Saturday, January 23, 2010

Speaking Tours with Author Doug Benton

Speaking tours are a great way to promote our books; garnering the interest of our potential audience without screaming, “buy my book!” This type of exposure can be a good platform for our future releases as well.

Author Doug Benton, as well as being a special friend, is the author of several works of poetry and what I would call, “directive storytelling” works of fiction. He is by far one of the most talented writers I have ever met.

I recently had the opportunity to briefly interview him regarding his upcoming speaking tour. I've posted the interview below.

Carol Denbow: Doug, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk a little with us about your upcoming speaking tour. You are the author of a couple books, one I am very familiar with, and the other is a new release. Can you start by telling us a little about each one?

Doug Benton: Well, let me start by thanking you for the opportunity to discuss my work. As you know, The Road To Veritas was published back in 2005. In fact, you were most helpful with that one. It is a collection of narrative poetry dealing with life, liberty and spiritual truth.

In November of 2009, my most recent book, The Hummingbird Goose was released. It is a book for children of all ages that addresses the age old myth of the hitchhiking hummingbird through a fable of faith in friends and family.

Carol Denbow: I understand you are attempting to organize a speaking tour. Are you focusing on one particular book or will you try to touch on each one?

Doug Benton: I will be primarily selling The Hummingbird Goose while developing interest in my next book.

Carol Denbow: How did you decide who exactly your audience would be for your books?

Doug Benton: Well, as it turns out, the market potential is still evolving. The preliminary feedback is far ranging. Frankly, I was pleasantly surprised at how many parents and grandparents have seen fit to buy The Hummingbird Goose to be read aloud to kids.

Carol Denbow: How did you go about finding suitable locations to speak?

Doug Benton: As you know, I have a background in Christian broadcasting and ministry. Many of my friends and colleagues are pastors and workers in the recovery field. Referrals for guest speaking are a natural outcome of such association.

In addition to promoting The Goose, this tour is a preview of my upcoming non-fiction work A Most Excellent Way which chronicles the eight years of “hands-on-experience” my wife and I had sheltering those recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Carol Denbow: How many tour stops would you consider “enough” to see results?

Doug Benton: “Enough” is an elusive term. I expect that referrals will result in developing many venues for the tour.

Carol Denbow: How do you find is the best way to “break the ice” with an unfamiliar audience?

Doug Benton: Humor is a great “ice breaker,” Carol and you know how funny-looking I am.

Carol Denbow: LOL! How will you go about selling your books to your listeners?

Doug Benton: The topics of the tour will deal largely with the methods we discovered for restoring “self-respect” and its companion “self-discipline” to those abused by life. The preliminary speaking engagements in the Portland area have resulted in both book sales and in gathering contact information for my e-mail feature Living Bread Crumbs. I am building a data base for continuing contact with my readers.

Carol Denbow: Do you have any additional words of wisdom for our readers?

Doug Benton: Science has determined that the “Human Spark”, the quality that sets homo sapiens apart from other creatures, seems to arise from the development of language. Insight and imagination are shared through the documentation of language….writing. Authorship provides the “footprints” that mark the human path. What a privilege it is to leave tracks!

Carol Denbow: If our Blog visitors would like to learn more about your work, do you have a Website we can send them to?

Doug Benton: or

Carol Denbow: Now let’s ask the important questions. Have you any “concrete” scheduled tour stops you can share with our readers in the event they would like to come and listen? If not, where will they be able to see your tour schedule once it’s all organized?

Doug Benton: I have a radio interview with Light House Radio Group (K-Light) later this month and I will begin to develop the tour schedule after that. I will be publishing the incremental schedule by e-mail. If any of your readers would like to be included in future mailings you may contact me at

Carol Denbow: Well I thank you Doug for sharing this information with us. F.Y.I., K-Light Radio is in Oregon). Hopefully by reading this, our Blog visitors will be able to get some ideas for their own speaking tours.

Read some of my favorite poems by Doug at, then come back here and leave your comments. If you are interested in knowing more about Doug Benton, please e-mail him or click on his Website.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Writing Your Autobiography or Life Experience - A Word From the Wise

Since so many people desire to write an autobiography about their life experiences, I’ve invited Lori Foroozandeh, author of Lori’s Song to talk about her book and her reasons for writing her story.

Carol Denbow: Greetings Lori! Thank you for being a guest on A Book Inside Blog.

Your book is a recall of your experiences as an American woman being held captive in Iran. I read your book; a very interesting story. Can you please start by telling up a bit about your book?

Lori Foroozandeh: Well thank you Carol for allowing me this opportunity to share with your readers what I think might help or identify with a lot of your audience and most people in general.

First, my book in a short synopsis, deals with my marriage to an Iranian man, with whom I was totally in the dark about his dealings until I arrived in Iran. I thought he was just a very kind guy with a drug habit, one of which I had too, so I forgave and tried to forget. Once in Iran I found out that my loving husband was far from the person I thought him to be. He turned out to be a state sponsored terrorist who was head of the disinherited fund in which they executed Iranian war vets so the govt. wouldn’t have to deal with these people.

It also encompasses some tragedies I endured while living there close to four years. It explains some of the cultural differences and touches a lot on the Muslim religion and how it’s interpreted vs. how it is supposed to be practiced.
The book also deals with my childhood sexual abuse, living with bi-polar, being a victim of domestic violence more than once due to my several marriages. It also deals with my lifelong struggle with drug addiction. I hope this sums it up some for your readers. The book is graphic in it’s depiction of the violent acts that the prisoners and myself endured while in the camp for six weeks.

Carol Denbow: I noticed you focused the first several chapters on your upbringing in the U.S. Can you tell us why you chose to do this and what is the value in doing so?

Lori Foroozandeh: I wanted my audience to get to know the “REAL LORI” not just some victim of circumstance. I’m not saying that anyone regardless of the mistakes they’ve made in their life is due the horrendous acts committed towards myself and others but at the same time I wanted them to understand what got me to that point in the first place. My literary agent, Tina Foster, presented this book to some larger publishers and they had wanted to edit so much out of the book that I could not sit still for it. E.g. they had just wanted me to focus on being a victim in a POW camp in Iran, without the readers getting to know neither my past nor how I arrived at it. I think our whole life experiences are what bring us to any conclusion that we arrive at in our life. There is never just one incident that makes us arrive at a place or a state of mind.

Carol Denbow: Is it important to follow a calendar of events in one’s life story, or should a writer jump in and out of the future to make the story more intriguing (sometimes done in film). If so, do you think this sets the stage, or confuses and frustrates the reader? And how did you go about setting the stage for your readers?

Lori Foroozandeh: I believe the order of events depend on the situation that the writer is trying to focus on or draw light on. I know I did this somewhat in the book but for me it was my calendar of events.

My thoughts that drifted back to memories or incidents in my past that helped me explain or help the reader understand how I arrived to the point of where I am in life. Some people can follow this flow and others can not, I apologize to those that would like to read the book and can’t follow the way I wrote it. I’m also a first time author so please don’t judge me too much.

Carol Denbow: I’ve heard authors of autobiographies say they refused to professionally edit their books because their wording and tone of voice are sometimes dramatically changed. After all, an autobiography is one’s very “personal” story and I do understand the importance of speaking in one’s own voice. I’m also a stickler on proper editing (for easier reading). How did you go about having your book edited and still maintain your own voice in the book?

Lori Foroozandeh: Well in a way I didn’t and did. When I first wrote the book I just sat down and penned it day after day without going back, then when I was told by enough people that I should publish the book I hired a literary agent. Actually she found me. Then after her editing and telling me that if we are going to publish it we will have to edit a lot out of it, I refused, paid her in full and finished the book the way I wanted to. It’s important to maintain “who you are” in life and on paper, especially if your going to be true to yourself and not regret something like writing a book that will follow you for life. I also think that the readers like people in life don’t always speak proper grammar and when they read a book that is full of proper grammar then it just becomes a reading assignment and not a true documentation of life events. People don’t follow rules of proper etiquette in life nor do they speak like an English book. This is just my opinion though.

