Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tribute to Dan Poynter – 1938 – 2015

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 7:30 am
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Dan Poynter was an American author, consultant, publisher, professional speaker and parachute designer. Since 1969, he wrote more than 130 books, many reports, and more than 800 magazine articles, most of them on book publishing.

A&S-DanPoynterDan Poynter passed away peacefully yesterday (11/2/15) after recently being diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Renal Failure. While Dan may no longer be with us, his writings and the connections he formed within the skydiving community will ensure his legacy is kept alive for a long time to come. He will be remembered not only for his books, which span more than 35 years and include more than 120 titles, but also for his attitude which drove his success.

Dan’s career began with the management of a parachute company in California, after which he became more involved with the design aspect of parachutes and became a design specialist. An active and skilled skydiver, Dan began to write about his knowledge of the sport with a seemingly unrivaled knowledge, specifically with regards to equipment. In 1972 he released “The Parachute Manual—A Technical Treatise on the Parachute”, which is often seen as one of the leading early publications on skydiving gear.

SelfPubIn 1978 Dan released the original copy of “Parachuting: The Skydiver’s Handbook” – a book that has been seen by many as one of the cornerstones of skydiving literature. Unlike some of Dan’s other work which was focused more on the technical aspects and aimed towards riggers, The Skydiver’s Handbook brought to the table a collection of extremely valuable information and advice for all skydivers, from those just beginning their journey to those who already have several thousand jumps. Dan’s publications were not limited to his self-published books either, and his column in Parachutist magazine was always thoroughly enjoyed by many.

Dan developed a keen interest in hang gliding as well, which lead him to write the book “Hang Gliding” which became a bestseller with over 130 000 copies sold and remains one of Dan’s most recognized works.

The fact that Dan was writing on topics with a smaller audience posed challenges for the writer, who realized his best option in the distribution of his work was to self-publish. Dan established ‘Para Publishing’, where he would spend years being the sole driving force of the company. Writing, publishing, promotion and even shipping was all handled by Dan, despite the numerous copies being sold.

His determination and drive in the management of Para Publishing lead him to write a book on his experience, “The Self-Publishing Manual.” It also lead to him becoming a well known motivational speaker.

Dan Poynter had always been ahead of his time, from his early technical books on skydiving equipment right through to his methods of book distribution. In 1996 Dan was already selling information products from his website, something that would only become common place years later.

His achievements both in publishing and in skydiving will not soon be forgotten, with both his work and countless awards testament to the impact he had on skydivers around the world.

Larry’s NOTE: Dan Poynter was a friend and great mentor to me. His assistance, when I published my first book in 1994 was extraordinary! Whenever I could I would go hear him speak – at least 11 times – and I would always pick up some great ideas about self-publishing. I will miss him! Rest in peace, Dan Poynter!

Copyright 2015 – DropZone.com

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

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

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ 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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Saturday, October 18, 2014

No More Autograph Parties

Filed under: Author Tips — Larry James @ 8:30 am
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Dan Poynter, Guest Author

One of the joys of being a published author is being appreciated for your Work. Getting a favorable response to your book from a crowd of people is an event most authors look forward to. But many authors and author-publishers misunderstand the purpose of a book signing and they attend unprepared.

Book signings are a form of product promotion not available to producers of other goods or services. But autographings are not a party in your honor – you and your book are not even known yet. Bookstores, both chain and independent, stage events to attract potential customers into their stores. The stores supply the venue; the author supplies the audience.

NOAutographPartiesAn “autograph party” says, “Come and appreciate me (and buy a book)”; a “seminar” says, “Come on down and I will give you something free (information) that will improve your life.” Always think of the benefit to the potential customer. How can you lure them out of the house and down to the store? Your appearance is a promotional opportunity for you and it will require hard work.

