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Vocabulary for Online Writing Classes

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Capture the Time

It often seems impossible to make time to write, or to even make time for anything outside of your normal schedule. I don’t exactly know what time is, but I know I’ve 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 don’t really want to do, but must. There’s always that 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 isn’t much left, and what’s left doesn’t feel like me.

Recently I’ve been learning that time is actually nothing — and I do mean nothing. They say it doesn’t actually exist, make time to writeand yet, I’ve not only given it great power in my life, but I’ve allowed it to be a tyrannical and unsympathetic ruler, never satisfied because no matter how much I do, I never have enough time. There’s always more–more to achieve, more to accomplish, more to attend to. Time is never satisfied.

When my husband and I went to the Grand Canyon for a ten day float trip, time changed. I can’t figure out if it stretched, shifted, or stopped altogether, but I do know that one day melted into the next, and the pressure of time was lost. Nothing to do, nowhere to go. All I had to do was to eat, drink, and be. After ten days of floating from day to day, I was fundamentally changed. I had found the wide open spaces inside of me, and I only felt the pressure of time as our trip was coming to a close. I dreaded going back to the calendar and clock that ruled my life.

Somewhere along the way, and I don’t know when, I made a decision. “I don’t want to do anything that I don’t want to do anymore,” I told Tom. He looked at me with a kind of quizzical look on his face, kind of like my daughters did when they were teenagers right before the word “duh” came out of their mouths.

“Then don’t,” he said.

Then don’t? Could it be that easy? Figure out what I don’t want to do and just stop?

It took no effort at all to make a list of the things I didn’t want to do anymore. The list wasn’t that long, but when I matched it up to my day-to-day activities, I saw that the “don’t like” stuff ruled my calendar and, thus, ruled my life. I spent most of my time doing things I didn’t like. All I had to do was stop doing these things—and that was the challenge.

The first thing I crossed off was going to meetings and gatherings that didn’t interest me. I often said “yes” to things like networking events that other people asked me to attend, and I quit doing that. There comes a point in time, especially when you’re a business owner, that you have to say “no” to the good opportunities, so you can focus on building a great business. It wasn’t so much that the events themselves took a lot of time, but when coupled with the travel time and the cost of not doing what I really needed to do, they were simply too expensive, too great a cost for the benefit.

Because I own my own business, there are countless behind-the-scenes responsibilities that must be handled, such as accounting, payroll, social media, and website maintenance. I used to do all these things myself because I had to, but in recent years I’ve gotten help with them. I fully delegated all the tasks in the financial arena to my CPA firm, because I hate that stuff! When I looked at the rest of the bits and bytes of running my business, I decided to hire an Operations Manager to run the daily show, but that was a scary step for me. How would I pay for her?

On the other hand, how could I afford NOT to hire her? Quite simply, I’d pay for her by directing my energies into doing the things that I love and that only I can do — like reaching more writers, developing more programs, and publishing more books by people like you that can change lives, save lives, or transform society out to the world.

Prioritize your time and make time to write

So what does this have to do with you and your book? I assume that you’re a busy professional, and you’re not looking for extra things to fill your time. 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. And you’re only one who can tell your story; you’re the only one who can do it. The reason why people want to write a book varies from writer to writer, but I’ve found that most people want to do it because they have found a solution and they want to help others. They want to make a difference.

You actually have time to do the things you want to do. You can make time to write your book if you learn how to prioritize your time.

When I was forty-eight years old, I went back to school to earn my Masters degree in writing (MFA) because I wanted to hone my skills to the point where I could not only make a living by writing, but because I wanted to help other people discover and unleash the critical messages that were trapped inside of them. At the time, both my daughters were not only grown, but one of them was married and had already earned her Masters degree, and the other one had just started medical school. I was old, and the first day I walked into class, I felt it!

It was hard. I hadn’t been in school for twenty-six years, and I’d forgotten about the rigors of academia. The program lasted two years—that’s twenty-four consecutive months without a summer break—and it seemed like an eternity. When I was in the thick of it, I couldn’t imagine what life would be like when I finally graduated. I mean that. I could not picture life after school. The work was hard, and I had to adopt the attitude that school was only for a season of my life, not its entirety. In order to be successful and earn my degree, I had to cut out everything else in order to get the work done. After all, it was only two years. That time was going to pass anyway. “I may as well have something to show for it,” I thought.

Writing your book is a lot like going to school. You have this major project that you work and work and work on, and you think you’ll never get finished, that you’ll never get out of school, then one day — voilà! It’s over! You have your book in hand, and you can have free time again. The year is going to pass anyway. Your might as well have something to show for it. Dedicate a year to it, and make the time to write.

Just like there’s a season for going to school, there’s a season for writing your book. But it’s only a season. It doesn’t last forever. You must adopt this mindset.

It would be ridiculous to think that someone like you is going to drop everything or possibly even quit your job to make time to write a book. That wouldn’t be healthy. But it’s not unreasonable to expect you to shift your schedule for the next year, in order to prioritize the project. You can’t create time, but you can capture pockets of it and re-purpose its use. Don’t get me wrong. It’s going to be busy, perhaps busier than you’d like, but if you simply get up an hour earlier each day, or commit your lunch hour to your book, or turn off the TV to write, you can absolutely accomplish this, step by step by step. One day at a time, one paragraph or page at a time, until the pages become chapters and the chapters become a book. By giving attention to the little details on a consistent basis, you will build your book brick by brick. The big thing comes forth from the little things, but the process has to be efficient.

You don’t have to do this alone. Work with me and I can help you make time to write your book. The year will pass no matter what, so make sure you have something to show for it.

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Things I Learned About Storytelling from Stranger Things

This article was originally guest posted to BookBaby by

It’s good practice to reverse-engineer the stories you love most and apply the best storytelling elements to your own writing. Stranger Things had that effect on me, and here’s what I learned.

