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Fern Reiss, PublishingGame Literary
by:  Fern Reiss, /
World rights available to Times of Israel Sarah Tuttle-Singer's Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered
May 2, 2022

Rights are available for the following projects (details below)

* Jerusalem, Drawn and Quartered by Times of Israel's Sarah Tuttle-Singer SOLD to Skyhorse Publishing, 2018; now in third printing)Publishers Marketplace #11272
* The Organizing Project: 12 Months to An Organized Life, Illustrating 12 Different Organizing Systems
* In Pursuit of Peace in Israel & Palestine by Gershon Baskin (nonfiction) SOLD to Vanderbilt University Press, 2017
* The Couple's Retirement Puzzle: 10 Must-Have Conversations for Creating an Amazing New Life Together, by Roberta K. Taylor and Dorian Mintzer SOLD to Sourcebooks, 2014
* The Breast Cancer Checklist: The Only Guide for What to Do Before, During, and After Breast Cancer Surgery, Chemotherapy, and Radiation, glowingly reviewed by Scientific American
* Terrorism and Kids: Comforting Your Child Publishers Marketplace #8886
* The War on the Women of Israel: A Story of Religious Radicalism and the Women Fighting for Freedom SOLD to Sourcebooks Publishers Marketplace #8586
* Rich People's Whims, a debut novel
*Act Like a Doctor, Think Like a Patient: Can Doctoring Be Taught? (And Why Patients Should Care), by Dr. Alan Rockoff

The Organizing Project: 12 Months to An Organized Life, Illustrating 12 Different Organizing Systems (nonfiction)


Terrorism and Kids: Comforting Your Child Originally self-published and a small-press bestseller, this book was a 2002 ABA BookSense 76 Selection; sports a cover endorsement by Senator Edward M. Kennedy; and was blurbed in both PW and Booklist. Offering comfort and strategies for helping children of all ages deal with the fallout of terrorism. Did you know:
* Children who see terrorism on television are as traumatized as if they had been there?
* Preoccupation with bruises and scraped knees can be a sign of trauma in children?
* Watching violence on television makes children more fearful in general?
Includes both tips (eg, "Give them options: One thing children need in order to feel better after a terrorist incidence is to recapture some of the power that the situation drained from them... Giving them options lets them feel they have some control over their lives and restores a sense of power over their daily existence.") and answers to children's questions ("Why did this happen? Why do I keep thinking about it? Will I ever feel normal again?") Currently available to the trade through Ingram Book Company.
Publishers Marketplace #8886

The Couple's Retirement Puzzle
10 Must-Have Conversations for Transitioning to the Second Half of Life

Authors: Roberta K. Taylor, RNCS, M.Ed. and Dorian Mintzer, MSW, PhD
Category: Non-fiction: General/Other
Media: Book profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The WSJ Journal Report, and Forbes.

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September 21, 2012

New "Breast Cancer Checklist" Book for Breast Cancer Treatment

New "Breast Cancer Checklist" Book Offers Easy-to-Use Checklist System for Managing Treatment

(BOSTON)--With National Breast Cancer Awareness Month just around the corner, the new "Breast Cancer Checklist" book by Fern Reiss offers an easy-to-use guide with checklists for what to do before, during, and after breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation. It covers a range of medical, personal, and practical advice, including:

* Get a dental appointment before you start treatment, when you'll be immuno-compromised
* Talk to your surgeon about cryo-preserving your tumor, so that should you ever need it for a personalized cancer vaccine, you have the option available
* Schedule your surgery for the second half of your menstrual cycle, which improves outcomes
* Talk to your child's teachers, so they're alert for mood swings or special needs
* On plane flights, wear a compression sleeve to prevent lymphedema
* Try a netted bath loofah, instead of a heavier prosthesis, for swimming; they're very light and dry more easily
* Avoid grapefruit and echinacea, both of which impede the effects of chemotherapy
* If you're taking tamoxifen, avoid soy, which can stop tamoxifen's ability to halt tumor growth
* Sign up for a meal organizing system like Meal Train so friends and family can help in providing your food needs
* Check into whether you're entitled to 12 weeks of medical leave without losing your benefits or position
* Sign up for one of the dozens of free spas or retreat vacations available to breast cancer survivors

The book’s easy-to-use checklists track personal information such as medical, insurance, and scheduling details, as well as covering not-to-be-missed details of lymphedema management, infusion ports, tamoxifen, herceptin, and managing work during treatment.

