Business Ghostwriter’s Info on A Chance to Shine (test for JetPack))

April 24th, 2013

This is a test for Jetpack.

As a business ghostwrirer, I know how important it is to get your material seen elsewhere.A Chance to Si15)Summary: Need Woman’s Transformational “Aha” Moments for National Women’s Magazine


Title: Journalist Major Women’s Magazine

Specific Geographic Region: N


Deadline: 09:10am EASTERN – 21 October


An aha moments is when something happens – no matter how minor – and
changes the way we look at life. It could be an illness or a close call.
It might be a certain place you visit or person you meet. It might be
looking at the the same old thing in a brand new way. If you are a woman
who has experienced an Aha moment and made a change in your life,
relationship, career, spiritual being as a result, I might be interested in
telling your story for an article in a national women’s magazine. Please
send me a nutshell account of your experience and a way I can contact you
in the future.

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From Tiny Blog to Book Deal to Oprah

October 15th, 2009

Here’s a true story to help you understand how to get noticed by hundreds of thousands of people and eventually have the media begging for interviews with you.

If you want to be in this position *before* you publish your book, follow the lead of Christopher Greenslate and his partner, Kerri Leonard, who teach English and social justice in a southern California high school.

Teachers Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard got a book deal after they ate on just a dollar a day.

Teachers Christopher Greenslate and Kerri Leonard got a book deal after they ate on just a dollar a day.

One day, while they were discussing their extremely high grocery bill, they thought about people in third world countries who lived on just a dollar a day. Then they asked themselves a question that would literally change their lives: What would it be like to eat on a budget like that?

They decided to conduct an experiment to find out. Greenslate and Leonard would subsist on a one dollar a day diet.

Read the rest of this entry »

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October 8th, 2009
Interview mit dem IGEL

You need anecdotes from lots of OTHER people if you want to impress literary agents with with your book.

The biggest problem I notice with many of the unpublished self-help books I look over is too many examples
and stories about the author, and not enough about other people. But if you want literary agents to believe that the problem you’re writing about—and the solution you’re offering—can affect a wide range of people, then you need to fill your writing with lots of anecdotes from OTHER people.

So where do you find other people with stories that illustrate the points you make in your book?

Here are seven e-zines or Web sites that let you post your request for interviews for free.

1) Profnet– Enter as a journalist, and your request will go to thousands of people looking for publicity, and therefore happy to share their tales with you. Just say you are a
freelancer and working on an article that will go to publications like the main ones in your subject area.

2)—Peter Shankman has created a list of more than 100,000 people who want to be interviewed. To put your query on his list, (click here for the rest of this post.)

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What Adam Sandler and Sandra Bullock Can Do For Your Book

October 7th, 2009
If you want a literary agent, mine the humor in your life story, like Carrie Fisher does in "Wishful Drinking."

If you want a literary agent, mine the humor in your life story, like Carrie Fisher does in "Wishful Drinking."

In my interviews with publishing professionals, one thing has come across loud and clear: You can make literary agents and editors take a chance on you if you’re funny.

So even if you’re writing a serious account about your life, you have to mine the humor in it. There’s always something funny.

Carrie Fisher’s new book, Wishful Drinking, is about recollecting the memories she lost through electroshock therapy, which she went through voluntarily to beat depression.

Nonetheless, she had me laughing so loudly in just the first chapter, they almost kicked me out of Borders.

When one of my clients read me her pitch for her screenplay and her novel, it came across,it came across as too sanctimonious.

Though her book is about a very difficult personal challenge, some of the relationships in it reminded me of Driving Miss Daisy. Plus there were elements to her story that reminded me of Three Men and a Baby.

So I asked her to look at her pitch again. This time, though, I told her to imagine the people  in her life story as being played by Dwayne  “The Rock” Johnson, Brendan Fraser, and Bette Midler.

She immediately understood how her pitch could be more light-hearted.

Just because something’s serious doesn’t mean there isn’t comedy in it.

I was once in an acting class where a guy was doing a monologue from a play called The Strongest Man in the World. He read every line like the toughest guy you can find.

The teacher asked him to recite the monologue again, only this time, to say the line as though he was the queeniest gay guy in San Francisco.

He did it, and it was brilliant, because he found all the humor and  sarcasm that he had missed the first time.  After that reading, he took what he discovered and blended  into his original interpretation.

So whatever you’re writing, particularly if it’s serious, sit back and imagine that the people in it are played in it are played by whoever makes you laugh. For me, that’s Adam Sandler, Jack Black, Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Aniston.

