If You Love a Book Author and Want to Help Them

Book with heart18 Ways to Help a Book Author You Love

Eileen Flanagan, author of The Wisdom to Know the Difference, wrote a blog post about a year ago telling friends of book authors how they could help the author sell more books. You can read her blog post here: http://bit.ly/9v5TgA.

I thought I’d include some of the highlights of her help list, add my own comments, and provide a few more ways that friends can help book authors to sell more books.

If you have a friend who is a book author, please use these suggestions to help them out. If you are a book author, please share this page with your friends (so they can help you out).

1. Buy your friend’s book. Encourage other friends to buy the book. Go to your local library or bookstore and encourage them to buy the book. Buy books as gifts.

2. Don’t put off buying the book. Don’t wait for the holidays to buy the book as a gift. First, the sooner you buy, the more confidence you’ll inspire in your friend. Second, media and other decision makers pick up on a book based on the momentum the book inspires. The more sales at the beginning of the book’s life, the more attention it will get from key decision makers, the media, and consumers.

3. Where should you buy the book? First choice: the indie bookstore nearest you (that will help your friend get her book into that store on a regular basis). Second choice: a chain bookstore like Borders or Barnes & Noble (if they start selling the book locally, they might buy books for more stores in the chain). Third choice: the author’s website (the author makes the most money when selling direct). Fourth choice: buy direct from the author. Fifth choice: Buy from Amazon.com (preferably from the link on the author’s website).

4. Recommend your friend’s book. If you like the book, recommend it to friends. Blog about it. Tweet a review or mention. Share a note on Facebook. Recommend the book to your book group. Review her book on Amazon.com, BN.com, GoodReads, Library Thing, and other reader social networks.

5. Tell your friend what you like about the book. Provide your friend with support by telling him something you like about his book. Was it a good read? Did it move you to tears or laughter? Did you learn something new?

6. Help your friend get speaking engagements. If your friend is comfortable speaking, recommend your friend to your Rotary Club, Jaycees, church, Friends of the Library, bookseller, garden club, school, etc.

7. Recommend your friend’s website. Link to it from your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. Tweet about it. When your friend writes a blog post, link to it. If your friend tweets something great, retweet it. Feature a quote from your friend’s book on your website. Or tweet the quote.

8. Create a Wikipedia page for your friend. While authors can’t create their own Wikipedia page, other people can. Every book author deserves a Wikipedia page, since a published book grants the author at least a modicum of fame. On the Wikipedia page, feature a short bio, a bibliography, a link to the author’s website.

9. Help your friend with the media. If you know of any newspaper editors or reporters, magazine editors, radio producers or hosts, TV show hosts or producers, columnists, bloggers, etc., send them a copy of the book or a note about the author. Or tell your friend about your connection, and introduce her to your contact.

10. Pray. Prayer always helps. Pray for your friend and his book. If you’re not into prayer, ask your favorite tree to help.

11. Ask. Ask your friend how you can help her. You may have some talent, connection, specialized knowledge, etc. that might be just the thing she needs. Or they might just need some of your time to help pack and ship some books or make a few phone calls.

12. Do a video review of the book and post it on YouTube and other video sharing websites.

13. Help your friend make some videos for the book. Every author needs a cameraperson, a scriptwriter, a producer. Again, share on YouTube and other video sharing websites.

14. Look for specialty retailers. As you drive around your own hometown or a nearby larger city, keep on the lookout for specialty retailers that might be interested in selling your friend’s books. Cookbooks in gourmet shows, do-it-yourself books in hardware stores, children’s books in toy stores, art or history books at museum shops. Make the contacts yourself or pass them on to your friend to follow up.

15. Look for other sales venues. If your friend’s book is about retirement, check out accountants, tax lawyers, etc. who might be interested in buying copies to give to their clients. Health books, children’s books, and cookbooks might interest doctor and dentist offices. Health clubs might be interested in exercise or diet books. Again, make the contacts yourself or pass them on to your friend to follow up.

16. Suggest catalogs, associations, and other special sales opportunities. If you receive mail order catalogs that feature books like your friend’s book, tell her abour the catalog. The same with associations, groups, corporations, etc. that might be interested in buying bulk copies of your friend’s book.

17. Help them sell rights. If your friend’s novel would make a great movie and you have a connection to an A-list actor or producer who might be interested in making the movie, introduce your friend to your connection. The same with TV producers, audio publishers, agents, etc.

