5 Things I Learned While Interning at Wise Ink

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Every year we work with the most wonderful, thoughtful interns. As we say goodbye to our Fall, 2018 team, we asked intern Hanna to come up with five things she learned while interning for us.

On my last day, these are the things that I needed to hear on my first. They’re more practical than they appear because, in the end, I found that the point is to enjoy being here!

1. Always check the Chicago Manual of Style. Always.

a. Crack it open or log into it. This big blue brick isn’t always required reading in college classes, but that’s okay. It doesn’t matter when you make friends with it, just so long as you do.

2. An internship is not going to stoke a blind love of the publishing business.

a. Interning with Wise Ink has given me the opportunity to work through the expectations I formed in my college classes and to finally be honest with myself about which tasks I can’t get enough of and which I simply don’t like doing. I am grateful for the variety in this internship because it allowed me to finally get to a place where I allow myself to dislike some aspects of the job. At the same time, I have more confidence in my skills, and I feel more comfortable throwing myself in for the long haul.

3. Someone will hand you a project and say, “Make decisions!” Enjoy it.

a. The more comfortable I became with being in charge of something, the more I engaged with the manuscript and sought out what would be best for it. My favorite instance of this was being told to decide where pictures would appear in a nonfiction manuscript. Imagining myself as the reader, and figuring out where I would want to see certain images, allowed me to positively contribute to someone else’s reading experience.

4. This is more of a creative job than you realize.

a. One of my biggest pet peeves is reading the back of a book, falling in love with the idea, and then having the actual book diverge significantly from that baseline description. Being given the opportunity to write back cover copy was vindication for all those misleading summaries, and it allowed me to use my writing skills to more accurately represent someone else’s work.

5. Relax with projects.

a. This is actually my second internship, and now that I’m wrapping up, I am finally at a place where I’m ready to tell myself that it’s okay to relax. After balancing assignments and classes and work shifts throughout college, being handed a manuscript and told to do a developmental edit on it was overwhelming simply because that was my main task. I had a hard time slowing down and simply letting myself enjoy the process.

I really loved my time with Wise Ink, and I am so thankful for what their projects and encouragement taught me about enjoying the awesome jobs we get to do.

Thank you, Hanna and Maggie! We are wishing them all the best as they move forward in their own writing and publishing journeys!

Four Perfect Books to Gift for the Holidays

Each of the books on our holiday roundup list feature stories about life, but how those stories are told, and about what, make these four books as diverse as your friends and family. From personal histories intertwined with the Southeast Asian diaspora to learning how to brew an “Oldtoberfest Smoked Rye Lager” at home, each book focuses on a different theme. But they all celebrate, and invite people into, a community.

 

Planting SEADS: Southeast Asian Diaspora Stories

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Edited by Chanida Phaengdara Potter, mk nguyễn, Narate Keys, Pheng Thao

Featuring the stories of Hmong, Lao, Khmer, and Việt contributors, Planting SEADS recounts the diaspora stories of peoples’ lives in their countries and communities, and the changes that brought them to who, and where, they are now. The book is a mix of personal narratives, poetry, illustrations, and photographs that encompass the vast experiences of conflict, daring movement to new places, and resettlement. Each story is written in English as well as the author’s native language. Readers are encouraged to truly meet these people, and share their lives with them.

Great for: storytellers and creative people, and those who are always exploring history and cultures.

 

Treasured Times: Seasonal Recipes and Unique Traditions to Savor Together

By Jaryn McGrath

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Less stress, more joy, is what McGrath wants for her readers in the introduction and throughout the rest of this book. Treasured Times is a year-long exercise in creating meaningful experiences for our families and ourselves. From January to December, McGrath details her family’s monthly traditions, the recipes that go along with them, and the value they hold. Steal some ideas, modify others, and be encouraged to create space to enjoy and appreciate life.

Great for: mothers and grandmothers, event planners who always strive to make gatherings meaningful, and everyone looking for new ways to spend time with family.

 

Connections

By Charles R. Stinson Architects

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Connections features personal stories about the most personal art of all: a living space. The book takes the reader on a tour of a variety of homes using sketches, pictures, and written stories. Clients talk about their lives and what makes their house their home, integrating their personal experiences into the realization of their private spaces. And, after paging through the wonderful, full-size photographs of interior and exterior spaces, Charles himself discusses creating each family’s dwelling. These homes, described by one client as fitting their inhabitants in “deeply personal ways,” are ongoing journeys from the original concept to day to day life.

Great for: art appreciators, lifestyle lovers, and, of course, architecture admirers.

 

Mashmaker: A Citizen Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home

By Michael Dawson

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Mashmaker is for brewers who like different, who want opportunities to make their brews their own, and who generally want to be in the thick of things. Dawson begins with a quick rundown of malt, hops, yeast, and some basic starting information. After that, the recipes abound. Each brew features a brief overview, a list of ingredients, some tips and tricks, and of course, directions. What makes this collection special is Dawson’s enthusiasm and snarky repartee. The author loves beer, and he keeps up a sparkling conversation for readers who also share this passion.

Great for: craft beer lovers, especially those who want to have some fun off the beaten path.


Gather your community for the holidays and celebrate the aspects that you love most about your life while encouraging them to celebrate theirs as well. 

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So You Wrote a Book! (Now what??!!)

Congratulations, new author!

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In the summer of 2017, I started writing down a few of my most-asked questions as the Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing. I thought maybe I’d answer 10 or 15 of them on a Facebook page for our authors, to help them with some of their immediate marketing concerns.

  1. Do I hire a publicist?

  2. What timeline should I be following?

  3. Do I need an audiobook?

The result of this exercise was a document far longer and more comprehensive than a simple Facebook post. On the surface, these questions are simple and should have simple answers. But the reality is far more complicated. Hiring a publicist depends on many different moving pieces. Timelines are subjective. And audiobooks? Well, maybe.

By the time I got through answering about 30 questions, I realized I had created a really useful tool for our authors. But when the founder of Wise Ink, Dara Beevas, took the manuscript on a vacation with her, she realized there was much more potential for the book. She added questions, added anecdotes from her personal experience, and by the time she was through, we had a solid first draft of Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing.

One of the most important tips we give our authors is this: know thine audience. For us, the audience for Buzz is any author who has taken the joyous leap of expressing themselves in the written word and asking themselves, “Now what?” Buzz is also for the author who is looking for some unique ways of engaging with potential readers, and also for authors who take seriously the work of using their book to promote their business, idea, and agenda. We tried to keep authors at all stages of the journey in mind as we created our checklists, questions, and examples.

Marketing your book is a marathon, not a sprint. The authors who are most successful are the ones who pace themselves, are strategic with their outreach, and most importantly, find a way to make the marketing work fun and fulfilling.

Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing in our store!

-Roseanne Cheng is a teacher, author, and Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing

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4 Options for Selling Your Book

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When it comes time to sell your book there are several different options out there on how to sell it. The type of store that you want to carry it and how many places you want to try and get it into. There is also the whole issue of figuring out how to sell directly and the best way of doing it that works for you to think of. It is a big decision and step in the process of making your book a reality. For almost all of our authors selling directly is the wisest move whenever possible. It makes you the most money from your books and gets you in contact with your readers to really build the relationship between author and reader. However, a direct only sales plan is not a realistic option as it limits the reach of the book and its availability to new audiences. We recommend having your book for sale in the following ways to optimize your sales reach and profits.

* Sell directly via your website or at live events

o If you can sell directly DO IT! It will make you the most profit per book.

* Sell through amazon as a third-party vendor

o There is less profit from amazon sales, but a wider audience reach

* Use a distribution partner to sell you books

o Distributers can handle mass quantities if you ever want to sell to an institution of any kind. If you don’t start here keep it in mind incase needed in the future.

* Have your book listed as print on demand.

o POD is a great way to have your book listed for sale without having to worry about keeping it in stock, but it will lower the quality of your book and some buyers will pass when they can’t get it right away.

These options will give you the best chances for successful, profitable sales of your book when it comes out. Figure out what works best with your plan and your goals for the book. I know you are sick of hearing it by now but, direct sales are key so figure out what fits with that best for you and your book if you can

Social Platforms: The Pros and Cons

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Social media is a key point in marketing your book…if you are good at it. It doesn’t have to be complex just something to get your name out there and connect with your fans and readers.

Below is going to be a list of a few different social media platforms and some pros and cons about each one for marketing purposes.

Facebook Pros

* Easy to use and boost posts

* Wide reach

* Easy to interact with groups of potential audiences

* Easy to track events and invite people to your events

* No post length limit

Facebook Cons

* Hard to keep track of who is seeing your posts

* Several competing groups

* Hard to separate personal and professional pages

* Some posts can be lost in the many posts generated by others

LinkedIn Pros

* Perfect for authors with business books

* A great place to network professionally

LinkedIn Cons

* Not great for fiction authors

* Still a growing platform not the biggest audience reach

Twitter Pros

* Super easy to use

* Twitter chats are a great connection tool

* Hosting a giveaway is very easy

* Great way to engage an endorser or pitch to a blogger

Twitter Cons

* Character limits can be challenging

* Hard to get a tweet noticed with all the other tweets out there

* Again, limited audience reach

There are several other platforms that can be used it just depends on what you like and what works best for you. If you are uncomfortable on a platform it will show in your posts and interactions so be comfortable with what you are on. Also, don’t over stretch yourself by trying to be on too many platforms at once if you are not able to keep them straight and give them the attention they need. It is better to be confident and great at one platform than struggling to stay up to date on many. You may be able to reach more people but if you are not putting in the effort it shows and can do more harm than good.

