Wednesday, April 12, 2006


Now that my book is finally out, I don't really see the purpose of keeping this blog up. I'll be writing about my work and thoughts in my other blog: I, the Author.

This blog is now closed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Things are happening. First of all, early reviews are slowly trickling out. The first one is from January Magazine, the second from Absolute Write, and the third by a fellow blogger Dawn. Also, if you look at my page, you would see additional reviews and blurbs.

My book is now listed on multiple booksellers' sites including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Wal-Mart, and Joseph-Beth, among others.

I'm surprised. I know for a fact that not all books (traditionally published, POD, etc.) are listed on these sites. Also, Ingram has changed their policies recently, that they won't stock POD/Vanity books anymore. That must have affected the way online book stores list their books and do business as well, for they will no longer be able to order POD books through Ingram.

Anyway, the idea is to get as much coverage as possible. Amazon, BN and BAMM are the biggest booksellers. Joseph-Beth is big player in the Mid-West. So to get into their database is the first step. Now, I just need to convince them to stock the book in their stores!

I'm making head way. I'll be calling and speaking to the local stores soon, as well as libraries. I've been talking to Linda Keller at Barnes & Noble, who also is in charge of the Mad Anthony Writer's Conference and Book Festival. Well, after some initial wrangling and glitches, I'm in for the book signing, and I'll also to doing a workshop at the conference. That's pretty exciting, I think. It also paves the way for more book signing opportunities.

While working with Linda on the signing, we discovered a glitch with the Barnes & Noble ordering database. According to their internal records, The Pacific Between is marked at "non-returnable." That is like the "kiss of death" for publishers because book stores like BN would not stock any books that are not returnable. Behler definitely has a returnable policy, and according to Ingram, our books are marked as returnable. So the problem lies at Barnes & Noble's internal system. My publish has been very diligent in solving the problem -- they even went to BN's corporate trying to rectify the glitch. I'm happy to report that it seems like everything is okay now.

Joseph-Beth might also be sponsoring a book signing in the near future. Stay tuned for more info...

~ Ray

Sunday, December 25, 2005

So Much To Do...

So much to do, so little time.

Here's a list of things I need to accomplish this week:

1. Follow up with:
  • Brentano's Books
  • Cheryl w.r.t. radio interview
  • Mundania Press w.r.t. short story contract
  • Short Fiction program
  • Joseph-Beth
2. Make initial contact with:
  • Local libraries
  • Regional Joseph-Beth book stores
  • Regional Barnes & Noble
  • Regional Borders
3. Publicity:
  • Revise press release and press kit
  • Prepare press kit for all regional media
  • Prepare press kit for select national media
  • Send postcard to production

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Advertising and Publicity

They're the necessary evil. Sure, the best way to get the words out about your book is by word of mouth, or reviews in major trade journals such as Kirkus, Publisher Weekly or the New York Times, but chances of a book by a small press being picked up is kind of depressing.

So what's the author to do? Well, he needs to publicize, advertise, and promote. It's not cheap, and it's time-consuming. But if you want to have some control of your success, you've got to make some investment.

For example, I just purchased some advertising at ForeWord Magazine. It's definitely not cheap, and there's no guarantee of success. But if I don't throw my book out there, who will? Just hope that my book's striking titile and cover and intersting premise would entice someone.

Sending press kits and ARCs to media is not cheap either, and again, there's not guarantee that they would even mention the book, and even if they do, there's no guarantee that people will take note and buy the book. I'm still new to this business and I seriously don't know what makes people buy books. Is it the cover? Is it the synopsis? First chapter? Word of mouth? Does advertising and publicity actually work? I have no idea. But I'll darned if I don't do it. Like the old cliche goes: you can't win if you don't play.

I'm currently having a pre-release promotion. Check it out.

I also know I'll have to devote the next few months, or even years, in promoting the book. I strongly believe in it and I think people will really enjoy it once they give it a chance, and I'll be darned if I don't push it myself. Who's going to do that for me? Nobody, except myself. I don't like being a salesman -- I am a writer, not a business person, and sometimes I wish I were with a big house with a $$$$$$ marketing machine and I wouldn't have to do any work. But that ain't going to happen so I'd better get on with it.

Hopefully, I would still have the creative motivation to finish writing my second book, which, I think, is even a better story than the first <---- shameless plug here.

I'm going to be sending press kits and advance copies to all the local media. Hopefully, someone will bite.

Wish me luck.

Pre-Release Promotion

To draw people to the website and promote the book, I've decided to run a pre-release promotion, which ends on March 1, 2006 (see details here).

I think a little sweepstake might spike interest and draw traffic to my site. But who knows? Maybe this won't work. But you won't know until you try, right?

So come on over and enter! The prizes are fabulous, which include a $50 Barnes & Noble gift certificate!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Book Signings

It's probably too early, but I have been talking to book sellers in my area to see about setting up book signings or readings. So far, most of them seem to be receptive. The local author angle is good. I think I might be able to persuade Joseph-Beth to hold readings at their stores -- that would make it a three-state, five-city book tour all in itself. Anyway, I don't know if anything would pan out yet, but I'm just anxious to get out there and tell people about my book. Isn't this crazy?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Another Contract?

Mundania is interested in publishing one of my short stories in eBook format. I haven't seen the contract yet, but they're saying authors get 50% royalties (granted, the pieces won't sell for much individually).

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Press Kit

This week I'll be preparing my press kits and sending them out. I'll also visit some local book stores and libraries to pitch my book -- I'm hoping to get some signings and readings set up.


What's in a press kit? Here's a list of things to be included in a press kit:

1. Press Release -- basically an announcement of your book. Make it news worthy. Make it relevant and exciting and let people know why it matters.
2. Author Bio -- not a memoir; just a brief summary of who you are and what you've done in terms of writing. Feel free to include any fun facts of yourself, but don't bog it down with endless details
3. Author Photo -- professionally done headshots preferred. Do not include a snapshot that looks like Aunt Marie took of you while drunk. Also, be recent. Don't include something that is 10 years and 30 pounds earlier
4. CD, audio, video (optional) -- if you have done TV or radio interviews in the past, it's a good idea to include a copy of the footage or taping. That's to show that you're camera or radio ready
5. Business cards and other marketing materials such as bookmarks, posters, etc.
6. A copy of the book covers -- so they can use it for copies
7. A copy of your book -- so they can check it out and see what the fuss is about...
8. Reviews -- if you have any positive reviews, include them
9. Q&A and suggested questions -- media are busy people; they want you to do most of the homework for them. Besides, it gives them a better idea of what kind of writers you are

Stories of Strength

The Anthology was released on November 1. Please order your copy now: