Getting Published

Tom Cirignano

Writers should listen to numerous interviews with authors to learn the steps many took to getting published. Here is Tom Cirignano talking about his roadblocks to only continue and get published.




By Charles Winokoor
Taunton Gazette Staff Reporter

TAUNTON — Go ask Stephen King: Getting a book deal with a big publishing house can be as difficult as landing a role in a major motion picture.

With that in mind, a group of more than two dozen serious part-time authors, illustrators and poets gathered Saturday in a secluded dining-room area of Smokey Bones restaurant on County Street, for some sound advice on furthering their careers.
It was the first time the four “core members” of the loose-knit, SouthCoast-based Authors Without Borders — which promotes, encourages and guides aspiring authors — held a group meet-and-greet.

What emerged from the casual gathering was that networking and self-promotion are vital to getting one’s name into the boundless arena of readers looking for something new.

Core member Alberta Sequeira has paperback and Kindle versions of books listed on online seller Amazon.

Her two books dealing with the alcohol-related deaths of both her former husband, Richard Lopes, and their daughter, Lori, have received generally strong customer reviews.

“I’m just thrilled that they’re here,” beamed Sequeira, 75, as she spoke in a hushed tone while her fellow organizers addressed the crowd and fielded questions.

A central goal, she said, is to convince local self-publishing writers and illustrators to contact Authors Without Borders via its website anytime a question arises.

In addition to the nominal charge of $35 for a three-year membership, the group’s site lists a virtual myriad of writer-related websites offering advice ranging from editing skills and photo entries to personalized bookmarks and warnings of dubious agents and publishers.
Local author, playwright and fellow core member Joyce Walsh said Saturday’s conclave was unequivocally beneficial.

“Writers are very solitary people for the most part,” said Walsh, adding that the meet-and-greet had succeeded in producing “a very vigorous discussion.”

Walsh, who during the past decade has seen half a dozen self-penned books — ranging from mystery-novel genre to real crime — published in print offered some basic advice.

“Do what you love, and no matter what else happens do your best,” she said.

Walsh strongly recommended that new writers consider self-publishing through Amazon-owned CreateSpace, which ensures creative control and copyright ownership, as well as access to readers worldwide via Amazon.

“No one wants to go to a legacy publisher,” such as Random House, she said. “You need an agent and it can take 12 to 18 months before anyone reads your manuscript.”

In addition to being picked up by an independent publishing house, Sequeira, who lectures on the subject of alcoholism and has had four books and three handbooks published under her name, suggested using CreateSpace which charges $6 to print, publish and deliver each copy.
She says her fellow writers should be under no illusion that they’re destined to get rich quick. The idea of using a service like CreateSpace, she says, is simply to “get the message out” to the public.

Walsh and Sequeira also co-host a local-access, cable television program on New Bedford’s NBTV95 called “Authors Without Borders Presents.”

A three-year associate membership includes a free interview on the show and a free CD to promote oneself on his or her’s personal website.

Core members of Authors Without Borders currently include two other female authors, Willie Pleasants and Patricia Perry.

Michael DeCicco, 64, says he’s been a correspondent, or stringer, since 2011 for the Standard-Times newspaper in New Bedford.

In between covering various town meetings the freelance writer has managed to self-publish two books of fiction, one in paperback and another on Kindle.

“I need to use social media more to promote myself,” said DeCicco, who added that he’ll be renting a table to sell his books at an upcoming book festival in New Bedford.
His “Kid Mobster” novel, he said, can be downloaded on Kindle for $2.99. DeCicco readily admits he’s yet to see a profit.

It’s one thing to self-publish a book but another to get anyone to buy it.

Core member Pleasants stressed the importance of developing a 30-second pitch to potential publishers and readers: “Make a main point that tells us why we should want to read it,” she said.

Charles Coe of Cambridge, who previously worked at Massachusetts Cultural Council, is co-chair of the Boston chapter of the National Writers Union and has had two books of poetry published, came to Taunton to check out Saturday’s meet-and-greet.

“I love it,” he said, when asked his impression of the meeting.

Author’s Bio

The Six Rules You Should Use to Write a Professional Bio

1. Always write in the third person. Your professional bio is not an autobiography. You don’t say, “I have been a ghostwriter for four years.” You say, “Jane Doe has been a ghostwriter for four years.” It’s easier to trust a bio that appears to have been written by an objective observer.

2. List provable facts. Don’t waste time sharing your dreams. “Jane Doe has always wanted to pursue writing as a career.” That’s not appropriate here. Only include information that you can back up with proof. “Jane Doe has provided her services independently and through the online employment forums oDesk and Elance.” These are facts that can be confirmed by a search on these forums.

3. Include pertinent education and experience. If you have taken courses, you may want to include this, especially if your list of provable facts is difficult to confirm independently. Example later.

4. Bring in memberships. Mention any memberships you have in writing clubs, business groups, etc.

5.Keep the writing tight. Don’t get wordy. Display your best writing skills. Keep sentences short. Make sure every sentence really needs to be there.

6. Hook, grab and hold. Make sure your bio includes something that is unique about you. Give the reader something to remember about you.

These rules don’t have to be applied in the order given. All you really need to do is include as many of them as possible. You may not have any education. Don’t fret over it. Build up your experience so you can change your bio.

Alberta Sequeira

Website:<a href=";
Purchase Books at

Author’s Experiences

Taken from:

8 Steps To Writing A Sales-Driving Author Bio

1. Less is more.

2. Write in the third person.

3. What are your books about?

4. Humbly signify your authority.

5. Fiction writers can get personal.

6. Remember that the author bio is about your reader.

7. Name dropping is good.

8. Use your bio to build your email list.

Alberta Sequeira

Purchase Alberta’s books at

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3 Sticky Ways to Hold Reader Attention

Written by SONIA SIMONE | July 8, 2008 |

If you can’t keep the reader’s attention, nothing else matters. And the online world demands your best techniques to hold reader interest because tempting distractions are always just a click away. All writers and marketers have their favorite tricks to glue reader attention to their content, so here are three of mine.

1. Pair your copy with an arresting image

Some images create a strong emotional reaction in your reader, which creates a much more receptive mindset for your persuasive copy.

Strong images are strong because they inspire strong emotion. Whether that emotion is lust, tenderness, awe, sympathy, or just plain curiosity, a powerful image alters your reader’s consciousness for just a few moments. That split second of emotional transformation allows your message to sink in much more deeply.

2. Use questions to capture and keep reader attention

Smart copywriters use questions to get the reader’s train of thought moving in the right direction. Ask questions that uncover pain points or explore insecurity.

Ask questions that enlarge your readers’ dreams, questions that get them to paint a mental picture of the fantastic rewards your product can bring.

3. Get nitty gritty

Abstraction is boring. Ever read a psychology textbook in college? The theoretical discussions and clinical descriptions made for an excellent sleeping aid. But the case studies–real-life stories of crazy people and how being crazy affected their lives–woke you right up again.

Content with lots of specific details will hold reader attention much better than content that waffles on about general concepts. Vague, abstract generalities are hard to relate to. But when you get down to nitty-gritty specifics–exactly what goes into a technique, or the scary details about how you were almost homeless before you discovered this new business strategy–your reader wakes up again.

Use details and narrative to show the reader what really happened. Get nitty-gritty with your reader and she’ll reward you with her sustained attention. And that attention can be profitably turned into sales.

What are your favorite attention-holding techniques?

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