18. Buy your friend a copy of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. Okay, this is a little selfish on my part, but your friend will love the gift and gain incredible value from reading the book and acting on all the ideas in the book.

If you liked these tips, please comment and share below.

Celebrate Your Story

Celebrating StoriesAs human beings we experience many events over the course of our lives, yet we seldom get to share them in a way that leads to change and transformation for others who may be experiencing something similar.

Stories have the power to cross boundaries of culture, language and age. Concepts conveyed in a story imprint themselves into the human mind. It is the stories we remember more than the idea or concept that might have been presented at the time.

Stories define us and give us a sense of identity. We may tell ourselves certain stories or believe or dismiss stories. The stories may not be accurate, yet if we believe them, they become our reality.

Stories have the ability to build and preserve a sense of community. Stories can align and motivate with vivid imagery and build emotional connections often providing a shared sense of purpose.

To be human is to have a story, and we think of our lives as a story. A story is the structure that gives meaning and order to our lives.

Stories are how we convey our deepest emotions and talk about those things that we value the most. It is through the stories we tell that we are most able to portray the fullest array of human emotion.

At their best, stories are incredibly persuasive because they ‘speak to us’ at a very meaningful, emotional, and often-unconscious level. When a story makes the hair on the back of our necks tingle it is because that particular story has touched a very deep nerve in our personal or collective psyches.

As children we were naturally good at telling stories about events or topics that mattered and learning from others via their stories, but as we became older we were taught that serious people relied only on presenting information and “the facts.” Accurate information, sound logic, and the facts are necessary, of course, but truly effective leaders in any field know how to tell “the story” behind their success.

Women process their present day problems, their past history, and their dreams of their futures with stories. Often they express themselves more openly in the company of other women. They often feel that another woman will be able to relate to their story and telling it allows them to process what happened and make decisions about how to move forward.

Sharing a personal story with another person can be deeply bonding and create a lasting connection. Sometimes people hesitate to share their most personal stories, but when they speak from their hearts with courage, they often feel a catharsis and relief. Keeping their story private may seem safer, but when we keep our story tucked away from others, we may not be able to achieve a relatable connection with those around us.

Our stories have the power to release us from being stuck as well as inspire others simultaneously.  Hiding our stories may also seem like we are forgiving and forgetting, but actually sharing them can further us in our journey of healing.

I encourage you to celebrate your life and the stories within it. Those stories shaped you into who you are today. We all have the power to create a lasting legacy of our story. Begin to share your stories and then let them go free while you move on to create even more. The best is yet to come!

Title Tips for Authors

Book TitlesWhat makes a good title to your book, eBook, article or blog post?

First, I believe your title should give a clear idea to the reader of what they will find if they choose to read on. Due to people’s short attention spans, a shorter title might be a good idea, and you can always have a subtitle for more clarity. Your subtitle might provide the clarity of your message and the main title might be more of a hook or attention grabber.

Think about those search engines. Using the words “How to…” can help with searches. For example, our book How to Bring Your Book To Life This Year originally did not have the “How to” in the front. Although it made the title longer, it clearly identifies what the reader will glean from the purchase. If there was any confusion on our title, our subtitle gives more focus: An Exploratory Guidebook on Writing and Self-Publishing. Both our main title and subtitle are keyword rich.

Avoid hype and exaggeration in your title. It can be real turn-off and has the potential to set you up for complaints if your claims are not substantiated.

Some excellent ways to create good titles include but are not limited to some of the following language:

How to_____, Guide or guidebook for______, _____Steps to_____, Secrets to_____, The Myths about_____, _____for Idiots, The Truth about_____, _____Problems and the  5 Solutions, How to Avoid_____.

Are you solving a problem or alleviating a pain? Will you help your reader to become proficient in something you know a lot about? Will you be providing inspiration?

After you choose 3-5 titles that you like, send those titles to a handful of trusted friends and advisers for a vote. This will help you make a decision based on peer review from other eyes. Often we need an outside perspective before we make our final choice.

If you have other title tips, please comment and share!

Without Great Solitude, No Serious Work is Possible

Stuart Miles coffee“Without Great Solitude, No Serious Work is Possible.”  Carl Sandburg

This post is written by Jan Haas.

Are you struggling because you know you want to write, and yet you can’t find the time? The only way to get into the practice of writing is to create time by yourself.  Discipline and commitment to your writing practice means you will have to sacrifice your time somewhere else. Writing has to become a primary relationship- one you have with yourself.