Carol Denbow: Would you suggest a writer with many interesting life experiences write separate books about each one, or write a sequence of beginning to end, combining all adventures into just one book?

Lori Foroozandeh: I think that choice should be left up to what the individual thinks is best. Not everyone has an innate instinct in life to write. I know I do not think I do, but if you want to share your life, I think doing it in just one book is best and the most efficient. After all what has brought you this far in life and has encompassed you in a series of experiences hasn’t evolved in volumes, everything that you’ve done and experienced in life arrived you at this point. But as I said it’s up to the individual. Obviously, Harry Potter wouldn’t agree with me.

I do believe that the sum is part of the whole and while I believe in God, and not religion (I think man has become too involved and has made it too greedy and judgmental I do believe that God will allow us into heaven even if we aren’t Catholic, or Baptist or Muslim). All religions had good starting blocks but as I said in my opinion man has ruined the true meaning of these and put a PRICE TAG ON IT!

Carol Denbow: Many authors choosing to write an autobiography or life experience (often times traumatic) do so as mental therapy to “heal the wounds” of their life. As you make clear in the book, you are no different. Has writing this book helped you find relief and peace in your life?

Lori Foroozandeh: I started out writing this book since so many people told me it would be a good “catharsis.” So I sat down one day in 2002 and just started writing. I never went back and re-read the book nor did any type of editing. I just wanted to recall the events and get them down on paper. I just sat there each day recalling my life from day to day, when I first wrote the book I didn’t want to do any mudslinging towards my family; so that I kind of glossed over and ignored. But once the book was done I was told you have to get it “ALL OUT OF YOU” so I went ahead and put in the foreword. That is why the rest of the book doesn’t really fit in with some of the chapters, but if you understand the workings of childhood sexual abuse. You will understand my need to not want to delve into the horrors of what I went through then; I just wanted people to think “good” of my family. So I wrote distancing myself of sharing too many stories about them. I didn’t want to mudsling about my adopted brother molesting me starting at the age of 10. Nor did I want to delve into the actions of my adopted sister who had slept with two of my husbands. In a way when you’re hurt in childhood you’re embarrassed to share these things with people so you do quite the opposite (or at least I did) I made everything out to be OK in the family. Nothing wonderful, nothing insane, just normal. I think it’s because that is all you hope for in life is some type of normalcy so any chance you get to just be normal you try hard to do so. I don’t know if that makes any sense at all to your readers, but it’s my take on why I do/did the things I did.

Carol Denbow: Lori, you are a wonderful and informative guest and I thank you for sharing your story with us. Much of your books proceeds go towards helping worthy causes and I know this is important to you. Can you please close by telling us a little about the organizations you support and where a viewer might find you book for purchase?

Lori Foroozandeh: First I’m donating proceeds to Amnesty International (to help out women and men maintain some humane rights in other countries that they either visit or live in.) and to definitely help the women in Iran who want to get out of the conditions that they are forced to live in.
HSUS- My two cats have been my best listeners. Pets truly do help your health, and they are way smarter than we give them credit for and they definitely don’t deserve the cruel acts against them that you hear about daily.

Henry Ford Hospital and Brighton Addiction Hospital, two of the best Hospitals in the world that have helped me finally deal with my trauma and to kick my drug habit that I’ve had ever since age

You can find my book at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Amazon, and just about anywhere online. I encourage you to ask your local bookstores to carry this, so that I can at least pay back the money I had to use to publish it (self published) then I can truly make a differences with my charities. Please visit my Website at

Thank you so much Carol in allowing me to answer your questions freely and share my story. You are a wonderful lady.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Finding Your Books Audience With Audrey Heagney

I realize we have posted several interviews of late, but I truly believe this information will benefit our readers, and that’s what’s most important to this Blog editor.

I’d like to introduce you all to my “second cousin” of sort. Author Audrey Heagney is actually my mother’s first cousin. Audrey writes a regular column for the Portland Baptist Examiner. She has also written three non-fiction books and has one more on the way.

Carol Denbow: Welcome Audrey. I’m so glad you are here to share your writing and publishing experiences with us. What I’d really like to share with our readers is how you go about finding the audience for your books. I have watched you aggressively seek out your potential readers over the past few years and I am truly impressed with your desire to search in non-traditional areas. Your first book, The Five G’s Plus Two is a family history book based on raising a family on Christian values. So to start, would you consider the genre of this book to be autobiography, Christianity, or both?

Audrey Heagney: Hi Carol, thank you so much for having me. It is a pleasure and an opportunity to be interviewed by you.

Finding an audience for my book has been an interesting venture. Aside from family and friends, young parents are interested in the avenues we took in raising our family and the values we instilled in our children. Since the genre of this book touches on family and Christianity the audience seems more receptive.

Carol Denbow: When you first published this book, I recall your frustration with the “lack of sales” (I hear this complaint regularly). I also remember advising you to look “outside the box” for interested book buyers. So where did you attempt to find your audience to buy this book?

Audrey Heagney: People who knew our family, neighbors who have children and even some grandparents found the book as a value to share with their families. Church groups, a booth at a local festival and woman’s clubs plus book stores and libraries all offer an audience and sales for family adventures in print.

Carol Denbow: I see you have not relied solely on traditional book sellers. This is what I would like to see more authors do with their own books; look for their audience at in other places.

You recently released a new book, Something Old ‘n” Something New. Can you tell us a little about this book?

Audrey Heagney: In this book I talk about the conditions of our society that I recalled as a youngster and the opinions formed as I walked through my years. In doing so, I compare those years to where society has brought us today. I also relate my growth in the Christian way of life and the benefits I feel I have derived from that knowledge.

Carol Denbow: I know you had realized early on that book’s don’t sell themselves. So how did you go about establishing a reputation which would increase your Christian audience as well as gain more exposure for yourself as a Christian author?

Audrey Heagney: Several years ago I was asked to start a bereavement class in my church. I soon realized I could be more effective writing a monthly column on the subject—so I did. With this experience under my belt, I auditioned to write a column in the Portland Baptist Examiner and was immediately asked to join that staff. I do enjoy this assignment and find it broadens my writing base as well as offering more exposure for my work.

Carol Denbow: Audrey, we all learn over time that a positive reputation and good public exposure can help us sell books. It seems you have learned that lesson well! We would love to hear what’s next for Audrey Heagney.

Audrey Heagney: I’m so glad you asked as my next book is offering a lighter venue. Life does present laughter and joy and very often it is healthy to be able to laugh at ones’ self. The title of the book is ‘Ah, Fifty Years… of Marriage, That Is’ and speaks of the peaks and valleys found from being inexperienced in the institution of marriage and parenting.

Carol Denbow: For a viewer who might be interested in your books, or might like to visit your Website, Jesus In Our Daily Lives, what is that link to click on?

Audrey Heagney: is my web site; Jesus In Our Daily Lives. Clicking onto the link, ‘books’ will bring you to the publications. Both books can also be found on Amazon and they can be ordered from Barnes & Nobel or Boarders.

Carol Denbow: I would like to suggest when stopping by Audrey’s Website, visitors click on to her Blog as well.

Thank you Audrey for being a guest on A Book Inside. If anyone would like to leave a comment, please do so below.

Audrey Heagney: Thank you, Carol. It is always a pleasure to visit with you and a real plus to be related to you!

Thanks for visiting A Book Inside Blog!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

How Paperback Books Are Made

Have you ever wondered how a perfect paperback book is made? Did you know you could make it at home? First, let me share with you this chart of book components so you can learn what all the parts of a book are called. To enlarge this image just click on it.

