Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Selling to a Niche Market - Teachers

On Marketing Brand New Teacher

by Carol and Joe Keeney

In the latter part of 2006, the same year our book was published, we started receiving checks from our distributor. While the checks are not big, $300 or less, the feeling that we were doing something right was beneficial to us. Before listing our marketing adventures that brought us this far monetarily, it would be to your advantage to know something about us: Our book is of the academic variety and we had no experience in promoting it; and early efforts to advance our book failed, it was like pouring sweat into a black box that remained perpetually empty; and as a marketing compass, we used The Self Publishing Manual, a great book, however, it catered more toward the general-audience-type book.

We did not get it Brand New Teacher: How to Guide and Teach the Early Grades Using Scripts had to be sold differently than other books. The worm turned, so to speak, when we read Brian Jud’s “Beyond the Bookstore;” We learned the meaning of the word niche and it gave us a roadmap for reorienting our selling efforts. Below is a list of efforts that should have targeted academic education from the beginning:

  • Mailed pre-published copies to reviewers such as Publisher’s weekly.
  • Mailed post-publication books to reviewers and wholesalers.
  • Contracted with the distributor Atlas Books, who promised to move our books to booksellers and wholesalers.
  • Participated in PMA mailing programs to reviewers and schools.
  • Sent press releases with publicity kit to major newspapers across the country
  • Carol went into chat forums on the internet to help new teachers
  • We set up a web site for the book and use Link Metro for link exchanges;
  • Carol made contact with a school principal enabling her to sell books to Hartford schools and do a seminar for new teachers.
  • Carol got a review in a local newspaper.
  • We participated in the CT library association through CAPA
  • We sent a book to the First Lady Nancy Bush because of her interest in education.
  • We placed an ad in New York Teacher, the union newspaper for the New York City Schools at the start of the new school year
  • CAPA member Dennis Schleicher helped us with Amazon to increase our ranking and sales.
  • Carol did a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Norwalk
  • We visited bookstores and got some of them to stock our books.
  • We have approached a School Supply Company to include us in their catalog
  • We contacted wholesalers more geared toward academic education.

We got a handful of review requests from our mailings; the ad we had in New York Teacher sold about 50 books; orders through the distributor came as a direct result of our personal contact with wholesalers; Carol, through her Internet forums, drove some traffic to Amazon; ditto for Dennis and his Amazon positioning strategies; Carol’s seminar sold 15 books to the Hartford school system. As you can see, our cash producing activities were spotty; it did however inspire us to do more.

Doing-more will always be our biggest challenge. Carol likes to say, “We say to the universe give-me, give-me…and in return…the universe says give-me, give-me, back.” What this means is that the universe wants its share first. Our early non-rewarded efforts are how we paid our share to the universe. The other side of the coin is about the reward. From our experience the universe pays back synergistically. It gives us more than what we put in. We know it because the efforts we put forth are less than the size of our checks. The only answer we have for this is that when we do something it eventually attracts something else in the universe. The other moral of the story is to keep-doing.

How we get enthused to market our book is through reading. In addition to Brian Jud’s inspiring book, John Kremer’s One Thousand Ways to Market Your Book is filled with ideas that have a tendency to motivate us. Our CAPA membership, however, is our number one source for getting new ideas and inspiration; we hardly miss a meeting. Currently, we are exhibiting our book at the New England College Bookstore show, and Carol is planning a seminar in Ridgefield for new teachers, all of this because of our association with CAPA. Thank you CAPA.

Carol Keeney has thirty-years experience teaching early childhood grades. Many years were spent as a first grade teacher in the New York City school system. While tenured with the school system, Carol helped develop a science curriculum at the request of her school district. She spent many years as an adjunct professor at the College of New Rochelle in New York, and while tenured, has critiqued peer professors at the request of the college. She is currently working as an Adjunct Professor at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut. Carol holds an MS degree in Education from St. John's University. She was nominated and listed in the Who's Who of American Teachers.She has developed and taught many courses. Her favorites are Methods of Teaching Early childhood Education, Methods of Teaching Reading to Normal and Special Children and Methods of Teaching Creative Arts in the Classroom.

