Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reporter Connection Launches

We’ve been using HARO, Help a Reporter Out, for quite some time now. Three times a day, I get an email with a list of requests from reporters looking for sources, segment producers looking for guests, bloggers looking for products to review, etc. I scroll through the list to see if any of our authors are experts in subjects that match up with a request. If so, I send the HARO contact an email with more information on our author and his or her book. It’s led to some good coverage for books such as Flying Drunk, Surviving Military Separation, and The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine in newspapers and on radio stations, websites, and blogs.

Bradley Communications, who we turn to for lots of book marketing and publicity help, recently started a service called Reporter Connection. It’s in BETA now and I receive one email a day with a similar list of reporter requests for sources. That might increase to three emails a day as the program grows. So far the only differences I’ve noticed between HARO and Reporter Connection are:

  • With HARO you send an email directly to the people who make the request (sometimes with a blind email address, like Craigslist uses). Reporter Connection uses an online contact form where you submit answers to general questions in a few different fields.
  • The user interface for Reporter Connection seems better, easier to read but still basic enough to scroll through the requests quickly.

Will keep you posted as I compare the two.

Happy New Year to All!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

If Alton Brown Can Make a Book Trailer in His Own Home . . .

. . . So Can You!

For those of you who aren’t “foodies” Alton Brown is the host of the successful show Good Eats on The Food Network, as well as the author of food and cookbooks.

His new book, Good Eats: The Early Years, came out this year. Watch the book trailer that is prominent on the publisher’s website and on You Tube.

It’s a different style than the book trailers that we normally produce. Ours usually have voiceover and music coupled with photos, video, and text. For authors who don’t know how to create this type of book trailer on their own (or don’t know somebody who can), try this Alton Brown model instead. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • Script – write and rehearse your script (note how the last half of the trailer is a huge plug for the book, what it includes, and why you should buy it, complete with repetition of the title and where you can find it)
  • Shot on location – from your very own home (use a library bookshelf as a background for a scholarly work)
  • Cameraman – a video camera, tripod, and swivel and you are set
  • Actors – there is one author on camera the whole time - you just need yourself!

You can produce your own book trailer. Tuna man optional.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Savas Beatie (Sarah, Veronica, Alex, Kim, and Ted). Here's a short video of our company Christmas party, for your viewing pleasure. =)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Some "helpful" advice

This article from The New Yorker is a couple months old, but I received it from a second family member the other day, and I thought it was too good not to post.

I would like to think that Richard Lowry's sound advice below, coupled with the help we give our authors, resonates better than this intern's email.

Funny, just the same.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Success in the publishing world

Please excuse such a lengthy absence on my part. Richard S. Lowry, author of our Spring 2010 release New Dawn, wrote the article below for the Savas Beatie Author News, a monthly newsletter we send to our authors with ideas, tips, and suggestions. I think it is relevant here as well, and I am posting it as a guest blog post.


Success in the publishing world requires 10% writing and 90% marketing skills. Don’t get me wrong, authors need to produce the best possible book they can write: that 10% is extremely important. Unfortunately, many very good books languish on the bookshelves and never achieve literary success.

Authors are usually introverts—observers of the world around them. They are precisely the wrong personality type to market their work. To be successful, we need to climb out of our shell and shout to the world that our work must be read. Today, we have all the tools we need at our fingertips. We can actually shout from inside our cocoon. Today, we have the internet.

In today’s internet jargon, we must do everything we can to take our message ‘viral.’ We can use the internet to acquire needed exposure in ways never possible before. I have built my own website at and I am constantly adding to my blogsite at Before I started my own blog, I befriended an administrator of a successful blog (web log – say it fast three times) He was eager to have my writing support as it added content to his site and I was happy in that I did not have to administer my own site. It was a way to get my feet wet in the ‘blogosphere.’

In addition, I became proficient enough to start my own facebook page at and my own Twitter site too It is surprisingly easy to start these pages. My only advice is to start small and add posts, followers/friends, and content as you become more familiar with the media. And, be careful to not put too much personal info out to the entire world.

Here is one more useful tool. The Google Alert is very powerful. You can sign up with Google and they will send you an email anytime any of your selected words/phrases are used on the internet. Best of all—it’s free. I use terms like USMC and Fallujah. When you receive an alert, it will direct you to the original post, where you can learn more about the subject, find websites devoted to your subject matter, and even post a comment to help gain even more exposure.

Lastly, I want to give you a place to write and gain exposure that requires little to no internet experience. I recently became a writer for Check out my articles at I can help you and you can help me. Please visit my posts, comment and subscribe. This will help me expand my exposure on and if you contact me through Savas Beatie, I can submit your name for consideration as one of their reporters.

If you have any questions, or need any assistance, please feel free to contact me through Ted Savas or Sarah. Next time I will talk about going out in public.

- Richard S. Lowry, author of New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah,

Friday, October 23, 2009

Game Time

It’s Friday, so I thought I’d make this post a little more fun. Match the four quotes below to the people who said them.

1. “A book is 10% writing and 90% marketing.”

2. “Book publishing would be so much easier without the authors.”

3. “You were right about social networking; I think it’s helped our marketing enormously.”

4. “Writing a book and selling a book are two very different things.”


A. Gunny Pop, author of Once a Marine

B. Richard Lowry, author of the upcoming book New Dawn: The Battles for Fallujah

C. New York editor Jonas Faukman, in The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

D. James Hessler, author of Sickles at Gettysburg

One is obviously not connected to Savas Beatie. The other three were said to me by some great Savas Beatie authors, all in the last week! As we say time and time again, we are very lucky at Savas Beatie to work with some great authors.

