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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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3 Things Authors Should Do Before Attending a Book Fair or Writers Conference

3 Things Authors Should Do Before Attending a Book Fair or Writers Conference

So, you’ve published a book and you are ready to let everyone see the fruits of your labor. Maybe someone contacted you, or maybe you just read about an event and you are trying to decide if you should go or not. Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you are probably footing the cost of this venture on your own and therefore need to consider the pros and cons with a business mind.

Putting aside your personal excitement and friendships, does it really benefit you to put your money into this event? Is there a reasonable gain, either in sales or connections, that you will enjoy when it’s all over? Here are three things every author should do before attending an event that will help you make the right decision and make the most of any event:

1. Evaluate

  • Event Presence. How are they marketing the event? Do they have an official website? Is this their first event? Can you reasonably expect a crowd of 100 or more?
  • Event Schedule. Will it provide industry information you need? Is there opportunity to gain exposure for you and your work? What are the benefits of attending, beyond potential sales?
  • Event Budget. Consider your travel, housing and potential printing fees: Is it cost-effective? Are you required to pay both a registration and a vendor fee?
  • Additional Event Opportunities. Are you able to set up additional events, such as a book signing, a book club event, or a speaking engagement while in the city?

2. Prepare

  • Order copies of your book(s). Make sure you have about 30-50 books to take with you
  • Book any tickets or hotel rooms needed in advance, or as soon as you decide to go. If possible, stay at or within a mile of the event venue. Note that if there is no place to stay close by, you may want to rethink attending.
  • Print marketing collateral. Bookmarks are good, but even better you should have your book and author information on postcard size handouts. These are big enough to contain relevant information and not get lost, and small enough to not be cumbersome for attendees to hold on to. Make sure you have business cards as well, some people may want to connect with you post-event.

3. Promote

  • Let your fans know you are attending! Post it on social media and on your website. Include it in your newsletter if you have one.
  • Run a contest for potential attendees. You can offer a free book or giveaway a relevant item to the first five people to visit your booth/ table
  • Live tweet the event. If you have a twitter account, this is a great way to get people interested in visiting you. Use a hashtag associated with the event, or if there isn’t one create your own! Talk about what’s going on and remind attendees about any other campaigns you are running for attendees. For non-attendees, you can offer something as well for orders placed during the event.

These are just a few things to consider, but hopefully you have been given a few ideas on how to determine whether you should attend an event or not, especially ones that are outside of your local area.

Do you have any other criteria for evaluating potential events? Add them in the comments below!

RCarter-Event

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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1 Simple Way to Promote Your Book And Gain Credibility As An Author

1 Simple Way to Promote Your Book And Gain Credibility As An Author

First, my apologies for the long title! I normally try to keep things as succinct as possible, but I need to get YOUR attention. There is one simple way every author with a quality product can both promote their book AND gain author credibility at the same time. Ready to here it?

SUBMIT YOUR BOOK (OR MANUSCRIPT) FOR AWARDS!

This seems easy, and yet is so daunting for many authors. You can’t win one until you apply for one (or twenty), and while applying seems easy at first, many authors begin to wonder, “what qualifies MY book for this award?”. That niggling self-doubt often prevents authors from submitting their books for any awards. That, along with the application fees. “How do I know it’s a legitimate award?”.

To the first question I say that you should do your research, but be prepared to invest in yourself. Whether you have written a non-fiction or fiction book, you are going to have to spend some money on it. You should have already invested in the book cover and editing, so why not take it a step further to gain some recognition for those initial investments? Do not spend thousands on applications, but pick a few awards that have your book category and go for it.

To the last question I ask: does it matter? How many readers have a running list of ALL the “legitimate” book awards? How many really pay attention to what award you won? They are looking to see what credibility you have, starting with reviews but accentuated by awards won and other accolades gained. If you published your book the right way, your phenomenal book cover and stellar editing are screaming “Go for it!”. If you know you did not, well check out some tips on publishing. It’s not too late to get it right the second time. If you are still in the manuscript phase and without a contract, never fear! There are at least three awards you can apply for below.

Finalist BadgeNote: If you are a non-fiction author or business owner, I also highly recommend applying for personal awards in your fields of work. Again, if you are doing something worthwhile then you qualify. Take the time to toot your own horn and gain credibility for yourself and for the work you do. If I had not taken the chance, I would not currently be a Stiletto Woman In Business Award Finalist in two categories: Entrepreneur of the Year and Business On The Rise. 

For those ready to move forward, I have compiled a list of awards that I have recommended to my own authors and plan to seek for myself where it’s applicable to my book, The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship. Feel free to add additional awards in the comments, I will try to keep this list updated with your feedback.

Book, eBook & Manuscript Awards

  1. Axiom Business Book Awards http://www.axiomawards.com/
  2. Living Now Book Awards http://www.livingnowawards.com/about.php
  3. Independent Publisher Book Awards http://www.independentpublisher.com/ipland/IPAwards.php
  4. American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Carol Awards http://www.acfw.com/carol
  5. ACFW Genesis Awards (Unpublished Manuscripts Only) http://www.acfw.com/genesis
  6. ACFW First Impressions Award (Based on 1st 5 Pages of Unpublished Manuscripts) http://www.acfw.com/first_impressions
  7. Indie Book Awards http://www.indiebookawards.com/
  8. Oregon Book Awards (Check your state for their literary arts book award, I won’t list every state!) http://www.literary-arts.org/oba-home/
  9. Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association http://www.pnba.org/awards.htm
  10. Midwest Book Awards http://www.mipa.org/midwest-book-awards/call-for-entries
  11. ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards https://www.forewordreviews.com/services/book-awards/botya/
  12. ECPA Christian Book Award http://www.ecpa.org/?page=cba_1_overview
  13. Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards http://www.moonbeamawards.com
  14. Eric Hoffer Book Award http://www.hofferaward.com/
  15. Southern California Independent Booksellers Association SCIBA Book Awards http://www.scibabooks.org/book_awards/
  16. eLit Awards http://elitawards.com/
  17. PEN Open Book Awards (For Authors of Color who are NOT self-published AND have not received wide media coverage) http://www.pen.org/content/pen-open-book-award-5000
  18. Independent Book Publisher’s Association (IBPA) Book Awards http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/
  19. IBPA Benjamin Franklin Digital Book Awards http://www.ibpa-bfda.org/articles/
  20. Late Night Library Debut-Litzer Award http://latenightlibrary.org/2014-debut-litzer-prizes/
  21. Readers’ Favorite Annual Book Award http://readersfavorite.com/annual-book-award-contest.htm
  22. Ellechor Publishing House Avant-Garde Manuscript Award (Unpublished Manuscripts Only) http://ellechorpublishinghouse.com/contests.cfm
  23. Writer’s Digest Writing Competition http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/writers-digest-annual-competition
  24. Grace Awards (Reader Nominations Only) http://graceawardsdotorg.wordpress.com/then-go-here-to-nomination-2013-finalists/
  25. INSPYs Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature http://inspys.com/?page_id=1183
  26. Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards http://globalebookawards.com/
  27. EPIC eBook Contest http://epicorg.org/competitions/epic-s-ebook-competition.html
  28. International Book Award http://www.internationalbookawards.com/home.html
  29. Nautilus Book Award http://www.nautilusbookawards.com/
  30. New England Book Festival http://www.newenglandbookfestival.com/index.asp
  31. Digital Book Awards http://www.digitalbookworld.com/the-digital-book-awards/
  32. Reader Views Literary Awards http://readerviews.com/literaryawards/
  33. Shelf Unbound Writing Award http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/competition.html
  34. USA Best Book Award http://www.usabooknews.com/2014usabestbookawards.html

