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Bobbi Brown Founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics What is the name of the book? At the time, it didn’t have a name, as they were stories that my father created and would tell my siblings and me. Now the stories have been published by Scholastic into a book titled “The Flights of Marceau: Race to the Rescue.” How old were you when you read it? I was about 4 or 5 years old when my dad began telling me stories about Marceau. What character did you most identify with? The main character is a man named Marceau, and I didn’t identify with him, per se, but I came to love him because he always took the children on great adventures and taught them valuable lessons. What was your favorite part? That the good guys always won and the bad guys always lost. Did you read it more than once? My dad had so many stories featuring Marceau, and we read most of them more than once. Why/How did it affect you? Because I started listening to these stories when I was younger, I learned from my father how important it was to use your imagination and therefore developed a sense of creativity at a young age.
Did you pass it on to anyone? My sons. What are you reading now? The Biography of Sam Walton. Suggested Cross Sells for TBTCML Like This? Find other great books kid’s books on IndieReader
• • •
Davy Brown Discovers His Roots, Keely Alexander & Velani Mynhardt Witthoft Lollipup & Luvable, Renee Suchowiecky The Tree That Could Fly, Alma Halbert Bond
By Kia DuPree
I was in the eighth grade when I wrote my first book. It was about a girl who dropped out of college after she became pregnant during her freshman year. What did I know about college or being pregnant at thirteen? Not a thing. But the story was so real to me in my head. The characters I created reminded me of real people I knew. My homeroom teacher noticed how committed I was to finishing it, and she asked if she could take a peek. After reading my ratty notebook, she volunteered to edit and submit it into a local writing contest. I agreed and I won twenty-five dollars for honorable mention. I couldn’t believe it! Winning an award was confirmation that I just might be a good writer. Maybe, just maybe, I could write for the rest of my life like Judy Blume. Years later, when I finally realized getting a deal by just sending in my “magnificent manuscript” to a publishing house was the equivalent of me flying to the moon, I knew that there had to be another way. A good friend Paul Saunders, an entrepreneur in his own right, asked me how much my dream was worth. I was totally confused by his question. “Is your dream worth more than two thousand dollars?” Paul asked. “Yeah,” I said. “Then take two thousand dollars and publish your own book. Trust me. You’ll more than double your money, if it’s any good.” Paul was right, so Plan B was initiated. I took two thousand dollars from my savings account and found a printer who would print my novel Robbing Peter, a novel about three fatherless families. I never knew just how much work it would be after the twentyfive boxes of books arrived at my doorstep. I instantly became a publicist, a marketer, a sales associate, a financial manager, an executive, you name it. I sold Robbing Peter at work, to friends and family, online, at the grocery store, hair salons and night clubs. Everywhere. It was a lot of work. To my surprise, it went on to win an honor book award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association in 2005. It was the first selfpublished novel to do so. Self-publishing taught me a lot about myself. I learned just how passionate I was about creative writing. I’ve met people from all walks of life. Self-publishing also taught me how to be creative, multifaceted and resourceful. I attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute to learn more about the publishing industry and to meet influential people. Although, Robbing Peter didn’t get picked up, I learned a lot that helped sharpen my writing skills and my approach to the industry. I began devouring books off of the New York Times best seller’s list, and then writing until I knew I had something special.
In 2008, I signed a three-book contract with Grand Central Publishing. My first mainstream novel Damaged, about the violence-filled, troubled lives of inner city kids told from the perspective of a ten-year-old girl I named Camille, was released in January, and it’s received great reviews so far. Many of the grassroots marketing strategies that I used when promoting Robbing Peter are still extremely relevant today. I strongly encourage people to consider self-publishing as another way to reach their audience. You can learn more about Damaged by visiting www.kiadupree.com Suggested Cross Sells for Plan B Like This? Find other great books on IndieReader • • Memories of the Little Elephant Spring House
And a Book on Self-Publishing • The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, Peter Bowerman
Q&A with Seth Godin, author (Linchpin), speaker and agent of change
Amy Holman Edelman: Where do you see whole DIY/indie author segment of the publishing industry going in the next few years? Will indie authors finally get some respect for their work? Or at least some buzz about the fact that--contrary to being packaged by committee--indie books are written with a single voice: the writer's own (not to mention that, in most cases, the trees aren't killed until the books are sold!). Seth Godin: I think the lack of a filter means that indie books are like YouTube videos... there are some good ones, but the default view is that lack of scarcity might mean lack of value. The good news about the long tail is that word of mouth trumps that perception... if it's good, we'll talk about it. AHE: I don't want to get you into any trouble here...but what do you see as the main value of your publisher? Do you really think you couldn't do a lot of the stuff they do... possibly even better than they do it? And as authors get less and less value from their traditional publishers (John Edgar Wideman just announced he's pubbing his new book through Lulu), do you think more of them will choose to self-publish? SG: Once the physical bookstores go away and there's no significant financial risk of publication, then either publishers will have to radically up their game (be more selective and promote more) or individuals able to hire teams that can focus their energy and market will certainly replace their publishers. How could it be otherwise? Just because you have a big building and go to lunch with the buyer of a near-bankrupt bookseller doesn't mean an individual with a following needs you. What they need is selectivity, editing, promotion, significant outbound marketing push, etc. AHE: How might you apply the Small is Big principle to indie authorship? SG: You're never going to have an Eat Pray Love. Don't try. Instead of being the one book a year that 10 million people buy, focus on being the indispensable book purchased by 10,000 people. Ten thousand people who hang on your every word is plenty. AHE: What do you think an indie author can do to differentiate themselves from the noise and create a marketing campaign for their book that goes viral? SG: Write a book that goes viral. Not the other way around. AHE: Any add’l thoughts and/or ideas you think are germane to the topic? SG: Use this! http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2005/07/advise_for_auth.html Suggested Cross Sells for Guest Author Like This?
