Questions About Book Publishing? Come to the New England Authors Expo on July 26

Do you have questions about book publishing? Come get answers at the New England Authors Expo, taking place on July 26 at the Danversport Yacht Club on Route 62 in Danvers, MA. Meet authors and service providers from around New England — Blue Pencil Consulting will be there exhibiting, and I’ll be part of a panel on book store sales and distribution at 4 PM. The Expo itself runs from 4 to 9, but informative panels start at noon, and all of it is free and open to the public.

My fellow panelists include Dominic Copeland of Barnes and Noble, and Paul A. Parisi of Acme Binding. We’ll be talking about the ins and outs of book distribution, and steps indie/self-published authors can take to get their books on retail shelves. Among the many important actions authors can take is making sure their books meet industry standards for professionally published books. Earlier this year, the Independent Book Publishers Association released its “Industry Standards Checklist for a Professional Published Book.” It’s worth your while to take a look. at the checklist. If you aren’t able to attend the Expo, but are interested in some of the information I’ll be sharing as part of the panel, here’s a PDF of the Book Distribution Resources I’ve put together. Please contact me if you have any questions

What It Takes to Write and Publish a Non-Fiction Book

Interested in learning more about what it takes to write and publish a non-fiction book? Head over to YouTube ( and watch this video I recorded last week, when I was a guest on the Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce’s “Voice of Business”
show, hosted by John King of Headway Strategies Consulting.

It’s a quick 30-minute overview of the key steps in writing and publishing a book, including:

  • the development of the book idea,
  • the writing process,
  • the importance of beta readers / early reviewers,
  • the different paths to publication, and
  • the benefits of engaging a team of professionals (editor, graphic designer, proofreader, printer, etc.) if you choose to self-publish.

The Compass Approach - CoverJohn’s interest in the topic stems from his own experience writing and publishing his new book, The Compass Approach – Successfully Charting Your Business by the Compass. Like a number of my other clients, John wrote the book to share his expertise, and to use in his consulting practice and in the workshops he offers. I served as the book’s editor once John had completed (and then, as you’ll learn from the video, expanded) the manuscript, and pulled together a team of other professionals to help John through the self-publishing process.

If you have a book idea or a partially completed manuscript and would like to discuss possibilities and next steps, I’d love to talk with you. And if you are part of a group that would like a speaker to address topics ranging from writing a book to getting published, I often give talks on these subjects, so please get in touch!

“Time to Write and Publish Your Book!”

Concord Festival of AuthorsIf you think the time has come for you to write and publish a book, but you wonder where to start, you might want to attend this event that’s part of the Concord Festival of Authors. On Wednesday, October 28, 7:30 PM at Kerem Shalom in Concord, MA, join me and fellow panelists David Casullo, Paul Jensen, Ken Lizotte, and Katy Tynan for answers to questions like whether you should look for an agent or approach publishers yourself, or whether self-publishing might be the right choice. We’ll also cover writing tips, time management, and how to avoid writing pitfalls.

I’m looking forward to being in the good company of such accomplished panelists. They include:

David Casullo, author of Leading the High-Energy Culture: What the Best CEOs Do to Create an Atmosphere Where Employees Flourish (McGraw-Hill), is president of Bates, a worldwide leadership-coaching and consulting firm.

Paul Jensen, an engineer by training, self-published his first book, How to Soundproof Your Home, in Denmark in 1974. Since then he has self-published numerous print books and e-books. Most recently, he has completed a cookbook (Got Game? Cook It!), Could Young Love Be a Metaphor for Your Business Success? and 91 Tips on Selling Today.

Katy Tynan, author of the new book Free Agent: The Independent Professional’s Guide to Self-Employment Success (Productivity Press), is an expert on how work is changing. A popular professional speaker, she is a founding partner of Liteskip Consulting Group and MindBridge Partners.

Ken Lizotte is the author of six books and literary agent for over a hundred more. Chief Imaginative Officer (CIO) of emerson consulting group inc. in Concord, NA his firm “transforms business experts into thought leaders” by helping them publish their ideas. Ken has moderated similar Concord festival how-to panels since 2009.

