1stNews from 1stBooks, December 18, 2002
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ATTENTION CHICAGO-AREA WRITERS/SELF-PUBLISHERS
Two 1stBooks authors, Jim Durkin and Sheila Peters, have
started a Writers' Marketing Group for authors--including
those who use 1stBooks--to meet quarterly. The first
meeting, attended by nearly 30 people, was held in November.
Excellent marketing ideas were shared among the
participants. Everyone felt the meeting was a positive and
valuable experience and thinks the formation of the group
will help everyone sell more books.
The second meeting will be held at the Barnes and Noble
store, located on the corner of Washington and Chicago
Streets in Downtown Naperville, IL, on Thursday, January
23rd at 7:30 pm. (Free parking is available in the city-
owned garage next door.) For more info, call the store at
(630) 579-0200 or email Jim at
TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Editor's Message
* Article: "Don't Leave Money on the Table--Sell Foreign and
Book Club Rights"
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Bill Clotworthy Achieves Over
150 Media Interviews, Including National Enquirer, E! News
* Seasonal and Topical
* Article: "15 New Year's Resolutions for Writers and Self-
* News From The Writing World (IMPORTANT--includes a
CORRECTION to the ForeWord awards)
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter
* Copyright and Reprint Information
Important note: Because the next day we would normally
publish is New Year's Day, we're delaying the next issue one
week. Look for the next issue on January 8, 2003.
Because this is the last issue of the year, our craft
article offers you 15 positive steps you can take to advance
your writing career: New Year's Resolutions for Writers!
It's kind of a crossbreed; some of the action steps are
related to marketing and others to writing, and there are
different authors for each section. But since 2/3 of the
ideas are writing-related, I'm putting it in the writing
slot this month.
On the marketing side, a few of you requested an article on
subsidiary rights. In response, we have Jim Donovan, who has
sold more than 200,000 copies of his self-published books,
reflecting on the pleasant shock of a huge foreign-rights
DON'T LEAVE MONEY ON THE TABLE--SELL FOREIGN AND BOOK CLUB
By Jim Donovan, mailto:jim&thebookcoach.com
I happened to log into my online banking one day last summer
and saw a rather large wire transfer from my Japanese
agent--more than a lot of people make in a year. I'm
normally a quiet person, but I was ready to jump up and down
and sing. At the same time, my beliefs about what is
possible from foreign rights sales changed forever--because
this fat deposit was for royalties on an existing foreign
edition of my book.
It's a commonly held belief in the industry that you should
obtain as much as you can for the rights to your book, as an
advance, for a given country because you're likely not to
see anything past that. I used to believe that, but I no
longer do, having received significant income from *ongoing
sales* of my books in other countries. Of course, you'll
want to get as much as possible up front. However, this is
not the end of the story.
Foreign rights and book clubs are two of the most over-
looked areas where self-published authors can extend the
reach of their books while reaping a tidy profit.
Foreign language rights are a great source of totally
passive income. After all, you do little to drive the sales
in other countries. The best and easiest way I know to
handle these deals is through an agent who does business in
the country that you are targeting. Of course, the amount of
the advance will depend upon not only your book but also the
size and the economy of the foreign country. An agent for
some of the Asian countries told me the story of an
arrangement he made where the US publisher transferred the
rights to a publisher in small Asian country and, as
payment, received original artwork, which he then sold back
in the US. Unusual? Yes! But why not do it? To date, I've
sold the translation rights to my own books in five
countries (for cash) and have more in negotiations.
This is the way foreign rights sales work: You sell the
rights for a certain amount of money upfront and the
publisher prints a certain number of copies. Your advance is
essentially based on the expected market for the book and is
actually a royalty on the first printing. If the book takes
off, the publisher goes back to print and you earn more
money. As far as I can see, there is no downside to this.
Sometimes, it can be an embarrassingly small amount of
money, like a $36.00 check that I just received. But what
the heck--this is for a seven-year-old book. Will I cash the
check? You bet! And I'll have a great lunch with it.
Another overlooked area is the book club. They are some of
the best ongoing passive revenue sources that you could
find. While most book clubs have been consolidated under one
of the bigger companies, like Book of the Month Club, you
will find a book club that caters to almost every imaginable
niche. I am currently in discussions with Book of the Month
Club's Computer Book Club division, for Manage IT, a new
book that I've co-authored.
Book clubs generally purchase a small number of books at a
substantial discount and add the title to their catalogs. If
your book begins selling, you have an ongoing, long-term
customer who can bring you significant revenue and sell
large numbers of books over time. Again, this is an area
well worth investigating.
Jim Donovan is the Book Coach and self-published author of
several books including "This is Your Life, Not a Dress
Rehearsal." Combined, his books have sold more than 200,000
copies (more than 93,000 of them in other countries). Visit
Jim at http://www.thebookcoach.com
1STBOOKS SUCCESS PROFILE: BILL CLOTWORTHY ACHIEVES OVER 150
MEDIA INTERVIEWS, INCLUDING NATIONAL ENQUIRER, E! NEWS AND
To promote his book, "Saturday Night Live: Equal Opportunity
Offender" based on his 12+ years as the network censor on
that show, Bill Clotworthy used his book's relevance to
their subject matter to get a significant segment on E!
