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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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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Monday, November 3, 2014

Self-Publishing: Someone Who Succeeded

Cal Orey, Guest Author

NOTE: Veteran author and journalist Cal Orey of South Lake Tahoe, CA interviewed Author and Speaker Larry James for the article, “Self-Publishing: Six Who Succeeded, You Can Too!” an abridged version of the following interview. The following is an extended version of the original interview.

Meet Larry James, a talkative former Realtor® and present-day Professional Speaker and Wedding Officiant who performs about 70 to 75 wedding ceremonies a year. In 1991, a friend (Larry Winget) challenged him to stop talking about writing a book and just do it.

LJinterviewOne year later, his first self-published book, “The First Book of Life Skills,” was released. (NOTE: The title of this book was changed in 2009 to, “Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections” and is available in 11 countries). Since then, he has written three books about personal relationships. Today, James, of Scottsdale, AZ, loves his profession as a self-published author, along with being a speaker, a relationship coach and non-denominational Wedding Officiant.

NOTE: The original questions asked by Cal Orey and answered by Larry James follow.

What city and state are you from? – Born in Topeka, Kansas

City and state you live in now? Do you like it? – Scottsdale, AZ – I absolutely love it!

What is (or was) your real job? – My “real” job is a professional speaker (since 1987), author and relationship coach. I am also an ordained non-denominational Wedding Officiant and perform about 70 to 75 wedding ceremonies each year.

Have you always dreamed of being a writer? – Not really. When I was in high school, I wrote poetry and articles for the newspaper. Writing was something I did for fun and to get attention. I didn’t seriously begin to think about writing until I became very successful in the real estate business. My first published article was for the National Association of Realtors monthly magazine, “Real Estate Today” in 1972. An article about “Listening” was published in “Elite” Magazine in Tulsa in about 1989.

In 1991, my friend, Larry Winget brought his Mac Classic to our office, and said, “You’ve been talking about writing a book for about a year, now, what’s your excuse?” I wrote the first chapter that night for “The First Book of Life Skills.” It was my first self-published book about a year later.

Since then, I’ve written 3 relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With,” “LoveNotes for Lovers; Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing,” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” I have articles menus on three of my four Websites with numerous articles I have written and many of them have been reprinted on other Websites.

Is it your dream to write as a profession? – It is now my profession, along with being a professional speaker and relationship coach. I also coach authors and speakers.

How long have you been writing? – Off and on since I was 16 years old. I’ve also written lyrics and music for several songs. Several poems that are relationship related appear in the articles menu on http://www.CelebrateLove.com/articles.htm

What are your favorite hobbies? – I enjoy reading non-fiction books. I also receive a constant flow of review books from other authors and frequently write endorsements and an occasional foreword (2 so far) as part of my ongoing self-promotional efforts. As of this date I’ve written more than 120 endorsements for other books, many of which appear on Amazon.com and my own Websites.

I also enjoy water gardening. I built a heart-shaped water garden, complete with waterfall, stream, water lilies and goldfish. It is the centerpiece of my backyard. It is often the site of small intimate wedding ceremonies. Phoenix channels 5 and 10 have featured our water garden on TV, usually around Valentines Day.

I love jazz! Nearly all of my books were written with the sound of jazz in the background. I frequently attend jazz concerts.

What was your particular goal with self-publishing? – To be able to be in control of the entire publishing process, from printing to getting the books in the bookstores, including promotion. And once I achieved a reasonable success in book sales, to actively look for a publisher who would be assured that when they published my books, I could be counted on to aggressively continue to promote them. I have two more relationship books waiting to be written.

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Larry James @ work!

What type of company did you use and why? – I started my own publishing company, Career Assurance Press, in 1992. I looked for book cover designers, printers, inside designers, editors, etc., that were reasonable and offered excellent quality and excellent customer service.

Cover Design – http://www.JimWeems.com/ and http://www.Lightbourne.com

Printers – http://www.CentralPlainsBook.com and http://www.Patterson-Printing.com

Interior Design – Sue Knopf Graffolio
1528 Mississippi Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
608 784-8064

All of my resources are highly recommended and appear on my resource page at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com/resources.html

How did you reach your intended audience? – I was in radio broadcasting for 12 years, so my best promotion has been on radio talk shows (resource: Radio Station Checklist and How to Be a Great Radio Guest!) once the books were in the book stores. I’ve appeared on more than 650 radio talk shows and numerous TV shows, including ABC TV’s “The View” with Barbara Walters and other TV stations. I also offer excerpts from my books as articles to magazines (was in Cosmo twice, Redbook, Insight, Woman’s Day, The Writer, Modern Bride, Arizona Brides and others) and on the Internet. There are nearly 2900 other Websites linked to CelebrateLove.com. I also have 4 other Websites that promote my books, seminars and coaching (total of nearly 3000 Internet pages).

As a professional speaker, I present relationship seminars nationwide. I frequently sell books to 30 to 45 percent of the audience after a presentation.

My friends in the National Speakers Association call me a shameless self-promoter. I proudly wear that label because I do it with finesse. I have been speaking professionally since 1987 and, as part of my business I coach new speakers and authors. My techniques for self-promotion are unique and get rave reviews from my clients. I put up a special Website especially for authors and speaker in April 2004 (www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com) to help others be more efficient. In October 2009 my Authors and Speaker Network Blog went live. I post something about writing and speaking every 8th day. (http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com/author-speaker-article-index/)

I was the Associate Producer for the MarsVenus Radio Talk Show for five years. Part of the intention of taking on this contract work was to negotiate several radio commercials about my own relationship books and Website during the show. I often appeared as a relationship guest with the co-host (Michael Najarian) when Dr. Gray was not on the show. I accepted Dr. Gray’s offer to host the MarsVenus Chat Room on America Online for three years for the national and international exposure it gave me for my relationship work.

Describe your self-publishing success? – I have independently published 4 non-fiction books. Total sales: about 250,500 to date. Most success came from self-promotion and by attracting a great book distributor, Midpoint Trade Books, New York. I now have a publisher, Robert Reed Publishing.

What did you learn about self-publishing from your experience? – Promote! Promote! Promote! Never stop promoting. You cannot be shy as an author and expect your books to sell. I learned that if I really believed in the relationship work I was writing about in my 3 books, I had to take complete responsibility for becoming a shameless self-promoter – with finesse – to let the world know the books were available.

free-ebookFind a mentor or coach. Emulate what the successful authors are doing and do that! Tom Hopkins (The Official Guide to Success), Mark Victor Hanson (Chicken Soup for the Soul) (NOTE: Larry wrote a story to honor the memory of my mother in this book on page 16) and Greg Godek (1000 Ways to Be Romantic) are friends and have offered priceless coaching. It works for me.

Larry’s NOTE: Authors and speakers can get a complimentary eBOOK Download of: “How to Book Radio Shows and Be a Great Guest!” by paying for it with a Tweet. More info here!

BONUS Articles: The Buzz on Being a Shameless NetShaker!
Self-Promote or Disappear!
How to Be a Great Radio Guest!
Radio Station Checklist: “Stuff” You NEED to Know & Do BEFORE You Go on the Air!

CalOreyCopyright © 2014 – Cal Orey. – Reprinted with permission. This article originally appeared in the February, 2005 issue of The Writer Magazine. Cal Orey of South Lake Tahoe, California, is a contributing editor of Complete Woman and has written hundreds of articles for magazines and Websites. She is the author of Doctor’s Orders: What 101 Doctors Do to Stay Healthy & 202 Pets’ Peeves: Cats and Dogs Speak Out on Pesky Human Behavior and others.

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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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 Reasons Why Self-Published Books Don’t Sell & What You Can Do to Ensure Yours DOES

Kristen Eckstein, Guest Author

One of the biggest complaints I hear from self-published authors who found The Ultimate Book Coach after they published their books is, “My book isn’t selling. Can you help me?”

And 99.9% of the time when I look at their book on Amazon or their website, I can name several reasons why they’re having problems selling their books.

Crazy woman with crossed eyes drinking wine through a strawHere are 10 reasons why their self-published books don’t sell, and what you can do to make sure yours does.

1. Obscure subject. Books that do well are those in a popular niche. If you do an Amazon search and find hundreds of books in your niche, that’s a good sign. It doesn’t mean that niche is over-populated, it means that niche is hopping. Think of the diet and food industry. More diet books are being published every day, and they still continue to sell.

If you want to tell your personal story, ensure its success by tying your story into how-to steps your reader can take to change his or her life. For example, if you’re writing your story about surviving cancer, focus on a specific type of cancer (narrow your niche) and specifically tell readers how they can get the same results you did and how you got through it.

2. Poorly edited. Sure your close friends and family will buy your book to support you, but all it takes is one nasty Amazon review from a reader outside your circle to dampen your overall sales. If you have a list of devout followers who hang on your every word, you can get them to give your book five stars on Amazon. However, be careful as too many five-star reviews paired with a lot of bad one- and two-star reviews will tell the truth that your book is poorly edited.

Ensure your book’s content is clean and professionally edited by a book industry expert, and you’ll go a long way toward satisfying your readers and getting complete strangers to sell your book for you by recommending it to their friends.

