Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peek into my office....

I'm just kidding – c'mon, how much work is possibly getting done in this office, and on that chair!? This photo is part of a dream though. A log cabin landed me in Deadwood, and ever since living there (for 6 short months) I've held on to the vision of building an author's log cabin retreat where my gals can stay and look over my shoulder as I package their books, create their marketing materials, develop press kits, build foundations for social networks, brainstorm campaigns, provide media coaching, and even shoot photos and video. They can bring the entire family and stay at the lodge – Wyatt, MacKenzie, and their dad will be tour guides for an unforgettable vacation on the Oregon coast. I see it all so clearly... 

Below is the work-corner of my actual office, or my "bubble" as my family calls it. This is where the magic happens. 

Panning from left to right on the wall is... the concert poster for our 1999 CD (local singing loggers). Tucked in the corner of the frame is a $28,793 deposit slip – a check for books from CDS, the major book distributor that picked up our 2003 book, ordered 15,000, sent this check 90 days later, and then sent a bill (over $32,000) for returns a few months later. Welcome to the book industry!
Framed on the wall, behind my screen, is the proof sheet from the print-check of our first 1999 book. We printed the covers 2-up with a chapbook. I visited the local Oregon printer to check the ink colors on the proof and took this sheet and framed it – a career milestone! Plastered onto the corners of the frame are local news clippings, and award stickers from every indie competition out there.

On the desktop from left to right... 104 Wyatt-MacKenzie books are stacked, proudly. (Look, the pile has doubled since this feature article in 2008!) The little "W" on all the spines makes my giddy. Always within arms reach is another of my prized possessions – the dictionary, thesaurus, and Strunk & White I was given in fifth grade (they're quite worn!). Then... my new Mac, and my old Mac, both usually laced with Post-its. And, what you don't see is the stack of pillows I sit on (lots of time is spent in this chair!). 

On the next wall is this floor-to-ceiling charcoal drawing I did my Freshman year at RISD. 
Someday it will hang on the wall of our author retreat. In 2006 when I wrote my book I believed we would start inviting authors to spend brand-building weekends in the fall of 2010. Well... I didn't anticipate the economy of 2008, I can't imagine anyone did. We hope to build our retreat in the next few years and will start taking reservations as soon as we break ground! Imagine a weekend in Oregon building your platform and your book.

Peek at the panoramic view from the author retreat on our old book blog. (It's also the background of our website.)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

"Say No 2 GMO" video

One of my closest friends in Deadwood is a part of this viral video. She's the one with the very last word. She played an integral part of the growth of Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing – she babysat Wyatt and MacKenzie when they were babies! I'm blown away with her advocacy and passion for such an important issue... pass it on!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bon Voyage... A Book Launch at Sea!

SECOND BLOOMING FOR WOMEN authors Kathleen Logan and Betsy Smith set off to the high seas yesterday for a "Growing a Life that Matters after Fifty" Seminar!

Once women turn fifty, they ask life’s ultimate questions with increasing urgency: “Am I making a difference? Does my life matter?”

Most women over fifty have decades yet to live! The authors of Second Blooming for Women want to inspire us to live a life that matters by picturing, planning, and nurturing their future. The book provides the benefits of a personal coach as women make this historic transition, empowering them to embrace their "second half of life" with optimism, self-knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm!

A beautiful gift book... take a peek inside the pages:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's an Imprint?

An Imprint is a smaller publishing company under the umbrella of a larger, more established publishing house. Random House has a bunch of them, I took this photo at BEA in 2007:

In early 2007 I combined my classes and consulting program, with the support I provide traditionally-published Wyatt-MacKenzie authors, and created a unique publishing option for those book projects I loved, but wasn't able to take on the traditional roster.

