Thursday, December 6, 2012

How Book Design and Book Marketing Will Keep Your Book Alive

Too many authors spend all their time on writing, then scrimp on book design and book marketing. They hope that their publisher will handle all the details of book design and book marketing, so that they can just sit back and rake in the millions year after year.

Then, if these same authors decide to self-publish, they'll quickly get lost in the morass of print on demand publishers and the time and money sink hole of self-publishing. In fact, most authors would rather die than think about book marketing, or spend money on book design.

Facing your book marketing competition

In 2005, around 172,000 books were published with an ISBN number, according to Bowker, which compiles publishing statistics. An ISBN number will get you into Books in Print, and allows your book to be distributed to bookstores and online sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. According to some sources, nearly one quarter of these books were printed by Print on Demand (POD) companies.

I'd estimate that number to be much higher, as many small publishers are having their books printed by Lightning Source, which also provides printing for many of the larger POD companies.

Additionally, Lulu Press, who publishes over 1500 books per week, says that only about 5% of their books get an ISBN number. That's another 80,000 or so books circulating in the market each year, although most of Lulu's books are only sold through Lulu Press on their web site.

The definition of "Best Seller" has changed

It only takes 300 book sales to get on Lulu's all-time top 100 bestsellers list. 300 books! For some people, that can be attained simply by selling books to their extended family. While AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, and other big players in the POD market might print more books with ISBN numbers, their sales records aren't much better.

Some sources estimate that the average book sells no more than 150 copies, and other sources put that number at below fifty copies. In many cases, authors end up losing money on their books, which is why Lulu Press is so popular. At Lulu, you can upload your book interior and cover (you do all the design work), and have a book on your doorstep within days - all for the "cost of printing" (which is highly inflated, by the way).

The services and prices of POD companies vary widely, which is why we're in the final stages of creating a comprehensive guide on self-publishing. It can be a confusing morass of information and data, with many unsubstantiated claims. The truth shall be revealed.

Will you be one of the winners, or part of the majority?

Will your book be dead before it hits the streets? If you have any intention of selling more than 50 books, then you'll have to invest time - and money - into the production and marketing of your book. Here are the basic steps you'll have to consider:

1. Write a great book that's got an audience.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume that people will read their book just because it's "good." People will read a book if it is either applicable to their lives (non-fiction), or if it really is a damned good book (fiction). Even then, you'll have to market your book. "How to sell a book" or "How to market a book" are two of the top questions we get, and search engine analysis shows that these are frequent search terms. If you haven't written your book with an audience in mind, then you're down to three legs on your four-legged marketing stool.

2. Spend some money on book cover design and book editing.

The second leg of book marketing is the interior and exterior design of the book. People do judge a book by its cover, so if you're not spending some money on getting an outstanding cover, you're losing sales. Then, people will open the book and read the intro or first few pages. Is it well-written? Easy to read? Is the interior book design clean, consistent, and well-implemented. I've seen many POD books in which the margins were too small, the fonts poorly chosen, and the images fuzzy. Who's going to buy a book like that?

There are many great book cover designers. Then for editing, contact Charity at Mighty Pen Editing for your editing needs. Don't scrimp on the editing because you WILL make mistakes (trust me on this - there are probably a few in this article).

3. Choose a good quality publisher.

Lulu Press is great if you just want to print a few books for your friends, or create a low-cost galley to send to editors, agents, or distributors. You'll often be asked to send a "galley" of your book, which is simply a printed copy of your book with a blank cover. Lulu Press is great for creating galleys at minimal cost.

As we'll show you in our upcoming comprehensive guide to self-publishing, which POD company you choose depends on your intentions and desires. If you want to have your book professionally edited and the cover professionally designed by your publisher (instead of outsourcing to some unknown person), then companies like Cold Tree Press might be a good choice. Other companies offer a varied level of marketing packages. Personally, I'd rather stay away from having these publishers market my book, and instead go to a good book marketing expert or media specialist.

But, there are a few small publishers (like Cold Tree Press or Arbor Books) who have excellent book marketing packages, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars (you get what you pay for!).

4. Take a "no holds barred" approach to book marketing.

If your book is your life, or is a major part of your business marketing plan, then spend some money on publicity and book marketing. Too many people, especially business people, write a book, put a page up on their web site (and on Amazon), and hope that they'll get some sales. Your book is like a 250 page business card, and it should be used accordingly.

If your book is your life story or a novel, you still need to spend some money on marketing, although your approach will be different. Definitely check out a media relations specialist (Marika Flatt at) or Book Marketing Specialist (Penny Sansevieri).

5. Use the Internet to market your book.

The old ways of marketing books, such as book tours, are dead and gone. Sure, you can still do them, but if you really want to sell books, you'll have to go online - and not quietly.

Use techniques such as blogs (blogging), Podcasting, and Videocasting (something like online infomercials). Be sure to check out the advanced book marketing teleseminar series at. You should also learn how to do a Virtual Book tour (a class Penny Sansevieri will be teaching through Write and Publish Your Book).

So, write a great book, find a good book cover designer and book editor, work with a quality publisher, market the heck out of your book, and use the Internet to market your book with podcasts, blogging (an author blog), videocasts, and virtual book tours.

Good luck. Good writing. Good selling.

If you're a writer or solo entrepreneur, then you need to visit the Publishing and Self-Publishing website. Tips & resources for writers; advice on publishing or self-publishing, and relatively unbiased media relations assistance. Check out our Avanced Marketing teleseminars on Podcasting, Self-Publishing, Publishing and Marketing for writers and solo entrepreneurs.

Secrets of How Authors Can Sell Books by the 1000s to Organizations for Incentive Programs

Are you an assistant-to-authors or a do-it-yourself author? Do you include selling books to business organizations in your marketing program? You should.

By getting outside of the bookstore channel, you will have the potential of selling not just one book at a time but 1000s of books at a time. You'll want to take advantage of these powerful strategies if you are...

