PageTasha Hudson | Write a Nonfiction Book with The Book Professor |

Author Archives: Tasha Hudson

  • 0

You Can’t Skip Hiring a Cover Designer

Tags : 

This article originally appeared on bookbaby.com

Readers are basing their book-purchasing decisions on a single image with a few pixels. That’s one reason you need the services of a professional cover designer.

Now, more than ever, readers are literally judging your book by its cover. With more than 75 percent of book sales happening online, your cover’s design is a tipping point in a one-click decision.

It used to be that readers would come through a brick-and-mortar shop, pick a book up, and leaf through it for a few pages before making a buying decision. Now, readers are basing their purchasing decisions on a single image with a few pixels.

That means you have to have a strong design, and finding the right cover designer for your book is a crucial first step in getting there.

Before you pick one at random and shell out a few hundred dollars, consider the following.

How can I find the right cover designer?

Cover designers frequently list their services on freelancer marketplaces like UpWork or Guru. Or you can make it real easy on yourself and go with the professionals in the BookBaby Design Studio.

Once you’ve found a candidate or two, look through their online portfolios. Do you like the work they’ve done? Do they have a solid number of titles under their belt? Are the other covers in their arsenal in the same or similar genre to your book?

Pay attention to that last question

A book designer with experience in mystery novels is going to know how to make your book look like it fits within that genre. That’s crucial, since mystery readers are going to look at your cover for a split second and decide immediately whether or not it looks like a book for them. That doesn’t mean the same designer will be adept at designing a memoir or nonfiction cover that suits your title.

Do the process in reverse

Check titles in your genre to see if they’ve listed the cover artist and reach out to the ones whose designs you like. If there’s no listing, try messaging the author directly. Self-published authors typically want to help — especially if it means they get to talk about their books.

Does the designer have the right skills?

Just because someone can make a lovely poster for a piano recital, it doesn’t mean they’re going to make an impactful book cover. Book cover design is a niche with rules, format requirements, and genre-specific needs. A book designer will know this.

Will you own the rights to the design?

In all creative industries, discussing ownership and rights upfront is critical. There are authors who have published their books — with covers they paid for — only to have the designer demand they take it down.

It helps to have your own contracts prepared in advance so you have a starting point for negotiations. Include the expected timeline, rate, and terms for the cover design. This means stating the date the cover will be completed, how much you’ll pay for it, how many revisions you’re entitled to, what happens if the contract is terminated, and who owns the rights to the finished work.

Working with a designer should be a collaboration

It’s your job to give your designer the broad strokes of what you want in your cover design — it’s their job to deliver. But this doesn’t mean a designer can read your mind. Provide covers that inspire you. Send them a Pinterest board, a video montage, a bunch of paint chips with poetry on them — whatever it is that you feel best communicates the look you want for your book cover.

And then, talk it through. Be clear and thorough. Answer questions. Ask for changes on first or second drafts and know that it’s okay to walk away if the relationship begins to head south. If a designer isn’t giving you what you’re looking for, or if after two revisions the cover still isn’t right, it’s okay for you to cancel your contract. You can find another designer but you can’t buy a second chance at impressing your readers.

At the end of the day, you could publish War and Peace with a million-dollar marketing budget, but if the cover is wrong, you’re still going to lose. Get a great cover and increase the chances you’ll get your book into the hands of readers who will love it.


  • 0

Best Practices to Stay on Schedule When Writing a Book: Stick To Your Schedule and Clear Your Head

Tags : 

Earlier this year I talked about the importance of blocking out your time when writing a book and even provided an example of my schedule in a block format. But what good is having a schedule if you don’t stick to it? When it’s time to start, don’t make one more phone call; turn off your phone. If you want coffee, have it on your desk when you sit down at your appointed time. Don’t play games with yourself. If you’re tired, then do it tired. If you’re frustrated, then do it frustrated. If you feel stuck, then do it while feeling stuck.

Having said that, there could be something that stands in your way. It’s your brain. For example, it’s time to write, and you know what you’re going to write. But you just got home after a long commute, or you were balancing your checkbook five minutes earlier, or you dropped your kids off at school after a hectic morning. Your brain can’t simply shift from chaos to creative; it needs time to transition.

You’ve probably heard a lot about writer’s block and that some writers claim they can’t write a word because of it. That’s bunk. There’s no such thing as writer’s block. It simply means that a writer isn’t writing, and the only way to correct that is to write.