I guarantee you’ll see your work in a whole new light.

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Literary Agent Joelle Delbourgo on How Publishers Decide What to Pay Authors

October 1st, 2009
Literary Agent Joelle Delbourgo

Literary Agent Joelle Delbourgo

Joelle Delbourgo worked in the executive suites of major publishers before she started Joelle Delbourgo Associates, her own literary agency. Her last in-house job was with HarperCollins.

I’m not sure the skills that make you a good editor-in-chief are the same as those that make you a great literary agent, but unlike most, Delbourgo has managed the transition successfully. Her agency has grown to three people and just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

The authors she represents are extremely lucky to have her. She is incredibly articulate and passionate—not just about the books she represents, but about the publishing industry in general.

Joelle is interested in non-fiction offering groundbreaking new ideas, and research based books that shed new perspectives on issues.

If you want to impress her, here’s what it takes: “I’m really looking for originality, I’m looking for things that are distinctive, I’m looking for people who really created a platform over a long period of time or just absolutely beautiful writing that grabs you from the first page.”

If you’re an expert and/or leader in psychology, business, health, medicine, women’s issues, philosophy, science, or history, she’d be a good agent to approach.

She’s also seeking literary fiction and commercial fiction including women’s fiction, non-category thrillers, and suspense and mysteries.

Joelle is someone, like former Oprah producer Karen Melamed, who is influenced by the visual ( “When I look at a query letter,” she says, “the way that it looks physically on the page actually influences me to read it or not.”

Delbourgo also let me in on a secret about how book publishers decide how much to pay authors. If you want to find out what it is, click here.

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Vote for Your Favorite Cover for Rick Warren’s New Book

September 17th, 2009
Vote on Rick Warren's next book cover.

Vote on Rick Warren's next book cover.

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life,  which has sold 30 million copies, has done something unusual for the cover of his next book, The Hope You Need (From the Lord’s Prayer). He is holding a design competition at where hundreds of designers are competing for $5000 and the chance to have their artwork seen by millions of people.

Trust me, this will be a huge coup for whomever wins.

It’s also an educational opportunity for authors. How often do you see a ton of designs for one project?

For me, from just the first page, there was one cover that stood out from the rest. (It may not be on the first page by the time you look.) This cover was a clear winner.

But one person’s opinion is a very small sample size.

So here’s what I’d like: I don’t think you can actually vote at

Instead, vote on this blog– and I will announce the winner both here and to my email list.

Go to and look at the cover designs.

Then make a comment on my blog as to your favorite design– ideally both the number and a little about the design itself and why you like it best.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Oh, and one last thing: I read about this on Yahoo Finance. I’m writing about it, as I’m sure others are. This was a masterful stroke on Warren’s part to get early publicity for his book. If you are clever, virtually everything about your book can help you get the word out.

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7 TV Shows Authors are Guaranteed to Get On

September 17th, 2009

What do Elvira, The Food Network’s Bobby Flay, and comedian Tom Green all have in common?

They all started out on public access television.

PBS affiliate KTCA even picked up a program called Mental Engineering that started at SPNN, the public access channel of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

With more than 700 stations throughout the world, public access television is the easiest way for any author to get on the air virtually anywhere. (For a list of U.S. stations, go here:

And if you create just one video, it will get multiple plays.

My local community television station, CTV of Santa Cruz, (,will air a half hour or one hour show a minimum of ten times in the first month. If you create something short, they will air it even more often.

And they have three different channels: one for government related programs, one for educational material, and one for general material. So any work that can deemed educational in nature, which would include anything in the self-help or how-to categories, and probably even children’s books, will air on two stations.

The kicker is, they have to air anything of a non-commercial nature that any resident of Santa Cruz County brings to them. All you have to do is fill out a form and make sure your video meets their technical requirements.

And here’s the secret sauce: I can bring them ANY video—by anyone. So you could live in Zimbabwe, send me a video, and if I bring it to CTV, they will air it.

And if you bring my video to your station, at least in the U.S, they will put my show on your channel. So if you can get enough friends, relatives, clients and/or subscribers to bring your video to a community television station, you could literally create a national show.

You could easily create seven shows—or get one show to air in seven cities.

Gerard Butler could have easily gotten a literary agent when he went from public access TV to a regular broadcast show in The Ugly Truth.

Gerard Butler could have easily gotten a literary agent when he went from public access TV to a regular broadcast show in The Ugly Truth.