Reiss, who was diagnosed two years ago, began working on the project when she couldn’t find a book that would get her through treatment. “There are many exhaustive—and exhausting!—books on breast cancer,” she said, “but I couldn’t find any that just told me what I needed to know and let me track the myriad of details easily.”

The book includes everything from checklists of equipment and clothing designed to make your life easier, to freebies including free restaurant meals, free housecleaning services, free headcoverings and makeup, and free retreats and spa vacations available to breast cancer survivors.

Find it in bookstores, via Amazon, and at

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January 8, 2009

The Future of Publishing by Fern Reiss

The Future of Publishing
by Fern Reiss, CEO,

In the same way that it’s always easier to parent other people’s children perfectly, it’s easier to criticize the publishing industry from the outside and see what needs to be done. Still, as an ‘outsider’ who’s been in various segments of the publishing industry for over 25 years, here’s my top five list of changes the publishing world needs to implement in order to survive the current economic downturn--if the industry is to emerge at the other end intact.

Give up on returns

It’s ironic that the policy of bookstore returns started during the last economic Depression, when Simon & Schuster decided it was a great way to allow bookstores to take chances on books because there was no downside. Today, however, the cost of allowing returns is strangling the entire publishing industry. Now’s the time to introduce economic incentives for booksellers who are willing to forego returns—or just eliminate the option unilaterally, across the industry. Like gravitating away from hardcovers to soft, eliminating returns will bring book prices way, way down—and change the economics of the entire business.

Put galleys online
Distributing hard copies of advance galleys four months before official publication date is a practice that should have died out with the advent of instant printing several years ago. Why should publishers do headstands to get advance galley copies of books (books that are already in final form, mind you) into the hands of opinion makers four months before the books are officially released? It’s time to put galleys online where they belong. Not only will this save mega bucks and mega time, it will eliminate the fake ‘four month window’ during which you have to sit on your books, as well as the plethora of galleys available for sale on Amazon. Done correctly, it might even generate advance buzz amongst readers.

Market the books, dammit!

When McDonalds introduces a new burger, they do a PR campaign. When the Hilton introduces new amenities, they do a PR campaign. It’s hard to even think of an industry where products for the general public are not marketed. But usually the publishing industry only markets books that seem to be taking off already. As an industry pundit once said, publishers would wait to see whether the infant survives before bothering to feed it…

And market the books online, too

The publishing industry hasn’t evolved most of its practices in decades, but the rest of the world has changed. Most particularly, where potential readers congregate and buy has changed. Newspapers are dying; magazines are going out of business; and it’s not just the independents, but all the brick and mortar bookstores too that are in trouble in this economy. For publishers to really thrive and compete, they need to be where the readers are. And that means Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs. Hire some literate college kids and let them loose, but do something with social media and and Web 2.0 and do it fast! With bookstores dwindling and without an online fan base, it’s hard to see how even the biggest publishers will survive the decade.

Rethink the whole book model
It’s not only the publishing industry that needs to change. Books have to, and can, change in several fundamental ways. One hundred years ago, a book had a beginning, middle and end. Today, books can be sold in smaller increments profitably (think: cell phones). Books can be tailored to specific niches, or even specific individuals (think: Michelin Guide replaced by three page guide to restaurants near my business meeting in the North End; or 200-page tome on knitting replaced by a single-page summary reminding me just how to cast-off.) Also, consumers today, perhaps sadly, watch and listen more and read less. They crave interactivity. Smart publishers will find ways to deliver that. Supplement your books with audio, video and new media. Think out of the proverbial box.

There’ll always be writers and (I hope) there’ll always be readers. The smart writers and publishers will figure out some way to propel their stuff into the world. But if large publishers don’t start making some radical changes, the publishing landscape may have to continue without them. And that would be a shame.

