Happy Thanksgiving!

I tried to find the original of this so I could link to it,
but no luck. However, it says it's from www.inkygirl.com


Color Me Embarassed...

When I created the post for the Christmas Story Contest, I did a copy and paste from last year's post and just updated the info.

BUT. I forgot to change the e-mail address from "hotmail" to "gmail".


Normally, that would not be a big problem except for the fact that hotmail is being weirder than ever. Half the time, I can't even get to the log-in page. The Internet tells me it doesn't exist. I don't know if this is a hotmail issue that everyone's having, or a problem with my browser, or if hotmail just decided to "unfriend" me. But whatever...

If you sent your Christmas story to the hotmail address, please resend it to the GMAIL address.

Sorry for the inconvenience.


Do Awards = Sales?

How much impact on sales volume does being an award winner (such as a the Whitney awards) make?

Is there a place to find out how many books a certain author sells? Or publisher?

The answer to the first question is "I don't know" because the answer to the second question is "No."

Most publishers do not give good information on their sales. They might tell you that a particular book has sold over X number of copies, but that's about it. Or they might claim a book is a best-seller, which could mean that it's hit an unspecified sales level or that it's simply sold more copies than the other books they publish. No one knows.

An author might be willing to give specifics on sales if they're having a one-on-one conversation with you, but there's no way to check the accuracy of those numbers. Also, their numbers will run anywhere from three months to a full year behind, depending on how their publisher pays royalties.

As far as awards boosting sales, in general, an award will have a positive influence on sales. All things being equal, a customer tends to believe that if a book got an award, it must be good. Obviously, a Newbery is going to really boost sales. A Whitney, not as much, due to market size.

Any Whitney winners want to comment on how they feel the award impacted their book sales?


National Christian Market

I've been told that no one from Utah or published in Utah can break into the national Christian market, regardless of religious afiliation or genre. Is this true?

That's pretty much been my experience. You may find a few bookstores willing to carry you outside of Utah, but it's going to be difficult.

Years ago I represented an author who had a wonderful, non-LDS, Christian oriented book for families. Latter-day Saints wouldn't buy it because it was general Christian. Christians wouldn't buy it because it was from Utah.

The author self-published, changing the title and pen name, but left the content exactly the same. They got a PO Box in a Bible belt state, and sold the book online. It did well enough that it was eventually picked up by a Christian publisher. I don't think the publisher ever knew they were dealing with an LDS Utah resident.

As far as I know, it's still the same. Readers? What has been your experience? No speculation. We want first-hand experiences.


Where Can I Self Publish?

I am trying to find a good company to self-publish my book. I have used Lulu.com in the past but am not happy that their finished products are not professional looking. They used to be, but have changed. It is also hard to get them to respond to errors as they are getting so many clients.

Do you offer self-publishing? If so, what are your prices, and how do you go about publishing books?

I haven't used Lulu in a long time. I wasn't aware that their quality had decreased. That's too bad because they were a good resource and I've recommend them in the past. Anyone else used Lulu recently? Can you confirm that their quality is less than it used to be?

More recently, I've used Amazon's CreateSpace. That is who I used for Stolen Christmas. I was very pleased with the result. Like Lulu, you must send them print-ready files.

One thing to remember is that these companies are automated. They do no editing or design work, unless you pay extra. The quality of what you get back is determined by the quality of the files you send them.

If you're going big time small press, you could check out Lightning Source. They do a good job.

There are also places like AuthorHouse and iUniverse who make self-publishing fairly easy. I don't recommend them because I have not been at all impressed with their editing services (which cost extra). They are inconsistent in their quality.

No, LDS Publisher does not do self-publishing or any type of publishing, other than the story contests. This persona is a publishing advice columnist. Period.

There is an ad for LibrisPro running over in my sidebar. I make no endorsements or claims for this company, only point out that their ad gives you a link to explore.

Readers, if you assist self-publishers and would like to toot your own horn, or if you have used the services of a company you can recommend, feel free to leave info in the comments section.