Self-Published Book Awards

  1. Bookworks Best Book of the Year http://www.bookworks.com/bookworks-awards
  2. Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Award http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/selfpublished
  3. National Indie Excellence Award http://indieexcellence.com/
  4. Indie Reader Discovery Award http://indiereader.com/irda/?page_id=137
  5. Shirley You Jest! Book Award http://www.shirley-you-jest.net/#!
  6. International Rubery Book Award http://www.ruberybookaward.com/enter-the-book-awards.html

 

RCarter-EventRochelle 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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Authorpreneurs: Attract Business and Book Sales with Bylined Articles

If your goal is to sell books, attract new business or raise your profile as an expert in your field, then bylined articles are a great way to reach your target audience with a controlled message showcasing your expertise.

First, what is a bylined article? It is an article, written by you, and published in a magazine, newspaper, or online outlet. Full credit is given to you as the author, with a blurb about you, your book, and your business–ideally with a photo, an image of your book cover, and links to your website and book’s Amazon page.

Placement of your article gives you credibility, continues to establish you as a leader and expert in your field, differentiates you from your competitors, and sparks book sales. Articles may also open new opportunities for you, including regular article submissions, expert commentary, consulting projects, speaking engagements, and new business opportunities. All of these have happened for our clients, including one business author who shared that he received more than $500,000 in new business and drove his book to the bestseller list as a direct result of just a few months of this type of media exposure, primarily in targeted industry trade publications. Another author had his bylined article featured as a full page article in TIME Magazine, which opened many doors for him, his book, and his consulting business.

Here are some tips for writing a bylined article to increase your chance for placement:

1. Pick a topic offering valuable information to your target audience. The article cannot be about how great you are or how wonderful your book is. Although that might be the case, you need to select a topic related to your book and expertise that will inform, educate, or inspire readers. Giving solid content that addresses your audience’s concerns is key. The goal is to give readers meaningful information through your insights, experience, and advice and to entice them to want to learn more about you and your book.

Here are examples:

  • Business relationship author wrote an article on tips to remember people’s names. Target audience—sales managers.
  • TIME Magazine featured an author who wrote this article: Don’t Become Irreplaceable—have a plan to successfully sell your business. Target audience—small business owners.
  • A successful female CEO and author wrote this article: Women You’re Unique. You Lead Differently from Men, and that’s a Good Thing—Especially in the World of Business! Target audience—women starting their careers.

2. Include lessons learned/case studies. Showcase your expertise by including case studies where there was a real-life challenge and how your advice resulted in a positive solution. Readers will learn from the lesson and you will shine as an authority. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at the chapters in your book and isolate one point to write about. Again, the goal is to entice people to learn more about you.

3. Know your media outlet. If you have a particular magazine, blog, or online site in mind, read the type and style of bylined articles they publish. If your relationship self-help book can be useful to teens, women, and newly divorced women, write an article specific to one audience. Don’t make it generic. If your entrepreneurial book can be of use to a specific industry, write an article just for them—the family restaurant, a graphic design freelancer, a financial planner, etc.

4. Choosing the right article headline. Again, look through your favorite magazine or online sites for article headlines that grab your attention. Use active, not passive words. Highlight benefits, not features. Examples of weak and strong headlines:
Fabulous Diet Tip that Makes a Difference!
or better ….
5 Ways to Visibly Reduce Body Fat in 30 Days

Use Back Up Storage Drive With 1TB of Memory
or better …
Never Lose Another Computer File Again

Investing Your Money For the Future
or better …
10 Painless Ways to Save NOW for Your Preschooler’s College Education
5. Know the length of an article. A good rule of thumb for the length of an article is between 700 and 1,200 words. If you have a specific outlet in mind, check submission guidelines for the outlet.