Marketing tip from Brian Jud

Give them what they want!

Buyers want to buy helpful information, not necessarily books. This gives you the flexibility to customize the form in which the information is delivered. It may be a comb-bound or spiral-bound manual that lies flat when used as a workbook during your seminars. Or, it may be a 3-ring binder allowing people to add or change pages easily. You may choose to serve the needs of you potential customers with a video program, DVD, CD or saddle-stitched booklet.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

CAPA University

4th Annual CAPA University a Success
by Peggy Gaffney

On May 12 authors and potential authors gathered at the Hartford Steam Boiler Conference Center for an exceptional professional development day. The sellout crowd had the rare opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Marcella A. Smith, Director of Small Press and Vendor Relations for Barnes & Noble. Her talk and the questions she answered in the follow-up session dealt with the specific nuts and bolts of getting your book onto the shelves of Barnes & Noble.

This was followed with a panel of 14 agents and marketing experts who took questions from the group with topics on how to get an agent and what will an agent do for them. They were informed that bribes and unannounced visits to their homes are not the way to get an agent to read your book. They were also told that in today’s market, before an agent even sees the work it had better be polished to perfection.

The face to face, one on one 15 minute meetings between agents and participants where writers could pitch their books followed. Those agents attending were: Lauren E. Abramo from Dystel & Goderich Literary Agency, Marilyn Allen from Allen O’Shea Literary Partners, Kathi Paton from Kathi J. Paton Literary Agency, Rebecca Strauss from McIntosh & Otis, Regina Brooks from Serendipity Literary Agency, Katharine Sands from Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Rita Rosenkranz from Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency, Gina Panettieri, Exec. Editor (owner/founder) Talcott Notch Literary Services, Jack Scovil from Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, Maya Rock from Writers House, Dr. Uwe Stender from TriadaUS Literary Agency, Mary Beth Chappel from Zachary Shuster Hrmsworth, Eric Kampmann from Midpoint Trade Books, and Brian Jud from Book Marketing Works.

Small group breakout sessions were held throughout the day. Each speaker covered a different genre or approach. They were: Building Worlds and Making Magic with Annie Kelleher, RX for a Healthy Plot with Kristi Petersen, Don’t Murder Your Mystery! With Roberta Isleib, How to Write an Irressistible non-Fiction Book Proposal with Rita Rosenkranz, Writing for the Op-Ed Page with James Smith, Writing on Spec for Hollywood: Screen Writing Dos and Don’ts with Peter Fox, Getting it onto the Library Shelf panel with David Garnes, Jim Benn & Mary Etter, A Little Help from Our Friends panel discussion, Publishing in More than one Genre with Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Working with a Book Printer with Tom Campbell, Working with an Agent with Gina Panettieri, To Market, To Market: Finding Freelance Markets with Patricia D’Ascoli, Create a Buzz and Make Money Using Amazon. Com with Dennis Schleicher, Positioning, Positioning, Positioning! with Deborah Werksman and a last minute addition Writing the Graphic Novel with Mark Ellis and Melissa Martin Ellis.

With all these sessions plus good food and good company, the day was declared a success by all.

Peggy Gaffney serves as co-editor of The Authority and is the author of several knitting books in The Crafty Dog - Knits series published by Kanine Knits. She has spent almost 40 years showing dogs and has had a knitting design studio specializing in dog portraits in knitting since 1995. She is a former columnist for both the AKC Gazette and the Samoyed Quarterly.

Marketing Articles

Marketing Your Food Articles, and More

By Richard Moriarty

After twelve years as a food columnist I still believe that marketing your articles often relies on a pinch of this and a dash of that, and a willingness to try different approaches.

For many years I toiled in noisy, hot, often cramped restaurant kitchens, selling the fruits of my labor to happy and satisfied customers. Hungry patrons paid me for doing what I loved to do most – cook. But, deep down inside my creative chef’s soul I longed for something more than culinary perfection.