The Self-Publishing Bias

Is it factual that book reviewers will not review a self published book? Or that some bookstores won't carry them at all?

It depends.

Once upon a time, there was a huge prejudice against self-published books. The idea was that if they were good enough, a publisher would pick them up. If no publisher wanted them, then they weren't very good.

While there are still a multitude of examples of books that support that prejudice, there are also many self-published books that are absolutely wonderful—but that just couldn't find a good fit with a traditional publisher.

If you self-publish, you generally are going to have a harder row to hoe when it comes to getting attention and shelf space. Self-published fiction is very difficult to get into bookstores; non-fiction is a little easier. If you're planning to go this route, I strongly recommend you do your research, starting with these books:

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing

Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual

Jump Start Your Book Sales

Guerrilla Marketing for Writers

I'd also suggest you talk to some people who have successfully self-published and get their input.

And have your distribution avenues set up BEFORE you spend a lot of money designing and printing your book.

So to answer your question: Some reviewers will not review self-published books, some will. Some bookstores will not carry self-published books, some will.


Do I Have to Have a Launch Party?

Do I have to have a launch party, or can I just send out announcements?

No. You don't have to have a launch party.

However, book sales are greatly benefited by the human connection—the more you interact with readers on a personal level where they can meet and greet and get to know you, the better your sales. A launch party is a fun way to do this.

If you just can't do a face-to-face launch party, then get on Facebook and make friends. Blog. Have a virtual launch party with activities and prizes. Do something to let people know you and like you.


Book of Mormon Anthology Follow-Up

[updated September 2011]

Does this mean you'll finish the critiques on the Book of Mormon contest submissions soon?


Remember when I said I was in semi-retirement? That didn't work out so well.

When I started the Book of Mormon contest, I was still in semi-retirement and would have had plenty of time to do the critiques and put a book together, as scheduled.

However, a week after the contest was over, I was forced out of semi-retirement and back into a "real" job—which has kept me incredibly busy. The contest and anthology (as well as daily blog posting) were pushed onto a back burner, where they are still simmering. I sincerely apologize for the delay.

Yes, I am still working on the story critiques—a little at a time. But no, I don't think there will be enough to do a proper anthology. No, I do not have a date when you can expect to have the critiques finished.

So for those of you asking for an official statement...

Book of Mormon Contest/Anthology Rights Release:
As per the one-time publishing rights referenced HERE, all authors are hereby released from the conditions implicit with submission to the contest.

That means, if you submitted a story for the Book of Mormon contest/anthology and you'd like to submit it somewhere else, go ahead and do so. If your story is unavailable when and if I decide to publish an anthology, that will be my loss.


2010 Christmas Story Contest

Guess what we forgot to do back in the summer???

Yep. I totally forgot about our annual Christmas Story Contest.

I know this is short notice. I know a lot of you are working on NaNoWriMo. But—

I hope you'll find some time to write and submit a story for the...

LDSP 2010 Christmas
Short Story Contest

Submission Rules:
  • FOLLOW rules carefully! In the past, I've let some of you slide a little. But since this is for a publication, I'm going to be as sticky-picky as I am when receiving real submissions. Why? Because this is a REAL submission!
  • Write a short Christmas story in any genre. Stories should be positive and family friendly. I reserve the right to refuse any story I deem inappropriate for this blog/book.
  • Maximum word count: 3,000; no minimum.
  • Story must be previously unpublished. Stories published anywhere other than your personal website or blog are ineligible. (That includes books, magazines, e-zines or other contests.)
  • Stories submitted for previous years' contests are also ineligible for this contest. (But may be selected for publication in the book.)
  • Paste entire story into an e-mail. NO ATTACHMENTS, please.
    —Put "Contest: Title of Story" in the subject line of your e-mail. (Example: Contest: A Christmas Gift for Mary)

    —At the top of the body of your e-mail, type your name, mailing address, phone number, e-mail address, word count and whether you are a published or unpublished author (defined below). (Example:

    LDS Publisher
    123 My Street
    My Town, ST 00000

    word count: 1990
    published author

    —Skip a line, then put the title of your story

    —Skip a line, then paste in your story.

