Welcome Sharon Goldinger, Our New “Answer Lady”

by | Oct 28, 2016

Don’t you ever wish there was someone who could answer your questions about indie publishing? The ones that pop up when you’re new to book publishing?

Blogs provide a lot of answers, and we certainly get our share of people looking for help with book construction, book design, book production, book marketing, and similar subjects.

Not only that, we get a steady stream of mail from my Contact Form. All this input is very helpful because it provides us with daily insight into where readers need help.

However, over the past 7 years, the traffic here has steadily increased, helped along by our wonderful Contributing Writers.

At this point we’re getting over 5,000 visitors a day, and that generates a lot of questions.

That’s why I’m very excited to announce the latest addition to our team: Sharon Goldinger, the “Answer Lady.”

My Long Association With Sharon

Sharon and I have been producing books together for over 20 years. We’ve done dozens of books for authors and publishers over that time, and I’ve come to have the utmost respect for her broad knowledge of the publishing industry, her remarkable attention to detail, and the humane way she treats everyone she deals with.

In fact, when I have a question, Sharon is one of the first people I call.

Sharon, who owns PeopleSpeak, is a book shepherd, an editor, and a publishing and marketing consultant specializing in nonfiction books.

You’ll start seeing Sharon replying to comments here, and also answering questions via email. I’ll still be handling questions about print production and design issues, but many of you are looking for information on ISBNs, copyright, and other topics Sharon knows well.

You can check out her profile page here: Sharon Goldinger, the “Answer Lady”

As you can imagine, this will be a big help for me, and I think it will provide you with better and more up to date information on your own publishing projects.

In fact, if you’ve got a question right now, why not leave it in the comments? That will also give you a chance to welcome Sharon to our team.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Dell

    Hi Sharon and welcome, welcome, welcome!

    I have two questions.
    1. I have a small business that is growing with a number of clients who want to self publish, but don’t want to be bothered with doing the formatting, editing, and all the other details. For a fee, I take care of everything they need to go from having a book in their head to having a physical book in their hands. They own the rights to everything they do, they get all their royalties, etc. I print through CreateSpace. Once they have the final copy, I turn the account over to them along with all of their files, and we pretty much part company. I do a little book trailer for them as well. My company is listed as the publisher. Would what I do be considered vanity press or something else?

    When I purchase ISBNs, should I purchase them under the legal name of my business or the name under which I publish?

    Thanks much!

    • Sharon Goldinger

      Hi, Dell,

      Thank you so much for the warm welcome. In answer to your first question, if you are the publisher of record (your publishing company), then you would be considered a vanity (or subsidy) press. If you publish the book under the client’s publishing company name (presuming they have set up a company), then you would be considered a self-publishing assistance (or service) company. Regarding the purchase of ISBNs, I recommend that they be in the name of the publishing company.

      • Dell

        Thank you so much for taking my question. It’s exactly what I needed to know.

      • Dell

        I’ve been reading up on vanity presses. That’s what I do. I take my clients from having an idea in their heads to having their books in their hands. We have several strategy sessions to coach them in their writing and make sure that I’m doing what they really want. When we finish, all the files are theirs to use as they please. I don’t make any more money from them. Royalties, etc. all go to the authors.

        Since the imprint is in my company name, are there some specific legal issues I need to consider? I do have a hold harmless agreement and a disclaimer. Is that sufficient?

        I’ve heard about some vanity press horror stories. How do I work around that bad rep? Should I just do the the best I can with integrity or are there some specific steps I need to take.

        I did a speaking gig with an associate a few days ago and the person I was speaking with authoritatively stated that one could be commercially published or self published. Then he said, “For goodness sake, don’t get taken in by one of those vanity presses.” I figured that wasn’t the time to announce that I operate a vanity press.

        • Sharon Goldinger

          Dell, you’ve asked a lot of questions here–all good ones but not all simple ones. Regarding the specific legal issues: I recommend you engage an intellectual property attorney and ask him/her these kinds of questions (as well as others that come up during the course of your business). This blog also has numerous legal articles that will be helpful to you. Regarding the bad reputation of vanity presses: You are correct. There are many horror stories and rightly deserved. I think the key to avoiding that stigma is being very transparent–on your website, in your conversations, etc. Being truthful and in your integrity at all times and sharing as much information as possible (because many people don’t know what questions to ask and don’t know what they don’t know) will be beneficial to all involved. Time will also help: the more time you are in the business and the more time you have to show your good work and your integrity will demonstrate to people in a very tangible way that you are not “one of those vanity presses.”

          • Dell

            Thank you so much for the advice. I need to be very careful regarding MY integrity. I need to get my laundry list of questions and sit down with the right attorney. Thanks again.

  2. Roddie Simmons

    Welcome Sharon,

    I could use your knowledge and expertise in finding Spanish-language and Brazilian Portuguese language virtual author assistants to assist me in children’s book marketing in the Hispanic and Brazilian communities here and in South America, Latin America. My family is Brazilian-American (with homes in Brazil) so I have a head-start but need a virtual assistant that knows both book marketing and the community. Thanx, glad your onboard.

    • Sharon Goldinger

      Thanks, Roddie. My suggestion is to check with translators and ask if they have any recommendations for people with those specific skills and talents. There’s a section in Joel’s book The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide that lists translators as well as social media and marketing people and services.

  3. Harald Johnson

    Excellent addition to your team, Joel. Welcome Sharon!

    Question: I’m finalizing back matter for book #1 of my historical fiction series. I’ve heard that Amazon takes a dim view of having too many hot links on a page for ebooks. Any truth to this? I want to give readers opportunities to connect with me, my website, forthcoming books, etc. Any restrictions or downsides you know of in having outgoing links at back of an ebook?


    • Sharon Goldinger

      Harald, thanks for the welcome. I’m happy to be part of the BookDesigner.com team. We haven’t heard that about Amazon. As a matter of fact, Joel’s book The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide has hundreds of links.

      • Harald Johnson

        Thanks for reply, Sharon. I was thinking more about the density of links per page, but this is good to know overall. Think I’ll just look at not overwhelming the reader with link clutter. Good feedback. Thank you.

  4. Theresa

    Sharon you sound like a wonderful addition.

    Question: Do you know of any conferences for non-fiction bloggers to learn the craft better and to network?

    • Sharon Goldinger

      Thanks, Theresa. I appreciate your kind words. I’m sure there are lots of blogging seminars across the country. The one I know about is the “big” one that runs in conjunction with Book Expo America (the annual national book industry convention). This year it is in New York at the end of May/beginning of June. If you search for Book Expo America (put on by Reed), you will see a list of the tangential conferences, one of which is for book bloggers. It is a great opportunity to learn and to network.

    • Sharon Goldinger

      Thanks, Berin. I’m happy to be here and share with all of you.



  1. Writing Links in the 3s and 5…11/1/16 – Where Genres Collide - […] https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2016/10/welcome-sharon-goldinger-new-answer-lady/ What book shepherd’s do. […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *