Monthly Archives: November 2013

Joel Friedlander Will Speak at Redwood Writer’s Conference in April 2014

By Robert Digitale

Joel Friedlander designs books. Someone once heard this and told him it must mean, “You just put the page numbers on a page.”

If only it were that easy. However, writers who want to self-publish their works quickly learn that producing a good-looking, readable book involves, as Friedlander puts it, “a whole myriad of decisions.” Many of those writers turn for insights to Friedlander and his popular publishing blog, . Friedlander’s odyssey in printing and publishing spans decades, from his boyhood days watching his printer father turn lead into hot type to today’s digital, print-on-demand processes. His career has included producing high-end photography books and owning his own publishing company, releasing a book that made the cover of the New York Times Book Review.

While Friedlander has been designing books for years, he still seems surprised at the response to his latest reincarnation as an expert to self-publishers. To hear him tell it, he was simply looking for a new way to drum up some book designing jobs when he launched his blog and website in 2009.

Since then he has written 1,100 articles on such topics as attractive type fonts, copyright pages and the worst mistakes of self-publishers. His publishing blog now draws 50,000- to-60,000 unique visitors each month.

“It’s the highest traffic website in the independent publishing community,” he said. Moreover, it’s made him a believer in the value of blogging. “I don’t think there’s anything that compares with the marketing power of a blog.” The website’s success has led to new ventures, including the creation of ready-made templates that allow self-publishers to create professional-looking book interiors using Microsoft Word. The templates are sold at

Friedlander is slated to speak at two breakout sessions at Redwood Writer’s Conference, “From Pen to Published,” in April 2014. The sessions are: “Judge a Book by its Cover,” and “Publishing Pathways.” In the first, he’ll describe the five jobs of a book cover and  give three ways to evaluate a cover. In the second, he’ll talk about such print and ebook publishing options as CreateSpace and Smashwords. Go to for early bird registration for the conference.

Each self-published author’s situation is unique, Friedlander said, but all of them have a big decision to make, namely, how many of the steps in the process do they want to tackle themselves, as opposed to hiring someone to help. As they proceed, writers must realize they are starting a venture as not only the author but also as the seller of their books.“You have to have a certain amount of entrepreneurial spirit,” he says.

Still, he is quick to offer this advice to writers: “Publish.” Try different approaches, perhaps first publishing just a chapter on a website and starting a conversation with readers.

And he still expresses optimism about the role of authors.“Writers change the world one reader at a time,” he said. “But you can’t change the world with a book that’s still on your hard drive or in a box under your bed. Self-publishing is how we get those books into readers’ hands.”

Reprinted from: The Redwood Writer

Robert Digitale is a staff writer for The Press Democrat. He has conceived and edited three fictional serials that appeared in the PD using multiple writers. He has published his first fantasy novel, Horse Stalker, and is writing the second in the series, Blaze and Skyfire.

Desire to Inspire – Open Mic Event, December 3

BAIPA member Becky Parker Geist (Pro Audio Voices) invites you to join her at Desire to Inspire, an open-mic event host by, and located at, Henley Photography Studio, 4208 Redwood Hwy., San Rafael (Terra Linda), on Tuesday, December 3, from 7 – 9 p.m.

Anyone who would like to share a story, read, a story, or otherwise inspire others will have a slot of up to 5 minutes.  Arrive early to get a slot if you’re interested in speaking.  Otherwise, come and network, listen and mingle, and enjoy refreshments.

There’s no fee.  You’re welcome to bring food or drink to share, or chip in toward purchased refreshments, or just show up.  If you have books to sell, you may bring them, but no “asks” or sales pitches when you’re at the mic.

There will be a contest for the most inspiring story; the winner takes home a mystery prize.  Let’s inspire each other!

Becky Parker Geist


Hear Jason Matthews speak about How to Make, Market and Sell eBooks on December 7


Jason Matthews is a novelist, blogger and self-publishing coach.  He works with writers around the world through every phase of book creation and marketing.  His specialties include building author platforms, selling at major retailers, social media, blogging and SEO.   At BAIPA’s Saturday, December 7, meeting, Jason will speak to us about How to Make, Market and Sell eBooks — a topic of interest to many BAIPA authors.

To make and sell e-Books, there are many steps from the time of writing to after publication. Most self-publishers handle several tasks, with some more capable and others benefiting by hiring out.  Each step can be accomplished with free methods for do-it-yourself types or with paid help; the program includes price-points and choices based on time, technical skills and finances.

While making eBooks, the main areas are editing, interior formatting and cover design.  Jason will review the basics, standards and affordable professionals, especially regarding cover design and editing.

For selling eBooks, the program covers options for exclusivity with Amazon at KDP Select or selling with other retailers.   Jason will also cover selling eBooks directly from the author’s website with systems that run on autopilot.