If you are one of the millions of viewers who got sucked into the world of Stranger Things, you know why the show was such a big hit. A compelling story, great characters, monsters and the supernatural… the list goes on. The show is set in the ’80s in an ordinary small town, but when a boy goes missing, we get to see many secrets rise to the surface, and as this small town becomes torn by shocking events, we’re taken on a trip to the upside down.

This isn’t a Stranger Things review, though. Similar to what I did with “The Jungle Book: Beautiful Film, Flawed Storytelling,” I found several good points I can apply to my own storytelling watching this exceptional show.

Spoiler alert! I’ve done my best not to give too many details away, but if you haven’t watched the show and intend to, you might learn a few things about the story.

1. Get nostalgic

People read and watch movies because they love to forget about the habitual reality they live every day and dive into some other setting, be it a fantasy land filled with magic, a cybernetic future ruled by almighty corporations, or the not-so-distant past with all its charms.

The Duffer Brothers, who created Stranger Things, definitely harnessed the power of nostalgia and hit it spot on. Whether the viewers were remembering the past or got to experience the ’80s for the first time, part of the appeal of the show was tied to the depiction of the time period in which it was set. There are many references to this decade, such as the music, outfits and even the equipment they use throughout the show. Who would have thought that a HAM Radio would be making an appearance on our screens in 2019? This article from CW Touch Keyer does mention how the use of equipment like this can be used to communicate to pretty much anyone and considering the group are trying to communicate with the “upside down”, it makes sense. Plus, it all fits in with the idea of the 80s and nostalgia. An iPhone wouldn’t have the same impact.
As much as people love to ponder the future, they love to go back in time to some preciously calmer and simpler moment in history. Perhaps they love going back even more than traveling to the future.

If you are going to set your story in the past, carefully research the time period you’re conjuring up and build it with details and an emotional connection. If you are successful, your readers will want to stay with your book forever.

2. Add allusions to enrich your story

TheThingI just love when writers make allusions to other popular books, movies, shows, games, historical events – or fast food restaurants. As a matter of fact, in my own fantasy book, there’s room for McDonald’s.

Watching Stranger Things, you notice a number of allusions to popular culture of the ’80s.

    • Hanging on the walls are posters from popular movies of those years, like Evil Dead, Jaws, and The Thing (note that the poster of The Thing includes the image of a person with no face)
    • A character who takes the “weirdo,” who possesses paranormal abilities, on a bicycle ride (remember E.T.?)
    • The characters are listening to well-known songs of the ’80s including Foreigner and The Clash, with “Should I Stay Or Should I Go” mirroring the conundrum some of the characters are facing even as they sing or hum the song

And that’s just a few examples – there are many more.

So why do you want to use allusions in your story? Because it adds depth to the world you’re building. Your story gains multiple levels and becomes rich with subtext – your reader will believe he’s experiencing something true, something connected to the world he knows, even if it is an imaginary ghost story. The characters become real people who read the books you know, listen to the songs you remember, who might as well live in your neighborhood.

3. Kill your darlings

I’m not suggesting a crime here, but Stranger Things teaches us writers that we shouldn’t be afraid of killing off our characters, even beloved ones.

This doesn’t mean you need to be a killing junkie like George R. R. Martin, but the unexpected loss of a character can add a feeling of risk to your adventure. After all, what kind of adventure is it if there is no risk of being killed, eaten by a monster, or lost in a parallel dimension with a creepy serpentine tentacle down your throat?

Pay attention to who you kill, though. The death of a third-plane character like the bartender who just served your hero a drink won’t affect your readers (or story) nearly as much as the death of your hero who was just poisoned by that drink.

4. Make your characters change and grow

NancyWe all know how important it is to take your characters on a journey that will change them in some way. They can become stronger or weaker, wiser or maybe even more naive as the story progresses. They can evolve from an ordinary gardener to the president – or they can grow despondent and lose any hope for a happy ending. That’s what people want: a story that affects the characters at the center of it, and Stranger Things never forgets this.

In the pilot episode, we watch four kids playing Dungeons & Dragons who confront the Demogorgon, a hideous creature they’re very much afraid of, though it is only a plastic figurine on the board. As the story unfolds, the kids learn about another dimension, to which their friend disappeared. In order to save their friend, the three of them have to battle a very real monster in a very dark world.

Thanks to this parallel between the tabletop game’s imaginary trouble and the real world trouble, we experience how these ordinary boys, who only play the hero in their fantasy games, grow stronger and become a believable rescue team ready to fight a creature from another world. They become so brave in the process, they are no longer afraid to face the troubles in the real world, like standing up to the bullies in school.

But in Stranger Things, these boys are not the only ones who change. When we first met her, Eleven used to jump at any rustle and didn’t trust anyone. She was also afraid of her special powers. Throughout the story, she learns to trust her new friends and finds confidence in using her powers to save them.

Nancy takes off her rose-colored glasses and stops looking at the world through the eyes of a naive schoolgirl. Her best friend is missing, and when she finds out that it was the monster that took her, she partners with an unlikely confidant and arms herself with a gun. She takes charge, breaks locks with her bare hands (and a rock), and charges headlong into an unknown dimension. After all she experiences, Nancy comes to understand how important her family is to her, particularly her brother, which leads them to a friendship that was not present at the beginning of the story.

5. Pace your mystery

Little by little, Stranger Things builds the mystery and horror in this small town. The creators take the characters you believe in and continuously add details – like Eleven’s flashbacks to her time at the experimental facility – pacing the revelations to propel their story at a slow but measured pace.

And it keeps on coming. Whenever one mystery gets resolved, another is already underway. The viewer is in a constant chase after answers, and Stranger Things strikes a perfect balance of concealing a mystery and offering satisfying answers to our burning questions.

