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“Don’t skimp anywhere” if you’re creating your own audiobooks, advises Amy Friedman, whose Los Angeles-based Friedman & Danziger was honored for Tell Me a Story 3: Women of Wonder, the only audiobook from an independent publisher to receive an Audie Award this year.

“Every single aspect of production counts,” Friedman emphasizes, adding that a good story is no guarantee of success if the overall concept isn’t strong, if the mixing is bad, or if the packaging is sloppy.

For her audio products for children, Friedman starts by selecting a variety of stories with the help of her composer and director. “We try to make sure the length of each story and of the entire CD are useful for travel and for bedtime—in other words, that there’s a mix of length in the stories, some only five to six minutes long, others twelve to thirteen, and the whole piece running around an hour.”

As publishers in other genres often do, Friedman then turns to a test market. “The final arbiters of the choice of stories are the composer’s daughters—six and eight when we began, and now ten and twelve, and still our final critics.”

The team determines what the “feel” of the audiobook should be. “For our first release, we decided on ‘eclectic,’ and to add to the eclecticism, we cast against type, hiring a fine actor with a thick Brooklyn accent to read a Japanese piece, a Chinese-American actress to read a Scottish tale, and so on.”

Besides budgeting for several hours with recording engineers and a mixer, Friedman advises hiring one of the best designers you can find for your cover and inserts. Most important, she says, avoid anything that appears “slapdash,” anything that makes people think you included all your content, all your special effects—everything you could think of—in the audio.


As this column went to press, the crew at Berrett-Koehler Publishers in San Francisco was celebrating the appearance on the New York Times bestseller list of The One Minute Negotiator: Simple Steps to Reach Better Agreement. Written by Don Hutson and George Lucas, the book made its debut on the Times’s “Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous” list the week of September 19. You can check its current ranking at nytimes.com/pages/books/bestseller/index.html?ref=books.

You can find an excerpt from the book on the BK Web site (bkpub.com) that provides five examples of statements that don’t work to your advantage in negotiations. All of these apply to publishing, especially when you’re pursuing a special sale or a licensing deal, or dealing with authors or vendors.

The five counterproductive statements are:

1. “We need a 5–10 percent [or substitute your percentage range numbers accordingly] price increase.” Say Hutson and Lucas: People think this shows flexibility, but in reality it indicates you are uncertain what you want and lack confidence that you deserve any increase at all. It’s not like they’re going to say, “Oh, I have to give you 10 percent more or I could not sleep at night!” 

2. “You did not understand me.” This is actually a highly competitive comment that people use when they think they’re clarifying things. Instead, the authors suggest using, “Perhaps I’m not explaining myself as clearly as I should be.” The onus should be on you to ensure you got the point across, they explain.

3. “We can live with that price; let’s tie the deal down.” You may have just told the other side they left money on the table. Even if you like the number and the encounter has been collaborative, you still want to ask a few questions in terms of what is included and not included so the other side does not feel they made the deal too fat.

4. “We are asking for $[amount], but that number is negotiable.” Of course all numbers are negotiable, but you just said you do not think what you are selling is worth the amount you quoted. State your number, and, per point #1 above, state it as one number and not a range. Also, state the number slowly, in a low and confident tone, while not only looking in their eyes, but also looking into the back of their skulls.

5. “We can’t possibly get you the item by [deadline date].” You think you’re being clear, but you just stated your inability to deliver by this date as a nonnegotiable. Nonnegotiable items should be very few in number and generally tied to legal, ethical, and organizational policy issues. A better answer is, “That date is going to be a challenge; we could make that happen, but only if you are willing to sign a contract today, pay for express shipping, and identify a contact person on your side we will have direct and open access to 24/7.” With this response, you may have just gotten the agreement of your dreams.


The recent massive recall of eggs resulted in more national and niche publicity for NW Trillium’s guide to raising chickens.

In the Christian Science Monitor’s Chapter & Verse blog, food writer Rebekah Denn started out, “The recent recall of some 450 million potentially tainted eggs looks to be another event that opens new eyes to the quandaries of our modern food system. . . . After checking the eggs in your fridge against this recall list, sit down with a book from one of these authors who could (but probably wouldn’t) say they saw this coming.”

