From Buzzfeed

24 Things No One Tells You About Book Publishing

Ten years ago, my first novel Prep came out. Three novels later, here’s what I’ve learned about the publishing industry and writing since then.

Curtis Sittenfeld
BuzzFeed Contributor



  1. When it comes to fellow writers, don’t buy into the narcissism of small differences. In all their neurotic c, competitive, smart, funny glory, other writers are your friends.
  2. Unless you’re Stephen King, or you’re standing inside your own publishing house, assume that nobody you meet has ever heard of you or your books. If they have, you can be pleasantly surprised.
  3. At a reading, 25 audience members and 20 chairs is better than 200 audience members and 600 chairs.
  4. There are very different ways people can ask a published writer for the same favor. Polite, succinct, and preemptively letting you off the hook is most effective.
  5. Blurbs achieve almost nothing, everyone in publishing knows it, and everyone in publishing hates them.
  6. But a really good blurb from the right person can, occasionally, make a book take off.
  7. When your book is on best-seller lists, people find you more amusing and respond to your emails faster.
  8. When your book isn’t on best-seller lists, your life is calmer and you have more time to write.
  9. The older you are when your first book is published, the less gratuitous resentment will be directed at you.
  10. The goal is not to be a media darling; the goal is to have a career.

Read the rest of the reasons>

If you liked ARGO, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK is for you


If you liked ARGO, you will love The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, a similar story based on true events.

Order your copy at a special publisher’s discount price of $12.99, list is $15.99.

Just click on our Bookstore tab and then click on Fiction.

We decided to reprint this interview with Douglas Roberts about what inspired him to write such a book. The interview was  originally published June 19, 2011.


Cover for The Man Who Fooled SAVAKWhen Doug Roberts approached us with his manuscript, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK, it was one of those stories that completely engrossed you where you couldn’t put it down until it was finished.

Inspired by true events in the early 1970s, The Man Who Fooled SAVAK captures what it is like to live in a dictatorship with secret police monitoring your every move – an atmosphere of fear that still pervades today in many countries in the Middle East.

What makes Doug’s book so appealing is that what he wrote today about events 40 years ago is still going on today in many parts of the Middle East. And all of these events are carefully woven into a love story that will make you fall in love all over again.

Q. The release of your book coincides rather well with Arab Spring.   When did you start writing it?

A. In the summer of 2008. A woman I’d met on line named Erica Murray was interested in Iran so I started writing to her about it.   I started doing some very preliminary research into the history and politics of Iran in 1971 in order to refresh my memory of things I had experienced when I was in Iran during that time.   The book was completely finished several months before the uprising in Tunisia.

Q. Even though that was 40 years ago, there are many common elements with what is happening across the Arab world.

A. Yes, especially the fear people experience when living under an autocratic regime is something I hope I have captured, and as the book proceeds, the breaking out of that fear.  Perhaps it will give people hope.  Just like in my book, the methods used by various dictatorial regimes to maintain control seem to be taken from a common playbook:  trample a free and independent press, keep the people fooled, use an iron fist to silence dissent, eliminate fair trials, use torture to extract confessions – the list goes on and on.

Q. But when you wrote the book, you weren’t thinking about that.

A. (laughs) True! I don’t have a crystal ball and the Arab Spring was as big a surprise to me as the rest of the world.

Q. Can I ask you about one of the characters in your book?  Was there really a Junior?

A. Yes there was.  I think Junior made the story possible to write.  We really did sell our liquor and cigarette rations to him.   I recently learned from a fellow who served in ARMISH/MAAG just before I arrived that Junior mostly dealt with the domestic workers, the Iranian nationals who worked at the bachelor quarters where we lived.

Q. I’d like to ask you about another character, Mihan Jazani.  She is a historical figure, the wife of the Bijan Jazani who founded one of Iran’s guerilla movements.   It appears that she’s a friend of yours on Facebook.

A. (Blushes)  Um, well yes…so it would appear.   (laughs)  Actually, Mihan Jazani doesn’t like Facebook and never uses it.  The Facebook account was set up for Mihan by her granddaughter, Aida.  Aida and I exchange messages occasionally.

Q. How were you able to remember so much about what happened then?  It was 40 years ago after all.

A. I was assisted in several ways.   I had some writings I had done about Iran when I was in journalism school at Kent State in 1972.  I had a large number of slides that I’d taken when I was there.  Those were crucial in reviving old memories.  A huge help was finding a 1977 map of Tehran on the (now defunct) Tehran American School website.  I was able to use the exact names of places, even street names.  The fellow I’d mentioned earlier who told me about Junior had sent me a copy of the ARMISH/MAAG directory, which was very useful.  Finally, talking to people I worked with at that time was extremely important, namely Heidi Eftekhar and Barry Silver, who are characters in the story.  I obviously couldn’t remember all events specifically, but I found I could generate them as needed by being very specific in my language.  I would take seeds of ideas and extrapolate and grow them into full blown events.   For example, a certain lecherous officer really did say to Heidi, “I think you’re a woman who needs a lot of loving.”   I took that and ran with it.  Last, but also important, the Internet was a valuable tool in researching the historical incidents in the book.

