Category : self publishing
Book Marketing & Promotion: Make a Plan
(This Post was posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011 at 9:36 pm)

If you’ve been reading my emails for a while you’ll see that I’ve been following a sequence throughout this year of priming you to write your book by offering good solid content. I’ve led you through the basics and discussed many of the steps that go into writing a book or ebook.

And now we come to what many authors dread: I have to sell those precious books. For many of us writing is the most satisfying part of the process—we expressed our thoughts, shared our expertise, and fulfilled a goal. But writing is the furthest activity from marketing! So this month, I’m tackling “book marketing made fun and easy!” (Marketing and promotion are so similar, I use them here interchangeably).

This week I want to talk about a marketing plan. Because promoting your book may feel foreign and overwhelming, it helps to have a strategy. Here are some of the steps you might want to include in your plan:

1. Get support in your marketing efforts (a mentor, coach, PR expert, VA, partner…)

2. Locate your ideal readers (you identified who they are before you wrote the book)

3. Decide where you will market based on where your readers are

4. Plan online and offline activities

5. Schedule at least one marketing/promotional task per week

6. Track your results

This should get you started. From my experience and education in book marketing, I’ve found that each book has a path of its own. While one book can catapult to the bestseller lists through blogging, another book might build its success through media interviews.

The path you take to success will be based on the nature of your book, your ideal readers, and you! The clearer you are on these, the easier it will be to find the best marketing plan for your book. I’ll go into more detail in the next emails.

Learn as you go and keep doing what works best for you.

Happy writing (& promoting),

Andrea

PS. A quick reminder, if you live in the San Diego area or know someone who does, I’ll be teaching a 5-week course “Writing Nonfiction” starting Monday, September 12 at MiraCosta College (http://www.miracosta.edu/community) and I’ll be giving a talk “All About Ebooks” on Tuesday, September 13 at San Marcos Library (http://securelamp.csusm.edu/extstudies/el/rp/course_details.php?cid=1785) to introduce my 6-week class “Write an Ebook” starting Tuesday, October 4 at Cal State San Marcos (www.csusm.edu/el).


 
Traditional vs Self Publishing: What’s the self-publishing process?
(This Post was posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 at 11:38 pm)

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…

Happy writing,

 

Andrea
Andrea Susan Glass
www.WritersWay.com


 
Traditional vs Self Publishing: Why self publishing?
(This Post was posted on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 at 7:53 pm)

I hope your week has gone well for you. To pick up from last week, now that you know a bit more about traditional publishing, I’d like to discuss the reasons you might choose the self publishing option and the benefits and drawbacks of this path as compared to traditional publishing.

Today, self publishing has never been easier with computer design programs, digital printing, and POD (print-on-demand) presses. I remember the first book I ghostwrote for a client about 10 years ago. We printed 10,000 copies to get a break on the price. That book went on to win the San Diego Book Awards for best how-to book, but we also got stuck with thousands of books we couldn’t sell.

So why would someone choose to self publish?  You might want to self publish if: you like to control everything; you want all the profits; you’re clear about your target audience and how to find them; you want your book out sooner than later; you have a team of people to design your cover, format your book, copyedit the content, and help you promote it. If you have any of these desires, you might choose this path.

These are some of the benefits and drawbacks of self publishing: quick turnaround time for producing books, keep all profits, low set up and printing costs, full control over content and cover, can easily add other books, CDs, or other products, comfortable promoting book; however, you may not have distribution to get into book stores, in some industries self published books have less prestige, quality may be inferior, and you have to handle all aspects of production and promotion.

Now not all of these apply in every situation; I’m just trying to give you an overview so you can see the primary distinctions between traditional and self-publishing so you can make a wise choice. And it’s not unheard of for a self published author to later be picked up by a publisher if you’ve done a good job promoting and selling your book.

So weigh both options, choose your path, and go build your book to bestseller status! Next week I’ll go over the process of obtaining a traditional publisher.

Happy writing,

Andrea
Andrea Susan Glass
www.WritersWay.com

PS. Please feel free to contact me for a complimentary discussion if you’re still undecided or have more questions. Sign up at www.writersway.com


 
To Edit or Not to Edit/ How do editors work?
(This Post was posted on Wednesday, July 27th, 2011 at 8:40 pm)

Once you’ve chosen your copyeditor, you’ll have a quote and a timeline. You either pay a deposit or the whole amount, depending on what the cost is. This can range anywhere from .01 to .02/word or from around $50 to $75/hour depending on the level of experience of the copyeditor and the complexity of the editing needed. So a 100-page or 30,000 word book might cost between $300 to $600.

Your editor should set up a timeline with you that meets any commitments you have. For example, if one of my clients has a conference or speaking engagement and needs a book in hand by September 1, I would want the editing completed by July 15 to allow enough time for formatting, design, and printing.

Copyeditors work on an individualized basis with each client.

Generally, you submit your book, ebook, article, brochure—whatever you need edited—to your copyeditor as an attached file. Some editors edit by hand, if the client requests that, but it’s not as effective as electronic editing.

Most editors use the “track changes” tool in Word to make visible edits on your document. This way you can see what’s been added and deleted as well as the editor’s comments. You can then learn from the edits and improve your future writing. You can also mouse over the edits and accept or reject them if you agree or disagree. Ultimately, you the author, make the final decisions.

The editor must work to preserve the tone and style of your writing, so this is a skill that takes practice. However, the copyeditor will make suggestions to improve any aspect of the writing including format, voice, etc.

Be open to your editor’s comments and edits and discuss any concerns you have. Ultimately, you want your ideal copyeditor as part of your team.

Happy writing,

Andrea

P.S. For a limited time, I’m offering my special report, “The WritersWay to Finding the Ideal Copyeditor” for 50% off the regular price of $10. Through August 15, you can purchase it for only $5 and find out all you need to know to select the ideal copyeditor for your team. Here’s the link to buy the report: http://bit.ly/oJp16N


 
To Edit or Not to Edit/ How do you choose an editor?
(This Post was posted on Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 at 8:32 pm)

There’s no one-size-fits-all editing, so your specific needs must be taken into consideration when selecting a copyeditor.

As a seasoned writer you might need less help than a newbie, such as a general critique, line editing, and some light polishing. If you’re a first time or unpublished writer, you may require a significant amount of hand-holding, help in organization and development, as well as line editing for spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

So first get clear on your needs, and then start the search for your ideal copyeditor.

Just as you would look for a doctor, hair stylist, or car mechanic, start out asking for referrals. You may not have the same taste as your friends or business colleagues, but referrals are the best place to start. Next conduct some research online as well as looking in books to see who the author used for editing. You can also go to bid sites like www.directfreelance.com where copyeditors post profiles. Also check your connections through www.LinkedIn.com,  www.Facebook.com, and other social networking sites. I’m often found in professional association directories like www.SDPen.com and www.PublishersWriters.org, so look at those sites.

Interview three top candidates, have them do a sample edit on the same document, and get a bid. From there, make your decision and move forward. Always keep your communications clear, ask questions when you don’t understand something, and do your best to create a successful partnership.

Happy writing,

Andrea

P.S. Also check testimonials and get references. I’m happy to supply references of my past satisfied clients to anyone who’s considering hiring me.


 
To Edit or Not to Edit/ Why do you need a copyeditor?
(This Post was posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 at 8:25 pm)

If you’re a small business owner, service professional, or individual and you want your written words to shine, you should consider finding the right copyeditor to work with on a regular basis.

When you’ve written something—a book, ebook, report, article, blog, ezine—anything that other people will read, you want it to look professional. Otherwise you won’t be taken seriously. The only way to do that is to have another pair of eyes review it. You could have a friend or family member look at it, but they might not be expert enough to know how to fix common and uncommon problems. And they may not give you honest feedback. So, that’s what a professional copyeditor does.

If you look in the acknowledgment section of most books, you’ll see the author thanking their editor/copyeditor and/or proofreader. When you’re finished writing whatever you’ve written and you’re ready to submit it to a publisher, agent, or printer, or send it to your mailing list, or post it on you website, you MUST have it proofread or copyedited.

Referrals and repeat business are the heart of most business owners’ marketing. So if you want others to rave about your books or articles and tell others, you need to have all your writing be the best it can be. And if you want readers to buy your next book or ebook, you want your products to be squeaky clean.

Also, you can easily damage your credibility as a professional with a book or article filled with errors. You might be an expert in your field, but if your book has errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. readers will have concerns about you and your skills.

So that’s why you need a professional copyeditor. Find out how to choose the best copyeditor in my next installment.

Happy writing,

Andrea

P.S. If you want to discuss your copyediting needs, I’m happy to set up a complimentary 20-minute consultation. Just sign up at www.writersway.com/contact and we’ll schedule it.


 
To Edit or Not to Edit/ What do editors do?
(This Post was posted on Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 at 8:16 pm)

Editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders all work with written materials to make them the best they can be. The terms editor and copyeditor are synonymous, although “editor” can also mean a book editor who works at a publishing company and shepherds an author’s book through initial stages all the way to publication.

What copyeditors do is work from the most complex level to the simplest, which I’ll explain shortly. Proofreaders are usually the last person to see the book, ebook, or report before it goes to print and mostly looks for typographical errors.

I’ll use the term “copyeditor” from here on because that covers the full spectrum of print editing. Let’s start at the simplest level first.

A simple or light edit covers spelling, punctuation, grammar, word usage, repetition, consistency in capitalization, numbers, abbreviations, contractions, style, and format. At this level, someone who excelled in English can help writers who weren’t top English students.

A medium to heavy (or substantive) edit includes everything in a light edit as well as fact checking, permissions, minor rewrites for passive writing and better clarity, flow, jargon, sexism, and more. This level requires a lot of experience in both seeing the detail and the big picture of the book or report, etc.

A developmental editor often gets involved at the beginning of the project to work with the author on creating the book, ebook, article, etc. so it starts off and continues to a satisfying conclusion. The developmental editor becomes the author’s partner in building a successful product.

Which type of editor do you think you need?

Find out in my next installment.

Happy writing,

Andrea

P.S. Just a quick reminder that I offer a variety of coaching options if you need some support in getting started or completing your book or ebook. Check them out at www.writersway.com/services.


 
How do you choose a ghostwriter?
(This Post was posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 at 6:17 pm)

Okay, you’ve decided you need a ghostwriter. You want to write your book, you’ve admitted you need help, and you need a ghostwriter. You want to find the right person. So how do you choose a ghostwriter?

In most cases when seeing a new service provider, you often start with a referral. So ask around and see if anyone you know has used a ghostwriter or knows of one. You can also attend writing organization meetings or meetups and see if there are any ghostwriters present. Check the organization’s website and review the members. For example, I’m a member of Publishers & Writers of San Diego (www.publisherswriters.org) and our website lists the members. And like most anything you’re looking for these days, you can do an Internet search. I’m surprised how many people find me online in the morass of my competitors. I must be doing something right.

So now you’ve found a few ghostwriters. What’s next? First, you’ll want to review their website if they have one and get a sense of what they do and how competent and experienced they seem. Then send them an email or call them on the phone. I prefer to set up phone or in-person appointments so we don’t play too much telephone tag.

Remember that you’ll be in a long-term relationship (at least three months or more) with this person, so you have to not only feel they’re an excellent writer, but that you share similar values, like honesty, good communication, reliability, and keeping agreements. This is what’s important to me. I get very frustrated when my clients continually break appointments or worse, don’t even show up. Or when they don’t return emails or phone calls!

I suggest interviewing two to three ghostwriters, get samples of their work, and check a few references. It’s best if you can meet in person, but if not have at least two phone calls. Then let your head and your heart have a conversation and make your choice. Also when you sign a contract, make sure there’s an easy way out in case it isn’t working. I have that in all my contracts.

Here’s to a successful working relationship with your ghostwriter of choice and to a fabulous book!

Happy Writing!

Andrea

PS. Please contact me about your ghostwriting needs. If I’m not the right person for you, I have quality referrals. (www.WritersWay.com/contact)


 
How do you work with a ghostwriter?
(This Post was posted on Sunday, June 19th, 2011 at 6:13 pm)

In some cases, a ghostwriter may write the whole book, in some cases parts of the book. The ghostwriter may do all the research or some of it. The ghostwriter may work on his/her own or in partnership with the “author”.

How you work with a ghostwriter will be customized to your needs. When I start working with a new author, I send them a questionnaire to get some basic information such as what their book is about, what their motivation for the book is, who their target reader is, and how much information they have gathered for the book.

The answers to these questions will determine how we proceed. If you are a new author and all you have is an idea for a book, we would sit down in person, or over the phone or skype, and discuss the answers to these questions as well as whether or not you want to self publish or seek a publisher. We’d talk about your budget and timeline.

Once we’ve established answers to these questions, we can set up the process and schedule. I like to estimate three to six months to complete a 150-200 page book. It could take less time, it could take more. It’s often up to the author as they usually have a business to run and other activities generally take priority. That is, unless you have a strong motivation to finish your book sooner, say because you’ll be speaking or attending a convention.

We work together by phone to check in regularly as you write a chapter or send me content to write the chapter. Then I send it back to you to review while I move on to the next chapter. Or in some cases, you write all the chapters and send them to me to flesh out or polish up, or I write all the chapters and send them to you to review and add and delete as the case may be.

In most cases working with a ghostwriter is a partnership, so it’s important to have a good working relationship. I’ll talk about how to choose a ghostwriter in the next installment, so stay posted.

Happy Writing!

Andrea


 
Why do you need a ghostwriter?
(This Post was posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at 6:07 pm)

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.

Happy Writing!

Andrea

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.