Thursday, January 31, 2008

Plan To Make A Bestselling Book

There are endless discussions inside publishing houses as well as among would-be authors about what it takes to create a bestselling book. I've written about it a number of times in these entries on The Writing Life such as here and here and here. I have written about it other times and if you want to see those entries, please use the search tool in the right-hand column of the blog.

There is no single path to achieving a bestseller book. The marketplace isn't totally predictable and if it were, every single publisher would be making bestsellers (which is not happening). Yesterday I wrote about THE PUBLISHING GAME: PUBLISH A BOOK IN 30 DAYS. Reiss has another excellent book which is focused on how to make your book into a bestseller.

Fern Reiss has made it her personal mission to become a publishing expert. She shows off this expertise in THE PUBLISHING GAME, BESTSELLER IN 30 DAYS. Much of the information and resources and advice in this book is unique and ONLY in these pages. For the author who wants to sell books (and I would hope that is every author), it's like gold to learn the topics that Reiss includes in this book. For example, she writes, "in the next 30 days, you'll learn how to get your book into bookstores, corporations, book clubs, catalogs, and the hands of the public."

Whether your book is self-published or a traditional publisher has released your book, as the author, you need to be involved in the selling process. As Reiss explains in this book--you need a plan. Get this book and begin to plan your steps to becoming a bestselling author.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Win At The Publishing Game

Several years ago at a small writer's conference in the Phoenix area, I had the opportunity to meet Fern Reiss. After talking for a few minutes, neither one of us had plans for lunch so we ate together. From those first moments, I appreciated her knowledge about the publishing world. In fact, at this event with limited attendance, Reiss had a packed room of participants for her publishing seminar. I didn't really understand the reasons until much later when I read The Publishing Game, Publish A Book in 30 Days! She knows publishing inside and out. Why because she's had a starred review of her books in Publishers Weekly and sold her book to chains and other details which I have not done in publishing--at least at the time of this writing.

At first, I wondered about her book title, The Publishing Game yet it makes sense. To play a game and win, you have to have a plan and a strategy. It's also true in publishing where to be published and sell loads of books at a profit, you need a strategy. And if you want to self-publish, then the odds are really against you having success because of the publishing system. There are numerous examples of poorly created self-published books. Retailers have had poor experiences with reordering and the business aspects with these books. Readers (including me) have had terrible experiences with poorly created self-published books. The publishing system is geared toward traditional publishing with recognized publishers, normal ordering techniques, etc. Where do you go to learn the system?

There are many different ways to learn this system. You could take a course such as at Stanford Publishing with great expense. Do check out their free video clips with great information about publishing issues in their blog. Or I'm suggesting you study The Publishing Game and study every page of it.

Here's what I will tell you about Reiss's book: many people want to self-publish a book but fail to learn the publishing business from the inside out BEFORE they take the plunge. They end up with a garage full of products which they can't sell. Don't go down that path. Instead purchase The Publishing Game, Publish A Book in 30 Days! And then follow each of the steps in this well-crafted book.

On the surface you may smile at the name of the publisher, Peanut Butter and Jelly Press. Yes that is the name of Fern Reiss's company but she knows the rules and holds nothing back in this book. With straight-forward information and solid resources, Reiss guides the reader to producing an excellent book which will be accepted in the traditional channels.

Why would any reader following this advice achieve such acceptance when most traditional sales channels like bookstores don't want to have anything to do with self-published books? Because Reiss takes readers through the rigorous process of traditional publishing with resources for editing and proofreading along with the details about how to get your book reviewed and considered in the bookstore channels and book club markets. This author knows her stuff--because she has successfully published using this methodology.

Reiss has served the whole publishing community with this title because she encourages every would-be author to pursue excellence in each aspect of the publishing process. Whether you are a seasoned author or brand-new to publishing, you can gain from the detailed information in this book. I recommend it.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Reading Lists & Destination Bookstores

While I've read a high volume of books for many years, I don't have a reading list. Do you? I was fascinated to see the article in The New Yorker about Art Garfunkel's reading list which he has faithfully kept for almost forty years. As Nick Paumgarten points out the Garfunkel Library begins in June 1968 then chronologically lists 1023 books that Garfunkel has read.

If you check out the list you will see that Garfunkel is committed to reading classics and reading for pleasure. I loved this quote about his commitment to reading: "I read for the reading pleasure, not for the gold star," [Garfunkel] he went on. "Reading is a way to take downtime and make it stimulating. If you're in the waiting room of a dentist's office and don't want to twiddle your thumbs, you turn to Tolstoy."