    An assistant-to-authors, regardless of your title: Virtual Assistant, Virtual Authors Assistant, Book Coach, Book Shepherd, Online Business Manager, Author's Assistant
    A published author who desires to help more people through higher book sales
    A published coach, consultant, speaker or trainer who wants to catapult your reputation and open opportunities to sell other products and services
    A published author who wants to make serious money by selling books by the 1000s at a time
    A published author with disappointing book sales who wants to recover your financial investment in your book
    A self-published author who wants to leverage better sales into acquiring additional sales channels or a publishing house
    A published author who is ready to update an existing book but needs to sell the remaining inventory of the current version to help finance the update
    An aspiring author who is looking for direction about what kind of book will be attractive in the marketplace
    An aspiring author who knows you will be much more successful if you plan ahead about how and to whom you will market the book before and during the creation of it

Why Authors Get Frustrated with Book Sales: The Bookstore Trap - Boxes of Books with Nowhere to Go

If the author is like most, the process of writing and getting the book published was a painful experience, whether it was self-published, the author was able to get a traditional publisher or opted for a print-on-demand publisher. It took far longer and far more effort than was ever imagined it would.

Next the author may have experienced the "post-partum blues," the separation anxiety that comes with the book finally being "delivered," a vague empty feeling.

After the author got his or her life back to some semblance of normalcy, the day came when they fully confronted a realization. The books aren't selling in any significant numbers. The author has boxes of books sitting in the garage or basement, the office, a warehouse somewhere. Sure, a few books have been sold at events, or a dozen here and there at book signings and such. But at that pace, the author in the storage business more than she is in the practice-building business!

The author begins musing, "What is the point of creating a book to help people and to promote yourself if nobody ever sees it? What's the point of taking time away from my clients or other work to do book signings, only to sell a mere dozen or so books per event?"

Since the books aren't going to sell themselves, the author may have made some efforts to figure out the book marketing and distribution business to try to break into bookstores, only to find it all archaic, complex and frustrating. She may even have gotten into a bookstore or two. But the books didn't move, because nobody knows the books are there.

"I don't have time for this!" the author probably exclaimed at some point. "This is not how I want to spend my life!"

But the reality is, if book sales are to be, it's up to the author.

Welcome to the Bookstore Trap.

You're not alone. The vast majority of authors have a disappointing publishing experience. At The Book Standard Summit 2005, Nielsen Bookscan reported that 93% of the books sold at retail in 2004 sold less than 1000 copies!

Self-publishers don't do as well. Overall, the average self-published book sells around 250 copies! (Granted, it allowed them to get their book published when it probably wouldn't have been published otherwise. )

The problem is that most authors and independent publishers focus almost exclusively on trying to get their books into bookstores. Even if you're initially successful in passing muster, if your marketing efforts don't drive people to the bookstore to buy your book in significant numbers within the first 30 days or so, the books are going to be returned. Bookstores return some 60% of all books they order!!!

But There is Good News

Here's the fact that I'm asking you to focus on to break out of the less-than-1000-copies bookstore sales trap: According to a Feb 2005 report from the Association of American Publishers, of the $23.7 billion of books sold in 2004, only 45% were sold through bookstores, the most competitive and challenging-to-penetrate channel for selling books. That means that non-bookstore outlets account for more book sales than bookstores!!!

So, if you learn how NOT to be dependent on bookstores for sales, you're tapping into the majority of the book market (55%)!!!

So, What's the Answer?

One of the most powerful strategies for tapping into the non-bookstore market is selling large quantities of books to organizations for use as incentives, the billion-dollar book portion of the $46 billion business gifts and incentives market.

The what? The incentives marketplace is that part of non-bookstore sales comprised of organizations - corporations, associations, charities, etc. - that buy books to use as a incentive (gift ) for customers and prospects or as an incentive to employees or channel partners. (Some people use the term "premiums" to differentiate the merchandise portion of incentives. That is, to distinguish merchandise from cash, travel, etc.) When these organizations buy a book, they order it by the 1000's, the 10's of thousands, even the 100's of thousands.

A study conducted by the Incentive Marketing Association ( among a broad spectrum of companies revealed that 82% of them used merchandise or travel as incentives. Even more significant, they reported an 80% success rate in achieving their goals.

Are Your Clients' Books or Your Book a Candidate for Incentive Sales?

If your non-fiction book provides quality how-to information, if it inspires or entertains, if it's well designed and put-together, it's a candidate. Any corporation, association or other non-profit which has target audiences that match those of your book, and whose management feels your book reflects positively on its brand values, are potential candidates.

How Big are Incentive Deals, Really?

    As an incentive for joining their condensed book club, Reader's Digest gave away 750,000 copies of Judith King's Greatest Gift Guide Ever.
    Grossett & Dunlap offered Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books as a self-liquidating (break-even) incentive on 20 million boxes of Post Raisin Bran cereal, resulting in the sale of over one million books!
    R.J. Reynolds distributed 1.5 million copies of the Great Trails Road Atlas as an on-pack (attached to the package) incentive offer on cartons of Marlboros to promote the image of the Marlboro Man.

Are all the deals that big?


    U.S. West purchased 2,000 copies of Talking with Your Customers to demonstrate appreciation to their Yellow Pages advertisers
    Before the publish date, Kenneth Blanchard sent copies of Who Moved My Cheese to the CEOs of corporations. The Bank of Hawaii bought 4000, Mercedes Benz 7000, and Southwest Airlines 27,000.
    Judy Dugan sold 5,000 copies of her self-published book, Santa Barbara Highlights and History, to a Santa Barbara bank who gave a copy to every customer who came in to a new branch opening

The Average Size of Deals

According to, most of the sales of books as incentives start at a quantity of 5,000 books and goes up from there. That's at least 5,000 people benefiting from having your expertise in their hands and each of them telling probably 5+ other people about it.

And if you personally made a net profit - after production and shipping costs, which the buyer covers - of $2 a book, that's $10,000

$2 a book = $20,000

$4 a book = $40,000

And what if they wanted 30,000 copies of your book or more? Such deals are happening all year long.

