If you need support in making the best business decisions with your book. Contact us. We can can help at www.PurposePublishing.com.
To Your Success,
This month I'm really trying to give you the people the things you need to make good and wise decisions concerning writing a book and how it can help you and how you can make it the best. The articles are short and sweet every week I'm sharing from around the web. With that, here's another area that I believe is SUPER important to every business bottom line, taxes. I think Jane Friedman has provided some truly sound advice when it comes to how to handle making good tax decisions as a newly (or not so new) published author. You can check out here article here.
If you need support in making the best business decisions with your book. Contact us. We can can help at www.PurposePublishing.com.
To Your Success,
I was recently on the Self-Care Inspiring Hope Show & Podcast with Traci Williams. Shout out to Traci Williams whoop-whoop!! Check Traci out LIVE Saturday mornings at 10am via Facebook Live and subscribe to her YouTube channel.
Well, I was on her show and we were talking about book publishing. So, she asked me the following question, "Do you think people are writing books now?" I told her, Traci, books are the new business card." People are parlaying books into speaking opportunities, adding credibility to being a Subject Matter Expert and becoming consultants and such in short order. With that question alone, I had a lot to share. But don't just take my word for it, check out an article in Fast Company back in 2012. You can check it out here.
It's now 2020, if you don't have your book written yet. Contact us. We can help at www.PurposePublishing.com.
To Your Success,
Book promotion has changed a lot over the years, as have the book promotion services companies offer. Part of the reason for that is due to the surge of books that we see every day in the marketplace. We know from experience that not only does it change how various programs work, but it can also impact strategies that we’ve come to trust, like Facebook ads which don’t have the same impact they did two years ago.
So what’s working in book promotion now? Surprisingly, it’s not at all what you would expect.
The book promotion services that work these days are less about what you’re marketing in the moment, and more about the foundation you’re creating. Let’s have a look:
1.Email Newsletters: I know, it seems odd to start with something so basic, right? But here’s the thing about newsletters. They are a direct connection to your reader unlike social media, which, technically, is not as direct a link as we’d like it to be. An email newsletter may seem like a lot of work, but it’s really not as bad as say, managing a bunch of social media platforms (we’ll get to that one in a minute).
2.Your Reader Fan Bases: With book publishing growing, our window for using blogs for their book promotion services keeps shrinking. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t promote your book to the blogger market, but consider this: as the window for book promotion continues to change, one thing always remains steadfast, your readers. Building excited and engaged reader fan bases is a fantastic way to build momentum for your book and letting readers help you with your book promotion by posting reviews and sharing your book release on their social stream. The longer down this road of endless books being published (so far, around 4,500 a day) the more it becomes crucial to build supportive reader fan bases.
3.Going Local: A lot of authors want to hit the big time with big media and national exposure. And while all of that is great, local media and events are often overlooked. First off, local media loves their local authors. So whether it’s a story about you publishing your first (or fifth!) book, or promoting your local event, local book promotion is a great launching pad for long-term success. Part of the reason for this isn’t because you aren’t national media-worthy, but because national media is harder than ever to get (I’ll talk more about this in later blogs). Also, many bigger shows have scouts that research local stories that are gaining momentum. Back when Oprah had her show, her producers often worked with many scouts all across the country to find their stories. So including local promotion in your list of book marketing activities is a great way to add some momentum to your book promotion campaign. And in terms of local, you may also consider doing events, whether they are library, bookstore, or gift fairs. You could also consider doing events in other non-bookstore markets like gift stores, coffee shops, and other area stores that might be interested in your topic.
4.Add a Goodreads Presence: Goodreads has been around for a long time and with each month that passes, the site grows more robust. Now, more than ever, it’s important to get yourself set up on that site and start networking with genre-specific groups. This site, more than any other social networking site, is really geared to readers and caters to readers in a way that no other platform does. Start by being a reader, first and foremost. Yes, you have books that you want people to read, but being heavy on the networking/socializing and less on the pushy marketer, will garner you much more attention and, in the long run, sell you more books.
5.Amazon Book Page: This is another area that authors spend a shockingly small amount of time on. I think in general, we get really outwardly focused on our book promotion and forget the all-important landing page we are sending our readers to. Your book page on Amazon should have a clear description with white space and no paragraphs crammed on top of each other. I’d also recommend enhancing your book page using your Author Central Page. From there, you can access all kinds of stuff, like adding reviews to your page, including an author interview, or book experts. Your book page should be a sampling of your personality and information helpful to the reader – helping them make a decision to decide to buy your book is a terrific way to help drive more reader engagement on your page. I have a blog post linked in the resources if you’re ready to tackle this! Or, you should write us and ask about our Amazon-specific book promotion services and campaigns, designed to ensure you’re not leaving any opportunities on the table when it comes to converting Amazon shoppers into book buyers.
6.Keeping Your Social Footprint Small: While this may sound counter-intuitive, it’s my firm belief (and based on mountains of research) that we’ve become digital-weary. Users are leaving Facebook in large numbers, or not posting regularly, Twitter has become a bigger political platform than it ever was, and Instagram is staying delightfully middle of the road, the meaning of all of the social platforms, it has the most universal appeal.
The problem with trying to be *everywhere* meaning on all social media platforms is that it’s hard to be engaged on all the sites, all the time. And engagement does matter, in an age of fake followers and fake accounts, the user with the most engagement, even if their numbers are small, far outperforms accounts with millions of followers. But keep in mind that a smaller social media footprint doesn’t mean less work necessarily. You’ll be less scattered, for sure, but you will still need to put the effort into that site, whichever one you decide to be on. Engaging readers on one social media platform in a consistent and fun/informative/helpful way is a far better book promotion strategy than trying to be everywhere. As I always say: it’s not about being everywhere, but everywhere that matters.
