Monday, July 28, 2008

Transcript: Authors Provide Writing Wisdom & Laughs at Athena Isle Writers Meeting July 23

July 30 Athena Isle Writers meeting with Janet & Greta PodleskiGuests at the July 30 Athena Isle Writers Meeting in Second Life were the sisters/authors of the funny and best-selling cooking and nutritional health books Looneyspoons, Crazy Plates, and most recently, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! -- Janet and Greta Podleski. They, along with their publicist Kendra Peavy, were the humans operating the avatar JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski at the meeting, hosted by Alas Zerbino, co-owner of Story Mountain Center for Writers on Athena Isle.

Following is the text-chat transcript of the hour-long session:

[2008/07/23 12:01] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: hello!
[2008/07/23 12:01] KrisBott Gears: Hi!
[2008/07/23 12:01] Alas Zerbino: Hi JanetAndGreta!
[2008/07/23 12:01] Alas Zerbino: Welcome, and have a seat
[2008/07/23 12:01] Annesh Perl: Will we be using voice?
[2008/07/23 12:01] Alas Zerbino: Just right-click your mouse with the cursor on the chair...
[2008/07/23 12:01] Alas Zerbino: and then choose "sit here"
[2008/07/23 12:02] Annesh Perl: Thanks KrisBott
[2008/07/23 12:02] Alas Zerbino: Annesh -- no, we don't use voice at these meetings -- after all, we're writers! :)
[2008/07/23 12:02] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: hello everyone!
[2008/07/23 12:02] KrisBott Gears: hi, how are you JanetAndGreta
[2008/07/23 12:03] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: wonderful, thank you
[2008/07/23 12:03] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: how is everyone else doing?
[2008/07/23 12:03] Annesh Perl: Yes good to see you
[2008/07/23 12:03] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we're very happy to be here
[2008/07/23 12:03] Alas Zerbino: I know it's time to get started -- there are some others who I expect to come, but may be hung up or late
[2008/07/23 12:03] KrisBott Gears: Very well, thanks
[2008/07/23 12:03] Alas Zerbino: So, I'll give my little spiel first....

[2008/07/23 12:03] Alas Zerbino: Welcome to this Athena Isle Writers meeting at the Story Mountain Center for Writers on Athena Isle.
[2008/07/23 12:03] Alas Zerbino: I invite you to touch one of the Story Mountain signs inside or out for a detailed notecard about Story Mountain and our plans for it.
[2008/07/23 12:04] Alas Zerbino: For more details about our guests, touch the poster hanging over the fireplace.
[2008/07/23 12:04] Alas Zerbino: And for information about coming Athena Isle Writers guests, as well as where to find transcripts of previous meetings, click the burgundy-and-white sign by the staircase.

[2008/07/23 12:04] Alas Zerbino: Now for the “ground rules” for this meeting-- :)
[2008/07/23 12:04] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: thanks - we'll be sure to check it out!
[2008/07/23 12:04] Alas Zerbino: Wonderful!
[2008/07/23 12:04] Alas Zerbino: All communication will be in text chat. I’ll introduce the speakers and turn the “mic” over to them for opening comments.
[2008/07/23 12:04] Alas Zerbino: At any time after that, just jump in with questions or comments.
[2008/07/23 12:05] Alas Zerbino: But: please type QUESTION (in full caps) in front of your question. It’s a lot easier to keep track of which questions still need answering when the chat lines start flying off the window!
[2008/07/23 12:05] Alas Zerbino: Today, although there’s only one avatar sitting there, she’s actually representing two sisters from Canada who have an incredible story to tell about their journey to success as authors of three best-selling cookbooks
[2008/07/23 12:05] Alas Zerbino: Greta and Janet Podleski were so certain that the book they were cooking up – LOONEYSPOONS – would of value to eaters (i.e., all of us) that they overcame immense obstacles to get it published. They have since published two more cookbooks, CRAZY PLATES and their latest EAT, SHRINK & BE MERRY!
[2008/07/23 12:05] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: what an introduction, thank you!
[2008/07/23 12:05] Alas Zerbino: After going deep into debt to complete LOONEYSPOONS, their manuscript was rejected by all the publishers who received it. But they held to their dream and ended up publishing it themselves, with the help of another best-selling Canadian author.
[2008/07/23 12:06] Alas Zerbino: The result? Their sales broke all records for self-published books, and suddenly publishers were calling them, offering to “take it off their hands.”

