Time for Teaching and still Beaching…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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My husband told me yesterday to stop thinking about summer being over and to concentrate on enjoying each day of September. He is so right. The days are still sunny and warm, without being oppressive and the nights are comfortably cool. Then he asked me to go on a couple of beach dates. Just another of the million reasons I love that man.

Florida Does Beach Feet

I have some exciting things to look forward to this fall. Not only will I be teaching again but I have been working with a committee since last spring to put together a workshop series sponsored by the Press Club of Pa. They will be held the fourth Saturday of every month (except December.) They will be on social media, branding, style (for men and women), networking, understanding the news, how to get attention from the media for your product, business, store, event, non-profit, blog or book, writing and publishing, pitching your business and more. We have been so lucky to have top experts in these fields offer to join us. We even have a few celebrity guests. I will be writing more about these classes next week!

http://www.thepressclubpa.org

Our Florida adventure has come and gone but I have no doubt we all created memories that will last forever. My husband and I took five of our grandchildren to Daytona Beach to visit my mother and John’s sister. We were worried that at least the driving part would be a nightmare but I have to tell you the kids were so good and we had SO much fun. Kudos to John for renting the top of the line Town & Country minivan equipped with DVD players and satellite radio and kudos to me for creating maps and putting them on corkboard for each child with colored stick pins. One color for cities we stopped in and another color for cities we passed through. They really got into it and now they know how to read a map. We had a great time with family and friends, went Go Karting, to batting cages, the beach, to Zoomair Daytona a zipline adventure and more…

FLORIDA trip the kids by pool FLORIDA Here we go FLORIDA trip maps FLORIDA with Kids Florida beach all 5

During our vacation my laptop kind of crashed and even though there was a TV by the pool the kids always wanted to listen to music so I was forced to detox from my news addiction. After reading this post on Boomeon written by Cathy Chester, taking an occasional news break is going to become a habit for me:

http://www.boomeon.com/posts/taking-a-short-break-from-the-news

Have a safe and fun Labor Day,

Doreen

 

 

 

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Writing Wednesday/ Marketing Part 2 PR

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesdays I like to share bits of information that I picked up on my journey to publication and preparing to be published again. The kind of information I wish someone shared with me.

 

 

 

 

 

MARKETING PART 2

You can find part 1 here:

http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5230

Marketing is composed of Advertising and Public Relations (PR.)

This week I want to talk about PR. It is the communication that is created to show you and your business (book) in the best light possible. Good PR does not just happen. It usually takes serious planning, a lot of effort and patience.

Press Releases fall under the PR category. They should be short, no more than one page and should answer the questions who; what; where; when and why. They should be e-mailed to editors of print media and producers for radio and TV. Editors and producers are extremely busy. Chances are you won’t hear from them but your release could possibly appear in their publication or be mentioned in a community information spot on radio, TV or the stations websites. If you don’t hear from them and your release does not appear chances are they were not interested. Remember lead times if you are submitting to magazines or TV. Many of them plan their publications well in advance. It is never a good idea to call these people. If you put your contact information on your press release they will contact you if they want more information.

Reasons to send a press release for a book:

  1. To announce the release of a book
  2. To announce book readings/signings

Press Releases should not be sent for reviews. They should never contain links or buying information. That is advertising.

Newspaper photo

Talk show hosts, radio announcers and news anchors rarely have authors on to discuss their books. They are more interested in ‘experts’ on a particular current topic. This is where you need to get creative and prepare a pitch sheet. What has the research and the writing of your book taught you? As an example, my first book Bristol boyz Stomp is about the random road rage murder of my younger brother. That loss has made me an expert in road rage statistics, grief and victim services. When a road rage assault occurs, a producer or journalist (because I sent them a pitch sheet) may request an interview with me to discuss road rage statistics, give the victims view or to give listeners tips on how not to become a victim. Your pitch should include a very brief bio (related to your topic,) the reason you are the best person to discuss your topic and a list of talking points (what you are able to comfortably discuss on the topic.) Again make sure there is no advertising in your pitch. In your bio you can mention you wrote a book on the subject.

An agent or publisher is likely to Google your name before they decide to offer you a contract. Make sure there is something for them to see. Is your blog consistent? Is your Twitter page interesting and engaging?

Google Logo

A quick way to increase your online presence is to write letters to the editors of local newspapers on current events. Most papers are quick to post these online. This type of letter, once in print also gives you publishing credibility.

Another part of PR is public speaking and events. If the thought scares you find a way to get past your fear. Approach your local library, your church and your bookstore with a pitch for a writing or blogging workshop, author panel, reading etc… Do these for free until you have established a name for yourself. The first people you should invite to your release party is the media.

Remember, the buzz about your book should always come from readers, reviewers and the media, not from you.

Social media is a clever tool for marketing and PR if used correctly. You must be human, chat about stuff other than your book. Be interesting and relevant. If you start or join interesting conversations with people they will want to know more about you, realize you are a writer and seek out your books.

The success of your book hinges on having a book that has heart; is a compelling story and is professionally produced.

Word of mouth is still an effective PR and advertizing tool however; that word of mouth can snowball if you have a good PR plan. PR can be much more effective than advertising. One mention of you and your book by the media can quickly legitimize you as an author.  PR works best in conjunction with a good advertising plan.

PhillySnaps5

After being cooped up in my office writing for eight months, in my pajamas the thought of going out and actually speaking to people terrified me. What would I wear? Would I sound like I knew what I was talking about? With each book signing and each media event my confidence grew. I actually enjoy it now. The key is being practiced and prepared.

Happy writing!

Doreen

 

 

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On the Road Again…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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Every August we say, can you believe it’s August already. It comes every year at the same time yet here I am asking the silly question, “Really August is half over today?” Finally, that long cold winter we had feels like it is in the past and I am not ready to start preparing for another one.

 

This morning after I have a (hopefully) quick visit to have the highly annoying sutures removed from my mouth, we will be loading up a van with five of our grandkids and heading south to Florida. We will be stopping about half way for some swimming, eating and sleeping. I am honestly not sure who is more excited John and I or the kids. I am not going to think about the end of summer or any stressor. I want to enjoy every minute with the kids. When I am old I want them to remind me of the good times we had together.

It was very difficult watching my husband react to Robin Williams’ death. His son, John died of suicide. The similarity in the details was horrifying. As hard as it is for our family to hear and read about, depression and suicide need to be talked and written about. The stigma needs to end.

If you have a child entering high school or college, please have the suicide talk with them no matter what. Make them sign a contract swearing that they will never ‘do it’ and if the thought even enters their mind they will immediately call you and accept help. Is it over dramatic? I don’t think so and I’m quite sure Robin Williams’ family and my husband will agree. Will it save everyone? I don’t know but if it saves your loved one the talk was worth it.

We are taking the kids to ZOOM Daytona. It is a zip-line park. One voice inside keeps telling me to go for it, climb those trees with the little ones. Another voice is saying umm have you lost your mind you don’t even like the merry-go-round. John said there was no way he was climbing trees in August in Florida but he did pack his sneakers.  Have you tried one of these adventures?

Zoom Air

To keep the ZOOM theme going we will also be visiting Kart City where we will race go karts, play some miniature golf and hopefully hit some home runs in the batting cages.

go kart city

I have a few conference calls and a bit of editing to do while we are away but nothing inspires me and feeds my creativity more than working by the waves.

That being said we will be by the water not in the water…

SharkShark tracking Katherine

 

Would you do this?

Rock Climb

I am hoping to read a lot of blog posts in between the “are we there yet questions” and the karaoke versions of Big Fat Butt and Beachin.

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

 

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Writing Wednesday/ Marketing Part 1

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WRITING WEDNESDAY

Typewriter Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

 

 

This week’s topic is Marketing Part 1

No matter where you are with your writing, even if you are just starting out, whether you are self, independently or traditionally published, marketing should be on your mind very early on in your process.

Back here I wrote about writing proposals.

http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5141

An important part of your proposal is the Marketing Plan.

Marketing is the process for creating, communicating, selling and delivering your product (book) to customers and for managing customer (reader) relationships in ways that benefit. It requires co-ordination, planning and implementation.

Before starting your plan you will need to establish your goals, determine your target audience, research competition, ad costs, consider strategies, a time table and a budget.

