Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bestseller Fast Shares How She Published

On Thursday night, we had the pleasure of hearing, Julie Fast, best selling non-fiction author, share on her life as a writer.


Writing for Julie, came as an answer for her own personal challenges and frustration. She had struggled with Bipolar Disorder for years and did not get the relief she hoped from medications. She was frustrated and felt defeated. Necessity is surely the mother of invention for instead of giving up; Julie developed a method for living with the challenges that being Bipolar creates. She invented and personally implemented into her own life, a Health Cards Treatment Plan. Within 6 months, she noticed great results in her own health and in her relationships. This treatment plan would become her first book.

While living in France in the early 2000 with her significant other she focused on making her Bipolar Health Plan and her next book, Bipolar Happens, available to others. After a frustrating experience with an agent, Julie decided to offer her first books as e-books. At that time, guidelines for e-books were non-existent, so she taped into her creativity and found a market for her copies of both books online by advertising with Google Ad Words. Browsers ordered and paid online with a credit card. Books were shipped to them in manuscript form. The first month her books sold $3,000 in copies.

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Julie shared two valuable lessons that came from this experience

1. A web presence is essential for all writers.

2. Timing is everything – especially in a niche market.

Part of Julie's early success came because alternative information on mental health and specifically, bipolar disorder was not available. Once the medical profession realized the hungry market in this genre, they caught on. In the next four years, Julie sold three major books that are now bestsellers including Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder (New Harbinger, 2004), Take Charge of Bipolar Disorder (Warner Wellness, 2006) and Get it Done When You're Depressed (Alpha Penguin, 2008).

Julie has clear goals and a tried and true system for all of her projects.

Here are a few of her suggestions for writing non-fiction:

  • Julie stresses that all writers need to have an outline before they write a book--this makes the writing a lot easier.
  • Find an agent you trust - a valuable asset in developing your career as a writer.
  • Perfect your query writing skills. Your entire career often depends on a query!
  • Query for an agent and wait for an agent you trust. Agents are the first and essential step to publishing a book. 
  • Once you have an agent (if you have a good idea with a well written query, you can get an agent!) you will write a proposal on your topic. This proposal includes a brief sales letter about your book including why your book is needed, the audience and your ability to market the book. The next section is a table of contents, chapter summaries and two sample chapters.
  • Authors are part of a publishing  machine. The more you know about the business side of writing, the more successful you can be in the industry.
  • Never sign away your electronic book rights (also called display rights), audio or foreign rights. Contract for written English print rights only and then negotiate for the rest.
  • Nothing provides return like good old networking. Suggestions include writers groups and conferences.
  • Create a professional photo to use on all of your materials.
  • If you have a niche market or you are good with Public Relations and Marketing –look into publishing yourself. Just make sure you get a professional editor as well as a professional type setter and graphic designer.

Julie regularly speaks on mental health topics at churches and other organizations and also works as a corporate consultant on the topic of employee productivity.

Julie's latest book is the Geezer Guide to Creating and Selling eBooks. This book gives a writer all of the tools needed to write successful and professional eBooks.

To find out more about Julie, visit her at

Find her books on and in major bookstores. For an interview or presentation, please contact Julie's PR agent Laura Solop via email at

by Cyndi Rice, FCCW Member

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