Monday, January 8, 2018

HOW TO MAKE AN AUDIOBOOK

Happy New Year!

Ever wish you could figure out how to record and publish your book as an audiobook? Me too!

Here are some helpful tips that I came across in my searches that I hope you find valuable.

SUMMARY

·        Warning: The Audiobook Road can be thorny with "producers" who want to talk a gullible author into spending a fortune on producing a product that may have little return on the investment. Sound quality may not be great, even if the producer is well known.

·        The good news? Audiobooks are cheap to make.
·        The other news? Audiobooks are fun, but tedious work.

·        HOW TO MAKE AN AUDIOBOOK RECORDING: You'll need a super quiet room (carpeted floor, padded walls are preferred); a USB mic that plugs directly into computer or tablet; Download Audacity (free, easy to use digital audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac, etc.). There is a lot of tech stuff to know in terms of which volume levels are acceptable; how far away from the mic your mouth should be; marking pauses in your manuscript before you read, etc. Also keeping the files organized, etc.

·        VIDEO: HERE'S A SUPER HELPFUL STEP BY STEP DEMO BY ROB DIRCKS: HOW TO RECORD YOUR AUDIOBOOK:





·         
·        ACX: Several services offer Audiobook Creation and Distribution Platforms. ACX (Amazon) is the most prominent. If you register your published-on-Amazon book with them in order to find an Audiobook producer, be forewarned those producers do not come cheap--although some offer authors a "Royalty Share" option (less or no money up front). Audiobook quality varies; so make sure you get what you are paying for. The producers publish and distribute your audiobook on Amazon's AUDIBLE.

·        CD BABY and AUTHOR'S REPUBLIC:  Lee Stephen, author of Dawn of Destiny went a different route entirely: producing an audiobook that is more like a radio play (5 years in the making), and offers it on CD Baby under "Spoken Word" in their Music Category. He states that success depends on how well you publicize your audiobook via social media and your fan base. But CD Baby passes on 91% profit to the author/producer. Plus, he says you can get them easily on the phone (unlike Amazon). It is worth noting that since posting this on Jane Friedman's Blog, Lee has signed the audiobook with Author's Republic, and is happier with their distribution deal.

Author Lee Stephen on the Power of PR:

"You might wonder about the "wide" exposure that comes with having an audiobook on Audible. To that, I would say that our fan bases are our exposure—the incredibly amazing people who follow us on Twitter, who like us on Facebook, who join our mailing lists, and who hound us for our next release dates. And they don’t care if you point them to Audible, CD Baby, or a shed in your backyard. If they follow you, if you’re fair to them, and if you reward them with quality material, they’ll make the purchase."

NEED MORE INFO? CHECK OUT THESE LINKS!

ACX (Amazon Platform):
ACX Production Advice and Helpful Hints:
AUDACITY (Free, easy to use digital audio editor and recorder download for Windows, Mac, etc.):

JANE FRIEDMAN'S BLOG (RE ACX ALTERNATIVE)
GUEST BLOGGER, LEE STEPHEN, ON JANE FRIEDMAN'S BLOG:

Author Lee Stephen on the Power of PR:
"You might wonder about the "wide" exposure that comes with having something on Audible. To that, I would say that our fan bases are our exposure—the incredibly amazing people who follow us on Twitter, who like us on Facebook, who join our mailing lists, and who hound us for our next release dates. And they don’t care if you point them to Audible, CD Baby, or a shed in your backyard. If they follow you, if you’re fair to them, and if you reward them with quality material, they’ll make the purchase."

I include this not as a recommendation, but because it gives an idea of the expense involved.

"ListenUp is a full-service audiobook solution. We give every author and small publisher the same service we give to our big clients. That means a dedicated casting director, choice of narrators, professional studio recording with a trained engineer, a full edit and final mastering according to Audible standards. Authors have the option to use us for distribution or do it themselves. And we’re creating new marketing solutions.

And with us, you can call up and talk to us about what you want. There are a lot of different ways to go about creating and distributing audio and we’re open to exploring all of them.
Our standard rate is $450 per finished hour of audio. That’s for a book with one narrator. To estimate how much a book will cost, figure a narrator reads about 10,000 words an hour. So a 70,000 word book will be approximately 7 hours long, or $3,150."