Having taught entrepreneurial authors since 2001 how to launch their own independent presses and how to use Lightning Source as their distribution solution, I extended this to our Imprint Program. We help each author: name their imprint and create an icon (see examples below!); get set up with their own Lightning account; provide start to finish book packaging; plus author positioning and branding; plus a marketing calendar and resources, publicity support, and inclusion on our "pr radar" and tips from our experience; plus an indie-publishing education and consulting; plus we help authors understand bookstore special orders, private-labeling, licensing and upselling; and, as your umbrella publisher, Wyatt-MacKenzie handles any industry inquiries (since you have a Wyatt-MacKenzie ISBN, ie. when we get faxed a purchase order for your books from our library contact, we help you fill the order), and we can act as an agent for any rights deals or opportunities we attract for authors, or that authors need help pitching, packaging or producing! 

Read more about The Wyatt-MacKenzie Imprint Program. See the Imprint Books. Here's the poster which flashed thru my mind three-and-a-half years ago when I saw Random House's... 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Got a Chyron!

"Chyrons" are the words on the bottom of the TV screen. When an author gets her (or his) name on a chyron, it's one of those notch-in-your-bookcase moments. 

Last week, author Jennifer Chambers appeared on our local news discussing LEARNING LIFE AGAIN. I squealed when I saw her book cover dancing across the screen. Jennifer talked about her novel, based on her life as a teen who recovered from a traumatic brain injury.

Here's one from a few months back, Joel Schwartzberg making a funny face – but still, he got a chyron! I loved that the ABC segment on World News Now was "moms get real" featuring a dad author. Joel's book THE FORTY-YEAR-OLD VERSION has taken the divorced-dad market by storm.

And over the holidays I caught Alana Morales on her local TV presenting holiday stress busters. Alana's book DOMESTICALLY CHALLENGED was released in 2005 and is still going strong.

Many of these "screen captures" I shoot with my camera, I've been doing this for years... way before Tivo, even before clips could be found on the web! Peek at our MEDIA PAGE to see all our gals who have received the chyron badge of honor over the last ten years!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm a journaler, not a blogger...

I've always been a journaler. As long as I can remember I've clung to my diaries, journals and sketchbooks as my lifeline to... myself. This is my shelf of journals in my office — the first thing I'd grab if the house caught on fire would be these tattered old spiral-bound notebooks. Why? Sometimes I can't believe what I have created, until I look back. It's all in there. Surviving my teens, wanting to go to art school, the art school "experience" at RISD, traveling across the country from Boston to San Diego after graduation, the two years spent in my first corporate job and as a corporate "couple" (neither one suited me!), and then the move... to Oregon, in 1992.

Oregon starts the building of the life I fantasized about in my journals. The creation of my own graphic design studio, the wrangling of my cowboy, the first barf-filled moments of pregnancy and naming Wyatt and MacKenzie, and, every single step taken toward Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing. Every na├»ve Oprah dream, every dime (way too many of those), every doubt, every tiny step forward for every three I fell back, documented and celebrated. And, most importantly, I refer back to them instead of paying for counseling! When I don't feel like I am making any progress, pulling an old journal out, opening to an old entry, and reflecting on where "I was" for me, is cathartic. Especially the pangs. Old pain brings joy in the now, somehow.

I laugh when I read older entries – it used to take 10 years to "catch up" to the dreams in my journals, then five years, then two... and now I write about dreams-come-true every single day. Open to Oct. 2 of last year and you'd see scrawled, screaming, across the page, "GINA ON OPRAH TODAY!" Then of course you'd read about the Harpo contract warning us not to use the appearance for any promotional purposes. Wild ride, it's all in there... and I hope to bring it to this blog, more!

Anyway, here's a page from a 1984 sketchbook, when I spent a summer at art school... dreaming of a "career in art." 

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New "Reader Views" Reviews

Reader Views mission statement: We strive to be a good friend to authors, publishers, and publicists, thus our service standard will exceed their expectation. We stand committed to continuously develop ourselves today, tomorrow and for the years to comeReader Views not only supports independent presses but they offer smart, well-written, passionate reviews of books. Here are two of the newest reviews of Wyatt-MacKenzie books:
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“Charter Schools: The Ultimate Handbook for Parents” by Karin Piper is not only helpful and informative, but fun and interesting to read. As a new charter school administrator and former charter school teacher and board member, I was eager to learn more about the perspective of charter school parents.

The book is clearly written and offers insight into many areas of the charter school experience, from what a charter school is to how to open a school yourself. Although I already have experience with charter schools as a professional educator, I found this book to be full of helpful information. Ms. Piper also offers a delightful sense of humor throughout the book, which I think most parents will appreciate.

The resources in this book are vast, and not only is this book helpful to parents, but I found “Charter Schools” invaluable as a leader of a charter school. My goal in the near future is to open a charter school of my own, and this book offered many helpful resources for my journey. Thank you, Ms. Piper, for your hard work in gathering so much information in one easy-to-read book.

Reviewed by Christine Watson for Reader Views (12/09) 
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“Reindeer with King Gustaf: What to Expect When Your Spouse Wins the Nobel Prize is a humorous account of the Nobel experience of Robert Laughlin, told by his wife Anita. In 1998, Robert Laughlin won the Nobel Prize in Physics. This very prestigious award brings a whirlwind of publicity to the winner with several required appointments and visits in the company of important people. Topped off by the presentation of the award is a weeklong celebration of pomp and circumstance as well as much joviality in Stockholm, Sweden.

Robert Laughlin, a professor at Stanford, and his family were awakened in the middle of the night with news of his win. The next day began the crazy press formalities. Mrs. Laughlin did a great job reviewing in detail all of the events that unfolded from that nighttime phone call. Wishing she had a guide as to the particulars of what to expect in the upcoming months gave Mrs. Laughlin the idea for this book. I am sure that families of future Nobel Prize winners will make "Reindeer with King Gustaf" required reading. Mr. Laughlin even provided illustrations throughout.

As a woman, I can relate to the "What to wear?" question to events, but I could never imagine the grand scale of having to plan visits with the President of the U.S. and the King and Queen of Sweden. Her humorous account of falling pantyhose and slippery shoes had me chuckling. While I honestly never gave much thought to the Nobel Prize winning experience beyond noting the winners on occasion, I found the book entertaining and educational. Don't reject this book because you are not a super smart scientist who follows only academic journals. Even "People" magazine readers, like me, who never even took a Physics class, will enjoy "Reindeer with King Gustaf." Author Anita Laughlin has perfected the ability to attract readers even beyond the scientific crowd. Its personable tone is very enjoyable. I will definitely pay more attention when the next Nobel Prize winners are announced.

Reviewed by Marcy Blesy for Reader Views (01/10) 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pitching a Publisher ... Turn-Offs & Tips

I just sent out a dozen "redirection" emails. I don't send rejection letters, I honor any writer with the guts and dedication to get a book written and who has the foresight and ambition to fill a need with their expertise. So, here are some of my thoughts... I hope they help you land your dream publishing contract.

Turn-Off:  If you use "Dear Sir or Madam" it could mean you are being polite, but what I interpret when I see this is the writer did not do their research. It also appears they are copying and pasting the same email to numerous agents and/or publishers.
TIP: Learn about the publisher you are pitching. Your cover letter (or email) should be customized specifically to them, and should include why you chose to pitch to them. How did you find them? What is your connection with the publishing company, their titles, the publisher, their location? If you can find a name, use it. If you can find a commonality, by all means share it.

Turn-Off: Sending a description of the book, and that's all. If I don't immediately see more about the author, their platform, why they wrote the book, and most importantly, how they plan to promote it, then I seldom read the whole email.
TIP: Show your platform! These days all it takes is time, energy, and dedication to build an amazing portfolio of work, experiences, and running commentary online.

