August 25, 2010

Book Marketing Collaboration Wins by a Mile Five steps for great teamwork by Julie Weinstein

Book marketing is not a solitary event. It’s not like writing a book. It’s a social process involving networking and promotions to generate buzz about your book. One of the more fun ways to get the momentum building is through marketing collaboration with other authors.

Collaboration among authors works like a track relay team where each player runs and passes the baton to the next runner. If one member of the team drops the baton and forgets to do his or her part the whole team loses.

In athletics, teamwork is a necessary component for success. The same is true in a collaborative environment like book marketing—where an idea shared can transform a good promotions effort into a great one that catches on like wild fire. Collaboration makes the sum greater than the individual components.

Instilling the attitude for true collaborative teamwork is difficult. In a way, it’s like a “think tank”—a place where ideas and strategies develop and are nurtured. Inherent in this process is acceptance of the collaborative effort without fear of recrimination or rejection. Respect is crucial.

The core elements to collaboration involve:

Setting up expectations
Developing open communication
Trusting each others input
Willing to share
Committing to teamwork

Setting up expectations

The collaborative process works best by setting up expectations from the getgo. Understand what each person wants and needs. Have fun exploring this and seeing how you can work together to help market each others’ books.

Developing open communication

Trust each one another. Respect the other’s viewpoints, and listen to what each other has to say. It also involves including each other in the process. Remember, they’re part of your collaborative team.

Willing to share

Brainstorm together. Test out opportunities that benefit both parties. Recognize when the other’s niche is needed, even if there’s nothing in it for you. For instance, one author might see a call for a column on mystery writing. The other might notice a call for something on magic realism. It takes all a couple of seconds to share this kind of information. When the other party knows you’re thinking of them in this way they’ll be quick to reciprocate.

Committing to teamwork

All parties need a willingness to work together. When one party pulls out of this process it’s as if a team mate drops the baton in the track and field race causing the process to fail.

How to do you get collaboration started?

Start talking to other authors. Get to know each other. Make friends in social network media environments like Facebook and writer related forums and in your local community.

Open the dialogue. For instance one author might say to another,” Hey, I admire your books. Are you looking to do more marketing? Would you be willing to brainstorm and see how we can help each other?”

An author might answer, “Wow, that sounds great. How about we do some joint book reviews? Why don’t we interview each other? Hey, what about guest blogging on each others’ blogs?”

The sharing of opportunities like this can not only be beneficial, but a joyful learning process. Once you agree to help each other out in this collaborative way, remember to always emphasize trust and comfort in the process. Remind each other,” Book marketing is not a solitary event. We’re running this race together. We’ll sell books and have fun.”

Visit Julie Weinstein’s Publisher at

August 19, 2010


I don’t know many authors who have not ventured into joining a writers group of some sort. In fact, the publishing world, its agents, authors and editors highly recommend an aspiring writer join such groups.

When I began my journey down the serious writing road, I joined three such writers groups. Great...doing what I am supposed to do, perfecting the craft.

Little did I know that it would bring out the best and the worst in the members of these groups. There I was, submitting my blood, sweat and tears, my hours of anguish and joy, eagerly awaiting a mere suggestion or helpful hint or, dare I dream, a compliment or word of encouragement.

The e-mails poured in, one by one, and in anticipation of guidance, I clicked on the messages. Instead of encouragement, I found my wonderful, inspiring story ripped to shreds...word by word...line-by-line... chapter by submitted chapter. “It doesn’t grab me.” “No one would ever want to read a story about some stupid country man.” “The first rule is never to mix point of view.” Show, don’t tell.” Don’t ever mix genre’s” “Give up writing, you #%@”.

These were examples of critiques I am able to repeat with the foul, arrogant adjectives omitted. With tears flowing down my face, I wondered why they did not see my vision. How could they not understand the purpose of my characters? In addition, was it necessary to be so cruel? What had I ever done to deserve such ridicule? I was stupid to attempt such an endeavor.

I was also very confused. One author would say they loved the story and give helpful advice, another would vehemently suggest I put up the pen and find another hobby, of course quoting their own published works with a reputable agent. Then the people who commented on my work would argue among themselves about the critiques of my story. So heated were the arguments... so confusing to my uncertain which avenue to take, I threw my hands up in total frustration, vowing never again to write a single word.

As I stared at my empty computer screen, fearing my own abilities, a light bulb went off. It was all so clear now. Why hadn’t I seen it before? These were not the groups for me to be a part of and I would search until I found an honest, helpful, blunt-speaking group of writers, no matter how long it would take. I did just that and welcomed the feedback of punctuation assistance, suggestions of rewording or omission of sentences or paragraphs. These were my kind of writers-tactful, knowledgeable and truly supportive of one another. Instead of attempting to change my story or ridicule its concept, they would embrace its essence and encourage my vision.

In ending, I urge each ‘wanna-be-writer’ to search until they find a group of writers who belong to the group because they love the art of writing, not because they need to show superiority or have an ego the size of California. You will learn much, hone your craft and in the course make some long-term friendships.
More important, be true to yourself and the passion of your voice and vision. How very boring it would be if every single writer chose to follow the exact same format or never break a rule.

