The “Do It Yourself” Book Tour

concert-fans-1253861 copyEverything I know about booking a book tour, I learned while in the music business. Sometimes, I joke that as an author I’m like a small rock band. I’ve been signed by a major label, given some money in advance to make my album, fed a lot of exciting promises about marketing and promotions, and then I’m on my own.

It is entirely up to me whether my record succeeds or fails.

If I work really hard, and there is a blip in record sales somewhere, maybe, just maybe, my record label (publisher) will put a little money toward promotions or do a little public relations for me. Continue reading

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This is where traditional publishing is going

not write free_edited-1Received by over 200 traditionally published authors by email this morning:

For 22 years, Idiot’s Guides have been making printed information “As Easy As It Gets!” We are very excited to announce that our same commitment to making things easy carries over to the web, with the launch of a brand new

The new represents a shift in the publishing industry whereby content consumers and content contributors are one in the same. People will continue to come to the site to find helpful Quick Guides on topics t
hey want to learn about, but starting today they’ll be able to create their very own Quick Guides on anything they are passionate about, as well as edit, rate and comment on the work of others.

The new site is a true community, based on the simple idea that if you make it easy for people to write what they know and care about, and make it easy for others to refine that content, the resulting Quick Guides will improve continuously over time and become more discoverable to people looking for quality information.

As a published author, we’d like to invite you check out the site and contribute your expertise and passions. Please give it  a look at, and by all means feel free to write your own Quick Guide!

So basically, the publisher is asking their authors to begin submitting content to their website FOR FREE.

What is wrong with this picture? 

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Experts Talk: Carla King, Founder, Self-Pub Boot Camp

BG-redefine bookNAME: Carla King
TITLE: Founder, Self-Pub Boot Camp
COMPANY NAME: Misadventures Media

Bookgirl recently interviewed Carla King, author and self-publishing expert. Carla provides smart, straight-forward information on how to self-publish books. Sign up for Carla’s Virtual Self-Publishing Boot Camp: A Conference on Your Desktop!

Bookgirl: How would you describe your experience with book publishing over the years? When and why did you start focusing on self-publishing? Continue reading

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My First Time: Aliza Sherman, “Cybergrrl: A Woman’s Guide to the World Wide Web”

We’re starting a series called “My First Time” where authors reveal how they landed their first book deal. To kick off, Aliza Sherman (founder of Bookgirl) shares her experience as a first time published author. Technically, her first book deals were Working Together to End Domestic Violence in 1996 and Everything You Need to Know About Placing Your Baby for Adoption with Rosen Publishing back in 1997, but here she talks about her first book deal with a major publisher. 

Aliza Sherman, author – @alizasherman

Your First Book: Cybergrrl: A Woman’s Guide to the World Wide Web
Publisher: Ballantine
Year Published: 1998

Bookgirl: How did your First Time happen (how did you get your first book deal)?

Book CoverAliza Sherman: While I was running my company Cybergrrl, Inc., I was getting a lot of media attention for starting the first woman-owned Internet company.  The Wall Street Journal did a profile on me. Suddenly, book publishers were calling.

The irony is that they were the same book publishers who had recently rejected a book proposal submitted by my book agent for a book about women and the Internet. I chose to go with Ballantine because I really liked the editor who was around my age and very bright. She was great to work with as well. Continue reading

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Experts Talk: Danielle Smith, 330 Media

BG-coauthors_edited-1We continue our series “Experts Talk” with a conversation between speaker, author, and digital storyteller Danielle Smith and Bookgirl founder Aliza Sherman. Danielle is Aliza’s co-author on two books: Mom, Incorporated and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

Danielle_Headshot_Green(2)Aliza on how she and Danielle became co-authors: “When editor Mark Chimsky approached me to write a book for moms about starting a home-based business for Sellers Publishing, I was just coming off of writing my 8th book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Crowdsourcing, I asked if I could bring on a co-author to write the book with me. When I got the green light, I made a short list of female bloggers I wanted to approach as potential co-authors, and Danielle Smith was at the top of my list. I emailed her to ask if she had a book deal and if not, if she would be interested in one with me. And…she said no…and yes!”