I identified with this statement since for many years I've used spare moments any place to pull out a book and plunge into the topic. Yet the idea never crossed my mind to keep track of the various books which I've read. About the only time I can think of even using a reading list was during my final years of high school. I used a college preparatory reading list to give me ideas for classics and books which I read for pleasure but also wove into my high school assignments. It was a good step and gave me some needed exposure to those books before college.

Besides this article where Art Garfunkel is declared the King of Reading, my local newspaper included this article about nine destination bookstores (which I found repeated in the Chico, California paper using Google). The diversity is fascinating and I've only been in two of the nine stores: The Tattered Cover in Denver, Colorado and Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon. Each experience was special and unique. I agree with travel editor Beth J. Harpaz about getting list in Powell's bookstore. You do need a map for the complicated twists and turns in that place.

For many years, I've read about The Strand in New York City and actually stayed near Union Square for the American Society of Journalists and Authors meetings but going to that classic bookstore did not get into my plans. I'm eager to see if I can get to it in April during my next trip to New York City.

My point in this entry about The Writing Life is to point out the necessity of being committed to reading books on a regular basis and if you reach one of these destination bookstores, to poke around inside them.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Commit To Make Progress

Did you see this news from the Association of American Publishers? They just released their November statistics. In terms of change, one of the strongest categories was Ebooks which rose 36.4% with sales of $2.5 million. I continue to read from various sources that we are in the early days of the Information Marketing on the Internet. Maybe you are only considering jumping into the Ebook area. It has been a successful area for me with my Book Proposals That Sell and also with my Writing For The Christian Market.

One of my mentors in this area has been Bob Bly and following his Internet Marketing Retirement Plan where he invests minimal effort in his Internet business each week. I've heard him say it's measured in an hour or two and earns considerable profit.

Sounds nice you say but I don't know where to start or how to get there. The Internet Marketing Retirement Plan gives step-by-step resources with nothing held back. I have a problem with some of these products because you get them and they are mostly fluff and don't have enough content to give you value for your time. This program isn't like that but is loaded with specifics--provided you follow through and take action on those specifics.

Some days you may wonder if you are moving ahead or standing still. I understand and have those days at times but I'm committed to making progress and moving ahead with my various projects. You can do the same for your writing life.

Keep learning new insights and skills. For example, from something that flew across my desk this week, I learned that if I type the word "time" followed by a major city in the world into the Google search engine, it will instantly give the time in that location. For example, you could type: "time London" and the first item will be the time in London, England. This week I received an overseas call which was set for a certain time here and a certain time there. Because I used this Google tool, I correctly estimated that I had been given the wrong time by an hour. Yet when this call came an hour earlier than planned, I was prepared.

Whatever you are facing in your writing life, make a commitment to keep making incremental and measurable progress. Eventually you will get there.

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sell More Books On Amazon

Last November at the Florida Writers Association, I participated in an editor / agent panel before the whole conference. I took one of the end positions in a table across the front of the stage. Brent Sampson sat next to me. I listened carefully as he spoke during the panel and his comments rang with experience and wisdom despite his youthful appearance. It was the first time I'd ever heard of Outskirts Press where Brent is the President and CEO.

Since that conference I've looked around Outskirts Press. Brent and his team have produced some solid marketing tools and information for writers. Whether you use his services or not to produce your book, it's well worth knowing about from my view.

If you want to learn to sell more books on the largest online bookstore on the planet called Amazon.com, then I recommend you get a copy of Brent's book, Sell Your Book On Amazon. He practices his own techniques and writes with the voice of experience and authority. With step-by-step insight, he will teach you the secrets of moving more books through Amazon.

While the words on the cover of this book positions it for print-on-demand and self-publishing authors, I see this information has a broad application for writers with traditional publishers. No matter who publishes your book, the author needs to take a proactive stance in the marketing arena and use all of the possible tools at their disposal to garner sales and attention. Sampson has provided great tools and information in this book for any author. If you are rushed to read this book (as many of us), the author introduces the tactic ranking system where he rates the various Amazon marketing techniques according to how valuable they will be in terms of generating profits for the author. Even if you take thirty minutes a week to practice some of these tools, you will increase your visibility on Amazon and that visibility is the first step to additional sales. I enjoyed Sell Your Book On Amazon and will be referring to it often in the days ahead. Brent has served the whole writing community with this effort.