Writers Block Strategy—Clear Your Head

You can write, and you can write at any time and any place. I even contend that you can write your book in fifteen-minute increments if all you have is the back of a napkin and a pen. Your biggest challenge isn’t finding time to write; it’s clearing your head to do it.

Here’s a little exercise that will help you do that. Read it through a couple of times and then give it a try. It’s a simple guided meditation.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath. Breathe in . . . and out, in . . . and out.

Keep your eyes closed.

Picture a paperclip.

Fasten it in your mind.

Look at it, feel it, regard it from all angles.

Now let the words that describe that paperclip explode in your mind. Shiny, smooth, cold. Continue to find words that describe the paperclip for thirty seconds. Exhaust your vocabulary.

You know that paperclip. You know it from all angles. You see it before you.

Keeping your eyes closed, remember your first kiss.

Feel it, smell it, taste it, love it, hate it, welcome it, resist it.

Your kiss, that kiss, you remember it don’t you?

Now open your eyes, and for the next five minutes, write—in detail—about that moment of your first kiss.

If you followed that guidance, in less than one minute you were able to clear your mind by putting all your focus on a simple, inanimate object. Then you switched your focus to something else that was memorable, and you were prepared to write.

This technique can work for you every time you sit down to write. You don’t have to limit your item to a paperclip; any simple item will do. I like screwdrivers, coffee mugs, picture frames, staplers—whatever. The trick is to fully visualize the item and let the descriptive words pop. Then, when I turn my attention to what I need to write, I’m no longer thinking about email, budgets, employees, or pets. I’m fully focused on my subject matter. Try this exercise next time you sit down and write and get ready for the creative juices to flow!

What about you? Are you ready to take that step and start writing your book and put these strategies into action? Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!

 


  • 0

Getting Published

Tags : 

If you’ve written a book that can change lives, save lives, or transform society and you want to get published, keep reading to learn how!

Stonebrook Publishing is the publishing arm for The Book Professor authors, but we also publish other authors’ work. We offer a unique model in the world of hybrid publishing and strictly work with high-impact nonfiction material that will either save lives, change lives, or transform society. We are “publishing with a purpose.”  

You invest in our services, and when your book is published, all proceeds from book sales belong to you. In fact, the funds from sales are automatically deposited in your account each month. After you’re published, we collect nothing further from you for that project.  

Many self-publishing platforms publish anything and everything they can get their hands on, but that’s now how we work because we aren’t a self-publishing platform.
We are a small press dedicated to nonfiction. We carefully evaluate each submission against these criteria:

  1. Does the work have a message that can change lives, save lives, or transform society?
  2. Does the writing meet our standards of writing?  

When we receive your manuscript, we evaluate it to determine what kind of editing is needed. Or if your manuscript is market-ready, you’ll jump right into The Complete Publishing Package.  

Our signature offering is TheComplete Publishing Package, an all-inclusive service to publish your nonfiction book. The cost is $7,500 and it includes:

  • Original, professional cover design with a minimum of 4 options for you to choose from
  • Custom interior design and print layout for up to 100,000 words  
  • Proofreading of your final manuscript
  • e-Book file conversion and upload  to 127 e-retailers, including Kindle, Nook, iTunes, and Kobo
  • Traditional distribution through our distribution partner, Ingram Publisher Services
  • ISBN purchase and assignment
  • Obtaining your Library of Congress control number (LCCN)
  • Filing the book copyright in your name with the Library of Congress

When your book is finished and available for purchase, all proceeds from the sales go directly to you!. There are no royalties to share. You did all the work, and all the proceeds from sales go to you!

 

If you or someone you know is ready to publish their book, contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


  • 0

With Accountability and Rhythm, You Can Finish

Tags : 

I don’t know if you’re a goal-setter, but I’ve become one—somewhat reluctantly. I don’t like to set goals because I don’t really want to be accountable to them. I don’t want to set a goal and fail, so I prefer just not to do it. And yet, if I don’t set goals, I don’t accomplish anything significant.  

When I first started the practice of goal-setting, I’d write down my ultimate goals and hope they’d come to fruition. But that wasn’t a realistic approach. I had to break each goal into smaller steps and execute those steps to move forward. There are tons of books on how to set goals and break them into smaller tasks, and that’s all well and good. But these resources weren’t helpful to me until I added the layer of accountability. I have to have someone to answer to.