6. Don’t just provide answers, provide satisfying answers

If you’re a master at building mystery and suspense but fail at connecting the dots, your readers will be more than frustrated – they will feel deceived, or worse, betrayed.

Were you a fan of Lost? It started off with such promise, so much potential, and viewers and critics were enrapt. But the creators lost their way (no pun intended) and their desperate efforts to get out of it only led to a disappointing dead end. This case teaches us storytellers that it’s important to not only give answers to the questions we raise, but that these answers must be satisfying for the audience, moving the plot and affecting the readers/viewers as much as the characters in the story.

If you add resolutions but don’t add depth or value to your story, reconsider. You might as well leave those mysteries unsolved rather than making readers angry with the dull answers.

7. Make your monsters really scary

Stranger Things doesn’t show you its hideous monster in full until about three-quarters through the series. You have to go along with obscure bits and pieces of the monster that are shown to you in nearly pitch-black darkness. Seriously, the night and Upside Down scenes in this show are so dark I couldn’t make out the details much of the time.

It comes back to the Lovecraft’s trick of conjuring up fear of the supernatural. A monster that you can’t see is so much scarier than a monster you have a clear view of.

Now that you’ve abandoned your writing to binge watch this excellent show, I hope you’ve learned how many tools you have at your disposal when writing a book. There are more, of course, and it’s good practice to reverse-engineer the stories you love most and apply the best storytelling elements to your own writing. Share your discoveries in the comments section!

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Prior Programming & Personal Growth

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There’s a funny thing about childhood. It’s seems like we make it through only to spend the rest of our lives either denying it or trying to recover from it. I wasn’t always willing to examine my childhood and how it has affected me long into my adult life, but I now realize that stories of personal growth help others see that they are not alone in our struggles.

When I was growing up, I had a wonderful family, but we moved a lot. My dad worked for IBM, which at the time people joked about it meaning “I’ve Been Moved.” We moved a lot. The longest place we ever lived was three years, and the shortest was nine months. By the time I graduated high school, I’d been to nine different schools.

The culture shock was, at times, dizzying. When I was twelve, we moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to the Chicago area. Itprior-programming-and-personal-growth was like moving to a foreign country. The people talked differently, and it wasn’t just their strange accent I had trouble understanding. They used odd phrases like, “Do you want to go with?” Go with what? With whom? I kept waiting for them to finish their sentence and they never did. They called the restrooms “washrooms,” and Coke, which, for me, was the proper name for every soft drink in the world, was called “pop.”

Even the solar system was different. It got dark around 4:00 when I was barely home from school, when in Tulsa—even in the dead of winter—the sun didn’t set until around 5:30. And then there was the cold. It wasn’t just cold in Chicago. It was bitter, bone chilling cold, and the real temperature, which plunged to 21 below zero, felt like 40 below with the wind chill. When I walked outside to go to the bus stop, my nostrils froze shut. I was cold to the bone, summer and winter, the entire three years we lived there.

It wasn’t easy always being the new girl. Every place we moved was so different. What were the rules here? Who could I trust? Who should I be? The trepidation of walking into a new school on the first day was crippling. My stomach tightened, my bowels loosened, and my neck got stiff. As all eyes bored into me when I stood in front of the room to be introduced, I fantasized about being lifted up onto a cloud and transported away. I didn’t want to start over. And over. And over.

It was important that I figure things out before I shared any of 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.

My personal growth process progressed slowly but surely

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 that, 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.

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. The lies we create become barriers that block us from personal growth.

I don’t know what lies you’ve been telling yourself, but I do know the truth.

You do matter. You are important. You can help other people.

You may feel that you don’t have anything to offer that’s worthy of writing a book, but I disagree. Take a look at your life, what you’ve learned, what you’ve been through, what you’ve developed, what you’ve gleaned, what you’ve endured. Take a moment to consider your story of personal growth and all you have done to get to where you are now. You may not know everything else in life, but you do know your own life. You know your own patch of ground, and you know it well. What do you know and what have you learned that can change lives, save lives, or transform society?

You can do that, can be that voice of hope and help to others, and I’m here to help.

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Who Am I To Write a Book?

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the question, “who am I to write a book?” Most people don’t put much thought into writing a memoir because they don’t think they have an interesting story to tell. The problem is that most of us are so accustomed to living our lives that we can’t see how interesting and inspirational our struggles, accomplishments, and experiences might be to others.

Let me tell you about a remarkable man who had never considered writing a memoir

We were sitting at the tiny round table eating our $10 ice creams that had been blended with the candies of our choice. I had recently started dating Tom (now my husband), and Bill was his friend. They had worked together several years earlier, which was all I knew about Bill, except for the fact that he was blind.

I had never known a blind person, so I didn’t know what to expect. Although he got around remarkably well on his own, in certain situations like in shops and stores, he needed a guiding hand to help him go to the counter, place his order, and get to his seat. Once he sat down, you couldn’t really tell he was blind. He didn’t wear the dark glasses that some blind people do, and I was fascinated that he actually made eye contact and that his eyes tracked to whomever was speaking. If you hadn’t seen him come in and be seated, you’d never know he was blind.

I asked Bill about his time working with Tom.

“Yeah,” Bill said, “we worked together but we worked in different business units. I was a consultant, and he was a tax guy.”

“Consulting can be rough on the home life,” I said. “You probably traveled a lot. Out Monday mornings and home on Thursday nights, right?”

“I lived that way for years,” he said. “That is, until I got shot.”

“You what?” I asked.

Tom jumped in. “That’s why Bill is blind. He was in Atlanta, and when he came out of the MARTA station with his boss andwho-am-i-to-write-a-book their customer, some deranged guy jumped out and shot all three of them. Bill’s bullet entered and exited through his temples, and it severed his optic nerve. He’s been blind ever since. The other two guys died.

