Indie Bookstore Feature: Ukazoo Books


Sometimes it is hard to fathom that I went from someone who had only written a few college term papers decades ago to writing a memoir that won two EVVY book awards all within four years time. Talk about a gift of a lifetime and finding fulfilling things in the unexpected! Astonishing myself has been reward enough!

There have also been some new developments since last Friday. I found out that my memoir is finalist in two categories (non-fiction and young adult) in the 2014 Harvest Book Competition.

How about dem apples?

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this image. Perhaps it explains in all.

all the power

 As writers, believing in ourselves and slaying the dragons is our biggest challenge!

Today, I would like to thank Ukazoo Books and everyone who came to my book signing in Towson, Maryland over the weekend. I couldn’t have been more pleased at the turnout. GIFT OF A LIFETIME:FINDING FULFILLING THINGS IN THE UNEXPECTED IS NOW AVAILABLE AT UKAZOO BOOKS IN TOWSON, MARYLAND. phone#410-832-2665. OR IF YOU ARE IN THE AREA, STOP BY THE STORE @ 730 DULANEY VALLEY ROAD.  Website: 


To Edward, the store owner – it was a pleasure to meet you several days before the event. I enjoyed our exchange of conversation about the industry of independent publishing. And your staff is wonderful -Ben, Tim and all the others at Ukazoo were so helpful.



Meems and Peeps

My Dad & Mom arriving for the book signing. They are my source of inspiration –

88 and 85 yrs old, respectively, and going strong! What a gift to have them around this long.

Thanks, Ukazoo Books, for hosting my book talk and book signing! I enjoyed browsing your store. Loved the books of regional history. I can’t wait to delve into the book I bought called Towson: Now and Then by Melissa Schenhlein. There are so many places featured in it that I remember from my childhood that are now only found in the archives.

In a few days from now I will have more pictures from this fun weekend, all brought about because of independently publishing Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Expected.  For more information on award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard, browse this website.

See you tomorrow!



e-Book Extravaganza

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Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. ~ Kofi Annan

cipa logoOn Saturday I made the very worthwhile three hour trek into Denver from Steamboat Springs, Colorado to attend Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA) monthly meeting. The September agenda was an e-Book Extravaganza. Here are just a few things that were discussed throughout the day:

  • The e-book industry now represents 33% of book sales. How about that?
  • People like having a choice of formats, so offering books in print, as well as an e-book version is wise marketing.
  • There is still a viable market for books-in-print but there is a certain part of the reading population who are clamoring for e-books due to their convenience.
  • Surprisingly, people who are 55 years of age and over ARE BUYING e-books, contrary to what was expected. It is not just the young generation that are interested in the digital format.
  • We discussed pricing of e-books and how you can leverage your intellectual property.
  • E-books make it easy to offer samples, providing potential book buyers the  opportunity to see if they like an author they’ve never read before.
  • A big advantage to e-books – there is no printing involved, thus it removes the need for physical space of inventory.

If you are a writer who wants to get on The Fast Track to Independent Publishing, here is a short webinar that will introduce you to the basics. 

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, we will be discussing the next best step if you are a person who is considering independent publishing and you are in need of knowledge. I will tell you a quick but valuable story from this weekend.

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Booksellers Dream Wedding

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Dreams are illustrations….from the book your soul is writing about you.”

 ~ Marsha Norman

The best thing about planning any wedding is designing a day that is uniquely designed to reflect the tastes of bride and groom.

Last Saturday, The Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Vermont  closed early for a private party. The store hosted the wedding of Sarah, one of their booksellers.

The event was everything fulfilling that a bibliophile could dream of. Even the bride’s bouquet was made from book pages and I’ll bet she tossed the paper posies from the commanding iron staircase that is the outstanding architectural feature in the store.

bridal bouquet with book pages

northshire bookstore stairs

I hope “Miss America of the Independent Publishing Industry,” the Expresso Book Machine, gave up her famed status for the day and let the bride be the star. I don’t want the  EBM to feel downgraded or upstaged, so I’ll give her a repeat feature of the blog I wrote about her early last summer. Click on this link to read more.

Rumor has it that one of the wedding gifts was a handmade quilt with titles and cover images of the bride and grooms very favorite books. Imagine the pressure of having to decide which publication should be included and which will be left out. Avid readers have a long list of favorites, and I am sure there were too many books and too little space on the quilt’s surface.

I wonder if the couple first encountered each other between the shelves of the book store? Do you think they had custom written wedding vows that included a little poetry? Ahhh..the beauty of a relationship where two people come together with the common interests….and the advantages of owning an independent bookstore. “Nothing is set in stone,” as it is etched on the pavement leading into the Northshire Bookstore. That means you can do anything you please including closing early to host a booksellers dream wedding.

To learn more about this event, please visit the Facebook page of the Northshire Bookstore.

Do return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling. This blog brought to you by

Book Club Buzz

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“Reason, observation and experience; the holy trinity of science.” ~ Robert Green Ingersoll

book group insiderAs I conclude my blog series about book clubs, here is what I have ascertained from being a casual observer.

Conclusion:  “Bookies” have their own opinions of what they like in a story. They are spirited and fight respectfully to uphold their side of the debate of whether they think a book was a good read or not.

Conclusion: Journeys of the heart, that incorporate lessons or themes involving moral judgments make for good book discussions.