This event is free and open to the public, as are other festival events, thanks to the generous support of its
many sponsors. For more information about the festival, visit: Hope to see you there!


“Ask the Experts” Panel on Book Publishing on October 8, in Marblehead, MA

Ask the Experts: Book Writing and Publishing

Ask the Experts: Book Writing and Publishing

If you’re writing a book (or want to write one) and have questions about the writing process and the business of publishing, come to the next “Community Connections” networking event at the JCC of the North Shore in Marblehead, MA. I’ll be moderating a panel discussion, “Ask the Experts: Book Writing and Publishing,” on Thursday, October 8, at 6 PM. The event takes place at the JCC North Shore, 4 Community Road, Marblehead, MA. More information at

My fellow panelists include:

Barbara Rosenberg owns The Rosenberg Group literary agency, representing authors of romance, women’s fiction, trade, non-fiction, and college textbooks.

Laurie Faria Stolarz has written several popular young adult novels, including the Dark House series published by Disney/Hyperion Books for Children.

Julianna Thibodeaux is an award-winning journalist, freelance writer/editor, creative writing instructor and writing coach. She is at work on a novel and a memoir, and teaching writing classes this fall at JCC of the North Shore.

Lisa Sugarman writes the nationally syndicated humor column “It Is What It Is,” featured in more than 400 GateHouse Media newspapers and websites. She is also the author of the Boston Globe Local Bestseller, “Life: It Is What It Is.”

This event is free and open to all who RSVP in advance. The Community Connections program is supported by Michael Franchella at Highland Financial Group. Please RSVP to Cammi Bailey at or 781-476-9902. Hope to see you there!

Visit Blue Pencil Consulting at the 2015 New England Authors Expo on July 29

Stop by for a chat about your book project!

Stop by for a chat about your book project!

If you’re in the Greater Boston area and would like to chat in person about your questions on book writing and publishing, stop by my table at the 2015 New England Authors Expo on Wednesday, July 29, from 4 to 9 PM at the Danversport Yacht Club (Route 62 in Danvers, MA). I’ll be exhibiting at this event along with graphic designer Jenny Putnam (of J. Putnam Design), and between the two of us we can answer your questions about your book project.

This annual event is free, open to the public, and organized by Pear Tree Publishing. In addition to the opportunity to buy books in every genre (and who doesn’t love that?), it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet many local and regional authors, illustrators and publishing professionals in a relaxed setting with a beautiful waterfront view. Hope to see you there!

How to Write a Book that Boosts Your Business: Upcoming Presentation in Newburyport, MA

Newburyport smallOne of the best ways to showcase your expertise and boost your professional credibility is to share your ideas in a book. Whether you’re already writing a blog, people keep telling you that “you should write a book,” or you’re just curious about how to get started, a presentation I’m giving on April 6 in Newburyport, MA, will give you a quick introduction to why and how you can write a book that boosts your business.

I’ll be speaking to the next meeting of Port City Women in Newburyport, MA, on Monday, April 6, 2015, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at The Port Tavern, 84 State Street, Newburyport. The meeting fee is $5; dinner and drinks may be ordered on your own. For more information about Port City Women, visit: City Women logo

Drawing on examples from my work with book clients, I will cover:

  • The best reasons to write a book (and best reasons not to),
  • How to get started on your own book, and
  • How to choose the publishing path that makes sense for your book and your business.

If you plan to attend and would like to email me questions in advance (, I’ll try to work those into the presentation as time allows. And if you can’t attend but are interested in having me speak to a business networking or other group you belong to, please let me know! I’ll hope to see you in Newburyport!

What Can Publishing A Book Do For You?

People write books for many reasons. Most of my clients have written books because they have a story to tell, and expertise to share. Some clients also intend their books to serve as “calling cards” for their business, while still providing valuable information for readers. Debby Irving’s Waking Up White (Elephant Room Press, 2014) is one such book – and the process of writing and publishing that book has created opportunities for her that neither of us anticipated when I worked with her back in the book’s developmental stages.