So, Giving Things to Customers is Pretty Much How Organizations Use Incentives?

There's a real "whew" list of ways. In a 2003 study by Louisiana State University and Glenrich Business Studies, 2000 randomly selected promotional product distributors ranked usage of promotional products in different types of programs as follows:


    Business Gifts: Gifts to foster customer goodwill and retention
    Employee Relations & Events: Morale and motivation, corporate/employee events, employee orientation, organizational commitment/corporate identity, corporate communication, employee training (other than safety), employee referral programs
    Trade Shows: Trade-show traffic generation
    Brand Awareness: Promotion of brand awareness and brand loyalty
    Employee Service Awards: Anniversary recognition, service awards, etc.
    Dealer/Distributor Programs: Dealer incentives, co-op programs, company stores
    Public Relations: Corporate involvement with community, fundraising, sponsorship, school programs, media relations, corporate image
    New Customer/Account Generation: New customer or new account generation
    Internal Promotions: Sales incentive, TQM/quality programs, productivity, inventory reduction, error reduction, attendance improvement
    New Product/Service Introduction: New product or service introduction
    Safety Education/Incentive: Employee safety and education
    Not-For-Profit Programs: Not-for-profit use for fundraising, public awareness campaigns (health, environment, public safety, etc.)
    Customer Referral: Customer referral incentive programs
    Marketing Research: Marketing research, survey, and focus group participation programs

So, How Big are the Benefits to the Author of Selling to This Market?

You be the judge:

    It's likely to be the best thing you've ever done to promote your practice and other products and services. Success provides you greater exposure, credibility, pride and self-confidence
    Unlike bookstore channels, you have little or no competition! Because authors and independent publishers don't understand this market, organizations receive very few, if any, proposals. Present yourself professionally and persuasively (with the tools I'll give you) and you have a great chance at getting noticed and considered
    Selling to the incentives market is totally compatible with any other marketing or distribution program you're doing. And it doesn't matter if you self-published, used a traditional publisher or a POD publisher (more below).
    You can pursue the program even if your book isn't published yet. If fact, in some cases, that may even be an advantage
    By building a track record of book sales, you open the door to other opportunities - traditional publishers, literary agents, other sales channels, partners, clients. It only opens other doors for you, while closing none
    It has a high Return-on-Time-Invested (ROTI). For the amount of time you would invest in, say, setting up and conducting six book signings - where you might sell a few dozen books at most -you can create multiple opportunities to sell 1000's of books
    Unlike books sold to bookstores, books sold as incentives are non-returnable. You're not left wondering how many are going to come back, and especially in damaged condition
    Selling to the incentives market is fast pay. While bookstores typically pay in 90 days or so, most incentive sales not only call for a deposit of as much as 50% - which should cover your printing costs by the way, so you have no out of pocket costs for printing - and payment of the balance within 30 days of delivery. That not only allows you to recover your investment in publishing the book, it allows you to invest in all the other things you want to do to build your practice
    Once you have a sales agreement or purchase order in hand for a bulk sale, it can be bid out to an offset printer to get the cost of production way down. If you've self-published, that dramatically increases you profit. If you used a traditional publisher, that gets the publisher's cost down, so it may not make you more money, but it helps seal the deal because the lower printing cost allows you to offer a more attractive discount to the buyer
    While the offset printer is printing the books for your buyer, you can have him print additional copies you can use to fulfill orders from other sources. The much lower printing costs means you make more from every other book you sell to other sources

So with Many Benefits to Authors, and It Being Such a Big Market, Why Isn't the Market Better Known to Authors and Independent Publishers?

    First, it's because there isn't a formal, organized channel to bring buyers and sellers together. Yes, there are a few incentive trade shows where buyers and sellers link up, but few authors and independent publishers invest the time and money to set up a booth there
    Second, it's because independent publishers are primarily specialists in the traditional bookstore publishing business. It's what they know. Few know how to target, approach or talk the language of the marketing and human resources managers who implement incentive programs in organizations
    Third, although some book marketing experts talk in their books, etc. about the importance and advantages of this market for authors, it's typically a high-level overview amidst many other topics, not a specialized and detailed how-to program

Why Do Organizations Like Using Books as Incentives?

Lots of good reasons:

    Books, in general, have a much higher perceived value compared to most logo-imprinted products - things like notepads, paper weights, mouse pads, etc
    Books aren't thrown away. They have a lasting presence, which means they provide the organization that uses them visibility over a period of time - and they love that!
    A book, especially a non-fiction book, allows an organization to demonstrate a desire to help the recipient because it provides useful information. That reflects positively on the organization in a world where people have become pretty cynical about for-profit companies at least
    Each book is unique. Organizations like things that differentiate them from their competitors, that tie into their brand personality and values they want to convey
    Books are relatively easy and cheap to ship because they're small and lightweight. That saves the organization money over a lot of other options
    Last, but not least, books are customizable. Organizations do not just look at a book in its present form, but how it might be customized to accomplish their goals. It may be a sticker on the cover, a special offer loosely inserted, or a paper band around the book with a special message. But, for an order in the 1000's of books, it's definitely worth it to the self-publisher or publisher to customize it to suit their needs. Especially when the customer pays for the customization!

Are Incentives Sales Beneficial Regardless of How You Managed to Get Published?

Yes, with qualifications:

    If you are self-published (meaning it's under your ISBN number), you're in the best situation, because you'll make more money and have maximum flexibility. You can make any kind of deal you choose to make. And the difference between your sale price and the cost of producing the book is all yours. This includes using Lightning Source, the leading, digital, print-on-demand printer
    If you sell 5000 books at a discounted, bulk price of $7 each and it cost you $3 each to do a quantity, offset printing of the book (which even Lightning Source will broker for you), you make $4 on each book. That's $20,000
    Furthermore, you now have 5000 books out there building your reputation and driving customers to your practice for your other products and services
    If you used a traditional publisher, you'll make less money than a self-publisher because you're locked into whatever royalty structure that is in your publishing agreement

At that above bulk price of $7, you'd make an average of 10% of the $7.00 or $.70 per book. You'd make $3500 on the sale of the 5000 books. The publisher would keep the bulk of the profit.

Still, $3500 from that one deal is a whole lot more than the average author makes from his or her entire sales of a book. Plus you get the exposure.

If you used a digital, print-on-demand publisher (meaning it's under their ISBN number), it all depends on the discount and royalty arrangement that's in your publishing agreement. You're at a significant disadvantage because you're locked into the publisher's relatively high, one-off digital printing structure and a relatively small royalty or commission.

Typically, you can't offer as attractive a bulk discount price to the buyer because most POD publishing agreements don't anticipate bulk sales and don't offer deep discounts for high quantity printing. But again, you're making more money than you were, and you're getting exposure.

Note: check with your POD publisher. Some will broker quantity printing to an offset printer for you. But find out what they charge for same and if they'll make an exception to your royalty arrangement.

If You Employed an Outside Publisher Will He Go along with This Program?

Most publishers are absolutely giddy at the news of a quantity sale of books. In fact, want to know a secret? Independent publishers of non-fiction books are often interested in our book sales program for themselves! (You could even plant the seed.)

After all, on one knows better than they do that the average book sells only 200 - 300 copies or so. They want to recover their investment in your book and make some money.

If you publisher balks at you're doing this program for some strange reason, have him read this page or our FAQs. See what you can negotiate. If s/he still balks for some strange reason, look for a new publisher next time around.

What Are Your Options for Marketing to the Books-as-Incentives Marketplace?

    If you were published by a major publisher, their "special sales" department may take an interest in it
    You can have a booth at an incentives industry trade show where buyers are looking for incentive ideas. There is The Motivation Show nationally and state-by-state shows as well.
    You could advertise in incentive-buyer media
    The most realistic solution for most authors is doing a direct marketing program themselves. It takes minimal skills and a modest investment of time if you have the necessary knowledge and tools

One thing is for sure. Just one incentive program sale can pay the author big financial dividends and catapult his or her career like few other avenues can.

Written by Terry Roberts, Founder,
"Where assistants-to-authors (and do-it-yourself authors) learn how to land large-quantity book orders from the $46 billion business gifts and incentives market."

Also founder of, an online brokerage services connecting self-publishers with the business market.

Over 25 years in marketing, selling millions of dollars of products and services for over 250 companies, from Fortune 500 companies like Procter & Gamble and Kimberly Clark down to entrepreneurs with no employees. Executed hundreds of successful direct mail programs and dozens of incentive programs for clients.

Internet Marketing with E-books

E-books are one of the best and cheapest forms of merchandise available on the Internet today. We are now in the information age and everyone is reading books and using the internet for information, after all what is the internet for? Finding out the answers to questions and there is no better opportunity than providing these answers in the form of an e-book.

E-books have no overhead so you could sell over 10,000 books and all the revenue you generate is pure profit! It's nothing less than amazing - selling something which costs you nothing!

E-books with Resale Rights

E-books with resale rights are an excellent source of income. You can buy or acquire an e-book for free, there are a lot of websites that have promotions for free e-books, try doing a Google Search for free e-books, some sites will have whole sections for free, also try signing up for site news letters that offer you free e-books as a joining incentive (we will look at news letter generators later.) When you have your e-books you can sell them to others for 100% profit, that is the beauty of resale rights and digital products you can reproduce your stock as many times as you like for free (no overheads.)

A good step forward to generating profits is to own your own e-book website. Better still is having your own e-book website with your own written books available to buy. Writing and selling your own e-books is paramount to a successful e-book business. If you can think of a good idea for an e-book then do it! Sell it on after all you may be on for a winner and sell thousands.

If you look on e-bay now you will find e-books everywhere and because most of these have resale rights these books are being sold by more than one person. Most e-books are being sold by quite a few people you may notice that sellers are selling some e-books with the same titles. Someone wrote these books and every e-book sold is a link to the author whoever sells the e-book. These e-books are not just on eBay I have also seen them all over the internet. The beauty of it all is that this e-book links back to one place and one place only the authors links, so everyone that reads this e-book will be taken to a website/sales page where ultimately more sales are generated.

Writing your own e-book does take a little time and effort, however the results are well worth it for obvious reasons, links and money. First of all start with a simple word document like this one, write your e-book on your chosen subject then use a software converter. You can convert a word document into either.exe or PDF. Opinions vary on the format but I prefer PDF.

As I have explained writing your own e-book and having your own e-book website is a major step up the Internet marketing ladder. You can write an e-book on any subject you like because there is always someone who will read it, of course some topics sell better than others but once the e-book is written and has been sold it will be sold again and again (viral marketing) by others who wish to make a profit from selling e-books. This is where your website hyperlinks come into play! If you assume that your written e-book is being sold by 100 people/websites around the world and each of these people/websites has 10 sales a day that's another 1000 e-books sold per day that link back to your website. These links back to your website happen because in the contents of your e-book is a hyperlink to your website and if you advertise your link as something like "FREE E-BOOKS" the reader of your e-book will click on your link which will lead to more traffic and more sales from your website. The process then starts all over again because you have just sold an e-book which links back to your website, this also gives the buyer the opportunity to resell the e-book they have just purchased to others to make a return profit or give the e-book away. Whoever receives the e-book also clicks on the free e-books hyperlinks which links back to you website. So eventually the e-books you do sell will spread like a virus and will be passed from person to person and website to website all over the world.

E-books without Resale Rights

E-books without resale rights usually sell for a lot more than e-books with resale rights. This is due to the availability of the e-book, layout, and the information that is supplied. Resale rights e-books are everywhere because they have resale rights. E-books without resale rights are usually very good e-books they are content rich and also very informative and well written. E-books without resale rights still work in the same ways as e-books with resale rights for example:

1. They all advertise ways of creating more revenue for the author

2. They can all have affiliate links incorporated in them

However with non resale rights e-books, if you have information that is highly sort after and does contain market value then writing and selling an e-book without resale rights can be extremely lucrative.

