why Wayne was not in agonizing pain and how he had so much mobility. Wayne said, "Eric and Reconnective Healing are for real!"

I believe him. The new frequencies of Reconnective Healing have been scientifically measured by researchers, who are now calling it forefront of "Information Medicine." It reminds me of the primordial stem cells that seem to have divine intelligence in knowing exactly where to go to work on a patient to restore heal by regenerating a perfect and natural healing. I find this a very exciting day to be living on the planet, and I look for Reconnective Healing to continue transforming lives.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 Nashville International Book Festival

The entire Rivergate Mall in Goodlettsville, Tennessee has been rented as the venue for the first annual Nashville International Book Festival.
Are you looking for a great place to sell your books? Are you tired of going to festivals only to have your precious inventory blown about the grounds by the wind and/or rained upon? This festival is not only located indoors but in a shopping mall. What better place to get exposure and sales?

Table are still available but the dates are fast approaching. It happens June 3rd through the 5th and it is certain to be a hit. Go to and reserve your table today. Or call The Author Collective at 313.862.5000

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Me, Myself (publishing), and I

By Dianna Calareso

I thought biting the bullet would be harder, taste steelier, and hurt my teeth more than it actually did. In reality, biting the bullet of self-publishing was more like eating a piece of cake . . . and then being offered another.

After two years, 130 agent queries, six "show me more" replies, and no takers, I went the route that most of us have been groomed to believe is shameful, desperate, and unsuccessful—much like my attitude toward online dating before I actually gave it a try and realized it was more fun and more successful than sitting at home, waiting for a stranger to find me. But as a self-published author, I feel proud, accomplished, and successful. I did it!

But, I had to get over a few things before taking the route that has been one of the best decisions of my life:

  • Myself. I had to get over myself! Who cares if a 25-year-old agent in New York thinks I'm "not what she's looking for?" Was I really going to place all my confidence and worth as a writer in the hands of a stranger who I already know doesn't have the time or money to publish a non-celebrity memoir? I was about to, until a friend knocked some sense into me and literally said, "GET OVER YOURSELF." It was the best smack in the face I've ever received.
  • Pride. Self-published ... ugh, right? Wrong. I wrote my book to tell a story, to share my experience, and to hopefully better the world. You don't need me to tell you how well that was working while my book was saved as a Word doc on my computer. Self-publishing has gotten my book out there, which is where it has to be if I want anyone to read it. And, if I don't want them to read it, I'm probably not ready to be a writer.
  • Them. How could I possibly leave my books with the books of other self-published writers (who are obviously terrible writers, not good writers like me who had bad luck with agents)? Easily—by accepting that other self-published writers are good writers. They're great writers. Many of them are better writers than I'll ever be. They just took a different road, got their books out there, and got on with their lives.
The most encouraging part of the process was realizing I could use my self-publishing for good. On Smashwords, I was able to set my own price. Then, I could decide what to do with it! And I decided to donate 25% of every sale to the Alzheimer's Association (since my memoir is about my grandfather's battle with the disease).

So if you've exhausted your options for traditional publishing, at least consider self-publishing. At the very least, it's a good exercise in getting over yourself. And that's the first step in becoming a true and honest writer.

Dianna Calareso is a writer, editor, and teacher with WITS. Her work has been published online and in print; her most recent publications include Concisely magazine and the anthology Saying Goodbye. Her creative nonfiction essays can be found at Dianna specializes in developmental editing and proofreading at the final stage of the manuscript. She has a keen eye for small details that can overturn a manuscript, including shifts in POV and spelling/grammar inconsistencies; she also works to guide clients with questions about plot, characters, and tone. As a writer, she can empathize with whatever your struggle is; as an editor she is eager to help you make your writing better.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What I've Learned About Novels from Kids

By Kristen House
I fancy myself a pretty great teacher. I don't mean to sound smug, but I've been at the chalkboard (or whiteboard as it may be) for nearly a decade now, and in that time, I've found the inner writer in college students that most teachers would have ignored. It is my passion, this pulling of words from a clammed-up college freshman who is more interested in pretending to sleep or texting his girlfriend than he is in my class.

But I would have never guessed that I would learn so much in my classroom from a group of 18-year-old students. Those kids, the ones who show up surly and under caffeinated each morning, were up for a challenge last semester. What if, I wondered, I asked more of them? Way more. What if I asked them to write every day, over 1,000 words at a time? Would they choke under the pressure? Or would they rise to the occasion? And what if I could rewind their lives to the point in time when they started doubting that they could write a competent sentence, and I gave them the tools to set a big goal, and then meet it?

That's when I developed A Novel Idea, a summer writing course for middle-school and high-school students that will teach them to write a novel in a month. And over the last two months, I've been honored to teach miniature versions of A Novel Idea to 47 classrooms of students. I have been humbled, awed, and shocked by what I've learned from them. Here are the highlights:

· Kids are thirsty for a challenge. They aren't only capable of writing novels in their spare time, they want to!

· They are far more competent than adults ever dreamed. Students as young as 11 years old intuitively know what makes for a good story, how to craft a flawed protagonist, and that a good kiss at the end of a story will bring readers back for more.

· When they're writing a story that matters to them, kids want to learn grammar (gasp!) because they want their characters to sound smart.

· Once the ball is rolling, students would rather jot down an idea for their novel than text a friend. Since the average teenager sends over 3,000 text messages per month, the potential for idea-jotting is staggering!

Lest you think I've forgotten what this means to my sleepy college students, I later met with that group of pioneers at Bongo Java near Belmont where I teach. To my astonishment, several months later they were all still writing. They found a freedom in the daily word count goal, a fluency with their writing that they hadn't felt before, and a level of competency that they'd never experienced. One student told me that the daily writing habit was revolutionary. Another told me it had changed his life. A third had decided change his major and use writing every day as a pastor.

I was humbled.

And what I would say to you is this: write every day. Write when you're tired, when the bills are due, when you're overwhelmed and angry and stressed and completely over your day. Write when you're so full of joy you feel you might burst. Write when it's rainy, when it's sunny, when you're shopping for your supper. Write when you're too sick to think straight. Write when you're bored. Whatever you're doing, just write. The habit is intoxicating, and the product, whether you become a best-selling novelist or a dedicated journal-writer, is something far more precious than you can imagine.

Kristen House is an Adjunct Instructor of Writing at Belmont University, and the Chief Executive Muse of A Novel Idea. She writes fiction every day for hours, even when there isn't anything to write about. Kristen lives in Nashville with her husband, Andrew, sons, Holden and Shephard, and a yippy little dog named Osie.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Social Marketing Help for Authors

If you've been around publishing very long, you realize that authors have to market their own books in order to sell them. Writers in the Sky offers several services to help authors who need assistance in this area (see our author publicity page and our workshops page). Another way we can help is by offering resources.  Listed below are some e-books to help authors who want to take the publicity route through social networking venues such as Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. Dana Lynn Smith, the author of the following books, will be conducting a free teleconference to share some of the information in her books. Join her and Yvonne Perry (owner of WITS) on May 18 at 2 p.m. Central Time. Ask your questions by posting a comment below.
Get the call-in information  
and mark the date on your calendar now!

In the meanwhile, you may want to check out Dana Lynn's fabulous e-books.

Boost Your Book Sales with Social Networking - Audio Program
Boost Your Book Sales With Twitter - Audio Program Facebook Guide for Authors
Get Connected: Build Your Business With Online Networking
How to Sell More Books on Amazon
Texas Book Marketing Handbook
The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Selling Your Book to Libraries
The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing
Twitter Guide for Authors

Monday, May 16, 2011

WITS Tip of the Month on Microsoft Word

Word allows you to count the number of words, lines, paragraphs, characters, and spaces within your document. Open a document that has text and look at the bottom left-hand side of your screen. Just above the start button, you should see a blue bar that displays this information for the entire document. If you do not see it, click on the Review tab, in the Proofing group, and click Word Count.

You can determine how many words a particular section has by highlighting just that section. The status bar displays the number of words in the selection. For example, 100/12240 means that the selection accounts for 100 words of the total number of words in the document, 1,2240.

Yvonne Perry will be teaching classes on the advanced features of MS Word. See for details.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Fiction vs. Nonfiction E-Book Pricing in the Kindle Store

by Joel Friedlander

Pricing of e-books is a constant source of discussion online, and we’ve seen the rebellions in the Kindle store when publishers were allowed to start setting their own prices last year.

Some books went up in price, as traditional publishers tried to bring e-book pricing more in line with print book pricing. On the other hand, readers keep looking at the lack of reproduction costs in e-books and often moved to lower-priced alternatives.

Three other factors that seem to be driving the instability of the e-book pricing situation:

1. The tremendous increase in the volume of sales as the price declines toward $0.99, the lowest price (other than free) in the Kindle store;

2. The shift of royalty payments, which are 70% for books above $2.99, and 30% for books below that price; and

3. The ease of changing prices on your Kindle books, combined with the ease of tracking your sales on a daily basis.

To get an idea of where pricing is today, I went over to the Kindle store to have a look around.

Amazon says there are 659,063 nonfiction books in the Kindle store. I took a look at just the top 10 best sellers as of yesterday to see what the pricing looked like. Here’s what I found:

Top 10 Nonfiction Full-Length Kindle e-Books

1. $6.13 Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent

2. $12.99 Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

3. $11.99 The 17 Day Diet by Dr. Mike Moreno

4. $9.99 Be a Dividend Millionaire by Paul Rubillo

5. $9.99 Allies and Enemiesby Anne Maczulak

6. $12.99 The Dukan Diet by Pierre Dukan

7. $9.99 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

8. $9.99 Winners Never Cheat by Jon M. Huntsman and Glenn Beck

9. $9.99 Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard

10. $9.99 The Gospel of Ruth by Carolyn Custis James

The average price of these e-books is $10.40. None of these e-books is self-published, by the way.

Then I went to look at the fiction titles, since this is the land of the $.99 bestseller. Here’s the way the top 10 look, pricewise:

Top 10 Fiction Full-Length Kindle e-Books

Amazon reports they have 267,838 fiction e-books in the Kindle store:

1. $4.17 Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

2. $7.99 The Lincoln Lawyer: A Novel by Michael Connelly

3. $9.99 Walking on Broken Glass by Christa Allan

4. $3.82 A World I Never Made by James Lepore

5. $9.59 Divine by Karen Kingsbury

6. $0.99 The Innocent by Vincent Zandri

7. $0.99 Vegas Moon (A Donovan Creed Novel) by John Locke

8. $7.99 Shattered: A Daughter’s Regret by Melody Carlson

9. $4.58 Deadworld by J.N. Duncan

10. $12.99 The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

The average price of these books is $6.31.

This means that the average fiction e-book that’s in the top 10 in the Kindle store is retailing for a full 40% less than the average top-10 nonfiction e-book. That’s a huge hunk of change.

Does this mean it’s better to be a nonfiction author, if making money is your aim?

Yes, it does. Self-publishing has traditionally worked best for nonfiction authors with solid information-based books. There is no disputing that a new world of bookselling is upon us, and all the old rules will be scrapped or at least reexamined in the light of new realities.

Are we seeing a rebirth in fiction reading, arising from the easy availability of inexpensive novels? From anecdotal evidence, it seems so, and that is certainly a good thing.

What Price is Right For You?

I think there’s no formula that will help you set your prices. If you’re a novelist, by all means keep track of the experiments of authors like JA Konrath and Zoe Winters and Joanna Penn, you’ll learn a lot.

