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How long should your book be?

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

There’s nothing quite like escaping to your favorite book. In just a matter of pages you’re transported to a new world, sympathizing with some characters, despising others. Yet sometimes, even when you have the best intentions, a book will sit on your table untouched because it’s long, difficult, or otherwise intimidating.

To motivate you to pick up that classic you’ve never read – or reread your favorite book – Personal Creations put together this infographic detailing how long it takes to read popular books, based on an average reading time of 300 words per minute. Though you may like to read at a more leisurely pace, reread difficult sections, or indulge in passages you adore, it’s still a useful comparison of how long various books and series – from To Kill A Mockingbirdto The Odyssey to the Harry Potter series – might take to read.

Take a couple of minutes to read it, then shut down your device and go read a book!

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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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How to write a nonfiction book in small steps

How to Write a Nonfiction Book in Small Steps

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By Nancy Erickson, Book Coach

Have you been thinking about how to write a book, how to get published, or how to write an autobiography? Whether you’re a writer or not, is it your dream to start writing a book and becoming an author? Your dreams on how to write a book, how to make a book, or even how to write an ebook aren’t out of your reach!

When you’re learning how to write a book, you have to understand that it’s a large project, and it’s not something you’re going to accomplish overnight. So what’s the key to large projects? You break them down into tiny little steps. You’ve heard people say how do you eat an elephant. The answer is one bite at a time.

Well it’s true; what you do is you break down the task of how to start writing a book into bite-size chunks. When we do that, we develop a Book Map, which is a visual representation of your entire book. I can contend that if you only have 15 minutes, you can actually develop your strategy on how to write a book in 15 minute increments because it’s broken down in such small pieces that you can take those pieces you can write and assemble them into a comprehensive manuscript.

Your experience is unique. In fact, no one else has your story or lived through what you’ve learned. You are the only one who can do this, but if you’ve never written a book before, you probably don’t know how to get started. And how would you know? If you want to know how to start a book, how to publish a book, or how to write an eBook, The Book Professor is here to help.


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The First Word from BookBaby

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completing a book

The First Word

Guest post by Steven Spatz
President, BookBaby

Every journey starts with the first step. Every story starts with the first word. Then it’s just a matter of completing a book.

When I wrote my first book, The End – Now What? – 6 Steps To Take Your Manuscript To The Market Place In Six Weeks, I didn’t have any kind of plan or blueprint to guide my journey to completing a book. I pretty much just relied on my home grown “ation” strategy.

What’s my “ation” strategy? I’m glad you asked.

  • It has to start with inspiration. Creating the content that interests me – and hopefully potential reader.
  • The job of writing takes perspiration. It’s work – damn hard work at times.
  • I recognize that I’ll have periods of exasperation when I’m just sick and tired of that whole damn thing and I take (brief) breaks from the process.
  • Ultimately it requires determination. Keep your eyes on the prize.

The result was a 50,000 word nonfiction book cranked out in fits and starts over an eight month period. I learned a lot about the book writing process during that experience. I’ve learned even more from talking to BookBaby authors about how they covered their own journeys. This time around I’ll be better equipped to do the job.

Here are some of the writing tips and ideas I’ve collected over the last year:

Location, location, location.
Find your writing place. Sure it’s possible to be creative anywhere – sitting on the subway or standing in a line – but for the long haul and more consistent creativity, your best work will come out in a space where you regularly write. That primes you to get into the right frame of mind as soon as you sit down. Or maybe it’s more than one place. I have three: a secluded corner in a local library and two different coffee houses. Set aside a particular place that you do nothing but write or create and you can jump start your creativity.

What time is good for you?
Even more important than “where” is “when.” For me it’s probably going to involve getting up 45 minutes earlier and writing a few paragraphs before work. Forcing yourself to write at 5 am isn’t the solution for everyone. It works for me because I have nothing else to divert my attention in those early dawn hours. There are all types of writers – after-hours writers, lunch break writers, mini-block writers, etc. Track your time and energy for a week or two to find what’s best for you – and then block out that time on your calendar as an appointment with yourself.

Add interval training to your writing
Some writers I know incorporate these short sprints into their writing routine. Here’s how: Use a simple kitchen timer to force yourself to just flat out write. Set it for five minutes to write as much as you can. You’ll likely censor yourself less if you can just write whatever comes naturally and edit later. It’s not about quality during this brief burst of keystrokes. Give yourself permission to write a few lousy paragraphs or pages. You’ll have plenty of time to go back and edit later.

Read if you’re not writing
Like many writers, I feel inspired when I’m playing the part of reader. Instead of turning on the TV when you’re on a break from writing, spend your time reading the work of others. The more “I wish I had written that” pieces you come across, the better your work will be and the more motivated you may be to produce something worthwhile. Some authors find other arts to be inspiring – paintings, movies, photography, and so on. Soak up all the creativity you can when you’re not actively writing.

Don’t break the chain
His television show was “about nothing,” yet legendary comic Jerry Seinfeld’s method for success is very much something – and visual. Each January, he hangs a large year-at-a-glance calendar on his wall and, for every day he wrote new material, he earned the right to draw a big red “X” over that day. Drawing those Xs got to be pretty fun and rewarding, so he kept doing it. Eventually, he began to create a chain of red Xs. The idea was to never break that chain. This simple pleasure can turn into a surprisingly powerful motivator.

Never miss twice
If you don’t have the luxury of Seinfeld’s free time, you can give yourself a very small cushion and still be successful. Let’s say you have your new routines and habits in place, your alarm set to signal your writing time… But one day you wake up and simply don’t feel like writing.