Turn-Off: Including any of the following: "I know it will sell millions." "I expect a handsome advance." "I want to know what marketing you provide." "I expect a response from you by ____ date."
TIP: Instead, share items such as: Why you want to publish your book. Why people will want to buy it. And why the media will be interested in hearing about it.

Turn-Off: Any generic marketing references such as: "I will market to women's magazines and talkshows appealing to women" or empty ideas about getting on Oprah.
TIP: Fully research which editors in magazines/newspapers/columns you can reach and share sample pitches. Know which shows are in need of your topic and your unique perspective, and know how to get on them. How to get on Oprah: Go to "Be on the show" and find queries which would fit your story, your experience, your passion - and send a smart, concise, entertaining pitch that doesn't include any self promotion. Get on Bonnie Hunt. Get on Ellen. Get on Dr. Phil. Get on Dr. Oz.

Turn-Off: Leaving a long voicemail instructing me to call to learn more about a writer and their book.
TIP: My phone does not stop ringing until I turn it off and let the calls go to voicemail. If you're calling it had better be something urgent and newsworthy. Email is best, it can be printed and saved for later review.

How do you find a publisher to pitch? Research publishers that are reaching your market, ones that release titles and topics aligned with yours.

Tools to find a publisher:
1. Writer's Market - check out the newest edition from the library to find the publishers reaching your market.
2. sign-up for the free email or pay for full access, valuable tool for researching a topic and its potential.
3. Search Amazon for your category. Check out a publisher on, watch a title in your market on
4. Google alert best-selling competitor titles and author names and watch the marketing efforts of a publisher and their authors.
5. Read acknowledgements in other books reaching your market to find agents, editors, and publishers.

Items I always suggest writers include in your proposal/publishing plan along with a short, powerful description of the book:

1. Your platform - Do you have a website? Blog? Online media kit? Links to articles you have published/syndicated online?
2. Your competition/colleagues - What books are selling well on your topic? Do you network with other authors/speakers in your field/topic? What conferences/events are happening in this field?
3. Your publicity plan - How will you get publicity for your book, will you approach magazines, which ones? With what - an excerpt, an article, an interview, a book review? What websites/podcasts/internet radio shows will you pitch, and again, what exactly will you pitch to them? How will you provide something valuable for their readers/listeners?  What newspapers would be interested in doing a piece on you, the book, the topic? How will you reach them - do you know which editors address your topic?
4. Are you media-savvy? Include a list of interview questions and speaking points. Get video of yourself on your blog so publishers and media know you're good on camera.
5. Reviews - Who has read the book? What were their responses? Who do you have lined up to provide endorsements for the back cover? What celebrities/high-profile authors do you have on your "wish list" to endorse you?

Hope this helps. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Alcoholism isn't a spectator sport...

Have you ever seen this quote: "Alcoholism isn't a spectator sport. Eventually the whole family gets to play." It's from bestselling author and prolific screenwriter Joyce Rebeta-Burditt (IMBD). In 1977 Joyce wrote THE CRACKER FACTORY, a semi-autobiographical novel, which was optioned by Natalie Wood and turned into a made-for-TV movie. Watch a clip:

This past fall we signed Joyce for her next novel! WOMEN'S GROUP will be released in September 2010. It's the bookend of the story begun in 1977. Now, with 41 years sobriety, the main character shares a deliciously cryptic peek inside her world of Hollywood as a network executive and TV writer/producer. 

I am so honored to sign this huge title with such a major player, but truly the reward of attracting this to me is on a deeply personal level. The first time I was published was in an Al-Anon book in 1985. Here's the original typed poem, I still keep in my dream box.

How did Joyce choose Wyatt-MacKenzie? First, refer back to the "wish list" blog entry - almost every author I sign has an author who inspired them. I encourage my authors to reach out to those oftentimes famous personalities and ask for their dream endorsement. Author of THE SECOND CHASM, Karen Kibler, was not only inspired by THE CRACKER FACTORY, it helped her label her own depression, saved her life, and directly inspired the writing of her book. When Karen reached out to Joyce to review her galley, we both danced when she accepted! Then, having watched Karen's publishing journey, Joyce emailed me asking if I'd be interested in her next book. I couldn't respond fast enough with a YES! Karen has been able to serve as editor, working with her idol, and meeting her in Beverly Hills for a final manuscript review!

