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, 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.

  • 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.)
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