Sunday, November 22, 2009

Looking for a publisher? Introducing Around the Loop publisher Beth Rogers from Alabama.

Today Writers in Business welcomes Beth Rogers of Rutledge, AL. Beth is a writer, graphic designer and most recently a publisher. She operates Around the Loop Publishing from her home office and offers a complete line of book services for writers including establishing a marketing plan, editing, design and layout, printing and suggestions on order fulfillment.

What is the timeline to get a book publishing through Around the Loop Publishing?

I like to suggest to authors that they be prepared for a six month timeline, at least. Obviously, sometimes it may take a lot less time, but I want them to be prepared. Rushing any part of the project can make a big difference in how the final product looks.

When you think about all the things that need to be done, after the author is finished, it makes sense. When the manuscript is done, it needs to be given to someone to be read and edited. The storyline flow should make sense, spelling and grammar errors need to be corrected and verb tense needs to be consistent. Logical errors need to be corrected as well- for example, a minor character may be named Chad in chapter three, and by chapter five the name may change to Brad. (Errors like these can be easy to miss, but sometimes they leap out at readers after the book has been printed- I’ve seen whole websites dedicated to catching and publicizing these errors.) The person doing the proofreading and editing should not only be knowledgeable in grammar and writing, they need to be familiar with the author- they don’t need to change his ‘voice’. When the editor is done, the author usually has to do a rewrite, and then the editor goes through the manuscript again. This may take several times to get everything correct.

While the editing and rewriting are being done, the design for the book cover and contents should be completed. The person creating the designs should be familiar enough with the book to make sure the cover brings out part of the story, or matches the intent of the story.

Once the editing is complete and the design is ready, it’s time to ship the files to the printer. Then they have to check the files to make sure there aren’t any problems before they send the book to press. They’ll send a final quote on what they’ll charge to print the books; after they receive the go- ahead, the books are printed. We’ve been fortunate to get books printed as quickly as two weeks, but it can take longer.

Cover design is an integral part of creating a marketable book. Your web site states, “Just as the front door to your home gives visitors an idea of who you are and what your home is like, the cover should tell a very small part of your story, to intrigue potential visitors, and get them to pick it up and flip through the pages.” How do you help writers create their book covers? What pieces are important in the overall design?

The fonts, images and colors chosen all play an important part of the cover design- I can’t honestly say that one is more important than another. Any bookstore will prove this- walk through the section of mysteries and you’ll see what I mean. The cover shows something that says ‘mystery’- it may be colors that combine to jar you, or an image that is disturbing.Romantic novels use fonts with a flourish.

I like to use the book “If I Did It” by OJ Simpson as an example of one way the design can truly tell something about the book. Anyone who has ever seen it knows what I mean - the author meant one thing by the title, but the people who ended up with publishing rights had a totally different take on the story. To see what I mean, look at the cover of If I Did It. Just by looking at the way the title is presented, you know exactly how the Goldman family feels- a very simple design, but anyone seeing it has no doubt about it.

How do you charge authors for the services you provide? Is it by the hour or by the job?

I know most other publishers pay a fee to an author, and then take over the entire process for the book. They then reap the lion’s share of the profits from sales of the book. This really limits how many books get published every year, and I am sure there are lots of good books which don’t get published, simply because a publisher won’t sign a new author.

On the other hand, I work with the author to do whatever tasks are required. As a general rule, I ask for a couple of sample chapters from a prospective author. By reading his work, I can judge how much time and effort the process will take, and I prepare quotes with that in mind.

One author I’m working with now has someone who can do the editing and proofreading. My main tasks for this author will be cover and interior design. I’ll help them find a printer that fits their needs, and I’ll help write press releases, contact bookstores, newspapers, and radio and television stations, and I’ll supply the ISBN number.

They pay me for the tasks they need me to do, and when my job is finished, the book and its profits are all theirs.

To me, a book is a part of the author’s life, like a family member. That’s where it should belong.
Around the Loop Publishing provides personalized services, competitive prices, southern hospitality, hometown respect and courtesy. You can get professional results and outstanding customer service by visiting Beth at Around the Loop Publishing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Art of Writing by Margaret (Peggy) Fieland

Born and raised in New York City, Margaret Fieland has been around art and music all her life. Daughter of a painter, she is the mother of three grown sons and an accomplished flute and piccolo player. She is an avid science fiction fan. She lives in the suburbs west of Boston, MA with her partner and seven dogs.

Her poems, articles and stories have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Main Channel Voices, Echolocation, and Twisted Tongue. Her first book, The Angry Little Boy, has been completed.

Welcome Peggy.

Thank you Brigitte, I'm happy to be here.

Tell us what you write about

I'm a professional Computer Software engineer (BA in mathematics, MS in computer science), but I've written poetry as far back as I can remember.

Who has inspired you in your writing?
Lewis Carroll. My all time favorite book is “Alice in Wonderland,” which I reread every exam time when I was in college, as I made it a habit to avoid the library during exams. I'm also very fond of Carroll's poetry. I've got several stanzas of Jabberwocky and You Are Old, Father William memorized.

What made you want to start writing?

Good question – I started and became addicted. I really love writing -- and I just plain enjoy writing poetry, rhymed and unrhymed. I've developed my own algorithm for generating rhymes, which means that I often don't have to use a rhyming dictionary at all.

Besides, if I don't write it down it stays stuck in my head.

When do you write? Do you work best when you set aside specific times?

