How are you feeling now about marketing your book? A little more comfortable? It’s about to get even more comfortable!
I’m not one of those people who suggest you do something because you “have” to or because it’s the “only way” to get results. I truly believe that if you do something when your heart and mind aren’t into it, your chances for success diminish. Therefore, when I asked my 93-year-old client if he would like me to help him get some opportunities to speak to promote his book, and he said, “I don’t do speaking,” so I didn’t push it. I’ll focus on what he “will” do and we’ll go from there.
So what do you enjoy doing, love to do, feel comfortable doing? How do you like to interact with your readers? How would you like to connect with your readers? You have many choices here, so the goal is to make it fun and easy.
What do you do best: write, talk, teach, listen, act, design, sell…? If you like to write (and I hope you do after just completing your book), there are many opportunities to write to attract your market from articles and blogs to press releases, websites, and direct mail. If you enjoy teaching you can do live seminars and classes as well as online teleclasses and webinars.
Find your best skill and comfort level and choose your strategy to promote your book to your ideal reader. I’ll lay out many of the online and offline strategies in the next installment.
Happy writing (& promoting),
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. I’m happy to offer my 20-minute complimentary consultation where I can help you pinpoint your best marketing strategy for your book. Contact me at www.writersway.com.
Well, we’re finally at the last week of this month’s lessons on traditional vs self publishing. What I want to share today is the path to self publishing. In a nutshell, you write your book, you get it edited (of course), you have it formatted, you get a cover designed, you obtain an ISBN number, and you select a printer.
You can choose between the brick and mortar printer down the street if you need hand holding or in the mid-west if you want the best prices. Or you can choose an online printer known as a POD, print-on-demand. Some of these are Lightning Source, Author House, CreateSpace, LuLu, and iUniverse. They’re called POD because no longer do you have to store thousands of books (remember my 10,000 book fiasco) as the printer will print and ship books as you need them.
I’m not the authority on POD since they change as often as Lady Gaga’s hair color! I suggest you do your research, ask other authors, and get involved in a writers’ group either virtually or in your neighborhood. I belong to www.publisherswriters.org and we have a Yahoo group where anyone can ask for referrals to printers, editors, cover designers, etc.
One thing I will say, the research is part of the process. But once you find your printer, editor, cover designer, and formatter, you won’t have to look again. One of the members of our group here in San Diego has printed 17 books with Author House and he raves about them. I have a friend who has had a long relationship with iUniverse. Yes, some of these have been around for a while, and others have cropped up recently.
I suggest asking the printer for a sample book. Do the same with cover designers—check out their samples. Same goes for copyeditors and formatters. These are the people who will form your self publishing team.
So you finally have that glorious book in your hands. Now what? And then comes distribution and promotion. Yes, you have to sell the darn thing, not only to get your money back but to make profits, spread your message, and attain whatever other goals you have for your book. You might want to hire a book publicist to start or get tips from other writers. But I think book promotion is a topic for another set of lessons.
I just want to leave you with this last piece of vital information. No longer are traditional and self publishing your only options. Welcome to the bright shiny world of e-publishing…
Andrea Susan Glass
Have you made up your mind yet as to which path you’ll choose for your book? The reason I ask is that if you decide to submit your book to a traditional publisher, you don’t need to write the whole book. So before you write “the end” it would be best to choose one path.
So let’s say you’re looking for a major publisher. You might want to look in books similar to yours to see who publishes them. You can also look online on Amazon and in the library in Literary Marketplace. Additionally Writers Digest lists publishers and their specialties/genres such as women’s fiction, memoir, spirituality, or young adult.
You’ll need to do some research on the publisher and see if they’ll accept queries or if you need to find a literary agent first. If you need to find an agent, then go back to your research, see which agents represent the books in your genre, and do some searching in the resources I mentioned as well as online.
For both fiction and nonfiction books, you’ll first submit a one-page query letter. Find out if the agent or publisher accepts e-queries. If not, use snail mail. E-queries tend to get much faster responses, so do as many of those as you can with the appropriate agents and publishers, that is, those who represent your genre. I’d highly suggest you have a professional writer/editor like me review your query letter before submitting it.
