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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pulitzer Prize-winning Author to Speak at Selby Library, Sarasota

Gilbert King
The Sarasota Authors Connection is excited to announce that it will host an author talk/book signing by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King on Monday, February 24, 5:45 p.m., at the Selby Library. Mr. King won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for his second book, Devil in the Grove, an account of the infamous 1949 “Groveland Boys” case in Groveland, Florida.
“I drove up to Deltona to hear Mr. King speak back in the fall,” says Sarasota Authors Connection member Liz Coursen. “He has an amazing story to tell about this book, a story every author should hear. When I learned that he was coming to Sarasota in February, I decided we should host an event for him, and he was kind enough to say yes to the invitation.”
Liz asked the Friends of the Selby Public Library and the Historical Society of Sarasota County to act as co-hosts for the program. “It's Florida history, it's books, it's the Pulitzer Prize going to a very nice, very hard-working author. This will be a real community event and I now it will be a lot of fun!”

Selby Library is located in downtown Sarasota at 1331 First Street, Sarasota, FL 34236

For more information, please call Liz Coursen, 941-706-2463 or email her at

Marketing Habits (Part 3 of 3)

Have the Heart of a Successful Independent Publisher – Top 4 Ethical Considerations
1)      Successful indie publishers treat their employees with unusual care and consideration, because they know a productive employee at an independent press could earn a higher salary working in a different industry—almost any other industry.
2)     They remember that the publishing community is small and that their reputation will precede them. They under-promise and over-deliver.
3)     They understand the power of the printed word and that what they do as publishers can have a cultural influence, for good or ill, completely out of proportion to the dollars generated by their books or the number of copies sold.
4)     They are serious people, well worth knowing.

Don’t worry if you missed Marketing Habits Part 1. You will it here

Curt Matthews is the founder and CEO of Chicago Review Press, Incorporated, which is the parent company of Chicago Review Press and of Independent Publishers Group (IPG), the first independent press distributor and now the second largest. Curt has served on the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) board and has also served as its president.

The Future of Publishing

How can anyone possibly predict the future of publishing? It seems we are living in a world where technology changes day by day and just trying to keep up means you are at least a year behind. I remember as a kid reading the Dick Tracy cartoons and thinking how awesome it would be to have a wrist radio. Guess what? Samsung now has a wrist phone that it is marketing on TV.
I thought holograms were the coolest thing when I saw an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Commander Riker met Lt. Commander Data on a holo-deck made to look like a beautiful park in summer. With the command, “End program,” the holo-deck reverted to its real shape of a relatively small room with grid lines painted on the walls and floors. Now many devices, including wristwatches, are being outfitted with holo-emitters to project holograms of people. What happens if someone calls when I am in the shower?
In Japan, some concerts are being held where holo-emitters are being set up on stage and an artist, possibly halfway around the world in another studio performs for the audience and they see a solid three-dimensional representation. If only Milly-Vanilli (sic) had this technology when they were superstars. (see
But, what does this have to with us as authors and publishers in the here and now?
The here and now includes tablets and ereaders that have the ability to link to websites, videos, and audio. Some children’s books can now add animation. Cell phones around the world are literally becoming smaller versions of tablet computers and an increasingly greater number of people are reading books on their phones. Do I have to learn all about every new technology that comes out to be an effective author or publisher?
I hope not because I started writing simply because I liked to put ideas down on paper, oops…, I mean the screen, and share them with other people. And, no matter how you slice it, the basic of any program, hologram, podcast, audio, or ebook is the written word. Without the written word there still would be no programming, stories, or entertainment.
Being a true rebel without a cause, but deeply held convictions (for which I was acquitted) I believe you should focus on what you do best, which is creating entertainment through writing fiction or education through writing nonfiction, and then follow the motto, “Do your best, then outsource the rest.” Let someone else worry about formatting for technology while you create the stories that either put us to sleep or keep us up all night.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of attending the Independent Book Publishers Association University in Chicago on a scholarship provided by the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. While at the conference, I had the chance to rub elbows with a bunch of bigwigs in the industry (not near as much fun as holding hands and just wearing a hat), where I got the distinct impression that independent and self-publishers are setting the stage for the coming developments in the publishing industry whether the Big Dog Publishers like it or not.
The keynote speaker at the event was Guy Kawasaki, author of the book, Author, Publisher, and Entrepreneur. Kawasaki talked about an intriguing idea called “Artisanal Publishing.” The concept being that artisans of all types from sculptors, to artists, to bread makers make and design without reference to much in the way of outside influence. An artisan is free to create as he/she sees fit.
This, I believe, is the real future of publishing. Artisan authors and publishers creating new and different books in a style and format that reflects their artistry, tastes, and style. More and more artisan authors will discover new and unique ways to express themselves much to the dismay of traditional publishers who likely will be too slow to make the necessary changes to survive.
While some anarchy of the English language will result in this new paradigm, the author that understands the basics of grammar, the knowledge needed to publish, and the keys to effective marketing will succeed. Organizations like the Florida Authors and Publishers Association, as well as the IBPA and other writer/publisher oriented groups will be needed more than ever to guide new authors and publishers on the path to success and once the new author is firmly established he/she can break the rules effectively to broadcast their uniqueness to the world.

The future of publishing is you. Go out and write your bestseller.
# # #
Submitted by Rik Feeney / / ©2013 Rik Feeney. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Who are you? (Business card basics)

Whew! I’ve finally finished the final draft of my manuscript. I really want it to look good so I better find an editor to make sure it’s as clean as possible. I could go with Misty McKune, I’ve used her before, but wait a minute, I have a whole drawer full of business cards from attending the Independent Book Publishers Association conference (courtesy of a scholarship from Florida Authors and Publishers Association). Let me see what my conference contacts have to offer.
I open my catchall drawer that has a collection of nearly empty packs of gum, seriously deformed and dehydrated rubber bands, rusty paperclips, expired coupons to local fast-food joints, and a jumbled assortment of business cards.
After stacking them like a pint-sized deck of playing cards, I riff through them to find potential editors. About halfway through the cards, I realize that not one of them has a picture of the editor (or businessperson) and many are missing critical information like web site addresses, phone numbers, and emails. One card simply has the person’s name! And shivers! Many of the cards are cheap office supply store versions printed at home with rough edges and type that is poorly aligned.
I don’t know about you but I like to know what the person I am working with looks like. Being able to put a face to a business card also helps jog my memory of when we met and what we discussed while at a seminar or conference. The quality of his/her card gives me an intuition into the level of professional I may choose to help me.
I scare myself every morning when I look in the mirror, so putting my face on my business card was a scary proposition. I had to spend several hours on Photoshop “enhancing” my business card photograph enough to keep from scaring clients away. I ended up with a picture that makes me look like a Pug, so ugly that I am actually kind of cute.
After reviewing my stack of business cards, I came away with a few suggestions you might want to incorporate when creating or updating your business card.
  1. Use a professional designer for your business card, letterhead, brochures, website, etc.
Your business card represents you. Make it the best it can be by using a professional to design it and keep it consistent with other branding efforts you may employ in your business.

  1. KISSU: Keep it short, simple, and understandable.
In the Internet age, people tend to scan more than they read. Make the information easily accessible. Make it easy-to-read.

  1. Use standard business card size.
Fancy folding cards, cards of different shapes, cards of different sizes, do not easily fit in standard business card holders, files, or wallets. Cards made from CD materials may get erased and jump drives require some kind of reader: stick with a heavy stock paper card.

  1. Critical Information on every business card.
  • Name / Company Name / Title
  • Your picture! Use a professional photographer and make sure you own the rights to use the picture wherever you want for promotional purposes.
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Website URL
  • Mailing address
  • QR code?

  1. Book cover graphic on the back of the card
  • 4-color, 300 dpi jpeg of your front cover
  • Include ISBN underneath the title
  • Include the notice: Available at Amazon and! (or wherever)

  1. Your card represents you!
  • Include 4/4 color (at least on the side with your picture)
  • Glossy laminate on front, matte finish on the back
  • Heavy card stock (nix homemade cards)

  1. Proffread your business card. (Get it?)

  1. Print in quantity?
Always, always, always have a large supply of business cards at hand whether you are on vacation, out to dinner, involved in intimate activity, or at a business event. (The last two could actually be the same!) Keep a box of business cards in your laptop case, your car, and certainly in a specialized case or your wallet.

I have found that I make frequent changes to my cards based on what aspect of my business I am promoting, so I will order 500 to a thousand cards at a time. You can order more or less based on your needs. I have found the online company to be a quality provider of business cards and other marketing items.


Well, that little side journey into business card basics helped fulfill my word count for the day but got me no closer to finding an editor for my manuscript. I better stick with the tried and true and send Misty McKune my document. I know what she looks like and more important what kind of editor she is.

If just one business card had a picture on it that reminded me of an editor I had met earlier at the conference, they just might have my business right now.

P.S. Always ask for the other person’s card first.
May I have your business card, please?
Submitted by Rik Feeney / / ©2013 Rik Feeney. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Marketing Habits (Part 2 of 3)

In our February newsletter, we featured part one of this series.  This excerpt from an article by Curt Matthews, CEO, IPG/Chicago Review Press, Inc. was recommended by one of our members.

Here's a sneak peak at part two.

Marketing Habits (Part 2 of 3) 
Produce Like a Successful Independent Publisher- Top 8 Book Characteristics
1)      Successful indie publishers only publish books that are rich in content. They know that the books with strong content are the ones that can perform as backlist, and that strong backlist is the sine qua non of successful independent publishing.
2)     They have special access to the information needed to make their books content-rich—years of personal involvement in a subject area, a close relation to a special-interest publication, a means of identifying individuals especially qualified to write books for a particular niche—some special advantage or edge.
3)     They work with their authors to deliver manuscripts shaped for very particular audiences, and they don’t hesitate to push their authors until they get what that target audience needs. They know that for every book that fails because the audience is too narrow, hundreds fail because the audience is too broad.
4)     They always have their book covers and interiors designed by professional book designers, even if they have a niece who went to art school.
5)     They understand how to wisely conduct market research. Instead of wasting funds on focus groups and other auxiliary market research, they focus their efforts on their consumer audience and conducting competitive research of similar titles to gain a firm grasp of how their book is unique to the marketplace.
6)     Their books are very cleanly designed, copy-edited, and typeset, but they never ask their customers to pay extra for a level of quality that is not wanted: for instance, 80lb paper or a sewn binding in a book that will only be read once or just a few times.
7)     They put an enormous amount of time into imagining the ideal realization of each book so the finished product is harmonious and (this is the really hard part), somehow, exactly right for the book’s subject and intended audience. They spend a lot of time in bookstores looking over the merchandise with a skeptical eye.
8)    They don’t think for a second that publishing a title as an eBook somehow makes strong content and excellent design irrelevant.
Coming in our next issue . . . Marketing Habits (Part 3 of 3) Have the Heart of a Successful Independent Publisher – Top 4 Ethical Considerations
Curt Matthews is the founder and CEO of Chicago Review Press, Incorporated, which is the parent company of Chicago Review Press and of Independent Publishers Group (IPG), the first independent press distributor and now the second largest. Curt has served on the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) board and has also served as its president.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Writing for Personal and Professional Expression

Writing for Personal and Professional Expression
©copyright by Robert (Bob) W. Lucas

Getting Started

When someone now asks, “How do you write a book?” I tell them start small and write from the heart. I suggest that they share information or ideas that they believe in or that they know (like this article, which I sat down and wrote shortly after breakfast because the idea came to me). It does not matter whether you want to write non-fiction or fiction; just do it. So many people that I have met throughout my life say, “One day I’m going to write a book about….”  My reply is typically, “Today is one day.” As the famous Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu (Confucius) is reported to have said, “The journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Technology Has Changed the Profession

With the advent of technology, many people can now become a published author with relative ease.  You can begin your writing experience today. Write a tweet, a blog article or a short tip column that you share in a professional publication. Start a file to collect all these bits and compile them at some point. Think about it; you could gather tips on any subject for fifty days and create an eBook titled 50 tips for _____. With the proliferation of eBook publishers and software, you could convert your content to a PDF file and share or sell it online. Imagine that if you did this and sold 500 eBooks for ninety-nine cents, you would make almost $500.00! Create two, three or more and you have a solid residual income stream. Even if you are happily employed, wouldn’t that be a nice reserve of cash in these uncertain economic times. Those eBooks could ultimately form the basis for modified content that you sell to a publisher or self-publish in a printed book.