  • "Published"—as in published author—is defined as someone paid you money or comp copies (in the case of magazines) for any story or book written by you. (So either a publisher paid you, or you self-published and people bought your book.)
  • If you are a published and/or agented author, check with your publisher and/or agent before submitting. They will want to know the information listed under "Book Details".
  • You may submit more than one story. Send each submission in a separate e-mail. Include all your info, as outlined above, with each e-mail/story.
  • SUBMIT your story any time between NOW and Saturday, December 18, 2010.
  • I will post the stories beginning on December 1st, in the order that they arrive.
  • We will have Reader Voting for the best stories, as we have done in previous contests. The winners are guaranteed a spot in the book. Voting will take place December 20–24th. I will post voting rules then.
  • You may tell your friends that you've submitted a story and to please go vote, but DO NOT tell them which story is yours. We want the stories to win on merit, not personal popularity.

PRIZE: Publication in the next LDSP Christmas Anthology
  • There will be four winners:
    Readers' Choice/Published Author
    Readers' Choice/Unpublished Author
    Editor's Choice/Published Author
    Editor's Choice/Unpublished Author

    These four winners are guaranteed a spot in the anthology.
  • As usual, I reserve the right to not award one of the Editor's Choice awards if I feel none of the stories deserve it.
  • Other stories in the anthology will include my choices from this and previous Christmas contests held on this blog, selected based on providing a variety of stories and book size.
  • Anthology will be published before Christmas, either 2011 or 2012, depending on the number of quality submissions received. All authors to be included in the book will be notified six months before publication.

Book Details (Read Carefully):
  • By submitting a story to this contest, you are agreeing to all the conditions below.
  • Authors shall give LDS Publisher One-Time Publishing Rights for inclusion of story in the as yet untitled Christmas story compilation. This is the non-exclusive right to publish your story in this compilation, in various formats, and to retain your story in the compilation until LDS Publisher takes the compilation out of print.
  • Authors shall retain all other rights and copyrights to their stories and may sell this story to any other party with a publication date after release of the compilation.
  • Compensation for use of story in this compilation shall be: one free e-book copy of the published book sent to author upon publication; author's name listed in the Table of Contents and on the first page of the story; and rights to use this compilation as a publishing credit. No royalties, advances or other monetary compensation will be given to any author. Author may not print or sell the e-book files.
  • Compensation exception: If sales of the book exceed costs to produce it, LDS Publisher shall notify authors and arrange an equal royalty split between all authors, illustrator and typesetter. Conditions and terms of royalty and payment shall be determined at that time.
  • LDS Publisher shall assume no rights to any future works by author.
  • LDS Publisher shall have full editorial rights to the stories included in the compilation, including, but not limited to, title changes, editing for space and content, design and layout of book, title of book, and book cover.
  • The compilation will be available for purchase online in both print and e-book formats at a TBA future date.
  • The compilation may or may not be made available to bookstores at discounted pricing, but in any case, no marketing will be done by LDS Publisher to guarantee placement in any bookstore.
  • Authors agree to help spread the word about the contest and the book by any or all of the following methods:

    —Word of mouth to friends and family

    —Website/blog buttons, links, posts, etc

    —Facebook, My Space, Twitter, or other networking sites or forums

Help spread the word! Post about the contest on your blog, in your forums, and e-mail all your friends.

Buttons for your blogs:

Standard Sidebar (220px)

Smaller Sidebar (125px)

LDS Agents?

I just found your blog and am just thrilled! I’m about to start the whole query (what I hear is a nightmare) challenge, and as I am getting all my ducks in a row I have to wonder…are there LDS agents out in the world? I know this may be a completely moronic question, but I am really curious. I have heard some publishers won’t look at a manuscript unless they have an agent. Does this same rule of thumb apply to the LDS market.

Sorry if this question has been asked before. I did a search and couldn’t find anything about it though.

Thanks so much for your time and this blog!

LDS agents? No such animal. The reason being the LDS market is so small that no one could make a living at it. As far as I am aware, all LDS publishers will accept unagented manuscripts.

