Tag Archives: “indie” authors

“It’s Too Nichy”^

Sylvia Cary to Get an IRWIN AWARD from the Book Publicists of Southern California Sylvia Cary, psychotherapist and author of 5 books, is to get an award for "Best Niche Campaign" for her book, "The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published" (Timberlake Press) The IRWIN Award, named for the Book Publicists of Southern California founder, Irwin Zucker, was introduced in 1995 as a way to formally and publicly recognize BPSC members who conduct the best book sales/ promotion campaigns. The Honorees present will share with the BPSC audience the steps they took that led to the success of their book promotion campaigns. The event takes place at the Sportsmen's Lodge in Studio City on Thursday Oct. 15th. Contact at: sylvia@sylviacary.com OR visit newly tweaked and updated website, www.sylviacary.com.

Sylvia Cary, LMFT, received an IRWIN AWARD from the Book Publicists of Southern California (BPSC)  for “Best Niche Campaign” for her book, The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published (Timberlake Press). The award is named for the group’s founder, Irwin Zucker, and was introduced in 1995 as a way to formally and publicly recognize BPSC members who conduct the best book promotion campaigns. Each honoree shared with the audience the steps they took that led to the success of their book promotion campaign. (See video clip of Sylvia’s acceptance remarks below.) The event took place October 15th, 2015, at the Sportsmen’s Lodge in Studio City, California, http://www.sylviacary.com.

Nailing Your Niche*

Definition of niche:  A French word meaning “a situation or activity suited to a person’s interests, ability, or nature.” 

“Nail your niche and own it.”   — Dan Poynter

In the old days of publishing, before digital, before the Internet, before Amazon, before Google, and before Kindle, big publishers didn’t want to touch books on small topics because most didn’t sell . Publishing them just didn’t pay off. Authors of books in niche areas were more likely to find homes with academic or university presses or with little publishers with no money for publicity or marketing.  The readers of these books often had to find out about them through obscure newsletters, specialty bookstores, or by word-of-mouth from other folks interested in the same subjects.

I went that route myself “back in the day” when I was researching my book called Jolted Sober: Getting to the Moment of Clarity in the Recovery of Addiction. I became a long-distance member of the Alister Hardy Research Centre in the U.K. (Oxford) in order to receive their snail-mailed newsletter which contained information of interest to me for my book. They were studying spontaneous healings and religious experiences. My book contained numerous stories about sudden “Aha!” moments of clarity in the addiction recovery. What they were researching was right up my alley. Today, niche publications like this one are easy to find. In fact, I Googled the Centre to see if it still exists — and it does, but with a new name. Now it’s the Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre.

What all this means for you is that, as an author, you no longer have to be afraid that your topic or specialty is too narrowly focused (i.e. “too nichy”)  to write about. There are people out there looking for what you have to say. And while it’s unlikely that you’ll get a contract with a mainstream publisher where “No Niches Need Apply,” you may be accepted by a small press or you can self-publish on Amazon’s CreateSpace for free. You’ll find some buyers. Or they’ll find you. And they’ll be thrilled.

Tofu Takes Off

Here’s one of my favorite stories about writing a book for a niche market: For many years I’ve been running a free drop-in writers group at a bookstore in Woodland Hills, California. It is sponsored by the Independent Writers of Southern California (iwosc.org). One of our regular members, Lisa, told us how years earlier she’d accidentally stumbled upon an idea for a niche book while waiting in the check-out line at a local market. In her shopping cart she had a couple of packages of tofu. “How do you cook that stuff?” the woman behind her in line asked her. “Tofu is so tasteless.” Because Lisa really knows her tofu, she answered, “”It picks up the flavor of what you cook it in.” The woman was intrigued: “I didn’t know that.”  Lisa shared a few recipes with her; the woman was delighted.

This little conversation triggered an “Aha!” moment in Lisa’s brain. She went home and put together a cookbook on tofu, which included family cooking stories and, on each page, she placed a thought-provoking quote. She had copies made and sold them to friends, family and neighbors. She got requests for more. She had additional copies printed, this time bound with a plastic spiral. She took some of these to a local health food store. They bought a few, sold them, and ordered more. Then they ordered even more. By the end of the year the health food store had sold a total of 250 of Lisa’s tofu cookbook.