Conclusion: Avid readers usually make  decent writers. They know what makes for a fulfilling story, and have a vault full of their own wealth of experiences to write about.

Conclusion: Most members are as interested in the author, as the storyline. This leads to curiosity about learning more about the writing process and publishing.

Thus, the group asked me to explain what I do. I said “everything I do in my professional life involves writing and reading. I consult with independent publishers on how to market and sell their products over the internet.”

A discussion ensued about how the publishing industry has changed. No surprise to this group. Many have had the experience of reading e-books. We talked about how digital technology has changed the way books, films and music is being produced. I left them with the thought that people just like themselves who have stories to tell, can now do it and not fear having a warehouse full of books sitting waiting to be sold. Print on demand and e-books have eliminated that.

I’d like to say thank you to the women in the Dorchester County Maryland book club who allowed me to observe their group discussion of “The Postmistress,” and for the opportunity to share with them information about the independent publishing industry. I enjoyed it very much.

Please return to All Things Fulfilling tomorrow. The space where independent thoughts, words and views are all part of the business. This blog brought to you by

Honoring Those Behind the Scenes

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successThe other day I posted several blogs about the 2013 EVVY book awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. Service providers are also recognized for their outstanding work on the night of the award presentations They are the individuals and companies  who work behind the scenes to help independent publishers create and sell quality publications for the marketplace.

Today, I would like to acknowledge the  freelance professionals who provide services to the independent publishing industry, such as printing companies, editors, cover designers, layout designers, e-book formatters and designers, marketing , copyright experts and more. Here is a helpful link  for finding assistance with your publishing projects  for the future. .

If you are an author in any state or region looking to hire high quality freelance professionals to help you with your publishing project, a great place to start is to contact a regional or statewide trade association for independent publishers. They may be able to steer you in the right direction by locating companies who support authors in all parts of the publishing process.

When you are in the planning stage of publishing a book, decide what part of the process you can handle yourself and what parts would be best left to the professionals. It will make for a smoother process and a quality end result.

Four Fulfilling Words

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“I am who I am because of the choices I made yesterday.” ~ Unknown

Four words with powerful meaning –

• I AM
• I DO

help define and fulfill our sense of self. These words took on even greater meaning when I began working in the independent publishing industry.

positiveThose simple words that have kept me on track. Every time I’ve faced a challenge, and thought  “I’m going to try to,” I’ve substituted it with one the four important self-fulfilling statements, and then taken the necessary action that is required to complete the task or challenge.

Used to be independent publishers had to go it alone, but things have changed in the publishing industry.  According to an article dated 11-11-12 in the Miami Herald,, Bowker (the storehouse of publishing statistics) says independent publishing “has nearly tripled, growing 287% since 2006 and 236,625 print and e-titles” were non-traditionally published in 2011 alone. Since then, the e-book industry has prospered further and print-on-demand publishing has grown also.

The stigma behind independent publishing of books, films and movies has nearly disappeared, as standards and technology for desktop publishing have improved. In this day and age, it is often difficult to distinguish between an independent and traditionally published book.

If you are considering an independent publishing project,  now there is help and support available. I am, I can, I will and I do help people understand the newest generation of publishing through the webinar On the Fast Track: The Independent Publishing  Industry and through the  information provided on All Things Fulfilling. Join us regularly on this on-line site.

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Local Authors in the Limelight

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If you could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint.” ~ Edward Hopper

Saturday was a day of great fun for me as a person who works in the independent publishing industry. The literary community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado came  out from behind their computers and into the limelight at the Written Arts Festival. I am aware of the fact that we do, indeed, have a growing population of independent publishers in this community. Nearly thirty were gathered; some having just published their debut novels, while others have more than one book published.

Panel discussions added interest to the event. “How should history be portrayed in writing?” was a subject that drew differing opinions from the authors. In the opinions of some, there is an obligation to write stories true to history; while others contend that history can be written from different perspectives.

Other authors specialize in fiction writing. The panelists in this genre seemed to agree that authors draw, to a certain extent, from personal experience and background which often gives them the basis of the story. Then the storyline “is pushed in different directions,” sometimes ending in a total surprise, even for the author. One panelist mentioned how her deeply felt spiritual beliefs influences her writing and a prolific romance writer admitted that individuals she encounters inspires her characters.

Sites, smells and visual landscapes also influence writing. A third group of panelists discussed how stories are crafted from experience in travel as well as from their rootedness in community. Place plays great significance in our identity as people and as writers. Local issues are often brought into books of regional interest.

The event culminated with an interview of a very talented poet and the Home Ranch owner, Ann Anderson Stranahan. Words, when used with the right cadence and meter makes music, she said. When Stranahan was asked  if “her poetic images come to her in black and white or in color?”

“Vividly and suddenly, perhaps as in a photographic image, rather than an oil or watercolor,” was her answer.

The Bud Werner Memorial Library and the efforts of their staff made this inspiring event possible. Also, the support of the Steamboat Arts Council Off the Beaten Path Bookstore’s handling of the bookselling allowed the authors to visit with potential book buyers and answer questions.

I would have liked to have mentioned each of the authors individually, in this blog writing, but there were too many. I did get around the room to talk to each of them briefly. Thanks to all who participated and coordinated the Written Arts Festival. It was encouraging for anyone who is contemplating writing and publishing a story.

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.