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.
  • Wednesday, March 08, 2017 9:54 AM | Andrew Doty (Administrator)

    The internet provides an overabundance of information — good, bad, and utterly useless — on just about every topic, and publishing advice is no exception. There are endless options for successful publishing, and the best strategies are often unique to each author’s needs and desires. As a publishing consultant, I frequently find myself trying to help authors find out what they need and want before I can give them what they really came for — recommendations.

    So in the interest of helping you save some time, here are a few of my most recommended resources.

    First and foremost, check out the St. Louis Publishers Association’s website, blog, and social media ( Every month, we host informative and helpful speakers who provide their expertise and answers to our attending members. Additionally, we make useful posts on our blog and social media sites and feature educational and illustrative articles in our monthly newsletter ( as well as our Resources page (

    If you know you want to write a book but haven’t started yet, check out Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow’s “7 Action Items to Take Before You Begin Writing Your Book” at

    On writing:

    If you’re looking for inspiration, like a writing prompt, or just some new words to learn and use, simply Google “word of the day” to find one of the countless webpages dedicated to that; also, check out the Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts (, ThinkWritten: 365 Creative Writing Prompts (, and Storymatic ( (The first two are free, the last one is not.)

    And if you want some tips to improve your writing, see Elmore Leonard’s, “10 Rules for Good Writing” ( and Johnny Lists’s, “12 Useful Websites to Improve Your Writing” (

    On publishing:

    Four of the most important resources I can recommend are Judith “The Book Shepherd” Briles (, who has a very useful blog, many helpful books, and also hosts a free teleconference every Monday at 11am Central to answer questions from authors; Jane Freidman’s Key Book Publishing Paths chart (; Kimberly Rae’s Write with Purpose article “Finished a New Book? The 10-Step Process from ‘Done’ to ‘Published’” (; and Noah Lukeman’s Ask a Literary Agent ( Unfortunately, Ask a Literary Agent hasn’t been updated since 2014 and therefore is at risk of becoming a little more outdated every day, but things aren’t changing so fast that the advice is even close to bad yet. (And on a side note, Judith Briles will be speaking for the SLPA in a special workshop on July 22!)

    About publishing books and uploading files through Amazon / CreateSpace / Kindle Direct, the most direct source of how-to information is Amazon’s own Kindle Direct Publishing help knowledge base at

    On marketing:

    Head over to Shawn Manaher’s Book Marketing Tools website at and download the handy (and free) 20-page guide “The Ultimate Author Checklist for Online Book Marketing.” Also check out BookBub’s “Ultimate Collection of Book Marketing Examples” (, Tim Grahl’s “Book Marketing: The Definitive Checklist” (, the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (, and Phil Bolsta’s nearly endless “How to Promote Your Book Like a Pro!” blog post ( All of these marketing resources are free. If you’re looking for something to spend money on, Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book is one of the most widely recommended books in the industry.

    And finally, a shameless plug: I strongly encourage authors to ask questions on my blog at, where I do my best to be a useful resource for authors and will happily answer any questions I can.

    Andrew Doty is the Editorial Director of the St. Louis Publishers Association, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of punctum books, the owner of Editwright, and a freelance developmental editor and publishing consultant.

  • Monday, January 23, 2017 10:22 PM | Warren Martin (Administrator)
    I recently read a friends Facebook post about selling 3,000 ebooks in one month and achieving a recorded 1,075,000 Kindle Normalized pages read, I had to ask what is the strategy?

    KenFarmer kindly shared the strategy used to market and build an audience:

    EBooks Sold in One Month – 3,000

  • Monday, January 09, 2017 9:30 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Happy New Year! Hope you have a writing, publishing, or marketing goal to strive for. Jane Friedman gives an overview of the publishing world during 2016. Maybe we're not so surprised...

    Looking back at 2016: Important publishing developments authors should know

    (Nabbed from the latest newsletter from Katherine Pickett, editor and former St. Louisan and SLPA board member)

  • Wednesday, November 16, 2016 1:41 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    November is NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. What you accomplish is a first draft, not a publishable manuscript. Now what?