The following year, Lisa branched out to other health food stores and even a few pharmacies and it was the same story. They bought books, sold out, and ordered more. Next, Lisa bought her own spiral machine and printed copies at home for less money, and started doing a little local advertising. This resulted in a total of 5,000 cookbook sales, a decent number–  even if it had been a traditionally published book. But it was a lot of work! Had self-publishing on Amazon’s CreateSpace been available at the time Lisa started this project, who knows how many sales she’d have made as the result of people typing “cooking tofu” into their search engines!

Weightier Subjects

While it may still be possible to put everything that’s known about cooking tofu inside a single book, the body of knowledge in other fields is too vast for that. If you are, say,  a mental health professional and want to write a book on your specialty, you are probably going to have to “niche it down” so it’s not too broad and so it doesn’t repeat what’s already been done. In other words, you can’t just write “about alcoholism.” However, a book on alcoholism and the elderly is another story. By “niching it down,” you’ll be appealing to a few specific audiences, such as physicians, mental health professionals working with this population, and family members.  Try to think of another audience or two.

Here are just some of the subjects therapists have picked as specialties. Any one of them could be developed into a book:  Abuse, addiction, adoption, aging, anger management, ADHD, animal assisted therapy, anxiety, art therapy, Aspergers, autism, biofeedback, bipolar disorder, children/adolescents/teens, Christian counseling, cognitive behavioral, couples, creativity, depression, divorce and custody, eating disorders,  employee assistance (EAP), gay / lesbian/transgender issues, HIV/AIDS, Jungian analysis, Gestalt, grief recovery, learning disabilities, life coaching, meditation, mental illness, men’s issues, metaphysics, military culture, neuroscience, online counseling, parenting, phobias, play therapy, postpartum, private practice marketing, psychoanalysis, relationships, religious counseling, retirement counseling, rockstar therapy (yes, really!), short-term therapy, sex therapy, singles, sleep disorders, special needs – and hundreds more!

Start thinking about how you might give your special topic that special twist to make it different and unique. That’s how you get literary agents interested in representing you, publishers interesting in publishing you, and readers interested in buying you, whether it’s a traditionally or self-published book. Readers don’t care. They just want the information. The trick is to jump on a niche when it is still fairly new so, as the late publishing guru Dan Poynter said, you “own” it.

Finding a Home for The Therapist Writer

When I first came up with the idea for The Therapist Writer, I wrote a standard book proposal and started sending it out to literary agents. I kept getting back the same response: “It’s too nichy.” The agents didn’t think  there were enough mental health professionals who wanted to write who’d be interested in buying a book on the subject.  In fact, well-known literary agent Michael Larsen from San Francisco even phoned me to tell me this, and added that if I’d expand the focus from therapists to include other professions, he might consider it. That was tempting, but it wasn’t the book I wanted to write or felt capable of writing. I know my “tribe,” my fellow mental health professionals, very well, but I don’t know about other professional “tribes,” so I didn’t think I’d sound like I knew what I was talking about. I said no.

The Therapist Writer by Sylvia Cary, LMFT

The Therapist Writer by Sylvia Cary, LMFT

That’s when I realized I didn’t have a clue how big my market was. How many mental health professionals are there are in this country, anyhow, and how many of them want to write a book? I consulted the Occupational Outlook Handbook and came up with 750,000 mental health professionals, so I figured that if I could sell The Therapist Writer to just 1% of these therapists, that would end up being 7,500 books.  I also realized that while this figure might make me happy, it wouldn’t make me rich, and it wouldn’t impress a mainstream publisher.

I gave up on the idea of traditional publishing and self-published through Lightning Source (after first becoming a publisher — their rule at the time), and once the paper version was up on Amazon, I published it as a Kindle E-book.

Doc, What’s Your Line?

The conversation with agent Larsen made me really clear on the fact that I didn’t want to give up my niche audience (mental health professionals who want to write) and write for all writers. There were already plenty of books on writing and publishing for the general public. I also felt it was a plus that I was a licensed psychotherapist because I had chapters in the book on special issues that therapist-writers face, such as the important issue of patient confidentiality: How can a therapist write about a client’s case without getting sued? I talk in the book about “the art of disguise” in writing about others, which means a lot more than just changing names.

I now understood that by “niching down” my book I was probably limiting my readership and profits, but that’s just one of the many decisions an author must make. I also knew that when I started marketing my book, I’d have a chance to point out the benefits in the book for all writers, not just therapist writers. One big marketing shift I had to make was to treat therapist-writers as therapists, not writers. Most therapists don’t want to be writers, which is why they haven’t bought books on writing, and why they know less about the writing business than the average bear. They just want to keep on being therapists who have written a book. My book, I point out in my marketing, understands this and works with it so the therapists can reach their publishing goals in spite of their discomfort. The therapists who do want to be writers (and there are some!) already act like writers, and have read books and know about publishing trends. They are ripe and ready to press on.

The majority of the time, in marketing to therapists, I stress therapy careers, not writing careers. I  list the perks for therapists in being “the author of ” a book. It means instant credibility; being seen as an “expert in the field.” They might even become the “go-to” shrink for colleagues to refer to for specific psychological issues, like one therapist I know whose self-published book on his personal bipolar struggle has made him the therapist that other therapists think of as a referral resource. When I’d speak at therapy-related events and meetings, I’d take the same approach. I’d  talk to the audience as “therapists,” not “writers,”  and stress the career perks of getting published.

Becoming Niche Savvy

It’s important to know why your niche audience wants your book. For my niche audience, my book is business, not pleasure. Some therapists want to publish in order to have a carton of books in the trunk of their car to sell when they give talks or give workshops, or to have on hand for clients, clients’ families, and colleagues. Nothing more. They hate marketing.

I learned how to market The Therapist Writer (and I’m still learning) and how deal with a niche audience on the job, mostly by correcting mistakes —  such as starting out with no idea of the size, or whereabouts, of my audience! Next time out, I’ll know.

I didn’t get rich or famous marketing my book, but I learned a bunch and I got this award for my efforts. Cool experience. And the award  is pretty, isn’t it?

The IRWIN Award for "Best Niche Campaign"

The IRWIN Award for “Best Niche Campaign”

Below, FYI, is a video clip of my award acceptance remarks:

 

*Copyright 2015  Sylvia Cary, LMFT.  Portions of this blog post are taken from the chapter on “Nailing Your Niche” in The Therapist Writer.

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The Joy of Swimming Upstream

This sign in the window caught my eye, so I went inside...

This sign in the window caught my eye, so I went inside…

I began writing this blog three years ago on the 4th of July, 2011. My first post was called “Celebrating Writer Independence.”  Basically, that has been the theme ever since. My husband was still alive then and on the big night of July 4th, he stood behind me as I sat at my computer, his hands supportively on my shoulders, and with the fireworks literally going off outside, he asked, “Well, are you ready?” “I’m ready,” I said and with my heart pounding as I clicked the “Publish” button — and my blog was born!

“I’m a blogger!” I shouted. It was exciting!

What a country!

I’ve been fully immersed in “indie” ever since. I became a publishing company; I “indie” published my own book, The Therapist Writer, as well as the books of two other authors, and I’m about to publish two more. I’ve been reading about “indie,” talking “indie,” teaching “indie,” and breathing “indie” ever since.  I run a writer’s group and all we do is talk about indie publishing and mourn the closing of bookstores all around us. We meet at CROWN Books in Woodland Hills, California, and it’s our third bookstore.  The others we once met at have blown away.

So, imagine my delight one day as I was walking along Sherman Way in nearby Canoga Park and glanced into a store window — and found myself eye-level with the above sign: “I Refuse to Participate in a Recession.” It was then that I realized that I was looking into a bookstore. Not an old dusty bookstore that was on the verge of going the way of the others, but a new-ish looking bookstore, neat and tidy and bright blue with two cozy arm chairs right up front.  And I could see a man behind a counter — reading a book.

Next Chapter Books in Canoga Park, California

Next Chapter Books in Canoga Park, California

“This I gotta see,” I said to myself, and I marched in.  I just had to find out the story behind that sign.

Boyd T. Davis, the very independent owner of Next Chapter Books in Canoga Park, California

Boyd T. Davis, the very independent owner of Next Chapter Books. He sells “Quality Used Books” — mystery, fiction, music, photography, children’s books, theater, Vietnam, the Civil War, and his favorites, military and aviation.

Here’s the Story

After thirty-eight years in the corporate world, Boyd Davis told me, “I realized I was in a financial position to do what I wanted, so I opened a bookshop in Woodland Hills. Then I needed more space so I moved here.”  That’s it. That’s the story. While other men his age in a similar financial position may be out there golfing, traveling, or going on cruises, Davis is in his shop, reading.

