Friday, March 22, 2013

Book Design, Internet Marketing, and the Nature of Human Consciousness

by Joel Friedlander

Picture this: you pick up a book and open it, only to discover that every page is exactly the same, a tall rectangle of text extending close the edge of the page and without interruption.
There are no spaces between paragraphs because there are no paragraphs, no chapters, no page numbers, no running heads, just text.

Does it sound appealing? No, not to me, either.

How frustrating it would be to try to read a book like that. Where did I leave off? What part of the book am I in? I might feel like the author had forced me to impose order and organization on his book. I’m pretty sure I would put it right back down.

Over centuries we’ve developed conventions about how to present long text documents like books; and readers, who have grown up reading books that mostly follow those conventions, have come to expect them; and, to rely on them.

Sentences present a logical line of thought, moving ideas or action forward.

Chapters divide a long work along some thematic or organizational construct.

Sections within chapters deal with parts of each of those themes or subjects.

What book designers do is use the raw material of the book—typography and any non-text elements in the book—to create an environment in which the author’s ideas can transmit cleanly and with little interference, to the reader.

But we designers add stuff, too. We add the page break at a new chapter, to signal the reader that one thing is ending and another is about to begin.

We add page numbers to give a sense of the third dimension of the book—its length—as well as a handy reference to mark a specific page.

We also add running heads with more or less descriptive titles, so each page has something of a “breadcrumb trail” that shows its relation to the whole.

The existence of all the conventions of book design show us a concern for the reader, for giving the reader just enough information to navigate their way through the book, without distracting them from the journey.

Internet Marketing: I spent quite a bit of time last year setting up landing pages, sales pages, a membership site, affiliate tracking, payment gateways, recurring payment buttons, and automated email messages. A lot of it was to deliver my training course, the Self-Publishing Roadmap. I think of all this as “Internet plumbing.” There are innumerable bits and pieces that have to fit together so that what happens is what we expect to happen.

For example, if you read about a video that sounds interesting, and you click through to the page and find you have to enter your email address in order to see the video, what happens next? Behind the scenes software from a mailing list company, an e-commerce service, and gateway tracking software on the site that delivers the video each have to do something and communicate with each other. If there’s a leak in the pipe or a broken connection, the user doesn’t get a request to confirm their email address with the list vendor. Or, they get the wrong email that doesn’t mention the video they wanted to see. Or, they get a sales pitch instead.

We have expectations that come into play online, and they are powerful. We have a healthy skepticism about dealing with people we don’t know. We want to be guided at every step of the way, even if we know the messages we’re getting are automated. We want a receipt, a link, an acknowledgement, a support number, a reminder when an event is coming up. We want to feel secure that the video, when we arrive there, actually delivers what was promised.

When putting these systems together, you have to keep in mind that many people don’t spend 12 hours a day online, and that these things can be confusing. If I say, “Register for the webinar,” a certain percentage of people will be stumped unless I explicitly say, “first click this link, then look for the “pay now” button.” Being specific is reassuring.

It’s a matter of breaking down the process so there are navigational aids at every step. That’s what makes me more comfortable, especially if I’m doing something new.

Communication that’s recognizable, in the same voice, with the same branding, specifically about what I inquired or clicked about. That makes me secure.

The Nature of Human Consciousness: In both cases—book design and setting up Internet marketing processes—the best guides to what will work and what won’t work are the people who are going to use the system. But, you wonder why we need so much hand holding, so many navigational aids.There seem to be two reasons, both rooted in the nature of human consciousness and the psychology that has grown out of it.

First, there are so many demands on our short-term awareness; we can’t keep a lot of data handy all the time on all subjects. We dump data out of our memory quickly and often to make room for all the new stuff that’s constantly coming in. This means that, to function properly, most of us need a lot of reminding.

