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, 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!



  • Friday, June 10, 2016 11:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Guest blog post written by SLPA’s 2016 winner of the IBPA Pub U scholarship, Kristina Blank Makansi

    IBPA Publishing University 2016

    As noted by Chris Kenneally of Copyright Clearance Center, independent publishers (including self-publishers) all share the same desire, or “genome; that is, we all want [and need] one another to share information, seize new opportunities, study the trends, economic issues—even with our “competitive rival[s].”

    “Connecting”—whether with authors, suppliers, publishers—as well as learning and staying on top of what is happening in the publishing world is one of the best reasons to be a member of IBPA. And networking with like-minded people and experts to learn from is what IBPA’s Publishing University is about. Coming together as one, we keep independent publishing alive and thriving.

    This past May, Donna Essner, one of my Amphorae Publishing Group business partners, and I attended Publishing University in Salt Lake City. I was the happy recipient of the SLPA scholarship which covered registration fees. (I recommend everyone enter to win the scholarship next year!) Upon arrival, we were met
    with a plethora of information, services, and assistance available in every area of independent publishing, and print and ebook distributors, printers, wholesalers, website developers, retailers, and experts on public relations/promotions were on display and available for consultation—and for making new friends. Even shy writing types are encouraged to network, mix, and mingle, and to learn from one another. One comment from Kwame Alexander, keynote speaker and 2016 Newberry winner, struck me in particular. “Go wherever,” he said. “Be vulnerable. Be prepared.” This advice is not just for authors alone. It’s a mantra even we publishers should remember. And if you’re self-publishing, it goes double! Be bold. Experiment. Put your whole self out there.

    Of particular interest to author/publishers are the workshops and panel discussions given by successful marketers, publishers, and authors, who openly and happily share their success stories—and their failures—to help the rest of us succeed. Learning from the mistakes others have made, in particular, helps us achieve our goals and that of our authors. Throughout the conference, we found that everyone we met shared their knowledge willingly, no matter the question. And fellow attendees are just as eager to learn from what we, at Amphorae, have learned. As a writer, traditional publisher, and self-published author, I eagerly devoured all the information—or as much as I could ingest!—I could get my hands on. In fact, I highly recommend you go with a friend or colleague so you can each attend different sessions and then share notes.

    One particular bit of advice to keep from being so overwhelmed with everything available to IBPA attendees, is go with a plan. Decide what you want and need to learn and focus first on that. 

    —Kristina Blank Makansi with Donna Essner, partners, Amphorae Publishing Group

    But, to reiterate Kwame Alexander, “Go wherever. Be vulnerable. Be prepared.” Just go. IBPA Publishing University is one destination that I recommend to everyone on the publishing journey.

  • Wednesday, April 27, 2016 9:23 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    SLPA doesn't talk much about the art of writing, leaving that to the St. Louis Writers Guild, except that writers should consider who their readers will be and how to speak (write) to that audience. But, K.M. Weiland has an excellent article on how to write scenes to keep the reader happily interested. Follow the links in the article, too, for more good information.


    How to Create Awesome Scene Arcs That Surprise Readers

  • Friday, March 18, 2016 1:30 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    I hope you know you cannot just use any photo you find online for your book or website or blog. Most are copyrighted and require specific permission and even payment to use. Do not think you can just tell who the photographer is and they will be happy (same with using other peoples' written words). You may even be in trouble using your own photos! Below is an enlightening article by photographer Jean Gill about the use of photos for commercial purposes. Note that nowadays in the US, gardens and parks may also require permission and payment to use photos taken on their grounds.


    How to Source and Use Photos in Self-Published Books


  • Wednesday, February 24, 2016 4:28 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    How will you build your following? Here are a few ideas:


    71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book


  • Sunday, February 14, 2016 3:04 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Using beta readers is important - beta readers read a late or final draft to give you feedback so you don't publish to embarrassing reviews. Hopefully these readers are honest with you. Author Anne Leigh Parrish gives tips on how to use this feedback:


    Tips on Getting Feedback


  • Tuesday, January 19, 2016 4:20 PM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    You are using social media to spread the word about you and your books, right? Don't be a spammer, though, or go on and on about your books, annoying potential readers. What do you post about then? Gary McLaren of Writers Unplugged has an article for you:


    40 Ideas for Writers to Post on Social Media




  • Wednesday, October 07, 2015 11:10 AM | Linda Austin (Administrator)

    Your author bio can help sell your book, so don't be shy about your accomplishments. Author/Copywriter Bryan Cohen gives 5 tips in his article 

    How to Write the Best Author Bio. 
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