Thursday, July 30, 2009

Will a publisher do the book marketing for me?

I often receive emails from aspiring authors who want to know if they can find a publisher who will do all their marketing (or most of it) for them. Sometimes the author isn't confident they can promote their book; sometimes it's a matter of the author having no money to invest in their marketing endeavors. Getting a book published is only half the battle, and authors need to recognize that and prepare for the other half--marketing their books.

In my experience, and from everything I've read and heard from publishers, agents and other authors, there is no such 'free' ride. Authors must be willing to promote their books if they want them to sell. Publishers nowadays only want to take a risk on new authors who are enthused about marketing their books. In fact, they often ask you upfront, before they sign you, what your marketing plans are. And you have to have some. It's that simple.

Most publishers do little marketing beyond their initial catalogues, industry notices, ads in magazines or newspapers--unless you're a big-name author. It's really up to authors to get the word out. Your publisher might print some promotional material for you--posters, bookmarks or business cards. Most authors pay for their own expenses during book tours, including travel, lodging and meals. The distributors have sales teams who go into bookstores to try to sell books to the store owner/manager. Sales teams often don't do much for authors who don't promote their books. Why should they when they have other authors out there busting their butts to sell books? :-)

An author in today's world--who wants to be successful and actually make some money back to pay for their marketing endeavors--must be proactive.

The five musts that every author should have:

  1. a professional author's site with domain name and no free hosting
  2. a blog that's updated at least once a week
  3. Facebook account and knowledge in how to use it properly
  4. MySpace account and knowledge in how to use it properly
  5. Twitter account and knowledge in how to use it properly
Those are the basics in today's marketing. Nothing is free. It takes hard, dedicated persistence to make a book successful. The meaning of success can vary from person to person. I look at success in two levels--basic level: lots of readers who love the book and enough sales to pay for the $5000+ it costs to market a book efficiently; and advanced level of success: major traditional publishing contracts, great distribution, and major bestselling status, which all equals money I could live on.

What I've described above is the real world of publishing. It's a tough industry to break into because the competition is HUGE! You're competing against billions of authors. If you want your book to sell and be successful, you have to be part of the marketing--a huge part.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author & book marketing coach

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Guest Post: Literary agent Misherald L. Brown

GumboWriters: How did you get your start as an agent? Why become an editor instead of say, a fighter pilot or computer engineer?

I got my start by being a little busy body quite honestly. I knew I wanted to do something within the publishing world but I wasn’t sure what so I wanted to be a editor, publisher, writer, and all the other stuff but thanks to some mentors they helped me realized that I had to decided and I decided to try it all out one step at a time. I went on to become a writer, publisher, and a public relations guru not in any particular order to later become a literary agent. I became an agent instead of the neonatologist or pediatrician that I wanted to be because I was giving back to our children.

What are some of the exciting books you've represented that you're most proud of?

I would have to say that my most exciting book to date is my first sell Lil Sister because it only took me 6 weeks to make the sell. I was very proud and excited because I knew I was going places.

When you receive a submission what about it really grabs you and excites you to the point that you'd like to acquire it?

The characters my big thing is the characters and how they act.

What makes you decide to read a submission overnight compared to it rotting on the bottom of your slush pile?

If a book gets me to guessing then more than likely I will stay up to finish it.

What's the best way for a writer to contact you? Query letter?

Email me a query letter ( )

Are you open to receiving submissions from self-published authors?

I will consider self-pub authors.

What are you personally doing in order to adapt to the changes in the marketplace?(Changes meaning: lower print runs, shrinking book review outlets, oversaturated market and chains stores being more selective about what books they put on their shelves)

I am paying attention to what editors are buying and being concise of the market itself.

How much of a books acquisition decision do you think has to do with the talent and how many books similar to it have sold great numbers?

I think a book acquisition has to do with the books similar unless the author already has a name. Many editors look at the trends.

Is it becoming necessary for fiction writers to have their own platform (built in fanbase) too? If so, if not, why?

Yes, a fiction writer needs to build their platform quickly.

Article provided by

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Times Are Changing Fast. Are You Keeping Up?

I read an amazing article this week called “Brave new e-world” by Sarah Sheard in The Globe and Mail. Sheard is the chairwoman for the contracts committee with the Writers’ Union of Canada. Her article talks a bit about how book publishing used to be before conglomerates reduced a variety of interesting publishing houses into big box manufacturers interested only in bestsellers.

Sheard discusses the changes now taking place as more readers buy electronic devices such as Kindle and the Sony 505 reader, devices that can store literally hundreds of books in a reader the size of a paperback. I agree with Sheard that this form of publishing is here to stay and has a huge role in the future of publishing.

Since my books have been made available in electronic format, sales have increased at a much greater rate than they have in print form, and why not? Fatal Encryption sells for $19.95 in print, but $6.99 on Kindle, and even then Amazon often discounts the price of my 370-page mystery to $5.59. A bargain indeed.

But what I found most interesting about Sheard’s article were the posted responses. As Sheard suggested in the article, some writers and publishers still refuse to publish work electronically. They don’t believe, and don’t want to hear, that e-books might one day outsell print books, and some of the comments I read reflect this attitude.

The thing is, one recent study revealed that while e-book sales represent only 1.5% of the total market share right now, sales of e-books increased by 125% in 2008. I’ve spoken with Kindle owners and, while all of them love to read and once bought print books regularly, almost none of these people will now spend money on what they call DTBs (dead tree books). First, the price is too high and secondly, many just don’t have the space to store books. Would it surprise you to know that 183% of all e-books sold last year were bought by people age 65 and over? It’s true. E-books are catching on fast with all age groups and if you writers out there want to gain more readers and royalties, jump aboard because from my vantage point, it’s a pretty good place to be.

To read Sarah Sheard's entire article go to And don't forget to read those comments!

To purchase Kindle versions of Fatal Encryption visit, and for Taxed to Death can be purchased at

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Introducing Lazarus Barnhill, Author of The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday

Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing! Something happens almost two years ago, and there it sits like a time capsule for all to see.

I met Lazarus Barnhill during a writing contest on in October 2007. Entrants posted the first chapter of their work for people to comment on and vote for, and the fifteen top-ranked chapters plus ten chosen by Gather management went on to post the second chapter for more voting. I read some of the chapters, including Laz’s The Medicine People, but I never knew quite what to say about them. Lazarus, on the other hand, wrote marvelous critiques of everyone’s chapters. And he responded to everyone who commented on his. (I didn’t realize this until tonight when I went searching for the comment I left him. Where did he get the time?)

My comment: I may have the (unofficial) lead now, but I have a hunch that things are going to be heating up. Great entry! Good luck. (I still don’t understand by what fluke I ended up in first place for a couple of weeks, but there it is.)

Laz’s response: Pat, I’m looking forward to reading More Deaths Than One. Your entry has run away from the rest of us and I suspect there’s good reason for that. Continued good luck in the contest. BTW, stay healthy. If something happens to the guy in first place, who are they going to suspect, eh?

Neither of us won the contest, but we ended up finishing consecutively, and yes, Lazarus passed me by. Almost a year later, we met again at Second Wind Publishing, which has released both More Deaths Than One and The Medicine People.

Now that I’ve read The Medicine People, I still don’t quite know what to say. Well, yes I do. “This is a good book. Read it.” But that’s not exactly a review, and I promised to write one. I can tell you that the book is a mystery with a sub-story of love in all its guises, but that’s not a review, either. I can tell you that it’s my favorite type of story, where some past action — in this case a murder that was committed twenty-five years ago — affected the characters’ lives, and now the search for the truth turns those lives upside down again. Hmmm. Maybe you could check out The Medicine People for yourself. That will get me off the hook!

Blurbs and reviews: The Medicine People
Find out more about Lazarus Barnhill: Author Bio

Friday, July 24, 2009

Top 10 Tips to Help Authors Successfully Promote Their Books

Most authors should know that it's really up to them to promote their books, not the publisher. The publisher will do what they can do, of course, but the author is the one who can really get the word out there to the masses. So here is my Top 10 list of things authors can do to successfully promote their own books.

  1. Promote your book BEFORE it's even published. Think of this like movie trailers. Film companies are super intelligent; they give people a sneak peek to get them interested, then hook them with anticipation by announcing a release date. Authors can do the same. Give your readers a sneak peek--a free sample, a book trailer. Then as soon as you know the release date (and about 1-3 months in advance) start promoting this new release.

  2. Have your book PROFESSIONALLY edited. If you want longevity as a writer, you must treat this like a career. This means that even self-published, author-originated works must be edited professionally by someone who knows HOW to edit. NEVER be the only editor for your book. If you put out an inferior product you will lose fans and sales, and bookstores will not promote you. If you're going to do this, do it right! You're competing with every other book out there, and there are millions, so find a good editor.

  3. Once your book is published, promote the heck out of it! Too many authors leave marketing up to their publisher. This is your baby, no one else's. As soon as your book is released, you have a window of about 3 months to get it off the ground, and another 3 months to keep things rolling. Not even a publisher can market your book as well as you can, and if you don't know how, LEARN. If you don't know where to start, I'm a book marketing coach; I can teach you.

  4. Create a solid internet identity. What will we find if we Google your name right now? Will we find someone else with the same name who sells lawn ornaments? Are there 10 hits? 1000? 100,000? Are the first 3 pages of any search engine all about you or at least 90% you? If not, you've got work to do. Make sure you have a professional looking website and blog. Don't use a free host with ads for your site. Invest in a domain name (your name preferably) and pay for hosting.

  5. Blog at least 2-3 times a week. On numerous blogs. Blogging about anything sells books. Readers like to see the human side of their favorite authors, so blogging should not be a hardcore sales pitch every post. Find a controversial or thematic angle within your book and blog about that. My novel Whale Song dealt with assisted suicide. I not only researched the topic, but I blogged about it and was then contacted by a radio station because of my blog post and then was interviewed. Blog about the journey you took to get where you are in your writing career. Blog about editing, rejections, writer's block, courses, anything that might be helpful to other writers.

  6. Hold a virtual book tour. VBTs are an excellent and inexpensive way to get the word out about your book. Other bloggers are now promoting YOU. There is, however, an effective way to do this and an ineffective way. Successful blog tours have the following main elements: thoughtful planning, research, themed articles/posts, calls to action, proper scheduling, advertising and high sales. Your book should reach the bestsellers lists on Amazon, at the very least.

  7. Sell your book on a specific day by holding a contest. If you ask people to order from one major retailer, like Amazon for instance, on a specific day and offer them some kind of incentive, you will have the opportunity to make Amazon's bestsellers list. Pick a day, offer a prize they can't turn down (remember: never make your book your prize-at least, not the book you are trying to promote) and have a proof of purchase to ensure sales are submitted on one day. Once you make Amazon's list (and don't forget, books are broken into categories), you're a "bestselling author" with a "bestselling novel". That statement alone attracts more success.

  8. Find out where your readers are. The goal is not to have your book in every bookstore. First, very few books achieve that. Second, having them in a store is no good if no one is buying them. So find out where your readers are. If you write mysteries, find out where mystery readers meet in your town. Become a guest author at a book club. Look for online reading groups or sites like GoodReads and start schmoozing with readers.

  9. Cultivate personal relationships with bookstore staff. Most authors underestimate the power of signing books in a store. Too many authors focus entirely on sales, or lack of sales. Forget sales! Think about relationships instead--with store staff, customers and potential fans. That is what is important. When you build these relationships you will have store staff who will hand sell your book and go out of their way to promote you, invite you to special events and feature you on special front-end shelves that publishers have to pay for. Customers can turn into media contacts and interviews. Potential fans can turn into lifelong fans who will buy everything you write and recommend you to their family and friends.

  10. Contact media for every event or set of events. If holding a bunch of signings during October, call it your "fall tour" and promote it. Send out press releases to local TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Send out online releases to services like 24-7pressrelease and free online services. Just Google 'press distribution services'. Many authors consider interviews a form of success, and the more you create a need for your area of expertise (whether writing, getting published, or a particular theme from your book), the more media will want to interview you.

It takes a combined effort and partnership between author, publisher and retailers to make a book successful. A partnership. That's how you must think of it. So don't just throw your "baby" out in the world and expect someone else to baby sit it or expect it to fend for itself.

Take control and responsibility seriously. Being a writer is the emotional, creative side; being a successful author of a published book means you have to recognize the business side. It comes with the territory. Accept it. Embrace it. And be the most successful author you can be.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author and book marketing coach

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blog to the Beach

“To the Beach” the sign reads with an arrow pointing down the road. I sniff the air and follow the arrow and the scent of the ocean leads me to a sand path with wisps of beach grass and flowers. The walk is short and familiar; we have spent many summers on this beach, coming back to the same rental, year after year. Our only complaint is that it is never long enough, because just when we get a rhythm going we have to leave. Next year maybe we will stay longer, long enough to get bored. For now our beach vacation is over and we are packing up, going home and the sun has barely risen, and the beach is nearly empty when I climb the path one final time. The shore comes into view. I hold my breath for an instant caught in the intake of the oceans beauty. I walk to her edge and whisper my goodbyes. “I’ll be back,” I say. ‘Wait for me, don’t forget me.” The sand slips between my toes and the water laps my ankles in acknowledgment of my request.

“To the Beach” the sign on my refrigerator reads. The arrow points to the porch and beyond. “Remember me,” I say as I sniff the air and follow the tip of the arrow.

Join me on Friday, June 24th for a blog post about a writer’s worst nightmare: how to avoid distractions and stay focused. “Time Management In An Instant” by Karen Leland and Keith Bailey will spark the discipline writer’s like I need to better manage time and to keep writing.

Have the best day every day…


Sunday, July 19, 2009

How About A New TV Show: “So You Think You Can Write”

I’ve been working at my current job in security for about nine months now, and during that time colleagues have slowly found out that I’m a writer with two published books. (They don’t know about all the published short stories, essays, and articles). In terms of security personnel, the site I work at isn’t large. There are perhaps fifty employees in my area and another half dozen on the management team.

During my employment, I’ve discovered four more colleagues who have or are currently writing novels in science fiction, fantasy and even a historical western. Now, given the number of many thousands of books published every year, I’m not surprised that writers are coming out of the woodwork. Nor am I surprised when they ask me how they can publish their books quickly. But that’s when I’m stumped.

I’ve been working at my craft for nearly thirty years. I’ve attended more workshops than I can count. I’ve belonged to critique groups for over fifteen years, and I’m constantly reading to improve my skills. I edit and edit and edit to make the piece the best it can be before publication, and even then mistakes slip by.

Honestly, I try to tell these aspiring writers about the work and the importance of editing (see Pat Bertram’s terrific blog on this topic), but people seem primarily interested in publishing and making money. I try to tell them, without crushing their aspiration, that there are no shortcuts and that it really does take a lot of work. Am I getting through? I don’t know. But it seems to me that every other person I meet these days wants to, or is writing, a novel. In fact, novel writing is so popular that I'm wondering if the TV networks should develop a new contest. So You Think You Can Write! or Canadian Writing Idol! or Canada’s Got Writing Talent!

Contests from all over the country would submit their first twenty pages to qualified judges with celebrity status. Margaret Atwood, for example. I figure the judges could expect about half a million entries. (The other three million wannabes didn’t get their entries in on time or follow guidelines). Then they’d all gather and the judges would critique their work on camera. Naturally, there’d be tears, and unhappy glares from unsuccessful contestants, and there’d be jumping up and down elation for those who made it to the next round. After all, they’d land a free ticket to Saskatoon for the semi-finals. From there, they’ve have to submit fifty more pages from a new work. If they made it through that round, they’d receive a ticket to Toronto for the finals. And on it would go until a winner was declared. The grand prize would be a contract with a Canadian publisher, provided the publisher’s government subsidy isn’t cut this year. And that’s always a big if. Think the concept would fly? I know there are plenty of contestants out there just waiting for their chance to make it big.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bestselling author Gail Bowen critiqued my novel Divine Justice - aka Sometimes it's best to leap before you look!

Everyone has heard the old adage, "Look before you leap." Well, sometimes it's best to just leap right in before you look. Looking often stops us dead in our tracks and prevents us from moving forward. Anyone who knows me would probably say I boldly push my way through most barriers. Why? Because I have my eye on the prize, and I can be very persistent, I've been told--perhaps akin to a puppy who wants a treat. :-)

Weeks ago, one of my writer friends posted a notice to our writing group--I think it was Crime Writers of Canada. The post revealed that bestselling author Gail Bowen had accepted the role of Writer-In-Residence at the Toronto Public Library and was accepting samples of manuscripts and would give in-person critiques.

Bestselling author Gail BowenNow Gail and I go waaaaaay back. Well, not me and her personally, but me and her books and movies. I've been a fan of the Joanne Kilbourn murder mysteries since forever. The movies, starring Wendy Crewson, were one of my first experiences at watching something originally created by an author I had read--other than all the Stephen King movies. When the powers that be stopped filming the Joanne Kilbourn movies, I was heartbroken. (Rumour has it that they may be filming 4 more in the future. YAY!)

I followed the link in the email to the Toronto Library website and very quickly scanned the page for the mailing address. Then I immediately printed off the first 3 chapters of Divine Justice, a novel that is in final edits before it goes to my agent. Sealing the envelope, I walked to the post office, told the gal there that my sample was going to be critiqued by the awe-inspiring Gail Bowen, kissed the envelope (ok, I do that sometimes) and sent it on its merry way.

Shortly after, I received an email from Peggy Perdue, Librarian and Curator of the Arthur Conan Doyle Collection. When she discovered I wouldn't be able to go to Toronto and that I had assumed (yes, I know...) that Gail would have lots of submissions from out-of-town writers and that she'd maybe email a critique, Peggy mentioned I didn't really qualify. To which I replied, "I do understand why you'd keep this local. But...darn. Perhaps you could slip my manuscript under her door...hehe I'd love to chat with Gail."

Resolved to my fate and believing my manuscript would be shredded as I requested, I crawled back into my den and licked my wounds. No Gail...waaaaa! It's not fair! Why didn't I move to Toronto? Then I put this out of my mind and focused on my next project.

A month passed and I received my sample in the mail. The first thing I saw was a lovely note Gail Bowen had written on the first page. She said Divine Justice was "wonderful--strong, original & compelling!" This made my month! Having a writing peer, especially one I admire so much, tell me my work is wonderful is a piece of heaven, and something I'll never forget. Throughout my manuscript she'd added notes, tips, suggestions--everything I then added to my manuscript on my computer.

We need writers like Gail, ones who are willing to relocate temporarily and sacrifice their time to help other writers. The Writer-In-Residence program is so vital to our literary culture and to writers. Having this opportunity helps me believe a little more that I'm in the right place at the right time doing the right thing. Having a positive critique experience is not always a common thing, but it's evident that Gail really took the time to get to know my characters, the hint of plot, my humour and what I thought was one of my best lines. I learned so much through this critique.

Thank you, Gail, for giving your time and expertise as a WIR, and for taking on an additional out-of-town project. I so appreciate it. And yes, Gail, one day we'll celebrate our successes over a glass--or bottle--of wine. :-)

The moral of this tale: Sometimes it's best to leap before you look!

If I'd spent time really looking over the website, I probably would have figured out it really pertained to Toronto writers. Or I would have talked myself out of doing it for any number of reasons. If I'd emailed and asked about the critique program, I would have found out I didn't really qualify--and never mailed my sample.

Fate? Destiny? Law of attraction? Darn right!

For more info on Toronto Public Library's Writer-In-Residence program, please go HERE.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Be Your Own Editor

Today I took a break from editing my fourth manuscript and started to read a thriller. To say I found it less than thrilling is an understatement. I hope in my efforts to become a good writer I do not lose my love of reading, but I can feel it happening. I get caught up in the words and lose the story.

And the authors are not helping.

In this particular thriller, the author described a character as a precise individual who did not use contractions. The writer did fine for most of the first chapter, then forgot what his character's persona was and started contracting all over the place. So, is the character precise?

How do I know if the author does not?

According to Emerson, "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Some authors must think any consistency is an indication of a small mind, or they do not know the meaning of the word. The only consistency I see is poor writing.

I know I'm getting cynical about books, so I will give the author the benefit of the doubt. Sitting at a keyboard for any length of time can be rough, and one can get so involved in one's own story that one loses track of the words one is typing, but that's why there are editors.

Are there editors, though? I don't see much indication of it. Too many elemental mistakes are being made by authors who should know better.

The moral of today's tale? We must learn how to be our own editors if we hope to master the art of writing. This blog is no place for a tutorial on editing, but you know how to do it anyway. Make sure you use proper grammar (except for when you purposely do not want to use it). Take out all unnecessary adverbs and adjectives, remembering that most of them are unnecessary.

Remove anything, no matter how much you love it, that does not move the story along.

And be consistent.

Pat Bertram is the author of More Deaths Than One, and A Spark of Heavenly Fire now available from Second Wind Publishing, LLC.

Legendary Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer releases candid memoir about his fight with addictions and depression

Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the TopWhen the publicist for Joey Kramer, legendary drummer for the rock band Aerosmith, first approached me about helping publicize Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top, I was almost going to decline because of a heavy workload. Then I read the description of the book and read a sneak peek.

Keep reading this post for an opportunity to win a copy of Hit Hard, complete with an autographed bookplate from Joey Kramer.

To say that Kramer's autobiography is revealing is an understatement. It is brutally candid and makes no excuses. It's also an inside look into the rock world and the effects that fame often has on the famous. Like Michael Jackson, Kramer had his fair share of ups and downs, challenges and rewards. This memoir strips bare the dream of fame and fortune, and shows the often harsh realities of rock band stardom.

"I'd played my drums in front of eighty thousand screaming fans and passed out in my own puke," Kramer states.

With a foreword written by Nikki Sixx from Mötley Crüe, the book starts off with nothing less than sheer honesty, and by the time you've finished reading it, you might feel like you've just gone through an old wringer-washer.

Book Description:

In 1997, amid Aerosmith’s sold-out world tour and number one album release, word about Joey’s troubles was reported in the press. Despite the advice he had received to play it down, Joey revealed in an interview his ongoing struggles with depression. The response from fans and people battling those same internal demons was overwhelming. Joey--who has been the drummer in Aerosmith since it was founded in 1970 and is the first member of the band to release his own book--now tells the complete story: the early days of the band, glamorous drug-addled events leading up to their eventual sobriety, battles within his family and among bandmates, and the explosive internal dynamics in Aerosmith that continue to unleash a fury of endless creativity.

This is not just another rock ‘n’ roll memoir. In addition to the never-before-told Aerosmith war stories that abound in the book, Hit Hard unpacks the history of a rock star who was both fragile and tough, who after years of insane wildness became willing to accept help and finally kick a serious alcohol and drug addiction, only to find that the real terrors and hard work were still ahead. It’s the story of an average kid from an average American suburb who went through physical and emotional trauma. It’s about years of depression and the nervous breakdown at the height of the band’s comeback success. Ultimately, Hit Hard is about how Joey recognized his confusion between love and abuse, awakening to the kind of self-acceptance and compassion that make relationships possible in the “real world” as a member of the biggest band in American history.

For a chance to win Hit Hard, please leave a comment after this post. Include your email address, so we can notify you if you're the winner.

Listen to a special message from Joey Kramer:

Purchase Hit Hard from your favorite bookstore, or from online retailers, including

About Joey Kramer:

Joey Kramer, drummer for AerosmithJoey Kramer is the legendary drummer with the most successful band in American history-Aerosmith. Since 1970 he and his partners have sold over 150 million albums, and today their multigenerational, global audience is bigger than ever. In addition to the Grammys and the twenty-one multiplatinum albums, Aerosmith was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 and they are the subject of several documentaries, including a film dedicated to Joey and his lasting influence, called It’s About Time. Joey lives south of Boston, Massachusetts.

Visit the author online at

For Aerosmith news, visit and

*A personal note from Cheryl Kaye Tardif:
The main reason why I was drawn to this book and to promoting it was that my baby brother Jason fought the addictions and depression demons. Unfortunately he was murdered before he could win the battle. I wish Joey Kramer the best in health and happiness, and the best in success with Hit Hard. It takes a brave person to 'strip bare' their soul and life in front of the public.
Now don't forget to leave a comment so you'll have a chance to win the autographed bookplate and copy of Hit Hard by Joey Kramer.

For a sneak peek at Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top, go to:

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Canadian suspense author

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Guest Post: GumboWriters interviews literary agent Kae Tienstra

Hey, this is Cheryl again, bringing you another great interview--this time with literary agent Kae Tienstra. Kae shares some 'inside secrets' on how to hook this agent's attention. This interview is brought to you by my friends at Enjoy the interview. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif

GumboWriters: How long have you been agent and how did you get your start, Kae?

Kae: This is a two-part answer. I began my publishing career at Rodale where I served as publicity director for the book division for over 10 years. I left Rodale in 1993 to launch my own book publicity firm, KT Public Relations. My husband Jon had retired from corporate life and acquired a Masters in library science. He joined me in the PR business. A few years ago I accompanied one of my authors to a popular home and garden show where she was taping several segments to publicize her book. In the greenroom I met a delightful woman who had self-published a book on homemade beauty products. I asked her if she'd thought of shopping it to publishers. She had not, but welcomed my interest. I came back home and talked to a literary agent friend, asking her if she'd be interested in the project. She was, and together we sold the book to Putnam. The same agent and I sold another self-published book to Marlowe and Company. My friend retired from agenting and encouraged Jon and me to launch our own literary agency. She felt that our marketing and publicity background would be most helpful in this "platform driven" business. We decided to keep our publicity business and create the literary agency as a separate entity. We call our new combined business KT/PR & Literary Services.

What makes your agency different than any others?

We are not your standard literary agency. Because publicity is our bread and butter, we are acutely aware of a book's marketing potential. Our decisions are based, in large part, on the publicity potential of the project. We are also intimately connected with our authors. It's just the two of us here--reading the queries and partials and asking for manuscripts. When you sign on with us, you sign on with us, not a junior member of the agency.

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?

I love fiction of all kinds, but am interested in finding brilliant nonfiction as well. We don't get much of that and I'd like to receive health books (from pros), and other kinds of nonfiction. The problem with the nonfiction genre is "platform." Most nonfiction publishers today insist that their authors are well-known or that they write a newspaper column, are sought out by television and radio interviewers or have a fabulous blog with a huge readership. Because we have to sell to these publishers, we insist on author platform for nonfiction as well. Jon likes science fiction and is looking for fine writing in that genre. He also is looking for mystery/crime, thrillers and military.

Kae, what are you tired of receiving?

I still get lots of standard sword / wizard / dragon fantasy and I can't sell it. Please, no more!!

How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?

Write a beautiful, "perfect" query. Do your research--online, in books and writer's magazines. Information abounds that will help you hone the ideal query to get my attention and the attention of other agents. Don't send me a long synopsis or chapters until I ask you for them.

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?

Email. It works every time.

What do you wish more writers understood about you as an agent Kae that they don't seem to?

There's no way for authors to understand how much material we process on a daily basis. We talk about that on our blog and it does impact our work to a great extent. But, as Jon is fond of saying, "Good writing trumps all." Our goal is to sift through everything we get to find the jewels, the good writing that can find a home with a publisher. That means we are reading each and every day and that we may not get back to your query or to your requested partial or manuscript in good time. We try, but we tend to fall behind.

What's the best way for a writer to reach you?

Again, email. Or, read our blog and post comments. We try to answer all of those.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

Memories of the Past

Thirty years ago, I was studying criminology and volunteering at a youth detention centre. I visited the centre once a week for one year and learned a lot about teenaged girls in all sorts of legal trouble and emotional distress. I watched them interact, witnessed their despair, and listened to them talk with gullibility and hope about their futures and, in many cases, their mothers . . . mothers who rarely visited and who clearly preferred their new boyfriends to their daughters’ company.

I never pursued a career in criminology for a number of reasons and I stopped volunteering to venture into a different line of work. Then came marriage and a family. For some reason, though, those days at the detention centre are on my mind again.

Currently, I’m writing a short story based on a real incident in the centre. I don’t know why this particular memory has resurfaced after all these years, but I know it’s important enough to explore on the page. While I’ve been working on the piece I’ve been recalling other incidents at the centre. Those incidents have got me to thinking about kids’ problems. And kids’ problems have made me think about runaways . . . those who feel trapped in hopeless situations. Out of this, another idea has formed and it's now an integral part of a new novel I’ve started.

I have no idea if writing about this part of my past will cause the memories to fade permanently. Maybe they shouldn’t. Maybe the plight of runaway teens should be exposed and written about and shared and over and over again until folks show a tiny bit more compassion or understanding to street kids. Because as tough and belligerent and street-smart as they seem, there is still gullibility and flickers of hope behind many of those harsh stares. You just have to watch and listen awhile. I’m not sure how my novel will end, but I know that the journey will make me rethink a thing or two.

By the way, the short story is tentatively called "Birthday Girl".

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Making the Right Editing Match

Here's another great article, printed here with permission and recently featured in my good friend and publishing expert Jerry D. Simmons' newsletter, which you can subscribe to at

Making the Right Editing Match - By Barbara McNichol

Setting out to find the right editor for your manuscript puts you on the road to feeling confident you’ve got a good match. You want to feel comfortable that your editor understands what you’ve set out to accomplish so you can “polish” it together.

Look for a reputable editor who understands the type of book you have written. For example, if your book is business or self-help, choose an editor experienced in editing these genres. Ensure that the editor you chose has worked with both traditional and self-published books over a number of years. That person’s website should reveal that information and project a professional image. After all, you want your writing to reflect a professionalism that comes from expert editing.

To help in your search for find the right match, use this checklist of questions to prepare you for questions a good editor could ask in the qualifying process.

Checklist of Questions to Ask

Your answers to these questions give a professional editor a better understanding of your project and help you both make a match in heaven. How would you answer these?

· Who is in your book’s target audience (demographics, age group, position, industry, region, etc.)?

· What genre or market niche does your book fall in? What section would it be found in a bookstore?

· What is your expected editorial timeline (e.g., when did you promise to give it to an agent or designer, or have it ready for a conference, etc.) allowing time for your review, peer reviews, and a professional editor’s review?

· How much of your book is written? Have you finished all the content you want including front and back matter (e.g., foreword, testimonials, acknowledgments, dedication, footnotes, resource list, glossary, appendix, etc.)? If your answer is not 100%, what is missing? When would you be ready to send your complete content?

· What is the current length of your book before editing? (number of pages and/or number of words in an MS Word document)

· What is the anticipated total length, including front and back matter?

· If you want to have a foreword, have you asked someone to write it and provided a deadline for delivering it?

· How much are you expecting to spend on having your book professionally edited (excluding proofreading after the design)?

· What else do should the editor know about your expectations so he or she can do a really good job for you?

An editor who asks these types of questions shows eagerness to understand your project and set up a discussion that gives you a sense of how you’d work together.

Here’s a key question: “Is the manuscript 100% content-complete?” If you answer “yes,” you can expect a project price and an estimated timeline from an experienced editor. If it’s “no,” your manuscript is likely a candidate for a Manuscript Review. This analysis evaluates the ideas and wording to provide direction for changes you’d make before it’s deemed content-complete.

The All-Important Sample Edit

How do you start to find the right editor for your manuscript? First, ask your writer and designer friends for recommendations, check acknowledgments in books you like and contact the editor listed, and search the Internet for editors in your genre. Then request a Sample Edit of your own work—especially if more than one editor is in the running for your business.

If an editor works magic on your writing but you don’t agree with the approach or the kinds of changes made, it’s good to discuss them up front so you both can adjust. Some authors (mostly new ones) fall in love with every word and find it painful to see their prose change. That’s why discussions help a lot.

Here’s a rule of thumb when reviewing the Sample Edit: If you, the writer, can clearly see an improvement from the editor’s work, if you recognize that the words flow better and your writing has more clarity and pizzazz, that’s a green light. If you don’t agree with the changes or find yourself arguing with them, that’s an amber light. Time to talk.

Yes, locating an editor who’s the right match for you requires effort to make sure you’re comfortable with the editor’s approach. Ultimately, you want your editor to be the advocate of those you want to reach—the pro who makes it easier for your readers to connect with you and your message.

Barbara McNichol edits articles, book proposals, and manuscripts. Request a free questionnaire “Getting to the Results You Want” based on the ideas in this article via email at or contact Barbara at 887-696-4899 (toll free). To help you perfect your writing, sign up for Word Tripper of the Week, a free ezine at

To subscribe to Jerry D. Simmons' Tips for Writers from the Publishing Insider newsletter, visit

Friday, July 10, 2009

Twits and Tweets

I’ve been sitting here for about thirty minutes trying to come up with a topic for this blog. While I’ve been waiting for my brain to kick into gear, I’ve been doing the online equivalent of channel surfing -- checking my emails, checking Facebook to see if anything is going on, checking Twitter.

Ah, Twitter. Now that’s something I can talk about. Is Twitter still a good way of connecting with people? It seems as if the only people who are adding me are multi-level-marketers, people posting links to nude pictures, people actively looking to sell me something, or people with more than 10,000 followers. I can’t imagine that any of those people will see or care about my tweets. In fact, it’s probably time for me to go through my followers and block those I’m not interested in. I should also go through the list of those I am following. When I first started with Twitter, I followed everyone who followed me, but I can see that’s no way to use the site. Maybe it’s better to have just a few followers and followings, people who actually care about one another’s twits and tweets?

I’ve read that Twitter has a 60% 30 churn rate, which means that 60% of those who sign up don’t return after 30 days. So there’s a good chance that more than half of those who follow me or who I follow aren’t even on the site. If I had the time, it would be a good idea to clean up my account, but if no one is paying attention, does it matter?

What I’m really looking for is the next fun site. Facebook is fun for me, but that’s because I’ve figured out a few things to do on the site, and I’ve actually been able to connect with people. Same with Gather. Goodreads should be fun, since it’s about books, but I find I have nothing much to say about books any more. In fact, I have four books sitting here on my desk -- Steel Waters and Toxic Shock Syndrome by Ken Coffman, and The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday by Lazarus Barnhill -- books I promised to review but haven't (sorry Ken and Laz), books I read and loved, yet the only thing I can think of to say about all four books is, “Great book. Read it.” Not much of a review, though it is the truth. So the books sit here, taunting me. But I digress.

So, what is the next fun site? If you hear of a site that’s easy to use, that get’s your name out there, that helps you make friends and connections, let me know. I need more places to check when I hang around waiting for ideas.

Future Forward!

I am writing the end of my second novel, and it marks the end of an era for me. I have been working on my duology for the last seven years and I am both sad and ecstatic to see it end.
I have had these characters living in my brain for so long, I almost feel like I’m cheating on them to be planning my next novel. And to be planning a novel other than Sacrifice or Survival is completely daunting. It’s funny how the safety of familiarity keeps us from expanding our horizons.
The challenge of not falling back into recognizable narrative that was commonplace in The Last Forever will be exciting as well. I get to plunge into a completely new world, with new characters, new settings and totally new tone.
I am thoroughly stoked. And still pretty scared.
Be sure to sign up for my newsletter at to keep pace with me as I finish The Last Forever and begin my new novel.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

10 Quotes On Writing (Or, I should be writing)

from Karen Harrington
author, Janeology
Well, it's that time again. I'm starting a new novel this week. The endeavor is not unlike the nervous anticipation of going on a trip. You're excited. You're worried. You can't wait to get there. You wonder if you've packed the right clothes. You are certain you've packed too much. That suitcase looks awfully heavy for one person to carry. And you are quite certain that after the first leg of the trip, a nice glass of wine would be very much appreciated.

At different times in my writing life, each of these quotes was on a Sticky-Note somewhere on my desk, reminding me of a fundamental truth about writing. And I thought I'd take these out today and let them help me carry that heavy suitcase out the door.

1. "One of the first things you learn as a writer is that you write what you can, not what you want." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

2. "To write well, express yourself like the common people, but think like a wise man." Aristotle

3. "The function of a writer is to raise questions not to find answers." Doris Lessing

4. "A good novelist does not have to describe everything about the sea as long as he knows it." - Ernest Hemingway

5. "If I had listened to what people said I would never have been a writer." - John Wain

6. "Last week I spent five days writing one page..." - Gustave Flaubert

7. "Writers need solitude as others need sleep." - Source Unknown

8. "It's only after you've written a book that you find out what it's about because everyone tells you." Helen Fielding

9. "The best research is talking to people." Jeffrey Archer

10. "You can. You know you can conquer your fears. That's what a writer is -- a conqueror of fears." - Erica Jong


Pop over to my blog by Saturday, July 11th and leave your comment for a chance to win one of 2 copies of my novel, Janeology.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Writing Well Still Matters

A few months ago, I left work in retail to venture into the security field, which is no small feat for someone old enough to be a grandma. Security work had always interested me and since the protagonist in my new mystery series is also in security, I figured the experience would be great book research.

My writing background and verbal skills helped me land the job, and I’m currently placed at a university campus populated by thousands of students and instructors from all over the world. As you can imagine, I talk to a lot of people. Security officers are also required to keep detailed, written records of every incident, small and large, because an incident could result in a court appearance one day. Needless to say, recording information accurately is crucial. Security officers are taught to record who, what, where, why and when during incidents. A lot of guards, though, have trouble writing this basic information.

The importance of written communication skills in security work was magnified when I was promoted to the communications centre to type dispatches and prepare reports for the client. Part of my job is to fix grammatical and spelling errors on officers’ and supervisors’ reports and, trust me, it usually involves plenty of work.

No matter how technologically advanced our society becomes, it’ll mean little without adequate communication skills to share ideas and information. I work with a lot of intelligent people who can’t write a simple sentence because they're new immigrants and English isn’t their first language. And there are a handful of Canadian-born guards who were raised speaking English, yet don’t care about writing period. Some of these people can barely write at a grade four or five level which is sad because they have little hope of improving their income. I’ve heard that there are plenty of high school graduates who couldn’t pass a basic English entrance exam to university either. I’ll leave the reasons to the education experts.

The point is that writing well still matters. After all, someone had to write the scripts for all of those computer games. I’m not suggesting that we all have to write well enough to be novelists or English majors, but an understanding of the basics and some serious practice would go a long way toward achieving one’s true potential. Let’s face it, all of the gadgets, toys, and opportunities in the world won’t help if you can’t write a simple, clear sentence. And I’m not sure enough people have figured that out yet.

To read excerpts of Fatal Encryption and Taxed to Death, visit

Fatal Encryption is available through at and Taxed to Death can be found at

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif interviews Vikram Narayan from

Hello Vikram, and welcome to The Write Type ~ Multi-Author Musings. We are so happy to have you visit us. Since I’ve used BookBuzzr and myself, I can say that you offer a terrific service for authors and their readers. And it’s free!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Are you a writer? Reader?

I’m a serial entrepreneur who’s obsessed about building the next big thing on the Internet. I earned an MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University some years ago. I’m also a keen martial artist and practitioner of Aikido. I’m an avid reader of books and listener of audio books. I do have a book inside me that is waiting to come out some day soon.

Where did the idea for BookBuzzr come from? Why did you decide to create it?

A few months ago, an author friend of mine – Chetan Dhruve – was describing the pain that authors face in marketing their books online. There are two problems with traditional author sites:

1. Most of the traffic goes to 'destination sites' such as Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo or the New York Times. So your author site may not receive the kind of traffic that you would want.
2. Even if a fan of your book comes to your site, it's not easy for her to easily share information about your book with her friends.

So how do you market your book in an era where the attention-spans of consumers measure a few micro-seconds? How do you tempt your potential readers to flip-through the pages of your book? How do you allow easy sharing of your book on networks such as Facebook, MySpace and other social networks?

So I asked him what would be a dream online marketing tool. Chetan, in a few moments of inspiration, described what he’d want and we sketched out the screens of the ultimate online book-marketing tool. I got the product developed in a few months using developer resources at another software business that I own.

What exactly is BookBuzzr and how does it work?

BookBuzzr is a free, online book-marketing technology that can be placed instead of your book-cover image on your author website, Facebook profile and blog. BookBuzzr is more than just a replacement for your book-cover image. It's a portable author website that allows your book information and extract to be shared on Facebook, Blogs, MySpace and more. So every time a fan of yours decides to post your book-widget on his or her blog, your entire information (including where to buy and buzz about your book) becomes available there. It’s like your business card on the Internet!

Apart from the easy share-ability, we've worked hard at making the pages of your book look and act like a real book. So when a reader clicks on the edge of the book, the page turns like a real book. Somehow, this seems to elicit a "wow!" from most people who try BookBuzzr. is the site which carries all the books that are available in BookBuzzr format.

Is it difficult for an author to set up a BookBuzzr widget?

Putting up your book into BookBuzzr format is quite simple. If you know how to share your videos and photos on Facebook or MySpace you know how to use BookBuzzr.

How many authors are using fReado?

We expect to have over a 1,500 authors & books on fReado by the end of this month.

Are there any recognizable names using BookBuzzr? Any “big” authors”?

We have quite a few big name authors using BookBuzzr. Chetan Dhruve whose inspired vision gave us the start for BookBuzzr is a pretty well-known name and his book has become an international sleeper-hit that’s been translated into 5 languages. Author Tony Eldridge whose book “The Samson Effect”, acquired by a Hollywood studio, is also using BookBuzzr.

Are publishers using your service to promote their authors’ books?

Yes. We’re making it easier for publishers to mass upload their books and author information with just a few clicks. We’ve got about 60 Publishers who have begun using fReado and BookBuzzr.

Can you give us an example of a BookBuzzr book widget?

Where do you see BookBuzzr in 3 years?

The other day, we got a testimonial from the author Lee Murphy and he said, “I think you have a terrific service and I know I have already sold one copy on Amazon as a direct result of it.”

So we know that we have a unique little book-marketing technology that every author needs. Our challenge is to let authors know about this free resource that can help every author in building and extending their platform. So in terms of where we see BookBuzzr in 3 years … we want to be the first place where every author goes when he or she begins to think about marketing books online. If every book-cover image on every author, publisher and book-seller’s website is replaced with the BookBuzzr book-widget, then I would say that most of our mission has been accomplished.

Towards this end, we’re making several improvements to BookBuzzr in the coming months to make it easier for fans to distribute a book-widget on their Facebook profiles, Twitter, blogs, social networks and cell-phones.

Thank you, Vikram!! I am sure that authors will be very excited about your service/product, especially after they've tried it once.

For more information on BookBuzzr and fReado, please check out and

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Guest Post: GumboWriters interviews freelance editor John Paine

Hey, this is Cheryl here, bringing you a great interview full of valuable tips and information, compliments of my friends at Today's interview is with freelance editor John Paine. I feel obligated to add that for some writers, having their work edited can be very "paine-ful" (sorry--it just had to be said), but professional editing is a necessary process that separates great works from mediocre. With that said, please check out the interview. ~ Cheryl Kaye Tardif

GumboWriters: John, you've been in the business for a long time. How did you get started and what is it exactly that you do?

John: Not surprisingly, I started as an aspiring young writer. I decided at age 30 that I really didn't have the talent to be great, and I moved to New York to get an editorial position in publishing. I rapidly rose through the ranks and created a unique position for myself as a manuscript editor, or a house doctor. That's because those years of writing gave me a good intuitive feel for what writers try to get done in their stories. For 20+ years I have been helping authors both with large-scale story structure and with line-by-line, intensive editing. Depending on the project, especially in the field of nonfiction, I have served as virtually a ghostwriter.

Tell us the difference between line editing, copy editing, development editing, and what would you say is your forte?

Actually, the ranking is developmental editing, line editing, and copy editing. Developmental editing consists of helping authors to direct their characters and their plots to become stronger. I usually write page-specific notes that amount to roughly 15-20 pages, giving suggestions for new scenes, what scenes might be cut for better pacing, where more character background might be inserted, and which scenes might be moved around for a solid, building story. Line editing is what it sounds like: using a pencil line by line to prune and add to an author's text so that every sentence is crisp, using action verbs and effective sentence stem-dependent clause structure. As a former writer, I often write in phrases, sentences, or paragraphs to make sure the scene doesn't turn in unexpected directions that lose the reader. Copy editing is much more minor, consisting of a grammar, spelling, and punctuation check. A good copy editor will also help with sentence smoothness.

Why should a non-fiction editor write a book proposal first? And is that something you can help them with?

Today 95% of nonfiction books are sold through proposals. These are selling documents that give an outline of why an editor should buy the book. They come in pieces that are fairly standard, although proposals do not follow a strict template. They should contain an opening overview roughly 3-5 pages long that should capture an editor's attention right away. An author bio section is necessary, because most nonfiction authors are also speakers or have media contacts that will help sell the book. A competition section, with five or so competing books, lets the editor know (1) there is a market for your book and (2) why your book is different from what's out there. A section that contains a summary of each chapter is a vital part, because that's where you can show what the book will actually contain. Finally, 1-3 sample chapters are provided to provide a glimpse of your style, since a vast difference exists between a popular self-help book and a serious academic work. And yes, I do write (and sell) proposals regularly, as you might have been able to guess by now.

Why should writers work with you when they have thousands of other choices? What makes you so special, John?

I think there are many good editors, at least the ones who have New York publishing experience or the equivalent. My own approach is to keep the author in the driver's seat as much as possible. That means using constructive criticism that is politic in making its points. I like being nice, and I seek a good rapport with an author. I think I give sound advice, both for large-scale plot issues and for character enhancements. I know I'm an excellent line editor, because that's how I established my reputation in the first place. Judging by now many authors come back to me for their later books, I believe I provide a service that genuinely helps them learn how to write books. Finally, a word of caution to authors: Beware of these guys hanging out on the Net; a lot of their backgrounds aren't even close to being acceptable. Everybody is a self-appointed critic in the world of writing, so look closely at their credentials.

Is there anything wrong with having an editor edit your work before you send it to an agent or an editor? Is that cheating?

Seeking help as a writer is a wise decision most of the time. Seeing the forest for the trees in a book is probably the most difficult decision-making area in the arts. There are just so many words. In my profession, what often happens is that a writer who uses me the first time experiences a marked learning curve, one that tapers off in the second and third books as he or she applies the structural/character-building methods that I have taught them. By the fifth or so book, if you've been paying attention, you don't need an editor anymore. I know for a fact that agents like authors who have shown true desire by hiring an editor before they make their submission.

Won't agents and editors be disappointed that you didn't come up with the brilliant manuscript by your own doing?

Publishing is a business, by and large. If you are the next Norman Mailer or Alice Munro, you aren't going to hire an editor anyway. You'll be making those editorial decisions yourself. But that includes less than 1% of all writers. If you're writing for the popular market, an agent or editor is less worried about your artistry than your ability to keep readers on the edge of their seat.

Are there any famous or successful authors who work with editors before submitting their work to their agents or editors?

The more famous the author, the less editing he or she will accept. You could call it the diva equation. That's not to say they wouldn't benefit by editorial help, but they're fawned upon by their publishers, and they're making millions, so why should they bother?

Who are some of the best-known authors you've worked with?

I have worked with dozens of well-known authors. Anyone who is interested can visit my website,

How many books or book proposals would you say you've worked on that have ended up being sold? And what are some of your favorites (i.e., most well-known)?

Every year I help roughly 10 authors sell their books. I also work for publishers, so that number is doubled, in terms of published books I edit annually. I take a lot of pride in what I do, and I don't work on books that I don't think have a chance of being published. This summer, on the fiction side, I helped a debut author sell his psychological thriller, and that gave me a great deal of satisfaction, because he is so talented. On the nonfiction side, I helped turn a doctoral thesis into a history book that was bought by Harvard University Press, and that also was a challenge that gave me a great deal of pleasure.

How much do you charge for your services? Will authors have to re-mortgage their house to pay for it? Do you take payments?

It depends on the book. A ballpark figure is $10 per double-spaced manuscript page. I work in phases anyway, so a payment system is already built in. I'll charge for the read and initial editorial letter; then a retainer; the developmental edit; and the line edit. I will work out a payment schedule if needed, but obviously I'd prefer that the invoices be paid in full.

If we're interested in using your services, what is the first step and how does the process work?

The first step is to visit my website: That serves as my resume, so an author can check my credentials. The last page on the site has a contact sheet. I ask that an author send a 1-2 page synopsis plus 25 pages of the book so that I can evaluate whether he or she really should be spending money on me. I then call the author for a preliminary discussion of the book, plus my editing procedures, fees, timing, etc., at no cost. If the author decides to go ahead, the first step is my reading the entire manuscript and then a phone call to discuss which directions the editing might take, followed by a written editorial report. Along with that is an estimate for the entire edit, with fixed maximums for the different stages of editing.

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