Monday, August 28, 2017

Have You Written a Perennial Seller?

In the last ten years, the publishing world has changed. In the past, self-publishing was the poor step-sister to traditional publishing. These self-made titles often looked poor and were not accepted in libraries or bookstores. As book production has improved, this attitude is shifting. There are still poorly made self-published books and the average self-published title sells less than 200 copies during the lifetime of the book

My bent in this area is for you to get the largest distribution and produce the best book you can produce. It's why I continue to encourage authors to create a book proposal and work with traditional publishers as well as explore other models like Morgan James Publishing (where I've worked for over five years).

While there are many ways and companies to help you create your book, at the end of the day, the key question relates to sales of that book. Is it selling? Are people buying it on a consistent basis? Are you as the author promoting your book consistently? After all, as the author, you have the greatest passion for your book—whether you went with one of the big five publishing houses or a small publisher or self-published.

One of the best ways to learn about publishing is to consistently read how-to books about writing or marketing. As you read these books and take action from the information, you will grow as a writer. I've got stacks of these types of books that I read.

Recently I learned about a new book from Ryan Holiday called Perennial Seller, The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts. Books that last and continue to sell in the market are rare. Traditional publishers are known to be fickle in this area. I have seen it when I've worked inside publishing houses (not Morgan James). You work hard to get a book published and into the market, then for whatever reason it does not sell, then a publishing executive writes a letter to the author or literary agent and takes the book out of print.

Every day thousands of new books enter the market.  Which books become continual sellers? Bestselling author Ryan Holiday has studied these details with his own books and with other books. Perennial Seller is loaded with the details for every author or would-be author to read. Ryan has a keen sense of what it takes to create an excellent book and each of his sections includes gems of information for the writer.

While many writers believe their key failure is in the marketing areas, Ryan writes in the opening pages, “Promotion is not how things are made great—only how they are heard about. Which is why this book will not start with marketing, but with the mindset and effort that must go into the creative process—the most important part of creating a perennial seller.” (Page 19)

Also for those writers who believe they can quickly crank out such a book, Ryan cautions, “Creating something that lives—that can change the world and continue doing so for decades—requires not just a reverence for the craft and a respect for the medium, but real patience for the process itself. (Page 29-30)

No matter who you are working with to get the book out there, Ryan is realistic in Perennial Seller encouraging the writer to take their own responsibility rather than feel like they can delegate it to someone else. In the section on positioning, he writes a section called “You’re the CEO” saying, “If the first step in the process is coming to terms with the fact that no one is coming to save you—there’s no one to take this thing off your hands and champion it the rest of the way home—then the second is realizing that the person who is going to need to step up is you.” (Page 67)

Wherever you are in the publishing process, you will gain insights reading  Perennial Seller. I found the book engaging and valuable—in fact, maybe a book that I will read multiple times (unusual for me). I highly recommend this title.

Whether you read Perennial Seller or not, I recommend you get the free gift from the back of this book. You subscribe and confirm to be on Holiday's email list, then you get a series of case studies which were not included in the book—yet from experienced publishing people.

Are you writing or dreaming of writing a perennial seller? What steps are you taking as a writer to make that happen? Let me know in the comments below. 


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Monday, August 21, 2017

A New Way to Locate Book Reviewers

With thousands of new books launching every day, it is a challenge for any author to get book reviews.If you read my blog, you know that I'm an advocate for writing book reviews--like these recent posts: http://bit.ly/2rIE2of or http://bit.ly/2mXsM86 

Because I've written over 800 customer reviews on Amazon, I've been regularly getting emails from authors saying something like, “You reviewed ___ book and I hope you will be interested in reviewing my book, ____.” 

Until the last few weeks, I had no idea how these emails were being generated--but I do now.  I learned about a company called Book Razor.  As an experiment, I tried their $30 package.  As a part of the process, you give them links to books similar to your book which have lots of reviews (over 4,000 total is their request)--and part of the key process where you control the results picking these similar titles. They have some program that collects email addresses of these reviewers and they send you a spreadsheet of this information (in a day or two after the submission). They give you a little email template then you write each of these people offering them the ebook version of your book and seeing if they are interested in reviewing your book.

