Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rotella's Book "The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom" Wins Gold

The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom
is now the proud recipient of GOLD
in the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards!

October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month
The Moonbeam Children's Book Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children's books and their creators, and to celebrate children's books and life-long reading. Each year's entries are judged by expert panels of youth educators, librarians, booksellers, and book reviewers of all ages.

King Louie IV, who has Down Syndrome, rules over Marshmallow Kingdom where the sun always shines and every meal is a picnic with yummy marshmallows for dessert. King Louie helps his friends understand and appreciate that everyone is unique. Follow Louie as he shows you the kid-like things he loves to do.
 For more information about The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom, please visit To read more about the Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, please visit

This adorable title is available at,,, as well as through Baker and Taylor and your local bookstore.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Great Books to Fall For!

Be sure to check out these new and upcoming titles from Concierge Marketing Book Publishing Services! They are all available through,, and, as well well as major bookstores.

The Little King and His Marshmallow Kingdom
Written by Lou Rotella
Illustrated by Mark Chickinelli
Published by Ata-Boy Productions
Release Date: September 2010

Belle Boy: A Sister in the Rebel Ranks
Written by Anne Fuller
Published by Fuller Minds
Release Date: September 2010

Mail-Order Kid: An Orphan Train Rider's Story
Written by Marilyn Coffey
Published by Out West Press
Release Date: July 2010

Slow Boat to Pakistan: The Personal Diaries and Letters of Pegge Parker, 1951-1952
Written by Pegge Parker
Edited by John Hlavacek
Published by Hlucky Books
Release Date: December 2010

The Moral Mafia
Written by Dan Reynolds
Published by RNR Publishing
Release Date: August 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Dollars and Sense of Publishing

There's an old saw in the publishing world and it goes like this:
"How do you make a small fortune in publishing?
You start with a large fortune."

Be smart. Be realistic. It's no joke...Publishing is a business. and you need to think of it that way. It is product development, manufacturing, operations, marketing and PR, and finance. I tell people to separate their brain and let the two sides fight it out. The business side is the "publisher" and the one that should make business decisions (they care about the money). The publisher side needs to take into account financial considerations such as sales potential, returns, discounts, distribution, ROI. The creative side is the "writer". To put it more simply, you have two distinct business entities sitting in your brain. The publisher is concerned with the buyer, and the writer is concerned with the reader. The people who buy your book, and the people who read your book are often not the same person, and should never be marketed to in the same way.

If you view the publishing process as though everyone will line up outside your door because you wrote a book, it will seem like a high cost to get published. In so many other ways, it is one of the least expensive small businesses you can enter into -- but you have to plan your attack. You have to consider why you are publishing. In other words, "Who Cares?" about the book you are publishing. No, it's not "everybody". Not everyone will buy your book -- you have to be realistic. You don't buy "everybody's" book -- why would it be the reverse?

Are you publishing a legacy piece for your family and friends? Then go small. Are you publishing a book that you want to support financially to get it out to the national marketplace? Then you have to spend money to develop it and set up your business just like you would any small business. Forget for a moment that your own writing is involved -- it's your baby that you have slaved over for 10 years or 10 months -- and think of it like you developed a new flashlight. You would have to consider where YOUR consumer might get information about the product, how much it will cost to manufacture it, how much it will cost to develop a distribution channel for it, etc. Overall, you must
  • Understand your options
  • Familiarize yourself with the terminology, and make sure you understand what you are getting into
  • Develop a realistic budget -- budget your money and your time -- make sure you have both
  • Make a decision to either be a publisher, find a publisher, or just find a printer -- they aren't apples and oranges. More like apples and wrenches.
You have a story to share -- be smart about it so it reaches its potential.  Keep the ink flowing.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sally Field Syndrome

A publishing tire-kicker posed the following question about a print-on-demand (POD) publisher (the likes of Outskirts, iUniverse, AuthorHouse, and a multitude of others that actually use the nomenclature "self publishing company")  I get this question frequently, so I thought I would write about it.
"I was looking at this online publishing company X and I was curious to know if you have ever heard of them?"