“How do you start a bookshop?” I asked.  I’d never really thought about it before. After all, if you’re a Barnes & Noble or Costco they probably send you books from a distributor, but how do you start off when you’re on your own?

“At first I contributed my own personal collection of books, and then I bought some from library sales, and I also had book scouts hunting for books. Then people started bringing in books.” While Davis doesn’t ordinarily take books on consignment, he is open to talking to local authors about carrying their books on a case-by-case basis. (Crown Books in Woodland Hills also takes kindly to local authors who may display their books and set their own prices.)

You're looking at somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000 books: "I never actually individually counted them," Boyd said.

Boyd Davis estimates that he has somewhere between 25,000 and 40,000 books: “I never actually set out to individually count them.”

A section of the children's section

(Above) A section of the children’s section.

And his favorite section, military and aviation

The owner’s favorite section — military and aviation

What’s the “Next Chapter” in Publishing?

It’s hard to say what’s on the horizon in the publishing industry. Will more publishers tank? Will “indie” publishing fill the gap? Will more bookstores bite the dust? Are we all swimming upstream? Possibly, but those of us who are “into indie” don’t care. Being in charge of the game is what’s fun!

In fact, the day before the July 4th holiday I drove past Next Chapter Books and glanced inside. Boyd Davis was in one of the big, cozy armchairs — reading.

(Next Chapter Books is located at 21616 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91303. The website is http://www.nextchapterbooks.com. Phone: (818) 704-5864; info@nextchapterbooks.com)

(c) 2014 Sylvia Cary, LMFT

“Indie” Energized

When Writers Are Unleashed, You Can Feel the Energy in the Room -- Google Images

“When Writers Are Unleashed…”   Photo: Google Images

Last week I went to two Los Angeles writing events. Two very different kinds of writing events. The first was a panel of literary agents and managers, some of whom had snarky things to say about self-publishing: “Self-publishing produces so much dreck”… “You still can’t sell a book to a mainstream publisher without an agent”…”People in New York think people in LA don’t read”…”Before you self-publish, have you even thought about how you’re going to promote it?”…”99 percent of self-published books end up selling one hundred copies,” and, “A self-published book will never re-sell to a real publisher unless it has three zeroes after it.”

Ouch! Bummer. I left with my shoulders drooping.

I was in that other world once, the traditional publishing world (back when my first books were published), but for the past three years, self-publishing has been my life. I started my own publishing company in 2010, published and marketed a friend’s memoir, am completing the last chapter of my own book called The Therapist Writer: Helping Mental Health Professionals Get Published (I’m a licensed psychotherapist), and I plan on “indie” publishing it within weeks. I love self-publishing. But it is a very different world indeed.

It’s not that the agent folks on the panel were wrong. They made valid points. But they weren’t inspiring. They were disheartening. They were just another set of book industry gatekeepers explaining to the great unwashed how the rules of the ivory towers work, translated as “only one percent of writers today have a chance of breaking through the first gate and having their work read by one of the agents on that panel.”

Ah, if only this panel of agents had been able to Skype the second writing event I attended that week, the monthly drop-in writers group that I run at a local Barnes & Noble. No drooping shoulders there. Instead, there were fifteen excited, highly energized writers, many of them older, some traditionally published in the past, a few still trying that route, talking eagerly and with hope about their future projects, their creativity suddenly released anew — all thanks to the Internet, the digital revolution and the self publishing phenomenon.

One group member, an actor as well as a writer, picked up his Kindle and read from the first of his self-published family fiction trilogy. Meanwhile, he passed around copies of his newly designed book covers, done by a graphic artist friend. When he finished reading, we applauded — right there in Barnes & Noble. (Remember when you had to be quiet in bookstores?) Then a woman read one of her hilarious senior romance short stories. She is turning one into a screenplay and is contemplating self-published others as a collection.

A fellow psychotherapist, new to the writing group, told us she was there because she realized that after many years of working in her specialty, she is now considered an “expert” with a lot to say, so she wants to write a book. We brainstormed fresh angles on her topic which has already been written about a lot. Then there was the retired vet, a group regular, who has written 19 novels and finally dared (with much prodding from the rest of us) to upload one of them to Smashwords. He sold three copies the first day — his first ever sales. More applause.

And you ask, “Have these writers even thought about how they are going to market these books?” Are you kidding! They are laser focused on marketing. Take, for example, the woman who wrote a tofu cookbook which also includes a family story and inspirational quotes. She spiral bound copies (buying her own spiral machine) and sold 5000 copies to various health food stores, pharmacies and about twenty other kinds of stores. How’s that for “three zeroes” after the number, Mr. Agent Man?