Find other great books on IndieReader • • Tangling with Tyrants: Managing the Balance of Power at Work Big Shoes: How Successful Leaders Grow into New Roles
And a Book on Self-Publishing • The Well-Fed Self-Publisher, Peter Bowerman
Tonight in the Rivers of Pittsburgh
By Brian Lee Weakland
Flying debris battered Glen Weaver’s cabin with such fury and noise that he barely heard the two gunshots. Hunkered beneath an old oak desk, the Kinzua Park ranger covered his face with a forearm. The fierce storm had uprooted a decaying pine tree and sent it crashing through the eastern wall. He had scrambled into the tiny cabin for protection, dropping his radio into a swelling pool of rainwater at the front steps. Weaver tried to warn the men on the railroad bridge of the tornado watch, but now his safety was more important than chasing trespassers from the closed park. The time was 3 p.m. A funnel cloud was bearing down the valley. Weaver struggled to his feet and grabbed his Nikon. He focused the camera through the western window and snapped the shutter. It would be the last photograph of the Kinzua Bridge before its destruction. A hundred years of history crashed into a hundred tons of scrap metal. To Weaver, long-time caretaker at the state park, the thunderous collapse of the bridge sounded like the collective screams of suffering souls in Hell. Perched in the wood cabin about 300 yards from the bridge, Weaver heard the sustained echoes of the collapse reverberating between the valley walls. Heavy rain and sleet pelted the western window,
obscuring his view of the bridge. But the sickening booms of steel on steel did not require visual confirmation. The mighty bridge, more than 300 feet high and a half-mile long, was gone forever. But what of those men on the bridge minutes earlier? God help them, Weaver thought. Surely they saw what was happening and ran. There were two of them, for sure. One was wearing a dress white shirt. Maybe he never left after the funeral that morning. The other man was farther out onto the bridge and wore dark clothing. The park had been closed all day for a morning burial ceremony at the overlook cemetery. Weaver posted signs at the vehicle entrances and, when the steam engine carrying the funeral train returned from the bridge, he closed the chain link fence over the tracks. Still, he could not adequately police the many trails into the state park. After the horrific storm passed, Weaver took his camera and began his sad walk down the wood mulch path toward the ravine. Some of the rainwater was now mist rising from the valley floor. The ranger was alone in the stillness. No wildlife, no sounds, no response by nature to the ravage of the storm, he thought. He drew closer to the ridge and aimed his camera at the bridge that was not there. Most of the film captured the decimation of the center span. Weaver did not closely inspect details of the photographs, one of which contained an image of two men amidst the steel rubble. + + +
Tanya Duncan sat cross-legged on the bed when electricity returned. The cheap digital clock on her childhood dresser blinked the last recognized time, 2:45. She heard scuttling sounds of the teenage boy descending the creaking stairs. Heavy rain left its usual musty smell in the old East Liberty house, owing to a shingled roof left unpatched by her papa. She raised the heavy rotted window as the storm’s last drops flecked off the hanging gutter and splashed on the sill. She always hated July in this place.
