PublishHER Podcast Episode 95: Which route to publishing is right for you? with Carol Saller

PublishHER Podcast Episode 95: Which route to publishing is right for you? with Carol Saller

Are you a good candidate for self-publishing or should you consider traditional or hybrid? Carol Saller gives her advice on the different routes to publishing, tips for self-publishing, tips for submitting to an agent, and more.

Just when Carol Saller thought her publishing journey had reached a dead end, she stumbled upon the unexpected twist that would change everything. But what she discovered about self-publishing will surprise you. Are you ready to hear her story?

If you're in a hurry to get your book out, self-publishing allows you to move ahead and take control. – Carol Saller

When considering self-publishing, it's important to understand the various types of writers who may benefit from this route.

About Carol Saller:

Carol Saller’s books include The Subversive Copy Editor and several books for children. A career copyeditor at the University of Chicago Press, she now serves as contributing editor to The Chicago Manual of Style and writes for the manual’s Shop Talk blog. In the past, she was a senior editor of children’s books for Front Street/Cricket Books.

To help writers understand the writer-editor relationship and prepare their manuscripts for submission, Carol has given keynotes, sessions, and workshops at national, regional, and local conferences, serving as faculty at Novelists, Inc., Midwest Writers Workshop, and the Willamette Writers Conference. She guest lectures for the University of Chicago Graham School’s publishing program and has appeared on Chicago’s PBS news program Chicago Tonight as well as at writers' events, bookstores, panels, webinars, and workshops on writing, editing, and publishing.

Carol’s young adult historical novel Eddie’s War was named a Best Book of the Year by Bankstreet and Kirkus Reviews, and a Best of the Best Fiction for Teens by the Chicago Public Library. Her picture book The Bridge Dancers received the Carl Sandburg Award for Children’s Literature. George Washington Carver was a NCSS/CBC Notable, and Pug, Slug, and Doug the Thug was a main feature on PBS Storytime television. Now in its second edition, The Subversive Copy Editor was Publishers Weekly Online’s starred “Pick of the Week.”

In this episode, you will learn to:

  • Uncover the advantages and drawbacks of self-publishing compared to traditional publishing.
  • Emphasize the significance of quality, copy-editing, and book design in the realm of self-publishing.
  • Grasp essential marketing expertise for self-publishing and grammatical knowledge needed for traditional publishing.
  • Recognize the importance of adhering to submission guidelines and the role of copy editors.
  • Discover the valuable insights within The Chicago Manual of Style on writing and style.


Preparing a Manuscript

A crucial element of both traditional and self-publishing is creating a polished, professional manuscript. This involves careful editing, proofreading, formatting, and ensuring that the work adheres to the chosen style guide. The author should also research the submission guidelines for the target publisher or platform to ensure their manuscript complies with those standards. By taking the time to properly prepare the manuscript, writers increase the chances that their work will be well-received and taken seriously by publishers or readers. During her conversation with Alexa Bigwarfe, Carol Saller discusses the importance of a good copy editor in improving the readability and consistency of a manuscript. She points out that copy editors can also provide formatting services upon request, ultimately helping the author prepare their work for submission. Carol further emphasizes the significance of following the recipient's guidelines when submitting, as failure to do so can result in a negative impression. She also suggests having others read the manuscript prior to submission to ensure it is polished and consistent with the chosen style.

Key Takeaways

  • Examine the key differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing in terms of benefits and limitations.
  • Recognize the crucial role of quality, copy-editing, and appealing book design in successful self-publishing.
  • Develop essential marketing and grammatical skills to conquer both the self-publishing and traditional publishing worlds.
  • Explore the value of following submission guidelines and utilizing the skills of copy editors.

Memorable Moments:

00:04:08 – Five Categories of Writers for Self-Publishing,
Carol Saller discusses the five types of writers who are good candidates for self-publishing: celebrities/social media stars, business owners, writers of genre fiction, writers who want to print a book for personal reasons, and writers who are in a hurry.

00:09:45 – Factors to Consider,
Carol Saller mentions additional factors that should be considered when deciding between traditional and self-publishing, such as the need for tech support, desire for cachet, and the difficulty of marketing quiet literary fiction.

00:17:34 – Formatting in Manuscripts,
Copy editors often offer formatting services or as an add-on service. Manuscripts require proper formatting to easily convert into the coded product. It is important to ask if a copy editor includes formatting and negotiate this service.

00:20:05 – Mistakes in Manuscript Preparation,
Not researching the recipient's guidelines is a big mistake. It shows a lack of respect and professionalism. Always follow formatting conventions, such as double spacing, page numbers, and using a standard font. Have your work read and edited by others for consistency and readability.