The second reason is our desire to really dive into an experience. When reading, we want to lose ourselves in the experience, that’s why we buy a lot of the books we do. When we’re excited about learning something new, we want to get onto that and not have to worry about the details and arrangements, which only seem to get in the way. The signposts and other navigational aids, delivered in a thoughtful and gracious way, allow us to experience reading a book or signing up for a webinar as a pleasant experience.

The book designer makes sure we always know where we are in the book, and gives the experience a rhythm conducive to reading.

The Internet marketer makes sure we always know exactly where we are in the process, who we’re dealing with, that we’ll be taken care of and will receive the experience we’re anticipating.

Self-Publishers, or Authors Who Market: Becoming a self-published author these days almost always involves learning something about marketing, and since most of us are doing this online, that means learning about Internet marketing. Whether you’re providing entertainment in the form of novels or information in the form of nonfiction, you’ll be dealing with both book design and Internet marketing, and a whole lot more.

There are two lessons I’ve taken away from these experiences.

The first is to stay in touch with people who are just starting out. They are the best guide for whether the book or the system is working the way it should.

The other is to keep being a beginner myself. When I set out to learn new things, I’m thrown back into that newbie mindset: passionate, but clueless. That’s incredibly valuable for understanding the beginners in my own field.

And a lot of it comes down to navigation, reassurance, the big picture. Knowing where confusion comes in, and putting a sign there to help the traveler. Taking the time to really think through what people will need.

Everyone has these experiences, because we’ve all been new at something that we then learned thoroughly. All we have to do is tap into that experience and bring it to what we are writing, publishing, or marketing today.

Joel Friedlander is a self-published author, an award-winning book designer, and an accomplished blogger. He's the founder of the Self-Publishing Roadmap online training course, and a frequent speaker at industry events where he talks to writers about how the new tools of publishing can help them reach and inspire their readers.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Trusted with Treasure

By Deborah Wilbrink

Sometime after mother’s death I was going through some of her belongings, secretly feeling there would be a clue. I came across a small box. Would it reveal why I had been abandoned by my parents? I carefully lifted the lid on the old letter box tucked away in her trunk.

Thus begins the personal history by Barbara Goodall. Barbara and I were introduced by her daughter, Tami, through a contact form to Writers in the Sky asking about a manuscript evaluation. Its working title is Mother, May I? A Foster Child’s Quest for Home. It has been a meaningful contact for me; Barbara Goodall offers a model of humility and faith. She is inspiring because she emerged from the torments of her youth to become a person who reached out to salvage the lives of many others.
Her manuscript is a treasure! A natural writer, Goodall laments the lack of books, read-alouds, and story-telling in her childhood. Perhaps it was the great stories within the Bible, her one readily available book, which instilled her skills with prose. She states:

This is a true story of four adults who abandoned me, Barbara Louise Nott, twice. Once to the state’s foster care system; and then repeatedly when a teenager, as I was left with strangers or even to fend on my own. I was born in 1940, and my memories begin at five years of age. . . My parents and grandparents, a couple of four, were always together, but there was no room for me.

The “couple of four” once left me, as a five-year-old girl, alone on a sidewalk, and drove away “to see my reaction.” Later, they repeatedly placed me, as a young teen, in boarding situations where I lived without family or friends while my family, unbeknownst to me, collected her wages. It was only when she became seventeen and married that I escaped the emotional abuse and opportunism, and began to experience love.

While Goodall began with the intent of a document for her four children and their children, it has evolved to an inspirational memoir. She writes for foster children who are in the situation now; and for those who are foster alumni, restoring faith in their own abilities to succeed. Goodall, a high school dropout, not only successfully raised four children, but also provided a temporary home for twenty-five foster kids. Without a formal education, she played a leadership role in the public housing services of her Tennessee County, assisting the poor on both an administrative and highly-personal level.