She continued, "From the class I took last year, the instructor said we should NEVER be charged by an agent...and she never mentioned paying to get published...but this place charges a LOT of money to publish a book, then they have a bunch of "optional" services that also cost a lot... What's your take?"
First of all, a common misconception is that POD houses that solicit manuscripts that you pay to publish are somehow agents. They are not agents, they are publishers that you pay to publish your work. You pay to be part of their existing publishing operation. On the flip side, there are also a lot of  phony "agents" out there who ask you to submit your work and voila! They love it and would like to represent it for this fee or that. People get all excited about being "selected."
"They like me!  They really, really like me!"
So unsuspecting novice writers sign over the rights to their intellectual property without really knowing what they are signing or how it will impact them. It doesn't always turn out well, because these agents aren't always reputable. It's nice to have someone say they love your work, but please know who you are submitting to and what type of business they really are BEFORE you sign anything. Please feel free to write to us if you have questions about this.

Why would you want to pay to get published?  Well, independently publishing your work gives you all the control, but you also have a lot to consider when entering a business you may know little about. Publishers deal with all the same issues any other business faces: Product development, manufacturing, operations, marketing, finance, logistics and distribution. When you pay another company, such as iUniverse, LuLu, Outskirts, etc., to publish your work, many of these things are laid out in systems for you. You don't retain all the control like you would if you published on your own and hired your own book designers, pursued your own distribution, hired an editor and so on. 
SOAPBOX ALERT: As far as the question about paying a "real agent" -- A common belief among writers is that you should never pay to have someone read your work. Should you? It depends. Frankly, I don't really understand how a person can ask an expert to provide a service they won't get paid for. Writers feel no guilt when asking a well-connected, experienced, qualified agent, consultant or industry expert for their time and expertise, and often a critique of their work, and then expect not to pay them. I don't know how this all got started, but it's really not very fair to agents and consultants; nonetheless, this philosophy is out there. It is always nice to ask "May I pay you for your time?" 

BACK TO TASK: How do agents make their money?  Agents make a percentage of your sales once you become their client, usually 15%.  Make no mistake, it is very expensive to pitch publishers and producers, and in my opinion, they sometimes should be paid for their time in critiquing your manuscript, but that's just me. I myself have paid for a critique by an acquisitions editor from a large publishing house in NY - and it was worth every penny for his 35+ years in the business of assessing and acquiring manuscripts.
Outskirts, iUniverse, AuthorHouse and other POD houses are not agents -- they are publishing companies with systems for publishing efficiently. People pay them to publish their books (editing, design, indexing, printing) and in return, they include them in their umbrella publishing company. It's vanity publishing -- big company name, systems that you don't have in place, and distribution capabilities you don't have on your own, but could. Bottom line: You paid to be published. You pay them to print up small quantities of books for your use. This works for some types of authors just fine, but the objective of your book publishing must be addressed before choosing one of these.

Answer these questions:
  • Who Cares? 
  • Will anyone I don't know buy my book? 
  • How will I get it to those buyers? 
Until you answer these questions, you should not be looking for a publishing solution of any kind.

ADDITIONAL NOTE OF INTEREST: A recent audit done on a very large POD house revealed these numbers: Baker & Taylor wholesale net sales on 32,000 titles from January 2007 through May 2010 = $234,000 -- not per title, that's TOTAL across all. That's a sales average total revenue of $7.31 per title total--ever, with about 96% never selling a single book through this major wholesaler. Only one of the 32,000 had sold more than 1,000 books through this channel. Most likely, the authors are doing the buying of these books themselves and selling them at events or giving them to readers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Solve Anything with Dr. Mark: Career Advice for the Working Class

Dr. Mark's Interview with J.P. Hansen
As seen in the L.A. Times

Any questions?
Q: I was rejected for a job I recently interviewed for. I thought the interview went well until the end. The interviewer checked his watch, and then asked, “Do you have any questions?” I thought I would gain bonus points by answering, “No, you’ve covered everything.” My recruiter said this left a bad taste in the interviewer’s mouth. Under the circumstance, I wonder now if I should have asked a question.