I wish I could post this upsidedown, but I’m not sure how to do that. =)

Answers: 1.B; 2.C; 3.D; 4.A

Stay tuned next week for posts on each of these points.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Selling Author Copies – A How-To

It is very important to us that our authors sell copies of their book at service club events, library talks, and conventions. It’s a great way for the author to get exposure and earn some extra money. We have authors who go through hundreds of copies of their books this way each year. Also, each copy they sell themselves will lead to a sale through another source down the road, so it’s beneficial all the way around.

I’ve received a lot of questions from authors lately about the process so I made a Tip Sheet that we will be giving to each new author. I’ve included the contents of it below for anyone who may find it useful.

  • Always bring a cash box with you to an event. Keep this close to you on the table, away from customers and people browsing or, ideally, under the table.

  • Have change (lots of $1s and $5s and some $10s) in your cash box before the event so you can easily make change in the correct denominations for customers. Write down this starting amount beforehand so when you count your money at the end of the event, you can verify you aren’t short.

  • Print out a small sign that says “Make Checks Payable To __________” and prop it up on the table for people who are writing checks. This will save most people from asking you who they should make a check out to, or at least give them something to refer to as they write your name or company name on the check.

  • Count the number of books you have before the event starts. Bring a receipt book or tally sheet so you can track how many copies you sell. After the event, count the number of books you have left and your earnings and refer to your receipt book/tally sheet to make sure that everything reconciles.

  • Only keep a few copies or a small stack of books nicely displayed on the selling table. These are copies that people can pick up and flip through. Keep the rest of the books that you are selling under or behind the table. Hand these to customers after they make their purchase so that their copy is brand new, and people aren’t walking off with unaccounted for copies.

  • If you have a long line of customers, it helps to have two lines: one where customers purchase the book from someone who is helping you collect money and a second line the customer gets in after making their purchase to get the book signed by you. This keeps everything moving smoothly and avoids a jam at the table when people want to chat as you personalize their copy.

  • If you are selling books in the state where you live and that state has sales tax, you need to charge state sales tax. Find out that amount. The easiest way to collect sales tax is to add tax into the price you are selling the book for. For example, if you live in California with 8.25% sales tax, sell a $32.95 book for $35.67 in California.

  • If you can, always bring an extra person or two along with you to help manage the table (collect money, answer questions, take photos, etc.) so that you can spend the most time possible with customers signing their books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

October Events – Please Join Us!

There are two great Civil War events west of the Mississippi in October. For us out here in California, that’s saying something! =)

Here are the events details. Each link provides information on the schedule, speakers, registration info, etc. I am pleased to say that Savas Beatie has a presence at both events.

When: October 3
What: Rocky Mountain Civil War Roundtable Symposium
Theme: Lee Invades the North
More info: and

The panel includes a slew of Savas Beatie authors: Russel Beatie, Bradley Gottfried, Lance Herdegen, and Timothy Smith. Many Savas Beatie titles (including special signed editions of a few!) will be for sale.

When: October 23-25
What: West Coast Civil War Roundtable Conference
Theme: 1863 Campaign for Chattanooga, Tennessee
More info:

Ted Savas will be attending as the conference book dealer, and The Maps of Chickamauga will make its debut this weekend.

If you attend, please email me some photos after the event and we will use them in a future newsletter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Old Cornerstone Bookstore

I took a trip to New England a few weeks ago, and we spent a nice (but very hot and humid!) day in Boston. Here I am standing in front of the former site of the Old Cornerstone Bookstore. My photo of the plaque posted on the building came out very blurry, but there’s some background info on the old bookstore here.

Built in 1712, the bookstore is one of Boston’s oldest surviving structures. Many famous books such as The Scarlet Letter were published here when the building was occupied by a publishing company/bookstore. I wonder who is turning over in his grave knowing that it is now an “Ultra Diamonds”? =)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Intern's Final Post

A big thanks to Parul, who wound up her last week at Savas Beatie. Her final blog post is on SB Insider here.

We really appreciated all her work and help this summer, and wish her the best of luck with the start of a new school year.

Where did the summer go? . . .

Friday, August 21, 2009

Interview with Ted Savas

Our summer intern Parul is winding down her time with us. She conducted an informative interview with Savas Beatie Managing Director Ted Savas, which you can read in full here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Authors - Be your own promoter while traveling

Here’s an example of how one author has promoted his own book effectively.

Mark Hughes, the author of "The New Civil War Handbook," notified us in early June that he would be vacationing and could make stops at various locations where he could do book signings.

One of his destinations was California, so he and his family were able to come by and visit our office. It’s always nice to meet an author, and we don’t get too many visits up here in Northern California. It was a definite bonus for us to meet the Hughes family. While in California he also visited the Nixon Library and mentioned to us that they sold Civil War books in their bookstore. We followed up on that lead and now the bookstore is placing an order for the Handbook.

Some of the venues that he planned on visiting included Chickamauga, Chancellorsville, Richmond, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Harper’s Ferry, Ford’s Theatre, Antietam, Gettysburg, Fort Sumter, and Kennewsaw Mountain. Quite a trip! We were able to schedule book signings at about half of these places resulting in the pre-sale of 193 books. You read that correctly. Those stores that weren’t able to have Mark in for signings did accept review copies of his book and are in the process of approving the book for their inventories. Mark also spoke to the rangers and bookstore managers of the places he visited but at which he didn’t do signings, and that has also resulted in his book being considered at those locations.

