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Learning something you didn’t know you didn’t know

I had an interesting experience with a client this week. He’s writing a book about job search techniques and has hired me to put the book together for him. Now, he asked me at the start of our project to be patient with him, as this is his first time through the publishing process. I usually try to keep that fact in mind with every client – to remember to meet them wherever they are. While there is generally some overlap in terms of the things people need explained, by and large the questions are always different. This one surprised me, though.

I sent the client the front matter and first chapter in the format I’d designed for his book. He wrote back, almost immediately:

At the top of each page appears my name or the book title. I printed out a page this AM.  

It is the first time that I have seen such a format, and I’m a bit uncomfortable with it. Is this something new?  What is the rationale behind the format?

Please share the reason for the format.  Then, I will give you an immediate response to keep or eliminate it.

As I’ve alluded, I hear all kinds of questions from new authors, but this was a first. I scratched my head a bit, and then responded:

Pull almost any book off your shelf. There is a header at the top of most books. It is not by any means a requirement. Just makes for a more finished look.

I can remove it if you don’t want it, so just let me know.

Microsoft Word - Stan Finds Himself for TFOB

Then came his sheepish response:

It’s unbelievable, I never noticed. Keep it.

So I think there are two lessons here. First – it’s helpful to hire an expert, but when you do so, you’ve got to be willing to trust them. You’re hiring them because they can fill in a lot of the blanks you have, particularly about things you don’t know that you don’t know.

what_you_dont_know_charts

More important, though, is the underlying statement my client made: “I’m a bit uncomfortable with it.” REALLY? He’s a bit uncomfortable with having his name on his own book? Why might that be? He spent a lot of time writing it. He’s clearly an expert on the subject and is offering some very good advice that he knows has already helped many people find jobs. He’s willing to put his name on the front and spine of the book. But the idea of putting his name in the header – that concerned him.

I’m guessing it’s all just a part of putting his work out there for the world to see. If we ever hope to have any success at all, we authors must get over our fear and worry about what people might say about our books. Yep – it’s human nature to focus on the one bad review or lose sleep wondering how we’ll get the negative critic to come around. But we get what we focus on. So while we’re in thluke quotee midst of the publishing process, we really need to focus on why we’re writing, discovering ways to connect with our audience, and keeping our end goal in mind, whatever that may be.

You wrote the book – you deserve to put your name on it, and to proudly display it and talk about it and sell it to the right person in the right situation. Go ahead – I dare you. Claim your success and let your author’s light shine for all the world to see.

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

The end of an era

Tomorrow night marks the end of an era, as one of the best late night hosts of all time leaves the air. Maybe Jay was your guy. Or Carson before him. My late night host of preference has always been David Letterman. Living in the NYC area in the mid- to late 90s, I had the opportunity to see one of his last shows on NBC, months prior to his move to CBS. It was May 7, 1993 and an unremarkable guest list – Martin Mull, David Sanborn, Dinosaur Jr., and Mike Lupica – but we were there. Lining up on the street waiting to enter the theater, watching the monologue, shivering in the 60° studio. We were there. And it was something special.

Letterman

Then Dave moved to CBS and the Ed Sullivan Theatre, and though I walked past the hallowed venue many times, I never got to see a live taping of The Late Show. I even stopped into Rupert Jee’s Hello Deli a couple times, but he was nowhere to be seen.

For me, the most memorable show – maybe even the most memorable television moment of my life – was Letterman’s monologue on September 19, 2001, his first show back on the air after 9/11. He was the perfect guy to do it, to bring some sense of normalcy back to a frightened and out-of-sorts nation. Sure, he’s human and far from perfect. Made some very public and embarrassing blunders. But who among us would stand up to such scrutiny and keep on rolling, keep on doing great work?

One thing that has always impressed me about David Letterman is his ability to shift seamlessly from interviewing a brilliant thinker one day (e.g., Elizabeth Warren long before she made it onto the public stage as a U.S. Senator) to a pop figure like Pamela Anderson the next. Although Letterman never had as guests the leagues of authors Jon Stewart has hosted, he had some famous ones like Carolyn Kennedy, Pete Townshend, and Martha Stewart. Here’s a (complete?) list of author appearances on The Late Show.

I’ll leave you with a few of Dave’s words that might just inspire – and amuse – you a bit:

There is no off position on the genius switch.

Next in importance to having a good aim is to recognize when to pull the trigger.