Patricia Bragg (Health-Science – www.Bragg.com) publishes health and fitness books. To promote her mini-seminar at a local bookshop in Santa Barbara, she posted handbills in all the local health food stores. Then she made a postcard mailing to her customer list within a 50-mile (driving) radius. The store was packed and she was on for over four hours – until closing time. The store sold out on many of her titles and gave out rain checks.

Authors are celebrities; they are the draw. People think if you wrote a book, you know something. And, you probably do. Nonfiction books are written from the best research you can do, you direct your material toward a certain type of reader and you further explain your advice with your own experiences.

Book writing is a journey. Often we do not know where the process will take us. We learn everything there is to know about our subject and, in effect, we are gaining an advanced degree in our area of interest: we do the research and then we do the paper. So, authors are pretty special, often interesting and do know quite a bit about their subject area.

When my parents taught me not to write in books, they did not know they were raising an author who would autograph them. They turned my last book tour into a guilt trip.

The store might publicize your appearance with a sign in the window for a few days and may place a notice in their event schedule. Attracting the rest of the crowd is up to you.

These mini-seminars may lead to longer ones for other groups at other locations – for money. Go for the exposure and go prepared. Your book deserves it.

Dan Poynter

Copyright © 2014 – Dan Poynter. “Publishing Poynters” is by far one of the very best resources for up-to-date information about the book publishing business and it’s FREE. My good friend, Dan Poynter, is the “Guru of Book Publishing.” You can subscribe to and receive “Publishing Poynters” by e-mail twice monthly by clicking here. You will also find an abundance of book publishing information on Dan’s incredible website: http://www.ParaPub.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
Visit Larry James on LinkedIn

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Drafting Your Back Cover Sales Copy

Filed under: Book Cover Tips,Guest Author Articles — Larry James @ 7:00 am
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Dan Poynter, Guest Author

The outside of your book should sell the inside. Everyone judges a book by its cover – and what you can do about it.

People do not read the book before making a buying decision. Consumers do not read it in the store. Sales reps only carry book covers and jackets to show store buyers while wholesalers and distributors say “just send us the cover copy.” All buying decisions are made on the illustration/design and the sales copy on the outside of the book. Yes, packaging is everything.

Each year, U.S. industry spends more than $50 billion on package design. Now, that is not $50 billion for the packages, not for the contents. That money is for the design of the packages. Packages prompt buyers to reach for the product whether it is pantyhose, corn flakes or hair spray.

Stores have tens of thousands of books being displayed spine-out. With all this congestion, it is hard to get attention. Initially, all a potential buyer sees is the book’s spine. If the browser takes it down, he or she will gaze at the cover about four seconds and the flip it over to read the back cover. On average, he or she will spend just seven seconds here, so the trick is to keep them reading longer. Your copy has to be punchy and benefit-laden; it has to speak to the potential buyer.

For free instructions on how to write the sales copy and lay out your covers, download my Book Cover Worksheet, Doc­u­ment 116, and fill in the blanks.

Your book cover designer will lay out the package and incorporate the illustration, put it all on disk and send it to your printer, but you must draft the sales copy. This book cover worksheet will take you step-by-step through the sales copy draft process. Use your computer so you will be able to move the copy around once entered.

Drafting ad copy is hard work. Ad copy writers, people who write ads for a living, need to stimulate their imagination. Most of them study the field constantly. When they see an element of an ad they like in a magazine or on line, they will pull it out, circle the good part and put it in a “swipe file.” When they are commissioned to write an ad, they will go through the swipe file looking for ideas. You can use the same stimulating procedure but there is an easier, more direct way to do it.

Look for four or five other books at Amazon that are very close to your book. Think to yourself, if someone were to buy that book, would they be a good candidate to buy your book? Print out the multiple pages. Highlight the buzz words and good book descriptions. Now, spread out the page and draft your sales copy. All the good, descriptive sales copy is in front of you. The highlighting will stimulate your copywriting imagination and make the drafting easy.