Authors Republic is an audiobook publisher/distributor that evaluates your ALREADY COMPLETED AUDIOBOOK to see if it is right for its 30 major retailer buyers. If AR accepts it, you get 70 percent of the sales proceeds. Monthly payments. Sales records displayed for you to track easily.

NY BOOK EDITORS WEBSITE (Helpful Info for Beginners):

About Me
Marlan Warren is a publicist, as well as a published novelist and produced playwright. Her PR services can be found on Midwest Book Review's "Trusted Publicist" and Linked In's "Top Publicists" lists.



Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What's in a Media Kit (aka "Press Kit")?

As a publicist, I have created media kits (aka "press kits") for mailing, e-mailing and what are called Digital Media Kits. I actually prefer DMKs because they act like websites for the book.

Here are samples of the Digital Media Kits that I've designed for authors.

"Arrgh!"
http://arrghpresskit.blogspot.com/p/media-releases.html 

"Father's Wisdom"
http://authorpresskitsbymarlansample.blogspot.com/ 

What's in a Media Kit (aka "Press Kit") why do you need one for PR?

A Media or Press Kit is a one-stop look for media hosts (i.e., news editors, reporters, TV/Radio hosts and program coordinators, bloggers, etc.) to see what you are about and what you are (to be blunt) selling...and whether, at a glance, they feel you might be right for an interview or story about your book.


What goes into a Media Kit hasn't changed much, although how it is presented has. Here's what goes into it:

1. A One-Sheet that features the following content:
  •  Small photo of book cover at the top.
  •  
  •  "(insert your name) would be honored to speak at your event about ______." Or "would be honored to appear on your show to speak about _________."

  • Very Short Summary of the book that is actually a marketing pitch but not one that emphasizes hype, exclamation points, etc. or says "This is the best book ever written," etc. But it should interest whomever you intend to interest with a short and sweet, professional-looking pitch that says what the book is about and why it would attract readers. 

  • Early Book Review "Blurbs" if the book is brand new or strong book review quotes from impressive reviewers (anonymous Amazon reviews really do not count, sorry) if the book has gained these reviews after publication. A blurb consists of one or two lines praising the book.

  • Sell Sheet
    This used to be on a separate page when the media kit was sent by mail. I now include the info briefly on the one-page (Where is the book being sold, how much is it -- although price is optional as it keeps changing for indie authors, and most of the relevant info that is on Amazon re ISBN number, etc.)

  • Author Bio
    Keep it brief, but pick the most exciting and interesting things about yourself. (Sounds like common sense, but you'd be surprised.)

On the back of the One-Sheet, if you're printing it out to mail to a bookstore, you can put a short excerpt of the book or a marketing plan if that is relevant. If you have Press Release that can fit on the back, go ahead and use it.

2. Photos: Author Photo and any photos of book signings, etc.

This can get tricky if you are emailing your kit to someone you do not know because it may land in their spam folders. Many "stranger emails" land in spam if they contain attachments or even live links.

3. Book Excerpt: If you include a book excerpt, keep it relatively short (receivers tend to have Attention Deficit Disorder) and make sure it is exciting, humorous or intriguing.

For some reason that I have not yet figured out, the majority of authors need assistance in picking out the most exciting aspects of their bio or book to show someone else. Think about it: Would you rather slog through a boring page of narrative as an intro to a book or the juiciest passage?


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Thank you, Athena Cats, for including my play in your New Works Fest (4/8/17)!




Los Angeles playwright Marlan Warren's play, "Chasing Sangha," has been selected for Athena Cats' New Works Festival of 10-Minute Plays, and will be performed as a staged reading Sat., April 8, at the City Garage in Santa Monica's Bergamot Station Arts Center. The event ties in with SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day.

"I'm thrilled Athena Cats invited me to be part of this afternoon of 10-minute plays," said Warren. "Athena Cats--with its focus on women playwrights and directors--is like a dream come true for me."

Saturday, November 19, 2016

"You must write, write, write...and have the courage to send it out."

When I was 14, I wrote a very short story (an impression really) about what a soldier lying in a foxhole might think about; and when I showed it to my father, he said: "That is exactly the way it was." Without hesitation, I sent it to "American Girl" for their monthly short story contest for its young readers. And it won the Nonfiction award. That was a happy occasion, but really what made it more special was this letter I received from the President of the National League of American Pen Women. I lived in Ft. Myers, FL and she lived in Miami (a 4 hour drive to the other coast from my home), and yet she somehow found the brief announcement in the Ft. Myers News-Press--and wrote me this thoughtful, lovely letter of congratulations.