But this seems to be an area where you have to be willing to experiment to find the right spot for your books. Many novelists have reported selling more and more copies as they gradually lowered their price, to the point that giving up the 70% royalty, when you go below $2.99, just didn’t matter as much as the volume of sales rose. As Konrath says about his title The List, when he lowered the price from $2.99 to $0.99, he sold 20 times as many books.

Here’s what Joanna Penn had to say in her recent article on the e-book pricing situation. Joanna publishes both nonfiction and fiction, so it’s interesting to get her perspective:

I pay far more money for non-fiction books that will help me in a tangible manner than I will for fiction which I read once and then (often) forget. It’s not that I don’t value fiction writing, but the price you pay for entertainment has to be representative vs the price you pay for actionable content.

The answer? Since we are all, in a sense, direct marketers now, we should take a lesson from the direct marketing world: test everything, track the results, adjust your pricing if necessary, and test again. You will become an expert on your own book’s pricing, and this experience will be invaluable as you continue to bring more books to market.

I took this all into account when setting the price of A Self-Publisher’s Companion in the Kindle store at $8.99. Is it the right price? I’m not sure, since the book has been out just a few weeks. Will I experiment with the price? You bet I will, just like all you other direct marketers.

What have your experiences with e-book pricing taught you?

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.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Building a Non-fiction Book Proposal

By Deborah Herman
If you want to write a non-fiction book it is unavoidable that you will have to master the non-fiction book proposal. There are many advantages to doing so even though it conjures images of tedium, frustration and writer's block. The book proposal is actually our friend. When I began in the business of writing I learned about the book proposal by writing them very badly. My agent, now my husband, Jeff Herman, took pity on me and had me screen book proposals to see what makes one good and what makes one completely ineffective. Eventually we co-authored the book, Write the Perfect Book Proposal: Ten Proposals that Worked and Why, which became a classic in the industry. The advantage to mastering the book proposal is two-fold. First: you can sell a book to a publisher with a proposal without having to complete an entire manuscript. Second: it gives you a roadmap that makes writing the book much easier and ensures the publisher that they will be getting what they paid for.

There are specific parts to a book proposal. It is like a business plan and the format we use in our book incorporated what I learned in Law School. Before I became a writer and literary agent I studied law at Ohio State University in a dual degree with the Graduate School of Journalism. I practiced law for a few years but my passion had been writing all along. My training in law was a big help in creating a format for a book proposal because I equated it with a brief. A brief is a legal document that has to persuade a judge to see the case law your way. A book proposal is an opportunity for you to persuade an editor or agent to see your book as viable and potentially profitable for them.

When I coach a writer through the process of writing a non-fiction book proposal I first help them create the core of what it is that will separate their book from all others. This is called the hook. The hook is the most important part of the proposal because it gives you clarity that will carry through to the manuscript. Above everything else, a non-fiction book must be organized and provide value to its reader. Readers of non-fiction are looking to be entertained, but the more important element is to gain information that they believe will help them in some way.

I provide assignments to make the process of writing the proposal relatively painless. Perhaps what is most unique about the way I work is that I incorporate my 20 years as a literary agent, my experience of writing 10 non-fiction trade books and my intuition to help a writer find his or her true voice and passion. This is what will make them successful.
Literary agent Deborah Herman has authored or collaborated on nine book and is a new affiliate of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. She is an intuitive and often uses her gifts to help writer's discover their authentic selves.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Editor's Corner May 2011

Many a writer aspires to be a published author, but what most new authors don't realize is that once a book is published, it requires a lot of time, effort, and money to market it. A book won't sell itself; it has to be presented to its target market over and over. Promoting a book can become a lot like owning a business!