6. Contacting the right media and determining exclusivity. First, while national media exposure and big name media features are always welcomed, many authors find more value with coverage in small, trade publications that reach their exact target audience. Some outlets want exclusivity–to be the only place featuring your article–and will ask if your content has been published elsewhere. Therefore, contact (emailing the editor is the best place to start) your “home run” outlets first with your article and your bio. Some media outlets will still accept an article if has already been published as long as it’s a good fit for their readers. Offer to write an exclusive article (especially on your high-priority outlets) and brainstorm ideas that fit their needs and editorial calendar. Often you don’t have to rewrite an entire article to make it exclusive or fitting for the target audience. Once you have one article placed, contact the publication again offering more topics for new articles.
7. Using your published article. Once published, showcase your articles as part of your resume, in your brochures, as handouts in your presentations, on your website, etc. Published articles give you credibility—be sure to include tag lines such as “featured on HuffingtonPost.com,” or “as featured in TIME Magazine.” Plus, online articles never go away and will turn up when people search for you online.

Although bylined articles take care and thought in creating, the benefits of showcasing your book and expertise are priceless.

Sandra Poirier-Diaz is president of Smith Publicity, one of the premier book publicity and book marketing firms in the industry. Since 1997, Smith Publicity has implemented more than 1,600 promotional campaigns. For more information please visitwww.smithpublicity.com or Sandy@smithpublicity.com

 

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You’ve Written the Book—Now Get Paid to Speak

It’s long been said in the speaking profession that if you want to solidly establish your credibility as a professional speaker, you should write a book! In this business, having a book is like having an oversized business card; it tells others what you know and how good your information is, and it establishes your professional image. Once you have the book and have marketed it appropriately (and incessantly), you may be invited to do paid speaking engagements. But how does that happen? Here are three quick and easy tips to help you out.

1. Make sure your book and your topic are engaging
It’s great to have a story and expertise in an area—but make sure your content has value in the marketplace. I have met incredible storytellers over the course of my career, and many of them tried to make the transition to getting paid to speak. What they didn’t realize was that while their story was entertaining at a cocktail party, it didn’t translate to a presentation in front of a paying audience. When writing your book and your speech, ask yourself: Why would someone pay me for this information and these stories? Will it further their business, motivate their employees, or give them new and unique skills and techniques? And how can I customize it to speak specifically to this audience? The days of a one-size-fits-all speech are gone—those hiring speakers want you to tailor your expertise and information to their audience. If you don’t, they will likely move on to select someone else.

2. Speak, Speak, Speak
The best way to book more speeches is to . . . speak more often! When you are developing your message, and even once you have it refined, you need to practice, practice, practice. Do it in front of a live audience as often as you can, even if they aren’t paying you. You’ll learn something every single time you practice live, and if you can video record it you’ll learn even more when you go back and review the footage.

3. Free to Fee
You will likely have to speak for free quite a few times as you establish your credibility and following, but once you have your message refined, it’s time to find audiences that not only want to hear what you have to say but are also in a position to hire you to say it. Find Rotary Clubs, chambers of commerce, and other associations and volunteer to speak for them—you never know who will come up afterwards and ask what your fee is to make that same presentation to their company or group. At that point, you can negotiate based on the budget they have available until you establish demand for your speech and can attract higher-fee engagements.

Speaking is a business, and as any in other business it takes a lot of time and effort to establish yourself. Many get into speaking wanting to be an overnight success, but that rarely happens. Create your plan and work it—and I look forward to seeing you on the platform!

 

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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 Authorpreneur and the “Amateur” Book Reviewer/ Blogger

Much has changed in the old fortress of publishing over the past twenty years (since the rise of the Internet and self-publishing).

However, the biggest change we’ve seen in publishing isn’t the rise of eBooks, the evolution of self-publishing, or Amazon’s domination over traditional booksellers. It’s the fact that–regardless of where or how an author is published–the author has really become the book’s most reliable sales rep, marketing manager, publicity department, etc. Publishing nowadays requires AUTHORS to be the product, and the book sells based on how well the author performs. Every author needs to be active in both grassroots and large-scale marketing campaigns. 

