Thursday, May 22, 2008

New author learning curve

The New Author Learning Curve

Getting Started
As in all of life, attitude is everything. In my book, The Last Rose, I stress the importance of approaching everything you do with a positive attitude. Promoting your book is no exception.

For me, writing the book was the easiest part of becoming an author. It took me three months to write it, and six months to have four people edit the original document before it was ready to be published. You need to find good editors. I spent another nine months figuring out how to get it published and released to the public. The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine helped me do this. This year’s BEA will mark the end of the first year that my book has been in the marketplace.

The publication date is when the learning curve starts to get steep. Fortunately, the excitement of seeing your book in print and in the internet bookstores makes this curve an easy climb. The real work starts here. While my first restaurant was open, I had no trouble going through 1500 copies of my book. These people knew me and my story and wanted to read about it. Unfortunately that knowledge does not spread around the world even when your book finds its way to hundreds of websites around the world. It is up to you to find ways to lead people to your book on these sites.

Bad things happen in an instant. Good things seem to take forever. I first said that three years ago. Now I feel like an expert on the subject. It applies to the publishing industry as well as anyplace. The first thing you must learn is how to be patient. It takes time to learn how the industry functions and even more time to learn how to function within the industry. I hope this brief article will help you accomplish both.

Be Enthusiastic
I have been accused of being obsessed with my book. It was not meant to be a compliment, but I took it as one. Be obsessed and passionate about your book. If you’re not, no one else will be.

Read and Listen
Use every resource you can find to learn more about the industry and how it works. Subscribe to every newsletter you think might help. You can start with BookPros, Phenix & Phenix, PMA, John Kremer, Steve Harrison, Brian Jud and Publishers Weekly. Some of these people also have tele-seminars that are worth listening to.

Create a Website
Create a website for your book and refer everyone to it to learn more about your book. I created my own site using Web Easy software. You can check it out at
If you add videos to your site, I found that Video Edit Magic works well as an editor and Digital Media Converter is the best way to compress the files. They are both by DeskShare.

Use Social Networking Sites
Find websites that attract avid book readers such as,, and Create accounts and post information about your book on each one.

Use Google Alerts
Google alerts keep track of any websites that mention your book. Do one for the name of the book and one for your name. Use Google to find readers, reviewers, magazines, media people, etc. who might take an interest in your book. Set a goal to find and send information about your book to someone new every day. Do not be afraid to give your book away. You need awareness more than you need money. Web rings also help get your message out.

Relax with the Media
Media interviews are always interesting and never what you expect. Relax and just talk to them as though you were telling your best friend about something new and exciting in your life that you wanted to share with them. You will be satisfied with most of them, but not all. The worst one for me was a few minutes during a drive time radio show where I was interrupted by several commercials that were longer than my interview. I thought it was a total waste of time. Then I learned that a manager for a Barnes & Noble store heard it on her way to work and ordered 11 copies of my book.

Festivals, Fairs and Signings
Search for book festivals and fairs that are close enough for you to participate in. Find bookstores and libraries that are willing to set up author events for you. Not everyone will be interested in you. Be persistent and keep trying. At festivals and fairs you will find yourself sitting behind a table watching people walk by. Have attractive postcards printed about your book. Most people will accept one from you even if they barely slow down as they pass. Many of them will stop back to talk and purchase your book later in the day. I also use a 15 inch digital picture frame with a slide show to draw their attention. Don’t be afraid to dress for the part. My book cover features a yellow rose, so I wear a bright yellow shirt with the name of the book on it. I put a postcard in every book and ask that they send it to a friend.

Book Expo America
BEA is a very different story. The only time you sit behind a table there is during the ½ hour you get to sign your book. There you have to attract attention to your book while you walk the aisles. I found that the best way to do that is to have large book bags printed with the name of your book on them. Everyone there picks up more books than they can carry so they are all willing to become walking signs for your book. Be sure to put your book info in each one of them with a label telling when and where you will be signing your book. All the world is your stage here: the aisles, the food court, your hotel, the shuttle bus, etc. At my signing I also have a bowl for business cards to be added to my mailing list. I pick one card and send the winner a yellow rose on the 13th of each month for the next year. This is significant to my book. You will have to find your own type of prize. During your book signing have people standing in the main aisles giving out copies of your book and sending the people to you for your signature. The people from BookPros are very good at this. I signed 52 copies of my book in 25 minutes. The author beside me only signed two. It pays to do your homework.

If it sounds like I was busy this year, you are absolutely right. It is a wonderful type of busy, so publish your book and enjoy the ride.

Thomas E. Pierce

Being Green

Being Green

In this day and age when book publishers and literary magazines are all looking for Green books, you might look at my book and read the synopsis and reviews and think that the only thing green about my book are the leaves of the rose on the cover. If you take the time to read The Last Rose, however, I think you might just realize that it may be about the only real answer to solving all of our environmental problems.

Some will expect that the book is about the Baltimore water taxi accident. It is not. I was in the water under the taxi that day, and I can assure you that the harbor is an environmental problem. Even the divers that worked so hard to recover all of the victims had to receive antibiotic treatments because of the pollution. This is not what any of the tourists think about while they are visiting the harbor, and they shouldn’t. We all need to enjoy all the beautiful sights of this world, so we know what we are at risk of losing if we continue on our present path.

My book talks about the power of positive thinking, and positive thinking is a power that will push each of us, as individuals, into acting more green. Unlike the power of poverty that forces us to conserve because we have no choice, the power of positive thinking actually allows us to enjoy doing something positive for the environment.

When everyone is talking about the importance of recycling and not wasting our natural resources, most are overlooking the one thing that we must always recycle. Maybe that is because it is also the one thing that we must always waste. It is the only thing that we will never run out of, because the more of it we waste, the more of it we receive.

Yes, my book talks about the power of positive thinking, but it is really about the Power of Love.

We moved to a small town in southern New Jersey after I left the service. Since this was not our hometown we sometimes felt like outsiders. I always felt like I was anonymous. My wife worked at the local hospital and my daughter worked over two hours away at a college in Newark, NJ. When I lost both of them in the water taxi accident, I never expected the outpouring of love that we received. I knew that many of the students and faculty from Lisa’s school made the long trip to Vineland, but when someone later told me that there were six bus loads of them, I was overwhelmed. I hugged over 3,000 people at the funeral, and stories about how both the girls touched peoples' lives filled our local paper for seven days. I always knew that they were special. I just never knew anyone else knew it.

I suddenly realized that all of the love that you put out into the world works on the hearts and minds of all mankind. I now know how easy it is to make a difference in this world just by striving to be the best that we can be. Not the best that we can be for ourselves, but the best we can be for all mankind. Changing the world is simply the process of one individual changing the life of one other individual. One person at a time, one day at a time.

The only way we will ever make a greener world is to show others how easy it is. All we have to do is base all of our decisions on love, not fear, not greed, not power, not force, just love. I am sure that all of you reading this would agree that right now a relatively small handful of people are changing the entire economy of this world, because they are basing their decisions on greed not love. Imagine how different it would be if we could convince them to base their decisions on love.

The only way to teach that is through example. Each time we make a difference in someone else’s life, no mater how small, it will encourage them to do the same for others. And each time that happens, we all become a stronger force for good. When the time comes that we all base our actions on love and compassion for all mankind, there will be no need for war or weapons. It only requires a small effort from each of us to accomplish what may seem impossible. It just requires all of us to do it together.

When you love all of mankind, you have no choice but to love the environment.

Love always,

Thomas E. Pierce