A poorly-written book with a so-so cover or an ambiguous title/subtitle that lacks keywords is not as marketable as a page-turner that jumps off the shelf and causes the reader to say, 'This is just what I've been looking for." Double trouble comes when you publish your book before it has been edited. You may get bad reviews posted on social sites. This will establish a reputation that causes readers may reject any future books you publish when they see your name.

On May 4, I'll be presenting "Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write" during a joint teleclass with Carol Batey to help authors learn how to promote books. Carol's topic is "Writing Books and Getting Your Book out to the World." A teleseminar is a writing class conducted with a group of participants via telephone. Register at . A call-in number with a pass code will be given to participants once they sign up for the class.

Please welcome Wendy, Deborah, and Kristen to the WITS team. These ladies are filling specialized roles.

Wendy Lachmuth is available to proofread and provide voice talent for recording. She read my book, More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife, which is now available as an audio book.

Deborah is a non-fiction literary agent and the co-author of Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 Proposals that worked and Why. See her article, "Building a Non-fiction Book Proposal," in this issue.

Kristen House specializes in writing instruction and editing for the teen/tween genre. See Kristens' summer writing program in the announcements section of this newsletter.

Even though I study the Chicago Manual of Style and listen to Grammar Girl Podcast to keep my editing skills fresh, I still only do developmental editing because I don't enjoy the tedious task of trying to catch every misplaced comma. However, the editors on WITS team—Sarah, Dana, Dianna, and Kristen—have full command of the red pen and consider copy editing as a way to have a good time. Due to this vast amount of knowledge in our collective editing pool, we are able to offer authors a great education along with improving their manuscript. . Meet these new people and all the members of WITS team at .
Barnes and Noble now carries by book for empaths. It is available in print and for the Nook reader. It is also available on Amazon UK in Kindle store and in print. See all purchasing options at . Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. If you are an empath (highly-sensitive person), you won't want to miss this incredible interview I did with Dr. Michael Smith.

Yvonne Perry, Owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services


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Monday, May 9, 2011

WITS Announcements May 2011

Kristen House has developed a summer writing program called "A Novel Idea." It is aimed at teaching middle-grade students (rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders) and high-school students (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) to write a novel in a month during their summer break.


WITS team member Dianna Calareso has published her memoir online via Smashwords (self-publishing is the way of the future, no?). We are absolutely thrilled for her success. The book only costs $2.49, and she's donating 25 percent of every sale to the Alzheimer's Association (the memoir is about her grandfather, a retired Marine who suffered from Alzheimer's until his death in 2005). Here's the link, which includes a short and long synopsis, as well as instructions for downloading and sharing via social media.

Join Yvonne Perry and Carol Batey for a teleseminar May 4 at 7 p.m. Central Time. This workshop is packed writing, marketing, and publishing information that will allow you to be informed and ready to unleash your creativity. Register now at

Writing, Book Formatting, & Marketing Classes
Have you ever thought of taking classes to improve your writing? Are you a self-publishing author who wants to personally work with an editor on your book manuscript? The writing instructors on Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS) team are available to work one-on-one with you by phone or email (or in person if you are in the Nashville area). Group classes are also offered. See for more info.
BookBuzzr had a webinar about Using Twitter to Market Your Book. The panel consisted of Carolyn-Howard Johnson (author of the HowToDoItFrugally series), Joel Friedlander (proprietor of Marin Bookworks), Laurel Marshfield (professional writer, ghostwriter and developmental editor), Phyllis Zimbler Miller (co-founder of Miller Mosaic Power Marketing) and Penny C. Sansevieri (CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.). See what the experts had to say:

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We Are One in Spirit and Writers in the Sky Podcast Schedule May 2011!