Here is another sample of Goodall’s writing:

It was one of those cold windy autumn days. I pulled my sweater around me wishing I had worn my jacket as I quickly hustled to get inside the next building. My responsibility was to check out the old dilapidated rental units down at the end of the valley in the Red River area of town. I was to post the units as unsafe structures and contact the owner. The owner had to give the city authorization to take the houses down, at no charge. Community Development funds were targeted to do repairs and rebuild in this neighborhood.

I could see flames licking at the sides of the pot-bellied stoves through the cracks of the wooden shotgun shanties. Streets in this part of town were still dirt with ruts deep enough to bury a dog. A few stray dogs were chasing each other in circles while coatless kids were playing in the street. The air was thick with the smell of coal as grates were fired up, mingled with the odor of raw sewage seeping out into the back yards.

Thinking the houses at this end of the street were vacant, I was surprised to hear a weak voice. “Come here, girlie, I need some bread. Will you go get me some?”

Goodall’s deft descriptions allow us to marvel at the characters of her journey. Her life has a natural plot, taking the climactic turn with her marriage. She expresses a theme of abiding faith that a guardian angel hovered nearby. As we reach the publishing stage of Goodall’s memoir, I’m confident that her book will be motivational and inspirational to any reader; and an important addition to the literature about foster care. I was entrusted with a treasure, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

Join Us For a Conversation with Writer Dan O'Brien

When I scheduled this interview with Dan O'Brien, I thought the conversation would primarily focus on his new Science Fiction novel, The Path of the Fallen. Little did I know that this fabulous book was only the tip of the iceberg, for O'Brien has written not only several novels, but screenplays as well.

Moreover, he doesn't just write Science Fiction, but everything from romance to philosophy. To realize how rare this is, you only have to ask a writing instructor. He/she will tell you that they advise their students to first: write what they know; and second: pick a genre that speaks to them and excel at it. Luckily for us, all genres speak to Dan.

We're also fortunate that his commitment to the craft of writing goes far beyond his own books. He has started a consulting business to help others get their stories to market. And given the scope of his own work--and the fact that he has been published both traditionally and independently--he is perfectly positioned to do so.

Click here to listen to the podcast

Like what you heard? Check out The Dan O'Brien Project, for information on all things writing. You can also buy The Path of the Fallen, read his other novels for free, or contact him about his consulting services. Dan is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Dan is also publishing the original unabridged version of  The Path of the Fallen! Click here to support his work or learn more.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Poetry and Prose Corner March 2013

Kite Flyer

Oh, you fearless high flyer,
Tree crasher,
Nose diver,
Loop the looper.
Where is your home,
You homemade wonder?
Who is the hero holding your fate?

Yesterday’s newspapers, twigs and twine
Loosely bound with flour paste.
Rag bag tail of red and paisley
Waiting for the wind to
Do its splendid magic
Lifting you so you can dance
Among the clouds,
Making gawkers strain their necks
With careless wonder at your ease.

And I, your pilot,
Groundsman, soul mate,
I am the master of your sky.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Monday, March 11, 2013

This Week's Podcast Guest: Dan O'Brien

Clearly, Dan O'Brien was born to be a writer. As a small child, he created stories to entertain his friends and relatives. As an adult, his many novels and screenplays bring enjoyment, knowledge, and often, a new perspective on the world.  This Friday, he will dish about his writing process and publishing experiences on the WITS podcast.

Dan will also talk about The Path of the Fallen, his riveting Science Fiction/Fantasy novel. However, in true Renaissance fashion, Dan has not limited himself to one genre. Instead, he has committed himself to growing as a writer, which for him means telling stories that move him, including romance and philosophy.

He has also created an online writer's marketplace of sorts, The Dan O'Brien Project. Whether you are a full-time writer or on the verge of starting that first book, you will find a wealth of information on all things writing. You can also read Dan's novels and contact him regarding his writing and publishing consulting company.

Path of the Fallen was originally a much longer book, but Dan shortened it for publishing purposes. Now, he is preparing to release the unabridged version! For more information, visit his Kickstarter page.

You can also connect with Dan on Facebook or Twitter.  And don't forget to tune into the WITS podcast on Friday to hear more about his work.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Your Book Cover is Like a Highway Billboard

By Scott Lorenz

Your book cover is like a highway billboard. How’s that? It’s simple. Just as people are driving past a billboard at 70 miles per hour, shoppers in a book store are walking by your book sitting on shelf at the same relevant speed. Like a billboard, if you first don’t catch their attention, you’ll never deliver the message.

Billboards use images to get the attention and then the words to make the sale. What are common images? Attractive women, followed by muscular and attractive men. They don’t call romance books “bodice rippers” for nothing and the photos or illustrations on books in that genre leave no doubt in your mind about what’s inside. But that can’t be said about most other books. That’s why the image is important real estate which must be used to convey to the potential buyer just what’s in the book.

What is the correct image? One that does not need any explanation. If your image needs an introduction . . . then it’s not the right choice. How can you find out? Just show it to people. Ask them what they think the book is about by looking at the cover image. Ideally the image does the talking by itself.

While we often hear “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” everybody – book buyers, reviewers, media and consumers alike – most certainly do just that.

Choose your title carefully. The best highway billboards are 5-7 words in total because motorists are flying by and cannot comprehend words at a glance, so why fight it? Putting too many words in the title is the equivalent of trying to take a drink out of a fire hose! If you want to have a fighting chance give them a short sweet title and subtitle. Be brief.

Blurbs. Blurbs are those short two to three sentences of compliment that books have on their back covers. The best blurbs are from well-known experts in the field, famous people, authors who have read the book and have provided positive comments. There’s only room for a few so you have to edit out repetitive blurbs and keep the best ones for the cover. If you are in love with all your blurbs, than print them in full on the last inside pages of the book.

One reason the task becomes so daunting and painful is that authors too often wait until the end of the process, instead of nearer the beginning, to think through book cover design.

As a book publicist and book marketer I cannot caution authors enough – do not underestimate the importance of a book cover’s design. Not only do potential book buyers judge a book by its cover but so do members of the media. Many reporters receive dozens of books every day! Do you really think they read the book flap and your pitch? Ha!

Here are some important items to consider when making decisions on book cover design:

Use a subhead to create more description. If you have a 10-word title, you have not properly named the book in the first place.

Check with Google on the words that are most searched on your topic. To do this, type in the word that best describes your book in the search box and then see what the next most important or popular words are in that list. That ranking is very relevant marketing- wise so try to use those words in your title or subtitle. Consider using the genre in the subtitle too because that’s what people are searching on.

Visit book stores and look at the covers of all types of books. What catches your eye? Look at the book face and look at the spines. Which ones are readable and why?

Will it play on Amazon? Go to,, Good Reads, Smashwords and search for competitive books in your space. Notice the book covers that catch your eye and the ones that do not. If your cover does not show up well in an Amazon thumbnail then you are going to lose sales.

Contrast. Don’t let your graphic designer get started without keeping contrast in mind. The reason black ink works so well on white paper is because it produces the best contrast possible. Yellow ink on green paper in a small font simply does not work.

How does your book look in black and white? Not every publication will be printing it in color.

Font size. Many designers are young with great eyesight. But your buyer may not be able to read the tiny font some designers insist upon using. Be practical.

The spine. Can you read it from five feet away? If not, neither can browsers in a book store.

Blurbs. Keep them relevant and short. Consider including a mention on the cover of a foreword written by a famous person or author. “Foreword by J.K. Rowling” or “Foreword by Oprah Winfrey” or “Foreword by Best Selling Author Tom Clancy.”

Do not overlook creating content on the back inside flaps because consumers pick up a book after looking at the spine, front cover and back and then open the book to find the price or more information.

Print your cover out on a laser printer. Don’t just review your cover on a computer screen which will make it look considerably better. Print it out actual size and make a determination using that printed version.

