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July 2010

Promoting Your Book - Have You Thought of "Opt-In" Emails?

By guest author Jake Olvido

With hundreds of thousands of books being published each year, the competition level in the book selling industry is currently at an all time high. What can you, an aspiring author with limited financial resources (can't afford a book publicist) and limited time (can't go on a nationwide book marketing tour) do to stimulate sales of your just-released book? Have you ever thought of creating a opt-in email advertisment campaign?

An email advertisement campaign is basically a massive email broadcast of "book ads" sent to hundreds of thousands of "profiled" email subscribers. The ad consists of a visually appealing and enticing graphic advertisement of the book, a book description and other book details, positive reviews if available and a URL link that connects to the author's website or online bookstore.

The key is that the email subscribers are those who have "opted" to receive commercial marketing messages, according to their specific areas of interest. For instance, an email book marketing ad for a book about French cinema would be delivered to a customized list of subscribers who have indicated their interest in movies, books and literature in their email profiles.

Opt-in email book marketing advertisements can reach a vast, specific target market - great for niche book marketing. But perhaps the greatest benefit is its traceability: email marketing service providers routinely furnish clients with detailed reports including statistical tracting numbers.

Opt-in email advertisement campaigns is but another marketing tool you may want to evaluate and consider. It may just be that great way to boost the "marketing punch" of your book and help you compete in today's book-selling landscape.

[Jake Olvido is a book marketing specialist and can be reached at Bookwhirl.com.]

Book1Blog Welcomes Guest Author Jake Olvido

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Jake Olvido has joined Book1Blog as a guest author. Jake has been involved in the book self-publishing industry for the past five years and is currently the Marketing Officer for Bookwhirl.com. An expert in how to promote a book, he has been providing book marketing tips and guidance to authors and writers seeking ways to increase the sales potential of their books.

Beginning this week and on a 2-3 times per month basis, we will have the opportunity to tap into Jake's knowledge through posts he will be publishing on Book1Blog.

Successfully promoting one's self-published book is considered by many to be the most difficult aspect of self-publishing. Jake's posts are sure to be a welcomed addition.

Self-published Authors Don't Need Bookstores

In a study done almost 15 years ago, the Book Industry Study Group, a leading book trade association for policy, standards and research, estimated that there were nearly ten times more outlets for book sales than bookstores. What they discovered was that these markets were far more numerous, easier to target, often paid more and paid faster than conventional book trade channels.

A subsequent BISG study in 2005 found that "smaller" publishers (those with annual revenues under $50 million) generated $11.5 billion per year in sales, often reaching more readers beyond the conventional publisher's world of chain bookstores and libraries than within.

Since so many smaller publishers operate "under the radar" of traditional tracking mechanisms, it's been tempting in the past to think of them as "regional" or "niche," and to assume that they're responsible for only a small fraction of book sales in the marketplace. However, the BISG studies and other studies show that this kind of thinking just doesn't fly today.

In fact, as a self-published author, you have a much better chance of initial success marketing your book to non-traditional outlets. Think of potential readers who would be most interested in your book, and what businesses they might frequent. Then, shift your promotional efforts to those businesses. For example:

Books are now sold almost everywhere: in gift shops, supermarkets, airports, truck stops, and most importantly in vast numbers of stores with specialized product lines that are often compatible with a particular book's subject. Some examples:

  • Books about fishing are great sellers at dockside bait shops.
  • Books about quilting sell well at craft stores.
  • Books on health issues can be successfully sold in medical supply outlets.

You'll find the non-traditional outlets are endless - and so will be your opportunities.

[This post was created from excerpts taken from U-Publish.com 5.0, co-authored by Dan Poynter and Danny O. Snow.]

Five Steps to Help You Start Your Book Writing Project

It has often been said that creating a first draft of anything can be the hardest part. This can also be true when writing a book. Here are five steps to help you get started in your book writing project.

1. To begin, take all of the notes you have that relate to a particular chapter, string them together on your desk in some semblance of order and begin typing in the information on your computer as fast as you can. Do not be concerned about punctuation, grammar or style at this point. What's important is to get your notes, research materials and initial ideas that come to mind into your computer. You can edit the text later. The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time.

2. As you draft each chapter of your book, run a quick spell check, then print it out and place the chapter in a three-ring binder.

3. Do not edit any of the chapters until you have completed a rough draft of your entire book. This is extremely important. If you write, edit, re-write, re-edit and attempt to polish each chapter before going to the next chapter, the chances are that you will never make noticeable progress - and the lack of progress can be defeating. As you place each chapter draft into your binder, you will discover you gain a great feeling of accomplishment.

4. To write your first draft, you do not have to start at the beginning, and you do not have to create the chapters in the same order they will appear in your book. And because your "creative juices" may be flowing, do not be surprised to discover yourself working on more than one chapter at any given time.