When Tanya was 16 years old, she dreamed of escaping the slums of Pittsburgh. The scenarios changed with every boy she met. She dated Dwayne Robbins, a likeable friend of her cousin, for about a year before city police found him face down with a needle in his arm near the Boy’s Club on Hawthorne Street. She had a fling with the popular Slade Alexander until he forced himself on her in this very bedroom while her infant sister played on the floor with a box of saltines. Tanya’s goal to find a boy with a fast car and a desire to drive to California was the unfulfilled fantasy of an impoverished black girl with nothing to commend her, except for a warm heart and a soft face. Now, at 39, with a tortuous relationship in her past, Tanya’s fantasies were few. The teenager moved from refrigerator to sofa. Tanya heard audio from the front room television and learned that a strong line of thunderstorms passed through western Pennsylvania, with eyewitness accounts of several tornadoes in the northern tier counties. “Thankfully,” the news anchor intoned, “no loss of life has been reported.” + + +
The Kane News-Leader, which touted itself as the “best weekly newspaper in the Commonwealth,” closed its business office at 2 p.m. to allow staff members about 15 minutes or so to dive into the nearest storm cellar. When calm was restored about 4 p.m., The News-Leader’s publisher / owner Tom Zachary decided to publish a special mid-week edition focusing on the vicious storm. The decision was driven in small part by the newspaper’s mission of public service and in large part by the offer of Gates Hardware and Plumbing Supply to buy hundreds of column inches in advertising to sell storm damage supplies. Zachary personally drove McKean County to photograph downed trees and collapsed roofs. By 6 p.m. he returned to the newspaper office. A State Park Bureau vehicle was parked along the Fraley Street entrance. As Zachary walked past, the vehicle door
opened and out stepped Ranger Weaver, wearing a soiled but official forest green uniform. “I suppose you heard about the F-1 tornado at the Viaduct yesterday,” Weaver said. “No. Not a tornado. What do you know?” Zachary asked. “Just wanted to drop off some photographs of the bridge for the paper. The Park Bureau will be doing aerial photos early next week, but these show the center section after it fell yesterday.” Weaver handed him the photos in a glassine folder. “Oh,” Zachary uttered as he leaned back on the vehicle. “I had no idea. It’s gone. Just like that. Does everybody know?” “I don’t think more than a handful know.” Zachary looked at the photographs one by one. Thousands of tons of debris were heaped at the foot of the ravine. The railroad tracks eerily jutted into the abyss from the remaining ends of the bridge. “Was anybody hurt?” Weaver shook his head. “Nobody we’re aware of. Before it hit, I was closing the windows in the camp cabin near the monument. A couple men were on the bridge at the time. I noticed them because they were arguing and were pretty loud. I guess common sense told them to get off the bridge because I didn’t see them when I locked up the park.” Weaver told Zachary to keep the photographs and to give photo credit to the State Park Bureau. He said film from the park’s security cameras remained in the camp cabin – film he hoped to locate and review when the site reopened. “That bridge stood for a hundred years,” Weaver offered while Zachary absorbed the photographic evidence.
“When can I send a photographer to the park to see what’s left of the bridge?” Zachary asked. “Not until the Bureau assesses the safety risk, Tom. Your best option is to either contact the state police for a tour in their fixed wing or take a view from the Leigh-Rose Mansion if you can arrange that.” Zachary rested against the hood of Weaver’s state vehicle. He was exhausted after covering a morning funeral service and after traveling nearly 100 miles to photograph storm damage. But the Viaduct Bridge gone? With these new photographs, the upcoming special edition could be his most impressive publication since he took the reins of the News-Leader a decade ago. Weaver spoke and snapped Zachary’s trance. “This is a big story.” Zachary agreed. “This was the biggest news day around here in at least 15 years.” It was the biggest story since the kidnapping. #####
Suggested Cross Sells for Peek Like This? Buy the book on IndieReader • Tonight in the Rivers of Pittsburgh
And other great books
Woods on Fire Final Price
By Monte Smith
(Pls run this in place of Dispatches)
Oprah-placeable by Mary Carlomagno
No one is irreplaceable right? Or so I thought, until asking book publishing insiders and authors who they would suggest to replace Oprah Winfrey when her show ends in 2011. The first general reaction was a moment of silence reminiscent of grief, then the awkward search for the perfect words to sum up Oprah’s impact. And finally, the glowing tribute about how she could never, ever truly be replaced. Is Oprah “Oprahplaceable”? And if so… why? Lisa Berkowitz, President of Berkowitz & Associates, and former Vice President of Marketing & Communications at HarperBusiness, provided the background. “Much has been made of "The Oprah Effect", whereby an appearance on the show instantly creates a blockbuster bestseller. You can see the incredible impact of the O phenomenon by the recent publication of books like Reading With Oprah: The Book Club That Changed America by Kathleen Rooney, as well as Reading Oprah: How Oprah's Book Club Changed the Way America Reads by Cecilia Konchar Farr. Berkowitz notes that when academics are studying the impact Oprah has had on the reading habits of her devoted followers, you had better pay attention. And pay attention they do. At least I did last year, when, after my Oprah appearance (an experience I liken to meeting the Pope), I was bombarded with phone calls from Oprah disciples. The majority of callers were long-lost friends from grammar school and college, but some were people I have never met who begged me for an introduction. All were trying to get one step closer to the legend. And they are not alone. For book publishers, there has been nothing greater than Oprah and the Oprah Book Club (OBC) for authors. How else would mainstream America read Cormac McCarthy, Jonathan Franzen and Ursula Hegi, writers who were virtually unknown to most viewers, despite their critical success? All of this amounted to good things for publishers and authors, especially those chosen to be part of the OBC. Authors such as Chris Bohjalian, whose book Midwives was featured on Oprah and who’s new book Secrets of Eden, is on sale now. “I don't think anyone in my lifetime has done as much as Oprah Winfrey to remind us of what words and reading and books can mean to the soul.” As far as who can fill Oprah’s literary shoes? The media has been tweeting and gossiping about it for months, with mentions of Paula Adbul, Sarah Palin and Kelly Ripa, just to name three. To test the candidates, imagine anyone else choosing—and then very publicly un-choosing—the OBC’s most controversial pick, James Frey, for his “memoir,” A Million Little Pieces. Another top online pick is Ellen DeGeneres, who’s just replaced Paula Abdul in the judge’s chair next to Simon Cowell this season on American Idol.
