December, 2012

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2013 Book Contests and Book Awards – Deadlines and Details


Nicole Riley spent some time this week researching the deadlines and details for the 2013 book contests and book awards.  A LOT of these contests and awards do not have the 2013 information up yet, but she put them all in a great spreadsheet for us and I thought it would be nice to share!  We will keep updating this spreadsheet throughout the year, so check back now and then for an update!

Please click button to access the New Shelves webpage that has the current book contest deadlines.


She did a great job researching this, but we cannot be held responsible for inaccurate information given by the sites or changed data after she pulled the details.  Please use this as a starting place for your own research and verify all information on the sites!

Merry Happy Holidays!


Amy and Nicole


Radio Interview with Author U founder Judith Briles


I had a wonderful time speaking with Judith Briles about the state of self publishing and how to market books in the coming year.  Click here to listen:



Math Lessons for Small Presses


Lesson #1

PUBLISHERS and how they sell books:

If a publisher wants to get their books into a bookstore or library, they will have to sell their book to a store or a wholesaler at a deep discount. That discount is usually between 40 and 55 percent off of the retail price. It can sometimes be 60 percent or more if the store is part of a chain or a wholesaler that has a central warehouse and has extra costs associated with getting the books to THEIR customers.

The book buyer for the wholesaler or store will contact the publisher, place a purchase order for books, and expect to receive them in five to seven days. They expect to be billed for these books, but will usually require at least ninety days to pay.

If you want to become a publisher, here are a few things you should think about. You have to plan and budget carefully. Small presses usually aren’t paid for three to four months or longer. Plan for not getting paid for 6-7 months.

You will have to pay to ship the books to them.  They rarely will pay a small press for shipping.  If you want to take a stand, I applaud you!  But it will cost you some sales.

Now, are you ready for the big hit? Publishers may not even see the money they think they are owed because the books are bought on a returnable basis. Fully returnable. One hundred percent. (Or as we used to say when we were kids: backsies!) After a publisher has shipped a book to a store, the bookstore has the right to ship it right back for any reason.

So, a book priced at retail is $16.95

A publisher sells it to a wholesaler for $7.63 (55% discount)

The publisher then waits sometimes 6 months for the $7.63 or for the book to be returned.

If the book’s printing and design/editorial costs are in line with what they should be, each book should have cost the publisher approximately $ 3.25 per unit to produce.

The shipping and distribution costs of GETTING a $16.95 book to the wholesaler is usually around $3.50 a book. (this factors in calls to stores and wholesalers, sample copies or flyers sent to buyers, shipping of books, materials, returns… it assumes that you are doing everything yourself.

That leaves the publisher .88 cents a unit in profit.

Where does all the rest of the money go?  Why does a wholesaler take so much?  That leads us to next week’s Lesson #2


What Does an Author Website Need?


—  By Amy the Meanie —

There are a few different ways that you can handle your website plan.  If you are an author with a great deal of expertise, create a website that will last beyond just the publication of your book.  Create a website that has your entire brand under it.  In that website that handles everything, you can then have a series of pages and subpages for your books.

For example.  Karen Kang has created a company called Branding Pays.

On the webpage is a sub page for the book:

On THAT page is another level of subpages with details and content to educate and entice the reader to buy her book:


Here is another example of an author who has a great brand and consulting business and uses his website to draw attention to all he offers.  The book page is important and easy to see, but only used as a part of what he is offering.

What I like about this site is that when he has a new book come out, he highlights it right away on the top of the main page.  But when other projects take precedence, he highlights those instead.  He has a terrific drop down menu for all of his books and each page is clear, persuasive and very visual.

He also cross-sells his other seminar and consulting services on each page.  Subtle, not pushy, but effective.

There are a number of good reasons to create a website that highlights the book only.   I have a client in a very regulated industry who will not allow him to cross-sell any services.  His industry constraints make it necessary to separate the book from his business completely. He has done a terrific job on his website:

This is a wonderful example of a simple site that hits all the basics:

  • A page that lists the media hits and tells the media how to get in touch with him
  • An author bio
  • A button/page that allows media and buyers to download samples.
  • A good contact page.
  • His front page shows him on TV as an expert and gives the browser a good idea of what his book and message is about.
  • Several locations where folks can “Buy the book”

This is an extremely simple website that has all the “must haves”.

But what are the other possible elements an author/book site should include?  Here is a list.

  •  Home page with a brief, short, just-a –few-sentences about why someone should buy the book.  Not a description of the book, but a promise of what reading the book will deliver.
  • “Buy the book” buttons on every page that link to all the major places from where you want them to buy your book. (indie bound, Amazon, B& Don’t just use Amazon, be fair to everyone.
  • About the Author. Author bio, short form and long form. Author photo and a link to allow media to download a high res version of the author photo. For non-fiction authors, credentials, CV, list of awards…. Etc.
  • An Event page with press releases, event photos, calendar of events, contact information for those wishing to host an event.
  • It is nice to start and maintain a list of reviews and endorsements right from the beginning.  What are people saying about your book?  Put it on the webpage!
  • Your blog (even if it is a duplication of another blog address)
  • Your Table of Contents and a sample chapter
  • If you have a media page (and you most likely should), make sure you make thing easy for the poor reporter.  Headshot, bio, press releases, sample chapters, front cover, full cover spread, and contact information should be very easy to find.  Make sure everything is high resolution.
  • If you want to make a page that shows where you have been, put a few on the front page too to impress browsers.  Use the logos from the stations you have been on and newspapers/blogs you have appeared in.
  • Link to EVERYTHING you can on line (most TV and radio shows now have online links. Find your clip and link it).  If you write an article for another blogger or for a news outlet.  Link it!
  • Links to other authors/books/sites you find helpful. Links help search engines find you
  • Have at least three levels of pages.  Main, Secondary and Tertiary.  SEO works better with three levels of pages and make sure you link all three levels on each page.  (Third level links to an article on the second level.  Second level always links to the main page and a tertiary page as well.)


This is by no means a complete list, I am sure there are things other authors have done that are extremely cool, but this is the list of what has proven to be helpful and effective for many of my clients.