If the agent or publisher is interested, they’ll ask for a synopsis or the whole book for fiction and a book proposal for nonfiction. Writing a book proposal is like writing a mini-book. I’ve written several of them and I really enjoy it, because it encourages the author to take a global look at the book: overview, market, promotion, author bio, book outline, sample chapters.
Either have a professional write your proposal or at least have it edited. Remember, this is your first impression and you won’t have an opportunity to make a second. The agent or publisher wants to see your writing style and gauge the success factor of your book. Less than 1% of proposals get accepted, which is why so many authors are turning to self publishing.
We’ll look at the self publishing process more in depth next week.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. If you’d like to see a sample book proposal I’d be happy to send you one I wrote for a client. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It’s hard to believe the summer is half over and I haven’t even taken a vacation yet. Have you? I hope so.
Well for those of you still hanging around, I thought this month I’d discuss the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing. When a prospective author comes to me and wants to write a book, I ask them right away whether they plan on seeking a publisher or publishing themselves. Some are pretty clear while others don’t have a clue which path they want to pursue.
Those who are sure they want to find an agent or publisher to publish their book will take a different path from those who are clear that they will self publish their book. For those of you who aren’t sure, let me explain some of the pros and cons of each path.
This week I’ll focus on traditional publishing and next week self-publishing. With the ease and popularity of self-publishing and more recently e-publishing, it seems traditional publishing’s days are numbered. Over the years, the number of traditional New York publishers has dwindled, and of those left many have merged. Additionally, mid-size and small publishers have sprouted as digital publishing has made book printing more accessible to those who want to start a small press.
In case you’re not familiar with them, your traditional publishers are Little Brown, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harper, Hay House, Wiley, and a few more. Look on your bookshelves at your hard cover books and you’ll find the traditional publishers.
Let’s look at why someone would choose traditional over self publishing: wants someone else to handle printing, distribution, and sales; wants the prestige of having a large publisher; wants a literary agent to handle writing career; wants publisher to arrange promotion; has a platform and wants to expand a brand; wants the support of an in-house editor. If you have any of these desires, you might choose this path.
Now, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to traditional publishing: publisher pays all production costs, does initial promotion (in most cases), distributes books, has sales team; however, it can take years (or never) to find an agent or publisher, you’re expected to have an established following (platform), you only get a small percentage royalty, you have minimal control over cover and content, you’ll wind up doing the bulk of promotion.
If you’re still not sure which path is right for you, stay tuned to my next installment on self publishing.
Andrea Susan Glass
Suppose you want to write an article, newsletter, or column because you have expertise to share and you want to attract new business by getting this information out to potential customers. But you hate to write, you’re not a very good writer, or you just can’t find the time.
These are circumstances when you might need a ghostwriter. Let’s look at each of these reasons in more detail. Okay, you were never good in English, your high school English teacher cringed when you handed in papers, and you were never a big reader. You preferred the Cliff notes or the DVD. Writing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Most people either hate to write or love it—and a few are in between; they do it because they have to. So if you hate to write but you really would love to have articles or even a book about your experiences or your expertise, you need a ghostwriter.
Now if you do enjoy writing, but for some reason everything you write sounds like it came from your 4th grader—let’s face it, you may not have the skills or talent. Not everyone does. I wouldn’t be in business as a ghostwriter and copyeditor if everyone was good at writing. You also may not know how to get started writing a book, as the whole process can be overwhelming. A ghostwriter can walk you through the process, hold your hand, encourage you, keep you on track, and do all or some of the writing for you or fix what you’ve written.
The most common reason I’ve found that someone needs a ghostwriter is they don’t have the time, can’t find the time, or won’t make the time. Take your pick. I’m not saying they’re making excuses, but they have busy lives, they can’t focus, they get distracted, they want to have a book yet can’t seem to make it a priority in their life. A lot of would-be authors don’t know if they’ll make any money on their book, so they find it hard to put it as a priority.