PublishHER Podcast Episode 94: – Why Authors Should Know About this Organization!

PublishHER Podcast Episode 94: – Why Authors Should Know About this Organization! is a nonprofit, online retail store that sells books – donating profits back to book retailers across the United States.

As an indie author, do you want to support your local bookstores but feel confused about's mission? Have you heard the myths that takes away sales from indie bookstores, only supports bestselling authors, and charges high fees? Don't worry – I'm here to set the record straight and share the truth about how is actually benefiting indie authors and bookstores.

When we support the independent bookstores, we support the independent publishers, we support the independent authors. It all boils down into us helping each other. – Elle McKenzie

Just when I thought I had found the perfect ethical alternative to Amazon, I discovered a surprising twist in the story. Listen in as I uncover the unexpected truth behind's mission to support independent bookstores and authors. You won't want to miss this shocking revelation.


In this episode, you will learn to:

  • Understand's inspiring objective of uplifting independent bookstores and authors.
  • Dive into the rewards of's affiliate program for both authors and publishers.
  • Acquire tactics for featuring your book on to boost its exposure.
  • Keep yourself informed on's game-changing plans for a free shipping and ebook platform.
  • Appreciate the essential role of fostering diversity in book choices on


Benefits of Supporting offers a unique opportunity for indie authors and book lovers who want to support local bookstores. This platform allows customers to purchase books online, with the majority of the profits going back to independent bookstores. This not only helps maintain the survival of small bookstores, but also provides authors with exposure through the platform's Bestsellers lists and regular newsletters. gives 80% of its profits back to independent bookstores, ensuring that they thrive in the online market. Plus. the affiliate program allows authors to earn a 10% commission on book sales through their unique affiliate links.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand's inspiring objective of uplifting independent bookstores and authors.
  • Dive into the rewards of's affiliate program for both authors and publishers.
  • Acquire tactics for featuring your book on to boost its exposure.
  • Keep yourself informed on's game-changing plans for a free shipping and ebook platform.
  • Appreciate the essential role of fostering diversity in book choices on

Memorable Moments:

00:14:06 – Making Books More Visible on,
Authors can promote their books on by reaching out to booksellers and mentioning that their books are available there. Curated book lists can be created to get more exposure to readers.

00:23:27 –'s Bestseller List,
The sales and advertising team selects the bestseller books based on certain parameters. A book does not have to be a bestseller to be on the bestseller list.

00:26:08 – Getting on Bookshop's Lists,
After signing up for Bookshop's affiliate program, authors can submit lists for consideration to be displayed on the homepage. These lists can be anything, from recommended reading to holiday selections.

00:33:48 – Supporting Local Bookstores,
Bookshop is a tool for authors to offer their readers an alternative to Amazon and support local bookstores. The program gives 80% of book sale profits to local retailers, and affiliates can use their links to promote not only their own books, but others in their community as well.

PublishHER Podcast Episode 93: Republishing a Children’s Book with Antoinette Martin

PublishHER Podcast Episode 93: Republishing a Children’s Book with Antoinette Martin

Antoinette Truglio Martin is a seasoned author of children's picture books and middle grade books. She made the decision to republish a beloved picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup, an adorable, beautifully illustrated book about independence and resilience, which re-published with a new publisher on May 9, 2023. As a multi-published author, Antoinette has a lot of great advice for authors about the process of working with several different types of presses, both hybrid and traditional, and great marketing strategies that have worked for her.

After spending decades in the children's book industry, Antoinette Truglio Martin thought she had seen it all – until she took the unexpected step of re-publishing her own book with updated illustrations and found out just how powerful connecting with her readers could be. Now, her groundbreaking journey is inspiring countless other authors to share their stories. What other surprises might this author extraordinaire have in store?

Watch how children play, see what they're doing, and write stories that will resonate with them. – Antoinette Truglio Martin

This is  Antoinette Martin's story:

Antoinette Truglio Martin, an award-winning children's book author and teacher, knows firsthand the importance of building connections and relationships for successful book marketing. With her recent book, Famous Seaweed Soup, she took matters into her own hands and re-published it with updated illustrations to better fit the modern world. From radio interviews to school visits, Antoinette has been proactive in her marketing approach, seeking opportunities to engage with people and create lasting impressions of her work.