“It was weird.” Tom continued, “I was watching the news and a story came on about two St. Louis people who had been shot in Atlanta. Then they mentioned Bill Johnson and Tony Lake. I couldn’t believe it. I’d just seen Bill the day before he left.”

“Wow,” I said. “That’s terrible. I didn’t realize there were public shootings in 1991. I thought that was a recent thing. So, what happened next? Obviously you went back to work at some point.” Bill had recently retired, so I knew he had finished his career.

“It was an adjustment,” he said. “But it wasn’t really that big of a deal. I thought, ‘This is the way my life is now, so I may as well get on with it.’ And I did.”

“Wasn’t that big of a deal! How can you say that?” I asked.

“It just wasn’t. I made up my mind to get back to doing the things I loved as soon as I could. It didn’t make any sense to sit around feeling sorry for myself,” he said.

“Get this,” Tom interjected. “He really did get back to the things he loved. Six months later he was snow skiing.”

“What??” I asked. “How?”

“It wasn’t that complicated,” Bill said. “I just hired a guide and he talked me down the slopes. We communicated through a microphone, and it was really fun. I love to ski and didn’t want to give it up.”

“That’s amazing, Bill. Really inspirational. Have you ever thought about writing a book?” I asked.

“A book?” he snorted. “What would I write about? I wouldn’t have anything to say. I just took things one day at a time and got back to being me. That’s not very interesting. I can’t imagine that anybody would want to read about that.” He shook his head, rejecting the idea.

Who other than a blind skier should be writing a memoir?

I don’t know about you, but I think that Bill’s story is incredibly interesting. Amazing and inspiring and unusual. I wanted to learn how Bill was able to simply accept the fact that he was now blind. I wanted to know what he did to reenter life as a fully functional man, and I wanted to know what allowed him to even think that he could snow ski again. Surely he’d been faced with all the “can’ts”: You can’t drive, you can’t go out by yourself, you can’t travel, you can’t work, you can’t date, you can’t ever be a whole human being again. And you certainly can’t ever snow ski. That part of your life is over. You will be in the dark forever.

But Bill didn’t think those things. Instead, he put one foot in front of the other and lived what he thought was an unremarkable life. Which I think is remarkable — that he truly thought his life was unremarkable.

The point is, I was full of questions and hungry for more of his story. He already had me hooked. If I were to read a synopsis of his story, I would definitely buy that book.

Bill isn’t unusual. I’ve met hundreds of people who have been through things, have learned things, have discovered things, and have developed things that can truly change the world, if only the world knew about them. But there’s a nagging voice in their head that tells them they’re average, that they don’t have anything to say, that nobody cares about their story, that it’s not that big of a deal,  and that they have no business writing a memoir, when, in fact, the opposite is actually true. Fortunately Bill is writing his book, and it will be released in June of 2017.

So if you ever find yourself saying “Who am I to write a book?” remember that you, too, have a remarkable story. You don’t have to be a victim of a shooting or to be blind. You just have to be you, and there’s nothing average about that.

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A Prophet is Not a Prophet…

Mark 6:4 ”A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” (NIV)


I love my book club. We read a new book every month, meet for dinner and girl talk, and unlike many book clubs I’ve heard of, we actually discuss our books and the impact they have on us. It’s a great group of women who I consider to be great friends. At first I felt a little out of their league because so many of them were so accomplished. One had been a champion for working women and a leader in the WBE certification process at the federal level. She had actually met with two different Presidents at the White House during their respective terms. Another had a husband who was the CEO of a large coal company and was, on occasion, found in closed-door meetings with President Obama. A third member wabe-a-prophet-to-the-world-not-your-home-towns the founder and CEO of a $50 million global career transition and development firm. We also have a realtor, a couple of corporate wives, a highly successful commercial real estate broker, and little old me.

Except I wasn’t really little old me. I had recently published two books through my small press, Stonebrook Publishing, that we had read for our book club. One was called Storming the Tulips by Hannie J. Voyles, and it was about her life as a Holocaust survivor who went to school with Anne Frank. She had interviewed twenty of the students from their school and written about their lives during the war and what they endured in hiding, in concentrations camps, and how they survived the time when much of the population of Amsterdam either starved to death or froze to death. The other book, A Life in Parts by Vicki Bennington and Daniel Brannan, is the story of Loretta Goebel, a quadruple amputee. Loretta had been in her basement wrapping Christmas presents when the doorbell rang. As she flew up the stairs, she banged her hand on the door jamb, but thought nothing of it. As a result of that injury, she ended up having both her legs, her left hand, and all the fingers on her right hand amputated. During her recovery she got hooked up with Heather Mills and Paul McCartney, and they brought her to England to have her beautiful prosthetic legs designed at the same place Heather got hers. As a result of that relationship, we got back-cover endorsements from both Sir Paul McCartney and Cindy Crawford.

My book club knew the ins and outs of both these books because they had, in a sense, walked through the process with me as I edited and worked with the authors to write and rewrite the manuscripts until they were ready for final publication. After the books were published, as a group, we attended a conference where author Hannie Voyles spoke about the ravages of living during the Holocaust, and Loretta Goebel had attended our book club to talk about her faith and recovery the month we read A Life in Parts. They also knew that I had turned my attention away from signing authors and publishing their books and had developed a step-by-step program to help thousands and thousands of people write high-impact nonfiction books that would save lives, change lives, or transform society. And it worked. People were writing their books and impacting the world.

We talk about a lot of things at book club and always find out who’s doing what, whose kids are doing what, and in the past few years, we’ve begun to share pictures and stories of our grandchildren. I tried not to let my feelings be hurt when two of the women started writing their books — with the help of someone else. They both traveled to distant places and parked themselves in scenic locations to write their books, shelling out thousands and thousands of dollars for assistance to write and produce their books. I mentioned this to my friend, the realtor in our group.

