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BookBaby’s Independent Authors Conference 2017

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BookBaby’s Independent Authors Conference 2017

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Writers, authors, newbies, and experts – BookBaby’s first-ever Independent Authors Conference is coming to historic Philadelphia November 3-5 at the elegant Sonesta Hotel in downtown Rittenhouse Square. You and hundreds of your peers will enjoy a weekend full of insightful keynotes, interactive workshops, networking opportunities, and personal discussions with self-publishing experts from around the country. Join us at the only conference dedicated to helping independent authors publish successfully.

Register today!

 

 

BookBaby Independent Authors Conference
November 3rd-5th, 2017
Sonesta Hotel, Philadelphia

Over 3 exciting days, 15 industry leaders will host over 20 workshops that address these and other questions about self-publishing and the current climate of the publishing industry:

  • How do I reach my ideal readers?
  • What’s missing from my book marketing plan?
  • Should I self-publish or shop my book to big publishers?
  • When’s the best time to publish my book?
  • What does it take to build my author brand?

BookBaby Announces Speakers For Independent Authors Conference
The BookBaby Independent Authors Conference is the only writing conference dedicated to helping independent authors publish successfully. From Friday, November 3rd to Sunday the 5th, writers and authors – beginners and veterans – will gather at the Sonesta Hotel in Philadelphia for a weekend full of workshops about learning and improving the skills independent writers need to succeed, including effective writing techniques and strengthening your book marketing and promotion tactics.

 

18 Uniquely Philadelphia Attractions: Your IAC Extracurricular Planner
Beside its being the birthplace of democracy, there’s lots to know about Philadelphia: the country’s first daily newspaper, The Philadelphia Packet and Daily Advertiser, started here in 1784; it’s home to America’s first zoo; and Philadelphia is also home to the first hospital and medical school in the US. And there’s a whole lot more: a thriving cultural scene, incredible restaurants, dozens of historic landmarks, and countless ways to enjoy yourself.

Independent Authors Conference: Sharpen your self-publishing skills! November 3rd-5th at the Sonesta Hotel in Philadelphia

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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Writing Tip: Conflate

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Do you know that word – Conflate? Conflate means to combine or blend things, to fuse them into a single entity.  It’s a helpful nonfiction technique where you merge several events or conversations or relationships and present it as one single event or conversation or relationship. It allows you efficiently to cover a span of time without boring your reader to death with the blow-by-blow details when all they really need are the pertinent points.

Spare Your Readers the Unnecessary Details

Let’s say, for example, that you had umpteen conversations with your spouse about adopting a child over the course of two years. In the first conversation, you might have talked about the possibility of adoption. And you talked about that for a number of months. Then you moved on to where you could adopt a child and had numerous discussions about foreign vs. domestic adoption, older child vs. infant adoption, same race vs. other race adoption. These conversations took another several months. Finally, after two years, you made the decision to pursue a foreign adoption of an older child.

Do you need to drag your readers through all those conversations and decision points?  Maybe and maybe not. It depends upon the purpose of your book. Let’s conflate writing tipssay your book is about helping a foreign-born child assimilate into a family and culture that doesn’t look anything like them, and how to be your child’s advocate to overcome the unique obstacles they will face.

Does the reader really care about the two years you spent discussing adoption, or do they want to get to the purpose? My guess is they want the meat of your message, not your method of arrival.

So how do you handle those two years of discussion? Conflate it! Use Dialog to convey all the pertinent information, and boil it down to a couple of conversations. Here’s how you might approach it:

“I think it’s time we face the truth. We probably aren’t going to give birth our own child, but maybe we’re not supposed to.”

“It’s hard to give that up.”

“I know, honey, but we’re not getting any younger. What if we changed course while we still can? We’re not too old to adopt. I know the process takes awhile, who knows how long? If we want to have a child, I think we ought to consider this. To move in a new direction.”

“I don’t know. Maybe you’re right. It’s practically impossible to find a baby here, so I don’t know if that would be any better.”

“What if we aren’t looking for a baby? There are a lot of children who need a loving home, maybe we should think about rescuing a child, not searching for an infant.”

“One of the women in my support group showed me a picture of the orphans in Haiti. They gathered them  together after those earthquakes, but there aren’t enough adults to take care of them. One little girl – she looked about seven years old – she had the brightest eyes, but her smile, it wasn’t right. Like she knew she had to smile for the picture, but only her mouth moved. She looked really, really sad.”

You can CONFLATE two years of the backstory of how this couple decided on a foreign adoption into a single conversation, and move the action forward.

Tell Your Story Like One of the Great Storytellers

Here’s another example of conflating. Let’s say you are a teacher, and you have had numerous students with a mild form of autism. Your book is about the socialization of the classroom, and over time, you’ve learned how to help these special needs students open up and relate to their classmates. Why not illustrate that through the eyes of ONE child, not four dozen children? Why not show the experience through a single set of eyes, give that child a representative name, and use a single character to demonstrate your teaching methods?

Does this seem dishonest to you? Insincere maybe? Well, if it does, then consider this. All the great teachers were story-tellers. Jesus, Aesop, Buddha, Indian Tribal Chiefs. They taught their people valuable lessons by telling stories. Were the characters in the stories real or did they conflate a number of people or people types into one representative character?

You tell me. Who was the Good Samaritan? Who was the Prodigal Son? Does it matter? Did you learn anything about human nature through Aesop’s fables, even though the characters were animals? Are the lessons any less valuable because you can’t attach them to a specific person?

When you conflate, you tighten your writing and move your story forward. It takes practice, but your story is worth it!

 


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Author Feature: Helen Gennari-Helping Domestic Violence Victims

Domestic violence against women continues to be one of the biggest problems in our country. Sometimes it’s obvious who these victims are, and other times she might not “look” like your average victim. Domestic violence victims come from all races, and all social, education, and economic classes. They could be someone you see in your own neighborhood.

These victims are not just abused physically, but emotionally, verbally, financially, and spiritually. You might be thinking, why don’t they just leave their abuser? It’s not as easy as you think. Many times, they’ve grown up in in a cycle of violence that began in childhood, and it follows them into their adult life. The feelings of being unworthy and undeserving were ingrained in them as children, and many of them witnessed horrors in their own home.

Take a look at some of these statistics:

  • 1 in 4 women will be victims of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 3 women are murdered every day by a current or male partner in the United States.
  • Over 4 million women experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year.
    Helen Gennari

    Helen Gennari

  • 8 million: The dollar amount working women lose every year due to time off from the job because of the abuse perpetrated against them by current or former male partners. The loss is equivalent to over 32,000 full-time jobs.

(Source)

Meet Helen Gennari: Author, LCSW, MSW

Helen Gennari is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and advocate for abused women who has taught and counseled many women toward self-empowerment. She offers compassionate guidance and hope for healing, especially to women who have grown up with family violence. She believes that abused women can be more than survivors–that they can return to their true selves, replace the patterns that kept them imprisoned, and thrive as whole happy people. After working with Woman’s Place in St. Louis, a shelter for abused women, Helen was confronted with her own issues, which led to writing a book she initially never planned to write.

Hope and Help for Abused Women

helping abused womenWhen Helen first came to us with her book, she already had much of it written but needed some help to pull it all together and get it ready for publication. Her book: From the Heart of an Abandoned Daughter: My Personal Journey Through Family Violence and Beyond is her personal story about growing up with and surviving family violence, and how to work through the emotional aftermath. We are honored to have been a part of this journey for Helen and are humbled by the countless women that she helps daily. This book is a must-read for anyone affected by domestic violence and/or childhood family abuse.

If you or someone you know has an autobiography or memoir you would like to write, please contact us today and we can help make it happen!

 


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What Type of People Do We Work With? Memoir & Autobiography Writers

I often find myself reflecting about the legacy I’ll leave behind. I am blessed and beyond grateful to have experienced love, success, and the joy of having children and grandchildren in my life. But like many of you, my journey hasn’t always been filled with sunshine. I’ve had trials, tribulations, and problems that I’ve had to endure like anyone else. It was in some of my darkest moments that I learned many lessons about life for which I’m forever grateful. And it’s those lessons that I hope to share one day with not only my family but the world.

Over the last few months, we’ve highlighted a few types of clients that we work with: business leaders, femaleprenuers, public speakers, and coaches. This month, I’m excited to highlight our Autobiography and Memoir writers. If you’ve experienced some of life’s greatest challenges and learned some valuable lessons along your journey, you have a message inside you that can change lives, save lives, or transform society.  

How to Write a Memoir

Your story deserves to be told – and, in fact, I believe it is your duty to tell it. Most aspiring authors get caught up in how to approach their memoir and become overwhelmed before they even begin. Below are some tips & tools, including some I’ve developed for you, which will help you share your truth.

“An autobiography tells the story of a life, while memoir tells a story from a life,”

-Gore Vidal

Developing a Concept for Your Memoir

A memoir captures a period of time or a set of events within your life, rather than cataloging your experience from cradle to grave, as in an autobiography or memoirbiography. In order for your memoir to have an audience beyond your friends and family, you need to develop a solid concept that helps bridge the space between your life and that of your reader. Publisher Sharlene Martin once said, “Your memoir needs a solid concept for the book that invites the reader’s concerns into the experience of reading it, instead of just saying, ‘Let me tell you all about wonderful me.’” Consider the elements of your story that are universal and find ways to write them that will invite your reader to imagine and consider their own life through the lens of your circumstances.

Make it Memorable

Nonfiction books can be as memorable as their fictional counterparts through the use of sensory language that conveys how you felt, what you saw, heard, smelled, and tasted during the pivotal moments you present. I often tell my writers to close their eyes as they begin to write a pivotal scene in their memoir – to take themselves back to the place, the time, and the emotion of the moment. Once you’ve transported yourself back to that moment, open your eyes and write your first draft. Once you’ve gotten it onto the page, go back through and look for ways that you can vary your language to make it richer, more interesting. Break out your thesaurus if that helps!

The Market for Memoirs

Memoirs continue to be a steady seller among book genres, enjoying a 15% increase in sales from 2013 to 2015, according to Publisher’s Weekly. Those that can be aligned with a universal theme of timely interest or that can be aligned with an organization, a cause, or an event tend to sell best.

According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 percent of U.S. book sales, total sales in the categories of Personal Memoirs, Childhood Memoirs, and Parental Memoirs increased more than 400 percent between 2004 and 2008. Also, memoirs in Britain occupied seven out of ten bestselling nonfiction hardcovers in both 2007 and 2008.

What are you waiting for? What better time is there than now? Tomorrow is not promised, and someone needs your memoir today. When you share what you know and what you’ve learned, you become the solution. The answers are inside of you. You ARE the solution.

 

Contact us today to get started on your memoir!


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Being Your Authentic Self – Stay True To Who You Really Are

What does it mean to be your authentic self? Webster’s dictionary defines authentic as “not false or imitation,” and “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” Say it with me again: “not false or imitation.” Webster makes it sound so simple. But if you’re like me, it took a long time to just be the person I was created to be, to truly embrace my authentic self. What about you? Did you ever feel pressure as a child to become the person who an authority figure thought you should be because you felt accepted when you behaved and acted in ways that they approved? Only to discover as an adult that the person you presented to the world wasn’t really you at all, but because of an innate need to be approved and accepted by others kept up the facade anyway? I can relate because that was me. There are many valuable lessons I’ve learned in life and living a life of authenticity is one of them.

How Your Core Beliefs Contribute to Your Authentic Self

The innate beliefs that we have about ourselves can be the driving force into the decisions we make. As a child, my family moved around a lot due to my father’s corporate job. I was always the new girl and it wasn’t easy.  Every place we moved was so different. What were the rules here? Who could I trust? Who should I be?

It was important that I figure things out before I shared myself in any way. I needed to learn the rules and customs and behaviors in a new place, so I could mimic them and fit in. I became a completely different person every time we moved, and I adopted new personas to match what I saw in others. That’s when I developed my three most crippling self-defeating beliefs:

  1. If people know who I really am, they won’t like me.
  2. No one cares about me.
  3. I don’t matter.

It’s been a long time since I was twelve years old, and I wish I could say that those internal messages disappeared with my youth, but they did not. To the contrary, these became my core beliefs about myself, and they kept me in chameleon mode for far too much of my life. These negative beliefs caused me to neglect myself and my own needs, to marry an abusive husband, to work in a career that I hated, to be under-developed as a human being, and to live a life of crippling anxiety — always trying to figure out what to do, who to be, how to act.

