Terri Farley From Idea to Published Book: Tips that Work: How to Write a Book Event

The Magic Of Horses

Terri Farley is the author of the beloved Phantom Stallion series and several Young Adult books. She has been traditionally published, so she has the experience and the know-how to give practical tips that work!

Tip #1: Write about what you know. What makes you, the author, different from everybody else? Why are you uniquely qualified to write this book? Terri would like us to think about our background, and what we know.

Tip #2: Write like an animal. Terri suggests we use our senses when we write. What does your character smell, or  hear (weird things?).  Use viewpoint, either first person or third person. All of our life experiences can be used as a writer. We store each memory in our brain cells.

My advice is to take them out of storage, clear away the moth balls and use them!

Tip #3: Create conflict.  Make your characters earn their happily-ever-after. Conflict keeps your story from becoming boring. Remember you still want those readers you started out with on page one to still be reading by the time they reach THE END. It’s OK to torture your characters a little bit.

Tip #4: Find a critique partner. This is someone who will read your story and offer suggestions. This person should be carefully picked. Someone who likes the genre in which you write. Someone who will give you valid feedback. Someone not afraid to hurt your feelings. You, as the author, need to be willing and ready to listen to the advice and apply it where it fits.

Tip #5: Enter contests specifically designed for you. This cuts your competition.  And if you placed in the contest, you will be building your platform, show that you are willing to work on your skills as a story-teller and have bragging rights.  Contests are especially good if you don’t have a publishing history.

Tip #6 Discover publishers who accept your genre. Check out The Writers Market at the library. Look up agents and publishers who are interested in the kind of stories you write. Write down their contact information. Send a proposal. A little research can give a big payoff.

For more about Terri Farley, you can check out her website at terrifarley.com

I hope Terri’s tips helped you as much as they did me. What tips do you have for getting your book a first look by a publisher, or better yet, a readers eager hands? I loved to hear about it in the comments section below.


Matthew Bayan On Marketing: How to Write a Book Event

Wordle Cloud of the Internet Marketing Blog - ...

Matthew Bayan is a traditionally published and self-published author. His background is in sales and marketing. He had some really

good advice for us newbie authors who need to learn this very important aspect to publishing a book. First, Matt explained the difference between sales and marketing. There is a difference!

Sales is information that you know about: someone hands you money (every author’s dream) and you hand them your book. You know where that book is going, it is going to that customer.

Marketing is information that you send out, but you have no idea what happens to it. It is necessary, you must do it, but where it goes you don’t know. Matt used the analogy of fishing: bait the hook, cast the line, wait and see what happens.

Even before you put one word on paper, Matt suggests you develop a marketing plan. If it is fiction,know your genre. If it is nonfiction,  you need to clearly define what it is you want to say, who is your audience, and what are you providing. For example, when you walk into a book store (they do still exist!) look around, where on the shelves does your book go? You need to know this for your marketing plan to work. Keep it simple, don’t mix your genres, don’t re-invent the wheel, no revolutionary ideas. Writing is a business. Remember that word: business.

When a new author starts out every word is precious to him/her. Nothing must be cut from their great work of art. It’s literature! It’s precious! No editing! This is wrong thinking and it won’t sell books. Even Ernest Hemingway needed to make money to sell his books. He didn’t look at every word as precious, or literature that couldn’t be cut. “Write drunk; edit sober,” were Hemingway’s words. (quote my addition, not Matt’s.)

Next, we learned the Four P’s: or in Matt’s world, Five. They are:

  1. Product. For a writer the product is books, or articles, their writing. In order to improve the product feedback is necessary. You can do this by joining a critique group. Matt suggested his, High Sierra Writers. Now, of course feedback will probably come last, but depending on the feedback you receive, you can go back and change the product, or quality of the product. This, theoretically improves the sales of said product.
  2. Price. What is the cost to produce, print, distribute. These are important factors. Take for instance a known author versus an unknown author (me). The marketing plan will have a much bigger budget for the known entity. And if you are self-publishing you will have to foot the bill for all of the above.
  3. People. These would be agents, publishers, buying public, other writers. There are four sales you will have to make: A.) Query letter to agents. This gives them information about you and determines whether they will take you on as a client. B.) Query letter to publisher (either the agent does this, or you query a press that will take unsolicited queries). This will give the publisher information about you. Your image will convince the publisher to buy your book. C.) Publisher’s catalog. This is produced by the publisher, it comes out every quarter, for example: the spring line of books, summer line, fall line, winter line. This catalog goes to the bookseller’s or bookstores for them to peruse and make their book selections to sell in their stores. D.) Someone in a store or online sees the book, wants it and buys it.
  4. Place. Where will your book be sold? A bookstore, online, or a non-traditional place? Think outside the box. Matt related the sales technique of one of his friends. This friend wrote a book and in that book the hero rides a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He thought that people who ride Harley’s would probably be interested in his book, so he went to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle store and asked if they would sell his book there. Genius! Think about it. Where will your book fit in?
  5. Platform. In the publishing world platform is everything. This is how you help the agent or publisher sell your book. These days sales is teamwork. No one will just do it all for you, as an unknown author, you must help sell your own book. To think otherwise is erroneous. Can you do public speaking? If not, learn. Join Toastmasters or Business Networking International (BNI) or some other business networking group that helps train you to speak publicly.

Think about micro-marketing. This involves T.V. stations, radio stations. Line up interviews. Have a link to your book signing event. This works best on the same day as the interview. You can say, “Hey come on down today (insert time and place) to Grassroots Books (or, whatever bookstore of your choice) and meet the author!” Do these together: interview/book signing.

Matt recommends radio station interviews because they will typically have a longer interview time than television. This means more of a chance to “catch” that listener (remember the fishing analogy?) If you are petrified of public speaking and you just can’t do it, can you talk on the phone? Well, consider an interview by phone. It is super easy, and you can stay in your pajamas. The important thing is to put yourself out there, you just don’t know where you’ll end up.

Matthew Bayan has just released The Firecracker King, available in paperback and e-book format. You can learn more about Matthew Bayan on his website, www.mathewbayan.com

I hope you benefited from Matthew Bayan’s advice on marketing as much as I did. What are your marketing ideas? I would love to hear them, please share!

How Is Your Grandfather Today?

Wedding Photo

Many people come up to me and say, “How is your… um, Grandfather today?” I know just what they are going to say because there is just that small hesitation and the hint of a question over “grandfather”. Well, to set the record straight, Joseph Kempler is my father-in-law. He is my husband’s father. It may get somewhat confusing because Joe, as I call him, looks so much older, and I look, well, younger. Even my own family, (who attended our wedding!) get caught up in the question, “April, how is your Grandpa?” I guess this is a sticking point with me and I thought I’d share my frustration. It’s really a little thing, why should I be frustrated? He could, in all honesty, be my grandfather. He is eighty-four years old and I’m in my early forties. If my friend Katie, can be a grandmother the last four years and she is only one year younger than me, then Joe can certainly be my grandfather. But, that is not our relationship.

Basically, Joe was forty years old when my husband was born, he was sort of on the older end for a parent. Not so uncommon nowadays, I’m sure you can understand how it is.  Perhaps, it bothers me because if Joe was my grandfather that would separate us by another generation. I like that we are one generation apart, there is no gap in our timeline, his story his closer to me. If he hadn’t survived the concentration camps during the Holocaust, I would never have met, fallen in love with, and married his son. Paul would not have been born at all, and that kind of blows my mind some days.

I don’t want Joe’s Holocaust story to be further from my reality, I need it close as a reminder, this didn’t happen years and years and year ago, it was only the last century. We need to remember this one! It can, and does, happen over and over again. Humankind does not seem to be learning a lesson. Look at the race riots between the Croatians and Serbians, or in Rwanda, between the Hutu and the Tutsi.  History, unfortunately continues to repeat itself.

So, it matters to me that people know Joseph Kempler is my father-in-law, his story, or his history, affects my life directly, and  currently. I live with the child of a Holocaust survivor and all the psychological damage related. I wonder, did I marry for the story? Or, did the story come to me because I married into it? Well, I know the truth of that question and I will most likely address it in another blog. This one is getting a little deep for me today!

