Sunday, January 22, 2006

Your Key Contact List ...

... Is Your Best Marketing Tool: As you begin to work on your book, you should be building your "key contact list." Divide your list into four categories, as follows:

  1. Contacts Who Will Receive a Complimentary Book Automatically: Keep this list short, reserved for contributors and the occasional person who you know will do your book some good in some way.
  2. Contacts Who Will Receive a Press Release and a Review Copy Request Form: Include logical book reviewers, experts in your field who might might give quality referrals to your book, potential bulk purchasers, textbook adopters, media contacts who might interview you or request an article from you or ask you to do a presentation, etc. After your book is printed, you will send them a press release accompanied by a review copy request form. If they request a book, you have identified someone genuinely interested in your book. Send them one. Then follow up to make sure they received it and ask them when they will be looking at it and when then might review it (or whatever). This list can be as long as your contacts are good. However, keep the emphasis on quality--contacts who have a logical interest in your book and the capacity to help you in some way.
  3. Contacts Who Will Receive a Press Release Only: This list is for contacts who should know about your book but who, for whatever reason, are both unlikely to buy a copy or do something useful with a review copy. (This is somewhat of a catch-all category for contacts who don't fit into categories #2 or #4.)
  4. Contacts Who Will Be Sent a Flyer, Postcard, or other Ordering Device: This list is for anyone you know who might actually order a copy of your book.

Creating this list is worth whatever effort you can put into it. Begin to create it as soon as you start thinking about your book. The Publishing Pro, LLC.

Write a Book Proposal ...

... Even If You're Self-publishing: If you're looking for a traditional publisher, you don't want to send out your manuscript. With rare exceptions, publishers won't read it or even look at. Some publishers want to receive one to three chapters--so they can sample your writing. What virtually all of them want is a simple proposal that gives them a clear but brief summary of what your book is about and who will want to read it. The proposal is so useful that you should do one for yourself--even if you are planning to self-publish your book and before you get down to serious writing. The proposal will help you clarify your thoughts and help you avoid serious mistakes. Here are the elements of a good proposal:

  1. A Working Title: A good working title is "descriptive" rather than "clever" or "poetic." E.g., How to Make a Million Selling Widgets rather than Widget Goes to Home.
  2. A Working Subtitle: This should also be descriptive. If you've gone for a clever rather than descriptive title, your subtitle definitely needs to be descriptive.
  3. Summary: If your subtitle and subtitle are communicating what your book is about and implying who it is for, you'll only need a paragraph. If you need more than a paragraph to communicate the gist of your book, your idea may be too complicated to sell. Your book will be strongest if it can claim, with some justification, to change your reader's life in some way.
  4. Reader/Buyer: If your intended reader and intended buyer are different, you'll need to make separate paragraphs about them. In any case, these are the people whose lives will be changed in some way by your book. It will help your writing if you can visualize your reader (and buyer) as an individual, real person from a real place with real values, concerns, and needs.
  5. Table of Contents: Again, you need to be descriptive rather than clever. You want your editor or your reader to know exactly where they will be going in the course of this book.

That's really it, but, in a way, it's everything. The Publishing Pro, LLC

Monday, January 16, 2006

Relax and Just Write

Our favorite quote about editing: Molly Wingate of Wingate Consulting with whom we're collaborating on writing seminars, encourages would-be writers to not worry about grammar and style as they are doing their rough drafts. "Why edit the snot out of a paragraph you are eventually going to delete?" she said at our last seminar. The Publishing Pro, LLC