Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
Your 10 Point Website Check Up: Tip #23 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
September 23, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to Tip #23 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books.  Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!

Your 10 Point Website Check Up

So you have a website, congratulations! Now let’s make sure it’s doing what it is supposed to be doing for you. Read: selling your book or product. While websites will differ in color, layout, and target audience, there are a few things that need to remain consistent. Let’s take a look at them. Tip 23

  1. Editing:  Your website needs to be edited. There is no discussion on this topic at all. And don’t self-edit. Hire someone to go through your site page by page and make sure you don’t have any typos. Finding mistakes on your site is like finding typos on a resume. Doesn’t bode too well, does it?
  2. Website Statistics:  Do you know your site stats? Did you even know you can get them? Site statistics are part of every website design. If you don’t have access to them, make sure you get this information.  A good site stat service is Google Analytics, pretty comprehensive actually and easy to integrate into your site. You should know your traffic patterns and learn to read these reports (it’s a lot easier than it sounds). This way you’ll know what your site is doing and what it isn’t.
  3. Media Room:  Even if you have never had any TV or radio appearances, you should have a media room. The media room is a great place to list all of your accomplishments as it relates to the book. Also, a good place to put your bio, picture (both of you and the book cover), as well as media Q&A, and a host of other items (I’ll cover the art and science of a good media room in an upcoming piece).
  4. Website Copy:  Your website isn’t a magazine, people don’t read – they scan – so make sure your site isn’t so crammed with text that it’s not scannable. Ideally your home page should have no more than 200 to 250 words. Also, make sure you have a clear call to action. You want your visitors to do something on your site, yes? Make sure they know what that is, clearly and precisely.
  5. Store:  Yes, you should have a place for people to buy on your site, even if it means sending them off to or somewhere else to make their purchase. One key factor though: don’t make them hunt for it. Shorten the staircase. In other words, make it easy to find your stuff and then give them the quickest route to get there to purchase the item.
  6. Design:  I have two major rules in life:  you should never cut your own hair or design your own website. Period. End of story. Why? Because much like editing our own books, we’re just too darned close to our message to be able to do it justice. Also, most of us are writers, not designers. Hire someone, invest the money, you’ll be glad you did. When you’re designing, also remember that your homepage should only do one thing. Your website can sell a lot of things, including any consulting or speaking services you offer, but your home page should be focused in on one major item. Surfers spend on average of 1/50th of a second on a website, if they have to stop and try and figure out what your site is about they will leave. I call it surf shock or analysis paralysis. Don’t make them guess what your site is about or you will lose them and they most likely will not return for a second visit.
  7. Social content:  Make sure that you have something “social” on your site, whether it’s a blog, forum or even your very own social networking page. The easiest and best of these is a blog in my opinion.
  8. Update often:  Search engines like sites that have a lot of fresh content, this will really help you with ranking in major search engines like Google. If you have a blog you should plan to update it twice weekly at least.
  9. Share and share alike:  Make sure that your content is easy to share. If you don’t have sharing widgets on your site (Upload to Facebook, Tweet This!, Digg, Delicious, etc.) then get your designer to add it to the site asap. Most blogging software comes with this all ready to go.
  10. Placement and remarketing:  First off, make sure that you understand how people surf, meaning where their eyes go to when they land on a website. The first place is the upper left hand quadrant of a site, that’s where your primary message should be placed. Then their eyes go to the center of your site. These two primary places are significant in conversion. You should have a clear message, and a clear call to action (whatever that action may be).  I also recommend funneling your visitors into a mailing list. You can do this via a sign-up on your home page and then an ethical bribe to encourage them to sign up. What’s an ethical bribe? It’s something you give them (of value) to get something: you might give them an ebook, a checklist or a special report. Just make sure it’s something your readers want.

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – September 22, 2014
September 22, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week we have some great tips on book marketing, writing, and book publicity. Thank you to all of the contributors!

Book Marketing

Mayowa Ajisafe submitted Should You Pay to Market and Promote Your Books? posted at Authors Crib, saying, “Free is always an option for many authors with book marketing but it takes time, energy and consistency to see great success with any of these free ideas, channels or strategies…But Should Authors Pay To Market Their Book?”


Chrys Fey submitted Chapter Titles posted at Write With Fey, saying, “Many people think chapter titles are just for juvenile books, but that’s not true. Chapter titles are great for fantasy, science-fiction, and historical novels. If you want to use chapter titles in your book, you very well can! Remember: It’s your book; you can do what you want!”

book review word cloud

Book Publicity

Erica Verrillo submitted List of Reviewers for Traditionally Published Books posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “This is a list of reviewers who exclusively review works that have been published by publishing houses (large and small). Publishers, unfortunately, do the bare minimum to solicit reviews. So, you will need to contact reviewers yourself. But even if you have self-published a book, you can sell your published short stories on Amazon; they will need reviews.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link:

Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of September 15, 2014
September 19, 2014by: Paula
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Discover some tips and insights into book marketing via these tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include building an audience on YouTube, generating authentic book reviews, reviving ebook sales, and more. Happy marketing!


* Five Ways to Generate Authentic Book Reviews

There are plenty of fake reviewers out there – amazingly enough, some of them even charge for their reviews. Here are some ways you can get more authentic reviews that will help your book:

* The Secret to Publishing Success in the Era of Social Media: Teaming with Your Fellow Authors

If you view other authors as only competition, you could be missing out. Authors who collaborate on book promotion can get exposure and sales for everyone involved. Learn more:

* 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers

Do you have a case of blogger’s block? These ideas should get your creative juices flowing:

A background of question mark signs and symbols to illustrate le

* 30 Little-Known Features of Facebook, Twitter, and More

You can save links on Facebook to read later. Twitter allows you to create a custom timeline. Discover additional, helpful social media features:

* How to Build an Audience on YouTube

There are more than 1 billion unique users watching video on YouTube every month. Here are some ways you can build an audience on the site:

* Ebook Sales Down? Here Are 15 Tips!

At some point, your ebook sales will dip. But you don’t have to give up. J.A. Konrath offers some options for boosting ebook sales once again:

* How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon

In this interview on Denise Wakeman’s show, Adventures in Visibility, Penny Sansevieri talks about how to get more visibility on Amazon so you can sell more books:

* 21 Power Tips to Get Your Blog Content Shared On Facebook & Twitter

When you publish blog posts, it’s only the beginning. You want people to read what you wrote. Here’s what you can do to get more people to share your posts:

* Kill Me Now – What Do I Do About a Negative Review?

Bad reviews suck. They do. But you definitely don’t want to get into a battle with the reviewer because you will lose. Get some productive tips for dealing with negative reviews:

* How Much Should You Charge For Your E-Book? 7 Questions to Help You Decide

There is no ideal price because several factors come into play when pricing ebooks. But these 7 questions will help you focus and make the best choice for your ebook:

Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose Your Existing Content
September 18, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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By now we’ve all heard the endless chatter about Google’s issues with duplicate content. In the past, we could easily re-run pieces in a variety of places. Some experts I know reused articles as many as twenty times, but if you do that now you may find your site in a lot of trouble and severely penalized by the Google-Gods.

So what’s a marketer to do? I was considering this the other day when I was trying to figure out what to blog about because the other issue is that Google does not want “thin” content, which is content that isn’t compelling, thin in data or light in information. Basically they don’t want people just throwing stuff on their blog to get traffic.

We’re all in a creative industry but that does not necessarily mean that we are an endless font of creative ideas. Then I thought: instead of coming up with new ideas, I wonder how many times I can reuse old ones in a way that won’t get us into trouble.

So here are my five favorites, a variety of different things you can do with the same piece of content.

For my complete list of 20 ways to reuse, recycle and repurpose content check out my article in HuffPo here.

Now I’m not suggesting that you do this with each and every blog post, but if you have ideas or posts that seem to have legs (and we all know that not all of them will) then maybe it’s time to see how far you can stretch them.

20 Ways To Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose Content – TOP FIVE 4 - 20 Recycle Ways

-  Update Past Posts with Industry Updates – At some point, even the best and most creative posts need to be updated. Now’s the time to go through your old posts and see what can be updated and reused. Pull in new content and add a fresh take, your readers will love it.

-  Pull Blog Content into an Infographic - Combine several of your text-based posts into more visual content – such as an aggregated infographic or chart.

-  Tips - Create a tips list from a blog post you did and then create images from it to use on Pinterest, in Twitter, on Instagram, etc. We did this for our 52 Ways to Sell More Books.

-  Quizzes - People love quizzes, when we did ours on “Which Social Media Site is Right for You” people just ate it up. Most of the time it’s just grabbing existing content you’ve done, but it’s a fantastic way to repurpose your stuff.

–  Turn content into trading cards or other swag: I had trading cards made for my book, How to Sell Your Books By The Truckload on Amazon. I pulled different tips I had already written, and put one tip per card. I took these around to speaking events and mail them with everything. People love them.

It’s important that you get as much mileage out of what you write as you possibly can, and with all of the new places to post (Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, etc.) it’s become easier than ever to create virtual “breadcrumbs” that lead readers back to your website which, in the end, is the ultimate goal.

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Getting on LinkedIn: Tip #22 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
September 16, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Are you on LinkedIn yet? Now is the time to put yourself out there.

LinkedIn is the most business oriented social media platform. Here you’ll have no worries about your message being lost in a sea of selfies, or snarky e-cards like the newsfeed of some other social media platforms.

Tip 22People take the connections they make on LinkedIn seriously – they are there to network, develop relationships and do business. Period.

Think of your LinkedIn profile as a resume. It has to be strong and complete in order to get noticed.

Take advantage of the areas where you can add links – link to your website, your Amazon listing – make it easy for your connections to get to know your work!

Add “Author of (name of your book)” to your work experience. You can include your book cover image, your book trailer etc. – this is the place to let the book shine.

As always, remember it’s not just about you. Make sure you join groups, and engage with others. You could even reach out for reviewers through the right group.

On LinkedIn, the focus is all about making connections. After all, isn’t that the most important step in making the sale?

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – September 15, 2014
September 15, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to this week’s Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. We have some great tips on book marketing, getting published, and writing this week. Thank you to all of the contributors!


Clare Lydon submitted Ten Truths for Writers posted at Clare Lydon, saying, “Ten universal truths you must acknowledge and live by if you want to be a successful writer.”

Terry Whalin submitted 5 Ways to Get Your Writing Unstuck posted at Terry Whalin, saying, “I give five ways to get unstuck with your writing and move forward.”

writer typewriter keys

Book Marketing

Mayowa Ajisafe submitted Is My Book Good Enough to Sell posted at Authors Crib, saying, “A post I wrote as a result of an email I got from a subscriber to my blog asking me if he should stop marketing his book because he doesn’t think his book is good enough. The post is written to tell authors out there to believe in what they do and never allow the impostor syndrome to sabotage their writing career.”

Sarah Bolme submitted Are You Making a List posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Humans love lists. For years David Letterman employed his ‘Top 10′ list nightly on his show. Lists are important. Learn how to use them in promoting your book.”

Kimberley Grabas submitted Email List Building Series (Part 5): Strategies to Grow Your List, Your Reach and Your Sales posted at Your Writer Platform, saying, “We’ve come to the final chapter in our list building series, with this 5th and final post challenging you to step up your game (and your book sales) by trying some pro level strategies to skyrocket your subscriber numbers. But before we get into it, let me ask you this question: Are you serious about building a career as a writer? If so, building an email list of targeted and engaged readers is one of THE MOST important things that you can do right now – even as a complete novice without a book in hand – to significantly increase your chances of “making it” as a writer. Don’t brush it off as something that can get done later – it’s much, much too important to get buried at the bottom of your to-do list.”

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted How to Research an Agent posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Whether you meet an agent in person, or look one up online, you have to do your research. Does the agent represent your genre? Is he/she they willing to take on new clients? Does she/he have a good track record for sales? Which publishers has the agent worked with? How does he/she treat clients? All of these questions are important, and all can be answered by researching agents online. These are the steps to take for researching an agent.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link:

Newsletter Publishing Best Practices
September 12, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to part 2 in this series! Last week you read Why a Newsletter is a Marketing Must. This week we’re covering, newsletter publishing best practices. So, now that you have your newsletter in place, here are a few things that can really help grow your list:

Know your audience: While this might sound trite and a bit “duh,” it’s actually more important than you might think and, ironically, quite overlooked. Many authors and business owners who put out newsletters write more for themselves than for their audience.

This is a huge mistake as you can imagine because most of the time, your consumer won’t care about things the way you do.

Speak to their pain, their needs and their hot buttons and most important, know exactly who they are before you start cranking out newsletter copy.

Write to one person: I don’t know about you but writing “hello everyone” seems very impersonal and, kind of spammy. The other piece of this is if you create your newsletter with that one reader/fan/customer in mind, you’ll create a better newsletter.

Oh, and when it comes to the “from” line in your email, make sure it has your name, not your company name or book title.

Personalize your email, you’ll be glad you did.Newsletter Publishing Best Practices

Other newsletters: It’s important to know what other folks are doing with their newsletters. This will help you learn what you like, what you don’t like, and what might work for your market.

Also, you want to really understand your space and other experts who share your arena.

Give them someone to write to: Make sure that your readers know who to contact, and invite them to share their opinions, feedback or ideas for future newsletters.

Subject lines: This is probably the most important part of any newsletter. They need to grab the reader’s attention, and if you know what your audience wants, the subject lines shouldn’t be hard. But they must speak to the needs of your reader.

Of all the things going on in their lives, as it relates to whatever you are selling, what’s their biggest need right now? Answer that and you’ve got a perfect subject line.

Who cares? Whether it’s a newsletter, a blog post, or a tweet, ask yourself: “Who cares?” If you can identify the person as your reader and the content as important enough to get them to care, then you have a good topic.

Remember, it’s not about you – in fact when it comes to creating great content and newsletters that rock, you don’t matter at all. Keep that in mind, and understand that this is about putting together a message that 100% benefits the people you are writing to.

Personal notes: What prompted this article was an email note I got this morning. The subject line said “A personal request,” which prompted me to open it. When I did the email started out with Dear….., and a bunch of spaces after the word “dear” because I had not entered my name into their system. Be really careful of this.

Not everyone enters their name into your email list when they sign up; if they don’t, you want to try and avoid these types of emails because they look a bit odd to the recipient. A subject line that said “A personal request” along with an email that was anything but personal caused me to unsubscribe right away.

Length: A lot of people say that they prefer shorter emails to longer ones. I say it really depends on your market. Our newsletter is pretty long but it’s packed with content, and I hear from authors all the time that they keep these issues, often printing them off.

Your market will dictate how long or short your newsletter should be and if you are following others in your market, this will tell you a lot.

Colors vs. text: I’m still a big fan of text-based newsletters. I know that folks will say that color works best but I still think that color newsletters can be harder to read on your phones and often wind up in spam filters.

A lot of people will be reading your newsletter on their iPad or phones so keep it simple.

Frequency & Consistency: How often you deliver your newsletter will generally depend on your consumer, but a good rule of thumb is once a month at a minimum and once a week at a maximum.

I would not recommend sending your end-user too many announcements and newsletters. Also, it’s a lot of content to create, so keep that in mind.

If you build a loyal following you can often create special blasts with more frequency and not lose readers, but remember that we’re all inundated with emails, so many times, less is more.

Also, be consistent. Pick a day and time that works for you and deliver on that promise.

Editing: Please make sure your newsletter is edited, this is so important. Remember that everything is your resume. I used to know a guy in publishing who put out a newsletter that said “this is not edited.”

I felt like it detracted from his message, especially when he backed up that statement with typos. Not good. If you don’t have time to send out an edited newsletter, you should consider whether or not you have the time for it at all.

Appeal to the “skimmers:” Most people skim email these days, so appeal to that. Use short paragraphs, bullet points and strong headlines. That way your reader can glance through the newsletter without having to sift through endless copy and get to the heart of what they are looking for.

Promote or not? I’m not a fan of a newsletter that’s all heavy promotion. You know the ones I mean, they scream “Look how fabulous I am” and then contain a lot of sales copy and special offers. I unsubscribe from those pretty quickly.

Ideally you want to strike a balance. Clearly you are doing this to promote yourself and you want your readers to know what you do, what your message, book, or product is about, and how they can get it.

You can and should talk about this in every issue but a healthy balance is 95% information and 5% sales. You’ll build customer loyalty much faster this way.

Having a solid base and a consistent way to communicate with your audience can really help to optimize and increase your bottom line.

A newsletter might seem like a lot of work, but in the end if it’s done right it will pay off in some pretty amazing ways.

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Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of September 8, 2014
September 12, 2014by: Paula
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Get some marketing ideas and insights from these popular book marketing tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include why newsletters are a marketing must, 5 don’ts of social media marketing, how to publish a book, and more. Happy marketing!


* How Can Authors Stand Out on Social Media?

Take time to build relationships with your followers, for starters. Here are additional ideas:


* How to Publish a Book: 7 Tips From the Pros

It starts with writing the best book you can (don’t scrimp on editing!). Six more things you should know:

* Should Writers Have a Website?

Opinions vary on this topic; some experts say authors are better off using social media. Get a different perspective:

* 3 Secret Functions of Your Book’s Chapter Titles

You can use chapter titles to attract your audience, and much more:

* The Biggest Mistake New Writers Make and 5 Ways to Avoid It

Sure, you’re eager to be published and get your book to readers. Here’s why rushing is bad for your career:

* Study: Email STILL More Effective Than Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing

It’s an oldie but goodie as far as marketing goes: email. It’s the best way to make direct connections. Learn why:

* Top 5 DON’Ts of Social Media Marketing

Claim your name on social media (before anyone else!). Learn what else you can do so you spend your time wisely:

* Why a Newsletter is a Marketing Must

There’s no more direct or effective method for keeping in touch with your fans:

Craft an Exceptional Elevator Pitch: Tip #21 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
September 9, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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We’ve heard from a lot of you telling us how much you love these tips. We’re so glad you do! Well, here are a few more you can expect over the following weeks.

Tip 22: Getting on LinkedIn

Tip 23: Your 10 Point Website Checkup

Tip 24: Eight Strategies to Use Breaking News to Buzz Your Book

Tip 25: 12 Secrets to Selling More Books at Events

You ready to sell more books? Here we go! Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!

Craft an exceptional elevator pitch

So what is an elevator pitch and why do you need one? An elevator pitch is a short 1 to 2 sentence description about the book. It’s the briefest of the briefest descriptions you can come up with. The reason elevator pitches are important is that we have an ever shrinking attention span, and so you need to capture someone’s attention in a very short pitch.

So how do you begin crafting an elevator pitch? Well, the first thing is to look at the core of your book. So what is your book about, really? Looking at the core of your book will help you determine the primary message. The next piece of this is to look at the real benefits to the reader. Not what you think the reader wants to know- what they actually need. So, what’s in it for the reader?

When I worked with people on elevator pitches before I find that they often keep the best sentence for last. This comes from being an author and saving the crescendo of the story till the final chapter. You don’t want to do that in an elevator pitch. You want to lead with the tease that will pull the reader in.

When would you use an elevator pitch? You might use it to get yourself to the media, or a book or speaking event, or to a blogger. Elevator pitches can be used for a variety of reasons and in a variety of ways. Once you have a great elevator pitch you may find yourself using it over and over again. That’s a good thing!

Components of a great elevator pitchTip 21

All elevator pitches have particular relevance to them, but for the most part every elevator pitch has at least one or more of the following bullets:

  • Emotion
  • Helpful
  • Insightful
  • Timely
  • It must matter to your reader!

Essential Elements of a Powerful Elevator Pitch

  1. Concise: Your page needs to be short, sweet, to the point.
  2. Clear: Save your five dollar words for another time. For your elevator pitch to be effective, you must use simple, language any layperson could understand. If you make someone think about a word, you’ll lose them and the effectiveness of your elevator pitch will go right out the window as well.
  3. Passion: If you’re not passionate about your topic, how do you expect anyone else to be?
  4. Visual: Use words that bring visual elements to your readers mind. It will help to make your message more memorable, as well as bring the reader into your story.
  5. Stories: And speaking of stories, people love stories. So the one, and perhaps the biggest element of the elevator pitches: tell the story. I also find that when the pitch is woven into the story it often helps to create a smoother presentation.

How to Craft Your Killer Elevator Pitch

  • Write it down: First you want to write it down. Start by writing a very short story. See if you can tell the story of your book in two paragraphs. This will get the juices flowing. As you start to wiggle your story down from let’s say 200,000 words to 2 paragraphs you’ll start to see why it’s important to pull only the most essential elements from your story to craft your elevator pitch.
  • Make a list: Make a list of 10 to 20 things that your book does for the reader. So this can be action statements, benefits, or book objectives.
  • Record yourself: Next, you’re going to want to get a recorder to record yourself. See how you sound, I can almost guarantee you that you will not like the first few drafts of this that you do. That’s actually a really good thing. If you like the first thing that you write, it probably won’t be that effective. Recording yourself will really help you to listen what you’re saying and figure out how to tighten up various areas of it.
  • Rest: I highly recommend that you give yourself enough time to do your elevator pitch. Ideally you want to let it rest overnight, if not longer. Remember the elevator pitch is perhaps the most important thing that you created in your marketing package. Don’t you want to make sure it’s right?

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – September 8, 2014
September 8, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to this week’s Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. We’ve got some advice on book marketing, writing, and getting published for this week’s carnival. Thank you to all of the contributors!

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme submitted Being Heard Above the Noise posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “The number of books published each year is staggering. How do you get your book noticed above all that noise?”

tips 5

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted 22 Cookbook and Nonfiction Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts posted at Publishing … And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “I’ve compiled a list of 22 publishers that accept cookbook proposals from writers. Even if you haven’t written a cookbook, this list will be of interest to you. Most of these publishers accept nonfiction proposals in a number of categories, and some accept fiction.”


Chrys Fey submitted Two Character Perspectives posted at Write With Fey, saying, “There are many stories written in one character’s perspective, but a lot of books are composed of two or more perspectives. And I am finding that more and more readers are enjoying getting into the heads of both the hero and heroine in romance books.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link:

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