If you want to write your book, you not only need a step-by-step plan, you also need structure and accountability. It takes a year to write a book, and it isn’t reasonable to expect that you’ll keep going and going week after week, for fifty-two weeks, without a little kick in the pants every now and then.

The Power of We

Human beings are social animals, and many of us stray off the path if we get isolated from a group. The Lone Ranger, the self-made man or self-made woman, the I-did-it-my-way persona are myths. We need each other and function best in community. It’s how our brains are wired.

That’s why my Executive Group Coaching classes are so effective. Limited to ten people, a group functions as your Book Mastermind. Every person in the group starts with only one thing—an idea—and at the end of the journey, you all end up with books. It’s not only a rich experience that you share with others. It’s the power of the group that keeps you going

In our Executive Group Coaching classes, we follow a step-by-step process that provides accountability. It’s a weekly commitment. Each week, you have a new lesson that includes homework to complete. And each week, in a one-hour group conference call, each member reports on the progress he or she made and any roadblocks or challenges encountered. Of course, a lot of scrambling happens on days before our group coaching calls, but that’s to be expected. It’s the jolt that keeps you moving forward, step by step by step and week by week by week.

Establish a Rhythm and Finish

Why is accountability so effective? For me, it’s an ego thing. I simply don’t want to fail, and I certainly don’t want to fail in front of anyone else. My pride can make me push myself when my will tells me to give up.

There’s something about establishing a regular habit, a regular rhythm, that when coupled with accountability, leads us to achieve our goals. Just like I need the rhythm with my trainer, the rhythm of Executive Group Coaching is the key to finishing your book.

Once this habit of accountability is established, you have to protect it as if your life depends on it. Skip a couple of group coaching calls, and you’re like an ember that’s rolled out of the fire. You may think you’ll keep up with the lessons on your own but then find that there’s never a good time to watch the lessons or do the homework. Soon you’re so far behind that you rationalize that you don’t need to write a book after all—or that you’ll pick it back up again next month, next year, when you aren’t so busy.

Do you really think you’ll ever get less busy?

The members of my Executive Group Coaching classes who don’t finish are the ones who skip our weekly calls. So if you want to have a book at the end of the year, guard the time for our group coaching calls as if your book depends on it—because it does!

What about you? Are you ready to establish a rhythm and finish your book? You can do this. Reach out to us today and we can help you take the next step!

 


  • 0

Writing a Book—Communicate Your Purpose With a BookMAP

Tags : 

I was thumbing through a book that a new author had given me. From the title, I’d thought it would be about building inner strength, and I was interested in learning more. But as I scanned the pages, I felt like the author was shoveling piles of information at me—information about research studies, how the brain works from birth to adulthood, and a random review of another author’s work. The book didn’t deliver what the title promised. It was like the author had this bank of information that he needed to cough up, but he had no clue about what I wanted to learn. The book was about him, not me.

When you write your book, you’re writing for the reader, not yourself. So you’ve got to construct it from your readers’ perspective, not yours. Your job isn’t to push information on readers; it’s to offer them what they’re seeking. Your job is to deliver the reader to realize the purpose of the book. Your Purpose Statement is your compass, and it tells where you want to take your reader. BookMAP 2 works with your Purpose Statement to show how you’ll communicate the book’s purpose to your audience.

We’re all pilgrims on the same journey—but some pilgrims have better road maps.

—Nelson DeMille

BookMAP 2 Elements

Your second BookMAP will contain these elements:

  • Problems
  • Solutions
    1. Features
    2. Benefits
    3. Examples

Problems

What problems does the reader have? Think about why someone would purchase your book. Are they looking for ways to save money? Do they want to help their children? Are they seeking some type of fulfillment or satisfaction? Are they in the middle of a personal crisis? Are they floundering in business? What kind of problems do they have that can be solved by the solutions you present?

Solutions

There’s a lot to explain when it comes to your solutions, which is where your expertise comes in. You may be tempted to gush forth everything you know at this point, and I don’t blame you. You know a lot and have some brilliant ideas to share. In fact, it’s been a world of work to get where you are now, and the lessons were hard-earned.

Your job, however, is to present your solutions in a way that readers can follow and apply them, which means you can’t tell them what to do. You have to show them how you solved a particular problem or helped someone else to solve it.

The way you’ll show readers your solutions is by first focusing on—and later writing about—the features and benefits of your solutions, as well as examples.

Features and Benefits

According to Google, the definition of the word feature is “a distinctive attribute or aspect of something.” That’s what you’re going to record on BookMAP 2—the attributes and aspects of your solutions to the problems you’ve identified.

On the other hand, we’re all driven by “what’s in it for me?” If you want your audience to put your solution into practice, you need to tell them why they should. Why is it good for them? What will they gain? In other words, what’s the benefit? So for each feature of your solution, you’ll tell readers its benefit.

Examples

It’s all well and good to share the features and benefits of your solution, but if you can’t make the concept come alive in readers’ minds, the point will be lost and you won’t accomplish your purpose. The next step is to seal your message with a story. The story is your example.

Our brains are wired to respond to stories. Other than personal experience, hearing stories is the easiest way for us to learn. For each of the features and benefits of the solution, you’ll tell a story that engages readers and causes them to remember the lesson. It’s the story that will convince your readers; it’s the story that will lock the principle in their minds so they can apply it to their lives; it’s the story that will live on when all your words have faded away.

If you or someone you know is ready to write your book and learn how to communicate your purpose using our BookMap 2, contact us today and we can help you take the next step!


  • 0

How To Get Media Coverage For Your Book

Tags : 

This article originally appeared on bookbaby.com

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution, but that doesn’t mean marketing your book is impossible. The media can still be a powerful partner, and here are five ways to get media coverage for your book.

It’s the most common dilemma in the publishing industry: “How do I market my book?”

This question plagues everyone who has written a book. We’re all searching for that “can’t-miss” marketing technique that will turn our books into best-sellers. And as the marketplace continues to grow , the question is only becoming more relevant. With more and more books being released, readers are increasingly hard to find.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing solution, but that doesn’t mean marketing your book is impossible. When it comes to boosting your book’s sales, the media can still be a powerful partner.

Take, for example, the story of Carl Johan Ehrlin and his book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Sleep.

Ehrlin, a Swedish psychologist, self published the book in 2010. He had little luck in selling his parenting guide online, so he started giving away free eBook copies. He sent one of those copies to a writer at the Daily Mail, a UK newspaper. That writer wrote an article about how he used the book to put his precocious children to bed.

The article was syndicated to other papers around the globe. Soon after, the book rocketed to #1 on the Amazon and New York Times best-sellers lists.

This is evidence that the media remains a reliable vehicle for promoting and selling books. While you might not achieve the explosive success of The Rabbit Who Wants To Go To Sleep, you can still position yourself and your work in such a way that newspapers, radio stations, websites, and even TV outlets take notice.

Here’s how.

Do a public relations audit

Take the time to think about what the media might find noteworthy and different about you. Are there past experiences that lend themselves to interesting stories? Do you have any industry connections that would pique the interest of a reporter? What aspects of your book are particularly press-worthy? Identify them, then sell them.

You should also conduct an internal audit. What do you hope to accomplish by getting media coverage? Are you trying to brand yourself and promote a business venture? Are you trying to establish yourself as a subject-matter expert? Are you simply hoping to have your book discovered by as many potential readers as possible? Knowing all of this will help you act more purposefully moving forward.

Target potential media partners tactfully

More media outlets, stations, and content sites exist today than ever before. This is a good thing, as it provides you with lots of potential partners, but it also means that the value of any of these partnerships — at least when assessed individually — is more diluted than ever before.

Put together an extensive list of potential partners to target before you start reaching out. Consider which outlets might be a good fit for your book or topic. Consult folks working inside these companies and who lend credence to both local and international opportunities. That paid off for Carl Johan Ehrlin.

Understand what the media needs

Before you start reaching out, consider what the folks on the receiving end of your pitch want and need. You’ll find, more than anything else, they need quality content — books that are well-written, interesting, and new. That’s a given.

So think about what other value your book might add. What tie-in to audiences can you establish? Can you capitalize on your location, content, or theme? Some books lend themselves to be more “newsy” or controversial. Does your book make an allegation or accusation? Does it challenge the status quo? If so, sell that. All these themes could be the cornerstone of your book pitch.

Develop a focused pitch

Finally, after you’ve done all your homework, draft your pitch.

What this means, essentially, is that you’ll need to need to create a press release. This should be based on your core message and informed by what aspects of your book you think might prove relevant to different editors. Chances are, the folks you’re pitching will not have read your book. You’ll need to explain why your book deserves attention and you’ll need to do it quickly and succinctly.

