Monday, October 27, 2008


“God never made mistakes in creating human beings!”
The statement above was said by one student of mine several months ago when I asked the class to discuss homosexuality/transgender/transsexual. I cited a statement of one transsexual I found in a book entitled Transekssualisme: “I was trapped in a wrong body.” And then I asked the class consisting of college students to discuss in small groups. The background of the discussion was the ‘gossip’ of one celebrity in Indonesia, Krisna Mukti. (Absolutely I am not a fan of infotainment program. However, I was interested in discussing this gossip in my class since the movement of feminism is indispensable from the movement of LGBT—lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. And I am an open claimed feminist as you can find in my blogs.)
In responding my student’s opinion (I directly realized that I was facing a group of students who would probably oppose my way of thinking that is pro to freedom of choosing sexual orientation), I had to do it very carefully and wisely.
Obviously I also do believe that God never made mistakes in creating anything; name it human beings, animals, plants, this universe. Human beings made mistakes though. In this case, including to limit human beings only into two kinds—female and male, and then decide that the ‘normal’ one is when female is attracted to male and on the way around, especially romantically, sexually, and sensually. Outside that, there must be something wrong. Strongly opining that “No one is supposed to think that he/she is trapped in the wrong body” is indeed narrow-minded because we view things only from one perspective, ignoring that there is another—even some other perspectives.
Based on researches done, anthropologists have classified human beings into at least four categories, in terms of sexuality:
 Male that is sexually attracted to female
 Female that is sexually attracted to male
 Male that that is sexually attracted to male
 Female that is sexually attracted to female
The strong influence of celestial religions (read: Jewish, Christianity, Islam) narrowed the four categories into only two during the Victorian era, the first and the second categories, leaving the third and the fourth become unknown, and eventually they were labeled abnormal or against natural law.
The Dutch colonial government brought this influence to Indonesia; making some communities that used to give respected position to homosexuals (such as bissu community in Makassar, warok gemblak in Ponorogo, dalaq in Madura, shaman in Dayak Ngaju, etc) cornered and gradually disappear. Besides, the strong influence of two main celestial religions (Christianity and Islam) brought to Indonesia made the homosexual communities come to an end. While before, those communities were viewed normal, even respected.
Isn’t it time to start viewing things from other perspectives, to understand the way others think and feel, to be empathetic.
Irshad Manji (a feminist Muslim that claims herself as a lesbian) said, “Bukankah Tuhan sangat bisa dengan keMahaKuasaan-Nya menjadikanku untuk tidak menjadi seorang lesbian?” (JP number 58) and still she is a lesbian. There was God’s interference behind it.
PT56 20.20 261008

2009 Manic Readers Romance Novel Writing Contest

Welcome to the 2009 Manic Readers Romance Novel Writing Contest - NAL Publishing editor, Becky Vinter

Contest Rules:
1. Entries will be accepted between January 3, 2009 and February 28, 2009
2. Entries must be written to the theme of "Men in Uniform". Heat level: Steamy!
3. This is a novel length (80k - 100k) contest. Entry length of the excerpt is 1000 words (computer count). Entries over 1000 words will be disqualified. Excerpt can be any part of the story as long as it follows the above theme. Excerpt must be from a new, not yet published, manuscript.
4. Entrants must be registered with the Manic Readers website
5. All entries will be submitted via a submission form on the Manic Readers website, more info on that coming soon.
6. All entries will be kept anonymous but assigned an entry identification number
7. Beginning March 1, 2009, Manic Readers will post 20% of the entries at the beginning of each of the following weeks:
March 1st
March 8th
March 15th
March 22nd
March 29th
8. Each week registered users can vote for their top two entries (one vote per entry)
9. The top two entries from each week will be posted April 5, 2009 and read by Becky Vinter
10. Contest is open to unpublished writers and published authors not published with NAL Publishing
11. One entry per person – multiple entries will be disqualified
Contest Prizes:
1. The top 10 entries receiving the most votes will be read by Becky Vinter
2. The entry with the most votes will be named “Readers’ Choice”
3. Becky Vinter will name one of the top 10 entries “Editor’s Choice”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the manuscript have to be finished in order to enter the contest?

A: That’s up to you. However, if the editor really loves your excerpt she may ask you for the full manuscript A few FAQs about the contest

Q: Is this a short story contest?

A: No. The 1,000 words is simply an excerpt from your manuscript.