Pictures are worth 1000 words. Use photos and illustrations to describe what would take too long to explain.

When choosing a book design ask yourself how the cover will look on your website home page.

Branding is important so you’ll want to use the same design elements on your website that you do on your book cover

Show your cover designs to as many people in your target group of potential readers. Get their reactions and opinions. It costs you nothing and you’ll likely find out something you did not realize before.

Mary Heim, Direct Sales Manager at Sheridan Books says that before you start to design your cover contact your printer for a cover layout and cover stock and coating samples. When you have your cover complete have the printer do a test on the files to make sure they work for the printer. Ask for samples of the printer’s work.

Here are 33 book cover designers and services to consider for your next cover: Having been faced with the task of helping authors in the cover design process many times, a recent experience led me to one service that really did a terrific job. uses graphic designers from around the world who compete for your business by actually designing the book cover on speculation, i.e.: no charge. I commissioned a cover for an author using 99designs after the author was not happy with the creations from his own designer. I mentioned several design elements such as the title, subtitle, what the book was about, etc. Figuring more is better, we got 65 different cover designs in five days! The most difficult part was narrowing down the selection to eight then having friends, family, and co-workers from all corners of the world vote online for their favorites. They also added their comments, insight, and logic behind liking or disliking a cover design right under the image of that cover. They voted over several days and the comments were able to be read by our team, also scattered all over North America. The cost was under $700 or so and it was only that high because we put a rush on it and paid extra. This was an excellent process that delivered a NY Times bestseller quality cover that I highly recommend. gives you many options for just $5. These are fast, and obviously cheap, but I’ve seen some pretty nice work. produces smart visuals that stand out from the ordinary. offers various packages for your book cover needs, including Web pages, Facebook pages, etc. They are based in Australia, and I’ve used them and recommended them several times. has a competitive flat rate so you can work with your ideal budget.

The designers at are a great resource. offers book cover design and e-book design for authors

The designs from have appeared on over 1,000 books. Packages for e-books and interior design start at $495.

Karrie Ross from specializes in book cover design for the self-publishing industry. has over 30 years combined experience in the design and advertising industry. specializes in providing superior book cover design services, utilizing professional equipment and software. is a boutique design firm for self-publishers and small presses. has been voted the best website for authors, so be sure to check it out. Along with publishing services, Lulu provides design quality at a competitive price. A list of book cover designers that are recommended by independent publishers. is a creative book cover designer. Great sales pitch about why you should download their software to design your own book cover. Worth a look. allows you to work with their professional design team to custom-create an affordable, striking cover that broadcasts your book's key messages with distinct colors, fonts, and one central image. Their price of $349 is not bad, and several of my clients have used them, including one 92-year-old author. offers a straight-forward approach to finding a budget and designing your book cover. Price ranges from $149 to $279. is a great website to utilize to find freelance book cover designers from around the world. Very cool. offers editing, proofreading, cover design, interior page layout, e-book formatting, printing, and more.

With Infinity Publishing you have complete control over the cover design and layout of your book is an intimate award-winning design studio creating exceptional image-building graphic designs for print and the Web since 1979. offers complete design and production services for children's books, tabletop books, cookbooks, textbooks, and fiction/non-fiction hard covers and paperbacks. One designer boasting over 18 years of experience with 1000+ books to his credit. This is very interesting in that the book covers are already designed, you just add the title! There are some very high-quality covers priced at $25 and up. Definitely check this out.

Cathi Stevenson of has 30 years of publishing experience and more than 1,500 book covers to her credit. is a full-service design studio offering graphic design, illustration, publication layout, and more.

Dunn+Associates Design for Authors creates the success tools that authors need, such as best-selling book covers is one of the foremost romance book cover artists. She has painted covers for over 350 romance books representing more than 150 authors.