Of the locations where he did signings, more than 80% of the books sold and those bookstores are placing re-orders. Mark Hughes has referred us to some of the other places he visited including the Clara Barton National Historic Site. He has also set up signings on his own including one at the Mauney Memorial Library near where he resides. All of Mark’s efforts have increased the visibility and sales of his book.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Quick Tip for Radio Interviews

Today we listened to Flying Drunk author Joe Balzer’s interview on The Don Shelby Show on WCCO out of Minneapolis. He did a good job, and the host had definitely done his homework. Don was very familiar with Joe’s story, and was clearly a big fan of the book

Near the end of the interview, Don said, “I’d fly on a plane you were flying any day, Joe. That’s how much I trust you. I recommend that everyone read Flying Drunk.” I was surprised to hear such high praise from an interviewer, and quickly grabbed a piece of paper to write the endorsement down.

I emailed the producer a thank you after the show (as we always do) and included a copy of the quote, asking for her permission to use it on the Praise page of our website, and to help us book more radio interviews. She checked with Don, he approved it, and now it is up on the Flying Drunk website here!

Keep an ear out for similar words in your interviews, ask the host for permission to reprint them, and then post wherever it would help. A quick and simple way to add prestige to your book.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WOW books vs. Wastes

I wanted to share with you a nice phone call I received the other day from the editor of a large Civil War newsletter. We are lucky enough to have great, established relationships with a number of Civil War reviewers who write reviews for popular blogs, newsletters, and newspapers.

One newsletter editor called me the other day to check in. He had requested a number of our Spring 2009 Civil War releases in early 2009, and was anxiously awaiting his copies of books such as The Complete Gettysburg Guide and The Maps of First Bull Run. He called to thank us for his recent package, and to say that Savas Beatie published “wow books.” Paraphrasing, he said, “Every one of the Savas Beatie books I review is in a category I like to call Wow Books. Frankly, I receive some great books, some mediocre ones, and others that are just a waste of a tree.”

It was nice to hear, and we appreciate the continued support of all of the people who review our books.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our New Newsletter Friend

I think I was so busy reading Parul’s blog, I forgot to post on my own. =)

It’s been a busy summer here so far. One of the things that we are most excited about is our new format for our newsletter. We are now using the program Constant Contact to mail out our monthly updates. The program is easy to use and the end result is very professional looking. One of our summer interns, Alex Savas, has done a great job setting it up. I hope you all enjoy it. If you don’t receive our newsletter now, please make sure to sign up on our website here, in the box on the right here.

We also started a new newsletter that we are sending out to our authors a couple times a month. In the past when I have had information that I have wanted to share with all of our authors, I would send out a mass email. Now, using Constant Contact to send out Author News, we have a new way to get our authors updates and advice of things they can do and implement to help sell their books. I hope our authors will find it useful.

Stay tuned as I brush up on the frequency of my blog posts . . .

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Lists, Mixed Martial Arts, and a little bit of Baseball

A few quick notes and updates from today. Not many phone calls. I guess everyone’s sleepy today. (I know I’m ready for bed.)

I’ve been searching through Civil War blogs and compiling a list of e-mail addresses (if you received an introductory email from me, you know who you are!). I also added the finishing touches to my blog page.

What’s Exciting: FIGHT! magazine will feature a review of Mixed Martial Arts (by Daniel J. Brush, David Horne, Marc CB Maxwell, and Zac Robinson) in their August issue. This is another one of those Sports by the Numbers books, a series for sports aficionados.

The cool thing about this book, other than the fact that it has four authors , is that the picture on the cover is of none other than Ted Savas’s son’s former Taekwondo teacher.

“We wanted somebody posed in a fighting position on the front cover who was familiar with MMA, but many photos like that are licensed,” Sarah told me this morning. “So we called D.T.’s old instructor, Robert Barge, and asked him if he’d be willing to pose.”

Barge now sells copies of the book at his local studio, Overcome Training.

Interesting Books: Remember yesterday I told you I’d let you know if something on the bookshelf caught me eye? Well here it is: Playing with the Enemy by Gary W. Moore. The story is about a farm boy (from a town in Illinois “so small even map makers ignored it”) headed for the big leagues. The Brooklyn Dodgers became interested in the 15-year-old prodigy, but unfortunately Pearl Harbor interrupted the boy’s baseball career. The boy and his (Navy) team are sent on a top-secret mission: to guard captured German sailors. Gene convinces his commander to let him teach the enemy to play baseball.

Another one of those wishy-washy poignant baseball stories? Nope. What’s remarkable is that this story is true. Plus, the author is the boy’s son. Who knows? Maybe Homer actually first heard the Odyssey from Telemachos.

Well, it’s time for me to head home. Check back tomorrow to see what else Savas Beatie has in store for me.

SB Insider Blog

We’ve been receiving a lot of great feedback via emails on Parul’s new blog, SB Insider. Because of its popularity so far, we decided to set up a separate blog for it. Here’s the direct link so you can follow SB Insider. I’ll continue to copy her postings here for awhile, but be sure to check out the link directly. Parul welcomes feedback, questions, and post suggestions so please don’t hesitate to send them her way at

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back to Work

It’s Monday morning after the Fourth of July Weekend. Most Americans still see sizzling burgers and dazzling colors every time they close their eyes. Offices are full of languid, yawning employees, trudging half-heartedly to their next meeting.

But Savas Beatie is engaged and active as usual. Here are a few snapshots of what went on today:

11:21 a.m.: I finish my first batch of Savas Beatie filing. (So, I actually do have to take a walk in the average intern’s shoes once in a while. On the bright side, the filing only took me 18 minutes!)