10 years after a stem-cell transplant...

When I received the following book pitch: "It is my story about fighting Multiple Sclerosis while raising small children, having a stem cell transplant before the Bush administration, and how it all got me into comedy," I cheered. A little research proved Sandi's success story is absolutely ground-breaking in the United States - diagnosed with M.S. and told she was bound for a wheelchair, Sandi became the second person in California to receive a transplant. And now, ten years later, she is a walking medical breakthrough. WON'T DO STAND-UP IN A WHEELCHAIR is Sandi's compelling story of her recovery and radical jump into stand-up comedy, out March 31, 2010.  

A recent blog post I read on Jan. 3, 2010 including this closing remark: "At present, the potential of stem cells are more and more recognized by many in the medical field. The only challenge relating to stem cells that remains is proving just how effective their transplantation is to big groups of people." We hope Sandi's humorous perspective will provide hope to the 2.5 million individuals worldwide suffering from M.S., especially to the 200 newly diagnosed every week.

Monday, January 4, 2010

6 Wyatt-MacKenzie Books released today!

Our January books...

Wyatt-MacKenzie's Dixie Coskie releases UNTHINKABLE a book which stirred me to the core. Dixie chronicles her experiences from the moment she gets the call,  “Dixie, get down here, Paul has been hit by a car; the ambulance is on its way.” Dixie's 13-year-old suffered a traumatic brain injury. She has compiled her story with soul-saving tips for other parents who encounter a traumatic injury or illness in their family.

And, we have 4 new Imprints releasing 5 books this month...

A semi-autobiographical novel from another TBI surviver, Jennifer Chamber's LEARNING LIFE AGAIN.

The most wonderful book for women of all ages, but especially those over 50, SECOND BLOOMING from Betsy Smith and Kathleen Logan. Stay tuned for more info about their Cruise Book Launch!

An absolutely moving collection of adoption stories, SNOWFLAKES compiled by Teresa Kelleher.

If you have teens taking the SATs and ACTs these resources: Subject Tests and Secrets are indispensable from math tutor Richard Corn.


The Rewards Are Many...

Publishing is a tough gig. It's an emotional roller coaster for both the authors and their publishers (well, for indie publishers like Wyatt-MacKenzie that treat authors like family that is). In 2007 I released A BOOK IS BORN, a 3-year project which followed 24 of my authors through the unbelievably rewarding highs and ego-crushing lows of the publishing process. One of the goals for this new blog is to share excerpts from my book and stories from authors past and present.

Here's a brand new "reward" story. When we sign a new author one item they work on is a "wish list" for endorsements. The top of that list is usually a famous author whose blurb on their cover would mean the world to the author. With some research to find contact info, and a well-worded pitch, authors begin the challenge of getting their advance review copies into the hands of these dream-reviewers and cross their fingers. Here's a wonderful "surprise" one of our new authors received from his wife and step-daughter when he landed the top-of-his-list endorsement. This photo makes me so happy, I could feel the pride of our author Chuck Barrett when his idol NY Times bestselling author Steve Berry gave THE SAVANNAH PROJECT a thumbs up.
Congrats! Chuck launched Switchback Publishing, An Imprint of Wyatt-MacKenzie through our empowered publishing program. His thriller comes out in March!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Espresso Book Machine Video

Welcome to 2010 and a whole new world of publishing! All of Wyatt-MacKenzie's books are available through Espresso Book Machines around the world. Watch this video...

Seeking an empowered publishing option to utilize all of the latest technological advances? On-demand international distribution, EBMs, Kindle, Book Apps, Nooks, Vooks and old fashioned Books... available through our IMPRINT PROGRAM!