Speaking of someone who serves the writing community, next month Mark Victor Hansen will lead another Mega Book Marketing University in Los Angeles. As I can personally tell you, these Mega Events are unlike any other conference for writers. I highly recommend it. If you want to get a taste of the speakers and Mark then check out the free preview calls. I listened to the first one last night. It's another way to grow as a writer right in your home.

The tools like Sell Your Book On Amazon are readily available. I'd encourage you to faithfully grow and use them in your own writing life.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Do You Have A Long-term Strategy?

When it comes to hitting a goal or a target, there is a saying, "If you aim at nothing, you will be sure to hit it."

Do you have dreams about where you want to take your writing in the future? Many of us have dreams and ambitions about publishing but do you have a strategy which you are working to achieve that dream? Where do you find experienced advice in this area?

For many years, I've known Annie Jennings who leads the national PR firm, Annie Jennings PR. Several years ago, we met at one of the American Society of Journalists and Authors conferences in New York City. Annie has a wealth of information for writers and publishers about reaching the marketplace. As USA Weekend magazine journalist Peggy Noonan says, " Annie Jennings does a wonderful job of grasping the essence of the story and finding exactly the right people."

What a wonderful endorsement but how do you get on Annie's radar as an expert? Tomorrow or Thursday, January 24th, you can take the first step in this process. It doesn't matter if you have never been published or you are a seasoned and much published writer. Take advantage of this free resource.

I'm hosting a 90-minute teleseminar with Annie Jennings about how to become a million dollar expert. Not even close to becoming a million dollar expert? No problem because you will learn the strategy, mindset and the marketing from Annie.

This informative session is absolutely free. Use this link to sign up and ask some questions. Also in appreciation for filling out the form, Annie Jennings PR will send you a personal copy of her blockbuster new CD called "Create The Optimal PR Strategy."

And if you can't make tomorrow night's session, it will be recorded. Every registrant will receive the information about how to get the replay (which you can download to your iPod or listen to any time on your computer). But to receive this information, you have to register. I look forward to this valuable session with Annie Jennings.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Value Of Publishing Experience

Where can a writer turn for good advice? It's hard in the world of competing voices to find someone with a great deal of publishing experience to recommend to others. Often I see it in the writer's conferences. Someone has published one book or even five books and suddenly they become an "expert" and are teaching at various conferences yet they've just burst on the scene. I've attended some of those workshops and words like surface and shallow spring instantly to mind. It's one of the criteria that I use when I go and listen to someone else teach about publishing. I'm looking at their credentials and experience because I know firsthand the lessons from publishing are continual.

In the nonfiction area of book publishing, it is a challenge to find fresh teaching. Why nonfiction? As I've written about in the past, if you study the numbers of books sold from traditional publishers, nonfiction substantially out sells fiction hands down--year after year. I've watched many writers gravitate toward fiction because they believe it's "easier." Basically they are fooling themselves with this line of reasoning because fiction is not easier. Overall there are less fiction slots than nonfiction and many more people trying to write fiction than nonfiction. If you choose to write only fiction, then you are intentionally targeting the most crowded area of the marketplace within traditional publishing. That's my case for nonfiction in books so back to my original question, where do you turn for some seasoned advice?

The publishing marketplace is diverse and no single individual has all of the answers or insight. Yet I've read a terrific resource, You Can Write! by Sheryl Fullerton & Naomi Lucks. Several years ago I met Sheryl, executive editor at Jossey-Bass, at a writer's conference. You can see more details in the "About Us" section of their website You Can Write. Look around this site because it's another resource to know about and study.

You Can Write! is loaded with sound wisdom and I want to give a small example. In Chapter 13, Fullerton and Lucks give the Nuts and Bolts of Book Proposal Format and Style. A sub-section is called "Take a Good Last Look" and they suggest hiring a professional editor before you send out your proposal and sample chapters. Then say, "If you can't afford to or don't want to hire a professional editor, go over the whole thing very carefully yourself. Ask a couple of intelligent friends to do the same and invite their candid comments (and sharp-eyed proofreading skills). Here are a few things to watch out for:

-Look for obvious mistakes--we all make them. Missing words, typos, and other common errors are easy to miss when you're familiar with your proposal.

-Use your computer's spell-checker, but don't count on it. Your spell-checker doesn't know if you meant "there," "they're," or "their," but you do."

Then they include three more valuable insights but you get the point. This book is loaded with insight and the voice of experience. It is well worth your time to read and study it.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

A Clever Romantic Comedy

I'll admit something in unusual for a man. I love almost any romantic comedy. My wife and I have been waiting for the release of 27 Dresses and watched it this last weekend. It is a clever romantic comedy and the writing is sharp and fascinating. It may seem unusual to comment on the writing in the opening but many people forget that any good story line in a movie is always based on a good script. This one shines in my view because it's based on one of the common themes of a romantic comedy--the search for true love.

You've probably heard the saying, "Always a bridesmaid and never a bride." Jane has been in 27 different weddings but never married. There is considerable variety in the 27 types of weddings and dresses. It was fun to see how Jane handles the wedding for her younger sister then the twists in the story for the ending. I'm not going to spoil it for you but I'm recommending it if you like these types of films. James Marsden plays a key role in 27 Dresses along with the lead actress Katherine Heigl. Marsden is also in the Disney film Enchanted which we've seen twice and has such a happy innocent theme that my wife is talking about going a third time.

I found both films engaging and worth the time.

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Friday, January 18, 2008

Conquer Your Gadget Fear

As our technology improves, each of us have new gadgets to learn and new computer programs to figure out. Sometimes I'll admit that I'm as reluctant as the next person to change something which is working and not broken. The old is comfortable and we resist learning something new. Whenever I face such a situation (and it happens often), I attempt to plunge in and learn from it.

For example, yesterday I managed to use my quick tap and connect it to my Speech Recording R-9 Recorder that I purchased from Mike Stewart at Mega Book Marketing University. I've used my recorder a great deal--but not the quick tap which connects my phone to the recorder. I got the quick tap from Mike but there were no directions which isn't surprising since Mike has been hooking up these sorts of things for many years. A quick Google search found some instructions. I tried it and still could not get it to work. I had to call the company and get a tech on the phone. My problem turned out that I wasn't using a plain handset phone. You can't use the quick tap with a handset which has a keypad. When I changed out my phone and hooked up the wiring, it worked perfectly. Something simple was preventing me from using this device.

Last month, I looked into changing my cell phone for the first time in several years. I'm on Verizon, one of the largest carriers in the U.S.. My wife and I both have the exact same phone. I learned about a free function called Back Up Assistant. You have to download the program on your phone and set up an account on the computer with Verizon (password and pin stuff but simple). Why do you want to use Back Up Assistant? Because once a week, it automatically backs up all of your cell phone data on the Verizon computers. If your phone gets lost or destroyed (hey it happens), you have not lost your information.

There are even greater benefits to use Back Up Assistant. While I can do it, I’m not eager to text in someone’s name for a new phone number. I'd rather type it on my computer or cut and paste it into place. With Back Up Assistant, you can enter phone numbers on your computer, then update your address book and send those numbers to your cell phone. I've got my phone and my wife's phone both set up with this system.

Last week, I got a new cell phone number for a family member. My wife wasn't even at home but I logged on to her phone book, added the number and sent the new information to her phone--without even telling her. It's handy technology that's sitting right out there for you--if you have a Verizon phone.

Most of us would prefer to stay with the tried and true but there are some huge advantages if you go with the changes and conquer your reluctance.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Publishing Route For Some

With a glance at my background, you can see that I've always been committed to traditional publishing. It's an ongoing part of my work to continue training authors to successfully craft their book ideas for the biggest possible publisher. It's why I love writers and have been continuing to answer their proposal questions through my new Ecourse, Proposal Secrets and other products like Editor Reveals Book Proposal Secrets and Book Proposals That Sell.

Many authors get frustrated with the slowness of the traditional system. Even after a book is contracted (which takes a lot of time for some projects), the publishers like to have the manuscript in house for a number of months before they "release" the book. The time factor allows the books to be sold into the various distribution channels yet can take months. Increasingly some of these authors are turning to self-publishing. Yet many self-published authors produce materials that flounder in the marketplace because of lack of attention to detail--like a basic foundation of good writing then getting the book edited and carefully proofread. I've seen many self-published books which fall into this category and it's one of the major reasons that brick-and-mortar bookstores don't carry these books (in most cases--and yes there are some rare exceptions). Other authors jump into self-publishing with no background in marketing and no ready-made audience to purchase the self-published books. They wonder how they will ever achieve their dream of holding a printed book in their hand.