Keep in mind when planning your timetable that most print publications (other than newspapers) require a long lead time for placing ads. Some magazines are laid out months in advance of their publication date. Internet banner ads can sometimes have a long lead time too. Radio and T.V. producers book guest well in advance. Most book stores schedule readings and book signing’s well ahead of time as well. Conferences book speakers and presenters months in advance.

Advertising is one component of marketing. It is the paid communication about your book through direct mail, print media, radio, television and the internet. An integral part of marketing, advertising is the process used to motivate buyers. Advertising can be expensive. It takes diligent research to come up with advertising outlets that reach your target audience and fit your budget.

Newspaper photo

When considering your marketing budget remember to include promotional materials like business cards, postcards, postage, bookmarkers and other promotional items, advertising, travel a launch party, web site, and professional organization memberships to name a few. If you are publishing with a traditional or an Indy publisher they may cover some of advertising cost, chances are the bulk of it will be up to you. Some authors self-publish and feel they can skip the advertising step. They say, “I cannot afford it.” To this I say publishing is a business. It is absolutely possible to sell books without advertising, most likely one at a time. One, well placed add can sell hundreds.

Public Relations (PR) is the professional action that presents you and your book to the public, stores, and the media including social media in the best possible light and managing the spread of the information about you and your book. These actions also include writing press releases, pitches to T.V. and radio producers, event management, creating and producing promotional materials.

And you thought writing the book was the hardest part didn’t you? Don’t get discouraged. Marketing is a bear, for sure but the key is a good, well researched, well implemented, realistic plan.

Start with a tag line. When someone ask you what your book is about you want a two- to- three sentence answer to roll off of your lips without sounding memorized. It is a good idea to have two or three taglines you can use. Practice saying it out loud until it sounds natural.

Next week I will write in more detail about PR.

 

  • 5000 copies of a hardcover book in one week, depending on the month could land your book on the New York Times top 15 list/
  • 250-500 is the average number of books sold by first time authors.
  • Once again because it is one of my favorites, the average age of a best-selling author is 50.
  • The number of books being published every year is exploding. On average 1,000,000 books are published in the United States each year. Hundreds of thousands of American language books are sold in other countries.

The only thing standing between you and your goal..

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Summer Love and Blob fish…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then visit our lovely host Mrs. 4444 and leave a link to your Friday Fragments…

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http://www.halfpastkissintime.com

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We are getting really excited about our Florida trip. My husband and I are taking five of our grandkids to Daytona Beach. They are 8, 11, 11, 12 and 14. We will be leaving next Friday morning.  I made maps for the kids; do you think that will limit the “are we there yet” questions? The kids will be here Thursday night. We are going to introduce them to Clark Griswold and the Vacation Movie’s.

http://youtu.be/02v0301n0aU

I had another surgery on Wednesday. A few years ago I broke my jaw and it never healed correctly. Bone fragments unlike Friday fragments were causing a lot of infections. There was supposed to be a series of ten surgeries over two years.  Two more were added because of infections. This one was the worst so far. The good news is it was number seven so there only four more of them to get through.

I feel the way this poor little blob fish looks:

Blobfish

The season premiere of Hell on Wheels was last Saturday night. It was all good except for still not finding out Elam’s (Common) fate. I have always been fascinated with that time in our country’s history.

http://www.amctv.com/hell-on-wheels/videos/sneak-peek-episode-402-hell-on-wheels-escape-from-the-garden via @AMC_TV

My Wednesday writing group is doing a 40,000 word August challenge. I didn’t have enough going on so I signed on. I started slow but have caught up. I have edited 10,000 words. I had wild dreams of finishing before the trip but realistically that probably won’t happen.

I was so excited to see another one of my posts up on the Midlife Blvd. site.  This one is a story about summer love. I recommend this site highly. It is full of all kinds of great information and a great group of bloggers.

http://midlifeboulevard.com/summer-love-married-love/

What do you have left to do on your summer bucket list?

Have a blessed weekend,

Doreen

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Writing Wednesday/Self Publishing Part 2 and It is that time again #IWSG

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Writing Wednesday

Typewriter Pink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesdays I like to share information I picked up on my journey to being published, marketing, editing and preparing to be published again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then…

If you like the information I hope you will share it!

