Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feeney Teaches How To Design a Book Cover

FCCW was graced with Author/Speaker Rik Feeney.  Hands were busy writing as Rik expounded on his life, career, and secrets on how to get the most marketing value out of your book.  Rik  is an engaging speaker that had the audience on the edge of their seat trying to absorb all the great information he extols. Thankfully he had handouts for all of us which had all the great tips he went over.DSC03448 - Rik Feeney
Rik has a passion of sharing his knowledge with others.  He demonstrates this by becoming coaches to athletes and up and coming writers where he can, through the skills and wisdom he learned, in his stations of life, direct others on their own paths.
Twenty five years ago Rik was a competitive gymnast through High School and Temple University . During his career, Rik owned and worked at private gymnastics clubs where he trained gymnasts from state to national level competitors. Later he turned author.

Rik is the author of several books on the sport of gymnastics, the first of which was “Gymnastics: A Guide for Parents and Athletes” his latest book "Back Handsprings; The Secret Techniques" is featured in the movie "Fired UP."  True to form, he now coaches up and coming writers to fulfill their dreams of writing, his web site is

At FCCW he talked about the "three marketing stages of the book" and "marketing with book elements." Rik explains that books represent the author, the author is the product.  In today's market where less than 17% of people buy books and less than 10% of readers get past the first chapter you must put out a product that will bring book buyers and readers to your book. 

A good price point helps, but using the features of the book to do your marketing is key.  An example of this is the book's cover which should pass the ten foot rule; from ten feet a person should be able to tell what the book is about by its picture and title.   The title should lead with the main point and be 5-7 words in length. This will help when people are doing an Internet search and aid them while they are book shopping at the stores. 


Rik also explains how placement of the title and your name on the spine is important when your book is shelved in a library. The idea is to leave a one-inch space at the bottom of the spine so the author name is not covered by the library's coding. 

His great ideas continued as he explained how to use the back cover blurb to list benefits and especially a "call to action" requesting the consumer to buy the book. Rik also talked about book size, white space between paragraphs, and sub-headings to help grab the attention of readers.

For more information about Rik and his web sites, use the following information:

Rik Feeney
Richardson Publishing
PO Box 162115
Altamonte Springs, FL 32716

Upcoming talks by Rik Feeney:

March 21, 2009 - Ancient City Writers - St. John's Library / St. Augustine at 9:45 AM

Talk #1: Developing Author Web Sites

Talk # 2: Benefits & Concerns of Traditional, Print-On-Demand, and Self-Publishing Formats

March 22, 2009 - Gainesville Writers - Tower Road Library - 2:30 PM

Talk: You Can Write A Book in 60 Days!

April 15, 2009 - Melbourne Writers Group - Site TBA - Time TBA

Talk: Publishing 101: The Basics

April 19, 2009 - Pasco Writer's Conference - New Port Richey Library - Time TBA (must enroll in conference)

Talk: Article Writing Workshop


By Tracy Redman, FCCW Member

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Raven's Books Originate In Her Life Journals

FCCW was honored to have Raven captivate us with her contagious love of life as she shared her experiences as a former Broadway star, international model and now author.

DSC03341 Cropped Raven

Raven has published two books: The Runway Models Handbook; and A Day in the Life of a Runway Model with Image & Fashion Tips from the Trade, detailing how models stay beautiful on the road.

Raven began by telling us, “I am not a writer, I am a talker.” Although Raven is an exceptionally dynamic speaker, it isn’t difficult to see that she is a gifted writer as well. She has been writing as long as she can remember, journaling life as it happens. Her books are an overflow of who she is and what she has learned along the way.

She says “Writing is something I volunteer to do.” Her passion shined through as she read us an excerpt from her most recent book, A Day in the Life of a Runway Model. The book is well-written and timely, especially for a culture where women and teens, fascinated with the model industry, need to understand healthy body image.


Raven is currently working on two more books. My Decade on Broadway will highlight that exciting time in her life. Cancer Times Two: A Survival Guide for Caregivers is based on her experience caring for both her mother and husband as they simultaneously battled cancer. The book will focus on the health of caregivers and encourage them to take care of themselves so that they can continue the vital job of caring for their loved ones.

Raven is a native New Yorker, a graduate of The Dalton School and Sarah Lawrence College with advanced degrees from the University of Madrid, Spain and NYU. She is also an adjunct professor at Florida Community College.

Raven is currently the CEO of R-Transformations, LLC, an Image Consulting company located on Amelia Island. To learn more about Raven’s writing and consulting email her at with the subject line: FCCW Blog or contact her at 904-491-8883.

By April Broussard, FCCW Member

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Szaroleta Briefs Writers on Newspaper Basics

Florida Times-Union Arts and Entertainment editor, Tom Szaroleta, fielded questions about how to get published in the local newspaper.


He discussed the difficulties and some of the reasons why it is so difficult for a freelancer to get published.

“Although the paper most likely won’t print a story unless it’s incredible,” says Tom Szaroleta, “it is possible to get published.”
Tom’s area is the arts and entertainment department. This includes concert reviews. He enjoys his work because he gets to be creative about things going on around him.

He enjoys implementing humor in his work. But his humor runs out if a freelancer/anyone pitching a story calls him more than once. If there is a story that you wish him to cover, the more calls you make the less likely he will choose your story.

If there is an event you want covered or just an event you want the paper to know about, post it for free in the events section on the website.


Anyone can set up a blog of their own in the online paper. They regularly pick the best blog and post it.

On holidays, the Times-Union short story contests are excellent ways to win a little money and recognition from the paper.
Write for free under “Everyone’s a Critic”. Review a newly released movie in the theatres. Write your critical opinion in 75 words or less to just get your name in the paper.

For any religious stories that need to be covered, send these ideas to Jeff Brumly, the newspaper’s religion editor.

If you want your book to be reviewed and put on the book review page—note it is from a local author on the outside boldly. Send it to Brandy Allport. She is the book review editor, and also the only children’s book editor in the USA.

Remember be creative, be humorous, be incredible and most of all send it to the correct editor.

Blogs =

By Priscilla Weaver, FCCW Member