Sunday, December 17, 2006

Do the E-book!

You may recall that I carry on a bit about the need to have an e-book version of your book-- reaching a different market segment, greater exposure of your title, another revenue stream, etc.

If you need yet another reason, consider that Simon & Schuster has reported that their e-book sales tripled in 2006.

Sales have been so good, they are planning to add 12,000 more titles in 2007.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

POD-dy Mouth

Becky Coffield forwarded a blog titled POD-dy Mouth to me. The author looks at the book industry with a breezy and humorous style while providing a lot of valuable info.

If your book is POD, be sure to send a review copy to POD-dy Mouth.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Free Book Listing with an Internet Giant

Get your titles in front of millions of Windows Live users FREE with Windows Live Book Search. Windows Live Book Search is Microsoft's forthcoming online search service for book content.

To submit your titles simply upload them in digital format or send printed books, and control the amount of content displayed. Link your commerce-enabled Web site to so that users can easily purchase your titles.

It's easy and it's FREE!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Interesting News About Book Jackets

This season, HaperCollins retailers want book jackets that are margarita and sangria in color. I am not sure whether a cover should have one or both, but the input from retailers gives me some new ideas for cover color/design.

In the meantime, Time Warner Book Group state that retailers often ask them to change the color or design of a book jacket so that it will better color-coordinate with their merchandise.

Here is a thought: if you have specific retail outlet(s) in mind for your book, ask what they would like to see before doing the final color/design layout.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Book Institute

Are you ready for this? There is now a program at COCC that will fulfill just about all your needs when it comes to getting the book written and published. It is called the Book Institute and offers a complete array of classes.

Think Like a Writer is offered on Monday evenings, October 9-November 13 from 6:30-8:30 pm on the COCC Bend Campus. You be led by an experienced writer and published author, Michael Lankford. Michael has moved to Bend recently and brings a wealth of writing and writing education experience. Think Like a Writer is designed to re-fuel your creative writing tank by looking at sources of inspiration, exercising new ways of developing scenes, settings and themes and by experimenting with storytelling styles. Register online or by telephone: (541) 383-7270.

Write Your Life Story is offered Tuesday mornings, October 3-November 21 from 9:30-11:30 am at the Bend Senior Center, and is taught by Jane Thielsen. Jane has facilitated life story writing groups for many years through the Oregon Coast Community College in Newport. She will conduct a series of exercises and experiences to help you capture your life story not only for yourself, but for future generations. You will learn how to choose a genre, organize and edit material and share your observations with others. Register online or by telephone: (541) 383-7270.

If you have your manuscript ready to go or after you conclude one or both classes listed above, the next step is the publishing process:

Self Publish & Sell Your Book offered Wednesday evenings, October 11-25 from 6:00-9:00 pm on the COCC Bend Campus. Your congenial host (and blogger) will be me, Tom McDannold. I will walk you through the steps of self-publishing, marketing and selling via retail outlets and the Internet. We will also cover book formats, e-books, copyright, ISBN, bar codes, pricing and promotion. Also, I will be happy to review your manuscript. Register online or by telephone: (541) 383-7270.

The Key To Publishing A Book offered on Monday evenings, October 30-November 6 from 6:00-9;00 pm on the COCC Bend Campus, is also taught by me. This class focuses on how to obtain an agent or publisher, rather than self publish. I will share information about how to locate the appropriate agent or publisher, writing a query letter, constructing a book proposal, and how to learn from rejection notices. Register online or by telephone: (541) 383-7270.

More about the Book Institute in the next post.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Making Good Use of Your Entry/Award

The previous post offered suggestions on entering your book in contests. This post builds on that one by looking at a number of ways to take advantage of entering and/or receiving an award.

The first is to clearly discuss the contest/award in your news packet/news release. Be sure to include copies of letters, emails, announcements, etc. about your entry/receipt of an award.

Similarly, post all the information on your website, blog, podcast, etc.

A third strategy is to inform book stores and other retail outlets about the contest/award. They are often impressed with the fact that you submitted the book, regardless of whether you win or not, and will use the information to promote the book.

Another idea is to have stickers that announce the contest/award. Stationary supply businesses usually can print the quantity that you need. Thus, by applying one to the cover of each book, you have let the casual browser know that your book is an outstanding addition to the literature. It seems that nothing succeeds like success.

Lastly, be sure to include the information in your biography. The entry will help build the platform from which you launch the next book!

