A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Free speech, literacy, and great books are also discussed. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
have been over 2,200 posts on my blog. At the five-and-a-half-year-point, on
November 13, 2016, I proudly reached my one-millionth click. My goal with this blog, aside from admittedly
being a branding tool and lead generator, is to help people and to bring the
book publishing community together. I strive to offer you and all readers a
dose of inspiration, information, and ideas
that challenge the norm, honor the past, and create a new path towards a strong
future for books, literacy, the First Amendment, printed books, physical
bookstores, and great writing. Here are my prior annual toolkits and this year’s
best blog posts. Enjoy, practice what you read, and please give back by sharing
“Giving Tuesday’ I didn’t donate to anyone, even though there are countless
causes to contribute to that are worthy and terrific I had given throughout the
year and it was just a week ago that I gave money to the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU). It seems like
free speech and the First Amendment are always under attack and
misunderstood. In order to protect all
of our constitutional rights we must ensure that the First Amendment is
preserved, protected, and promoted, for once we lose the right to speak out, we
become a frightened, diminished, and lost people.
encourage everyone to donate to the ACLU.
It’s quite easy to do – and it feels great to click a few bucks to such
a wonderfully dedicated and successful organization. Just go to www.aclu.org and do your part
to protect humanity from tyranny, oppression, suppression, and corruption.
may seem like the First Amendment shouldn’t need protection. It’s in the Constitution, so what could
happen to it?
off, the Supreme Court could oversee changes to its interpretation, allowing
for things to water it down and chip away at it, much like Roe vs. Wade is
getting picked apart at certain federal and state levels when it comes to
regulations, funding, and other factors that threaten the landmark decision.
how people view and use their freedom of speech is just as important as the
powers granted by the law. If people
come to not respect free speech or abuse their privilege, speech suffers and so
do our politics and ability to grow as an evolving nation.
a Republican Congress and White House, free speech will be in the news
more. President-elect Donald Trump has
clearly stated in his election run that libel laws will be strengthened. He has a bad history of suing anyone who
speaks out against him. The thin-skinned
Trump doesn’t take criticism lightly though his Twitter rants do seem to
embrace what free speech is all about.
Except that his words usually speak in a nasty tone, often filled with
downright attacks, lies and threats. In
many respects, he tests the limits of free speech when he bastardizes the facts
and uses words to hurt others.
ACLU is a true freedom-fighter. They
look out for everyone and as a result, eventually piss-off everyone. The ACLU, in its bid to protect our sacred
rights, will also defend the ugly, such as the rights of neo-Nazis to march,
simply because it knows that when people want to march against the government
it wants that right to go unchallenged.
ACLU is involved in many social justice causes.
It is involved in litigation over issues like the Patriots Act and
government surveillance of the communications of innocent people. It defends against voter suppression. It defends Muslims who are discriminated
against. It protects against unlawful
procedures related to immigrant deportations.
It monitors when the government fails to fulfill Freedom of Information
Act requests. The list goes on.
has been very active on these issues as well:
speech and privacy.
ACLU monitors how the government or police treats its citizens. It protects women, minorities, and those who
are not treated equally or fairly. From
drug laws to the death penalty or free speech to voter rights, the ACLU has
done a lot and still needs to do more.
Give now, before it’s too late, before your rights get taken away. The ACLU, for nearly 100 years, has been the nation’s leading defender of freedom and justice. I do hope you support them – and as a result, your own rights – and help to keep the United States a truly free nation for all.
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11 best author,
literary agent, media interviews of the year – with an opportunity for you to
The inspiration for SemiViral comes from the consistent
anxiety and bullying I suffered while in public school and the depression I
battle with every day. The journey I personally experienced seeking hope for
myself, as well as the many mistakes and accomplishments I made along the way,
were guiding tools to expressing myself in SemiViral. I chose to write a
fiction as a more comfortable method of explaining some of my embarrassing
experiences in an intense but relatable way.
2. What is it about?
The book begins with Mathew Stemp leaving his
partner-in-crime, Porter, after one last job to kill a man who is infected with
an STD that is causing people to become blood thirsty cannibals. Afterwards,
Matt leaves his partner, their gang, and the prostitution business behind as he
attempts to find his Christianity and pursue a career in mixed martial arts. It’s
not as easy as he had hoped when he finds his younger brother, Garret, bullying
a young girl, Shaylee, at school because of her mother’s cannibal infection. In
order to help his brother change, Matt must now befriend a girl who many fear
is infected and stand against his old gang to show his brother and community
that you can’t judge others without getting to know them. Follow Matt and many
others as the world falls apart in civil war between people who believe the
virus can be cured, Curists, and those who believe the infected should be
exterminated, Exterminationists. Read as Matt trains a team of outcasts to
battle bullying and intolerance while the virus affects each of their lives differently.
