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Category Archives: Publishing Tips

The Savvy Authorpreneur Presents… Build Your Business, Write a Book

The Savvy Authorpreneur Presents… Build Your Business, Write a Book

This has been my topic for the last week, and so far I think most of you get why you should write a book. Be sure to check out my 7 Reasons if you are still confused, and listen to my recently aired podcast with Danette Moss. Some of you ask “what’s next?”. You’ve committed to writing a book, so let’s listen and then take a look at what you need to do to be successful.


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Concept Clarity

When working on a non-fiction book it’s a good idea to have a full outline in place before you start. Your outline makes things easy for you and for your reader: it ensures that you include everything important (and leave out the tangents), and it lets you organize your information in the most logical order. To get to the outline, however, you must know what you are going to write about! To gain concept clarity you must:

  1. Specify your target audience (Examples: customers, employees, suppliers, partners, investors, personal networking contacts, business networking contacts, family, and friends)
  2. Specify what your topic is- What do readers need to learn? What ideas position you as a trendsetter in your field?
  3. Make a promise. What good will your book do, for whom?

Create Your Content Outline

Now that you have focused on a specific topic you can start your outline. What 3-5 things must your reader know? What are the learning goals to help them gain this knowledge? You will need to take these answers and put them into an outline format that works for you. You can always change the order and titles later, but you want to have at least three main concepts and go from there.

Creating Your Content

Now, this is the fun part! You can write whatever comes to mind for each chapter and learning goal you defined above. Experiencing writer’s block? Write the question you want to answer and move on! Can’t write? Say it out loud

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

 

This tool takes dictation as you speak, which will save time and energy re-visiting your content later. Simply speak your sections or chapter titles as you go along and you are set!

 

BONUS TIP: In addition to voice commands and the ability to import vocabulary lists, the tool also allows you to quickly and easily post to Facebook or Twitter at any time – no matter what application is currently active on the screen.

 

MS OneNote

A note-taking and personal information management application for collecting, organizing and sharing digital notes, OneNote is a great tool for self recording and helping you stay organized while you’re at it. 

Using the Insert tab, you can record audio and connect it to the Chapter you are speaking about.

  1. Start recording your audio
  2. Type the name of the chapter or subheading as you say the title
  3. Continue talking about this topic
  4. Once recorded, you can transcribe it yourself, use Fiverr.com or an editor to transcribe it for you

EverNote

Evernote lets you capture photos, articles, and even music you like, storing it and organizing it for you so you can easily reference it later. You can record much the same as with MS OneNote, but with a greater ease of transferring the final output for a third party to transcribe. I also find that EverNote works better on my mobile so you can record on the go and add notes to go with your recording from anywhere.

BONUS TIP: As we start to own multiple devices, things like maintaining an orderly list of articles you want to read or maintaining an organized set of bookmarks or photos you want to keep, becomes a bit more of a challenge. It is easy to send it all directly to your Evernote account, tagged and categorized in its own notebook.

When emailing something to your Evernote account, in the subject line you put the notebook name in front of “@” (so @makeuseof for anything to go into the MakeUseOf notebook, for example) and all tags need to have the hashtag before it (so #makeuseof).  Note that the notebook needs to already exist in your Evernote account.  Evernote won’t create it for you automatically when the email arrives.

 

 

Editing Resources

Editing your book is a very important part of the process. A well-researched book will go unappreciated for lack of editing. Terms you should know:

  • Developmental editing- Deals with the overall organization of a manuscript.
  • Copy editing- Checks grammar line by line, calls out lapses in logic or sequential slip-ups.
  • Proofreading- Checks the finished product, like interior layout, to ensure that the final document is accurately re-created

Check out these resources for finding editors:

  • eLance- a freelance website that allows you to post your job and find editors based on your genre and budget
  • MediaBistro- the leading provider of jobs, news, education, events, and research for the media industry.
  • Craigslist- The easiest way to get a plethora of applications! It may take more weeding out of junk, but it’s still the most used tool

Traditional Publishing or Self-Publishing?

Traditional publishing is on someone else’s time/ budget. Contracts may come with an advance, and your publisher covers production and pays you a royalty % per sale. Self-publishing requires investment. You set your own timing, earn 100% of net sales, and should have full control of your book. If you choose to self-publish, make sure you find the right team! At minimum you need:

  • Cover designer
  • Editor
  • Interior layout designer
  • Printer

You can also utilize self-publishing companies like EverFaith Press to help you form your required team. You should always retain your rights, and any final files should belong to you.