Write to Your Level of Comfort

An important point to remember is that if you are going to write, it should not be a task that you dread. Too many people have jobs like that already.  Instead, put your thoughts on paper and worry about editing later. By realizing that, if you write one page of text a day for a year, you would have over three hundred pages done. Edited, that is a book which is over 150 pages once you create front and end material (e.g., preface or introduction, references and an index). If you are more energetic and want to plunge ahead, simply set a goal for yourself and write a specific number of hours a day. Just build in time to take breaks during the writing. Allow time to give your legs and brain a break so that it does not feel like you are forcing the words out.

Capture Your Thoughts

My favorite advice for those One day I’m going to write people --- is to at least start an idea file in a manila folder or on your computer today. Each time you get an idea for an article or something to include in a book from something you read, see or otherwise experience somewhere, jot down the title, thoughts and a description long enough to refresh your memory when you next visit the file. That way, whenever you do have time or get inspired to actually begin writing, you have a starting point already established. 

Have a Plan

Generally, before I start writing a book, I create a loose outline that I modify occasionally as new thoughts develop while writing. I use a numbered chapter format where each chapter contains a couple paragraphs of what will be in that area of the book. This helps guide my thinking and keeps me on track as I progress with content in the manuscript. However, I do not let this initial outline restrict what I include and where I ultimately put it. As I write, if something feels like it belongs in another chapter, I simply move it to that area. I use this free-flowing approach to capturing ideas. Even though I am a very linear thinker, I do not force myself into a rigid cycle of creating information and working on it until I feel that the topic is covered sufficiently. Often, when I am writing about a topic or researching it, another thought comes to me that might cause me to leap to a different chapter and capture thoughts about it before returning to the original chapter topic. Some people would say that my hyperactive mind causes this bouncing around. Whatever the reason, it seems to work for me. You will have to find your own style. Whatever you do; just stick to it. As you write more, I suspect that you will become accustomed to a way of doing things and stay with that in the future.

Bob Lucas B.S., M.A., M.A, CPLP is an internationally-known author and learning and performance professional. He has written and contributed to thirty-one books and compilations. He regularly conducts creative training, train-the-trainer, customer service, interpersonal communication and management and supervisory skills workshops. Bob can be reached at or through his website Follow his blog at: Like him on Facebook at:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Florida Writers Association Visits FPA

Dear Chris, Ellen, Kyle, and Mark,

Wonderful conference yesterday! I enjoyed it immensely and appreciate your hospitality. As promised, attached is the photo of us. Feel free to use it as you wish.

Chris and Ellen, a conference of any size takes a lot of work and organization. Yours ran smoothly, and every moment was upbeat and enjoyable. The attendees seemed genuinely interested in FWA, and I look forward to our two organizations continuing to explore our synergies.

Kyle, I’ve had a chance to look over Trouper. Wonderful book! I can’t wait for my grandchildren to be old enough to enjoy the story and the classroom activities you describe to complement it. As requested, here is the e-mail address for the president of the Florida Writers Foundation, Karen Lieb (aka Butterfly):

Mark, I was blown away by your presentation. You inspired me to purchase some props for my pitch next week. As requested, here is the FWA website address: It’s a fairly deep site that takes some poking around. FWA also has an impressive daily blog:

Thank you all again for an enjoyable and informative day.

Chris Coward
2012 Conference Marketing Chairperson
The Magic of the Pen
Florida Writers Association
FWA Oxford Writers Chapter Group Leader