Most authors benefit from a blog and website when they are marketing eBooks, and Jason will discuss various options.  Marketing is largely connected to social media these days, and he will identify venues that match an author’s needs to provide the most benefit.

To learn from an expert about how to make, market and sell eBooks, join us at the December 7 meeting of BAIPA for an informative talk by Jason Matthews.

Jason’s website is: .


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Kindle Promo, Advice Needed re: Amazon

Dear BAIPA Writers, Readers and Sellers — by Mani Feniger, The BAIPA 2013 Best Memoir Award really thrilled me, and I am so grateful. It has inspired me to do some book promotion. My memoir about how a hidden photograph sent me on a twenty-year search to uncover my mother’s hidden past is FREE on Kindle today and tomorrow (until 11/21). As of today, 7,167 people have downloaded it. I got help from a woman who knows how to post; contact me if you want her name. And please enjoy getting a free copy of THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH at

Help!  Amazon’s Out of Stock Post — What to Do?

After carrying THE WOMAN IN THE PHOTOGRAPH   for over a year, always POD-ordered by Amazon directly from Lightning Source, Amazon has put a TEMPORARILY OUT OF STOCK notice, in glaring red, on my book site. They claim Lightning Source is at fault, which is not true. LS prints and ships my book within 24 hours of receiving an order. After five attempts to reach an authority at Amazon, they say I can join Amazon Advantage and have books shipped in advance. It doesn’t sound worthwhile to me.


Even though Amazon doesn’t stock POD, they sometimes say “only two left in stock.” Suddenly, in the middle of my big promotion on Kindle (over 7,000 downloads in just over a day), they are making my holiday sales plan impossible.


Here is the response I got from Joel Friedlander: The only way to fix this is to open an account at CreateSpace and upload your book there too, using the same ISBN. Use them to service Amazon, while Lightning Source takes care of all non-Amazon orders. Feel free to share this information with others.


Have you encountered this? I’d love to hear other suggestions.


Thank you, Mani Feniger  –

The Professional Author of the Future

By Joseph T. Sinclair

First, let’s define “professional author” as one whose primary income is derived from writing. There is always a bumper crop of part-time and wannabe writers who maintain the God-ordained right to be “pure” writers with fountain pen and foolscap in hand and who are willing to pay others to turn their scribblings into text that’s usable in a publishing system. But a professional author cannot enjoy that luxury. A professional author needs tools.

The first modern tool of authors was the typewriter. Forty years ago no professional author could make a living without using a typewriter—except the very few who were wildly successful. With the advent of the word processor in the early 1980s, the personal computer with word processing software became the tool “of choice.” Why? Because it is easier and publishers demand it.

Today the tool of choice remains the word processor, primarily because print publishing software and ebook publishing software can import word processor documents to facilitate publishing.  But we can see the first garish colors of sunset signaling the end of this era.

Multimedia (media-rich, diverse media, enhanced, transmedia) publishing has become not only possible but practical too. In this case, practical means anyone can author it and market it today; that is, any professional author can do so. The part-timers and wannabes will continue on with their purity: fountain pen and foolscap. However, real authors will need to adapt to the times.

Perhaps the first adaption was in travel writing. A travel writer would go on assignment with a photographer. That evolved into the travel writer carrying a camera and providing the photography. In fact, if not award-winning photographs, a travel writer is expected to provide at least commercially viable photographs. That requires a professional-quality camera and perhaps even extra lenses. Today a travel writer is expected to submit high-quality photographs in an appropriate digital format.

Becoming a high-quality photographer does not require the equivalent of a MFA, but it does require time, training, money, and commitment.

Certain newspapers recently laid off all their photographers. They expect their reporters to take the photographs now—with phone cameras. Such reporters will now be judged on the quality of their photographs as well as on the quality of their writing. Those who make the commitment to become proficient photographers will have the edge on their peers.

As we stand at the threshold of diverse-media publishing, we can see that authors of the future will be required to have more tools. One important tool is the diverse-media authoring program. Such a program enables users to add audio, video, embedded programming, interactivity, images, and more to text. When the author is finished with an article or book, one click transforms the writing project into a digital product that can be sold or become part of a larger digital product that can be sold. Thus, the author’s tool of the future is the diverse-media authoring program. Adobe’s InDesign/Digital Publishing Suite is a good example (see the Creative Cloud on the Adobe website,

OK, if you’re Robert Caro, you won’t have to submit your next biography in an InDesign file. But what if you’re not Robert Caro? And most of us aren’t.

What are the implications of using diverse-media authoring software? The answer: using diverse media. Today, it’s photographs. Tomorrow, it’s audio bites, video clips, color illustrations, etc.

For instance, professional-quality audio recording equipment cost 1/6 of what it cost 15 years ago, and it’s smaller and easier to use. It’s not a stretch to think that future authors will be expected to be able to record interviews, street music, street sounds, educational presentations, and the like with some professional skill. In addition, they will need the skill to incorporate such audio content into digital text products via a diverse-media authoring program.

Although video production is much more complex than audio production, there will be certain mundane video functions that authors will be expected to do well, such as conduct interviews.

Most media, once captured, must be processed. Consequently, authors will be expected to digitally process photographs, audio bites, and video clips just as they are expected to rewrite their text an adequate number of times to make it good enough to submit to a publisher. The software to do this is now inexpensive, and is the equivalent of tens of thousands of dollars of equipment and software just a few short years ago.

In addition, creating graphs and abstract non-artistic illustrations with software such as Excel and Adobe Illustrator will become de rigueur. You don’t need a corporate organizational chart for the latest steamy love novel set in Miami, but you do need one for a book about General Motors. You don’t need a bar chart for the Miami novel either, but you do need one for a book on the financial history of Texas.

Thus, in a very short time in the history of literature, authors’ “must-have” tools and capabilities will go from the typewriter all the way to authoring software, diverse-media equipment, processing software, and the ability to use such resources in order to produce commercial-quality content.

Does that mean that every author will need to be able to engineer a 32-track rock concert or make a compelling video documentary on the migration of the Artic tern? No. Yet it does mean that professional authors will be expected to have basic skills for every major medium. The skill you don’t have will be the one required for the writing project of your dreams—the one just posted online by a publisher seeking an author. In other words, every professional author will have an incentive to become a jack of all media.


©2013 Joseph T. Sinclair. All rights reserved.

2014 Redwood Writers’ Conference

by Sandy Baker

Conference Co-chair and VP, Redwood Writers

Want to write? Want to publish? Find out much of what you need to know at next year’s Redwood Writers’ Conference! Early Bird registration and the prose and poetry contest deadlines are March 15. Sooo, get out your pen and get ready to be published. Save up your moola and give yourself a practical present—the conference! Please note the date: April 26, 2014, again at the SRJC — Santa Rosa Junior College.


Using the 2012 conference evaluations, the speaker team put together 16 sessions that tend toward nuts-and-bolts: how you move along the writer continuum to eventually become published.


We kept the same tracks—Craft, Genre, Publishing, Marketing. The breakout sessions will answer many nitty-gritty and how-to questions: Why do I need ISBNs or have to pay sales tax to the state? How can I make my own book trailer? How do I develop my platform and brand? How can a critique group make me a better writer? Should I self-publish or keep looking for an agent and publisher? How do I write a short play? How can I design an appealing book cover? How do I use social media and why? And how do I write a first page or non-fiction book proposal that will knock the socks off an agent?


Other topics will address point of view; the genres of fantasy, romance, and non-fiction/non-memoir writing; dialog and setting. Our presenters will include familiar faces (e.g., Joel Friedlander) as well as new ones, all experts in their fields. Your challenge will be to select only four among the sessions offered.


John Rothmann, noted radio talk show host, author, and political analyst, will rev up the morning over breakfast to weave our theme into an inspiring keynote presentation. Preeminent poet and critic Dana Gioia will address the lunchtime crowd about “The Joy and Misery of Being a Poet.” He knows both! We’ll also launch our first-ever poetry anthology and make the conference poetry contest awards. Prose contest and the Jack London awards will be announced during snack time at the end of the day.


As you can tell, the conference will be a jam-packed event, filled with practical and provocative presentations. All the conference information is available on our website Browse the bios and blurbs of our speakers, select your sessions, and get in on the $125 Early Bird conference fee for members. Non-members pay $155. (Isn’t that incentive to join?) All fees include parking; passes will be available upon registration.


Anyone interested in writing may attend our conference—members, non-members, students, experienced or novice writers. There is something for every level of writer or wannabe. Please spread the word and help make this fourth Redwood Writers conference a great success!


“Autographed by the Author” Stickers

Here’s a tip to BAIPA authors from BAIPA member Sandy Baker:  I just purchased 1,000 gold 3/4″ “Autographed by the Author” stickers from They were $29.75 plus shipping. There are other styles, sizes, and texts available.  Questions? E-mail: .

Indie Author Book Fair December 12 in Oakland

BAIPA authors might be interested in attending the Indie Author Book Fair at The Hut, 1423 Broadway in Oakland, from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 12. 

Independent authors who want to sell their books at the Fair are welcome to sign up: .  If you sign up by the Early Bird deadline, Sunday, November 17, the cost will be $25. to participate.  The fee goes toward renting the event space, paying for security, and buying refreshments.

There will be tables where authors can display print books.  Authors are also welcome and encouraged to bring a laptop and signage and sell their ebooks.  There will also be a mic, and readings throughout the evening. 

All authors are in charge of their own sales.  Load-in will be from 5:30 to 6:30, and load-out from 9:30 to 10 p.m.  There will be an authors’ after-party, location TBD, at 10 p.m.  The public, non-author event page is: .