A: In my capacity as a career advice columnist, I occasionally come across an expert resource that makes my job of providing my readers with information easy. One such person is J.P. Hansen, executive recruiter and author of The Bliss List: The Ultimate Guide to Living the Dream at Work and Beyond! (Career Bliss Publications, $19.95). Regardless of perceived time constraints (like checking a watch), a well thought-out question at the end of the interview is often the clincher. It is customary to ask a question or two at the end, but probably not more than two. I asked Hansen about what to say when asked, “Do you have any questions?”
• Always have questions. Prepare at least five good questions that demonstrate your research on the company. It’s customary to blank out when asked this question at the end of an interview so bring a notepad.

• “No, I think you’ve covered everything” underwhelms the interviewer and will likely get you the boot rather than the offer.

• Ask the “kiss-up” question, the one that highlights a positive about the job or company: “With the impressive results the company has had in the past, where do you see the company in the next five years?” or “Customer XYZ said great things about your company and your high-quality service levels. How do other customers view you?”

• Before leaving, always ask for the job. A successful closing often cements a job offer: “Do you have any concerns about my ability to do this job or any subsequent jobs with this company in the future?” If yes, find out why and sell yourself one final time. If no, say, “When can I start?”

• Some interviewers ask you to interview them. Be prepared.

Develop a killer resume
Q: I hate writing my resume. I have a hard time not sounding too egotistical or cliché. Is the resume really that important or isn’t it more important to interview well?

A: Most people have a difficult time writing a resume, let alone one that reaches the top of the pile. Though the job market is rebounding, jobs are still somewhat scarce and competition is daunting. Your resume is a critical stepping stone to obtaining an interview. Failure to impress the hiring manager can send your candidacy into the round file.

Hansen’s advice:

• Your resume is your invisible first impression and it goes without saying how important first impressions are.

• Be clear and concise.

• Avoid the one-page myth. Length doesn’t matter (in resumes). Don’t undersell your background by trying to shoe-horn your experiences onto one page.

• The best resume covers two areas: (1) activities and (2) accomplishments in chronological order. Use sentences in paragraph form for the activities and bullet points to highlight your accomplishments.

• You don’t need to spend more than $100 on a resume service. It’s best to write your own so it’s easy to tailor it to match your dream job.

• Accomplishments win you an interview. Spend time on your accomplishments and quantify and qualify them.

• Avoid “Objectives” and “Career Summary.” They are redundant and do not belong on a resume.

• Some resume don’ts: no pictures of yourself (I’ve seen ’em) and no flowery verbiage. If it can be stated with fewer words or syllables, do it. Nocolored paper or cheap copier paper — use cottonbond white paper.

• Spell check and read every word. Have another set of eyes proof read with a fine tooth comb. I wrote “manger” on one of my resumes by mistake. Though manger is a word and passed spell-check, I wasn’t applying for a nativity scene and “manager” worked better. Though a hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds on average on your resume, don’t let a typo negate your strong background.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Bliss List Wins in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards!

Author J.P. Hansen was recently named the winner of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards in the Career category for his book, The Bliss List: The Ultimate Guide to Living the Dream at Work and Beyond! The results will be officially posted at in the next several weeks.

To find out more about J.P. Hansen, visit his website at The book is available at your favorite bookseller or online at the following retailers:

Thursday, April 22, 2010

John Hlavacek to be Inducted into Journalist's Excellence Hall of Fame

Saturday evening, John Hlavacek will be inducted into the Omaha Press Club's Journalists of Excellence Hall of Fame. John served as a foreign correspondent in China during World War II and later as bureau chief in India from 1944-1952. Following this, from 1958-1963 he was the NBC bureau chief in Havana and Miami before moving to KMTV in Omaha in 1964.
John is also the author of several books, detailing his time in each of these positions around the world. They inlcude Letters Home: An American in China: 1939-1944, United Press Invades India: Memoirs of a Foreign Correspondent, 1944-1952, and Freelancing in Paradise: The Story of Two American Reporters Who Supported Their Family by Covering Turbulent Times in the Caribbean, 1958-1963, which he co-authored with his wife Pegge Parker Hlavacek.

