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November 2012

3 More Questions You Should Ask (Yourself) Before You Write Your Nonfiction Book

By Bobbi Linkemer

In our post of October 29, we posed three questions you need to ask yourself before you write a nonfiction book. Here are three more very important questions you also need to consider.

1. How is your book unique, special or important?

There are probably many other books on your topic. You need to know what they are, how your book is different or better, what void in the market your book fills, what problem it will help solve, how readers can benefit from reading it, and why anyone would buy it.

2. What makes you uniquely qualified to write it?

You may not be a bonafide expert on your subject, but there are things you can do and should consider to show how you are qualified. Show how your credentials relate to the topic. Consider your relationship to your subject matter. Why does it interest you? Is it a memoir, or a personal recollection? An outgrowth of your education or work experience? A topic you have thoroughly researched? A philosophical or spiritual exploration? In short, why are you the best person to write it?

3. Who is your audience?

Don't make the mistake of writing a book you believe "everyone" will want to read. You must have a clear picture of your reader in mind. Build an audience profile. Is your book gender-specific? Is it targeted to a certain age group, education level, income bracket, or social class? What do your readers do for fun? What newspapers and magazines do your potential readers buy? What movies do they attend? And, most importantly, what types of people would benefit most from your book?

The better you understand how your book is special, why you are the person to write it, and who will most benefit from reading it, the greater level of success your book will have.

[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.]

10 Things to Do Before You Finish Your Book

Rule number one in book marketing is, "begin marketing your book even before you finish writing it." To emphasize this rule, think about what filmmakers do. How many months ahead do you usually see advertising for a new movie that is coming out? Take a look at the ideas listed below. See which ones you should start to work on today.

1. Email signature. This is the most basic advertising you can do. As soon as you have chosen a title for your book, add it to your email signature.

2. Word of mouth. Tell people about your book. Tell family, friends, co-workers, even strangers. It is amazing what the phrase, "I'm writing a book on..." can do. You never know who you might be speaking to. Tell the world about your book.

3. Facebook and Twitter. If you haven't started social networking, do so today! If you have a Facebook page, start posting about your book. Talk about the process, post excerpts, announce your book launch date, etc. As for twitter, post regularly.

4. Update your profiles. If you are on networking sites such as LinkedIn, make sure you add your book information and links to websites where it can be purchased.

5. Do you have a blog? A blog gives you the space to post longer excerpts and can increase your credibility and name recognition.

6. Start an email newsletter. An e-newsletter is an excellent way to keep in touch with people in a more formal way than through social networking.

7. Get an ISBN. An ISBN is the single most important thing you will need, to effectively sell your book, both on websites and in stores. Go to www.bowker.com to learn more.

8. Get a website. Your website should include a page that specifically promotes your book and links to where your book can be purchased.

9. Put a pre-order form on your website. Make sure you are clear about when the books will be available and what day you will begin to ship.

10. Develop your lists. Once your book is ready for publication, you will want to send out press releases, media kits, etc. To do this effectively, you will need lists. Start a contact database today.

Regardless of where you are in your book project, it is never too soon or too late to start planning your book marketing.

[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.]

5 Great Ways to Maintain Book Promotion Momentum

Maintaining a high energy level when promoting your book can, at times, be difficult. But there are actions you can take to make the challenges easier to overcome. Here are a few ways to create book promotion momentum that perhaps you have not thought about.

1. Developing a support system of your peers can make a lot of sense. Networking with other authors and small publishers can provide mental stimulation, emotional comfort and a source for getting your questions answered.

2. Find a writing group or publishing association in your area, or organize one if none exists. The collective promotional ideas will amaze you. You may also find someone willing to serve as an informal mentor.

3. Capitalizing on contacts is a surefire way to expand awareness of your book. Alert friends, relatives, acquaintances, and business associates about your "new baby." They may know someone who produces a local TV show or be able to put you in touch with an organization that might be interested in making a bulk purchase.

4. Tell the main newspaper in the city of your birth that a native son or daughter made good. If your parents, children, brothers or sisters have influence in their hometowns, see if you can ride on their names to get mention in newspaper columns or maybe even create feature stories or author profiles by telephone.

5. Donate your book to charity auctions. It's a "giving to get" philosophy that can build title recognition and goodwill. Charitable donations always reflect positively on the giver.

Anything you can do to get people talking about your book is like money in the bank. The most baffling and elusive element in a book's success is word of mouth.  Statistics bring this point quickly into focus. In a recent poll that asked why individuals bought a certain book, 4 percent of the respondents said it was because of an ad they saw. Book reviews fared only slightly better.

By contrast, 27 percent purchased because they were familiar with the author, and another 26 percent because a friend or relative recommended the book.

So when it comes to maintaining momentum, some of the not so obvious tactics may prove to be the best type of action to take.

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