We Are One in Spirit Podcast

May 1

Dr. Eric Pearl is the author of the international bestseller The Reconnection: Heal Others, Heal Yourself , now published in more than 36 languages. He travels the globe teaching Reconnective Healing, an extraordinary new way to heal others, yourself and your loved ones by engaging with scientifically measurable new frequencies that researchers are calling the forefront of "Information Medicine." Eric ran a highly successful chiropractic practice for 12 years. One day his patients began reporting that they felt his hands on them--even though he hadn't physically touched them. Patients soon reported receiving miraculous healings from cancers, AIDS-related diseases, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, birth disfigurements, and other serious afflictions. This lead to his discovery of Reconnective Healing and its extraordinary power to heal people and change lives.

May 12

Author, Metaphysical Minister and Lifestyle Coach Carol Batey will be joining Yvonne Perry on We Are One in Spirit Podcast May 12. She will be discussing her new book, What's Cooking in Your Soul?. Carol is the mother of six children and the author of numerous magazine and newspaper articles and four published books. Carol is will share information about how you can improve and renew the purpose of your soul and step into your destiny. What's Cooking in Your Soul? will help you to analyze your life and all of the relationships and situations within it.

May 19

Michael David Lawrience will be joining Yvonne to discuss his new book Emotional Health: The Secret for Freedom from Drama, Trauma, and Pain. Michael David Lawrience travels a path of awakening from separation into oneness. He has dedicated his life for over 35 years, discovering and healing himself and others physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. The book is an owner's manual describing practical methods to release your chronic pain, suffering, and stress. In this book you learn how to embrace your feelings rather than continually avoiding them. This skill once mastered brings us relief from suffering, for instance feeling empowered rather than victimized.

WITS Podcast

May 13

Life and business development coach, spiritual counselor Kimberly Coots will be joining Yvonne Perry on Writers in the Sky Podcast May 13. She will be discussing her new book, Divine Worth: Break the Bonds of Unworthiness and Create the Life You Desire. Her passion is helping people live the lives they desire by connecting with true worth, potential, and purpose, creating greater joy and fulfillment, and shifting the consciousness on the planet from fear to love. The more than twenty-five practical exercises, tools and insights in this book will guide you in transforming self-limiting thoughts and beliefs, and empower you to create greater joy and fulfillment in your life.

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Self-Publishing Workshop in Nashville

A writer and book marketing friend of mine, Renee Bobb, is inviting the WITS community to attend her upcoming Self-Publishing Workshop, which will be held on Saturday, May 21, 2011 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The workshop will be held at the Dream Center of Tennessee, 5252 Hickory Hollow Pkwy, Suite 1015, Antioch, TN 37013 (Located Inside Hickory Hollow Mall on the First Floor).

Here is what we will cover: Learn how to write, publish, promote and sell your own book! “If you have a strong passion to write a book, than this workshop is for you”.

By the end of this workshop you will know:
  • How to get published in 90 days or less.
  • How to write a best-selling book
  • How to get your book into bookstores.
  • How to create an effective marketing plan.
  • How to manufacture and organize your book.
  • "FREE" Resources to help you publish your book
  • How to select the right editor, printer, publisher and book cover designer
  • How to publish and print 100 books for under $300.00
  • How to sell 100 book in less than 100 days
  • How to create multiple products from one book
  • How to put your book in e-book format and sell via Kindle
  • How to see your book on and other on-line distributors
  • How to use Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin to sell books
Guest Speakers Include:  Workshop Facilitator: Renee Bobb, Self-Publishing Consultant & Author. Local authors, graphic designers, and editors.

The listed items are included in the cost:
*Training Manual The Self-Publishing Process: The Beginner's Guide to Book Publishing Success.
*Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.
*Resource Directory: Comprehensive information about the publishing industry, complete with contact information and tools, to help you publish your book and succeed.

DATE: Saturday, May 21, 2011

TIME: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

COST: $75.00 for this workshop. Breakfast and Lunch will be provided.


Dream Center of Tennessee
5252 Hickory Hollow Pkwy, Suite 1015
Antioch, TN 37013
(Located Inside Hickory Hollow Mall on the First Floor)

To Register:

Call: (615) 753-5647

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The May Issue of Writers in the Sky E-zine is Now Available!