I have found that the only thing that does bring you happiness is doing something good for somebody who is incapable of doing it for themselves.

Sometimes something worth doing is worth overdoing.

I’m just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.

Fine art and pizza delivery. What we do falls neatly in between.

For the love of God, folks, don’t try this at home.

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Always be a poet…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Always be a poet, even in prose.”

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

BB King: A role model for authors?

They are admittedly tangential relationships, but I do have a couple important connections to BB King, the blues legend who passed away yesterday at the age of 89. First of all, my husband is a professional guitarist. Secondly, we were dating for about four months when I first met his parents at Lucille’s Smokehouse – a barbecue franchise that shares a name with King’s famed guitars.

Of course, we can also take some significant book marketing lessons from one of the most influential guitarists of all time.

  1. Get a moniker. Early on, King was a b-b-king-lucille-2008DJ for Memphis radio station WDIA, where he was known as “the Beal Street Blues Boy.” That was shortened to Blues Boy, and eventually became BB. Do you have a recognizable name? If not, can you create a catchy one that people will remember?
  2. Know what you’re willing to fight for. King was playing at a dance in Arkansas when a fire broke out after two men, fighting over a woman named Lucille, knocked over a kerosene heater. In his hurry to escape the flames, King initially forgot his guitar, but risked his life to go back in to save it. How willing are you to take risks when it comes to marketing your book?
  3. Have a mentor and be a mentor. King’s first guitar teacher was his cousin, Bukka White, and he was inspired by jazz and blues musicians who came before him, including T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhardt. Likewise, King inspired famed guitarists who came after him, including Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and David Gilmour (Pink Floyd). Who are your teachers, and who are you motivating and inspiring? Do you regularly connect with both?
  4. Get the gigs. In 1956 King and his band performed 342 one-night shows. That’s an unbelievable schedule and, you’ll note, he only did it once. He also appeared on the television shows Sanford and Son, The Young and the Restless, Married … With Children, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Sesame Street. What kinds of opportunities are you creating to get in front of your readers? Libraries, farmers’ markets, book stores, other brick-and-mortar shops, conferences, conventions, civic and networking groups … the opportunities are there. You may just need to start seeing them.
  5. Be willing to expand. Having become famous as a blues guitarist, King greatly “expanded his fan base to jazz, folk, and rock audiences in 1967, playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival and the Fillmore West in San Francisco.” Is there a crossover audience you could reach with your books? Are there other authors you could partner with to help you reach a wider readership?
  6. Don’t let fame slow you down. One of the primary things for which King will be remembered is his refusal to slow down, even though he had long passed the fame threshold of becoming a household name. Even after snagging the record for most Grammies for a blues artist (15), being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and winning a Presidential Medal of Freedom, he maintained a “relentless touring schedule” until just this past year. How willing are you to keep working, keep traveling, keep talking to your fans, even if you’ve already hit that magical personal milestone?

Today, the world mourns the loss of a most talented music man. My goal is to honor him, if only slightly, by letting his accomplishments be an inspiration for my success. Won’t you join me?

SOURCES:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/bb-king-eight-facts-about-the-blues-guitar-legend-10252034.html
http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0800601.html
http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/24/us/b-b-king-fast-facts

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

Book marketing goals are as varied as authors’ reasons for writing

I just saw a post from a member of a LinkedIn group for writers that asked, “Who inspired you to become a writer?”

My answer probably goes back to Sr. Laurian, my sixth grade teacher at St. Agnes Catholic School in Phoenix. It was she who told me I was good at writing and would someday have a career in it. However, I suspect I might have found my way into this career whether she’d given me that validation or not. As it happened, I didn’t get here straightaway from college.

My first real job was as a librarian at The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson where, pre-Internet, we read each of the stories in the daily paper, marked them up with what we now know as keywords using colored pens that changed with each year, tore them out of the paper using straight-edges to make clean lines, folded the ones that needed folding to fit, and then filed them into rows and rows and rows of file cabinets filled with over-sized manila envelopes, one for each keyword. I worked there during college and for several years after graduating.

library files

My next job – held simultaneously with the library job – actually involved writing, as a part-time reporter for the features department of our newspaper. The stories I remember writing were about the circus giving away elephant manure to local gardeners (plants supposedly love the stuff), a local man who hand-crafted piñatas out of his home, and a piece on the Catholic Lenten tradition of the “Stations of the Cross.”