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Excel in marketing children's books by navigating school and library networks.
  • Foster strong relationships to ensure successful book marketing efforts.
  • Harness the power of social media platforms for captivating book promotion.
  • Triumph over self-doubt and persist on the marketing journey.
  • Master the art of writing authentically for children while preserving their sense of wonder.
  • Persist through challenges and tap into expert guidance for triumphant public relations outcomes.


The Importance of Making Connections

Building relationships is an essential part of successfully marketing a children's book. Connecting with people in schools, libraries, and cultural events helps establish rapport and trust, which can ultimately lead to increased exposure and sales for the book. Networking with key players in your target market, such as the PTA or school librarians, can expand your reach and audience. Forming connections with educators, librarians, and fellow authors enhance your credibility and will showcase your book in various spheres of influence. For Antoinette, using her career as an art and education teacher helped her to engage with schools and classrooms for workshops and presentations. By establishing connections with school personnel, she creates a supportive platform that helps her introduce her children's book to teachers and students alike.

Key Takeaways

  • Start a blog to establish your voice and share news, events, and updates related to your book.
  • Use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to promote your book.
  • Reach out to local schools, libraries, and bookstores to schedule author visits, workshops, and presentations.
  • Join local writer's groups and attend events to network with other authors and industry professionals.
  • Submit your manuscript to publishers, querying their interest in your book.
  • Consider hybrid publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing.
  • Develop lesson plans or activities related to your book for teachers to use in the classroom.
  • Market your book to homeschooling moms, preschool groups, and other educational organizations.
  • Use Goodreads and other social networking platforms for readers to expand your reach.
  • Reach out to local media outlets, such as newspapers and radio stations, for interviews and promotional opportunities.

Memorable Moments:

00:02:23 – Antoinette's publishing journey,
Antoinette talks about her initial struggles and how it took about five years to publish her book. She also talks about how authors had no say in how the book would look or illustrations used.

00:20:59 – Local Marketing Strategies,
Antoinette discusses post-launch marketing strategies such as reaching out to local gift shops, schools and museums for gigs. She emphasizes the importance of using social media to expand your reach beyond the local community.

00:22:14 – Benefits of the Children's Book Review Tour,
Antoinette shares her positive experience with the Children's Book Review Tour, where she was able to engage with a community of reviewers and promote her book through giveaways. It helped her reach new audiences and increase visibility for her book.

PublishHER Podcast Episode 92: Free publicity & PR tips for authors that work with Liz Kelly

PublishHER Podcast Episode 92: Free publicity & PR tips for authors that work with Liz Kelly

Liz Kelly is a publicist who loves helping authors find their WOW message and boil it down to the key and most exciting elements to garner the attention of media looking to feature you! Join us for some great tips on finding media coverage to promote your book.

Join Liz Kelly as she reveals how to master the art of PR and secure free publicity, including the ironic story of how she failed second grade but gained the gumption to pitch national media and book clients on top shows in just five minutes.

The secret is you want to use the power of threes and use things like emphasis statements. Just keep it simple and put that emphasis statement on there. – Liz Kelly

This is  Liz Kelly's story:

From failing second grade to becoming a renowned PR expert, Liz Kelly's journey has been anything but ordinary. Her unwavering determination was first tested when she fearlessly confronted her school principal about her missing report cards. This early gumption laid the foundation for her future success, as she later transitioned from the corporate world to the realm of public relations. Liz's passion for storytelling and helping others led her to write “Eight Second PR,” a book that empowers authors to capture media attention by crafting their own “Wow Story.”


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Develop a captivating ‘Wow Story' that commands media attention.
  • Hone your skills to pitch like a pro and secure valuable guests and book features.
  • Discover the advantages of targeting niche podcasts for increased book sales and audience engagement.
  • Uncover the worth of traditional media in securing free publicity and audience growth.
  • Persist through challenges and tap into expert guidance for triumphant public relations outcomes.


Pitching to the Media

When attempting to reach media houses, it is crucial for authors to ensure the pitch is perfect, the timing is right, and the book is tailored for the targeted audience. This increases the chances of landing interviews and coverage. Alongside a compelling pitch, you should present yourself professionally and consider media training before appearing live in any format. In the podcast, Kelly shares a remarkable example of how a persistent and well-prepared pitch over eight months culminated in a CNN booking in under five minutes. She encourages authors to practice and persevere, emphasizing that persistence is key in capturing media attention. Being prepared with a perfect pitch, an attractive book, and the right timing can take authors a long way in earning media interest.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider doing your own PR with the help of the tips in Eight Second PR
  • Practice your sound bites and key points for media interviews, especially for TV appearances
  • Reach out to podcasts to reach your niche audience
  • Use emphasis statements and the power of threes to make your story stand out
  • Don't give up – keep trying and pitching until you get a yes from the media.