I wanted to write about it. But I didn’t have a clue how to get started.

My good friend, Mike Covello, shared a similar goal. He wanted to write about cars, but couldn’t get the editor of the local daily newspaper to respond to his numerous queries. One night we brainstormed how he could market his idea.

Michael was selling insurance at the time, and one of his customers was a large automobile dealer that spent lots of advertising dollars. I suggested he ask the business owner to contact the newspaper and mention Michael as someone who might make a good car reviewer.

A letter from the editor arrived in Mike’s mailbox soon after, and he’s been writing about cars ever since. And, we had learned an important lesson about marketing; business connections can be very valuable.

I wanted to know more about the process of marketing my food writing, so I subscribed to two or three writer’s magazines. Their how-to articles about researching, writing and getting published were always interesting and would prove invaluable.

Shortly after my friend’s success an article in the Writer caught my attention. The author explained that newspaper editors were notoriously overworked. They often would not consider hiring new writers simply because the initial correspondence took too much time and effort. The author said that instead of sending a SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) with your sample articles and query letter, to send a self addressed stamped postcard. On the back of the card put two boxes, “I’m interested,” or, “I’m not interested,” and ask the editor to check one.

I took that advice, and the postcard arrived in my mailbox a week later. The first box was checked, and I’ve been writing a food column for that newspaper for over twelve years now.

When I moved from the kitchen to the classroom I was presented with even more opportunities to market my writing. My employer, the Center for Culinary Arts, in Cromwell CT, was a brand new post-secondary training facility. I was fortunate to be hired to develop the curriculum and head the educational department. Being the new school on the block, the owners felt they had to earn name recognition. I showed my boss some of my food columns and mentioned that I thought the school might benefit from sponsoring cooking articles in area newspapers.

Not long after I had planted that seed, the school’s public relations firm worked out a deal with a central Connecticut newspaper chain whereby the newspaper got free articles in exchange for advertising, and the school paid my writer’s fee. Best of all, my column would run in four to five newspapers on a weekly basis.

Business connections would eventually play another role in helping to market my writing.

Part of my school job was to choose the textbooks that would be used for each course. Over the years I met and communicated regularly with many publisher’s representatives and learned a lot about the textbook segment of the market. One day an editor at one of the largest textbook publishers, Pearson Prentice Hall, called with an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Would I be interested in proofreading, for content, a new culinary arts textbook that was in the process of being written? The fee was small, but I thought the possibilities seemed endless. I didn’t think twice before saying, “Yes.”

The book turned out to be over 1000 pages. Twelve months and countless rereads later, the project was done. I received my check and a polite thank you. And I thought that was the end of it. But I kept in touch with the publisher.

Two months later the editor at Prentice Hall called. Would I be interested in writing the Teacher’s Manual and Student Study Guide that would go with the textbook? The Teacher’s Manual paid a flat fee, but the Study Guide came with the promise of future royalties. Where do I sign?

When I received my first writing assignment from my hometown newspaper, I had no idea what doors it would eventually open for me. I’m not sure that the postcard did the trick or not, but it showed that I understood the editor’s situation, and cared about his valuable time. Likewise, when I began my teaching career I never dreamed that it would lead to my having a byline in four more newspapers and a book contract.

Marketing our articles is usually the last thing we want to do, and probably the first thing we should be thinking about. I’ve learned that the art of selling my writing is about keeping my eyes and my business contacts open. Also, a pinch of advice and a dash of luck don’t hurt.

About the author: Richard Moriarty is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and teaches professional chef training classes at the Center for Culinary Arts in Cromwell, CT. He is a food columnist and a restaurant consultant specializing in kitchen design. Chef Moriarty also offers personalized cooking classes in the privacy of clients' homes. Chef Moriarty can be reached online at

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Marketing Articles

Maximizing Markets By Patricia D'Ascoli, CAPA Member

Freelance writing can be a rewarding way to make a living, but it will rarely make you rich. In order to generate a steady flow of income from this endeavor, a writer really needs to be creative in finding a variety of markets for his or her work. This entails making the most out of every story idea that comes to mind - looking for as many publications as possible that might be interested in publishing a particular story.