I am moving back into the habit of writing daily, not just morning journal pages, but creatively with a prompt.  I am working on several new books at one time, and am allowing my intuition to let me know what I am working on that day. Yet I know that my best writing time comes not just in the mornings, but when I actually schedule time to go somewhere, away from the house, where I am not distracted by other work, to-do lists, and family members who all want a piece of my time.  If I want to write, I have to take myself seriously as a writer, and allow that time to be scheduled in just like a regular appointment.

Solitude can look like several different things.  There are writer’s retreats, where you can actually get out of town and focus solely on writing for a week at a time, or a few days.  While that sounds ideal, what is more realistic for me is to crash at my parent’s house while they are out of town for a week.  Do you have someplace you can be by yourself, away from the normal business of the day?  Take advantage of it!  Since I can’t always get away for long periods of time, I am now scheduling weekly coffee shop outings. Because coffee shops have wi-fi capabilities, I have to set my writing expectations before I go.   My writing folder is the only thing open on my computer for the time I have set aside- that means no emails, no Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, and my phone is set on silent. This is an appointment I have with myself as a writer, and I need to value that time, as much as I value any other face to face time.

Writing takes discipline, commitment and the willingness to sacrifice time away from other things so your mind can focus on writing.  While this practice is still new to me, past experience has taught me that my body will fall into the rhythm of these days, and will learn quickly that time in a certain coffee shop means creative time, and the words will flow that much faster.  This is a practice, and practice makes you better at what you do.

So happy solitude!  And happy writing!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

E-Books for Smashwords and Kindle

E-Books Save TreesDid you know that the average printed book has a carbon footprint of about 8½ lbs. from production and packaging through distribution and retailing? E-books provide an opportunity to make a big impact on our environment. Let’s look at some of the most effective ways to connect with readers in this fast-growing digital market.

An efficient way for authors to simplify e-book publication is to open accounts at just two major sites: Kindle Direct Publishing at kdp.amazon.com and Smashwords.com. Currently, KDP covers about half of the e-book market and Smashwords distributes to the other half.

Since e-books are currently published in two major formats, these two sites provide e-books which can be read on almost everyone’s e-reader devices. One format is Amazon’s proprietary content for the Kindle e-readers and apps. The other is ePub, an open source format which can be read on the iPad, Nook, Sony Reader, Google Nexus, etc.

Smashwords offers the ePub format, along with many others, and includes such benefits as:

• e-book conversions directly from MS Word

• world-wide distribution through a premium catalog to Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, libraries, etc.

• consolidated sales reports

• free ISBNs

• unlimited updates

• generous royalties

• authors retain all rights

We can help you set up accounts with both Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing, as well as prepare and upload the correctly formatted e-book files. Please contact Gail Nelson for more information at e-book-design@comcast.net.

Costs to Self-Publish

Books and Money, Cost to Self-PublishNot knowing how much your book will cost to produce can be an intimidating factor in getting your book wrapped up. But don’t let lack of funds stop you from bringing your book to print.

Here is a basic list of the costs associated with book production for self-publishing.

Another point I want you to consider, like with all things, you have a choice in your level of services. You can always choose the “cream of the crop” service providers, the “cheapest,” or the happy medium. Depending on your personal style and needs, this could vary from person to person and influence the total cost to produce your book.

  • Editing  $1500 – $3000
  • Layout/Interior  $500 – $1500
  • Cover Design $250 – $1000
  • ISBN – $0 – $250
  • Barcode – $10
  • Domain Name – $15 – $35
  • Website Hosting – $0 – $150
  • Printing Proof $0 – $25
  • Project Management — $500 – $1000
  • Books/Inventory $250 – $500 (to start)
  • Sales Tax License $50 – $75
  • eBook Conversion $150 – $350
  • Launch Party Supplies $0 – $200

Other expenses, depending on your situation could include: website design and setup, marketing and advertising material, an Essentials Book Marketing Package, copyright guidance, ghost writing, illustrators, and complete children’s book production – to name a few.

The areas that are most essential to producing your book are the top three mentioned in this list. These are your most expensive needs, and ones we don’t recommend your scrimp on. A well-written, beautiful book – both on the inside and outside – will influence your readers in whether or not they pass along your work to others.

If you have questions around specifics, just let us know: info@selfpublishingexperts.com.