Q. So, where does the novel part come in?

A. Some of the human rights related events are novelized, but they’re very accurate in their portrayal of the times.  I’ll leave historians to figure all that out.   They will have their work cut out for them because I’ve spent a lot of effort weaving the story line into the history of those days.

Q. How close is your character Doug Roberts to the way you actually are?

A. That’s a really good question. (laughs) I had originally intended that Doug the character would be an extreme version of myself.   But after having read my book now over and over, I’ve come to see that what’s extreme are the circumstances he’s in.   Doug the character is a lot like I was back then: ok in the smarts department, and a little too cocky sometimes.  He’s not very romantic or knowledgeable about women, but does all right in spite of himself. (laughs)  There’s an element of male fantasy in the book I suppose. In the story, I have two charming female lunch companions in addition to Fari my Iranian girlfriend/fiancée.

Q. But you really were friends with Heidi Eftekhar your co-worker in the story.

A. I still am.  Heidi and I communicate regularly by email and her input on the book was immensely helpful.  Miss Farou is the fantasy.  She actually didn’t like me all that much. (laughs).

Q. I get the impression you had a lot of fun writing your book.

A. It was pretty trippy for me at times.  I would totally submerse myself in it.  For example, I had written the scene describing how I spent New Year’s Eve in Iran just a couple of weeks after New Year’s Eve in real life.  When someone asked me about how I’d spent my New Years, it shocked me as to how much effort I had to put into pulling up what I’d actually done versus what I’d just written.  That was a little scary.

Q. What do you think people will get out of your book?

A. I’m sure everyone will get a little something different, but what I’d like for people to take from it is that, like in the story, life may present you with some extreme circumstances.  When that happens, keep a level head and your wits about you.  Try to see beyond what appears to be happening on the surface.  There will always be some good things happening at any given moment. Try to focus on that.  To get through your ordeal it’s a good idea to engage all your friends to help you and your faith if you have that.  Most important of all:  never give up.

The Man Who Fooled SAVAK is available as an ebook on Amazon Kindle and in various ereader formats from

Available in print Feb 2013

Preorder your copy at a special publisher’s discount price of $10.99 plus 4.99 shipping & handling – $15.98 or $5 off list price.
Send an email to with your name, address, phone number and email address.
List Price: $15.99
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
376 pages

Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0982993125
ISBN-10: 0982993129
BISAC: Fiction / Espionage

Snapshots of a Successful Book Launch

Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha know how to launch a book. Over 50 people attended the event on Aug. 4 celebrating the launch of Social Media for Business, a comprehensive anthology focused on small business and the power of social media. More than 35 books were sold with some guests buying two and three copies. The launch was held at the Center for Excellence, a training and speaker center in North Raleigh, NC.

Social Media for Business is available on Amazon and fine bookstores everywhere.

For more information about Social Media for Business, visit the book web site.

Social Media Book Introduces Small Business to Successful Internet Marketing to Help Revive Economy

Social Media for Business, Martin Brossman, Anora McGahaRALEIGH, NC – Martin Brossman and Anora McGaha, co-authors of Social Media for Business, an Outer Banks Publishing Group book, held a “book launch”  on Thursday, August 4 at The Center for Excellence on Six Forks Road South in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Celebrating Mr. Brossman’s third social media book, and Ms. McGaha’s first book, the authors offered door prizes at the event including a social media consultation by Martin Brossman & Associates and a Kindle ebook reader. Catering for the event was by Catering by Design.

Mr. Brossman’s first book on social media, Brossman’s Social Media and Online Resource Directory for Business, had a North Carolina focus. Mr. Brossman said he received overwhelming feedback from his readers to produce a national, more comprehensive version that would cover the entire spectrum of social media and its use in business.

For Social Media for Business, Mr. Brossman partnered with Ms. McGaha, a social media manager and Internet researcher, to write and edit the book. They included chapters from twenty contributors to deepen the coverage and expertise, covering audio and video, mobile, Facebook and LinkedIn ads, articles, press releases in addition to dozens of other topics.

Social Media for Business includes a section on perspectives about social media and Internet marketing with a rich collection of articles; a large central section on the building blocks of social media and the Internet; and a substantial section on online marketing through social media. Visit the Social Media for Business web site for more information.