“Can I ask you something?” I said, dipping my toe in the water.

“Anything,” she said. We’d been friends for a long time, and she’d helped me buy and sell several houses, always for the price I wanted within a two week period. She was good at what she did.

“Every time they start talking about their books, I get really embarrassed. I know they know that this is my profession and that I have clients all over the world. What do you make of that?” I asked.

“Beats me,” she replied. “They all know I’m a realtor and we’ve had group discussions about them selling their parents’ homes to move them into nursing care. And they use other realtors. It doesn’t seem to dawn on them that I am a real estate agent.”

The Real Reason

Of course, there could be a number of reasons why our book club friends chose to work with other professionals, but I don’t think it had anything to do with our competency or expertise. We’re both really good at what we do. Perhaps they don’t want to mix friends with business, or maybe they don’t want to complicate our book club relationships.

But I actually think there’s a different reason: I don’t think it ever even occurred to them. I don’t think it ever crossed their minds that they could use us, women that they knew, liked, and trusted. It’s because we were too familiar to them.

In his article “Why You Need To Move Away From Your Home Town,” Isaac Morehouse, Founder & CEO of Praxis says that in our own home town, people perceive us through the lens of our perceived past. They’re too familiar with our own humanity. “Introduce a speaker from next door, and no matter how much they know about the topic at hand, few will be moved and impressed. Fly someone in from the next city and they’ll get attention no matter what they say.”

I know that’s true because I’ve experienced it. Why else would my friends spend close to six figures (an exorbitant amount by any measure) to write and publish their books with someone else? Could it be that it’s because their contact was from New York, the Oz of the publishing perception?

Which brings us to your book

The people who know you best may not be the best measure for what you have to offer. And it doesn’t matter because they aren’t your audience! Your audience is the world, not your home town.

You know what you’ve been through, what you’ve learned, what you’ve developed, and you know how those things can benefit others. Don’t wait for the people you know to bless it. They may know you’re writing a book and never even ask you about it. And that’s okay because it’s not for them. It can actually be kind of freeing to know that you don’t have to be grilled about what you’re doing and why. You can be in your normal everyday situations, like my book club, and you don’t have to worry about getting anyone’s approval or wonder if they like it, which for many of us translates to “Do they like ME?”

So take your message, get it out of your head, get it down on paper, and get it out to the world where it can do its work to change lives, save lives, or transform society.

Be a prophet to the world, not your home town.


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Identifying your Audience: Don’t spin your wheels with those who aren’t interested in what you have to say

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When you start to write your book, it’s essential to know your audience and your market. Identifying your audience will help shape your book throughout the writing process and ensure better sales when it comes time to market and promote your nonfiction book. If you think your book is for everyone, you are setting yourself up for failure. No matter how great your message, it simply cannot appeal to every person! Just like in life, if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up stretching yourself too thin and the result will be a bland final product. When you identify your specific audience, you can reach the people who will be most interested in your story.

Who do you want to reach?

identifying your audienceYour book has a purpose. You wouldn’t be writing it if you didn’t want to reach someone, so exactly who is that? Many people make the mistake of thinking that their audience is just like them, but that’s not always the case. Your ideal audience may be very different from you, so take the time to think about who will be most impacted by your book. Are your readers women between 20 and 40? Can you narrow that down to women who have also been to college? It may seem counter-intuitive to narrow in on a specific group, but when you target a specific audience, you can increase your following within that niche group and reach more people than if your audience is too broad.

Pick a genre

Part of identifying your audience is selecting the correct genre. A genre is a general term that refers to a particular classification or type of book. We already know that your book will fall into the nonfiction genre, but where else does your book fit?

Remember, bookstores categorize books by genre, so the genre you choose is critically important. What section of the bookstore will your ideal reader go to in order to find the kind of help you offer? Make sure your book ends up on the right shelf — the one that best suits your ideal reader.

Identifying your audience and market, is there a difference?

Audiences and markets often overlap, but not always! Your audience is the people who will read and benefit from your book. Your market is the people who will actually purchase the book. Take a minute to picture your book buyers. Are they in your target market? For example, if your target reader is a child, your market is probably the parents, the people who have the money to spend on the book.

Identify secondary markets

Many books will have a primary and secondary market. Secondary markets are people/organizations/institutions who will also benefit from your book. Secondary markets may include mental health practitioners if you are writing about depression or a particularly difficult time in your life, or educators if you are writing about children. If you are writing about money management, high school and university counselors could be a secondary market because they might recommend the book to their students. If you are writing about blogging for business, parents of hopeful bloggers could easily become a secondary market. Think about every possibility! You should have several secondary markets, so be sure to analyze which people, organizations, or groups could benefit from your book.

Start with an audience, finish with a successful book

Keep your target audience in mind every step of the way. Write for your audience, identify your markets, and reach out to them with your solution!

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How becoming a “thought leader” contributes to the success of a coach

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What exactly is a “thought leader?” The short answer is that it depends on who you ask. Although the definitions can vary, the majority agree that a thought leader possesses expert knowledge in a particular field, and their position and opinions about that subject are both authoritative and influential.

Anyone who wants to be a successful coach should focus on becoming a thought leader
thought leader. The term “coach” is broad a term and can  include business coaches, career coaches, life coaches, financial coaches, exercise coaches, etc. If your profession centers around helping others find their way down a specific path to reach a desired result, you are a coach. And you can increase your overall success by becoming a thought leader, as well as by writing a book to increase your credibility and attract a following.