With the help of some good therapy, journaling, and a daily practice of meditation, I’ve worked through these issues, and they no longer cripple me. But I admit authentic selfthat, on certain days, I have to work really, really hard just to justify my existence. On those days I feel like I don’t matter, that no one cares about me, and if people knew who I really was, they wouldn’t like me.

Don’t Live a Lie

When you’ve built your life on a lie, it’s hard to overcome that thinking. The lie becomes the truth, and the truth becomes a lie. I believe it’s the lies we tell ourselves that prevent us from doing the things we were meant to do and for which we are gifted. I really did spend a lot of time trying not to be me.  When I started college, I wanted to become a feature-story journalist who wrote true accounts of amazing people that would inspire others. Yet, when I graduated, I took a job as a Systems Engineer with IBM and found myself implementing solutions that required a good working knowledge of Assembler programming. I spent hours analyzing core dumps to find programming errors and working with customers on software implementation plans. The money was great and I could do it, but it wasn’t ME and I hated every minute of it.

After my children were born, I stayed at home with them until they were in Middle School, and during that time, I started writing again. My soul became free. I had finally returned to my first love and started to do what I was created to do. I later went on to get my Masters in Fine Arts Writing and the rest is well history.

Today, I am staying true to my gifts and talents of writing and am humbled how God has used those gifts to help others change the world.

 

 

 


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Writing Tip: Psychological Distance

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There’s a concept in writing called psychological distance, and good writers know how to use it.  For those of you who studied psychology, you may remember the construal level theory in social psychology, which classifies your thoughts as either abstract or concrete.

It’s a bit of a slippery concept and not that easy to define. It’s like trying to describe the word “intimacy.” Hard to pin down, but you know it when you feel it, don’t you?  Or better yet, you know it when you DON’T feel it.

If something feels very close to you, you tend to think about it in concrete terms. If something feels far, you usually think about it in a more abstract way. And that’s what we’re talking about here – whether something or someone in your writing feels close or far away.

Your readers must feel close enough to trust you. So how do you bring your readers close, how do you decrease the psychological distance between you and them? You simply make sure that your readers see the person or object in concrete terms.

Take strawberries, for example. If you had a bowl of fresh strawberries in front of you, you’d see their color, size and texture. You’d notice their ruby red flesh psychological distanceimprinted with tiny golden seeds, their bright green crown, and perhaps a stem. You might smell the sweetness of the ripe fruit and start salivating at the thought of eating one.

These are all concrete observations.

On the other hand, if you thought about strawberries in an abstract manner, you might picture a tiny part of the produce section of a massive grocery store, stacked with a few rows of something red in cardboard containers.   

To decrease psychological distance, you pull your reader in, you zoom in on your scene like a photographer would when staging a close-up shot.

Here are some tools you can use to decrease psychological distance:

  • Sensory language – use more than one sense in describing a scene
  • Use common language that doesn’t call attention to itself, mainly short, everyday words, and uncomplicated sentences
  • Showing the viewpoint character’s feelings (SHOW don’t tell)
  • Show the character react in a less-than-perfect, human way
    (eg s/he can get annoyed, feel cranky, act selfish… s/he’s not always a Hero, any more than real heroes are)
  • Use quick paced dialog. Dialog makes you feel part of the conversation and lets you get close enough to participate in the action

 

When you pull the reader in close and let them see the details, you have closed that psychological distance and will hold the reader’s rapt attention. In turn, they will want to keep reading!

 


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Book Formatting and Cover Design Make Your Manuscript… a Book

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part II of our series addresses your book cover design and how book formatting makes your book… a book.

Download your free copy today!

You can create a beautiful book, inside and out. Once you’re finished with your content, you need to make sure your book looks as good as it reads.

The cover is a make-or-break sales tool for your book

The average online book buyer will spend less than a second scanning a single cover image during the average browsing session. How will your book stand up to this near instant “yes” or “no” buying decision?

Book covers aren’t just important to authors in hopes of gaining sales. They’re important to readers, too! According to Deloitte’s research paper, Technology, Media & Telecommunications Predictions 2015, “A key value of print books appears to be their cover. Covers have been shown to drive sales; but they also send a message to those around you about what you are reading and what kind of person you are. As has been noted, ‘the act of reading a book in public conveys important information to other readers.’”

A great cover design can also speak to fans of a genre and tell a little (or a lot) about the style of writing and the genre your book fits into. Here’s a gallery of some of the standout book covers designed by the professionals in the BookBaby Design Studio.

Selling your book starts with an eye-catching design

Many authors believe that your cover is your very best sales tool. We humans are a visual species, stimulated by compelling graphics and imagery. The virtual online bookshelves are crowded, making it all the more important to stand out when it comes to your cover. And that goes for both eBooks and printed books available via Print On Demand. If you captivate readers from the outset – with the outside of your book – they’ll be drawn to find out what’s inside.

Here are three tips suggested by the BookBaby Design Studio for creating an eye-catching cover that sells:

    1. Be unique. It’s important to stand out. If you are choosing images yourself, make sure they are distinctive in their appeal. Take a look around Amazon and check out all of the other covers in your genre and make sure yours is different. Keep to one theme and don’t over-clutter. Think about what the driving message of the book is and use this as the focus of the design.
    2. Be bold, use color. Color increases readers’ attention span by 82% and makes an impression that is 39% more memorable. Strong, contrasting colors are likely to have the most impact and be the most readable.
      book formatting 80x115 thumbnail

      80×115 image

    3. Think about your thumbnail. Online retailers will usually display your book cover as an 80 × 115 pixel thumbnail, so it’s important to make sure your cover design is clear and readable at different resolutions. View your cover image at varying image sizes and make sure it looks good when it’s small.

It’s the little design touches that make a book… a book!

What makes a book a book? It starts with words. Lots of them. Tens of thousands usually. Or pictures. Or both.

Next you have to have a cover and a back cover if it’s a printed book. But beyond that, well, it gets a little hazy. Should we create a Table of Contents or a Title page or The Foreword?

For a book designer like BookBaby’s Becky Rodriguez-Smith, what goes into a book is dozens of different things, large and small, that comprise the finished product. “What we do is turn a double-spaced manuscript, given to us in a Word document, into a real book,” says Becky. “And when I say ‘real book,’ I mean we make it look professional, it can be compared to any other on the shelf of a book store. You can look at it, open it, feel it, and it looks like it was done by a major publishing company.”

That professional look is usually accomplished by a service called book formatting. But what exactly is book formatting? Let’s ask the expert

“Actually it’s hard to explain sometimes to clients what they really get from it, especially brand-new authors,” says Becky. “But once they see the finished product and see the difference in appearance, it’s very easy to understand. It might not seem like much is happening, like applying a different style to chapter heads, designing copyright pages, and maybe running headers and footers. But it’s all those design details that really make a book a book!”

Becky and the other BookBaby designers format the books and then send the author a PDF proof of his or her book for review. This gives the author a chance to make corrections and provide comments to improve the final product. “We’re not formatting in Word or using any kind of template,” explains Becky. “We use design software developed specifically to produce beautiful-looking books.”

“The designers here at BookBaby have been around for a while. This is what we do, and we want authors to trust us to create a beautiful book. We’re not going to put something out there that doesn’t make them look great!”

“We’ve learned over the years and through experience what is going to grab the attention of readers and keep it.”

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

Find your way to self-publishing success in just 5 easy steps with this 62-page book. Yours absolutely free.

 

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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Author Feature: Maryanne Dersch-Helping Nonprofits Develop their Own Personality and Attract Long-Term Donors

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When you hear the term nonprofit organization, you might think of groups like The American Red Cross, Girl Scouts of America, and Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few. All of these groups do wonderful work and have provided assistance and guidance to millions of people across the globe. But when you work for a nonprofit and are responsible for soliciting donors, you quickly realize the intricate planning and strategizing that must be executed to succeed. Nonprofit fundraising is not easy. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could attract more long-term committed donors year after year? “If only it were that easy,” you might think. With the right guidance and innovative strategy in place, it can be.

Meet Maryanne Dersch, Principal of Courageous Communication, LLC, Strategist and Resident Extrovert at 501creative

Maryanne Dersch has spent more than 25 years working in the nonprofit world, where she helps clients reach their communication and branding goals. As Strategist and Resident Extrovert at 501creative, she generates new business, gives workshops, writes messaging, and facilitates focus groups and discovery sessions. From this experience and her experience with cognitive behavioral therapy and behavior change psychology, she believes that teaching people how to communicate more efficiently requires a change of feelings, which changes their thinking and then changes their behaviors. As a leader within your nonprofit, if you see your organization as smart, stable, interesting, confident and strong, then you can begin to communicate more effectively about it to others. Look at the feelings and thinking FIRST, then the behavior.

Nonprofit Fundraising: Attract Like-Minded Donors and Raise More Money

nonprofit fundraising Maryanne Dersch

Maryanne Dersch

Because of her successful career in nonprofit branding and communications, Maryanne came to us with a book idea to help other non-profits achieve the same success. Maryanne is writing the book: Courageous Communication: How Co-dependence is Making Your Nonprofit Brand Boring and What to Do About It. The purpose of this book is to show nonprofit organizations how to stop trying to be everything to everyone and to develop their own organizational personality, so they can attract like-minded donors and raise more money. This book that can help you reach new non-profit fundraising goals will be available in 2018. Known by friends for her love of her three adoptive children, ultra high heels, extra large Diet Cokes, and very short karaoke rotations, you won’t want to miss Maryanne’s take on this topic. Mark your calendars!

If you or someone you know has always wanted to write a book, reach out to us, and we can help make it happen!

 


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Who Do We Work With? Public Speakers & Coaches

You’ll hear me say this often, but part of my purpose is to provide hope and help to other people. It’s at the forefront of everything I do, and when I work with writers to get a solution to a problem out of their head and onto paper for the world to receive, it warms my heart more than you know.  Whether we work with business leaders or femalepreneurs, I look forward to the change that their book will bring to our world.

But it’s the public speakers and coaches that we work with that have a unique goal that they must accomplish to be successful in their craft. As a coach or public speaker, you’re a different kind of entrepreneur. You have the expertise and solutions that can help others. You know how to tell a story, and you have testimonials. You’re talented, and what you have to say matters. But do other people know how credible you are? Do they know you’re an expert in your field? The truth is that you can increase your credibility and attract a following by writing your book, but without a book, you’re just another self-proclaimed expert. And we don’t need any more of those!

Public Speakers and Coaches: How to Get Published

Are you a public speaker or coach, but don’t have a book yet? If you want to know how to become an author, you’ll want to work with an Executive Book Coach. When you have a book, it establishes you as an expert, increases your credibility, and helps you attract a following. As a speaker or coach, you’ve already developed a lot of material that will be rich content for your book. The challenge is to organize that material to deliver it in book format, and to wrap it in a sustainable story format that will keep your readers engaged.

You can learn how to become an author. The first step is to prioritize your material. When you start to write your book, it’s also essential to know your audience and your market. Identifying your audience will help shape your book throughout the writing process and ensure better sales when it comes time to market and promote your nonfiction book. If you think your book is for everyone, you are setting yourself up for failure. No matter how great your message, it simply cannot appeal to every person! It’s no different when you’re giving a speech. What you have to say matters-but everyone is not your audience.

Just like in life, if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up stretching yourself too thin and the result will be a bland final product. When you identify your specific audience, you can reach the people who will be most interested in your story.

public speakers

 

Coaches and Public Speakers who are ready to take action and write a book – reach out to us.  We can help you take the next step!

 


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The Book Professor: My Lessons Learned as a Femalepreneur

Earlier this month we featured Tammy Fadler as one of our femalepreneurs. I’ve worked with many women business owners over the years, and writing about Tammy made me reflect on my own journey as a femalepreneur. It’s true. As women, we work hard, work smart, and we get it done. But we also juggle home and family responsibilities and face obstacles that men don’t always encounter. Reduced financing. Lack of support. Exclusion from the “boys club.” Scant resources.

But anything worth having takes hard work, doesn’t it? When I look at my life, the things that give me the greatest joy–from being a mother, wife, grandmother, and business owner–didn’t come without a few tears and hard work. But boy, am I glad I stayed on the journey to reap the fruits of my labor.

Lesson 1: Just Go For It

When you have an idea for a way that you can help others or improve their lives, then go for it. Use the full force of your gifts and talents to bring something new and fresh and useful to the world. It’s hard to get started when you have a great idea but no customers, but keep doing the next right thing to build your product in the most excellent way, and step by step you will achieve the small things that lead to the greater opportunities.

Lesson 2: Surround Yourself with Positive Thinkers

Negative thinking stinks. I can’t stand to be around people who can only see a problem but never offer a solution. Or people that constantly have something bad tosuccess say about your dreams and try to pass their fear-based thinking onto you. My advice is to get around positive people that will support you emotionally. Optimism ROCKS, and you will need that support as you begin your journey.

When I was starting The Book Professor, someone asked me, “Is there really a market for that? How many people actually want to write a book?” I was discouraged by his remarks because my idea was only on paper at that point, but then an answer rose up in me and I said, “I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.” If I hadn’t surrounded myself with people that helped lift me up and pour out words of encouragement during the early days, I might have sat in that pit of discouragement instead of staying on my path.

Lesson 3: Stay on the Course and Watch Your Passion Grow

When you consider the people that are considered a success, you usually don’t hear about all the bumps they endured to get to where they are. From elite athletes to billionaire business owners, it’s tempting to think that getting there was easy. I assure you it wasn’t, and the road certainly had periods of self-doubt. Questions like: “Am I supposed to be doing this?” and “Is this my life’s purpose?”  I didn’t know that my dream was to help people who aren’t writers to become authors until I started down the path. With every step I took, my passion grew until I knew that I couldn’t do anything else.  Whatever your dream is, keep taking the next right step and watch your passion carry you right into your life’s purpose!


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Writer Tip: Summary and Scene

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As a writer of creative nonfiction, you have two primary tools for telling your story: scene and summary. A scene is where your characters appear in a specific setting, do what they do, and then leave. A summary is simply a recap of something that happened. It’s your job to skillfully combine scene with summary and write a compelling manuscript that keeps your readers engaged and delivers them to the end result – the purpose of your book.

Difference Between Writing Summaries and Writing Scenes

An almost universal mistake that new writers make is that they write summaries when they should be writing scenes. It’s not that summary is bad. The problem is that they summarize (TELL) when they should actually write a scene to SHOW what is happening – yep, it’s the old show, don’t tell again.

It’s the SCENE that transforms your writing from mere theory to reality, and it’s the scene that activates the reader’s imagination. In a scene, you don’t tell the reader what is happening, what a character is thinking, or what they are like, but you allow the reader to experience it firsthand and to draw their own conclusions. A scene recreates an experience you had and lets the reader be part of it.

When you summarize instead of writing scenes, the reader misses the elements that bring the story to life — the scents, colors, tastes, and sounds of action – the sensory details. They also miss out on how the characters behave, how they act and react, how they relate to one another, how they conduct themselves. Instead of the full-color HD experience, they get the flat, monochromatic, less-than-soundbite version.  

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that summary is wrong or that it’s bad. You just need to know how and when to use it. You can’t go passive on your audience and refuse to do the hard work of writing scenes. In fact, your manuscript should ultimately be a carefully constructed story where summary connects your scenes.

Did you ever play with Tinker Toys as a child? Well, the scenes are the hub or the wooden spools, and your writing scenessummaries are the sticks that connect them. You cannot join two sticks together. If you want to put them in consecutive order, the only way to do that is to lay them down end to end. But that doesn’t really connect them. You have to have a spool to connect the stick to anything. Likewise, you don’t lay out summary after summary after summary. Just like a child will get bored with a pile of sticks, your readers need scenes to carry them through your work.

Summary is Telling. Scenes are Showing. Tell me a little, but show me a lot!

 


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self-publish

There has never been a better time to self-publish

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part I of our series addresses why this is a great time to self-publish and the importance of professional editing.

self-publish

“There’s never been a better time to self-publish than right now.”

It’s a statement I often repeat when speaking at writing conferences. The good news is that this message is being received loud and clear by thousands of aspiring writers around the world, just like you. They’ve completed the journey of taking their manuscript directly to the marketplace. From romance novels to religious books, from children’s titles to nonfiction, every author can succeed with a self-published book.

Why self-publish? There are lots of compelling reasons, but you only need four:

1. You can and will make more money. A lot more. Self-published eBooks can earn between 60% and 70% in royalties. Your printed books can earn you up to 50% in royalties when you sell direct-to-reader through BookBaby. Now, compare this with the 12% to 20% royalties earned by traditionally-published writers. You may ask, “Are self-published authors actually making money?” Yes. In fact according to recent reports from authorearnings.com, as a group, they are making MORE than traditionally-published writers.