And as for exhibiting creative “outside the box” marketing ideas, look again at the above-mentioned senior romance writer who has done a series of readings in lingerie shops?  Or the retired teacher and poet who recently gave a talk on his writings and was approached later by a man in the audience who exclaimed, “Gee, I wish my father did stuff like that.”

Towards the end of the meeting, a shy woman reached into her purse and pulled out a  copy of her children’s mystery book. As she passed it around the group, she told us: “The cover of the sequel is in the same style, just a different color. And here’s the bookmark that goes with it,” she added. She looked wonderfully happy. When our meeting time was up, we all stood up — but people kept on talking, getting referrals from each other for editors, proof-readers, book cover designers, and suggestions for clever marketing approaches.  As we were finally dispersing, a woman ran up: “I saw your sign. I couldn’t help eavesdropping. I’ll be here next time! I wish you met every week!”

Now, which meeting would you attend for a little zap of inspiration?

Copyright (c) Sylvia Cary, LMFT

How to (Almost) Get Thrown Out of Barnes & Noble

Regis Philbin with Harriett Bronson at His Barnes & Noble Book Signing Event in Glendale for His New Book "How I Got This Way"

They say experience is the best teacher, right? So recently my friend Harriett Bronson and I decided to attend the Regis Philbin book signing event at Barnes & Noble in Glendale for his new book How I Got This Way. Harriett is a former talk radio host and the author of the memoir Charlie & Me about her 16-year marriage to the late Hollywood actor, Charles Bronson. We figured the experience of seeing what a major celebrity book-signing felt like would help Harriett prepare for her own book-signing event (on a smaller scale, of course) coming up on Friday January 6th at 7 pm at Book Soup on Sunset in Hollywood.  Y’all come down!

First a little back-story: Harriett and I have been friends since the mid-80s when we met on a writing project. She and Bronson were already divorced by this time. She was working on her memoir, and over the years I tried to help her shop it to New York agents and publishers but they weren’t interested, feeling that Bronson, even though still alive, wasn’t popular enough anymore to warrant such a book. We shelved the project. When Bronson died in 2003, we tried again. No luck. Then, when the whole Internet/digital/self-publishing revolution burst forth on the publishing scene, we jumped on the bandwagon. I became a publishing company (Timberlake Press) and published Harriett’s book, Charlie & Me, in early 2011.  This “indie” book publishing experience has been quite an adventure for both of us–scary and exciting at the same time.

Harriett Bronson and I (Taking the Photo) Wait Patiently for the Crowds at Barnes & Noble to Thin Out So She Can Say Hi to Regis, Get Her Book Signed and Get a Facebook Photo!

One more detail: Harriett has known Regis Philbin since the ’70s. She even pays tribute to him in her book: “He’s the first person to utter the words ‘talk radio‘ to me. I’d never heard of talk radio. Regis suggested I check it out. I did. I loved it. And I ended up being a talk radio host for 9 years–all thanks to Regis. He has been a friend ever since and even plugged my book on his TV show causing Amazon sales to spike for a day! I wanted to attend his book-signing to say hi and thank him in person for plugging my book.” As Harriett’s publisher, my agenda was to take mental notes on book-signings and get a good photo of Harriett and Regis together for Harriett’s Charlie & Me  Facebook page.

So how hard could this plan be? We figured we’d just zip over Barnes and Noble, pop in, wave hi to Regis, soak up some “famous author vibes” at a cellular level, snap a couple of digital pictures — and then dash out for lunch. Half an hour tops, wouldn’t you think?

Well, Lesson #1: Everything takes longer and is harder than you think. Why haven’t I learned this by now?  As celebrities go, Regis is huge and he drew a huge crowd.  You can’t just pop in and say hi to a huge celebrity doing a book signing even if you do know him. Lesson #2: Don’t arrive on time. Like the airport, arrive an hour early. The line was already around the block and up two long escalators and down a long hall. The hired  Security Guards, who came off like Secret Service, were everywhere. You’d have thought a presidential candidate was signing. And there was another line at the register just to buy the book. We stood in that line first and Harriett got her little orange wrist-band (“This is a wristband event” it stated on the B&N website) proving she’d bought the book. Lesson #3: Buy the book in advance so you can skip this line.