What Can Publishing A Book Do For You?Working now as a racial justice educator and writer, Debby used a recent blog post to chronicle “a series of unexpected invitations” that have resulted from her book. She has had speaking engagements, including being a keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the New England chapter of the NAACP. She went through the college course again that originally “woke her up” – but this time as a professor. She collaborated on the creation of a workshop presented at two national conferences, co-wrote a play that will premiere next month, and was invited to join a team writing a screenplay for a film. If you’d like to learn more about Debby’s work or know an organization that might be interested in using her book as a conversation-starter, please visit her site for more information.

Where could your book take you? If you’d like to develop a book that could spark a series of unexpected invitations and adventures for you and your business, please contact me at – I’d love to help!

Muse 2014 Is Here!

Muse 2014 Is Here!Grub Street’s “Muse and the Marketplace” conference (#Muse14) begins Friday morning, May 2, in Boston, and I’ll be there bright and early!

Look for updates from the event all weekend here on the blog, on Twitter (@katebluepencil) and on Facebook. Stop by the Blue Pencil Consulting table near the registration desk, or say hello during the workshops or mix & mingle times. I’ll look forward to meeting you!

Manuscript Formatting Tips from a Book Designer to Make Production Go Smoothly

You’ve expended great effort on your manuscript, working on your own and perhaps with an editor to create great content and address such essentials as readability, clarity, style, and correct grammar and punctuation. When this is done, it’s time for the manuscript to go to the graphic design professional who will turn your text into a well-designed book ready for print and/or e-publishing.

Formatting TipsWhether you have a book contract with a publisher or you are self-publishing, you as the author have a part to play in helping the book formatting and production process go smoothly. I recently had the pleasure of having coffee with book designer and graphics professional Jenny Putnam (, who shared 8 quick tips on how to prepare your manuscript for formatting. (My comments in italics.)

1. Your manuscript should be letter-sized (8.5×11), double-spaced text with page numbers and consistent page margins all the way through. (Sounds obvious, but if you’re not working with an editor who’s already adjusted a single-spaced manuscript with too-wide or too-narrow margins to a “standard” format for editing, take note!)

2. Establish a consistent hierarchy of headlines and indicate within brackets. For example, if you have an A-level headline and B-level subheadings, you’d indicate the first by typing: [A Head]This is an A Head[end A Head]. Use the same bracketing technique to indicate captions, callouts and sidebars. (Ask your book designer for his or her preference on how to indicate these, and then follow those instructions.)

3. If your book has illustrations (including photos and charts), indicate where these go using brackets and image number, for example, [insert image 128 here]. (You may have included these images in your manuscript as a visual cue for yourself as you wrote the book, but it’s better to number each of your illustrations, indicating the proper insertion point in the text, and supply the illustrations as separate files.)

4. Do not format the text other than to indicate bold and italics, and be sure that both are used consistently throughout the manuscript. Leave a single space at the end of sentences (not two spaces, as those of us who learned touch-typing back in the day were taught) and after colons and semi-colons. (Yes, it’s fun to play with fonts and type sizes as you envision what your finished book might look like, but your book designer can work most efficiently with a manuscript that’s minimally formatted.)

For the rest of the tips, please contact Jenny Putnam for her helpful 2-page PDF on “How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Formatting” ( By supplying your book designer with a “clean” manuscript (no extraneous formatting) and clear and consistent instructions for how you want text and images to appear, you’ll reduce the time it takes to format and produce your book and you’ll ensure a high-quality finished product.

Blue Pencil Consulting Interviewed on “MYOB” on UR Business Network

MYOBThis week I was interviewed for the “MYOB — Mind Your Own Business” program on the UR Business Network. The show was a conversation with host Rick Brutti and co-host Lindsay Poole about book writing and book publishing.

We covered a variety of topics in a short time, ranging from the importance of book proposals and the need for authors to be creative about book promotion, to my own little-known background in radio broadcasting and why I use the term “book therapy” to describe part of what I do when I work with clients on their book projects.

The 20-minute podcast is here if you’d like to take a listen:

Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below!