Salute to Small Business

November is also National Entrepreneur Month and in this post I’d like to celebrate all the self-published authors, small independent publishers and presses that make up the indie book scene. We are the little engines that could. This Saturday is Small Business Saturday and if you have a book that you would like to promote this week, I open this blog up for you to pitch your book. In the comments, tell me your name, title of your book and give a link to where we can purchase your book. I ask that everyone who reads this blog today would consider purchasing a book from a self published author or independent publisher this weekend.

I have two books that are both available online.

I Believe              I Wish for Snow Cover

Every book comes signed by the author.

Thank you for your support of me and the other authors who post their links.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin


You Are What You Read

images-1In the same way the food you eat literally builds and shapes your body, the books you read shape your mind. What you read, forms the basis for your beliefs, and serves as your base of knowledge. Books color the way you view the world and how you interact with people. Words have power when spoken but they have just as much power when read. Did you know that the type of books you like to read says more about you than the clothes you wear?  One of the tools that FBI agents use to learn about the mind of a serial killer is to review the list of books they have checked out from the library.

What have you been reading? I challenge you to take a look at what you like to read? List the top five genres that you read regularly in order of importance to you. Then ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is it about the number one genre that I like the most?
  2. Do I primarily read for information or entertainment?
  3. If you could not complete the list because you only read one or two types of books, what don’t you like about other genres?

They say self-examination is good for the soul. However, the answer to these questions will lead you to some important insights as to the type of person you are becoming. For example, If you only read nonfiction/self-help books and you primarily read for information, you are most likely looking for a solution.  I know people who don’t like reading newspapers or magazines because bad news and current events depress them. There are other people who have to read dry academic writing for work and so when they sit down to read for pleasure, they only read fiction, because they need to escape.

If you want to be a well-rounded individual and writer, you should read a balanced mixture of fiction and non-fiction and several genres.  I tend to lean toward non-fiction, so I on occasion will make myself read fiction. I’ve also recently tried my hand at writing my first novel, just to prove to myself that I can write fiction. I prefer a good mystery, but have challenged myself to read a sappy love story. Sometimes I’ll ease into a genre that I’m not as familiar with by reading what I call a hybrid genre. I’d rate Science Fiction as last on my list, but a Sci Fi Whodunit might grab my attention.

Next time you reach for a book consider that maybe it is not you that chooses the book but maybe the book has chosen you.  There are times when I’ll find a book at the precise time I need to read it. Then there are books that I’ve bought and could not read them until years later. But when I did, I found I was in a place to receive the information, whereas I may not have been when I bought it.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin


Self-Publishing: Working with Bookstores

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

Every author wants to see their book in a bookstore.  The pinnacle is to have your books available at major chains all over the country.  There are a few things you, as a self published author will have to consider before you print your books if you want them to be picked up by bookstores.

  • You’ll need to purchase an ISBN from Bowker that identifies your book.
  • You’ll need a bar code with the price of your book on the back for easy scanning
  • If you’d like to be in the library as well, you’ll need to register with the Library of Congress and get an LCCN.
  • Your book must have a spine wide enough to hold the title of your book and your last name.
  • You’ll need to need to have your title listed with a major book distributor.

That’s a lot to do just to get your book where people can purchase it. But it’s necessary if you are going to compete with a traditional publisher. The internet levels the playing field a little. You can list your titles online easily through and other online bookstores.

I met an author said, she called bookstores in cities where she knew people and asked for her title. She would then send her friends and family to the store to ask for the title. Eventually, they would call her to purchase the book because so many people were coming in looking for it.

My motto is always be creative. If you can foster a relationship with a local bookstore then by all means do so. Take advantage of local author days and other programs designed for local self-published authors.

If you have an agent, you may also ask them to shop your self-published book to traditional publishers. They may be interested in doing a second printing or possibly buying your next book.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

Why Write

English: penulis = writer

I began this conversation on my Facebook fan page this weekend. I asked, “Would you continue to write, even if you never publish?” We are always talking about publishing. It’s now easier than ever to self-publish and so that is no longer the big obstacle it used to be.  However, I wonder if people are so focused on publishing that they are losing the why of it all.

There are only a few reasons to sit down and write. If Fiction is your thing, it’s the thrill of plotting the perfect story. If Non-Fiction, it’s about sharing information. At the end of the day a writer writes because he or she must. There is a deep desire to tell the tale or relay the message to the masses. My question to you is, “What happens if the masses never read a single word?”