I looked up the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW), and they are very much alive and well if you'd like to check that organization out at http://www.nlapw.org/: "Linking Creative Women Since 1897."

The letter reads:

Congratulations on your writing award. And welcome to the ranks of the non-fiction writers!

You seem to have learned at a very young age two of the important lessons that a lot of would-be adult writers never grasp: If you want to be a writer, you must write, write, write; and you must have the courage to mail it somewhere. I hope you will continue to write and to mail...and to win awards and make sales the rest of your life.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

How to Love a Writer


I do not often write #poetry. But this one is for all you writers and the people & animals who love you.


Advice to the Lovelorn

If you value your privacy
 Do not date a writer.
If you have secrets
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to sneak around
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to lie your head off
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to see & not be seen
 Do not date a writer.
If you want calm and peace of mind
 Do not date a writer.
If you do not want to see yourself in Public
 Do not date a writer.
If you want to be cherished beyond all else
 Date a writer.
If you want to find new depths in intimacy
 Date a writer.
If you like the unexpected
 Date a writer.
If you accept your warts and all
 Date a writer.
If you do not care what she does as long as she’s with you
 Date a writer.

Advice to the Lovelorn, Warren, Marlan. November 5, 2016 

When Life gives you Lemons, make #poetry!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

My Midwest Book Review of "Imperfect Echoes in Nov. Issue! Huzzah!



My review of Imperfect Echoes is published in November 2016 Issue of Midwest Book Review: Reviewer’s Bookwatch!

Reviewer's Bookwatch

Volume 16, Number 11
November 2016


Imperfect Echoes: 
Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
HowToDoItFrugally Publishing
9781515232490, $9.95 Paperback, $2.99 Kindle, 148 pages
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Imperfect-Echoes-Writing-Justice-oppression/dp/1515232492

Marlan Warren, Reviewer
http://roadmapgirlsbookbuzz.blogspot.com

Genres: Poetry Anthology/Social Justice

Narcissus knows her reflection
well. She forgets to peer
under burkas, in our jails,
in the beds of the abused,
deeper, deeper into the pond...

―Howard-Johnson, Carolyn. Narcissus Revisited.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson's "Imperfect Echoes: Writing Truth and Justice with Capital Letters, lie and oppression with Small" is just perfect.

This Los Angeles award-winning poet lays out the landscape of her contemplative thoughts, feelings and reactions with such honesty and deceptive simplicity that they have the effect of offering a peek into her private journals. What puts this poetry on par with leaping tall buildings is the fact that each poem manages the feat of conveying personal and universal relevance at once.

Do not be scared off by the prospect of political rhetoric masquerading as literature; this is not one of those books. Although the book's subtitle may strike some as rather lofty, it is a quote from Czeslaw Milosz's poem, "Incantation," in his anthology, "The Captive Mind," which reflects Howard-Johnson's poetic themes. She has divided her prolific poems into a Prologue plus four sections: "Remembering What We Must"; "Nations: Tranquil Self-Destruction"; "Acceptance: Waiting for the Gift"; and "Future Stones of Distrust."

Howard-Johnson deftly blends the "Truth and Justice" observations with the "Small" moments of "lie(s)" and "oppression" as they intersperse through her poet's journey. The poems in "Remembering What We Must" address the stark realities of war and global misery, which Howard-Johnson treats with her practiced light touch that floats like the proverbial butterfly and stings like an outraged bee.

In "Belgium's War Fields," she compares the reasons for bygone wars to our present day confusion: "And now a war that takes from the mouths /and hearts of the stranded, the homeless. / How different from those who / marched with snares or flew flags / in a war when we knew / why we were there."

In the "Nations: Tranquil Self-Destruction" section, "The Story of My Missed Connection in Minneola" brings to life a brief rest stop during a road trip, which seems rather amusing at first as the wife relieves her bladder and the husband declines the coffee with "Let's skip it. Coffee's / probably been stewing for days..." but hits an unexpected bump of overt bigotry when the roadside store owner confides in them (in between the screeches of his pet parrot) that he left Los Angeles to get away from the "ragheads."