To Your Success,
The health and emotional benefits of reading are reason enough to read more, but there are plenty of others… so set a reading goal and get to it
Let me get this out of the way: you aren’t reading enough.
The global literacy rate has increased exponentially over the last 200 years, but in 2018, leisure reading was at an all-time low in the US. In 2016, 21 percent of Americans didn’t read a single book all year. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, time spent reading has declined on average among every major US demographic — including founders, entrepreneurs, and boardroom executives.
Anecdotally, I’m finding that people seem to be reading less — particularly material that requires deep thought or imagination and is unrelated to their work — and I suppose it’s understandable. Reading has been on the decline ever since the advent of TV, not to mention the Internet, and there’s more quality content than ever before. Of course, that doesn’t make it excusable: reading regularly is paramount to developing self-awareness, educating yourself, and just staying sharp.
Consider the reading habits of some of our greatest leaders and minds:
So, you know it’s important. Now the question becomes, how do you build reading into your routine so it becomes a bigger part of your life? Remember, audiobooks is a great way to do this.
Set a reading goal — then design your life around meeting it
Of course, designing your life to meet any goal is a bit more challenging than simply setting the goal itself. Here are a few tips to get started:
Join a reading group. One of my industry friends meets bi-monthly with a group to read classics in philosophy, fiction, history, and other areas. The group actively avoids books related to their industry. Don’t have many friends in your area? Don’t worry. Reading groups can be found on social platforms like MeetUp or Facebook.
Use books to supplement your work. Are you struggling with a vexing work issue? Crack open a psychology book and see if there are ways in which you can apply its lessons to your profession. Generally, looking to outside fields of inquiry and study for inspiration in your personal or professional life is a great habit to build.
Encourage others on your team to read with you. This, I suppose, is something like a book club, but it boils down to you and your colleagues holding each other accountable. If you talk more often about what you’re reading, you’ll get more enjoyment out of the experience and you’ll want to do it more.
The most important question to answer when aspiring to read more is, “Why?”
Why are you, as a rejuvenated reader, investing so much time in reading?
Rather than setting a goal of 20 books in 2020, perhaps your reading goal should address this question. Nothing will be more inspiring than identifying reasons to read that truly resonate with you and compel you to carve out time to hit your reading goals.
Here are the reasons I’ve built serious reading into my everyday routine:
The best reason to read? It’s fun!
Whether you’re the CEO of a growing startup or a grad student living on ramen noodles, the best reason to read is that it’s a rewarding way to spend time. If you need more inspiration to make a habit of picking up a book each day — beyond the variety of health, mental, and emotional benefits reading provides — no reason proves more influential than that reading is just plain fun.
At the end of the day, this is why you need to set a reading goal for 2020: Reading not only betters you as a person, it also provides a uniquely gratifying form of mental nourishment. So don’t wait. Set your reading goal and start reading!
I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I’ve seriously fallen in love with Audiobooks. Thomas Jefferson wrote to John Adams, “I cannot live without books.” In a slight twist on those sentiments, I cannot live without audiobooks.
Well, it occurred to me a few years ago that I have more time to listen than I do to physically read books for personal purposes since I spend a great deal of time actually reading and reviewing manuscripts of new authors. So, to keep myself up on current business builder content and self-mastery disciplines, I invest in audiobooks. A subscription to Audible to be more specific. I’ve found that I have time in the tub, while I’m driving, or even when I have a free moment before bed- to listen. Hands-free + Mind alert + Satisfaction.
Enter: Audio Books.
I have a list of books that I intend to read each year that colleagues have shared with me, top reviewer’s picks and ones that support what my focus is for the year. I read roughly 26-40 titles each year easily and have been doing that for the past five years.
And driving. Oh … I drive all the time. To my home, where I do my writing, and to the office, which I do in my other life as a community relations manager.
Before I discovered audiobooks, a three-hour drive to STL seemed a thousand miles away. Now, as a family, our trips to St. Louis to visit Grandnan and Pop-Pop includes a title for all of us to listen to, enjoy and later discuss. Believe it or not, if you put the right thing in you can actually get the Air Pods out of your kids’ ears for a little while.
All of which means that as a writer I am fortunate to have one of my books translated into a verbally-articulated medium that gives me great pride. You can get the audio motivation for 7 Keys of a Queen book, just ask.
And as a listener, I am an addict. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. The bottom line, I am a busy publisher, a devoted fan, and a very happy reader.
To Your Success,
A new thing I'm adding this year and this month of Vision is sharing some good books and authors I've encountered. This first one is Ray Dalio and his book Principles. It was voted Business Book of the Year. You'll have to get it to fund out why. But enjoy this blog that encapsulates a bit of what Ray Dalio shares with people all the time. It was good for me. I think itll be good for you.
Wouldn’t you love to be able to achieve greatness without embarrassment, failure and fear? It would be wonderful to be able to tell you that you can achieve your dreams without suffering a little bit.
Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. Everyone needs to go on their hero’s journey, and that means, at some point, encountering an extreme low.
It would be lovely, of course, if we could just learn everything we need to know from other people’s experiences. And you can try to do that. In fact, we shouldreally try to do that way!
Here’s the thing though. The information you need is out there. The books are there for you to read, and the podcasts are there for you to listen to. And if you go out and consume all that information, you will learn. You’ll learn a lot.
You’ll even take some of the advice. Maybe you’ll take most of it.
But you won’t take all of it. And the only thing that’s going to show you how you’re wrong, how your worldview is limited, is your own failure. When you try to reach your dreams, fail, feel the pain, and decide to get back up and try again.