Finally, whatever platform(s) that you are on try to make the connections two way. Comment on posts share things from others. Create interactions that connect you with your target audience in a stronger and more meaningful way.

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Five Questions to Help You Establish an Author Brand

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The point of marketing is to convince people to buy your book. (Duh!) Some of the best ways to do this is by using social media, events, blogging, and promotions. But it’s more complicated than just that!

* What is your style?

* What is your mission?

* What do you value?

All of these questions go into making a brand and figuring out who you want to portray to the public and how your book fits into that brand.

Here are a few different things to consider about your possible brand and how to incorporate it.

* What is your email address/website address that is available to the public?

o Is your name in it?

o Do you use/check it often?

o Does your audience know about them to be able to reach you?

* What is the content of your website? (if you have one)

o Is the information complete and up to date?

o What other ways can you use them to connect to your audience?

o Does the design of your website match your brand?

* What information is in your author bio?

o Does it market you well?

o How personalized is it and does it sound like you?

o Is it on your website?

* What marketing materials do you have/use?

o Do you have any business cards?

o Do you have any other easy to hand out materials?

o Again, does the design of them represent your brand?

* What social media do you use, if any?

o Are you on it often?

o Do you like to be on it?

o Are you willing to promote yourself on it?

Marketing your book can be as intensive or as relaxed as you want it to be. When you market yourself and your book your sales can be better, and you can reach a wider audience when your name is recognizable. If you are putting yourself out there, people will find you and once they do they can help you spread your name and brand more if they like what they see!

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Following the Mystery Muse

We asked Wise Ink author Amy Pendino to talk about the inspiration behind her incredible mystery novel, The Witness Tree. She didn’t disappoint! Dive in this fall and get inspired.

I've always chosen mysteries first. I like solving the puzzles; I like observing how people interact when they're trying to hide secrets. I like how the sleuth or the solver always has some flaw or tic that runs a current underneath the main story. I like women as the main characters in these stories, though they're often called witches.

My great-X8 grandmother, Mary Perkins Bradbury, was accused of being a witch in Salem in 1692. One hundred and eighteen of her acquaintances testified in her case after she was accused of bewitching a neighbor so that he became crazed and died. She also supposedly turned herself into a blue boar. She was convicted with four other women who were executed that September, but somehow she escaped punishment and lived until 1700. I wonder how her life finished, after that trial? What kind of things might her contemporaries have said, as they passed her in the street? "Oh, there's that Mary, she's a witch, you know--better not piss her off!" In sincerity, she was described by most of the witnesses as being a good woman and a strong Christian. Might she have been attempting good works through that heavenly avenue, instead? The dead man's brother did admit that the deceased had tendencies toward melancholy and despair. There's also the consideration of Mary's age, which tends to parallel accusations of witchery and haggishness: she was over eighty years old when her trial began.

Old women know things: their intuition, accepted and honed through a lifetime of experience, help them to avoid traps and temptations that younger women fall prey to. Old women have a self-preservation that doesn't back away. They nourish their creative lives and aren't afraid to love or forgive. Or rage.

Some women are born old. Their wise souls instinctively guide them past bad dates, inappropriate occupations, thoughtless comments and win-less situations. They listen, consider, and choose carefully. I'm not a member of that group, though I've been trying to get my application looked at again.

So, back to spells and mysteries: I've learned to listen to my inner voice, though I don't always have the confidence to follow her. I am curious, though, and wonder about other women who have had the courage to follow their muses, to speak their words loudly, to admit their mistakes without shame. Are these sisters blessed with these gifts as they writhe through the birthing veil? Were the secrets whispered to them as they dozed with the angels? To me, a spell is nothing but hidden words finally shared out loud, phrases that swell with the ability to inject their revealed wisdom into a communion of shared understanding--not agreement, but acknowledgement of truth that is or truth that should be.

Mystery is finding the truth hidden between the different shades of why. I read and write stories to satisfy the curiosity that pushes me forward to this place, and for the gratification of placing the pieces that don’t fit back into the box and shutting it tight. Because the years of this life continue to provide instances of many-headed monsters that won’t be tamed, solved or sealed away, I follow the muse of “what if” that hides under the words and phrases of my stories, and wait for the day that the hags and witches, spell-breakers and crones welcome me into their sitting rooms to share.

To order Amy’s book, The Witness Tree, visit amypendino.com!

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