In the "Acceptance: Waiting for the Gift" section, "Relatives" takes on the ways in which "Small" minds can make a family dinner feel like a stint in Purgatory: "Perhaps you won't invite me back / if I mention that infamous / uncle. You know, the one who killed / three of his wives / but is candid / about who he is, / how many he's killed, / the methods he used / and never gets invited to dinner.

In the "Future Stones of Distrust" section, "Rosa Parks Memorialized" opens with "On the day our September losses / reached 2,000, a tribute / to Rosa..." and asks "If she were alive now.../ would her solo / be enough or do we need now a choir singing, / thousands screaming...?"

Imperfect Echoes allows readers to witness a poet's lifetime revisited in memory and with fresh wisdom. If the topics of oppression, prejudice and war seem to some "overdone," Howard-Johnson responds in her Prologue poem, "Apologies from a Magpie":

Magpies are born to sing others' songs -
stained notes, imperfect echoes -
until the world begins to know
them by heart.


Note: All proceeds from the sales will be donated to the non-profit human rights watchdog, Amnesty International.





Friday, September 16, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: "First Practical Handbook for Crazy People" transcends whatever genes we may have inherited.



Title: The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]
Authors: Shelly Glaser with Sherry Glaser
Genre: Self-Help/Recovery/Mental Illness
Publisher: Mother's Milk Publications
Paperback: Pub. Sept. 6, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-692-76460-2   (90 pages)
Kindle E-Book: Pub. Aug. 4, 2016
ASIN: B01JTMPELO   (File Size: 308 KB)
Website: http://www.sherryglaser.net
Author Contact: sherryamore67@outlook.com

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
By Marlan Warren:

The Mother-Daughter Continuum
Continuum: noun (kƒn-tin'yoo- ƒm): A continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct, e.g., at the fast end of the fast-slow continuum.
--The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]

In the self-help tradition of Louise Hay’s New Thought books (“Heal Your Life”), comes The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]. It not only features tips from mental patient, Shelly Glaser, but the twist is that this handbook was not only posthumously published, but co-written with her daughter—award-winning performance artist and author, Sherry Glaser—after Shelly died.

Years after her mother’s death (hastened by the side effects of anti-psychotic medications), Sherry Glaser came across the manuscript in rough draft (with this title) and felt inspired to finish it, adding her own story—which included deep fear of inheriting mental illness— and delineating the tools she uses to transcend that dread and keep herself sane.T

True to its title, this book offers practical step-by-step tools made so simple that anyone could try them and not feel overwhelmed by the prospect. They include meditation, the mind-body connection and the “exotic” (for the more adventurous).

Each Glaser has walked through her own mental hell. Each tells her hair-raising story (in the elder Glaser’s case, literally, as she endured numerous electroshock treatments) with eloquence and wry humor.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Newsletter! New Workshop! New Book Reviews! New Hot Tips!

Book Publicity by Marlan Newsletter

In this issue:  
  • Congrats!
  • As Me Anything on Reddit!
  • New book reviews
  • Hot Tip: How to get your book into libraries (or give it your best shot)!
  • New Workshop Starting Up: Nuts & Bolts of Book PR & Marketing Strategies
  • Writer Consultations
CONGRATS! 
Just as they say a business owner should "always pay yourself first," I will congratulate myself on my Book Publicity by Marlan Linked In profile being named in the "Top 24 Publicists" on its site. How did this happen? I don't know. Might have something to do with what I call "The Robots." I regularly publish "Updates" in Linked In's Pulse platform. That may boost the algorithm of my name, biz, etc.

Google Screenshot

Congrats to Shelly Glaser & Sherry Glaser on their soon-to-be-released First Practical Handbook for Crazy People: Making the Best of Mental Illness! (Soft Cover Pub. Date: 9/6/16) (Kindle: 8/4/16). Review is in this issue! Book Launch Details are on the way!

ASK ME ANYTHING

Marlan Warren/Book Publicity by Marlan is now on Reddit's "Ask Me Anything"

Why should Donald Trump have all the fun? He's not the only one who can participate in a Q&A on Reddit. I tried it out a couple days ago. Trump apparently had lots of questions. Me, not so many (although they were good ones). It might still be up and running, so feel free to check it out (you have to become a member--it's free) at:

I AM a Book Publicist

This platform can be very useful for authors who want to expand their PR! One of my clients is doing it today and had over 100 questions this morning.