 

Written by 
Rochelle Carter is the Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, an award-winning publishing company with three imprints. She is author of The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship, a book widely endorsed by bestselling authors and industry professionals that is designed to help authors have a successful career. Carter has received national recognition for her leadership and professional achievements, and her imprints have published over 40 books in less than three years, 98% of which enjoy 4-star or higher Amazon ratings.
 

7 Reasons You Should Write A Book For Your Business

7 Reasons You Should Write A Book For Your Business

by Joanna Penn

Let’s face it, there are a lot of small businesses out there and you need a way to stand out. Writing a professional business book can give you instant credibility and it’s surprisingly achievable with digital technology to reach a global audience with your words. Attention is the first step in the sales funnel and a book is a great way to get you and your business noticed.

Here are 7 more reasons you should write a book for your business.

1. Demonstrate your expertise

You’ve spent years gathering your knowledge in a specific niche. You have notes and seminars, training programs and articles as well as a lot of know-how in your head but how do you quickly and easily prove your ability? A book with your name on front establishes you as the expert and provides an easily consumable version of your knowledge.

2. Increase your credibility and status

Authors are respected because they have achieved the concrete goal of publishing their work. People look at you differently when you say you’re an author. This increases your credibility in the market and will also give you more confidence in promoting your business.

3. Solidify and articulate your knowledge

You may have perfected your one line elevator pitch but writing a book gives you the opportunity to expand and fully express your story. Business books are no longer dry and boring. They contain plenty of personal stories and anecdotes so you can share the unique aspects you bring to your niche. This also gives people a chance to know, like and trust you which is a key component in whether they will hire you or recommend you to others.

4. Expand opportunities for media and speaking

If you have a physical book it can act as a business card, demonstrating your ability to speak coherently on your topic. This is useful for media as there is existing credibility and a focused topic they can interview you about. A book is also recommended if you want to create or expand your own speaking business. The most highly paid speakers have multiple books associated with the topics they speak on and speaking is a great way to bring new people into your business.

5. Create multiple streams of income

You can sell your book online or at your live speaking events. You can also use the book as the basis of a larger product line to expand income streams. The book is your entry level information but you can also have an online multi-media course that expands the material, plus a full day workshop and 1:1 coaching around the topic. People might not be willing to go straight for the higher priced product but they will likely part with a smaller amount to read your book.

6. Grow your business internationally

If you market your books to a wider audience, you can attract new people to your business. They may read your book and then want to investigate your professional services further. You can easily and cheaply publish print books as well as eBooks on Amazon.com. With print on demand technology, you can sell books to the huge US market as well as other countries.

7. The book you write will change your life

Many people have a dream of writing a book, but that dream can now become a concrete goal. You probably started your business because you are passionate about something and want to change people’s lives. You have a story that needs to be told. Well, your voice is important and your words can be heard if you get them out there.  In these days of digital printing, you can achieve your goal of writing a book even with a small budget. So state your goal, and get writing!

Make 2014 the year your business stands out from the crowd!

Live in Oregon? Join Publisher and Author Rochelle Carter and the Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon on Wednesday, May 14th at Madison’s Grill for a unique Connect & Grow Dinner experience. Get step-by-step guidance on how to choose your topic, write your book and publish so that you can Build Your Business! Sponsored by Ellechor Media, LLC.


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Ellechor Presents… “I DIDN’T KNOW” with YVETTE ALLEN- TATUM

I DIDN’T KNOW VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR with YVETTE ALLEN- TATUM

I DIDN’T KNOW VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR with YVETTE ALLEN- TATUM

Today I am happy to present to readers Ms. Yvette Allen-Tatum and her groundbreaking book, I Didn’t Know: Identifying, Confronting, and Overcoming Child Sexual Abuse. As the Founder of Surrounded by Faith Ministries, Yvette has had the opportunity to touch and transform the lives of many women with the Word of God. This mighty Woman of God has a prophetic teaching anointing which has enabled her to cross many boundaries. As such, the Call of God on her life has broadened from transforming the lives of women to transforming LIVES with the Word of God. While she still holds a passion to train and equip women in the life study and application of the Bible, her ultimate goal is to strengthen families. To do so her platform is geared to men, women and children.