Watch this video on making your own perfect paperback books.

Enjoy and learn!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Are You Considering Writing a Book Series? Author Yvonne Perry Shares the Pros and Cons

My good friend and multi-published author Yvonne Perry has just released The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. In this special interview with Yvonne, we’ll learn the good, bad, and the best tips about publishing a book series.

Carol Denbow: Yvonne, long time, my friend! It’s always a pleasure to have you as a guest at A Book Inside Blog. I was so happy to hear of your new release, The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. We have many visitors to this site who are interested in writing children’s books as well as numerous seasoned authors wishing to continue their published book saga into a book series. I have several questions for you, but let me start by asking you about this book series. Please tell us a little about The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. Such as, what are the books about, how many are there, and where do you make your books available for purchase?

Yvonne Perry: Each story in The Sid Series is a collection of 12 body-mind-spirit stories that gives insight on some mature subjects such as recycling, being who you really are, overcoming the fear of storms, helping others, listening to one’s inner guidance, caring for the body, accepting and appreciating diversity, dealing with family change, and coping with the death of a pet. See

Carol Denbow: When one writes a series of books, do they write them all at once? For instance, is the entire story line written as one bundle, and then divided into several books, and how did you personally go about this?

Yvonne Perry: I began writing The Sid Series when my grandson, Sidney, was very young. The stories were inspired things we did together. I typed the stories into a Word doc, and would later read the stories to him while he sat on my lap in front of the computer. He wanted pictures to go with his stories, so I attempted to illustrate them and bring them to life with colored backgrounds.

Next, I formatted the first three stories and printed them in black and white since my printer was out of color ink (as usual). I didn’t have a stapler with an arm long enough to reach to the centerfold, so I stapled the left edges together to hold the pages tight. It looked like a kindergarten term paper! It just didn’t “feel” like a book. I wanted a better way to bind them, and the pages needed to be in color according to Sid.

I took the file to Kinko’s thinking I would have the stories printed in color on both sides. Gasp! It would cost about $15 per book to print 15 pages and a cover! I decided if I was going to go to the trouble of printing and binding the stories, I might as well go ahead and publish them. I found a commercial printer that offered to produce the books in color with a center staple for about $7 each. I printed about a dozen copies of each title thinking I would sell the ones I didn’t need. However, printing them at $7 each didn’t allow any room for profit because folks weren’t willing to pay more than $7 for a 15-page book. Since it cost me another $2 to ship them, I would actually be paying people to buy them.

But none of that mattered. I didn’t write or publish them with the intention of getting rich! I was happy that we could hold and read the books together when it was time for bed. Sidney was so proud of our books that he took them to school for his teacher to read to his kindergarten class.

As time passed, Sid and I added more stories to the collection. He would dictate a story while I typed it. Sid became interested in the computer and was able to play games and get around quite well on the Internet. Once he learned to read, I formatted some new stories into e-books that he could read to himself any time he wanted. I still offer the e-books on my Web site for $3 each.

Still, I wanted the new stories in printed format. That’s when I decided to put all twelve stories in one book and publish them as The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children. I’m glad I did. Now I have a lasting and tangible reminder of the times Sid and I spent together and we have a way to share them with other children and adults.

Carol Denbow: Is it considerably more expensive to publish a series at one time, or can it actually save you money in the long run?

Yvonne Perry: It is much more expensive to do the stories one at the time. Publishers/printers charge a setup fee and catalog fee for each book title/ISBN. Plus, if you are unable to design your own cover, you will need to pay someone to do a cover for each title rather than for one cover for a book containing all the stories. That is why I published the stories as individual e-books until I finished writing all twelve. Then, I laid out the stories as one book and self-published using Lightning Source.

Carol Denbow: If a writer is considering a book series, would you recommend they complete and publish one book at a time, or write and publish them all at once, and how did you make your own decision to publish them all at one time?