Fern Reiss is Director of the International Association of Writers ( providing publicity vehicles to writers worldwide. She’s also CEO of and and the author of The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days, The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days, and The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days. She consults on branding and positioning to small publishers and businesses. Her Expertizing® Publicity Forum enables businesses to pitch directly to journalists; more information at Sign up for her free email newsletter at

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April 25, 2006

Publicize Your Novel

Publicize Your Novel
by Fern Reiss, CEO,

“It’s so much harder to publicize a novel,” is the lament of many authors. Harder maybe, but not impossible. Try these methods of novel publicity:

Put nonfiction hooks in your novel. The reason most authors find nonfiction easier to publicize than fiction is that nonfiction, almost by definition, contains ‘hooks’ around which you can leverage publicity: How-to books on golfing, for example, can lend themselves to doing talk radio shows where you share your golfing techniques; nonfiction guides to golden retrievers can become print articles on caring for your golden retriever. But novels can enjoy the same sorts of hooks if you consciously insert them. So think carefully about your passions—hobbies, pastimes, collections, pets—and then integrate your favorites into your novel. If you’re an avid golfer, make one of your characters an avid golfer. If you love your golden retriever, put one in your novel. That way, you can get the same broadcast and print coverage for your novel that you would for a nonfiction book with that hook.

Market to your hooks. Once you’ve got a few good nonfiction hooks in your novel, plan your marketing efforts around them. If your character is an avid golfer, you can sell your novel at golf conventions and golf shows and golf pro shops and golf courses. If your novel focuses around golden retrievers, you can find and market to the (vast) dog-loving audience. Golfers like to read books about golfers, and dog-lovers like to read books about dogs, so be sure you’re working your hooks and going after your natural audience.

Include reality in your novel. The more real items you can include in your novel, the more you broaden your marketing options. So include real locations, real corporations, real associations. (Of course, be sure you use these real venues and groups just as colorful background detail; don’t say anything libelous and don’t violate trademarks, obviously.) Once your book includes real locations and groups, you can try to sell your books in those locations, make quantity sales to those corporations and associations. (And if anyone can figure out a subtle way for me to include Canyon Ranch or Bermuda in my next book, please let me know.)

Figure out a reading alternative. Sadly, not that many people attend book readings unless the author is already famous. So what can you do if you’re a good, but not-yet-famous novelist? Design an alternative to the traditional reading. Again, follow your niche: If your book features a knitter, design a knitting event; if your book showcases a chef, put together a cooking demonstration. Your target audience will be interested in a nonfiction presentation or event just as much (or maybe more) than a reading—and you’ll likely sell more books as a result.

Try some novel ideas. Finally, capitalize on all the clever creative tricks you can maneuver only as the writer of a novel. For example, invite visitors to your website to compete for the rights to have a cameo role in your next novel—a sure-fire way to increase your ability to harvest readers’ email addresses. Or print up t-shirts with cartoons or caricature based on your novel. (One writer I consulted with ended up creating a whole set of body tattoos based on her novel.) Or walk around a busy resort town dressed as a character from your novel, handing out promotional postcards. Think out of that proverbial box—and work some novel ideas that nonfiction writers really can’t touch.

By following these suggestions, you’ll be able to simply and effectively publicize your novel. Please let me know how it goes!

Fern Reiss is CEO of, offering books, workshops, and consulting on how to get a literary agent, publish, and promote a book. She is also CEO of, teaching people how to get more media attention for themselves and their business; in the past six months, she’s been quoted in over 100 publications from the NY Times to Wall Street Week. Sign up at for her complimentary monthly email newsletter on how to get more media attention for yourself, your book, and your business.

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December 15, 2004

Viral PR & Fortune Magazine

OK. So a lot of people have been writing in and asking me how I managed to garner a full-page feature story on my Expertizing workshops in Fortune Small Business Magazine.

I'll 'fess up all to the subscribers of my free Expertizing email newsletter on getting more media attention for your book & biz in next week's issue (Sign up now so you don't miss it!).

But here I wanted to come clean (and if you haven't seen the Come Clean ad it's worth a peek) about the value--and necessity--of meta publicity, or viral PR.

Getting a full-page feature in a major business magazine has been great for business. But Fortune Small Business doesn't go to everyone in the world--their subscribers number a paltry million people. So here's what else I did to spread the word:

1. I put up a mention of the Fortune coverage at both the and websites.

2. I mentioned it on all the writing, publishing, and promotion listserves I frequent.

3. I sent out a press release detailing the coverage.

4. I added the press release to the media page of the site.

5. Based on the press release, I got several additional requests for articles on Expertizing (including from Steven Covey's Sales and Service Excellence newsletter) and many interviews with other publications, including Bulldog Reporter's Media Relations.

6. I'm expanding on some of the details of how to get big stories like the Fortune feature in my online syndicated column which goes to thousands of ezines and websites monthly.