In recent days, I've been learning about another publishing route that some people are taking. I read Aaron Shepard's excellent book, Aiming At Amazon. Shepard gives step-by-step instructions to by-pass the traditional route. Using his technique, you can forget about seeing your book in a brick-and-mortar store because he encourages his readers to target the largest online bookstore on the planet, Amazon.com. His book has TWO subtitles: The NEW Business of Self Publishing or A Successful Self Publisher’s System for Profiting from Nonfiction Books with Print On Demand and Book Marketing on Amazon.com. He explains in the book that he is quite intentional about those two subtitles and how they are picked up through the Amazon system.

With the route Shepard advocates the individual forms their own publishing company, writes and produces their own book and prints the book using Lightning Source. Why do you have to become a publisher? Because Lightning Source doesn't deal with individuals but only publishers. If you are concerned about the quality of print on demand from Lightning Source, I would not be concerned because they print quality books. Also the same parent company who owns Lightning Source also owns Ingram Book Group, the biggest wholesaler in the U.S. As Shepard says, "Almost every bookstore in the country, along with many libraries and schools, orders books from Ingram." People can get your book from Ingram. Here's one of the keys from Shepard, “And because Amazon draws book data directly from Ingram's electronic catalog, you are guaranteed that Amazon will automatically list your book. What's more, because Amazon regularly uses Ingram for drop shipping, all Lighting titles are normally listed on Amazon as in stock or available within 24 hours, even if Amazon doesn't have its own copies at the time.”

With Print On Demand, you don't have to order thousands of books to make it cost effective. Instead you order what you need when you need it. Lightning Source is the same company that many traditional publishers and self publishers are using to actually print the books. Effectively you cut out the middleman and produce your own books with this system. To learn more about POD and Lightning Source in particular check out this article in the January 14th issue of Publishers Weekly.

Now there are some cautions: 1) you have to make sure you have excellent writing as a foundation for success. You still have to work hard to shape your idea into something readable and targeted for a specific market. Without this foundation, you can still produce a lousy product. 2) you have to understand that all of the book production elements will be on your shoulders. You have to use an outside editor and proofreader (or at least you should take this step). Also you will either have to learn or outsource the actual book layout, cover and interior design. 3) you will have all of the marketing for your book.

If you have a speaking ministry or an Internet newsletter or another means to reach a particular audience, you may want to consider this publishing route. You will be surprised at the quality of the printed product. You would have trouble picking it out on a shelf of books from any other paperback.

As you can see from what I've written Shepard recommends this POD route for nonfiction books. There is a fiction book which is sweeping across the public with incredible word of mouth sales. Maybe you’ve heard of this book, The Shack by William P. Young. It is a self published novel which is going like wild fire. The book published in May last year and they've spent about $200 on advertising and the rest is word of mouth with thousands of sales. You can check their website to learn more and this podcast with the author.

Last month over the Christmas holiday, I read The Shack and was riveted to the pages. It was one of those novels which I could not quit until I reached the final pages (a rare experience for me with the volume of reading that I've done over the years). You can click this link to see my Amazon review but the book is an unusual reading experience and teaches incredible lessons for the reader. Eugene Peterson author of The Message endorsed the book on the cover saying, "This book has the potential to do for our generation what John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress did for his. It's that good!" I agree and could not have said it better. Get a copy of The Shack and see for yourself.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Two Free Teleseminars For Authors

I'm constantly learning new ways to sell books and want to help other authors to accomplish great sales with their books. One of the most cost effective ways for you to learn about new aspects of marketing and communications is through teleseminars. I held a paid teleseminar last week but some of these events are free. You may have to call into a particular phone number but with flat fee rates in the US, it is basically free training (except for your time) and you don't have to travel anywhere or pay a conference fee. I wanted to mention two opportunities that are coming up fast—in fact Thursday, January 17th.

The first opportunity is January 17th, Steve Harrison, the publisher of Book Marketing Update is holding a free teleseminar with Matthew Bennett (use the link to register). Last fall Bennett and Harrison held a day-long live event on this topic. I was intrigued with their information but was going to be at another seminar at the same time. I ended up talking with Bennett on the phone for a few minutes. If you don’t know, Matthew Bennett is a self-published author who's relatively unknown to the general public. Yet he's sold over 5 million books in quantity to Fortune 500 corporations including Disney, Reebok, NBC, Abbott Labs, Pfizer, US Healthplans, Subway and innumerable others.

You'll hear how, as a single guy living in California, he wrote a book called "The Maternal Journal." He sold more than 3 millions copies of that book alone to companies like Ross Labs and Babies 'R Us. These companies offered the book as an incentive to increase sales. He'll also reveal:

--How he's used this strategy to sell millions of books AND raise over $1 million for charity.

--The top three reasons it's often easier to make one huge sale than it is to make small ones.

--How even shy, introverted writers can sell a boatload of books to big companies.

--The three things you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO ARM YOURSELF WITH before ever pitching your project.

--Matthew's five secrets of how to identify and reach the right person at the right company to sell truckloads of your books.

--How to never pay a printing bill again with your own money! You'll learn how to get paid BEFORE you print your books!

--Three proven ways to avoid wasting months (and sometimes years!!) on your project.

--How to get nonprofit organizations to endorse your book (he's gotten endorsements from such organizations as American Heart Association, March of Dimes, and American Diabetes Association!)

Again, to register for Thursday's call with Matthew, go here now. I've signed up for this free call tomorrow—and I wanted you to know about it.

For the second teleseminar (and actually two teleseminars rather than one), my friend and colleague, Ellen Violette, The eBook Coach is giving not one but TWO free preview calls for her upcoming Get Going! Teleseminar Coaching Program where she is going to teach people who to create ebooks with NO writing and sell them helping them to create a 6-figure income using teleseminars! (And Ellen isn't just talking about it, she's done it herself!)

This Thursday, January 17th, 2008 5:30 p.m. Pacific/ 8:30 p.m. Eastern she'll be discussing "Answers To Your Most Burning Questions About Teleseminars and Creating eBooks with Teleseminars. (When you register for the call you'll be taken to the page where you can ask your burning question.)

And on Monday, January 21st, 2008 5:30 p.m. Pacific/ 8:30 p.m. Eastern she'll show you how to start creating an eBook with NO writing! This is information nobody else is teaching! For details use this link. Even if you don't think you can make it, register so you can hear the replay lines for both calls.

I know firsthand about Ellen Violette and her excellent teaching. I met her last year at Mega Book Marketing University in Los Angeles and Ellen participated in my recent efforts for Proposal Secrets. You can see if you go to this page and scan down into the bonus items.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Book Title Confusion

I groaned when I spotted the fiction review in a recent issue of Publishers Weekly. The third novel in Melanie Wells series of thrillers from Multnomah Books (a division of Random House) releases next month and bears the title, My Soul To Keep. Why the groan? Because I knew the title would be confused in the marketplace.

Over the Christmas holiday, I read an excellent novel from Davis Bunn called My Soul To Keep (Bethany House Publishers). The Bunn novel came out in August 2007. I loved this novel and believe it is powerful storytelling and wrote a brief review on Amazon.com to support the book.

It’s often said in publishing that you can’t copyright a title. While true, publishers often do lots of checking to make sure they have selected a unique title. Even those people with the best intentions make mistakes from time to time but the result is simply market confusion.

Several years ago, I recall sitting in a title meeting where we were batting around different possibilities for one of our books for the publisher. The group settled on the title, Leap of Faith. I raised the issue that Queen Noor had a new book with the exact same title. These books had different subtitles but who goes into the bookstore and asks for the book with a subtitle? No one.

The objection I raised was quickly dismissed that the Queen Noor book would long be gone from the public by the time the publisher book was released. (It wasn’t and even came out in paperback with roaring success.). In fact, if you search on Amazon for “Leap of Faith,” you will find a number of books including a novel from Danielle Steel with this title.

Do publishers make mistakes in this area of publishing? Absolutely and because in traditional publishing, the publisher selects the title, often it is outside of the author’s control. Here’s another little bit of information I remember from when we selected Leap of Faith for the title. This particular author did not propose a “must have” title. She threw some words on the paper of her proposal without real strong reasons for that particular title. It sent the team into a search for the perfect title instead of rallying around her pre-selected title.

The best course of action for an author is to create the best possible title for their book along with several alternatives of equal attractiveness. It will give your book title the best possible chance of making it through the various stages of the publishing process. It’s unfortunate when two books have the same title because in my view it confuses the market.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Good News For You

Last Wednesday night, I hosted a teleseminar with eight publishing professionals who are top editors and agents in different aspects of publishing. I was intentional about the mixture of people, publishers and types of writing. The teleseminar was completely unscripted and I know a brand-new experience for several of my publishing friends.