One of the major suppliers of non resale rights e-books is ClickBank. E-books that start their lives on ClickBank usually sell for around $50 and they all have an affiliate program (I will talk about affiliates soon) and a sales page. If you are going to buy an e-book for $50 dollars you would not just buy it on the strength of a brief description would you? To part with $50 dollars I want to read what the book is about and why I should buy it. That's why a Killer sales page is required in situations like this, so building the perfect sales page is a must when selling e-books especially ones for a lot of money. When the potential customer reads your sales page you want them to need to buy your product like their lives depended on it, you want then to think that if they miss out on this opportunity they will regret it. It does not matter what product you are selling if your sales page is a winner then so are you! Obviously if you sell someone crap then they will never buy from you again, but the sales page is the gateway to the sale so it has to be a winner.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Publishing on Demand Or Publishing Your Own Book?

Whether you book publish your own book, try book publishing on demand, or try traditional publishing, you should look into the details of the deal before you leap.

What's the Best Path to Publish Your Book?

Your print or ebook is soon to be finished. You wonder if you should try to get an agent to represent you to the publisher. Maybe you've already sent out your query letter to some agents. You dream "how great it would be to be taken under a publisher's wings."

What's wrong with this picture? Even if an agent has given you the go and asks for a book proposal that has specific marketing information in (it takes three-seven months to write), you still have to face reality.

FACT: Like Oprah, publishers and agents choose only 1-2% of proposals submitted.

Let's say for now, you are chosen. The point is, are you fortunate to be chosen?

Are you willing to wait on the traditional publishing process 2 years? Are you willing to accept around 2-5% of the profits? Do you realize that after a few months of one initial book tour (of which you must pay all costs from your book sales), you are on your own? And, if you don't put a lot of time into promotion, your book will fade away within 2 months from the brick and mortar book store shelves. All unsold and coffee-stained books left will be returned, and the cost is deducted from the author's royalties. Unless you are a favored celebrity or famous author, publishers put little time or money into your book's promotion. Without that benefit, why go this way?

Get the Right Help the Right Way

Who says you can't publish your own book? It will certainly cost you less than you imagine, under $1000 for a print version and close to nothing for your eBook. Self-publishing will bring you all the profits. It will put you in charge to make suitable and favorable writing, publishing, and promotion decisions.

With a little help from professionals! These entrepreneurial experts such as book coaches, book designers, and eBook specialists can guide you through publishing success. These people may give teleseminars, small group coaching experiences, and other inexpensive ways to learn the ropes. These pros will shorten your learning curve too, so you get the right help right away to write the right book right away.

When you think you still have to promote your books, even with a publisher, why not keep most of the profits and do some of the work yourself? Learn from your bookcoach's experiences, "Do What You Do Best -and Hire the Rest!" (That doesn't mean you can't barter for services). Check out the methods below and see which one suits you best, is more rewarding, and far more profitable.

Why Self-Publishing?

You can self-publish your print or eBook.

In self-publishing, you are the boss. You get to choose the cover, the style, the layout, the message, even the format (eBook or Print Book). Since you are the one enthused about it, you will be able to capitalize and can promote far better than many publishers.

In self-publishing, who do you think can sell your book the best? You, the passionate author in love with his or her book, or the rookie publisher's employee in charge of publicizing your book?

On Demand Book Printing (POD)

1. Hire the Publisher/Printer yourself to just print your book from your word file. POD companies like do short runs from 1 - 2500 books. They will put your files into Portable Document Format (PDF) to sell on your web site or another site you choose to sell your books. A complete explanation of these opportunities are included in the How to Write your eBook or Other Short Book--Fast!

Referred to as POD, many companies who say they are POD Publishers are really printers. With a company like Deharts, you keep all of your book's rights. This method helps you make much more profit from your effort and you will get your book out to the buyers so much faster, making faster profits. The turnaround is around 6-8 weeks ( instead of the traditional publisher's two years) so it pays to plan ahead. A $15 book may cost $4-$5 to print for a small run of around $100 . Your book coach recommends you print only what you can sell in three-four months. These you can sell at the back of the room or on your own web site and make $11 each book. When you order 500 books, the price drastically drops and your profit rises.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Taming The Book Proposal

Taming the Book Proposal: The Basics

Oh, that most maddening of documents! For so many of us eager to move forward with our nonfiction projects, it looms large like a guard at the queen's castle, blocking the path to publication. Its perfection eludes us yet it stands there teasing, "Complete me, or your manuscript will never see the light of day, mwahahahaha!"

In truth, that's a lie. Every author has the option of self-publishing. However, there are advantages to writing a book proposal instead of a whole book.

One advantage is that it usually takes less time than writing a whole book. Two, it creates the possibility of getting paid to write your book, perhaps just a few thousand dollars, perhaps tens or even hundreds of thousands. Three, it forces you to get clear about what you're doing with your book, on a number of levels.

Even if you want to self-publish, a book proposal serves as a sort of business plan for your book. The time and energy spent on research, evaluation and comparison of your ideas at the outset pays off down the line many times over. After all, wouldn't you rather find out now that someone else has said similar things more eloquently and have a chance to amend your manuscript, than publish the darn thing only to read terrible--or worse--no reviews?

The process of polishing your book proposal is also an exercise in discipline and focus. It brings the purpose of your book, its scope, depth and message into sharp relief. It will get your thinking muscles into the best shape ever to produce the most marketable book of which you are capable. However, you must dedicate the necessary time and energy to educate yourself, move through multiple drafts and polish this behemoth of a document to perfection, or else hire someone who knows how to do just that.

Here are some answers to questions you may be asking right now:

What is a book proposal?

A book proposal is a document intended to sell a publishing staff on publishing a particular nonfiction book. It is the way most nonfiction books get published by major publishers. It reads very much like a business plan about the book proposed. It can be anywhere from 10-100 double-spaced, 12-point 8 1/2 X 11 pages--most are 20-60 pages, including sample chapters. It generally uses a very specific format and specialized language to make its case.

