Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Your Book in 30 Seconds

One of the most important skills an author can develop is the ability to describe their book concisely. To trim off all the fat and get to the heart is an amazing skill that let's the people you meet know that you understand your own book instead of rambling on about how this happens... and then this other thing, which is really cool because it makes the next thing really funny, but that none of that really makes sense unless you know this about the backstory.

You can leave people dizzy!

So read the following comments to see how authors are describing their books in 30 seconds for fiction and 60 seconds for non-fiction (non-fiction authors have to talk about themselves briefly and explain why they are qualified to write a book on their chosen subject, so they get double time).

And if you're publishing your book in the near future, be prepared to do the same :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

What's in a website?

This week, while speaking with an upcoming author, she asked me what the standard is for a good website. The answer to that, I believe, is fairly subjective and varies according to your audience. What does not vary is the answer to these 2 questions:

Are customers glad they looked you up?
Do they want to come back/recommend your site to others as a resource?

Both answers should be a resounding YES, but what you put up on your site to make people say that is the subjective part.

Who is your audience and what do they value? To create a fan base, you need to know the answer to this question and supply it as an ongoing resource on your website.

My all-time favorite site to use as an example for knowing who their audience is and what they value is Another is Despair is a retail site and Free Rice is a charity site and after visiting once, nearly all of their target audience is likely to return.

Exercise: Of the following bestselling book series, which author do you think is magnifying their popularity with their online presence? Remember, I'm not typing this question for my health. This is for you! Take 5 minutes right, click on each link and vote on which one you think is most effective for the author/most visited. For extra credit, tell me why you think it is the strongest! (Some of you may want to skip clicking on this one as it is a YA Horror series)

And yes, that last one is a curve ball, and does not belong to a bestselling author. But can anyone tell me why I put it in there anyway?

Please leave all responses as comments and I look forward to reading them!

Marketing Conference

Hopefully all of you have heard about the upcoming Marketing Conference hosted by CFI that will feature the Genevieve Brennan from Google Books, the Twilight Guy from youtube and our own Bryce Mortimer on IT.

These three will coach those in attendance on how to take over the internet and if you're a CFI author, then you get a steep discount.

If interested, please follow this link:

Hope to see you October 10th!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Authors Making a Mark

This week several authors are making big moves with their books.

We all know Melissa is on Oprah tomorrow. Seen the trailer for her book yet? Watch it here:

Not to be outdone, on Friday Wendy Paul will be on Good Things Utah, showing the world--and even Melissa-- that there is ALWAYS a reason to bake! I believe the 10-minute cupcake she will be teaching everyone to make is the Peanut Butter Cup.
I don't even like peanut butter as a dessert and this cupcake has my solid approval!

Off the small screen, Frank Cole started his multi-city school tour this week and started losing his voice after the first day. No biggie. Only 30 more schools to go before he gets a break.

The "Pounding the Pavement Award" goes to Mike McPheters who is travelling the western states with signings or firesides nearly every day.

The "Undaunted Award" (no copyright infringement intended, Elder Lund) goes to Cami Checketts. I DARE you not to review her book. Seriously. Try it. You won't be able to resist. (But watch out, Cami, Anne Bradshaw is close on your tail.)

And last, this week's "Proactive Award" goes to Frank Richardson. You may not have heard of him. His book doesn't come out until December, but he is already jumping all over every action item in the Author Packet and giving me daily reports as to the 5 things he does each day to prepare for his book release!

All of you are working so hard and doing such a great job! Please support Melissa and Wendy if you can by watchin Oprah on 9/17 and Good Things Utah on 9/18.

I promise you won't regret it!

Friday, September 11, 2009

It Pays to Check the Blog!!!

Looking to do a signing? Looking for a signing promoted heavily by the store with a lot of other cool authors to rub elbows with? Did you write an LDS title?

This is a call for authors interested in signing at Seagull's Celebrating Sisterhood event. They are looking for authors to sign in the following locations:


If you are available the morning/afternoon of the 26th and can sign in one of these cities, please leave a comment to let me know and I will set you up!

For all of you who are already set up, have a great time!

Authors Working Together


Heather Justesen's latest book, "The Ball's in Her Court" is coming out this October and Heather is looking for authors who want to join her to create fun launch parties and successful signing events!

She has ideas. She's been around this block before so she would be a great person to team up with--especially if you're a first-time author interested in learning a few things the easy way.

Heather will endorse this posting by leaving a comment with her web address and then you can get down to business!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I'm sure those of you who have read the author packet are coming back to this blog and thinking, "Sheralyn is a day late updating her blog... She's breaking her own rule... the HYPOCRITE!"

And you'd be right.

But it's all for a good cause, I swear!

September is a HUGE month for Cedar Fort. Authors are taking advantage of the selling season, new authors are hitting the media and speaking circuits with gusto and we have 3 books doing a hefty launch this month in addition to all that.

#1-Frank Cole is launching his huge, multi-school tour for The Adventures of Hashbrown Winters.

#2-Steve Alten is launching the mass market version of The Shell Game for the 8th Anniversary of September 11th.

And last but not least...


Because Cedar Fort author Melissa Moore (Shattered Silence: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer's Daughter) is featured on Oprah's debut week, reuniting Oprah with Dr. Phil in a powerful, must-watch episode.

CFI on Oprah... yeah, you heard right, so set your TiVos and press record!