Enjoy a public view of articles, notices, and events available to help you as an independent book publisher, small press, self-publisher, author or aspiring writer. NCPA is a support network to help you create and market the best-possible fiction or non-fiction book.

  • 24 Jun 2016 2:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Newsletter Editor and club communications director Norma Jean Thornton asks members to submit their news and suggestions.

    Link to June 2016 newsletter

  • 01 Jun 2016 4:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Link to May 2016 newsletter

    INDEX for what’s in this newsletter is further down the page.

     Newsletter is still a work in progress, so please bear with me.  This month is 3 pages shorter, but still long;.  For right now, it needs to be, since we need to continue to both THANK  and advertise our full sponsor & donor information and contact.  The 2016 donation information will end with this newsletter

    For the next six months, we’ll keep the current contact information for both.  After that, it will be time to start with the new 2017 Sponsors and Donors.

    Want your name and/or business mentioned here for that long?  Donate to the Silent Auction, or sponsor us in 2017.  The sooner you donate/sponsor, the longer your info is advertised.

    Trying something new ~ there are two member interaction items casually mentioned in this newsletter ~ INFO ON A PRIZE, and INFO ON A WRITING PROMPT.  You’ll have to read it all (or at least, skim through it) in order to find them … Let’s see how many of you read this, and how many will participate?

    We’re a group of writers and publishers!  Let’s WRITE!  Send your answers, and PROMPT article ASAP to me: normathornton@yahoo.com

    INDEX for May 2016 newsletter:

    Page 1 ~ June NCPA MeetingS ~ YES, 2 meetings ~ includes NEW LUNCHTIME meeting info

    Pages 2 & 3 ~ President’s message, Chatter from our NEW LUNCHTIME MEETING & Short

       Articles from the five (5) in attendance that first day (Wed 18 May)

    Page 4 ~ Upcoming Meetings & Events ~ including NEWS on 2017 Book Awards Banquet

    Page 5 ~ List of Award Winners: copy of: NCPA 2016 BOOK AWARDS PRESS RELEASE

    Page 6 ~ Review of 2016 Awards Banquet … and news on 2017 Awards Banquet

    Top of Page 7 ~ Pictures of cake and program from Awards Banquet (apologize for pix quality)

    Rest of Page 7 ~ Member’s Corner: Info on members Kim Edwards, &  Robert M. Pacholik

    Page 8 ~ BottleKatz:  pictures & story by Pres Sharon Darrow ~ Editor Notes on her book

    Page 9 & Top of Page 10 ~ Making Connections Corner~ Meeting and contact info on

       Sister-Organizations ~ CWC, Cap Crimes, SSWI, SVR, SCBWI

    Rest of Page 10 ~ SCBWI Upcoming Events ~ & my Comments on 2016 SCBWI Conference

    Top of Page 11: NEW ~ AROUND THE WEB ~ If you have a special writing / publishing site

        you’d like to share, or one you just happened to run across, pass it on and we’ll add it here

    Bottom of Page 11 ~ Sponsor info

    Pages 12 & 13 ~ Donation & Donors’ info

    Page 14 ~ Board of Director & NCPA General Meeting information

    Page 15 ~ Newsletter info and contact

    If interested, you can also go to the Archived Newsletters that go back to 2009.  Just click on the dropdown box from NEWS : NEWSLETTER ARCHIVE, then  Click on the month/year you’re interested in, and read away!  There’s lots of good stuff in there!                                    Norma Jean


  • 29 Apr 2016 3:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                        Media Contact: Sharon Darrow, NCPA President

    April 25, 2016                                                                          Sharon@SharonSDarrow.com  



    Northern California Publishers and Authors, a professional association of small, independent, and self-publishers, is pleased to announce the winners of its 2016 Book Awards competition, who were honored at a gala banquet in Sacramento on Sunday, April 24.










    Orbital Paths

    First Place

    Richard Meyer

    ScienceThrillers Media





    Children's Books

    Wordsworth, It’s In Your Pocket

    First Place

    Frances Kakugawa





    Young Adult

    Kidding Around NYC

    Second Place

    Suzanne Roche


    Making It Home

    Honorable Mention

    Suzanne Roche





    General Non-Fiction

    When Your Child Has Lyme Disease

    First Place

    Dorothy K. Leland

     & Sandra K. Berenbaum


    Hazim Beg Shemdin Agha

    Second Place

    Hazar Shemdin Bazirgan






    Between Will and Surrender

    First Place

    Margaret Duarte


    Hot Trail

    Second Place

    Katie Yaranon





    Trade Publications

    A Small Indiscretion

    First Place

    Jan Ellison/Random House





    Cover & Design

    A Small Indiscretion

    First Place

    Jan Ellison/Random House


    Kidding Around NYC

    Second Place

    Suzanne Roche


    Orbital Paths

    Third Place

    Richard Meyer/STM


    Wordsworth, It’s In Your Pocket

    Honorable Mention

    Frances Kakugawa





    Judges’ Choice

    A Small Indiscretion

    Special Award

    Jan Ellison/Random House

    NCPA would also like to recognize and thank our banquet sponsors, whose contributions help fund our awards program and annual $1000 college scholarship.

    2016 Sponsors

    Cherry Island Golf Course

    Cindy Sample

    Face in a Book bookstore


    Danna Wilberg

    Bitsy Kemper

    Barry Schoenborn

    Independent Book Publishers Association

    Wilson Trophy

    Sharon Darrow / Travel ID Cards

    Azevedo Print & Design / MKE Creative


    Tugboat Fish & Chips

    Time Tested Books

    Thalia Publishing / Pam Suwinsky

    Sharif Jewelers

    Roaring Camp Mining Company

    Placer Pops Chorale

    Old Spaghetti Factory

    Grand Oaks Inn B&B

    California Wine / Lodi Wine Country / Zinfest

    Finally, THANK YOU to everyone who attended the awards banquet, bid on auction items, or purchased books from the NCPA author/publisher bookstore.

  • 20 Apr 2016 9:13 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Click to view April 2016 newsletter.

    Volunteer needed for newsletter editor. Please contact Norma Jean Thornton for more information. Editor will likely qualify for exemption from annual NCPA membership dues!

  • 14 Mar 2016 5:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Elections for 2016-17 NCPA Board officers will be the end of March. If you would like to run for office, please contact President Sharon Darrow ASAP.


    President: Sharon Darrow

    VP: June Azevedo

    Secretary: Tom Kando

    Treasurer: Amy Rogers

    Communications: Norma Jean Thornton

  • 14 Mar 2016 5:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Reserve your tickets for the 25th Anniversary NCPA Book Awards Banquet now. You may either pay online, or print and mail reservation form with a personal check.

  • 11 Oct 2015 2:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    On 14 November 2015 NCPA welcomes Dr. Amy Rogers, publisher at Sacramento-based specialty press ScienceThrillers Media.

    Print on demand technology has changed a lot in recent years. Quality is up, price is down, and POD is no longer a barrier to getting your books stocked in bookstores. Amy will discuss how you can use POD to publish and distribute paper books, with a specific emphasis on IngramSpark and amazon's CreateSpace.

    About the Speaker:

    Amy Rogers, MD, PhD, is a scientist, writer, journalist, educator, critic, and publisher who specializes in all things science-y. She is a member of International Thrillers Writers and is currently serving as Treasurer for NCPA.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION visit Amy's websites:

    ScienceThrillersMedia.com (publishing company)

    AmyRogers.com (author Amy Rogers)

    ScienceThrillers.com (genre-specific book reviews)

  • 01 Oct 2015 1:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    NCPA is extremely fortunate, and proud to announce, that our 10 October 2015 guest speaker will be author, and award-winning, Emmy-nominated screenwriter of more than 20 years, STERLING NORMAN ANDERSON.

    Anderson will speak on "How to Pitch," especially how pitching to a publisher/editor/agent differs from pitching to a producer or studio. He’ll also discuss a little about writing with speed, plus will enlighten us on the ins and outs of screenwritingand working in the industry. If there's time, Sterling might also share some juicy inside stories!

