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January, 2008

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Neubauer's Nuggets
No problem is too big or too small for our Joan
By  Joan R. Neubauer

Each month, award-winning author Joan R. Neubauer will answer questions from you, her readers. She will answer questions about writing, promotion, publishing, and any other aspect of the publishing industry you can think of. Send your questions to her emailbox at SUBJECT Neubauer Nuggets and maybe yours will be the question she answers next month.

Press Kit Power

Q: Dear Joan,

I'm about to publish my first book and I know I'm going to need a press kit, but I don't know what to put in it. Could you please advise?

Winterville, NC, USA

A: Dear Jim,

Great question, and one that every author needs to know the answer to because without the proper promotion, the best book in the world will fail to sell. Now, proper doesn't necessarily mean that you have to take the most expensive option. You can do this on your own fairly inexpensively.

First, buy some high quality, two-pocket folders in a color that compliments your book cover.

Second, from the soft copy of your book cover, produce a side-by-side lay-out with two on an 8 1/2x11 inch page. Print copies on shiny photo paper with adhesive backing. Cut the copies apart and carefully center one on the front of your folder.

Third, open the folder. From the same book cover file, print copies of your cover on shiny photo paper without adhesive backing. Include one in the right hand pocket, so that it's the first thing someone sees when they open the folder.

Fourth, behind that picture of the book cover, place copies of reviews, blurbs, an overview of the book, and copies of newspaper or magazine articles written about the book.

Fifth, in the left pocket, place a full color picture of your smiling face, either a 5x7 or 8x10 works. You can also print these from your printer on good quality photo paper. Make sure you print your name and contact information below each photo.

Sixth, behind your photo, place your bio (no more than one page), your Speaksheet (see the next question), your availability for presentations and signings, and places you've already appeared (if you indeed have already made presentations elsewhere), as well as copies of articles about you from newspapers and magazines.

Seventh, in the little business card slot, slide in your business card with basic contact information and the name, ISBN, and price of your book. Do not use the words "author"? or "write"? anywhere on the card. That marks you as an amateur.

All of your information sheets should include contact information such as PO Box address, phone number, email address, and URL (Every author should have a website). And yes, you should have a PO Box address as opposed to using your home address for security reasons.

That should be enough to get you started. Add and delete as your career grows and changes. But this will provide a great foundation for you to build upon.

Talkin' The Talk

Q: Dear Joan,

As an author, I'd really like to make more presentations to writers groups and conferences, but I don't know how to tell people what I can talk about. Any suggestions for getting the word out?

Philadelphia, PA, USA

A: Dear Maria,

You have a great point. You can't make presentations unless you let people know about it and then tell them what you can talk about. As I see it, you need to first make a presentation to the event organizer, and you need to do that with your Speaksheet.

Develop your Speaksheet by listing all the presentations you can give. Give a brief two to three sentence description of each. Then add a picture, a bio, how much you charge, and what your needs are as a speaker (overhead projector, sound system, handouts, etc.).

For each of the presentations you list, give a more detailed description on a separate sheet, so that if an event chairman chooses a particular talk, you can provide more information. This should also include the time period necessary to deliver the session, as well as your needs and how you'd like the room set up.

Put this all together with your press kit (see previous question) and present it to the appropriate event organizers. You will impress them with your professionalism.

Whenever you make a presentation anywhere and give any sort of handout, make sure the handout contains your contact information on it somewhere as well. You never know how many event organizers are sitting in your audience.


Good luck in the future. Keep writing and keep selling!
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Joan R. Neubauer is an author and works as a publisher at Joan invites you to visit her website at or to drop her an email at You can sign up for WordWright's monthly email newsletter at the site as well.

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Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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