Q: Can the excerpt be from a published or previously published work?

A: No. The excerpt must be from a new story not yet published.

Q: Does the manuscript have to be finished in order to enter the contest?

A: That’s up to you. However, if the editor really loves your excerpt she may ask you for the full manuscript.

Q: How long does the manuscript need to be if she does ask me for the full?

A: Novel length--80k to 100k words.

Q: How steamy can the excerpt be?

A: The best way to know how steamy your story can be is to read a few of the NAL romance books. They range from normal mainstream, to pretty hot stuff and Ms. Vinter said she liked steamy!

Therefore, a sweet story wouldn't work for this particular contest.

Questions & Answers:

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Art of Romance

The Art of Romance: Mills & Boon and Harlequin Cover Designs

Total entertainment for devoted romance readers!

Found on Redlines and Dealines Blog:

Oprah Loves the Kindle

Thanks to posts today from Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, if you're' asking Santa this year for a Kindle, here's a discount:

The Kindle is $50 off through November 1, for a total of $309.00. \

From Oprah's website:
This summer, Oprah received a gift that she says changed her life. "I'm telling you, it is absolutely my new favorite thing in the world," she says.

Meet the Amazon Kindle™, a wireless portable reading device with instant access to more than 190,000 books, blogs, newspapers and magazines. Whether you're in bed or on the train, Kindle lets you think of a book and get it in less than a minute.

As a special offer for Oprah viewers, is giving $50 off the price of Kindle. Enter the promotional code OPRAHWINFREY during the checkout process at to receive the discount. This offer is valid through November 1, 2008.

Code for $50 off the price of Kindle: OPRAHWINFREY

Go to to learn more and order your Kindle today!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Night Owl Authors Share Holiday Treats

Pop over to The Night Owl Authors blog Link:

2009 Romantic Times Convention

What sets the RT BOOKLOVERS CONVENTION apart from any other book industry convention? We mix business and networking with fellowship and fun.

• Begin each morning with a meet and greet mixer hosted by various authors and publishers.
• Then choose from a rich variety of over 125 informative workshops for readers, writers and booksellers.
• Cap off the afternoon with a fun-filled stimulating networking party.
• At dark, it's time to get ready for our sumptuous evening events.

Attendees will receive lots of FREE books and promotional items from authors and publishers.


• PUBLISHED AUTHORS and ASPIRING WRITERS can attend over 100 workshops to learn how to write and get published, how to network, how to promote and how to increase sales.

• READERS will enjoy a special three-day program with games, giveaways, prizes and lots of FREE BOOKS as well as attend bestselling author lectures in an intimate setting. Authors are at the ready to answer all your book-related questions.

• BOOKSELLERS will value a special three-day program that will take you into the future of bookselling with tips on how to increase sales and revenues and how to compete with the chains. You will also learn how to use the internet to supplement your income.

All of the workshops, luncheons, dinners and events are included in the registration fee.

When: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 11:00 AM - Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:00 PM

Wyndham Orlando Resort
8001 International Drive
Orlando, Florida 32819

Work shop descriptions:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The publisher of romance novels is celebrating its centenery, and is set to defy the credit crunch with a new series of racy titles!

Quoted from THE FIRST POST October 20, 2008

How big is Mills & Boon?

Huge. Harry Potter may have shifted 400m books in 11 years; Mills & Boon sell the same amount every two. In the UK it releases 50 romantic titles a month. Its novels, translated into 25 languages, are sold in 109 international markets, and this year it began publishing for 300m English readers in India, where the books, uniquely, are popular with men as well as women. There are also editions in Polish for immigrants to the UK, with titles such as Tejemniczy Ukochany (Mysterious Lover) and Ksiaze Pustyni (Desert Prince). In fact, in the time you've taken to read this, 10 Mills & Boon books will have been sold in the UK – the company calculates that one is sold here every three seconds.

Do they all follow a tried and tested romantic formula?

Yes, a formula already clearly marked out in pre-WWI titles such as The Virgin's Treasure: a Romance of the Tropics ("This was not England but the tropics, where blood runs hotter, and where incredible things happen with amazing swiftness"). The action takes place over 188-192 pages; man and woman meet; there's conflict, but, against the odds, true love will out. The absolute certainty of the plot-line is a key selling point. "Your troubles are at an end when you choose a Mills & Boon novel," read a postwar advert. "No more doubts! No more disappointments!"

So are all the books much the same?