Let's face reality. These publishing experts are busy and hard to reach. I asked each one to spend ten minutes with me on the phone talking about one book proposal or manuscript which attracted them from the beginning. I also asked each one to point out one of the key errors writers make when they approach them. Each of these eight people had the same questions and our conversation was completely unscripted. If you listen to the call, you will see each person arrived at a specific time. And then we talked and they said good night. After the call, I sent each of the speakers the edited teleseminar so they could hear their colleagues (if they wanted to do so).

In addition, I asked each of them to send any document they had about creating an excellent book proposal or pitch. Not everyone had something to send but I compiled the material into a study guide to be used in advance of the teleseminar. It turned out to be 65 pages of excellent advice and insight for writers of all levels of experience.

While I've been in publishing for over twenty years, I was amazed at what happened during this teleseminar with eight different perspectives. Each person brought a different type of proposal. Some of them referred to a nonfiction book proposal and others talked about a fiction manuscript. Each one pointed out a different aspect that attracted them and brought value to the overall experience. Also each one pointed out a different error or mistake that many writers make when they approach them. The result was something with broad appeal in the book publishing landscape. It wasn't focused on the Christian market (some of it is) nor totally focused on the general book market (some of it is).

And if you missed the experience, I've got good news for you. I’ve turned this call into a permanent product. You can still get every part of it but you don’t have to wait for the live event. Instead you can download it instantly to your computer or iPod and see for yourself what I'm talking about from last week. The value of this teleseminar far exceeds the price. I hope you will check it out.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Excitement Builds For Teleseminar Event

On Wednesday evening, January 9th, I will be interviewing eight top publishing professionals about what attracted them to a particular book proposal or book manuscript. The excitement is building as people register for it. It's not too late for you to register at this link.

It’s left me little time for writing these entries about The Writing Life. I've learned the hard way that if you are going to put together one of these events, then you need to do the behind-the-scenes work to make it successful. If some detail isn't right, it can bring huge problems.

One of the keys to holding a successful teleseminar in my view is to include a study guide. This guide can be as simple or as complex as you want to make it. I've created one for this event and it is on the confirmation page for people to download and prepare for the teleseminar. Beyond space for notes from the various speakers, I've asked each one if they had any background material about book proposal creation. Several of them gave great material. My study guide for this event is 65 pages and added tremendous value to the experience.

As for what will be said during the teleseminar, I have some ideas but no specifics. It will be a give and take conversation about the characteristics of successful book pitches with each participant. I'm eager to see what we learn from the conversations. In between the conversations, I'm going to be encouraging the listeners to learn more about Proposal Secrets and the value built into each of the 50 answers. Here's another one of the banners, I've prepared for this course:


Hope to see you at the teleseminar.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Start 2008 With A Bang

I don't know about you but I have high expectations for the new year. But I have done more than simply dream about what I want to happen. I've been putting shoe leather to my plans. I've been working on one of my most complex product called Proposal Secrets.


For example, this banner is just one of several that I've had created for the product. What in the world is Proposal Secrets? It's an ecourse to answer the most frequent questions that would-be authors have about book proposal creation. I hope you will go to the website and check out every word on the page about the product. Notice an image of an audio postcard on the page and a little link next to it? It's a sample of what you will get with proposal secrets. The link opens a postcard where you will hear me answer a frequently asked question--but wait there is more--notice underneath the recording buttons, there is a link to the transcript. I'd encourage you to download this transcript. It gives the written version of my audio teaching.

Some people are audio learners while others prefer to read and re-read something and highlight it as they read it. You can use both methods of learning with Proposal Secrets.

Besides my hard work on the product, I've done something extra with this material--I've gathered terrific bonuses which will add even more value to this product. I've checked out these various bonuses and they are items which will help any would-be author.

What's the best way to launch a new product like Proposal Secrets?

I'm eager to get the word out to as many people as possible, so I'm holding a live teleseminar on Wednesday, January 9th with five editors and three literary agents. I hope you will check out the landing page for this teleseminar--and the various participants. These individuals represent many years of publishing experience and they will be talking about the characteristics of a book proposal or manuscript which they caught their attention and they championed to publication. The principles will help any author learn about what they need to do when they pitch their book idea.

I've got great dreams for what’s ahead in 2008. I love what Cynthia Kersey at Unstoppable sent out in my email today. She sent a quote from Robert Collier who said, "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."

Hope you will participate in the January 9th teleseminar.

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