Finding after writing just a dozen or so stories that I did not want to make journalism my career, I changed majors to creative writing with an emphasis on nonfiction. Eventually I left the Star to make my way East – to the Big Apple – where I promptly left writing behind for an admin assistant position at the now-defunct Lehman Brothers. It took another decade before I finally found my way into the work that became my career, helping authors write and market books that change the world. And through the process of building that business, I’ve written a number of my own books, the majority of which are how-to’s for authors.

Every author comes to writing for a different reason, through a different channel, and with different goals. And so it is with marketing those books. We market each book for a different reason, through different channels, and with different goals.

Your book marketing efforts must start with knowing the answers to several questions.

my ideal reader

YOUR READER: Who is your ideal reader? Are they male or female? Where do they live? How educated are they? How much money do they make? What do they do for a living? What do they do in their spare time, besides reading? What kinds of websites to they visit? Which are their preferred social media platforms? And if they’re not online (not everybody is), where and how are you going to meet them and connect with them? Ignore the answers to these questions at your book’s peril.

YOUR GOAL: What is YOUR goal for marketing your book? Do you want to share your message with my book marketing goalthe widest audience possible? Develop a legion of loyal readers/followers? Leverage your book sales into speaking engagements? Make a living as a novelist? Parlay your author-ity into a reality TV show? There really are no right or wrong answers to this question. There’s just your answer.

And when you marry the answer to “Who’s your IDEAL reader?” with your answer to “What is YOUR goal for marketing your book?” you have a much better frame of reference and jumping-off point from which to begin – or continue – to implement a strategic marketing plan.

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

Learning to self-publish is like learning the bagpipes

Bagpipes – love ‘em or hate ‘em. There seldom seems to be a middle ground when it comes to the famed instrument which, contrary to popular belief, did not originate in Scotland. The oldest-known reference to the bagpipes was found carved on a stone slab in Asia Minor back in 1000 B.C. I happen to fall into the camp who loves them, but I’ve never thought of trying to learn to play the things.

Scottish_Bagpipers-4273

Playing a bagpipe is a complex task with a lot happening at once and a lot to do at the same time. Once you inflate the bag and the four reeds start sounding, you’re committed. You can’t just stop to think about this or that when things get hectic. Get behind the curve and you’re in deep trouble … the wedding guests may run screaming from the church, your dog might bite you, or the neighbors might start shooting.
— Oliver Seeler, hotpipes.com

Most of the people who attend the Meetup group I run – Phoenix Publishing and Book Promotion – are at some stage in the process of producing a book. Whether they’re writing the first chapter or have been published for years, the reason most come is that they know they have much to learn about marketing their books. While we seldom focus on writing, we do cover many aspects of self-publishing, from designing a cover to finding the right printer to formatting for ebooks. Many of the group members are quite knowledgeable and willing to share best practices and/or pitfalls to avoid.

Occasionally, we have a visitor who is brand new to the self-publishing process. They come to our group in the hopes of learning what they need to know before they get started. This, in my opinion, is a wise move. However, there’s a lot to learn – and no one can learn it all in one sitting. It’s often a game of trial-and-error. “How long does it take to publish a book?” is a question many ask. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, because it all depends…

  • How close are you to completing your manuscript?
  • Who will edit it and how long will that take?
  • Who will design the cover and how long will that take?
  • Who will do the interior layout for your book and how long will that take?
  • Do you already have your ISBN and bar code? Do you know where to get them?
  • Do you have a publishing company name and a corresponding publisher’s mark?
  • If you plan to print physical copies, who will print them and how long will it take to get a proof copy?
  • What is your budget for accomplishing all of these tasks?

Like the quote at the start of this post notes, learning to self-publish a book is a lot like learning to play the bagpipes. It is a complex task with a lot happening at once and a lot to do at the same time.

Though no one is likely to shoot you if you blow a sour note while self-publishing your book, identifying all of the steps and then accomplishing them in just the right order will have a lot to do with the ultimate success of your book.

sharpen the axe

If you’re just starting out, find a Meetup, hire a book coach, or talk with an author who’s done it right a couple of times. Then, hold onto your hat. The real fun starts when you get serious about marketing your book!

RESOURCES:
http://entertainmentguide.local.com/interesting-scottish-bagpipes-1749.html
http://americanscottishfoundation.com/magazine/?p=446
http://www.hotpipes.com/practice.html

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: I’d type a little faster…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.”

asimov

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

 

 

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