Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vol. 12 / What's Killing Your Publishing Career?

With the large increase of books being published by self-publishers, and the up-rise of
print on demand, there is still a lot of death taking place in the publishing industry.
In the United States, over 291,920 books were published in 2006, per Bowker.

Are you a part of this population? There are many aspects that make up these individuals.
However, let us target just three that are undeniable to anyone reading this article.

As in anything we do, a large portion of it is about taking risks. Are you a risk taker?
You’ve completed your manuscript or just published your novel; it is time to open the
entrepreneur portion of your brain.

Risk takers do not mind the possible end result because the thought of success in pure
motivation. Many writers and authors remain reclusive within the safe haven of their
creativity. What makes this ideology costly? It is the slow return on their investment.

Are you wondering if you fit into this population of authors? Sure you have published
your work for the whole world to read, even critique. But that is just the beginning of
this venture. What makes you any different than the other hundreds of thousands of
writers and authors?

Sure you can play it safe and hope your extraordinary opportunity hits you over your
head. Why not become a risk taker and take it by authority?

Becoming a risk taker you must be:

· persistent

· creative

· passionate

Another obvious bludgeon death is the lack of knowledge.

Yes it is lovely to remain in your creative world and just produce book after book. Can
you imagine leaving all the other hoopla for others to sort out?

No one whose a true business person would dare allow themselves to walk blind in their
business. Prime examples are Oprah, Donald Trump and Bill Gates. However, many writers
and authors are just that, blind.

In order to be successful, you need to be savvy on all levels in the literary industry.
If you are not, just like buying a car, you are going to get taken every time. Do your
homework, rather than relying on third party hearsay. Why would you find knowing
unimportant? For example, POD (print on demand) writers. Many have shouted foul play. The
pitch is knowing the short and long term of POD. Before signing any contract, may it be
for a car, house, student loan, or what have you, the rule of thumb is to know what it
says. If you do not know, you will swing at a curve ball because the only pitch you
anticipated was the fastball.

To become knowledgeable:

· ask questions

· take the time to research

· make sure you understand

Lastly, the beast of all beasts, is marketing. It is amazing how many authors who are not
marketing exhaustively.

This reverts back to the second point: lack of knowledge. Too many authors belief that a
publisher will sign them and they will promote and market their book. Happy to inform
you, that is not always the case.

This is your business and these publishers have invested enough in you, such as, advance,
printing, and a brief promotion run. After this, it is the author’s job to build a
website, create news releases, get interviews and so on.

There are many authors and writers out there with published works who are at a lost. Many
assume self-published authors must deal with marketing and promoting. If no one has
informed you, allow me: that is not true. All published authors, in any realm must market

How else will your book or novel sell without getting out to the masses? Your readers?

To market, you must:

· think-outside-the-box

· market everyday on some level

· address all angles of your novel or book

· have a user friendly website

Take a look at where you are and where you desire to be in this literary world. Determine
if you are killing your publishing career.

This is going to be a challenge, but you have to have enough energy, passion, and juice
to make it past the trying moments.

As a writer or author, make sure you are multi-dimensional. You are becoming an
entrepreneur, so know where your hats are and when to wear them.

C.F. Jackson has been interviewed on The Sumter Television Show, The Louie Jones Show,
Millionaire Monday Series by John DiLemme and Atlanta’s WVEE (V-103 FM), to name a few.
Download your free Website Makeover 101 at - Learn the two things a website must do.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Anne Oliver - Mills and Boon & Harlequin Presents Author

From Anne's website:

I grew up with a love of fairy tales: my favorite was The Little Mermaid. I was entranced with the idea that love could be such a powerful motivator that the heroine would give up her life for it. Then there’s Tennyson’s Lady of Shalott, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and in the music and movie world there’s Carousel, Phantom of the Opera and Titanic. Okay, there are some heroes too - (Who couldn’t be moved by Leonardo?)

Are you noticing a trend here? I love nothing better than a good weepie.