 

 

It is also the first Wednesday of the month so it is time for our monthly gathering of:

The Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. I encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts for today are Sarah Foster, Joylene Nowell Butler, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!

September 3 marks the three year anniversary of the IWSG monthly posting. (And October 1 will mark the one year anniversary of this site and the Facebook group.)

No matter where you are in your writing journey chances are you occasionally have feelings of insecurity. No worry’s, link up and find all of the support you could possibly ask for. If you are in a good place perhaps you have some inspiration to share let’s face it we all feel the need for a bit of support from our friends. Follow the link to learn more about this amazing group of talented, dedicated and supportive writers from beginning writers to best-selling authors and the group’s creator. While you are there, add your link. You will be so happy you did.

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com

InsecureWritersSupportGroup3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can finally see the top of the hill with the editing of The Stranger In My Recliner. A guy in one of my writing groups challenged us to 40,000 words in the month of August. Sort of catch up because we all slack off during the summer. That happened to be exactly the number of words I have left to edit. November is always a crazy month for me so I never get to participate in NANO so I thought why not? How am I doing so far? I’ve only gotten a little less than 3000 words edited over the weekend.  Not so good. I did receive some priceless research information that I pretty much gave up hope on finding and I did start incorporating that into Sophie’s  story. That should count as progress; right?

We cannot get what we have never had unless we step out of our comfort zones and do something we have never done. 

I hope if you are considering self-publishing these notes help…

Self Publishing Part 2:

Last week’s post on Self Publishing Part 1:

http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5199

There is so much to Self Publishing one post just wasn’t enough so I put together another list things I thought you might like to know if you are considering self-publishing.

  •  Traditional/Indy Publishers take well over a year to publish a title but in all reality you can self publish your book and have it for sale around the world on Amazon in a matter of minutes.
  • The problem is still the same, no matter which publishing route you choose, how will the right audience for your book find it, know that it exists?
  • Old school traditional publishers still have the advantage when it comes to editing, distribution and publicity all of which increase the chance of a books success.
  • However; growing numbers of self-published authors are realizing the value in investing in professional editing and professional cover design.
  • Self published authors that invest in professional editing and cover design earn at least 34% more on their books.
  • If a book is published hastily and sloppy it will be mentioned in the books reviews, it will hurt your sales and taint your name as an author. Those reviews are impossible to remove.
  • The most successful genres for self-published e-books are: erotica, fantasy, chick-lit, horror and crime thrillers.
  • Self-published romance authors earn 170% more than their peers.
  • The average age of a best- selling author is 50.5
  • There is no profile for a successful author. They are seldom top graduates from prestigious university writing programs. Writing may be a second or third career for them. The industry and readers value authors that bring real-life experience to their work whether that work is fiction or non-fiction.
  • The stigma of self-publishing is fading away being replaced with one success story after another.

Your tribe keep those wierdos

A few reasons to publish on Amazon:

  • It is the largest paid search engine in the world
  • Amazon is dominant in the publishing industry, presently in the #7 slot of books sold per year.
  • The review system is an authority. People read reviews on Amazon even if they are planning to buy a book elsewhere.
  • Amazon is a marketing machine. Once you sell a certain number of copies, it will start referring your book at no cost to you.

Preparing to publish on Amazon:

  •  When formatting for book for Kindle- you can try following the instructions and doing it entirely on your own- which I am sure gets easier with practice. If you are planning to continue writing and self-publishing e-books it probably is a good idea to learn the process.
  •  Calibre is a program you can download for free. The program is used for formatting. While the program is free they do request donations.
  • There are many companies and individuals out there that will do the formatting for you for a fee.
  • You shouldn’t skimp on cover design. A professionally designed cover is an investment and will produce more sales.
  • Look into 99 Designs and Crowdspring. Both are affordable options for cover design.Whoever you use to design your book cover they will need to create a JPEG file that is at least 2500 pixels on its longest side with a height/weight ratio of 1.6. (Amazons requirements)
  • Double/Triple check, everything before you hit that publish button. It is nearly impossible to make corrections once your book has been published and that goes for all publishing not just Amazon.

