Whether you are an aspiring author, a published author, a publisher or one who provides services to those who publish, the purpose of this SLPA Blog is to provide information and resources on a full range of author/publishers issues and ideas.
  • Thursday, August 02, 2012 12:20 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    There is an art to writing and emailing a press release to the media so it doesn't get deleted immediately. Take a look at Sandra's article below. Note the email subject line must be catchy, but not so cute the journalist can't tell what you're talking about. If it relates to something in current news, all the better. Journalists say they ignore the plethora of press releases coming in through press release site (ex. PRWeb) so email directly to the editor and a reporter of the appropriate section of the news media (Lifestyle, Business, Entertainment, etc.) Check the media's website to find names.


    How to email a press release to journalists




  • Wednesday, July 11, 2012 12:48 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Thanks to board member Cathy Davis for bringing this comprehensive article to our attention. It offers different and respected viewpoints as well as options if you prefer not to do it totally DIY. One of our members hired someone from Smashwords's  list of formatters and was pleased by the cost and performance, while another is happy with BookBaby. Be sure you understand the contracts when using Kindle Direct and Select, Smashwords, BookBaby or other company.


    How to Self-Publish Your E-book



  • Sunday, July 08, 2012 3:54 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)
    Most indie authors can't afford a developmental editor, but it pays to know what they do. You might get a critique group to help with some of it. Alan Rinzler tells us what you should expect from a developmental editor.
  • Friday, July 06, 2012 1:51 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Your website should have a page with all info the media might want about you and your book, especially important if you are sending media releases to gather publicity. And make it really easy for them to find what they need.


    How to make your website media friendly, from BookBaby

  • Thursday, June 14, 2012 1:39 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Found this excellent comprehensive (without being a book!) article on really important things to know about self-publishing before you jump in the water.


    25 Things You Need to Know About Self Publishing


  • Wednesday, June 13, 2012 11:28 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Joel Friedlander is a good guy for indie-publishers and new authors to follow. Here's a comprehensive article he has about publishing:


    The Secret to Self-Publishing Success


    Note the last paragraph - exactly what board member Kim Wolterman said tonight at the meeting.

  • Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:26 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    In preparation for our June speaker, social media maven Erica Smith, here is a post by an ex-literary agent and new kidlit author, Nathan Bransford, a great publishing/writing resource:


    Social Media is an Imperfect Sales Tool. Use it Anyway


    After Erica's presentation, we'll be taking another poll to see who is interested in small-group social media workshops (SLPA members only). These will concentrate on one aspect of social media at a time, ex. Twitter, Facebook, or blogging for authors, with hands-on instruction.  

  • Tuesday, May 08, 2012 11:03 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    SLPA member and board secretary Terry Baker Mulligan has won a gold Independent Publishing Award for her debut work, "Sugar Hill: Where the Sun Rose Over Harlem." Her memoir took first place in the category of multicultural nonfiction for adults. This is a prestigious award and we are very proud of Terry. Read more about her book here:


    St. Louis author wins IPPY award for Harlem memoir


  • Monday, April 30, 2012 9:44 AM | Anonymous

    By Peggy Nehmen, graphic designer, Nehmen-Kodner,

    I’m a graphic designer. You’re an author. Your manuscript is ready for layout . . . or is it? 
    Here’s a list of tips to use and mistakes to avoid when preparing your manuscript for layout.


    1. Your manuscript

    • Can you afford to produce a book full of errors? Hire an editor to edit your manuscript before design begins. Fixing significant edits and changes after the layout is completed can be compared to doing your project twice. If your manuscript has not been professionally edited, then you are not ready to proceed with a layout.

    • Contact Permissions Group ( for comprehensive copyright consulting. 

    2. Typography
    • Use only one space after periods, colons, exclamation points, question marks, quotation marks -- any punctuation that separates two sentences. Every major style guide --   including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style -- prescribes a single space after a period. One space is simpler, cleaner, and more visually pleasing.

    • Use correct apostrophes and quotation marks:
                ' is a foot mark, not an apostrophe.
                '' is an inch mark.
    • Learn the differences between a hyphen, en dash, and em dash:

                -   hyphen: A hyphen is used to join words, such as with a compound adjective.

                 en dash: An en dash is used to express a range of values or a distance.

                -- em dash: An em dash is used to set off parenthetical elements, which are abrupt changes of thought.

    • Use the tab key for paragraph indents. Do not use spaces.

    • Use the keyboard shortcut for inserting ellipses.

    • Turn off “track changes” before you send me your files. 

    • Always use upper and lower case or sentence case when you type. Do not type in all caps.

    • Submit your chapters as separate files. It’s easier to import the text into the layout. 
    • If you have photos, write compelling captions and label with the photo’s file name.

    • Send as much of the manuscript at once as possible -- missing materials will cause delays.

    • Are you going to have an index? If so, wait until your layout is completed, proofread, and corrected. Edits can affect page numbers, so create the index last.
    • Review and proofread your layouts. I provide PDFs at each step of the layout and production process. It’s your responsibility to review and proofread.


    3. Photos or illustrations
    • Organize and label your photos and images according to chapter: 1.1, 1.2, etc. Make separate folders for each chapter. Good organization saves production time and cost. 

    • If you submit photo prints (snapshots), please do not use paper clips to hold your photos together. Paper clips can scratch the emulsion or leave indentations.
    • Protect your photos from damage: use a plastic sleeve or envelope. 

    • Do not write on the back of your photos with a ball point pen or smudgy pen! Use a Post-it note. True story: an author gave me a stack of photos. He used a smudgy pen, and the wet ink touched the surface of each snapshot underneath. Not only did he ruin precious family photos, he had to pay for photo retouching to remove the ink stains.
    • For digital photos, good print reproduction requires high-resolution images, 300 dpi (dots per inch) or better.  If you don’t understand, ask your designer for help.

    • Make sure the images are yours. Don’t use photos you found on the web. They are low resolution (for web use) and you probably do not have the rights to use them.


    4. Printer’s proofs

    After your book layout is sent to the printer you’ll receive a proof to review and edit. When the changes are made, a revised file is uploaded for a second proof.  You’ll then receive a third proof to review and edit. Please leave enough time in your schedule for several rounds of proofs. This can take four weeks or more to complete.


    These extra steps might add a little bit of time up front, but they will save you time and money in the production process.


    Peggy Nehmen, veteran graphic designer, and her husband and partner, Gary Kodner, own Nehmen-Kodner, a St. Louis-based design studio. Peggy has a love of typography, book design, and all things creative. Nehmen-Kodner provides branding and marketing for indie authors, start-ups, and established companies. Peggy is a longtime SLPA member and former newsletter designer of “SLPA News and Views.” Her objective is to help authors through the design process to produce customized book covers and interiors. Please check out Peggy’s portfolio at

  • Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:40 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    SLPA is all about how to get your book published and how to market successfully, without sp ending way too much money. But, it sure helps to have great writing. The St. Louis Writers Guild is a resource to help with that. At a recent conference they helped host for the Missouri Writers Guild, Jane Friedman, publishing expert and former literary agent, tore into some brave authors' first pages. Slash and burn!


    Agent Rachel Gardner gives her tips on How to Cut a Thousand Words Without Shedding a Tear.

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