Carl Graves of is a professional book cover designer who has a fire sale with more than 2,000 book covers on hand. Very high-quality covers that just need your title are only $200 per cover. These are really amazing must-see covers. provides affordable and dynamic design for book cover designs and book interior layouts. They will design your cover with no money down They state, “See what we can do with your title before you pay!” Sounds good to me! has designed over 1,200 book covers and strives to provide the most experienced and helpful book production services.

You can and should spend a few hours going through all of these websites. You’ll be glad you did. I know I was enlightened myself in creating this list of book cover designers.

Bottom line: Get involved early in the entire book publishing design process and get several creative concepts for the front cover, back cover, and spine. Don’t let it be the last thing you do.

And finally, the most important rule in book publishing and marketing: Know your reader! All books have a target reader, and in all genres there are varying degrees of readers. Targeting the reader who is most likely to purchase your book is critical. Authors who know the demographics of their readers are equipped to assemble the fonts and graphics best able to grab the reader’s eye and instantly convey the message that “this book is for you.”

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it's their first book or their 15th book. He's handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman's World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Along that line, Yvonne Perry, has a new book coming out. We won’t mention the title since that would give it away. We would like for you to comment on what you think the book will be about, by judging only the art work for the cover. Send your comments to


Thursday, March 7, 2013

WITS Announcements March 2013

Writers in the Sky Newsletter subscribers are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in the WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at

Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife.
The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful art of poetry or writing a story that is worth telling everyone. Write a poem or short story for a chance to win cash prizes! Postmark deadline: July 31, 2013. All works must be original. Visit our website for details:
Be sure to tune in to the Aspects of Writing Radio Show. Host James Kelly and his guests provide advice on a wide range of topics, from writing for TV to how to find the right editor. Aspects of Writing airs every other Tuesday at KLAV 1230 on the AM dial, or You can also view the show live at (click on the “feature” button).
Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on a life skill such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, or following inner guidance.
GhostwritersUnite Conference in May 2013

This conference will be all about ghostwriting, so the attendees will be ghostwriters, aspiring ghostwriters, editors, publishers, literary agents, and book-industry experts. They will be meeting at the Long Beach Hilton in Southern California on May 3, 4, and 5 to discuss the topics that matter most to ghostwriters: setting fees, setting boundaries, establishing trust, working with celebrities, dealing with "crazy," controlling negotiations, and so much more.

The weekend starts with a Friday night meet-and-greet on May 3rd. It continues Saturday with twelve different panels, author readings, and an informal box lunch. The Saturday night banquet has limited seating, so please register for that ASAP. They will wrap up the weekend with a full-conference state-of-the-industry panel of agents, publishers, literary attorneys, e-publishers, and other book-business experts.

You can get more information and register for the conference at You can also give Claudia a call at 1-800-641-3936 or drop her a line at
State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads 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. See all purchasing options at
If you are looking for someone to create an original piece for your book cover, you might want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook:!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036.
Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, and lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension. The book offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.
Writers of Everyman’s Story Unite!

Tennessee Personal Historians Form State Chapter of the Association of Personal Historians
Growing up in foster care as a neglected child, and giving back a temporary home to 25 foster children is just one moving story among many that I’ve encountered since becoming a personal historian. A self-taught electrician who convinced people to use electricity; a young coed hearing the shots that heralded the integration at the University of Mississippi; a researcher whose proposals influenced poverty policy; and a preacher whose church was persecuted to the point of going down in flames, are all personal stories that people have shared with me this year. Amazing, moving, poignant. The significance is there for family and more, and made easily accessible to future generations. That’s what I love about personal history: life’s lessons from the horse’s mouth.
~ Deborah Wilbrink, Perfect Memoirs, Nashville

Personal historians help others to share and save their stories for coming generations. We all have a need to remember our lives, to make personal sense of the world around us, and to pass our life lessons on to new generations. Members of the Association of Personal Historians help other people create books and videos of their personal, family, business, and community histories. Members’ skills include interviewing, writing, and production of these personal histories.