Goodreads.com is one of the most popular contemporary social media sites, and it’s centered solely around the amateur reviewer. The value of Amazon customer reviews is enormous nowadays, not only to convince readers to pick up the book but to secure other publicity and notice.

On that note, “amateur” review bloggers (I say amateur, but these professional bloggers are really anything but amateur!) are getting more and more attention and respect among individual readers, booksellers, and industry professionals and publications. The best part is that most of them are responding to the fact that most authors are their own sales reps, marketing managers, and publicity departments, so the need for an “official” publicist isn’t exactly necessary for securing high-profile reviews from successful self-made book reviewers. Below is a list of the best “amateur” review bloggers we know of! If you’re a reader, check them out to find out what’s new. If you’re an author, drop them a line!

1) Bookslut

2) Becky’s Book Reviews

3) books i done read

4) Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

5) The New Book Review

6) A Book and a Review

7) Shelf Love

8) Bibliophile Stalker

9) The Book Nest

10) The Overweight Bookshelf

11) A Geek At Heart

12) Reading for Sanity

13) Books on the Knob

14) The Book Smugglers

15) The Literary Saloon

16) Omnivoracious

17) The Bookshop Blog

18) Read React Review

19) Bookroom Reviews

20) Booking Mama

 

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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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HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK PART-TIME WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME

You come home from a long day at work and just want to veg. Your nagging “to do” list of laundry, mowing the lawn, and cleaning out your car seem so daunting. But there is something else you are forgetting. Something really important. What was it?

How To Market

Oh yeah. My book was just released. I should get to that.

The reality for many authors is that success is not instant. Being an author isn’t a high-paying, full-time job for many; and so authors must work a different, perhaps less exciting, full-time job in order to support their goals of perhaps one day becoming a bestselling author.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be an instant success? To wake up one day, quit your regular job and just earn millions in royalties from book sales?

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper, said on her podcast, “So You Want to Be a Writer,” explains that most writers don’t get published. Even others who do get their book printed only see little sales. Vow not to let that happen to you.

You know you need to spend time marketing. But how do you get there? How do you spend the time needed in order to market your book when your day already feels like it is filled to the max?

Picoult continues: “For many people, the tricky thing is time… often, if you’re working a 9-to-5 job, the last thing you want to do is sit down and work on your novel at the end of the day. But if you don’t give yourself a designated time to write everyday, it won’t happen…. You don’t need six hours. Just a half hour. Or several.”

While she is talking about writing a book, the same concept could be applied tomarketing as well. So many authors out there are struggling with time, just like you. The difference between authors with titles that sell and titles that don’t are that the successful authors go out and market their book when they could, whenever they could. The unsuccessful ones only dream about it, let other things get in the way, and offer the excuse, “I just don’t have the time.”

Don’t let that be you!

As you embark on your journey of being an author while holding down a full-time job, keep these important tips in mind:

Set aside time everyday to devote to marketing.

Develop a Promotion Plan of effective marketing techniques.

Be consistent over a long period of time.

If you can do these three things, eventually it won’t matter that you don’t have gobs of hours to spend marketing your book. Do these things, and hopefully you will be the successful author you have always dreamed of being.

1. Set aside time everyday to devote to marketing. Carve out time to devote to your book every single day. What time can you stick to? Get up early, spend part of your lunch hour, or wait until the kids are in bed. Or do all three! Whenever you can spare time, that time is for you and your book. Nothing else. Commit now and set a timer if you have to! No veering off and doing other things. This is focused time just for marketing. Go.

2. Develop a Promotion Plan of effective marketing techniques. As early as possible, the best thing you can do is spend time developing a Promotion Plan. Ideally, this is done while your book is going through the editing/publishing process so it is ready to go once you go to print. But if your book is already in print, it’s not too late to kick-start your marketing plan. Start today. Start now.

What is a Promotion Plan? Think of it as a business plan. It’s everything written down step by step that you need to do to get your business off the ground and selling your product. It is always a work in progress, so keep it handy and change and update as needed.