11:54 a.m.: Ted announces two new enthusiastic five-star reviews for Sickles at Gettysburg. Check out to see what readers have to say about James A. Hessler’s book.

12:22 p.m.: The Sacramento Kings book just shipped.

12:36 p.m.: I overheard Ted telling Sarah that the second paperback edition of The Maps of Gettysburg (by Bradley M. Gottfried) is bound today and ships from the printer tomorrow.

12:47 p.m.: Ted shuts his door to give Mr. Beatie an update on what’s going on in the office this week. (And I finally learn where the “Beatie” part of Savas Beatie comes from.)

1:40 p.m.: Ted’s getting confused. Facebook troubles. (Parents start texting, and Facebook’s used for business. What’s next?)

What’s Interesting:

* Last Thursday I met Larry Tagg, author of The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln. (Tagg was a musician, author, and high-school teacher . . . These days you’re behind if you’re only on your second career.) I was lucky enough to sit in on a marketing meeting for Tagg’s book, and I picked up some cool business/marketing secrets. Sorry, I won’t be discussing them online (not today, at least).

* Tagg wrote an article on Lincoln in the Civil War Preservation Trust’s magazine Hallowed Ground. It should ship to subscribers the third week of July.

* Today I set up my own blog page. Since you’re reading this, then you obviously found it. Please be sure to share this link with others you know interested in books, military history, publishing, and marketing

Well, I think I’m going to head over to the bookshelf to browse and then call it a day. I’ll let you know tomorrow if something catches my eye. Also, I welcome any ideas you may have for future blog posts. Let me know by commenting here, or send me an email at

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

SB Insider: Settling In

Only Day 2 and I already feel at home in the Savas Beatie office. Ted succeeded in scaring me this morning when he asked me where my suit was. (By Day 3, I’ll be comfortable enough to recognize jokes right away.)

Today’s been extremely busy, so please excuse my lack of detailed observation (I forgot to check on those plants). From counting and organizing signed book plates (the company does something really cool with these; I explain more about them farther down), posting events on the web (check out BookTour), sitting in on a meeting, and editing an interview transcript, I was served a full plate today.

Things to note:

  • Did you know publishing companies print out “advanced copies” of books before they’re released? Sarah (our marketing director) showed me one of these. The ARC’s (Advanced Reader Copies), also called “galleys,” usually look just like (albeit unedited) finished paperback versions of the books. These are for editing and reviewing purposes. I was under the impression all of the reviewing was done on word documents, not on a printed and bound version of the book. (I guess, being a Harry Potter fan, I’m too used to J.K. Rowling’s secrecy.)

  • Savas Beatie is working to immerse itself in the social networking environment. Today I sat in on a meeting between Sarah and Alex and was amazed to hear the different ways sites such Facebook and Twitter can be used as marketing and business tools. Who knew Facebook wasn’t just for showing your friends prom and birthday photos?

Interesting Books: The Wars Against Napoleon by General Michel Franceschi and Ben Weider is another book that exposes misconceptions about a historical figure that have become canonical. According to Weider, who passed away last year, his motivation for writing this book with Franceshi was “correcting history and enabling Napoleon to gain the respect he deserves.” Be sure to read the late Mr. Weider’s interview for more information. We’ll post it on our website soon.

Today’s big events:

  • Sacramento Kings book by Daniel J. Brush, David Horne, and Mark C.B. Maxwell (from our Sports by the Number series) is shipping from the printer today!
Now I still need to ask Ted about the two plus two equals ten theory of his . . . Stay tuned!

- Parul

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

SB Insider: Two times two equals ten

First impressions: “Two times two equals ten.”

I had no idea where he was going with this when Savas Beatie’s managing director Theodore P. Savas first said it. I’ll admit, after a couple of hours as an exclusive observer (a 16-year-old summer intern, actually) of the Savas Beatie publishing environment, I’m still not completely sure what he meant. (Stay tuned later in the week for an explanation.) Nevertheless, I do know a lot more about what goes on in a publishing company than I did before I walked into this quaint little office in El Dorado Hills, an upscale and quiet suburb east of Sacramento, California.

This morning I was fretting about what I should wear to my first day of work. I envisioned an office with briefcase-carrying, business-suit adorned men and women typing away and answering calls in their cubicles. I didn’t think anything I owned was nearly formal enough. Nor did I imagine that I would be doing anything other than licking envelopes and filing papers.

What a surprise I was in for . . . not a cubicle in sight! I have my own work area: a big round conference table stacked with various Savas Beatie books, a green plant in the corner (there are many of these in the office; I’ll get back to you about whether or not they’re real), and a large whiteboard keeping track of future books by title, author, genre, publishing date, editor, and so forth.

I didn’t expect to see all these bookshelves and book displays. I’ll admit in the back of my mind I was hoping I’d glimpse one of those old-style printing presses in some lonely room. There are a lot of Civil War paintings adorning the not unattractive beige walls, and a “300” Spartan movie poster in Mr. Savas’ office. I guess I should have expected so much, considering it is a historical book publishing company.

Overview: So, eight to ten books each season (publishing seasons are fall and spring), a lot of marketing, and some shipping (most books ship from a central warehouse outside Washington, D.C.) Not too big of a place. . . several offices and lots of open space, with four people working today when I first came in. No one gets bored here.

Interesting books: After looking around at the bookshelves and stacks throughout the office, one book that jumped out at me was Larry Tagg’s The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln. Who knew “Honest Abe” wasn’t venerated by his contemporaries!?

Today’s big events:

  • A little bit of concern over whether or not J. David Petruzzi’s signed copies of The Complete Gettysburg Guide were sent out. (Don’t worry, it’s all settled now, and they are going out tonight.)
  • We got a call from Manassas National Park about Bradley M. Gottfried’s new The Maps of First Bull Run, which they just started carrying. We are working with the buyer on positioning the book in their store and setting up a time for the author to sign copies around the battle anniversary.
I am looking forward to tomorrow . . . and finding out why two times two isn’t (always) four . . .
- Parul

Summer Intern

It’s been a whirlwind of a month. Ted Savas and I had our trip to New York and Gettysburg as you know. Then I went on vacation just a week after getting back. I finally feel like I am getting settled back into a routine now.

We have some exciting news regarding our summer schedule. Today we welcomed Parul Guliani, a high school student who will be interning at Savas Beatie this summer. She will mainly be working under me in the marketing department this summer, but also contribute to our social networking efforts and help with various things as they come up.

One of Parul’s tasks will be maintaining the Savas Beatie Intern Journal, a behind-the-scenes look at our company from someone who is learning about it and experiencing the book publishing world for the first time.

I will post the first entry on my blog later today. We think it will be a great experience for all of us to have her here this summer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Part 3 - Gettysburg

And now off to the final leg of our trip – Gettysburg! This was my first time to a national park battlefield and it was great. Ted and I arrived Sunday night and met up with J.D. Petruzzi. It was so nice to finally meet one of our authors who I have communicated with only via email and phone for the last few years. And, I couldn’t have had better guides for the trip. The three of us used The Complete Gettysburg Guide (first final copy I had seen!) and started my tour at the location where the first shot was fired. We got many important stops in that evening including the Bloody Railroad Cut, Little Round Top, and Devil’s Den, and even caught the tail end of the sunset.Ted and I in front of a very familiar looking image backdrop . . . =)

Steve Stanley, Jim Glessner, and J.D. Petruzzi at O’Rorkes Sunday evening, with one of the first copies of The Complete Gettysburg Guide signed by the authors.

Monday Ted and J.D. and I spent the morning visiting with stores in the downtown area. It was nice to put faces with the names of people at so many of the stores we enjoy doing business with. It was also very exciting to see many of our titles while browsing through the book selections. I look at the spines of the same books on the bookshelf in my office every day, but something about seeing them beautifully displayed in the stores gave me a new appreciation for what we do. J.D. and I are here with Tammy Myers at the Gettysburg Gift Center. Tammy works with us to set up some great book signings on busy weekends, and we are looking forward to some good signings at their store July 4 weekend in particular.

Here, J.D. is signing a copy of One Continuous Fight in Gallery 30. Gallery 30 is a very well laid out store with lots of beautiful artwork and gifts. The first thing I noticed when we walked in the door were copies of The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln and The New Civil War Handbook right in the middle of their front table!

Monday afternoon we got a tour of Willoughby Run by Eric Lindblade, Sickles enthusiast, American History store employee, and our guide for the afternoon. He kindly put up with my naivety and even Ted got to see a section of the field he hadn’t visited before.

And then off to Pickett’s Charge, or should I say the Pickett-Pettigrew-Trimble Charge? (See guys, I’m learning!) We walked Pickett’s charge with Jim Glessner, who does a great job with the book section at the American History Store, and his son Jacob, who provided some good laughs and even showed off some impressive field knowledge for a five year old!

Monday evening we had our Savas Beatie author dinner including Kyrstie, Steve Stanley, Ted Savas, George Newton, J.D. Petruzzi, Jim Hessler, me, and John Hoptak. It was nice to meet the Savas Beatie Gettysburg authors, and two before their books even come out!

After dinner we headed to the Reliance Mine Saloon for our final beers of the trip. And I got to see firsthand where the infamous photo of DT, Ted’s son, holding an (empty?) glass bottle was taken. Steve Stanley, Jim Hessler, John Hoptak, me, Ted Savas, William Frassanito (whose books were fantastic for this battlefield-newbie), Jim Glessner, Eric Lindblade, and Duane Siskey.

Jim Hessler signing an advanced copy of Sickles at Gettysburg for Jim Glessner. Good practice for the book’s debut at the Butternut and Blue Booth at the Civil War Collector’s Show on June 27!

Thank you to everyone in Gettysburg and especially J.D. (who made the long trip an additional time, for my visit) for making it such an enjoyable and memorable trip. I truly appreciate it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Part 2 – Catskills, New York

Ellen Ratner, Ted Savas, and Bob Ney prepping for dessert!
Bob Ney, Ted Savas, Ellen Ratner, and Richard Miller at "the most beautiful spot in New York." Hard to top that view.

Ted on the Ratner farm with Pavo the turkey.

Ted and I left Book Expo America early for a trip to the Catskills area of New York. We were guests at Ellen Ratner’s house for the weekend, along with soon-to-be Savas Beatie author Richard Miller and Bob Ney, political analyst for Talk Radio News Service.

Saturday night we all made a delicious dinner together, including steak, fish, grilled corn and asparagus, salad, and a Savas Beatie Apple Pie for dessert! (Are you hungry yet?) Sunday morning we had a marketing meeting to strategize for the 2010 release of Fighting Words by Richard Miller. We followed this with a beautiful walk AND an ATV ride around the property, a trip to visit the Ratner farm (bunnies, turkeys, goats, and all!), and more good food.

It was a great mix of business and pleasure, and a weekend to remember.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Part 1 - Book Expo America

A meeting at the Casemate booth with David Farnsworth.

Ted Savas, Ellen Ratner, Richard Miller, and Sarah Keeney after taping of The Strategy Room.

Filming of The Strategy Room on Fox News, the Friday, May 29 show.

