Thursday, November 29, 2012

Getting Possible Endorsers for My Book Proposal

 I recently had a brand new, fear-producing, proposal-writing assignment. This new demand appeared toward the end of writing the book proposal for my latest project. “No, you can’t skip this requirement,” my agent said. “Your  proposal needs to include the names of possible endorsers.
She confirmed that I couldn’t go to and pull endorser names off the best-seller list. “The proposal needs to include an endorser list of influential people in your own network. I suggest you begin your list with published authors who are experts you can connect to your book’s topic.”

Then came the words I feared: “You should seek permission to include their names before you submit your proposal. Then in your proposal state that your list of possible endorsers were contacted and are willing to read and endorse your book after it is contracted.”       

Talk about embarrassing! It seemed to me like the task could demand an infringement on my friendship with other authors. I wanted to approach this task delicately, so I asked my agent, “How many possible endorsers to I need?”

“Your proposal needs to include at least five possible endorsers. You can have more than that.”
“May I have as many as twenty?”

 “Nothing wrong with trying for twenty. You will need to provide the name, title, organization or company, and credentials for each one. And it’s important to share how your relationship with each person developed. It is okay to contact possible endorsers by email.”

So I put together a list of twenty possible endorsers and then made an outline of the information I would include in the requesting an endorsement email:

  • ·         An opening sentence that acknowledges how we are acquainted
  • ·         Tell how he/she influenced my writing career in the past
  • ·         A short description of my new book
  • ·         A request for he/she to be a possible endorser of my book
  • ·         If the answer is yes, to please send me a short bio
Afterwards I regularly searched my email for their responses. To my amazement, within a week fourteen said yes! One of them commented that she had been asked to write reviews for authors, but never an endorsement, and she was excited about that possibility.

My possible endorsers' list has been tucked into the Endorsement section of the proposal. Now to find a publisher! Hopefully that will be a subject for a future blog.

Written by a Relieved and Happy Author


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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Marketing My Mums the Word Book

When my book Mums the Word was released by new publisher G8Press this past May I knew I was responsible for its marketing plan. Being as it is a niche book for gardeners interested in growing show mums for home or show, I decided to write a letter to the editor of Chrysanthemum: The Journal of the National Chrysanthemum Society. A subscription to the quarterly magazine is included with yearly membership fees.

I wrote editor Lucy Hackett and asked if she would be interested in running an article about the book. She said yes, requested pictures, and gave me a due date for the article. It appears in the September 2012 issue of magazine. You can read column one below. Do you thin this was a good marketing strategy? I say, time will tell!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

New (to me) Formatting Book Chapter Rules

I am working with writing coach Alice Crider on a book about how a follower of Jesus signs on for a lifelong apprenticeship to the Holy Spirit.

Alice cited three changes I needed to make in the way I formatted the chapters. She explained that these changes make it easier for a publisher to format the book.

First Sentence after the Title

I have always indented the first sentence of the first paragraph in my book chapter manuscripts, just like I indent all the other double-spaced paragraphs when I using “double space.” In fact, my  Word program does that automatically.

Now I know the first line of the first paragraph should not be indented at all. The first word should be flush with the left margin.

No Tab for Subheadings

Because my Word  program  is set to indent the first word of a new paragraph, I have always left my subheadings indented. But that is not correct. A subheading should be flush with the left margin, just like the two subheadings above.

Add an Extra Line before a Subheading

I’ve never added extra lines before a subheading. However, I did in the subheading  above this paragraph. Just hit the “Enter” key twice at the conclusion of the paragraph before the subheading and it will format either with a single or double space, according to which line spacing you are using in the manuscript.

I was excited to learn theses editing rules, for who doesn’t want to impress a possible publisher with their correct formatting skills?

Thanks, Alice!

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My Own YouTube Channel

Have to admit it. I haven't been much of a YouTube user. I remember the Christmas when my four  teen-age grandchildren spent their evening in the computer room watching YouTube videos and laughing hysterically. If you had told me that evening that one day I would have my own YouTube channel in my Pat Stockett Johnston author name, I would have been the one laughing hysterically--in disbelief.

I would have reacted the same way if someone had told me that, in 2012, I book I wrote would be listed on; the "Click to Look Inside" feature would be available  for the book; and all the books I have written in the past, plus compilations books in which I have articles would be listed on the author page, I would have called you crazy.