    Jane Friedman explains what to do after the first draft

  • Wednesday, October 26, 2016 12:17 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Where did you get that photo for your book cover? Business lawyer Helen Sedgewick, author of the Self-Publisher Legal Handbook, runs a website-blog of articles on legalities concerning self publishing. In this article, read how you can legally use photos of identifiable people:

    How to Use Images of Real People Without Violating Privacy and Publicity Rights

    Note: Nowadays you must also be careful of commercial use of photos taken in parks and gardens with identifiable features. Check the location's website for rules on photography.

  • Thursday, September 22, 2016 1:29 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Luck has only a little bit to do with success. At our October SLPA meeting Kim Wolterman will discuss the value of creating a business plan to help put your book on the road to success, whether you write fiction or nonfiction.

    Allison Muruska via "A Writer's Path" says don't give luck too much credit.

    Writers Can Help Themselves Get Lucky  

  • Sunday, August 14, 2016 10:55 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    "Like it or not, you are a brand." Joanna Penn tells a Tale of Two Author Brands

  • Wednesday, August 03, 2016 5:10 PM | Warren Martin (Administrator)

    Author Vendors & Service Providers Marketplace

    Wednesday August 10, 2016 – 6:30 - 8:30pm

    Richmond Heights Community Center


    Meet the Publishers at the Annual Vendor Showcase


    Smoking Gun Publishing – Claire Applewhite

    Smoking Gun Publishing brings you the best in adult fiction. We specialize in mystery, suspense and thrillers, however, we accept mainstream, romance and women's fiction. If you have a great story, we'd like to publish it!

    Claire Applewhite is a graduate of St. Louis University.  She has served as President of the Missouri Writers Guild, as a board member of the Midwest Chapter, Mystery Writers of America, the St. Louis Metropolitan Press Club, St. Louis Writers Guild and Sisters in Crime, and is a member of the Ozark Writers League and Mystery Writers of America. An award winning mystery and suspense author, Claire is an adjunct professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis.


    Bluebird Publishing – Dan Thompson

    What if you could work with a company that understands publishing, promotion and sales? A company that partners with you, supports you throughout the process of producing and marketing your book, and shares your success?

    Bluebird Publishing is a St. Louis company that combines the talents and experience of owner Dan Thompson, former partner and now senior consultant Jeff Fister, and a team of editorial and design experts. Dan — who has been in the retail distribution business and in books and music for 30 years — understands how to produce a professional book and get it in the right hands.


    Mission Possible Press – Jo Lena Johnson

    Books that improve the human condition, solve problems and help people are what we are all about!

    Our books involve relief, support, guidance, wisdom, enrichment and new experiences for the reader. Our categories include Children’s Books, Fiction books in the Student Author Series, Business and Professional Development and Leadership / Inspirational Books.

    If you have been struggling to write your book, Jo Lena can help you craft your words, message and legacy through book writing consulting services. These services are offered separately or inclusively of publishing services.

    Pen & Publish - Jennifer Geist

    Pen & Publish, Inc. started as a small press dedicated to publishing work by or for schools and nonprofits in 2005. In addition to adding traditional imprints, we now also offer custom publishing services to authors, small presses, and organizations.

    Our Imprints

    Open Books Press publishes nonfiction for adults and fiction for all ages, and Transformation Media Books publishes work in the body, mind, and spirit genres. Brick Mantel Books, added in 2015, is dedicated to publishing quality literary fiction and poetry.



  • Saturday, July 23, 2016 2:05 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Do you have a website and blog? Websites are important, but blogs provide fresh content to attract the Google "spider" so your website will rank higher in keyword (subject matter) searches. From the Alliance of Independent Authors, here's some advice on how to write a blog post that will attract attention:


    Five Blogging Tips for Indie Authors


  • Friday, July 01, 2016 2:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    More than fifty people attended SLPA’s book marketing workshop, “How to Build an Audience, Grow Your List, and Sell More Books!” with special guest speaker Shawn Manaher, founder of Book Marketing Tools and of The Author Hangout podcast interview series. The event was a huge success! SLPA prepared for this special event with frequent posts on social media sites and announcements at SLPA’s monthly meetings.

