• From: "Bruce Cook, AuthorMe.com" <cookcomm@xxxxxxx>
  • To: authorme@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 19:20:31 -0800 (PST)

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In this issue...

--WRITE A HOW-TO FIRST, by Patricia L. Fry


--Impartial review of your book. Send a complimentary copy (including any Press 
Release you have, plus a short bio and your e-mail address - Required) to Cook 
Communication, P.O. Box 451, Dundee IL 60118 USA.  ReserveBooks.com reserves 
the right to choose which titles to review.


By Jim Barnes

"Wind howled through the night, carrying a scent that would change the world." 

So begins the young adult fantasy novel Eragon, by teenaged author Christopher 
Paolini, who did change the world of self-published fiction in America, by 
becoming the biggest publishing success story of the new millennium. Eragon has 
sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide, and the sequel, Eldest has already sold 
a million copies since its 2005 release. 
This is by no means a common outcome for today’s fledgling author. For the vast 
majority of unpublished authors, rejection is a fact of life.

Come to think of it, most successful contemporary authors began their careers 
with horror stories about the numerous rejections they endured. As major 
publishers become larger and more bestseller-oriented, unknown authors are 
finding it ever more difficult to get a contract. 

Hence, self-publishing is the solution many authors choose when they get the 
Rejection Slip Blues. Produced properly, a self-published book should look as 
good or better than a royalty-published book. Especially if you hire expert 
help, self-publishing is fairly easy. It’s selling a self-published book that’s 
hard. The odds of achieving bestseller status are long, but hey, what’s to 
lose, besides your time, money and self-esteem?

It does happen. Long shots do win, and the world of arts and entertainment 
loves original ideas, new talent, and fresh voices. Who knows, maybe your book 
will get discovered and end up as a big blockbuster holiday movie! (Eragon, the 
movie, was released on Dec. 15, 2006 and had earned $234 million worldwide as 
of Jan. 25, 2007.)

Montana-born and home-schooled Christopher Paolini was no overnight sensation. 
The teen-aged Paolini and his family truly paid their dues with huge amounts of 
effort, using their can-do attitude to get the book in print -- he even drew 
the cover illustration himself. Once the book was printed, the real work began, 
as Paolini tirelessly hawked and talked his way to regional success with 
readers and booksellers --sometimes dressing in medieval costume -- and got 
enough copies out there to make it easier for a miracle happen. To wit: the 
stepson of author Carl Hiasson saw Paolini’s presentation at his school, 
purchased and read the book, and the rest is publishing history.

This tireless pavement-pounding is also how Richard Paul Evans launched The 
Christmas Box franchise -- one book at a time, from the trunk of his car. For 
Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, it was tirelessly promoting Chicken Soup 
for the Soul with on-air interviews –- they’re proud to say they never turned 
one down, no matter how obscure. Sandra Haldeman Martz started a nationwide 
movement of women celebrating the aging process with When I Am an Old Woman I 
Shall Wear Purple and achieved her company’s initial success purely with 
word-of-mouth advertising.
What did they all have in common?

They promoted themselves and their books shamelessly and tirelessly.

They made sure their books were well-edited and had great cover designs.

They knew their markets, and knew how to write for and promote to customers in 
those markets.

They had excellent elevator speeches, and knew exactly how to describe their 
books to various age groups and different kinds of people.

This is speculation on my part, but I bet they also knew how to close the sale. 
Yes, self-publishing is for closers. You need to know how to close the deal, 
whether it’s asking for the sale of a single book, getting a testimonial or 
review, or landing a distribution contract. 

Not only does the successful self-publisher have to deliver a great product 
that will appeal to a sizeable reading audience, but you must also become a 
killer salesperson, a stunning pubic speaker, and a tireless promoter. Be 
prepared to wear out both a pair of shoes and a set of tires, and to go through 
a lot of throat lozenges before you walk down that red carpet to your movie 

To review:
To be a bestselling author today, all you have to do is have your novel made 
into a blockbuster movie, with sequel, video game, and action figures.

Barring that, all you have to do is have your book made into a movie that does 
modest box office but is well-thought-of by the critics.

Barring that, all you have to do is appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show with your 

Barring that, all you have to do is appear in O the Oprah Magazine with your 

Barring that, all you have to do is appear in a Playboy centerfold (without) 
your book.

Barring any of these things happening, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned 
way, self-promoting your book with lots of hard work and endless enthusiasm. 

Jim Barnes is editor of INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER ONLINE the Web-based electronic 
magazine with news, reviews, and how-to’s for independent authors and 
publishers. IPO sponsors the annual INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER BOOK 
AWARDS contest, dedicated to "Recognizing Excellence in Independent Publishing" 
since 1996, and parent company Jenkins Group, Inc. provides independent authors 
with a full range of custom book publishing, consulting, and marketing 
services. Visit the websites www.IndependentPublisher.com and 
www.BookPublishing.com for more information.


by Patricia L. Fry

by Patricia L. Fry
President - Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network (SPAWN)

Are you eager to write a novel, a memoir or a children’s book, but you are 
intimidated by the enormity of the task? If you’ve done your research, you know 
that publishing is a daunting undertaking. And there are no guarantees that 
your book will be successful. 

Countless people become authors without knowing the ropes. And many of them 
That’s why I suggest to clients and SPAWN members that they start by publishing 
a sure thing. A sure thing in publishing, you scoff? Absolutely. Produce a 
how-to book or booklet on a topic that you know well. Self-publish it and 
distribute it through familiar channels. 

Let’s say that you grow kitchen herbs. First, do some research to see if there 
is a need for a pamphlet or booklet on how to grow a kitchen garden, how to 
cook with herbs, simple medicinal products you can mix at home or 10 crafts you 
can make using lavender.

Maybe you have small children. You could put together a booklet featuring rainy 
day activities for kids, local day trips for families or teaching tips for 
keeping your kids minds sharp during the summer break.
If you raise goats, respond to letters to Santa, collect vintage clothing, love 
to ride roller coasters, have patented an item, love gardening, have a disabled 
child, work with the blind or rescue injured birds, you have information that 
others don’t have and possibly need or want. Producing a pamphlet or booklet is 
an excellent way to share your knowledge while learning the publishing ropes.

What if you don’t have a particular skill, talent or area of interest? Choose a 
subject you’d like to know more about, do the research, conduct interviews and 
write about it. I’ve written about numerous topics in which I didn’t have vast 
experience, including chain letters, journal-keeping, long-distance 
grandparenting, intuition, scrapbooking, therapeutic gardening and how to work 
with an irate customer, for example. 

Once you’ve chosen a subject for your booklet, write a book proposal. A book 
proposal will help you to determine whether you have a valid book idea at all. 
You’ll learn who your target audience is. A book proposal guides you in 
locating outlets for your book. This is an excellent opportunity for you to 
experience the book proposal process. And when you are ready to write that 
novel, memoir or children’s book, you’ll have a model to use.

How does one go about promoting a book? In the case of a booklet on herbs, 
perhaps you belong to an organization related to herbs, have a Web site 
featuring herbs, produce a newsletter for herb enthusiasts and love to visit 
other herb groups when you travel. Plan to use these means to promote and sell 
your booklet.

Promotional opportunities for the rainy day activities booklet might include a 
point-of- purchase display at local toy stores and children’s shops. You could 
design and write a column for a new regional parenting magazine. Obtain a 
mailing list of young parents and offer your booklet through mail order. 

Your 20-50-page booklet could become a home-grown product with you doing the 
cover design, page layout, printing and assembly, for example. Or pay a local 
business center to print and saddle-stitch the book.

While no two projects are the same, this publishing and marketing experience 
will provide you with the skills and tools you need for future projects. And it 
will give you the perspective to more clearly evaluate the potential for the 
book of your dreams, the courage to change the focus if you feel it is 
warranted and the confidence to proceed.

Patricia Fry is a freelance writer, author and writing/publishing consultant. 
She is the author of 25 books, including, "The Right Way to Write, Publish and 
Sell Your Book," (Matilija Press, 2006). www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. 
Visit her informative blog at www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog. 


by Sandy Tritt

     The greatest novel in the history of the universe will never reach 
publication if the author does not have a decent command of the English 
language. If your grammar needs a brush up, consider taking a grammar course at 
your local college, or at least invest in a good grammar text and study it. 
Most of the manuscripts I see have decent grammar. However, there are still 
some common mistakes that I see too often. Here are some solutions:

• Maintain tense. Changing from past tense to present tense within a scene is 
(almost) never acceptable.
• Check spelling. With all the spell check features available, there is no 
excuse for misspelling words. 
• Don’t always trust spell check. Many spell check editors remove hyphens 
between compound adjectives that precede a noun, such as “well-known writer.” 
Also be careful not to automatically accept the suggested alternative spelling, 
and be sure to proof your work for the use of the correct word.
• Spell out state names, “okay,” units of measure, people’s names, months, and 
days of the week. It is okay to abbreviate titles that come before or after 
proper names (Mrs. Smith, Dr. John Doe, MD), BC and AD, initials of famous 
people (JFK, LBJ), corporations best known by their initials (TCI, IBM), 
organizations (YMCA, FBI), and universities (WVU, UCLA). It is also okay to use 
other acronyms, as long as they are generally understood or as long as the 
first time they are used the full name is included in parentheses afterwards.
• Punctuation goes inside quotation marks. “Learning the correct grammar,” 
Sandy said, “can be interesting.”
• Use double quotation marks for dialogue. When it is necessary to make a quote 
within dialogue, use single quotation marks. “Sandy said, ‘Watch using single 
• Keep your sentences parallel in construction. For example: “Johnny brought 
his mother’s diary, handkerchief, and his father’s wallet for show and tell.” 
Was the handkerchief his mother’s or someone else’s?

I also see certain words misused with some frequency. These include:
• Lay/Lie. Definitely the most common error I run into. And no wonder. In 
present tense, lay means to cause to lie down or to place. It requires an 
object. Example: “He laid his hat next to his gloves,” where laid (past tense 
of “lay”) is the verb and his hat is the object. Lie means to be or to place 
oneself in a reclining position. Example: “He lies on the bed pretending to 
sleep.” There is no object, nothing that further explains what or who lies, 
because the verb lie modifies the subject of the sentence (in this case, he). 
But it is past tense that trips up 80% of the writers I’ve worked with. The 
past tense of lay is laid. No sweat. BUT—the past tense of lie is lay. Ugh! 
(Any wonder we get confused?) Examples:
Present tense: She lays the book on the table.
Past tense: She laid the book on the table.
Present tense: She lies on the sofa and enjoys the breeze.
Past tense: She lay on the sofa and enjoyed the breeze.
• Alright/All right. Alright is no longer considered an acceptable word. All 
right is the only correct spelling.
• Then/Than. Then means a time or accordingly. Than is a comparison.
• Affect/Effect. Affect is usually a verb meaning “to influence.” Effect is a 
noun, meaning “result.” Drinking does not affect his personality. If fact, it 
seems to have no effect at all.
• Conscience/Conscious. Conscience is a noun meaning having a sense of right 
and wrong. Conscious is an adjective meaning to be aware of.
• Further/Farther. Farther refers to actual, physical distance. Further refers 
to a thought or idea. “It is farther to Nancy’s house than we thought.” “The 
further we go in the discussion, the more apparent it becomes that the parents 
are always right.”
• Each other/One another. Each other is used when only two people are involved. 
One another is used when more than two people are involved. “Jane and Michael 
looked at each other and sighed.” “The Holzen triplets hugged one another.”
• Have/ Of. Use have, not of, after helping verbs such as could, would, should, 
may and might. I should have (not of) known that. I think this confusion occurs 
because of the pronunciation of the contracted have: ‘ve. So, our example 
sentence could have been written: I should’ve known that.

If your grammar exceeds the seventh grade level, you make take literary license 
and “adjust” the grammar as you see fit as long as it serves an artistic 
purpose. Such as using sentence fragments like this one for emphasis. Or 
starting sentences with conjunctions (like this one). However, if it doesn’t 
serve a purpose, use correct grammar so your reader (and publisher!) will 
realize that you do understand the proper way of doing it.
There are many websites devoted to grammar and/or spelling, so don’t hesitate 
to scan the Net for help if you need it. 

(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those listed 
here. The article can be reproduced for educational purposes (such as for 
writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url: 
http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in 
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt at 
www.InspirationForWriters.com.for permission and additional resources at no or 
limited charge.

Keep writing!
Sandy Tritt
Sandy's website:


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Publishing New Writers, February, 2007 (No. 802)
Publisher: Cook Comm - Bruce L. Cook, P.O. Box 451,
Dundee, IL 60118 USA.
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