What to include in your Promotion Plan? First, check with your publishing company. They may offer details for you (we provide information to our authors and include a sample promotion plan as well) or you may find ideas in the marketing books or online.

Why is this Promotion Plan so crucial? A plan is key because it outlines what you will be doing as soon as your book is published, what you will do after that, and what you will do to market in the next year. With this plan, you don’t come home from work wondering “what should I do to market my book today?” because you already know. You already have a plan. A Promotion Plan will save you time in the long run. It will keep you motivated and focused.

To begin writing your Promotion Plan, first educate yourself on the book marketing process. Read books, listen to experts give talks, sign up for e-newsletters—whatever you can do to learn about book marketing. This will take time, which is why doing this before your book is in print is the ideal.

You must become educated because you’ll want to know what the experts do so that you can emulate them and try their ideas. For example, did you know that bookstore signings aren’t very effective? Did you know that not very many authors today do book tours? Did you know that you can earn a lot more in royalties by selling your book directly? Book marketing has changed a lot, especially in the last few years with the Internet and social networking becoming a big part of people’s lives. So don’t skip education. Learn everything you can about book marketing and what works. It will take time, but it is essential.

A few books to get you started: 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer,Guerrilla Marketing For Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work by Jay Conrad Levinson, The Complete Guide to Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco, 55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet by Bob Baker.

Read these books on the train on your way to work, listen to them on tape, read a chapter while waiting at the doctor’s office—devour all the information when you can and where you can. As you read these books, take notes and put the ideas in your Promotion Plan.

Here are some things you will be learning from those books. We suggest putting them in your plan, though make sure to read up on them for more details:

*Develop an author website/blog/social networking page. Continually add to them so they become information centers on a certain topic rather than just about you and your book.

*Create press kit.

*Write and later publish articles on subjects relating to your book’s genre.

*Order copies of your book in bulk so you can 1. Sell direct and earn more royalties, and 2. Send copies to the media and other centers of influence to be reviewed. These reviews can be added to your website and/or the back cover of your book. Both are worth the initial investment.

*Set your release date (typically a few months following the initial printing)

*Set up events such as speaking engagements, book signings (at places other than bookstores).

*Post reviews and have others post reviews on sites like Amazon.com.

*Set up interviews with local media, then regional, niche media (relating to your genre) and then go for national. Become an “expert” in your field and offer information to the media so they will use you as a resource.

As you write these into your plan, also write down how you will do these things. Plan them out as much as possible. What will you include in your website? If you aren’t sure, check back with some of the marketing books for details. What should be included in a press kit? Again, check back with marketing experts or check out our other blog post (LINK). Write down the details in your plan so when the time comes to implement this step, you will be ready to go.

Keep adding to your plan and refine it; perhaps your publishing company’s marketing department will take a look at it and offer suggestions. Be flexible and open to new ideas. be willing to try anything.

3. Be consistent over a long period of time. You made it! Your book is in print!

Now that tangible copies are ready to order, the key is to implement those items on your Promotion Plan. Order copies to sell direct. Add a shopping cart to your website so people can order. Write a blog post about it. Send copies out to be reviewed. And more. You should know exactly what to do because it will all be spelled out in your Promotion Plan.

Continue to spend a little time everyday at the same time, implementing things from your Promotion Plan. Perhaps one day you could write an article and submit it to an ezine. The next day you could get copies ready to mail out for review. The following day you could set up a speaking event. You may not complete each task in one day, but keep at it. If you stick with your Promotion Plan and work on the things that are the most effective, hopefully sales will follow!

How long should you continue working at this pace? As long as possible. Work consistently over the long term. Most authors don’t become successful overnight. Only after months and even years of hard work do many titles get noticed. Look inside the cover of a bestseller—notice the copyright date? You might be surprised to find how long some books took to really sell. So decide now to dedicate yourself to the task. Don’t give up. Keep on going.

And who knows? Maybe someday being a full-time author could be your day job.