[2008/07/23 12:06] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: hello everyone
[2008/07/23 12:06] Annesh Perl: Hello and Wow very impressive
[2008/07/23 12:06] KrisBott Gears: yes
[2008/07/23 12:06] Alas Zerbino: Welcome, JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski! We’re excited to hear how you achieved such success.
[2008/07/23 12:06] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: thank you very much, everyone
[2008/07/23 12:07] Alas Zerbino: So, tell us a little of your story....

[2008/07/23 12:07] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: well, it was a long road..
[2008/07/23 12:07] Annesh Perl: sounds like it
[2008/07/23 12:07] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Why did you decide to self-publish “Looneyspoons”?
[2008/07/23 12:07] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: How many rejections did you get before deciding?
[2008/07/23 12:07] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We'd been turned down by 18 publishers – ouch! But we put so much of ourselves into what we had created that we had to make one more major leap.
[2008/07/23 12:08] KrisBott Gears: wow
[2008/07/23 12:08] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: It was incredible – our first run of 10,000 books sold out in only two weeks. Since then, we've sold over 850,000 copies.
[2008/07/23 12:08] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: How did you go about the marketing?
[2008/07/23 12:08] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: How did you sell that first batch of books?
[2008/07/23 12:09] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We did just about every radio program and television show available at the time in Canada. And word of mouth really helped us. The book was new, different and people appreciated that about it. And really, we just got people to eat the food – they loved it.
[2008/07/23 12:09] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We truly believed that we had something new and different to share with people and we'd sacrificed so much that we weren't going to give up. We were determined. That’s the key, be determined and continue to believe in yourself.
[2008/07/23 12:09] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: Did you have to pay for the radio shows and tv?
[2008/07/23 12:10] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: No - it was a matter of reaching out and getting on the shows
[2008/07/23 12:10] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we were very lucky - when people turned us down, we just asked them to taste the food

[2008/07/23 12:10] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: After "Looneyspoons" became a huge success, you had plenty of offers from the “big” publishing houses. Why did you decide to continue self-publishing?
[2008/07/23 12:10] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: Did you have a website people could go to for purchasing?
[2008/07/23 12:11] Annesh Perl: Alas good question
[2008/07/23 12:11] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: That's true. But when you have such success on your own (with a team of four people), you realize that no one can market it as well as you can. But you have to be prepared – it is a full time job.
[2008/07/23 12:11] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Also, publishing houses represent so many books at one time . . . and maybe have two in-house publicists . . . so they can't dedicate the time and effort to our books like we could and still do.
[2008/07/23 12:11] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: Oh, do you mind if I take pictures? For Athena Isle blog and possibly blog about my Athena Isle activities
[2008/07/23 12:12] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: yes - even now we still have a Web site
[2008/07/23 12:12] Alas Zerbino: Oh, that would be great, Kris!
[2008/07/23 12:12] KrisBott Gears: cool
[2008/07/23 12:12] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: of course
[2008/07/23 12:12] KrisBott Gears: thx, great
[2008/07/23 12:12] Alas Zerbino: I've heard so many authors say that about, they can market better than a big publishing firm.
[2008/07/23 12:13] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: So do you think your sales are higher going it alone rather than a pub house?
[2008/07/23 12:13] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: nobody represents us better than us because of our passion
[2008/07/23 12:13] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: When you were broke, in debt, and hearing a huge “NO” from the New York publishers, what kept you going? What tips or tricks worked for you?
[2008/07/23 12:13] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: and familarity with the product
[2008/07/23 12:13] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: When you say eat the food, do you mean you marketed actual food along with the book?
[2008/07/23 12:14] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: crying and a lot of wine!
[2008/07/23 12:14] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: How long did it take you to complete your first manuscript to book form, editing and all
[2008/07/23 12:14] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: just kidding