News, which owns the re-run rights to SNL, as well as a
brief mention on SNL itself. He was also profiled in the
He also took out an ad in Radio TV Interview Report, a
magazine that profiles guests for radio and TV producers
(produced by the same folks who allow us to reprint articles
from their Book Marketing Update newsletter--if you'd like
to know more, visit http://www.rtir.com). "As a result, I
have done almost 150 radio interviews all over the country.
There seemed to be great and continuing interest in the
Preview Bill's book at http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/5152
15 NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS FOR WRITERS AND SELF-PUBLISHERS
ON THE WRITING SIDE
by Shel Horowitz, mailto:shorowitz&1stbooks.com
The next phase of your career as a writer is easy to
achieve--and may lead you in directions you never thought
1. Write at least one page a day, five days a week--and by
the end of the year, you've written your next book.
2. Keep a journal of ideas and inspirations--and refer back
to it at least once a month.
3. Conquer writer's block, even if it means spewing garbage
out of the keyboard; after you edit out the junk later, you
may find the perfect sentence you've been struggling for.
4. Set a goal for your writing career one year from now--and
do at least one thing every week (one per day is better) to
make that goal a reality.
5. Try a genre you've never done before. If you've only
written novels, try a non-fiction article. If you're a
business writer, cover an arts event.
6. Stay in touch with your public. Reach at least one live
audience every month.
7. Revise enough to get your stuff in perfect shape, but not
so much that you kill your muse.
8. Before you publish anything, show it to people who will
give you honest, trained feedback.
9. If you have old pieces lying around, send them out to new
markets or collect them into a book-length project.
10. Insist on uninterrupted time to write.
Don't think of them as resolutions--think of them as 10 easy
steps to build your writing career!
ON THE MARKETING SIDE
by Kathe Kain, mailto:drkain&playandteach.com
Just these 5 commitments will get you focused and organized,
put new life in your marketing program, and help your
marketing efforts succeed.
1. Toss out your old marketing stuff and start again from
scratch instead of just tweaking things every year.
2. Create fliers that encourage customers to purchase *and*
give them a chance to make that purchase in any way they
3. Create a clean, remodeled website that focuses on the
basics - Home, Products, Ordering, and Contact Information.
4. Restructure your product mix and product offers to
increase the dollar amount of each purchase.
5. Schedule your marketing campaign to reach target segments
at appropriate times.
Shel Horowitz, editor of 1stNews from 1stBooks, has written
six books and over 800 articles. Dr. Kathleen Kain publishes
the popular Science Spiders line of children's science books
and manages the Children's Educational Cooperative, a
marketing consortium of publishers selling to the
1STBOOKS NEWS: BOOKS AT A DISCOUNT
Did you read the 15 New Year's Resolutions? Do you feel
inspired now to renew your marketing efforts?
Whether you're an avid promoter of your book or you plan to
be one for 2003, you can now buy copies in quantity, and pay
less. For orders of 100 books or more, you can save you an
average of $100 to $300 per order! This, of course, means
more money directly in your pocket because your selling
price is the same while the cost of your product is lower.
To get a free, no obligation quote for your book, please
send an email to:
SEASONAL AND TOPICAL
CHRISTMAS, December 25
"The Legend of the Twenty-First North Pole Santa"
by Denise Graham Zahn
(Explains how Santa delivers all the presents in one night)
"The Year My Whole Country Turned Jewish"
by Anne Hart
(Explores Christmas, Chanukah, and Ramadan in 10th-century
"A Very Deer Love Story"
by Michael J. Smajda
"Lost in Redskirt Forest"
by Neil Grobman
(Fantasy story set at Christmas/New Year's 2002)
"The Christmas House"
by Barry KuKes
(Happy Christmas ghost story)
"The Elf In The Ornament"
by E.L. Barclay
"Young Jesus, The Missing Years"
by Joseph H. Radder
(Extrapolated biography in which Jesus visits Bethlehem)
"The Fabric Merchant"
by Beaulah Bellaire
(Jesus' life as seen by a merchant of the period)
NEW YEAR'S, January 1
"Serenity For The Soul"
by Brian J. Buriff
(Daily devotional that guides you through the Bible, from
Genesis to Revelation)
NEWS FROM THE WRITING WORLD
WRITERS SUPPORTING LITERACY
The 2003 calendar "Authors Supporting Youth Literacy"
features some of the nation's top literary and commercial
writers. The calendar funds writing literacy workshops for
at-risk students. Help save a child's future. Please order
your 2003 calendar today secure online at
STILL TIME TO ENTER FOREWORD MAGAZINE'S BOOK OF THE YEAR
"Honoring excellence in independent publishing," ForeWord
Magazine's award program recognizes a wide range of fiction
and non-fiction. Authors' cost to enter is $50 plus three
copies of their book and the deadline is January 15, 2003.
PLEASE NOTE THIS CORRECTION: In our previous announcement,
we stated that you need to send two copies. The correct
number is three, and we apologize for any inconvenience this
error may have caused.
ABOUT 1STBOOKS LIBRARY
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means neither you nor we have to invest lots of cash in
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ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
1stNews from 1stBooks is designed to provide useful
information for authors, especially those new to the
publishing process. Sent the first and third Wednesday of
the month, we cover book marketing, POD production, writing,
and related issues.
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