*Reposted from the American Book Publishing Blog

 

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7 Things Every Author Should Do Before Their Book Release

by Guest Blogger Lynn Baber

Launching a book is like planning a wedding; you begin with the event date and work your way backwards. Authors who achieve success within their own lifetime get their books into the hands of readers, obtain feedback, and use reader comments to fine tune promotional plans.

The first step toward your book release is high quality photography.

1. Photography

Invest in a flattering head shot, a great book cover, and a variety of action shots designed to either promote you as an authority or showcase the content of your book.  Assemble an album of high-resolution .jpeg images to use online and for printed materials.

Each published element on your road to launch day and every promotion must include the book cover and author photo or attention-grabbing content shot.

2. Analyze the Competition

What three books offer the most competition or greatest appeal to your readers? Study them. Consider writing a series of comparative articles that contrast your new book with those titles. Potential readers will ask if you’ve read your competitor’s work and will ask how your book differs. Have an intriguing and intelligent answer prepared.

Use these articles as a topic for speaking engagements and online posting. Where do readers find references to your competition? Are you planning to be in these same places?

If competing authors have already cleared a path why spend time and money blazing a new one? Readers can’t choose your book over the others if it isn’t listed, promoted, or mentioned in the same places.

3. Coordinate Book Formats

If your book will have multiple formats (Kindle, print, audio, downloadable file) maximize your marketing response by scheduling your launch when all versions are ready, not when the first one is ready.

4. Prepare a Niche Marketing Plan and Reader Profile

Don’t just give lip service to niche marketing. BELIEVE IT. OWN IT. Ignore it at your own peril. The direct path to failure is marketing your book to everyone you think should read it.

Promotional materials must showcase you or your book and not the publisher. Bookmarks, one-sheets, push cards, websites, videos, and press kit elements must be targeted, have a specific purpose, share a common message and include your contact information.

Be prepared to give away a number of books in order to kick-start the feedback loop. People read the same books their friends, colleagues, and rivals read.

If you’re not sure what your niche is, define and describe the characteristics, attributes, challenges, needs, location, and lifestyle of the person most likely to benefit from reading your book. Ask the folks who have already read your book for their thoughts.

5. Gather Reviews and Testimonials

Plan a soft launch well ahead of your release date to gather reader response, reviews, critiques, and accolades so you can set the proper tone for the formal launch and target the proper audience for your book. What you gather in this step provides the foundation for your promotional materials.

Your most valuable marketing research tools are people who have already read your book. Readers will tell you what it’s about, why they read it, which parts are the best and which ones to rewrite if you ever do a second edition.

6. Honestly Inventory Your Weaknesses and Strengths

Do you have an extensive client list of people or organizations that are waiting breathlessly for your book? Are you a good schmoozer in a crowd? Can you sell your message to an audience? Are you prepared to ad lib a radio interview?

Search for opportunities where you will shine! Weight your promotional calendar more heavily with virtual interviews and online seminars if you are a brilliant writer who needs to polish rusty speaking skills.

Load your calendar with events, interviews, speaking engagements, and appearances. Many authors sell more books to people who attend their events than all other avenues combined. Book events to coincide with your release date. In other words, get the bride and groom to the wedding at the same time.

7. Produce Coordinating Marketing Materials

Every printed piece, photo, video, website, and online post must have a call to action, a purpose, and fit into your marketing mix as a whole. Each promotional piece should coordinate and complement every other piece to produce a clear and cumulative call to respond.

Small intimate weddings don’t require as much preparation as elaborate affairs. If you plan a huge launch, begin preparing and executing your plan well in advance of the actual release date.

Your book only has one opportunity to make a first impression. Make it great!

 

Author of four books, Lynn Baber, is a retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer who shares messages of worthy leadership and right relationship online, in print, and in person – often in the company of horses.

Visit Lynn at http://www.LynnBaber.net or http://www.AmazingGraysMinistry.com

 

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