Ted getting a copy of the new Steve Barry and Ridley Pearson audio book signed for his son DT.

Well, we are back from our six day whirlwind trip. Part One took us to the Javits Center in New York City for Book Expo America. We were only there for about half of the show instead of our usual three days, but we crammed a lot into that day and a half.

The set up at our distributor Casemate’s booth was great. They displayed books and had posters set up in a new format which made the booth and whole area much more open and inviting for meetings and attendees walking past. People walking by would slow down because the large posters had caught their eye. Ted and I had some productive meetings with representatives from Penguin and Barnes and Noble, Oasis Audio regarding audio rights for a number of our titles, Brian Jud’s book specialty sales team, and the Military and History Book Club editor. (More on some interesting info from those meetings in later posts.)

Friday afternoon we were in for a treat. We are publishing a book by Richard Miller in Spring 2010, a follow up to his most recent book In Words and Deeds: Battle Speeches in History. Richard and his cousin Ellen Ratner (White House Correspondent and news analyst) were slated to be on Fox News Channel’s Strategy Room that afternoon. We headed over to the studio, saw Geraldo Rivera in the staging room, and watched a taping of the show. My mom even saw me on camera. =)

Friday evening we had a nice dinner with the Casemate and UK crowd at an Irish pub. Saturday morning and early afternoon we finished up at the show. There was lots of talk and articles written pre-show about a toned-down version of BEA this year, after such low attendance in Los Angeles last year and with the present state of the economy. Although a lot of European companies didn’t send representatives and some big author names were missing from the line up, Savas Beatie had a very successful show - it was another great BEA! Part Two . . . to the Catskills.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Off to Book Expo, upstate NY, and Gettysburg

As it is late and I am not done packing yet (of course!), refer to Ted Savas' recent post about our upcoming trip to Book Expo America, New York, and Gettysburg. It will be a great time.

And yes . . . I have my The Maps of Gettysburg and The Complete Gettysburg Guide copies ready for personal tours. =)

More next week.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Results of Email Frequency Poll

Although taken from a small sample, the results of my recent poll are as I expected – half of the people said that they want to receive news and info from a company that they gave their email address to about once a month. This is how frequently we send out our e-newsletter. Occasionally we send out a special blast about a particular book or a time-sensitive offer, but we usually stick to the once a month model.

I understand the benefits of increasing contact with our customers though. Soon we are going to use a new program to send out our emailed newsletters. Using this program we will easily be able to track how many people clicked on which links in our newsletter to see what people are the most interested in reading. We plan to send out more tailored emails to customers based on their book preferences using this information.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Emailed updates and information – when is it too much?

I received a video link from Steve Harrison this week. He offers a lot of free phone seminars, video clips, resources, etc. Some of them are helpful, some are just pushes to sign up for their classes and programs. The 13-minute video I watched this week is posted here.

The title is “Steve Harrison reveals the most costly website mistake to avoid plus how to get his web designer to build you a better site.” If you don’t have 13 extra minutes, he says the most costly mistake is “expecting people to buy the first time they visit your site.” And then if they don’t, not having a way to follow up with them. The video goes on to explain some important website features, such as having a sign up form for a newsletter or offering an incentive (such as a list of tips or a packet of resources) to the viewer if they fill out a contact form.

Steve Harrison also explains how important it is to frequently send potential customers information. My question is, how much is too much? I know I’ve unsubscribed to newsletters, or found myself clicking delete on emails before even opening them, if I think I hear from the company too often. I’m following Ted Savas’ quiz model by posting the question on the left.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Author phone call

This video is hilarious. It’s an author on the phone hashing out ideas with his publisher, and getting a bit of a reality check.

The video was posted in the most recent issue of the newsletter Publishing Poynters, Book and Information-Marketing News and Ideas from Dan Poynter with the following caption:

“Whether you sell out to a publisher or publish yourself, the author must do the promotion. Publishers do not promote books. The challenge is that most authors don’t.”

At Savas Beatie we are lucky to have some great authors who work tirelessly to promote their books. Still, this is . . . hilarious. =)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads is a great website and resource for book lovers. While browsing the site the other week I noticed there was a section on their Help page titled “Tips for Book Publishers and Authors” their Giveaway program looked interesting. Using it, publishers can list upcoming books that they will donate to a drawing and Goodreads users can enter to win free copies of the book. The publishers can submit whatever title they choose, how many copies they want to give away, the length of the entry period, and where they agree to mail the books to (within the United States, within North America, etc.) I submitted our upcoming book The Unpopular Mr. Lincoln to give it a try last week and so far almost 500 people have entered to win a free copy! This seems like a great program to increase pre-publication notice about a book and it will surely lead to some people buying the book who wouldn’t have known about it otherwise.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Summer Schedule

Are you an author who is going to be traveling for business or pleasure this summer? If so, make sure to let your publisher know now to see if you can latch any bookstore or museum gift shop discussions and/or book signings onto your trip. Some bookstores will schedule table book signings on short notice. All they need is enough time to order additional copies of your book from their warehouse. Other bookstores that do a lot of promotion for events by posting the listing on their website, adding it to their newsletter, and creating fliers need more advance notice. For example, Community Relations Managers at Barnes and Noble bookstores usually work three months in advance. In other words, they have to turn in their July event line up calendar in April.

Radio interview recordings

When you are going to be interviewed on a radio show, there are a couple questions you should ask ahead of time.

1. Can people listen live online? Many radio stations have a “Listen Live” button so anyone anywhere can listen to the station’s programming live from their website. If you are going to be interviewed on a station with this capability, then be sure to send out an email blast to your contacts with details on when and where they can tune in online.

