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.
  • Saturday, April 14, 2012 8:37 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Author Ann Weisgarber was so generous in coming all the way here from Texas to give us her insight into the professional world of writing and publishing. She'd planned to make it a vacation, but turned out she didn't have much time for fun and had to cut her trip short due to work deadlines. She had a lot of great advice for us, no matter what way we publish. She left us with samples of her successful query letter and what a book synopsis should be like, which we'll post in our Members Only section.


    SLPA member Margaret found an NPR interview of Ann, which talks more about her writing journey. Her book, "The Personal History of Rachel Dupree," is an excellent work of historical fiction about a young African American pioneer couple trying to survive in the Badlands of South Dakota. Complex and multi-faceted, it's available at B&N but not Amazon - go figure.








  • Monday, April 02, 2012 10:46 AM | Anonymous

    You Can Do It!

     by Mary Elizabeth Moloney, Heart Whisperings, author of Elizabeth: Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out,

    I retired from Pathways Community Hospice in 2001 and began writing my memoir, Elizabeth: Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out. Years of courses and seminars followed, and nineteen drafts later, a clean manuscript emerged. During its composition, others critiqued chapters and urged publication -- in my perception, a bewildering world of literary editors, big and small houses, and political intrigue. Marketing and promoting workshops decried self-publishing as unprofessional and expensive. In no way could you call yourself an author. Besides, no bookstores would carry such books.


    Questions assailed me. Who would handle my memoir, narrating my movement toward authentic womanhood, casting off crippling influences of family, church, and patriarchy in the health care world in which I had worked? Would literary editors and small presses, researched in the 2010 and 2011 Writers Market, understand the spiritual depths of my memoir, the intent of the critical dreams prodding me toward change? Given the splintering effects of the Women’s Movement since its 1960s inception, would my experiences find a niche among serious readers? And given my senior years and lack of computer expertise, who would guide me toward the publication of my memoir? Yet my inner writer insisted that I find a way to publish my memoir.


    After one year of sending off query letters to possible venues, of playing around with a literary editor in Denver and a small press in O’Fallon, Missouri, I withdrew, wanting more input in the design of my book. Self-publishing seemed my only option.


    Through SLPA meetings, I learned of sea-changes occurring in the book publishing industry: the waning influence of the big houses, the political jockeying of literary editors, the greed of small presses wanting a cut in the business, the phenomenon of e-books. Prompted by experiences of self-published authors, I contacted a local digital publishing company that offered guidance to new authors. After seven months of frustration, I canceled their contract.


    Only then did I meet Bobbi Linkemer, SLPA member and book coach. She listened to my story and urged me to recoup my initial investment. Within the week, the check came. She also advised me to start over with graphic designer Peggy Nehmen. Our collaboration was more than fruitful. Six months later, CreateSpace delivered onto my front porch five boxes of my memoir, Elizabeth:Learning to Dress Myself from the Inside Out, and it is now available on Amazon.


    At book signings, I urge others to write their one-of-a-kind story and make it available to others, a means of giving thanks for all that was and of moving toward an even more fascinating future. This has been my experience.

  • Wednesday, March 21, 2012 12:16 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)
    Today's writers have so many publishing choices available that they can be thoroughly confused by all the options. Here's a detailed summary of all these methods in the article Everything You Wanted to Know About Publishing (But were afraid to ask).
  • Thursday, March 15, 2012 10:17 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Why pay for a book review when you can get them free? A free review or interview by a popular book blogger can get you a big audience. At our SLPA meeting on Amazon strategies last night, Bob Baker talked about asking top Amazon book reviewers to read your book and post a review. Find top reviewers by looking at a few other books in your genre. See which reviewers have the most likes. Click on their name and their profile with email address will pop up. See how many reviews they've posted. Voila. To answer SLPA member Liz's question, here's an article about how exactly to approach these folks:

    Get Your Book Reviewed, by Christine Nolfi


  • Monday, March 12, 2012 12:39 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)
    Every author should have a blog. It profiles who you are and your writing style. It's your substance. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are ways to drive people to your blog to get to know you and your work better. Make your blog worth their time. Social media man Mack Collier gives some tips in How to Write Better Blog Posts. (And don't forget your great post title.)
  • Friday, March 02, 2012 1:38 PM | Anonymous

    Amazon’s Not-So-Best Practices

    by Linda Austin, Moonbridge Publications, author of Cherry Blossoms in Twilight,

    Amazon, friend of the self-published and delight of book readers wanting bargains and convenience, has been in the news recently for its latest strategies to conquer the publishing world. Business is business, but is Amazon taking the “nothing personal” to extremes? The purchasing public, mostly unaware or uncaring of Amazon’s new tactics, and many indie authors who feel they are unaffected still extol the virtues of Amazon, but all authors need to understand the repercussions of what Amazon is doing.