5. Once your first draft is in your binder, you have quantified your writing project. Some areas will not be complete, and parts will just be reminder notes. However, this first draft will enable you to see what needs to be done. It's now time to do more research. So get on the Internet, go the library, call resource people and ask questions. It's time to begin filling in the blanks.

And one final note. Early on, it's a good idea to not show your book manuscript to anyone. Keep it to yourself. You may be tempted to tell friends and family about your work, but don't do it. If you do, it is likely that they will start asking you questions about it, want to see it, and even though their intentions may be of the best, take your time away from the real work of writing your book.

[This post was created from excerpts from Successful Nonfiction, written by Dan Poynter.]

Editing Your Manuscript - Here's a 12-Point Checklist to Follow

The best advice for editing your manuscript is to hire a professional. If costs prevent you from doing this, you should at least enlist the help of several literate friends or associates to go over your work. And if you do, it's a good idea to give them some instructions. Ask that they underline any misspelled or questionable words, circle unclear passages, and note rough transitions with a question mark. Also encourage them to jot any suggestions they may have in the margins.

Even best-selling authors use others to refine their work. James Michener said, "I invite four outside experts - a subject-matter scholar, and editor, a style arbiter on words, and a final checker - to tear it apart."

As you fine tune your work, you may find the following book editing checklist a help to you and your "editors" in evaluating your finished work and pinpointing any potentially weak areas.

Title: Is it catchy? Short? Appropriate?

Opening: Does it arouse interest and hook the reader?

Organization: Do you tell readers what you're going to tell them, then tell them, and then tell them what you told them? Is the book logically presented? Do headings and subheads help communicate your book's message?

Credibility: Is your information accurate? Are the facts the most current available?

Sentences: Are their lengths varied?

Paragraph breaks: Do your paragraph breaks make the work appealing to the eye?

Conclusion: Does your book just stop, or is the package tied together and truly finished?

Spelling: Pleez spel krecktly!

Punctuation: Does it clarify and give impact? Do you add zest by using varied types of punctuation?

Grammar: Is it correct yet alive? Use common sense when applying "the rules."

Consistency: Does your book observe uniformity? Why not try a trick many professional editors use? They establish a style sheet covering such things as abbreviations, how numbers are expressed, etc.

Presentation: The physical appearance of your work is important. For example, the overuse of italic, underlining, bold, and CAPS smacks of amateurism.

If your looking for some additional information about editing your manuscript, might we suggest reading Laura Jane Thompson's excellent article published earlier today.

[This post was created from excerpts from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, Fifth Edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]

Researching Your Book's Topic - Five Steps to Follow Before You Begin Writing

Bud Gardner, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul, once said, "We write to learn."

Before you begin writing your book, you must do some book research. It is important for you to have a good idea as to how much information is already available on your book's subject and if a book like yours has been written before. Once you see what is out there, your approach, direction or niche may change. Here are five steps to follow when researching your book's topic.

1. Visit places where books are sold. Places like libraries and bookstores. You will find that bookstores can vary in the types of books they carry. For example, books on business are often more plentiful in downtown stores, but there may be fewer titles on the topic in suburban mall stores. Conversely, you are more likely to find a greater selection of parenting and relationship books in the malls, rather than downtown.

Stores carry only 40,000 to 80,000 of the approximately three million books currently in print (available for sale). So the books you see on the shelves are the ones that are selling well. Make notes on books that are on your subject (or close to it). Things like what the titles and subtitles are, book sizes and lengths, types of covers, and prices are important information to be aware of.

2. Check online book databases. Online book databases, such as amazon.com, list all the books that are available in print as well as out-of-print books. Make a subject search and print out the results. Note the publication dates. Also, make a search on your book's working title, if you have one.

At Amazon, readers evaluate books. Record how many stars each title has, the sales rankings, and how each book is selling against the others in its category.

3. Research magazines on your subject. Resources such as the Standard Periodical Directory and Gale's Newsletters in Print can be helpful resources.

Ask a reference librarian for the collection of Publishers Weekly. Periodically, PW devotes entire sections to specific genres. These sections will tell you what is happening with books in this field and will list most of the books about to be published.

4. Run your book idea past bookstore proprietors and librarians. Bookstore proprietors usually know what is selling and what the buying public is asking for. Librarians have a wealth of knowledge about book subjects; what is popular and what is not. Most will take an interest in your project and will suggest more references.

5. Surf the Internet. The Internet offers an abundance of information. Type in keywords, and the list of sites containing articles, blogs, books and authorities on your subject can be almost endless.

When it comes to researching your book's topic, the detective work can be great fun. One piece of information is likely to lead to another - and the knowledge you gain will be invaluable when you begin writing.

[This post was created from excerpts taken from Writing Nonfiction, by Dan Poynter.]