1stNews from 1stBooks, February 19, 2003

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Table Of Contents

* Editor's Message
* Article: "Postcards: Your Secret Weapon"
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Rev. Melissa A. Ross
* Article: "Don't Suffer In Silence: Write!"
* Case Study: Herb Clark, author of "Death Pad"
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter
* Copyright and Reprint Information


Editor's Message

This issue's marketing article is by another rising star in
the independent publishing industry: Penny Sansevieri,
author of "Get Published Today." She describes how she used
a "news peg" to promote her book on a completely different
topic. While you won't always luck into that kind of
situation, you can train yourself to recognize the
opportunity and take advantage of it when it does come up.

Penny chose postcards as her way of seizing the day.
Postcards should be a valuable part of your book marketing
tool kit. They create visual interest and brand recognition,
and they're among the few full-color marketing pieces that
are still quite affordable even in full color. And, there
are thousands of ways to use them while you promote your
book, some of which don't even involve spending for postage.
1stBooks offers full-color postcards in quantities of 1000,
2500, and 5000. Click on the link below for more info:

Iris Forrest's article on writer's block received very
positive feedback last month, so we have her back again to
talk about the cathartic aspects of writing and about
finding ideas.

Exciting news in the Success Profile this issue! I won't
spoil the surprise, though. We have our first Case Study for
you, as well.


Postcards: Your Secret Weapon
By Penny C. Sansevieri, mailto:penny&booksbypen.com

I began using postcards when I was promoting my first book,
"The Cliffhanger," and I've used them for every book since.
Postcards are great tools for announcing your book, as thank
you notes, or media kit inserts.

I always print my book cover on the front. Typically, I'll
get 500 printed with my book announcement for an initial
mailing and another 500 with a blank back that I can use as
reminders or thank-yous. By seeing my book cover repeatedly,
people will remember it--and, hopefully, remember me too.

And you're not limited to announcements and thank you notes!
Blank postcards can be used for just about anything. For
example, the 2000 Presidential election took place while I
was marketing "The Cliffhanger." All through the ups and
downs of counting ballots they kept referring to this
election as a "cliffhanger." I sent out 500 postcards with
this message:

Getting tired of the Presidential cliffhanger?
Try this one.
The Cliffhanger, a novel.
No politics involved.

Did I have these postcards printed especially for this? No
way! Knowing that the election could get called at any
moment, I was frantic to get these out. So, I purchased
clear labels at my local office supply store and printed
them on my little inkjet printer, adhered them to the
postcards and sent them off. A local TV anchor loved the
tie-in, held up and read my post card and told everyone
watching to go out and buy my book. "The Cliffhanger" shot
up to the #1 best-selling book in San Diego, where it
remained for three months.

It only took one mention. And those who didn't respond were
at least reminded of my book again. Repetition is important.
If someone you've been pitching sees your book enough,
they'll think it's probably worth a call back.

The key is consistency.

Develop a color scheme for your media package and stick with
it. Try to stay away from the formal and (sometimes)
depressing black. Whatever the color of your book, try to be
different. Playing up the more colorful angle will keep your
media kit from getting lost in the shuffle.

Your postcards can keep media kit costs down too. When I
launched my first book, I couldn't afford custom folders.
Instead, I adhered postcards to the front of the folders and
suddenly I had a very professional looking media kit--fun,
colorful and informative.

You can also use these cards to pre-announce your media kit.
Several days prior to mailing one out, I send a postcard
that says: Be on the lookout for your media kit, arriving
shortly! Even if the postcard ends up in the circular file,
the recipient often remembers the book.

Use every opportunity to get your message out there. Much
like the Presidential race, there are a plethora of
opportunities you can hang your star on. Think of holidays
or upcoming media events that might make nice tie ins. Or,
maybe there's a current news story that relates to your

So, when you're designing your marketing package, a postcard
is a vital and inexpensive tool that will generate interest
and make people remember you AND your book.

One final marketing tidbit: Contrary to popular belief, the
back of your postcard gets the most attention. You have
exactly three seconds to impress someone enough to turn the
postcard over and look at the picture. (Source: Pixel
Graphic Design & Communication)

Penny C. Sansevieri's most recent book, "No More Rejections.
Get Published Today!" was released in July of 2002. Penny
coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans
and teaches courses on publishing and promotion. Visit her
web site at http://www.booksbypen.com. To subscribe to her
free ezine, send a blank email to

Copyright (c) 2003 Penny C. Sansevieri


1stBooks Success Profile: Rev. Melissa A. Ross

"My title, 'Love is Forever,' was made live in Oct of 2002.
Since that time I have done, book signings, television
interviews, radio interviews and many more exciting things.
Today I received an email from the Editor of 'Shades of
Romance Magazine,' who informed me that I'd won one of their
Reader's Choice Awards for 2002. In the category of The Best
Multicultural New Fiction Author of the Year, it was
announced a tie for Darryl C. Diggs and Melissa A. Ross. The
award winners will be featured in the Feb. 15 issue of the
magazine, along with my online interview with the editor.
Thanks again and again to 1stBooks for making my dreams of
becoming a published author come true. Boy have they come
true in a big way! Kudos to the folks at 1stBooks."