Top Eleven Reasons to Self-Publish an E-Book

E-Book DesignE-Books are the fastest growing segment of book sales in the market today. Self-published authors are poised to help 2013 become the year that more books are read on screens than on paper for the first time. Here are some of the top reasons to consider self-publishing your own e-book. E-Books are:

1. Quick to publish
2. Easy to update
3. Inexpensive to distribute
4. Quick to download
5. Easy to search
6. Portable
7. Eco-friendly
8. Authors own rights
9. Generous with royalty percentages
10. Available world-wide
11. E-Books promote reading!

As a freelance graphic designer and illustrator since 1984, Gail Nelson has seen the publishing industry transformed under the influence of self-published authors. She is excited to join the Self-Publishing Experts Team and looks forward to helping authors with their e-book projects. Welcome to the e-book revolution!

Reach out to Gail M. Nelson at: e-book-design@comcast.net

Who Needs Traditional Publishing Anymore?

Books Why spend years of frustration and rejections to get your book published and out into the world? For the unknown writer, the traditional route of high profile publishing houses can be slow. It is hard to keep your confidence and spirits high with multiple rejections.

You will still need to do most of your own marketing and have a marketing plan with traditional publishing establishments, so why not avoid years of submitting your book repetitively or searching for an agent, which can also be costly and time consuming?

There are many books that have sold well beginning in the self-publishing or non-mainstream publishing world. I read the book The Shack about a year ago when it was given to me by a friend. In the final pages of the book, the author, William P. Young asks the readers to promote the book on the internet and word of mouth. A Christian based book is now being discussed all over the nation by both Christians and non-Christians alike.

David Wood wrote Get Paid For Who You Are in 2010, and it went viral quickly spreading like wild fire into spin offs, tele-seminars, coaching and other programs. I heard about the book on Facebook and helped to promote it to all my friends through Facebook after I read it and loved it.

Boyd Morrison wrote his first novel and five agents rejected it. Nine years later he tried again, and this time he did get an agent after nearly three years and three novels. 25 publishers turned down his book The Ark. With nothing left to lose, Morrison uploaded “The Ark” and his two other unpublished novels to Amazon’s Kindle store in March 2009. Within three months, he was selling books at a rate of 4,000 a month, a number that attracted the attention of the same publishers who had rejected him. In May of 2010, when “The Ark” was released in hardcover from Simon & Schuster, it became the first self-published Kindle book to be picked up by a Big Six publisher.

According to a recent Bowker report, the market for “nontraditional books” in the United States grew by more than 750,000 new titles in 2009, a 181 percent increase over 2008. Five of the top 100 bestsellers in the Kindle store, which now produces more sales than Amazon’s hardcover list, are currently self-published.

Self-publishing is a worthy alternative for the writer to consider. The public view of a self-published book is rising as the process improves and the final product looks nearly identical to books sold in book stores and from traditional publishing sources.

Wherever you find yourself in the process, Andrea Costantine, Lisa Shultz, and the Self-Publishing Experts Team are ready to provide answers and resources to complete your book and set up your own distribution channels to sell it and develop your platform or other related products and services. We look forward to your comments and questions.

Kindle, ePub, and/or PDF – What is the Difference?

e-BookReading a book today can mean anything from reading printed ink on paper, to listening to an audio file, to looking at a digital image on a screen. Everyone has their favorite way to read a good book. As a self-published author, you may benefit from having your book available in as many formats as possible to connect with your readers.

E-books have two distinct versions: the e-reader-style for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. and the PDF for Adobe Reader.

E-Pub and Kindle e-books are the types of files that are formatted specifically for e-reader devices and e-book software. The text is a flowing and movable, and it can include images, similar to a web page. After a manuscript is formatted correctly, it is ready to upload free on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes and Noble (ePub), the iBookstore (ePub), and/or distribution sites such as Smashwords.

Another type of e-book is called a PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format. It closely resembles the printed book and can be read with the free Adobe Reader software on a computer or tablet. Children’s books convert especially well to PDFs because they retain a picture book “look.” PDFs can also be password protected and sold on your website; however, this type of file can be incompatible with some e-reader devices and distribution centers.

No need to try and figure this all out yourself. This is Gail Nelson’s specialty for the Self-Publishing Experts’ team. If you would like help with your e-book conversion, please contact her at e-book-design.com. She looks forward to assisting you!