What does the book proposal do?

It answers a series of typical questions that different departments of book publishing companies need answered when deciding which tiny handful of proposals, out of hundreds, to take a chance on. It acts on your and your book's behalf to answer questions like, Why this book over all the others in its class? Why now? Why this author?

Who sees my book proposal first, an agent or a publisher?

It depends on whether you choose to have an agent represent you, or go directly to publishers. Many publishers will not accept unagented material, so make sure you check a given publisher's guidelines first.

What does the book proposal contain?
Generally, a book proposal contains a cover sheet, table of contents, along with the following sections: overview, author bio, author's marketing plan, market analysis of buyers, comparative and/or competing books, outline, sample chapters.

The overview contains a hook, or means of enticement, draws the editor in, and gives a general summary of the book's purpose. It's sort of like an article about the book. It should make you want to read the whole thing!

The author bio puts any and all of your experience related to writing the book, in its best light. It's different from a resume or CV. It looks a lot like the "about the author" blurbs you see in the back of published books, below the author's photo.

The author's marketing plan, or "what the author will do to promote the book," shows the publisher that you know what it takes to sell your book, and details how you plan to do it. These days, ironically, publishers don't put much money into publicity, unless you're already famous. An author with a well-thought-out marketing plan will stand out from most of the others who pay far less attention to this section, thinking instead that the publisher will take care of it.

The complementary and competing books section identifies and describes books that both directly compete with and also that complement the proposed book. The purpose of this section is to show the editors what has been done before, and how your book fits in. The reason for this section is twofold: One, many editors are too busy to keep up-to-the-minute records of what's being done in every field, and so rely on the author to educate them about what else is out there. Two, just as many editors know exactly what's out there, and want to know how your work purports to compare.

There's a paradox here: On the one hand, you want to point to X, Y and Z books as evidence that this topic you're writing on is really hot. On the other hand, you want to make a strong case that yet another book--namely yours--is still necessary, and why. So you have to point out strongly yet tactfully--you never know what relationship the person reading your proposal bears to your competition-- what yours will do that others haven't.

The market analysis makes the case for the size of the book's audience. It usually covers a broad view of current interests and buying patterns in the larger culture that bode favorably for the book. It may include recent movies, documentaries on television, facts about memberships in organizations or clubs, social or ethnic groups whose constituents would be likely buyers of the book. For example, a book with an exercise theme might cite the circulation of major fitness magazines, membership in health clubs or recent TV shows on related topics. This approach can be adapted to whatever the subject: parenting, cancer, gardening, dogs, mental illness, business, or entrepreneurship.

The chapter outline tells chapter by chapter what your book contains, and the sample chapters, usually about 30 pages worth, represent the best samples of your writing.

Why are so many book proposals rejected?

Most book proposals are rejected because the ideas presented in them fail to convince the publisher that the author has a worthwhile (read: marketable) project. Making a project appealing to a publisher is a specialized skill, very different from creating the project itself.

In my experience, authors, whether of fiction or nonfiction are by nature creative people. If you're reading this, chances are at some point in your life, you became enamored of an idea or ideas, and felt the urge to move your thoughts into the world in book form. Your mind is alive. You have something to say.

A successful book proposal, on the other hand, is a specialized marketing document that follows a particular form, and answers very specific questions in a way that gets a "Yes!" from publishers. Unless your field is marketing, and in particular, the marketing of books to publishers, chances are you don't have expertise in creating a book proposal. And why should you? It's nowhere near as much fun for most authors as working and playing with their own ideas.

The majority of my clients who give me book proposals to review, even those who have read books I've recommended and claim to have followed them, give me proposals almost certainly slated for rejection. An excellent book proposal is a tough document for most authors to produce on their own. However, help abounds!

If you are determined to write your book proposal on your own, can really, truly follow directions, and have the patience it takes to polish your work with dozens or hundreds of revisions, I recommend Michael Larsen's book, How to Write a Book Proposal, and Jeff Herman's Write the Perfect Book Proposal. Read them, study them, write your proposal, rewrite it several dozen times (no, I'm not joking) and have it professionally reviewed by someone who really knows what they are doing. Polish it to perfection--in this business, in which 99% of all proposals will get rejected, good enough simply isn't.

Then, if you want an agent, make sure you find one with a successful track record of selling work like yours, otherwise your polished proposal may gleam, twinkle and shimmer for unappreciative and unqualified eyes. Unless the agent has specified otherwise, query them first via a one- to one-and-a-half page letter. For the query, read and study John Wood's How to Write Attention-Grabbing Query and Cover Letters. Then have at it. Spend at least three weeks on this query letter, and get feedback from at least three people, at least one of whom truly knows the field.

Want to get started (or move further along) on your book proposal RIGHT NOW? Check out our classes.

All the best to you in your journey, and keep me posted!

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Audio Books: Are They Only for the Visually Impaired?

The shift from Printed books to audio books has made reading, listening and derived a more convenient method for readers. Audio books are electronic form of conventional books, typically distributed on cassettes and CDs and give electronic-form comfort for yet another human habit.
In the US audio book market, cassettes/CDs sales comprise roughly 40% share. In addition, the recent swing from printed books to audio books among book reader society has led to immense growth in its readership.
A Short History of Books
The history of books starts in mid-15th century when developments in manuscript led to printed books and, in continuation today we have e-books. The 7th to 13th century was the age of religious manuscript books production. Books in this period were entirely hand-written, and are of large religious texts which were meant for worship.
Later, 13th to 15th Century was the period where secularisation in book production started happening. Books were produced only not to be worship objects, but to try explaining something about the observable world. The production of secular books was driven by increasing number of universities in Europe, originating from Italy.
The full printed books were produced from 15th to 16th Century. These are print versions of traditional works like the Bible, prayer books and the religious calendars. Books revealing European life style and society barely started coming after 16th Century.
In the Mid-15th Century, things begin to change with the advent of the printing press. In 1452, Gutenberg conceived the idea of movable type printing press and brought together the technologies of paper, oil-based ink and the wine-press to print books for us.
Using Printed Books
Paper books possess it own disadvantages as you need to maintain it, keeping away from bugs that eat away their pages. In long-term, you can see pages gone gray and fallen out, making book reading a rigid work.
You need to dust and wrap them all at least occasionally to maintain their condition and shape, and your wrapping could become horrible end up ruining the books. Extensive usage of a book make its papers to fallout from its cover and putting it together by applying glue or by using an elastic band won't restore its original shape, making your reading an ache.
Volume of books occupies vast space pushing you to allot independent room for its maintenance. Desperately books need more room, and we know actual bookshelves cost much to stack it up all. Even though you have bookshelves soon your book collections start to overflow occupying newer spaces. To add, passionate book collectors really know how much awful lending a book could be.
Benefits of Audio Books
Firstly, listening to an audio book does not need as much as concentration you pay when you read a printed book. It is quite advantage comparing to conventional books that facilitate you listening to it while doing your other work. You can listen while busy preparing for yourself in your kitchen or driving your car. People with a job where it need to drive a lot can make extensive use of audio books. Listening to audio books while driving stops their activity from being a chore and instead makes it something to look forward.
In education, it is generally cheaper to provide set of books on cassettes/CDs as audio books for the class to share. This saves both time and money. Researches show that about 85% percentage of our learning and knowledge gathering actually comes from listening. Also it improves learner's listening and comprehension skills. Audio books come in handy to teach kids and blinds and for adult's self-help which range from public speaking to meditation.
Moreover you can have your own array of audio books collection in your audio bookshelves. Audio books allow instant replay of segments to which you need to comprehend more to your satisfactory. Imagine how many cassettes/CDs you can keep in the place where a set of book takes up leaving you enormous space.Listening to books on cassettes/CDs is pleasant because it is so much easier and more fun to do so. Moreover, it doesn't take as long to listen to a book as it would to read it. Listening to audio books make feel, well connected to its subject.
If you are a new listener start with an audio book that you would enjoy listening first, a genre that you are comfortable with. If your interest is fantasy, start with it and if you don't, chances are there that you like them in an audio book format.
The use of audio books gives you more power to motivate yourself to enjoy reading. It opens up a world of reading to one who has not yet felt what a joy in e-reading can be. Many listeners who start with little hitch using audio books soon become enthusiastic listeners, branching into other genres, reading longer books, and searching new authors. Certainly, audio books serve as a wonderful tool for passionate readers.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Become an E-Book Author ... Make Money From Your Knowledge!

"E-Book" is short for Electronic Book---an organized set of content delivered in an electronic format. There are many different types of e-books including packaged executables, PDF, and formats for the handheld computer.

As with so many of the original e-books, your e-book doesn't have to be about Making Money or Internet Marketing---people are interested in many other things. What makes an e-book valuable to a wide audience is that it provides information that people cannot easily find elsewhere.

Over the years, I've had the pleasure of writing numerous printed books and working on several electronic publications. From what I've seen, the e-book medium supports the greatest creative flexibility. Images can come alive, you can provide interactive forms and content, the user can access remote databases, and you can support dynamic updates whenever the content changes. There are, however, several steps involved in the process to properly develop and promote an e-book to your audience.

The Process

When developing an e-book, you have to perform several important steps to create quality content. Each step allows you to fine-tune your idea and the end-product so that readers will learn from and enjoy the content you provide.

- Brainstorm an Idea

Ideas are cheap, but good ideas take time to develop. To develop a good idea, you have to jot down as many ideas as possible, then go through the list to make sure that:

* you're interested in the idea;

* you're knowledgeable on the topic;

* you're hitting the greatest, potential market;

* people will purchase the information; and

* you can market to those interested.

Once you reduce the list to a few solid choices, go back through and examine the remaining topics to determine which topics you can write, by:

* determining what you know about the topic;

* performing market research to ensure that you have a market and an angle for that market; and

* performing competitive research to find your competition's products, successes, failures, and target markets.

While fine-tuning your product, remember that people will buy the product if it:

* solves a problem;

* improves an existing product;

* hits on a hot trend;

* creates a new niche; or

* fills a current need.

- Develop an Outline

Once you come up with the idea, you'll have to create an outline or table of contents to develop the idea. The best way I've found to do this is to break the idea down into blocks of contiguous information---similar to assembling a pyramid. At the top is the IDEA with each successive level providing a more detailed sequence of points that ultimately explain the top-level IDEA.

The outline itself should be at least four levels deep so that you can understand what you'll say for each section or chapter. Research each section and collect pertinent information so that you can develop a coherent outline and understand the depths of what it is you are writing.

- Develop the First Draft

The first draft is merely a "brain dump." Follow your outline and write as much as possible about each section. Don't worry about format, spelling, or grammar at this point, as you'll focus on resolving those issues later.

- Substantive Edit

A substantive edit is a review of the manuscript where you fine-tune the content. You have to make sure that the content is complete, contains pertinent information for the topic, and provides enough relevant information to explain the topic. At this point, you can perform additional research to verify the content or enhance the information for the reader.

- Content/Technical Review

Find some experts in your manuscript's topic area and have them review it for accuracy and readability. This type of review ensures that the information is correct and that the target audience will be able to understand the content. Many times, experts will take credit in the acknowledgements as opposed to a fee, but this is something you'll have to work out with them.

- Second Draft

The second draft takes into account the information from your reviewers as well as changes you need to make based on your own review of the content. Once this draft is complete, take a day or two off to give your brain a break. This way, when you return to the manuscript, you'll be fresh and able to catch any mistakes that you would've otherwise missed.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Brief History of the Book

I. What is a Book?

UNESCO's arbitrary and ungrounded definition of "book" is:

""Non-periodical printed publication of at least 49 pages excluding covers".