A few years ago, I shut Azreal Publishing down and contemplated giving up on being in the publishing business. After a year and half, I decided to rebuild and give a second try. Through it all I never stopped writing. As a result I have books waiting to be published. I have several other book ideas in various stages of development. A writer must write.

When you’re wondering, why you continue to sit down day after day and write keep the following thoughts in mind:

  • Writing benefits the writer as much as the reader
  • Readers want new books to read
  • Books are not the only things you can write
  • Experimenting with different genres makes you a better writer

Hope that you find that the act of manipulating words is enough for you. That yo u never lose focus of your why and the reason you write. Keep producing quality works and in time your audience will find you.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D. P. McLaughlin

Book Yourself Solid

In last week’s post I talked about how as a self published author, you can’t just write the book and release it. You’re also responsible for selling it. That means marketing, promotions, appearances, and yes, carrying your books with you where ever you go.  You want to make sure you are attending a book fair, or some type of community event every month. You can even create your own event, whenever you release a new title.

When I was working full-time for someone else, I had to pass on a lot of opportunities. But now that I’m self-employed, I’ve devised a plan to book myself somewhere every month. The year is broken down into seasons and your marketing  should reflect that. For example, August is the end of summer and it’s time to go back to school. I’m sure if you look around your community, you’ll find several back to school events that you can attend. You can go as a vendor, a speaker, or both. With a little planning you can book yourself solid for the whole year.

  • Do a Google search of book fairs and annual festivals
  • Check your local newspaper for events
  • Take advantage of local cultural events
  • Plan a book tour for a new release
  • Speak at schools
  • Create online seminars
  • Host writer’s workshops

The only limit to the type of events you can attend is your imagination. Attending events can be done fairly cheaply. You’ll have a captive audience to share your books with. As well as the opportunity to network and sell books.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D. P. McLaughlin


Self-Publishing: Finding the Money

In case you were wondering, the life of a self published author is not bed of roses. Yes, its great to be able to publish a book whenever you want. But it can be challenging to find the money to publish. I’m currently preparing to release my next title, 7 Years, 3 Schools and 4 Majors Later. This is a book that I wrote back in 2006 that has been on the shelf all this time due to lack of funds. I shopped the idea around, and got lots of positive feedback, but no one wanted to publish it. So once again, I began the process of raising the funds to publish it myself.

When you already have books, the answer is obvious, sell those books and use the proceeds to publish the next book. However, if this is your first book or your previous book is not selling well, you have to be a little more creative in finding the money.

Here a few things I’ve begun to do in order to fund my current project.

  1. Offer my talents as a freelance writer. Writing books for others pays the bills and helps me keep my writing skills sharp.
  2. Write a weekly blog. My blog has helped me meet new readers all over the country and gives me a chance to introduce them to my books.
  3. Do a pre-publication sale. As we get closer to the release date you’ll hear more about how a pre-publication sale works.

A new feature as of this month, is a link in the top right hand corner of this page that leads to my store front where you can purchase my books online. I thank you in advance for checking them out.

I Wish for Snow Cover

I Believe





Until Next Time,

Nicole D.P. McLaughlin

The Perfect Query

Icon apps query

The word query means question or to ask a question of someone about something. When it comes to writing query letters to editors, agents, or publishers, you’ll do well to keep this simple definition in mind. The question that you, the writer, wants answered is, “While you accept my work?”  This is a valid question. In order to craft the perfect query letter,you must also answer the major question that your reader will have, “Why should I accept your work?”  A good query letter has to do a few things, very well. They are:

  • Introduce yourself and your book
  • Pitch the concept or idea of your book
  • Elicit a favorable response from the reader

You can break your query down into three sections; the introduction, the pitch, and the call. Let’s examine each section and outline what information should be found in each.


This is the opening paragraph in which you state your name and give the agent a little information about yourself. Share with them any experience you have that would make you the ideal person to write the book that you are proposing . Also let them know why you have chosen them to represent you and your book.

Sales Pitch

During the pitch, you’ll give a brief synopsis of the book. Tell them the intended audience for the book. Also share any plans you have for marketing the book. I call it a sales pitch because you have to sell him or her not only on the ideas in the book, but also on you as an author. After reading this part the agent should feel confident that you are the perfect person to write this book and that a publisher will want to buy it.

Call to Action

Any thing you write will get a response from the reader. Sometimes it’s good and other times it’s bad. When it comes to the perfect query you want  the response to be positive. The agent should want to respond right away. End your query with a short call to action. Give them the next step in how to reach you and close the deal.

Until Next Time,

Nicole D. P. McLaughlin