Becoming a thought leader better prepares you to be a coach

To be a true thought leader, you must put in the time and work necessary to gain that coveted title. Media and advertising analyst, Rebecca Lieb, describes thought leadership as, “rather like achieving academic tenure,” and goes on to say, “Thought leadership requires a continuum of wisdom, accomplishment, and a body of published work that stands the test of a degree of time.” (Source)

A true thought leader doesn’t become an expert overnight. They have honed their craft, gathered knowledge, and learned by working over a number of years. They have a list of accomplishments that prove their value. When a coach puts in the time to become a thought leader, they are not simply knowledgeable but also influential, meaning that they not only help their clients but also other professionals in that field.

Publishing a book sets you up to become a thought leader

When you present your knowledge in a well-written nonfiction book, you set yourself up for success. You go from being a self-proclaimed expert to a recognized expert. You set yourself apart from the crowded field and add a significant credential. You know that knowledge is power, but name recognition is just as important. There are hundreds of coaches in your field and the competition for clients is fierce. Don’t you want to be the one with the prestige and name recognition associated with being a thought leader?

When you write your book, you establish yourself as an expert in your field, increase your credibility, set yourself apart from all the self-proclaimed experts, and attract a following. It’s one way to take a step towards thought leadership.


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Be You. That’s All It Takes.

I love the fact that you don’t have to be following some grand plan or know exactly where you’re going in order to be on the right track, even if you don’t realize it. Let me explain. I’ve spent a lot of time – years, actually – pursuing things that weren’t really my thing but that I could do fairly well. In other words, I spend a lot of time trying not to be me. Ultimately, my true gifts pulled me back, and that’s when life got amazing.


I really did spend a lot of time trying not to be me. I majored in English and Communications in college, and I did everything I could during those four years to avoid math and the sciences. When I started college, I wanted to become a feature-story journalist who wrote true accounts of amazing people that would inspire others. Yet, when I graduated, I took a job as a Systems Engineer with IBM and found myself implementing solutions that required a good working knowledge of Assembler programming. I spent hours analyzing core dumps to find programming errors and working with customers on software implementation plans. The money was great, but the work cramped my brain. I could do it, but it was hard, hard work!

After my children were born, I stayed at home with them until they were in Middle School, and during that time,
I started writing again. It felt like magic, and it fed my soul. I wrote a series of children’s Bible study when-i-started-writing-again-it-felt-like-magic-and-it-fed-my-soulcurricula and developed the program into a nonprofit ministry where we conducted after-school Bible clubs in public schools across several states. Then some missionaries took the program overseas, and we went international.

When my daughters reached the seventh and eighth grades, I went back to work part-time as a web designer. And when they started driving and became more independent, lured by the six-figure-plus income, I dove back into the high-tech world to sell enterprise software for Oracle Corporation. That didn’t feel like work, it felt like hell. It was hell. Multi-million dollar quotas, sleepless nights, last-minute travel, and the endless pressure to squeeze every last dollar out of my customers, even if they didn’t need the product, caused me to lose a substantial amount of weight and a great deal of my hair. And then, when I was the #2 rep in the entire country, I got fired. The reason? No pipeline.

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

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

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

When I was 48 years old, with one married daughter who had already earned her Masters degree and another daughter in medical school, I became a student again. I felt old and afraid, but during my first class in graduate school, I touched the real me again. It was literally a spiritual experience. I felt alive and electrically charged, fully connected with something inside me and something beyond me that gave me such extreme pleasure that I thought my heart would burst from happiness. That felt like Heaven! I had come home – home to my body, home to my gift, and home to my purpose. For the next two years I was I immersed in language and writing and, at 50 years old, I walked across the stage to accept the degree I had earned: a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing.

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

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

So I put the publishing business on ice and spent the next eighteen months writing a curriculum and developing a methodology to help everyday people write high-impact nonfiction books that will save lives, change lives, or transform society. That material is delivered in three separate modules that are each sixteen weeks, for a total of 48 weeks. Each lesson has its own HD video and downloadable handouts to guide you to write your book, from your first idea to the end of the book. This method is working for all kinds of writers, and because I have channeled all my energy into the unique gifts I have to offer, I have never felt more alive or more fulfilled.


Why am I telling you this?

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

Don’t fall for that. Think about what you’ve learned, what you know, what you’ve developed, and be willing to give it to others. Be you! That’s all it takes.

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Ignore this holiday self-publishing timeline at your own peril

This article courtesy of BookBaby.

If you want to publish in time for the holidays, your plan should include room for all the production processes and your publicity push. This self publishing timeline will get you published and ready for holiday sales.

Summer is the time for cookouts, pool parties, outdoor concerts, and much more. Around the BookBaby offices, it’s also the time of year we field a lot of questions from authors looking anxiously at the dwindling pages of their calendar. The year is more than half over and many have hopes of publishing their books before the end of the year. To put your mind at ease, I’ve compiled the four most frequently asked questions about your self publishing timeline so you can hit the shelves in time for the holidays. The good news is you have plenty of options.

Q. My book is almost done. I want to publish so I can take advantage of the holiday buying season. Can I get it done in time?

A. Absolutely – if you’re willing to put in the work between now and the fall. Last summer I wrote up a timeline for publishing your book in time for the holidays. Have a look, the dates and deadlines still hold true. Here are some of the key milestones.

self publishing timeline calendar iconNow through Labor Day: Finish your book. At this point you need to be honest: Are you really just a few chapters away, or does your book need more than just a few marathon writing sessions during the dog days of summer? If you are close to finished, then go for it! Stay inside with the air conditioning and focus on making the best book you can. If you’re really not that close, don’t despair. Read on, I have some ideas for what you can do a little further down.

self publishing timeline calendar iconSeptember: Consider your self-publishing options. You’ve probably already thought about how you’re going to publish, but now it’s time to get serious. Take the time to check out all of the self publishing services – includingBookBaby. Yes, it’s important to compare prices, options, distribution channels, and all of that. But be sure to check out the reputation of every company you consider. Writer Beware is a great resource to learn about other authors’ experience. Type in each company’s name in the search box and read all the articles. Is the company you are considering rated on neutral review sites like Trust Pilot? Do they offer a satisfaction guarantee? These are important questions to answer so you feel confident about the self publishing option you’ve chosen.

self publishing timeline calendar iconOctober: Find an editor. It’s an absolute truth: Every book needs to be edited by a professional. But what kind of editing do you need? Developmental editing helps with some essential elements of your story, including the setting, timeline, characterization, plot, story structure and pacing. Line editing is just that: a line by line examination of your book. Editors will look for typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies. Copy editing comes at the end of the publication cycle. It’s the final check before the book is printed or, in the case of eBooks, before it is published and sent to distributors.