Ellen is the choice for Laurie Peterson, formerly the editorial director in charge of promoting the Oprah pick on barnesandnoble.com, and currently the General Manager of Minyanville Media, Inc. Says Laurie, “Everything hit #1, no matter what she picked. The whole process was very secretive, and complicated because it involved getting a secret item number for an Oprah's Book Club edition of the book.” Another publishing executive, who wished not to be named, also supports Ellen, noting that of the authors who appeared on Oprah and Ellen this year—those guest experts— not Oprah Book Club picks, had better sell through. So perhaps there is hope for book publishing should DeGeneres be named? I, like Gina Barreca, three-time guest and author of It’s Not That I’m Bitter, likens guest expert appearances to “getting your passport stamped,” rather than career changers. According to Barecca, trust is the essential part of what made Oprah, well…Oprah. As evidenced by her huge following (seven million strong and counting), and by my growth of Facebook friends, people not only trust, but follow Oprah’s recommendations, regardless of what they are. The latest entry into the “books about Oprah” provides the best example. Living Oprah by Robin Okyrant, chronicles one year of following all of Oprah’s recommendations, including buying a charcoal pit, even though Okyrant lives in a city apartment with no outdoor space. And so publishing must move on without its biggest supporter. Until her successor is named, Oprah remains simply Oprah-placeable.
A Few Predictions…
Gina Barecca, author It’s Not that I’m Bitter: “I think Joy Behar would be great.” Lisa Berkowitz, President of Berkowitz & Associates: “Michelle Obama. Easy transition from one O to another. And Ms. Obama is beautiful, brilliant, and approachable, with a highly developed social conscious. If anyone can step comfortably in to Oprah's pumps, it would be Michelle.” Amy Greeman, Director of Publicity at Storey Publishing “Gayle King could be the next big thing, although no one can really replace the power Oprah had in the publishing industry...” Robyn Okrant, author Living Oprah: “I don't want anybody to fill Oprah's Christian Louboutins. Winfrey evolved her career over decades and can't be replaced overnight. And frankly, I think there are plenty of talk shows and self-help gurus on TV already.”
One Pro, 4 Questions
Kate Siegel Bandos, President, KSB Promotions Book Publicist for 40+ years, Book lover for 60+ years and counting What's the best part of your job? Working with wonderful authors and media people....and being paid to read books! What fictional character (in film or literature) would you most like to have dinner with? Penelope Keeling from Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers. She is a character who has stayed with me ever since I read that book and would love more time with her than the one book offered. Which work of art, film or literature would you most have wanted to have had a hand in creating? The Little Prince or The Velveteen Rabbit. These two books have followed me from childhood until now with their timeless messages. I loved them when they were read to me, when I could read them myself again and again, and I have loved sharing them with my children and now my grandchildren. Who's your fave indie artist (in books, film or music)? Film and music are not my passions the way books are. And there are too many authors who have been there in the pages of their creations when I needed something — whether it was to laugh, cry, find a friend, escape to wonderful places, challenge my beliefs, etc. Every since I could hold a book, I have never been without one and they surround me every day and make me very happy. Like my children and grandchildren, there are not any favorites. I appreciate them all for their unique qualities.
IR Quick Poll
The rise of e-books leads us to ask…how many traditional books do you usually have at home at any one time? • • • • A couple…just what I’m reading at the time 3-10 11-25 I have no idea…they’re everywhere!