Robertson Publishing

Robertson Crest

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The Publishing Process

Your publication can be hundreds of pages or it could be a small booklet with just a few pages.  There are many commercially successful authors that have produced nothing but booklets or small books their entire lives.  Think Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and you'll get the idea. But remember, it's what is inside the cover that counts.

Every author has a vision or goal:
Family history - genealogy
Memoir - legacy
Poetry, short stories
How-To booklet
Mystery/Science Fiction
Classroom fundraising booklets
Technical and Company publications
Every book has a life of its own:
Formatting layout and design:
Book Design
Trim Size (height and width of book)
Cover and/or dust jacket
Fonts, leading, spacing, chapter transitions
Decorative elements, page numbering
Photos and illustration placement
Text layout
Photo and/or illustration scanning and placement with captions
Title pages and Table of Contents
ISBN and Barcode, Copyright, (Library of Congress - optional)
Print out copies for review by author and others
Final editing of the interior pages (if needed)
Killer back-cover text...
It's true — when readers flip a book over you've only got half of a split second to capture their attention and get them excited about your book.
This makes the role of the back-cover HEADLINE basically more important than everything else combined. The headline and synopsis are essentially the "ad for the book."
Publishing and initial shipment to author
Activating author's dedicated webpage via (optional)
Posting the title at
Submitting the title to Amazon, Barnes&, Ingram Books, Bertram's, and others
Author promotes title via press release, e-blasts, Facebook, and/or other social networks
Book signing events, talks, seminars, news articles, and other media events
Sales and order fulfillment by Author and Robertson Publishing
Profit and Royalty Payments

Publishing your book has never been easier.  We know the ropes and we can coach you on how to prepare your book for submission. We'll publish your paperback or hardback book in black and white or color at a fraction of what it cost just a few years ago. Then you can order as many books as you need for your personal events, when you need them, at an affordable cost... no more boxes and boxes of books in the garage! Should you want make changes to your book after its been published, we can do that too.

We will alsol submit your book to our distribution channel making it available in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. Then we will fulfill all the orders that come in, track the sales, and send you an activity report every quarter... More sales... more royalties!

Have You Ever Considered Writing...

Your Autobiography or Memoir
A Self-Help Book
A Book About Your Craft or Business
You don't have to be rich or famous to write an interesting, successful biography or memoir. If you have the ability to be brutally (or even humorously) honest about your life, people will read your book because the truth about anyone's life...the unvarnished and detailed endlessly fascinating. And family members will appreciate the time you took to share a bit of history.
What section of the bookstore rings up the highest sales? You got it, the Self-Help Section. It started about 30 years ago and continues today with such best sellers as 'The New Think & Grow Rich' and 'Chicken Soup for the Soul'. For example: if you've got an idea about how to help children or adults get healthier, or make life easier or happier, it will sell!
If you're a master at your craft or manage a business, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to write a book about it. This can be a more effective form of advertising and promotion than any newsletter or brochure. As an author, you'd achieve a credibility and stature that only few people attain.

Need encouragement?  Visit Martha Alderson's Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers.

Martha is a writer by night, by day she helps other writers achieve their dreams of completing a worthy project.

"...A joy working with a writer who looks to the end of her story for clues as to what belongs in the beginning." — Martha Alderson

Sign Up for the free monthly Plot Tips eZine! "Plot Tips" is a free monthly eZine designed to help you create a plot and have fun doing it. The resource, designed for published and unpublished writers of fiction, screenplays, and memoirs, is full of plot tips, writers' resources, conferences, workshops, and inspiration.

And be sure to check out Martha's Channel on YouTube — you'll get tips to help you plot your novel, memoir, screenplay, etc.

How to Write a Killer Lead for Your Press Release
by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases

The lead is one of the most important pieces of your press release. If it isn’t strong, you’ll lose the interest of your readers, and they won’t waste any time reading the rest of your press release. As a result, your release won’t get picked up, so you won’t get any media coverage. So, what can you do to write a killer lead for your press release? Here are some tips to get you started. Add your own tips by leaving a comment.