FALL WORKSHOP

Yes, it's here by popular request: I will conduct a PR/Marketing Workshop starting in September! We will meet 2 hours weekly in a Los Feliz cafe that has long tables and not many customers (they are new & expensive, but there's no minimum). It is a 3-week workshop that we can extend one week if there is a demand (at no extra charge). We will not only go over the basics, but authors will receive individual attention on such topics as how to write effective pitches for one-sheet, media queries and social media. We will look at book trailers on Youtube and analyze them for marketability.



This workshop will reference Carolyn Howard-Johnson's Frugal Book Promoter, and the brilliant How-To Guru Carolyn will be a guest speaker! (Cue the Applause!)

Workshop Fee: $155.00
3-4 Weeks
More Details: E-Mail memoircity@gmail.com or call 323-347-6762


YES, I AM A WRITING COACH TOO
For decades, I have coached writers in all forms of writing from screenplays to novels to articles to memoirs. My background is so eclectic, there isn't space for all the pies I've had my fingers in; but essentially, in addition to my PR skills, I am a professional editor (and writer).

For example, right now I'm looking over a manuscript that was rejected by a publisher with such a clumsy evaluation that I suspect they were probably just the wrong publisher (a friend of mine once received a rejection from an agent that said: Dear Linda: Not my thing!). However, I do see a few points the author could have capitalized on when pitching it, and how those points could have been emphasized in the manuscript itself (to make a case for why a thundering herd would want to read this book).

If you are interested, please feel free to contact me for a consultation.

NEW BOOK REVIEWS

Here is a taste of two new book reviews with links to read more!


I wondered how anyone ever felt at home here, where there was nothing you could trust to hold on to, not even the ground beneath your feet.—Dazzled

Title: Dazzled 
Author: Maxine Nunes
Series: A Nikki Easton Mystery (Book 1)
Publisher: Five Star (October 23, 2013) 
ISBN-13: 978-1432827304 
Available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle and Hard Cover)
Website:  http://www.maxinenunes.com/
 
Synopsis: Feisty one-liner actress Nikki Easton finds herself embroiled in a quest to either find out who murdered her best friend—the "dazzling" aspiring actress Darla—or verify that the unrecognizable corpse buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is really someone else. Along the way, Nikki finds herself smitten with a sexy cop, looks for clues at a Playboy-type mansion, and tangles with unsavory Underworld characters whose antics and shocking connections are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of Hollywood's movers who slither through this book. Sex, drugs and lost souls who are torn between the need to be "somebody" and the desire to flee L.A. keep this mystery ticking like the proverbial time bomb.

Review:
Maxine Nunes' Dazzled is a tale told with such precision for atmospheric details, lifestyle annoyances and pitch perfect dialogue, it should come with a cautionary disclaimer for Los Angelenos:

"Warning: May induce the sensation that you are still inside the plot every time you look up from the book."

True to its genre, the story takes readers where others have gone before, but Nunes puts a fresh spin on the familiar elements through inspired turns of phrases ("...a man who evidently thought a strip of chest hair would do for a necktie") and quirky 21st Century updates (gifted with a bouquet, the only "vase" Nikki can find is an empty Slurpee cup).

Nunes also has a gift for depicting layered characters. To this end, she makes excellent use of an acting class that demands "honest emotions" of its students. In the hands of a lesser writer, these scenes could come off as satire or excessively dramatic; but here they skillfully alternate between humor and pathos while giving readers the necessary insights.