7. I wrote a letter to the editor of Fortune, to see if I could also wangle my way into next month's issue.

8. And now I'm including it in this blog.

So when you think you've exhausted all the media attention you can, think again. There's almost always some more meta-marketing to be wrung out of your PR.

Write me at


Business Lessons from the Soup Kitchen

Going into the season of good cheer etc, etc, it seems an appropriate time to share a few excerpts from my forthcoming book (Agents: Please take note!) Business Lessons from the Soup Kitchen. Somewhere between the One Minute Manager and All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Business Lessons from the Soup Kitchen is a story about business and soup.

Most of the week I'm CEO of and But my business skills were not acquired via an MBA program; mostly they've come from the soup kitchen. On Thursday nights, I (along with my husband and three children--ages 11, 8, and almost 4) prepare and serve food to 100 mostly homeless people in Harvard Square. When we began, I thought of it as a nice way to help out a less fortunate population. I never expected to learn what I have. Here are some of the things I've learned, and how they apply to business:

1. Don't make judgments about how much you think people can afford to pay. People on both sides of the table in our soup kitchen look--well, the same. It's hard to know which are the guests and which the volunteers. (In fact, some of the current volunteers used to be guests--and vice versa.) Similarly, I've found that the least likely prospects in business often become clients, and the more likely prospects often don't. (That's true for speaking gigs, too. I've spoken to groups of poor writers who ended up becoming valued clients, and groups of rich executives who never ante'd up.) Never assume. You can't necessarily judge based on clothing, website, or business.

2. They're picky eaters if they're not hungry. Even at a soup kitchen, people who aren't hungry don't want to eat. If someone isn't quite hungry enough for your products and services, they'll seem pretty picky, ask zillions of questions, and give you grief. They may buy--maybe--but they're equally likely to tell you they're going to think about it and come back later.

3. But when they're hungry enough, they'll eat anything. Once people are good and ready for your services, they'll buy as long as you're standing there with what they need.

4. But only if you're there the day they're hungry. If they're hungry on Tuesday, and soup kitchen isn't until Thursday, you're going to lose them. There may be another chance on Thursday--but if you can catch them when they need you, you have a better chance of feeding them.

(More coming later this week.)

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A R C H I V E / H I G H L I G H T S

Tangential Mentions Can Be Worthwhile
originally posted: September 28, 2004

You can't always get a full-page media story on your product or service, but tangential mentions can also be beneficial. And the side benefit of a peripheral mention is that there'll be very little competition from others in your niche.

For example, on Friday I was quoted in a United Press International article. (A single mention in one of the top syndication services such as UPI can result in millions of readers being exposed to your offerings.)

The article was on the bankruptcy filings of Wonder Bread and Twinkies, and how the low-carb craze may have contributed. I was the lead quote. The other experts quoted were James Greco, Chief Executive of Bruegger's Bagels, Scott Livengood, CEO of Krispy Kreme, and Fred Pescatore, a physician and former medical director of the Atkins Center.

So how did I get into this piece populated by CEO bakery experts?

"It's the 'branding' of carbs that's killing sales," I emailed the reporter. "America's donut days are dead; we're past the time when doughy fluffy breads and fat-laden donuts are appealing; regular carbs are passe. From a branding standpoint, the market is ready for the 'new carbs'--crunchy Italian baguettes, sexy seeded breadsticks, and vegetable-infused crackers. Wonder Bread's days are over. But the marketer who is successfully able to introduce the new carbs is going to hit gold."
--Fern Reiss, CEO,

I was the only marketing/branding expert quoted in the piece. Probably, I was the only one who contacted the reporter--because most marketers, unless they are responsible for marketing pastries and donuts, wouldn't have seen this as the golden opportunity that I did.

So think outside your box, and see how you can apply your expertise to seemingly unrelated topics. If you start seeing the world as somehow 'related' to your product, you'll start getting a lot more media attention.

(Want to find out more about how to be quoted by journalists on a regular basis? You can sign up for the Expertizing newsletter directly at

Link to Pop Culture

If you can link the topic of your book or business to popular culture or current advertising, you have a good chance of being quoted in the media over the expert who isn't trying to be hip.

A journalist from a major women's magazine was recently doing a health piece on surprising new health tidbits. This sort of article can be tricky to get into if you don't have a medical degree (and I don't.)