However, even that process won’t be enough without reflection.
You’ve really got to sit down and admit, “here’s where I screwed up. Here’s where I could have done better. Here’s where I went wrong.” And then figure out how you’re going to do things differently next time.
Ray Dalio’s famous math equation is right on the money:
Pain + Reflection = Progress.
The truth is that the drive to achieve something extraordinary is often rooted in harsh experiences. And the more crushing the extreme low you’ve reached, the more drive you will have to reach extraordinary heights.
So there is, of course, some good news here. Those of you who have hit rock bottom, who suffer greatly, or who have had those crushing failures can look forward to an incredible future. As long as you always take responsibility for your own errors.
Through reflection, your failures become the fuel that sustains you when times get rough, and when you want to wimp out. They will propel you when you want to quit out of boredom or jealousy.
So that means that pain is never wasted. Pain + Reflection = Progress. There is always something to be learned.
Aren't familiar with Ray Dalio? Look him up. This year from time to time I will share with you some really good books I've read and recommend by some amazing authors. Even outside of my own publishing house, there's great material out there.
To Your Success
Today, I have something interesting for you.
Did you know that the early morning hours are the most important hours in your day?
They affect your mindset and your productivity for the rest of the day.
So, how can you start each day off on the right foot?
Plan your day the night before
By thinking about what you want to accomplish the next day, you are essentially visualizing what you are going to get done successfully, instead of wasting time worrying about where to start and what to do when you wake up. This puts you in the right mindset for success and keeps you calmer and more efficient.
Set goals for the day every morning
When you wake up and get ready to act on the plans you made the night before, stop and take a second to remind yourself of what your goals are. This will refocus your energy into only what you want to complete and will promote more productivity throughout the day.
Avoid checking your phone
By making sure you have a morning routine that allows you to wake up, shower, get ready, and prepare a good breakfast, you are ensuring that you are more likely to feel accomplished and stay focused all day.
Checking your phone for emails, new social media notifications, or missed calls can cause you the anxiety that goes along with feeling like you have to have to start jumping in and handling everything immediately. Give yourself a break for some focus and you’ll thank yourself later.
Remember, it’s okay to take a few minutes for yourself.
To Your Success,
It’s time for a Thursday Throwback. Let's start it off with a major concept that changed my life forever:
If you want to be successful, you have to set goals.
But they can't just be any goals...
Success is based on accomplishing challenging, but attainable, goals. If you set easy or unattainable goals for yourself, how is that going to benefit you?
On one end, you're not challenging yourself, so you're depriving yourself of growing and succeeding.
On the other end, if you're setting hard-to-reach goals that you have no chance of meeting, it will affect your confidence and motivation to succeed.
In order to actually see the real benefits of setting and reaching your goals, you need to make sure that the goals you set, fit certain criteria.
Are you familiar with the S.M.A.R.T. Goals strategy?
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym that stands for a list of criteria that each goal should meet. The letters stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
A smart goal should be:
By using the SMART goals approach, you can ensure that you are setting goals that will help you reach your overall goal in life - whatever that might be.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of S.M.A.R.T. Goals, I included some resources below that you can take a look at. They'll provide you with examples, show you how to set your own S.M.A.R.T. goals and the benefits of doing so.
To Your Success,
I often get questions from authors and soon to be authors about publishing their book. It’s been a dream, an idea a thought for years and they’re getting closer to making a decision. Well, as you get close think about these things to help you in your process of getting starter. Here are 10 truths that I believe are very important to any aspiring author about publishing. It’s true that you don’t have to learn every lesson the hard way. Here’s help:
1. It takes time to build your audience-
Be patient. If you’re in it for the ride, you’ll be successful.
2. Shortcuts don’t work-
A daily commitment to your writing and promotion is the only way to succeed.
3. You will spend a lot of money-
Digital Publishing. Book printing. Publicity. It costs money.
4. Be skeptical of where you spend money-
Beware scammers and sharks who say they can turn you into a best-seller in 30 days! Ask questions, get references, and do your research.
5. Pricing is key-
Unknown authors shouldn’t charge too much for eBooks.
6. You may receive bad reviews-
Art is subjective. No book is perfect. And plenty of classics still don’t get 5 star reviews on Amazon. If the critism is contructive, learn from it.
7. Remember etiquette-
Concentrate on the positives. You’ve gotta let negativity brush off your shoulders.
8. You’ve gotta be tough-
“No one puts Baby in the corner!” Be persistent. You’ll have to fight for things.
9. Go after the big guns-
Every publicity opportunity begets another publicity opportunity. Just because you’re self-published doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pitch yourself to CNN, the Today Show, etc. You might get lucky! But make sure you’re prepared.
10. Keep learning-
There’s a lot to figure out early on, and the landscape keeps changing. So you need to stay open to new ideas
To Your Success,
YOU WROTE THE BOOK? WHAT’S NEXT?
You had a great book idea, you wrote a fine book, and now you think you're ready to self-publish it. Before you take that leap of faith, however, there are several things you should consider in order to publish like a professional.
1. Finish the Writing and Have It Professionally Edited
Finish the writing (sometimes easier said than done) and that includes the rewriting. Until you reach a point in your rewrites where the edits are no longer substantive, your book is not finished. When you find yourself simply changing characters' names or altering inconsequential details, that's when you're done self-editing.
Your next step is to hire a professional editor. You may not enjoy being told to cut a section of writing you really like, but if Chapter 7 is truly overkill, a professional editor can help you understand why. You might not be able to specifically quantify the benefits of a formal editing process, but it will help you sell more books. Hiring a professional to edit your book can make you a better writer, provide you with industry knowledge you wouldn't otherwise have, broaden your exposure, and ultimately increase your sales.
2. Get Help
Unless you can do it all yourself, you should hire a professional to publish, design your book cover and book interior. The book you've worked so hard on deserves the best possible physical representation, including typeface, page numbers, opening chapter pages, running headers, and other elements you might not think of but a professional book designer will. The cover design is perhaps the most important element of design as it provides the first impression of your book to potential readers/buyers.
If you're offering an electronic version of your book, those design specs will be different. A professional can help you maintain design continuity while ensuring your work will be esthetically pleasing and readable, whether it's read in print or electronically.
3. Build Relationships Before You Publish
You should be building your author platform before you publish and, if it's not too late, as you write your book. Create your online platform through your own author website and build on that through social media outlets like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Facebook, Google+, etc. You don't have to be everywhere; consistency and frequency are the keys to developing a solid base of followers. Expand that base by commenting on other relevant blogs and websites. Contribute comments and questions to book review blogs like the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as to smaller and local sites.
Start a mailing list. It can be electronic, snail mail, or both. Join writers' groups and associations, both online and local. Host or participate in a webcast or podcast. Attend book launches and other publishing events, including writing and publishing conferences. Make friends with your local booksellers and librarians, and never miss your book club meeting. The point is to get your name out there before you publish, not after.
4. Pay Attention
Become familiar with the existing book market. Find out what's currently on bookstore shelves, which books are being checked out most frequently at the library, which books are making news, why your friends and family are buzzing about certain titles, and what is happening in the literary world in general. Knowledge of the current publishing environment will help you publish like a professional.
5. Offer Your Book in Multiple Formats
You never know how readers will want to consume your content, so don't exclude potential buyers by limiting yourself to either eBooks or print books. The BBC recently reported that 50 percent of American adults own e-readers, but research shows that most people are still reading more print books than eBooks. Don't let potential readers (and sales) get away from you by not offering multiple formats of your book.
6. Use Your Resources
Once you have built an author platform, immersed yourself in the literary world, solidified industry-related relationships, and joined appropriate associations, don't stop there. You can maintain your place in the industry by staying active in it. Keep up with your network and be aware of industry news that can perfect your book marketing plan, use the resources you've gathered at conferences or writing retreats, continue to attend publishing events and learning sessions, keep reading writers' blogs and guides, and never stop learning.
The publishing process doesn't have to be overwhelming. Plan ahead, take it step-by-step, and take advantage of available resources. And if you need help, call us we are here to help you: 866-599-6270.
To Your Success,
There are so many options these days on how to get your book into the hands of readers. Gone are the days when one single path led to publication, and it can be confusing to wade through the pros and cons of being independently versus traditionally published. One of the ways you can evaluate how to move forward with your manuscript is to think about how you would prefer to promote your book.
The book promotion tactics an indie published author takes can be different from those with large publishing contracts, largely due to the higher level of control independent authors maintain over their books. If you’re thinking about indie publishing for your book, consider how much easier it is to engage in these forms of book promotion as an indie author.
Meet Your Local Booksellers
This is something that only the author can do! A large publisher or your independent publicity firm may coordinate meetings with these booksellers, but this is something indie authors can do really well on their own. Books are hand sold by booksellers all over the world, which means that they give recommendations to people browsing their stores and can influence purchasing decisions. Making a personal impact on a bookseller so that they want to sell your book is a savvy move on any author’s part. Stop by a store, be polite, buy a book, and tell them you hope they’ll stock your book one day.
Create a Goodreads Author Profile and Use it Actively
Maintaining control over vital social media platforms is a benefit to indie publishing—you’ll always make your own account and run it for yourself. On Goodreads you can make friends, follow reading lists, join book clubs, and organically network to create a community that will put your book onto their “to-read” bookshelves when it comes out.
Start an Author Instagram and Use it Consistently
As an indie author, you’ll want to connect directly with readers. People support brands they admire, and they learn to love a brand by encountering an individual first. Showing who you are as a person on the fastest growing social media platform can help readers find you. “Bookstagrammers” are becoming a powerful “influencer” segment in social media marketing, and connecting with them is something an author can do all on his or her own. You can do your own giveaways without a publisher restricting your actions! Don’t forget to use relevant hashtags like #bookstagram, #lit, #amreading, #books, and more. Instagram rewards hashtagging…so use as many as you like and you have a higher chance of showing up in the feeds of your followers, as well as good discoverability by random users that are checking out popular hashtags.
Make Vital Changes to Your Publication Timeline and Other Important Book Details
These may not seem like part of the promotional process at first glance, but sometimes books are published by large publishers on schedules that might not be the best fit for an author. Picking a publication date that fits with your personal life, relevant holidays (a book on motherhood might be more easily promoted if it is published the week of Mother’s Day, for instance), and what else is on the market is a great way that indie authors get to plan their promotions early on to best suit their sales. As an indie author, you can also make edits to your book cover, your price, and other important details based on reader feedback before you move to a final version, and this is not something traditional deals typically allow.
Sell Your Books More Easily at Private Events
Because you are in charge of your book’s distribution, you don’t have a middle man between you and your print-on-demand that can hold up this process. If you are headed to an author event, book fair, library, or private book launch, you get to decide how many copies and on what timeline you want to bring them for sales.
There are pros and cons to both traditional and indie publishing, and hopefully learning about some of the considerations regarding book promotion on both sides can help you choose your publishing route more successfully.
To Your Success
THEY ALSO JUDGE BOOKS BY THE BACK COVER
You know that saying “don’t judge a book by its cover”? As a metaphor, that saying is fantastic. But when talking about literal books, a cover is exactly what a book is judged by. You’ve probably done this before: A book’s title or cover looks interesting, so you flip it around and read the back cover to see what it’s about. In the short amount of time it takes you to scan the summary, you’ve usually decided whether you’ll be buying that book or not.
In other words, the cover—especially the back cover—is hugely important in hooking the casual book buyer. The good news is, a good back book cover isn’t that hard to pull off. Here are five quick ways to create a back cover that will pull people in.
The more we understand the human brain, the clearer it becomes that people learn through the unexpected. If someone already thinks they know everything they need to, they are less curious and less likely to buy your book. The job of the back cover is to help them realize they don’t know everything they need to know.
People probably won’t buy a book that says it’s all about sanctification, but they might buy a book that says something like the following: “For many of us, we are trying to live the ‘good Christian life,’ and yet find ourselves worn out, discouraged and more empty than how we started. Why is this? What are we missing?”
To sell a book about the biblical concept of covenant, you could say, “We live in a world that is fascinated with ‘happily ever after,’ but only experiences a commitment that seems to dissolve the moment we need it most. We are a culture both fascinated by and disillusioned with love…but what if there was a better way?”
The point is this: Create a compelling tension, and people will want to read your book to see how you resolve it.
HINT AT THE ANSWER
Many readers, though, will need at least a hint of where you’re taking them. After casting your compelling tension, give a bullet point of three to five ways your book will address this tension (more than five is too many, and marketing shows odd numbers work better). So let’s say you’re writing the sanctification book. After casting your tension, the next paragraph could say something like this:
“Author and pastor Josh Pease suggests the emptiness we feel in our Christian faith stems from a misunderstanding of what God expects from us in the first place. In this encouraging new book, he suggests that our dissatisfaction stems from:
replacing “struggling” with “surrendering”
believing we need to earn God’s approval
allowing religious pride to rule over humility
…you get the idea. The point is to help people have a sense of what they’re getting into before they give your book a few hours of their life.
KEEP IT SHORT
In honor of this point, I’ll be brief: You have 150-200 words to rope people in. Any more and your back cover will be a wall of text people won’t want to read. Keep it short and simple.
Research has shown that more people will buy a book if the author’s picture and bio are included on the back. The reason for this is a book—especially one that is instructing people in their spiritual journey—is a vulnerable choice. People aren’t buying words, they’re buying you as someone they trust to speak into their life. So help them feel like they know you a little. Include a professional looking picture, fairly close up to your face, along with a short bio of why you’re someone they can trust.
ADD ENDORSEMENTS IF YOU HAVE THEM
Endorsements don’t always have to come from famous (or church famous) people, although that definitely doesn’t hurt. If you have pastor friends of larger churches, seminary professors or anyone else who could be seen as a marginal spiritual authority figure, don’t hesitate to ask them to read your book in advance and write a brief (one to two sentences, tops) blurb. It’s like reviews on Amazon products:
Even if you don’t know the people giving the review, it makes you feel better to know someone else enjoyed this product you haven’t seen yet.
All these things add up to a compelling, personal back cover that will tell people your book is worth their time.
To Your Success,
Over these last three weeks, I’ve been decluttering our home; top to bottom. I’m thinking of a minimalist approach to a simpler life and time in the year ahead. I have had many recently ask me about this process that I do every year in December ready for what the coming year will bring. So, I wanted to take this opportunity to help others maybe realize their own decluttering goals as well. Here’s a little insight about clearing clutter. I have gained an understanding with these few key principles that can help anyone clear their clutter and embrace clarity.
The 9 Easy Peasy Decluttering Principles:
1. Stop the Flow of Stuff Coming In. Decluttering is a waste of time if you simply replace the old stuff with new. You’ll need to begin by slowing the flow of things entering your home. Determine today to buy less. Trust me, you won’t regret it. The freedom from desire to acquire is a beautiful thing.
2. Declutter at Least One Item a Day. Decluttering does not have to be a mad frenzy that disrupts your entire household. Over the years, my home has become quite minimalist by simply choosing one item a day to declutter. This gradual process began to change the way I think about stuff. Eventually, it became a way of life rather than just a crash diet of stuff.
3. Declutter the Easy Stuff First. There is no need to make things difficult by trying to declutter the hardest things first. Most likely, it will simply deter you from the task altogether. Instead, start with the easy stuff and then as you strengthen your will to reduce, the harder decisions will become easier.
4. Put a Disposal Plan in Place. Before you begin, investigate selling, recycling, donating and give away options for the items you choose to declutter. The more prepared you are for the task, the simpler it will be… and the more likely you will be to follow through. Ebay, Freecycle, and our local thrift store became my favorite disposal options. However there are endless others to explore.
5. Decide to Not Keep Things out of Guilt or Obligation. Your home should only contain the things you love or use. Don’t let incorrect thinking or other people dictate what you should keep or give away. Remember, if the items are yours, it is your choice to decide what to do with them.
6. Do Not Be Afraid to Let Go. The urge to hold on to items you think you might need someday can be eliminated simply by being realistic about what need really is. Many items in our homes may be useful, but they are not particularly necessary to our happiness, well-being, or the functionality of our homes. Seek to understand the difference.
7. Gifts do not have to be Material. There are so many ways to honor loved ones without giving gifts that end up as clutter. Encourage people to follow this concept when buying gifts for you. Some alternative gifts are gifts of experience or adventure, a gift of time spent together, even cash gifts are appropriate in some instances. I have two clutter-free gift guides at my blog if you are looking for ideas.
8. Do Not Declutter Things that are not Yours without the Owner’s Permission. Everyone should have a choice about their own belongings, even small children. Honor them by allowing them to choose. You can encourage hoarding tendencies in others by ripping things away from them before they are ready to let go. My husband appreciates this!
