It’s Never Too Late to Publish Your Book, Harry Bernstein Did it At 98!

What is keeping you from publishing your book?  Never to LateHarry Bernstein wrote 40 books but destroyed all of them because publishers wouldn’t publish them. Bernstein was 93 when his wife died and started writing to help cope with his grief. He spent three years writing his memoir called “The Invisible Wall.”

He sent the manuscript to many New York publishers, They all turned it down. Then he sent it to Random House in the UK, where it sat in a pile of manuscripts for a year before it was read by a publishing director who recognized it as inspired writing. It was published in 2007 when Mr. Bernstein was 98. He would write three more highly acclaimed books, all were published, up until his death at 101. Bernstein called his 90s, “the most productive years of my life.”

What a waste to have those first 40 books lost forever.  Can you imagine if he was able to self-publish them and keep the majority of the royalties from his book.  There are so many of you out there like Harry Bernstein who have books that the traditional publishing houses reject.  Now is the time to publish your first book.  Use the information on our website or buy our book, A Handyman’s Guide to Self-Publishing Your First Book for Free (or Almost Free).  It’s available online at Amazon and through our website Handyman Publishing.

Keep on writing.


Is Self Publishing Here to Stay?

According to Bowker, in 2008, the production of print-on-demand books surpassed traditional book publishing for the first time and since then its growth has been staggering. Now more than twice the output of traditional titles, the market is dominated by a handful of publishers. In fact, the top 10 publishers overall accounted for an astounding 74% of total titles produced in 2009.

Data Taken From Bowker

Based on the data, I don’t think that self publishing is going anywhere soon. It is here to stay.  If you don’t think that you can pull it off by yourself there are companies out there who call themselves self publishing companies, but they are really non traditional publishing companies who help authors publish their own books.  There are the big ones out there, but there are many up and coming smaller companies who may be able to assist. That’s why I call it assisted self publishing when you pay for services through another company.

In non traditional publishing the spectrum runs from doing everything yourself for free to  paying as you go for services you might need (kind of like ordering a la carte) and all the way to paying up to $5,000 or more for package deals.  As you might suspect, I encourage authors to do it yourself or purchase only the service that you cannot do yourself.  In another post I will list some of the many companies that will provide you with these varied services. For now, I think it’s safe to say that self publishing is here to stay.

Go out there and publish your book.

Upcoming Self-Publishing Workshop

If you are in northern California on Saturday, January 10th, please join me for a self-publishing workshop.  It will be hosted by the Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center, in Vacaville, between Sacramento and San Francisco, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Registration for the workshop is only $20.00.  The book, A Handyman’s Guide to Self-Publishing Your First Book for Free (or Almost Free) will be available to purchase at the workshop.  This is a hands-on, interactive workshop and a wireless tablet or laptop will be helpful, but not necessary.

In this workshop participants will be lead through step-by-step instructions on how to publish their book in paperback with Amazon’s CreateSpace and their e-book with Smashwords. Participants will be asked to answer questions that will guide them through the publishing process.

I hope to see you there.

Please contact the church office to register for the workshop, 707-447-0521.  The center is located at 350 North Orchard in Vacaville.



Need a Flyer Advertising Your Event? Use Poster My Wall

I am always loofinal flyer with watermarkking for easy to use graphic programs.  If they are online that is even better, nothing to download.  I was sitting down to create a flyer for an upcoming workshop and I ran across a simple, yet powerful website called PosterMyWall.  On this site you can use templates or create your own media from scratch.

The website says it is “The Best Online Custom Poster and Photo Collage Maker” and after using it I tend to agree.  I am sure there are others out there, but this is simple and if you are ok with a watermark it’s free.  I downloaded the flyer shown here for $2.99 without a watermark.  I am planning on buying a matte finish poster size of this for $7.99 and get twenty-five 4″ X 6″ cards with envelopes to mail out for $14.95.

What I really like about this site is that the interface is very simple.  You can upload your own pictures, place them where you want them, size them exactly how you want and add text anywhere on the document.

