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June 2011

Some Dos and Don'ts About Sending Review Copies

For many authors, sending review copies can be the least expensive and most effective book promotion they can do. The secret to getting good reviews in publications that you believe your book audience reads, is to send review copies to category magazines.

For example, if your book is about scuba diving, sending review copies to scuba diving magazines could generate a 100% response and a review. Editors like to report on new products, and their readers like to find out about new products.

Sending a review copy of your book to someone like The New York Times would be a waste of your time and money. They do not have space to mention your book, and readers of the Times are most likely not your book's targeted audience. Large city newspapers are aimed at very general audiences. You want a targeted audience whose interests match the content of your book.

The easiest way to identify where to send your review copies is to go online and make a list of magazines, newsletters, ezines, blogs, etc. that match the subject matter of your book. Do not email an editor asking if he or she wants to see your book. They are too busy to answer you. What's important is to get your book into their hands. Your book is its own ambassador and should speak for itself. You can't possibly describe your book as well as it can present itself.

When in doubt, ship it out.

And here's another great tip. Each 30 days after you have sent out a review copy, send an article for publication to the same recipient. Just take a page from your book, add a headline, introductory paragraph, closing paragraph and ordering instructions. As a published author, you are a prestigious contributor to magazines in your field. Editors will want your material as part of their content - and the value of the content is what they sell to their readership.

The bottom line? Make review copies part of your book promotion strategy.

[The above post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Self-Publishing Manual, Vol. 2, written by Dan Poynter.]


If You Are Self-Editing, Follow These Seven Book Writing Guidelines

By guest author Robbi Hess.

As an entrepreneur, your out standing in your field, right? Of course you are. As a writer though, do you know the ins and outs of grammar and punctuation? Are you sure you are using your words correctly? In the first sentence of this post, it's more likely that a farmer might be someone who is "out standing" in his field - literally. You are likely "outstanding" in your area of expertise, such as the subject matter of your book. Additionally, "your" has been used incorrectly and should be "you're" as in "you are."

Errors such as these may not seem like much, but a book or article with obvious mistakes can immediately cast doubt on a writer's credibility. Don't let lack of grammar and punctuation knowledge negatively impact your writing and credibility.

When you are writing a book, you may want a professional editor to look at your work. However, there are times when you have to become your own editor. For example, if you're posting to your own blog or website, you most likely will have to self-edit. And with many other things you write, such as a promotional piece for your book, you may also need to be your own editor.

Therefore, it's important for you to get into the habit of self-editing everything you write. To avoid missing mistakes that can hurt your credibility, here are seven editorial guidelines you would be wise to follow:

1. Edit from hard copy. It's easier to edit in a different medium from the one in which you composed.

2. Read from bottom to top. When you read from the top down, your eye and brain tend to anticipate what will come next, and you can easily glide over mistakes.

3. Eliminate or substitute for your "favorite words." Every person has a word or words that he or she tends to overuse. Look for repetition and replace where necessary.

4. Look through a reader's eyes. You know what you're trying to say, but ask yourself as you reread your material if you are conveying your message adequately to a layperson.

5. Check to see if you are correctly using words that are commonly misused. It's easy for words such as it's and its; their, they're and there; our and are; your and you're to be commonly misused. If you're not certain, seek out a second reader or the services of a professional editor. In some instances, you'll discover spell check not be your friend.

6. Check for redundancies and passive sentences. When you find them, either eliminate or rewrite.

7. Let your work sit for at lease a day. Then go back, make the changes you noted in your self-editing, reprint (if possible) and reread.

Remember, not all writers are editors. Know your strengths. Don't risk damaging your credibility with poorly-written works. And be willing to ask for professional assistance to make your words shine.

[Robbi Hess, a published author, provides editorial and writing assistance, and platform building tools to writers and authors. Her website is www.robbihess.com.]


Book1Blog Welcomes New Guest Author, Robbi Hess

We are delighted to announce that Robbi Hess has joined our cadre of contributing professional guest authors on Book1Blog. Robbi uses a combination of writing and publication skills and experience to provide counsel, guidance and hands-on assistance to aspiring authors, writers and entrepreneurs.