Tennessee’s personal historians are meeting to organize a state chapter of the APH on February 23, 2013 at 1 p.m. at the 212 Market Restaurant in Chattanooga. Members of the international organization are coming from Nashville, Franklin, Knoxville, Sewanee, and Mosheim/Tri-Cities. The Association of Personal Historians gives its members a chance to advance their talents, skills, and professional knowledge in their work of saving these stories. Founded in 1995, its 625 members represent 11 countries, including the United States. Regions Director Dawn Thurston is looking forward to a new state chapter in Tennessee. “Other state chapters have regular meetings, collaborate on personal history projects, and participate in community outreach events. It seems to be a win-win situation for everyone. I'd like to see Tennessee members have a similar opportunity,” she reports.
Interested in learning more about how to best save your story or family history? The public is welcome to bring their questions and interests to

Meet and Greet professional personal historians:

FRANKLIN: Feb. 28, 7:00 Cool Springs YMCA, 121 Seaboard Lane. Jim Taulman 595-2597.
MONTEAGLE: March 9 from 10 a.m. to noon. Mooney’s Market & Emporium, 1265 West Main Street, Pat West 931-598-5913
NASHVILLE: March 2, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. at 1st Unitarian Universalist Church, 1808 Woodmont Blvd. Deborah Wilbrink 615-417-8424

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WITS and WAO Podcast Schedules March 2013

Writers in the Sky Podcast

Writers in the Sky Podcast is a Nashville-based talk show about writing, publishing, and book marketing. An educational tool for people who want to learn more about the craft and business of writing, this show offers interviews with authors and writers, as well as the latest news about books currently on the market. You will also learn about publishing methods and marketing techniques as we interview publishers and publicists. Listen to archived shows via RSS Feed. Download WITS Podcast on iTunes for your iPod or iPad.

Tune in to the WITS podcast on March 15 when Dan O'Brien discusses his riveting new Science Fiction thriller, The Path of the Fallen. Dan will discuss his inspiration for the novel, his writing process, and why Science Fiction will always be his favorite genre.

We Are One in Spirit Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows people to discuss spiritual journeys and life-transforming experiences that remind us that we are all one in spirit. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The shows are archived at feed:// Please subscribe to We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information:

Tune into The Walk-in Café on March 14th to listen to Starr Weldon’s interview with Yvonne Perry! The Walk In Cafe can be heard every Thursday from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Blog Talk Radio.

Barbara Techel will join us on March 21 to share how animals can help us find our life’s purpose and divine mission. Barbara Techel is a passionate advocate for dogs with intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and dogs in wheelchairs. She is also passionate about helping others see their challenges in a positive way. Barbara is also the award-winning author of the children's book series Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog which are true, inspirational stories about her paralyzed dachshund. In her newest book, Through Frankie's Eyes she takes you on a journey that led her to live her own truth and live with more joy, all because of what Frankie taught her along the way.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Editor's Corner March 2013

Each year, a hardware store in my neighborhood does a countdown to Spring. Some employee, or perhaps the owner himself, goes out in the morning and in white marker writes a giant number on the window: the number of days before we can officially put away our snow boots and think about what bulbs we are going to plant. It is a time of rebirth.

What does this have to do with writing? If you had asked me this last week, I might have said, not much. This week, however I inadvertently freaked out a client, when I told him his book reminded me of another, already-published favorite of mine. I meant it as a compliment, but he was immediately concerned that his idea was not “new.” To which I sheepishly replied, “But there are no new ideas—the trick is to take an old idea and make it your own.” Which, indeed, he already had.

What I am trying to say (in my own circuitous way) is that like Spring, your writing can also be a rebirth… of ideas. Dust off that cloak-and-dagger plot; revamp that tale of unrequited love. Readers may have read it all before, but they have not seen it your way. Remember, while the idea may not be new, your voice, perspective, and writing style make it so.

Happy writing, everyone!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process, from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit