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January 2014

Successful Self-Publishing - 20 Must Do Action Items

By Bobbi Linkemer

The following are 20 self-publishing actions items that need to be on your must do list.

1. Start with a great book title and subtitle. You're going to need it every step of the way.

2. Have your book cover designed by a graphic designer who specializes in books.

3. Go to your favorite bookstore and look at book covers. What grabs your attention? What feels good in your hand? Share your impressions with your book designer.

4. Write a book marketing plan that includes what your want to accomplish, strategies for how you plan to do it, specific tactics or actions you will take, target dates, and estimated costs.

5. Create a promotional piece or brochure.

6. Put together two mailing lists - one for snail mail and one for email.

7. Create a blog to keep people informed of your progress and establish yourself as an expert on your topic.

8. Choose a name for your publishing company.

9. Download or send for copyright form CO-instructions and file the forms with U.S. Copyright Office. Even though your work is automatically copyrighted when you write it, this is an added protection.

10. Check into the need for local business licenses and apply for them, if necessary.

11. Secure an ISBN from R. R. Bowker. 

12. Have your manuscript edited and proofread before it goes into design.

13. Send out advance review copies of galleys to appropriate publications and reviewers.

14. Request and obtain testimonials to include in the book, on the cover and in your promotional materials.

15. Research your options on printers and obtain competitive quotes (using the same specs.).

16. Decide how you want to handle storage and distribution.

17. Do a promotional mailing.

18. Set up a "press or media room" on your website so that media can find the information they need in a form they can use.

19. Write and submit articles on your subject to print publications and online article sites.

20. Consider alternative ways to repackage your content and develop spin-off products (CDs, DVDs, reports, mini-books, podcasts, ebooks, website content).

There is little doubt that becoming a successful self-publisher is a big job, but also one that brings creative autonomy, satisfaction, and profits.

[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.]

What a Great Tip! Use Your Cover to Promote Your Book

If your book is either a soft cover book or a hard cover book with a dust jacket, here is a terrific suggestion that might save you a lot of money on book promotional materials. 

While your book printer is printing your book, have him print what is called an overrun - an additional quantity - of your book's cover or dust jacket. Because the press is already set up and running, your costs are likely to be incremental. The price you have to pay can be a great bargain when compared to full-color sales literature. And for a few bucks more can have the flaps trimmed off your dust jacket to create a dynamic book brochure.

And here is an added tip. To get additional mileage out of your cover or dust jacket, go to your neighborhood printer and have him print your table of contents, ordering information, etc. on the reverse sides. Voila! You're ready to do business. In some instances, you might be able to negotiate with your printer to print some book covers or dust jackets early - as an overrun of sales material - so you can have very professional-looking, advance promotional materials for your book.

Quite possibly, for a small expense, your book cover as a brochure can become an ideal promotional tool.

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

What is Front Matter in a Book?

By Bobbi Linkemer

Front matter is the information about a book that appears at the beginning in "front" of a book's basic text or chapters. The following explains the specific elements that usually comprise front matter.

Copyright page. The copyright page usually contains information such as the book title, the author's name, the copyright date, a paragraph explaining copyright rules, the country in which the book is printed, the ISBN, a Library of Congress number, the publisher, its location, and contact information.

Forward. A forward should be written by someone other than the author and is particularly powerful when an expert in the field writes it. If the writer is a person with a recognized name or title, you might want to mention "Foreward by name" on your cover.

Introduction. Think of your introduction as a practical guide to using your book. It should explain what the book is about, why it was written and how it should be read. If you are expressing a point of view that will enhance the reader's understanding, include it in your introduction. This is your chance to explain your rationale.

Preface. The preface is written by the author and explains why and how you wrote your book. It can tell your story in a very personal way, if you wish.

Acknowledgements. Few of us write our books without help, no matter how well versed we are on the subject. There are hundreds of ways in which assistance is given, from people willing to share their expertise and knowledge to editors who turn your rough prose into pearls. Those who helped you deserve to be recognized, and the acknowledgement page allows you to do this.

To gain a better understanding of front matter, visit a bookstore and read some of the front matter material from several books. This should give you a good idea how other authors use front matter to enhance their books.

[The majority of 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.]


The Importance of Your Back Cover

The back cover of your book can be the most important book promotion space you can find. Use it for your primary promotional message. To be successful, it should make promises and stress compelling benefits to the potential buyer. The following identifies some of the key elements that should comprise your book's back cover.

Category. Listing the category/subcategory on the back cover of your book will ensure that your book will be easy to find, because the bookshop personnel will place it on the right shelf, and the website that carries it will more likely position it in its proper place.

Headline. Create an arresting headline (do not repeat your title) that potential buyers can relate to and identify with the book.

Description. Concisely, in two to four sentences, state what your book is about. What will the reader gain by reading your book.

Bulleted promises or benefits. Promise to make readers better at what they do. Pledge health, wealth or a better life. Focus on who your audience is and what that particular group wants.

Testimonials. Testimonials, forewords, endorsements and quotations sell books because word of mouth is one of the most powerful forces in marketing. 

Author bio. Show that you are the ultimate authority on the subject. Just two or three sentences will do. Remember though, you have the opportunity to write a whole page about yourself in the front matter of your book.

Closing copy. End with a sales closer in bold type. Ask the browser to buy your book. Use something like "This book has enabled thousands to...and it will show you the way too."

Before you start writing the text for your back cover, a great idea is to visit a bookstore and look at the back covers of many books. You'll not only see how different authors treat their back cover, but also how they position the information they present.

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