Download your free copy today!

2. Self-publishing is fast. It takes weeks, not months or years. Your edited manuscript will be available on major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the rest within a few weeks. Meanwhile, it can take 18 to 24 months for your finished manuscript to reach the marketplace at the end of the traditional publishing process. And that doesn’t even count the time-consuming task of finding both the agent and publisher who are willing to take you on as a new author. That alone could take months or even years!

3. You retain control of your book. No contracts or signing away your publishing rights. Self-published authors are the CEOs, making the call on every aspect of their books, from edits to cover design, book reviews to promo. And finally, one reason that may be obvious and yet still very important:

4. You’re guaranteed to be published. Self-publishing is a sure thing. You WILL be published if you go this route. For many that’s a dream in and of itself. For others it’s a start to a literary career. In today’s low-risk traditional publishing environment, it’s the longest of long shots for an unpublished, unknown new author to get that dream publishing deal.

And if you are holding out in hopes of finding an agent and a traditional publishing deal, let me give you one more reason why you should self-publish.

5. The very best way to be discovered by a traditional publisher is to succeed at self-publishing. Authors can make their best first impression on agents and publishers with quality books, a strong work ethic, and practiced promotional skills. I’ve seen hundreds of examples of self-published authors from either BookBaby or elsewhere being signed by huge international publishing houses.

Professional editing is a must for your book

Once you finish your manuscript, you’re not really finished. Here are five reasons why a professional editor will improve your book.

1. Editing can turn a good book into a great book. Like housework, editing goes unnoticed unless it’s not done. Professional editing is an indispensable part of a novel’s journey to publication. Editing can transform your writing, get readers talking, reach the ears of professional publishers, and catch the eye of movie producers. An editor will make sure that the reader remembers the dazzling plot and characterization – not the problems with grammar.

2. Editors give honest, objective feedback. Lots of authors ask friends and beta readers to take a look at their novel. Most people are flattered by the request and are happy to help. While any feedback is welcome and can help improve the manuscript, friends tend to give a lot of positive encouragement. They can gloss over some of the novel’s shortcomings to avoid causing offense. However, professional editors are experienced at giving criticism. They are systematic and thorough, covering not only familiar issues of grammar and punctuation, but also matters of style, pacing, dialogue, plot twists, and fact checking (to name but a few). Above all, the feedback they give is honest and objective. It takes teamwork to craft a polished and captivating novel that could become tomorrow’s bestseller. In short, authors need professional editors.

3. Editors work together with authors. It’s the editor’s job to be honest with the author when suggesting improvements (such as rewriting, restructuring, or cutting sections) while respecting the author’s message, meaning, tone, and style. Both the author and the editor have a shared interest in producing a work that gets – and keeps – the reader’s attention. What’s more, if an author so wishes, an editor with experience and knowledge of the book-selling market can also suggest ways to take the novel in a direction that might better attract the eye of a publisher or an agent.

4. An editor is a sounding board. Authors often pour their deepest feelings, and even their secrets, into their novels. For that reason, they are often cautious about who reads their early drafts. In such cases, authors can benefit from the impartial opinion of an editor. An editor takes a bird’s eye view of a novel, identifies the elements that work and those that don’t, and suggests the necessary changes. While editors often get to know authors well throughout the editing process, especially in the case of full, substantive editing, they are not concerned with your private life. They won’t be flattered or annoyed if they appear or not in the final version (although a credit is always nice).

5. Editing is a professional skill. It can be tempting to ask a friend to edit your book. Someone who is not an editor but who is good with language and is prepared to do the job for little or no cost.

The issue here is that you often get what you pay for. Editing is a profession like any other. It is their job to help the author produce a work that will keep the reader engaged and cause that magical, lasting effect the author has set out to achieve.

This post was excerpted and adapted from 5 Steps To Self Publishing: All the essential information you need to go from manuscript to marketplace. Download your free copy today.

About BookBaby

Based in the Philadelphia-area, BookBaby is a team of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists — so they know the thrills and challenges of bringing a book into this world.

Since 2011, BookBaby has helped thousands realize their publishing goals by offering the largest eBook distribution network, including Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and many other popular retailers in over 170 countries around the globe.

Learn more at www.BookBaby.com.


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