Matthew 17:20, my favorite verse. "... If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Favorite Points of View by Bill Hopkins



Bill Hopkins
ozark valley in the fog.jpg



  • First person: This is a story that is usually narrated by the protagonist. If you use this, then your first sentence--or certainly your first paragraph--should make it clear. "Sally whirled around and slapped me in the face." You know that someone (the narrator) has incurred Sally's wrath and he's going to tell the reader about it.
  • Advantages: First person allows the narrator to develop a distinctive voice that no one else in the story has (or should have). The reader will learn to like or at least understand why the narrator acts the way he does. He can ramble on about relevant points inside his own head without anyone else but the reader knowing what he's thinking. The reader also witnesses the stress placed on the narrator and how that causes him to act in a certain way. The reader learns about the world of the narrator quickly.
  • Disadvantages: The narrator must be in every scene or he and the reader will be subjected to a lot of retelling by other characters what happened off-stage. But even that may be skillfully handled so that the narrator doesn't appear to be just a listening post where different folks come to tell their tales. Also, other characters and not the narrator must describe him or the narrator must slip in hints at his appearance. "Sally slapped me so hard that I thought my scrawny mustache had been knocked off my face." And, please, avoid the cliché of having the narrator look in a mirror and telling the reader what he sees. Finally, avoid as many "I's" as you can. "I went to the store. I bought some eggs. I took the eggs to Sally." That soon becomes boring.



  • Third Person: An unknown narrator is telling the story. Generally, the narrator is never identified. Writers and readers have an unspoken agreement that this is one of those "willing suspension of disbelief" that someone witnessed and is able to tell the story. There are different kinds of third person. What makes my favorite version of third person "close" (other people have different terms for it) is that the narrator is in only one character's head at a time. "Sally slapped him." That would be the first line of a book written in third person (close or otherwise). Further on in the story, the reader realizes that the narrator can see into only one person's mind. "He felt the stinging blow and didn't like the look on Sally's face." In fact, third person close is almost a first person viewpoint using different pronouns.
  • Advantages: You can describe your character in the narration. As a reader of fiction, I rarely remember what a person looks like while reading the story. As a writer, my descriptions of people tend to emphasize oddities of their appearance or perhaps one or two nods to a physical description. Another advantage that draws me to this point of view is that you can still show the direct thoughts of the person. "Sally slapped him. That's the second time she's done that to me!" or "Sally slapped him. That's the second time, he thought, that she's done that to me."
  • Disadvantages: You must be especially careful not to get into anyone else's head. You must show us what the other person is doing to determine his reaction to what is going on or, of course, have the other person say something that presents his state of mind. This sounds easy, but it's tricky. In one story, I had written about the protagonist and two companions doing something like "trudging dispiritedly" (it wasn't really that bad). My most heartless editor (my wife, Sharon Woods Hopkins) pointed out that I was expressing the thoughts of the other two people as well as the protagonist. Which, of course, I was.


Play around with different points of view. See what fits your protagonist the best. You'd be amazed how a character changes when you change that character's point of view!


For more information, read these two articles:

Fiction: Point of View (Writer's Digest)


Point of View in Fiction (Fiction Writers' Mentor)


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Publicists for Self Published Authors? Has anyone tried this?

As those of you who follow me know, almost a year ago, I signed on with a distributor. I wanted to experiment and see if this was a wise move for a self-published author. As of yet, I'm still undecided.

In order for stores to want to order your books, they have to know you exist. This comes through advertisement. I agreed to pay for the Munce ads which set me back quite a bit. Although they did bring me notice and sales, I'm afraid it will be some time before the ads pay for themselves.

What has worked so far, is paying my distributor to showcase my books at the Inter. Christian National Retail Show. I also believe if I'd participate in other ads that would help, but that won't happen until the former ads are recouped through sales.

What does work then? I'm wondering that myself. I've been told hiring a publicist would help. It should help -- especially if you pay $2-3000 for their work. But will it pay for itself?

Has anyone tried this route and would you be willing to share your experience? Let me know and you can share your posts with the rest of us.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Bill Hopkins and His Law of Flip-Flop

Welcome Bill Hopkins and thanks for stopping by!

I killed a tick on the plane because I'm a writer.
After I killed the tick, I realized that I'd devised one method for blasting apart a writer's block.
But first the grisly part.
I recently flew on a commercial flight to New Orleans. After takeoff, with the seat belt sign still lit, I felt a tick crawling on my neck. I grabbed the critter between a thumb and forefinger to prevent its escape. I had no way to kill the brute.
Ticks are arachnids, meaning they're spiders. Who bite humans. And suck our blood. And transmit diseases. Ticks serve no useful purpose on earth. I am proud of my loathing for these disgusting tiny monsters.
But how could I kill it? I could've mashed against the tray table in the upright position. What if I slipped and dropped the tick? It might crawl on me again and wind up in a place that I couldn't reach while strapped in. Even if I successfully mashed the thing on the table, my seat mate may not have appreciated the nasty thing decorating our space.
The TSA goons won't allow nail clippers or pocket knives on planes. I'd left my miniature yet deadly Swiss Army knife at home. Lighters may not be verboten but you can't use on inside the cabin of a plane. My fellow passengers would've probably thrown a blanket over me and sat on me until the plane landed if I'd flicked my Bic to singe the tick.
A Bic? A thought formed.
After thinking about my dilemma for a few minutes, I realized the answer was in my pocket. I'm a writer. I carry a notebook and pen (blue ink, of course). That provided me with a perfect weapon. The tick expired at the point of a ballpoint pen. I have the bloody corpse in my notebook to prove it.
If you are stuck anywhere in your work in progress, stop and look around. What tools do you have right in front of you? Are you defining your problem by the tools you have? That's not good.
Abraham Kaplan, in The Conduct of Inquiry: Methodology for Behavioral Science, said, "I call it the law of the instrument, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a small boy a hammer, and he will find that everything he encounters needs pounding."
The end of a ballpoint pen makes a great device not only for writing but also for killing ticks. What are you overlooking in the world you've created? What items in your work can be used for something they weren't created for?
I call it the law of the flip-flop, and it may be formulated as follows: Give a writer a tool for creation and the writer will find destructive uses for it.
Go forth and wreak some havoc.