Since I have a full time job, I write whenever the spirit moves me, and I have (or can make) the time. The nice thing about poetry is that a lot of it is short and taking a couple of minutes to jot down poetry is pretty easy to do. Waiting for appointments is a favorite time to write. I've had good luck being "inspired" by those articles you find in waiting rooms.

Do you ever have a problem with writer's block?

Not so far, thank goodness {pauses to knock wood}.

You may visit Peggy’s website at to view some of her writing. Peggy is a member of VBT- Writers on the Move who are celebrating their anniversary this November.

Learn more about this fantastic promotional group for authors by visiting Prizes are given away each day during this event.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Tips on Writing Conference Success by Mary Andonian

Today’s guest is author and freelance writer, Mary Andonian. Mary has written two books, Mind Chatter: Stories from the Squirrel Cage and Bitsy's Labyrinth. She is a columnist for Writers on the Rise and Writer Mama.

She shares her tips on preparing a high impact dossier which you can circulate at your next writing conference.

Writing Conference Success: Preparing Your Dossier – More on Bios and Cover Letters

Many people will go into a conference empty-handed, but not you. I have two good reasons why you should walk into the conference armed with business cards and proposal packages (thinly disguised as inexpensive paper folders).

- First, these items will build your credibility and boost your professional demeanor.

- Second, at best you’ll get your proposal in the hands of editors and agents for their long flight home, and at worst you’ll be in the enviable position to immediately mail follow-up materials.

Two important elements that will go into your proposal package are your bio and cover letter.


Your bio page can be made up in any number of ways. You can use a more traditional resume approach, listing all of your writing credits in chronological order, along with relevant educational background, and so on.

Or you may opt for the author’s book flap approach, where you write your bio the way you would like it to be seen on the back cover of your book.

Best-selling author Julie Fast lists her writing credits, but includes next to each credit a full color photo representing each credit. I used her approach for my last proposal package and ended up using visual icons representing the Contra Costa Times Newspapers (two of my essays were printed in this newspaper) and both an Institute of Children’s Literature logo and a Willamette Writers logo (for my education and involvement in these institutions, respectively).

When it was all said and done, my bio page looked pretty impressive.

Cover Letter

The cover letter is really a one-page query letter you would send in lieu of meeting your agent or editor. It should be addressed to the agent or editor to whom you’ll pitch, along with her complete (and accurate) company title/imprint, address and phone number.

Your salutation should be addressed to Ms. [Last Name], unless you have met the person before.

The first paragraph should be a one-sentence summary of the book you’re trying to pitch.

The second and possibly third paragraphs should describe your book by first stating the need for such a book and then by telling why your book is the perfect solution to that need.

The last few paragraphs talk about you. Why are you the perfect person to write this book? What have you done that’s note-worthy, and why would people buy from you? This is where you will talk about your platform, if you have one. If you don’t have paid writing credits, then highlight other achievements, such as (relevant) degrees completed or awards won. Even non-relevant degrees might work if you spin them right: “I have an M.B.A. with an emphasis in Marketing, a skill set that will come in handy after my book has sold.”

Remember: Every interaction should close the sale or advance the sale, so close your letter with an offer to send more: “May I send you the entire manuscript? Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Please visit Mary’s web site at Mary Andonian to learn more about her writing as well as her exciting news regarding her new screenplay.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Book Reviewer & Editor, Robert Medak

Robert Medak began writing book reviews for Allbooks Review in February of 2006. He has been expanding his services ever since and now offers editing for manuscripts as well as a variety of writing applications including freelance articles and Internet content. Robert is the co-founder of a creative writing workshop and he has facilitated courses for writers at Writers' Village University (WVU).

Through his writing & editing business, Robert’s mission is to offer businesses, individuals, and writers help with their writing needs. He is joining us today at Writers in Business.

In doing research for this interview, I went to visit your web site and blogs. You have a lot of information to offer. Can you tell us a bit about each blog?

I have numerous blogs, some are about freelance writing, about writing in general, book reviews, and about animals and items for children. I also maintain two blogs for AllBook Reviews. I have also started some at other sites but there is not much on them yet.

With your writing & editing business, do you find one of your services is in more demand than another?

Writing is the most in demand at this time, mostly writing articles and book reviews.

Does writing or editing work keep you the busiest?

Writing keeps me the busiest, but I also enjoy editing. Doing editing and writing helps me improve in both areas. I feel that one should always strive to improve in whatever they do.

Do you have a preference for working with fiction or non-fiction? As an avid reader, I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction and all genres.

I’m also interested in your courses for writers. What topics are you teaching? What aspects are covered? Are your courses available online?

I created a course about how to overcome procrastination, the creative writing workshop is a series of writing prompts to help new writers get started, I have facilitated courses on different aspects of writing at the Writers’ Village University. I do not do much there, as my time is spent writing articles online. They are online at WVU. I have also approached my local library to have an ongoing writing workshop for people thinking about writing. I would cover all aspects of writing, publishing, marketing, and promotion.

I understand you have a new book in the works. Please tell us about it.

I have been asked many times about how to break into freelance writing. I decided to write a book about the subject. I also presented a course at the October 2009 Muse Online Writers Conference “So You Want to be a Freelance Writer.”

You can visit Robert at Stormy Writer and at RJM Book Reviews. He is also an expert at Ezine Articles.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Employee or Self-Employed?

As your writing business grows, there may be times when you need to hire help. You also may be providing writing services and wonder if you are working for a company as an employee or if you are really self-employed.

The Internal Revenue Service has strict definitions they use when determining if someone is an employee or a subcontractor. You can learn all about it on their web site using this link:Employee vs Independent Contractor