Book marketing: what REALLY sells books in the modern marketplace?

book marketing,book,marketing,writing,reviews,blogging,Alana Munro

Proper book marketing can take your book out
of the wilderness and into the best seller list

In this guest article, Australia-based author Alana Munro shares her advice on how to market your book successfully in today’s marketplace…

Most weeks I receive similar emails from authors with this urgent question, ‘Alana, I see your own book was a success, can you make my book a bestseller too?’ [Read more…]

How to write a restaurant review: now the book – soon the movie?

Does the road to fame and fortune start on HowToWriteBetter.net? You probably remember Sam Worthington’s excellent article on here about writing restaurant reviews. Anyway, the blog has turned into a book and it’s a winner-in-the-making. And who knows what next? Movie blockbuster starring the other, er, Sam Worthington?

Here’s what I wrote about the book in a review on Amazon… [Read more…]

How to compile an index

How to compile an indexIf you’ve written a book or a long document you may well be expected to compile an index to go with it. For years I ran in the opposite direction when my book publishers asked me to do one and in those days, they were willing to pay someone else to do it.

However in our current belt-tightening climate publishers have grabbed me by the hair as I tried to run away and said “no way, princess. You do it. End of.”

And guess what? Once I tried it, I found it wasn’t difficult. And it didn’t take 6 months to complete.

Needless to say there are software packages you can buy which supposedly do the indexing for you, but from what I gather (e.g. here) many such packages are about as user-friendly as a cornered rat. Doing it manually, or semi-manually, may seem very last century but offers two distinct advantages:

1)You don’t have to download, install and learn how to use any software before you even start indexing

2)Because you have written the book or document you know which words, phrases, topics etc. are truly important, and which aren’t

Step One: print out the final  document

This may seem obvious, but don’t let a publisher, client, colleagues, etc. expect you to work on a draft, because if you don’t want your index to be all over the place, you need absolutely final  page numbers. Once you’ve got the final version, print it out. You can also use printer’s proofs provided that you or anyone else is certain not to be making anything other than very tiny changes to them.

Step Two: highlight important words, very short phrases, topics, sub-topics etc.

Do this on every page, using a pencil to underline or a highlighter pen. Don’t go berserk, either; unless your book or document is highly technical, academic, medical or other highbrow genre you don’t need every last noun or verb. Main points and topics are usually enough for most readers; with an average self-help, business or biographical book, you might only need to highlight one entry every other page or so. Make sure you highlight key words and phrases all the way through even though some will crop up several times.

Step Three: create a list

Begin copy typing everything highlighted / extrapolated from the main document as a list, into a Word document. Group them into manageable chunks, e.g. A, B, C … D, E, F etc. Be sure to put the relevant page number from the book or document immediately after each entry. 

As you go through your document you’ll almost certainly find that you have highlighted the same words and phrases more than once. Find the original entry for each one, and add the subsequent page numbers of where such entries appear again, in numeric order against the original entry. Here’s how one group of your list might start out:

Group A,B,C
Animals 2
Bicycles 17
Astronauts 24
Carriages 13
Airplanes 5
Boats 18
Cars 14

Now, here’s how it will look as you go further through your highlighting:

Group A,B,C
Animals 2, 23
Bicycles 17, 46
Astronauts 24, 75
Carriages 13, 54
Airplanes 5, 28
Boats 18, 61
Cars 14, 19

And when you’re done, the group may well look like this:

Group A,B,C
Animals 2, 23, 45, 98
Bicycles 17, 46, 67, 87
Astronauts 24, 75, 82, 94
Carriages 13, 54, 63,
Airplanes 5, 28, 34, 45, 80, 98
Boats 18, 61, 72,
Cars 14, 19, 35, 47, 54, 67, 92

Remove all the group titles and place the entries in a list. Don’t worry about whether it’s vaguely alphabetical or not; arranging the entries in rough groups was purely to make it easier for you to find everything. And here comes the science bit…

Step Four: put the list into alphabetical order

If you’re using a version of Word from 2007 or later, it’s very simple to get it to do the donkey work. Here’s what you do:

Highlight your existing list (place cursor at the very beginning, press “shift” on your keyboard and hold that down, then press “end” on the right-hand side of your keyboard.)

On the “home” tab, go to the area called “paragraph.” In the top row towards the right, you should see an icon that says “AZ” with an arrow pointing downwards. Click on that. Make sure the two boxes say “paragraph” and “text.” Then select “ascending” (assuming you don’t want your list in reverse alphabetical order…) and click “OK.” Bingo.

If you don’t have that facility, it’s not that hard to do this manually. Do it in two stages; one, just clump together all words/phrases starting with the same letter. Two, rearrange each letter category.

And voilà – one perfectly-formed index.

Good luck!

Now: perfect the rest of that book or document…

“Business Writing Made Easy”…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published

How to write a winning nonfiction book: your personal writing coach is right here

Getting published is now easier than ever but the fundamental things that distinguish winning nonfiction from the pulp have never been more important. If you’re serious about writing a high-quality nonfiction book, getting it published and making it commercially successful then this book treats you to a masterclass that covers all you need to know about creating, crafting, writing and pitching your best-seller.