The stronger the personality the more it hid.Dazzled

Dazzled lovingly and painstakingly explores the paradoxical contradictions of Los Angeles and its hapless inhabitants. The smell of night jasmine juxtaposes with the stench of the morgue...an actress with a "show biz" sensuality hides her true self in plain sight...and all the sleights of hand resonate in the book's first line:

What's real? Click here for the full review



Review originally published in L.A. Now & Then blog:
http://losangelesnowthen.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-first-practical-handbook-for-crazy_24.html

Title: The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]
Authors: Shelly Glaser with Sherry Glaser
Genre: Self-Help/Recovery/Mental Illness
Publisher: Mother's Milk Publications
Paperback: Pub. Sept. 6, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-692-76460-2   (90 pages)
Kindle E-Book: Pub. Aug. 4, 2016
ASIN: B01JTMPELO   (File Size: 308 KB)
Website: http://www.sherryglaser.net
Author Contact: sherryamore67@outlook.com
Marlan Warren, Reviewer
Roadmap Girl’s Book Buzz: http://roadmapgirlsbookbuzz.blogspot.com

The Mother-Daughter Continuum
Continuum: noun (kƒn-tin'yoo- ƒm): A continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although the extremes are quite distinct, e.g., at the fast end of the fast-slow continuum.
--The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]

In the self-help tradition of Louise Hay’s New Thought books (“Heal Your Life”), comes The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People [Making the Best of Mental Illness]. It not only features tips from mental patient, Shelly Glaser, but the twist is that this handbook was not only posthumously published, but co-written with her daughter—award-winning performance artist and author, Sherry Glaser—after Shelly died.

Years after her mother’s death (hastened by the side effects of anti-psychotic medications), Sherry Glaser came across the manuscript in rough draft (with this title) and felt inspired to finish it, adding her own story—which included deep fear of inheriting mental illness— and delineating the tools she uses to transcend that dread and keep herself sane.T

True to its title, this book offers practical step-by-step tools made so simple that anyone could try them and not feel overwhelmed by the prospect. They include meditation, the mind-body connection and the “exotic” (for the more adventurous).

Each Glaser has walked through her own mental hell. Each tells her hair-raising story (in the elder Glaser’s case, literally, as she endured numerous electroshock treatments) with eloquence and wry humor.

The book opens with Mama Glaser’s life story. Along the way, she stops to explain what worked for her, what didn’t work for her, and encourages all seekers to make their own decisions as they explore options for recovery. How do you choose a therapist? Should you get electroshock treatments? Shelly lays out the choices without pushing. She does not try to sell herself as an expert on anything but her own experiences. Her direct honesty and plain talk give an insider look into how mental illness can be bravely borne with a strong will to heal whatever can be healed. Shelly Glaser could be your mother, your sister, your daughter…your peer. And her resilience inspires.

Then “The Mother-Daughter Continuum” swings into focus as Sherry tells her side, creating a link between their “herstories” that resonates beyond the grave.

It’s no surprise that Sherry Glaser puts “Creativity” at the top of her list of mental health lifesavers. She came to New York fame with her one-woman show, Family Secrets, which still holds the title of the Longest-Running One-Woman Show in Off-Broadway History. In 2015, her Oh My Goddess!: A Comedy of Biblical Proportions won the Best Avant-Garde award at New York's United Solo Festival.

In the section entitled Sherry: The Sequel, she recounts her rollercoaster life without a trace of self-pity or morbid self-reflection. Sherry reveals herself to be a dedicated activist against war and for cannabis legalization, who was devastated by the sudden disappearance of her husband, which remains an unsolved mystery to this day. Add to that lesbian marriage/divorce and arrest by a SWAT team, and it seems a wonder she is not in a straitjacket.

And speaking of straitjackets…

The cover features a black man smiling beatifically…in a straitjacket. How did this cover come to grace the Mother-Daughter Continuum’s first handbook? Sherry explains before she even gets to page 1. Hint: Her mother was behind it.

No alternative tool is left unturned. Mother and daughter offer two different viewpoints on the topic of electroshock therapy vs. medical cannabis. Actually, one left something out of her story in this regard, and the other one put it back in. Hint: Sherry Glaser is a founding member of the Love In It Co-op, a medical marijuana dispensary in Mendocino, California.

With its Companion Questionnaire that is designed to be used in a Clinical Psychology classroom as a workbook, but is user-friendly enough for a more casual setting, The First Practical Handbook for Crazy People serves as a useful, calming addition to anyone’s mental health library.

And for those of us whose parents struggled with the horrors of mental illness, this book does its best to empower us by removing the stigma of “crazy,” and replacing it with the hope that we can move through healing and serenity, no matter whose genes we inherited.

HOW TO GET YOUR BOOK INTO CAMPUS LIBRARIES
This is copied with permission from Carolyn Howard-Johnson's terrific newsletter on her Sharing with Writers website, which I encourage you to subscribe to, if you don't already.