Have you self-published? Do you have any tips to offer? Did you use a company you were thrilled with? Disappointed in? Please share in the comments.

*Next week’s Writing Wednesday will be on Marketing/Advertising and PR

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Hell on Wheels and Angels in Pockets …

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments here:

Half-Past Kissin’ Time

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One of the writing groups I am in meets at a Panera once a week. It seems lately this Panera cannot do anything right. The food has been awful, well it was always awful but we tolerated it because the location was good and they have a large enough back room to accommodate our group. Anyway the other night the WIFI wasn’t working. The manager said it was because too many people were trying to log in. I laughed because there were not that many people in there. Unfortunately one of the few people in there at that time was a pick –pocket and someone from our group was a victim. It is all just so disgusting. Our facilitator is looking for a new location. I want July back. August is so final. I’m not ready. There are just so many more summer things I want to do. Starting today I am going to try to do at least one thing, outside. Today that will involve taming the jungle in my yard and I am going to enjoy it, in February.

 Last month I commented on a blog post at http://www.booksiswonderful.com  and won a book! (Love that Blog!). Thank you so much Helene! The book is The Angel In My Pocket written by Sukey Forbes. It is about the loss of her little girl which had me terrified to read and then I thought if she was brave enough to tell her story the least I could do was to read her story. I am half way through the book. I know you are never supposed to say, “I know how she feels,” but number one her writing style is similar to mine and I can’t explain it but it feels kind of good to know I am not the only one that feels the way I do. It is a story of great loss but it is also about love, family and life after death. I am going to buy a copy and when I do my review I will give that copy away.

Author Sukey Forbes Cover Angel in my Pocket AMC has a marathon of Hell on Wheels episodes today and tonight just in time to prepare us for the new season’s first episode Saturday night. I am really looking forward to it. The new season of Turn follows. I love learning the history in Turn but that history is the only reason I am watching that series. It is hard to follow. The main characters are written well but the others are confusing. I hope that gets better. Hell on Wheels is just the opposite. The history is rich and the writing is compelling. And then there is the acting and the actors… http://www.amctv.com/hell-on-wheels/videos/a-look-at-season-4-hell-on-wheels

 

My office seriously looks like this but its a good thing. The editing on The Stranger In My Recliner is so close to done. I am having anxiety about asking for blurbs and forewords and all of that ‘ Its almost a real book kind of stuff.’ Why does that stuff make me so nervous?

 

Writing is hard I have been reading a lot of posts from teachers who are already preparing for back to school and the sale ads have started to run but here in the Philadelphia suburbs our kids do not go back to school until after Labor Day. Today, I couldn’t be happier about that.

Peyton in the pool 7 22 14

What fun summer things do you have left on your to do list?

Also I am just curious, what is the closest tourist attraction to your home and when was the last time you visited that attraction? Have a blessed weekend, Doreen

Fly the Friendly Skies- http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5182

Writing Wednesday, Self-Publishing- http://doreenmcgettigan.com/?p=5199

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Writing Wednesday: Self Publishing…

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WRITING WEDNESDAY

Writers Clock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday’s I like to share information I picked up on my path to publishing, marketing and preparing to publish again. Information that I wish someone would have shared with me, back then.

 

SELF PUBLISHING

I am not an expert in Self-Publishing but I know a lot of self-published authors and I am planning to self-publish myself, in the future so I have been taking notes.

There are a lot of advantages to Self-Publishing:

The Author has total control The time frame. Your book can be published in a few months vs.  18 months-2 years Royalties of 20-80% vs. 5-15% The disadvantages of Self-Publishing are evaporating quickly. The success stories are mounting. Like any business venture (yes writing is a passion but publishing is a business) it will take research, investment, hard work and most importantly a great product to have any chance at success. No matter which publishing choice you make it will be difficult at times and will take time and patience but it will be so worth it. I cannot even describe how amazing it feels to hold your first book in your hands.

