Small Business Saturday

Posted 11/26/2011 by jameystegmaier
Categories: Uncategorized

Yesterday, Kristy and I (Jamey) were talking about Black Friday. The conversation went roughly like this:

“Do you ever go shopping on Black Friday?’

“Ugh. Never. It’s consumerism at its worst.”

“I know, right? Did you hear about the lady who pepper sprayed her way to the front of the line? Unbelievable.”

“Small Business Saturday seems pretty cool, though. I definitely support that concept.”

“Oh, definitely.”

There was a pause in the conversation, and then it dawned on us at the same time…we’re a small business. Blank Slate Press is the epitome of a small business. We have Kristy carefully going over our authors’ manuscripts line by line, formatting the novels for print and ebooks, coordinating the printing and distribution, and taking care of a thousand other details that come with running a small business. We have Jamey coordinating zany techniques to get the word out about the books, working with authors to hone their social media presence, and processing new author applications. And Jason is behind the scenes the whole time supporting the company in other words.

But don’t buy our books simply because we’re a small business. Buy our books because they’re great books. Anene has received numerous requests to speak, as has Fred. Fred’s novel, The Samaritan, was even mentioned in USA Today yesterday. Our third author is wrapping up the third or fourth revision of his novel right now–we can assure you that it’s incredible.

On Small Business Saturday, root for the little guys who create beautiful things: Buy a Blank Slate Press book today. You can see all the different ways and formats here.


How to Talk About Your Book

Posted 11/10/2011 by jameystegmaier
Categories: Uncategorized

The other night I (Jamey) went to hear Ally Condie speak at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters with a friend. She’s the bestselling author of the dystopian YA book Matched, a book that I enjoyed, and I wanted to hear about her process and to see how she handled her young fans.

Condie proved to be an excellent, engaging public speaker. She’s a gifted storyteller, and she made the audience of a few hundred people laugh many times.

She didn’t read from her book, which I think is a good idea for the most part (although I think it’s also nice to hear the author’s written voice through their actual voice), instead opting to give a talk about how she came up with her ideas, characters, and world.

Condie used a projected slideshow to accompany her talk, which I thought was a nice touch. Now when I read the second book of her trilogy, I can think back to the visuals and understand exactly where she was coming from.

She concluded the talk with a lengthy Q&A, where it was clear that she had been asked the same questions dozens of times, and she had very good, well-rehearsed answers.

So all in all, a very nice author experience. With one caveat: There was nothing unique about the talk. And I don’t mean in the greater scheme of things–rather, among Ally Condie talks, this was the exact same talk she’d give across the country on this entire tour. The slideshow solidified that–she had a script (a good script), and she was sticking with it as she traveled.

Now, there’s nothing really wrong with this. She has a short amount of time to convey certain information, and so she might as well share the information the the fans want to know most.

But at the same time, I think you want to give your localized fans a localized experience. For example, Condie writes about a dystopian future. St. Louis might exist in that future–what would it look like? Would the Arch still exist? Would toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake find their ways into the food rations of the Society?

It’s those little touches that make your fans feel special. Condie probably got a speaking fee and sold a few hundred dollars worth of books that night–it’s worth taking a few minutes to research a city in advance and include a well orchestrated shout-out or two. They go a long way.

How Do You Keep Track of Ideas?

Posted 10/12/2011 by jameystegmaier
Categories: Uncategorized

I (Jamey) just posted on my personal blog about keeping track of ideas, which is so important for writers. Check it out here.

3 Must-See Websites for Readers and Writers

Posted 09/05/2011 by jameystegmaier
Categories: Uncategorized

  1. Amazon Kindle Daily Deals: For quite some time, I’ve wondered why there’s no daily deals site specifically for books. With eBooks, it would be so incredibly easy to discount a book for a day and even cap it at a certain number of buyers if you won’t. However, I’m glad I didn’t pursue the idea myself, because Amazon is MUCH better equipped to run this site, and they finally are. A must-subscribe.
  2. ScriptShadow: A guy named Carson Reeves writes one in-depth review of a movie script every day on this site. Some are movies that have been mad. Others are currently being made. And others–written by professionals and amateurs–may never be made. Regardless of whether or not you’re interested in writing screenplays, this is an indispensable site for writers. If you don’t have time to read the full review every day, just skip down to the “What I Learned” section for fantastic advice about how you can write a better story.
  3. Popcorn Fiction: If you want to read one truly entertaining short story every week, subscribe (for free) to Popcorn Fiction. A guy named Derek Haas wanted to create a place for new, popular short fiction, and he has succeeded in spades. I look forward to the e-mail every week, which is a rare thing for me to say about e-mails I receive on a weekly basis.
I’m missing some great sites that I consider already really well know, but feel free to mention them in the comments. What am I missing?

Moving time.

Posted 08/11/2011 by blankslatepress
Categories: Uncategorized

So…one thing I’m not is a web guru. Even though I’ve been designing and hosting websites for about 10 years now, I continually amaze myself at how many dumb mistakes I can make…like accidentally taking down our old site before our new one was live.


I hope you’ll have patience and visit our new site as soon as it is ready. In the meantime, we’ll use our blog for updates and communications.

See ya soon.


Book Trailers

Posted 08/04/2011 by blankslatepress
Categories: Anene Tressler-Hauschultz, book marketing, Fred Venturini

Tags: , , , ,

Much has been written about book trailers and I’m not sure they help, hinder, or don’t matter at all when it comes to book sales. What purpose do they really serve? Should they “tell the story” or just evoke the mood created by the storyteller? If they don’t drive sales are they a waste of time/energy/resources that could be better spent doing other sorts of promotions?

Whatever the verdict, BSP’s debut novels now both have book trailers. The trailer for our first book, The Samaritan by Fred Venturini was created by me (Kristina) and our fellow publisher Nancy, of Stonebrook Publishing. The trailer for our second book, Dancing with Gravity by Anene Tressler, was created by Anene and her husband Jim.

Give them a watch and let us know what you think. Check them out here:

The Samaritan Book Trailer


Dancing with Gravity Book Trailer

Reading a Book in the Midst of Everything

Posted 08/04/2011 by jameystegmaier
Categories: must-read books

I just posted this over at and thought it was relevant to the Blank Slate Press crowd too.

When you were younger, did you ever find yourself so wrapped up in a book that the rest of the world melted away? Maybe that happens to you as an adult too, but I feel like we read in socially acceptable places now, even in public: coffee shops, the park, cafes. When I was younger, I could be walking through a crowd of people at Disney World, and would be considerably more aware of the world Roald Dahl created on the page than the actual world around me.

Kudos to books, because this is awesome.

I thought of this because I went to the Cardinals game the other day and saw something I hadn’t seen in a while. These days I see kids playing on their parents’ iPhones or the Nintendo DS’s. Rarely do I see a kid get as wrapped up in a book as I used to. But I know it happens, because young adult fiction is hugely successful right now.

As I walked to my seat at the game, I noticed a young girl–maybe 11 or 12–completely engrossed in a book. The game had started (Cubs/Cards; she was wearing a Cubs uniform), but she didn’t care. I craned my neck to see what book could compel a kid to read instead of watch the game, but I couldn’t see the cover.

She didn’t read for the entire game, but now and then she’d pull out the book. I know what it’s like to not be able to put a book down. It actually feels…good. Other forms of media don’t have that effect. (Okay, maybe True Blood.)

What’s the last book that you got so wrapped up in that the rest of the world melted away?

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