However, they want the book, so they need a ghostwriter. What I do is make weekly appointments with my authors and make sure they carve out time each week to work on their book. I hold them accountable and help them keep their commitments. I have a successful track record of guiding over 100 individuals through the process of completing their books—whether they hate to write, can’t write well, or couldn’t find the time.
Let me help you through your writing challenges. Sign up for my complimentary session at www.WritersWay.com/contact.
PS. Your comments are greatly appreciated. When you comment on a blog, you create a link back to your website! It’s a win for everyone.
Once you have your outline for your book, you can refine it and it becomes your table of contents. Once you have your table of contents, you have the structure for your book or ebook. All that’s left is what I call “filling in the blanks”!
I find it’s also helpful to create a structure for each chapter. If you’ve seen a “For Dummies” book, you’ll notice how each chapter has similar elements. For example, a typical structure for a how-to book would be…
1) Inspiring quote
2) Topic, lesson
3) Story, example of people living the lesson
4) More lesson
5) Action steps
How this would look in the example of our book on Overcoming Obesity would be:
1) quote: To say that obesity is caused by merely consuming too many calories is like saying that the only cause of the American Revolution was the Boston Tea Party. ― Adelle Davis, author
2) topic: Discuss your views on the subject, your expertise.
3) story: Talk about your own experiences losing weight or those of people you’ve worked with.
4) topic: More lesson, comments on the story you just told.
5) Action steps: Buy a journal you will use throughout this book to keep track of your meals.
Look easy? It is! This is how you create content, by filling in your template.
Have you written articles, blog posts, white papers, brochures, web content? All of these may have content you can draw from to write your book or ebook. Gather all the content you already have and see what you need to fill in. You can get additional content from doing research, conducting interviews, talking and recording yourself then having it transcribed, or just sitting down and letting your brain empty out through your hands and onto the page.
As a professional ghostwriter, I provide a valuable service for people who can’t seem to get organized to write their book or can’t seem to pull the content out of their head. I have several ways of working with people, each customized to their needs. Call me for a 20-minute complimentary consultation if you find yourself stuck at this point. My specialty is getting you unstuck and moving toward your goal of being a published author!
PS. Remember, if you live in the San Diego area, I’ll be speaking on Monday, May 23, at the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild. My topic is Turn Your Book into Your Business. The meeting runs from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and is at 3851 Rosecrans St. Visit www.sdwritersguild.org for additional information. Would love to see you there!
Congratulations! Either you’ve written your ebook or you started the journey. I’m so proud of you. (If you’re neither of these, please call me ASAP and let me help you get started! Just fill in the blanks at www.writersway.com/contact and I’ll get in touch with you to set up our 20-minute complimentary consultation).
Once you finish writing your ebook and saving it as a PDF you’re ready to load it on your website (and other websites including Amazon) and start enjoying the fruits of your labor.
You say you’re not satisfied; you still want a print book? Not to worry. First take a few weeks, sell a few books and listen to the feedback. It’s easier to make edits in an ebook than a print book! Ouch! When you’re sure your ebook is just how you want it, you’re ready for the next part of your journey.
At this point, authors must decide if they want to find an agent and publisher or become a self-publisher. I can’t make that decision for you; you have to weigh the pros and cons of each. To boil it down, you have more control and more profits as a self-publisher. You have more prestige and less work to produce and distribute your book if you get a publisher.
In both cases you’ll have to do the bulk of the promotion! Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Most publishers only promote their top name authors, so if you don’t get people to buy your book, the bookstores will ship your books back to the publisher and you won’t earn any royalties.
Now if you decide to self-publish you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of using a POD (print-on-demand) press or the printer down the street (or in the Mid-West). My clients are doing both and everyone is getting a high quality book. You just have to do your homework. Ask other authors, join a writing group or organization, get online and do the research.
All new authors start from scratch and are pretty savvy after their first book experience. My favorite client, a 93-year-young crusader for healthy eating, is still learning after his sixth book!
I know you can do it. It’s a lot of work, a lot of fun, and fantastic rewards!
PS. Remember, I have four different coaching services to help you through your journey. Choose the one that’s best for you at www.writersway.com/services. My goal is to help you reach your goal—a published author!
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