2. Will the interview be archived on the station’s website? If yes, then ask for a link to where it can be found. Make sure to download the file so you have a copy that you can use as a sample and to post on your website. Some radio stations only keep programming archived for a certain amount of time (such as a day or a week) so make sure you do this quickly. If you want the producer to email you an mp3 file of the interview, make sure to ask if this is possible BEFORE the interview. Once you hang up the phone, the host and producer are on to the next thing. You and your interview are probably long off their radar ten minutes later. (Even so, make sure to send them a thank you note!)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Article on Amazon Reviews

I recently posted a couple of ideas on how authors can increase the number of Amazon reviews for their books. Here’s an interesting article in The Economist about writing and reading reviews of products, such as books, on retail websites, such as Amazon. I found this link in the informative Dan Poynters’ Para Publishing newsletter.

Authors – continue to encourage people to post reviews of your book on Amazon. It's worth it!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Encourage Amazon Reviews

I know I’ve said it before, but Amazon reviews are really important. Whenever I look up a new book that I am curious about on Amazon, the first thing I check is to see how many reviews it has. The more reviews (and good ones) your book has, the more important it looks.

Here’s something you can easily do to encourage readers to leave a review. Make up a sheet of copies of the same note thanking the reader for their purchase, and asking them to leave a review of the book on Amazon. Print off a bunch, cut them into strips, and tuck them into the front of each book before you do a book signing at a bookstore, museum, or rotary club.

You could also get this information printed on a bookmark or business card inexpensively at Kinkos.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Authors’ Blogs Pre Book Pub

Here’s a nice example of what an author can easily do to generate interest in his or her book pre-publication. The Complete Gettysburg Guide by J. David Petruzzi with maps by Steven Stanley is at the printer now. It is stunning, with more than 60 full color photos and 70 full color maps. J.D. Petruzzi recently posted a sample map from the book on his popular blog here. Check out the Comments section – 16 comments and counting. Posting brief excerpts, sample maps, and updates on your book before it is released is a great way to increase buzz around your book in advance.

If you are an author in the pre-publication stage and posting about your book on your blog, here are some questions you can ask yourself that should lead to plenty of posts, and good content for your readers!

- If you are still conducting research for your book, did you recently come across an obscure source or new material?

- Did you receive an update from your publisher regarding a release date?

- Do you have a sample cover for the book? (This is important because the minute people start seeing your book’s cover, it starts branding the book.)

- Did someone prominent in your field agree to write the Foreword? Did you just receive some nice advanced praise for the book from another author or expert that your publisher will be using in their promotional material?

- Do you have any material you can post from your book such as an excerpt, map, or new photo that readers will find of interest?

Monday, March 2, 2009


For those of you who maintain your own book’s website or blog, here’s a quick suggestion you can implement to keep readers on your website.

Whenever you link to another website from your website or blog, make sure it opens up in a new window in your browser. If you know basic html code, you can write it in like this:

<a target=_blank href="websitelinkurl">websitelinkurl</a>

instead of this:

<a target=_parent href="websitelinkurl">websitelinkurl</a>

In other words, “parent” opens the link in the same window and “blank” opens the link in a new window.

I always fear that when I post a link to a different website and it opens up in the same window, we might lose that viewer, and they won’t go back to our website. Of course they can use the “back” button, but every click they make poking around the new site takes them further away from our site. If they have two windows open, when they close the new window, ours is still accessible. If you have a webmaster who maintains your site, suggest this as well.

Help a Reporter Out, Help Yourself Out

We came across a great resource from an article in SPAN Connection, the newsletter of the Small Publishers Association of North America.

It’s an email list service titled Help a Reporter Out Pretty self explanatory, and a great concept. I registered to receive Peter Shankman’s emails three times a day listing requests from reporters who are looking for sources to complete their articles and producers looking for guests for their tv and radio shows. Each time an email comes in, I scroll through the list of requests. Each is just a short phrase. If I see a lead that one of our authors could potentially help with, I read the reporter’s full description of exactly what they are looking for. Each requests includes the reporter’s name, a paragraph of what they need, their deadline, and contact info.

We’ve been receiving the updates for a couple weeks now and have made some good connections. Ted Savas replied to a reporter who is working on an article about ghost writing. He is now working with her as a source. Today I came across a reporter who wanted stories about cigars for a piece he is working on. It just so happens, our Once a Marine author Nick Popaditch is in one of the most famous cigar photos around. I immediately replied to his request suggesting he might want to check out Once a Marine and interview Nick as a source. I heard from the reporter within the hour. Turns out his brother is a Marine and he’d like to interview our author for his piece.

This looks like it will be a great resource. I’ll keep you posted.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Social Networking as an Additional Tool

Mike Volkin is the author of our very successful Basic Training book series. He is always looking for new and beneficial ways to reach his target audience, those interested in the military or about to enter basic training. He works endlessly managing his website, creating content for, and hosting a popular Blog Talk Radio Show on basic training, and does a great job. His newest effort is a social network titled Military Basic Training. It is a great portal for anyone wanting to learn how to prepare for boot camp. The site includes audio links, photos, video demonstrations, a forum, and much more. These are all elements that your website should have anyway, so check out some social networking options to see if one of them might fit your needs, or work into your existing website.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Report a Deal on Publishers Marketplace