Tell us about yourself?

I am an Author, Teacher, Conference Host, Public Speaker, Encourager, Motivator, Ordained Minister of The Gospel, Radical for Christ, the list goes on… To date, I have authored two books Welcome to my Morning Glory and I Didn’t Know, taught numerous Bible Studies, have been a featured speaker at several conferences and hosted numerous ministry events; most notably The Throw Yo’ Hands Up Conferences sponsored by Surrounded By Faith Ministries.

What began as a mandate from God to train and equip women in the ways of the Lord so they would become like the Proverbs 31 woman in the Bible, has expanded to a platform of child advocacy. Actually, my spiritual focus has always been on the family unit – to receive and achieve spiritual wholeness. First, targeting women – to strengthen them as the nurturing forces they were created to be; and now giving a voice to the voiceless – our children.

Tell us about your book?

Wow, the short version is that the book is about child sexual abuse but more specifically, it’s about overcoming child sexual abuse.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I just simply had/have the desire share my story, tell the truth and shame the devil.

What inspired you to write this book?

I wrote my book for several reasons:

  1. To expose the enemy (I believe this lessens his power)
  2. To overcome the guilt & shame by being able to confront it head on
  3. To encourage and educate others on how to identify, confront & overcome child sexual abuse
  4. To set the captives FREE

Did you have to do any special research for your book?

Yes, continual research; it seemed like it would never end. I also conducted personal interviews as part of my research.

What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?

After submitting my first draft to my publisher, writing this book became challenging. It became challenging because she continually pushed me to the next level to make the book “more.” With each submission I received more instructions and direction, as to how to take the book to the next level. With each submission I thought and I hoped I was finished but “No!” In the end I am pleased with the end result because the book was no longer about me but about the victims.

What do you hope readers will learn/discover from reading your book?

After reading my book, I hope the reader will be able to Identify, Confront and Overcome child sexual abuse if they are the victim or help someone else who is or has been a victim. Actually, this book is for more than just the victims. In a family, when one of us hurts all of us HURT!!

What’s next for you?

I’m open and available to wherever the Lord leads me. I personally desire for this to turn into a movement to:
• Identify
• Confront
• Overcome child sexual abuse

How can someone get a copy of the book?

My book can be purchased from Amazon.com (paperback or Kindle), Barnes and Noble or directly from my website: http://www.yvetteallentatum.com/#!products/c17pq

Where can visitors find you online?

Visitors can connect with me online:

 

About the Book

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“I Didn’t Know” is for more than just an audience of one. If you look to your left, look to your right, or directly in the mirror, you will see or know someone who has been sexually abused… even if you look in the mirror, and the person is YOU! More than the tragedy of sexual abuse is the tragedy of the silence of sexual abuse. It must be talked about. Our stories have to be shared; someone’s life is literally depending upon YOU to BREAK THE IGNORANCE OF SILENCE! “I Didn’t Know” brings to the forefront the many hidden faces of child sexual abuse. The author, Yvette L. Allen-Tatum, shares not only her story, but the compelling testimonies of others–everyone from the actual victim, to the offender, to those who standby by in disbelief and allow these heinous crimes against our children to continue. Our voices have to be heard, our children must be free or freed to tell the TRUTH: that someone touched them. Who can they run to? Will it be you?

Paperback: 110 pages

Publisher: Kingdom Publishing Group, Inc. (March 15, 2013)

ISBN-10: 0988312670

ISBN-13: 978-0988312678

 
 

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Portland Named Among Best Cities for Female Entrepreneurs

NerdWallet considers economic and educational environment for businesswomen

San Francisco, CA (February 19, 2014)NerdWallet, a consumer advocacy website, recently conducted a study to find the best cities for female entrepreneurs in the United States – and Portland is in the top 10.

Since 1997, the number of women-owned businesses has grown by nearly 60 percent. As this number continues to rise, NerdWallet wanted to help aspiring businesswomen by taking a look at the cities where female entrepreneurship is thriving. NerdWallet based its rankings on the following criteria:

  • Businesses per 100 residents
  • Percentage of businesses that are women-owned
  • Median earnings for female full-time workers
  • Percentage of residents ages 25 and older with at least a bachelor’s degree
  • Unemployment rate

NerdWallet ranked Portland as the fifth best city in the country for female entrepreneurs. The city has 11.9 businesses for every 100 residents, 31.9 percent of which are owned by women. Median earnings for full-time female workers in Portland are $41,728.