Because these people are active reviewers, you will get a response from some of them. Now to be honest, it is a lot of work to enter their emails into your address book and write each of them. I did this experiment with my Billy Graham biography which has been out over two years and has pretty much been stuck at 48 reviews with no new reviews for at least six or eight months.

From my reading, fifty reviews is some sort of benchmark for Amazon--i.e. they do more behind the scenes if you reach this level.  I'm trying Book Razor to push and get beyond 50 reviews. I've had several people ask for the ebook version.  Also in my email, I offered the print version--and several people took me up on this offer so I mailed them a print version of the book. 

So far, I've added eleven so I'm up to 59 Amazon reviews and I expect to see several more added soon. With each review, I tout it on social media and it gives me something else to use and promote my book. I did not get a response from many of the people that I emailed and Book Razor suggests you wait a week or so then write them again. Email is not always reliable and not everyone answers their email. 

Have any of you tried Book Razor? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.  


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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Serve Libraries With Your Books - Time Sensitive

If you follow the publishing news, you are aware the physical bookstores are shrinking. This year over 240 Family Christian bookstores closed their doors.  One of the wide open areas for authors is the public library.

Libraries have:

• People who love authors and books
• Budgets to buy books
• Hold events for authors to sell books
• And much more

Yet how to you sell your book to these librarians who are buying books? In the last week, I have purchased the Real Fast Library Marketing program and I’ve been working through the various lessons. I’m about to begin actively selling my Billy Graham book to libraries using this system. I marked this post as Time Sensitive because the two-hour webinar and discounted program will only be available for a limited time (as shown through the countdown timer on the site). Use this link to watch the webinar.

Whether your book is brand new or has been out a couple of years (like my biography, Billy Graham) you can actively use this library program. It is not a quick fix and will take work. Every author can use this system and the training for their book. I encourage you to check it out.

Also, I have one more request. Two years ago I wrote a biography of Billy Graham. The book has been well-received and has over 50 reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. You can learn more about the book at: http://BillyGrahamBio.com Also I’m working on the audiobook which will soon be released.

Using the Real Fast Library Marketing program, I’ve learned how to create this single page about my Billy Graham book:  http://terrylinks.com/BGLibrary

Can you please:

1. Look at the document and print it. http://terrylinks.com/BGLibrary
2. Take it to your local librarian and ask them to consider buying the book.

The Bible says in James 4:2, “You have not because you ask not.” I’m asking for you to touch your library and ask them to order my book. Thank you in advance for your help.

Whether you have published traditionally or self-published your book, you have the greatest passion for your book. This two–hour webinar about marketing to libraries is only available for a few more days. Also use the link and scroll down to the middle of the page. You will find a 24-page FREE PDF about libraries to learn about this market. As you can see, I’m learning a lot from the course and recommend it.

Throughout this program on a repeated basis, one of the keys to successful selling into libraries is the attitude of the author.  Authors need to serve the librarians and prepare materials to show they are actively marketing their books and encouraging people to go to libraries. It is the attitude of service to libraries which will catch the attention of librarians.

What are you doing to get your books into libraries? Let me know in the comments below.

Note: Normally I only post once a week but this week I'm making an exception because of the time sensitive webinar.    


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Monday, August 14, 2017

What's Your Nonfiction Hook?

Every writer (book author or not; fiction or nonfiction author) needs a nonfiction hook--the enticement you use for media and readers. You need to carefully consider your hook because it is what you will use to build your platform, gather your tribe, get interest and interviews from the media and much more. 

I have seen many fiction novelists struggling with this area and it's partially why I'm writing this article. These writers have crafted a great page-turning novel and gotten a publisher. Each of these steps are terrific and to be applauded. Yet when you get your book published, you are only part of the way in the publishing journey. The next step is to attract readers and media and sell your book (marketing). It's where many fiction authors struggle.  No journalist in the media cares that you've written a brand new novel. You have to take the nonfiction hook in your novel and use that expertise to attract readers and media and generate excitement for your book. 

