Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sell More Books With a Powerful Back Cover

Filed under: Back Book Cover Tips,Book Cover Tips,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 8:00 am
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Judy Cullins, Guest Author

Did you know that your back cover information is, after the cover, the best way to sell more books? And, that most authors, emerging and experienced, miss this opportunity to engage more potential buyers?

frustratedwriterYour book’s front cover and sizzling title must impress your buyers in four-eight seconds. If they like it, they will spend ten or so seconds on your back cover – a great opportunity to convince them that your book is necessary for what they want.

Does your back cover pass the test?

Best Solutions to the Biggest Mistakes

1. Mistake: Too many non-powerful words and too busy to have a focus.

Solutions: A back cover of 6 by 9 inches should have fewer than 70 words. Use sound bites; picture and emotional words; benefits, not features; and testimonials to capture your readers’ attention to keep your message focused. Make every word count and be willing to get five-fifteen edits.

2. Mistake: Too much superfluous material on it such a long author’s bio or large photo.

Potential buyers want to know how the book will help them, teach them a skill, or entertain them. They don’t care much about you. They want their concerns addressed.

Solutions: Print only a one or two-line bio on the back cover. Put your photo and more bio on the inside of the back cover. Omit features such as format information, which belong in the mini sales letter short introduction.

Connect with your buyer emotionally with specific, powerful ad copy. For self-help books use bullets with specific benefits, and enough of the right kind of testimonials to sell your book in under 15 seconds. For fiction, modify to include a startling scene with snappy including a bit of plot, and maybe a powerful quote. Use bookstore models to assist you.

editing3. Mistake: Repeating the book’s title at the top of the back cover.

Solutions: Since your potential buyers already know the title and are stimulated enough to look at the back cover, hook them with an emotional question or headline that gives them the #one benefit of your book.

Create a”Hot Headline” that compels your reader to buy. Notice the headlines in your newspaper. Visit your bookstore and notice other best selling authors’ headlines. “What’s So Tough About Writing?” by word smith Richard Lederer, author of The Write Way; ”Imagine Being an Author,” in Dan Poynter’s Writing Nonfiction; or “To Age is Natural…To Grow Old is Not! In Rico Caveglia’s Ageless Living.

4. Mistake: Omitting testimonials.

Solutions: Testimonials sell more books than any other information on the back cover. Put at least three up. Contact a variety of people. Use one from a top professional in your field, one from a satisfied reader, one from a celebrity who cares about your topic, and one from a top media person. These can be local contacts.

Example: “The Ten Commitments of Networking by Larry James is a wise and powerful guideline that will help lead you to the life you deserve!” ~ Og Mandino, Bestselling Author, The Greatest Salesman in the World

In her book, “A Kick in Your Inspiration,” Ruth Cleveland got one testimonial from an ex convict! Jacqueline Marcell, author of Elder Rage, took eight months to get forty testimonials from celebrities. Her book is endorsed by: Steve Allen, Ed Asner, Dr. Dean Edell, Dr. John Gray, Dr. Nancy Snyderman/ABC, Regis Philbin, Jacqueline Bisset, and Phyllis Diller.

Worth the effort? Yes, because in April 2001, she made the cover of the AARP Bulletin distributed to over 35 million readers. It included a feature story, some how-tos and contacts and pictures of the author and her book. She had to dance fast, and order 10,000 books to get distributed by the time the piece came out. After it came out, she was inundated with speaking engagements. There’s a problem you might love to have!

WRITERatWORKAfter you write several books and become rich and famous, you, like other professionals, will fill your back cover with testimonials. You won’t even need to add benefits, because people have already bought your other books and liked them.

Potential buyers will purchase when they see people they trust and know recommend the book. Besides filling the back cover with testimonials, you may want to even add extra testimonials in title page, right after the cover. The more testimonials, the better!

If you are unsure how to ask for testimonials the easy way, contact a professional book coach.

5. Mistake: Independent publishers submitting galleys to reviewers, distributors, and wholesales without ANY back cover information.

Solutions: “Make the back cover your first area of concern,” says Susan Howard, Director of Consulting Services at top publishing firm, The Jenkins Group Inc., who write “The Publishing Connection” She adds, “Waiting for testimonials is generally the reason the back cover of a galley is left blank. Failure to realize the value of the back cover seems to equate with the failure to realize that the text for the finished back cover can always be changed before the printing of the book.”

Click book cover to order

6. Mistake: You don’t put up a sales letter on your Web site where you sell your book.

Solutions: Your back cover information is important for your print books, but don’t forget eBooks and print books also need a sales letter that includes these points to go up on your book-selling Web site.

You need to put up powerful benefits that give your web visitor enough information that he or she can make an educated decision to buy.

It’s important for writers to “market while they write” with the “Essential Hot-Selling Points” – To make each part of their book sell copies. The book’s back cover and web and email sales letters are all-important.

Copyright 2011 by Judy Cullins. – Reprinted with permission. Judy is an author, publisher, and book coach. She helps writers manifest their book dreams. More than 25 clients published since 1999! “Write Your eBook or Other Short Book-Fast!” – www.bookcoaching.com. Send an e-mail to Subscribe@bookcoaching.com. The Book Coach Says… For 2 FREE eReports send e-mail to: Judy@bookcoaching.com.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Myth of Self-Publishing

Filed under: Guest Author Articles,Self-Publishing — Larry James @ 8:00 am
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Adrian Zackheim, Guest Author

In today’s brave new world of book publishing, the news is full of stories about writers who jumped from anonymity to the bestseller lists via clever blog posts, assiduous social media networking, and the support of a celebrity tweet or two. We’re encouraged to believe that having a publisher is now optional for reaching broad popular attention. That any self respecting writer with a clear voice and a fresh idea can do it all herself, if she so chooses.

blankpageSome proponents of self-publishing (J.A. Konrath, Barry Eisler, John Locke, et al) go even further — they think having a traditional publisher is not merely optional but foolish. Why should a gifted writer share the proceeds of her success with an intermediary if she can attract a flood of readers without one?

This line of reasoning makes no sense to me. Yes, self-publishing and ebook-only publishing are enticing new avenues for aspiring writers. But self-publishing is not an easy road. As a recent New York Times article attests, “there are often hidden fees.” It’s expensive to self-publish. Incredibly time consuming. And the results can be meager. The author who was the focus of the Times article had sold 700 copies of her novel after months of hard work.

getPublishedDespite the hype, the fundamental rules of publishing have not really changed very much. Now, as before, the greatest challenge facing a new writer is to find readers, not to finish and print a book. If anything, self-publishing has made the shelves, both virtual and physical, even more crowded. The obstacles to being noticed are even more forbidding, not less. In a world where anyone can upload a Word doc and call it a book, it’s more valuable than ever to have experts curate the works that are really worthy of a reader’s attention.

But even more important, good publishers add immeasurable value precisely because they have hard-won experience in all those aspects of the process that writers are not experts in. These arts — editing, positioning, packaging, and marketing — are as essential as they ever were. Freelance editors, publicists, and other service providers are available to provide such services, but few writers know how to choose and manage those hired guns. Even fewer possess the mix of discipline, public credibility, and book marketing savvy it takes to devise their own titles, cover art and marketing plans.

WomantypingAnd let’s not forget that the explosive rise of e-books and online retail hasn’t eliminated the crucial impact of distribution and merchandising of printed books in stores — an area in which traditional publishers have an overwhelming advantage.

Some gurus of self-publishing suggest that trying to start word-of-mouth by focusing on friends and acquaintances is a new tactic. Actually, writers have done that from time immemorial. The difference is that now we call a writer’s core audience his “platform” or “tribe” and the Web makes it easier than ever to build one. Which is great news for every author, from the famous to the unknown. But surely the vast majority of promising writers who aspire to reach the wider world are better off with the help, nurturance, advice and financial backing of a prominent publisher. Writers who fall for the myth of self-publishing are likely to end up relegated to the periphery of the book world.

My advice to aspiring writers is to pursue the traditional path of agents and publishers to the best of your ability. If you fail to get traction that way, you can certainly try self-publishing as a way to attract attention and build your platform. But a good mainstream publisher is still the best way to reach the biggest possible audience via professional editing and marketing support — and to get paid an advance for your work, which the self-publishing gurus tend to conveniently ignore or disparage.

Of course there are rare exceptions — like self-publishing superstar Amanda Hocking — and those anecdotal triumphs draw a ton of media attention. But someone always wins the lottery too. Why take that risk and sell yourself short if you don’t have to? Besides, Hocking herself has now signed with a traditional publisher for her future novels, as the best way to build on her early success.

adrian_zackheim Copyright 2011 by Adrian Zackheim. Adrian Zackheim, President and Publisher of Portfolio, began his career in publishing at G.P. Putnam’s Sons in the School and Library Publicity and Promotion Department in 1975. Since then he has held editorial positions at St. Martin’s Press, Doubleday, William Morrow and Company, and most recently was Publisher of HarperBusiness. He came to Penguin Group in 2001 to found Portfolio.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

commentNOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why Publish Poetry? – The Power of the Spoken Word!

Filed under: Speaker Tips — Larry James @ 9:00 am

Seth Godin introduced me to the magic of Sarah Kay. As Seth said in his Blog:

“I’m still amazed at this extraordinary young woman and her talent. As a teenager, she bootstrapped her way onto the stage at poetry jams in New York, and then, before the age most people get a clue, she earned not one but two standing ovations at TED, turning her poem into a worldwide sensation.

As soon as I heard it, I wanted to make it into something physical, shareable, and shelvable. I wanted to give every person with a mom or a sister or a friend a chance to share it. Sarah and her friend Sophia spent months working with Alex on a book format that is quietly elegant.