They have many templates and backgrounds.  I started with the background and just created text and graphics exactly where I wanted it.

I think this could also be used as a tool for creating book covers and a multitude of marketing materials.  The posters and cards that you purchase are all printed on photo stock and can also be mounted and framed.  I’ll try to update my post after the poster I order arrives.

P.S.  If you’re in Northern California on January 10th feel free to come to my workshop on self-publishing for free (or almost free.)  There’s a $20 donation for the workshop and my book will be available for $9.95 at the workshop.

Keep on writing!

PicMonkey, More Thank Just an Awesome Place to Make Free (or almost free) Book Covers

PicMonkeyIf you haven’t used PicMonkey, you haven’t lived. It’s way more than just a super-easy online editing tool. I have to admit, I didn’t know about PicMonkey when I made the cover for my wife’s book. I used Gimp. It is also free, but I had to download it and it’s not-super easy to use. There was a learning curve. With PicMonkey, you just upload a picture from your computer and you can begin adding cover text immediately. They have plenty of fonts in the free version and you can upgrade for $4.99 a month or $33.00 a year.

You don’t need to create an account, it’s literally as fast as you can click the edit button, upload your picture, and add the cover text.

sample cover

The sample at the right took me three minutes to create.  I just picked a photo from a backpacking trip and uploaded from my computer and added the text. I would increase the font size (another simple task and orient on the page for best visual appear.)

Beyond the simple editing, there is the PicMonkey blog which has all kinds of useful posts from tips on Facebook to visual marketing ideas. You have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the navigation links. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Keep on writing!

What is Wattpad?

How about the “world’s largest community of readers and writers.”  According to Wattpad there are 35 millions “wattpaders” reading 75 million stories, spending 9 billion minutes on Wattpad every month.  According to Wikipedia over 1000 stories are being uploaded every day.  The Wattpad website describes itself  as “a place to discover and share stories: a social platform that connects people through words. It is a community that spans borders, interests, languages. With Wattpad, anyone can read or write on any device: phone, tablet, or computer.”  This is a unique relationship in real-time between the author and his or her readers.

Ashleigh Gardner, the Head of Content at, describes Wattpad as “a very popular site for teens 13-18, but 35% of the site is 18-30. If you write YA or New Adult, you should be on Wattpad! Romance and sci-fi communities are very large. Without the gatekeepers, new trends and genres are also emerging. Urban fiction is a flourishing example. Fan fiction is hugely popular e.g. anything with One Direction.”

No matter what you write, this might be biggest well kept secret that no one knows about.  Wattpad is kind of like Facebook, but without the minute by minute descriptions of meaningless dribble.  Not to be dissing Facebook; there is definitely  a place in your author platform for Facebook.  Wattpad, on the other hand, is a platform that is used by readers.  Ninety percent of the 35 million people who use Wattpad are readers.  That means that only one out of ten people visiting Wattpad for those 9 billion minutes are readers.  The average time spent on Wattpad is 30 minutes.  There is plenty of room for writers.

It’s a simple process and free to join.  As a writer, you can upload your writing as you write or upload installments of your writing.  Readers find your writing and follow you, much like other social networks.  After following the readers receive notifications whenever a new chapter of a story is posted. Many writers share their work serially: posting stories one chapter at a time, so readers keep coming back.

I’m going to give it a try with my first novel, The Checkbook.

Here is a link to my story

Keep on writing!

Google Gets Into the E-book Business with Google Play


Move over Amazon, Kindle and iStore, Google has made it easy to offer your e-books on Android devices with Google play Books Partners.  Anyone with a phone or tablet running using the Android operating system can buy your book at the Google apps store.  All you need is a Google account and then just upload your e-books for free.  Check out the quick steps below and then get started.  Here is the link to Get Started.