[2008/07/23 12:14] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We truly believed that we had something new and different to share with people and we'd sacrificed so much that we weren't going to give up. We were determined. That’s the key, be determined and continue to believe in yourself.
[2008/07/23 12:14] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:14] Alas Zerbino: Determination. Persistence. I've heard those words used a lot by published authors.
[2008/07/23 12:15] Annesh Perl: Yes I don't see any other way it is possible
[2008/07/23 12:15] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: yes, of course
[2008/07/23 12:15] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: you need both
[2008/07/23 12:15] Annesh Perl: I have to develop re-determination
[2008/07/23 12:15] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION from Annesh: How long did it take to write the first book?
[2008/07/23 12:15] Annesh Perl: Re-Persistence
[2008/07/23 12:15] Alas Zerbino: Welcome DanielDe!
[2008/07/23 12:15] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: one year
[2008/07/23 12:15] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: full-time
[2008/07/23 12:15] Alas Zerbino: Come have a seat, just right click on the empty chair!
[2008/07/23 12:16] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we quit our jobs and dedicated at least 60 hours a week to the project
[2008/07/23 12:16] Alas Zerbino: WOW!

[2008/07/23 12:16] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: The idea of combining cooking and comedy – “pans and puns,” as you say – was radical at the time. What made you think it would work?
[2008/07/23 12:17] Alas Zerbino: /welcome, DanielDe -- jump in with questions anytime -- just preface them with QUESTION.
[2008/07/23 12:17] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: people love to eat
[2008/07/23 12:17] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: and love comedy
[2008/07/23 12:17] Alas Zerbino: very true!
[2008/07/23 12:17] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: but, they also take dieting very seriously
[2008/07/23 12:18] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we wanted to introduce a happier and healthier element
[2008/07/23 12:18] Annesh Perl: COMMENT: Your persistence and determination also came from the need to make money. I have always learned that the writers who actually make a living at their writing are an extremely small percentage. You are lucky.
[2008/07/23 12:18] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Have you been comics all your lives?
[2008/07/23 12:18] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we are very lucky
[2008/07/23 12:19] Alas Zerbino: (because you are sooooo funny in your writing!)
[2008/07/23 12:19] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: and, as corny as this sounds, we love going to work every single day
[2008/07/23 12:19] Alas Zerbino: that's just fabulous!!
[2008/07/23 12:19] Annesh Perl: That's not corny at all
[2008/07/23 12:19] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we grew up with 4 other siblings - and shared one bathroom amoungst 6 sisters
[2008/07/23 12:19] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we had to learn to laugh!
[2008/07/23 12:20] KrisBott Gears: that must explain your persistence also lol
[2008/07/23 12:20] Alas Zerbino: LOL! I'll bet -- I had 5 sisters also!
[2008/07/23 12:20] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: haha - persistance for the first shower!
[2008/07/23 12:20] Alas Zerbino: (plus 4 brothers)
[2008/07/23 12:20] KrisBott Gears: woohoo
[2008/07/23 12:20] Alas Zerbino: A large family does teach you about persistence, eh? lol
[2008/07/23 12:20] KrisBott Gears: that's a long wait for the shower
[2008/07/23 12:20] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: it certainly does!
[2008/07/23 12:20] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: haha

The avatar representing authors Janet & Greta Podleski[2008/07/23 12:21] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: how did you two decide to become writers then?
[2008/07/23 12:21] Alas Zerbino: Good question,KrisBott
[2008/07/23 12:21] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: How much practice and schooling in writing did you have before you embarked on this project?
[2008/07/23 12:21] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: it was borne out of need
[2008/07/23 12:21] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: was writing the calling or the topic?
[2008/07/23 12:21] Alas Zerbino: /another good question, Annesh!
[2008/07/23 12:22] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we really wanted to help people to eat more healthfully anfd the most effective way to speard the word was through a book
[2008/07/23 12:22] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: especially one that made people laugh
[2008/07/23 12:22] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: that being said, we never could have imagined this level of success.
[2008/07/23 12:22] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: Just to reiterate, so your passion was not writing, it is what you wrote about
[2008/07/23 12:22] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We still shake our heads!
[2008/07/23 12:23] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: a mixture of the two - janet has always loved writing.
[2008/07/23 12:23] KrisBott Gears: and that writing seemed the best medium
[2008/07/23 12:23] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: Have you become more passionate about the craft of writing? - ah
[2008/07/23 12:23] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: and focused on it in University
[2008/07/23 12:24] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: yes - absolutely, in fact we have ended up reading a huge amount about writing and keep learning more
[2008/07/23 12:24] Alas Zerbino: You MUST read "Our Story" on their website:
[2008/07/23 12:24] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: thank you
[2008/07/23 12:24] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: yes, please do read it!

[2008/07/23 12:24] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: So we've been talking about your first book, right? How does that experience compare with the experience with the current book?
[2008/07/23 12:25] KrisBott Gears: will read that
[2008/07/23 12:25] Alas Zerbino: It's so funny and you'll see what great writers they are, too!
[2008/07/23 12:25] Annesh Perl: Good question
[2008/07/23 12:25] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: our third book, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry was truly a labor of love
[2008/07/23 12:25] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: again, I know this sounds corny, but we put everything we had into that book.
[2008/07/23 12:26] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: it took 2 years of full-time writing and we spent 100,000 dollars on production before we even went to print
[2008/07/23 12:26] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: we gave it everything we had.
[2008/07/23 12:26] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We really love what we do.
[2008/07/23 12:27] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: It's like they say -- your level of belief in yourself, your passion, is so related to the results?
[2008/07/23 12:27] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: was any part of it easier than the first time?
[2008/07/23 12:27] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: yes - it would have been easier to give up in the beginning and we almost did a couple of times!
[2008/07/23 12:28] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes, getting distribution in the book stores and getting media was a lot easier this time around because people have already heard of us

[2008/07/23 12:29] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: In addition to the three cookbooks, you also write a monthly column for Readers Digest, have a TV show, and have your meal kits . . . how did all that come about?
[2008/07/23 12:29] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Wow - let's break this down
[2008/07/23 12:29] Alas Zerbino: please do -- lol
[2008/07/23 12:29] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: The President of Readers Digest saw us give a speech once
[2008/07/23 12:30] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: He asked if we would get involved with the magazine.
[2008/07/23 12:30] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We started out only writing a few pages a month for the Canadian version - that quickly jumped to 10 pages a month.
[2008/07/23 12:30] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Now, we are also writing for "Taste of Home" in the US starting next month
[2008/07/23 12:31] Alas Zerbino: Fabulous!
[2008/07/23 12:31] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: The TV show . . .
[2008/07/23 12:31] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We had a number of producer approach us over the years, but never had an idea we though would really stand out
[2008/07/23 12:32] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Then 2 years ago, Greta came up with the idea of taking on people's favorite dishes that are typically unhealthy and putting our healthy spin on it
[2008/07/23 12:32] Annesh Perl: Great
[2008/07/23 12:32] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: The show airs on Food Network Canada now -- as we type we are in NYC to meet with A&E
[2008/07/23 12:32] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Frozen Foods...
[2008/07/23 12:33] Alas Zerbino: Great -- so it might be distributed in the States sometime soon?
[2008/07/23 12:33] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: It's such a long story . . . we'll need a Third Life to get into that one!
[2008/07/23 12:33] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: lol
[2008/07/23 12:33] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:33] Annesh Perl: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:33] Alas Zerbino: OK, you can pass.... :)
[2008/07/23 12:34] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We're hoping the show will be on one of the major US cable stations in the next few months - very exciting. You can check out clips from the show at
[2008/07/23 12:34] Alas Zerbino: I did -- wanted more!!
[2008/07/23 12:34] KrisBott Gears: nice

[2008/07/23 12:34] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Do you think authors in general should look to the other media for publicity, expanding their audience, and so on?
[2008/07/23 12:35] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes! It's all about engaging the public anyway you can do that is great . . . well, not ANY way
[2008/07/23 12:35] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:35] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: There is so much noise out there right now that rising above it takes a lot of hard work.
[2008/07/23 12:35] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Probably even more than writing the book!
[2008/07/23 12:36] KrisBott Gears: so true
[2008/07/23 12:36] Alas Zerbino: Agreed! Last week's guest had some great ideas on using Web 2.0 to rise above that "noise"
[2008/07/23 12:36] Alas Zerbino: Promotion is a lot harder for me than writing is, that's for sure!
[2008/07/23 12:36] Annesh Perl: Web 2.0? You'll have to share about that at some point Alas maybe later we can get info
[2008/07/23 12:37] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes - there are so many tools out there right now. With Web 2.0, it's very important to stay in the spirit on the communities - you have to reach out to help people, not sell to them
[2008/07/23 12:37] Alas Zerbino: You can read the transcript at
[2008/07/23 12:37] Alas Zerbino: (from last week)
[2008/07/23 12:37] Annesh Perl: Thanks Alas
[2008/07/23 12:37] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Web 2.0 provides an excellent viral component these days