Bill Hopkins



My website with preview:

The Judge Rosswell Carew Mystery series

After being in the self-published world for a few years, I find I have less and less to share with my audience other than what I already have. With that in mind, I'm opening the door to other self-published authors in hope what they have to share will increased your knowledge and inspiration.

So please tune back in for wisdom from Bill (Judge) Hopkins, author and friend.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where to Publish for Highest Revenue

Bookstore Without Borders is a new website dedicated to authors and their books. Here, you receive 100% of your sales!! They grow in revenue when you accept any of their services toward building your marketing platform. Such as websites, book covers, social media, etc., etc. I encourage all my author friends to check them out, and let them know how you found them-through me!

A few reasons that BWB is a great place for you to send people to buy your books:

       • You make 100% of the sale. BWB takes NO COMMISSIONS (as opposed to other online bookstores that take 35-75%).
       • BWB works with all of the major eReader platforms.
       • BWB sales are instant. Your PayPal account receives payment the same day.
       • You're an Independent authors and we think you deserve a truly Independent bookstore.
"We have a proven track record on our sister site, www.ArtInCanada.com, a marketing platform for artists, online since 1999, with traffic that exceeds 80,000 unique visitors per month. Online marketing is what we specialize in, giving artists, authors, and editors excellent exposure and to sell eBooks and services online!"--bookstorewithoutborders.com
Let’s change the Indie Book world together. www.bookstorewithoutborders.com      

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

PREP Literary Consulting--affordable editing!

Jenn Gigowski is the woman behind PREP Literary Consulting. She’s here today to share with us about this new, affordable service.


Yes, it's super new - just opened in May! PREP=Proofreading, Reviewing (which is a kinder term for critiquing), Editing and Polishing. The tag line is "Giving your manuscript a manicure!" As taken from my under-construction website: I am a Freelance Editor, which means that you are my potential boss! For new clients, I offer a FREE trial edit of a manuscript, on the chapter of your choice. There are so many different styles of writers, and editors come in just as many styles. You want someone who can hear your voice, "see" what you are saying, and work with you, instead of taking complete control of your "baby." I offer editing of the following: Typographical & spelling errors; capitalization & grammatical mistakes; punctuation misplacement, comma usage & splices; subject-verb agreements; sentence structure, fragments & lengths; syntax, tenses, word usage / nuance; repetition, consistency, anomalies, plot holes; paragraph spacing, visual layout & chapter page breaks; correct point-of-view for each scene. Anytime I edit a book, it will be kept in the author’s voice.


I’ve used Jenn’s services and have introduced her to other authors I know. If you’re looking for an editor, someone you can trust, and someone who won’t take over your story, contact her for a free trial today!


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Book Distributor Results

As a result of my signing with Advocate Distribution, I have now sold copies of each of The Ozark Durham Series and the Abandoned Hearts Study Guide to Anchor and Ingram distributors. This is exciting because my books can be in more book stores nation wide. If someone from as far away as California asks their local book store to stock my books, they'll most likely be able to now.

I also learned from my distributor that whenever I schedule a book signing, to let them know. They will then contact the area stores where I'll be signing to offer them my books to stock their shelves.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Benefits of a Coach for Your Writing and Marketing Needs

As a writer, we often want to hole away in our cozy nooks and keep to ourselves, producing stories and having them sell at effortless sky-reaching quantities. Ah, I wish it were that simple. But in reality, we have to accept the fact that some form of marketing is going to be required to get our works of art out there. If you're a writer and new to the field of marketing, I would highly recommend a writer's coach. The right coach can not only give you tips on how to present yourself but also to whom and where. The right coach will also be someone who has your success in mind and will drop names and broaden fields for you.

Here's a little from what I learned from my coach. First, she encouraged me to attend the ICRS conference. Which is the International Christian Retail Show. Here I will not only have the opportunity to attend classes and learn more about writing and marketing, I will also get face time with important people, such as book store owners, people from the movie industry, distributors, and more.

My coach also encouraged me to get by business cards printed. I'm terrible about putting things off 'til the last minute. If it hadn't been for my coach, I would have saved this important step to the end and probably made them myself. (Not a good idea.) As it turns out, I went to vistaprint.com and ordered folded business cards. The front has the cover of my latest book, on the inside left page it has the back blurb from my book, and the right side has three quotes from other authors and readers. While the very back has a picture of myself and my contact information-- email, twitter, facebook, and website.

My coach also helped better prepare me for book signings. She gave great ideas on how to tie in free drawings to the book I'm currently promoting. She also gave helpful advice on how having someone with me at each signing could be a benefit and what job that person could do.

I was able to choose the topics I wanted to discuss. Since the quality time I spent with my coach, I now understand kdp select and how to use it strategically. I also have a better understanding of twitter and hootsuite.