Memorable Moments:

00:06:33 – Developing a Wow Story,
Liz shares how authors can develop a wow story by making their story different from everyone else's. She provides examples of clients with powerful wow stories and discusses the importance of finding the perfect pitch at the perfect time with the perfect book.

00:17:55 – Using Podcasts for Publicity,
Liz discusses how podcasts can be advantageous for authors by providing more time to tell their stories, practice sound bites and reach a niche audience.

00:19:05 – How to Get $50,000 in Free Publicity,
Liz shares how a client who used her book, Eight Second PR, got $50,000 in publicity value from just one TV interview by having an engaging story, making it easy for the media, and promoting a helpful message to their audience.

00:21:27 – Finding Reporters on Social Media,
Liz suggests researching reporters on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram to find contacts and pitch your story to them.

PublishHER Podcast Episode 91: Book Blurb Magic with Jessie Cunniffe

PublishHER Podcast Episode 91: Book Blurb Magic with Jessie Cunniffe

Jessie Cunniffe is a professional blurb-writer and book blurb coach from Sydney, Australia, and she's passionate about demystifying blurbs for self-publishing authors so they can take charge of their book description and sales! She offers an affordable DIY course, Book Blurb Magic, as well as 1:1 blurb critique and custom blurb writing services. 

With a knack for uncovering hidden truths, Jessie Cunniffe made an unexpected discovery – the true power behind captivating book blurbs isn't the plot, but the characters' emotions and unique circumstances. Join us as Alexa talks to Jessie about her journey to unlock the secrets of blurb writing and empower authors to craft irresistibly engaging back cover descriptions. What will she uncover next?

I always try to find the essence, the key message of the book, and actually frame the entire blurb around that. – Jessie Cunniffe

This is Jessie Cunniffe's story:

Determined to make a difference in the world of book marketing, Jessie Cunniffe embarked on a mission to unlock the secrets of writing tantalizing blurbs. Through tireless research and careful examination, Jessie found that the key to a successful blurb lay not in the story's plot, but in the emotional connection between the characters and their unique circumstances. Armed with this newfound knowledge, Jessie developed a formula to help authors perfect their blurbs, capturing the hearts and minds of their readers. Now, Jessie shares her passion for blurb writing, empowering authors to create impactful back cover descriptions that resonate with their audience and propel them on a journey they'll never forget.


After this episode, you will be able to:

  • Uncover the crucial role of book blurbs in successful marketing campaigns.
  • Conjure captivating blurbs for novels, memoirs, and reference books alike.
  • Master techniques for drafting compelling, thumb-stopping book blurbs.
  • Identify usual missteps authors might commit when writing their book blurbs.
  • Capitalize on social media channels to bolster book promotion and foster networking.


The Three-Paragraph Structure

 A well-structured blurb is crucial for maintaining your reader's interest, and a common approach is the three-paragraph structure. The first paragraph sets the context and introduces the characters, the second paragraph delves deeper into the character development and conflict, and the third paragraph raises the stakes, creating a sense of urgency for the reader. This structure allows for a concise and engaging blurb that maintains momentum and draws the reader into the story. Each paragraph plays an important role in context, character development, and raising the stakes. 

Key Takeaways

  • Start with a hook: Write a single sentence or two that captures the crux of your book and its main conflict.
  • Use third-person POV: Most book blurbs are written in third person, which is easier to convey your story.
  • Focus on emotion and characters: The driving force of your blurb should be the unique emotions and circumstances your characters are experiencing.
  • Establish the character's greatest challenge: Begin the blurb by setting up the theme or challenge that has followed your character throughout their life.
  • Create a satisfying narrative arc within the blurb: Provide a beginning, middle, and end that differs from the actual book's narrative to avoid spoilers and keep readers engaged.

Memorable Moments:

00:03:09 – Why are blurbs difficult to write?,
Jessie shares that many authors struggle with writing blurbs because they approach it as condensing the plot of their book. She emphasizes that the emotion, unique characters, and circumstances that they face are what truly drive a book blurb.

00:09:34 – How to write a book blurb,
Jessie explains that the starting point of a book blurb is to find the essence or critical character flaw of the main character. She also advises writers to find a narrative arc within the blurb that is satisfying without giving away spoilers. Jessie provides a free cheat sheet on that outlines the pieces of the puzzle needed for a book blurb. 

Learn more at:

Check out Book Blurb Magic course!

Check out her Book Blurb audit program!

Want a custom written book blurb? Check that out here.

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