Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Hi Bloggie friends,

Do you love freebies? I know a lot of you enter contests. Christmas is around the corner and you could give yourself or someone else the gift of reading.

Author Mary E. Martin will be launching her new book this month and to celebrate she’ll be giving away kindles and free copies of her book and e-books.
All you have to do is join her Twitter party on December 3rd and her Facebook event on December 12th

For more information you can visit her site at or click on the promo on the right-hand sidebar, here on my blog.
Congratulations to Mary on her new book!
Good luck to all participants!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Substance Books

Today I am interviewing Hajni Blasko, Online Book Publicist, Search Engine Marketing Specialist and the creator of Substance Books.

CDB: How did you come up with the idea of Substance Books? HB: I've had book fetish all my life. While working in corporate marketing in the late nineties I began to monitor traffic flow on the internet and I realized that it could be directed in certain ways. When I left the corporate sphere, I knew I wanted to work in publishing and Substance Books came about as a way to tie together my love of books, my strong belief in networking and my knowledge of computers. The idea of an online search engine marketing network grew organically from these three components.

CDB: I know you just celebrated your tenth anniversary in the business; did you ever imagine such a milestone? HB: I always had high expectations for the company's success. However, I never would have foreseen that search engines and social networking would eventually have the overwhelming influence on web traffic that they possess today. Nor would I have guessed that after ten years Substance Books would be the only book marketing network focused on search engine optimization. So far as I know, no one else has explored these avenues.

CDB: Looking back through the last decade, what insights do you have about authors and entrepreneurs in the publishing industry?
HB: Often when I ask successful female entrepreneurs about their achievements, they say something like, “I was just lucky,” or “It's because I work with a great team,” or in the worst case, “I was just lucky to work with a great team.” Men don't say this. It's important for women, just as much as men, to recognize their own hard work, drive, skill and talent which go into their successes. I think it's very important for all authors to recognize the amount of effort they put into their books, especially in an industry where success is so difficult to quantify. It's essential for authors, as entrepreneurs, to have complete confidence in themselves and their work if they are to effectively promote their titles.

CDB: Hajni, could you elaborate on the term “Online Book Publicity”? HB: Online book publicity is an umbrella term for various forms of book publicity that take place over the Internet, including social networking, search engine pay-per-click advertising, organic search engine optimization and branded web promotion. I do a little bit of all these things, but what I am mostly about these days is marketing through organic search engine optimization to increase online exposure. I believe it's the most cost-productive publicity technique when it comes to generating book sales.

CDB: When you say “Search Engine Optimization”, what do you mean? What should authors optimize their online presence for? HB: Online content, whether websites, facebook pages, twitter feeds or any other platform, should be optimized to the audience first and search engines second. The main objective is not just to be number one on Google's results page, but to make the site visible to people who are looking for titles like yours. Readers are most likely to consider genre when searching for books. When a book appears at the top of search results for its title or the author's name, it's dependent on people already being familiar with the book or author, which doesn't promote the book to a new audience. We aim to expose titles to people who have never heard of them before but are interested in buying that particular sort of book, thus increasing the book's visibility a new potential readership.

CDB: Who are your ideal clients? HB: The best characteristic in our clients is motivation. Ideally they make the effort to produce the best possible publications and then actively follow them up with consistent efforts to promote their books. I take great satisfaction in representing clients who are enthusiastic about collaboration with other authors and industry professionals. Communication with audience and others in the industry is key; this means more than just posting cute cat photos on facebook. Our authors can write in any genre and come from anywhere in the world; what matters is that they have strong titles with high marketability.

CDB: What can authors expect from Substance Books? HB: We provide authors with international exposure to potential book buyers. Authors can expect the support of a publicity team who will guarantee their titles' exposure on the global online book market. We also supply our authors with helpful advice and information on the latest developments in web and book publicity. Representation with Substance Books gives writers the opportunity to network with hundreds of other authors and take part in free organized marketing projects, such as our review exchange initiative and free gadgetized facebook pages.

CDB: Where can my fellow bloggers and authors find you? HB: Naturally, we have a number of online locations:
Our website:
Our facebook page:
My own facebook page:
My email:

And if ever in doubt, you can enter “online book publicity” into any search engine. We'll show up among the top five players.

