Monday, February 25, 2008 Paulo Coelho interview

This is one of the funniest things I've read from a very prolific author, Paulo Coelho. He wrote the international bestseller The Alchemist. his newest book is The Witch of Portobello.

Excerpted from an email newsletter received from 2/25/08:

GoodReads: You have stated that each of your books was written over a period of only two to four weeks. Describe a typical day spent writing.

PC: When I finally feel I’m ready to embark on a new book, I always go through the following cycle that takes me from two weeks to a month. Before going to bed I have everything planned: I will wake up early and dedicate myself solely to the novel I’m writing. The only thing is, when I wake up I decide to browse through the net, then it’s time for my walk. When I come back I quickly check my mails and before I know it it’s already 2:30 p.m. and time to have lunch. After which I always take a sacrosanct nap. When I wake up at 5 p.m. I come back to my computer, check another set of emails, visit my blogs, read the news. Then it is already time for dinner—and at this point I’m feeling extremely guilty for not fulfilling my goal of the day. After dinner, I finally sit at my desk and decide to write. The first line takes a bit, but quickly I’m submerged in the tale and ideas take me to places that I never thought I would tread. My wife calls me to go to bed but I can’t, I need to finish the line, then the paragraph, then the page...It goes on like this until 2–3 a.m. When I finally decide to go to bed, I still have many ideas in my mind—that I carefully note down on a piece of paper. I know, though, that I’ll never use this—I’m simply emptying my mind. When I finally rest my head on my pillow I make the same oath—that the next day I’ll wake up early and that I’ll write the whole day long. But this is useless: The next day I wake up late and this cycle starts all over again.

Borders offers Self-Publishing packages

Well, this is big news for those who think self-publishing is a step below traditional publishing and placement.

Borders has partnered with LuLu, the online do-it-yourself publisher, to offer in-store kiosks for people to publish their own works: musical, photography or written. So you can assemble an ebook and publish right at Borders.

Better yet, they seem to be stepping into the field of print-on-demand (POD) by offering service packages ranging from $299 to $499 for full POD with page design, cover, layout, procuring the ISBN etc. By paying for editorial evaluation your book also becomes eligible for in-store placement at Borders.

Read more about their new Digital Life program here.

It gives you another avenue to Release Your Writing !! If you have questions, my book has the answers you're looking for about the choices in traditional, self-publishing and print-on-demand.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Seeking book reviews

It pays to solicit book reviews from your readers. Amazon uses the number of reviews and the ratings to boost your book in the rankings. They even showcase a book once it has in excess of six reviews, and votes indicating a reader found a review helpful.

You'll find several helpful review sources in Release Your Writing, and I've received a very nice review from an enthusiastic reader in the U.K. You can read her full review here at Book Pleasures, but I'd like to share my favorite sentence from her comments:

"There is nothing to stop you now after reading this brilliant guide."

Isn't that great? Okay, I know some people in the U.K. use the word "Brilliant" like we say "yea," but it's still fun to see.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Self-Published Book Awards by Writer's Digest

No - it's not me... I've done enough boasting lately about all the fun I'm having with the success of Release Your Writing. To see the wide and wise range of winners in 15th annual Writer's Digest self-published book awards, click here.

The top prize went to a non-fiction book by Norma Lehmeier Hartie, entitled: Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify & Energize Your Life, Your Home & Your Planet.

By self-publishing she has her timely book on the market about 18 months faster than anyone plowing their way through traditional publishing timeframe.

Bravo !!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Visit "Beneath the Cover"

We're pleased to have a nice mention in the powerful "Beneath the Cover" site today. You'll note the site is packed with great articles and book industry resources. Our thanks to Yvonne DiVita for the mention. Enjoy!

Helen Gallagher

Essay excerpt on mystifying publishing process

Here's a brief snip from an excellent essay in the New York Times.

February 3, 2008

Waiting for It

For writers, few steps in the publishing process are as strange as the state of suspended animation between submitting a manuscript and seeing the book appear in stores. The sudden change in cabin pressure from writing to waiting can be jarring — and can last a very long time. “It comes as a huge shock when it happens the first time,” said the Irish writer Colm Toibin, whose first novel, “The South,” appeared in 1990, a year and a half after he turned it in. “It was all slow and strange.”

... Of interest to all authors, the essay concludes:

The presidential election in November should help move political books, but other titles may suffer. Nan Graham, the editor in chief of Scribner, said she was releasing very little fiction from July to January. “I’m never publishing a novel in the fall of an election year,” she said. “I feel bad about every single person whose novel I published in the fall of ’04 because they absolutely got no attention or no sales.” Other publishers worry that in election season it’s hard to get coverage for nonpolitical titles in book pages and on radio and television, especially “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report,” which have become central to publishers’ publicity strategies.

Whether it’s Comedy Central or the Internet, the same media that can call attention to a book are also drawing attention away from readers. So word of mouth is still the name of the game. “If you’re trying to explain this to someone from Mars or the Harvard Business School, they’d kind of scratch their head and say, ‘There must be a better way,’” Kirshbaum, the former Time Warner Book Group chairman, said. “But so far neither Martians nor H.B.S.-ers have solved this riddle.”

Rachel Donadio is a writer and editor at the Book Review.

Full essay here - requires NYTimes free log-in

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

BookSurge boosts royalties

Received this announcement on 2/04/08 from BookSurge, the POD firm owned by Amazon. It's good news for all of you who published with them:

"Effective February 1, BookSurge increased the royalty rates authors receive on sales of trade paperback books through all retail channels from 25% to 35%; this includes sales coming through from,, and the BookSurge online bookstore. "

Helen Gallagher

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Where to purchase Release Your Writing

After a flurry of workshops and events lately, people ask where they can purchase Release Your Writing: Book Publishing Your Way.

In addition to purchasing through this site, or directly from me, the author, you can pick up the book at
  • The Book Stall at Chestnut Court in Winnetka IL
  • Borders Books in Mt. Prospect IL

The book is also widely available online at Amazon,, Borders, Powell's, the Shopping channel at, and a new online venue:

Remember to check my upcoming events at if you want/need an autographed copy for yourself or as a gift.

Yes... you can release your writing.