Interview with Joel Friedlander on Indie Publishing

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Berkeley CWC volunteer Cristina Deptula caught up with the speaker of this Sunday’s meeting for some questions about independent publishing. If you don’t know Joel, he is an award-winning book designer, blogger, and writer. He speaks regularly at industry events and is the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion and coauthor of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide. Joel is a columnist for Publishers Weekly, and was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 10 people to follow in book publishing. He runs a number of helpful websites such as TheBookMakers.com, offering full service book production for authors and publishers.

Come out to our Sunday meeting to ask Joel your own questions about indie book publishing.

Joel-2014-headshot 300xHow does an author decide when to self publish and when to seek an agent and a traditional publisher? What sorts of books do you think are best served by each form of publication?

​Several elements go into this decision. Traditional publishers will be looking for books that will be sufficiently profitable to justify the expense of publishing them. Some authors may not want to wait the 1 to 3 years this process takes, and others want more control of their publications than is afforded in typical publishing contracts. Authors who have ready access to an audience for their books, or who are innately entrepreneurial, are likely to have the best results from self-publishing.

What are some big mistakes to avoid when self-publishing that make your book look unprofessional?

​The worst mistake is to publish a book with an “amateur” cover. It will mark your book as an amateur production before anyone even has a chance to open the book.​ Similarly, publishing a book that hasn’t been edited by a professional book editor isn’t a good practice.

What are some tips to make your self-published book stand out?

​Again, do yourself a favor and hire a professional cover designer and editor. Beyond that, look at the market you are entering. What does your book contribute that is not available? Does it do something better than any other books in the market? Or do it better, more extensively, or in greater depth? Why do people need this book?​

How can authors get self-published books noticed by media and bookstores? Are there hacks to the process or is it still a matter of calling and emailing place after place and dropping off copies?

​There’s no shortcut to marketing a book. Self-publishers can run review campaigns to print, electronic, and online media just like any other publisher. They can advertise on social media sites, build community through blogging or sharing their stories. There are no “magic bullets.” Most self-publishers will not have the assets to attempt a national marketing campaign with offset-printed books, a marketing budget, and a national distributor, all of which are necessary to go beyond consigning books to your local bookstores.​

What’s worth spending good money on as an author and where can a self-publishing author save cash?

​Use free reviews before you pay for any. You can find cover designers who charge very reasonable fees. Editing and cover design are the places to spend your cash. Use a template for your book interior, it will save you a lot of time and money with designers and formatters.​ Partner with other authors who publish books that appeal to the same audience and run promotions where you split the cost. Develop a blog and grow an email list, nothing you can do will pay off as well.

Whether or not you have questions for Joel, we hope to see you this Sunday at our monthly meeting at Preservation Park. Remember, though Joel speaks at 3:15, the meeting starts at noon with support groups to help you resolve issues in your writing or your book marketing…or just network with other writers over tasty snacks and coffee. Doesn’t your writing career deserve a little time this week?

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WORKSHOP 5/7 —”Green-Light It: Publish Your Book Successfully” with Brooke Warner

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click to print/view flyer

click to print/view flyer

So you’re finally ready to do it! Your manuscript is ready to become a book. You know there are multiple paths to publishing, so how do you approach your options?

In this information-packed workshop, expert and publisher Brooke Warner explains the current publishing landscape, and why the majority of authors today are becoming successful independently published authors – whether they initially pursue traditional publishing or not.

This 3 hour session will give you the confidence to green-light your own book, equipping you with a much needed understanding of what you need to know to help your book reach its readers.

Brooke Warner worked as an acquiring editor in the publishing industry for over 13 years. She left Seal Press in 2012 to pursue a coaching practice and to launch the hybrid She Writes Press with Kamy Wicoff, founder of shewrites.com.

Brooke brings a wide range of disciplines and interests to coaching, and brings years of expertise to help authors get exactly what they want – an agent, a publisher, a completed book. “My job will be to support you and devise strategies to propel you forward and help you access your untapped, forgotten, or ignored passions and energies that will get you moving.”

Visit here for more information: www.warnercoaching.com

LOCATION:

Independence Plaza, 703 Atlantic Avenue, Alameda (94501). Map & Directions

SCHEDULE:

9:45 a.m. – check in
10 a.m. – workshop
11:30 a.m. – break
1 p.m. – conclusion

FEES:

CWC Members: $20 Reserve Your Spot
Non-Members – $30 Reserve Your Spot

November 16, 2014—Book Marketing with Howard Allen VanEs of Letswritebooks.net

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click to view or download flyer

click to view or download flyer

Marketing is a major challenge for most writers. With the many changes in the publishing landscape, marketing has become an ever more bewildering experience for many of us.

Today, we have an expert in the field to provide us with the latest ideas and trends, including information about Amazon, Kindle and the digital platform. This program will be a great opportunity to find answers to your questions about how to plan your marketing.

Howard has over 25 years of writing experience in every format imaginable, including publishing 18 books of his own as well as creating numerous books, audiobooks, and information products for others. His books include such diverse titles as Stress Management and Stress Relief Workbook and Meditation, the Gift Inside. Howard is also the former owner and creative director of an award winning ad agency.

 

Find Howard Allen VanEs online at www.letswritebooks.net.

Click here for information about location and time.

 

 

 

See You Sunday! Featuring dynamic duo Lloyd Lofthouse and Alon Shalev.

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We’re so proud to feature our very own Lloyd Lofthouse as our speaker this Sunday. Lloyd, the author of the award-winning My Splendid Concubine historical novels and much more, has years of experience in successful self-publishing. He is also a generous mentor to the club, keeping up the club’s marketing blog as a dual member of two branches.

But wait, there’s more! Alon Shalev, author of five novels (several of them published by Lloyd’s publishing house, Three Clover Press), will be our featured club author who opens for Lloyd.

Both Lloyd’s and Alon’s literary success are tied to the club, as the two of them founded our Marketing Success Group. This group meets on Sundays at 1pm before the meeting, and like all of our support/critique groups, guests are welcome to audit one meeting before joining the club.

We hope to see you Sunday for this exciting celebration of good writing and successful publishing. Lloyd’s talk is entitled, “You CAN Get Published,” and this duo is proof of that. The meeting is from 2-4:30, with plenty of time for networking with other writers, and the location is the Oakland Public Library (enter on Madison Street).

“You CAN Get Published” with Lloyd Lofthouse on April 21st

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Need help getting your writing into print? Lloyd Lofthouse, our featured speaker for the April 21 meeting, is a good person to ask for advice. A past president of CWC’s Berkeley Branch, he helped launch our marketing group and has mentored fellow writers interested in self- publishing.

Lloyd’s own self-published work has attracted recognition. His short story, “A Night at the ‘Well of Purity,’” was a finalist in the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. That same year, his first novel, My Splendid Concubine, earned honor-able mentions in general fiction from several book festivals. Currently, he’s revising and preparing to publish Running with the Enemy, a novel based on his experience as a Marine in Vietnam.

After his military service, Lloyd earned a BA in journalism, attended the UCLA writing program for several years, completed graduate work at Cal Poly Pomona, and later earned an MFA in writing. In 1999 he married Anchee Min, who introduced him to China and to the importance of Robert Hart (1835- 1911). A British consular official who helped modernize the Middle Kingdom but hid his private life, Hart became the main character in Lloyd’s books. Lloyd is a prolific blogger on veteran’s issues, teaching, writing, and China.

Click here for information about location and time.