Being accepted by Mills & Boon is a long held ambition and has opened up a new career for me. It took me six full novels and eight years to get it right. To find out who I am and how I got there click on

I'm always so excited to meet and new author and I'm sincerely looking forward to reading Anne's latest June release.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Zoo Story

Several weeks ago I assigned my class to read THE ZOO STORY, one-act play written by Edward Albee. This was written in 1958 in New York but its premiere performance was occurred at the Theater Werkstatt in Berlin on September28, 1959. It was performed on Broadway on January 14, 1960. The story is about two characters, Peter and Jerry, who meet accidentally in one bench in The Central Park. The main conflict is built while the two are talking to each other. What happens at the end of the play oftentimes startles the audience.
To dissect the play together in my class, I gave four questions to lead the discussion.
1.What is the main conflict of the story?
2.What kind of personality traits do the two characters have?
3.How do their family backgrounds differ from each other?
4.What is your reaction when coming to the end of the play?
At first one student complained to me, “If you categorize this play into comedy, I don’t think I find funny aspects in it. Or is it due to my low capability in English?”
When I asked her how she perceived the story of the play, she simply said, “The story is very weird.”
The play is indeed weird; that’s why literary critics categorized it into ‘absurd play’. The word ‘absurd’ itself means “plainly not true, logical, or sensible; so contrary to reason that it is laughable; foolish; ridiculous.” The story to some extent is also pathetic.
Another student then said that probably this kind of story was very much impossible to happen in Indonesia but it was absolutely possible to happen in America.
“Why is that? Which part of the story do you think is impossible to happen here?” I asked her.
I suspected that she didn’t finish reading the whole story so that she answered my question just by mentioning the fact that Peter’s family had two cats and two parakeets. “It is indeed a common thing for Indonesian people to have pets. But you know, pets in Indonesia are just pets. Animals. They don’t really mean a lot. In America, as far as I know there is always a very strong emotional relationship between people and their pets.” Meanwhile I expected that she would answer my question by appointing the weird conversation between Jerry and Peter.
Let’s take one example. After a little bit ‘small talk’ about going north, Jerry asked Peter, “Do you mind if we talk?”
In Indonesia, especially in small towns, when two people meet accidentally in a park, or anywhere else, they will just talk, without asking, “Do you mind if we talk?” They will just talk casual things though, to show hospitality. However, as some critics have said, at the very beginning of the time when Albee had this play published, they did not understand what Albee actually wanted to convey to public.
In the following discussion, we talked about different family backgrounds Peter and Jerry had. Peter was married, had two daughters, and had an established job in a publishing company. On the contrary, Jerry was single, no steady job, living in an indecent tenement with an abusive landlady who had a crazy dog that liked attacking Jerry playfully. Jerry also came from a broken unhappy family.
This contradictory family background absolutely made them have different personality traits. Peter was an established man, educated, able to control his emotion quite well. Jerry seemed somewhat insane with his almost unbelievable story about his landlady and the crazy dog. Therefore I understood when my students said that Jerry seemed to envy Peter’s seemingly happy life.
No one expected to find someone dying at the end of the story because from the very beginning, the play just showed two men talking about unimportant things in their life. My students said that Jerry was too much to provoke Peter so that Peter lost his common sense in facing him although he seemed careful.
The first question—about the main conflict of the story—was not answered in the discussion. I opined that in fact Jerry was already desperate about his unhappy life. He needed someone to “help” him commit suicide. Peter was just the right person on the wrong place. Jerry succeeded in provoking Peter so that he did what Jerry ‘planned’: to hold the knife on his hand, enabling Jerry to impale on it.
Why did Jerry need someone else’s help to commit suicide? He wanted to share his unhappiness to someone else he assumed to have a happy life—in that decade, to be married, have kids and a good job were ‘requirements’ to be lead a happy life.
Peter’s life would never be the same again as before he encountered a crazy, desperate man who involved him in his death.
What did Albee want to convey to the audience? I assume that he wanted to criticize American values that started to worship wealth and did not care of the neighborhood.
PT56 13.33 190608