ITS HERE

Once your manuscript has been critiqued and professionally edited by a literary editor and you are planning to self-publish on your own, you will need an ISBN number [International - Standard Book Number] for your book. This is a social security number for the book. There are a lot of company’s out there that will be happy to sell you an ISBN # but BOWKER is the International clearing house for these numbers so you might as well skip the middleman and get it from them. The cost is $125.00. If you are using a company to assist you with self-publishing they may offer to get the ISBN# for you. Deep discounts are offered to companies that buy multiple #’s so they may offer it to you for less or include it in their package. If they charge more than $125.00 you can easily apply for it yourself.

You will need a business plan/proposal or an outline for fiction If you are planning to self-publish 100% than Amazon is the place for you. Smashwords is One of the Amazon companies for e-books and Create-Space is used for print books. If you use Amazon for publishing your book will never be available in an actual book store. This is because Amazon Publishers will not process returns. You will have to design all of your marketing around online booksellers. Amazon offers a KDP (Kindle Direct Program) a program that offers some marketing opportunities. Lightening Source is a company you can use if you want your book to be available in book stores. They process returns, for a charge. All publishers, even traditional ones charge you for your returns. To have any chance at having your book in a book store, your publisher has to be willing to    offer your book to them at a wholesale discount price of at least 55% off the cover price. The books must be returnable if they do not sell within the stores allotted time-frame. All print books are delivered through a book distribution center. The two major distributors are Ingram and Baker & Taylor. If the publisher you are planning to use does not use one or both of these distributors, move on from that publisher. Here is a list of random Self Publishing Boutiques that offer a variety of packages to authors and come with some good references.  As always never sign a contract unless you have had it reviewed by an attorney.

Blue Lobster Book Company She Writes Press Book Locker Turning Stone Lucky Bat Books Assisted Publishing

Tate Publishing and Enterprises- Tate offers a publishing package that includes editing, formatting, cover design, ISBN#, copyrighting, marketing assistance and they handle returns. They deal with Ingram so your book will be available to any store, school or library that wants to stock it or make it available for order. Once your book sells 1000 copies, Tate refunds your investment. They basically operate like an Independent publisher. There are many other companies out there like this one and new ones are being started every day.  I cannot stress enough for you to have any contract reviewed by an attorney and ask for and check references. It is also a good idea to order books from several authors of any company you are considering, so you can check the quality of the printing etc… A good book to read is Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur/ Guy Kawasaki Tuesday is the only day of the week that new books are released Traditional Publishers make their money selling 100’s of copies of only several titles verses other publishers that make their money selling 100 copies of thousands of titles. If you have any experience with self publishing it would be great if you could leave tips in the comments. Did you work with a company that you were thrilled with, please share.

If you have any questions please leave those in the comments and I will do my best to answer or find someone who can.

Thank you for reading,

Doreen

Writing is hard

But it is all worth it when you see your book in the window at Barnes & Noble for the first time:

That is my book in the window...cool right?

That is my book in the window…cool right?

 

 

 

 

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Fly the friendly Skies…

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My husband and I are preparing to take a trip to Florida with five of our thirteen grandchildren. We are driving because the kids aged 8, 11, 11, 12 and 14 want to actually see all of the states, not just fly over them.  When we planned this trip last year it was going to be a surprise for my parents who live in Florida.  Originally the plan was to bring all five of our kids, their spouses and all of the grandkids.

The logistics were a nightmare but we pressed on with the plans.

When I was a seven-year-old, first grader at Saint Christopher’s in Northeast Philadelphia, my father worked for Eastern Airlines. He was the VIP Representative which basically meant he had drinks all day with people the airline deemed important enough to smooze.

 

Airport

My father was so proud of me for getting straight A’s on my report card.  The next day he put me in his MG and took me to a children’s clothing store. With the help of a young saleswoman, we picked out a sleeveless pink and white seersucker dress. The woman suggested a white hat with a pink bow, pink ruffled socks, white patent leather shoes and a small white pocketbook to match. When Dad added a bathing suit I was confused.

 

Pink and white seesucker dress

I was even more confused when I left the store wearing my new bathing suit underneath of the new dress.  An hour later I was sitting in a first class window seat being served a Shirley Temple with extra cherries.

Eastern_Airlines_Boeing_727

Seated next to me, sipping on a Chivas Regal, Dad explained he was taking me to Ft. Lauderdale for the day, as a reward for my perfect report card. We spent the afternoon on the beach, had dinner at a fancy outdoor restaurant where I chased geckos and begged Dad to catch two of them and let me take them home.  He laughed and said they could not live in Philadelphia because of our cold winters.

gecko

Shortly after take- off on the return flight, the flight attendant took me into the cockpit. The pilots let me ‘fly’ the plane. The Captain gave me a set of gold plated wings (not the plastic ones) and told me to go back to my seat because he had a surprise for me. The surprise was a spectacular light show provided by the Gemini VI Rocket that was launched from the Kennedy Space Center.

Rocket launch Gemini 4

After seeing the rocket, the flight attendant handed me a little pillow and a soft blanket. I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I was back in Philadelphia in my father’s arms. I was so cold and in a lot of pain. I was as red as a lobster. It was painful to have my dad hold me so I walked.  My brand new patent leather shoes pinched my sunburned feet tighter with each step.

I remember feeling sad that night because whenever our family went on vacation we had to get dressed up and fly everywhere. It always meant there would be a lot of walking and a lot of hurrying up to wait.  I thought about how lucky my friend’s were because all they had to do was get into their cars and  get out at the Jersey Shore. I would sit on my front porch and watch our neighbors load up their station wagon with toys, bags of food, clothes and smiling kids.

My husband and I have been spending family weeks on the beach in New Jersey with our kids and grandkids for the last eight-years.

This year I wanted the kids to experience another view of the Atlantic Ocean and I felt a strong need for them to connect with my father, on his turf.

My father got sick in December. I flew down to be with him and my Mother. He passed away in January. On the flight home there was a man sitting next to me drinking Chivas Regal.

chivas-regal-18

Our family reunion trip fell all to pieces but the seven, possibly eight of us that are headed down I-95 South in a few weeks are excited. I will be feeling like an excited seven-year-old kid as we load the monster SUV with food, clothes and children.

PathfinderMy face will be wearing a big smile but I know every time I look up at the sky and see an airplane, I will miss my Dad.

Dad and Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dragging Fragging Friday Fragments…

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Friday Fragments are bits and pieces of your week that are usually brief; too short for a stand-alone post, but too good to discard. Collect humorous observations, “Heard” items, and other small gems from your week and put them together in a Friday Fragments post. Then leave a link to your Friday Fragments post with our host Mrs. 4444 at Half-Past Kissin’ Time.

Friday Fragments Summer logo

The Pope is coming to Philly! I should be super excited and yes it is very exciting but for some reason all I can think of is the traffic and the diversions. Will I go if he holds an outdoor Mass. Probably but I already know it will be a logistics mess.

I LOVE that he met with the FINALLY released Christian woman who was sentenced to death, Miriam Ibreham and her family.

pope-francis-Meriam-Ibrahim

I was so excited to have a post on Midlife Boulevard for the first time! Which by the way is an AMAZING community of the most talented, funny, brilliant and supportive women I have ever met (only a few in real life) but cannot wait to meet more of them in real life.

http://midlifeboulevard.com/boomer-deadly-road-rage/

As if that wasn’t exciting enough this happened on Books is Wonderful:

http://www.booksiswonderful.com/books-by-writers-i-know/

The author of Books is Wonderful, Helene Cohen Bludman is in England right now with another MLB friend, Lois Alter Mark. They are touring the Downton Abbey Castle and doing all sorts of other dreamy things. I cannot wait to read both of their posts about the trip.

My conspiracy theory mind is spinning out of control over all of these ‘air’ disasters. Sad.

I had to have surgery to clear up a jaw infection that resulted from jaw surgery. Just ouch and a frustrating setback. It has me dragging.

Hell on Wheels will be back on AMC on August 2. I cannot Wait!

Hell on Wheels

Have a Blessed Weekend,

Doreen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Friday Fragments: Episode #316 August 29, 2014
    Typing with one hand is for the birds. Therefore, I'll keep this intro brief.It's time to share the bits and pieces of the week that didn't make it into posts!Let's frag![First time fragging? Please click on the FF tab above to learn the ins and outs.]***I went back to work this week, three days of teacher meetings including one night of