But a book, above all else, is a medium. It encapsulates information (of one kind or another) and conveys it across time and space. Moreover, as opposed to common opinion, it is - and has always been - a rigidly formal affair. Even the latest "innovations" are nothing but ancient wine in sparkling new bottles.

Consider the scrolling protocol. Our eyes and brains are limited readers-decoders. There is only that much that the eye can encompass and the brain interpret. Hence the need to segment data into cognitively digestible chunks. There are two forms of scrolling - lateral and vertical. The papyrus, the broadsheet newspaper, and the computer screen are three examples of the vertical scroll - from top to bottom or vice versa. The e-book, the microfilm, the vellum, and the print book are instances of the lateral scroll - from left to right (or from right to left, in the Semitic languages).

In many respects, audio books are much more revolutionary than e-books. They do not employ visual symbols (all other types of books do), or a straightforward scrolling method. E-books, on the other hand, are a throwback to the days of the papyrus. The text cannot be opened at any point in a series of connected pages and the content is carried only on one side of the (electronic) "leaf". Parchment, by comparison, was multi-paged, easily browseable, and printed on both sides of the leaf. It led to a revolution in publishing and to the print book. All these advances are now being reversed by the e-book. Luckily, the e-book retains one innovation of the parchment - the hypertext. Early Jewish and Christian texts (as well as Roman legal scholarship) was written on parchment (and later printed) and included numerous inter-textual links. The Talmud, for example, is made of a main text (the Mishna) which hyperlinks on the same page to numerous interpretations (exegesis) offered by scholars throughout generations of Jewish learning.

Another distinguishing feature of books is portability (or mobility). Books on papyrus, vellum, paper, or PDA - are all transportable. In other words, the replication of the book's message is achieved by passing it along and no loss is incurred thereby (i.e., there is no physical metamorphosis of the message). The book is like a perpetuum mobile. It spreads its content virally by being circulated and is not diminished or altered by it. Physically, it is eroded, of course - but it can be copied faithfully. It is permanent.

Not so the e-book or the CD-ROM. Both are dependent on devices (readers or drives, respectively). Both are technology-specific and format-specific. Changes in technology - both in hardware and in software - are liable to render many e-books unreadable. And portability is hampered by battery life, lighting conditions, or the availability of appropriate infrastructure (e.g., of electricity).

II. The Constant Content Revolution

Every generation applies the same age-old principles to new "content-containers". Every such transmutation yields a great surge in the creation of content and its dissemination. The incunabula (the first printed books) made knowledge accessible (sometimes in the vernacular) to scholars and laymen alike and liberated books from the scriptoria and "libraries" of monasteries. The printing press technology shattered the content monopoly. In 50 years (1450-1500), the number of books in Europe surged from a few thousand to more than 9 million! And, as McLuhan has noted, it shifted the emphasis from the oral mode of content distribution (i.e., "communication") to the visual mode.

E-books are threatening to do the same. "Book ATMs" will provide Print on Demand (POD) services to faraway places. People in remote corners of the earth will be able to select from publishing backlists and front lists comprising millions of titles. Millions of authors are now able to realize their dream to have their work published cheaply and without editorial barriers to entry. The e-book is the Internet's prodigal son. The latter is the ideal distribution channel of the former. The monopoly of the big publishing houses on everything written - from romance to scholarly journals - is a thing of the past. In a way, it is ironic. Publishing, in its earliest forms, was a revolt against the writing (letters) monopoly of the priestly classes. It flourished in non-theocratic societies such as Rome, or China - and languished where religion reigned (such as in Sumeria, Egypt, the Islamic world, and Medieval Europe).

With e-books, content will once more become a collaborative effort, as it has been well into the Middle Ages. Authors and audience used to interact (remember Socrates) to generate knowledge, information, and narratives. Interactive e-books, multimedia, discussion lists, and collective authorship efforts restore this great tradition. Moreover, as in the not so distant past, authors are yet again the publishers and sellers of their work. The distinctions between these functions is very recent. E-books and POD partially help to restore the pre-modern state of affairs. Up until the 20th century, some books first appeared as a series of pamphlets (often published in daily papers or magazines) or were sold by subscription. Serialized e-books resort to these erstwhile marketing ploys. E-books may also help restore the balance between best-sellers and midlist authors and between fiction and textbooks. E-books are best suited to cater to niche markets, hitherto neglected by all major publishers.

III. Literature for the Millions

E-books are the quintessential "literature for the millions". They are cheaper than even paperbacks. John Bell (competing with Dr. Johnson) published "The Poets of Great Britain" in 1777-83. Each of the 109 volumes cost six shillings (compared to the usual guinea or more). The Railway Library of novels (1,300 volumes) costs 1 shilling apiece only eight decades later. The price continued to dive throughout the next century and a half. E-books and POD are likely to do unto paperbacks what these reprints did to originals. Some reprint libraries specialized in public domain works, very much like the bulk of e-book offering nowadays.

The plunge in book prices, the lowering of barriers to entry due to new technologies and plentiful credit, the proliferation of publishers, and the cutthroat competition among booksellers was such that price regulation (cartel) had to be introduced. Net publisher prices, trade discounts, list prices were all anti-competitive inventions of the 19th century, mainly in Europe. They were accompanied by the rise of trade associations, publishers organizations, literary agents, author contracts, royalties agreements, mass marketing, and standardized copyrights.

The sale of print books over the Internet can be conceptualized as the continuation of mail order catalogues by virtual means. But e-books are different. They are detrimental to all these cosy arrangements. Legally, an e-book may not be considered to constitute a "book" at all. Existing contracts between authors and publishers may not cover e-books. The serious price competition they offer to more traditional forms of publishing may end up pushing the whole industry to re-define itself. Rights may have to be re-assigned, revenues re-distributed, contractual relationships re-thought. Moreover, e-books have hitherto been to print books what paperbacks are to hardcovers - re-formatted renditions. But more and more authors are publishing their books primarily or exclusively as e-books. E-books thus threaten hardcovers and paperbacks alike. They are not merely a new format. They are a new mode of publishing.