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet Natalie Anderson - M&B and Presents Author

I'm always so excited when a new author is revealed and I recently purchased Natalie's His Mistress by Arrangements and I'm really looking forward to reading and reviewing it. Here's what people are saying about Natalie:

Natalie Anderson is one of the most exciting voices in steamy romantic fiction writing today. Sassy, witty and emotional, her Modern Heats are in a class of their own ... an extraordinary new talent who can blend passion, drama, humour and emotion in one unforgettable read!
- Cataromance

"Natalie Anderson is one of the hottest new voices in romance and she is back with another scintillating romance blazing with plenty of intensity and heat – Bedded by Arrangement!"
- Pink Heart Society

"Ajoutons que la tout baigne dans une atmosphère de grande tension sexuelle et que les scènes d’amour sont délicieusement tendres et érotiques."
- Blue Moon

ALL NIGHT WITH THE BOSS is a fun, sexy read that will test your every emotion and leave the reader feeling completely satisfied...[it's] Natalie Anderson’s debut novel, and if this is just a taste of what she has to offer, then romance readers are in for a real treat.
Romance Junkies

I enjoyed All Night With the Boss for the quick and sexy entertainment it provided... Gosh, let's hope my personal book budget can take the heat.
All About Romance
Here's Natalie Anderson's June release from The Nights of Passion - Harlequin Presents. For more on her bio, please go to the Harlequin link:

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nationalism and Religiosity

Last Sunday, June 8, 2008, after interviewing some participants of students exchange (AFS program), I was involved in a chit-chat with some other volunteers. One of them, a middle-aged woman, wearing jilbab, has a Japanese course at her dwelling place. Another one, a man at his mid-thirties, just opened an English course in Semarang some time ago, after he lived in Jakarta for around fifteen years.
There are two main interesting topics we talked.
1. Nationalism
The woman I mentioned above said about the young generations in Indonesia who did not have enough nationalism. One guest teacher she got from Japan encouraged her to evoke nationalism in her students before they go to Japan. (Note: her institution often gives Japanese training for those who will go to Japan to work.) The guest teacher said that the young generations did not have enough nationalism. It was proven from what they said about their own country when they were in Japan.
As a comparison, Japanese young generations, as well as Korean who work in Japan, have high nationalism so that they do not want to talk bad things about their country.
From the way the woman talked about that, and her concern with the low nationalism among the young generations, I concluded that she tended to scold them, without trying to dig out more deeply what caused it. Therefore, sadly I said, “Well, I don’t really blame them. Let’s take a corruption case as an example. What happened if one government official—let’s say a minister—in Japan was found out that he allegedly was involved in a corruption case? He perhaps would resign from his position, or even would do ‘harakiri’. What happened if that happened in Indonesia? Even in Semarang, there is one government official who has been suspected to get involved in a corruption case, he, without shame, still moves on to join the gubernatorial election.”
Feeling concerned about this matter, on Tuesday June 10, I asked one class of mine—there were twelve students present, varying from the second until sixth semester at college—to discuss the cause why nationalism decreased among the young generations. I divided them into three groups. I didn’t tell them what I said in the chit-chat two days before in order that I didn’t ‘interfere’ their way of thinking. Nevertheless, the three groups agreed that one main reason was the leadership crisis among the government officials, it resulted in the young generations’ disappointment toward the government. They felt embarrassed toward Indonesian ‘reputation’ as the most corrupted country.
Some other reasons mentioned were:
Impacts of globalization where the information was not filtered. One example mentioned was when the young generations see a prosperous life in another country, one thing they hardly find in Indonesia nowadays, it will make them dream to live abroad.
Impact of being colonized for some centuries so that we felt inferior toward the colonial country.
Not good educational system, proven by the continuous changing in the curricula every time a new minister of education is elected
Protection from the government toward the citizens is bad.
Disbelieve in our own products
Not preserving our original cultures
Unfortunately, since we didn’t have enough time to discuss, I could not explore more of their answers. I assume, however, it was enough to know the voice of the young generations why they would choose to live abroad, even probably to change their nationality in case they get a good job, good salary and enough facility in another country.