3. What do you hope
will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
If I could sum up SemiViral’s message into three
statements, they would be as follows:
●Good people can make bad mistakes, and bad people are
capable of accomplishing great things. So don’t judge so easily.
●There are at least two sides to each story. Often, each
side believes they are doing the right thing for everybody. The missing link in
most debates is a new perspective.
●Bullying should not be tolerated. Remember to always
stand up for yourself and others. If you ignore it, you promote it.
4. What advice do you have for writers?
Don’t stop writing! Don’t get hung up in each detail. Write
storylines and figure out your message. When suffering writer’s block, I often
would read over my draft and rediscover my original direction or find that I
mistakenly shifted directions. Read and reread and never forget to write down
your ideas for the future of the story of separate stories. Your creativity is
a muscle— exercise it.
5. Where do you think the book
publishing industry is heading?
I am watching self-publishing and hybrid publishing take off
dramatically. Traditional publishing seems more difficult to get into because
so many books are getting published. Each style has its advantages though, and
requires the investment of the author.
6. What challenges did
you have in writing your book?
My first challenge writing this book was committing time each
day. While working full-time and attending school, I struggled for a while to
commit the 30 minutes a day to writing. I found once I had sat in front of the
writing for 30 minutes, I would stay longer and get more done. When I had
writer’s block, I read the manuscript for 30 minutes instead but I dedicated
the minimum 30 minutes to my book each day. My second challenge was staying
honest with my characters. My religion plays a strong part in my writing but I
was fully aware that this story would not make sense or be meaningful if I
changed characteristics of those in my book to be politically correct. I knew
the entire time that many of my peers, family, and even friends would be
offended by some of the story but the story needed to be real and relatable.
7. If people can only buy one book this
month, why should it be yours?
The world is in a current state of turmoil. There are riots in
the streets across the United States occurring frequently. If there was ever a
time to read SemiViral, it is now. Step into a world with similar struggles
with heroes who show you all of the small things you can do to make a
difference in this mess. SemiViral’s heroes and villains are
each relatable to many of us and the social intolerances and differences
experienced throughout the story can help you greater understand ourselves and
those around us.
Anderson: He got his start in writing when he began keeping a journal as a kid.
After finding his life was pretty embarrassing, he switched to fiction. SemiViral began when he discovered many
individuals in his personal life were intolerant people. Without calling them
out individually, he wrote a book with cannibal style living flesh eaters,
prostitution, drugs, and Mormons to address what he had been seeing his whole
life in a neutrally opinionated manner. Anderson resides in Colorado with his
wife and young daughter.
have the power to open our hearts, minds, and souls to new ideas, to explore
fantasies, and to entertain what could be.
They also can clue us in on history and the facts of life. Some books combine all of that and have the
potential to change how we think, and feel, and move us to action. One such book is Guns in the Hands of Artists.
Ferrara, New Orleans art gallery owner, was determined to use art to stir a new
dialogue on the issue of gun violence.
Over two decades ago he initiated an amazing exhibit of the work of
dozens of artists and their abilities to turn guns into art. His goal:
to bring people to the conclusion that we need common sense changes in how
we view and treat the proliferation of guns.
He doesn’t expect nor seek extreme things like repealing the Second
Amendment. But safety protections
regarding background checks, training, and mandatory safety locks would be a way to
improve on things.
he has a book out that captures what he has sought to do with the exhibition
and added powerful essays from a dozen and a half noted contributors. People like U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, Pulitzer
Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, Aspen Institute CEO Walter Isaacson,
former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and Lupe Fiasco a Grammy Award-winning
rapper penned provocative words to accompany these stunning images.