Social Media for Business is particularly valuable for the micro-business and solo professional, as well as small businesses with under 25 employees because it was written by micro-business and solo professionals who bring their own fresh experience and research,” said Ms. McGaha. “Readers will learn about building, establishing and maintaining a strong, genuine, appropriate multi-dimensional presence for their business on social media and other Internet channels.”

Mr. Brossman, who has been using and teaching LinkedIn since 2006, and is the leading trainer of social media and business success for small businesses in North Carolina, brings fascinating insight and perspectives to the book.
Social Media for Business!, Martin Brossman, Anora McGaha
Mr. Brossman’s second social media book, Linking Into Sales, was written with fellow LinkedIn expert and community builder Greg Hyer, to show readers how to use LinkedIn to increase sales.

“My personal and professional mission is to help individuals live lives so meaningful it moves them and others to tears,” Mr. Brossman said. “Extending out from that, it is to help micro-business thrive for a grassroots rebuilding of the American economy. This book sets out to give a solid and motivating push for small businesses to use social media and online marketing to be successful in business.”

The audience for Social Media for Business is both the newcomer to social media and online marketing, as well as the experienced practitioner. “Each reader will take out different insights based on their experience and needs,” said Ms. McGaha.

“I don’t think there is a single book on the market that covers so expertly every aspect of social media,” said Anthony S. Policastro, Publisher of Outer Banks Publishing Group. “And what makes this book so valuable is that the contributors provided honest and frank viewpoints on their particular expertise based on actual experience. It’s like being in a room with all of them and they are telling me the best practices and techniques to be successful using social media.”

Anora McGaha is a writer and author, with three years of experience in social media management and Internet research. Prior to that her career spanned twenty years in marketing communications and business analysis. She provides training and consulting on Internet publicity, social media and online marketing and is an associate with Martin Brossman & Associates and Carolina Web Consultants, Inc. For more information visit her Linkedin site.

Martin Brossman is a success coach, speaker, trainer, and author specializing in teaching social media and business success to accelerate growth for entrepreneurs and small businesses. He’s the founding director of Martin Brossman & Associates and collaborates with micro-business and solo-professionals in delivering the latest training and services. He is the author of three books on social media; travels and trains frequently; and is a powerful keynote speaker on dozens of relevant topics. An early user of LinkedIn, Brossman has built a meaningful and significant network of his own. For more information see his Linkedin site.

Photos of the event can be seen on the Social Media for Business Facebook page.

Social Media for Business is available directly from the printer at a discount of $16.50.  Use the discount code of “EJUCVT36” at checkout to get a $6.45 discount off the list price for a sale price of $16.50. The book is also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine bookstores.

New Trend Emerging as Traditional Publishers go Digital


Congrats to Amanda Hocking for using a traditional publisher to further her writing career.  She did the right thing seeking out a traditional publisher and the reason is clear – she wants to be a writer – not a book marketer, editor, designer and distributor.

This is not a new trend – it has been happening for years.

The caveat here is her content.  She has the content that sells – when she writes, it sells.  She can afford to give away a large piece of her royalties so she can spend more time writing.

So should every self-published author seek out traditional publishers for their work.  Maybe, yes and maybe, no.  Some authors like JA Konrath took the reverse course – he went from traditional publishers to self-publishing because he could get a bigger piece of the publishing pie, especially on his traditionally-published books that went out of print. Even luminary Stephen King experimented with self-publishing a few years back.

A new trend is emerging as traditional publishers go digital.  Currently, a self-published author could get their work in front of more people as an eBook than a printed book.  This is still true, but as more and more traditional publishers go digital, they can offer both – significant eBook exposure as well as print book distribution.  They will take a larger piece of the pie, but if your work is selling well, it is worth going with a traditional publisher.

Here’s the Amanda Hocking story from The New York Times.

A Successful Self-Publishing Author Decides to Try the Traditional Route

Published: March 24, 2011

If any writer proved that modern self-publishing could be a pretty sweet deal, it was Amanda Hocking.

Amanda Hocking, who has self-published nine books.

In the past year Ms. Hocking, a 26-year-old from Minnesota, became an indie heroine in the literary world for publishing nine books that sold a total of more than one million copies, nearly all of them in e-book form, earning almost $2 million for her efforts.

But for Ms. Hocking, self-publishing has had its limits. On Thursday she announced that she had sold a four-book series to St. Martin’s Press, ending a frenzied weeklong auction that involved nearly every major publisher in the business, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins.

St. Martin’s, part of Macmillan, paid more than $2 million for the world English rights to the “Watersong” series, Ms. Hocking’s latest books in the young-adult paranormal genre. >more