However, because you don't have an agent to look out for you, it's even more important that you have your contract looked at by an attorney familiar with publishing law, so you know what you're signing.


November 2010 Prize Sponsors

Last month's prize winners announced HERE.

Please take a moment to learn more about our wonderfully generous sponsors.

Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries by Dan Harrington

Experience the gospel in a new perspective while witnessing Dan Harrington's spiritual journey.

Not just another tale of conversion, Dan reverently reveals the Mormon religion through a non-member's eyes as he reflects upon his experiences with missionaries and Church members, forges new friendships, and finds an unexpected common ground of faith.

Find out who's at the door and see what can happen when you open it.

When Dan Harrington was eight years old, he tried to interview a talking Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at Santa's Village in New Hampshire. With captivating questions such as "Exactly what Reindeer games do you play?" and "What's Santa's favorite cookie?" he drove a teenage employee crazy enough to say that Rudolph was sleepy and had to go to bed.

Harrington became a professional freelance writer many years later in 2007. His work has appeared in publications such as Village Soup, The Kennebec Journal, Inside Pro Wrestling/The Wrestler, Portland Magazine, and LDS Church News.

Who's at the Door? A Memoir of Me and the Missionaries is his first book.

Oh, Say Can You See by L.C. Lewis

Although the British raids have left Washington a devastated, blackened city, the battered Constitution has held and the presidency has survived!

But the struggling government has no home. The British saw to that. Gone is the Capitol, her magnificent library, and the chambers of the Congress and the Supreme Court. Gone also is the President’s House, and every relic and document not secreted out of the city.

Next on the list of British prizes—the rebellious port city of Baltimore! A victory here would assure the Americans’ capitulation, but a loss would dilute the importance of the destruction of Washington.

But has the raid on Washington stiffened the backs of the Americans? This is the question gnawing at the leaders of both armies as the toll of the war mounts on both sides.

L.C. Lewis was born in the history-rich area neighboring Baltimore, Maryland, and has spent most of her life there. She and her husband raised their four children in this area, and Laurie, a homemaker, used her free time to write novels and plays. During a seven-year stint as a science-education facilitator in the Carroll County Public School System, Laurie honed her research skills, and as her children left home, she focused her energies on writing full time. She also became an avid traveler, constantly researching locales and their colorful people to flesh out her work. Laurie now spends her time bringing that research to life in family novels and historical fiction.

The Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Nielson

A mermaid haunts Adrianne's dreams . . . is she coming to warn her, save her, or drag her down into the depths of the briny sea forever?

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to keep her younger sister.

Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song.

Sheila A. Nielson: A native of San Jose, Sheila earned a BFA in children's illustration from BYU. While there, she got her dream job being a children's librarian and ended up staying in the state. She's been a librarian for 12+ years.

Sheila started making up stories as a child and begin writing stories in the sixth grade. She has diverse and numerous hobbies, including doll collecting, art, reading, writing, and horseback riding. I also collect mermaids--but ONLY those wearing fantastic mermaid outfits.

The Forbidden Sea is Sheila's debut novel.

Stolen Christmas by Various Authors

What happens when you’re so poor you have to steal your Christmas presents? Have you ever taken a punch in the face as your Christmas gift to the girl you love? Or saved Christmas while hunting were-weevils?

These award-winning Christmas stories are the best of the best from the LDS Publisher Christmas Story Contests. From Christmases past, to present, to future; from sweet and inspirational, to zany and delightful—there’s a story for everyone in this eclectic collection.

Featuring LDS authors:
Roger Bonner • Don Carey • Laura Craner
Joyce DiPastena • Sarah M. Eden
L.T. Elliot • Gussie Fick
Melanie Goldmund • M. Gray
Taegyn Hutchinson • Angie Lofthouse
Lori Nawyn • Tristi Pinkston
Brian C. Ricks • Sandra Sorenson
Janice Sperry • Christine Thackeray

CLICK HERE for details on how to win these books.

CLICK HERE for details on sponsoring the contest.