9. Do Not Waste Your Life on Clutter. Every item you own takes time out of your life: time to manage it, clean it, repair it, and maintain it; time to choose between objects of a similar category; time spent shopping for it… and that doesn’t even mention the time spent earning the money to pay for it in the first space. Decide to sacrifice less of your precious life on the pursuit and ownership of stuff.
I love taking the time to go through old things, see what I should keep and what I should toss out. It’s an easy way to gain a sense of accomplishment and renewal at the same time. I’ve found that white space in my life is good because I get so busy. But I’ve come to value the ‘less is more’ adage especially when it relates to my creativity and clarity. When I’m clear, creativity flows immensely. So, declutter and get clear.
Enjoy this post? Then, send me an email. Do you declutter at specific times of the year? How does it make you feel? Tell me.
To Your Success & ‘Clutter Free’ spaces,
Soon there will be no shortage of ideas and articles about goal setting and getting the most out of the upcoming year. While certainly helpful, those of us in business marketing ourselves and our talent, when we are our brand, we need a different set of ideas.
When your business is personal, and you’re putting yourself on the line day after day, being an entrepreneur is as much a course in personal development as anything else. Personal growth on steroids I might add! So it only makes sense then the tactics one needs to set out to accomplish big things in a New Year need to be different. It’s an internal development approach as well as a practical outside one.
Below are the seven keys I know of to accomplish great things in the New Year whether your book, your business or your life!
1. What Will Be Your Theme For 2019?
Choose an over-arching theme for your year. It’s not a goal. It’s a theme aligned with your natural growth and your place in life at this time. You listen and sense your theme more than create it. By listening for your theme to emerge you are working in flow with what makes sense for you and not against it by pushing towards a goal you set. I find this to be the foundation for the year ahead.
2. Set Big Dreams, Create Small Wins
Often, we’re capable of more than we imagine or even give ourselves credit. At the same time, we set short-term goals that are unrealistic. This sets us up for failure. Success DOES breed success. And to keep you going, you need successes and accomplishments for fuel. So create some goals you KNOW you’ll accomplish on a regular basis — monthly, weekly, even daily. Feel successful. At the same time, set your long term goals beyond your wildest dreams. Without any limiting thoughts. And be ready — you just might get it.
3. Be Clear On Your Direction
Being busy authors and entrepreneurs, we often chase a lot of squirrels! Creatively speaking that can be a good thing. It opens up more creativity, more possibilities, and maybe more fun! It can also create a diverse business model with multiple streams of income. But it must all point somewhere. To a direction. To your purpose and what you want to stand for in this world. So you can consider many possibilities but you must be clear on your direction to organize your efforts and keep you on track.
4. Make Room
You can’t expect what you want in life to come in if you don’t make space for it. Make space by good use of time management. Eliminate, automate and delegate everything you can. Strive to have time on your hands and the time will be filled with more meaningful things. Make space in your life for creativity, growth and self-care. This will increase your capacity to give more of yourself. You have to be ready and make space for success and abundance to arrive.
5. Big To Small Goals
Start with big goals and trickle down to small goals. Begin with the lofty goals for the year. Then divide the year by season and then by month. Finally, decide which specific tasks need to be done on a weekly and daily basis to accomplish that month’s goals. I suggest, unless it’s absolutely time critical, that you focus more on the monthly and weekly goals rather than daily. It provides more flexibility and less criticism of tasks not completed. By approaching your goals from big to small, you are taking small steps, every week, towards your big dreams.
6. Posture Yourself to Receive
Everyone always thinks they are more than prepared to receive abundance and success. If that’s the case, then why do so many people fall apart when good fortune lands in their lap? It’s because they haven’t prepared to receive. They haven’t considered the sense of responsibility and fear that come with “having it all.” Ever notice how often something goes wrong just when it seemed everything was going right? Or parts of your life are going incredibly well but not other parts? All because you’ve reached the limits of your comfort zone of receiving. So prepare for these emotions. Starting now, savor the good moments. Train the “what if” thoughts to stay away. And be very self-aware of any self-sabotage keeping you in your “enough” comfort zone instead of fully receiving beyond your imagination.
7. Own Your Awesomeness
Without a doubt, this is the most important thing you can do to have the life and business of your dreams. Own who you are — your awesomeness. This is not just feel-good advice. In business, this is practical and essential to skyrocketing your success. When you are your brand, and you’re marketing yourself, the more you own who you are, the tighter your branding will be. With a clearer message, more of the right clients show up and the more success you will see. It’s almost as simple as that. Owning who you are requires bravery, authenticity, and transparency. But it’s so very worth it! You are awesome. Own it!
To Your Success in the Year to Come,
As indie authors, we all want to sell more books. And I’ve learned over the years that this is the biggest struggle of all authors. How do I sell more? So, I decided to spend even a little more time sharing some more great ways to get noticed and get more sales.
6. Do more videos: Let’s face it, video is big and only going to get bigger in the New Year. If you don’t have a YouTube channel, you may want to grab one and repurpose any of your social media videos and put them on YouTube!
7. Develop Superfans: Make your fans feel special. Maybe you want to create a VIP reader group on Facebook where you give them early access to books, gift card promos, contests, and exclusive content.
8. Start an email list! It’s a great way to stay in front of fans and on their radar. Consider including a letter in the back of your book that invites your readers to join. Or, offer a free copy of your book for your email subscribers and run ads on Goodreads, Twitter, and Facebook!
9. Network with other authors: Join online groups, go to writer events, or join local author groups. Networking with other, similar authors is not just good business, but it can help you brainstorm new ideas, and most likely expand your knowledge!
10. Host an event at your library: While bookstore events can be great, libraries are often big, missed opportunities to connect with serious readers.
So take some time to review these ideas and factor them into your marketing plan. If you haven’t built one yet, it’s time to get started! With a roadmap in place, you’ll stay focused and on task with your book marketing efforts… and maybe just maybe you’ll have the next bestseller!
Republished with permission Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
Some of the best fiction writing is inspired by personal experience, but putting too much of yourself in your writing can hurt your cause.
Writers must be brave. A writer must put herself out there and expose herself emotionally. Even fiction writing requires a writer to dig deep and expose her innermost thoughts to the public. Writers need to be ruthless and take the story where it needs to go, putting fears, worries, inhibitions, and biases on standby.
If you are writing something based on aspects of your personal life – say an honest, first-person account of an extraordinary event – this holds true on a deeper level. Those tapping their own lives for inspiration are obliged to give up the most private and difficult details of every situation to benefit the story. It is often the most raw and demanding details that readers enjoy most.
So how do great writers strike the balance of injecting enough self to suitably excite the reader without whipping up mundane and trite sludge, effectively destroying a work through self-indulgence? It comes down to which parts of ourselves we are inserting and why. Some details are core to the genius of a work, others should never see the light of day. To leave any of these flagrant signs of the self behind in a final draft is like a surgeon who sews up a bandage inside the patient’s belly. It serves no one.
There are many ways unwanted parts of us get stuck in our writing, and here are five ways to avoid it negatively affecting your work.
Remove your notes
As we write, we move from trying to understand our subject to expressing it for others. Along the way, it is common to write in short-hand, to deposit mental notes to ourselves before we write the sentences intended for readers. We start by building scaffolding, designed to serve us and eventually be removed. It is, by definition, temporary. Left in place, even vestiges of this skeleton make a manuscript appear unfinished, at best. At worst, it’s like a building that has been restored but remains ensconced : you only get hints of the beauty underneath.
Remember, your vacation photos are for you
We all know the stereotype of the overenthusiastic photo-snap, boring friends and family to death with the 1,000-slide vacation presentation. What is exciting to you, because you were there and it is your life experience, may be the perfect sleeping elixir to someone else.
Writers risk a similar fate if they overestimate the importance of their personal experiences. Is your story truly gripping because it offers insight into a core aspect of the human condition, or it is just of raging interest to you because of your particular circumstances, beliefs, or interests when it happened?
This is a hard question to answer, and it will rule out many potential ideas. If an idea passes our own filter, it then rests with others to determine if it passes the “vacation photo” test. Rare vacation photos are truly exceptional. We love saying to our vacationers, “That one is so good it could be a postcard!” and really mean it. This is the reaction you need from your readers. Apply the same “Is it too me?” filter to each chapter, section, paragraph, sentence, and word as you move towards the finish line. Shards of left-over self, necessary for preparation and cooking, are critical to remove before eating, as they drastically dilute the overall flavor.
Judge the story, not the truth
If you are writing fiction based on experience, you must know when to stick with the truth and when to let loose the creative juices and pump up the fiction. Sometimes truth overshadows the potential for a better story in the translation of reality-inspired events. If the true order of events occurred over a few months, but would be ten times more extraordinary and compelling for the reader if they occurred in a single day, make the retrofit. Do it with gusto and glee. Stretch.
We need to draw inspiration from real life where it helps and drop it when it hinders. Test and retest the logic of the story. See where you can raise the stakes. See where you can accelerate the pace. Dreams never occur in real time. They are snapshots of action over longer periods. Good books are too. Take the time and make the effort to make your story fiction.
See the forest for all the trees
Even if 100 percent fiction, writers are often so close to their work they fail to see the forest for the trees. In this case, self is restricting the scope and breadth of the work. This is where working with a writers’ group, getting feedback from willing readers, or turning to a professional editor will pay off.
Sometimes such narrowness is a critical and legitimate phase. All authors have to start somewhere. In an early draft, a writer might be so busy building the description of one side of an intersection they forget the other sides. This is just part of getting to the finish line. The sin is leaving such gaps for the reader to fall into. Such oversights are also evidence of too much self. An author needs to be able to look at the story the way readers will. Readers aren’t mind readers: they can only work with what is on the page.
Acknowledge the dual roles of self in writing
It is often the role of an editor to remove the unwanted remnants of self from a manuscript. The best authors will take on this challenge themselves and not spare their own feelings by completely removing the unwanted parts of self from their writing.
The paradox is that writing comes from self, and yet sometimes self has to be purged from the final product for readers to find it fulfilling and finished. Such a polished feel is a key part of the reader’s perception of a book being professional and high quality. There are no fingerprints on the mirror showing the artist was there working, just a clear reflection of the world the writer is trying to create.
To Your Success,
LITERARY AWARDS. A few Sundays ago, I watched the Oscars. I don’t think I’ve watched in many years I’ve only gotten the recap the day after on who won. But this year, I sat through and watched intently. It was interesting to see the forerunners won in some cases and be gracious in others. But I think the thing that stuck out the most were the number of people who have been in lighting, sound, sound effects, music, directors and the like win for the first time. There were more than a few gray/white haired experts that took the stage for the first time as a winner or that were nominated. I remember specifically one man who ran his fingers through his silver hair as he spoke saying he’s been in the business for over 50 years and this was his first time nominated and winning.