Rev. Melissa A. Ross
"Love is Forever"


Don't Suffer In Silence: Write!
by Iris Forrest, mailto:irishope&comcast.net

Writing is cheap therapy. And you're blessed with prime
material from which to draw.

Where do you find it? In your memories, emotions and
imagination. Bring them into your conscious mind. Organize
your thoughts, dissect your experiences, harness your
imagination--and write.

Specific examples:

1. Your boss chews you out again for something that isn't
your fault. What do you do with your anger and outrage?

Write the nastiest letter you can think of--and conceal it
in your drawer. The catharsis allows you to continue working
for the S.O.B.!

2. Are you upset about local, national or global politics
and politicians? Write letters to the editor and to elected
officials. No need to hold these feelings inside: send them
out into the world; rid yourself of their negative

3. You observe a dancing couple. One dancer is obviously a
professional; the other is an amateur. You speculate that
the dancers are a man and his mistress.

Actually, the couple is married. But you write a story based
on your imagination.

Observing life, embellishing, imagining, etc. will bring
your work alive.

The successful romance writer Valerie Kane says, "Writing
fiction is pretending to be a six year old child and sending
yourself out in the back yard to play. Only the yard is your

Be child-like when writing. Don't be critical or judgmental.
You have time to revise and tighten afterwards.

Move from inspiration to perspiration to execution to

1. Have a small tape recorder handy; dictate ideas as they
occur to you.

2. Transcribe the tapes and file them into a "writing ideas"

3. Add clippings from newspapers, magazines, etc. One
sentence can inspire a book, article, poem or play.

Read through the folder, then put it aside. Settle in a
quiet place where you won't be disturbed and let the words
flow spontaneously. Ignore misspellings and fragments;
develop your own shorthand.

Writing taps into what's already in your head; let it flow
like the sweet syrup of a maple tree. You'll be constantly
amazed at the results.

You're an observer and an instrument at the same time:
unlocking the unconscious, joining it to the conscious to
create something out of (seeming) nothingness.

Your greatest problem, once you've started, is not wanting
to stop. Once the words and ideas are flowing you forget
time, hunger, sleep, the real world and its people. There is
only the world of your mind, your memories and fantasies.

After a session ends, take some time away. Then re-read,
edit, refine, substitute, shorten or lengthen until it's the
best you can do.

Best-selling author Gerald Browne follows this scenario.
When working on a new novel his study is off-limits to
everyone. He bursts out late in the day, with great
enthusiasm. After dinner, he revises the day's output.

Find the schedule that works for you--but write every day.
Muscles have to be exercised: the brain is a muscle. The
more you use it the more you'll be able to accomplish, with
less effort. You won't have the blank screen/page complex.
Something will always come bubbling up to the surface of
your mind waiting to be captured and manipulated. You're the
dictator--what power!

Use all of your emotions and experiences (real and imagined,
dreams and reality) to create a unique world for yourself
and your readers. Turn your suffering out rather than in and
you'll be a whole, healthy, happy person who may also
produce a work of art.

Iris Forrest is the editor of Ageless Press.


Case Study: Herb Clark, Author, "Death Pad"

Herb Clark is a first-time author who investigated both
"traditional" publishers and another POD house before
choosing 1stBooks. His novel, "Death Pad," is available in
paperback and hardcover at

He says, "The people I talked to at 1stBooks seemed to
answer all my questions. They took time to talk to me. I
felt I was important to them and not just a number. Jon
Spencer was very helpful with getting my questions answered.
Suzanne Flinn, Jay Young, Jen Shelton, Heidi Reynolds were
all very professional through email and on the phone."

He was also pleased by the availability of extra publicity
services, "So far everything is working out as expected."
[Editor's Note: Herb purchased our Expanded Promotion and
Marketing Kit options.]

In becoming a published author, he has especially enjoyed
"the positive attention from those who have read my work and
from my colleagues. I feel honored to be working with
1stBooks. 1stBooks takes the work out of publishing."



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