What I learned from 2018 Self-Publishing Expo in Tucson, AZ

The first session at the expo was by Sandra Beckwith from BuildBooksBuzz.com, “how to Creat a Killer Book Marketing Plan.” I took great notes and I’ll tell you as much as I can remember, and then some.


First, Last Clichés:

You Said It—I couldn’t agree more, you are absolutely right. This Americanism dates from the first half of the 1900s. Dorothy Sayers, British mystery novelist, used it in Murder Must Advertise (1933).

Keep One’s Fingers Crossed—To hope for success. This comes from an ancient superstition that making the sign of the cross will avert bad luck. Also used as Keep your fingers crossed, meaning “Wish me luck.” This dates from the 1920s. This might have come from children’s games in which crossing one’s fingers denotes that one is “safe,” as well as the gambit of telling a lie with one’s fingers crossed, presumably to avoid punishment for this sinful act.

In Two shakes of a Lamb’s Tail—Very quickly, instantly. Lambs are known to be frisky animals. This expression is shortened to in two shakes, and dates from the early 19th century and originated in America. Mark Twain changed it in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 1884) to “three shakes of a sheep’s tail.” This was well-known by the late 19th century.

So, how many did you find?

Sandra Beckwith was a vibrant and informative speaker. Her agenda was to tell us 1) Whey we need a marketing plan, 2) Seven questions you must answer, 3) The step by step process for a marketing plan. There was a fourth step, but only for the participants of the expo.

  • Why do we need a plan? We Must Plan for Success
  • The seven questions we need to answer:
    1. What’s your book publishing situation? – self-publish or traditional, need your book description, what differentiates your book from competitors?, What makes it marketable? Do you have any outside validation, i.e. awards, etc.?
    2. Who is your targeting audience?—Your target audience is not everyone. Be specific and find a niche. Do research and find your specific audience
    3. What are your goals for your book?—(marketing goals), What do you want to accomplish?, build a reader fan base? You must have at least One Goal.
    4. What is your book marketing strategy?—Get as much exposure as you can, public speaker, book signings, book giveaways, plan on giving away the books
    5. What are the tactics to reach your goals?—this is your meat and potatoes. The things you’ll do, but don’t try to do them all. Sample tactics=pre-publication endorsements (how do you get them? Build relationship early – join author’s Facebook, twitter and make comments, then send out many requests to get one blurb on your book from them), reader reviews (blurb comments), Facebook page, publicity, e-mail marketing. You should pick out one or two and MASTER them before moving on.
  1. What is your budget? – You need to figure this out for yourself.
  2. What is your time line?—You need to lay your ground work before your book comes out for your marketing plan. Ideal Timeline: start while writing book, six months before publish date on your marketing, expand your platform, make important connections by preparing materials.

You must keep marketing all the time.

So, Keep Writing!


2018 Self-Publishing Expo in Tucson, AZ

It has been a long time. Unfortunately, I had issues with my website. I’m proud to say they are fixed, and soon, I will be revamping my website so it’s more user friendly. That will be coming shortly, as well as my new book.

I will continue putting clichés throughout my writing, and you will continue to find them and then the next week, I will give you the definitions. Of course, I will continue to write about writing, but may have some “extras” in my blog posts. Hope you will still follow me and have your friends come check me out

First, Last Clichés:

Kit and caboodle, (the whole)—All of it; everything. We’ll speculate that caboodle comes from the Dutch boedel, which means a large quantity. Kit has long meant a set of tools or equipment for a specific purpose; i.e. makeup kit or tool kit. The OED maintains that caboodle is a corruption of kit and boodle, and gives quotations for whole caboodle (1838), kit and cargo (1852), kit and boiling (1859), and lastly, the hul kit and boodle (1861). They all meant the same thing—“the lot.”

Red Herrings- A repeat and used in my Nov. 11, 2017 post, so you can find description in Nov. 29, 2017 post.

