Archive for February, 2011

Blog Tours

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

If you’ve written a book, how do you drum up interest in your work?

  • One way to do this is to make rounds of chat rooms and forums and engage people in discussions, get your name out there. Works for some people, but it needs a lot of investment in time.
  • If you’re able to get a newspaper or a magazine to interview you, even online, nothing like it. But chances are, you won’t be, because – let’s face it – who’d be interested in a no-name author?
  • Even if you do have the time and money to go on book promotion tours, pitching your book to strangers can get mighty uncomfortable.
  • You can look for websites that host chats with authors. The only problem is – how many people read them?

What are the options then?

First, you need a blog. There is no way around it.

Then you plan a book tour, a virtual tour, that is. This is called a blog tour. What it involves is finding blogs that are like minded (for me, I would search ethnic/multicultural blogs with a fan base) and set up a small Q&A. Don’t let it be a big interview (limit it to less than 5 questions), because every stage of your tour should offer some new insight. Keep it exciting. Offer prizes – could be a copy of your book, free mentoring, whatever. Generate excitement. At every stage include sales information for your book.

Dani offers classes on blog touring that last four weeks and cost $20. This is the 4th year she’s taught this class online. I’m not quite ready to take this class, but when I am, I know it is going to be worth it.

More from Dani:

“We start with improving and critiquing your blogs, then segue into social networking skills, and finally into finding blog hosts and crafting your actual tour. It’s a lot of work and daily attendance is important, but I think it’s fair to say that many of the authors creating exceptional tours have been through this course and really know what they’re doing. Many of them stay in touch and support each other at the BBT Cafe.

Click here to check out Dani’s blog.

Categories: Book Promotion

The Cleopatra Literary Contest for Young Women

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Author Stephanie Dray is sponsoring a contest for young female writers. In addition to an e-reader (or $100), you could win a month long mentorship writing mentorship with Ms. Dray — and — a critique from NY literary agent, Jennifer Schober of Spencerhill Associates.

Categories: Contests

GUEST BLOG: Kaye George

February 7, 2011 5 comments

I’ve ‘met’ a lot of authors on the internet who chose to go the self-publishing route. Self published authors run the gamut from first time authors, to previously published authors who initially went the traditional route, but felt their publishers did not do a great job marketing their book, so are reissuing their own books are ebooks. Here are one author’s views (Thanks, Kaye!):


One Author’s Take on Self-Publishing


Rasana asked me to blog on the subject of self-publishing because I’ve put out a little booklet detailing how to do it. I’d like to start, however, with reasons for doing it. Some are good, some not so good.


If you’re self-publishing because you’ve been turned down by less than 100 agents, I’d encourage you to keep going with the query process. At least try the smaller publishing houses.  If you’ve also been turned down by every small press you’ve tried, I’d take some courses, swap manuscripts for critiquing, or hire an editor to find out why no one wants your work. If you know you have the best book you can write, then go for it!


One of the best reasons for self-publishing is to revive an out-of-print backlist, especially for an on-going series. Another is to put out an e-book that you’ve had published through a publishing house. I saw several writers put out short story collections with success, and I’ve done that, too.

Here are some pros and cons to consider, whatever your reasons.


(1) You have complete control over:

(a) cover design

(b) editing

(c) timing of the release

(d) pricing

(2) You keep a higher percentage of your list price.

(3) You can get a book out as soon as you’ve written it.

(4) You won’t get dropped by your publisher.

(5) You have all the time in the world to establish a readership.



(1) You have to either know how to design a cover, or pay someone to do it.

(2) If you don’t have someone else edit or critique your work, it probably won’t be as good as it could be.

(3) You won’t get reviewed unless you send copies to reviewers. Even then, you might not.

(4) You won’t be shelved in a bookstore.

(5) It’s hard to get the word out, since you’ll get no help on PR or publicity.


If you’ve decided this is for you, here are some tips on doing it well.




All the information you need is on the web, but it’s not all in the same place. After I ferreted it out and had it all gathered together, I decided to put it together in a booklet. I had the most trouble coming up with instructions on doing covers, so I included quite a bit of detail on that. I also put as many helpful links as I could find at the end of the booklet.


Others may advise differently, but I found it relatively easy to put my books out with Smashwords first. Smashwords guides you through their process with a downloadable guide. Be  careful and make sure you pay attention to the guide. Amazon has its own formatting for the Kindle that isn’t compatible with anything else, so you have to go through their process separately. The document you’ll have as a result of the Smashwords process, however, works just fine for Amazon Kindle. You can also use the cover you create for Smashwords on your Amazon ebook.


You can get an ISBN free from Smashwords. Amazon will assign an ASIN, so you won’t need one there.


If you are seriously trying to sell an ebook, you’ll have to put it on Amazon for their Kindle. That’s the biggest market for ebooks right now and most of your sales may very well end up there.




I created a book with Wordclay, which is what Smashwords recommends, but I found the price to the buyer would be higher than I wanted it to be. I tried Createspace, on the recommendation of a friend, and found I can put out a much more reasonable product there. I’m tickled pink with the product from Createspace, in fact.


For the paperback, you’ll have to start over on the cover and go through their process. This only makes sense, since you just have a front cover for an ebook and for a paperback you need front, back, and a spine. I’d advise you to save a lot of copies of the background you choose for the ebook, at every stage, so you can mess up and start over. You can also use the same background for the paperback so they will have a similar look.


I’d use both Smashwords and Createspace again with no hesitation. In fact, I have done so! After I created my short story collection as an ebook and as a paperback, I put out the self-publishing booklet to try to help guide some other writers. If you’d like to take a look at it, the booklet is available at Amazon ( and Smashwords ( You can also click to these sites from, my home page. (Watch for my small press novel, coming out in May!)


Thanks for asking me to blog here, Rasana! I hope your readers get some good out of my post.

How To Find Literary Agents

February 3, 2011 Leave a comment

One question I get asked all the time is how to find literary agents that are legitimate (believe me there are scam artists out there). A few things to look for:

Some places to find these agents:

  • Agent Query is a great website to find literary agents by name, and by genre.
  • Query Tracker is another wonderful website. The reason I like this site is that if you’re not sure where to get started, look up an author whose writing is similar to yours, and you get a link to their agent.

Do look up the sample literary agent contract I have elsewhere on my website.

If any of these tips help, do let me know. Good luck!

Categories: Literary Agents

Journal Looking For Submissions

February 2, 2011 Leave a comment

SpringGun is looking for submissions from writers, poets, digital photographers, essayists, book reviewers and interviewers. Deadline March 1, 2011.

Categories: Getting Published

Writing Contest With A Twist

February 1, 2011 Leave a comment

In 500 words or less, write an explosive love scene (or an explosive romantic meeting) between two characters from DIFFERENT books. These can be contemporary, classic, YA, romance, etc. Anything, as long as they are books!

This is for the 2nd annual Literary Lovers Mash-Up Writing Contest.

Categories: Contests