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Hello LitOrg members.

Now that I've made the announcement regarding my interview on CBC I'm going to venture into the marketing of it here on LitOrg.

A brief history of how Zodiac Zoo came about. In January 2008 I posted "In The Dark Dragon" as the first villanelle of the series. It created a teapot tempest which didn't hurt the viewing numbers though I suspect most were dropping by to read the latest exchanges. I then went on with Rag On Rat and worked my way through the zodiac zoo as the months melted away. I remember how other LitOrg members began trying their hand at villanelles too which was wonderful!

In January, 2009 my talented cousin, Stephen Cassidy, of Wawanesa Manitoba, offered me some art as a thank you for a gift. I asked him if he'd be interested in doing the illustrations for my collection and he said yes! I knew Stephen would be a perfect fit because I had one of his wood cut prints done in a west coast native style titled Frog Mother and it's beautifully done in a respectful manner. I shipped the poems and a brief blurb on the signs of the Chinese Zodiac.

It took Stephen about a year to complete the twelve woodcut prints and each of them are brilliant and charming! He delivered the final four in person in the spring of 2010.

I then mulled the project over for a few months and finally got the publishing underway in October 2010. I chose Trafford due to a bit of serendipity. I discovered the Trafford rep's last name was Paris! Paris from Homer! Paris - Penelope Amazing literary connection coincidence! Never being one to ignore karma I chose Trafford immediately. In a very short time the publisher managed to get my book out and did a fabulous job on the layout using my poems, Stephen's illustrations and my idea for the cover. When I received my proof copy in early December I discovered Trafford's shipping rates were outrageous so I ordered some copies so I could offer a more reasonable alternative.

That's a very brief version of how Zodiac Zoo came about. It never would have happened if not for the encouragement and prompting of several LitOrg members. So, LitOrg is the first writers' site I'm using as a marketing platform.

Zodiac Zoo is available for sale at:
Amazon USA
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

Of course Trafford publishing also lists the book and so does Chapters but the cover image isn't shown.

The quality of this book is superb and I'm very proud to have my name on it.

That's all for now.

"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo


The following comments are for "Public Book Flogging"
by Pen

a small gesture
Lucie, as one of the first to order a copy it was the least I could do to route it through Manitoba so that Stephen could sign it as well. I don't normally do that but you're special. :-)

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 4, 2011 )

Framed prints of Zodiac Zoo illustrations on display in Ladysmith for just over a week and one is SOLD!! They've sold three books too!

I'm so excited I had to correct four typos.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 9, 2011 )

@ Penn
Hi Penn!

You're published? I'm so excited! Is your book available in the United States? I seem to have it in my head that you are in the U.K.? And if it's not available in the U.S., will it be offered for sale as an eBook?


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Penn
I'm sorry -- I'm such a dunce. You had the link right there to the United States sales on

I just ordered it! I should have it in three days! I can't wait. It makes me happy that more and more lit members are being published.

How does it feel to have a book out? I remember when my first book was published the world didn't seem big enough to hold me for quite some time!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Penn (again)
You know what? I'm putting a link to your book up on my facebook page. I think everyone on lit should do the same. In this world it's all about networking, and I'm so proud of you I could just burst! If you're on facebook you should "friend" me.

It's going up now!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

Thank you Stuart! ... .. rushes off to Facebook .. yes .. I'm there ..

Penelope Allen if I don't find you first.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Penn
I'm "Ochani Lele" of course! And I just put up the link.

Successful book promotion these days takes a LOT of networking. It would be wonderful if everyone in our community used their own social networking sites to help promote Pen. We did it with Sandra when her book came out as well.

I'm smiling like a dork right now! I can't believe you did it! What an accomplishment! Much success to you!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

Just so you know
It's on twitter now. I just tweeted your link. After I read your work, maybe Sandra will let me do an interview with you for "Majestic?"

Ugh -- here I go again. I'm getting all excited again and I'm thinking about adding more to my workload. Wasn't I supposed to be letting things go?

Bea -- you did this to me! LoL!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

Don't be silly Stuart
I'd be happy to be interviewed!

As a side bar
There's a link to my CBC radio interview posted and there's a podcast download available on the NXNW CBC radio site. January 30th.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Stuart
shoot .. why didn't I just put the link to the link here??

link to CBC podcast link

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

You are on my Facebook page, as well.


( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

I'll have to check those out!
I'll have to check those out later, Penn. But I will get to them.

Now it's time for me to do a few things around the house (my poor doggie is dying for attention) and then it's back to studying and writing.

I'll write Chrispian and Sandra later about doing an interview after I read your book.

Back to other things!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

One final thing

Since your book it titled "Zodiac Zoo" is it safe to assume a strong, spiritual tie to astrology? Because if there is a metaphysical tie-in, I might be able to have Dia with H2O network interview you for her blog-talk radio show. It's an internet radio show devoted to all things spiritual!

It's insanely popular. The shows that I do get 6,000 listeners between the live stream and iTunes downloads once it gets archived. And most of her shows get thousands of listeners in general.

Let me know. After I read the book I'll try to hook you up!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

Chinese Zodiac
It's all about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac which I'd begun posting here at LitOrg in 2008. When I decided to publish the collection I took the posts down .. all villanelles .. all brilliantly illustrated with woodcut prints which Stephen Cassidy did for me. We both are very happy with the outcome.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Bobby
You promoted her book on your facebook page? Wonderful! If we can get everyone else to do this it will give her work the one things writers really need to be successful: Exposure.

Hopefully everyone else jumps on this as well.

Now, I REALLY have to go do other things.


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

Yes. Most of my 940+ Facebook friends are writers (award-winning authors among them), publishers, artists, musicians, professors and photographers. Every bit of promotion helps.

Best of luck with exams..

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Pen
I'm just not going to get ANYTHING else done tonight.

You should try this to track your sales. They use an algorhythm based on sales ranks to determine when books sell on I've been using it to get an idea for what sells through amazon:


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

cool Info!
That's wonderful Stuart! Thanks so much. This information should be something for everyone who's ever published and is listed to know. Great stuff!

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

Did you notice?
Pen: Go to's US sales page and look at your sales ranking. When I bought my copy you were still in the millions -- which isn't too good. After some very simple, effortless social networking you are at sales rank #98,282 of all books sold by amazon in the United States.

I can't tell you how that translates in numbers of books, but with no effort members helped you shoot your book under 100,000. That is the power of social networking, and the power our peers on lit have to help an author launch his or her career.

Get to linking, everyone. It's the simplest way to help Pen find her audience . . . and to help everyone at lit find their audience for their published works.

Okay -- I'm REALLY done for the night now. I have things to do (really, I do!).


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 12, 2011 )

@ Penn
Guess what arrived today? That's right -- you guessed it! Your book got here today.

I did what any self-respecting reader would do first; I looked at all the pictures! The art work is fantastic.

I'm going to read your book on campus tommorrow and start putting together an electonic interview, if that's okay with you. When we're done I'll submit it to Sandra and Chrispian. Hopefully they'll be able to use it in the new edition of "Majestic."

Also, I'd like to do a second shorter interview to put up on my blog. I blog about all things spiritual, and since your book is a collection of poems dedicated to Chinese Astrology it will fit in there well.

Also (and I'm being ambitious here) I'm thinking that I would like to do a third interview to put up on the WooWoo blog. I haven't blogged there in weeks (and the blog owner probably isn't happy about that) but the writer-roll consists of several best-selling, spiritual niche authors. Again, an interview with you about your book should fit in well there.

Between "Majestic" and those two blogs, that's the start of a virtual "blog-tour" on the internet. I'd like to encourage you to work out a more extensive blog tour on your own. Each blogger has a unique audience, and along the way you should pick up a few new readers from each one.

I'm excited. Let me know if you're still game. Each separate blog-style interview will be tailored to that blog's specific audience, so be ready for a lot of probing questions!


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 16, 2011 )

the artist
Stuart, you have no idea how delighted I was when Stephen agreed to illustrate these poems of mine. We've been fairly close as cousins and now it's a much closer relationship with a wonderful man. Stephen is many things. All of them laudable. He was the one who was a rock for me when I was going through the absolute heartache of discovering my eldest brother had betrayed my aged parent's trust and stole all their money. He was the only family peer who offered support when I desperately needed advice that was of a more forgiving nature than I was capable of mustering. He gave me the approval I sorely needed to follow the course I wanted to pursue and did so with ethical advice. Meanwhile, my other brother, who I've now forgiven, didn't want to be involved and told me he preferred to remain neutral. While my son and my niece were very supportive I needed someone of my own generation.
Stephen has always underestimated his talent. I was so happy and proud to be able to create a showcase for him. Did you notice all of the illustrations have their Chinese symbol included?
The illustrations only required two major changes and one small adjustment.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 16, 2011 )

the interviews
Of course I'm still game! I'm thrilled to be asked! Thank you!

by the way
I'm doing a poetry reading tomorrow night at our local library.


( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 16, 2011 )

library reading
You know what? That's awesome. I've never once thought about doing library readings, and the material in my newest book would be perfect for that.

So how did you go about getting booked for a library reading? Was it hard?


( Posted by: OchaniLele [Member] On: February 16, 2011 )

@ Stuart
Nope. easiest thing in the world! I donated a book and told them I had ulterior motives. The librarian asked if I would be available for doing a reading and I said .. Of course! Left my number and address on the envelope I'd brought the book in .. complete with an ink tiger stamp and a return address label with a tiger icon. The same with all the ones I've mailed. I make sure the envelope looks engaging too. Something special .. so it's noticed. I've never met a library that won't accept book donations and especially if they're new ones hot off the press. One thing I didn't do though .. I didn't sign it and I won't either unless I'm asked. My mom used to go to that library frequently as she was an avid reader. So, the donation was in memory of her too but I didn't write that in the book or tell the librarian.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 16, 2011 )

Bayview framing here in Ladysmith has sold all of the Zodiac Zoo copies they had on hand ...!

At the poetry reading last night - which was a bust - sold three copies of the book to the library! I also gave him some business cards I'd made up on my computer to hand out to readers who borrowed the book.

The librarian was so apologetic and I told him not to worry because I'd had a great time! It's true. I got to meet another poet .. I got to listen to her read a poem about a bus ride in India .. I sold three books .. I got to know the librarian a bit better .. how can that be a bad experience just because people didn't show up at suppertime to listen to poetry?

I only have two books left at home from the 70 I began marketing in January. Seems to be a success to me! I'm going to order some more! Now I've mailed copies from Nova Scotia to Kansas City and one to my benefactor in the UK who I dedicated the book to. Her advocate was so taken with the book she ordered four more from

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 18, 2011 )

I was just reading this over and something occured to me. Maybe no one showed up at the reading because not a lot of people knew about it. I hardly ever go to my library and couldn't tell you what kind of scheduled things they run. Maybe next time there is a way to get the word out through the internet? Theres gotta be some way right? Just a thought, I'd sure listen to it being read if I could and others would too if they knew about it! Congrats on the book! Good luck with any other projects you got brewing!

( Posted by: HavocTheDemon [Member] On: February 18, 2011 )

It was advertised in the local paper so the word was out there. I think it was more about the timing of suppertime hours

Thanks for dropping in though. :-)

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: February 19, 2011 )

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