This is all from only two affordable sessions with my coach, Angela Breindenbach.

If you're interested in using her services and learning more about what she can do for you, you can find her here: http://angelabreidenbach.com/

Let her know Regina sent you!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Unexpected Characters: Why They Appear and What to Do with Them (by Liz Curtis Higgs)

Welcome guest, Liz Curtis Higgs, an awarding author and speaker who has agreed to share with us what to do with characters that pop up in your writing without any invitation.

Unexpected Characters: Why They Appear and What to Do with Them

Every novel I've written has at least one fairly major character who wasn't part of the original plot: Norah in Mixed Signals; Duncan in Thorn in My Heart; Gibson in Here Burns My Candle. The scenario is always the same: my fingers are flying across the keyboard when an unnamed person strolls on stage as if they belong there.

Truth is, they usually do belong in the scene; I just don't know why yet.

You may be tempted, like Pippin in The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, to say, "Don't talk to it! Don't encourage it!" But my advice is, simply listen and type. See what this stranger has to offer and how the others on stage respond. If he or she takes the conversation in a compelling new direction, or prods another character to reveal some hitherto hidden truth, or adds much-needed color to the story, then make the newcomer welcome, and offer a prayer of thanks to the One who knows what your story needs even more than you do.

I believe every novel we're ever going to write, first word to last, already lives inside us. Our job as writers is to get out of the way and let that story flow. Plotting is helpful and character analysis is wise, but we run the danger of merely marching wooden figures across a chessboard. Better to let the story breath, watch the characters dance, and embrace the element of surprise.

In chapter ten of my historical novel, Mine Is the Night, Elisabeth Kerr is seeking employment with a tailor, who is apologizing for offering such meager wages. He confesses to her, “My Peter is growing so fast I canna keep him in shoes.” Then Elisabeth felt a tug at her heart. “You have a son?”

I felt a tug at my heart too, but for an altogether different reason. "A son?! What son?" The lad soon whispered his name—Peter—then remained offstage for seven chapters while we got to know each other. When he finally bounded down the turnpike stair, Elisabeth was instantly smitten with the child. So, it seems, were my readers.

In my online Book Club I discovered why this red-haired boy belonged in the story. One woman wrote, "Peter is charming, and we see through him how Bess relates to children." Why didn't I think of that? If you want to show a character longing to be a mother, let a child take her hand. As another astute reader put it, "Adding Peter's character was a good way to explore the maternal urges that Elisabeth was dealing with, and helped her realize that she really did want to remarry and have children someday."

I could pretend that was my intent all along, but you know the truth: Peter was sent to me as a gift from above to give the story something it lacked. "Peter brings innocence and laughter to the story," another reader observed. Indeed, I smiled every time he appeared. Obligingly, during the serious exchanges he trotted off to take a nap or play with friends. He knew when he was needed and when his exuberance would get in the way.

I'm learning to trust the Lord when he brings unexpected characters my way, and to react as his disciples did when they found Jesus speaking with a Samaritan woman at a well. They were "surprised to find him talking with a woman. But no one asked, 'What do you want?' or  'Why are you talking with her?'” (John 4:27)

She may have walked into the scene unbidden, unnamed, and without any physical description, yet the story would have been meaningless without her.

When a stranger appears in your story, offer them a chair, a bite to eat, a drink of water, and see what happens.

Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of more than thirty books—fiction, nonfiction, and children's—with 4.5 million copies in print. Her Scottish historical novels have won the hearts of readers and reviewers around the globe. Whence Came a Prince received a Christy Award for Best Historical Novel. Here Burns My Candle won the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Inspirational Romance, Mine Is the Night was a New York Times bestseller, and A Wreath of Snow won the Christian Manifesto Lime Award for Best Historical Fiction.

According to Publishers Weekly, “Higgs is a stickler for period authenticity.” To that end, Liz has traveled sixteen times to Scotland, and has filled her shelves with nearly one thousand resource books about Scottish history and culture. USAToday.com called her Christmas novella, A Wreath of Snow, “A delight for the senses. Tender, touching and sweetly Victorian.”

Discover more about Liz’s fiction:

Facebook: http://www.Facebook.com/MyScottishHeart

Twitter: http://www.Twitter.com/MyScottishHeart




Thursday, May 9, 2013

Not How to Mud Drywall

While currently working on Rivalry and Romance in Mammoth Spring, (a historical short story) I'm also mudding drywall and painting rooms for our girls. You know, pride is a funny thing. It creeps up on you before you sometimes realize it. For example, as I was mudding with lumpy, old mud, I was beginning to feel mighty proud of myself of how smooth, smooth, smooth my walls were. I even thought that if they did a reality-tv show of non-professional people and gave them 3 days to complete a room, I might take home the prize.

Reality check. The primer hid things really well. So it wasn't until we applied high gloss pink paint that my bubble was burst. Ugly, clumpy looking forms stared back at me in horror. I stood aghast. What could I say after all my confident thoughts and yes, there were a few semi-boastful comments that I assured myself were only said in amazement of how well I was doing, (being an amateur and all).

Today I feel humbled. Not only are the walls far from perfect, but high gloss paint, in colors pink and kiwi green do not go on well . . . no matter how many coats you apply. (those colors are in separate rooms btw)

I Peter 5:6 "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."

Lesson learned:  I cannot determine the time in which to exalt my talents . . . or lack of.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Traditional Publishing versus Self -Publishing by CaSondra Poulsen

Today I'd like to welcome author CaSondra Poulsen. She agreed to share with us her experiences with both traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Thank you, Regina for inviting me to be a guest blogger. I am honored.

The following article is not an all-inclusive comparison between Traditional and Self-Publishing. It is meant for a starting point for the reader who is exploring the options before them.

My first book, Torn Hearts was published by Tate Publishing. They are a small traditional publishing house that isn’t afraid to take a chance on first time authors. I learned much from them as my book progressed through each stage of publishing and Torn Hearts is still under contract with them.

However, I had the desire to spread my wings a little farther with my second and third books, Calling Me Home and Finding Home Brian’s Journey. I chose to self-publish them under Ballad Publishing and have had rewarding success in doing so. So much so, that my husband and I are in the process of opening Ballad Publishing for submissions from other authors! I will let Regina know when we go public so she can pass the news on to her readers.

Each author has their own reasons for wanting to publish their work(s). I hope this article is of useful information for you and the links that are included add to you making a knowledgeable decision.

If you would like to keep up with what I’m working on or have a question for me, you can friend me on Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.


Traditional Publishing versus Self -Publishing


There is so much information on the web for publishing. To be honest, it seems a bit overwhelming. There is no doubt the publishing industry is undergoing major changes. Technology has a lot to do with a vast majority of these changes and that should prompt authors to change as well. However, even with the digital uprising, older authors in particular, cling to what they’ve known since childhood…paper, ink, the traditional way of publishing. This is changing as younger generations enter the world of writing. They are growing up with Kindles, Ipads, and Nooks, not 4-color press ink printed books.

So what does this mean for Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing (Vanity Presses)?

When you think of Traditional Publishing the tendency is to imagine getting a sizeable advance on the manuscript you’ve poured your heart and soul into, maybe even get a movie deal. There is also the prestige of having one of the major publishing houses, Random House, Simon & Schuster, or Hachette Books Group stamped on your work. They pour thousands of dollars into promoting your book and you get to bask in the glory of the sales with the affirmation that the world loves your writing.

In truth, most writers do not even get looked at by the big publishing houses because they don’t accept manuscripts that do not have an agent. Even those that are fortunate enough to have an agent soliciting their work get turned away. The best way to get your foot in the door is to have an author who is already signed with a publishing house endorse your manuscript.

So let’s say you got your foot in the door. When you sign the contract and accept whatever advancement on your manuscript that has been agreed upon, what does this mean? It means you have sold your copyright. Yes, you get to have that major publishing house stamped on a book you wrote, but no longer own. Yes, the world will recognize you, even among the strictest in the industry, as a published author. You won’t get a royalty check until you have sold enough copies to cover the advancement and then, the royalties are 6-15% of sales. They are in control of the editing, although you will work with the editor to make the changes you are told to make. The publisher, also, has control of what the cover art will look like. The biggest let down is that your book may not be released for 2-3 years, maybe more. All publishing houses are in the business to make money. The big guys, like mentioned above, know the market well. They have some of the best in the industry working for them, but the most valuable resource they can offer you is marketing. They have all the right connections already in place. You, however, will still be expected to promote the book. Having a platform to do this is a necessity. 

Self-Publishing has its appeal and its hurdles. Some of the appeal is you maintain all copyrights to your work. That which is published is what you dreamed it would be, delivering the message you intended. You can avoid having to write a query letter and synopsis. Although, I highly recommend anyone considering self-publishing to write each with every work they complete.  Your royalties are 30-80% of sales. You can pump out books as fast as you can write them. There is no waiting for the market to be just right. You will have complete control over all aspects of the book including, editing, layout, cover design, and pricing. You can even have Ingram as a distributor! It all sounds euphoric for some, but in reality, self-publishing is a great deal of work. Yes, you get all the benefits and all the responsibility. You’ll need to find a great editor (critique groups can work, if they have an eye for details), a cover designer, a layout designer, a printer, a publicist, and a marketing representative. Or, you can save a ton of money and do the work yourself.

This sounds a bit taxing when reading it, but it can be fun and quite rewarding. Even traditionally published authors are now self-publishing, such as, Barry Eisler (he turned down a $500,000 contract) and Jennie Nash. You will need to educate yourself before diving in. There are many websites that specialize in each area of the publishing process, as well as, small publishing houses that specialize in helping new authors without giving up copyrights or creative license. Do your homework on them, ask questions before you sign a contract, and you should be fine. If you want to do it all yourself, Createspace, Lulu, Smashwords, Pubit, KDP, and NovelNook, among many others are great places start. Some of them can help you with cover design, as well. The important thing is to make sure you put out a professional product. If you self-publish and your book doesn’t have a professional looking cover and the copy is littered with spelling and punctuation errors, you are setting yourself up for failure. You will lose the small audience that took a chance on you as an unknown author. You CAN NOT afford to be sloppy. And if you are, you have no one to blame, except yourself.

In the end, the biggest difference is marketing ability.  Either way, traditional or self-publishing you will have to promote your work. There are hundreds of thousands of books available for consumers; the key is setting your work apart from the crowd. Find a successful self-published author, find out what she/he did, and repeat the steps for your book.

E-books, in particular, are worth the time to self-publish. According to The Association of American Publishers in the first quarter of 2012 adult E-Book sales were $282 million while adult hardcover sales were $229 million. In 2011 hardcover sales out-sold E-books. If this trend continues printed books will continue to go down. It doesn’t take much work to convert your book into the various E-book formats. It’s all about the marketing and getting your book noticed.

Here’s a thought…

In many ways, the new traditional publishing is self-publishing and vanity publishing is the traditional route. What do I mean this? Well, aside from what we discussed already, some authors holdout for the endorsement from one of the big New York publishing houses. They want that name stamped on their book, even if they don’t sell many copies and it ends up making them unmarketable later. That is vanity, is it not? Here’s a good article to elaborate on this point.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bernard-starr/the-new-vanity-publishing_b_1821945.html

For a final thought on Traditional versus Self-Publishing ponder this…many of the traditional publishing houses are scanning the Bestseller Lists for successful self-published author.  Why not? The author has already established a platform for marketing, has a following, and most importantly has proven they can sell books. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/16/technology/personaltech/ins-and-outs-of-publishing-your-book-via-the-web.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Now all that’s left is you to ask, what do I want in a publisher?
Thank you CaSondra for stopping by and sharing. Following are links to CaSondra's books on Amazon but they can also be found wherever books are sold.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

How to Get your Book in at B&N

Each year, we review more than 100,000 submissions from publishers of every size and background. Our buyers review publishers’ catalogues, marketing materials and galleys or sample copies to help them make their decisions. Most of these books are added to our book database and a small order is placed for our warehouse. This makes a title available for sale on our Web site and for order through our stores.
If you would like your title to be considered by our buyers, please submit a finished copy (no manuscripts please) of the book along with marketing and promotion plans, trade reviews, and a note describing how the book meets the competition (what makes it unique) to:
The Small Press Department
Barnes & Noble
122 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10011
Please include your phone number and e-mail address.
The information must include the ISBN and the suggested retail price. The review process takes about six weeks. The Small Press Department responds to all submissions in writing.
All books will be considered for store placement based on subject matter and salability. Please consider the following points when publishing and presenting your book.
Points to Consider
  1. Does your book have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)?
  2. Does your book have a bar code?
  3. What sort of binding (saddle stitch, staple, perfect, plastic comb, ring) does your book have?
  4. Is your book available through a wholesaler?
  5. Is your book priced competitively with other titles of a similar topic and quality?
  6. Has your book met compliance certification?
  7. Why should Barnes & Noble place your title on its shelves?
  8. Where can you find more information on the topic of book writing, publishing, and marketing?
Does your book have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)?
We use the ISBN to track inventory and sales information. An ISBN is a 10-digit number that specifically identifies your title. ISBNs are furnished by:
ISBN Agency
630 Central Avenue
New Providence, NJ 07974
(908)219-0188 (fax)
Processing takes 10 working days. An extra fee brings 72-hour priority handling. If your book has already been printed, you can sticker your book with the ISBN once it is assigned. The ISBN and price should appear on the back cover of the book.
Does your book have a bar code?
Bar codes help our stores handle books more efficiently. The bar code which incorporates your ISBN is scanned at the time of purchase, thus recording accurately the sale of your book. The book industry uses the Bookland EAN bar code, not the UPC. If your book is already printed, you can have pressure sensitive labels produced for placement on the back cover. For a list of commercial Bar code suppliers, visit the BISG website: www.bisg.org/barcoding/bc_suppliers.html.

What sort of binding (saddle stitch, staple, perfect, plastic comb, ring) does your book have?
Perfect binding is more expensive, but perfect-bound books have the potential for a longer shelf life and better sales because the name of the book can be printed on the spine. Since most of the titles in our stores are placed on the shelves spine out, stapled or saddle stitched books essentially disappear. If your book is plastic comb-bound or perfect-bound, the title and other pertinent information should be printed on the spine. Otabind is another type of perfect binding that allows a paperback to lie flat.
Is your book available through a wholesaler?
Your willingness to place your book with a book wholesaler may determine whether or not we carry it. Wholesalers normally expect a 50-55% discount, pay in 60-90 days, and expect books to be returnable. Some expect free freight. Placing your book with a wholesaler will simplify your billing (one invoice to one location). It also allows Barnes & Noble to place larger orders and put the book on automatic replenishment. Wholesalers are used by many segments of the book industry: publishers, libraries, and booksellers. Other bookstores order from the same wholesalers used by Barnes & Noble. We can help put you in touch with an appropriate wholesaler.
Is your book priced competitively with other titles of a similar topic and quality?
Price can be a determining factor for a customer when looking at books similar in content, presentation and format. Look at the pricing of other like books in the same category, and try to price yours competitively.
Has your book met compliance certification?
Barnes & Noble requires all vendors to certify that all products they supply meet all applicable compliance requirements, including but not limited to the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). Vendors are expected to maintain knowledge of and comply with all safety standards for their products. If approved, suppliers will be required to submit a completed and signed Vendor Compliance Certification Form certifying compliance with the Barnes & Noble Vendor and Product Compliance Requirements.
The new Vendor Compliance Certification program supersedes the previous compliance form and covers a broader range of product and compliance standards, in addition to children’s products and the CPSIA.
Why should Barnes & Noble place your title on its shelves?
Tell us what makes your book unique or special. What is your marketing plan? Send us your publicity and promotional plans, along with any reviews or articles that may have been written about your book(s).
Where can you find more information on the topic of book writing, publishing, and marketing?
The reference shelf in your favorite bookstore or local library features a wide variety of titles about writing books and the business of publishing.

This post was pasted from http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/for_authors/how_to_work_with_bn/how_to_work_with_bn.html

How to Be Considered for an Author Event at B&N

Barnes & Noble stores have become America's information piazzas, where readers and writers meet. Each year, we host more than 28,000 author events across the country. These appearances are great ways for authors to gain exposure and build their profiles in local communities.

National touring authors are typically organized and supported by publishers through our home office. Most store events, however, are arranged through our stores in coordination with publishers.

If you would like to be considered for an author event, call your publisher or contact the community relations manager or store manager at any local Barnes & Noble store. Use our Store/Event Locator to find the store nearest you.

What makes a successful event?

Our most successful events occur when authors take active roles in promoting their appearances in our stores. Word of mouth, e-mail notices and networking with local news media and organizations work wonders.

Pasted from http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/for_authors/author_event/author_event.html

Bar code information for books

Following is information pasted from https://www.myidentifiers.com/barcode/faqs
I recently purchases 10 isbn numbers for $250 from them. Now I am purchasing the barcodes but will probably choose to not have my price embedded in them. Following is useful information for anyone interested in doing the same.

Why Do I Need A barcode?
Booksellers prefer to use a machine readable or scannable version of the ISBN number in their systems processing. The Bookland EAN symbol is the most widely used barcode format in the publishing industry as it encodes the ISBN number and can also include the price.

The largest book retailers, as well as many book wholesalers, require books to display the Bookland EAN barcode graphic symbol which carries the ISBN. At the point of sale in a bookstore, the ISBN is scanned and all related information about the title is accessed in their sales system -- identifying the price correctly and subtracting a copy from their inventory etc. The Bookland EAN Barcode is an essential component of booksellers handling of the book.

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Buy Your Barcodes Now:
Bar Codes $25.00

What are Bookland EAN Barcodes?
While most retail products in the US are marked with a UPC symbol, virtually every other country uses the European Article Number (EAN). To provide world wide standardization in the sale and handling of books and because the book industry produces so many products annually, a special "country" with its own EAN prefix just for books has been designated in the EAN system -- 978 for "Bookland" -- which is used in the universal barcode system.
Any EAN which begins with the 978 prefix is called a Bookland EAN barcode and is used on books and book related products internationally. This 978 prefix precedes the first 9 digits of the ISBN and then a check digit is calculated in order to form a 13-digit number which is then encoded to create the barcode symbol used on books. As part of the barcode service, our software assigns the 978 prefix and the check digit to create the new 13-digit number. Given the rapid rate at which ISBNs have been assigned, a new prefix, 979, is also being used for books in some cases.
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Is the ISBN always printed above the barcode symbol?
Yes. Positioning it somewhere separately from the symbol requires a scanner operator to search for the ISBN in those situations where key-entry is necessary and valuable seconds are lost in the transaction. The file we prepare from our software will include the ISBN.
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What is the price-add on?
The Bookland EAN barcode displays a set of two barcodes side by side. The first barcode on the left is the EAN derived from the ISBN. The barcode of the right, which is smaller, is a 5-digit add-on which often encodes the retail price of the publication. This is referred to as an EAN-5.
You must provide a retail price for your barcode.
In the US, the first digit of the add-on data indicates which currency the price is expressed in -- so for US dollars, the designated digit is a 5. So an add-on of 51995 indicates a price of US$ 19.95. The largest US retailers such as Barnes and Noble now require the use of EAN-5 barcode on books they handle. Scanners in American bookstores cannot read the Bookland EAN code without the corresponding 5-digit add-on. Publishers who don't comply with this requirement may be penalized.
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What happens if I change the book's price after the barcode is made?
You must purchase a new barcode. Once a barcode is made, the price on it cannot be changed. You would use the same ISBN on the new barcode because the book itself hasn't changed. You can purchase new barcodes here whenever you assign a new price to your book.
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Does the barcode have to appear on the back cover?
Yes. The standard location is the bottom right-hand corner. A major motivation for the development of barcodes for books was the need to speed up transactions. A standard location is therefore necessary to save the operator's time in searching the product for the code.
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What is meant by Size Requirement?
The magnification can range from 80% to 200% for a Bookland EAN code. The largest size used is typically a 100% code, although 92% is standard. The standard 92% symbol needs a total area of 2.00" x 1.25". The smaller ISBN Bookland EAN symbol is an 80%, which needs a total area of 1.75" x 1.0".
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How do I apply barcodes to cloth cover books that don't have jackets?
A barcode label must be applied to the back board in the specified location. These can be produced by specialist barcode label printers, by litho from artwork, from a barcode label software package with laser, or thermal transfer output.
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Can I trim the barcode symbol on the right to save space on the cover?
No. The purpose of the mark is to ensure that space is not used by any image in a color which could interfere with the barcode scanning process. A space to the right of the symbol is required to tell the scanner that the symbol is complete. The clear area to the left is already protected by the protruding '9' prefix to the EAN.
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What colors can I use for the barcode symbol?
Reds, yellows, and white are suitable background colors if there are no black, blue or green constituents. Blues and greens, provided they are not too pale, and black are good colors for the image. Browns and purples, etc, need special attention however as those with a reddish hue will probably not be successful. If in doubt, seek specialist advice or run a print test. Avoid metallic inks.
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How do I apply barcodes to cloth cover books that don't have jackets?
A barcode label must be applied to the back board in the specified location. These can be produced by specialist barcode label printers, or by litho from artwork, or from a barcode label software package with laser or thermal transfer output.
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How is a barcode file opened?
Please do not try to open a barcode file. Barcode files are inserted, not opened. Do NOT doubleclick on the barcode to begin working with it. Open the book cover file and insert the barcode file from the tool bar as you would a picture file. The barcode file will automatically open at the correct size. Do not try to open the barcode file first and then attempt to move into the graphic design application you are using.
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What are some common commands?
  • Adobe Illustrator: File, Place. Locate the barcode file and select Place
  • Adobe PageMaker: File, Place.
  • Adobe Photoshop: File, Import
  • Microsoft Publisher: Insert, Picture, From File.
  • Microsoft Word: Insert, Picture, From File.
  • Quark Express: Create a Picture Box, go to File, and select Get Picture.
  • In Design: Click File menu and select Place. Locate the barcode file and click Open.
  • Freehand: Click the File menu and select Import. Locate the barcode file and click Open.
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Why does the barcode look bad?
There can be several reasons for this. If the barcode looks fuzzy on screen, please remember that most computer screens have a resolution of either 72 or 96 DPI. What matters is how the barcode will print out. DPI is a property of the printer and the printer's software and not the graphic design program you are using.
Not knowing how to work your graphics application properly is the biggest reason why designers and self-publishers struggle with their barcode files, and frequently have problems with barcodes looking blurry or having lines crossing through them. Unfortunately, there's not just one reason for this.
In some software applications, when a barcode file is imported, the dpi is automatically changed to the screen dpi (72 dpi) instead of maintaining the original dpi of the file (ex., 300 dpi or higher). You will need to reset the dpi of the barcode file.
When you import an eps file into Photoshop, the file is changed, the dpi is lost, the size is lost, and the image opens on a transparent background (you need to place it on a white background), among other problems.
Other potential problems include "anti-aliasing" during the conversion of the encapsulated postscript to an image and the "jpeg" compression that will generally occur in PDF creation. These can damage your barcode and make it scan with errors when printed. Jagged steps on the numbers of the barcode are due to the lack of "anti-aliasing," a technique for using shades of gray on slants and curves to make the edges seem more smooth to the eye. Do not use grayscale. Import as black and white. Importing as black and white might in fact be better for some applications.
Many applications do not provide an accurate preview of barcode graphics. Instead determine the quality of the image ONLY by the actual printout of your barcode. Never judge your barcode from the onscreen preview.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Example of a Proposed Marketing Plan for Fiction