NAME: Danielle Smith
TITLE/ROLE: Digital Correspondent, Lifestyle Entrepreneur, Author, Host, Speaker, and Spokesperson

Bookgirl/Aliza: Why did you decide to accept my offer to be a co-author for your first foray into book writing and publishing? (You know I’m so grateful that you did, of course).

Danielle: I couldn’t have been more surprised, honored and delighted, and admittedly, a little bit skeptical when I received your email asking, “Do you have a book deal? And if you don’t, do you want one?’

Continue reading

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Experts Talk: Fauzia Burke, FSB Associates

BG-marketmarathon_edited-1We continue our series “Experts Talk” with a conversation with Fauzia Burke, a book publicist and marketer who was an early adopter of the Internet for book promotions.

FauziaBurkeNAME: Fauzia Burke
TITLE: Owner of FSB Associates, one of the first firms to specialize in Internet publicity and marketing for publishers and authors.

Bookgirl: How would you describe your role and what you do for authors and publishers?

Fauzia: I help authors create a digital marketing strategy for building online awareness for their books and brands.

Continue reading

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Experts Talk: Mark Chimsky, Editorial Services Unlimited


We’re interviewing experts in book publishing for Bookgirl and will share some of their thoughts on the industry, the challenges of book writing and publishing, and the resources they offer or recommend to get you closer to a book deal and your book. Here’s the first of our “Experts Talk” series.

markchimskeyNAME: Mark Chimsky
TITLE/COMPANY NAME: President, Mark Chimsky Editorial Services Unlimited
WEBSITE: Mark Chimsky Editorial Services Unlimited | The Premier Source for Writers

Aliza’s Note: Mark Chimsky was the editor for the book Mom, Incorporated that I co-wrote with Danielle Smith. He initially contacted me to propose that we work together on a book project geared toward women with a business focus. I pitched him on my idea for a book called Mom, Incorporated and told him I even had reserved the domain name,, years earlier. Months later, I brought Danielle on as a co-author, and we honed our book idea then wrote it. Our experience working with Mark was every writer’s dream. He was attentive, enthusiastic, involved, encouraging, and he really went to bat for us internally at the publishing house. In addition to being an expert in his field, he’s a gem of a human being. Here’s what Mark says about book publishing.

Bookgirl: What services do you offer authors?  

Mark: I believe in helping authors throughout the creative and publishing process — whether that’s editing or evaluating manuscripts, helping authors develop book proposals, guiding them through the self-publishing process, or coaching them about aspects of working with a publisher.

Continue reading

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Want to Write a Book?


Want to write a book? Be creative. Start writing now. Let nothing stop you. 

It is so easy to second guess yourself when you start THINKING about writing a book. The difference between you and published authors? They sat down and stopped thinking about getting the process of writing a book just right and instead just started writing the ideas out of their head.

Writing a book takes a lot of time and energy. Yes, it is true that I once wrote a book (Cybergrrl: A Woman’s Guide to the World Wide Web) in about three weekends, writing over 10,000 words on just Saturdays and Sundays.

How did I do it?  Continue reading

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Make Time to Make Art

Zen-makeart_edited-1When people ask me how to write a book, my first response is “Write.”

The reality of writing a book is that you have to write a lot of words. You have to get your thoughts on paper or in that digital file displaying on your computer screen. You have to pull ideas out of your head, articulate them, and get them down where you can actually do something with them.

Books are made up of many, many words massaged and manipulated just so in order to tell stories. Even nonfiction books are made up of stories, narratives that bring the reader along as they inform, conjure up thoughts, evoke emotions.

Writing is art. You have to make time for writing if you want to be an author just like you have to make time for art if you want to be an artist.

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Writing a Winning Book Proposal

What does it take to get a nonfiction book deal? A great idea is a good start. But publishers these days look beyond a great idea to how they can promote the book and how the author can be instrumental in the promotion of that book.

That’s where a strong book proposal comes in. A book proposal that provides key, business- and marketing-minded statistics and information can sway a publisher to consider working with even a totally “unknown” author. So authors: You MUST do your homework and craft a thoughtful, detailed nonfiction book proposal to support your great idea.

[Note: I’m writing here solely about nonfiction book proposals based on my experience writing 10 books that have been published by major (and minor) publishers.] Continue reading

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