Quick steps

  1. If you don’t already have one, create a new account at
  2. Agree to the Google Books Terms and Conditions and the Google Editions Addendum.
  3. Add a new payment profile.
  4. Add the book to your Book Catalog.
  5. Enter bibliographic information for the book.
  6. On the Content tab, upload the book content and cover files.
  7. On the book’s Prices tab, add a new price.
  8. Enter the currency, value, and the applicable countries for the price.
  9. On the Settings tab, provide additional metadata and configure distribution and Google Search preview settings.
  10. Go to the Publish tab.
  11. Publish the book on Google Play.
  12. In the Payment Center, edit your payment profile.
  13. Add a bank account.
  14. If you plan to sell books in the U.S., submit tax information.

For all the detailed steps go to the Google play website by clicking here.

It’s too early to tell how they are going to do in the e-book business but Google doesn’t give up easily and they will be around for a while.  At the very least, it’s another option for getting your book out there in front of your readers.

Nature, Creativity and Writing

I normally don’t post about writing, but this is a topic in which I have a great deal of interest.  More and more we hear how disconnected we are from nature.  In fact, there is a new term called, Nature Deficit Disorder (NDD).

The term was coined by author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder in order to explain how our societal disconnect with nature is affecting today’s children. We have become a digitally enhanced, suburban, urban-centric, society.  Our lives are so filled with scurrying to and fro that we seldom take time to smell anything let alone the roses.

I came across a great blog post that illustrated this by Nelson Suit, author of a book of poems, The Songs of Galangal, and a children’s book titled Els Oot and the Mapmaker.  He writes about research that was done that seemed to indicate people who had been on a 4-6 day hike performed better on assessments that measured their creativity.  This validates what I have believed all along, I am way more creative if I get my dose of nature that connects me to the universe.  He says it so well in his blog,

“Even if nature is not always “gentle” or “soft”, it seems true that our brains engage differently between the digital (on/off) choices of the computers that we have manufactured and the fluid dynamics of walks in nature.”

Take a minute and visit his blog, Wordcapering; I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Another Great Author Resource

Writing your book was the easy part; marketing is where you get your metal tested.  Most writers did not decide to write a book because they’ve always wanted to be a marketing expert.  In fact, most writers write their book without thinking about marketing.

As I advise, the time to begin marketing is before you publish. (see the page “Before You Publish, Begin Marketing – Your Author Platform”) But there are things you can do after you publish.  There are good FREE resources out there and one of them is called the Author Marketing Club.  It’s free to join and they have created an online community where authors can help each other with the marketing.  The site has many resources that you can take advantage of.  Here are some:

  • A review request system where you can put your book in front of readers who want to read and review your book
  • A thriving community of authors willing to share their marketing tactics and lessons, and failures
  • Helpful advice and resources for new and experienced authors alike
  • Specials and offers for discounted services to help you publish your book
  • Much more

I’ve tried the review system and what you can do is create a post in the forum and invite other members to review your book.  It’s a fairly new site and they are trying to get the word out.  As any start-up they are building their membership and it’s always nice to get in on the ground floor and take advantage of the free services (they don’t always stay free) .

Engaging Readers on Your Blog or Book Website

How can you make your website or blog a destination that grabs the reader and keeps them there for a while?  Make it engaging, offer your visitors choices, provide them rich and varied and fresh content, and give them a way to follow your blog or get updates to your website.

How about adding audio messages or audio blogs for FREE?  I’m all about free or inexpensive ways to market your book or build your author platform.   As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, your website or blog is on aspect of your author platform.  I found a very simple and free way to add a 60 second audio to your blog or website.  It’s so simple even an author can do it.

The name of the site is AudioPal.  It is the fastest way I have found to put an unlimited number of messages anywhere you can embed hypertext on the Internet.  There is no creating an account, no newsletter to sign up for, you just create the audio right on the internet and get the embedded code sent to your email immediately.

Here’s an example of a 37 second message embedded on my wife’s blog, Daily Spiritual Tools.  Look on the left and click on the AudioPal player to hear me explaining about getting my wife’s books on Amazon.

If you want to grab your own audio message (up to 60 seconds) visit the AudioPal Website by clicking here.

In an upcoming post I’ll share some ideas about adding longer audio in Podcasts to your blog or website.

Happy Publishing!