How To Write Winning Non-FictionWhen you read this book you will learn…

**What every nonfiction book needs to be successful

**How to get a good idea and turn it into a winning idea

**Why so many books get started but not finished

**How to plan your book so writing it is fast, painless and easy

**Alternative publishing options and which would be right for you

**How to pitch your book to mainstream publishers

**What happens from proposal to acceptance, to contract, and beyond

**How to devise a winning title for your book

**The mechanics for writing a book and meeting your obligations

**When to get in outside help and how to find it

Using real-life pitches, proposals, reviewer feedback, extensive links and even an entire sample publishing contract, the book delivers in straight, honest terms what you need to do to succeed.

Want to get on and receive it in the next few hours? Here’s all you need – for just $11.95



 

This book is essential reading for…

**Aspiring nonfiction authors

**Self-publishing authors and writers

**Business and other experts for whom a book is an essential PR tool

**Bloggers with a book idea that’s more than just a short eBook

**New authors starting out on the traditional publishing pathway

**In fact, anyone looking to get their nonfiction book published

Have a look at quotes from some its Amazon reviews:

“Suzan takes us through every aspect of writing in a way that enables us to overcome all the hurdles and avoid the pitfalls. She motivates us as we go and even breaks down the most daunting aspects (such as getting the book published) into manageable and achievable steps. Moreover, the book is a damn good read. Suzan engages the reader’s attention from page one and using a range of entertaining and humorous anecdotes she illustrates every point in a way that makes it both memorable and amusing. Strongly recommended.”

“The main strength of this book, in my opinion, is that it is up to date with a modern perspective. The author is very savvy about how technology is changing the publishing business and she has some good advice to offer on how to take that in to account. Most other books on this subject don’t even mention the changes in technology or the resultant changes in the publishing industry. I thought the author’s ideas about the future of book writing were fascinating.”

How To Write Winning Non-Fiction“For those who are new to writing non-fiction this book provides a wonderful foundation. I did not read the book straight through. Instead, as I worked through developing, writing and publishing I read that section. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who is trying to figure out the changing landscape of nonfiction.”

“Like any “How To Write” book this is not going to explode in a shower of fairy dust and write your book for you. So you will need to prepare yourself to do more then just read. But if you are in a mind to seize your destiny and start writing your book, then this could be a good catalyst to drag it kicking and screaming out of you. After all, if not today, then when? If you want to write a nonfiction book and haven’t a clue where to begin, then Suzan’s book is a great place to start your journey.”

“From the start it seemed that my own idea for a book was ticking a lot of boxes in the chapter: How To Get A Good Idea, so I was immediately encouraged to continue with my plan. But what’s the plan if you’ve never written a book before? That’s exactly what Suzan will give you in this book and, if you follow all her advice, you’ll soon find yourself with a workable structure. After that it’s up to you. But guess what? When you have that skeleton of a book all laid out it actually becomes easy to flesh out the bones.”

“I am currently in the process of writing my first full book due to be published next year after having written many reports and several ebooks over the years. This book should be renamed the NonFiction Writers Bible as it has everything you could ever need to know from tips to contacts and much more.”

“I have really enjoyed reading this book. It is very well written, straightforward and practical. It is also the first book that has actually motivated me to get started! Suzan has already been a successful writer and has had around 1 book a year published in the last 20 years, so she is someone I would listen to! Always follow a successful person in their own field, not someone who tells you “do what I say, not what I do”!

“This author knows her stuff, and she’s never pompous or patronising about it. She is very funny and honest, cuts to the core of her subject, gives you all the information you need and provides you with a sane and sensible structure to work with. She is a master of her art, a superb writer and a wise and generous ‘pal in print’.”

How To Write Winning Non-Fiction“I really enjoyed this book. It’s packed with information and put across in a humorous and conversational style which makes for easy reading. For someone like me, only just starting out with my writing, this book has saved me from making basic mistakes and answered a lot of questions I had about the process of getting into print. As well as all the valuable practical information, Suzan gives the reader the benefit of her personal experiences in the writing and publishing world, both good and bad.”

“An excellent and informative book and I wish this book was around when I wrote mine……it would have saved me many wasted hours trying to find the right publisher. Not only does Suze explain things very easily and in detail, she also uses her unique sense of humour to get her point across. A must read for anyone who is looking to get a nonfiction book published….you’d be silly not to read this book first!”

“This excellent book will be invaluable for authors of nonfiction and is certain to become a ‘must-have’ for both new and published authors. As an established and respected author of both fiction and nonfiction, and with her wealth of experience in many different professional and social environments, Suzan writes with in-depth, first-hand knowledge about the planning, writing and publishing processes. However, the book is not just a well-researched, fascinating and clearly-presented reference guide; it is a fascinating and amusing read, bound to captivate anyone with an interest in writing.”

