Kathy Brace and I released our book, Born to Deliver, at the end of last year, and are so encouraged at how God is using it to touch lives and bring healing. My good friend, Molly Williamson, of Imago Photography generously offered to help us put together a book trailer that we hope will serve to spread a message of hope and redemption to even more people. Here’s the wonderful result of her creative talent and work on our behalf:
If you’re looking for a great videographer to help you put together a book trailer for your book, I highly recommend Molly!
Despite my best intentions, I have not done a very good job of keeping up with this blog. But it’s not for a lack of writing; it’s just that my writing efforts have been directed elsewhere. In fact, Lord-willing, they will culminate in the release of a book that I’ve co-authored with Kathy Brace called Born to Deliver.
Born to Deliver is Kathy’s story – one that has been life-changing for me, and we hope and pray it will be for many others as well. You can read chapter one for free on the website. And as of today, pre-orders are officially open, so if you’re dying to find out the rest of the story, just click the Buy Now button and you’ll receive one in your mailbox as soon as they arrive from the printer!
“Stop selling your books and start selling your content…in the form desire by buyers. Think of yourself as a consultant. Find out how the people in your target audience need your information. Do they want it in a book, booklet, three-ring binder, DVD, audio book or e-book? You may find it difficult to sell a job-search book to frugal college students, so re-publish your content as booklets and sell them to the colleges, who can give them to the students.”
~from 16 Tips for Selling Your Books to Businesses, in the November/December issue of Book Business
I realize it has been a whopping six months since my last post, but I wanted to assure everyone that I am alive and well! Now that running our publishing business has become part of my day-to-day routine I haven’t done a very good job of keeping up with posting new things. But I’m still learning and enjoying whatever opportunities come my way. Oh yes, and I’m writing another book. Which requires as much time as I can squeeze into my schedule!
In case you are still on the fence about whether to self-publish or go the traditional publishing route, let me direct your attention to this collection of true experiences posted by author, Alan Weiss. Just to give you an idea of what you’ll read, check out this first one:
A permissions editor told me she was holding up production because all of my permissions (to use quotes of others) were not submitted.
“I always do that thoroughly,” I told her, “you’re wrong.”
“Well, then how is it you’ve quoted the same man twice and there isn’t a single permission filed?”
“Who is it?”
When I told the editor-in-chief for business books, he said, “Please tell me you made this up.”
Incredible, huh? Incompetence in our society is pervasive, and there is certainly no guarantee that being published by a traditional publisher will net you a quality product. Of course, self-publishing is also plagued by sub-par work – in everything from editing to layout to cover design, and more. But this can be avoided! Self-publishers who are serious about producing a beautiful and high quality book can educate themselves and contract various aspects of the project to individuals with expertise in those fields. Self-publishing continues to gain momentum, and I think there is great potential for those who take the time to learn the ins and outs of the industry now.
Whenever you produce something and make it available to the public, you have to be ready for feedback to come your way. Of course, when it’s of a positive nature, this is a delightful aspect of running a business and producing materials. It’s definitely not always like that, but I am so grateful for the people who take time to express gratefulness for something that has helped them. Here are a couple of comments I’ve recently received in e-mails regarding the Journey to Self Publishing CD that I released last year:
“You and Arlen have kept me company as I’ve driven around town doing errands, and I’ve learned so much from your CD.” ~Anne O., Canada
“God bless you for sharing what you have learned about self-publishing with “others” through the CD. I received your CD from my daughter and son-in-law for Christmas and it was by far my favorite Christmas gift! I listen to your CD at least five days a week as I drive to and from work.” ~Debra W., North Carolina
If you have dreams of writing and publishing a book, this is for you! I’ve put together a Special Self-Publishing Package that includes a copy of both Journey to Self Publishing and Pajama School so that you can refer to the book as I discuss various aspects of the design and publishing process. Throughout the month of February, you can get the Special Self-Publishing Package for only $24 (plus shipping) by using the coupon code: FEB2011
It’s no secret that many people choose to self-publish because they can’t get a traditional publishing house to publish their book. Many times this is due to lack of a platform. More often it is due to less-than-stellar writing skills. A while back I was reading the blog post, Mystory, by author Rachel Starr Thomson. I was strangely inspired to discover that her latest release, Coming Day, was almost ten years in the making and went through approximately seven complete rewrites before making its debut. Rachel is a fabulous writer, and I think this is why. She knows when her work is not good enough to publish. Oh, that more writers were blessed with such sagacity!
