NancyErickson, Author at Write a Nonfiction Book with The Book Professor

Author Archives: NancyErickson

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October: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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By Tasha Hudson,
Operations Manager at The Book Professor

Just about everyone has been affected by breast cancer or knows someone who has had the disease. It could be your mother, wife, sister, grandmother, neighbor, friend, or co-worker. While more and more women are being cured of the disease, countless others have, unfortunately, lost the battle. I’m humbled by the strength and perseverance of all who continue the fight today.

I’ve never had breast cancer, and I don’t have first-hand knowledge about the matters these brave women endure. But my heart has been torn as I’ve watched those close to me battle this disease. When someone I care about is in the midst of pain, I have an inner urge to do something. Have you ever felt like that?

I can’t take away the disease or their pain, but I can do something by being the shoulder they cry on and the support person they need–even if they simply want to scream. If you’re like me and have the urge to do something, then participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month: October 1-October 31, 2017.

Ways To Get Involved for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Women – Perform a Self-Breast Exam

One of the best ways to fight this disease is through early detection, and 40% of breast cancers are detected by women who find a lump in their own breast. Self exams should be performed each month, not just during breast cancer awareness month. John Hopkins University, encourages all women to perform self-breast exams once a month. For more information on how to perform a self-breast exam, please visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

breast cancer awareness

 Participate in a Local Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

If someone you love is fighting breast cancer, what better way to support them and countless others than to walk right alongside them, even if it’s just for a day? Your presence alone will add to the feeling of unity and support. No one should endure this disease alone, and walking with the women who suffer can be a great encouragement. Contact your local Susan B Komen office for a list of walks in October.

Donate Your Time or Money

There is no certain cure for breast cancer, but that doesn’t mean that doctors aren’t working around the clock to find one. More research is needed. Donate to your favorite breast cancer organization or even host an in-person or virtual party. If you can’t make a monetary donation, no worries. Spread awareness by sharing some educational content about breast cancer on social media to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram.

Breast cancer is not a woman’s disease. It affect husbands and sons and fathers, too, and we can do something to help raise awareness or find a cure.

 


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What’s the best time to publish your book?

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This article originally appeared on BookBaby.com

Here’s a little-known fact for aspiring self-published authors: The holiday season is not the best time to publish for new, self-published authors.

Excerpted from BookBaby’s latest guide, 5 Steps To Self Publishing, Part IV of our series addresses why NOW is the best time to publish.

Q: What’s the best time to publish your book?
A: Now!

Here’s a little-known fact for aspiring self-published authors: The holiday season is not the prime selling time for new, self-published authors.

Think about it: Established authors target holiday sales’ periods because it’s a safe, easy gift choice for a lot of folks. The same can’t be said for most self-published authors. These relatively unknown authors’ books need to stand out and attract the interest of potential readers. This kind of discovery and browsing usually doesn’t take place in the hectic holiday time frame. As a result, they’re often disappointed with holiday sales efforts.

So when is “prime time” for new authors to release their book? Just about any other time than the holidays, starting with the beginning of the year. People are going to have more time to spend reading during the cold winter months, and it’s a fact that book sales soar during January and February. Thousands of new eReaders and gift cards given during the holidays need content; there’s no reason why it can’t be your book!

Many authors think the enrtie first half of the year is a perfect time to launch and promote self-published books because of another major book-buying season that happens during that time. Do you know what the biggest selling season is for books? Fair warning: It’s probably not what you’re thinking.

Most people will say: Christmas. Sure, the holiday season is important for every retailer, including book merchants. But they would be wrong.

The summer time reading season is the top selling season for books. There are over $3.4 billion in sales over the long hot summer, according to industry sources, compared to about $2.9 billion spent for holiday gift giving.

But in reality, there’s really never a bad time to release a book. One idea may be for you to follow the patterns set by the book publishing trade. Traditional publishing houses have a rough calendar by genre for their release dates:

January–April

  • Romance
  • Self-help
  • Business
  • Cooking
  • Design

May–August

  • Adventure
  • Fantasy
  • Travel

September–November

  • Academic
  • Horror
  • Paranormal

December–January

  • Children
  • Cookery
  • Illustrated
  • Quiz and Novelty books

The bottom line is, don’t worry so much about “when” you publish. In fact, the worst thing self-published authors can do is not publish their book because of some perceived timing advantage. It is often said that self-publishing is a marathon and not a sprint, and authors shouldn’t worry so much about the placement of the starting line. Just publish it!

10 ways to make the most of your eCommerce book page

Selling direct to your readers will maximize your profits and readership.

Just like a realtor trying to attract house buyers, you need to consider the “curb appeal” of your direct-to-reader selling pages. Your efforts will be far easier than remodeling a bathroom or applying new paint. In fact, setting up a sales page can take just a few hours of work. It’s an investment in time that will surely pay off.