It took me three years to write Mums the Word: Secrets to Growing Chrysanthemums for Home or Show. And I didn't even realize I was writing a book when I began to write articles describing monthly tasks for growing large, beautiful mum blooms successfully. My purpose was to help new Descanso Chrysanthemum Society members understand the process.

Thanks to Debby Alten, the video editor for G8Press, I have four videos to support mum growers on YouTube: How to Take Cuttings from last year's plants; How to Make the First Pinch; The 13 Classes of Mums, and the trailer for Mums the Word. Future videos will demonstrate how to make the second pinch, stake each stem, support mum buds, and prepare blooms to travel to exhibition shows.

I'm not exactly laughing hysterically. But I am grinning from ear-to-ear. Can you blame me?

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Book Trailer For Mums the Word

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Awesome Amazon Author Page

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I've been a published writer for many years. However, none of my books had ever been listed by the publisher on and I didn't have an Amazon Author Page.
This past week my book Mums the Word: Secrets to Growing Chrysanthemums for Home and Show was listed on by G8Press. That was amazing enough. But because a book I wrote was now listed on, I was offered the opportunity to fill in an Author Central Profile by linking to the awesome Amazon Author Central page.  

I had no idea about what type of content I could add to my author page through the Amazon Author Central connection when I clicked on the author page link.

I was overwhelmed, and then ecstatic when I realized the types of material I could add to my author page and delighted to discover how easy it would be for customers to learn about me through this free marketing tool. 

I started first by filling out the biography section on the Author Central Profile page. No word limit was set on the length of my biography, so I included some personal history, a blurb about my latest book, and a list of magazine publishers and publishing companies that had printed my articles and devotionals. I realized that if my biography was too long, no one would read it. So I had to control myself. 

The Amazon Author Central program allowed me to upload eight pictures for my author page. I chose to upload pictures of the cover of my Mums the Word book and others taken during trips to some of my favorite places, like the Sea of Galilee, Turkey, Hungary, Jordan, Yosemite, and a Chicken Soup for the Soul sponsored luncheon. I can change my pictures at any time. 

Blog Feed
I added the link to my blog. My latest blog posts can now be read on my amazon author page and my new blog posts are automatically added to it. I am hoping I'll have more blog readers and followers through this blog feed. 

Twitter Feed
I was able to add my Twitter feed to my amazon author page. 

The Amazon Author Central program also allows me to unload videos on my author page. This gave me the opportunity to upload videos on my computer that demonstrate how to grow mums for show competitions and include information further explained in Mums the Word. How cool is that! 

Managing My Events
I can add events in which I am involved in this section of my author page. I added the time and place of the next Descanso Chrysanthemum Society meeting to this page. If I were having book signings or radio interviews I could also list those in this section. 

Special Feature on My Amazon Author Page
It seems impossible. Like a dream come true. I was able to list every compilation book that includes one of my articles on my Amazon Author Page. I did have to authenticate that an article of mine was included in every compilation book with an amazon consultant. 

My Favorite Amazon Author Page Feature
Because I now have published a book customers can buy on, every book I published in the past is also listed on my page. The Amazon Author Central program didn't care if my books were published by well-known publishers, small publishers, or were self-published.
There's no doubt in my mind. The Amazon Author page is the best free marketing tool around. Follow this link to see what it did for me:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mums the Word published today!

At last! Mums the Word: Secrets to Growing Chrysanthemums for Home and Show has been published! Editor Debby Alten of G8Press was fabulous to work with and Alison Anderson designed the beautiful cover using pictures taken by Dale Welcome of my mums blooms in November 2011. All of the back and front cover mums won blue ribbons at the 2011 Descanso Chrysanthemum Society Exhibition Show.

I wrote this book to help new growers be successful in their first try at growing mums for home and exhibition shows. The book describes how to grow mums and is organized by monthly tasks. Chapter topics include doing your own cuttings; buying rooted cuttings; transferring plants to larger pots; pinching back plants in June and July; staking each stem; leaf care; preparing blooms to exhibit in shows; judging standards, and winter care of plants.

You can buy Mums the Word at or by clicking on the link below.

Yes, I am a happy author today! 

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