I hope you’ll enjoy watching the video, sharing it and ordering a few of the hardcover. After you read it, I think you’ll see why my little publishing company broke yet another one of our rules and published a short book of poetry.” – Seth Godin

Larry’s Note: Please take 18:29 minutes to watch this video! This woman is brilliant, amazing and more! I totally enjoyed it. WoW! It’s worth watching more than once. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Copyright © 2011 by Sarah Kay. Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression) is a national movement that celebrates and inspires youth self-expression through Spoken Word Poetry. Conceived in 2004, Project V.O.I.C.E. encourages young people to engage with the world around them and use Spoken Word Poetry as an instrument through which they can explore and better understand their culture, their society, and ultimately themselves. More about Sarah at: http://KaySarahSera.com/. “B,” is Sarah Kay’s first book! (As performed in her TED talk “If I Should Have a Daughter…”) Available from Amazon

Compliments of Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Seth is the founder of The Domino Project. Check Seth’s Blog.

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Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
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Friday, December 9, 2011

Dismal Prediction from Seth Godin…

Filed under: Author Tips,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 9:00 am
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Seth Godin, Guest Author

This is the dark secret of the book industry, and one of the new truths of the music business. Every year, total book sales have been relatively flat, growing just a bit. But, the price of books has been rising, so that means that unit sales, the number of books sold, is flatter still.

Missing from this analysis: the number of books published each year is going up, and fast. And with e-books taking off, the number of books published is about to go up by a factor of 100.

Think about it: anyone with an essay, a collection of thoughts, a tumblr that’s been running for a while… you can turn those into a nationally distributed e-book in about fifteen minutes.

And when everyone is rushing to increase supply along the long tail, it doesn’t matter if a publisher decides to hold back and publish fewer titles – the public doesn’t know who publishes what and doesn’t really care.

The end result, I predict, is that sales per book published are going to decrease as much as 20% next year. Sure, there are plenty of hits left to happen, and the short head of the bestseller list is going to be a good place to be for a while to come. But the midlist (which means most books) is going to see sales per book go down. And keep going down.

Good for people who like to discover interesting ideas. Bad for people who publish them the traditional way.

BONUS Article: The Audience for Your Book
You Should Write an eBook

Copyright © 2011. Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written thirteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Seth is the founder of The Domino Project. Check Seth’s Blog.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: Larry James, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com

NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writer’s Tips…

Filed under: Author Tips,Editing — Larry James @ 8:00 am

I don’t know about you, but when my creative juices get going I cannot type fast enough. There is something about momentum that opens the door to my creative brain.

I use both longhand and typing for first drafts – longhand for jotting a few notes and typing for getting the notes info my computer. I keep an idea list and will often go back to it too see if there are any thoughts or ideas I can use in the current article I am writing.

fasterIf you use the Columbus system (discover and land), do yourself a huge favor and take a typing course.

Instead of typing faster… just keep writing. Tell your inner-critic to shut up! Don’t let it break your train of thought. Just get your words onto the page. To write faster, keep the writing and editing processes separate. Put your editors hat on the shelf and just start writing. Write your first draft as fast as you can without stopping. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or flow. This increases your speed and your creativity. Much of the “speed” in writing comes from a willingness to separate writing and editing.

“Trying to edit while writing is like trying to run while tying your shoe-laces…” ~ Ali Hale-Luke

Never worry about the quality of your first draft. You can always change it or completely rewrite it later, but as you write, it will give you ideas for more content. Get your first draft down fast so you save time for the all-important editing and proofing. That’s where the magic comes in – not in the rambling, buy in the messy first drafts that almost everyone writes. Engaging with your writing in this way allows new thoughts and insights to come to you more quickly. If you’re using a word processor turn OFF the automatic spelling and grammar check tool. It’s a distraction and it slows you down.

The quality of the words doesn’t matter. You can make them better through editing. If you find that you’re stuck, don’t try to force the words to come. If you get stumped for the right word, simply type “xxx” and keep going. If you need to fill in facts and figures that you don’t already have then highlight them in some way and come back to them later. The idea is to keep the flow going on this first draft. When you go back to edit, the right word will almost always pop into your head.

take-a-breakTake breaks quite often. I often forget to take breaks (I don’t want to stop the creative process, you know). I often will set a timer for 30 minutes to remind me. No breaks? You can develop cramps, not only in your fingers, in your legs and in your mind. 😉 I always find myself and my mind refreshed and ready to write when I do this.

I rarely start an article at the beginning. I often will write something that may later appear in the beginning. I just write as thoughts come to me. It matters not where you start… it only matters that you start.

Larry’s Note: Thank you to Lynda McDaniel, Association for Creative Business Writing, for her contribution to this tip! Take Lynda’s “Quick Quiz” to test your know-how. Click here!

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble… Write, Write!

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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