Dead in the Water—A failure. This phrase alludes to dead fish floating. This dates from the second half of the 1900s and is most often applied to a business that is struggling and is about to fail completely.

Fighting Mad—Infuriating. This American expression dates from the late 19th century. William James used it in a letter of 1896: “If any other country’s ruler…equal moral ponderosity, …population…gone twice as fighting made as ours?”

So, how many did you find?

The Society of Southwestern Authors put on a Second Annual Tucson Self-Publishing Expo on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018.

I paid $25.00 for the 9 – 4 event, and you said it, friend, it was the best money I’ve spent on a writing event in a long time. My fellow writers and I kept our fingers crossed we weren’t wasting our time and money. We all learned so much and came away very excited.

We had four workshops: “How to Create a Killer Book Marketing Plan” by Sandra Beckwith from BuildBookBuzz.com; “The Reality of Marketing” by D.L. Dennis, Author of several books; “The Nuts and Bolts of How to Create a Professional Book” by JaNell Lyle from Truth Book Publishers; and “The Secret to E-Book Publishing Success” by Jim Azevedo from Smashwords.

In two shakes of a lamb’s tail, the expo was over. In my upcoming blog posts, I will relay what I learned. But if you get a chance to attend a writing conference, workshops, etc. please do so, and I hope you have as good an event as I did.

So, Keep Writing!


Listening to Speakers on Writing

Went to a speaker meeting on Monday and listened to a talk about publishing options.

But first, last clichés:

Stand my Ground—To refuse to give in; to hold your position. This comes from the military (from about 1700) it was used referring to holding one’s position. Figuratively it was used from the early 19th century on. See J. S. Mill, On Liberty (1859).

Not a done deal—Done deal refers to a final decision or compact, or an irreversible agreement. This new synonym for the long-used fait accompli dates only from the late 1970s. “Done thing” surfaced about 1700 and Dickens used it in A Christmas Carol, 1843. And done deal is often used in the negative.

No Sweat—No extra effort will be required (to accomplish what you ask), No trouble. This has been around since about 1930, maybe earlier. Several lexicographers (incl. Eric Partridge) to the contrary, is nearly always used in the sense of the perspiration that might result from overexertion. Closely related to “No Problem”, but does not mean “okay” or “You’re welcome” as “No Problem” does.

So, let me know how many you found?

If you want to stay ahead of the pack, you must keep learning your craft and the business of writing. How does one do that? One way is to go to listen to other writers. The writing group I belong to has a speaker at our local library once a month on the first Monday of the month.

This month was Lynn Wiese Sneyd from LWS Literary Services www.lwsliteraryservices.com. Her talk this month was about Publishing Options.

She gave a down to earth talk from the traditional publishing to self-publishing options. The main things she covered were: Questions to Ask Yourself, Questions to ask a Publisher, and Types of Publishers. She gave us a handout so we would not draw a blank at the end of her talk.

What should we ask ourselves? Who is going to read my book? How am I going to market it? And How soon do I need a book?

What should we ask a publisher? How long will it take for my book to be published once I submit a completed manuscript? Will it cost me anything to have my book published? What will my royalties be? What editing, bok design, and marketing services are provided? And What distribution channels are available?

Types of Publishers: 1. Traditional Publishing—There are 5 big publishing houses and you need an agent for these. Then there are small houses, and university presses. 2. Self-publishing. 3. Print-on-Demand (POD) – such as Wheatmark, Morgan James (Travis Angry), Balboa Press (inspirational books), SheWrites, Book Baby. 4. Hybrid Publishing – such as CreateSpace, BookTrope, IngramSpark, Author Consortiums (Conquill Press), Publishizer, InkShares, PubLaunch, Unbound (UK). 5. Ebooks – Kindle Direct Program, Smashwords.

Each POD has different criteria and you need to study their websites.

Of course, she also told us we need a platform- who are your readers, and who are your contacts.

One thing she passed on to us was that if we are overwhelmed, you can always ask for help. One of the best forms is to get an intern. Some you pay for, some are for credits. You can call the universities, high school, junior colleges. Use them for setting up your websites, social media, and anything you might need. A great idea!

Go listen to other writers to obtain great ideas, not only for your writing, but for your business.

Until next time,

Keep Writing,


Don’t forget to proof the cover, and headers/footers

First, let’s find last clichés:

Going Over With a Fine-Tooth Comb— To investigate or search for with great care. Combs have been around since ancient Egypt, and some had finer teeth than others, the term “fine tooth comb” dates from the first half of the 19th century. The transfer of combing out nits to other kinds of searches took place only in the late 19th century.

Worship ground one walks on—to hold in reverent regard. This hyperbole for deep romantic feeling or great admiration has an archaic sound. Christopher Hale used it in Murder in Two (1943).

Time of My Life—An occasion of outstanding enjoyment. A colloquial Americanism term from the late 19th century which gained currency throughout the English-speaking world in the 20th century. William Saroyan used it as the title of his 1939 play, The Time of Your Life.

There’s the Rub—That’s the impediment or there’s the drawback. This might come from the ancient game of bowls, in which rub refers to the unevenness in the ground that hindered or diverted the free movement of the bowl. In late 16th century it was transferred to other kinds of hindrance. However this expression gained widespread movement through Shakespeare’s use of it in Hamlet’s soliloquy in 3:1.

So, how many did you find?

I’m going to stand my ground and say that proofing your book before publishing is very important. I thought I was finished proofing and corrected a few words on the cover as well as items in the interior of the book. Then I did one more read through with CreateSpace review launcher.  What did I find?

Well, I took a closer look at the headers and footers. All even page headers have my name; odd page headers have my title.  Oops! Not a done deal. Then I looked at library books and realized that the first page of each chapter has no header. So back to my manuscript to correct. No sweat, I’ll just delete them. Unfortunately, sometimes I would do that, and all of the headers would disappear! Now what?

I looked into my Words for Dummies book and found out about sections in your manuscript – each chapter is a section. I was able to make sure that all first pages of a chapter were also a first page of a section. Then, all went well.  Until I did that, it did not.

I’ve learned so much by formatting my own novel for CreateSpace, but it has been frustrating at times and has taken a long time. But, I believe well worth it in my accumulation of knowledge. Of course you can avoid all of this by having your designer do the interior of your book.

Until next time,

Keep Writing,


Proofing your Book

Vanity Killed has been uploaded and I’m waiting for the “proof” book to arrive shortly.

First, let’s do the Last Clichés:

Have the Upper Hand—To be in a controlling position or dominating. This has been around since the 15th Century. It’s derived from an ancient gambling game where each player in turn puts one hand on a stick, beginning at the bottom, and the last one able to put his hand at the top wins. See Miles Coverdale’s translation of Psalm 9:19.

Throw a Monkey Wrench in the Works—To sabotage a plan or operation. In Britain, the monkey wrench, called an “adjustable spanner” reminded someone of a monkey’s jaws, which loosely resemble the sliding jaws of this very useful tool. This name was acquired about the middle of the 19th Century. Not until the early 20th Century that it became associated with sabotage. This idea first appeared in print in 1920 in Philander Johnson’s story, Shooting Stars. This phrase caught on in America and was adopted in Britain as well, but it was in the form of throw a spanner in the works.

Second Nature—A deeply ingrained habit that makes one behave as if by instinct. This is very old – used by Plutarch, Montaigne, and other early writers.  Modern version dates from early 1900s. See The Confidential Clerk, T. S. Eliot (1954).

Don’t Lose your Cool (Cool It)—To calm down. This is a slangy Americanism and emerged about 1950. It caught on rapidly. Came from the usage of “cool” to mean calm and unflustered. See E. Gilbert, Hot and Cool, 1953. Related expressions: keep one’s cool=remain calm, antonym= to lose/blow one’s cool= losing one’s composure.

How many did you find?