2. Religion
The guy living in Jakarta for more than a decade complained about the impolite behavior among children and teenagers in Jakarta. He mentioned the non-religiosity as one main cause of the bad behavior. One example: during Ramadhan month (the holy fasting month for Muslim), people no longer showed empathy toward other people who perhaps were fasting. Without feeling shy—moreover sinful—people enjoyed having meals in public places. Another example was the bigger tendency for people to have free sex recently without feeling ashamed.
On the contrary, he said, living in Semarang—one much smaller city than the metropolis Jakarta—was much more peaceful. Children and teenagers in Semarang behaved much better than their counterparts in the capital of Indonesia.
“The key, in fact, lies in religious teachings.” He said.
I kept quiet.
Then the woman told us a story one time she got an exchange student from Japan staying at her house. A little chat on religion happened between her and the student in the beginning of their encounter.
She asked: “What is your religion”
The student answered, “I don’t have religion. Should I adhere one religion if I live in Indonesia?”
The woman responded, “Oh, you don’t need to. That’s fine. Forgive my nosy question, please.” (Nana’s note: it seems to me that “what is your religion” has become one very common question asked in the first meeting with someone.)
The student said, “My parents never teach me about religion. They strongly teach me not to harm other people, though.”
The woman commented, (to us, to sum up her chat with the student) “See? In fact it is as simple as that the way Japanese raise their children. Don’t harm other people. And I assume that is the key of all religions.”
Then I simply said, “You know what? In Indonesia, adhering religion is very important, even it is a must, I guess, because we are taught that religious people are better than the non-believers. And many cases happen where religious people think that they even can make use of their religions to do violence to others and they don’t feel ashamed or sinful because they believe they harm other people in the name of God.”
Hearing my saying, the woman nodded solemnly, while the guy smiled, a bit embarrassed. :)
PT56 13.23 110608

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Vol. 11 / What Are Publishers Looking For?

IDEA MEETINGS: By Rick Frishman

Writers understand that publishing is a business, but novice writers seem to think that the business begins when their book goes to print. Not so. The business begins with an idea meeting.

Idea meetings are usually attended by a combination of a publisher's editorial and marketing people, and the attendance may vary by who is available on any given day.

Although they may be scheduled for the same day and time each week, these meetings are basically informal and unstructured, more like group discussions. They usually don't have a written schedule or agenda; everyone sits around a table and the atmosphere is collegial, relaxed, and frank.

Editors inform the group about book proposals to generate discussions in which everyone chimes in. The group asks questions, gives opinions, and volunteers information about similar or competitive books.

Idea meetings are essentially exploratory. Their purpose is to challenge proposals by closely examining them and chipping away to see if the proposed project would make a good book for the house to publish. They discuss whether they think the firm should commit further time and resources to each book discussed.

At idea meetings, proposals can be rejected, but they cannot be given final approval.
At these meetings, the group wants want to see if the book has a strong hook and how it is positioned. The proposal must clearly answer the following questions:

What is the book about?

Is there an audience for the book?

If so, who is that audience?

Where will it be shelved? Books that don't have clearly identifiable places on bookstore shelves get lost. Booksellers don't know where to place them, and potential buyers don't know where to find them.

Can the book be produced so that it provides value for readers? For example, if all the books on a subject are priced in the $30 range, can the publisher deliver this book with a higher word count or information not in competing books and sell it for $12.95?

"A book has to be clearly identifiable as something new in the marketplace," according to Gary Krebs, the Publishing Director at Globe Pequot Press. "New in the marketplace means that it can be on the same topic as something that already exists, but there has to be a new spin, a new direction, which sometimes can be just a format change. Or, you could spin an existing topic for a new demographic such as businesswomen when all the other books were primarily aimed at men."

All decisions are market driven; the group must believe that the book proposed can make the company money. Editors as well as marketing representatives usually won't support a proposal unless they believe that the book can be commercially viable.