To catch a fish, every fisherman uses some type of bait on their hook. It's the same process with writers. You need to think about your bait that you use with your hook to catch the attention of readers and media. As a novelist, in the process of writing your book, you have focused on a particular nonfiction topic or subject. What is that topic? Write it down because this topic is your nonfiction hook to interest readers and media. Because you have completed a novel, you have become an expert in this area. Now use this expertise to build your platform, attract readers and media. Each novelist will have a different and unique area of expertise.

For example, Rabbi Marc Rubenstein has completed a new novel from Morgan James Publishing called Weddings By The Glass. The novel releases in February 2018 but follow this link and you can order an advanced copy from Rabbi Rubenstein. I love the beautiful cover on this book. Rabbi Marc has conducted over 3,000 Jewish weddings and is an expert in this area. Also he lives in wine country of Temecula, California and has trademarked the term “kosher wine.” Each of these areas of expertise are hooks for readers and the media. His novel is excellent (and yes I was the acquisitions editor for this novel so I'm a bit bias in my endorsement).

As a novelist, you have poured great creativity into writing your story through making unique characters and plot twists. Now that your book is completed and published, I encourage you to pour some of this creative energy toward determining then exploiting your nonfiction hook. It will help you build your audience and get attention from the media so you can tell others about your novel.

If you like this article and want to learn more, I encourage you to get my free Ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author. Just use this link and you will get immediate access.

In the comments, let me know if this article was helpful and what sort of action you are taking with your nonfiction hook. 


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Monday, August 07, 2017

Several Ideas to Face the Daily Challenge

I've been in a reflective mood and maybe it comes from passing another birthday this coming week. As I grow older, I begin to understand why the Bible calls that our days are fleeting. Each of us have the same 24 hours in each day. The key detail is how we use this time. 

As I think about the challenges of each day, I understand several facts:

1. Everyone has interruptions. Yesterday I spent several hours at the Apple Store because my wife's iPhone 5C was having screen problems.  At the store, we upgraded her phone to an iPhone 7 Plus and it took several hours that I was not planning on spending. These types of unexpected situations are part of our life. Yet do you wisely use the time which you do have available to you?

2. Not everything gets done. Yes on the surface I may look like I get a lot done. I do tweet almost 14 times a day with great content. Also I have over 100 new followers a day on Twitter. Yet the bulk of my day is spent as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, talking with authors, emailing authors and others about their books.  Despite the things I accomplish in a day, I know and understand that not every email is answered. Not every phone call gets made or returned.  As an editor, I work hard at customer service, answering key concerns and returning calls—but there is still more to do.

I have magazine articles to write and books to finish and websites to update. If I paused to make a list, it would be endless and to be honest I'm assuming that you have a lengthy list of things to do as well which and while you chip away at it, everything does not get done.We have to live with this fact.

3. Use the right tools to have the best results. Through trial and error, I've learned to use different tools on my phone, different computer programs and other ways to cut down on time and get things done. For example, when I travel, I continue to write on my AlphaSmart 3000 which I purchased years ago on Ebay for about $30. The AlphaSmart is not connected to the Internet, runs on batteries and holds large volumes of information with a full size keyboard. This tool is not right for every writer but it is one that I've used repeatedly to get my writing done.

Are you experimenting with different tools and programs to see if they help you get more done in a shorter amount of time?

4. Balance is important. Every one of us need to have a certain level of balance in our daily lives. Have you listed your key goals and priorities? Just the act of writing these goals can be a great first step. Then have you broken those goals into small steps that you can accomplish? 

As I think about the big picture of my own life, I have a number of things which are a key part of my day. I need Time for Faith (reading the Bible and prayer each day). I need Time for Family (the connection to my wife and children—even if they are grown children). I need Time for Work. I also need Time for Health ( and I build exercise into almost every day). I need Time for Relaxation (yes some of you may find it hard to believe but I go to movies, I read for fun and I watch television). Finally I make Time for Friends. Admittedly some of my days are out of balance but it's part of the way I'm wired and working to attempt to have some level of balance in my life and work.

These are my ideas to help you face the daily challenges of life. Are they helpful? I hope so. Do you have other ideas? Tell me in the comments below. 


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