The May issue of Writers in the Sky E-zine is now available! This publication provides a rich resource of articles and information about the craft and business of writing, publishing, and book marketing. Go to and scroll down to the archives and click the link to this month’s issue. It will download as a PDF. If you would like to get once-a-month email delivery of the e-zine, you may subscribe for free at

Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services is a team of highly-qualified writers and editors with many years of experience in writing for articles, books, ad copy, media releases, PR kits, Web text, biographical sketches, and newsletters. Editing, proofreading, book review, and book evaluation services offered individually and as packages. Find us online at

Follow WITS on Twitter:
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Learn to Work with MS Word

Yvonne Perry teaches classes on the advanced features of Microsoft Word. The fee is only $25 per 30-minutes of individual instruction. These sessions are conducted via telephone as you sit in front of your computer and work through the exercises while the instructor walks you through what to do. You can take as many or as few of the classes you want.

When you pay for a class, Yvonne will contact you to set up a time for the phone call.

Instruction is offered on the following topics:
  • Tracking changes and adding comments allows you to pass a document back and forth between recipients and see the changes made by each one. It also allows each editor to make comments in the side margin. 
  • Working with styles is a very important feature of Word. It allows you to change all the text of a certain style with one click rather than having to select each instance individually. You cannot create a hyperlinked table of contents without first setting the styles for these headings.
  • Paragraph Spacing: You hit the return key and there's too much space between the text, so you tab or space to the end of a line rather than pressing the Enter key. In this class you will learn to adjust paragraph indentations, set the distance between paragraphs, bullet points, and numbered lists. Learn to alphabetically sort a long list of text.
  • Working with Text: Apply or remove highlighting, change font types, size, and colors; and modify text for bold, italic, underline, superscript, and subscript.
  • Insert and format page numbers in the the headers or footers of your document. This is a basic class that leads into learning about section breaks (see next class below).
  • Creating section breaks between chapters. A must-have class for authors who want to format their own books. This is an hour-long class due to the intricacies of this feature. You will learn how to create a different first page, and unique odd/even pages., allowing you to have your chapter heading on one side of the page and your book title on the other side.
  • Working Faster. Use format painter; manage multiple copied items on your clipboard; use keyboard shortcuts; record macros; create hyperlinks and bookmarks to make getting around in your document much faster and easier.
  • Graphic Formatting. Work with pictures, shapes, and graphics so the text wraps around an image; create colored borders of varying weight around images; work with WordArt, clip art, drop case, and text boxes; set margins, page size, backgrounds, watermarks, and borders. Due to the amount of material covered, this class is one hour long.
  • If your document is too long, has too many words or is too verbose, you may want to shorten it without losing the main thoughts. You can set the percentage to hide or show more or less of your document using the Auto Summary Feature.
If there is a topic you want specific help with, Yvonne will work with you individually by the hour or half-hour.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write

Carol Batey and I will be teaching a teleclass this Wednesday, May 4 on what it takes to sell your books online. During the call, we will go over each of the following items and tell why authors must do their own book promotion no matter how they publish.

What of these things have you done to market your books?

____ Create a marketing plan in Excel or a planner
____ Maintain a blog specifically for the book
____ Get domain names and build a Web site for the book
____ Get endorsements
____ Get book reviews
____ Obtain radio, TV, newspaper, and magazine interviews
____ Create promotional videos and post them to YouTube
____ Conduct a book tour (in-person or online)
____ Participate in the online launch of other authors’ books
____ Write and send media releases
____ Write and post articles to online article directories
____ Write and send articles to print magazines
____ Participate in online forums pertaining to your topic
____ Social marketing such as Facebook or Twitter
____ Comment on and link to other peoples’ blogs

To learn how and why each of these will help you sell books, join Yvonne Perry and Carol Batey for a teleclass, “Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write” on May 4 at 7 PM.