Yes and no. They come in ten distinct, highly stylised, colourcoded genres. Medical Romance – involving pretty midwives, hunky surgeons and "Mediterranean Doctors" ("French medical heroes are winners with Medical readers," says the senior editor); Historical Romance ("Regency tales remain ever-popular with our readers and cover the range from drawing room antics to the salacious underworld inhabited by pickpockets and prostitutes"); Modern Romance (where heroes are invariably "swarthy" and with titles like Taken by her Greek Boss; Surrender to the Sheikh); and so on. Some genres, eg the flame-coloured Blaze, are more lust-fuelled than others (in the pink Romance genre, there is "a lower sensuality level", says the editor, "and more focus on emotional depth"); but the overall flavour is much the same.

How sexually explicit are they?

Sex scenes between married couples first appeared in 1963; by the 1970s, unmarrieds were at it, too. In 1973, masturbation makes its first appearance, and in 1982, oral sex. ("There are other places to kiss," says the swarthy hero of Antigua Kiss, as the heroine surrenders to "waves of ecstasy".) Under its new Canadian owner, Harlequin, which bought M&B in 1971, the couplings (lesbian, interracial) got saucier. And now it is introducing a new genre, Spice, which will feature casual sex and bondage in a context where there may be no "emotional connection between heroes and heroines". The first in the series, Spies, Lies and Naked Thighs, will go on sale in the UK next year.

Would this horrify the founders?

Possibly not. The publishing house founded by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon back in 1908 may have started life with
books on solid, worthy subjects (eg travel and crafts) and published well-known authors like PG Wodehouse and Hugh Walpole; but it always had a keen eye on the bottom line. Its first romantic novel, Arrows in the Dark, was such a success that exploiting the romantic longings of its female readers soon became its stock in trade. "I'm certain the bulk of novels are devoured by women before they reach the men," noted Charles Boon in 1913, who made the use of new marketing techniques a key part of the brand.

What sort of techniques?

It was Charles Boon who started to develop a "personal" touch with the readers by offering a "souvenir chapter" free to any home address, a policy refined by Harlequin in the 1970s, when they started delivering books directly to readers' doorsteps, along with special gifts and reader questionnaires. Mills & Boon seldom misses a trick to attract new readers: for example, when the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it sent staff into the streets to hand out 750,000 free copies to the romance deprived women of East Germany. And it is also renowned for the way it attracts authors to its stable: Charles Boon, determined to make the company "the Promised Land" for budding writers, started the idea of offering housewives the chance to become pioneer novelists, and today the company still receives around 1,500 unsolicited manuscripts a year. Every one of them is read by its team of 20 editors, though only a dozen are accepted. Writers come in all shapes and sizes: the renowned Jan Tempest, for example, was an elderly recluse (real name: Irene Swatridge) who ran a Devon sheep farm.

And is M&B likely to continue for another century?

Almost certainly. Although regularly slated by feminists for perpetuating the idea of the dominant male, its strong, masterful heroes continue to find a vast audience. Back in 1970 one of its popular authors, a shy spinster called Violet Winspear, caused an outcry by saying that her male characters "must frighten and fascinate. They must be the sort of men who are capable of rape." That may have overstated it, but the editor's instructions to would be authors are still clear on the point. The hero "must have achieved a certain level of wealth and success. He's alpha, in that he's strong; he oozes beguiling confidence and charm (he's got a great body!)". And there's good reason for this intransigence. When the company tried an experiment with ordinary-Joe "beta" males ("like Tom Hanks") as heroes, reader enthusiasm was dismal.

Can it survive the credit crunch?

Undoubtedly. It has always done well in hard times: it prospered during WWII and regards the Great Depression as its golden age. If there's one industry likely to boom when things are going bust, it's escapism

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The "11/11/11" Book Tour Schedule

I understand this “virtual touring” can be a bit confusing; I’ve received a few e-mails from some “lost writers.” So let me try to guide you to the daily post.

Scroll down to today’s date. Then you will see what today’s topic is and where the tour stops. For instance if today is Friday, October 24, scroll down to Friday, October 24 and click on the link. This will take you to the Website who is hosting the stop for that day.

If you have further questions, please e-mail me at I want you to get the most out of this tour!

Note: you can always see the post for any “previous” day of the tour, but upcoming discussions won’t be there until the actual day of the tour stop.

Wednesday, October 15, HERE OF COURSE (scroll down)!