I do have a book called The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage which I thought would be perfect for a mention in this piece, since my book is based on over 500 medical studies and examines hundreds of links between diet and fertility. One of those links is the milk connection: There was a study done at Harvard Medical School that showed that the more milk you consume, the less fertile you become.

I could have written to the journalist and said the following: "Scientists have discovered a sugar in milk, called galactose, which causes infertility. The more galactose present in your system, the greater your chances of infertility. I'm the author of..."


Instead, this is what I e-mailed the journalist:

"Got milk? Get rid of it. The more milk you drink, the less fertile you become. I'm the author of "The Infertility Diet: Get Pregnant and Prevent Miscarriage," and according to a recent Harvard Medical School study, milk is the last thing infertile women should be drinking."

It was the 'got milk' pop connection that got me into this piece. So think pop culture, and use it to give your information a twist to make it soundbite material. (Playing off Trump's "You're Fired!" line last year, for example, would have been a 'sure fire' winner.)

(Want to find out more about how to be quoted by journalists on a regular basis? You can sign up for the Expertizing newsletter directly at

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Expertizing: Media Attention for your Business
originally posted: September 23, 2004

Thought I'd try using this space as a forum for talking about one of the things I seem to do best: Getting media attention for my books and biz.

Branding, marketing, PR, positioning, advertising, visibility, publicity--they're all buzz words for getting more attention from the press. More air time with journalists. How do you do that?

In the past six months, I've been quoted in over 100 publications--everything from the New York Times and International Herald Tribune to Life Magazine. I call this kind of media positioning "Expertizing" -- and it's great for business, pretty much regardless of the type of business you're in.

So I'm going to periodically post tips, more like case studies, on how I get this kind of consistent media attention. If you're interested in hearing more, sign up for my free weekly email newsletter at And enjoy!


If, in talking to journalists, you can somehow tie in to the news, you’re just about guaranteed to be quoted.

My most striking example of this happened with Voice of America a few years ago. I had written a book called “Terrorism and Kids: Comforting Your Child,” which came out two days after 9/11. The book won an American Booksellers Association BookSense award, received reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and was a small press bestseller for several months. But it didn’t sell many copies overseas. When I saw a query from a Voice of America journalist, it occurred to me that though domestic sales were slowing, there was still a need for the book in the international market. And Voice of America is a radio program that broadcasts to an exclusively international audience.

The problem was, the Voice of America journalist wasn’t doing a piece on terrorism and kids.

He was doing a piece on the popularity of home theatre systems.

Now, I could have just emailed another journalist at Voice of America. (But it’s always easier to get into a piece that you know is being researched, rather than cold-calling a journalist who’s not necessarily doing a story.) Or I could have tried for another publication. (Ditto.)

Instead—since I had the contact information for the journalist doing the home theatre piece, and more importantly, since I knew he was looking for sources and quotes for his piece—I emailed him and got ten full minutes on Voice of America. Here was my overture:

Hi Bob,
You can actually thank Osama bin Laden for the sudden popularity of home theatre systems. In the wake of 9/11, Americans are bringing their entertainment (and their business, and their food, by the way) into their home. It’s a 9/11 nesting response.

I’m the author of the book, “Terrorism and Kids: Comforting Your Child” (more info at

Ten full minutes on Voice of America. In a piece on home theatre systems.

So figure out a way to hook their topic, and your business, to the news in some way. Believe me, if I could do it with home theatre systems, you can do it with anything!

(Next blog: Labradoodles and Life Magazine. Stay tuned. Or sign up for the Expertizing newsletter directly at

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R E A D E R   C O M M E N T S

"Since we've become neighbors on the top ten blog list lately, I've been reading you with pleasure and interest, too, and checking out your websites. I was thinking of dropping you a note to tell you how much I liked both blog and�sites. Very impressive. You're working hard, lady; I can tell. "
Robert Gray, blogger

A B O U T   T H E   A U T H O R

Fern Reiss is CEO of / She is the author of "The Publishing Game: Find an Agent in 30 Days," "The Publishing Game: Publish a Book in 30 Days," and "The Publishing Game: Bestseller in 30 Days," all Writer's Digest Book Club bestsellers, as well as the just-published The Breast Cancer Checklist. In the past six months, she has been quoted, and her books and business mentioned, in over 100 publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The International Herald Tribune, and Fortune Small Business. Her Expertizing workshops teach people to get consistent daily media attention for their books & business. She also runs and Literary.

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