1stNews from 1stBooks, May 15, 2002

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Editor's Message
* Article: "How This Self-Help Author Sold 6,000 Print-on-
Demand Books"
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Ben Parler Discovers the
Publishing Process is Easier Than He Thought
* Article: "Writing Down-to-Earth Visionary Fiction"
* Comments
* 1stBooks News: 1stBooks Authors Win ForeWord Awards
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter



Welcome to Issue #7. This issue's marketing article is
generously donated by Book Marketing Update, a fee-based
subscription newsletter edited by John Kremer, author of
"1001 Ways to Market Your Books." Following all the leads
in BMU will keep you very busy indeed! Our thanks to Bill
Harrison for letting us share it with you.

The article on the writing process focuses on visionary
fiction and has lessons for any fiction writer who
struggles to create believable characters.

And if you've written articles (500-800 words) about
aspects of the writing process, and you'd like me to
consider them for publication in this newsletter, I'd be
glad to take a look (I still have plenty of marketing
articles in my inbox). Send them to

Finally, make sure to take a look at the ForeWord award
winners in '1stBooks News.' In the April 17 issue, we
announced the finalists, and now we have the winners. Four
1stBooks authors took home awards! Congratulations!


Focusing on word-of-mouth helped keep marketing costs to a

From http://www.BookMarketingUpdate.com

Selling 6,000 books is decent for any self-published
author. But when you sell 6,000 print-on-demand (POD) books,
that's even more impressive. Carol Tuttle did just that,
and the best part is she spent almost no money on marketing,
relying instead on word-of-mouth. Here's how she did it.

Get your book into reader's--not reviewer's--hands. Tuttle
knew that once people read her book, they'd be so impressed
that they'd recommend it to others. This was the focus of
her strategy--creating word-of-mouth and letting other
people sell the book for her. "It's great to have reviews
and get the industry interested in your book," says Tuttle,
"but ultimately you have to get the book in the hands of

Seed your market. Tuttle began her strategy by buying 400
books from her publisher at a 45% discount. She then resold
them to some clients of her private alternative therapy
office. The rest, she gave to people she knew would spread
the word. "I gave the books to key people I knew would love
it." She understood that these key people would, in turn,
become a mini-marketing force. She also placed copies of
her book in other places where people likely to be
interested in its topic would frequent, such as waiting
rooms at alternative-healing centers.

Tuttle is adamant that if you want your book to generate
sales, your book has to look and read as professional as
possible. She studied other books in her genre and noticed
that for most of them, the most prominent feature on the
cover was a headshot of the author. Because of this, she
spent $400 simply making sure she got a high-quality
headshot to use for her own cover. She spent more money on
this than on any other part of her marketing except for the
design of her website.

Your book must read well. All too often, the lack of
editing that tends to go along with self-publishing kills
your credibility. Tuttle subjected her book to the scrutiny
of eight different editors who helped her catch any glaring
mistakes and tighten up the text.

Develop local relationships. As mentioned above, Tuttle
began her marketing campaign by distributing and selling
her books to key people in her geographic area. Eventually,
one of those people gave her book to the regional manager
of a major bookstore chain who booked Tuttle for nine
appearances at various bookstores in the region. She was
also able to convince the owner of a health-food store in
her area, who also happens to host a local radio show, to
have her on the show and host events at his store. She sold
several hundred books this way. That may not seem like a
lot, but when you're talking about building momentum,
starting locally, developing a reputation, and then
branching out can often be the best way to go.

Market your book without ever leaving home. Especially for
a POD book, online marketing makes a tremendous amount of
sense. Readers comfortable using the Internet won't have a
problem going directly to the Web to order your book, and
it's one way to get exposure nationally (and even
internationally) without ever leaving home. One strategy
that was successful for Tuttle involved setting up online
chat sessions on sites like About.com. She searched for
moderators who might be interested in her topic, such as
depression and alternative healing, and asked if they'd be
interested in reviewing her book or hosting an event. This
led to an ongoing relationship where Tuttle was able to
market her books directly to people online and send them to
her website where they could purchase the book or her
higher-priced CD package.

For more information about Carol Tuttle and her book,
"Remembering Wholeness: A Personal Handbook for Thriving in
the 21st Century," visit her website at

This article originally appeared in John Kremer's Book
Marketing Update, a twice-monthly newsletter that covers
major media publicity opportunities for authors as well as
case histories of successful book promotion campaigns. For
subscription info, plus a transcript of John's recent
telephone seminar on "What Bestselling Authors Do
Differently," visit http://www.BookMarketingUpdate.com



"I am amazed to find such wonderful people, to talk to,
about the publishing of my book. I had inquired on the
1stBooks website, and in no time, I was contacted by a
young man named Mike.

"This guy is the nicest person I have had the chance to
talk to in some time now. Mike was able to answer every
question I had about the process. It is sure nice to know,
or at least feel like, I am not being led astray, in a
process of the business I don't know much or anything
about. I felt very comfortable during the whole
conversation and really appreciate everything. Thank you
for the info and I look forward to doing business with your

Benjamin G. Parler (mailto:BenParler&aol.com)


Copyright 2001 by Robin Rice (mailto:aroundrobin&yahoo.com)

The leaves crunch under my feet. Daylight streams through
the trees. Birds and chatty squirrels voice a welcome. The
heavy scent of rich soil and damp moss fill my nostrils.
This is it--the place I go to 'get' stories. My three-
quarter mile, circular path in the woods where I forget I'm
walking like I forget I'm breathing. I soar into my vision
quest mode. Within a quarter mile, the Divine Source (or
perhaps just my Higher Self, who can be sure?) begins to
download ideas as freely as candy tossed at a parade.