Find a professional book cover designer. A cover sets the tone for your book. Find a professional who will work to creatively represent your work. Find a designer who specializes in creating book covers. Book design is a specialized art form, with knowledge needed in trends in imagery, colors, and typography – and expertise in print production and/or e-book presentation.

self publishing timeline calendar iconNovember: It’s go time! Call your self publishing service provider in early November and get going. If you’ve chosen BookBaby, you’re in good shape to have your book in all the online retail stores for holiday sales.


Q: That schedule is a bit ambitious. What if I can’t get my book finished until later – say December 1st? Am I out of luck for the holiday season?

A: No, there’s still time to get your book out there, but you have to have an edited and formatted manuscript PLUS a finished cover design by that date. If you still need design or editing work on your book, it’s best you set your sights on the New Year. Your holiday sales distribution will be limited. It’s likely too late to be distributed to many online stores like Amazon until late in the month.

Now the good news: BookBaby authors have a tremendous way to make last minute holiday eBook and Printed Book sales. Authors can send readers directly to their BookShop page, our free direct-to-reader eCommerce pages. Best of all, you earn more royalties when you sell through your own custom BookShop page. Read more about BookShop on the BookBaby website.

Q: I’m not going to get my book done for Christmas after all. Have I missed out on the best selling season for my book?

A: Not at all. In fact I also covered this topic in the blog post “Self-Published Authors: Your Sales Season Is Around The Corner (i.e. After The New Year!).”

Here’s the key point: 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.

From talking with dozens of BookBaby authors, we think one of the best times to publish a book is right after the holidays – at the start of the New 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 given as gifts during the holidays need content. There’s no reason why it can’t be your book!

Q: OK, forget about a holiday release. I’m shooting for some time in 2017. When’s the best time for me to publish my book?

A: There’s really never a bad time to release a book. One idea might be for you to follow the patterns set by the book publishing trade. Traditional publishing houses have a rough “calendar” by genre of their release dates:
January-April: Romance, Self-help, Business books, Cooking, Design
May-August: Adventure, Fantasy, Travel
Sept-Nov: Academic, Horror, Paranormal
Dec-Jan: Children, Cookery, Illustrated, Quiz, and novelty books

My advice is to not 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!

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

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How long should your book be?

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

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

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

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


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

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market my book

Can Conferences Help Me Market My Book?

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In order to be a successful author, you need to take writing seriously. Even if you are already a talented writer, you should always be looking to improve upon your craft. Plus, there is a lot more to being a published author than simply writing good books. Attending conferences can help you learn more about the process of marketing your book, while also helping you enrich your writing. So if you are still asking yourself, “how can I market my book?” it’s time to sign up for a conference or two!market my book

Publishing is an industry

If you want to be a published author, you have to be both a writer and a businessman/woman. Finishing your novel is a huge step, but it’s one step amongst many that you’ll have to take in order to become a successful author. Conferences can guide you through what to expect from the publishing process. You can learn valuable information such as average costs, timelines, and common mistakes to avoid. Industry professionals and successful authors can discuss the pros and cons of self-publishing versus traditional publishing, and help you get on the right path.


Can conferences really help me market my book?

Conferences allow you to surround yourself with like-minded people. The entire environment is designed to help you thrive. Conferences allow you to connect with other authors and, more importantly, connect with industry professionals. Experienced industry professionals have set aside time to work with aspiring authors and offer their expert advice. If you had a chance to have lunch with a successful published author and a popular publisher, wouldn’t you take it? Think of conferences as that lunch, just on a much larger scale. These authors and publishers actually want to talk to you and hear more than just your elevator pitch. Take advantage of the time that they have dedicated; ask questions, present ideas, and take advice from people who have been exactly where you are now.

 When you attend a conference,
you connect with people who can connect you
with people who can help you!

Talk to people at conferences that can help lay out your path to becoming a successful published author. Make sure you talk to as many people as you can. You will be surrounded by a wealth of knowledge, you never know when one connection could lead you to an incredibly valuable new connection in the future.

Learn more about marketing your book

Attending a conference can assist you in finding your target audience and get you brainstorming on how to attract that audience. You can sit in on a variety of talks by experienced presenters who will cover different marketing strategies. Find out if book reviews, public speaking engagements, agents, or a combination of any of those things are the right way to go when it comes to marketing your book.

Don’t miss out

Remember: no one in their right mind would pass up a chance to chat about their book with a publisher over coffee, so why would you miss out on a chance to be attend a conference full of industry professionals? Conferences are a unique environment, full of knowledge, experience, and people eager to discuss your ideas. Take advantage of these opportunities and learn how to market your book more effectively.

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book promotion promoting your book

Budget enough time and patience for your book promotion

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This article courtesy of BookBaby.

book promotion promoting your bookWhat are the most important elements of book promotion? Here’s my five-part answer!

It’s THE question. The one I’m always asked, whether I’m speaking at author conferences or doing webinars. It’s top of mind for all those would-be authors who are itching to give self publishing a try. Though phrased a little differently each time, it goes something like this:

What’s most important when it comes to book promotion?