So don’t. We all slip up now and again. Don’t beat yourself up, but also don’t slip twice in a row. It’s inevitable you’re going to miss a writing session, but use the “never miss twice” mindset to get back on track.

Be flexible
Your writing schedule might change – often. Life events will throw wrenches in your plans, but you can plan a new schedule. And then stick to that.

Write or die
If all else fails, you can always resort to using the app WriteOrDie, With a tagline of “Putting the prod into productivity,” this program is absolutely diabolical!

Here’s how it works: First, you configure your writing period, word goal, and your preferred punishment should your fingers stop typing. Once the setup is complete, you’ll need to type continuously; otherwise there will be consequences, in varying levels.

  • The gentle mode is quite forgiving. When you pause your writing for a set period of time, a box will pop up, gently reminding you to continue writing.
  • In normal mode, if you pause, you will be played a very unpleasant sound. The sound will stop if and only if you continue to write.
  • For the true author-masochist, there’s Kamikaze Mode: You must keep writing or your work will un-write itself. Simply disappear from the beginning of the passage! Talk about writing with a gun to your head!

As for my own system, I have one more of my “ation” strategies to think about: The exhilaration of finally finishing that book!


Steven Spatz, President of BookBaby

Steven Spatz is an author, marketer, and the President of BookBaby.


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5 Reasons to Consider Self-Publishing

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If you want to write or have already written a book and are worried about landing a book deal, you should really consider self-publishing. Times have changed, and signing on with a big publisher is no longer the only way to get your book into the hands (or onto the screens) of readers. Here’s why you should give self-publishing a chance.

1. One in three E-books sold on Amazon is self-published.

If you think readers will shy away from self-published books, think again. Sales show that readers are more and more interested in purchasing books from independent authors. If you can get a good fan base and work on a solid marketing campaign, your self-published book can absolutely compete with books published in the traditional manner.

2. Independent authors make up 25% of Amazon’s best E-book sellers list.

Not only are independent authors selling books, they are topping the charts. The books published by the “Big Five” publishers only represent 16% of the bestsellers. Self-publishing has allowed readers to discover new authors, and it’s clear that they are enjoying what they are reading. It just goes to show that if you can write a quality book and market it properly, you have a good chance of not only selling books, but also becoming a well-known author.

3. You are in control of your timeline.

If you go the traditional route, you will have to first spend several months searching for an agent, who will then spend even more time hunting down a publisher. Even if your book is accepted, the timeline for your book hitting the press could be 1-3 years, and remember, that’s if and only if you actually land a book deal. Not to mention the 15% you have to pay your agent for landing the deal.

If you self-publish, you can get your book out as soon as you are confident in your final draft. Obviously, it’s best to go through several edits and not begin the publishing process at 2am while you’re wired on your 4th cup of coffee. The point is that once your book is finished, you can publish it in a matter of months instead of years.

4. You set the price.

If you go the traditional route, your publisher will set the price for hardcover, paperback, and E-books, and you have no say in whatever price they choose. If you self-publish, you can set a price point that works for you. Smashword’s 2014 survey showed that E-books priced between $2.99 and $3.99 tend to sell best. If you think that seems low, keep in mind that you won’t have to turn over 85% of your profit to your publisher, like you would if you went the traditional route.

It’s free to publish through Amazon’s CreateSpace print on demand service, which allows you to print physical books only when they are needed. Print-on-Demand services also help you avoid excess inventory. Traditional publishing involves ordering press runs of books that could end up leaving you with a stack of books you have paid for but haven’t sold. Self-publishing through a POD service saves you money on inventory, as well as on the cost of shipping and storing the books.

5. You are in charge of marketing & sales.

Many authors believe that traditional publishers will go above and beyond to market their book, but that’s not true. The reality is, even if you go through a traditional publisher, you will most likely have to come to them with some sort of marketing plan, which they will then decide whether or not they want to implement. Not only will you be at the mercy of the publisher’s marketing tactics, you’ll also be tied to whatever budget they allot to you.

Self-publishing means you are completely in charge of your marketing. Even if you decide to hire a marketing consultant, you will have the final say on any marketing decision. No one believes in your book more than you do, so why not put your passion into your marketing strategy?

These days, readers are less concerned with who published a book and a lot more concerned about the quality of the writing. Self-publishing is an excellent option for any author that is ready to tell their story.


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Creating the best story structure for your non-fiction book

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Creating-a-story-nonfiction-book-writing-book-coach-how-to-write-a-bookWhen it comes to crafting your personal exceptional story, it can be difficult to know where and how to begin. I’m here to help you design your story so you can start writing and get your story out into the world. As a book coach, my life is spent working with individuals who have a story to tell, and helping them share that story in a way that moves people to action. 

What is your story?

All of us have our own story, and people are truly interested in hearing it. Every day, each of us are asked questions such as:

  • What do you do?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Do you have kids?

You see, even if people are not directly asking about your story, these types of questions are all indirect ways to try to learn more about you and the story you have to tell.  

Physiologically, humans are wired to enjoy and relate to stories. Stories have been a part of the human fabric since the beginning of time. People like to listen to stories, relate to them, and remember them. Find your story and give people what they crave!

It’s important to understand the difference between telling your story and presenting your resume. You cannot tell your exceptional story by reciting a list of your accomplishments or delivering an elevator pitch. You need to dig deeper. Your story will communicate who you are, so you need to figure out exactly who that is and how to showcase that person.

Start with the foundation of your story

Before you start writing your story, you need to answer two questions:

  1. What is the purpose of your story?
  2. Who is the audience?

Stories can help you cross racial, social-economical, political, and religious, boundaries; they are that powerful. I believe there are two key things all people need: hope and help. Your story has the power to offer hope and help to others. Your story can change lives and have an impact on society, but you need to decide just what kind of impact you want to make. What do you want your story to communicate? What change do you want to invoke in the reader? How will your story help people?

Knowing your audience is essential. Your target audience will determine what you tell them and why. Cater your story to grab the interest of your audience, so that you can deliver a helpful and memorable story. Take a look at my blog post, How to Define an Audience for Your Book, for a more in-depth explanation of how to tackle this important task.

Outline the three parts of your story to lay the plan for your nonfiction book

Obviously, all stories have a beginning, middle, and end, but the three parts I suggest you consider are these:

  1. What it used to be like
  2. What happened
  3. What it’s like now

Start with what life was like before the change happened.  Were you happy? Overworked? Unfulfilled? Paint a picture of your “before” and set your audience up for the change.

The “what happened” section is the turning point in your story. It’s your pivotal moment, the bridge that connects the before and after. Something happened that caused a change in your life, and that’s what you’ll share with your audience. Some changes are internal, such as an “aha!” moment that directed you to take action or make a change, but some people need more of a push. External changes are things that force us into change, such as the death of a family member, birth of a child, a divorce, loss of a job, or some other life-altering occurrence. What happened to you? How did it force you to change and why?

Create closure in your story

Next, tell your audience what it’s like now. Where are you in your life? How are things different?

If you’re struggling with how to wrap up the impact of your life or a specific chapter in your story, consider these six areas of your life and how they have been impacted by the events you shared in your memoir or business book:

  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Emotional
  • Professional, 
  • Financial

How have these areas of your life been affected?

If you take these three aspects–What it Used to be Like, What Happened and What It’s Like Now–put them together, and seal them with a solid purpose statement that clearly communicates the purpose of your story, you will have a solid design in place.  

You have a story to tell, and people are ready to hear it, but whether or not they will relate to it and remember it depends on how well you tell it. How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself. I can help you craft your story and work with you when you have trouble writing. Don’t let fear of writing keep you from sharing your story with the world!

If you need help to write your book, consider working with me as you write your first book. Details below!


 

nancy erickson book coach book coaches How to Become an Author: Module One 1About Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.

 


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How to Define an Audience for Your Book

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When it comes to book marketing, knowing your audience is essential. You need to figure out who your book is for—and there may be multiple audiences—but please know that your book is not for everyone. Not everyone will benefit from or even enjoy your book, so don’t try to appeal to the masses. Hone in on your intended audience and get your book on their radar.

So how do you define that audience of book readers?

how to define an audience for your book book writing classes online book coach

Do your research before writing your book.

All too many authors write their book without defining the target audience, and defining your audience is particularly important when writing nonfiction. And yet, if you narrow in on something too niche, you might discover that your audience is simply too small. For example, you might write a riveting book about how to maintain antique farm equipment, but will enough people be interested in that topic?  It’s possible, but you want to be confident that you have solid book marketing plans before you start to write. You must think about your target audience when planning your book, as well as throughout the writing process.

Here are some questions to ask yourself regarding your target audience:

  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What’s their education level?
  • What concerns/problems do they have?
  • Do they live in one specific geographic area?
  • What shared interests will they have?

Self-published authors, especially those who write memoirs or biographies, may think that their target audience are people like themselves, when in reality, your audience may be quite different from you. It’s important to identify what your audience actually wants and needs, not what you think they do.

Book Audience vs. Market

For example, if you are writing a book for children, children are your audience, but they’re not your market. Your market is the person with the pocketbook – the parents.

Be specific when defining your primary market. Picture the person who will buy your book. Is it a woman between the ages of 30 and 50 who is unhappy with the signs of aging? A target audience of all women between the ages of 30 and 50 is too broad, so it’s important to consider what subset of that group you want to attract. Ask yourself what will draw them in. How do you hope to influence and/or interest these women?

It’s also important to consider secondary markets. Secondary markets are those are the people/organizations/institutions who will also purchase your book, like educators who might be writing or teaching about your topic, or mental health practitioners if you are writing about a mental health topic like depression. Think hard about all the different groups that might benefit from your book. Try to come up with at least six markets for your book – a primary market and five secondary markets. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to customers, so be thorough. 

What is the goal of your book?

It’s important to know what you hope to accomplish with your book. You should know what message you are trying to send, and whom that message is supposed to reach. Book marketing is about knowing who will benefit from your book, and then focusing your marketing efforts on that audience.

When it comes to marketing your book, choosing your target market and audience is essential to your book’s success. Consider all the possibilities to ensure that a proper audience and market exist for your book, and then create your plan to grab their attention.


Get the help you need to get your book published.

If you need help to write your book, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:


author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.

 


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5 Steps to Write & Publish Your Book

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how to write and publish a book self publishing writing a book nonfiction book memoir self help book productionAn overview of the book publishing process

On March 29th, I will host a FREE online class, “What to Expect When Writing & Publishing Your Book.” In today’s post, I am going to touch on some of what we will learn during the webinar. To register for this free webinar for aspiring authors, click here.