Get the mp3 recording of the call!

There will be an MP3 available for those who miss the call. Simply register now and we'll either send you the call-in info or the MP3—whichever is applicable at that date/time.

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Authors Must Learn to Sell What They Write

Many a writer aspires to be a published author—by any method whether self-publishing or being accepted by one of the “big six publishing houses,” such as Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House, or Simon & Schuster, or one of their imprints (subsidiaries). What most new authors don’t realize is that once a book is published, it requires a lot of time, effort, and money to market it. The book, like any other product other than toilet paper, won’t sell itself; it has to be presented to its target market over and over.

Promoting a book can become a lot like owning a business. I learned this the hard way when I published More Than Meets the Eye, True Stories About Death, Dying, and Afterlife ( in 2005. I knew little about book marketing at the time, so the book didn’t start selling until two years later when I published my second book, Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America. That’s when I paid a publicist about $3,000 to do my book marketing for me. While I never sold enough of that title to recoup my investment, I did get quite an education about book publicity.

Yvonne Perry and Carol S. Batey taught a teleseminar on book marketing May 4. 

Get the MP3 of the class at

The mistake many newbie authors make is becoming too attached to their book and not allowing others to critique it or suggest changes for improvement. Another error is not having a professional editor help them develop the book or at least provide a copy edit. Most authors assume this service is too expensive and will skip this very important step in bringing a book to the market. I’ve heard things like: “I had my friends proofread my book and they didn’t find any errors,” or “My cousin is a high school teacher and she said it is a great book.” That’s like going to the dentist to buy lip gloss! Even an English teacher cannot provide the same level of editorial assistance that a book editor can.

Because an editor knows the book industry and the reader market, he or she can offer consultation about publishing methods and important tips about what makes a book appealing to readers. That’s in addition to having extensive knowledge about various style guides, acceptable word usage, character development, transitions, making dialog work, formatting, and being able to assist with publisher query letters and book proposals.

A book is a product and must be sellable. A poorly-written book ,with a so-so cover, or an ambiguous title/subtitle that lacks keywords is not as marketable as a page-turner that jumps off the shelf and causes the reader to say, “This is just what I’m looking for.” That reader becomes a fan and automatically starts helping you promote your book. If I don’t enjoy a book, I won’t write a review (at least not a positive one) or recommend the book to others.

I had a “first” last week when an author I am working with told me he wasn’t sure he was ready to be an author because of the time he would need to spend marketing his book. Usually, new authors have no idea of the amount of time and energy involved in successful authorship, but obviously, Steve has been reading WITS Newsletter!

I recommend authors do as many of the following things as possible:
  •  Create a marketing plan
  •  Maintain a blog specifically for the book
  •  Get domain names and build a Web site for the book
  •  Query to obtain radio and TV interviews
  •  Be available to record radio and TV interviews
  •  Create promotional videos and post them to YouTube and other social sites
  •  Conduct a book tour (in-person or online)
  •  Participate in the launch of other authors’ books. If you haven't partnered on a book launch in the past, and you'd like to know WHY you might want to do this, read this article called "7 Reasons to Partner on Someone Else's Book Launch NOW" at
  • Write and send media releases. I got a call from an energy-sensitive woman in Canada this week who found me via a release I sent for my book. I was thrilled to be able to help her and she was very happy to finally have an explanation for the empathy overload she had been experiencing. Finally someone understood what she was going through.
  • Write and post articles to online article directories. Once my virtual tour is over, I will post all my blog articles on and other online directories.
  • Write and send articles to print magazines
  • Participate in online forums pertaining to the topic of your book
  • Social marketing such as Facebook or Twitter
  •  Comment on and link to other peoples’ blogs
I am employing these methods in promoting my latest book, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You ( Learn more the teleseminar.

Get the recording of the class now.

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. She is the owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services, a team of full-time writers and editors located in Nashville, Tennessee.

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