Curious to learn more about the process of writing, editing, and bringing a book to completion, I asked Rachel to consider addressing this issue on her blog. I am thrilled that she has agreed to tackle this topic and has begun a series of posts called, When Is Your Writing Good Enough?. You can read part one on her blog for starters, but then stay tuned for what I’m sure will be a plethora of great thoughts and helpful advice for all aspiring authors! As I mentioned in my CD, Journey to Self Publishing, I employed upwards of 30 people in various aspects of editing my book, Pajama School. I’m excited because I think Rachel’s suggestions will not only provide valuable tips to pass on to editors, but may also help me reduce the number of editors to a figure as low as, say, 20 in the future…
Earn personal recommendations. A large enough initial group of people have to first read and love a book before there are enough recommenders to make a difference in the book’s later sales. Personal recommendations are earned, not created. Before that can happen, the book has to be discovered, interesting enough to buy, and a strong enough read that the reader will be moved to want to share it and recommend it. Make sure that those who are most likely to respond to a given book’s topic of story have every chance to discover and read it.
When I first received my load of books, I think I was too stingy with them. Sure, I slated some of them for review and giveaway purposes, but in retrospect I don’t think it was nearly enough. Especially as a first-time author, it takes a lot to establish credibility. Since my target is the homeschool market, I should have come up with a list of 200 influential people in the homeschool world who would agree to review my book and publish their review either on-line or in print. Instead, I think my list was closer to 25. We’ve made up for it some over the last year and a half, but there is a certain momentum when a book is first released that is forever lost after several months have passed.
So, if you’re still looking toward a future publication of your book, make that list of a couple hundred influencers in your field and be sure that your budget includes the cost of those books plus shipping. Getting your name out there is a long, grueling process, so the more you can connect with people and build a coalition to help you in this arena, the better!
According to Book Business, “The No. 1 reason people buy a new book is because it’s written by an author they like.” This statement was made in an article of Fourteen Tips to Increase E-book Sales in the latest issue of their bi-monthly magazine. Addressing the question, “Do book browsers convert to book buyers?”, writer Peter Hildick-Smith offers this tip: Play to your author’s strengths.
This is a fascinating insight, equally relevant in print books, because the number one frustration I have experienced in marketing my book – Pajama School – is that people express interest in reading it, but that interest rarely translates into sales. I knew it would be hard to break into the market as a new author, but I had no idea just how hard it would be! That’s probably why the above observation resonates so much with me.
What exactly does this mean for new authors? Apparently, somehow they have to get lots of people to like them. How this translates in practice I really don’t know. But if you have any tips or thoughts you’d be willing to share on the subject, I’d love to hear them!
After months of thinking about publishing my book, Pajama School, in a digital format for Kindle, I finally buckled down and figured out what I needed to do to make it happen. The process was simple, but a bit time-consuming. First off, you have to set up an account with Amazon’s Digital Text Platform. Why this is not integrated into the Amazon Advantage accounts I have no idea, but Amazon seems to specialize in disjointed confusion…
Once the account is set up, just navigate to the “Bookshelf” and click the button to “Add a new title.” The uploading process is very intuitive. I ended up uploading my book file as a pdf, then I downloaded it as an html file and spent several hours cleaning up the code in Dreamweaver before re-uploading it. There may be a faster way to do this, but since I didn’t already have any of my book in an html format, this was the most convenient. Once it is uploaded, it takes about 24 hours to publish it and make it live and available for purchase on Amazon.com.
I’m not into reading books on a digital reader yet, so I’m not sure how important it is to make a book available in this market. However, it’s always valuable to explore something new and expand your knowledge in a new area. So, if you are considering publishing a book to Kindle, I’d encourage you to give it a try. It’s pretty painless, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to make your book available in as many venues and formats as possible!