Convinced? You can have it in the next few hours, here…



 

And for a laugh, some clips from the 2 x bad reviews the book got…

“The final nail in the coffin comes when the author (who is Canadian) discusses the use of British and American English in nonfiction. Her opinion is that ‘check’ (American English) is better than ‘cheque’ (British English), because the spelling is more closely associated with how it sounds. Talk about a dumbing down of standards. I’ll keep with British English and all its pecularities thank you very much!” (I stand corrected; American English is far too modern for you stalwart Brits. And I’m so sorry I’m Canadian. We don’t normally get accused of dumbing down standards, so I will work hard to ensure I don’t make that mistake again…)

“An OK guide but a bit dissappointing … The chapters on seeking and working with a publisher were light in my opinion and even contains a “mini-advert” for one particular online service. £15 is too high a price for this book which is thin and light on detail in my opinion.” (Sorry, pal, but the price is lower now and the book might even help you improve your spelling. Also, it’s 42,000 words long with enough detail to keep a lawyer happy. What were you on?)

Of course, you can buy “How To Write Winning Nonfiction” from Amazon!

The book is available in print and on Kindle on all Amazons, but if you don’t want the PDF here are some links for you:

How To Write Winning Non-FictionAmazon.com print

Amazon.com Kindle

Amazon.co.uk print

Amazon.co.uk Kindle

And one more time, the PDF:



 

Whichever way you buy the book, let me know your views on it – and don’t hesitate to drop me a line on suze@suzanstmaur.com if you have any questions.

Am I nuts to sell the English Language Joke Book for so little?

I don’t know what has gotten into me.

Business is getting better by the day, despite the current financial crises.

My other business interests are picking up.

My son and I are not starving.

So why do I drop the price of this hilarious eBook, when it’s already doing pretty well at its previous price?

Because I want to spread the laughter further. It’s good for you, good for me, good for my business in the long run. Nuts? I don’t think so. Life’s too short.

So grab your copy now … before my accountant gets to hear about it and gives me hell for not being “business-like.”

It’s up for grabs – at the moment – for just $2.50 (about GBP £1.65.)

To remind you …

The English Language Joke Book

100s of laughs about this weird language of ours for just $2.50!

Here’s a mega-compilation of some fabulous humor about the English language all ready for you to enjoy in a handy, 115-page eBook. More than 22,000 words that demonstrate why the English language can be so hilariously funny! Grab your copy now, as the book will be going into a paperback/Kindle format soon and the price will go up. Just make your payment to PayPal and I do the rest – as soon as PayPal tell me you’ve paid I’ll email you your copy personally. What are you waiting for? Get laughing!

BUY NOW for just USD $2.50 (about GBP £1.65)




 

Go get it while my mood lasts…And for one or two more ridiculous bargains, check out my bookshop… before my accountant smacks me on the head and tells me to behave…

 

Write right for Twitter and your book or eBook can sell bigtime

Once in a while it’s encouraging to see a straight, old-fashioned sales success story about promoting your book or books, and here is my latest contribution – using Twitter.

Back in the early 00s I wrote a book called “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book. It took me all of about 3 months in total and I enjoyed every minute of it. The book was published by one of the specialist equestrian imprints in the UK and the USA and since then it has sold out several times and been reprinted as many times again.

Needless to say its success is due largely to it being an affordable horsey gift, which is why it’s nearly always in the top 20 “horses” category on Amazon and regularly hits the number 1 spot there in the run-up to Christmas. It also sells hand over fist in bricks-and-mortar equestrian retail outlets, and does pretty well online from specialist equestrian websites, as a gift for Mother’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries and more.

All the same a while back, with one eye on maintaining its sales and the other eye on establishing the groundwork for its sequel which was being published soon afterwards, I decided to try Twitter to promote it.

We’re talking very basic advertising strategy here

Via Tweetdeck I set up searches for various incarnations of horsey and other phrases, but settled on the most obvious ones … #horses and #gifts. I was quite surprised to see how vast the horse-related Twitter membership is, especially in the USA, but with what seemed like thousands in the UK as well. When my search was on “horses” and my PC’s speakers were turned up, the Tweetdeck pinger would be going off like a pesky burglar alarm.

I wrote and sent every tweet manually and changed things around a bit as I went along, but my basic tweet would be something like:

Want the perfect stocking filler for a friend who loves horses? “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book” http://amzn.to/cWt3xR #horses #gifts

I started tweeting these at the beginning of November and continued at the rate of about 8-10 per day up until Amazon’s Christmas delivery deadline.

I then received the final figures from my publishers:

The sales total of “The Horse Lover’s Joke Book” on Amazon UK just in November and December 2010, was 25 percent more than all the book’s sales in the whole 12 months of 2009. (Sales figures for the same period 12 months later were almost identical after a similar promotional push in November and December 2011, and I’m currently running the same again for 2012.)  

And it wasn’t doing badly back in 2009 before I started using Twitter for business, either. So if this isn’t proof that promoting and selling niche nonfiction books work well on Twitter, I don’t know what is. So get Tweeting – and sell your books and eBooks!

More help for you on Twitter and beyond:

“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write

“Business Writing Made Easy…everything you need to know about writing for business in English

“Banana Skin Words and how not to slip on them”…over 1,500 spelling and grammar tips to perfect your written English

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