If the proposal survives the idea meeting, the editor who championed it usually prepares a presentation report or packet for another committee; one that has the authority to acquire the property. The report or packet includes research on sales figures, competing books, comparable history of the publisher's other books, recent publishing trends, and whether this proposal fits in with its overall vision of what they did in the past and want to do in the future.

At many houses, the champion prepares a profit-and-loss statement (P&L) for each proposed book. If the company decides to make an offer to buy the book, the P&L statement forms the basis for the price the company will be willing to pay for book.

Get my Million Dollar Rolodex at:

Rick Frishman, the founder of Planned Television Arts, has been one of the leading book publicists in America for over 30 years.

Working with many of the top book editors, literary agents and publishers in America, including Simon and Schuster, Random House, Wiley, Harper Collins, Pocket Books, Penguin Putnam, and Hyperion Books, he has worked with best-selling authors including Mitch Albom, Caroline Kennedy, Howard Stern, President Jimmy Carter, Mark Victor Hansen, Nelson DeMille, John Grisham, Hugh Downs, Henry Kissinger, Jack Canfield, Alan Deshowitz, Arnold Palmer, and Harvey Mackay.

In addition to his work at "PTA" Rick has now taken on the new role as Publisher at Morgan James Publishing in New York. David Hancock founded Morgan James in 2003 and in 2007 "MJ" published over 130 books. Morgan James only publishes non fiction books and looks for authors with a platform who believe in giving back. Morgan James gives a portion of every book sold to Habitat for Humanity. ( for the million $ rolodex

Article Source:

Monday, June 9, 2008

Localized English

When reading “We have the right to change English” in The Jakarta Post (you can also check it in my blog at I remembered what Jack C. Richards said in the TEFLIN Conference held in Surabaya in 2002. He said that as one consequence to label English as a universal language, people in Britain, Australia, and America no longer can exclusively possess it. This is the high time to accept the emergence of localized English; for example Singlish (Singaporean English) (one most common example for this ‘Singlish’ is when a Singaporean says, “No way lah”. Therefore, one can conclude that Richards also encouraged Indonesian English to emerge.
In 2003, in my workplace there was a native speaker coming as one guest teacher. She is from one area in Britain and she had a very different accent when speaking English. The way she pronounced many words also did not follow the phonetic symbols usually found in many dictionaries (such as OXFORD, LONGMAN, HORNBY). She said that in Britain different areas had different accent as well as pronunciation. Because she learned her mother language since she was born, when she went to school and learned the ‘correct’ way to pronounce according to the dictionaries, she (as well as her fellow citizens I suppose) did not give it a damn. She said as long as they understood each other, that was enough. They did not need to bother themselves with the correct pronunciation. (This talk reminded me of one short article I read in one ELT book, I forgot the title of the book, either “Practice and Progress” or “Question & Answer”, the title of article was “Do the English speak English?” referring to the different ways of British people to pronounce English words.) She also said that even the English teachers in Indonesia pronounce English words ‘correctly’ because they always referred to the phonetic symbols in many dictionaries. They also tried to always follow the correct grammar rules.
To combine what was said by Jack Richards and the guest teacher in my workplace, I felt more at ease when teaching my students, no longer burden them to speak as closely as native speakers’ accent and pronunciation, for example, or to carefully choose the best dictions (that was worldwide accepted) to express something, as long as their interlocutors understand the message conveyed.
How about to ‘create’ Indonesian English, such as saying, “What’s wrong sih with you?” or “So what is it dong?” When Singaporeans can say, “No way lah,” of course Indonesian people can say similar things, such as by adding ‘sih’ and ‘dong’. However, I still insist that it be important to teach students to follow strict grammar rules. In Bahasa Indonesia, one can say, “Saya sudah makan” or “Sudah makan saya” or “Makan? Saya sudah” is very well accepted here. But then to ‘adopt’ this ‘chaotic’ grammar rules when speaking English, I am of opinion that it is not supposed to be done. Moreover, the use of active and passive voice in Bahasa Indonesia sometimes is interchangeable. Pay attention to the previous example I wrote, “Saya sudah makan” and “Sudah makan saya” are meant to be active sentence, “I have eaten”. When the first sentence is clearly active sentence, the word order of the second sentence can be classified into passive sentence although the speaker means active one, only he/she wants to emphasize the word “sudah”.
Therefore, in order to ‘create’ Indonesian English, then Indonesian people mix it with the way they speak Bahasa Indonesia—especially the grammar rules--, I don’t think it acceptable because it can result in wrong understanding.
Some workmates of mine sometimes joke, “My body is not really delicious today” to say “Aku sedang kurang enak badan hari ini (I don’t really feel well today)” is absolutely only for joke. Because if we then ‘label’ this kind of joke as accepted Indonesian English, I am afraid we will even more arbitrarily ‘ruin’ this universal language only because we are convinced that we have right to change English.
PT56 23.02 080608

