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October 2012

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Write a Nonfiction Book

by Bobbi Linkemer

There are as many reasons to write a nonfictionbook as there are books. But before you start to write, here are three questions you should ask yourself.

1. Why do you want to write your book?

Whether you are truly an authority on a subject or not, just by writing a book, people will assume you must be. When you know your topic and want to share what you know with others, a book is one of the best ways to do it. High profile business professionals often write books to pass along their business philosophies and practices to the next generation of leaders; to articlulate their personal visions, or to apply the hard-won lessons of their lives to the broader context of business society, academia or government.

2. What's holding you back from writing it?

Is it that writing a book is an overwhelming project? Perhaps you're not sure where to begin. Or is it that your plate is so full, so simply do not have time? All big projects can seem overwhelming when you view them in their totality.

To write a book, you must develop a plan and execute it one day at a time - taking it one step at at time. Anything you do for the first time has an element of mystery, simply because you have not done it before. But a visit to any bookstore will clearly demonstrate how many thousands of people have solved the mystery.

3. Do you have what it takes to write a book?

First it takes desire. Do you really want to write this book? You must be excited about your topic, and believe you can keep that desire alive through every step of the process. A nonfiction book takes months to plan, research and write. Self-discipline is mandatory. And support and guidance from a writing coach, a good editor, a book on writing, or even a writing group can make all the difference between going on and giving up.

[Bobbi Linkemer is a book coach, ghostwriter, editor and author of 17 books. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs and individuals. To visit her website, go to http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com.]

How to Get Media Attention for Your Book

It is not uncommon to hear people complain that local newspaper, television or local radio stations pay little or no attention to them. Often, however, what becomes evident is that they have either made one or two half-hearted attempts and given up or have blanketed every outlet they could think of with a press release so general that it gave no information.

The first thing to remember about the media is that it is not one amorphous blob. Each separate newspaper, each magazine, each television and radio station has its own special niche audience and its own special way of targeting that niche.

To successfully interact with the media, here are eight steps you need to follow.

1. Do your research. Start with online research of local and national media outlets. Check with your library. You'll discover literally thousands of opportunities.

2. Find the right person to contact. Newspapers usually have a variety of editors, from city editors for hard news to sports editors and feature editors. For television and radio, often it is the producer who chooses the guests.

3. Don't forget the internet. Internet radio shows and book blog reviews are becoming an important part of book marketing.

4. Develop relationships. The best way to get an article into a newspaper is to get to know an editor or reporter. The same holds true for magazines, television and radio.

5. Return phone calls promptly. The media are always on a deadline, so if you are contacted by a reporter, take the time to talk to him or her.

6. Follow up on your press releases. A follow up means a personal phone call. Ask if they received your release and if you can provide any additional information.

7. Learn the deadlines. Each medium has its own deadlines. Radio and television are sometimes one day or less. Website newspapers, blogs and magazines can also be quite short. Print publications are usually longer.

8. Learn the format for press releases. Your release should follow the standard format, be no more than one page and have your contact information easily found at the top.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Sell Your Book, written by Karen Hodges Miller. In addition to being an author, Karen is an editor and publisher for entreprenuerial authors.]

Promoting Your Book To Libraries

If you plan to sell your book to libraries, in addition to your ISBN you will need to obtain a Library of Congress control number or LCCN. The LCCN should appear on the copyright page of your book.  The purpose of this number is so a library can locate your title in the Library of Congress Online Catalog and, if they wish, download its data and description for their electronic databases.

 Many libraries subscribe to the cooperative Online Computer Library Center, the worlds largest and most comprehensive catalog of bibliographical records, or they just plug the LCCN into a search engine.

To get an LCCN, you must complete the Application to Participate to first obtain an account number and password. Then follow the instructions to submit your title information. You should receive your LCCN within a week. You may also speak with a representative by calling the Library of Congress.

Another useful numbering key allows libraries to shelve your book more speedily. It is called the Cataloging in Publication Program (CIP) and is not available to self-publishers. However, small book publishers with at least three authors and three separate titles, and a proven track record of being "widely acquired by U.S. libraries" have a good chance of getting into the program. In fact, more than 40 percent of today's CIP publishers are publishing fewer than five titles a year.

Self-publishers can pay a fee to Quality Books, the major library supplier for independent presses, to have them create a special data block of information, termed Publishers Cataloging in Publication (P-CIP). Doing so, however, can label you as a self-publisher and may "turn off" some library decision makers.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]


Five Rules Every New Author Should Follow

If you are a new author, the process of taking your book writing project from planning to promotion may feel like an obstacle course. But it needn't be, if you follow these rules.

Rule #1: Create an explanation of your book and its main benefit in a single sentence. Think of this sentence as your foundation. This is an important exercise because it forces you to focus on your topic and capture the essence of your book in a brief statement. It's a promise to your readers about your book's purpose, content and benefits.

 Rule #2: Before you write, have a plan. Many first-time authors incorrectly think that one begins a book by sitting down at the computer and just "letting it flow." The truth is that, by the time you reach the point of actually writing, you should have done a whole lot of thinking.

Rule #3: Every writer needs a professional editor. Here is some of the things an editor will do for you: clarify your concept; plan and organize your material; read for content, consistency and style; check for grammar, punctuation and typos. In short, they catch mistakes you and everyone else have missed.

Rule #4: Understand your publishing options. Here are the six most common publishing options: traditional publishers, self-publishing, POD/subsidy publishers, co-publishers, independent publishers, and electronic publishers. Learn about each and pick the one which is right for you.

Rule #5: Marketing starts at the beginning of the book writing process. Identify what you want your marketing efforts to achieve. Map out at least three strategies in which you are going to reach your objective. Under each strategy, list specific actions you will implement. And finally, block out some time to concentrate on your marketing plans.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from an article written by Bobbi Linkemer, a book coach, ghostwriter, editor and author of 17 books. Her clients include Fortune 100 companies, entrepreneurs and individuals. To visit her website, go to http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com.]