Finding New Ways to Market your Self-published Book.

It’s been an interesting year since my memoir was published while I learned an awful lot from experienced authors about how to get my book out there. Following their advice, I started this blog, sent out book releases, contacted local book stores and let all my friends, colleagues and acquaintances know through social media. These activities allowed me to a get good start, but to get to the next level, I had to find new ways to advertise beside on Facebook.

I tried contacting local book clubs and organizations. My own book club was the first to support me one month, by reading and discussing the book. We had a marvelous time. I then made the rounds of other book clubs. Thanks to friends in other communities, I was able to spread out. These appearances were invariably interesting and informative and led to great learning experiences with small book sales.

More recently, I had a brainstorm as I was preparing to go on a cruise. I contacted the cruise line a few months in advance, reaching out to customer service to find out how to get in touch with the cruise program director on my ship. I wanted to hold a book-signing as an alternative program on an “At-Sea” day. Alas, the cruise line would not allow it, although without a good explanation about why not. Nevertheless, they offered to set up a conference room for me to do a reading – no book sales and no listing/advertising in their daily newsletter. But, they agreed to set up my large poster with a program announcement, printed in regular fashion by the cruise line. These were to be displayed in the hallway outside the conference room, for one hour beforehand.

We had also made and brought flyers with us. On the day of the reading, we posted flyers around the ship about 2 hours before the event. We were gambling that people would be interested in a different activity and it worked! There were a good number of people at the reading (even though we were competing with the $10 Sale) which was followed by a lively discussion among the attendees, sparked by a question from the audience. There were some books sold as a result of the event.

Finally, I tried something totally out of the box for me. I made a pitch at a conference of program managers, representing organizations which are likely to have an interest in the subject matter of my memoir. It was an expensive and nerve racking effort, competing with a huge group of previously published authors, and some well-known authors, but most of all it was extremely instructive. The pitches differed in so many ways from a really funny one by a comedian, to the very polished presentation by a former speech-writer for President Obama. Again, I can say it worked. I have received my first invitation to do a book-signing before a large audience!


Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

Loved this list for its simplicity and truth.

Writer's Blog

zadiesmith5 Zadie Smith (Photograph: Francesco Guidicini)

In the winter of 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing published in The New York Times nearly a decade earlier, The Guardian reached out to some of today’s most celebrated authors and asked them to each offer his or her rules. My favourite is Zadie Smith’s list — an exquisite balance of the practical, the philosophical, and the poetic, and a fine addition to this ongoing omnibus of great writers’ advice on the craft.

Smith counsels:

  1. When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
  2. When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
  3. Don’t romanticise your ‘vocation.’ You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no ‘writer’s lifestyle.’ All that matters is what you leave on the…

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Reading Guide

My several appearances at book clubs have been wonderful experiences.  I learned, however, that many of the clubs would benefit from a reading guide.  Some have, in fact, requested one.  The one I prepared is intended for a memoir, but may be adaptable to other published works. So, here goes:

1. What did you like best about this book?

2. What did you like least about this book?

3. What other books did this remind you of?

4. Which character(s) in the book would you most like to meet?

5. Which characters did you like least?

6. If you were making a movie of this book, whom would you cast?

7. Share a favorite quote from the book. Why did this quote stand out?

8. Would you read another book by this author? Why or why not?

9. What feelings did this book evoke for you?

10. What did you think of the book’s length? If it’s too long, what would you cut? If too short, what would you add?

11. If you got the chance to ask the author of this book one question, what would it be?

12. Which places in the book would you most like to visit?

13. What do you think of the book’s title? How does it relate to the book’s contents? What other title might you choose?

14. What do you think of the book’s cover? How well does it convey what the book is about?

15. What do you think the author’s purpose was in writing this book? What ideas was he or she trying to get across?

16. What aspects of the author’s story could you most relate to?

17. How honest do you think the author was being?

18. What gaps do you wish the author had filled in? Were there points where you thought he or she shared too much?

19. Think about the other people in the book besides the author. How would you feel to have been depicted in this way?

20. Why do you think the author chose to tell this story?

The Reading Group Guide is also available at



In the continuing learning curve about marketing in today’s environment, I have now found another tool – the bookclub. I stumbled upon it almost by accident when reading an article about how to market your book. It suggested that I begin with my own bookclub.
It takes a great deal of chutzpah I thought to ask the members of your book club to buy your book and agree to discuss it at a meeting. Before I could get up that chutzpah, another member of the club saved me the personal agony. As soon as she saw me after the publication of “Lost and Found,” she asked me, “when are we going to read your book in the bookclub?” She made it so simple and for that I was truly grateful.

Before we could even get to the book in my own club, I had the pleasure of appearing at another local group which had decided to read the book. They welcomed me with awe and respect for my accomplishment which I cannot deny was in itself a truly rewarding experience. Discussion at our bookclub was marvelous. It was lively, full of many interesting questions and diversions. I was so pleased that so many readers found different aspects of “Lost and Found” related to their own lives and that they so enjoyed reading the memoir.

So now whenever a reader comments on my book I inquire about whether they belong to a bookclub and whether their club might be interested in my coming to discuss the book. Each such experience presents new viewpoints and allows me to share the book with others.

LOST and FOUND Now Available in Kindle and Nook E-Book Versions!

At a recent reading, a member of the audience asked if my memoir, LOST and FOUND: Surviving Displacement, Finding Love, Uncovering Secrets, was available as an e-book. At first, I was taken aback. I love the feel of a new book, the smell of the ink and way the words dance across the page. So I have resisted moving to digital books.

However, when I learned that her question was motivated by an eyesight problem, my attitude changed entirely. The reader suffers from macular degeneration and a digital reader makes it possible for her to read. I realized she was paying me a compliment. She wanted to read my book. It took a few weeks to convert the manuscript to a digital copy and then upload it to the various sellers.

Now I am proud to announce that my memoir is available in hard cover, soft cover and e-book for the Kindle (Amazon) and Nook (Barnes & Noble).

Happy reading!

Carmela Vitale Points to Her Experience in Government and Service to the Community

Love canvassing with Carmela & John. They are so dedicated to Madison.

Madison Democratic Committee - Madison, New Jersey

When Council President and candidate for re-election, Carmela Vitale of Myrtle Avenue,, is asked why she wants to run for Madison Borough Council, she responds: “My answer is simple, I love representing the residents of this wonderful town, and I want to continue to make it an even better place to live. The next few years are going to be very exciting times for Madison, and I feel that my experience in government will help us assess and implement the new ideas we will be pursuing. I am also very pleased to be a part of one of the best, most effective Councils that I have ever been privileged to serve on. We get things done!”
Vitale continued, “I understand municipal government and how to make it work effectively to meet the needs of its residents. Before my first term, I attended Rutgers Government School and learned a great deal…

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The Perils of Telephone Interviews

In my continuing efforts to get my book out there, I sent a press release to the local Jewish newspaper. It is the only newspaper that offers local news for the Jewish Community. I was pleasantly pleased when a staff writer contacted me.

It is great publicity and reached many people who are not on any of my social media. Check it out —

A few days after I had sent the press release, the journalist called me while I was riding in the back of a friends’ car. I discovered, however, the limitations of this type of interview. It is not as effective as a face to face one. To begin with, the timing was a surprise and caught me off guard. Also, I had no opportunity to build some preliminary rapport and could not judge the reporter’s reactions to my answers.  That made it difficult for me to formulate proper responses to some of his questions.

I learned that it is important to speak clearly, and in short sentences, because the journalist also had difficulty figuring out when a sentence was finished and what I was trying to say.  In an interview, unlike any writing material, there is no need to try to be brief.  It is important instead to take the time in describing the arc of the book and getting the message across about what makes this book an interesting read.  It also became clear to me that there are certain basic questions to which I needed to prepare a patent response, such as what the book is about and why I decided to write a book.

While the finished article includes some unfortunate errors , this well-meaning, kind reporter took the time to help me. As I thought about it, it is still great publicity and for that I am grateful.