“Portland is a great place for female entrepreneurs. Of cities listed in the top 10, only Seattle and San Francisco have more businesses per 100 residents than Portland” said NerdWallet analyst Sreekar Jasthi.  “Local organizations such as Portland Female Executives and Women Entrepreneurs of Oregon provide support and mentorship.”

Other cities that made the cut include Minneapolis, Austin, and New York. Read the full study online.

For more information about NerdWallet, visit www.nerdwallet.com.

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About NerdWallet

NerdWallet is a consumer-friendly financial literacy website that helps consumers make better financial decisions and save money on CD rates, checking accounts, credit cards and more. NerdWallet has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Reuters; our products have been recommended by consumer advocates Liz Weston, Clark Howard and Consumer Action.

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2014 in Publishing Tips

 

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Authors to Love | The Business of Writing

author love

Written Voices Blog has been hosting a unique “Authors to Love” series this week in honor of Valentine’s Day.  All the authors introduced write about the business of writing. Authors such as Michelle Stimpson and Barbara Joe Williams have been featured thus far, with more to come the rest of the week. Today, Rochelle Carter, the CEO and publisher of Ellechor Media LLC, introduces readers to her latest book release The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship.

Click Here for the Exclusive Excerpt!

 

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Rochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, a company with three publishing imprints and a bookstore. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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Authorpreneurship Unleashed, Part 1: How I Became An Entrepreneur

Some writers lead with the product, a manuscript or two, that they decide to monetize by finding or hiring a publisher. They may or may not plan for the extensive work to follow, but to stay in any industry one must either dig deep or go home.

I have always been an avid reader and a writer, but when I considered life in publishing after reading a particularly terrible book, I decided to monetize my skills as a Publisher instead. While I loved writing, reading, and learning about authorship, I was much more confident in my organization and project management skills. As an Entrepreneur, I quickly determined that my first priority was to “do publishing right”, whatever that meant. I found my team of professionals, put together our business plan, created an awesome website and we found our first authors. I was ready to go, and this was the perfect timing because my life was stable enough to support a business… or so I thought!

We waited a year before starting to release any books, hoping to get a good head start on the process, vet the appropriate processes and contractors, and have time to edit, re-edit and proof everything. The best laid plans don’t factor in real life. I ended up with severe pre-eclampsia in the hospital just six months into my first pregnancy and four months before our first three books launched. This was where having a reliable Super Group paid off. With me out of commission, my team carried on to launch our first books and manage our preparation for the next season of book releases. I was now officially and Entrepreneur with products available to the public!

Going through the early years of the business had its ups and downs, but in the end to me it paid off. I learned a lot, continue to learn, and am always seeking ways to share with others. As my author list grew, however, I quickly discovered that authors did not just need their books published. While that is their goal, the true necessary tool for EVERY author is knowledge. Knowledge about the publishing process, the industry, and how to navigate those confusing waters.

Stay tuned for Part 2 on How I Became An Author

Your Chance to Win: Tell me your story! How did you become an author or entrepreneur? What were those early years like? Those who comment will automatically be entered into a drawing to win a copy of my upcoming release, The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship. Endorsed by bestselling authors and industry professionals, this guide is essential to every author.

 

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The Savvy Authorpreneur Is… A Thought Leader

Adapted from Wise Ink.
In today’s world, there are about as many ways to publish (self-publishing, scholarly publishing, nonprofit publishing, digital publishing, etc.) as there are reasons (fame, passion, creating a movement, legacy, preservation, etc). In any publishing realm not solely for personal/family reasons, every author should be an authorpreneur.

An authorpreneur (author + entrepreneur) is an author who recognizes what it takes to be successful as an author in today’s world–not twenty years ago. An authorpreneur takes habits from highly successful entrepreneurs and implements them into selling their book. An authorpreneur isn’t just a writer; an authorpreneur is a speaker, social media strategist, networker, etc. The  authorpreneur recognizes that the book is just a piece of the puzzle, a product that supports and is supported by speaking, blogging, networking, etc.

In order to be truly successful as an authorprenuer today, there needs to be a delicate balance of purposely and specifically targeting the niche audience while at the same time using a variety of well-rounded strategical practices to target them. The first piece to becoming a well-rounded authorpreneur?