After all, without the courage to be different, creativity would die.

Monica M. Brinkman
, 2010
Author, Poet

Visit Monica’s Publisher at

August 12, 2010


I tend toward overuse of the ellipsis when I chat on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  It's almost to say, "I would go on, but I wouldn't want to bother you."  Now, this is fine when it comes to Twitter, seeing as how there is a strict word count limitation, but what about in general?  What impression is my use of the ... really making?  Is it a passive punctuation mark?

Only a book addict and writer would think of such things, eh?  Well, thinking I am, and I've set out to assign what I've determined the personality characteristic to various punctuation marks.  (See below.)


ASTUTE One of my favorites.  This is the philosopher's dream, the essayist's humility, the short story writer's nemesis, the poet's luxury.  The question mark is not adaptable; it must be used with care.


STRONG MINDED Anyone who says they don't like seeing exclamation points, or that they are a sign of laziness needs to read Nabokov's "Signs and Symbols".  Exclamation points are fiery and strong.


LOGICAL The sign of lists and emphasis.  This sign would best be described as focused, the clarifying element in many a sentence.


MISUNDERSTOOD Ah, the semicolon.  Here, I must digress.  Kurt Vonnegut is famous for saying the following: "Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college."

Great quote, but total bullshit.  The semicolon is beautiful, the epitome of a soft pause that gives cadence to an otherwise abrupt shift in ongoing thought.  The semicolon is romantic and, if not overused, is what I would consider the most romantic of punctuation.

BORING The en dash is rather boring.  The quiet kid at the party, who is only there because s/he's related to someone or is rich/famous/attractive, but is hopelessly ordinary on a personal level.  It's only use is connecting others: numbers, dates or references.

OUTRAGEOUS The em dash is the quiet kid's cousin.  The one that's throwing the party.  Usually drunk and reckless, this is a punctuation mark that is often over-used by those who are over-confident.  Nonetheless, if used properly, it's magical and intoxicating to readers.  The em dash is what makes a 200 word sentence possible.

( )

SECRETIVE Should probably be used more often.

[ ] 

ANXIOUS When I see these, I think math.  So, I will not go on.  Brackets = Anxiety.

. . . 

PASSIVE  It says, "please forgive me, I will not go on..."


FAMOUS The comma needs no introduction.  She's famous, notorious, loved, misunderstood, passed around, worried over, and she breaks many an editor's heart.


The period means nothing, or near nothing, to me. It is merely a way to make my rambling self seem more deliberate.

So there you have it.  Punctuation, as this writer sees it.  I can't help but to wonder how this perception changes from writer to writer?  Please, feel free to challenge me or give opinions of your own.  I'm genuinely curious.

Jen Knox

Order Jen Knox’s Musical Chairs at

Or directly from All Things That Matter Press:

August 5, 2010


About the Book:

A derivative prequel to H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man, set in 1880s University College London, My Salieri Complex is a tale of rivalry, intrigue and intellectual infatuation. Samuel Kemp is a star medical student and the unofficial king of the science lab, respected by his schoolmates and engaged to his professor's daughter. His enviable position is threatened when a mysterious Welsh-born albino by the name Jonathan Griffin enrolls in the same physics seminar and becomes the object of everyone's fascination. Suddenly, Kemp finds himself left in the cold, alone with his growing Salieri complex. When Griffin ends up in the infirmary with symptoms of severe poisoning, Kemp is the prime suspect. What really happened behind the closed doors of the flat they shared?

About the Author:

M J Neary is an award-winning historical essayist, multilingual arts & entertainment journalist, published poet, playwright, actress, dancer and choreographer. Her historical tragicomedy Hugo in London, featuring the adventures of the French literary genius in England during the Crimean War, was produced in Greenwich in 2008. A sequel, Lady with a Lamp: an Untold Story of Florence Nightingale, premiered in New York in the fall of 2009.

As a specialist on the obscure works of Victor Hugo, she has lectured at the French Alliance. Her recently completed novel Wynfield's Kingdom, a narrative version of Hugo in London, represented by Sullivan Maxx Literary Agency, was published by Fireship Press.

In 2007 she was commissioned to collect and publish the memoirs of residents from an affluent retirement community in Stamford, CT. The project involved interviewing more than forty senior citizens over the age of ninety. A new Connecticut-based leisure publication Norwalk Beat has recently brought her on board as a contributor with a focus on the entertainment industry in Connecticut. Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as First Edition, Alimentum and The Recorder. After having a piece of short prose accepted by Bewildering Stories Magazine, she was invited to join the editorial staff.

In addition to her writing career, she has a career in the performing arts. She has starred in several independent art and horror films shot in CT and NY. In the 1990s she competed in various talent pageants in New England.

M J Neary can be reached at She loves networking with fellow writers and actors.

Learn more about M. J. here:

Order a copy of My Salieri Complex at