Here are many simple ways to boost your potential book sales.

1. Link to your sales page. Every time you mention your eBook or Print On Demand title online (in your email newsletter, on your website or blog, via social media), make sure you include your website address and a link to your sales page.

2. Tell your readers you’ll make more money. Be direct and tell your readers why it’s important to buy your books from your own pages. Don’t worry: your readers don’t mind learning this. In fact, when you share such details, readers will be even more engaged with your work. If people love your writing, they’ll want to help support you by purchasing your book from whatever outlet benefits you the most.

3. Same low prices! To support the above point, it’s also worth mentioning to your fans that they’ll pay the same price whether they buy your book from a store like Amazon or from your own page, so they might as well buy from the outlet that most benefits you.

4. Give your readers format options. If possible, you should offer your eBook in as many formats as you can. That includes print, eBook files (.mobi for Kindle, ePub for all other readers), or a simple PDF file.

5. Link to other retail sites. If someone already has an account with Amazon, they may prefer to just buy your book from there instead of going through a brand-new check-out process. If that’s the case, you don’t want your page to be a dead end.

6. Make sure your book cover is a sales magnet. Your site should feature an oversized image of your book cover. Of course, if your book cover is going to be big, it had better be great. Otherwise your visitors will assume that the writing matches the poor quality of the cover design.

7. Write a catchy book overview and description. Here’s your chance to grab a reader’s attention, but you only have a few sentences to win them over. Invest the time to make it persuasive so your readers are drawn in from the very first word! Feel free to pepper your book description with positive quotes from reviews if you have any.

8. Use your author biography to intrigue your readers. It’s time to tell the world about you! What is it about your own life experiences that will make your book worth reading?

9. Use accurate metadata to aid search. What’s metadata? It’s the basic information about your book that’s used in online searches. Your metadata will include things like genre, subgenre, ISBN, publication date, language, and page count. Make sure this data is accurate and you may just boost your traffic from people searching on Google.

10. Encourage your readers to use the social sharing function. Most selling pages will include simple social media icons for sharing. That makes it easy to show the page address on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and many more. Be sure to ask your fans to help you spread the word.

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: Stephanie Winslow, Helping Families of Addicts Live in Hope, Peace, and Freedom

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So many people battle the disease of addiction, and out of fear of being rejected by family and friends, they often try to hide their addiction. Sometimes they find recovery and other times they don’t. But it’s not just the addict’s life that is turned upside down; the lives of the people who love them are also affected.

Loving an addict can be an emotional rollercoaster where one vacillates between hope, despair, anger, depression, unforgiveness, forgiveness, and fear. It’s exhausting for these families, and because their loved one is trapped in the cycle of addiction, the addict is usually unaware or simply doesn’t care how their behavior affects anyone else. That’s the ugly side of addiction. Even when the family of an addict has a strong faith, the disease of addiction will test the beliefs of everyone involved.

Fortunately, there are countless organizations that offer hope and help to the addict and their families. And it’s people like Stephanie Winslow, who’ve made it their mission to be part of that help.

Meet Stephanie Winslow

With an extended family that was affected by substance abuse, Stephanie hoped her immediate family would never be in that situation. But in 2009, her world substance-abuse-advice-winslowwas forever changed when she found out that her brother was an alcoholic.

They say that tragedy has a way of bringing you to your knees, and that’s what happened to Stephanie. As a spectator of her brother’s struggle with substance abuse, she realized she could have no impact on his choices or the outcomes. Because she dealt first-hand with her brother’s addiction, Stephanie felt called to share her personal journey and how she had to utterly rely on God to navigate these difficult waters.

The purpose of her book is to show Christian families of active alcoholics and addicts that feel trapped, hopeless, and weary–and are ready to drop the burden of their loved one’s addiction–how they can start living in hope, peace, and freedom.

Stephanie’s book will be available soon! Stay tuned for its release date. You won’t want to miss it!

 “My story is meant to highlight the transformation that is possible when we place ourselves at the feet of Jesus and surrender our plans, our grief, our striving, our problem solving, and our best intentions for His plan and His purpose for us and our loved ones.”

-Stephanie Winslow

What about you? Do you have a story to tell that can save lives, change lives, or transform society? If you are someone you know has always wanted to write a book, reach out to us, and we can help you make it happen!

 

 

 

 


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What Type of People Do We Work With? Self-Help Writers

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Self-help writers are people whose stories can help others. If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve probably had to overcome some challenging or painful experiences. Nobody really knows what you’ve been through. But they see how strong you are, what you’ve endured, and what you’ve overcome.

Maybe you’re not only a survivor but also a successful businessman or woman and an expert in your field. The point is, you have advice, expertise, experience, and knowledge to share with the world, so why keep it to yourself? Isn’t it time to help someone else?

We are always excited to work with Self-Help writers. These are some of the most passionate people on our planet. Out of pain comes beauty. And it’s in that beauty that these writers share what they know and how they survived in order to help someone else.

Self-Help Writers

We have the opportunity to grow and improve all throughout our lives. Change is an inevitable part of life, and how we deal with that change is what matters.self-help writers To become an effective self-help writer, follow these steps, and your story could be the one to change the world.

1. Become An Expert

You can’t expect to help people unless you know what you are talking about. Whether you plan to help people work through depression or to start a business out of their garage, you have to tell them what to do every step of the way. Don’t rely on your own experiences alone. Research your topic and consult with other experts to increase your knowledge and provide better help to your readers.

2. Know Your Audience

No matter what type of book you are writing, it’s essential to get to know your audience before you start writing. You need to know what type of person will be reading your self-help book, in order to decide on the kind of language and writing style to use. Would your audience respond well to a step-by-step guide that breaks everything down into a clear list? Is it possible that your audience would learn better through anecdotes and personal experiences? The goal of your book should be to help your readers in the simplest way possible, so get to know the people you are trying to reach.

3. Provide a Guide that Allows Readers to Help Themselves

Remember, this is a self-help book, so while your words are there to help the readers achieve something, they need to be able to achieve that goal on their own. A great self-help book should make readers feel confident, excited, and ready to improve their life. Self-help writers need to inspire readers to take action then show them exactly what actions to take.

4. Outline Everything You Want to Communicate

This isn’t a conversation over coffee. This is a book that will hopefully serve as a reference for those looking to improve themselves. It’s important to create a BookMAP that shows all the key points that you want to cover before you dive into writing. Each chapter should have a clear purpose and show the reader how to work through the tasks necessary to get to the next chapter.

Learn How to Write Your Self-help Book

Knowledge, expertise, and the desire to help others are all a great start, but the actual act of writing is often what prevents people from sharing their wisdom. If the writing process intimidates you, you don’t know where to start, or you need support along the way, our online book writing classes are a great option. Work with an expert that can help you help others through the power of writing and get your story out!

 

 


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Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

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From September 15th through October 15th we celebrate the contributions of Hispanic Americans to our country in National Hispanic Heritage Month. It is no secret that this country was changed for the better because of the contributions of Hispanic Americans. Today, 55 million people, or 17% of the American population, are of Hispanic or Latino origin. Hispanics have had a profound and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have enhanced and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multi-ethnic and multicultural customs of their community. (Source).

As a professional writer and book coach, I love reading books from diverse authors. This month, let’s honor the contributions of just a couple of the greatest Hispanic writers that have impacted our culture.

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez was born in New York City to two Dominican parents who immigrated to the United States to escape the dictatorship of Trujillo in the early 1950’s. Her initial stay was not long as her parents did not adjust well to their new life in America. They left after only three months and returned to their country, but hispanic heritage month julia alvarezthey were later forced to leave again in 1960 at the risk of being murdered by an evil regime.

She began to write about her experience of growing up in America as an immigrant but found the process of writing a challenge because her she came from an oral culture where they didn’t write things down. Not to mention that she could barely speak let alone write the English language. But she kept going and in 1991 published her first book: How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent. It’s the story of her family’s escape from the Dominican Republic when her father tried to overthrow an evil dictator, and their assimilation into American culture. The book was an instant success and was selected as a “Notable Book” by both the New York Times and the American Library Association. It won the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for books with a multicultural perspective and was chosen by New York Librarians as one of twenty-one classics for the twenty-first century.

Her most recent nonfiction book, Once Upon A Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA, also gives autobiographical information on her own coming of age in The

United States and on finding her voice as a woman and as an American writer.  (Source)

 

Sandra Cisneros

hispanic heritage month sandra cisnerosSandra Cisneros is an activist poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, and artist.  Born in Chicago, IL and a writer of over 50 years, she explores the lives of the working-class in her work.

Her coming of age novel, The House on Mango Street, reflects the journey of a young Latina girl who grows up on the streets of Chicago and finds her way into woman- and adulthood. This book has sold over 6 million copies, been translated into more than 20 languages and is required reading in elementary, high school, and university curricula across the United States. A winner of many awards and accolades, Sandra Cisneros, has made her impact on American culture and helped to bridge the gap of understanding and acceptance of those who come from the Latin culture.  (Source)

Ways To Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

There are many ways that you can celebrate this wonderful culture. Start by picking up a book by one of the authors mentioned earlier or learn about how Hispanics have influenced our culture through food, arts, music and film. The contributions are countless, and our country wouldn’t be where we are today without them. For more information on ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, check out these fun ideas!

 

 

 


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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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