Sometimes all it takes is a quick rewrite and a story can be regenerated for use in a second or even a third market. Occasionally, you can simultaneously write several versions of the same story if you know in advance which publications will be purchasing the piece. And if you own the rights to a story, some publications will pay to reprint stories that have appeared elsewhere.

Getting Started: Choose a topic that will sustain your interest, because it’s a lot more fun to write about something you like, especially when you are not getting paid very much to do it! When I embarked on freelance writing, I decided I wanted to write about authors and the books they write, not only because I love reading, but also because I am fascinated by the book writing process. I chose Connecticut authors to give it a unique perspective, and since there are so many different Connecticut authors, I haven’t run out of material yet.

What’s the angle: Whether your nonfiction piece is a profile of a person or an entity, chances are it will entail doing research and interviews. My angle is this: when a local author publishes a new book that’s worthy of a story! Alternatively, I might write a review of the new book, but reviewing the book is usually part of the research process for writing about an author as well. These are the feature articles I generally write for newspapers in Connecticut.

Who cares: Who is interested in your story? Publications related to your story’s subject matter are, so think local as well as global. When an author publishes a new book, the first market to consider is the local newspaper that covers the town in which the author resides. If this is an author’s first published book, sometimes the newspaper from the author’s hometown might also be interested in a story. As far as subject matter goes, any publication that includes articles about books and authors is fair game, as are markets dealing with the specific type of book the author has published.

Here is an example of the myriad possibilities associated with one Connecticut author I recently profiled. The author is a woman who published an inspirational book for Catholic mothers. This is a sampling of possible markets for this one story:

1. Local newspaper in the town where the author currently lives

2. Local newspaper in the town where the author grew up

3. Alumni magazine for the college(s) the author attended

4. Religious (Catholic) newspapers, magazines and websites

5. Women’s magazines (print and online) and websites

6. Parents magazines (print and online) and websites

7. Writing magazines (print and online) and websites

How to find markets: Both Writers Market and are great sources for markets - both print and online. You don’t need both of these; choose the format that works best for you. Each contains a listing of publications with the associated writers’ guidelines. It is always a good idea to review the guidelines and read a sample of the publication before sending a query. If you have already written the story for a local newspaper, you might want to include a copy of that along with the query to give the editor an idea of your style and especially how you have successfully handled the specific topic already!

Make your own market: If you are passionate about a subject and there is enough material about that subject to last indefinitely, you might also want to consider writing and publishing your own newsletter in addition to freelancing for other publications. Sometimes the newsletter can give you credibility when you are trying to break into a new market. I started publishing Connecticut Muse at the same time I began querying newspapers and magazines on the subject of Connecticut authors and their books, and now I regularly write about Connecticut authors for a variety of newspapers in addition to publishing Connecticut Muse.

I would be happy to help you get started on finding markets for your own special topic. Feel free to email me at or call me at 860-354-6488.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Annual CAPA Writing Contest

Deadline – May 31st

Annual Writing Contest

The Annual Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association Writing Contest closes entries on May 31st. Entries are accepted in Poetry, Short Story, Personal Essay and Children Stories.

Four easy steps

  • Visit
  • Review the rules
  • Print the entry form
  • Mail in your entries.

"The Authority"
The Authority is the voice of the Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association which is a group of approximately 150 authors who meet on a monthly basis to share information about writing and the world of publishing and marketing books. They also work to support one another by helping new writers to succeed and established writers to find new marketing avenues.

Each month a speaker shares his expertise in an effort to help members improve their craft. CAPA is open to anyone who has a love for the world of writing and an interest in improving their skills.

This Blog will showcase
both some writings by members on various topics and stories about CAPA members. We hope that you will enjoy "The Authority."