Friday, August 22, 2014

Top 10 Mistakes Every Author Should Avoid

As any author discovers, there's plenty of free advice out there for what they should - and shouldn't-- do when publishing a book. If I had to create a Top 10 list of mistakes authors should avoid at all costs, I'd focus on the following topics, because these omissions can really set you and your book back:

1. Not Understanding the Publishing Industry: Writing a book does not guarantee you readers. Before you publish, do some research - who are your competitors? What do they publish? How is your genre faring in the industry right now? Knowing your market is vital to finding and connecting with readers, receiving book reviews, and getting book sales.

2. Not Realizing Book Covers are Key: Readers and book buyers spend only seconds looking at book covers, and many of them now view thumbnail-size images online. Investing in a professionally designed cover by someone who understands book design and the publishing industry is a smart move. If you can't capture people’s attention with a strong cover, you've likely lost a prospective reader and buyer. You've put a lot of work into writing your book; apply the same philosophy to your book cover.

3. Not Knowing That Editing is Your Best Marketing Tool: There are at least 300,000 books published each year, according to Bowker. With all that competition, you want your book to be the best you can make it. A poorly edited book will not gain you readers, reviewers, or fans. If your book is your resume, what kind of message are you sending if your book is full of errors? This is the most common complaint about self-published books: lack of quality control, aka, editing.

4. Not Getting Good Advice: Sure, your mom and your friends support what you do wholeheartedly - but what do they know about publishing and promoting a book? There are so many reputable, free resources available to authors for every phase of their publishing journey - from blogs to social media groups to online forums and more. Take advantage of these resources, ask questions, learn from others, and share your insights.

5. Not Working Your Market: One great thing about social media is it really does let you find people who read books in your genre. And you can cultivate these readers in a number of ways beyond buying, reading, and reviewing your book. Why not seek beta readers from your market before you publish? Many authors have successfully built a stable of pre-publication beta readers who offer their insights. Beta readers are not editors - while they may find a grammatical error or typo, what they really do is help an author understand if the story works, if it's authentic.

6. Forgetting That It's a Marathon, Not a Sprint: If you're going to publish a book, you have to be in it for the long haul. Those "overnight" success stories are never true. By the time you've heard of the author they've already put in years working on their writing, getting published, and building a following. Approach your marketing with the long-term in mind.

7. Not Knowing That Timing Matters: This is where a writing, publishing, and marketing plan comes in handy. If you want reviews, you need to build that into your publication schedule because if you seek major review sites or publications, they'll want a copy of your book at least two to three months before it's published. If you want a distributor for your book, it's going to take some time for them to get your book placed. Work out these dates in a flexible plan (to cover for anything that will go awry, this does happen) for publishing your book.

8. Overlooking the Importance of Your Website: Your website is your 24/7 sales hub, and unless you know how to convert web visitors into buyers, you should find a professional to design your site. DIY websites rarely sell books, nor do they help an author’s ranking in Google search. These things matter, and that’s why having your friend’s teenage son design your site is probably not a good idea – unless he knows all about web conversion and SEO.

9. Not Building Relationships: Are you getting book reviews, interviews, or other coverage? If so, be sure to thank them for taking the time to review your book or interview you. These not-so-little things do matter in the long haul. These are people you can approach for your second, third, and subsequent books - and your requests will be successful if you've taken the time to build relationships. I can't believe how rarely authors take the time to say thank you, when that little step can go a long way toward developing a following.

10. Not Trusting Your Team: If you're hiring people to help you publish and/or market your book, trust their advice. You chose them for a reason (I hope), so take advantage of their expertise. Look for someone with a good track record in the industry who understands the market. Then let them do what you've hired them to do - otherwise, what's the point?

Publishing and promoting a book is a huge challenge, and authors often feel overwhelmed by a myriad of choices. But focusing on a few key areas can be the difference between a book that finds traction versus one that gets lost in the crowd. In the end, it’s worth the time to invest in your book, your team, and your promotion.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner August 2014


Champions come in all shapes and sizes,
Every color the rainbow imagines,
Reaching for stars in a far distant galaxy,
Braced and prepared for the battles ahead.

Rising from underdog,
Capturing moments of untold adventure
With banners unfurled.
Aware of the fanfare but unfazed by fame
From a frilled flock of followers
Riding the wave.

Pulling on bootstraps,
Constantly focused,
Flaunting due diligence,
Always prepared.
Riding the wind on the winged steed of glory,
Humble in victory,
Grateful to win.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Making the Grade

Year after year of brain-stretching agony
Bending the limits of tempered endurance,
Tables and intos and plus-minus posers
Til X becomes Y becomes, magically, Z.

Long-winded tales filled with dates and dead people
Wasted on battlefields far, far away.
Stories of Camelot, Sherwood and Hannibal
Camped beneath bed sheets with flashlight in tow.

Cries of rebellion for useless assignments
Fall on deaf ears, go completely unheard.
Oft being quoted, “Oh, you’ll thank me later.”
Though never quite clear when this “later” occurs.

Days wrought with dread of those sheets lined with questions,
Problems and essays and multiple choices.
Waiting for marks through unbearable agony,
Never quite sure…
Never quite sure…

Time marches sideways through twelve years of prison,
Forced into labor ‘til all due is paid.
Finally, time boldly steps to the future,
Silent and thankful for making the grade.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Friday, August 15, 2014

How Authors Can Profit From Teleseminars and Webinars

by Dana Lynn Smith

Teleseminars and webinars are a terrific way for authors to share the message of their book, do educational presentations, conduct virtual conferences, interview other authors and experts, hold group coaching sessions, and more.

Using a teleseminar service, the host sets up a "bridge line" for participants to dial into at the appointed time, and then does a presentation. Programs can be presented by single speaker, done in an interview format with two or more people, or conducted as Q&A or coaching sessions.

A webinar or webcast is similar to a teleseminar, but participants are able to view visuals, such as a slideshow, during the presentation.

Here are just a few of the benefits of hosting your own teleseminars or webinars:

• The events are free or very low cost to produce.
• There's no travel expense and you can conduct the event from the comfort of your home or office.
• It's a great way to build your reputation as an expert in your field and to build your mailing list with the names of attendees, which can lead to sales in the future.
• You can make money by charging for the event or by conducting a free teleseminar and then offering attendees a paid product or service at the end of the presentation.
• Another way to profit is to repurpose your teleseminar content into other products such as audio programs, ebooks and home study courses.

There are also many benefits to attendees:

• It's easy for participants to attend via their phone or computer, with no travel required.
• Usually a recording of the session is available for those who are not available at the time of the call.
• Most teleseminars have a question and answer session, allowing audience members to participate and get input from the speaker.
• Participants can learn a lot in a short period of time.

As a teleseminar or webinar host, you’ll need to organize details such as these:

• Choose a teleseminar service provider and decide whether to offer recordings afterward.
• Determine the format, length, date and time for your event.
• Decide whether to require advance registration and how to handle registration.
• Decide how much to charge and how to collect money from attendees.
• Prepare an outline and/or script, and produce PowerPoint slides if necessary.
• Promote the event and send reminders and follow-ups to registrants.
• Coordinate with any other speakers.

Put the power of teleseminars and webinars to work for you and you'll be on your way to profiting from virtual events.

About the Author

Dana Lynn Smith, the Savvy Book Marketer, teaches authors how to sell more books through her blog, newsletter, guidebooks, and training programs. Her How to Make Money with Teleseminars and Webinars program will teach you everything you need to know to ensure a smooth running and profitable event. Get more book marketing tips at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WITS Book Reviews August 2014

Book Title: Attracting Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off
Author: Zaheen Nanji
Publisher: Aviva Publishing
Genre: Health and Fitness
Publication Date: October 19, 2013
Book Length in Pages: 48
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

This is not just another diet book. In fact, it’s not really a diet book at all. Instead, Zaheen Nanji has incorporated her life coaching and her passion for Law of Attraction into a new way of eating—and living. Attracting Your Idea Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off explores the relationship between how we view food and how we view life.

The book is geared towards people who are ready to delve into the reasons behind their struggle with weight, as this is only way to permanently transcend the obstacles. For example, many women sabotage their diets because their husbands may be uncomfortable with them becoming thinner and therefore potentially more attractive to other men. Attracting Your Ideal Weight teaches us how to heal these other issues even as we are improving our physical health.

Nanji’s plan does include nutritional planning and healthy food choices, but unlike so many diet plans, it does not include self-denial. It’s all about changing one’s mindset. For example, if one of her clients wants a cookie, she encourages them to choose another, healthier food that will satisfy that craving for sweets. Eating a Fiber One or a granola bar will stave away the craving and keep him/her empowered and motivated.

More importantly, Attracting Your Ideal Weight does not focus on society’s fluctuating—and often unattainable—standards of beauty. The person’s goal is not to be thin, but to reach the weight at which they feel comfortable in the own skin. Success is measured not by the size of their clothes, but the ease with which they move in them.

The best part of this book is that it gives us the tools to change many areas of our lives, not just the number on the scale.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Podcast Schedules August 2014

WAO Podcast

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people from all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey 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 metaphysical shows are archived at feed:// You will also find us on iTunes. Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information:

This month’s interactive call includes group coaching for empaths on August 12th at 2 p.m., central time. Learn more about the group coaching calls at

WITS 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.

On August 1, author, life coach and Law of Attraction expert Zaheen Nanji was our guest on the WITS podcast. ‎To listen to the interview and learn about Zaheen's upcoming workshops, visit:

Friday, August 8, 2014

WITS Announcements August 2014

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you 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

Writers in the Sky’s Deborah Wilbrink has been chosen competitively to present a workshop at the annual conference of the Association of Personal Historians. Print on Demand? Your EZ Guide to Online Publishing will explore the different online publishing platforms and sites, and teach what questions to ask and where to look for answers before you choose a site for your project. Perfect for those lost in the maze of internet publishing options, and those new to online publishing. Deborah's presentation is October 25 in St. Louis, Missouri. She is a consultant editor, ghostwriter and personal historian. Contact Deborah to give workshops to your group or for private coaching. See events 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 for only $7.00.
Dennis Martin’s latest book, So You Want to be a Writer: Discovering and Developing the Writer Within, is now published and available on!

This book covers a wide variety of areas in the craft of writing; from poetry, novels, plays and even screenwriting. Dennis shares his 50+ years of experience in hopes of inspiring others to enter the fascinating field of writing and explore the writing life. Other books Dennis has written (Including novels and poetry collections) are also available from his Amazon Author’s Page:
Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
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
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
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, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Editor's Corner August 2014

Welcome to the August 2014 edition of the Writers in the Sky Newsletter!

If you’re like most authors, you divide your time between writing your book and wondering if there is a market for it. While this is a legitimate concern, it’s important to concentrate on what inspired you to write in the first place: you have a story to share with the world.

For the past few weeks, the Aspects of Writing radio show has focused on writing from life experience and has featured guests who take the adage “write what you know” to a whole new level. Nancy Nelson, Linda Jarosz and Renee Mollen-Masters are three exceptional women who have channeled their life experiences into their writing. Nancy’s collection of poems, Blue.River.Apple, expresses and processes her feelings about being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. Renee used her childhood frustration in school to create a program, You Are Smarter Than You Think. It explores different ways in which people learn and discusses how teachers and parents can facilitate learning for all children. Linda Jarosz has used her experiences in a fifty-five-and-older community as the backdrop for her novel, Detour: Fossil Creek Estates.

So the next time you’re wondering whether your personal story makes a marketable story, remember that your book may help someone else who is going through the same thing. It may teach them how to deal with a challenge, recover from a trauma, or even laugh their way through one.

And be sure to tune in to Aspects of Writing every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. EST. It covers the craft and business of writing from every angle, and features traditionally and self-published authors across all genres. I learn something from every show, and I know you will too. The show airs on KLAV 1230 AM. You can also visit the show’s Youtube channel to listen to past shows.

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

Friday, August 1, 2014

Join Us for a Conversation With Author and Weight Loss Specialist Zaheen Nanji

It was a great pleasure to speak once again with author, weight loss guru and life coach Zaheen Nanji. Zaheen, who owns the Shanti Wellness Centre in Canada, was on the show last year after contributing to the anthology, Unlock the Power of You: 12 Keys to Health, Happiness and Success. This time, she spoke about her own book, Attracting Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off. The book is an outgrowth of her workshops on the same topic.
What makes Zaheen's approach to weight loss unique is that she explores the connection between our relationship with food and our relationship with life. "Ideal weight does not mean thin," she said, "it's the point at which you are comfortable in your skin and your clothes." It's also about being comfortable in their lives. Zaheen challenges her coaching clients to figure out, not only why they became overweight, but the hidden barriers to achieving weight loss success. They usually find they are carrying around limiting beliefs, often from childhood, that affect how they interact with their spouses, families, friends...and food.  

You don't have to be struggling with weight to get something out of this book. Its principals are rooted in psychology and universal laws and can help you improve any area of your life. Click here to listen to the podcast. 

In December, Zaheen is launching a six-week home study course to go with the book. And in January, she will host an online weight loss training. Also six weeks, this group coaching class includes a  phone call each week to keep everyone on track. One-on-one coaching is also available for those who prefer it. The class will hold only ten people, so sign up soon!

Attracting Your Ideal Weight: 8 Secrets of People Who Lose Weight and Keep it Off is currently available as an e-book on Amazon and iBooks. The print book, which includes a workbook, is available at  or at the Shanti Wellness Centre.  You can also connect with Zaheen on Facebook and Twitter.