But also be prepared to change or edit your pitch over time. You might be surprised at some of the quirky things that grab the attention of a reporter. That means you need to be okay with trying different angles.

Keep to a PR schedule

Finally, you need to make sure you’re approaching this job with diligence and grit. As such, it pays to abide by a specific schedule. Start out with this rather standard timeline:

  • Six months prior to your book launch: Create your website. Brainstorm ideas and craft a book marketing plan.
  • Five months out: Develop your press kit and media pitches. Pull together your advance review copy (ARC) media list. Start to solicit testimonials, if possible. Research the media you plan to approach.
  • Four months out: Send out your advance review copies (ARCs) to media that have long lead times. Schedule book signings and appearances if possible.
  • Three months out: Follow up on ARC media, including local TV and radio programs. Continue to query book stores and speaking opportunities.
  • Two months out: Contact non-book reviewer media. Approach online reviewers.
  • One month out: Start scheduling interviews. Finish ARC follow-up. Follow up with online reviewers. Look for more blogs and websites for outreach opportunities. Send your media kit to local newspapers and weekly publications.
  • First 90 days after the publication date: This is the time for interviews and stories to run. Media and bookstores see it as new and you’ll be at your peak in terms of attractiveness.

Marketing your book takes a lot of effort, no doubt. But with a little luck and a lot of grit, you’ll broadcast the news and introduce more readers to your hard-wrought words.

And who knows? Depending on what partnerships you manage to form, you might find yourself on that all-important list near the back of The New York Times — alongside sleepy bunnies and all the authors whose work you aspire to match.


  • 0

Stages of Writing a Book

Tags : 

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.

Your starting point is here, where you have nothing. Your endpoint is the published book and its purpose, which is reflected in your Purpose Statement.  Let’s talk about the beginning stage-the BookMAP.

BookMAP 1: It’s Personal

When you take our book writing class, you’ll learn that your personal story is one of the most important parts of your book. Some writers, particularly if they’re writing a business book, want to leave out this part and simply share their knowledge or instruct the audience. That would be a mistake.

Before you can tell your readers anything, you must earn the right to be heard. Nobody likes to be told what to do, especially if they don’t know anything about you. What makes you an authority on this subject? Why should they listen to you? Those are the questions you answer when you share your own story.

And your readers don’t want the whitewashed version of you. Share your high points and the deep canyons, the wins and the demoralizing losses, the beautiful and the ugly. You must be real and transparent. So shuck off your pride that tells you if they know who I truly am, they won’t like me. That’s bunk. When you’re real, people will love you. When you’re open and honest, you give the reader permission to be open and honest, too.

I’m not saying it’s easy. It takes a lot of courage to be this vulnerable. We all want to put our best foot forward to make a good impression. We like to hide the messes we’ve made, but sometimes the mess has become your message.

That’s what’s so effective about my Executive Group Coaching classes. In this book writing class, you get to share your failures and foibles in a safe place, test out your message with others in the class, and gain strength from doing so—before you bare your skin to the world.

What about you? What personal story do you have inside? Contact us today, and we can help you get it out of your head and onto paper!

 


  • 0

Extended Value of Working With The Book Professor

Tags : 

You got your story out of your head and onto paper. Your book is finally finished. Your finished book can now become the launchpad through which you deliver your message across multiple venues. When you follow our 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. Exciting times!

But how will people know that your book is available? How will they find YOUR book amongst the masses? Writing your book is the first hurdle; getting others to notice it is the next!

Well, look no further. Through our partnership with the prestigious Smith Publicity, we are proud to offer Book Marketing Services for all of our clients. That’s the extended value of working with The Book Professor!

Get Attention for Your Book and Impact Sales

Learn one-on-one from book industry experts—on your schedule, and tailored to your genre and level of expertise—specific and actionable techniques to drive awareness to your book and author platform. Marketing your book can be overwhelming. These services are designed to take away the fear and put in the fun.

How It Works

 

Social Media Consultation Service Offerings-$325 each

Our packages are completely customized to your skill level and needs. For example, if you’re a social media beginner, one of our experts will work with you to create your platform from scratch and teach you the basic rules of engagement. If you are already well-versed on a social media platform, but would like to execute better, our advanced experts will custom-craft a plan to work with you to optimize your existing site, incorporate your book into your postings (without offending followers), decipher analytics, and/or understand potential advertising options.

Before your call, you complete an author questionnaire that gives your consultant time to research and tailor ideas specific to your book, genre, and goals. You will also receive educational handouts or “homework” before the call(s) to help ensure your session(s) are as jam-packed as possible. At the end of the service, you receive handouts to help you continue developing ideas and techniques.

If you or someone you know is interested in marketing their book, reach out to us and we will help make it happen!

 

 

 

 


  • 0

How to Stay Organized When Writing a Book-Block Out Your Time

Tags : 

Call me strange, but I dont exactly know what time is. I do know that Ive been a slave to it for much of my life. My life, like yours, is filled with so much: things I want to do, things I need to do, and a lot of things I dont really want to do but must. Theres always a race against the clock, which leaves me feeling scattered and torn, like a scarecrow with his stuffing pulled out. At the end of the day, there isnt much left, and whats left doesnt feel like me.

I assume that you’re a busy professional and you’re not looking for extra things to do. Life is busy enough with work, but when you layer on the more important things like faith and family, there’s no wiggle room, no gaps where you can sneak in a major project like writing your book. And yet it’s something you want to do. You want to make a difference.

You actually have the time to do the things you want to do like write your book if you learn to organize your time.

Time Blocking

I use a method for organizing my time called time blocking. Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like. It’s organizing your time in blocks so you can be most efficient—not just in your writing but in everything you do. It requires you to look at all your responsibilities and organize them into specific blocks of time so you can accomplish everything on your plate.

After you organize your calendar in time blocks, you must enforce it. This takes discipline, but it’s very effective once you get the hang of it.  Here’s my calendar as an example:


When I was first introduced to time blocking, I thought, Good grief! I’m going to have to get up at 5:00 every morning to get everything done! I don’t suggest that your weeks be as long as mine are but, on the other hand, if they need to be while you’re writing your book, then so be it.

Notice how I block my time. You can see that I devote blocks of time to my tasks—not just fifteen minutes here and there. I organize my time so I fully complete one thing before moving to the next.

Take a look at the blocks called content. I often say that books don’t write themselves—and guess what? The classes and workshops I teach don’t write themselves either. I have to schedule time to plan, write, deliver, and produce my classes and presentations. So I figured out how much time I needed per week to do that writing and allocated it across the week in specific blocks.

While I’m working on content, I’m not answering the phone—it’s turned off. And I’m not checking email. I close it so it doesn’t ding me to death. And I’m not futzing around online, either. I’m writing content, and that’s the only thing I’m doing. I don’t believe in multitasking.

I can hear you say, “Well, of course, you can block off time to write. That’s your business.” And you’re right! But if I want to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually, I have to start my days at five in the morning to get in that extra activity. Do you think I want to get up that early? I really don’t. But taking care of the other parts of my life is a priority, so that’s what I do.

To write your first draft, block five hours each week for sixteen weeks. That’s four months to your first draft! When you keep your eye on the prize, writing your book suddenly seems more doable.

 

What about you? Now that you have the tools to block out your time, what’s stopping you from writing your book? Contact us today and we can help you take the next step!

 

.

 


  • 0

Writing A Book: Focus On The Purpose

Tags : 

I love meeting people who want to write stories. But you know what I love more? Meeting people who want to write stories that have a purpose, which is something I stress in my book writing courses. I recently heard a podcast, and the speaker suggested that not everyone has one true calling. She dubbed people who have many interests and talents as multipotentialities. She said that living in a society that asks “what do you want to be when you grow up?” can have a detrimental effect because it makes people feel they have to commit to one thing forever—and that many of us don’t have one “one true calling” or one purpose. Interesting.

I know what it’s like to go through life doing jobs that were never suited for me in the first place. (Yes, I was once the owner of an asphalt paving company!) But I do believe that we were all put on earth for a purpose. It’s no different when writing a book. You must focus on the purpose of your book. It’s the only way you will impact your audience and make a difference in their lives.

Give Your Nonfiction Book a Pointed Purpose Statement

The Purpose Statement for your book is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a statement—a single sentence, not a paragraph—that states what your book will accomplish for its specific audience. If you want your book to make an impact, it must perform an action.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank formula that will help you craft your Purpose Statement:

The purpose of this book is to do ___action_____ for _audience_____.

What do you want your book to do? Hard question. Maybe it’s easier to explain what you don’t want it to do: You don’t want your book to raise awareness. Seriously.

You might think, I think I do want to raise awareness. Actually, you don’t. If you write a book to raise awareness, you miss an opportunity to change lives, save lives, or transform society.

You could write the most captivating, awareness-raising book in the world, but at the end, your readers’ response will be, “Well, that was interesting. Now I know about that.” Then they’ll shut the cover and promptly forget about it. Or maybe it will stick with readers for a few days, and they’ll think, “Somebody should do something about that.” But that’s as far as it will go. In the end, you’ve spent your time, energy, emotion, and money to write a forgettable book.

You want to create change in a specific, targeted audience, and you can use this formula to write your Purpose Statement:   

The purpose of this book is to _action_ for _audience_ so they can result.

What change do I want to invoke in my readers? Change implies action.

Here’s an example from one of my clients:

Nancy Nelson, Lessons from the Ledge: The purpose of this book is to guide women in crisis to dig into their resilience, to push past the pitfalls, and to reframe the pain so they can thrive instead of merely survive.

Let’s analyze Nancy’s Purpose Statement in light of our formula:

The purpose of this book is to guide (action) women in crisis (audience) to dig into their resilience (result 1), to push past the pitfalls (result 2), and to reframe the pain (result 3), so they can thrive instead of merely survive (result 4).

Your Purpose Statement is the foundation of your book. It defines your mission and describes your job as the author: to deliver your audience to realize the purpose of your book. It should be clear, concise, and specific. It’s the guide for everything you’ll write.

What about you? If you or someone you know is ready to tell your story with purpose, please contact us and we can help you enroll in a book writing course today!


  • 0

Trends in Publishing

Tags : 

This article originally appeared on bookbaby.com

The publishing industry gets rocked by a blockbuster title, and for years after that, publishers and authors play “follow the leader.” It’s smart — millions of books are sold and billions of dollars are amassed annually by chasing trends in publishing.

The publishing world is historically one of fads and trends. They descend upon the market like storms, altering the landscape. Ten years ago, it was Twilight-inspired vampire novels. Then came the phenomenon of young adult dystopia and Fifty Shades of Grey-style romance. And only two years ago did we emerge from the fad in which every other thriller novel included the word “girl” in the title.

Over the last two years, oddly, the industry has been in a drought, with no end in sight. That’s one of many things I learned when I attended the Book Expo America in New York City in 2018: There is simply no dominant creative trend dictating strategy in publishing right now.

There are, however, various shifts happening within the publishing industry regarding how insiders are finding new talent, and that will dictate the challenges facing new writers moving forward. Three of the most important trends in publishing include:

  1. Diversity continues to be a driving economic force
  2. The competition for readers has reached new dimensions (and media)
  3. Alternative media will drive tomorrow’s best sellers

1. Diversity is a driving economic force in publishing

One of the most popular sessions put on at the Book Expo was, “Opportunity Cost: Why Diversity is Financially Critical To the Book Industry.”

In it, panel members discussed just how influential the promotion of multicultural voices is — and will continue to be — in the publishing world. In this sense, they dismantled the conclusions of 2015’s “Diversity Baseline Survey,” which stated, “The publishing industry is white, straight, and physically able, and the vast majority of books published are intended for these audiences.”

The panel also highlighted just how quickly things are changing. The bottom line now is this: if authors and publishers do not embrace diversity, they will lose economically. That’s an easy concept to grasp when you consider the recent economic success of movies like Black Panther, Get Out, and Crazy Rich Asians, and even recent award-winning books like The Underground Railroad and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

“It’s incumbent upon us to make sure that diversity is front and center,” BookExpo/BookCon event director Brien McDonald told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview.

The industry seems to be following through on this commitment. Other panels on the subject at the Expo focused on immigration, gender, and sexuality.

Panelist and publisher Jason Low was one of the authors of the aforementioned Diversity Baseline Survey in 2015. He summed up the momentum for mixed content in this way: “My doctor tells me that my gut or stomach health is at its peak when I give it a diet of different foods to digest — even unexpected new elements. Your reading appetite is just the same.”

2. The competition for readers has reached new dimensions (and media)

Another of the emerging trends in publishing is this: readers are accessing books in an ever-widening array of media.

Vienna-based consultant Rüdiger Wischenbart recently shared data around how much time people generally spend accessing entertainment on their mobile devices. One group, comprised by more traditional readers — such as urbanites, the well-educated, and folks over 40 — has seen their “mobile time” rise from a modest 26 minutes a day in 2012 to over one hour a day in 2017. The younger generation — let’s call them “Millennial Book Lovers” — spend almost three hours a day consuming content on their phone.

This increase in leisure time is good news. The bad news for publishers and authors is how potential readers are spending their mobile time. Consumers have a larger number of entertainment options at their disposal than ever before, and the data is suggesting that people are not spending their time reading books. That means you’re not just competing against other authors and books in the digital space, you’re competing with TV, social media, games, movies, and more.

“Digital means that publishing’s readership is somebody else’s viewership, and listenership, and gamers, and video fans, and rockers,” says Wischenbart.

There’s still plenty of money and attention available for authors — publishing industry revenue last year topped $112 billion, while the movie industry took in just $38 billion — but reader habits are changing. Authors need to be prepared to fight for their attention.

3. Alternative media will drive tomorrow’s best sellers

To garner attention, authors need to turn their focus to alternative media. That’s because one of the next big trends in publishing might just be alternative writing platforms, like Wattpad. Wattpad was launched 12 years ago and quickly turned into a fan fiction platform. Today, Wattpad might be the most important incubation ground for the authors of tomorrow.

How influential is this Toronto-based business? In the last five years, Wattpad has gone from five million unique users per month to over 65 million. The site now hosts over 550 million stories contributed by writers from all over the globe.

And these writers are getting noticed. Beth Reekles, from Newport, CT, wrote The Kissing Booth when she was 15 and published it on Wattpad. Now, she’s landed a major publishing deal and the book was made into a film that debuted on Netflix earlier this year.

While 90 percent of the average users of Wattpad are under 30, this platform isn’t just for kids. Famed Canadian author Margaret Atwood has embraced Wattpad and other new technologies as a better way to reach today’s generation of readers.

And traditional publishers love finding new authors on Wattpad because it doesn’t just lead them to talented new writers, it connects them to their very loyal readers as well.

Embracing diversity and innovation are the signatures of these new trends in publishing that will prove most influential in the publishing world of tomorrow. You would be wise to take notice.


  • 0

The Book Publishing Process-Every Book Needs Pruning

Tags : 

With spring around the corner, most of my friends with a “green thumb” are getting ready for their favorite activity of the year: gardening. An important gardening skill, pruning refers to the trimming and cutting of plants to rid them of any injured, dead, or infected roots and wood. In some cases, pruning is also used as a preventive measure to make space for any new seedling or growth. (Source).

Just like in the world of trees, when you write a book, your book will also need to go through its pruning process. And in the world of writing and publishing, that pruning process is called editing. Even the best-written manuscripts still need to go through that fine-tuning process. When you submit your nonfiction book manuscript for publication by Stonebrook Publishing, we carefully evaluate it to determine its editing needs. If we determine that the manuscript is market-ready, you’ll jump right into The Complete Publishing Package.

But most of the manuscripts we receive need some editing help first. We’ll let you know what we think and will recommend one of the following two types of editing to get your manuscript ready for publication.

Copyediting

Every author needs a great editor, and if your book hasn’t yet been professionally edited and is sound in its structure and flow, then you’ll take this path before you get to The Complete Publishing Package.  

We’re different from other editors. By the time you submit your manuscript to us, we know that you’ve had enough of it. You’re done! So we don’t annoy you with making suggestions about how you should incorporate different word choices or sentence structure and suggest you make those changes; we make those changes for you, always in compliance with the Chicago Manual of Style.  

During the copyedit, we focus on the following:  

  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation

When we’re finished, you’ll receive a copyedited version of your manuscript, complete with the “track changes” markings for your review, and you can accept or reject each change as you see fit. After this step, your manuscript is ready for The Complete Publishing Package.  

Developmental Editing

It’s not uncommon for a first-time author to need some help with the structure and flow of their book manuscript, and that’s what we do with a developmental edit. Developmental editing can involve significant restructuring of your manuscript in order to create a professional, publishable book product. During this process, we concentrate on your book’s:   

  • Structure  
  • Focus  
  • Consistency  
  • Message
  • Pacing
  • Plot
  • Setting

Our mission as your developmental editor is to make your book the best it can be. After this step, your book is ready for a copyedit and then The Complete Publishing Package.   

What about you?  If you or someone you know is ready to submit your manuscript, please contact us today.


Learn How to Write a Book