Monday, June 2, 2008

Stairway to Heaven

Several days ago, a workmate of mine told me about her friend. This friend of hers is married, and having one toddler. She works as an English teacher in one private college in my hometown while she also has some private students. In short we can say that she is busy to earn money. Besides, she also believes in ‘double roles’ of women proposed strongly in the New Order era.
Women are believed to be born as domestic creatures. In this so-called ‘modern’ era, however, many women demand that they also have rights to work outside the home. The New Order regime accommodated this idea. The then government supported the emancipation ‘discourse’ by campaigning, “women are no longer men’s companion to stand behind.” Nevertheless, the New Order regime still did oppression to women, by conveying ‘double roles’ for women: when a woman wants to work outside the home, she is still obliged to do domestic chores. A woman must be a superwoman to do the two things at the same time. In the meantime, men were still public creatures. They were not obliged to do domestic chores although they had spare time at home. Religion teachings were also ‘abused’ here. A woman would get ticket to enter heaven easily if she were willing to do these double roles. If she minded, she would rather be a full domestic creature instead. On the contrary, a man did not necessarily help his wife do household chores because he was created not to do those ‘trivial’ things. Men had bigger and nobler responsibility: to earn money. It was enough for men to get ticket to enter heaven.
Going back to my workmate’s friend. Let us give her an initial: X. X really believes in the double-role idea. (Un)luckily, her husband apparently also believes in it. Seeing his wife busily doing household chores after working outside does not move his heart to help. He even does not care to take care of their toddler because he also considers it ‘a woman’s job’. This situation has happened for several years.
One day X confided in my workmate about how exhausted she was to do the double roles. However, if she stops working, her husband’s income is not enough to make ends meet. My workmate then suggested that X ask her husband to help her do household chores. However, X did not agree with it.
“Why didn’t she agree with your idea?” I asked her.
“She strongly believes by doing the double roles, she will get a ticket heaven easily as the compensation from God.
“Tell her that to enter heaven, there are many other ways. She doesn’t need to put herself in such a harmful situation now that she is so vulnerable to diseases because she doesn’t have enough time to do exercise, moreover to rest at home.” (FYI, X is in her mid thirties, and she is suffering from rheumatism, and some other diseases.)
Furthermore, I cited what Meutia Hatta said several years ago on polygamy case. “Don’t trouble yourself to get involved in polygamous marriage only because you believe that by letting your husband marry another woman again; or by being the nth wife of a man. There are many other ways to get God’s blessings to enter heaven. Don’t hurt other women’s feelings, or your children’s.”
“The problem is,” my workmate said to me, “this friend of mine believes it so much that by dedicating her life to her husband and marriage, she will easily enter heaven.”
“So, she is very lucky then to have already found the best and nearest way to heaven: dedicating her life to her heartless husband. Tell her that she is not supposed to complain if she believes that is her stairway to heaven. She must be happy with that.”
I sounded cynical? Yes. I was also very unhappy to say that. But what else was I supposed to say if X already closed her mind on this case?
PT56 07.55 010608