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December 2011

The Best Advice for Anyone Starting to Write a Book

Writing a book can be similar to many other projects - it is something you build one step at a time. As you begin your book writing project, here is the best advice that will help you stay organized and keep your project on track.

Make your book writing project portable by placing it in a three-ring binder and carry it around with you - always!

Set up your binder with dividers for each chapter. Make up a list of possible titles and subtitles. Then draft your back cover sales copy. As you book project unfolds, you will more easily be able to fine tune titles and sales copy. Put a sketch of your cover on the front of your binder and your back cover sales copy on the back.

Insert your front matter pages - title page, copyright page, table of contents, foreword, about the author page, disclaimer, acknowlegements, etc. - in the order in which you want them printed in your book in your binder.

It is hard to put time aside to write. But we all encounter unexpected bits of time throughout our day - perhaps a few minutes after lunch, waiting in an office for an appointment or riding public transportation. When these times occur, you can get out the binder and work on your book. Also, with the binder under your arm, the project will be constantly active in your mind.

A successful book writing project starts with first building the shell of your book and then filling in the sections.

[This post was created from excerpts taken, with permission, from Successful Nonfiction, authored by Dan Poynter.]

Ten Great Ideas That Will Make Your Book Signing Event Pay Off

A book signing event at a local bookstore can be a great way to begin your local promotional efforts, but it takes careful planning to make it pay off. Here are some tips that have worked for other authors.

1. If you are contacting an independent bookseller, chances are you will usually speak with the owner or manager. It's a good idea to work several months out, as bookstores can be booked as much as five months in advance.

2. Find out if the bookstore already has your book in stock. Chances are it won't, so offer to send a reading copy with promotional material. Stamp it "Review Copy" so it won't be sold. Then follow up in about a week to be sure it arrived and to schedule a signing and mini-seminar.

3. Find out whether the store will order your book for stock or if you should bring copies.

4. Ask if the bookstore has a media list you might use. Some authors have found this helpful in locating newspaper, radio and television contacts.

5. Spend some time determining what kind of invitation list you can put together. Go to your database and locate fans, friends and colleagues within a fifty mile radius. If you have postcards (and you should), send them with a note about the date, time and store location along with a personal " Hope you can make it" message. Plan for the postcards to arrive about a week before the event.

6. Have your book cover enlarged to an 11 x 17 inch laminated poster and put in on a stand-up easel. This works well for signings as well as speaking engagements.

7. Write a brief news release with the signing specifics to give to the store for their store newsletter.

8. Create three to four benefit-oriented announcements that store personnel can read the evening of your engagement to encourage people to come meet and hear you.

9. Develop a short bio that the store coordinator can use to introduce you before your speak.

10. Create a book sales flier to hand out at the store that contains a photo of your book's cover, a paragraph explaining why potential readers must have your book, a brief author bio and both the store and your contact information. Depending upon the subject matter of your book, there may be other establishments that would allow you to post your flier - so don't rule them out.

It's a proven fact, the more planning and preparation you put in to your book signing and speaking events, the more successful they will be.

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


If You Plan to Write a Children's Book, Here's Some Great Information

Some beginning writers think writing for children will be easier than writing for adults. Children are pretty sharp - and their attention span is usually much shorter. If you are planning to write a children's book, here are some things you need to consider.

Women buy 82% of all children's books, and half of those books are bought as gifts. Nearly 40% of the books are bought by mothers. Hardcover children's books currently are priced between $14-15.00  (if your book has a dust jacket, you will need to charge more), while softcovers are priced between $7-8.00.

According to Publisher's Weekly, children's books fall into the following categories: 27% are picture books, 17% are books for babies and toddlers, 20% are for younger readers, 19% are for middle readers and 17% are for young-adult readers. It's important that you decide which category your work falls into.

Generally speaking, children's books are considered 50% text and 50% illustration, so any royalties received will likely be split between the writer and illustrator. For example, if the royalty is 10% , then the writer and illustrator would each get 5 percent.

Children's books tend to have a longer life than books written for adults. Sales of children's books tend to start off slow and build over time. According to USA Today, October marks the beginning of a steady climb in the sales of children's books toward the holidays.

And finally, in writing your children's book , be upbeat and send a positive message. So often, children's stories center around mistakes and punishment, which sends a subtle message to a child about not taking risks for fear of harm.

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