a truly terrific moment – to see art, publishing, life, and death
merge. Ferrara is a social activist
artist with a real vision. He says:
“Every image in the book is powerful in its own right, some are just
more subtle than others, but the messages they convey are potent. A few that come to mind are Marcus Kenney’s Girl with a Gun because it speaks to the
issue of child safety and guns and the laws or lack thereof that exist in
America. The captivating image of a
young girl dancing with a gun addresses the fact that only two states have laws
that require guns to be locked up in homes that have children in them. Can’t we
agree that regardless of what side we are on that we all want to protect our
children? The sculptures by Mel Chin are equally powerful. He literally embeds
guns into the concrete busts of two infamous killers to show how much guns are
embedded into the American psyche. The work of Katrina Andry is subtle yet
powerful. Her woodcut monoprint of a
disappearing African American male with gun chambers stamped across it addresses
the fact that we are losing an entire generation of young black men to violence
and incarceration… a fact that is widely known across America.”
can see why we need a new way of viewing and discussing guns. 21 of the 25 deadliest shootings in the U.S.
have occurred since 1980. The U.S. has
the highest rate of gun ownership in the world.
Every day in America there are 35 gun homicides, 60 gun suicides, and
200 of others who survive getting shot.
A third of the population owns a gun, but 50% of all guns are owned by
3% of the population. Studies show the
risk of an individual’s death by homicide when living in a home with a gun
increases by at least 40%.
of the images in his book did Ferrara find to be the most powerful? He says: “Every image in the book is powerful
in its own right, some are just more subtle than others, but the messages they
convey are potent. A few that come to
mind are Marcus Kenney’s Girl with aGun because it speaks to the issue of
children and guns and the laws or lack thereof that exist in America. The
captivating image of a young girl
dancing with a gun speaks to the fact that only two states have laws that
require guns to be locked up in homes that have children in them. Can’t we agree that regardless of what side
we are on that we all want to protect our children? The sculptures by Mel Chin are equally
powerful. He literally embeds guns into
the concrete busts of two infamous killers to show how much guns are embedded
into the American psyche. The work of
Katrina Andry is subtle yet powerful.
Her woodcut monoprint of a disappearing African American male with gun
chambers stamped across it speaks to the fact that we are losing an entire
generation of young black men to violence and incarceration…a fact that is
widely known across America.”
Ferrara launched a foundation to address gun violence, Guns in the Hands of Artists
Foundation. Proceeds from the book benefit
the foundation as well as Gabby Gifford’s Americans for Responsible Solutions.
book is just a stunning effort to make a difference. I’m proud that the public relations firm I
work for was recently retained to promote his book and mission. It’s the land of creative effort and fresh
approach that may finally catalyze some real change.
leave you with the words of Dan Gross, the president of Brady Campaign to
Prevent Gun Violence:
his new book, Ferrara brings a hauntingly beautiful new perspective to the
national conversation about gun violence in America and how we understand
it. This smart collection of brilliant
artists and voices reimagines the devastating violence that cuts through the
fabric of society, while paying homage to the hope that drives those of us in
this movement every day. Guns in the Hands of Artists is required
reading for anyone looking to shift the American gun violence discussion from
one rooted in debate, to one striving for solutions.”
I first moved to New Rochelle, a small city 30 minutes north of Manhattan, in
the Fall of 2003, I was optimistic that it was a good landing place to
eventually raise children. One of the
many things that factored in the decision was that I would be near several
bookstores. 15 minutes away was a Barnes
& Noble on the border of where the Bronx meets Westchester. Even closer, was a Borders in nearby
Eastchester. There was also an old
independent store in neighboring Larchmont, a mile from my house.
the literary landscape looks a lot different now.
Bronx B&N is closing and will leave nearly 1.5 million without a community
Borders closed up four or five years ago.
Anderson’s Book Shop is still kicking in Larchmont and seven years ago another
indie opened up in Larchmont, catering to children’s books, The Voracious
now, I’m proud to say, there’s a new Barnes & Noble housed in the exact
space the Borders used to be in. I’m
sitting in it right now, on the eve of Thanksgiving. It is a thankful moment, indeed.
generation ago some people complained that huge chains, like Borders, Barnes
& Noble, Walden Books, and Books a Million. The indies are now rising. You also have a significant portion of book
sales coming online, via e-books, print-on-demand, and of course, Amazon.
a new marketplace out there.
I can’t explain the joy I feel sitting here.