Denn’s book list included the Seattle-area publisher’s Minnie Rose Lovgreen’s Recipe for Raising Chickens at #5, and Denn’s writeup of it says, “This charming little hand-lettered book was originally written when urban chicks were rare, and isn’t aimed specifically at that market, but it’s still a fun and practical read for those planning (or only dreaming of) their own flocks.”

Several daily papers and the Shelf Awareness newsletter oriented to booksellers picked up the story, and members of Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association got an email about it from the association staff. (Interested in similar exposure for your food-related book? Denn, formerly a reporter for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, freelances for a variety of publications besides the Monitor; she can be reached at eatallaboutit.com.)


Destiny Kinal of Berkeley’s Sitio Tempo Press made a presentation at “Woodstock Years: 1965–1975,” a symposium sponsored by the Faculté des Affaires Internationales at Université du Havre, in Le Havre, prior to the Frankfurt Book Fair.


Raven Tree Press in McHenry, IL, has two books to crow about.

Beautiful Moon/Bella Luna, a 32-page bilingual children’s picture book written by Dawn Jeffers and illustrated by Bonnie Leick, has been selected as the January 2011 title for the Primary group of Read On Wisconsin!, a statewide book club sponsored by Wisconsin’s First Lady.

The book is available in hardback, paperback, and an interactive format for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch.

And Soap, Soap, Soap/Jabón, Jabón, Jabón has been selected by The Georgia Center for the Book for its inaugural list of 25 Books All Young Georgians Should Read. 

This list of the best children’s literature by Georgia writers and artists features titles selected by the writers, educators, librarians, and media representatives who compose the center’s advisory council. The center is Georgia’s chartered representative of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. 


Julie Rebboah, author of the Catch the Reading Bug! learn-to-read series, was in Dallas last month to present a workshop at the Kindergarten Teachers of Texas Conference (KTOT).

Rebboah, of Lightning Bug Learning in Lake Oswego, OR, reports that KTOT is open to all teachers of children from birth through eight years of age. It’s affiliated with the National Kindergarten Alliance, which has affiliates in several states (see nkateach.org).

Although KTOT presenters are not permitted to sell during or after their workshops, they can display samples, distribute brochures, and publicize their Web sites. They are also paid honoraria.

In the future, Rebboah plans to avoid booth rental fees, the expense of shipping an exhibit, and the work of setting up and staffing it by arranging for a book signing with one of the vendors who is exhibiting.

“It’ll be win-win,” she points out. “The vendor will get the sales resulting from my demonstration and booth traffic from the book signing.”


It may be hard to quantify the value of the Independent, but here’s one story of measurable results that stemmed from reading an article. The Parenting Press crew in Seattle read “Is E-Reading Really Greener?” by Raz Godelnik (August) and then used Google to see who was quoting (or disputing) his comments. One of the blogs that had responded to the piece was LISWire.com (Librarian and Information Science News). The press, previously unaware of this blog, immediately submitted information about its title Internet Safety and Your Family, and the blog used the release.

The result: a sales spurt. Because this book is sold print-on-demand through Amazon’s CreateSpace, daily sales figures are available. For the month, Amazon sales exceeded previous life-to-date sales, and in one day, 60 copies of the book sold.

Members in the Spotlight is compiled by Linda Carlson (twitter.com/Carlson ideas), who is in Seattle. She welcomes news of unusual special sales, significant media coups, and other achievements at linda@ibpa-online.org.

The focus of this column is as much about how you accomplish something as what you accomplish, so details and specific how-to’s are important.

Please submit your information in the text of your email, and remember to include your name, title, and the name of your press. This column does not use news about nonmembers. It does not ordinarily use photos or other images. To ensure that you receive Linda’s emails, please make sure that her address has been added to the approved sender list in your email program—and that you have an updated email address on file with the IBPA office, ibpa-online.org.

Since information for Members in the Spotlight is needed at least six weeks in advance of the Independent’s issue date, news you submit by November 15 can be considered for the January and later issues. News that is time-sensitive and misses the Spotlight deadline—awards, events, upcoming television and radio appearances, and co-opportunities—should be directed to Lisa Krebs in the IBPA office atlisa@ibpa-online.org for inclusion in the IBPA newsletter, Independent Publishing Now.



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