Thursday, October 16, TOPIC – “Writing & Publishing Non-fiction” Visit Audrey’s Blog at

Friday, October 17, TOPIC – “Writing & Publishing Fiction” Visit Cute Writing: Creative Writing Help at

Saturday, October 18, TOPIC – “Marketing Mistakes”, Visit John Kremer’s Book Marketing Forum at (or see new blog posts)

Sunday, October 19, TOPIC –“Connecting With Your Market” Visit My Funny Dad, Harry Blog at

Monday, October 20 (LATE POST), TOPIC – “Writing as a Business” Visit Creatif at

Tuesday, October 21, TOPIC – “Marketing Discussion” Visit Plain & Simple Books at

Wednesday, October 22, TOPIC – “Genre” Visit Writ, Written, Wrote at

Thursday, October 23, TOPIC – “General Discussion” Visit A Book Inside Forum at (see new blog posts)

Friday, October 24, TOPIC – “Publishing Options” Visit A Stress Free Life at

Saturday, October 25, TOPIC – “Virtual Book Tours” Visit Book Marketing Maven Blog at

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In the Beginning…Virtual Book Tour for Author & Publisher Carol Denbow

Welcome to the first day of my virtual tour! As many of you know, I’ve done numerous Interviews on radio and on-line, but this is my first “virtual” tour and I’m very excited about it. Over the next eleven days I’ll be visiting some awesome Websites and blogs talking with some great hosts about writing, publishing, and marketing books. Some of the topics will include, writing and publishing fiction and non-fiction, writing as a business, connecting with your market, and even how to set up your own virtual tour. Join me on this wonderful adventure and reap the benefits of successful “authorship!”

About me: I came into this business just a few years back with the intent to write only one book on business start-up. I soon after realized that writing is an addictive “sport”—and I was addicted! Book two, book three, and they’re still coming! Of course after book writing comes publishing; POD, self, traditional, WOW, so many options. So I began the research. I woke up one day with a new publishing company, Plain & Simple Books, LLC. Don’t ask how it happened—it just did. You see, at this point, I was supposed to be retired, you know, done working. Business must just be something that flows through the bloodlines—and it defiantly flows in mine. Everything is a challenge to me, and it has to be done right and finished or I’m not satisfied. So here I am, an author and publisher—wow, what a ride!

So I’ll go back now (I like to do things backwards). I was born (what a cliché), in 1959, yep, a baby boomer. I grew up in what then was a “small” community; Anaheim, California. I was the last (to survive) of six kids. I went to Catholic school, spent weekends at Pearson Park, and Sundays with my family at San Clemente Beach goofing around on homemade skim boards.

I dropped out of high school, never completing the 10th grade, stupid I suppose, but got my GED when I was 19 thanks to an aunt of mine who wouldn’t let me settle with being a “drop-out.” To my surprise, I passed the thing with just about the highest score possible (maybe not quite as stupid as I thought).

I married, divorced, married, divorced, and married again….Three months into the marriage, I lost my stepson in an automobile accident and a few years later, divorced again. Raised two great children in the process, believe it or not, and when I finally realized what makes a marriage (and after I had learned to comfortably live alone), I met the love of my life, Craig. Now happily married and living on the southern coast of Oregon, I enjoy writing, golf, volunteering my time in town, and golf (yes, that much!).

So that’s me in a nutshell, or as the nut I am.

I hope you will all come along for the ride this next ten days and see what can be learned to help you get your book written, go through the publishing process, and sell, sell, sell!!! Every stop will hold valuable information which under normal circumstances might take you endless hours to find on your own. I’ve included the entire virtual tour schedule below along with links to each posts location. Hope you’ll join me!

Please don’t forget… I want to hear from you! Don’t hesitate to leave your questions for me, comments on each post, or just introduce yourself and tell us about your project (comment link is just below each post—very small print!). I will try to respond to every question asked as soon as possible. Please, no advertizing in the comment section.

Back to original post

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where to Autograph Your Books

Here’s an interesting topic rarely addressed; what is the proper way to autograph a book? New writers and seasoned authors listen up! There really is a “proper” way to sign.

Book buyers love to receive signed copies, so how important is it to present a “properly” inscribed book?—I say “very!” Follow the suggestions below to present your “best work!”

To start, use a fine point ink pen, not a ballpoint or marker. Many types of ink have a tendency to bleed through the pages and can damage the book (and look tacky).