QUESTION

Re: University Bookstores
I know that Random House had my book in their catalog targeting educational sellers. Is there more than that I can do? How would I: (1) identify them and (2) approach them?
             
ANSWER
I'm going to use my husband's experience with his What Foreigners Need to Know About America from A to Z as an example because he was so successful with it.

He put together a form letter (which he tweaks) depending on who he is sending it to. He goes online and finds areas on campus that could use his book. That includes

1. Libraries

2. International Student Programs

3. International Student Course Teachers

4. Campus Bookstore Buyers

5. ESL classes through extension

He spends about 30 minutes a day sending the letter to the correct person when possible. Sometimes that's only one contact. Some days, when research goes well, it's three or four. He's had some amazing successes like having his book chosen as gifts/recommendations by the university that hosts the Fulbright Scholars in the US each summer. There is a cost to it beyond time. He offers a free book to those influencers who show an interest, but these most often don't result in single book sales, either. The top sale we could trace to his letters (it's sometimes easier for self-published authors to trace sales to a specific effort) was 59 copies.

Be aware, that if you find an instructor who recommends your book or uses is at class reading, the bookstore often stocks the book automatically. But not always. It doesn’t hurt to mention in a separate query or phone call that your book was ordered for a specific class or that Professor X showed an interest in your book.

One more secret. He keeps at it.

Here’s an alternative that isn't as frugal and not as effective because the contact is not personal (but it’s a lot less time-consuming!):



IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) had a catalog that they send out to libraries, a separate one to university libraries and one to reviewers. I've used that program. It can be good...or not. Depending on the title.

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ABOUT CAROLYN HOWARD-JOHNSONCarolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. All her books for writers are multi award winners including the first edition of The Frugal Book Promoter published in 2003. Her The Frugal Editor, now in its second edition, won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts.

The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is http://www.howtodoitfrugally.com.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

"DAZZLED" - A Mystery Built on the Contradictions of L.A. with Unflinching Fresh Eyes



I wondered how anyone ever felt at home here, where there was nothing you could trust to hold on to, not even the ground beneath your feet.—Dazzled

Title: Dazzled 
Author: Maxine Nunes
Series: A Nikki Easton Mystery (Book 1)
Publisher: Five Star (October 23, 2013) 
ISBN-13: 978-1432827304 
Available on Amazon (Paperback, Kindle and Hard Cover)
Website:  http://www.maxinenunes.com/
 
Synopsis: Feisty one-liner actress Nikki Easton finds herself embroiled in a quest to either find out who murdered her best friend—the "dazzling" aspiring actress Darla—or verify that the unrecognizable corpse buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is really someone else. Along the way, Nikki finds herself smitten with a sexy cop, looks for clues at a Playboy-type mansion, and tangles with unsavory Underworld characters whose antics and shocking connections are nearly indistinguishable from the rest of Hollywood's movers who slither through this book. Sex, drugs and lost souls who are torn between the need to be "somebody" and the desire to flee L.A. keep this mystery ticking like the proverbial time bomb.

Review:
Maxine Nunes' Dazzled is a tale told with such precision for atmospheric details, lifestyle annoyances and pitch perfect dialogue, it should come with a cautionary disclaimer for Los Angelenos:

"Warning: May induce the sensation that you are still inside the plot every time you look up from the book."

True to its genre, the story takes readers where others have gone before, but Nunes puts a fresh spin on the familiar elements through inspired turns of phrases ("...a man who evidently thought a strip of chest hair would do for a necktie") and quirky 21st Century updates (gifted with a bouquet, the only "vase" Nikki can find is an empty Slurpee cup).

Nunes also has a gift for depicting layered characters. To this end, she makes excellent use of an acting class that demands "honest emotions" of its students. In the hands of a lesser writer, these scenes could come off as satire or excessively dramatic; but here they skillfully alternate between humor and pathos while giving readers the necessary insights.

The stronger the personality the more it hid.Dazzled

Dazzled lovingly and painstakingly explores the paradoxical contradictions of Los Angeles and its hapless inhabitants. The smell of night jasmine juxtaposes with the stench of the morgue...an actress with a "show biz" sensuality hides her true self in plain sight...and all the sleights of hand resonate in the book's first line:

What's real?