There’s another reason this is important. Video is already the future of the internet. According to Business Week, as far back as last November there were more video views than searches: 12.7 billion viewings as opposed to 12.3 billion searches.

So you should be making videos anyway. Why not use the same videos to air on your local TV station?

Plus, your chance of getting a video on the front page of Google is 45 times greater than the odds of getting your text page on the first page of a search.

For this strategy to be fully effective, you need to have a reason for people to come to your Web site after they see your show. You could give away a special report, or fr/ee chapters of your book—or if you are a children’s book author, you could give away some coloring book pages with images from your book.

(By the way, this is a killer strategy for children’s book authors. Do a show reading your book, and get it to air everywhere. Or team up with two other children’s book authors for a show, and use everybody’s connections to get the show on the air in as many locations as you possibly can!)

Once you know a show will air, call up the bookstores in the area and make sure they carry your book.

You could even promote a bookstore appearance this way—then tape your appearance at the bookstore and put that on television. Some of these shows air for years—which could mean continuous sales for your book anywhere your show is on.

And if you dream of getting your own TV show, community access could be a good beginning. If you make the leap to a major cable or broadcast show, you wouldn’t be the first.

As a publicist once said to me, “Things lead to things.”

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A Surprising Way to Create a Fanbase

September 10th, 2009

I just created a new feature for my e-zine:
Author Freebie of the Week.

I’m finding some great ebooks, podcasts, teleseminars and videos that people are giving away. These items are extremely useful for authors, so I’m enjoying passing them on.

There’s always somebody who is suspicious– in one email
I was asked, “You have got to be kidding nothing is free,
what is the bottom line?”

The truth is, because you’re competing with a simple
Google search, if you want to sell anything, you have
to give a decent amount of content for free. Otherwise,
it’s too hard to land a customer.

A lot of the time the free stuff that’s available on the net is behind a “squeeze page”
where a prospective customer is required to give up their
name and email address in order to get the material
they were promised.

But Ryan Deiss has created a new model where
he gives away the first part, which in his case is a
video, without asking for anything. Then, once you like
part one and you want parts 2,3,4, and 5, you’ll
need to *pay* by giving him your contact information,
which  allows him to pitch you
his products.

You can see an example of how he does this on his Million Dollar Napkin page.

Get a Literary Agent by building a fan base by giving away free information.

Get a literary agent by building a fanbase. Start by giving away free information.

Chris Anderson, whose last book, “The Long Tail”
created a phrase that became a standard part of
current business vernacular, has a new book out
called Free: The Future of a Radical Price. In it
he describes how several offline businesses are profiting
from giveaways. Think cell phones– they are being sold
or given away for free in order to get your subscription.
Publishers Weekly mentions  a surprising example in their review of Anderson’s book:

” . . . In China, piracy accounts for about 95% of music consumption—to the delight of
artists and labels, who profit off free publicity through concerts and merchandising.”

Anderson gave away more than 210,000 copies of his book over a 5 week period. You can still get the first fourteen pages.

And has a twenty minute podcast of Anderson.

Of course, in the book business, there are dozens of stories
about people giving away books for free in order
to develop a following. Seth Godin is the most famous
example in the US. He allowed several hundred thousand
people to download his book, Unleashing the Ideavirus
for free, and then offered the book in hardback for $30.
He sold 40,000 copies–and grossed a neat $1.2 million
dollars. (It may have been 30,000 copies at $40 apiece,
I never remember. But the total value was the same.)

Paulo Coelho, a much richer author, was disturbed that
his books weren’t selling in Russia. He used the same
model–and a million copies were downloaded. He ultimately
wound up selling more than 10 million books in Russia–
and we’re talking novels, not non-fiction.

So if you want to build a fanbase, in today’s market, you have to give things away for free. Everybody’s doing it. Why? Because it works.

And if you want access to my Author Freebie of the Week, plus  a list of top literary agents seeking authors, fill out the form to the right.

Hey, I practice what I preach.

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Get in Chicken Soup for the Soul

September 3rd, 2009

If you want a literary agent, it can't hurt to get a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

If you want a literary agent, it can't hurt to get a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

If you want a literary agent, it helps to have some writing credits. One good writing credit to put on your resume is a story in Chicken Soup for the Soul.

You probably already know the fairy tale success story behind this series. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen put talked to all the speakers they knew and put together a collection of their best stories. Then they tried to get a publisher.

