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November 2013

The Basics About Researching Your Book Topic

Before you get too deeply involved in the actual writing of your nonfiction book, it's critical that you research your topic. The purpose of doing book research is to (1) make sure there is a market and potential demand for what you are writing, and (2) gather material for your book. To help you in your research work, here are some tips that might be useful.

Bookstores. Visit a few bookstores with a notepad. Large stores have a wideer selection. For example, downtown stores may have a greater selection of business books, while stores in the suburbs may have more books on parenting and relationships. Be sure to visit neighborhood bookstores as well. 

Look on the shelf where your book would be. Think: If someone were to see this book, would they also be interested in my book? 

Online. Log on to an online store such as Amazon.com. and search for your category of book. See all of the books in your field. Make notes regarding books that are close to your project. At Amazon, readers evaluate books. Amazon also provides sales rankings to tell you how books are selling against each other. 

Magazines. How many periodicals serve the group(s) you want to sell to. If there are a lot of magazines for your audience, there may be a lot of potential buyers for your book. Also, some of these magazines may be good resources to solicit book reviews.

Associations. Look to see how many clubs and associations may comprise potential buyers.

Stores. It is highly possible that you will sell far more of your books through specialty stores than bookstores. Look for stores that you believe your potential buyers would frequent.

Events. Where do your potential buyers voluntarily come together because they have  like interests? What events do they attend? Relevant conventions and other events are good places to sell individual books and to make contacts.

Research such as this will enable you to get a good feel for what has been published in your topic area and what hasn't been done, what is selling and what is not, as well as how much you can charge for your book. Conducting your research early on in your book project will enable you to get started in the right direction.

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

9 Ways to Build An Author Platform

By Bobbi Linkemer

A new buzzword in the book publishing business is "author platform." Your platform is your sphere of influence, your ability to sell books to your market. It is organic: it grows over time. And it is valuable. If you can answer the following questions, you can build your own platform.

  1. Are you a celebrity or a household name? Have you been in the news? Are you a CEO of a well-known corporation?
  2. Are you a professional speaker? Can you attract audiences, and do they pay to hear your presentations?
  3. Do you have a popular blog or website that reaches thousands of people? Do they follow or subscribe? Do they leave comments, and do you respond, thus creating a dialogue?
  4. Do you have a way to capture email addresses and build a large list of subscribers - an e-zine, a newsletter, or regular promotions with free give-aways?
  5. Do you podcast to a large and enthusiastic audience? Can you promote your book to them?
  6. Are you on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube? Do you have lots of network connections?
  7. Are you already a published author with an established readership? Did you self-publish your book or books and market them effectively online or in the bricks-and-mortar world?
  8. Do you belong to organizations or associations related to your topic? Do you know other members? Can you access the membership list?
  9. Do you have raving fans, former students, clients, friends and family members who will not only buy your book , but also tell everyone they know how great it is?

These questions offer a great opportunity for you to examine how strong an author platform you may already have. If you answered yes to any of them, you have the beginning of a powerful platform. Keep building it!

[This post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com.]

Do You Need A Book Agent to Promote Your Book?

Many of the larger book publishers will no longer accept a book proposal unless it comes from an agent. While agents don't guarantee that your book will be published, they can ensure that it gets a reading. They also will advocate for you throughout the process. You can find the right agent, if you know where to look.

A good place to begin is by looking online. The Association of Authors' Representatives, a not-for-profit organization of qualified literary agents can be a good resource. Other print directories, such as Writer's Guide to Book Editors, Publishers and Literary Agents can also be helpful. Also, some hardcover and trade paperback publishers produce catalogs, which often include agents' names and contact information, that are sent to booksellers, libraries and sales representatives.

How can you get media exposure? If the media are hyping your book, chances are agents will find you. Your job is to be sure the media know about it.

Always be networking. Go where writers and agents are likely to be, such as writing classes, lectures, seminars, book signings, and conferences. Join writers' organizations. Talk to people who have published.

Also remember that literary agents specialize and have specific niches they work in. When you do your research, begin with your particular genre. 

The right agent will do the following for you:

  • Critique your book proposal and make suggestions before it is submitted.
  • Know which publishers are likely to be interested in your proposal.
  • Garner attention for your proposal.
  • Act as your business representative, protect your best interests, handle finances, and ensure publishers meet their contractual obligations.
  • Become your support system, guide and cheerleader.

In short, the right book agent can become your closest ally in the publishing process.

[This post  was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from How to Write a Nonfiction Book, from planning to promotion is 6 simple stepswritten by Bobbi Linkemer. To visit her website, go to http://www.WriteANonfictionBook.com.]


How Soon Should You Begin Your Book Promotion?

By Karen Hodges Miller

It doesn't matter whether you are using a traditional publisher or handling it all yourself, the person most responsible for selling your book is you. So, what is most important is you need to be developing your marketing plan before you has received your finished books. Here are some things you can do to jump-start your book marketing efforts.

Develop a book marketing plan. Too many authors run helter-skelter when marketing their books. They start a blog, write for a few weeks, then lose interest and quit writing. They send press releases to media outlets without learning who they should contact or doing any follow-up. They do one workshop, get great feedback but never send out more request to speak to other organizations. Don't fall into these traps. Step number one should be developing a book marketing plan to use as a guide on a go-forward basis.

Get some professional photos made. You really do need at least one well-done professional photograph of yourself. Spend the money, and get a good photograph made - something that you can use in your press kits and on flyers advertising your speaking engagements. A photo can also be used on the back cover of your book.

Put together a media kit. Create something that you can mail out to the media, be sent by email and downloaded from your website. The goal of your media kit should be to make it as easy as possible for the media to write about you.

Create promotional materials. Have your graphic designer make a bookmark, business card and postcard to match your book cover.  Have quantities printed and be ready to hand them out whenever and wherever possible.

Plan for your book launch. The time to start planning your book launch is several months before your publication date. The media will need anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to schedule articles and interviews. Depending upon what you are planning, you may need to find a location and send out invitations. You can also contact local bookstores regarding possible book signings.

And finally, what help do you need? Once you have developed your overall marketing plan, examine each of the elements. Identify what you can do yourself, and what you should hire out to other professionals.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Sell Your Book, written byKaren Hodges Miller, founder of Open Door Publications.]