    Amazon’s publishing services arm, CreateSpace, has been a godsend for self-publishers. For lower cost and with less negative stigma than other publishing services companies (e.g., LuLu, AuthorHouse), ease of use, and decent financial returns to authors, CreateSpace became the smart way to self-pub. Sales are only via Amazon, but for many authors that’s good enough. They can pay extra for the Expanded Distribution package, which gets their books into other systems such as Ingram and B&T (major wholesalers to bookstores and libraries), but Amazon won’t reveal its terms with Ingram and B&T, and it appears they are less than what booksellers and librarians are used to getting in order to stay in business. In other words, they won’t buy Amazon Expanded Distribution books unless customers order them, so think twice before coughing up the extra money. Authors can, however, purchase their own CreateSpace books at discount and approach local bookstores to carry them on consignment (bring along a marketing plan and be really gracious).

    Enter Amazon’s bullying tactics. Last summer, Amazon began listing new books printed through Lightning Source stating delivery times of 1–4 weeks or more, even though books ordered were shipped immediately. Is the purpose to push Lightning Source (LSI) authors to also use CreateSpace for instant Amazon access? LSI books via Barnes & Noble show normal short delivery times. Authors printing new books via LSI will now need to check the stated delivery time on Amazon and be prepared to purchase or have friends purchase their books on Amazon until the delivery shows “in stock.” A few years ago, Amazon tried to force LuLu and other pub-services companies to use CreateSpace to print (instead of LSI), but a lawsuit caused them to back down.

    Recently, Amazon began promoting its Kindle e-books lending library to Amazon Prime customers (one loan a month), and offered those e-books free to all customers during a five-day period if the author promised to sell their e-book exclusively through Amazon. This Kindle Select program was called a promotion to help authors gain publicity (and Amazon would gain customers for its Kindle undefined the Fire had just come out). Fortunately, due to the uproar, authors were then offered a percentage, based on how many of their free e-books were downloaded, of a pot of money Amazon set aside for them. Some authors have seen an increase in downloads of their free e-books and increased purchases of their regularly priced e-books. Of course, author marketing helps as does having multiple books or a series. Results are mixed from single e-book authors.

    In late January Amazon attacked Goodreads, the top online reader community and review site, demanding that within one week Goodreads link only to it for sales. Goodreads refused, scrambling to arrange a deal with Ingram for its database. Amazon no longer allows Goodreads to pull book information from the Amazon database. Amazon Advantage authors and those using CreateSpace with Amazon ISBNs must enter their own book information into the Goodreads system so that readers can post reviews. A friend using Goodreads can also do this if provided with book information. Goodreads has kept their Amazon Buy links, but they are now buried under Options.

    In another development, Midwest Book Reviews, long an important reviewer of self-published books, is no longer allowed to post its reviews to Amazon. Authors themselves must post their Midwest Book review to their book’s profile page.

    Amazon has entered the publishing field in a big way via its own imprints to handle almost all genres (e.g., Montlake Romance). It acts as any other publisher vetting, buying rights, and producing books. Amazon has also struck deals with traditional publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) to have it produce Amazon-purchased manuscripts via new HMH imprints Mariner (in 2011) and New Harvest (in 2012). As of the New Harvest deal, B&N, Books-a-Million, and most surveyed bookstores have announced they will not be carrying any Amazon-pubbed books. “Hell no,” was apparently a common answer of indie bookstore owners. It remains to be seen whether Amazon will allow Ingram and B&T to offer their usual wholesale discount and returns to bookstores and libraries, a necessity for them to remain alive. The latest news is that Amazon will open a small storefront in Seattle to showcase its Kindles and its own books that no other bookstores want to sell.

    Amazon is skating on thin legal ground with its demands for exclusivity and its willingness to sell books (and Kindles) at a loss to lure readers to purchase other (profitable) Amazon products. With Amazon throwing its massive weight around and the threat of neighborhood bookstores closing, taking author events and consignment sales with them, authors must keep up-to-date about choices that will determine the future of their book sales. Think carefully before letting Amazon (or any other company) own your ISBNs.

    For more information on this topic, visit these websites:




  • Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:21 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Thanks to SLPA member Eleanor Sullivan for bringing this to our attention:

    Ten Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service by Jane Friedman


  • Tuesday, January 24, 2012 1:55 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Book designers and SLPA members Peggy Nehmen and Sue Sylvia gave a bang-up presentation for our January meeting on what it takes to make your book look good. We are pleased to tell you their slides are now up for viewing in the Members Only section. Thank you to our webmaster, Kevin, for creating this new Speaker Notes and Slides section, which so far has notes from writer/author Diana Gravemann and our Bob Baker. Check it out!

    Peggy wanted to add another little showcase of fabulous book covers by the awesome Roberto de Vicq de Cumptich. No, most of you can't do this at home. While you probably won't end up with one of Roberto's covers, be sure to dress your baby up to play with the pros.

  • Saturday, January 21, 2012 10:40 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)
    Mark Coker of Smashwords talks about e-book pricing strategies.
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