Consider yourself to be a thought leader.


It really does start with developing the mindset. Considering oneself to be a thought leader is vital for any authorpreneur, regardless of genre. Tom Rath, the bestselling author of Strengths Finders 2.0, says in his bio that he is a “leading business thinker.”  E.L. James of Fifty Shades of Grey, another bestselling author,  could be  considered a thought leader in married couples rediscovering lusty bliss. Their paths to becoming thought leaders were likely very different, but it is the “thought leader” assumption that gave them the chutzpah to get there in the first place.

An author who considers himself/herself to be a thought leader is going to approach marketing in a much more expansive way that than an author who considers himself/herself to be just a writer. To become a writer, you have to write a book and find a way for it to be published, which isn’t hard in today’s world (but it IS hard to do WELL)For the thought leader, the book isn’t the destination, but a step on the never-ending road to the destination. The thought leader has a mission outside the book, and the book exists to support that mission. Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight, but over much dedicated time embracing many tools and mediums to deliver the message–not to deliver the book alone. For the thought leader, the book will deliver itself if the message is delivered effectively everywhere else (blogs, speaking, media, social media, etc.).

For more tips on being an authorpreneur, check out The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship. Order from Christian Books Today and get a free copy of Write Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur!

Do you know any successful authorpreneurs who have become thought leaders? What characteristics do you see them exhibiting? What tools are they using? Are they clearly trying to sell their book, or are they selling a message through many different channels?

 

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The Self-Publishing Stigma: Do We Deserve It?

Publishing is on the cusp of the indie-publishing revolution. There are lots of reasons to be down on traditional publishing that self-publishing authors love to expound on, but the authorpreneur needs to clearly see the self-publishing practices that have caused the “stigma” that “elitist” publishing folks turn their noses up at. It;s the only way for you to DO BETTER and put these stigmas to rest!

It’s time to stop whining about the stigma and DO SOMETHING about it. I could write a list of all the mistakes I’ve seen in self-publishing (from an unknown author putting his/her face on the front cover to refusing to listen to Stephen King’s advice about the craft in his book On Writing). However, that would take twelve days. The number one, biggest mistake in self-publishing today doesn’t have to do with the cover design or the marketing. The biggest mistake in self-publishing today is: Publishing before the book is ready!

I know–this sounds oh-so simple. But the truth is that most brand-new authors truly don’t know what it takes to make a self-published book successful. Heck, many “veteran” self-published authors don’t know what it takes, either–they’re often the ones who created the often well-deserved self-publishing stigma.

Writing 60,000 words is easy. Did you just hear that symphony of gasps and indignant rebuttals from authors around the globe? Yes, I said it–writing 60,000 words IS EASY. It takes time, but that doesn’t make the act itself difficult. What is difficult is doing it well. Yes, some people are just truly more talented at writing than others. Does this mean that writing is not a learned skill that is improved by greater understanding and practice? No. It’s like any other art form: talent can only take you so far, and then training comes in to refine the talent.

If authors don’t take the time to read books on the craft, take writing classes, learn the rules, get critiques, read other books in the genre, take the time to research the genre’s audience, write multiple drafts and rewrite scenes and sequences multiple times, etc. (I could go on, and on, and on…), the book will NOT be ready to publish. It won’t even be ready for the editor. Unfortunately, this has not stopped many books from being self-published before they’re ready for the marketplace, thus exacerbating and supporting the stigma self-publishing is fighting.

Self-publishing poorly is just too easy nowadays. There are too many publish-instantly-for-free buttons out there that keep duping would-be successful self-published authors into just “getting it out there,” preventing them from ever having success and inflaming the already red and itchy rash that is the self-publishing stigma. The answer is to STOP FALLING FOR IT.

Self-publishing is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. It should not be easier simply because you don’t have to go through agents or traditional publishers. It has the potential to be very rewarding–I would argue that it has the potential to be even more rewarding than traditional publishing. That is if it’s done right and well.

It’s time for self-publishing authors to quit jumping the gun. It’s time to put in the time, energy, and money (remember–time IS money, and it takes LOTS AND LOTS of TIME to make it right) to publish the right way. It’s time to take some responsibility–let’s stop the practices that make self-publishing deserving of the stigma. The success of the indie-author revolution depends on it!