3. Poorly written. Let’s face it, some books are badly written to begin with. Hiring a professional editor can help, but I’ve read some books that are nothing short of one sales letter after another trying to get me to purchase the author’s or the authors’ friends’ stuff. Affiliate links and recommending programs is fine in a book, it’s even a good tactic for increasing residual income.

But you can really tick off your readers if your advertising copy outweighs your knowledgeable step-by-steps. Ticked off readers leave nasty reviews. Do yourself a favor, and make your book more saleable by delivering solid benefits to the reader, not just trying to sell them more crap. Think of your recommendations for products and services as the icing on your content’s cake.

4. Unprofessional cover design. It’s been proven that a clean, professional, easy-to-read cover sells more books. Initially when self-publishing through vanity publishers started becoming popular in the early 2000s, these books had a bad reputation due to the other reasons in this article, but primarily due to poor cover design. Having studied cover design for over 10 years, I can spot a horrible template cover vs. one done by a graphic designer vs. a professionally designed cover by someone who specializes in book cover design.

And believe me when I tell you, your readers will know the difference as well. A good cover has a lot of elements that draw the reader in to click, learn more about your book and buy it. If you can only outsource one step of your book’s production, hire a professional book cover designer. You won’t regret it!

5. Bad interior design. Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign? There’s a reason book layout software exists. And there’s a big reason why traditional publishers use this software. MS Word is not a page layout program. This is one of the primary reasons self-published books get poor reviews or fail to sell, because books formatted in MS Word scream, “Look at me! I’m self-published!”

A professional book layout designer understands the need for different spacing in the margins, paragraph styles, bulleted lists and the importance of other styles staying consistent.

A huge indication a book is self-published using MS Word is if blank pages still have the header and footer printed on them. Especially if you want your book to bring you new clients, this screams, “I did this cheap to save money.” And your client will read, “I cut corners when I coach you or work on your projects.” With money harder to come by, people are more willing to pay more for a higher quality than waste money cutting corners that should never be cut.

6. Yucky formatting. In the world of eBooks, formatting is key. Bad spacing, words appearing at random, graphics overlaying text, whole chapters bolded and italicized… You name it, it could go wrong in eBook formatting.
The more complex your layout is, especially if you created a pretty print book with a professional designer first, the more you should invest in a good eBook programmer. These programmers specialize in eBook XHTML language (which can be different than your standard website code) and know what it takes to avoid most of these issues.

7. Rush the process. Producing a high quality book that sells takes time. The more corners you cut and the more you rush the process, the more it will show in your finished product.
There’s a reason traditional book publishers take an average of two to three years to take a book from rough manuscript to hard copy. They take the time to do it right. If you want to compete in the market, take time to create a high quality work, both in polishing your writing and producing your final book.

8. Bookstore Requirements. Having a book signing at a brick-and-mortar store can be a huge deal for an author. Not only does it feel great, but many Barnes and Noble stores get their guest authors to appear on local news stations and listed in newspapers.

This is free publicity! By meeting these rigid requirements, other marketing doors will open for your book. If your book doesn’t meet their requirements, you must focus on online sales and any you can sell out of the trunk of your car.

9. Expectations. Many authors set their expectations so high they’re sorely disappointed. You may sell one book or thousands, and what you need to ask yourself is, “If my message changes just one life, is it worth it?” If the answer is, “Yes,” you’ll be surprised once you touch that one life and sales begin to flow. If you expect everyone to come knocking down your door because you just hit the “publish” button on your book, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
If you’re not careful, this disappointment can quickly lead to depression and a sense of failure, and those are emotions hard to keep to yourself. Spread those feelings and no one will want to buy your book, no matter how good it is. Be realistic in your expectations, and surprised and excited at your success!

10. Marketing. If your book meets everything in the list above, it still won’t sell if you don’t market it. Even traditional publishers are reneging on their contractual obligations to market well-established authors’ books. It doesn’t matter how your book gets published, you must market it. You can do everything right, but if you don’t tell people about your book, they won’t buy it.

If you’re afraid of the big, bad “M” word, invest in some book marketing courses and teach yourself out of your fear. It’s the only way you’ll succeed as a self-published author.

BONUS Articles: 40+ Ways to Make Your Next Book Signing an EVENT!!
Self-Publishing – A 10-Point Must-Do Checklist for Authors – Part 1
Gary Bencivenga’s Wonderful Marketing Bullets

Recommended book: 1001 Ways to Market Your Books

KristenEcksteinCopyright 2013 by Kristen Eckstein. Kristen Eckstein is a highly sought-after publishing authority, two time best-selling author and award winning international speaker who has started 44 publishing companies and published 122 books and eBooks. She is founder of the “I am Published!” Ghost Publishing program, the Self-Publish On Demand training program and the “21 Ways” book series. She is the author of, “Turn Your Content into a Book in Only 3 Days.” Visit her Website!

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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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