Sample chapters from my book The Altered I, a Holocaust Memoir: Altered I Sample-April Kempler

November 6, 1939, the Anniversary of Sonderaktion Krakau: German Plan to Eliminate Polish Intellectuals

Professor's Garden, Jagiellonian University, K...

Among the first targeted by the Nazis were the intellectual elite of Poland. German officials wanted to make Kraków culturally German and therefore needed to eliminate any who got in the way of that goal. Nazi leaders hatched a plan called Sonderaktion Krakau, or Special Action Kraków.

Academics and professors of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, were lured into a false meeting, where they were told they did not have permission to start a new academic school year. They accused Poles of being hostile toward German science and that they had acted in bad faith. All of this was a carefully scripted lie. The professors, lecturers and doctors were rounded up, arrested and deported to prison facilities. They eventually were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

English: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Ora...

The first to be imprisoned to Sachsenhausen were political opponents and criminals, real or imagined. In later years, however, Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) were also imprisoned in Sachsenhausen.

November 6, is a date set aside to honor those Polish academics who were victimized by Nazi rule. The Rector of the university lays wreaths to honor those fallen. See the article here.

Nicolaus Copernicus Monument in Kraków. Espera...

Cast of Characters for The Altered I – A Holocaust Memoir

Sometimes when I read memoirs or biography’s I get overwhelmed with the cast of characters. I find myself wondering who are all these people? How are they related? Why do I need to know them? I just can’t keep them all straight. It’s like reading a Russian novel,  every character has three different names: their name given at birth, their nickname, and a name that expresses a term of endearment! So, for my book The Altered I, which chronicles the life and experiences of Joseph Kempler, a Holocaust survivor, I thought I should acquaint the general public with who’s who in this story, that way all the confusion is out of the way…or that is my goal.

First we have the Glasner family. This is Joseph Kempler’s maternal side:

Moses (in which we read about briefly) is Grandfather, married to Babcia, who is Grandmother (and forever known only as Babcia)

They had five children:

  • Malka Glasner
  • Hanka Glasner
  • Shmil Glasner
  • Icek Glasner
  • Száj Glasner

Now let’s turn our attention to Joseph’s Paternal side:

Max Kempler also known as Tatuś who is married to Malka Glasner (she is known as Mamusia, or Mama). Together they had four children:

  • Dziunka Kempler (Joseph’s half sister)
  • Dolek Kempler (Joseph’s half brother)
  • Rozia Kempler (older sister who died at two years of age)
  • Jósef Kempler (also known as Józiu, and Joseph)

Now we have some additional characters:

Jack Laub marries Dziunka Kempler

Jack has some relatives they are:

  • Anita Laub (Jósef”s best friend)
  • Anita’s mother (she doesn’t have a name at this point)
  • Aunt Carolla Trauring (Anita’s mother’s sister, confused yet?)
  • Uncle Trauring (married to Aunt Carolla)
  • Jack Laub’s parents:
  • Pan (Mr. ) Laub
  • Pani (Mrs.) Laub

There are some villagers you need to know as well. They are known as the Biernat family:

  • Roman Biernat
  • Maria Biernat
  • Janek Biernat

Going down the list in chronological order we with have Joseph Kempler’s future in-laws, known as the Dreyfus family:

Adolph Dreyfus married to Alice Dreyfus. They had two children:

  • Joe Dreyfus
  • Marion Dreyfus

Joseph Kempler marries Marion Dreyfus and they had one daughter

  • Susan Kempler

Joseph later marries Virginia Vrbanich and they had two children:

  • Philip David Kempler
  • Paul Kempler (the author’s husband)

Now that wasn’t too bad was it? Everything is in order now and you won’t be confused or overwhelmed when you read The Altered I by April Voytko Kempler, published by LeRue Press, released winter 2012.

To preorder The Altered I in paperback please click here.

And some sample chapters: Altered I Sample-April Kempler