Friday, August 27, 2010

Want tips on writing, publishing, and/or book marketing?

People often ask me for tips on writing, publishing, and book marketing.  I have a standard lecture that I give folks in response to these questions, and it usually scares people away from ever actually dabbling in the world of publishing.  Over 2,000 books are published every day.  Many distributors (including my own at 3%) accept a ridiculously small percentage of manuscripts, bookstore shelf space is limited, and the sheer volume of books out there means you are facing serious competition.  That said, it is possible to get your book out there, to have your manuscript selected, and to run a successful marketing campaign. 

Here are some links that can help you with this challenging process:

The Big Bad Book Blog
This book blog, created by Greenleaf Book Group (a very author-friendly book distributor), is a truly remarkable source of information about all things publishing and marketing.  The blog guides my decisions on almost a daily basis.  They have posts that describe everything from packaging, font selection, getting into bookstores, children's book illustrations, and more.  This is a great place to start your research into the world of publishing.  And trust me, you need to do some serious research.

Getting Your Books into Bookstores
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., provides some great tips.

Advice on Self-Publishing from Lisa Genova, Author of Still Alice
Lisa Genova's book, Still Alice, is one of my favorites.  The writing is very simple, the plot is enough to get you to make some serious changes in your life (I've started journaling again because of it), and the author's credentials make her the perfect person to share this story.  The book entered the world through unconventional means, and it's a success story for those of you who are tired of manuscript rejection letters and ready to try something different.  She is a Goodreads author and I recommend that all authors join this site.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

After a slow summer, book orders are rolling in...

We had a pretty slow summer at the Student Solutions office.  To save money, we reduced staff, scaled back on hours, and temporarily suspended services such as FedEx daily pickup.  When school is out, book orders don't come in.  But this week, received enough orders for Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man's Georgia and North Carolina versions that they were officially out of stock by Tuesday morning.  We sent in another shipment so that should be fixed soon.  Customers can always order directly from Student Solutions at  The publisher has books in stock when online stores don't. 

And yesterday, we received an order from a school in Georgia.  I had to process and pack the order myself, then drive the shipment over to FedEx. I used the opportunity to resume our daily pickup service.  Unconventional, yes, but as wonderful as my books are, they aren't really a cash cow, so everybody lends a hand to make this project work, including our volunteers, who are considered superheroes around the office.  It is the publisher's policy to ship orders the same business day whenever possible. 

We're also ordering a new shipment of North Carolina books.  It's not as many as I'd like to order, but we'll have to wait until January to order more.  Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A North Carolina EOG Adventure, is selling significantly better than the Georgia, California, and New York Versions.  All of the versions have the same plot.  The only thing different about them is that they are each aligned to a different state's curriculum.  The success of the North Carolina book is a bit of an enigma to all of us.