    Participants were eager to start and ready to learn. The room was filled with a wide range of authors, some were from newbies to those with several published books. and others with more experience.

    The event promotion blast stated: This workshop will be action-packed and highly interactive. Indeed! This three-hour workshop was structured into segments with audience participation and group exercises such as: 

    •  How to create a reader profile in 10 minutes or less

    •  The ONE social media platform you should be using today

    •  How to use blogging, podcasting, social media, and email to delight your readers

    •  How to set up and use Aweber and MailChimp

    •  The five important things right most landing pages do wrong

    •  Setting and accomplishing your book marketing goals in the next 90 days

    Shawn Manaher’s presentation was clear, concise, and well organized. He kept the audience engaged with examples, and stories. When questions were raised, he provided specific, easy-to-comprehend answers.

    Here’s what people said about the workshop:

    “The presentation by Shawn Manaher was well worth my Saturday morning. The three hours were packed with a large amount of relevant information and well organized. Shawn seems to understand his audience and how overwhelming the information can appear and keeps that in mind as he moves quickly through the material. Every section included information that a writer needs to know to successfully market a book. My takeaways filled two pages even after editing the following day! Thank you Shawn. —Cheri Postill


    “This was an information-dense, practical and altogether useful workshop on book marketing and promotion. The lessons apply well beyond books, extending in general brand development and promotion. Well done!” —Jack Frosch


    “The workshop was loaded with information, but, for me, I truly appreciated Shawn helping us to systematically chip away at what is one of the scariest parts of being an author—marketing! He was very generous and kind… a wonderful workshop!” —Deborah Gambill


    “Shawn provided lots of information and really tried to give us our money’s worth for our 3 hours. It motivated me to finish up a few loose ends and got me started thinking about tackling some new things. Very worthwhile. Thanks.
    —Kathy Bussmann


    “Excellent presentation and workbook to go with it! If Shawn has another presentation topic in addition to today’s, let’s invite him back!” —Linda Senn


    “I suggested that SLPA invite Shawn Manaher to provide this year’s workshop not knowing for sure how he’d be as a workshop leader, but certain he’d offer a lot of good information. I was extremely pleased with his presentation, style, information and interactive approach to the morning and the topics! I was also unexpectedly featured as his “first fan,” which was flattering and touching. I filled his workshop participant’s booklet with my notes on his fill-in pages AND my own notes on “to-do’s” on the backs of most of those notes pages! I now have many months (years) of book marketing projects, improvements and ideas to follow-up on. But, all I want to do is WRITE! Thanks, SLPA/SLWG and Shawn!” —Sally Ember, Ed.D.


    “Yesterday was the second workshop I have attended that SLPA sponsored, and it was one of the best I’ve ever participated in. I know the information Shawn shared will help me in moving my newest book, “Delectable Destinations: A Chocolate Lover’s Guide to Missouri” to the next level.” —Deborah Reinhardt, Girl Power Publishing


    “The workshop was extremely insightful! The knowledge I gained has helped me kickstart my marketing plan already; working on my new website as we speak!” —Christine Schulze


    “Shawn Manaher gave a brilliant presentation. It was thought provoking and offered numerous ideas for building your list, clarifying your audience, and marketing your book(s). Shawn seems to have found his perfect niche in working with writers. His workshop was heart-felt.”  —Jean Walters author, Set Yourself Free, Be Outrageous: Do the Impossible, and Dreams and the Symbology of Life


    “Shawn gave a fantastic presentation full of useful information. He was a fully prepared speaker who kept it moving along and took the time to quickly clear up any questions. More people should speak that way.” —John Milford


    “This was a great use of my time. I walked away with multiple pages of notes and most importantly several actionable items that will improve the reach and impact of my book marketing. Shaun did a great job of keeping the session fun and engaging. I really value his approach to identifying the vital few next actions.” —Jan Torrisi-Mokwa


    “Shawn remained personable and approachable throughout the three-hour workshop, and had great rapport with the audience. … ” —Khrys Vaughan

    SLPA recommends Shawn Manaher to speak at your event without reservation!



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