Many self-publishers, like EverFaith Press, provide free consultations and manuscript assessments that can help you not only determine if your book is ready, but if not how to get it ready. You should also check out The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship. Order from Christian Books Today and get a free copy of Write Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur!

 

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6 Reasons to Write an eBook for Your Business- Tips for the Authorpreneur

eBooks aren’t just for fans (or writers) of fiction, memoir, and history. Thousands of businesses are also discovering the value of eBooks, both as an additional revenue stream and as a powerful passive marketing tool.

Writing an eBook for your business is one of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise, build brand recognition and loyalty, boost your website’s SEO, engage with clients, and increase your prospective customer base.

“But I’m in the business of doing business,” I hear you say. “I’m no writer!”

Fear not, friends. Read on.

6 reasons why you should be using eBooks to build your business

    1. You don’t have to write an epic. eBooks can be SHORT! It’s generally not worth it for publishers to print a physical book unless it LOOKS like it’s filled with the wisdom of the ages; and that means, ya know– lots and lots of pages.

    As a result, plenty of business books and how-to books (heck, even most novels) tend to say a few things well, and then either repeat themselves or head off on wild tangents in order to fill those pages.

    But there’s no standard minimum page-count with eBooks; they can be as short or as long as you need. Pressure’s off! The point is to share relevant information in an interesting way– and if you can squeeze that unique and helpful knowledge into 10 pages, your readers will find each page all the more valuable for its brevity.

    For instance, if you’re a plumber– you could write a short eBook on DIY ways to unclog your toilet and keep the pipes clean. (The pipes in your house, I mean. For figurative pipe-cleaning advice, consult a nutritionist or doctor.)

    There is another benefit to short eBooks besides the fact that they’re potentially easier to write/create: frequency. The shorter your eBooks are, the quicker you’ll produce them; the quicker you produce them, the faster you can build up a robust eBook catalog.

    2. eBooks are inexpensive to produce and easily distributed worldwide. Unlike physical books, eBooks are very cheap to make. The biggest consideration is usually the time it takes to write the book itself.

    Then a company like E^2 Books & Co. can take your file (.doc, .txt, PDF, etc.) and convert it into an attractive eBook that will be readable on all the major devices (Amazon Kindle, Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the Sony Reader, Kobo, Copia, and more). Ellechor eBooks will also distribute your eBook to all the major digital book retailers and pay you 100% of your net earnings.

    eBooks don’t require fancy cover designs, but a nice cover can certainly help attract readers. If your design skills are lacking, BookBaby also offers professional and affordable eBook cover design services. The relative low-cost of producing an eBook is also a bonus in another way: you don’t have to spend money doing market research for your book.

    Once upon a time with printed books, it was wise to send out mailings to your professional peers and clients (even before you’d begun writing), telling them a few of the major ways your book could help them. The mailing would also include a self-addressed stamped postcard with a couple checkboxes to gauge interest in advance and see what your potential buyer would be willing to spend on the book.

    Then you’d do a little math and see if writing and printing the book would be worth the effort. The worst thing would be to write it, spend thousands printing the books, only to see them languish in a storage closet in your office.

    With an eBook– forget all that. There’s very little risk involved, and zero inventory concerns. Since the internet provides limitless “shelf-space,” you can leave your eBook on sale forever on the various retail sites and on your own website. If it’s not a big hit in the first month, no one is going to turn you away; you can still watch a steady trickle of sales add up over time to big earnings.

    3. Everybody wants eBooks! Over 20% of Americans own eReaders; over 20% of Americans own tablets (like the iPad or Kindle Fire); 66% of Americans between the ages of 24-35 own smartphones (iPhones, Android, etc.); and these numbers are increasing exponentially. While many European countries still lag behind the US in terms of eBook technology, they’re making the right moves to catch up. Soon enough, EVERYONE will be in the market for eBooks.

    Over the past 15 years– email, websites, and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have become ubiquitous tools for conducting and marketing your business. While business-branded eBooks probably won’t be quite as obligatory as those other tools, customers and clients will become conditioned to search for businesses, references, and testimonials not only on Google, Yelp, and YouTube, but also on Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, and other popular eBook stores.

    Why not establish your presence in the business-branded eBook market ahead of the pack?

    4. eBooks help you establish your expertise and build your brand. I don’t care what kind of business you work in; consultant, stock analyst, blogger, booking agent, art courier, railroad engineer, plumber, tinker, tailor, baker, candlestick maker, spy– you have a particular skill or knowledge that someone out there will find useful.