Literary agent extraordinaire Jeff Herman sent their proposal to 50 editors and couldn’t sell the book.  Jack and Mark pitched the book to an additional 75 publishers and still got turned down. Finally, they convinced HCI to take a chance on their book by showing them a box with 20,000 order forms ready to go.

144 million books later, there are a lot of people who have had to forgive themselves for saying that a collection of short pieces would never work. One of my friends is in that group.

At any rate, there is a  unique scoring process that’s used to build the Chicken Soup books. They take 101 stories out of all the submissions. The finalists are sent to a fairly large group of readers who rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. (I heard this story from Mark several years ago, so I hope I’m getting it right. I’m thinking there are about 40 readers.) Only the stories that get the highest scores from the group wind up in the book. As I recall, a story really needs a 10 across the board to get in.

That’s what makes this a wonderful credit for you. If your story gets in, beause of their careful vetting process,an agent doesn’t need to read it to know that you write well.

Oh, and last I heard, they’re paying $300 per story.

Here are what they are looking for during the next few months. Remember, a Chicken Soup story is supposed to warm the cockles of your heart– though I suppose they won’t turn down something that makes  you laugh, either.

Dieting and Fitness

Got a story about how YOU changed your eating or exercise habits? Got a system that lets you cheat with a hot fudge sundae once in a while. If you have a story that can inspire others, this is the place to share it.

Deadline: September 30, 2009.

Endurance Sports
Do you run, cycle or swim? Or are you a triathlete? The Chicken Soup team wants your best story about your triumphs, tragedies, life lessons from your sport or even how you the hours of practice into your life. You can be an amateur, a student athlete, or a pro. Deadline: September 30, 2009.

Mothers and Daughters
The relationships between mothers and daughters can be both complicated and wonderful. If you’ve got a mother-daughter or a mother-daughter story that’s moving or funny, this book might be for you.

Deadline: December 31, 2009.

Christmas and Holiday Stories
Share your Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa stories. Deadline: January 15, 2010.


Whether you are a grandmother (or stepgrandmother or honorary grandmother) with a story about your grandchild, (or vice versa if you’re an adult), if you’ve got a wonderful story, send it in.

Deadline: March 31, 2010.

Grieving and Recovery

This next Chicken Soup collection is meant to be a support group in the form of a book for anyone who has suffered a loss.  They are looking for stories that let people know they aren’t alone, that they can get through the grief, and that there is life on the other side of their pain.

Deadline March 31, 2010.

Grieving and Recovery for Cat Owners

Losing a cat can be a painful process. This book will help cat owners deal with their loss. Stories about aging cats and getting a new cat after losing a  cat you adored are also welcome. Deadline: March 31, 2010.

Grieving and Recovery for Dog Owners Everything mentioned above for cat owners applies to dog owners, who will get a separate book of their own.

Deadline: March 31, 2010.

For submission details, go to:

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Marketing Lessons from a Santa Cruz Street Urchin

August 29th, 2009

I’m working tonight– though it’s Saturday night. The internet never closes.  I took a dinner break at Sitar, the local Indian buffet, and I was carrying my leftovers in a box to bring to the refrigerator at Nextspace, where I work.

A young, skinny black-haired girl in  her late teens got off the bench she was sitting with some guy to approach me. I didn’t hear her the first time, but I assumed she was asking for money.

“What?” I said. We fifty-year olds tend to be a little  hard of hearing on a crowded street with a lot of background noise.

“Sir, do you have any leftover food you could give us?”

I quickly handed her the small box of Sag Paneer, which is creamed spinach with curd cheese, that I had intended to be part of my Monday lunch. It was as easy as could be.

That young waif knew a little something about marketing.

First off, she had a unique selling proposition. Everyone else who was begging on the street was asking for money. She just asked for food.

Secondly, she could see I was her target market. I was clearly qualified to give her what she wanted. In fact, I had been prepped by all the people who had signs proclaiming that they wanted money because they were hungry.

And finally, she had overcome my biggest objection in advance. I don’t give money to beggars on the street (save for three homeless guys that I have become friends with) because I’ve been told that most use the money for a fix by a credible source. Renate, a white haired German woman who owns the hot dog kiosk on Pacific Avenue told me that over the years, the people she believed were honestly using the money they collected turned out to be junkies who wanted to score.

But my teenage waif marketer asked me for food, not money, so I didn’t have to worry that she was going to take my donation and use it for crystal meth or something.

Thus, I learned three marketing lessons from her.

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