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Publishing University 2016

The Florida Authors and Publishers Association ( held their Spring Conference: Publishing University 2016 in Orlando. I had the pleasure of traveling with my business partner, Patti Brassard Jefferson (owner of and Jacobs Writing Consultants client, Angelina Assanti (author of the Lottery Heiress series and Thank God I Got Cancer – available at PJ Boox) to the event.

The ride up is a story in itself. Angelina shared with Patti and me story after story, after story, after story. There were times I thought Patti is going crash the car from laughing so hard and so much. It was like having a teenager in the car with the non-stop chatting, just minus all the teenage slang words. No offense, Angelina, Patti and I still adore you.

The conference began with Patricia Charpentier ( and her presentation on Electronic Editing. She shared with the group of 30 participants how to make editing software work for you rather than against you. Simply using Spellcheck on Microsoft Word does not ensure your manuscript is polished and ready for print. Her presentation was hands on with examples from various software packages that don’t replace the traditional editor, but certainly enhance the credibility of the writer. I look forward to experimenting with a few of these.

One of the most important aspects in the world of publishing is your return on investment. How many copies of your book do you need to sell in order to break even and better yet earn a profit? Mark Wayne Adams ( offered his experience with Financial Management 101. He conveyed the importance of tracking your sales, whole sale versus retail, including printing costs, shipping costs, and your time. You need to know your budget, have a marketing plan, and always make even a little profit on each book sold. Mark gave the group his Sales Calculation Sheet and Return on Investment Sheet and walked everyone through a few examples. It was interesting to learn how each sale is all about growing your business.

Next were the nuts and bolts of how a book is put together. For most writers, we write our book then send the file to the printer and a week or two later we have nicely bound books to sell to our audience. If you’re ever curious of exactly how a book is put together, from the ink on the page, to the binding, to the machines that do the work, Cheyenne Knopf ( of Online Binding was at the conference to give us a close-up of the book production process. Cheyenne gave an excellent and interesting presentation on how her printing facility binds books. Using terms like “wire options, dust cover, foil stamping, ink bleeding” may have left some of us a little lost, but we were all a bit more educated for the next time we are querying for printing quotes. Her tip of the day was to stay clear of any printer advertising “fast and speedy.”

The last part of the conference was a Q&A panel about marketing. Terri Gerrell (, Diane Harper (, and Jane Wood ( offered their sound advice on the “do’s and don’ts” of marketing your book. The number one rule – begin marketing your book long before you even finish writing it! The more of a following you can build prior to the release of your book, the more sales and a larger impact on social media you will have. We are looking forward to hearing about YOUR book now!

On the way home, Patti, Angelina, and I stopped at Andy’s Igloo, a diner founded in 1951. Although the place had a line out the door waiting for seating, we were seated in less than five minutes. It was a family place where the locals knew the waitresses and waved and said hello to people in the booth next to them. The three of us enjoyed cheeseburgers and fries and said we would definitely stop in again next time we come through their neck of the woods.

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