An hour later, I have to reel myself in and find some way
to put what I've been given on paper. This is when what I
call my 'day job' begins. I wrestle with the gods of story
to find some way of shoving that awesome vision into
sentences and paragraphs and chapters that obey the rules
of top quality fiction. Writing becomes that blood-letting
task you hear tell of. Thirty rounds of edits begin. Rules
replace wu-wu. [Editor's Note: "Wu-wu" is poetic license,
if you will, for feel-good-intuition stuff.] I quit, again
and again. At least until that next walk.

Writing Visionary Fiction is a wild ride. We dare-devils
soar to the heights of what is possible and then attempt
the even greater feat of putting the startling
possibilities we have seen on paper. It takes more than a
talent for throwing out pretty phrases and lofty ideals. It
takes time and skill, not to mention a willingness to grow
alongside our characters.

Solid fiction writers, visionary or not, know the basics.
Show, don't tell. Characters must have flaws, or at least
limitations which they must grow past (or in spite of).
Every book is 98% conflict (this is a tough one for
visionaries who see themselves as peace makers) and 2%
meaningful conclusion. If you're going to dangle your
participles, you'd better know you're doing it, why you're
doing it, and make it work despite breaking the rules.

For visionaries, there are extra challenges. Don't ramble
or preach, for God's sake (or anyone else's). Get into the
real stuff of life, not just the lofty wu-wu, or readers
won't identify. After all, those already on the mountain
top probably are not going to come down to Barnes & Noble
to buy a book about how they got there. Allow truth to come
through as a natural part of the story, not a brilliant
idea thrown in a stilting conversation that doesn't even
fit into the storyline. Have bad guys and make them human.

All this is easier said than done. So lets discuss a few
nuts and bolts. For example, how does a great, wise,
blissful character who glows like a forty-watt light bulb
contribute to conflict? That was my challenge with Chief-Of-
No-Tribe in my novel "A Hundred Ways To Sunday." It took me
a full year and every trick I could think of to get such a
great spiritual Master to contribute to the story in a way
that obeys the rules of sound fiction. How did I do it?
Here are a few hints.

Chief is ever calm, but he stirs up the 'stuff' in Mary, my
main character, in dramatic ways. In response, she reacts
negatively toward him even though she knows he is the
person she has spent a life searching for. He proves he can
heal her immediate angst with a wave of hand, but he
doesn't. He lets her sit in it until she can't stand it any
more in order to let her find her own answers within. He
matter-of-factly offers her options she knows are
impossible and gives her answers that only raise more
questions. He is frighteningly thin and 108 years old, so
his very frailty is a constant reminder that time is of the
essence. He calls her "Sweet Mary" which touches her so
deeply it makes her willing to dare even the worst that he
challenges her to do.

To crank up the conflict yet another notch as the story
goes on (another rule of fiction), I have him off-handedly
mention that he spent time in an asylum, which makes Mary
wonder if the journey he is taking her on can lead to any
place but where he has been. In one chapter, he even takes
on Mary's personal interior world, experiencing it first-
hand as a painful, growing boil on his back; she must lance
it in order to heal him. While it grows, he appears as an
angry, seething man about to jump out of his own skin. Once
the boil is lanced, he returns to his true self and
apologizes for how he has treated her. In those terse
moments, he behaves terribly. Yet Mary (and the reader)
understands that he took on her pain in this way as a great
loving gesture, and so his character is not compromised.

These techniques create conflict that turns the page,
without Chief ever having to deviate from his loving and
'larger than life' role. It is just one example of the many
ways we visionary writers must work to present our ideals
(from characters to miracles) in ways that create fiction
that is worthy of the reader's time and energy. It's a
tough job, but who better to take a crack at it than the

Robin Rice is a multi-published fiction author. Her latest
book, "A Hundred Ways To Sunday," has a companion guided
imagery CD that allows readers to take their own shamanic
drumming journeys based on signposts from the book. Visit
her at http://www.BeWhoYouAre.com



"I read with interest what Prof. Lou Nitti wrote about
creative writing. For your readers, I would like to add the
following on creative writing, specially short stories: (1)
A short story should be short and enjoyable, (2) It should
flow from the heart, (3) It should deal with Truth, even if
it is fiction, that is, the Truth of emotions, (4) It
should have universal appeal, (5) It should be in a style
that will keep the reader engaged or almost in a dialogue
with the writer, (6) Stories dealing with conflicts, pain
and tragedies are more appreciated than the so-called "feel
good" ones, (7) The story, though fiction, should have a
quality as if it could have happened, (8) The writer should
be in a state of controlled regression while writing, (9)
The hallmark of a good story is that it should impact the
reader on an emotional level and that the reader will
remember it for a long time, (10) Finally, this is the most
difficult concept. The creative writer should actively
avoid thinking about publicity and marketing, but simply
give expression to what is being created as an article of

Dr. Prasanna K. Pati is a retired psychiatrist and author
of "Adventures and Misadventures of Dr. Sonjee: A
Collection of Short Stories." He played the role of Dr.
Sonjee in the movie, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."



Our hearty congratulations to these 1stBooks authors who
have just won three Silver and one Bronze medals in the
ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards.

Barbara Crane: "The Oldest Things in the World"

Nicholas DiRusso: "No Strings Attached"

David L. Kilpatrick: "Undercover White Trash"

Lloyd J. Guillory: "Rainey: The Story of a Woman "



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