New and First Time Authors

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CALLING ALL AUTHORS --- How to publish with your eyes wide open!

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Posted by: Valerie Connelly in myblog on

Valerie Connelly
All right, pay-to-publish is a touchy subject, and we all know it.

Many authors think there is something inherently bad about paying to publish a book. Publishers who are looking to pay advances for new talent are non-existent. over 500,000 books are published every year in the USA. So, when an unknown author tries the old query-and-hope-for-the-best technique of submitting books for consideration, the rejection notices pile up like the recent blizzard in Denver, Colorado, two feet deep and cold as ice.

Most authors do not know professional editors. Most do not know layout and design specialists, printers, distributors, shippers, marketing experts and web gurus. And most authors lack these skills as well. So, what is an author to do?

Look for the publisher who:

1) involves you in the process of creating your book from beginning to end

2) pays you 100% royalties until you earn all your costs back and 50-70% royalties thereafter

3) educates you to the business of marketing your book, and who stands with you throughout that process and afterward

4) whose books win awards and

5) whose authors come back again and again to publish second, third, fourth and fifth titles

Oh, did I mention these are the qualities we believe in at Nightengale Press, and we are the only publisher in the industry who meets all these standards? Oh, that's right, we developed these standards and we live up to them every day. We are publishing our 90th title by the end of 2009. We limit our production to 15 to 20 titles per year to make sure every author gets the one-on-one support we value so highly.

Go to for all the service details.

PR SAVVY for Authors

Posted by: Valerie Connelly in myblog on

Valerie Connelly

 To the first-time author, sending Press Releases may seem confusing and time-consuming. How does one decide which press release service to use? Should you send press releases via several services at one time? Why is learning to do this for yourself the best thing to do, to save money and expand  your audience.


The typical PR firm charges a retainer of $3500 per month under a 12-month minimum contract. This means the author or business pays $42,000 for a year's worth of effort. There are no guarantees that the work will produce results, though firms charging prices like these do have success with some clients. It is a long way from $42,000 in expense to sales of 42,000 books which could cover the expense, if an author's royalty is $1 or more per book. To make a modest profit above and beyond the 12 month costs, an author would need to sell 50,000 books or more.

Some firms offer news-release packages to fit the anticipated use of the wire and the budget of their clients. The larger the release package, the lower the cost per release.

5 releases for $425 = $105 per release
10 releases for $750 = $75 per release
20 releases for $1300 = $65 per release
30 releases for $1800 = $60 per release
50 releases for $2750 = $55 per release
100 releases for $5000 = $50 per release

Again, an author buying just press releases and who gets $1 per book royalty would have to sell as many books as each release cost to just break even. In the example above, the author would need to sell between 425 and 5,000 books just to break even on this part of the cost of his book. If he earns $10 per book through direct sales, he'll need to sell 43 to 500 books to pay for these releases at these rates.

The old rules still apply

Before sending your press release you'll want to research your target journalists and bloggers and ensure that your audience frequents the media you are about to pitch. From there you can begin to weave in some tried-and-true best practices to help make your announcement more effective.

1. Define your media focus - try to limit your pitches to only those outlets that directly serve your target audience. Do your research and then focus on those outlets that are most likely to provide opportunity. Resist the urge to send untargeted emails.

2. Review your outreach tactics - pitch journalists and bloggers in a format that will resonate. (Believe it or not, some journalists still prefer fax over email.) There's no use wasting your efforts on a great pitch that never makes it into the hands of the journalist or blogger.

3. Send a release whenever there is something to announce - you'll want to keep your audience aware of what's going on with your organization. But beware: Sending too many "irrelevant" releases can potentially cause your audience to take you less seriously.

Use these best practices for reaching today's audience

The rise of online media requires that many public relations professionals consider how they distribute their news. Here are some new rules for sending releases to an increasingly tech-savvy audience.

Tailor your release so that it directly relates to your target audience or constituents, rather than the journalist or blogger who may pick up the story. The Internet is rich with consumer- driven media. As such, your audience is more likely to receive the information directly rather than through a third party, such as a journalist.

Create announcements according to specific segments such as: blogger, journalist, target audience. Sure it might be a little more work, but at least you'll appeal to each group based on their preferences.

Optimize your press release for SEO. With more content online, you'll want your press release top of mind and at the top of the search stack.

Craft a multi-media release. Including pictures, video, and text can make your release more appealing to an online audience and give the journalist or blogger a more compelling reason to write about you or your company.

Design a separate social media release. You may even want to take it up a notch by using a unique template, reminiscent of a web page or blog. Whatever you decide, be sure to include "share this" buttons. This will help encourage redistribution.


You Have the Power

Posted by: Valerie Connelly in myblog on

Valerie Connelly
When I think about how to inspire the people I work for, meaning my authors, I realize the barriers they see ahead can seem over whelming. The progression of motivation goes from optimistic and motivated to befuddled and fatigued. The period of time it takes for the first description to morph into the second description really depends on many factors, but most of all it depends on an author's understanding of the daily job required to breathe life into a book.

Most often, I see the joy go out the the eyes of authors who thought that somehow the book would sell itself. I see some decide to stop the process of bringing the book to the public because the work is unforgiving and demanding. But, most of all I see the disappointment, and feel it with my authors, when they do not see a way to reinvigorate themselves and their books.

Why? Well, there are three reasons why an author and ultimately the book both lose the energy to go forward.

1) The demands of making a living by other means shortens the time an author can devote to promoting his book and blurs the focus needed to promote a book.

2) The money it takes to keep reaching out, getting the interest of the reading public, even if the author does all the publicity work for himself, eventually runs out. Gas prices, food prices, clothing prices, the cost of living keep rising, and we all cut away things we think are luxuries. Promoting a book can fall easily into the category of luxury item.

3) But, most importantly, the author didn't work out a plan as to how the book would maintain a life. The author didn't start out with an idea of how to keep the book in front of buyers.

"What's the solution?" you ask.

1) Recognize that you must spend a certain amount of time every day working at the promotion of your book. Doing some portion of your marketing plan takes time and energy. Contacting newspapers, websites and sending informational emails is a constant task. Connecting with venues where you can talk about your book, such as libraries, schools, businesses, and organizations is essential as you release your book and afterward to keep it alive. These take time. Just an hour a day helps a lot! Carve it out of your busy schedule, set the time to be the same every day, and keep a log of what you do in that hour. Track your contacts, mailings, etc... this will show you what you're doing and give you a clear idea of what works and what doesn't work.

2) Develop and nurture a customer list. Every person who bought your book potentially will buy another one if you keep them in the know. The successful authors, the ones who actually make their living by selling their books, have extensive contact lists they have built over years. Your publisher has that information if they sell your books from a website store. Ask for a list. Sadly, you can't get a list of buyers from mainstream online stores. But, if people review your book, you can contact them.

3) Invent and re-invent your marketing approach. A simple mailer of one piece of paper with review blurbs, reader comments, your book cover image and a cheery note from the author inviting the recipient to buy the book is a tried and true technique. I respond to these myself when an author I know sends me an alert by mail (not email). I think that's because it's not a bill and it's not really junk mail. If I know the author's work, I am thrilled to get something personally from him or her.

4) WRITE ANOTHER BOOK! Once you have one book, you should write another. Every time you bring out a new book the former titles get a boost. When you make a habit of building your contact list and keeping in touch, people who loved the first book will want to read the second book...and so on.

So, it is time to begin --- or begin again --- to make your book's life long and fruitful.

Welcome to the Calling All Authors blog which will replace our Calling All Author's website. Why? Primarily, because the website was less effective than we had hoped. Simple as that!

The purpose of this blog is to bring perspective, information and motivational content to writers and authors who are trying to write, publish and market their books in the rapidly changing publishing world.

Myths abound. Misinformation abounds. There are confusing contradictions everywhere. Facts are lost in the constant flow of hype and hyperbole. Where an author's success is most relevant, at his own bottom line, few are truly interested in helping him achieve the best possible financial results for his efforts.

I believe that if you look at the reality, success  comes down to answering one question: Where is most of the book's income staying --- in the  author's bank account  or everyone else's? The distributor, the printer, the bookstore, the publisher come first and last in line is the author. This blog is going to provide you to tools to change that. Everyone in the food chain will take his portion. That is reality. The goal is to see to it that the author gets his fair share.

FAIR share. What is that? Enough to cover publishing costs, marketing costs, and still take some home. The author must become a business person if he is going to get his fair share. So, this blog will address the business of publishing and marketing a book.

Seeing your book as a business is the key to your success. And taking care from the very beginning to create the best, most valuable product  you possibly can is essential. It is astounding to me that so few writers understand the importance of this perspective. They want their books to sell but don't or won't take the necessary steps or commit the necessary resources in time and money to make it happen. Over time, with conscious planning and execution, an author can sell his book to some. The idea is to sell the book to many. This moment is when many authors lose faith. The first glow of publication wears off, and the depression sets in.

Who will encourage them? Who will be there to dispense advice and comfort? Who can they turn to for guidance? Their publisher? Their editor? Their publicist? As a life-long educator and lover of learning, I am offering a helping hand, not only to Nightengale Press authors, but to all authors who are lost in the maze.

It is a tough job being a creative soul in a sea of bean counters. Earning a book's success is an overwhelming task in many ways. So, accepting that as the premise, what the website Calling All Authors tried do, the BLOG Calling All Authors actually will do. There is a lot of information out there, much of it good, much of it not so good. I promise to present balanced information, while encouraging you to take what you will and to leave the rest. Asking questions, finding answers, and deciding what is best for you and your book will be the purpose of this blog. I hope the information that will appear here will be useful, encouraging, motivating and above all, profitable to you.

All my best for your success!

Valerie Connelly,

Publisher, Author, Talk Show Host, Educator


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