Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Tips & Bits for Marketing in 2011: 6th Day till New Year

Taking Risks
by Zoe Sherwood
author of "Messengers from Eden"
and "Gentle Waves: Affirmations for You"
Zoe Sherwood is currently working on Book 3 in her new series print published by Az Publishing Services, LLC.

Gentle Friends:  Reflections for Now for 2011.
Here is an excerpt from this upcoming book. 

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. –Amelia Earhart

Taking risks is all that matters. If we don’t take risks, sometimes big ones,
we don’t live at all. We just settle for mediocrity and don’t believe in our dreams.

Dreams don’t come from us, they come from the Universe--desires, feelings and dreams are our signposts on a journey far more important than we thought we had in front of us. Take a risk.

Change is only scary because we’re afraid we will be worse off than before.
In actuality, we have a fifty/fifty chance to get something better, to become a better person along the way.  Those odds are tremendous.

In my world, a 50% chance is darn near a sure thing.
So take a risk.
Many of us once only had a 2% chance of survival.
I take 50% any day. To live. Life. At its fullest.
Take a risk.
If things aren’t great right away, wait a little.


On asking Zoe whether she thought a memoire book was fiction or non-fiction, she stated, "Definitely non-fiction." 
Other Books available now:
or directly through the publisher with FREE SHIPPING at  

Book Tips & Bits for Marketing in 2011: Author's Virtual Assistants

Finding Help for the Busy Author

by Jan B. King 
Founder, eWomenPublishingNetwork
and a Virtual Author Assistant Trainer


Marketing Tip on 7th day till New Year: 

Create articles that will stand the test of time. 
I created 20 articles over 5 years ago to promote my book and not a month goes by that one of those articles is used by a new source (literally, not a month). I did almost all my articles as top 5, 7, 9 or 10 lists. Two of my lists were picked up by the New York Times online over the past two years. Investor’s Business Daily did a full column on me and my book three years after the book came out. Look back at your book to create the lists or make new lists when subjects seem relevant to what the news media might be looking for.

Finding Help for the Busy Author
The author's assistant does a wide variety of work, and may specialize in one or more aspects of the author's workload.
The author's assistant spends time on the phone setting appointments, doing research and fact checking, helping authors obtain any permissions required, answering author questions and explaining the publishing process, finding high-value service providers like editors, proofreaders, printers and more, following up with individuals who will be reviewing the manuscript, setting speaking engagements and more. Many author's assistants can handle all the complexities of Amazon bestseller campaigns and virtual book tours.

What kinds of writers/authors use virtual author's assistants?

A busy entrepreneur writing a book and your Intellectual Property attorney tells you that you need to get permission for everyone you quoted in your book and for your the information that came from business research firms.

A business consultant writing a book and you don't have time to organize all the client proposals, emails, articles, blog posts and more you want to use as source material for your book.

A life coach writing the 2nd edition of your book and although your facts and statistics were thoroughly checked when you originally wrote your book five years ago, they may not be current or accurate any longer. And where did they come from back then anyway?

A financial planner who regularly give seminars to others in your industry around the country. You need someone who can make sure the books you've written for the seminar materials are professional quality, and printed and delivered on time. Where are you going to find the time to do that yourself? A health professional who although you know about health, don't know anything about social networking. Where are you going to find the time to twitter, update your Facebook status and send out a regular newsletter to your clients?

A speaker who has books, CDs, DVDs and more that you need to be ready to sell at the back-of-the-room where you are, no matter where that is. Who has time to prepare keynotes and ship books?

What is the typical background of an author's assistant?

An author's assistant may have worked for a long time in a corporate career in publishing or may have been an executive or virtual assistant for some time. Many author's assistants do this work as a second income and may work primarily as writers, editors, proofreaders, graphic designers or web designers.

Author's assistants typically love books and the world of books and so they have a real passion for making authors successful.

How does an author's assistant become professionally certified?

There is only one international training program to professionally certify author's assistants. The first level of certification is the Professional Virtual Author's Assistant (PVAA). To become a PVAA, an individual must take many hours of instruction with put in additional hours required for practice in the skills required and then complete a rigorous final examination. This assures you that a PVAA is ready to do the work the author needs in a competent and professional manner.

There is a second level of certification for individuals who have extensive experience in working with authors who have recommended them for certification. This level is called the MVAA, Master Virtual Author's Assistant certification.
There is a directory of professional certified author’s assistants at www.AuthorsAssistants.com.

The 4 Biggest Reasons Every Author Should Count on an Author’s Assistant

Author’s assistants are well known inside the publishing world, but not recognized by many outside of it. We predict that will change very soon because of the increasing numbers of authors who are getting published, either as independent publishers themselves or the more traditional route with established publishers.

Every big-time author has an author’s assistant – someone the author can call on to do the amazing number of tasks that surround the successful completion, publishing and marketing of a book. But first-time authors are lucky – they can have author’s assistants, too – virtually.

A new author can pay for just the time and expertise needed, without having to create a staff, making a virtual author’s assistant an important part of an author’s success. Here are the four biggest reasons this is an essential member of the author’s success team:

1. There is just too much work for one person. Most new and aspiring authors have day jobs as professionals, solopreneurs or employees. Few authors have the luxury of working on writing, publishing and marketing their books full time. Some of the work to be done is deadline-oriented and is more than one part-time person can handle.

2. An author’s assistant has special expertise. Look for someone with training and experience in doing what you need done – from preparing a manuscript, to doing a competitive analysis, to coordinating a self publishing process to running a virtual book tour or an Amazon best seller campaign. Author’s assistants can do all this and much more. They understand the industry, the technology and have already established resources and connections.

3. The cost is greater when you do it yourself. There is a high learning curve for anyone who has never made the publishing journey. Whether the author is paid $70 an hour or $270 an hour as a coach, therapist, attorney or entrepreneur, the author’s assistant is a tremendous value at a much lower per-hour cost. With an author’s assistant the author has the freedom to concentrate on those things only the author can do, especially writing the best book he or she can. Expect to pay from $30 to $60 an hour (and it goes higher with greater expertise) for a qualified virtual assistant.

4. The synergy of the collaborative effort. There is nothing that inspires work like someone waiting for it. An author’s assistant is there to help you take each step so precious little time goes by between your writing and preparation for publishing and marketing. If you set the date, the author’s assistant will be there with support and encouragement to help you make it happen.

If you haven’t worked virtually before, talk to someone who has. Most people who start are hooked. One of the keys to success to have clarity about the tasks you want to have done and the payment arrangements – and then to memorialize these in a contract. Another key is to find someone with demonstrated training and experience since the first-time author may be in the dark about what the tasks actually are. 

Take it from the established successful authors, don’t go it alone. Get the support you need and you will be well on your way to publishing success.

What Kinds of Interview Questions Should I Ask Potential Assistants?

You should always interview any author’s assistant you are considering working with to make sure you are comfortable with his or her level of skills and that the working chemistry will be right between you. You might consider questions like this:

* What kind of training have you received as an author’s assistant?
* Have you been certified as a Professional Virtual Author's Assistant (PVAA)?
* Will you be able to handle my eBook and my CD development as well?
* Do you like working on tight deadlines?
* Tell me about the other authors you have worked with.
* What kind of progress reporting can I expect?
* Can you help me find the right editor for this book project?

Jan B. King
Founder, eWomenPublishingNetwork

Book Tips & Bits for Marketing in 2011: 8th Day till New Year

Book Marketing Tip: Finding your Audience
by Todd VanHooser

author of "The Barren Twelve" and "The Lamplighter Collection"

also the developer of "Adventures Under The Laughing Moon Role-Playing Game"

Don’t expect your audience to find you.  Instead, find your audience.

In this day and age, everyone and their brother can publish a book.  The fact that you have your own work in hand does not mean that readers will instantly come knocking.  In fact, now more than ever, the competition is fierce.  If you hope to sell to more than just your friends and family, that means hitting the pavement with book in hand.  You need to build an audience and leave them wanting more.

Be willing to put some money behind  your  marketing efforts.  Pay for an appealing cover that forces a reader to pick up the book.  Books ARE judged by their cover, despite what old cliché you may have heard. Purchase booth space at local events,  and be willing to burn some gas in your efforts to broaden your reach.

Look into your local convention scene. This is a great way to talk to potential readers and to begin creating a name for yourself.  Not only can you get in contact with potential readers, you can network with others in the industry. Some local bookstores might offer up a day to do a book signing or even a reading.  Create fliers, cards, mailers, and get the word out there.

Remember, you are your own best marketing tool.  No one knows your material as well as you, and ultimately, no one wants this to succeed more than you.  You cannot afford to be shy in this industry.

Create an expectation for your work, then find the audience so you can put your book into their hands. 
To see my marketing efforts visit http://www.toddvanhooser.com

EXCERPT from "The Barren Twelve" 
or directly through the publisher with FREE SHIPPING at  

Chapter 1
Dragon’s Hollow

Restless for the first time in two decades, Shydian stirred in her sleep and the cavern around her echoed with the hiss of her escaping breath. The listless dream that encased her mind wavered as the dead air of the cave was infused with an unexpected fresh breeze.  Carried on that breeze was the scent of intruders. This was real.  Tangible.  At long last, the outside world slipped beneath the velvety veil of conjured dreams.
She struggled against the bonds of her slumber.  Dreaming in a magical prison of sleep, Shydian, like the other dragons, knew a false world painted by sorcery.  Only partially aware of their true cavernous surroundings, the dragons drowned in images borne on an enchanted whisper.  Again and again the lilting words of the Senduan Mystics lulled them into greater depths of slumber. Words spun endlessly, caught in an infinite lullaby. Dimly, far below the tumultuous dreamscape to which they were tethered, the dragons were aware of their predicament.  They were aware, but lacked the willpower to overcome the grip of the magicians’ spell.  Shydian was a slave within her mind, but the spell itself was delicate.  Like a thin glaze of ice upon a thawing pond.
Even the slightest disturbance could create the crack necessary for escape. The sinuous nature of the incantation depended greatly on the secluded setting of the dragon’s lair. Any disturbance to the nest risked granting the dragons the necessary willpower to overcome the spell. So it was that Shydian tested the magical bonds and found they were not as strong as she remembered.
        She inhaled the scent of the intruders, and in her dreams the mortals took gauzy, indistinct form. Humans, mostly.  Smelling of leather and sweat and fear. They stood beyond the mouth of the cave, soundlessly gazing across the fire-blasted floor, squinting into the oppressive gloom. She could smell their anxiety; their fear mixed with excitement. The mounds of treasure glinted in the darkness and caught their greedy eyes, but even in the dreamscape she understood this was not their goal.  The dragon could feel their small, mortal minds bent on some particular purpose, and it was this purpose that overcame their immediate fear.
        Shydian swam against the current of magical repose, reaching for the surface of lucidity.

Book Tips & Bits for Marketing in 2011: 9th Day till New Year

by Don Wiest
author of "The Expendable Pawn"

As the author of a Christian-based book, I am sometimes asked if I might offer some words of wisdom which might inspire other writers who are contemplating a similar project. At first this seemed the equivalent of asking me to articulate the musical nuances of “The Nutcracker Suite” to a rap artist…I imagine, a very difficult thing to do! Then I realized that what makes this task seem so daunting is that the human machine deals with a unique concept called individuality. Each person’s ability to paint pictures with words is primarily driven by a series of sensual inputs coupled with a dynamic library of life experiences which we can retrieve and play back at will. Of course, there in lays the great trap because we, as individual writers, must conceive of ways to put pen to paper in such a way, that it will trigger playback emotions within the reader’s mind, which are similar to our perceived experiences.

For a Christian writer, this task becomes even more difficult because we are dealing with a seemingly ethereal Creator who, for complex reasons, chooses to remain elusive and mysterious…especially through all of the senses He has seen fit to bless humans with. So in the absence of sensual input which might otherwise offer irrefutable proof of our Creator’s existence, to what resource can a Christian writer reach for in order to sufficiently stimulate the reader’s mind? Perhaps another way to couch this question is how do we write convincingly about a Creator to whom we know so little about?

My “could have had a V-8” moment came when I stopped thinking of myself as a author and instead began visualizing myself as more of a scribe. I know, I know, to a writer there is nothing more inglorious than to identify one’s self as someone who merely copies down words rather than creates them! Ah, but then again, consider for a moment just who the author’s are.  The word “author” is plural not singular because, if this mental transition progresses as it should, you will discover that there are actually three individuals who are dictating to you. For me, Their roles became clearer after I committed to, and was subsequently accepted, for the dictation position. It was during the numerous prayerful conferences that I realized God was the Planner, Jesus Christ was the Creator, and the Holy Spirit was the Revealer.

Here’s how it worked; God had already developed a predestined plan to reach certain persons with a book called “The Expendable Pawn”. When Jesus Christ, the Creator made me, he blessed me with a passionate curiosity to explore and write. He then coupled this with a lifetime of specific events which I, of course, was quite unable to appreciate until the Holy Spirit revealed to me the purpose and design behind those experiences. The result was that all three participated with the “wordsmithing” phase of development which then determined the final content of the book itself! 

What all this means is that if you feel inspired to write on a Christian based topic, don’t stress out over the content and methodology. Relax and understand that it has already been conceived and planned in the mind of God Himself. Jesus has already created you with the specific talents needed to execute the project, and the Holy Spirit will reveal the purpose and timing of the project when the Author’s feel you are ready to start receiving dictation. The only thing you need to concentrate on is the interview. After all, if you don’t develop a genuine desire to sell yourself, with respect to your talents, then why would the Author’s be motivated to consider you as the one who should complete the project? 

It is also important to point out that the first interview, as well as the subsequent work sessions, should be a two-way communication process. In other words, here’s your opportunity to learn more about your Bosses! Don’t forget to be a good listener…after all, how can They dictate if you’re not listening? Make adequate preparations before the initial interview and be prepared to ask, as well as answer, lots of questions about how best to work together on the project while developing a lasting relationship that will transcend the project itself.

Here is a secret They usually don’t tell you right off the bat. I’m sharing this with you because I know it will give you a leg up during the interview process. The fact is They are as excited and enthusiastic about working with you as you are to work with Them! In fact the more you let Them talk, the more you will come to realize the depth of Their love for you so don’t be in a hurry to finish the project. You will know if the working relationship is proceeding as it should because you will experience an inexpressible desire to cultivate a bond of devotion and loyalty that you will find truly addicting and difficult to live without. Come to think about it, it can’t be all that bad for your writing career either!

EXCERPT from "The Expendable Pawn"
or directly through the publisher with FREE SHIPPING at  
Taken from the introduction in the book:
This book also explores the ways God could have actually precipitated
the Flood through the use of natural laws and forces which would better
serve to harmonize more directly with what has been forwarded through
fairly recent cosmological and Earth science discoveries. While nothing
can be known for sure, it was a fascinating challenge to explore this evidence
and combine it with biblical references to arrive at possible “what
if ” speculations which might better harmonize with science yet feature
the added advantages of a Christian-based perspective.

In this same vein, it was also fascinating to explore another topic usually
not addressed in the typical Sunday school class. What did Noah actually
see when the hatches of the Ark were opened? What did this world really
look like, and what might have been the first impressions as the eight
of them gazed out over the new landscape? How did they manage to
survive while at the same time establishing a firm foundation for human
re-colonization? Even with all the technological accoutrements we have
at our disposal today to help us survive in harsh climate conditions, we
would be hard pressed to actually sustain such an effort for extended periods
of time without succumbing to a debilitating and hopeless despair.
It is difficult to imagine this ongoing titanic struggle in conjunction with
drastically changed meteorological conditions, family rearing, establishing
permanent settlements, raising crops, hunting, fishing, and re-discovering
land masses that had been completely altered beyond all recognition.

Discerning answers to the above questions and speculating on the many
possible “what ifs” created the incentive of this work. The overall purpose
is to explore life in the pre-Flood world, drill down to the core issues
surrounding the somewhat tenuous relationship between man and his
Creator, and examine the conditions which existed before and after the
Flood. The foundation of this effort is based on biblical Scriptures, but
it also integrates certain archaeological discoveries and scientific evidence
which deserve serious attention yet are often not objectively considered
in a work of this type.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Book Tips & Bits for Marketing in 2011: 10th Day till New Year

Inspirational Writing

by Robb F.

I am asked now and again how I write my books, which are spiritually based "lessons learned" of my journey through life.  When I get an idea for an essay it usually comes following a period of meditation or even just "out of the blue."

When I get ready to write I just sit down at my keyboard, get quiet and then wait.  Whatever I need to write just seems to flow out.

Often times I am surprised by what I write and sometimes I start off in one direction and the flow will end up somewhere else entirely different.  I was telling this to a friend who is struggling with some writing the other day
and she said, "That's it!  Be quiet!  That's probably the key!"  She always had some sort of music or something going on and worrying about this or that.  But getting quiet and letting the flow go seems to be the key!


“So divinely is the world organized that every one of us, in our place and time, is in balance with everything else.”  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German dramatist, poet and scientist (1749-1832)

Being in balance means being in harmony with the world - the Universe - around one.  This brings about a calmness of mind - a feeling of serenity.

God is Pure Harmony, pure Balance.

As we let go of our Human desires, fears, worries and expectations and become more in harmony with God, our life achieves Balance.

Through this inter-connectedness between us and everything in the Universe, we create our lives.

If we are in balance with the world around us, then whatever we do affects that balance of Life.

A good (positive) tone creates a positive harmonic tone.  It spreads out like the ripples in a pond where one throws a stone.

Positive actions and intentions not only allow more positive effects to return to us, but positive actions also have the effect of discharging negative intentions and thus create more pure conscious energy.

It can have a cumulative effect.

Good offsets evil.

Working on positive, life enriching, life bettering actions in one’s life results in a positive return of friendship, peace of mind, calmness of Spirit and whatever one needs in life to survive and succeed.
It’s a law of the Universe.

Thus we create a balance of Life.

from "God Waits Patiently" - Book 2


“I accept the goodness of God.”
Accepting goodness when it is presented or available
can be difficult to do if one is used to having
things the other way.
One of the definitions of “accepting” is “amenable”
or “open”.
Part of the derivation of the word “accept” means: “to
take what is offered,” or “take or receive willingly.”
One must be willing or open to receive the goodness
that is there for the taking.
4 God Waits Patiently
In matters of work, relationships, love, health or finances,
we must somehow let go of our fears, worries,
concerns and hurts from the past. We must be willing to
let God work in and through us, spreading His
We must be willing to let go of our fears. Sometimes
our fears and worries become such a part of us that we
are afraid to lose them. The fears themselves are some
sort of a “comfort zone.” If we have been hurt emotionally
by a prior relationship we must let ourselves release
those hurts and move on into the future - a new future
that we create.
The truth is that the goodness is there all along - it is
our intrinsic nature, it is the nature of God to be good.
It is our true nature to be happy, loving, prosperous
and healthy.
Learning to accept that can make all the difference in
the world!

or directly through the publisher with FREE SHIPPING at  
To find both of Robb's books in our line-up and his upcoming book this spring.