There are many different ways to inscribe a book. The most common is a simple signature. Inscriptions should be written on the bastard title page with the exception of the dedication copy. Below is a list of the basic rules of book signing.

Signed copy — Includes only your signature. This is appropriate for people you don’t know personally.

Dedication copy — Signed on the dedication page to the person or persons the book is dedicated to. This often includes a personal note.

Inscribed copy — Written to someone you know and usually includes a personal note.

Presentation copy — Written to someone who helped you with the book, and usually has a personal note.

The most valuable of these is the inscribed dedication copy because there is only one. Try to avoid signing a book to a specific person if you don’t know the person, except as a special request.

One way to make your signed copies appear more special is to label them with a transparent sleeve, flag, or ribbon that reads “signed copy.” You can purchase transparent paper and print these at home. Or try ordering slickers for the front cover. These are available at

How you sign your books really isn’t too important unless you plan to be a famous author some day??????

For more tips on producing and marketing a polished book, read A Book Inside, How to Write, Publish, and Sell Your Story, Plain & Simple Books, LLC, (2008).

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meet New Presents Author, Sabrina Philips

I just popped over to I Heart Presents and saw the post about new Harlequin Presents Author, Sabrina Philips. Here's the link for Sabrina's interview:

Sabrina also appeared on The Pink Heart Society website a few months ago and here's the interview link:

Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon - Sabrina's website:

Author Sylvia Day American V Contest

Romantic Times will soon be sponsoring American Title V contest for aspiring authors. Author Sylvia Day is sponsoring a wonderful contest on her website. Link:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The New Zealand Herald - Spicing up the romance

Sunday Oct 05, 2008
Tom Peck

Masterful men are still a feature of Mills and Boon’s foray into erotica fiction.

It's official: romance is dead. After 100 years of swooning feminine ladies kissing manly men on faraway islands, Mills and Boon is launching its first line of explicit erotica.

The British publisher's new imprint, Spice, marks a sharp departure from Mills and Boon tradition: even up to the 1970s, unmarried couples were not permitted to have sex between the covers of its books. A raunchier series launched in 2001 featured whipped cream and handcuffs, but only "in the context of an enduring emotional relationship".

No more. The Spice paperbacks will be "more about sex for enjoyment," says Claire Somerville, Mills and Boon marketing director. "It doesn't have to be linked to an emotional connection between the heroes and heroines."

Good news, no doubt, for Breezy Malone, the heroine of Spies, Lies and Naked Thighs, who will swap her archaeologist's trowel for the leather corset of a covert FBI sex agent and set out to seduce the terrorist behind her incarceration in a Middle East prison.

Since Gerald Mills and Charles Boon founded the company in 1908, the temperature between the pages of their 35 million titles has grown progressively hotter. "We started off as a general publisher, big on sport and craft books," says Somerville. "It was in the 1920s and 30s that they realised people wanted to escape the hardship of the times, and that what women wanted was light fiction.

"Much later, in the 50s and 60s, some of the writers wanted to break out and depict society in a more realistic way. One writer [Jan Tempest] was told to edit out an illegitimate character. Divorce and illegitimacy were unacceptable for the Irish market, which was very big for us."

But that didn't last long. Phillip Larkin wrote: "Sexual intercourse began in 1963 (which was rather late for me)." Was he referring to Mills and Boon? It was then that sex scenes between married couples were included for the first time. By the 70s, this had been extended to unmarried couples.

The market for erotica has grown hugely in recent years. Partly in response to Virgin Books' Black Lace series, first published in 1993, Mills and Boon launched its Blaze imprint seven years ago.

"Pretty much anything goes," says Somerville, "but all in the context of the enduring emotional relationship."

Mills and Boon's books are "a social barometer for the 20th century", adds Somerville. "That's what's so interesting about them. You can chart the development of social and sexual mores, the history of women and the evolution of women's role socially and sexually, all through Mills and Boon."

In celebration of its 100th anniversary, the publishing house is also launching itself on the television-viewing public. Consuming Passion: 100 Years of Mills & Boon promises to be "very raunchy", according to the producers. "The 90-minute drama will interweave the stories of three very different women, and shed light on the impact and influence the books had on women's lives over the last century," says Ben Stephenson, head of drama commissioning at the BBC.

The drama is based on the lives of the people behind the scenes at the publishing house. The first is set in 1908 and concerns Mary, wife of Charles Boon. While Charles struggled to establish his business in London, he and his wife were fighting another battle - in the bedroom. Its outcome would determine the future of Mills & Boon.