A. Front cover

Select a working title and subtitle. Keep the title short and make the subtitle descriptive.
List the most important person in your field (association or industry) for the foreword (and please note the spelling of Foreword.) You will try to get them to pen the foreword later.

B. Spine

Stack the title on the spine so it will read more easily on the shelf. Use a bold, san-serif, vertically-legged typeface such as Arial Black, bolded.

C. Back cover

1. Category. Visit a bookstore and check the shelf where your book will be displayed. Note the categories on the books and the shelves. Listing the category on the back cover of your book will insure your book will be easy to find — because the bookshop personnel will place it on the right shelf.

2. Now you need an arresting headline addressed to potential buyers. You want them to relate to the book and find themselves in it. Do not repeat the title here; do not bore the potential buyer. You have already “said it” on the front. Use an alternate approach. For example, The Self-Publishing Manual’s back-cover headline is Why Not Publish Yourself?

3. Description. Concisely (two to four sentences) state what the book is about. What will the reader gain by reading this book?

4. Bulleted promises or benefits. Promise to make readers better at what they do. Be specific. Focus on who your audience is and what they want. Think: about who are you talking to and what are they going to get from the book.

You will discover:

• (benefit)
• (benefit)
• (benefit)
• (benefit)

5. Testimonials and endorsements. Dream up three different endorsements from people you would like to quote. If “This book changed my diplomatic strategy. – Colin Powell,” would look good, try it. Use names or titles recognizable in your field — sources that might impress potential buyers. This is just a draft; dress it up. You will secure some of these quotations later.

6. Show the author is the ultimate authority on the subject. Just two or three sentences will do.

7. End with a sales closer in bold type. Ask the book browser to buy the book. Use something like “This book has enabled thousands to . . . and it will show you the way too.”

8. Price. The book industry likes a price on the book. The price is a turn-off to potential buyers so place it at the end of the sales copy. Never locate the price at the top of the back cover. If this is a hardcover book, place the price at the top of the front flap.

9. Bar code with International Standard Book Number (ISBN). The bar code on a book identifies the ISBN, which in turn identifies the publisher, title, author and edition (hardcover, etc.). Make room for, but do not worry about, the bar code and ISBN just now.

For more details on the ISBN and bar code, see Document 112 (FREE).

Your title, subtitle, back-cover headline and benefits may be swapped. Once you have them written down, you may wish to move some of them around. Perhaps one of your benefits would be a better subtitle.

Most back cover copy is weak and uninspiring. The title is repeated and then is followed by several quotations and a bar code and that’s it! Haphazard copy is the sign of lazy (and maybe inexperienced) copywriter. This lack of effective competition on the shelf gives us the upper hand.

Book cover illustrations and design have improved tremendously over the past 30 years. Author/publishers used to spend all their efforts on the text and the cover became an after-thought.

DanPoynterbookSome publishers remember it was Robert Howard who brought bright, insightful, relevant, remarkable covers to the industry. There are many great cover designers today and it was Robert Howard who started it all. A good cover artist will read through your book and create a cover that will reflect the message of the text. The cover and text should match.

Years ago, we said, “Write your ad before you write your book.” This was to help you focus on who you were writing to and what you were going to give them. Then we realized the most important ad you will ever write is your back cover copy. Now we say: “Write your cover copy before you write your book.”

Packages sell products and covers sell books. Give your books the opportunity in the marketplace they deserve. Package your text to quickly tell the idle browser what is inside.

Larry’s Note: If you are going to self-publish your book, my friend, Dan Poynter, will be one of the greatest resources you can have. Dan is known as the “Guru of Self-Publishing!”

Dan Poynter

Copyright © 2011 – Dan Poynter. Reprinted with permission. Dan Poynter is the author of 126 books, including Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book. He’s been a publisher since 1969. For more publishing and book marketing tips, follow @DanPoynter on Twitter, and visit his website, blog, and YouTube page.

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Authors & Speakers Network Blog

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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