  • Answer the most basic questions - After reading the lead of your press release, the editor should have answers to the who, what, when, where, why, and how questions. Your goal with the lead is to hook the reader in while providing a clear, concise overview of your story. With that in mind, don’t bog your lead down with any unnecessary details. Focus only on answering the most basic questions then format these answers into short, easy-to-read paragraphs. .
  • Ditch the template leads - The editors you’re sending your press release out to will likely be going through dozens of other press releases that day. Your lead needs to stand out from the pack so that it grabs their attention. This means you should ditch the template leads. In other words, don’t start your press release out with “ABC Company, a leader in the such and such industry, is pleased to announce …” It’s boring and overdone. Find a new angle, but always be careful of trying to be too clever and losing clarity.
  • Focus on something special - Your lead needs to “wow” the reader, so that he’ll feel compelled to read the rest of the press release. Find a unique angle for your story, or focus on some special feature or benefit that makes you different from everyone else. This gives your press release the best chance of standing out from the hundreds of others you’re competing with.
  • Keep it short - When writing your press release lead, you should always strive for brevity. Your goal is to get as much information across in the fewest words possible. You probably won’t get it right the first time, which is why I recommend writing several different versions of your lead. When editing, cut out unnecessary words, jargon, repeated words, and anything else that isn’t necessary for answering the who, what, when, where, and why questions. Remember, your goal is to get the journalist's attention with your story and to have them contact you for an interview where they can get more details and you can get more coverage.
  • Include your targeted keyword - Google loves press releases. An optimized press release can grab a page one ranking for the targeted keyword. In fact, I’ve distributed press releases that have stayed on the first page for the targeted keyword for more than a year! When optimizing, keyword placement is always important. That’s why you should try to get your keyword up top in your press release lead.

What's the Right Press Release Length?

Usually, when we talk about creating the perfect press release, we focus on crafting catchy headlines and avoiding silly grammar errors. But these aren't the only elements required for a successful press release. And you might even argue that they aren't the most important. So, what is?

Length. Press release length is extremely important, but it's one of those things that never gets talked about and that always gets overlooked. However, with some reports showing the average reporter or editor spends just 5 seconds reading a news release before deciding whether or not to toss it in the garbage, it's clear that length matters.

On average, a good press release can be written with anywhere from 300-500 words. Once you eclipse the 500 word mark, there's a good chance you're just wasting space on words that will never get read. Your best bet is to try to get your press release to fit on a single page. This lets the reporter or editor quickly scan through it in their allotted 5 seconds.

For more information about press releases sign up for the Author's Toolkit on this site.

Seasoned Collector: Readers moved by story of a handmade book
By Steven Wayne Yvaska

I'm lucky. Most everything I write elicits a favorable response from faithful readers. But no column has had as much of an emotional impact as the one I wrote last month to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. In fact, I'm still hearing from folks.

The column ("A St. Patrick's Day gift, from one sister to another," March 17) told the tale of my dearest piece of St. Paddy's memorabilia - a lovingly handcrafted book from a bygone era. The pages reveal a poem about Ireland written in longhand and illustrated with vintage postcards. Quite a few readers, including Ruth Roller of Los Altos, believe the work to be a unique, sweet, sisterly tribute.

In her handwritten note, Roller said, "personal gifts that people made in the past are more beautiful and treasured than ones bought today." She went on to say, "I have several from different members of my family that I dearly treasure. Thanks for the article and the walk down Memory Lane."

I asked readers who knew anything about Annie Cowan Sangster, the book's creator, to contact me. Laverne Bornschlegel from Mountain View, among other curious readers, called or wrote to see what I learned about the woman who had assembled such a remarkable keepsake.

To my great surprise and everlasting thanks, Sharon Hoyt - a genealogist living in the San Jose area - took it upon herself to do some research. In the first of a series of letters to me Hoyt said, "I enjoy your columns each week, but this morning's story on the St. Patrick's Day book given to Ethel Cowan by her sister Annie particularly piqued my interest. What a great story, and a beautiful book as well."

Hoyt graciously researched the history of the Cowans. Annie's father, Robert H. Cowan, was born about 1832 in either Ireland or Scotland. He moved to Canada where he married Lydia Peer, Annie's mother, in 1861.

The couple and the first of their two children, including Annie, moved to the United States in the 1860s. The family added three more children after settling in California. From additional information Hoyt provided, it's likely that relatives remain in the Bay Area. I will follow through on her leads and keep you posted.