Today the company's books are a publishing phenomenon. A Mills and Boon paperback is sold in a UK bookshop, on average, once every five seconds and is translated into 25 languages.

Over the years Mills & Boon has counted some big names among its published authors including P.G. Wodehouse and Jack London. Helen Fielding, author of the hugely successful Bridget Jones novels, was rejected for not being good enough.
Despite the success and the famous names, the very mention of Mills and Boon is enough to cause sniggers of derision among most of the literati.

"I think it's partly because the books are cheap," says Joanna Bowring of Mills and Boon. "They're considered disposable literature." And though the heroines have evolved since the early days to reflect changes in women's lives, the heroes remain much as they were a century ago.

"There's always been a subtle undercurrent of force throughout the books, and that's never changed from the earliest ones," says Bowring. "Even later, when other aspects are influenced by feminism and by the shifting attitudes outside the novel, the men remain masterful and stern."

Monday, October 6, 2008


Just comment to this post. In 2008, what book you've read has stayed with you and why? I look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Today A Book Inside will be hosting a special interview with Patricia Fry, author of 28 books, 11 of them on publishing. As well as being a seasoned author, Patricia is the CEO of Matilija Press.

Carol Denbow: Welcome Patricia. Lets begin by telling our readers how you were inspired to write your very first book and what year that was published?

Patricia Fry: I started my writing career in 1973 when I began writing articles for horse magazines. The first piece I wrote (and sold, by the way) was on what to do with all of those horseshow ribbons young riders accumulate when they compete. I also wrote about hairdos for horseshows, how to make riding chaps, how to raise a foal, a humorous piece on being a horseshow mom and so forth. I loved the process of writing, so it followed that I would write a book. And in 1978, I landed a publishing contract with the first publisher I approached, A. S. Barnes Publishing (New York and London) for my first book, "Hints For the Backyard Rider."

I keep reading about freelance writers and authors who have been writing and publishing now for an entire decade or for 6 years or maybe 15 years. And I have to chuckle. I'll bet that most of them would roll their eyes if they knew that some of us old-timers started out writing on manual typewriters. We used bound dictionaries instead of spell-check, "white out" instead of digital correction and we sent all manuscripts and correspondence through the mail at 8 cents for a first-class postage.

Carol Denbow: I see on your Website that you have published books in different genres. Most writers keep with the same or semi-related subject matter for all their books (assuming they’re written more than one). How do you decide on the subject matter for your books?

Patricia Fry: Since I wanted to establish a career as a freelance writer, I was interested in writing for a variety of publications on a variety of topics. So, as I branched out with new article ideas for a wider range of magazines (business, parenting/family, spiritual, women's and so forth), I did the same when choosing subjects for books. My second book was a 360-page comprehensive history of the Ojai Valley, California. I actually wrote this book at the suggestion of a local bookseller who said, "We get a lot of requests for a book about this city." I spent 5 years researching and writing The Ojai Valley, An Illustrated History and established my publishing company, Matilija Press, in order to produce it. This was in 1983, before self-publishing was fashionable.

I have 28 published books now and most of them came about because of a perceived need. I followed the Ojai history book with two books related to the local pioneer cemetery—profiles of those buried there from 1876-1900 and (the second book) 1901-1920. I also wrote the history of a local world-known private school on commission. Outside of the history realm, I penned my fascinating experiences working with a local hypnotherapist who used past-life regression therapy with his clients. It started out that I was going to write his story focusing on his work. But the hypnotist died 8 months into the project and I put the material away. Seven years later, when I realized how much my life had changed after having worked with this man, I wrote my own bizarre story. This book is called, Quest For Truth, a Journey of the Soul.

I wrote The Mainland Luau, How to Capture the Flavor of Hawaii in Your Own Backyard in response to the many people who expressed an interest in the luaus we used to present at our home every year. I attended other luaus, interviewed people from all over the U.S. and Hawaii about their recipes and techniques and came out with this still popular book in 1996.

I overheard two women talking in line at the grocery store once about how hard it is to bond with their grandchildren who live out of the area. I went home and wrote another popular book, Creative Grandparenting Across the Miles. I became a mentor some years later and Liguori Publications (which had published the grandparenting book) accepted my book on youth mentoring shortly after.

As a freelance article writer, you must always be on the lookout for ideas. And, for me, this trait or habit has spilled over into the realm of writing books. In some cases, if the topic was popular in article form, I'd create a book on that topic.

Currently, after 35 years as a career writer, I write mostly about writing and publishing and 11 of my books are on these topics. My hallmark book is The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. It's 340 pages, $19.95 and has earned dozens of 5 star reviews by my peers and colleagues.

Carol Denbow: Patricia, it sounds as if you have a tremendous amount of publishing experience. Please tell us your choice method of publishing (traditional, self-publish, POD) and why you prefer it.

Patricia Fry: People ask me often, what publishing method I recommend. I always give the same answer, "It depends on your project and it depends on you."

I started out in 1978 with a traditional royalty publisher. Three of my subsequent books were produced through a traditional publisher. I used Booklocker (considered a POD) for an ebook some years ago and I have done a lot of self-publishing. I actually had a traditional publisher lined up for my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book a few years ago, but decided to fire him. I realized that I had the platform for selling this book. I have the credentials, the opportunities and the know-how when it comes to promoting the book, so I self-published it and I'm glad that I did. I had to put up the money, but I have all of the control and I get all of the profits.

I've seen a lot of changes in publishing over the years and the main one that is affecting so many authors now is the high level of competition. Mega bookstores have room to carry only about 8 percent of all titles in print. A whopping 76 percent of titles in print sold fewer than 100 copies in 2006. I haven't seen the stats for 2007, but I'm sure it is just as grim. I travel around the U.S. every year speaking to hopeful and struggling authors at writer's conferences.

I share these statistics and tell them that this is why it is so important that, no matter what publishing option they choose, they study the publishing industry and write a book proposal. A book proposal isn't just for the publisher, anymore, although most publishers of fiction as well as nonfiction want to see a proposal. A book proposal is for you—the author. It helps you to determine whether or not your book idea is viable. Of course, I include explicit instructions for how to write a book proposal in my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book and I have a stand-alone book on this topic, How to Write a Successful Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less.

Not only that, I teach online courses and I've just started a new book proposal course. It's not too late to enroll. At the end of 8 weeks, each author/student could potentially have a completed or nearly completed book proposal.

Carol Denbow: Book writing and publishing is a hard job for anyone, especially with the first book. Does it get easier with each new book?

Patricia Fry: You really can't say this because each project is different. Of course, it is easier because you know more about your options and the steps to take after you've done it once or twice. But the overall experience and process could become more complicated the 2nd or 3rd time around depending on the magnitude of the project, your expectations and so forth. Producing a book is much like giving birth, each child comes into the world with very different personalities and they develop at different rates.

I work with other authors on their projects (editing, coaching and consulting) and I try to instill in each of them that publishing is not an extension of their writing. You cannot enter into the publishing arena with the same mindset, attitude, perspective and expectations as you use when writing your book. Authors, today, must work harder at perfecting his or her manuscript (folks you MUST hire a qualified book editor before approaching publishers and before self-publishing). The author will find it more difficult to locate and land a publisher. This takes skill and creativity as well as a willingness to conform and, in some cases, they must jump through hoops. And it is extremely challenging to sell copies of your book. Authors, it is your responsibility to promote your book no matter which publishing option you choose.

Carol Denbow: Your books are a great resource for new writers and experienced authors, where can viewers see your Web site and locate your books?

Patricia Fry: See my book showcase at The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book is available through my website at

I also have a unique ebook for struggling authors. It's called The Author's Repair Kit. This small ebook helps authors revive and repair a book with lagging or non-existent sales. I wrote it for the many, many authors who neglected to write a book proposal BEFORE they write the book and who didn't think through the business end of bringing out a book. Many of these people are trying to promote "bulldozer" books. In other words, they are marketing their books to the wrong audience. The Author's Repair Kit helps to turn a failing book into one that actually turns a profit.

If anyone is interested in a preview of The Author's Repair Kit request my free report, "The Pre-publication Book Proposal."

I'd also like to issue an invitation for your readers to check out SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network). This is a 12-year old networking organization and resource center for anyone interested in or involved in publishing. Subscribe to our free e-newsletter.

Carol Denbow: Patricia, always a joy to speak with you. Thank you for being a guest today on A Book Inside. Also, thank you to the viewers who stopped in today to read our special interview with Patricia Fry.

Readers can post comments and/or questions for Patricia Fry by using the “comment” link below.