Yvonne Perry: It depends on whether you plan to self-publish or query a conventional publisher, how many pages your book will have, your budget, and whether you are going to print the books in color or black and white. Printing in color is more expensive than black and white.

I self-published through Lightning Source which gave me distribution through Ingram and the ability to offer Amazon a 25% short discount rather than the 55% discount most publish give them. The Sid Series is a 54-page picture book with color illustrations. Each story has 15-18 pages. I paid a $95 setup fee, a $12 catalog fee, and each time I order a new supply of books, I am charged a $1.50 per-book handling fee plus shipping. Now, times that amount by 12 titles and you will quickly see why I decided to publish the entire series as one book/title! However, had my book been a children’s chapter book with 150 black and white pages, I would have published each title separately.

Carol Denbow: Do you think a traditional book publisher would be as interested in publishing a complete series at one time, or publish the first of a series to test the waters before committing (assuming the first book is not labeled or written as a Part 1 book)?

Yvonne Perry: It’s hard to answer that because large publishers with large budgets might do something more risky than a small house with limited resources. Large houses seem to publish in volumes or sets. For example, Random House published the 44 books of Mary Pope Osborne’s Tree House series by issuing 4 or 5 books per year as boxed sets. The books are for sale individually as well. The same is true of Daisy Meadows’ Rainbow Magic Fairies (published by Scholastic Paperbacks) and Gertrude Chandler Warner’s Boxcar Children books (published by Albert Whitman & Company).

Carol Denbow: I hope this interview has helped our interested viewers. Yvonne Perry is the author of several other books as well. Yvonne, please tell us a little about the other books you have authored.

Yvonne Perry: Besides the books I’ve ghosted, edited, or proofread for clients, I have published the following titles. The ones with an asterisk (*) are available on Amazon.

Book Marketing in the Digital Age, Online Promotion Made Easy is an e-book designed to help authors promote their books online.
* Right to Recover ~ Winning the Political and Religious Wars Over Stem Cell Research in America is available as a printed book (Nightengale Press) and for the Kindle Reader on Amazon.
* My Mother's Bipolar, So What am I? co-authored with Angela Grett provides help for adult children dealing with the aftermath of being raised by a bipolar parent.
Email Episodes ~ A Hilariously Honest Look at Life is about a woman who is having a midlife crisis while her teenagers are raising reptiles in the basement.
Both an e-book and printed book, * More Than Meets the Eye about Death, Dying and Afterlife was written to comfort those who have lost a loved one or is caring for someone who is dying. Tips for Freelance Writing is an e-book that provides information for starting a free-lance writing business. Both of these e-books are free to those who subscribe to my free monthly newsletter.
I have published several poetry chapbooks and e-books about trips I have taken. All my books and e-books are available at and several are free!

Carol Denbow: You also have a Web site and I’m sure more to share with us?

Yvonne Perry: I provide mentoring/consultation on writing and publishing; My team and I offer ghostwriting, editing, and proofreading services as well as marketing assistance to businesses and individuals

You’ll want to check out our blog, podcast, and newsletter while you are there. All three provide more information about writing, publishing, and book marketing.

Carol Denbow: Yvonne, thank you so very much for visiting us on the Blog. Your information has been extremely helpful and is very much appreciated. Have a happy New Year everyone!

Yvonne Perry: Thank you for interviewing me for this blog. I would be happy to answer questions. I will stop by later today to see if anyone leaves a comment on this Blog posting.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year "Righters!"

I would like to wish everyone a VERY Happy New Year! Last night (New Years Eve), I spent the evening drinking margaritas and playing bingo. I worry I'm getting old!

Just for fun, I would like to share something amusing with you on this New Years Day.

I regularly check my visitor hits to this and my other sites so I can learn where my visitors come from, i.e., how they find this Blog. Today, when I searched the keywords some have used to find us through Google, I found the most interesting keyword usage. One interested person used the key phrase “how to right a book.”

The good news is, they found us, the bad news is, they probably shouldn’t be considering “righting a book!”
Have a blessed New Year!