There is a nice daily newsletter called Publishers Lunch from Publisher Marketplace. On their website they have a Report a Deal page where you can submit information on recent rights deals your publishing company has made such as paperback rights, foreign rights, etc. We started submitting our recent rights deals, Playing with the Enemy in Chinese and Hunt and Kill and Steel Boat, Iron Hearts in German, for possible inclusion in their newsletter. They mentioned our U-505 book deals in a newsletter this week and just today we received an inquiry about rights for one of the titles in South America. Be sure to check this newsletter out and submit information whenever possible.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Author website content and timing

I received an interesting question via email the other day from an author regarding her book and website. She asked if 1.) it was as important for her to have a website for her historical fiction book as it would be for an author with a non-fiction book and 2.) should she wait until her book is released to create her website. The short answers to each question are YES and NO. In more detail,

1.) YES. A website is just as important for a fiction book as it is for a non-fiction title. As I was replying to her email, I realized there isn’t much (or any) difference between websites for different types of books. The components that I always tell an author his or her website should have are:

- a description of the book
- sample material from the book, such as excerpts, photos, extra information, etc.
- praise and endorsements for the book
- an author interview
- a list of author upcoming events and appearances
- info on where someone can purchase the book
- a blog and/or forum where the author frequently posts new information, making a reason for viewers to continue coming back for fresh content

2.) NO. All authors should have websites up and running before their books are released. For our Spring titles released in May, some of the authors have their websites done and others are completing them now. That way you have a place to point people who you know or who are interested in your book. Send your book website’s link out to people in blogs and forums pertaining to your subject matter and start getting hits to your website to build interest before your book’s release. Another great way to capture email addresses and potential readers is to have an online sign up form on your website. “Click here to be notified when this book is released!”

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another New Amazon Feature – helpful?

Amazon has a lot of great features for publishers and authors to use such as Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Connect, Tags, and Listmania.

We came across a new one recently, Author Stores. It is a new way to search for books by featuring all the books by a particular author on one page. There is also some additional content on many of the pages such as an author photo, biography, and links to that author’s favorite books.

There is a directory of all the authors who currently have pages here. Here’s the J. K. Rowling page as an example. Authors can create their own pages too. Directions are posted here.

It will be interesting to see if the Author Store pages take off. It’s nice to have all the info on one page. When you search for a book by an author’s name on Amazon the regular way (in the search bar), you are bound to get a lot of unrelated material written by authors with similar names. However, I don’t like how some of the content on the Author Store pages opens in a new pop up window, darkening out the page you were looking at behind it. Try it out and see.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Savas Beatie in the National Enquirer?!

I can’t believe I forgot to post this last week but . . . we made the National Enquirer! Who would have ever thought!? There is a nice full page spread on Nick Popaditch and his book Once a Marine, with the catchy headline SEMPER EYE. I’ve copied the text below. It’s a great article and depicts Nick perfectly.

This week we have been using it as a promotional piece, emailing it to bookstore managers at stores where Nick Popaditch has had book signing events, to people we have set up speaking engagements with at service clubs and military posts, and to radio station hosts and producers.

It’s a great way for us to check in with each person with a quick update on Nick and his book. We will remind the bookstores to order more copies of Once a Marine if they are out of stock, see if the clubs have suggestions of other venues where Nick can speak, and remind the radio hosts that Nick is always available for another interview.


National Enquirer – January 19, 2009

Semper Eye!

It’s plain to see that this former Marine is devoted to the Corps.

Retired Marine Sgt. Nick Popaditch sports an eye-catching reminder of his devotion to the Corps.

On his prosthetic eye – the result of a war wound in Iraq – he has emblazoned the Marine Corps’ eagle-globe-and-anchor logo.

As spares, the former tank commander has two other eyes – one with the gun sights of a tank gunner and one with the logo of the 1st Tank Battalion.

“The Marines made me the man I am,” Nick told The ENQUIRER. “I’ll always be grateful to the Corps, and this is one way I choose to show it.”

The heroic 41-year-old veteran has spent most of his life as a Marine, including war service in Iraq – ending when he was hit in the head by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Earlier, his picture flashed around the world when a photographer snapped him grinning hugely and smoking a cigar atop his tank as the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in the center of Baghdad.

“It wasn’t even my cigar. I was just taking a few puffs. The next thing I knew, my picture was everywhere,” Nick told The ENQUIRER.

The brave patriot has written a thrilling memoir, “Once a Marine,” which details his amazing battlefield exploits.

A year after the fall of the evil dictator, Nick was nearly killed by the grenade that hit his helmet. The blast destroyed his right eye and left him with only eight percent vision in his left one. He also ended up deaf in one ear and without a sense of smell.

Does he pity himself?

“Hey, I’m a lucky man,” he says. “I’m happy to be alive.”

Now out of the Marines and living in San Diego with his wife April and 15-year-old son Nicholas Jr., Nick is once again setting an outstanding example.

Although he is legally blind, he enrolled at San Diego State University to become a high school history or social studies teacher. The decorated veteran reads with magnifying devices – and makes almost perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

“I’ve been a drill instructor, and I’ve been in combat,” he says, laughing. “I figure I can teach high school!”

by James McCandlish

Friday, January 9, 2009

Planning 2009 Civil War Events

In this month’s issue of Civil War News, we received the Calendar of 2009 Events. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this publication, it is a wonderful newspaper for, as they say, “People with an active interest in the Civil War today.” In their January issue, they always include a fantastic calendar of events. It’s 28 pages this year and includes dates, times, locations, and contact info galore for reenactments, lectures, conferences, etc. We will be using this as a resource when planning our author book signing events for the year. If you are a Civil War author, make sure to get your hands on this special pull-out section. See what events are in your area that you can attend. See about setting up a book signing with a Civil War bookseller attending the event, or offer your services as a speaker to event organizers. Happy booking!