So, it made me think about authors. How long have some of you been authors and have you ever entered your book in an award contest or even nominated your work for an awards? At the Oscars, the Academy makes the selection and such is the case with most literary awards. But this year I want to motivate and push each of you to select at least one award for which you’ll enter your book or have your book nominated. Do you think your book has what it takes to make the awards list? And I’m going to make it easy for you. Take a look at the short list below of upcoming book awards and check out the requirements for entry. You’ll be surprised at how important what you’ve written is, but also how worthy it is to share with more than just your local market.
Make sure you let us know if you enter and we will surely share it! So, take the action and enter. You can’t be awarded if you don’t enter.
To Your Success,
ILLUMINATION BOOK AWARDS
The Illumination Book Awards are designed to honor the year's best new titles written and published with a Christian worldview. Award categories range from Bible Study and Devotional to family-oriented subjects like Education and Children's Picture Book. The purpose of the Illumination Book Awards is to bring award recipients the credibility and publicity they need to further their book marketing and sales success.
The 2018 Illumination Awards are now open! Click HERE to request entry info or to ask a question.
ENTRY FORM & GUIDELINES
The eLit Awards are an industry-wide, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the electronic publishing industry, and are committed to illuminating and honoring the very best of English language digital publishing entertainment. The eLit Awards celebrate the ever growing market of electronic publishing in the wide variety of reader formats. Hail the revolutionary world of e-books and join the awards program that’s highlighting the best in electronic reading entertainment!
The 2018 eLit Awards are now open! Click HERE to request entry info or to ask a question.
At the end of every year, there are many lists published with the “Top Everything” from movies to people. There is always a little good, bad and ugly included, but it’s the tops nonetheless. But this year for our industry a really nice infographic went out, produced by the team at Global English Editing. They took it a little deeper and gave us a view into the reading habits of Americans in 2017.
Just a little Bad News! It does not discourage me when I see only 13% of Americans say they didn’t read a book in 2017. It’s not an horrendously high number… though that additional 7% who say they’re “not sure” if they read a book are probably just too embarrassed to admit it, so we could round that number up to 20%. Well, even with that we could use a little work.
Here’s the Good News! Young people are reading more than anyone, which is good news; print books are more popular than eBooks, defying the predictions of the doomsday purveyors who predicted print would be dead by now; and six of the nine top-grossing authors of 2017 are American, for all of you keeping score at home.
Check it Out! The infographic also highlights the year’s top sellers, in both printed and eBook formats, the most popular books by state, and a listing of the most literate cities in the US. Is ours among them? Check out the infographic and find out.
Let’s work on it this year and maybe we can get our titles listed on 2019’s “Most Anticipated Books” list. Happy Reading!
To Your Success,
As we have closed a very busy and productive year, I just wanted to personally thank you for helping us improve what we do at Purpose Publishing as we lean into the New Year 2018.
Whether you've allowed us the opportunity to be part of your book's publication as your printer and/or book distributor; whether you're an established indie publisher or a new author just getting your feet wet; whether we met you at an author event this year; or whether you simply take part in our publisher education via our downloadable guides, social media, videos, or blog; you have helped us learn and grow, and for that we are always grateful.
Our goal, first and foremost, is to help you make your books available to readers around the world, whether they discover your work(s) directly from your social media, a book review, in a library, or a physical bookstore or online store. We're just as overjoyed as you are when we see your books in all of our favorite book-buying places, and know, from your feedback, that this is one of the reasons you most love publishing your books with us.
Looking ahead to 2018, we are working to streamline the royalties’ payout system by adding a PayPal feature allowing us to electronically make your statements & funds easier to get to you. We are intent to provide you with the tools you need to successfully navigate the challenging world of book publishing, so look for improved tools and resources that we intend to help you reach your author goals.
Last year we took giant step forward as Purpose Publishing celebrated a major milestone, 100 Books & 100 Authors! It's incredible how far we've come in seven short years and impossible to imagine Ingram Distribution without all of the amazing lndie authors and the fantastic books they've created and shared. We’ll still be celebrating this year by rolling out many new services that you’ve requested and showcasing more authors and what they’re doing. 2018 promises to be another fantastic year for us all.
I hope you can find the time to read and write during this first quarter. Happy New Year to everyone with a story, past, present, or future, and the courage to share it!
To Your Success,
Liking Yourself, What You do & How You do it
Success is liking yourself, what you do & how you do it. – Maya Angelou
People have a need for affection and being liked. But it’s very easy to make a mistake here and go about it the wrong way. As an author or aspiring author, there will be times when you’re uncertain about whether or not you’ll be received. Received as an author, as a speaker or as anything other than the person other people think you are. But the truth is who you are is as important to you as it is to everyone else. Actually, how much you like yourself is a good gage for how much others will respond to you. Here are 3 quick tips to strengthen your view of you!
1. Like yourself. It gives you power and strength.
If you go for trying to get people to like you you’ll most likely come off as needy and desperate a lot of the time. This is a bad position to put yourself in. Because liking and respecting yourself goes hand in hand with people liking and respecting you.
2. People like people who like themselves.
What is attractive to a friend, an employer or a potential partner? To me, it seems like a lot of this boils down to people liking people who like themselves. Someone who likes him/herself is positive, confident, takes care of his/her health and opportunities in school/at work/in life.
3. More inner stability. Fewer rides on the emotional rollercoaster.
Getting compliments and being liked is wonderful. The problem is just that if you rely too much on validation from others then you let the outside world, other people, control how you feel. And that can be a real rollercoaster.
Because if you really need the positive validation from people then it’s hard to avoid listening to their negative input. Or you may feel bad when there is a temporary lack in the validation. So what do you do? You let go of focusing on needing that input and replace it with focusing on validating and liking yourself instead.
Liking you, makes them like you too.
To Your Success,
Author Feature: Apostle Frank Baio