Monday, May 29, 2006

Getting An Award For Your Book

An important aspect of promoting and selling your book is to demonstrate that it is a worthwhile publication. Its value can be shown by the recognition and awards it has received. One of the ways to have an award-winning book is to enter it in a contest.

The Do-It-Yourself Book Festival is just such a contest. It is dedicated to recognizing self-published books and small presses. Each title is judged on its general excellence and the author's passion for story telling. The contest also looks closely at unique uses of guerilla marketing tactics. Further, the contest gives out awards for author of the year and best book cover. The deadline for submitting your book is September 25, 2006. Entrance fee is $50. More information:

A second contest is hosted by Independent Publisher and is designed to bring increased recognition to deserving books published by independent authors and publishers. Known as the IPPY Award, the top ten recipients receive a cash award. For a title to be eligible, it must have a 2006 copyright. Submissions will be accepted starting on June 1, 2006. The fee is $70. More information:

Watch for a blog entry that will offer some ideas on how to use your well-deserved award in a marketing campaign.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Classes About Book Publishing

As interest continues to build about the entire process of book publishing, I have been working to bring everything to authors that they need to succeed. As a result, there are now five classes addressing different aspects of publishing. They are offered by the Community Learning Department of COCC and will be held during the Fall session.

For those needing to edit graphics for their book, attend:
Photoshop Elements Beginning: September 30 and October 7 and
Photoshop Elements Intermediate: October 28 and November 4.

There will be a class on self-publishing titled Publish and Sell Your Book on:
October 11 and October 25.

Interested in having a publishing company bring your book to Market? Try The Key to Publishing. It is about locating an agent and publishing house as well as query letters and submission packages. It will be held on November 6 and November 13.

If you want to stay current in marketing activities, check out Blogs and Podcasts on November 9 and November 16.

To enroll, contact COCC.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

New Self Published Book by R.I. Coffield

Rebecca (Becky) Coffield, longtime resident of Bend and an alum of the Publish and Sell Your Book class, now has a self published book on the market.

Titled Life Was a Cabaret, it chronicles her 25,000 mile sailing adventure around the Pacific Ocean with her husband aboard their sailboat, Cabaret. One can almost smell the sea air as she describes the fun, fright, and self awareness that she experienced.

The book is perfect bound, has a 6" x 9" format with a professionally designed cover. Of course there is a copyright, ISBN, LCCN, etc. Her experience with a book manufacturer offers insight into the problems and prospects of out-sourcing some of the work on a self published book.

Fortunately, she is more than willing to share what she discovered with you and I. Get all of your questions answered at her book signing at the Book Barn on June 30, 2006. Watch for the announcement in the Bend Bulletin.

Also, be sure to visit her author website (and purchase a book or two) at:

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Graphic Design & Layout with Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements (PE) is a program that is powerful enough to edit photographs for book publications. I began to wonder if it could be used to create graphics from scratch. The thought was prompted by many of my books containing not only photographs but also maps, charts, flow diagrams, etc.

A little bit of experimenting produced the graphic to the right. It is part of a Power Point presentation on how to get your manuscript published by a publishing house (a new course to be offered by COCC). The illustration depicts the process of going from an idea, to having a publishing house accept the manuscript, to the publishing process, with royalties being paid to the author.

The illustration is a series of clip art images that I found in MS Word and MS Power Point programs. I copied them, saving them as JPG files. Next, I opened a document in PE using the New command and sized the new page. Then, I began to place the graphics on the new page, using a new layer for each one.

The arrows are one of the options within PE. I used a new layer for each one. The most difficult part was making sure the arrows were about the same size.

I used the Text function of PE for the dollar signs, placing them on their own layer.

Lastly, I moved the items around until I was satisfied with the overall balance and saved the illustration as a JPG file.

Admittedly, it took awhile to get it right but it sure beat the heck out of buying yet another program.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Blogs and Podcasts

Good news! I will be giving a class on what blogs and podcasts are all about and how to use them in your personal or business efforts. At the end of the meeting, you will have your very own blog on the Internet and the information and software necessary to create podcasts.

The class will be held on the main campus of COCC, from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday, April 15, 2006.

More information is available from Community Learning in the Continuing Education Department at (541) 383-7270 or on line.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Sending Out Press Releases

Letting the world know about your new book is always a time-consuming challenge. One rather fast means of spreading the word is to use an Internet press release service.

Each of the sites listed below will announce your press release for a fee. They also have a free announcement. The paid service gives broader coverage and better placement but if your budget is slim, give the free posting a try.