John's wife, Pegge, was also a foreign war correspondent in places such as China, India, and Pakistan, and reported with John from the Carribbean. She is the author of several books, (which John editied) including 'Teen Topics by Pegge Parker, Alias Pegge Parker, Diapers on a Dateline, Slow Boat to China, and Slow Boat to Pakistan. The books chronicle their lives in exquisite detail, as they documented their journeys writing letters, articles, journals and preserving momentos and artifacts throughout their lives.

Dave Hamer, Deanna Sands and Dottie Hayes Sater will also be inducted into the Journalist's Excellence Hall of Fame Saturday evening. For the official press release visit For more information about John and Pegge Hlavacek, visit

Thursday, April 15, 2010

First the Broccoli, Then the Ice Cream is Now Available!!

Today is the offical launch of Dr. Tim Riley's new book, First the Broccoli, Then the Ice Cream: A Parent's Guide to Deliberate Discipline.

Library Journal gave it a Starred Review, and said the following:
"Psychologist Riley has written an ideal parenting book on discipline. In fact, his advice transcends his own subject and could easily serve as an entire parenting philosophy. Riley's style is warm and engaging, and he clearly cares for children and their well-being. Riley's solid contribution is highly recommended."
ForeWord Clarion Review gave it a Five Star Review, and said:
"The strategies offered in the book are simple to follow and include tips on how to modify the strategy if it isn't working for your child. Parents, caregivers, and teachers will benefit from the behavioral strategies offered here."

Gail Reichlin, Executive Director of The Parents Resource Network and co-author of The Pocket Parent said:
"With clarity, wit, and wisdom, Dr. Tim Riley offers a key understanding of why children do what they do as he skillfully guides moms and dads in developing their own structured approach to effective discipline. Parents will appreciate the friendly tone, real life examples, and sensible, specific strategies for a variety of common challenging behaviors."
Susan M. Wilczynski, Ph.D., BCBS said:
"If you think reading this book will magically lead to the perfect child, you will be disappointed. But get this book if you're interested in learning how to raise your child or adolescent in our complex world. You will find clear, common sense recommendations supplied alongside real world examples."
To learn more, visit
The book is available at your favorite bookseller or online at the following retailers:


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Watch for these upcoming titles!

Watch for these upcoming titles!

First the Broccoli, Then the Ice Cream: A Parent's Guide to Deliberate Discipline

Dr. Tim Riley
Two Fish Books
Release Date: April 15, 2010

Essentially a how-to manual for parents."
5 of 5 Stars, ForeWord Clarion Review

"(*Starred Review) ...Riley's advice transcends his own subject and could easily serve as an entire parenting philosophy. Emphasizing that rules without consequences are just suggestions and reminding us that anything over seven-words is a lecture, he has an understated and humorous approach that is personal and effective. Riley's style is warm and engaging, and he clearly cares for children and their well-being. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!" -- Library Journal, March 2010

Slow Boat to China: The Personal Diaries and Letters of Pegge Parker, 1942-1951

Pegge Parker
Hlucky Books
Release Date: April 1, 2010

Slow Boat to Pakistan: The Personal Diaries and Letters of Pegge Parker, 1951-1952

Pegge Parker
Hlucky Books
Release Date: April 1, 2010

Mail-Order Kid: An Orphan Train Rider's Story

Marilyn June Coffey
Out West Press
Release Date: April 1, 2010

Delicious! The Savvy Woman's Guide to Living a Sweet, Sassy and Satisfied Life

Catrice M. Jackson
Catriceology Enterprises
Release Date: April 1, 2010

Fireside Chats, A Surrealist's View of the World

Frank O'Neal
Love's Jazz & Arts Center
Release Date: April 1, 2010

Spanish Chat for Business

Julie Jahde Pospishil & Bradley Pospishil
Spanish Chat Publishing
Available Spring 2010

Congratulations to our friend Myles Garcia on the Amazon CreateSpace release of his new book, Secrets of the Olympic Ceremonies.

Myles A. Garcia
Myles A. Garcia Publishing
Available on Amazon