My response is always the same – a five-part answer. The first four parts are, quite frankly, pretty predictable. The last one might come as a bit of a surprise.

Here are all of the must-haves:

  • You wrote your best book. Hopefully it’s a great book. But it’s your best effort and you can’t ask for anything more.
  • Your manuscript was edited by a professional. Not by your sister, the part-time English teacher. Your book deserves to be edited by a pro who has devoted her lifetime to the unique craft of book editing.
  • Your book cover is eye-catching and appropriate for you genre. It requires the talents of a graphic artist who specializes in book design. The fastest way to condemn a book to the bottom of the heap is to give it an amateur-looking cover.
  • Your book is being widely distributed. That means creating an eBook, print books and print-on-demand distribution. Maximum eyeballs, and that’s not just Amazon!

Like I said – it’s pretty much the standard stuff you read everywhere. And finally there’s this:

  • You’ve factored time into the equation. Publishing requires patience. Many of the mistakes a novice author makes revolve around time. Either they rush into the marketplace, or they give up too quickly.

Publishing experts like to say, “Publishing is a marathon and not a sprint.” I buy into that, but I like this better: “Good books don’t have an expiration date.” Authors need to realize that overnight sensations are rare. Patience and persistence are essential to a great book marketing plan for self-published authors.

Here are the five ways that you can put time on your side:

1. Publish when YOU are ready.
Of course that means taking the proper time to finish your best manuscript. But it also means you need to allow time for editing (3-6 weeks) and creating a great cover design (2-4 weeks). But there should be a limit to your patience when it comes to picking your publishing path.

First-time authors who want to be traditionally published should expect 18 to 24 months to pass before their book is on the market. And that’s if they’re successful in finding both an agent and publisher – no sure thing. But if you choose to self publish, it takes only a fraction of that time, in some cases as few as six weeks. An easy choice, don’t you think?

2. Make pre-sales your priority.
A lot of authors miss out on the single most important marketing time period for their eBooks and print on demand books: Pre-sales periods on Amazon and Barnes &Noble. Pre-sales are when books are listed for sale in advance of the official release date. Customers can read sample teasers and place orders (and their credit cards aren’t charged until the release date!)

Pre-sales time frames have tons of benefits, but not all of them are apparent to first-time authors.

  • Collecting these pre-release sales can provide you a better chance of making the best seller lists on many retailers, including iBooks, B&N, and Kobo. (It does not influence Amazon charts).
  • Having a future release date means you can orchestrate the availability of your book, and use this launch date as a centerpiece of some marketing efforts.
  • Behind the scenes, pre-sales activity has a huge effect on your positioning on retailers such as Amazon. Their algorithms measure activity on your selling pages – the more page views, traffic, and sales during that period mean your eBook could come up higher in searches and other referral methods. With print on demand, Amazon will take a more aggressive inventory position based on strong customer activity.

3. Let me be the first to say it: Book Launch, Book Smaunch. It’s not all that.
This goes against a lot of popular book marketing thinking today. What’s the real value of a book launch? It really depends on who you are. If you are an established author with a built-in audience, a book launch can be a powerful selling starting point. But what about the typical self-published author searching for those alpha readers?

I understand that your book launches might be a nice personal milestone or accomplishment to commemorate that first book. Am I advising against having a book launch? Certainly not. But I advise you to put this opportunity to good use:

  • Use the opportunity to interact with your readers – even if only a few – as well as other authors. Get close to them – they can be a tremendous resource.
  • Measure each and every one of your marketing efforts surrounding the event. Try to learn what works and what doesn’t.
  • Don’t get stressed out if your launch doesn’t sell hundreds of books. I’ll tell you right now – it most likely won’t, but that doesn’t mean your book will fail. Don’t let this deter you from future efforts.

4. Take your time when marketing.
Lord knows there are no shortage of book marketing opportunities — getting reviews, going on “blog tours,” sending press releases, posting on all the social media platforms. And don’t forget spending time on Goodreads.

For most authors it can be completely overwhelming to do it all. So don’t. That’s my advice. Focus on one channel at a time. This month you can work on your Twitter campaign, follow the right people, add new followers. Then next month you can devote to Goodreads, and so on. If you buy into the concept of book publishing being a marathon, these short-term marketing targets are like the shorter legs of that long race. If you start attending literary expos, or you decide you want to start promoting on a local level, eye-catching promotional banners could be a great way of getting the word out about your latest work.

5. When is it time to give up? Never!
A great, and very recent example of how persistence can pay off is the amazing story of The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep. Most folks have heard the story of the self-published book that suddenly shot up the New York Times Best Seller list in late August. Written by Swedish psychologist Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, the book attracted the attention of all the major traditional publishers, resulting in a reported seven-figure contract for future titles.

And now for the rest of the story. Ehrlin originally published the book in 2013 (with BookBaby) as an eBook. He posted very modest sales from the launch all the way through 2014. This lack of early success didn’t slow his enthusiasm for the book, and he had it converted into five languages and gave away over 45,000 eBooks! Ehrlin called in to the BookBaby customer service team quite often for advice and encouragement. He completely believed in his project and never stopped promoting it.

Later, Ehrlin created a printed book version and added Print On Demand distribution, with modest sales through 2015. Suddenly last summer, his sales started to climb. All of those free eBooks had created tremendous word-of-mouth marketing. A few stories appeared in European newspapers, and the story soon spread across the globe of his unique parenting techniques.

The moral to this story: After three plus years of hard work and effort, this “overnight sensation” was really anything but. Ehrlin used his marketing time wisely and he’s now reaping the rewards.

In the words of French dramatist Jean Racine: “There are no secrets that time does not reveal.” The key to your best book promotional effort could be revealed tomorrow, next week, or maybe next month. Be patient and give your book every chance it deserves to succeed.

Image via


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

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