The Ozark Durham Series

and The Abandoned Hearts Study Guide

By Regina Tittel

Advocate Distribution Solutions

January, 2013


The author of THE OZARK DURHAM SERIES and STUDY GUIDE hopes to be an active partner with the Advocate Distribution Solutions marketing team to assure exceptional advertising coverage of this inspirational suspense romance series/guide, not only to the wide range of inspirational romance readers but spiritual study groups as well. THE OZARK DURHAM SERIES was written with the purpose of conveying timely Christian principles under the relaxed atmosphere of fiction.

In ABANDONED HEARTS, the predominant spiritual purpose of the story is to encourage purity before marriage with added support of scripture memorization. This novel was written to appeal to women and men, as the hero and suspense scene is likened to what most male fiction readers between the age of 35 and up find appealing; a rugged hero battling against forces of nature or man. Only this time the force has taken the form of a mountain lion.

Because of the involvement of mountain lions and rugged America, ABANDONED HEARTS can also be promoted to state park gift shops, as well as outdoor outlet stores.

Written to accompany ABANDONED HEARTS is the ABANDONED HEARTS STUDY GUIDE. This guide, although tailored more toward women, can be used in youth groups involving male and female genders, Bible study groups, women's groups, etc.


Providing a fresh approach to the message of purity for teens and young adults is the Abandoned Hearts Study Guide published by Hawse Pipe Ministries. This new guide begins with each student receiving a copy of the inspirational romance novel, Abandoned Hearts, written by Regina Tittel. In this novel, the characters battle real-life temptations similar to what most dating couples will encounter.

The study guide opens every chapter with a relatable story then ties it in with the thoughts and actions of the characters from the book. The student is prompted to consider the implications of those actions and the effect they would have on their own lives. Backed with powerful scriptures, this six-week study covers topics such as dealing with temptation, the importance of modesty, living to a higher standard, and more. The Abandoned Hearts Study Guide is sure to become a popular source of material for youth leaders from every denomination.

Each following volume of THE OZARK DURHAM SERIES continues to uphold important biblical truths.

Surveys show that girls who grow up without fathers experience much higher rates of sexual activity, adolescent pregnancies, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, and suffer from health and emotional problems than those with active fathers in their lives. UNEXPECTED KISS, volume two, involves a young woman who fits into the above statistic. Through her growing relationship with the hero and her fatherly landlord, she finally accepts she is forgivable and begins to understand God's unconditional love. UNEXPECTED KISS approaches this all-too-relatable topic with gentleness, yet honest realism. Readers will be able to relate to the heroine's sinful past and weakened self-esteem whether through personal experience or through someone they know.

This novel is based in Seattle, Washington and weaves in the area's beauty of the northwest and its numerous islands. This fact opens the doors of marketing in the area's numerous gift and nostalgia shops that border Puget Sound, such as shops like Old House Mercantile Gift Shop to Discover Puget Sound and so many more.

Volume three, COVETED BRIDE, features Lindsey as the heroine, a woman scarred from emotional abuse. Through the events in the story and the loving support of Keaton Durham and his family, Lindsey is guided through the steps of recovery. Any reader who has or is experiencing this form of abuse will find help in the pages of COVETED BRIDE and a listing where more information can be obtained.

