How to Enjoy PubSmart (Even If You Can’t Be Here!)

IMG 1337 300x186 How to Enjoy PubSmart (Even If You Cant Be Here!)

WWW, Bublish and PubSmart staffers and volunteers stuffed bags full of giveaways from sponsors

Well, it’s official – the faculty has begun to arrive and begun to work and connect and share their considerable insights, and PubSmart 2014 doesn’t even begin ’til 10 a.m. tomorrow!

And while I know you can’t all be here, we’ll be sharing quite a few thoughts from faculty to help you on your author journey.

To begin, here’s a linked list of five nifty handouts the PubSmart faculty has been posting to accompany their sessions. The links below will bring you to the session, where you can click on the class handouts shown to access the downloadable pdfs! Lots of great free stuff here; soak it up!

Have a burning question about your own publishing path? Share it with us because you never know what’ll get asked as the week heats up! Meanwhile, follow along with the conference on Twitter ( just search #PubSmartCon ) and on Facebook at

IMG 1340 1024x794 How to Enjoy PubSmart (Even If You Cant Be Here!)

Kathy Meis, Kate Tilton, Porter Anderson and Steena Holmes pre-tweeting about PubSmart 2014 on #indiechat!





TED Partners with Simon & Schuster for TED Books: More Ideas Worth Spreading!

TED logo rgb1 300x108 TED Partners with Simon & Schuster for TED Books: More Ideas Worth Spreading!TED Conferences LLC and Simon & Schuster have announced that they will co-publish a 12-book collection of TED Books, with a new title released every one-to-two months, starting in September 2014. The books will be available in hardcover, e-book, and in audiobook from Simon & Schuster.

SimonSchuster TED Partners with Simon & Schuster for TED Books: More Ideas Worth Spreading!The co-publishing agreement is for world rights, and the books will be published by Simon & Schuster in the United States and worldwide by its companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom, as well as in foreign-language editions.

TED’s mission is to provide a worldwide platform for “ideas worth spreading.” TED Books – which are short books of up to 20,000 words – are long enough to fully explore a powerful idea yet designed to be read in a single sitting.

Among the authors and titles to be published under this global publishing agreement are: [Read more...]

Is It Ever Too Late to Send a Press Release on Your Book?

what do book publicists do Is It Ever Too Late to Send a Press Release on Your Book?This question came from one of our tribe and delighted to be able to say, “NO!” — With qualifications, of course…

Granted, if your book came out a year ago, you won’t want to be sending out a press release that screams, “New Release.” Lying to the media isn’t a great start to building a relationship. But there are plenty of media-savvy authors and publicists that can continue to garner press long after that book releases. Here are just five ways: [Read more...]

Do Big Publishers Make Sense Anymore?

ID 100110333 Do Big Publishers Make Sense Anymore?We were asked this question recently by a WWW reader: Does it make sense anymore to try to get a big publisher interested? They seem frantic with their survival and only name authors get enough marketing/publicity help!

Well, you’ve said a mouthful there, sister. Let’s break it down:

1. Look, everyone’s frantic with their survival these days; I don’t think we can limit that to just book publishers. Start-ups have to worry about being one-upped (there’s ALWAYS a bigger, better idea around the corner). Bookstores have become coffee shops with books. Libraries will likely soon begin to resemble high school computer labs (no doubt complete with chewed gum stuck to the undersides of tables and chairs). And yes, book and magazine publishers continue to struggle with their identities and who/what they’re going to “be” in this brave new world.

2. Keep in mind that big publishers, while struggling like the rest of us, are still putting out relatively the same number of titles they’ve been putting out each year for the past five years (around 288,000 collectively). So on the one hand, that’s good news for authors as publishers still need to put out books. On the other hand, with trimmed staffs that’s probably more work an author must take on themselves, but you’d do that as a self-published author as well.

3. An author’s path to being published well is always going to depend on their own needs.

  • If you’re doing a back-of-the-room book for speaking, or something that’s very timely and needs to get out there NOW, self-publishing is no doubt the way to go.
  • If you’re a newbie that wants a bit of hand-holding and also the benefit of a publishing co. “name” behind you (because many bookstores and reviewers just won’t “deal” with self-published authors) then a hybrid publisher is an ideal option.
  • And if you want the benefit of a “big boy” behind you, that comes with sales staff that’s also working to get you shelf space, and guaranteed distribution that you’re not paying for yourself, then traditional models are no doubt your better choice.

My personal feeling is that this is the real beauty of this brave new digital world – it gives an author OPTIONS. Our PubSmart keynote speaker Jane Friedman will be speaking on this very topic. As the former publisher of Writers Digest, she has keen insights into what works for who.

She’ll then moderate a panel that will include some heavy hitters from each of these areas to discuss Which Publishing Option is Right for You? Included in that discussion will be Random House senior executive editor Will Murphy; successful hybrid publishers Terri Ann Leidich of BQB Publishing and Frank Monahan of Rocket Science Productions; the enormously successful indie author Hugh Howey; and David Symonds of self-publishing giant CreateSpace.

We’ll all have a chance to ask these folks to defend their models, and look forward to hearing new insights about why each might be better, depending on the author and their goals…

Spoiler Alert: Deals and Steals at PubSmart 2014

PubSmart logo notag2 300x81 Spoiler Alert: Deals and Steals at PubSmart 2014With the countdown now at just TEN days away from PubSmart 2014: Emerging Authors, Emerging Avenues, we’re excited to report that so many of the sponsoring companies are on board with gifts and deals for attendees!

And just FYI, it’s not too late to register; there are several open spots in the regular sessions, and a handful of spots left in each of the master classes. Visit to get registered today! Also, visit the latest news links on the site – many of the fab faculty attending this year have done blog posts – it’s a treasure trove of free info for you.

Here’s a look at what’s already on offer at PubSmart (and attendee bags will feature more surprise gifts too, including from the Where Writers Win team):

  • Believers Press – Visit booth for free copy of “Hidden Hazards of Self-Publishing”
  • Book Design Templates for Microsoft Word – 50% off all templates!
  • 20% off services from BiblioCrunch
  • Biblioboard – free access to the PubSmart “Collection” of works from faculty
  • 20% off services from BookLogix
  • PubSlush free copy of “Pubslush’s Guide to Crowdfunding”
  • Free issue of Southern Writers Magazine
  • Free issue of Writers Digest
  • $25 off Book Reviews or Editorial Services from Kirkus Indie
  • 20% off single title listings at
  • WaveCloud – Booth visitors guaranteed exclusive insider tips
  • 20% off services from Where Writers Win
  • $20 off Winner Circle subscription
  • Free 30-minute strategy session from Wise Ink Creative Publishing
  • Free access to post-conference PubSmart videos

PLUS drawings for:

  • A Nook Glowlight
  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • A Kobo Reader
  • Rocket Science (gift TBA)
  • Two-hour consult with Kathy Meis of Bublish
  • Two-hour consult with Shari Stauch, Where Writers Win
  • Nine free subscriptions to Southern Writers Magazine
  • Grand Prize: Full VIP conference registration for PubSmart 2015!

For those of you we know can’t attend due to spring breaks and Easter travel and family commitments, there’s still good news. Watch here for our post-conference announcement of session videos that will be available for purchase. It’s not as good as live, we know, but can tell you that we’ll be watching ‘em for all the sessions that are going on in one room while we’re in another!

Write on…

Quick Links:

What Do Your Rejection Letters REALLY Mean?

Kleinman photo 150x150 What Do Your Rejection Letters REALLY Mean?Our thanks to literary agent Jeff Kleinman for this guest post – a sheet right out of his new book release, The Science of Rejection Letters: A step-by-step guide to analyze rejection letters, improve your writing and get published. Jeff will lead an extended PubSmart 2014 session, Literary Agents: From Gatekeepers to Creative Marketers to Publishers, sponsored by Where Writers Win.

Imagine if those cryptic rejection letters from literary agents came with a decoder wheel – something that left you a bit more information, some guidance as to what you’re doing wrong, or almost right?

This may help! Click on the sheet below to view the downloadable pdf, and start analyzing the responses you’ve received from agents. Does it help clarify any insights for you? [Read more...]

How TowerBabel Helps Writers Thrive

TowerBabel 300x113 How TowerBabel Helps Writers ThriveOur thanks to Yeung Shing, Founder and CEO of TowerBabel, for this guest post.