Be sure to check for help in writing the release, tips on making it better, and blunders to avoid. Also, use templates where applicable.

PR Free is a general service that has a book category.

PR Leap tends to focus on the media and particularly journalists. There is a book category.

PR Web is directed toward small businesses and is a great place to announce your blog or podcast.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Selling Books to Libraries

Thinking of selling your book to libraries? There are many of them, both in number and category: public, school, military, etc. However, there are several considerations that could slow the sales effort.

For example, libraries frequently prefer to order from only one or two companies, such as Baker & Taylor or Quality Books. Thus, their operating costs are reduced because they only need write one or two checks, rather than a multitude as would be the case when purchasing from many companies.

Another aspect of library sales is making sure your book fits within the library's scope. For example, is your book appropriate for a military library? Similarly, your book needs to fit within the school's grade levels and/or a particular curriculum area.

Lastly, libraries are keen on your book having an ISBN. However, they are not as stringent about Cataloging in Publication data or Library of Congress control numbers.

As always with self-publishing, know what you want to do with your book and to whom you want to sell it.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Great Class

The Winter '06 class had its first meeting! That is where we talk about turning a manuscript into a print book. There was a lot to absorb and the participants not only "got it," they had great questions. Next week should be just as interesting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

The Publish and Sell Your Book Class

There is starting to be a buzz about the Publish and Sell Your Book class I offer through the Community Learning Program at Central Oregon Community College! I suspect that some of the interest has to do with former students who have taken the class to heart and are in the process of publishing their book. One, written by Becky Coffield and titled, Life was a Cabaret, should be available before the current class ends.

With so much buzz and success, the suggestion has been made that I give prospective students an idea of what transpires in the class. There are three meetings. The first is given over to helping everyone clearly identify what they want to do with their book. The decision really impacts everything else that follows. For example, if you only want to produce a book for family and friends, there is no need for things like an ISBN, Library of Congress Control Number, bar code, etc. However, if you want to sell a million copies, those items need to be included as well as several other things. Those things make up the rest of the class session.

The second meeting starts with turning your manuscript into an e-book. If an e-book is new to you, note that it is simply a book that can be downloaded into your computer. After the e-book discussion, we get really involved with how to sell your book/e-book. Traditional strategies and outlets are discussed but a greater emphasis is placed on the non-traditional. Even if you don't like to "sell" things, I think you will find that selling your book is not that difficult.

The third meeting is when we take an actual book idea and work through the process of publishing and marketing it. During the latter part I will discuss your manuscript with you on a one-to-one basis.

Does the class sound like it is worth the time? You bet!

For more information, see the course description in the Schedule of Classes.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Buying Trends by Book Genre

More book publishing statistics for 2004-2005 are appearing. The following pertains to fiction sales.

Romance novels lead the way with 39.3% of sales.
Next were mystery books at 29.6%
Followed by general fiction with 12.9% of sales.

When the figures are added, they total 81.80%. Thus, 18.2% of fiction books sales appear to fall outside of the three categories. What must they be?

Whatever they are, romance or mystery genres are the ones to focus upon if book sales are important to you.

Advertising Your Book

Getting the word out about your book is the first step in increasing sales. Check out the following Internet-based resources.

The first is Radio-TV Interview Report (RTIR) at This service is essentially a database of authors who are available for live and telephone interviews. A thrice-monthly magazine that is sent to about 4,000 on-air contacts, it broadens the geographic dimension of your advertising efforts. Fee.

Another similar resource focusing on television is found at Free, as the name implies.

Lastly, be sure to check out This service will forward your press release to business and corporation communications entities across the nation. Place your release within the appropriate category. Free and fee.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Premier Entry

This is my first blog in several years and I must say its good to be back in the blogosphere. The inital blog dealt with train watching conditions along the historic Union Pacific rail line through the Tehachapi Pass in California. I discontinued that blog when I decided to move to Oregon.

A Union Pacific frieght train on the Tehachapi Loop. The photo was taken during the first Golden Hour, sunrise to one hour later (second Golden Hour is the hour before sunset).

Once settled in my new home, I started teaching in the Community Learning Program of the Continuing Education Department at Central Oregon Community College. The classes related to book publishing. I wanted to continue sharing publishing-related information, tips, and procedures with former students from the classses; hence, this blog.

In the following weeks, look for thoughts on Internet resources, tricks for editing photos that are to be included in books, intriguing marketing ideas, and more!

Thanks for stopping by.