I went to a J.A. Jance reading and she said that the Indians always said you should have at least one mistake in what you do, because only the Creator is perfect.  I thought that was very interesting.

So, did you catch the mistake in my last post?   “Because wants you upload it…” try: once.

And those are the kinds of mistakes the will make or break you in publishing.  When you finally get your cover and manuscript uploaded into CreateSpace, you order a proof of your finished book. You can get a pdf, digital and print on demand copy. I did all three. The POD costs less than $10.00 (depending on the size of your book) to have one shipped to you. Then you read the book from cover to cover and look for mistakes. All kinds of mistakes, because you don’t want to be in the same boat as those who don’t look for mistakes, because they think they are perfect.

Hopefully you’ve gotten wind of my blog that tells you how to and where to go to learn to create your manuscript and book for self-publishing. I had to read my blog from 2013 to remind me what to do to publish. CreateSpace has detailed, step by step instructions for you. They will give you the inside track on how to succeed.

Follow their instructions and no matter how many times you have to, re-edit, re-edit and re-read and re-read your book to avoid mistakes that will make your book amateurish, do it.

Keep Writing and Reading,


Ten Things you can control when getting published

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Wishing you the best for the coming year 2015 and hope all your dreams come true.

Last Clichès:

Duty Bound—To be firmly obligated. This phrase is from bounden duty, which dates from the 1500s and was actually redundant, since from the 1400s bound also meant “under obligations.” It appears in the Communion Service of the Book of Common Prayer (1559). It also appears 3 centuries later in The Manchester Strike by Harriet Martineau (1833). Sometime, this term was changed grammatically to the present usage “duty bound.”

On a shoestring (budget)—On a strict budget or with very limited means. Not sure where this came from. One writer suggests it comes from one’s resources being limited to shoelaces. There’s a legend from Exeter, England, that prisoners confined in debtor’s prison would lower a shoe from the window to collect money so they could get out of prison, a tale appealing to tourists but far-fetched. Another explanation is the physical nature of  shoelace, meaning it is a very slender cord or string, which became a metaphor for slender resources stretched to their utmost. It probably originated in America in the late 19th century. A 1904 issue of Cosmopolitan stated, “He speculated on a shoestring—an exceedingly small margin.”

One on One—A direct encounter between two people. This phrase was transferred to general use from several sports. Basketball—it signifies an informal game with just two players and means the standard form of defense, in which one player guards one opponent. Football—it means a player covering (or being covered by) a single opponent. In about 1960 it began to be used for nonathletic encounters.

Hope you found them all.

So, I’m sure you are with bated breath for the rest of my wisdom from Chuck Sambuchino’s workshop I attended on Nov. 22nd.

He closed the workshop with giving us ten things you can control for getting published. Of course, the worst part of writing is that so much is out of your control. But he made my day when he said: “you need to focus on what you CAN control”:

1. Always write the best you can. Don’t be impatient.

2. Understand the difference between traditional and self-publishing.

3. Create a writer platform.

4. Keep moving forward—face your rejections, setbacks, frustration and even the passive/aggressive family members

5. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Keep writing more books, articles, etc.

6. Write for love and/or money.

7. Don’t believe everything you hear. Check facts in different places.

8. Don’t fall into Chapter 1 pitfalls: A) nothing happens and story starts to slow; on page one you should shoot for attention grabbing, problem of story, conflict and trouble. B) Don’t have too much Telling; Show!

9. Steal from yourself – write from value and don’t let any of your writing go to waste. Maximize the value by taking something from your novel and perhaps make it into a short story or expand the short story into something longer. Recycle your work and reuse in other venues.

10. The biggest secret to getting published???? —- PUT DOWN THE REMOTE CONTROL! Make no ifs, ands, or buts with your writing. Make more time for your writing journey.

Hope you’ve checked out Chuck Sambuchino’s website and blog www.chucksambuchino.com, www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog

Until next time,

Keep Writing,


New to my blog: Check out these past posts:

Editing Phase

Useful sites

Format your book for self-publishing