[2008/07/23 12:38] Alas Zerbino: That makes sense, JanetAndGreta -- and I get the impression you two do a lot of reaching out to help.
[2008/07/23 12:38] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: I do, but Janet is way too self absorbed!
[2008/07/23 12:38] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: KIDDING!
[2008/07/23 12:38] Alas Zerbino: ROFL!!!
[2008/07/23 12:39] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We really just want to get to the community and help people
[2008/07/23 12:39] Alas Zerbino: (It's so funny having a 2-in-1 avatar!!!)
[2008/07/23 12:39] Annesh Perl: Yes it is
[2008/07/23 12:39] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: That has been our biggest mission and has always driven us
[2008/07/23 12:39] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: why did you decide to have one avatar?
[2008/07/23 12:39] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: I won't touch that one!
[2008/07/23 12:40] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We couldn't figure out the software . . . not that sharp~
[2008/07/23 12:40] KrisBott Gears: lol
[2008/07/23 12:40] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: plus, this way we can share clothes
[2008/07/23 12:40] Alas Zerbino: Kris, their assistant Kendra and I came up with that solution.
[2008/07/23 12:40] Alas Zerbino: We all thought it would be easier for everyone!
[2008/07/23 12:40] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Publicist!
[2008/07/23 12:40] Alas Zerbino: Oh, sorry!
[2008/07/23 12:41] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: You have offended her! JK
[2008/07/23 12:41] Alas Zerbino: Whatever her title, she's great to work with.
[2008/07/23 12:41] KrisBott Gears: lol interesting idea in a few ways, not being in two places at once exactly, but being able to pick up for the other person, share duties or something like that
[2008/07/23 12:41] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: She's blushing - don't say that! She'll charge us more!
[2008/07/23 12:41] Alas Zerbino: Oh, Kendra, please accept my apologies . . . I"m sorta new to this job.
[2008/07/23 12:41] Alas Zerbino: Well, she's worth whatever you pay her, in my not-so-humble opinion!
[2008/07/23 12:41] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: She'll consider it . . .
[2008/07/23 12:42] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: OK, forgiven :)
[2008/07/23 12:42] KrisBott Gears: It's like one of those movies where the twins stand in for each other and you don't know who is there at a given time
[2008/07/23 12:42] Alas Zerbino: whew . . . thanks!
[2008/07/23 12:42] Alas Zerbino: I know!
[2008/07/23 12:42] KrisBott Gears: funny
[2008/07/23 12:42] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Very "Full House" of us
[2008/07/23 12:42] KrisBott Gears: lol

Janet & Greta Podleski's avatar (center) answers questions via text chat

[2008/07/23 12:42] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: What advice, inspiration, or wisdom to you have for writers who are still striving for publication (in addition to persistence)?
[2008/07/23 12:43] Alas Zerbino: (you can break that one down, too, if you want --lol)
[2008/07/23 12:43] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: A lot of it is a numbers game. You really do need to get a lot of packages out there. Most of them will fall through, but you only need one positve response
[2008/07/23 12:44] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: It's key to master the art of bugging people without really BUGGING them, if you know what I mean.
[2008/07/23 12:44] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Stand by your message and what you do.
[2008/07/23 12:45] Alas Zerbino: Develop a VERY thick skin, eh?
[2008/07/23 12:45] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: But you two have declined big publishers yes? So a strategy might be to self-publish and then hope to be courted?
[2008/07/23 12:45] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes, rejection is a big part of this game
[2008/07/23 12:45] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Maybe even worse than rejections, is being ignored all together
[2008/07/23 12:45] KrisBott Gears: QUESTION: any publishers we might know of who you've turned down?
[2008/07/23 12:45] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: Do you suggest getting a website and generating interest prior to going to publishers?
[2008/07/23 12:46] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Agreed, but self-publishing requires a lot of time and effort
[2008/07/23 12:46] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Although it is very possible to do well that way, it must be your full-time focus
[2008/07/23 12:46] Annesh Perl: Like being a publishing house I suppose