Writing a book is a multi-layered project, and it probably doesn’t surprise you that there’s more to it than just writing a book. As you already know, the writing is the first component. At the end of the writing, you have a manuscript – but that’s not really a book is it?

I want to show you long view of publishing a book. You’re probably going to think “Oh my word–I had no idea what I was getting into.” And you’re right. If you aren’t a professional publisher, you wouldn’t know all the pieces involved, and that’s why I’m here to usher you through the process. If you stick with me, you’ll have all the tools you need to produce a professional product that will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with any other book on the market.

Book Writing and Publishing Process

STEP ONE: WRITING AND WRITING AND WRITING

  • Initial Book Writing – The first step is to plan your book project in a BookMAP and write all the components until you have a finished manuscript. This is where you invest your time, energy, and emotion, and when you are finished you will have accomplished something few others have done! You will have a complete manuscript.
  • Editing Your Book – Every top-notch author has a first-class editor who does several things to improve upon what you have already accomplished. In the first pass, you will want a developmental editor. A developmental editor takes a look at your overall work and gives feedback on the structure and organization of the manuscript, the development of your characters, the consistency in your story line, your vocabulary, the impact of your message, your use of language and how your unique voice can be amplified. A developmental editor will point out any missing elements in your manuscript and make suggestions about how to weave them in. A developmental editor is crucial for every author, particularly if you are not a professional writer
  • Book Focus Groups – I’m a big believer in focus groups, and the best way to understand if your manuscript achieves its goal is to gather a group of six to ten people who are part of your target market, give them a copy of your manuscript, and ask for their raw feedback. This will be invaluable to you. When you receive that feedback, you make the changes you think are appropriate, then pass the manuscript to your editor for final editing.
  • Final Editing Process – This time, you need what we call line-level editing. You editor will scrub your work and make corrections in punctuation, verb tense, spelling, and sentence structure. They will correct your grammar and make suggestions about how to rewrite your sentences for clarity.
  • Proofreading – If you want a flawless manuscript, you can’t skip the step of hiring a proofreader. Understand this: You are not a capable proofreader. You already know what your story is supposed to say, and your brain will fill in any gaps with what you intended.

Once these steps are complete, you are ready to turn your manuscript into a book.

STEP TWO: THE BOOK DESIGN

Before you design your book, you need to know what you want to produce, and you have a lot of choices to make. Do you want a hardcover book? Or a softcover? Both come in a myriad of sizes, and you need to decide which size best fits your format. Will you issue an eBook, and if so, you need to prepare separate digital files for Kindle, Nook, and iPad.  

One of the most important elements is your book cover design. Your title and your book cover art will work together to invite the reader to purchase the book. They also work together to communicate the essence of your book, while creating a key question in the potential reader’s mind: What is this book about?

Remember that books are often shelved with only the spine visible, and you will want yours to stand out. What will the spine of your book look like? Try adding a dash of color to draw attention.

When turning your attention to the interior design, consider these questions: What fonts are you going to use? What will your copyright page look like? Your table of contents? You must use industry standards for chapter starts and page numbering. And be sure you’ve calculate the appropriate thumb holds – that’s the margin space where a reader places their thumbs to hold the book. Readers should not have to shift their thumbs while reading the book because this causes a degree of stress that interferes with their reading experience and causes fatigue.

Just for fun, take a look at some book interiors, and notice how they differ in style to match the book content. You need a professional designer for both the book cover an interior.

STEP THREE: BOOK PRODUCTION

Of course, you’ll need to get your book produced, and you have several options. Do you want to use an on-demand printer that will print the books as they are ordered?  There’s a higher cost per book for this option, but you won’t have to put your money into the inventory up front. However, if you want to pay the lowest possible amount per book, you will opt to print a large quantity of books and warehouse them until they are sold. The warehouse can be your basement, and many authors like this option because they can maximize their profits with this approach.

STEP FOUR: BOOK DISTRIBUTION

So now you’ve got the book in hand. How are you going to distribute it?

There are numerous ways to distribute your book and, of course, your eBooks will be distributed online.

If you print a quantity of books, you can elect to ship them out yourself as they are purchased, but bear in mind that this option requires you to have shipping supplies and a fair amount of time to send things out. Some people make arrangements with warehouse distributors or sheltered workshops to send out their books, and others elect to work through book distributors who receive orders and ship them out to bookstores, online retailers, and libraries. All your distributions methods require payment, so find out what the distributor requires before signing any contracts.

STEP FIVE: BOOK MARKETING

Books don’t sell themselves, so you need to plan your marketing strategy. Will you engage the services of a publicist? Or will you do what many authors do and use the social media tools that are so readily available? Will you hold events, like book readings? Use email marketing to get the word out? Or go the traditional advertising route?

Be specific when defining your primary market. Picture the person who buys your book. Is it a woman between the ages of 30 and 50 who is unhappy with the signs of aging? It isn’t every woman between 30 and 50, it’s a subset of that group. Who are they?

What are your secondary markets? Secondary markets are those people/organizations/institutions who will also purchase your book, like educators (if you’re writing about children) or mental health practitioners if you are writing about coming out of a depression. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to customers, so think it through.  

Click the image above to register for my free webinar on March 29th!

Click the image above to register for my free webinar on March 29th!

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF WRITING & PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK

So what’s the most important part of this process? The most important part is always what you are working on right now. Focus on today. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Just do the best possible job on what’s in front of you. There will be plenty of time to focus on what’s ahead.

If you need help to write your book, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:


author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nonfiction Book Writing & Publishing Expert Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.


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A Simple Formula For Telling Your Story

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a simple formula for telling your story non-fiction book consultant how to write a book learn how to write a bookSo, what’s your story? Has anybody ever asked you that?  It kind of sounds like a pick-up line, doesn’t it?

Maybe nobody has asked you that exact question, but they have asked that question in other forms. They say things like:

  • What do you do?
  • What line of work are you in?
  • Where are you from?
  • Do you have any children?
  • What does your company do?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • What do you sell?
  • How do you differentiate your product / service / self?

How you tell your story is just as important as the story itself.

How To Craft Your Exceptional Story

You can apply what I’m about to teach you to any story you tell, whether it’s about you, your company, your product, or your family.

The first step is to build its foundation, and you can do that by answering these two questions:

What’s the purpose? AND Who’s the audience?

  1. What’s the purpose?

You probably have a general idea of what you want to tell, but I challenge you distill it down to a single Purpose Statement before you start. Your Purpose Statement should say, “The purpose of my story is to ___________________. 

Complete that sentence. Bear in mind that it’s one sentence, not a paragraph.

Let me give you an example using my own purpose statement: The purpose of my story is to give people the courage to tell their truth and the tools they need to write a high-impact nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives, or transform society.

  1. Who’s the Audience?

If you don’t know your audience, it’s like playing spin-the-bottle in the dark. Don’t you want to know who you’re going kiss before you pucker up? Likewise, you need to envision your audience. Who do you interact with? What’s their age, demographic, marital status? Are they male or female, conservative or liberal? How do they identify themselves? Complete this sentence: The audience for my story is __________________.

Example: The audience for my story is everyday people.

  1. Pull it all together.

Now pull these components together to craft a single statement.

Example: The purpose of my story is to give everyday people the courage to tell their truth and the tools they need to write a high-impact nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives, or transform society.

Now that you have your Purpose Statement, you’ll want to write your story from your audience’s perspective, not yours. What do they want to know? What information are they seeking? What new message or perspective can you deliver? Compelling content always meets the need, and your job is to deliver what your audience is seeking.

Three Elements Of Your Story

Now I’d like to teach you the three elements of telling your story – and, no, it’s not beginning, middle, and end!

Stories are powerful, but only if they have a point. Your challenge is to think about your audience and convey what would be meaningful to them. Resist the temptation to tell them everything – you’ll bore them to death! Pare your story down to your purpose, and leave the rest behind.

Here’s a simple formula that you can use to tell your story:

Part 1. What it used to be like

Before you were where you are now, your life/work/health was a certain way. What was it like?

  • Was it pleasant and peaceful? 
  • Was it stressful and harrowing?
  • Were you broke and despondent?
  • Was there something missing in?
  • Something frustrating?
  • Was it seemingly perfect?

Example: I was trapped in a high-paying high-tech job that I hated but couldn’t leave because I was too afraid.

Part 2. What happened?What it used to be like

This brings us to the pivotal point in YOUR story. The pivotal point is the “what happened” of your story.

Change usually takes place due to one of two things. Perhaps you had an aha! moment and were internally motivated to try something new or move in a new direction. You realized something and made some changes. Those changes were internally motivated.

However, for a lot of us, change is forced upon us by external factors such as an illness, death, divorce, a marriage, new baby, or a lost job. What happened in your life that caused you to seek a new direction and put you on a different path?

This is the turning point in your story. It’s the event/circumstance/situation that bridges the before and after. What happened that changed everything? What was your pivotal moment?

Example: My dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and I shut everything down and traveled back and forth to Florida to be with my parents. After he died, I had the opportunity to start over, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always loved to write, so I went back to school to get my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing. After I graduated I joined the faculty to teach writing, then started a small press to publish nonfiction books. I realized that most of the powerful stories were not being told, they were trapped inside of people, so I took what I knew as a university professor and a publisher and created a step-by-step methodology to turn people who aren’t writers into authors.    

Part 3. What it’s like now

This is the “After” portion. What is your life like now? How are you different now?  What are you doing to add value to your world?

Example: Now the people I work with have become the voices of hope and help. They are reaching out and changing people’s lives, simply by telling their stories.

When you write your story using this formula—what it used to be like, what happened, and what it’s like now, then seal it with your Purpose – then you have crafted your exceptional story.

Let’s take a look at all the elements pulled together.

I was trapped in a high-paying high-tech job that I hated but couldn’t leave because I was too afraid. But then my dad was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumo,r and I shut everything down and traveled back and forth to Florida to be with my parents.

After he died, I had the opportunity to start over, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always loved to write, so I went back to school to get my Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing. After I graduated I joined the faculty to teach writing, then started a small press to publish nonfiction books. I realized that most of the powerful stories were not being told because they were trapped inside of people, so I took what I knew as a university professor and a publisher and created a step-by-step methodology to turn people who aren’t writers into authors.    

Now the people I work with have become the voices of hope and help. They are reaching out and changing people’s lives, simply by telling their stories. The reason I do this is to give everyday people the courage to tell their truth and the tools they need to write a high-impact nonfiction book that will save lives, change lives, or transform society.

That’s MY story and I’m sticking to it!

What about your story? You’re the only one who can do it.

If you would like support, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:

 


author-coaching-book-coach-online-writing-class-get-my-book-outAbout Nancy Erickson

Nancy Erickson is better known as “The Book Professor,” a writing and publishing consultant who specializes in helping aspiring nonfiction authors bring their book ideas to market. Nancy works as a book coach assisting authors that write self-help books, biographies, business books, and other nonfiction books through online courses and book coaching. Contact Nancy with questions or to have her speak at your upcoming event by clicking here.

 


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Book Launch Party Book marketing

How to plan a successful book launch party

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Book Launch Party Book marketingWhen your book is finished, you need to celebrate! Many authors want to host a launch party, and that can be a lot of fun. I’m talking about a launch PARTY– a major event with over one hundred guest, the media, and a lot of hoopla.

Fun? Yes. But it’s a lot of work, and it’s not for everybody.

When Is A Live Book Launch Event Feasible?

Not every book warrants a live book launch event. Before you plan yours, be sure you meet these critical success factors:

  1. You have an excellent product

how to publish a book how to write a book book launch partyThere are NO SHORTCUTS to producing an excellent product, so be sure that you took the proper amount of time and devoted attention to your book as a product. Is your writing compelling? Did you have a professional book editor? Was your work proofread, and is it mistake-free? Did you invest in a professional book cover and interior cover designer?

Here’s a rule of thumb: If it was cheap to produce your book, you produced a CHEAP BOOK!

  1. You have received favorable book reviews

Book reviews are important, but you won’t get them overnight. You have to work for them. You must coordinate with reviewers and respect their time. Be sure to allow four to six months to request and receive reviews!

A great way to solicit book reviews is to produce and distribute ARCs – Advance Reader Copies. ARCs are not only useful because they allow others to critique your book before it’s on the market, but if there are any errors you didn’t catch, those readers certainly will. You can make corrections as needed.

  1. You have credible book endorsements

how to get book reviews favorable book reviewsYou’ve seen those back cover and inside-the-front-flap endorsements. Are they important? You bet your boots they are! Endorsements are like a trusted friend’s advice, and the bigger the name, the more powerful the recommendation.

Who might write an endorsement for your book? I suggest you go to your target market and solicit experts in the field of your writing, other authors, organization or associations that are affiliated with your subject matter, and those who will be impacted by your book.

  1. You are connected to your Target Market

Just like the three most important factors in real estate are location, location, location, the three most important things that authors can do to promote their book is to connect, connect, connect. Be connected with your Target Market through all the available social media channels.

When Should I Start Planning my Book Launch Event?

Planning a launch event takes time, and you should begin when you have identified your primary audience and you know your release date.

Allow Six Months to Plan Your Book Launch

A Book Launch Event is similar to any other major event, such as a wedding or a bar mitzvah, and it requires the same attention to detail. It’s wise to work with professionals to get the job done right!

A good event planner can take care of all the details for you, which allows you to focus on your guests and your presentation at the event. Here’s a look at what an event planner can do for you:

book launch party planning book event planning

What if I Don’t Have Any Money for My Book Launch Party?

If you don’t have a budget, you can still have a party! You just have to get creative. An event planner can help you to seek donors, barter for services, and create a community for mutual benefit.

Planning Your Book Launch on a Budget

Event sponsors may contribute funds that offset the costs of your party, such as venue rental, food and beverage costs, and audio equipment rental. Sponsors are your angels, and they come in a few flavors.

You’ll be quite fortunate if you can get one or two Corporate Sponsors to contribute cash ($500 to $1000) for your event. For their high dollar contribution, you’ll want to thank them by asking them to speak at the event, by featuring them on your invitations and signage, and by promoting them in press releases.

You’ll receive a big boost if you have ten to fifteen Table Sponsors (Vendors) who pay  $100 each to be part of your event. You will provide them a six-foot table to display their products or services and to promote their business to your event guests. For their lower dollar contribution, they’ll be able to have a table at the event, connect with your audience, and sell their products or services.

When hosting a major event, volunteers are invaluable! You’re the host/hostess of this party, so you need to be available to your guests. But there’s a lot of coordinating to do if the event is going to flow well!

Volunteers can help you check in your guests, sell books, and direct the flow for your book signing – all of which all YOU to be free to mingle and celebrate your great accomplishment.

sponsorships for book launch partySponsoring Organizations can give you a big publicity boost if they are well-known and are connected to the material in your book. What charity can you invite and designate as a beneficiary of book sales? For example, if you book is about surviving cancer, you might invite the local chapter of the American Cancer Society to attend and receive 10% of that evening’s book sales. For lending their name to the event, they will be able to have a table at the event, connect with your audience, promote their organization and services, and benefit from book sales.

Some people will want to support your event by donating their services, such as printing, to your event. These are called In-Kind Donations and they are invaluable. For contributing their products or services, you will introduce them at the event and feature them on your invitations and signage.

Think and Plan Ahead

After all your hard work, a book launch party is warranted. Think big! If you want your book to change lives, save lives, or transform society, then make a big splash. Get people involved, get the word out, and get going!

You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can do it!

 


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5 powerful quotes for aspiring authors

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inspiration for writers aspiring authors quotes

Every aspiring author has moments of doubt and frustration – times where the finish line seems far away and their purpose seems unclear. I’ve gathered together a few of my very favorite quotes for aspiring authors – particularly my nonfiction writers crafting memoirs, biographies, motivation books, business guides, and the like. I hope these will inspire you to always, always, keep writing!

I encourage you to pin these quotes and share them on Facebook to inspire the aspiring authors in your life!

Inspiring Quotes for aspiring authors5. “Every writer I know seems to agree on the same thing: You need to write, a lot.”