The most loving response to the column came from Beth Moore of Rio Del Mar. Moore told me how much she enjoyed the story, and said she was glad I was carefully guarding the fragile piece of ephemera.

Moore continued by telling me about the untimely death of her beloved daughter Carole from cancer. Moore told me about the frequent times the pair went hunting for antiques.

Moore said she "wanted to get her daughter's treasures to where they needed to be." And she insisted I take care of Carole's postcards despite my pleas to keep them in the family. We agreed to meet later that week.

It was tough to remain strong as Moore tenderly placed a small parcel in my hands. Moore said, "Carole kept these wrapped in archival paper. She took good care of her things." I undid the package and gently held Carole's holiday postcards. On the top of the pile were two issued for St. Patrick's Day. Their bright green hues as vivid as the day they were made nearly a century ago.

Together we looked at the postcards as well as a group of trade cards (advertisements) Moore wanted me to have. I knew this brave woman fought back tears as she remembered those happy days spent with her daughter.

As I thanked Moore for the precious gift, a quote my wise grandmother repeated now and then over her long life came to mind. Grandmother said, "And if my ship goes from your sight, it doesn't mean the journey ends. It only means the river bends."

Contact Steven Wayne Yvaska at or (408)920-5986. Fax (408)288-8060.

We reprinted the above touching article because we felt it tells a story of how family legacy can be created in a wonderful way.
Thoughtful books and personal items are always treasured.~ Robertson Publishing


Wrangling the Octopus
by Sue Cauhape, author of Paradise Ridge

It's almost finished. After over three, four years of anguish, blood-sweat-and-tears, my novel, Paradise Ridge, is about to hit the press.

... How did I finally get a publisher, you ask? Well, the New York establishment certainly didn't snatch it up -- predictably. And UNR Press, unfortunately, is not publishing fiction anymore, even though they thought this was a worthy project. The economy has hit them hard, as it has many other print media.

So, with the same renegade rebellion that probably inspires indie filmmakers, I decided to go the POD (Publish-on-Demand) route. Not only would I retain control and ownership of my work, the book itself would only be printed as it is sold rather than mass-produced on the speculation that it would eventually find buyers. Think of the trees! Lordy! That alone was a good reason to go to a POD.

Other good reasons came to my attention as I listened, with growing discouragement, to speakers at TMCC conferences who whittled away at literary potential with the cavalier attitude of a college lit mag editor. And after doling out fifty bucks to an "editor" to look at the first few chapters, I realized that she only understood about fifty percent of what I was doing. One of the many agents I contacted actually put such a sentiment in ink. "I don't really understand this," she wrote upon my returned copy. "That's okay, Honey. You just go back to your vampires. They sell well and don't require much of your effort."

Pardon me. This is supposed to be a Rave and I'm becoming grumpy!

I perused the listings for POD's on the web and realized how scary this proposition could be as well. Up front costs of hundreds of dollars. Add-on fees for various services. Nickels and dimes spewing from my jugular. Evenso, the services rendered by these POD's seemed to be just as comprehensive, if not more so, than "traditional" publishers, who not only rake my work over the editorial coals but then expect me to market the product because they don't do that anymore.

... I gulped hard and emailed Alicia at Robertson Publishing. Of course, she was interested. Afterall, a POD has a different relationship with a writer than a traditional publisher.The gamble is all mine. But, Alicia earned my deepest respect and trust because of all the work she did "wrangling the octopus". My Word document was not as expertly formatted as I had thought. Alicia racked up hours and hours fussing with the damned beast until she finally put it through another formatting program that subdued its wild nature. A 477-page six-by-nine paperback novel was born.

Alicia also taught me many little things about all those funny menus on my computer and gently guided me through this frustrating, tedious and puzzling process - all with an amazing sense of humor. I felt like she was my Mom, holding my hand all the way.

Now, as I await the proof copy and the task of reading it through for errors (on my part), I want to encourage anyone fretting over the next step toward publication to choose Robertson Publishing. Alicia is professional, friendly and caring, and offers a wide array of services in marketing, international distribution, and design. I am extremely pleased with the outcome of this whole experience and will undoubtedly continue along this route in the future. And this winter, I'll have to listen for new voices in my head.

Robertson Publishing
510-573-6625 or Toll Free 888-354-5957 (Outside California)
The publisher you can talk to.

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