    About the Speaker:

    Sterling Norman Anderson headshotThree-time NAACP Image Award nominee for best screenwriter and winner of the Movieguide Faith & Freedom award for "The Gabby Douglas Story," Sterling has written for some of the most popular network television shows, such as "The Unit" on CBS, as well as NBC's "Medium" and "Heist."

    His teleplay "The Simple Life of Noah Dearborn," written for CBS starring Sidney Poitier, garnered a Best Actress Emmy nomination for Dianne Wiest and won an Image Award. Sterling's extensive resume also includes screenplays written for Lifetime, Lions Gate, Disney, HBO, TriStar Pictures and Columbia Pictures.

    A graduate in English from St. Mary’s College, the accomplished writer also spent five years teaching screenwriting courses as an adjunct professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.

    Sterling has written two books on writing: Go To Script and 15 Steps To Becoming A Successful (Artist) Screenwriter and a novel called Five Seconds To Go. The author often lectures and serves on panels on screenwriting at film schools and festivals across the country.

    FOR MORE INFORMATION ON STERLING check  the following websites:



  • 13 Sep 2015 5:18 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Ted Witt

    To be found, you have to rank high with search engines on the Internet. Your book is more likely to be found if you have created thoughtful metadata behind your title.

    Metadata is best defined as “information about information.” Metadata consists of data fields such as title, subtitle, description, categories, author biographies, ISBN number, and keyword descriptors.  To illustrate, let’s use the Amazon platform to explore how we can market better with metadata.

    Without your book being given any special treatment, an Amazon reader can find your book by:

    • ·       Typing a subject-oriented phrase or keyword in the Amazon search box.
    • ·       Clicking on an Amazon book category, such as “Romance,” and browsing through the top sellers in that category.
    • ·       Scrolling through various Kindle and Amazon lists, such as “Book Clubs,” “Best Sellers,” and “Books Under $3.99.”
    • ·       Typing the exact name of a book, the author’s name or the ISBN number in a search box.
    • ·       Being associated with a competitor’s book in the section that says, “Customers who bought this item also bought…”

    Whatever mechanism a reader chooses to find a book, you must provide the Amazon software engine with reasons to pick your book out as relevant. Amazon has its own super-secret algorithm that decides how to display books on its website. Amazon, foremost, is interested in selling books – not you. So it tweaks its search engine to push books it thinks are most likely to sell and are most relevant to the customer.

    You must participate in Amazon’s scheme to be relevant. As relevance rises, sales increase. As sales increase, your ranking increases, and your chance of being found increases. Only then does Amazon start to include you in its lists that rank you higher among topical categories.

    Tip #1

    The first and most important factor you can use to create relevance is the concept of the “keyword.” It applies to all metadata you create when setting up your account, not only on Amazon, but also with Bowker, and Ingram.

    A keyword is a term or phrase people use to type into search boxes for topics they are interested in. For example, if you were to type in the key phrase “award-winning historical novel,” as I did recently, Amazon delivers 126 results starting with River Rising, a Christy Award Winner in the category of “suspense.” The term “award-winning” with “historical” and “novel” brought forward a unique set of books for review.

    So if your book has been an award winner, include “award winner” somewhere in your metadata, so your title ranks higher if people search for that term. Metadata does not have to be only about the topic of your book. It is all about whatever may be in the mind of the inquisitive customer. What would you type if you were looking for your book? Those are your keywords.

    Here’s another example. Say you just saw a movie about President Lincoln. You want to read more about him. If you type in “Lincoln biographies,” you get David Herbert Donald’s book Lincoln at the top. It is not the best-selling Lincoln biography because Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever sells better. But the phrase “Lincoln biographies” for some reason had more relevance for Donald’s book based on the buyer’s profile and search term. But typing just the two keywords “Lincoln” and “assassination” pushes O’Reilly’s book back to the top of the list. Keywords make a difference. Test this.

    Tip #2

    Include relevant keywords and search terms in your title.