CHERISHED STRANGER, volume three, tackles the disturbing truth of sex trafficking in a very subtle, yet purposeful way. This novel involves the heroine's sponsor child and the child's father. Emigrated from Romania, these characters open readers' eyes to the truths of sex trafficking that are often hidden from the masses. Although CHERISHED STRANGER avoids the honest brutality of this subject and focuses on a suspenseful romance, it does accomplish the purpose of raising awareness of this ever-growing problem while also supporting the importance of attending a Christ centered church.

The area of promotion for CHERISHED STRANGER can widen if used in conjunction with current news releases relating to sex trafficking, such as the new wing addition to the girl's home in Bridgeton, MO and other related news.

Still to come is the final installation of this series, DEVOTED MISSION. This novel's spiritual message will include the importance and how-to of prayer as well as bring awareness to the mission field.

Because of the fine line between mystery and suspense, this series can also be marketed to mystery readers via online sites and magazines.
Print Advertising

I am willing to contact the publishers of Christian online magazines to run print ads for THE OZARK DURHAM SERIES which would include favorable review quotes from other inspirational romance writers.

Marketing Goodies

I do have a professional website available for my readers at www.reginatittel.com. From there I offer my books for sale and would like to continue doing so. On this site, I also offer a newsletter for my readers to sign up for, a comment section, contest, media kit, and video interviews.

I am prepared to work with you in sending out copies of my books along with promotional items needed to various Christian bookstores to generate sales and interest. I am also willing to create mailings to contact youth leaders to bring awareness to our product.

I will continue to contact blog owners and reviewers to request reviews and honorable mentions of each of my books.

I will contact multiple blog owners to request a review of any upcoming novels around the time of their release.

 "Ask the Author" Live Chats

Because of my preference to homeschool my children, on-line live chats may be more feasible to reach audiences than a book signing tour. This feature will be offered in my press releases and blog interviews.

Book signings

I am willing to hold book signings throughout the year. Previous to each signing, I will send the venue a head shot, cover photo/poster, and a brief description of my book along with a one-paragraph introduction for them to use the day of the signing. I will work with them in placing ads in the local newspapers and media stations.

I will also fill a contact list of everyone I know in the area prior to the signing. Many of these will be found through my Ozark Durham Series page on face-book. The email I send will include a brief description of the book, time, and place of the reading while also featuring a RSVP to give them the opportunity to make a commitment. If they aren't able to attend the letter will offer a place to purchase the book. Out of my contact list I will select participates to help spread the word of the signing and bring additional guests to the event. These added guests, along with my participants, will be invited to a private tea/coffee with me afterward for further conversation.

 Book competitions

I propose to submit any new releases to Mara Fiction from the Heartland and Show Me the Spark contests as well as others in the inspirational romance genres.

 Press Releases

I regularly submit my press releases to www.pr.com to generate interests in my books. I also look for ways to tie in current events to each book.


If you do not supply ISBNs I will need to secure those for my books.

Friday, January 11, 2013

 Please Welcome - Michelle Sutton

  author of 17 inspirational novels!

What is your motivation for writing? I have a lot of stories to tell. Seriously, I have a lot of things I have learned in life and using stories to share those lessons works for me. It's my way of helping someone else gain insight into their life and make them think about who they love and why they do the things they do.

What made you choose your genre? They chose me. I write romance, women's fiction, young adult and suspense.

Which book that you have written is your favorite and why? Goodness gracious. That's like asking me if I have a favorite kid. There are some I enjoyed writing more than others. I think ones where the plot came easiest were the most enjoyable to write. No, I'm not giving away the titles. Of my 17 current releases you'll just have to guess. :)

What is your most helpful advice for developing characters, scenery, plot? Think like you are there and experiencing the situation yourself. If it feels real to you then your readers will feel the emotion as well.

What type of marketing do you do? Whatever I can. I've done blog tours, book promos through online magazines, announcements on facebook, book fairs, book signings. You name it, I've probably done it.

Who has made the biggest impact on your writing career? Too many people to count. Everyone who has believed in me as a writer and enjoys my stories has an impact on me in some way. It keeps me writing. Without a fan base and at least one publisher who believes in me as an author, there would be no point in continuing except to enjoy the stories by myself, and that's not worth the time it takes to write a book. I love writing, but I enjoy reading just as much and could entertain myself for years reading other people's books and writing reviews about them.

Author bio: Michelle is the author of 17 inspirational titles with more to come. When she isn't reading books or writing her own novels, she's working as a supervisor for the State of Arizona.
About Surprise Love:

Bryan Miller's dream is to become a professional baseball player. At least that’s what he's always believed. Then this stunning woman enters his world and he's instantly smitten. But she dares to shake his foundation by asking if playing pro ball is his dream, or his parents’ dream for his life. Who does she think she is to question his future plans? Sure, he has always enjoyed solving math equations and teaching people more than playing sports. Of course he wants to play pro ball, doesn't he? Suddenly he’s not so sure anymore.
Kami Garrett traveled the country with a women’s professional rodeo circuit before a serious injury two years ago took her out of the arena. Now if she stays in Arizona for the rest of her life, that will be fine by her. She’s content to teach riding lessons. She adores baseball, but refuses to hook up with a pro ball player. Then this amazing man comes to Surprise for Spring Training and she's torn. Are they meant to be together, or are their different goals in life destined to keep them apart?
Thanks for sharing with our readers today, Michelle!
Michelle Sutton - Healing Hearts - fiction making an impact on real lives...
new titles releasing in 2013... Collette's Crusade, Learning to Trust, Somebody Help Me,
Her Innocence, Serena's Something You can find me here... LinkedinFacebookBloggerTwitterYoutubeAmazonTechnorati