The right tools and the right community can be just as important for writers as a solid plot and a clear voice. In creating our self-publishing writing platform TowerBabel, we had two main goals in mind: to equip authors with the tools they need to get their work seen, and to foster an environment of collaboration and creativity. You provide the words, and we can give you everything else.

Whether you’re an indie author wanting to get your work out there or someone who just loves reading, we think you’ll find the experience of using TowerBabel a compelling one; and as everything works from the Web, you can access your account from any device at any time. [Read more...]

More Wins for the Winner Circle

No, no campy April Fool’s jokes today (though the temptation was great). Instead, our monthly update on happenings in our favorite circle, the Winner Circle! Read to the end for a special “Spoiler Alert.”

Delaney Crop Photo 300x300 More Wins for the Winner CircleWelcome Delaney

First off, we’d like to welcome our newest addition to the Where Writers Win team. Delaney Cruickshank is a student at the beautiful and historic College of Charleston and from the day she joined us she’s been on FIRE adding new festivals, conferences and contests to our interactive calendar of events where authors can be seen and heard and make new connections.

Remember, as a member of the Winner Circle, you can view the calendar by events, search dates, even set up to have new events download right to your own Outlook or Mac calendars. Between the work Delaney and Matthew Dix are doing, there are now several hundred events to choose from, and we add new ones every week as our team discovers and vets them for you.

More Book Clubs 300x201 More Wins for the Winner CircleBook Clubs Galore

Our interactive map of LIVE book clubs continues to grow too, thanks to the diligence of team leader Jacqueline Gum and the willingness of so many authors to share book clubs of their own with our team. Keep in mind, we only allow book clubs that are willing to read the work of new authors.

Since our last update to you, we’ve added clubs in Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Washington, D.C. We’re up to over 220 clubs in all, with several more in the wings, PLUS new and cool online clubs you’ll want to know about.

IF YOU KNOW OF A CLUB in your area, or one you’ve spoken to, please share their info HERE. We’ll add them after we’ve contacted the book club to confirm they want to be listed, the genres they read, etc.

Book Review Genre Sample 300x198 More Wins for the Winner CircleFive Star Reviews for Our New Reviewers!

Thanks for the kind comments we’ve received from you about our improved access to book reviewers. The new system has definitely let us be more responsive to adding the best new reviewers and deleting those that have stopped reviewing books.

In some cases, you’ll find (especially at this time of the year) a lot of reviewers temporarily putting things on “hold” while they catch up on their reading. Don’t give up – just keep going after a reviewer or two in your genre each week, and you’ll keep gaining momentum!

Spoiler Alert – Better Access to Traditional Media

We have lots of fun announcements to come in the next month, especially as PubSmart draws near (we’re amazed by the discounts and gifts so many of the sponsors are offering, and we’ll give you a sneak peek of some cool handouts, too). But on May 1, to coincide with the second anniversary of Where Writers Win and the first anniversary of our Winner Circle, we’ll be adding a new section – a way to access customized media lists and press releases!

That’s all I can say right now, but I can tell you I’m over-the-moon excited to be able to bring this to emerging authors. It’s yet another way we’re “shrinking the web” and putting the RIGHT resources at your fingertips, so you can spend more time WRITING and SELLING your books!

Stay tuned… and thanks, as always, for hanging out with us. Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you… please weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below or drop me a line at

Write on,

Shari Stauch

How to Host a Book Party!

Lee Adams Author Book Party How to Host a Book Party!Our thanks to author Lee Adams for this blog post about her creative idea to market books by participating in a book party!

I read an article at the end of last year by Elizabeth Hunter titled, “What I Learned About Independent Publishing in 2013.”  It was a great article and I recommend it for all indie writers. One of the sections was titled, “Self-publishing is not the new Tupperware party.” 

This got me to thinking about the vast array of parties I get invited to, from Tupperware to baskets to jewelry to Pampered Chef.  I know when I walk in the door that I won’t spend less than fifty dollars and usually the amount is closer to one hundred dollars.  So this got me to wondering “Why can’t books be the new Tupperware Party?”

Authors fortunate enough to be signed by a large publishing company and have their books proudly displayed in Barnes & Noble, are able to easily set up book signings. This in-person meeting helps increase their mailing list, build their fan base, and make that all important one-on-one contact. With my years in the music industry, I know how important those “meet and greets” are.  You can win fans for life. 

However, what we in the music biz saw a decade ago with the closing of many record stores is what we are seeing today with bookstores. There was a time when Borders Books and Music was wonderful about bringing in local authors and musicians for signings and in-store performances. With the loss of Borders however, that opportunity is no longer.

So, how does an independent author with no solid following and no major publicity meet people to make that connection?  That’s where the idea for book parties came in.

We know word of mouth is the number one best promotional tool. And while we all hope that our book will take off on the internet, go viral, and become the new hot thing, the truth is, few do. The vast majority of independent authors are doing a “spray and pray” method on the World Wide Web. We have Facebook accounts, Twitter accounts, websites, etc. but we are amongst many in the sea of online information. So how do we connect personally?

I reached out to a couple of people and asked if they’d be willing to host a “book party” for me. Now that I have three books available, I felt there was enough of a selection that someone would find something of interest. Yes, it would be better if I had ten, but I’m not there yet. However, if I can build a following with three books, they will be more likely to buy any future ones I write. 

Immediately, I was told “yes” by many people. I don’t have much to offer them, unlike the lure of free Tupperware, jewelry, kitchen gadgets, etc. but they all seemed enthusiastic. I agreed to provide snack food so they wouldn’t have any out-of-pocket expenses. I invested the ten dollars in a gadget to attach to my iPad so I could accept credit card payments and had some banners created so I could have a nice display. This idea was not about making money, it was about building a fan base and an email base for ongoing personal communication.

My sister held the first party and had a guest list of ten people.  My books cost me five dollars to provide; I offered them for $10 and a set of three for $25.  Again, it’s not to make money, but to attract new readers. Most of the people who attended bought all three. Those who already had some of the books bought the ones they didn’t have. I sold twenty-five books in all.

Later that week I had to fly to Maine on business so my friend put together a party with a handful of her friends. None of them had read any of my books and after a short Q&A, they all bought the three book package. Another fifteen books sold!  More email addresses were gathered, more readers were found, and these in a different state. 

I now have a book party slated at a clothing boutique for April and another friend is hosting one in May. My goal is to do one per month for this year and see how it grows from there.

What was most fun was seeing and meeting people who had read my books and were excited to meet the person who wrote them. As a record promoter I set up the meet and greets for the artist to meet their fans. I’m not used to having any “fans” of my own. It’s invigorating to have someone come up to you and exclaim how they loved your story and want to ask questions about it. And when they ask to take a photo or get an autograph, it’s humbling.

While I don’t believe independent publishing is the new “Tupperware Party,” I do see the benefits in getting together with people and talking to them about my writing. It’s a new publishing world and those of us just getting started and trying to do it on our own have to be innovative.  We need to continuously work to improve our communication, meet new readers, and basically reinvent the wheel. Back when I was a kid, I remember a Faberge Organics commercial where they showed how quickly word of mouth could spread by saying “they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on and so on.”  My goal is to have everyone I meet tell two friends, and they’ll tell two friends, and so on and so on and so on…

Lee Adams How to Host a Book Party!Lee Adams has a dual personality. By day she promotes country music artists, Jason Aldean and Dustin Lynch. By night, she writes books like Unlikely Family, Strawberry Wine and Donor Girl: A Story of Living Kidney Donation. Visit her website at

Building Grassroots Support for Authors: 10 Steps

building grassroots support for authors 300x266 Building Grassroots Support for Authors: 10 StepsOur thanks to author Karin Abarbanel for this guest post… We love the idea of this creative marketing approach to building grassroots support for authors!

Bloom where you are planted: this old adage can be the key to a very fruitful marketing strategy. As writers, garnering community support for our work can help create valuable buzz and begin to build a solid, loyal audience base.

With this goal in mind, my 6-person writing critique group mounted an event called “Grassroots Fiction at its Best” at a local indie bookstore in Montclair, NJ. It proved to be a fun, low-cost way of showcasing our writing and gaining exposure.

Here are the 10 steps we took to make our event a success: [Read more...]