    When naming your book, swallow your pride. Give up writing a cute title in favor of being found. That means including keywords into book title or subtitle. This tip even applies to fiction. If your romance novel about a jilted teacher is titled, “Heart to Heart,” include a subtitle that says, “The School Romance in Room 3.” You now find buyers, not only interested in “romance,” but also interested in “schools.” If you want to sell books, opt for keywords ahead of literary artistry. Yes, it is possible to be cute and artistic with your title while still including keywords. But it is hard.

    Tip #3

    Make full use of Amazon’s book description field. Amazon gives you 4,000 characters for this field. Use every single space the search engine allows you. Write your description as an emotional story that includes natural keywords and phrases that people might search for. If you have published a memoir about your life as a struggling vocalist, you might shape your description to include keywords and phrases such as “easy listening,” “crooner,” “in the style of Frank Sinatra,” “Rat Pack,” “Jazz,” “classic vocalists,” “lounge singers,” “Las Vegas,”  “top recording artist,” “Grammy,” and  “vinyl records.”

    Tip #4

    Apart from your book description, Amazon allows you to tag your book with keyword phrases. Choose these keywords based on the most popular phrases that customers use for the topic of your book. How do you know what is most popular? Take your topic, a relevant word or an inquiring phrase. Start typing it into Amazon’s search box. Amazon will prompt you with suggested phrases. These suggestions are the most popular ones customer type into the search engine.  Perform the same experiment on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

    For example, if your book is about mortgages and you type in that word into the search box, Amazon immediately prompts you with nine phrases that include the word “mortgage.” It suggests “mortgage-backed securities” and goes on to phrases such as “mortgage ripoffs.” It behooves you to work in phrases such as “mortgage-backed securities” and “mortgage ripoffs” inside your keyword phrases. Every word is searchable. Make use of the space.

    Tip #5

    Amazon allows you to choose two book categories when you set up your book for sale. Study the many categories Amazon offers by looking in the administrative section when you set your book up. Know what categories competitive books are placed in. Look at their sales ranks. You want to start ranking high in at least one category, so don’t choose a category where your competitor’s book is already wildly popular and in the top 10. You’ll have a hard time rising to the top. Use a lesser popular category to be in a different section where the competition is not as tough.

    Tip #6

    Make full use of the author’s page that Amazon gives you. Use your biography and description to include as many relevant keywords as possible that relate to your book and areas of expertise.

    Ted Witt is a publisher, working at Pretty Road Press, an indie imprint located in Folsom, California.

  • 13 Sep 2015 5:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Ted Witt

    Your book is competing with more than seven million others in today’s market. That number is so large we cannot even imagine the space that many books would take up. The odds of someone finding your book by chance are about half the odds of winning the biggest jackpot from the California State Lottery. How close have you come to winning the California State Lottery?

    Books must be discoverable. While good metadata and traditional marketing will score you some sales, it remains difficult to peddle your book based on a good title, an appealing cover and promotional materials that brag, “This is a great story.” There are millions of great stories.

    One solution employed by a growing number of indie publishers is a focus on building long-term customer relationships and offering value-added content. This is what is starting to distinguish successful indie publishers from those with scattered sales. Your book by itself is not value enough.

    Look around. People pay attention when you satisfy a need, arouse their curiosity and deliver something free.

    What are the pre-sale, value add-ons that can drive people to your platform? Usually they involve some sort of author-generated tool, expert advice or entertainment – all of which are cheaper than a brass ring in a box of Cracker Jacks, but still costly in an author’s time and in maintenance of the author’s media platform.

    Do not get left behind. Brainstorm what value add-ons you can deliver to your potential readers. Once you have created your value add-on, always provide a link back to your book and the opportunity to buy.