It’s the same feeling I get when I hear an old theater that was
renovated is re-opening. It’s as if
something had died, but now comes renewal and hope. Imagine a town that was hit by a nuclear
radiation leak, left abandoned for decades until one day the ground is no
longer contaminated and the land starts to again yield trees, crops, and
life. A bookstore grows where once stood
a literary graveyard.
the drama and romance from me? Because I
know just how important bookstores are to our cultural ecosystem. They bring people together like few places
can. Young and old, big and small, black
and white – it all converges in a communal, nurturing environment, a safe space
that fosters the development of our souls.
can only be a product of our experiences, knowledge, human interactions, and
connections. The bookstore affords a
rich opportunity to explore ideas information, images, and facts in a way we
order to it – lined shelves of current books by genre, format or
popularity. But there’s also choice and
randomness at play for the curious, wandering browser. It’s a scene that gets redrawn daily, with
new books pouring in on a regular basis.
peaceful here. There’s a self-fulfilling
prophecy going on. Everyone who decided
to walk through these doors is a pursuer of knowledge. They are on a journey and welcome the words
and sounds and pictures that could shape and reshape their lives.
okay I know this mental masturbation sounds silly, but imagine how you feel
when you go somewhere and instantly feel at home, like you belong, as if you were always there? This is my island, my respite from the harsh realities of an
imperfect world. This is where words
matter, where they get to live and breathe.
hope is that this store makes it and that the existing independent stores stick
around. There soon will be another
Barnes & Noble, coming to New Rochelle.
It’ll be the campus bookstores for Monroe College, but it will also be
open to the public. I think it will be a small store, but nevertheless, tally
another bookstore for humanity. I can’t
wait to visit that one, too.
financial key to the Eastchester Barnes and Noble will be its café. It’s a big one and it sells more than coffee
and cake. It has some real food, which
looks pricey. The brisket burger is 15
bucks. Soup is $9. But the real kicker is the wine menu. One bottle -- Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 Napa Valley -- goes for $78. A glass of Pinot Noir goes
for $16. They sell beer, too.
thought I’d get drunk on books, but for some, this could be a bar hangout that
happens to have books. If that’s what helps the bookstore succeed, I’ll take
holiday season the gift of a new bookstore is wonderful. Go support your local bookstores and savor
them. Don’t take them for granted. Cherish the opportunity, to not only consume
books, but to do so in the holy environment of a bookstore.
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11 best author, literary agent,
media interviews of the year – with an opportunity for you to be interviewed
get the life you want, find purpose and achieve fulfilment
Andro Donovan author of ‘Motivate Yourself’ is
a globally sought after facilitator, author, speaker, and consultant. She
specializes in coaching high-performing CEO, and Entrepreneur forums to become
more effective leaders, with a stronger sense of meaning and purpose in their
lives. She combines her 20 years experience as a management consultant with her
natural insight andaffinity with all types of people, to help her clients gain
greater influence, effectiveness and perspective.
1. What really inspired you to write your book,
to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a
As I am a facilitator it became a stronger and stronger need to
pass on this information to more people, not only the people that found me on a
retreat or workshop. Also I wanted my children to have this as my legacy to
2. What is it about and whom do you
believe us your targeted reader?
Anyone who has reached a point in their life where they are
questioning is this it? Could I have a bigger and richer experience in my life.
3. What do you hope will be the
everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain
with them long after putting it down?
That once they have had a glimpse of their essence their
essential nature and been able to articulate their core values that they hold
dear, they will always have their natural compass to act as their guide
through life's trials and tribulations. Under the armour, we are all great with
enormous amounts of potential for personal growth. We can all make a
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you
have for fellow writers?
Believe in yourself, what you have to say is important and you
have a duty to share it with the world. Don't ever think 'this has been doen
before' because it's never been said in the way you will say it with your own
unique style and personal story.
5. What trends in
the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing
industry is heading?
Having spoken to many people now who have self- published there
is still a very special genre of books that are published by a publishing house
which gives them a different kind of credability. That being said I would have
been willing to get this book out and was willing to do whatever it took even
if it meant self- publishing. As far as I’m concerned there will always be a
place for real physical books- you can't beat them.
6. What great challenges did you have in
writing your book?
Managing my negative self-talk which was arguing for my
limitations and trying to keep me small, safe, invulnerable and in my comfort
7. If people can only buy one book this month,
why should it be yours?
Especially at this time of year coming up for Xmas and the New
Year, it's a great time to start getting ready to detox your mind and
nourish your soul. I can't think of a better present than 'Motivate
Yourself' and a beautiful journal to record thoughts, insights and new
areas of focus. Sure there are a lot of beautiful things you could buy for
yourself or indeed your friends, but how do you put a price on
discovering your own sense of meaning and purpose.