CDB: Hajni it’s been a pleasure talking with you. Thank you for answering my questions. Congratulations on your tenth anniversary and much continued success. HB: Thank you Claudia.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Million Dollar Question

Finishing your first novel is quite a feat. You announce it to your family, friends, and fellow writers. However, you're so excited you've forgotten the million dollar question: Will my book get published?
A lot of my bloggie friends are writing or just finishing up their first novel, and I applaud them for their diligence and dedication. So, I want to share what an anonymous writer asked the experts  at theWriter's Digest about publishing his/her book.

Q: I have the first five chapters of a novel written, and I think they’re reasonably good. It would be nice, however, to know if I even have a chance at getting the book published once it’s completed. Is there any place I can submit what I’ve written to have it looked over, or should I go ahead and find an agent?—Anonymous

A: Hold off on looking for an agent just yet. Many people begin writing a manuscript and, after they’re a few chapters into it, get excited about what they’ve written so far and feel overjoyed about the healthy direction of the plot. But the challenge of writing a manuscript doesn’t fall in the first 10,000 words, where ideas are easier to find than a Starbucks. The challenge resides in the middle and end of the book. That’s the tough part. That’s where you prove you haven’t lost focus or the excitement you developed in the first five chapters. Dedication is what can separate you from the rest, so finish the manuscript and prove you have something of quality. Then an agent is more likely to listen.

If you want expert advice on the prose you’ve already compiled, you can find critique services on the Internet and listed in the classified ads of your favorite writing resources (I'm sure that plug will garner some "thank yous" from our ad folks). But carefully research the services and people you’re considering—check credentials and references to make sure they’re legitimate. And make sure you know what you're getting for your money. You don't want to have unrealistic expectations, but you also don't you want to set the bar too low. The more information you have going in, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the results.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Virtual Book Tour

Today I’m speaking with author Jo Linsdell who is touring the web over November and December 2011, in a promotional tour for her book Italian for Tourists.

CDB: Jo, what inspired you to write this book? Have you written one about England?

JL: So many people told me I should write it that I decided maybe it was a good idea.... and it was. The Italian for Tourists project started out as a simple e-book and through public demand became available in print, kindle, nook and most other electronic formats.  
Inglese per Turisti (English for Tourists) will be released in spring 2012. Again, lots of people asked for it.  

CDB: What results do you expect from the virtual tour?

JL: This tour is to keep Italian for Tourists 'fresh'. It's been around for a while now and I often do tours to promote it in order to keep sales constant. A tactic that so far has worked well over the years. It's also an opportunity to let people know that the book is now available in various formats. It can even be purchased from the ibookstore on and downloaded to iphones and ipads now.  
Timing is perfect for Christmas shoppers too ;) 

CDB: Do you know statistically what region or age group is the largest fan base?

JL: The book appeals to all ages (probably because it's simple and easy to use) and as for regions, I'm quite international. A lot of my fans are in India and Japan but the book is selling well all round.

CDB: Although your book is “tourist friendly”, can students and professionals benefit from it?

JL: Definitely! I've even made a homeschoolers kit to be used with it which can be downloaded for free from my website It's a short ebook containing exercises to practice the Italian learnt and all answers can be found within Italian for Tourists.

The book contains a pronunciation guide and takes the language back to the basics making it ideal for beginners learning the language.

CDB: Do you think you’re helping the tourist industry in some small way by promoting Italy in your book?

JL: Italy is one of the worlds top tourist destinations and so doesn't require any help from me ;) That being said, I love Italy (I came here for 3 days and ended up staying... but that's another story) . I try to share my enthusiasm for the Country, culture, people and language in any way I can.
By creating a book that makes it possible for anyone to learn the basics of the Italian language and therefore help them get more from their visit to Italy, I might be helping convince more tourists to come here.

Thank you for stopping by and all the best with the virtual tour and your book.
For more information about Jo Linsdell and her book, please visit her website at or write to her at

Purchasing Links:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Writing in Fall Mode

Fall is finally here and while I should be inspired by the crisp air, carved pumpkins, and sunset-kissed foliage, work has once again robbed my inspiration. November is a chaotic period for me. Somehow my writing is “falling” faster than the yellow leaves and my stories are not ready to be gathered. What can I do to get in full writing mode?
For instance, NaNoWriMo started this month and a lot of you are busy typing away, trying to meet the deadline. Participating this year would have been impossible for me, so I applaud those of you who are partaking in such demanding project.
Do you find autumn to be the perfect time to finish or start your writing projects?