Halfway up the second escalator, Harriett, still recovering from a broken toe, was experiencing some pain. Lesson #4: Wear comfortable shoes. I got out of the line and went over to a Security Guard, explained about Harriett’s physical discomfort, and asked if we could jump ahead to where there were seats. The Security Guard kept repeating the same phrase: “I’m sorry, Ma’am, you’ll have to step back in line.” I repeated my request, hoping he’d offer some kind of solution. He hit REPLAY again: “Sorry, Ma’am, you’ll have to step back in line.”

Another Security Guard joined in. Then a third: “We’re sorry, Ma’am, you’ll have to step back in line.” I pointed to Harriett, explained that she was in some discomfort and couldn’t stand in a line for another hour or two–of course hoping they’d volunteer to let us jump ahead. No such luck. Instead, we got the same answer, “I’m sorry, Ma’am, you’ll have to get back in line — ” then it came — “or we’ll have to have you removed from the store.”  I was incredulous. “You’d actually have us thrown out of Barnes & Noble?”  One of the Security Guards repeated the threat in case I didn’t get it the first time: “If you don’t step back in line, we’ll have Security remove you from the premises.”  I could just picture it — being dragged out liked members of Occupy Barnes & Noble.

I walked back over to Harriett and we had a little parley:  Should we dare play the “Regis is a friend of mine” card? — but we quickly ruled that out when someone else tried it and got slapped down: “Four hundred people here say they’re friends of Regis. Please step back in the line.” These boys play rough!  So instead we decided to throw ourselves out of Barnes & Noble, go eat lunch somewhere nice and come back later when the crowd had thinned out (which looked as it might be dinnertime) and the “soup nazies” (as we were now calling them) were completely worn out and much less vigilant from dealing with other “out of line” characters just like us.

So we picked a restaurant across the walkway from Barnes and Noble and sat at an outside table. The place was nearly empty. (Everybody must have been at the book-signing!) We had a perfect view of the book store and could see the people as they walked by the window on the third floor with their books for Regis to sign.

After a leisurely salad, we looked up into the Barnes & Noble window again and saw that the crowd had started to thin out. We paid and went back into the store, up the two escalators, past the Security Guards (who were glaring at us — “Watch those two!”) until we finally got near the throne room. Then we were there — facing the signing table.

When Regis saw Harriett he said “Harriett!” and stood up and came over to her and gave her a hug. (We so hoped the Security Guards were all watching!) Harriett re-introduced Regis to me (I’d been on his show once decades ago pushing my first book), they had a brief chat, and when Regis saw my camera he put his arm around Harriett and flashed a big Regis smile so I could get my photo of them together — and then guess what? My digital camera froze: “Memory card full.” I knew I’d have to delete a picture in order to make room for a new photo, but what photo should I delete? “Take the picture!” Harriett was saying to me between clenched teeth. I started reviewing photos I could delete. “Hurry up, Sylvia!” Regis was saying, his smile fading. He was exhausted from hours of signing. His hand probably hurt. His “people” were pulling at him. “Hurry up!” By now I was so rattled I couldn’t remember how my camera worked. Finally, I deleted something — blindly — I don’t even want to know what I picked. Then Snap/Flash! I got the Facebook picture. “Whew!” I said in a loud voice. When a nice B&N staffer offered to use my camera to take another picture of Regis and Harriet and me, I said no. I couldn’t go through that photo deleting thing again. Lesson #5: Follow this advice I got from my daughter, Jessica, a collector of soap star autographs:  “Always make sure you have a working pen and film in your camera. Celebrities don’t like to wait.”

By the time Harriett and I left Barnes & Noble we were exhausted. “It’ll be just our luck,” I said to Harriett as we headed for the parking garage. “We’ll become famous authors but they’ll never let us in Barnes & Noble again.”

Now, more than a week later, and fully recovered, we’re starting to make plans for Harriett’s  Book Soup signing on Friday night January 6, 2012 at 7 pm, 8818 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood.  We promise you, no long lines, no “soup nazies,” just come and listen to Harriett talk about being “Mrs. Famous” by being married to Charlie Bronson, find out what he was “really like,” look at photos from the Bronson family album, have some refreshments, ask questions about Harriett’s book, or her radio career, or about the adventure of “indie” publishing, and all that good stuff. It’ll be fun. 310.659.3110. Free parking behind the store via Nellas St.  It’ll be an experience!