    If you can clearly communicate that knowledge in an eBook, your reader will trust your credibility and competency, be more likely to purchase your product, subscribe to your service, hire you for a job, or recommend you to a friend.

    But again, don’t stress about writing the definitive masterpiece on the subject– just add something valuable to the conversation.

    You’re not writing the great American novel. Instead, simply outline the information you want to share; use a confident, straightforward tone– and keep on track. If you do, your book will be useful– and if it’s useful, it’ll sell– all the while increasing brand awareness and loyalty.

    Now some of you might be asking, “Why would I want to write a book teaching people how to unclog their own toilets? Then they won’t hire me!” Well, I’m not writing this article to start a debate on the pros and cons of content marketing, BUT… I will say this: If your 10-page DIY Plumbing eBook helped someone unclog their own toilet, who do you think they’re going to call when it comes time to install a new bathroom? Yep. You!

    By providing helpful info, you’re building trust and increasing the odds of selling your big-ticket items.

    5. eBooks help you grow your prospect list. An eBook is one of the most versatile ways to gather prospective clients’ contact info.

    Consider offering your eBook for free on your website. Build a dedicated landing page on your site (for a little extra SEO power) which allows visitors to exchange their name and email address for a free download of the eBook. If you want to get really fancy, you can give them the choice of downloading an ePUB or PDF. Also be sure to include in your eBook some kind of offer or coupon code that will increase the reader’s likelihood of hiring you.

    For readers who found and purchased your eBook through a site like Amazon or iBookstore, that coupon/offer/ad will be the most obvious link back to your website. Attracting readers to your site is important because the digital book retailers do NOT provide customer contact info to authors and publishers.

    Once you’ve enticed the reader to visit your own website, they may want to download another eBook in your catalog (thus the importance of making a few different eBooks available)– at which point they’ll be prompted to provide their contact info.

    6. eBooks help you boost your website’s SEO. eBooks can also be used in tandem with a blog, further boosting your website’s SEO rankings.

    If you maintain a blog for your business, you can create a content schedule where you slowly build your eBook over a series of blog posts. No need to stress yourself out writing it all at once.

    Or, conversely, chop the finished eBook up into smaller segments that will fuel your blog over the course of several weeks or months.

    If you use the later method, be sure to link to the landing page where blog readers can download the whole eBook.

    And, of course, be sure to share the individual blog posts (as well as links to the finished eBook’s landing page) on all your social media profiles; you may just watch your eBook become one of your most powerful viral marketing tools.

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Have you used an eBook to grow your business? We’d love to hear about the experience in the comments section below.

 

Write Now! 7 Productivity Strategies to Stay on Track

[This article was written by Janet Goldstein of BookBreakthrough.com.]

The more important a project is to us, the harder it can be to start and continue–and take it all the way to publication. The more we care, the more we fret. 

When we attempt to take our writing to the next level with a more ambitious project such as a complete novel or nonfiction book, a change-the-world manifesto, or even essays or stories that are intellectually or emotionally more rigorous–it’s easy to get lost in the complexity of all we want to say and accomplish.

What I tell myself over and over is, Just begin!

Here are 7 strategies that can help you get–and keep–your writing sea legs and create work you’re proud of.

1. Practice Writing.

Find one pinky fingernail bit of your idea, one corner where you can sit at your screen or with a yellow pad and write out several paragraphs, pages, or a whole thread of an idea. Develop small chunks of writing. Getting even a few pages of a chapter opening, one section of a topic, or a single scene drafted can be a huge boost.

For non-fiction (including memoir) you can develop starter pages with bullet lists of information you want to fill in. For fiction you can plot out a particular bit of action that can be woven into a seamless whole over the course of writing and rewriting process.

When you make your idea concrete, it becomes easier to look at your work as a “project” and not as “you.” Believe me, just push forward.

If you’re farther along in your writing process, don’t spend all your time on the first 10, 20, or 50 pages of your project. The juiciest, most compelling, and freshest work often comes in the second half. That’s when we get to the stuff we haven’t thought through completely. There’s an urgency, creativity, and flow that sets in. So keep going if you’re at the midpoint. Okay?

2. Talk.

Find a writing partner, thought partner, friend from a class or mentor group, writing coach, editor, graduate student, or intern. You want to find someone who cares about what you’re writing–and who will care about you. Together, you can brainstorm the overall themes of your concept and/or the content of one small section at a time. You can talk your ideas out loud and record and transcribe them.

Experiment with these conversations and discover how powerful it can be in opening up your thinking, filling in the holes, and developing your voice and story-telling. Through conversations you can get below the surface of your idea while finding fresh insights and clarity.

3. Make Folders.
Develop low-tech or online tools to collect ideas, clips, quotations, resources, case examples, and inspiration. I use manila folders for each chapter or key idea of a book I’m working on. I label mine in black marker at the top right corner, on the tab, and along the fold. I have a separate folder for working outlines, too–because they get revised just like your chapters do!

With folders, you can toss in your notes, drafts, relevant older writings and blog posts, vague ideas, references you might write down during dinner with a friend, and possible anecdotes. You can “smoosh” them into a very rough working draft down the road. It gives you a running start.

4.  Plan (shhh, Structure).

Structure is a frightening, evil, deadly, restrictive, creativity-squelching enemy to many, many aspiring authors. Yet experienced writers and editors know that structure is your friend. Structure is your support, your buoy, your velvet rope, your Hansel and Gretel breadcrumb trail leading you and your reader on the journey through your ideas, story, and teaching. Call it what you will, find a way to lean into structure.

If you’re working on a book, you can think of your chapters as building blocks of ideas that are comprised of a mix of elements that move the reader through a narrative arc, or flow, from beginning, middle, to end.

Building blocks. Each chapter might consist of 3-6 key concepts including an introduction or overview and possibly some conclusion or concluding story. These are your main “chunks” or building blocks.  If you’re writing very short chapters, then each chapter is comprised of a single building block.

Elements. The chapters themselves can be made up of a range of narrative elements: expository writing, case examples, lists, side bars, quotations, interviewee excerpts, research data, storytelling, memoir (personal narrative), and so on. You might find that 3-4 of these elements form the core of your chapters. You can then look to blend in these elements as you write and revise.

Narrative Arc or Flow. A book, a chapter, a story has a beginning, middle, and end. The outline or annotated table of contents represents that through line. It’s the story of the book that moves the reader through the ideas, concepts, transformation, growth, or plot of your work. You can rehearse the arc of your book out loud (and with your thought partner). You’ll see if the ideas build on each other and if there’s a logic and compelling flow to your plan.

5. Retreat.

Whether your writing place is a special desk, a nearby coffee shop, a friend’s studio, or your bed, create sacred writing time and space to do your work. You can get into retreat mode by putting a message on your email (“I’m writing and will get back to you this afternoon, next week, or next month–ha!”). You can get into retreat mode by working at the same time and place every day. You can play a particular piece of music, develop a ritual, or simply pray in your own way.

When I froze while writing my first book (a collaboration), I literally could feel my voice stuck in my throat. I was told to imagine my throat chakra as turquoise-colored and to imagine exhaling from my throat, releasing the flow of energy. I’m sure I’m bastardizing the advice, but it became part of my writing practice and it worked.

Beyond daily writing rituals and a sense of daily retreat, writing immersions are powerful, fun, and freeing. Consider planning for a 3-day weekend of writing (without family and friends nearby), a week at an empty house or writing program, or a full, month-long retreat, especially if you have a real deadline.

6. Create Deadlines.

The most effective and powerful way to crystallize your ideas and complete a project of any scale is having a deadline. That’s one of the unsung yet major benefits of traditional book publishing. There’s a contract and a deadline and the risk that the project could be cancelled if it doesn’t get done!

Find a way to create a deadline for yourself, however small–or big. Announce a blog series or a free class, start a newsletter, apply to give a paper or doing a reading at a conference, take a class that requires sharing your work, register for a publishing workshop [www.bookbreakthrough.com] or class where you can share and promote your work. Tell someone and let accountability (and healthy fear) inspire you.

7. Understand What You’re Working Toward.

Many different publishing paths and formats can lead to immediate and longer term “success”–and there are as many definitions of success as there are authors. Understanding your goals, your genre, your audience, and why starting small (but excellently) really works, can help you take your perhaps wobbling “sea-legs” first draft all the to a publication and a launch you can be proud of.

Remember–our creative work doesn’t develop in straight line. So, push yourself. But also sit with your work, let it percolate and evolve, and grow as a writer and the CEO of your book and message.

 
 
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