AWP 2016 The Perfect Self-Released Book

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Mindbuck Media and Friends will be hosting a panel at AWP 2016 in Los Angeles! 

The Perfect Self-Released Book: What Elements Are Essential, and Will All This Money and Work Pay Off in the End?

Scott James Bookfair Stage, LA Convention Center, Exhibit Hall Level One
Thursday, March 31, 2016
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm 

Link to AWP Event Page 

Many AWP participants plan to self-publish. However, a tidal wave of subpar books into the public sphere remains a damning criticism of the practice, making it difficult for readers to sort through new releases for quality, particularly from emerging writers. Self-published books need to be perfected to be part of the literary conversation. However, the reality of poor sales and high expenses needs to be discussed openly so that authors do not get stuck releasing an inferior product.

Moderator: Jessica Glenn is a book publicist, musician, and writer. Her book publicity company of ten years, MindBuck Media, specializes in fiction. Glenn has published short fiction and poetry in PDX Magazine, Mamaphonic, Papierdoll, and elsewhere, and her press releases are reprinted widely.

Kristin Thiel is a professional editor and  helps individuals writing dragon mysteries, universities publishing dialogues on education, and tech companies crafting white papers. Over the years, her self-publishing clients have only grown in number, with good reasons.

Vinnie Kinsella, author of A Little Bit of Advice for Self-Publishers, began his love affair with book publishing in the second grade, when he worked with his fellow students to write and illustrate a story about the adventures of an ice-cream loving giraffe. Since then he has worked as a writer, editor, book designer, journal publisher, workshop speaker, and college instructor. In his current role as a publications consultant, he uses his broad knowledge of the publishing industry to assist and educate self-published authors. Vinnie lives in Portland, Oregon, with his books and his collection of coffee brewing equipment.

Laura Garwood, editor and writer, runs her own business out of Sacramento. She edits books, speaks about editing, and writes the well-known parenting and humor blog,Short-Winded Blog. She has her master’s in book publishing.

Mary Bisbee-Beek, Book Publicist; Agent; Foreign Rights; Marketing Consultant

https://www.awpwriter.org/awp_conference/event_detail/6037

Creative Publicity with Blue Star Coloring

adult-coloring-book-stress-relieving-animal-designs-1941325114-600x450Q&A with Jessica about publicity for Mindbuck Media client Blue Star Coloring.

Q: Blue Star Coloring brought you on to do publicity for their line of coloring books for grown ups. What’s different about doing book publicity for coloring books versus a work of fiction?

We are gearing up to do our first full release with Blue Star Coloring and our pitch list is certainly different than it is with novels and memoir!

Q: Are there any interesting challenges getting the word out about adult coloring books?

Since industry reviews for coloring books have never been a thing, we are in new territory with this one. We are following enthusiastic reviewers with great interest as we explore this robust publishing trend.

Q: What has been the most fun aspect of working with Blue Star Coloring?

12728546_1657570981172120_730098069_nThe most interesting and fun part of working with Blue Star Coloring is the company culture. Blue Star Coloring is comprised of interesting, hard-working people who are up for trying new things. It’s always a blast to work with people who will take creative risks and these guys have that in spades.

Q: Any advice for artists looking to publish similar art books?

If artists have illustrations ready it wouldn’t be the worst thing to submit a query to Blue Star Coloring. It’s difficult to break into the market at this point without working from within the industry.

Q: What kind of publicity hits has Blue Star Coloring had so far?

As the leader in Adult Coloring book, Blue Star Coloring has been featured everywhere including USA Today, Good Morning America, Time, Washington Post, and many more.

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How To Pitch Your Book

Clear forest in glasses on the background of blurred forest

From our friend Joe Biel founder, owner, and publisher of Microcosm Publishing

Microcosm Publishing is celebrating our 20th anniversary on Feb 12 and every day, new authors come to us with their delicately crafted, very personal work that they’ve spent hundreds of hours honing to perfection. Despite all this work, they’ve often completely neglected to figure out how to talk about their book, let alone how to pitch it.

But in the modern publishing landscape, the question of who gets published is less about how polished the manuscript is and more about the fact that publishers, just like readers, need a way to quickly understand what your book is about, who it is for, and most important, what benefits it offers. The book can be a masterwork, but if you can’t compellingly describe it in a single sentence, nobody will ever know.

Every book needs very clear development and language. The first question you need to be able to answer, in a one sentence pitch and at greater length in the book itself, is “what is this book about?” Next you need to investigate that the book you have in mind hasn’t already been written. Then you need to make sure you’ll be able to write it.”

THE PROCESS

If your book is best suited to major publishing houses (i.e. occupies an identifiable and reachable audience of more than 5,000 people), you’ll need to pitch an agency until one agrees to work with you. Then the agent begins the next process, of pitching to publishers. The process of pitching to indie houses is our focus here. Publishing with a client account like Amazon’s is another option, as is using a pay-to-play company to bring in some of the services that a publisher would normally provide for free. While these options do not have any barrier to entry (except money), if you want to reach readers who are not your friends and family, properly developing and pitching your book remains just as vital as it does in pitching to the industry.

THE RULES

Follow directions. It’s the first step to winning.
No matter who you’re pitching, the most important part of the process is: Read and follow all submission directions exactly. You will likely ruin your chances of success if you assume that you are an exception to the guidelines, if you do not follow them correctly, or if you do not put sufficient time into the process. I toss over half of our submissions because they have not followed our submission guidelines and the result is incomprehensible. Some people appear to be “blanket-submitting” their manuscript everywhere without regard to fit, which simply wastes everyone’s time. Others believe that if we just read their work we would be swooning so hard that we would be asking them where we could sign on. I cannot stress enough the vitality of reading the guidelines.

It’s also vital to research the publisher. Read their mission statement if they have one. Look at the other books they have coming out, and what they’ve done in the last few years. What kind of books do they like? What are their bestsellers? If a publisher has not made any children’s books, there is likely a good reason for that. Even if they made an exception for yours, it likely would not be in your best interest. You want your book to fit into the story and fabric of what your publisher does best.

WRITING THE PITCH

Make the first sentence of your pitch a clear and uncluttered explanation of what benefit the book offers to readers.
For example, you might write, “NONOWRIMO: Your Daily Guide To Not Publishing a Creative Work provides helpful day-planning and activities that a potential author could pursue instead of writing.”

This is the most important part of your pitch, so it should be the most visible. The publisher needs to immediately understand what the book is about before they will be willing to look further. Often, opening a conversation with someone about their pitch results in defensiveness and not understanding why a publisher needs certain questions answered. Again, the plausibility of a project is not related to the merit of the work as much as the merits in the concept of the work.

The second most important part of your pitch is one or two sentences explaining how your book stands out from similar titles. Focus on what is unique about your book that other in-print books do not offer. This requires research on what is in print rather than just speculating from memory or conjecture. Visit some bookstores. Check Google and Amazon, and look at the Amazon rankings to get a general idea of which books have done well and which have flopped. Publishers will do this as well, but your preliminary search will help direct your pitching in the right direction.
When the publisher’s guidelines indicate that it’s the correct time, submit the materials requested. If a specific format is not specified, include the basic outline of your complete work and a sample chapter or two. Most places will also want a list of comparable titles: books from the last five years (preferably fewer) from comparably sized presses of similar length, cover price, and marketing budgets. This helps everyone to better understand how you think about your book and the company it keeps.

PLATFORM

It’s helpful for agents and publishers and readers to understand what you bring to the table besides your writing: your platform and endorsements. Did you create a successful social media page or blog that speaks to the same people that your book does? Are there professional or popular people who are willing to speak excitedly about the book or write an endorsement? Is your best friend or aunt a well-connected journalist who is excited to go to bat for your book? Is your local TV station news host a social acquaintance? Have you written other books or done other projects that gained fans or praise? Share that briefly in your pitch.

Even if you’ve never written a book before and don’t have a strong network already in place, you can include supporting evidence about the potential readership of your book. Most of the pitches that I receive contain a blanket claim along the lines of “books about ice cream are very popular right now.” This is not helpful, but if you include a metric, like “Dentists have found that eating more ice cream reduces risk of cavities.” That level of information opens up new ways for the book to be sold and is helpful (even more so if it’s true!).

Almost every pitch I receive is too long, which causes me to skim for the relevant points. Then I respond if it fits or delete it if it does not (or if I can’t tell what it is about). So make it short and to the point. When you’ve finished crafting the most relevant information about your book, cut the word count on your pitch in half at least once, if not four times.

Above all, really think about who the book is for and what their concerns are, what publications they read, and how they feel about the issues discussed. Your book is for individual people rather than an amorphous “mainstream.” Be respectful to your audience—a prospective publisher, agent, or individual readers alike—and acknowledge what they know. Make them feel welcome. That’s how you succeed.

 

Microcosm is an independent, punk-inspired book publisher. They are about to turn 20. This is their story.  Good Trouble: Building a Successful Life & Business with Asperger’s

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/microcosmpublishing/making-room-for-good-trouble

Poets & Writers Feature

We are so pleased and excited to be featured in the Nov/Dec 2015 edition of Poets & Writers in “A Publicist’s Prospective.”

So impressed with Poets & Writers setting up the ‪#‎pwlive‬ event to go along with the article. Thanks!

Editor Jessica Page Morrell and publicist Jessica Glenn weigh in and give advice to burgeoning self-publishers. Available only in print. We highly recommend a subscription to Poets & Writers as a valuable resource for all writers (and poets!).

 

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Editing Rx

Editing_Tools_2By Kristin Thiel of Indigo Editing

Just as a therapist may be able to prescribe medication or not, may counsel the physical or the mental side of a person, or may have a certificate or a medical license, an editor may perform any number of different editing tasks and have a background distinct from other editors. Editor is a broad term, so it’s important for authors to ask editors questions and see samples of their work to understand what they do and what perspectives they bring to their work. Two very different editors can both be wonderful—but not equally wonderful for the same writer.

As a group, the editors of Indigo offer a variety of skills and experiences, but here’s the framework within which we all work. For each project, we:

  • Provide a free sample edit so that the author can see the editor’s individual style and so that the editor can offer a clear estimate on time and cost
  • Make suggestions while encouraging the writer’s own style and voice—the author always has the final say on a project
  • Keep a style sheet of all style decisions, variant spellings, and fact-checked proper nouns
  • Write an editorial letter to summarize our edits and explain what the author should do next

We take these steps in each stage of editing. Some projects need all stages, some just one—the editor and the author work together to determine what level of work is needed.

  • Developmental editing digs deep, addressing content, presentation, and documentation. The editor works closely with the author. Because this may continue for several rounds, for the sake of a client’s budget, Indigo tries to keep this contained in a single round. If we notice in a sample edit that a project requires deep structural work, we suggest a Reader’s Response first to help alleviate the heavy lifting required in multiple developmental editing rounds. (For a Reader’s Response, an Indigo editor reads the manuscript at a reader’s, rather than an editor’s, pace and then prepares a letter of reply, highlighting what the editor sees as the manuscript’s strengths and what could be done to address the less successful patterns.)
  • Line editing includes editing for grammar, syntax, and consistent formatting among similar elements, cross-checking across the text, and fact-checking.
  •  Proofreading may happen before design, after design, and after the printer has provided proofs, the editor at this stage catching lingering errors in spelling and punctuation through awkward line or page breaks.

Email info@indigoediting.com to talk with Indigo about the editing you want for your writing. (We can also help with project management of your independent publishing project as well as book design.)

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