[2008/07/23 12:47] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: A Web site is very good idea, but to really build a buzz it has to be dynamic, not static.
[2008/07/23 12:47] Alas Zerbino: /for the record: Kendra is Kendra Peavy, Account Manager, RLMpr in NY :)
[2008/07/23 12:47] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: It can't be a brouchure, but instead must provide constantly updated information.
[2008/07/23 12:47] KrisBott Gears: MySpace and Facebook might be good ideas for generating buzz?
[2008/07/23 12:48] KrisBott Gears: sorry QUESTION: Do writers use MySpace?
[2008/07/23 12:48] Annesh Perl: QUESTION: Dynamic vs. Static? (I'm not too proud to say, huh?)
[2008/07/23 12:48] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes, but they are complimentary pieces. On their own they won't get anything done - they need to mesh with your efforts
[2008/07/23 12:48] Alas Zerbino: LOL -- good for you,Annesh!
[2008/07/23 12:48] Annesh Perl: Well when you're not face to face . . . it's easier
[2008/07/23 12:48] Alas Zerbino: :)
[2008/07/23 12:49] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: It can't just be the same site day after day (static) it has to have new information each day, otherwise the buzz will die out
[2008/07/23 12:49] Annesh Perl: Ah ha thanks for clarifying
[2008/07/23 12:49] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: You have to make it dynamic
[2008/07/23 12:49] Alas Zerbino: Often a blog is what helps there, right?
[2008/07/23 12:49] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Kendra just charged me $20 for that!
[2008/07/23 12:49] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Just kidding!
[2008/07/23 12:49] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:49] Alas Zerbino: LMAO!!!
[2008/07/23 12:50] Alas Zerbino: Like writing a blog can keep a site dynamic?
[2008/07/23 12:50] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes
[2008/07/23 12:50] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: You got it!

[2008/07/23 12:50] Alas Zerbino: You two have a fun blog to read (not that I'm surprised)
[2008/07/23 12:50] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Thank you very much.
[2008/07/23 12:50] Alas Zerbino: You're welcome.
[2008/07/23 12:51] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We put a lot in to everything we do
[2008/07/23 12:51] Alas Zerbino: I discovered there your books have been informally "adopted" by Weight Watchers -- which is a real blessing for everyone involved, I'd guess.
[2008/07/23 12:52] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Did that connection start happening with your first book?
[2008/07/23 12:52] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes. That has been a huge part of our successs, and, interestingly, something we have nothing do with and can take no credit for
[2008/07/23 12:52] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Funny how that worked out!
[2008/07/23 12:52] Alas Zerbino: Serendipity . . . I've heard that counts almost as much as persistence!
[2008/07/23 12:53] KrisBott Gears: Weight Watchers, huge
[2008/07/23 12:53] KrisBott Gears: no pun intended
[2008/07/23 12:53] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:53] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Very true - we had small number of readers latch on early and spread the gospel
[2008/07/23 12:53] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:53] Annesh Perl: Little bit of luck then too
[2008/07/23 12:53] Alas Zerbino: but you had to take the first, hardest steps before the serendipitous happened, too!

[2008/07/23 12:53] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: If you had to do it all over again, what, if anything, would you do differently in terms of the writing/publishing process?
[2008/07/23 12:55] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Good question, we wouldn't do anything differently because even out not-so-successful moves have been alot of fun!
[2008/07/23 12:55] Alas Zerbino: Wow! That's great to be able to make that statement!!
[2008/07/23 12:56] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We stand by it! It has been a great ride.
[2008/07/23 12:56] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Even the bumpy parts!
[2008/07/23 12:56] Alas Zerbino: Very awesome!
[2008/07/23 12:56] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Janet had to sell her wedding dress and car!
[2008/07/23 12:56] Alas Zerbino: Oh dear!
[2008/07/23 12:56] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: They needed to be upgraded anyway!
[2008/07/23 12:56] Annesh Perl: Wow
[2008/07/23 12:56] Annesh Perl: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:56] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 12:57] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We had a garage sale - we were in major debt at one point
[2008/07/23 12:57] KrisBott Gears: hmm, I should try that
[2008/07/23 12:57] Alas Zerbino: me too, Kris . . .
[2008/07/23 12:57] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We were trading recipes with credit collectors not so long ago
[2008/07/23 12:57] KrisBott Gears: that's hilarious
[2008/07/23 12:57] Alas Zerbino: Wow!

[2008/07/23 12:58] Alas Zerbino: QUESTION: Do you do any other kinds of writing (I guess that's for the Janet half!)?
[2008/07/23 12:58] Alas Zerbino: . . . or is it all related to food and nutrition?
[2008/07/23 12:59] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We do a lot of blog writing at the Web site (
[2008/07/23 12:59] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: It's light and funny!
[2008/07/23 12:59] Alas Zerbino: Definitely funny! I have had some great laughs from reading your website!
[2008/07/23 13:00] Alas Zerbino: Well, our hour is almost up, already!
[2008/07/23 13:00] Alas Zerbino: Any final comments or questions?
[2008/07/23 13:00] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Goodness, the time flew by!
[2008/07/23 13:00] KrisBott Gears: Just thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us!
[2008/07/23 13:00] Alas Zerbino: I know -- SL time is about 4x faster than in first life!
[2008/07/23 13:00] KrisBott Gears: Very inspiring!
[2008/07/23 13:01] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Thank you, everyone!
[2008/07/23 13:01] Annesh Perl: Thank you so much
[2008/07/23 13:01] Annesh Perl: It was great of you to offer your time
[2008/07/23 13:01] Alas Zerbino: Yes! I will become the little choo-choo train (little engine that could) with my writing!
[2008/07/23 13:01] Annesh Perl: Do we have a tip jar for them?
[2008/07/23 13:01] KrisBott Gears: Congratulations on your well-deserved success!
[2008/07/23 13:01] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We had a great time and we liked the way our avatar's hair doesn't frizz in this humidity!
[2008/07/23 13:01] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 13:01] KrisBott Gears: lol yes!!
[2008/07/23 13:01] Alas Zerbino: I don't have a tip jar, but you can tip them directly by opening their profile.
[2008/07/23 13:01] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Thanks for your questions
[2008/07/23 13:02] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Alas, a woman after our own hearts!
[2008/07/23 13:02] Alas Zerbino: LOL
[2008/07/23 13:02] Annesh Perl: Will you ever be on for anything else JanetAndGreta?
[2008/07/23 13:02] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: We hope so!
[2008/07/23 13:02] Alas Zerbino: Great! It gets easier every time you log in, too!
[2008/07/23 13:02] Annesh Perl: Well there ya go then
[2008/07/23 13:02] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Thanks everyone!
[2008/07/23 13:03] Annesh Perl: Thank you
[2008/07/23 13:03] Alas Zerbino: Well, I hope to have the transcript up this week (it tends to get more hits than people here)
[2008/07/23 13:03] KrisBott Gears: OK, I'm off, thanks again so much and very nice to meet everyone.

[2008/07/23 13:03] Alas Zerbino: and Next Wednesday, July 30, our guest at the Athena Isle Writers meeting will be L. A. Banks, the author of The Vampire Huntress Series of novels and more than 20 other books. She received the 2008 Essence Storyteller of the Year—largely for the popular Vampire series--and has written crime/suspense, women’s fiction, and romance novels as well. See her website at:
[2008/07/23 13:03] KrisBott Gears: cool!
[2008/07/23 13:03] Annesh Perl: Wow!

[2008/07/23 13:03] Alas Zerbino: Thank you so VERY much, you two!!!
[2008/07/23 13:03] Alas Zerbino: It's been great talking with you and Kendra!
[2008/07/23 13:03] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: Yes
[2008/07/23 13:04] JanetAndGretaPodleski Szczepanski: She says thanks as well.