    To get you started, here are 25 ideas:

    • 1.     How-To Advice in a Pamphlet: Your book is about newly wedded bliss; you create a pamphlet for couples that gives advice on splitting your time between respective families on Christmas Day.
    • 2.     An Excel Spreadsheet: Your book is about getting a good mortgage; you offer a spreadsheet that calculates monthly payments and an amortization schedule.
    • 3.     A Free E-book: Your book is a historical novel; you create a 32-page e-book or PDF with pictures from the era.
    • 4.     An Interactive Bookmark: Your book is about astrology; you create bookmarks with a Lottery-like scratch off that reveals insights into reading the stars.
    • 5.     A You Tube Video: You have developed a collection of recipes; you create a video demonstrating you cooking one of the dishes and solving real-life kitchen problems.
    • 6.     An ITunes Play List: Your book is about exercise and conditioning; you create a play list of songs for the advanced, intermediate and beginner exerciser in a variety of musical genres.
    • 7.     A Lesson Plan: You published a picture book for children; you create a lesson plan for teachers that aligns with curriculum standards for various grade levels.
    • 8.     A Podcast: You have written a mystery novel; you upload a Podcast containing your interview with a real police detective about police procedures.
    • 9.     On-Line Reviews: You have written a travelogue; you post on-line reviews of the hotels you stayed at and reference the restaurants that are fully described in your book.
    • 10.  Infographic: You have published a set of political essays; you create an iPhone-friendly infographic with charts and graphs about homelessness, the deficit, Pentagon spending, PELL grants, health care – well, you get the idea…any topic works.
    • 11.  Craft Instructions: You have written a how-to book on knitting; you create detailed instructions on your blog for a Christmas knitting project that is not in your book.
    • 12.  Op-Ed Articles: You have written a book about medical dosage calculations; you write an op-ed piece for a newspaper revealing your research on how many deaths are attributable to improper dosages of medicine.
    • 13.  TV Interview: You have written a science fiction thriller; you set yourself up as the expert for TV stations, explaining how attendees can get the most out of Westercon when it comes to Sacramento, Loscon when it comes to Los Angeles, or Rustycon when it comes to Seattle.
    • 14.  Business Card Backs: You have written a romance novel; the back of your business cards contains a link to the Top Ten Love Scenes in Romance Literature (of course, a scene from your book is in the top ten).
    • 15.  Post Cards: You have written a high-action military thriller; you send postcards to your niche audience picturing a high -tech gun. The post contains a link to your website showing photographs of all the high tech weapons that have a role in your novel.
    • 16.  Surveys: You have written a book on etiquette; you pose provocative questions on Survey Monkey and offer readers the option to help set the standard for modern manners or ethical dilemmas.
    • 17.  Facebook: You have written a book for women on accessorizing their wardrobes; you offer the opportunity for your friends to be the fashion police by posting side-by-side photos on Facebook, and then you ask fans to comment on which accessory works and why or why  not.
    • 18.  Twitter: You have created a puzzle book; you pose a riddle in a 140-character Tweet and link back to the answer on your book page.
    • 19.  Linked In: You have written a business book about setting up a small business; you create a group within the Linked In community and answer questions weekly from small business owners.
    • 20.   Creative Commons License: You have written a book of poetry; you offer a web page that grants a creative common license to use a handful of your poems on a potential customer’s own homemade greeting cards.
    • 21.  Direct Mail Thank You: You have illustrated a children’s book; you send a thank-you packet to your existing customers that contains a limited edition postcard depicting a holiday theme you have drawn. You encourage customers to send a serendipitous note to a friend by mailing the free postcard.
    • 22.  Point-of-Sale Cards: You have written a book about a horse; you create an 8.5” x 3.6” glossy card that offers tips on how to go about a horse adoption. You place these at local feed stores and tack shops.
    • 23.  Stickers: You have written a book about UFOs; you create stickers that say, “This money won’t help you if you are abducted by aliens.” You place the sticker on every dollar bill you circulate.
    • 24.  Stock Art: You have published a gift book about cats; you use your website to offer free photographs and quotations that people can use to convey a greeting on Facebook.
    • 25.  Coupons: You are published in a literature anthology; you offer your fans a coupon for a free signed poster (suitable for framing) and a book discount.

    Your work as an author does not end when you publish your book. Your writing and your creativity are essential to making your book discoverable.

    Ted Witt is a publisher, working at Pretty Road Press, an indie imprint located in Folsom, California.

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