Thanks to Goodreads for sharing this. The Goodreads Pinterest feed is a constant source of inspiration and my go-to in moments of occasional writer’s block.

 


inspiring quotes for authors write something ben franklin4. “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
-Ben Franklin

As someone who works closely with aspiring authors who aren’t necessarily professional writers – primarily, people with something they need to share with the world – I find this quote from Benjamin Franklin particularly powerful. This quote was the seed of inspiration for many powerful memoirs.

 


john steinbeck quote how to write a book3. “Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish…”
-John Steinbeck

As a nonfiction book consultant and writing coach, I teach my students how to plan out their book writing journey with through their BookMAP. I’m hardly a proponent of losing focus of your book’s content, but this quote by John Steinbeck is powerful advice for many writers that I work with. Instead of getting caught up in questions like, “How do I write my book?” and “How long should it be?,” there is some value in writing until you’ve said what you needed to say.


Amy Tan quote for writers gift how to write a book2. “Writing is an extreme privilege, but it’s also a gift…”
– Amy Tan

I wholeheartedly believe our world is in crisis, on so many levels – one that government can’t fix. It is through the power of everyday people that change happens – those who share their wisdom and knowledge with one another through memoirs, nonfiction books, stories of triumph and guides filled with wisdom. Sharing your gift is a truly a duty. 


power-of-books-inspiration for writers nonfiction writing coach1. “One must be careful with books, and what is inside of them, for words have the power to change us.”
-Cassandra Clare

 

This quote is from Cassandra Clare’s brilliant book, Clockwork Angel.

An excerpt:

Will grinned, “Some of these books are dangerous,” he said. “It’s wise to be careful.”

“One must always be careful with books,” said Tessa, “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”

What is your story to share? How will you change the world? Do you know something that can save lives or change lives? I want to help you do that with a book. You don’t have to be a writer to write something extraordinary.

Considering working with me to complete a nonfiction book that will serve to build your authority, solve real world problems, grow your following, and transform society.

Are you ready to write your book?

Get My Book Out!™ is an online writing class that gives you a step-by-step framework that will help you write your nonfiction book in less than one year. Learn more & register here to start today.

I also lead groups of executives through group coaching sessions online as they write business leadership books. Learn about my group book coaching for executives.

Have you already started writing but need a professional book writing consultant and editor to help shape your book for publishing?

I offer professional nonfiction book editing services, ghostwriting assistance, and personal writing coach services on a 1-to-1 basis.

Let’s work to create a book that will establish you as an expert.

Reach out to start writing your book.


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how to write a book how to write a nonfiction book memoir biography

How to Write a Book, Step by Step

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how to write a book how to write a nonfiction book memoir biographyBy Nancy Erickson, The Book Professor

You’ve got a strong message, and if you’ve been thinking about writing a nonfiction book, you may feel hesitant because you don’t know how to get started. That’s no surprise. You can spend a lot of time spinning your wheels and burning precious hours if you don’t have a process to follow. But when you have a step-by-step method and follow it faithfully, you can systematically write a high-impact nonfiction book that will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best on the market.

You need a methodology that takes you all the way from the idea for your book, to a completed manuscript, to publication, to marketing, to repurposing your material for multiple venues.

METHODOLOGY: How you will write your book

1. Plan

If you’ve never written a book, you probably don’t know how to get started. Writing a book is much different from writing a blog, or an article, or even a short nonfiction piece. Before you start writing, we will develop two distinct BookMAPs, which are visual representations of everything that will be included in your book.

Book Map How to Become an Author: Module One 4

2. Produce

During this production period, you will pour out your entire first draft. You know why it’s not hard? It’s because you’ll follow the BookMAPs you just created in the planning phase. Whether you have fifteen minutes or several hours, you can always contribute something to your book. You build your book brick by brick until you have a first draft of your manuscript.

3. Polish

When your first draft is complete, you’ll need to scrub it thoroughly to get it in the best possible shape before you hand it over to a professional book editor, who can give it that final polish and shine.

4. Publish

Your manuscript is now complete, and you’re ready for the next step—publishing. For my Executive Group Coaching clients and Personal Coaching clients who start with me at the initial planning stage, your book can be published through my nonfiction press, Stonebrook Publishing. We will design your book cover and the interior layout, set your book up for global distribution, and register your copyrights with the Library of Congress. You own all rights to your book and receive all the proceeds from sales. It’s all yours!

5. Promote

Books don’t write themselves, and they don’t sell themselves either! Authors must be involved in the process. Your book will be set up and promoted through Bookarma.net, the international book marketing platform, where authors help other authors market their books globally through shared social networks.

6. Repurpose

You already know that everyone isn’t going to read a book, but does that mean they must miss your message? Your finished book can now become the launch pad through which you deliver your message in multiple venues. Because you followed the methodology to construct your book in Chapter Silos, you can take those chapters and repurpose them for articles, workshops, seminars, keynotes, online courses, video training, podcasts, etc. That’s the extended value of this carefully constructed methodology.

The Book Professor Methodology Nonfiction Book Coach Book Coaching Learn how to write a book

THE TIMING:

Some writing coaches suggest that you can write your book in ninety days, or in one month, or even in a weekend. That is not my approach. It takes a lot of thought and effort to construct a quality product, and that takes time. It’s going to take you about a year to write your book.

The point is this: Don’t subscribe to the write-a-book-in-a-hurry method. It wastes your time, your energy, and your dollars, and it will ultimately deliver a substandard product.

Your legacy is about the lives you touch and the change you create. When you share what you know, what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, or what you’ve overcome, you can make a lasting impact that extends far beyond yourself. You can change the world, one reader at a time, simply by telling your story.

You’re the only one who can do it!

If you would like support, consider one of my nonfiction book coaching programs:


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TO WRITE YOUR BOOK SHARE YOUR GIFT with The Book Professor nonfiction book coach

To Write Your Book: Share Your Gift

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by Nancy Erickson, The Book Professor

TO WRITE YOUR BOOK SHARE YOUR GIFT with The Book Professor nonfiction book coach
 

I love the fact that you don’t have to be following some grand plan or know exactly where you’re going in order to be on the right track, even if you don’t realize it. We all carry gifts within us that can be our guides and that we can share with others along the way.

Let me explain.

I’ve spent a lot of time – years, actually – pursuing things that weren’t really my thing but that I could do fairly well. In other words, I spent a lot of time trying not to be me.

Ultimately, my true gifts pulled me back, and that’s when life got amazing.

 

I really did spend a lot of time trying not to be me. I majored in English and Communications in college, and I did everything I could during those four years to avoid math and the sciences. 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, but the work cramped my brain. I could do it, but it was hard, hard work!

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. It felt like magic, and it fed my soul. I wrote a series of children’s Bible study curricula and developed the program into a nonprofit ministry where we conducted after-school Bible clubs in public schools across several states. Then, some missionaries took the program overseas, and we went international.

When my daughters reached the seventh and eighth grades, I went back to work part-time as a web designer. Once they started driving and became more independent, I was lured by the six-figure-plus income and dove back into the high-tech world to sell enterprise software for Oracle Corporation. That didn’t feel like work, it felt like hell! It was hell.

Multi-million dollar quotas, sleepless nights, last-minute travel, and the endless pressure to squeeze every last dollar out of my customers, even if they didn’t need the product, caused me to lose a substantial amount of weight and a great deal of my hair. And then, when I was the #2 rep in the entire country, I got fired. The reason? No pipeline.

I had a couple more technology hops before I really went off the deep end and became the owner-operator of a paving company. Yes, paving. Asphalt and concrete. I owned a number of dump trucks, a couple of pavers, several rollers, and a bobcat or two. My union employees had to be drug-tested, and they often quit on the spot when it was their turn for a random sampling, when only minutes before they’d been driving one of my dump trucks at seventy miles per hour, fully loaded with two tons of hot, sticky asphalt.

That was a nightmare.

 

Sometimes it takes dire circumstances to snap you back to yourself, and that’s what happened when my father was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and was given seven months to live. I immediately shut down my construction company and sold everything at auction, so I could spend those final months with my parents. Those were precious days.

After he was laid to rest, I came home and thought, “Now what?” My daughters had graduated college, so the financial pressures were relieved, but I had no idea what I wanted to do. Maybe I’d start writing again. Perhaps I should get some formal training, even though I had no idea how I would use that training.

When I was 48 years old, with one married daughter who had already earned her Masters degree and another daughter in medical school, I became a student again. I felt old and afraid, but during my first class in graduate school, I touched the real me again.

It was literally a spiritual experience. I felt alive and electrically charged, fully connected with something inside me and something beyond me that gave me such extreme pleasure that I thought my heart would burst from happiness. That felt like Heaven! I had come home – home to my body, home to my gift, and home to my purpose. For the next two years I was I immersed in language and writing and, at 50 years old, I walked across the stage to accept the degree I had earned: a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing.

I had no idea what I would do with that degree, so I simply followed the next thing that presented itself. I taught writing at the University I had attended, and when someone asked me to help a Holocaust survivor who went to school with Anne Frank to publish her book, I started my nonfiction press, Stonebrook Publishing. When another set of writers approached me to publish their book, I accepted the project and even got back-cover endorsements from two high-profile celebrities for that book.

With these two feathers in my publishing cap, I thought I was well on my way as a publisher, but that wasn’t the case. Deep in my spirit, I felt God say “STOP;” that this was merely the training ground for my real work. Rather than publish one or two books a year, I sensed that my role was to help thousands and thousands of people write their own books and offer solutions that would heal the world, one reader at a time.

So I put the publishing business on ice and spent the next eighteen months writing a curriculum and developing a methodology to help everyday people write high-impact nonfiction books that will save lives, change lives, or transform society. That material is delivered in three separate modules that are each sixteen weeks, for a total of 42 weeks.

Each lesson has its own HD video and downloadable handouts to guide you through writing your book, from your first idea to the end. This method is working for all kinds of writers, and because I have channeled all my energy into the unique gifts I have to offer, I have never felt more alive or more fulfilled.

Why am I telling you this?

 

I’m telling you this because I spent too many years bringing untold grief upon myself because I refused to be me, and I’m amazed at how many other people do the same thing. They have no idea how powerful their own story is or how it could be such a gift to others. I guess it’s easy to undervalue what’s inside us because it’s what we know. It doesn’t seem special. It doesn’t seem significant.

Don’t fall for that. Think about what you’ve learned, what you know, and what you’ve developed, and be willing to give it to others.

You’re the only one who has your story. You’re the only one who can do it. Share your gift! Your message is bigger than you think it is and will go further than you can imagine.

Be you! That’s all.

 

Do you know someone who also has a big story to tell? This holiday season, give a gift that will help them share their own gifts as they start to write their book. Consider this special offer for the aspiring writer in your life!

the book professor gift certificate holiday gifting 2016 writer gifts

 

 


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