As a published author herself, as well as a professional editor, experienced blogger and social media expert, Robbi helps clients better define their message(s) and express it through books, websites, newsletters, blogs, and other online and print media.

Her first post, on guidelines to follow when self-editing your work, will be published tomorrow. In it, she offers some terrific tips on how to effectively edit something you have written. It will be a must read for anyone interested in self-publishing a book. We welcome Robbi and look forward to her sharing her knowledge in future posts as well.


How to Write a Best Seller Quality Fiction Book

Writing a best-seller-quality fiction book presents special challenges that are different than nonfiction books. First of all, will it be commercial or literary? Once you've determined that, read some books similar to what you want to write so you can gain a familiarity of style and audience expectation. Then consider each of these quality elements:

Plot. Developing a strong plot is the first ingredient of a good novel. Be sure it is believable and appropriate to the genre.

Characterization. Good characterization is the ability to create characters readers care about, and ones who seem real. A great tool to use is a "character sketch"; that is to create a profile for each character that identifies not just the obvious attributes such as sex, age and physical description, but less tangible aspects such as mannerisms, education, family background, political leanings, passions, pet peeves, etc.

Premise/ Theme. To ensure your message is clear, focus on a single well-defined theme - one that can be summarized in a simple sentence.

Dialogue. Conversations can add depth - but make them realistic. Ask yourself, "Do people really talk that way?" To determine if your dialogue plays well, read it aloud.

Pacing. Does your material move smoothly, or does it get bogged down at times. Remember to alternate your high points and low action so the reader isn't kept at a constant peak.

Mood/Tone. Is the mood appropriate to your theme and consistent throughout?

Tense/Point of View. Are they the same through0ut? If your book is in the present tense, don't accidentally wander into the past. Likewise, if your story originates out of one character's head, to suddenly tell how another character feels is to switch viewpoints. Although some authors can do this effectively, it can be very tricky.

Settings. Be sure you are familiar with your setting or are prepared to do extensive research so it will ring authentic. Establish the setting early so your reader can grasp what is happening.

Description. Good descriptions elevate a book from the pack. Here's a great tip. If you're talking about a place or a thing, consider giving it human characteristics. "The hotel room had lost its youth. Its floors creaked with middle age."

Sense. Create aromas, sounds and flavors with your writing. By appealing to the senses, you give your story mood, texture and color that can excite readers.

By taking the time and effort to address each of these elements, you will greatly improve your ability to create a quality fiction book.

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

 

 


Why Social Networking is a Must For Authors

By guest author, Dana Lynn Smith

Social networking has become an increasingly essential online book marketing strategy - one that authors can'g afford to overlook. It is ideal for generating word-of-mouth marketing, where your message gets passed along by others. When people enjoy a book, they often recommend it to others. This type of endorsement can be more effective than traditional marketing.

Other social networking benefits include:

  • building author platforms, expert status and brand recognition,
  • getting endorsements and recommendations,
  • driving traffic to websites and blogs,
  • subtly promoting books, products and services, and
  • getting speaking engagements or consulting customers.

What social networks do I consider are most important for authors? For nonfiction, my top choices are Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For fiction, I'd pick FaceBook and, if you're writing for young adults, MySpace.

Here are a few tips for getting the most from social networking:

  1. Be selective about which networks you join and who you invite as a friend. Only invite those who appear to share a common interest.
  2. Send personalized friend requests, introducing yourself and stating why you want to befriend the other person.
  3. Get involved in the community. Add value by helping others, answering questions and sharing knowledge.
  4. Be careful not to appear too promotional. Sending out an announcement of your book launch is fine; sending frequent promotional messages is not.

While social networking is a terrific online book marketing tool, it's also great fun to meet people from all over the world who share your interests. If you haven't already jumped onboard, get started today!

[Dana Lynn Smith is a book marketing coach and author of The Savvy Book Marketer's Guide to Successful Social Marketing. For more tips, you can visit her book marketing blog and sign up for her book marketing newsletter.]