"I can help you!"


I've worked for over 25 years in advertising, promotions and sales, and spent nearly 2 years as a motivational speaker for a major international company. Currently a bestselling novelist and 'shameless' promoter, I've shared my experiences and techniques as a Book Marketing Coach for nearly a decade.

Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help. My last publisher called me a "marketing guru" and "whiz", although I prefer to think of what I do as teaching, or coaching.

"Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Writers and editors: different roles, same goals

by Denise C. Baron
(originally published on Ragan.com)

The marriage between a writer and editor can be a glorious one, or it can be a relationship full of strife. As in any marriage, the glue that will hold it together combines mutual respect, appreciation and admiration of each partner's skills and the role each person plays.

Marriages tend to be most successful when the partners are also each other's best friend. They might not always agree, but they manage to work things out compatibly.

A writer's best friend should be his editor. I say should be, because that's not always the case. In a perfect world, a writer writes and an editor improves. Ultimately, the beneficary of their alliance is the reader.

Although you'll find many a talented writer/editor out there, not all writers are cut out to be editors and vice versa. So being a writer doesn't automatically entitle you to consider yourself an editor, nor can all editors write particularly well. What good editors can do well is recognize good writing when they see it and, in wielding their blue pencils, ensure they preserve the writer's voice.

Good editors will take the text the writer has labored over and artfully make it even better – and the writer gets the glory. They correct mistakes, rearrange text where warranted or necessary, amend for house style, confer with the writer, and occasionally suggest overall improvements.

What good editors don't do is equally important. They do not feed their egos by making changes willy-nilly. They do not need to put their stamp on the writer's piece to prove anything. They're already where they are because they've earned the privilege. Truth is, they'd much prefer getting clean copy that is publication-ready; the reality is that's rarely the case. And that's OK, because if all writers submitted perfect prose, these people would be out of a job.

Then there's the incompetent editor. The damage this person can inflict is unlimited in scope and may include whitewashing the writer's text, making it conform to a faceless style, or otherwise stifling what distinguishes one writer from another: the personality, the voice. This person should not be editing anyone's copy but should be praying for the writer's forgiveness – and a lenient penance – and then seeking a new line of work.

Similarly, career writers who fail to understand that theirs is a vocation of lifetime learning may be unsuited for the task. Good writers are on a never-ending quest to improve; what they know for certain is that they don't know it all. And so they strive for perfection. Every day. It's the only way they eventually can become great.

Still the so-called writers and editors lurk. It's no wonder that the writer's lament is that anyone can do his job. That's because everyone writes, right? Who in business today has not composed a memo or an e-mail or even an instant message? Isn't that writing, after all? Doesn't that make everyone a writer?

Uh, no.

A writer doesn't merely put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. What a writer does is create. A writer captures ideas and transforms them into verbal pictures for the reader. Pictures that do indeed tell a story. Pictures that captivate the reader. These pictures are powerful tools. They can make you laugh or cry, enrage or delight you. Mainly, though, they will make you think.

Next time you find yourself reading good writing, listen carefully to hear the writer's voice. Some writers sound witty; others sound academic. Some sound like people you can envision yourself hanging out with; others sound too intimidating for that. What you're listening to is the result of the writer and editor working in harmony.

Just like a happy marriage.

Denise C. Baron is a director of global communications with Merck & Co., Inc. This article was reprinted here with permission from Denise C. Baron.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Reversion of rights: do I need a signed letter from publisher giving me back my rights?

This question came up on one of my Yahoogroups: do you have to get a letter of reversion of rights from the publisher? The quick answer is YES. If your book has gone out of print or if you want to end your relationship with your publisher, or vice versa, then you'll need that letter of reversion.

A reversion of rights simply means that any rights you initially signed over to the publisher will be signed back to you. You'll own them again. However, if the publisher has sold your rights to third parties, your reversion of rights won't include those.

Someone suggested that an author could assume their book is out of print and that the rights have been reverted to author if the title isn't in the publisher's current catalog. I would warn authors never to assume they have their rights back. It's too difficult to determine if a book is actually no longer in print. My novel Whale Song has been out of print since February, yet Amazon has it listed as "out of stock"--or at least it did last time I checked, which wasn't long ago.

ALWAYS get a letter of reversion of rights from your publisher. With their signature. As an author, you can't afford to make assumptions that could end up costing you a lot of money, or worse--a new book deal. Most publishers won't even look at that book if you don't have the reversion letter. And that was something a publisher told me.

So, unless you're going to self-publish that book afterward and don't care that you could be taken to court if the previous publisher wants to claim they still own rights, get the letter.

In the event of a publisher that is so unethical that they refuse or don't answer your emails, you can then claim your rights back by sending a registered letter to the publisher (one he has to sign for so there's proof) demanding your rights are returned and giving him 30 days to dispute your letter. That will work in most cases, provided the publisher isn't completely unethical and provided that the publisher actually accepts and signs for your letter.

I'm not a lawyer, but I've been through this and dozens of my friends are going through this right now. My advice to anyone in this position is: get the letter of reversion from the publisher or send the publisher a 30-day notice. If possible, talk to an entertainment lawyer who knows book contracts.

My agent said it was vital to get the letter of reversion if I wanted another publisher to look at Whale Song. Now Whale Song is in negotiations for a major motion picture and a 3rd print edition. So believe me when I say, having your book's rights revert back to you isn't all bad. In my case, it was the best thing in the world. :-)

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Learn a bit about author contracts at The Write Type

Today's guest on The Write Type is "Book Candy Sandy" from Book Candy Studios, a company devoted to helping authors by managing tasks "so authors don't take time away from what they enjoy doing - creating books." Today, Sandy is going to share some tips about the paperwork side of being an author. ~Cheryl Kaye Tardif

Check it out at: