I’m a Writer, Not a Salesperson!

You’re a pastor. Or maybe an elder in your local church. You might be a stay-at-home mom or a teacher. But you’re probably not a professional salesperson. So now that you’ve written a book, it needs to be sold and you’re feeling a little squeamish. Why? Because it’s likely that your initial “customers” will be friends and family, and that feels awkward. You don’t want to be that friend or family member who is selling a product and making everyone feel obligated to buy it. And yet, you need the support and word-of-mouth marketing of your inner circle. So how do you sell your book to those closest to you without it getting all weird? Here are three ways:

Be confident

More than likely your book is the result of years worth of prayer, reflection, research and sustained effort. You’ve sacrificed time and money to produce the manuscript. You’ve edited, re-edited and re-edited again. You’ve agonized over words, commas and even deleted entire chapters. This book contains your highest thoughts and deepest revelations. It may even be the result of God’s call on your life. If so…be confident. Be proud. Be assured that your writing is amazing and will greatly benefit those who read it.  The temptation will be to say something like this,

Uncle Mike, I hate to be pushy, but it would really mean a lot to me if you would buy my book.

Instead, try this,

Uncle Mike, you know how I’ve always been passionate about worship? Well, I’ve finally written down all the things that God has taught me and I would love for you to read it. In fact, you mentioned recently that you had some misgivings about your church’s worship style. I think you might find some helpful advice in my book.

See, your book has value. Don’t be embarrassed about that. Imagine that you are hosting Christmas dinner for all your relatives. You carefully plan the menu and even practice the recipes. After some refining, the big day comes and you meticulously prepare all the dishes. As you set the food in front of your guests, do you apologize for it? No. You are excited for them to try it! You truly believe that this meal will bring them joy as well as nourishment. You should view your writing in the same way. As a gift and a blessing to those who read it.

Be helpful

Which tagline for a stain-remover would be most effective to a mom of young kids?

Five ways to remove baby food stains

or

Buy our stain remover!

Of course, it is the first one. Why? Because it offers a solution to that mom. How will your book help people? Will it provide encouragement to the depressed? Hope to the addict? Maybe it gives pastors’ wives the tools to keep their sanity. Or it educates on the history of the Jewish people. As you promote your book to friends and family, think of ways that it can help them and become a tool in their spiritual toolbox. This approach will take you much farther than simply constantly asking, “Will you please buy my book?”

Be authentic

If you weren’t a pushy salesperson before you wrote your book, please don’t become one now. We’ve all seen it. The acquaintance who suddenly becomes ultra-friendly only to lay on the sales pitch for some product or another.

Books… actually most products… are best sold through meaningful connections. In his bestselling book Your First 1000 Copies (a book we highly recommend), Tim Grahl states,

Let’s sum up what marketing is and should be.

Marketing isn’t sleazy car salesman tactics.

Marketing isn’t tricking people into buying.

Markting isn’t unethical.

Marketing isn’t intrusive self-promotion.

Marketing is two things: (1) creating lasting connections with people through (2) a focus on being relentlessly helpful.

Be confident. Be helpful. Be authentic. These three attributes will start you off on the right foot as you venture into the world of marketing.

At Certa Publishing, we believe that our authors’ books offer tremendous value and we stand ready to help you reach the readers that need the wisdom your book offers.

10 Essentials for Your Author Website: Part 2

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Are you struggling with how to build or update your author website? Whether you feel like your website is ineffective, outdated, or simply nonexistent, this article is for you.

Your author website must be a connecting point with your fans, a source of valuable information, a portal for communication, and always dynamic.

Simply put: more website visits translate into more books sold. 

So why wouldn’t you develop an effective, professional hub for your online presence and interactions?

Check out the final 5 essential elements of an author website. Did you miss the first 5 in Part 1? Find it here.

  1. Connect your social media

It’s important to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find and follow you on social media.

  • Add links to your relevant social media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Goodreads, etc.) profiles on your Home page, About page, and Contact page.
  • Simply ask people to follow or like you.
  • Add a sharing plugin to each page on your site.
  • Next, be sure to consistently share content on your social media accounts that’s valuable and interesting. This will keep people engaged.

 “Optimizing social media requires you to focus on creating content that is unique, engaging and shareable.”

  1. Create a page for your books

Include a high quality image of your book cover, a concise synopsis, and purchase details with links. Make the Book Page obvious and easy to find for your readers.

  • If possible, have a media kit created for each book. (Don’t know what this is? Keep reading!)
  • Another option, in addition to creating a Book Page on your website, is to create a separate book website or landing page.
  1. Have an Author Blog

Websites with blogs get a significantly higher percentage of traffic than websites without blogs. A blog creates fresh, valuable pages of content perfect for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). If you want to be seen by more people, bring potential buyers to your site, and prove your credibility as an authority on your topic, a blog is a necessity!

  • Intrigue your readers (both new and old) with exclusive content such as unpublished passages, the inside scoop, behind the scenes photos, sample chapters, etc.
  • Take advantage of this platform to network with your peers, recommend other authors, and review books similar/related to your own.
  • Use the comment section of each blog post to engage with your readers.
  • A blog is the perfect way to keep readers naturally coming back for more.
  1. Don’t forget an Upcoming Events page

Include a section on your site to inform your visitors of your latest news and any upcoming events.

  • Post your most recent interviews, reviews, radio appearances, blog mentions, etc.
  • Share the dates of your upcoming book readings, signings, speaking engagements, conferences, workshops, interviews, etc. with details so your fans can keep up with you.
  1. Create a Media Kit

The purpose of a media kit is to provide your information to the press or anyone wishing to profile or interview you. Having a thorough, professional looking media kit sets you a part. Be sure to make it an easy to find page on your site. The contents of a media kit can vary, but the following are a few of the basics:

  • Author bio and photo
  • Contact information
  • Information about the book, including a review and excerpt
  • Press release
  • Testimonials
  • Product Information
  • Potential Interview Questions

Which of these 10 essentials do you already have implemented on your website? How can you improve upon your current site? Or are you ready to start from scratch? Don’t let all of this information overwhelm you—take one step at a time.

If you put in the time and hard work, you’ll certainly see the benefits!

 

10 Essentials for Your Author Website: Part 1

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Feel like your author website is outdated or ineffective, but don’t know how to begin revamping it? Overwhelmed by the thought of creating one from scratch? Check out these 10 must-have elements for your author website.

Websites are no longer static, digital business cards—their purpose is to do more than just relay information.

Your author website must be a connecting point with your fans, a source of valuable information, a portal for communication, and always dynamic.

When readers visit an author’s website, they’re able to show their support and get to know their favorite writers better—and strong relationships between writers and readers means incredibly devoted fans, which leads to stronger word of mouth marketing.

Simply put: more website visits translate into more books sold.

So why wouldn’t you develop an effective, professional hub for your online presence and interactions?

  1. Make a good first impression

It may be tempting to whip something together and quickly share it with your fans, but it’s important to remember that your website truly represents who you are and what you can offer others. Develop an author brand consistent with how you wish to portray yourself. With this in mind, consider the following questions:

  • Will people know what I write within seconds of arriving at my site?
  • Does the voice and mood of my site resonate with my ideal reader?
  • Will visitors understand the page they are on and what it’s about?
  • Will they know what to do next? Does the site flow well?
  • Does my site appear professional and credible?
  • Is there a clear call to action, such as “buy my book” or “subscribe to my email list”?
  • Is there honest reasoning as to why someone would respond to the call to action?
  1. Include an About Page and Author Bio

Your readers want to know more about you, and this is the perfect place to tell them. About pages are some of the most frequented pages, so you don’t want to leave this element out. While the surface purpose is to share more about yourself, the deeper purpose is to quench the reader’s unspoken “what’s in it for me” question. Keep this in mind and consider the following tips:

  • Have a professional headshot taken. Whether you prefer a clean, studio portrait or a more relaxed photo in a natural setting (e.g. in a park or at your desk), it’s important to have a well lit, high quality photo. A grainy cell phone snap often gives off the wrong impression.
  • Introduce yourself.
    • Start with a persuasive opener, informing your reader what they can expect to find on this page, as well as your site as a whole.
    • Tell your personal story—focus on what led you to start writing, what has inspired your books, and why you love it. Let your personality shine while still keeping it professional. Browse some of your favorite authors’ websites to get inspiration.
    • Be sure to mention your writing credentials and associations
    • Then, gain some credibility by providing testimonials and reader quotes.
  • By now, your reader has invested in you and your site enough to provide them with a call to action. Provide a link to your books, invite them to join your email list, etc.
  1. Have a Contact Page

If you want people to engage with you, don’t make it difficult to find your contact information. Make it as easy as possible for people to get a hold of you.

  • Include a “contact” tab in the main menu of your website. On this page, include your preferred methods of communication.
  • If you have a contact form, keep it simple and to the point—don’t ask your readers too many questions about themselves.
  • If you list your email address, use the following format to avoid spammers: “yourname[at]gmail.com” or “yourname@yourwebsite[dot]com.”
  • List your social media profiles
  1. Build an Email List

Even if you don’t have grand plans for a newsletter or an impending book launch, it’s never too early to start collecting email addresses. These early sign-ups will most likely be some of your biggest fans, supporting your work by word of mouth recommendations, forwarding your emails, and sharing your posts on social media. Why is an email list so important, and how can you make one? Check out this article for more information on how to get started!

  • Don’t worry! You don’t have to send out a newsletter each week. You can be upfront about the frequency of your newsletter. Don’t feel pressured to send one out too often.
  • Don’t try to sell something every time you contact your subscribers. It’s important to add value (link) to your audience, not just use them to promote to.
  • Make your opt-in box or sign-up form very easy to find on your page, but not obnoxiously large.
  • Consider including a “sign-up incentive” such as a promo code for your books, a sneak peek at your next story, or a free chapter download.
  1. Gain Credibility Through Testimonials and Reviews

Your website visitors will instantly find you more credible if you include positive reader quotes, social proof, and testimonial reviews to your website. Without being sales-y, even your most critical visitors can be won over through the words of a third party. So gather real, succinct reviews from readers, and include them on your site.

  • Email your list of address for feedback, reviews, and thoughts from those who have purchased and read your books or who follow your blog.
  • Whenever you receive a great comment, tweet, or email from a reader, get permission to use their words as a testimonial on your site.

Keep an eye out for the next 5 essentials in the upcoming Part 2!

The Writer’s Guide to Building an Email List

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Written by Kimberley Grabas

 

Ahh, the ‘List’.

As a writer, building your email subscriber list may not (yet) have become paramount in your quest for an engaged audience.

Setting up and tweaking your blog, learning the intricate language of Twitter and ensuring your brand is hallmarked for longevity has, thus far, consumed every moment of your free time, right?

But if you spend any time online, and particularly within the marketing community, you will hear this important proverb ad nauseam:

The money is in the list.

The reason?

Building an email subscriber list is one of the best ways to ensure the long term success of your business.

How Does This Apply to You?

Building an email list is arguably the most important element to building a following and getting your message heard. It is the most direct and cost effective way to communicate and engage with your fans and subscribers on a personal level. The bigger your list, the bigger your online marketing asset—and the more interested publishers are.

A large Twitter following, significant traffic to your site, or an active Facebook community is great, but an email list is better. Here’s why:

You own your list. If Facebook deletes your fan page or Twitter kicks you off, you are effectively kicked out of the conversation. You don’t own the content, and what’s worse, if you don’t have an email list, there is no way to contact your followers to let them know what happened.

Blogs, websites and RSS readers can disappear. Once you have an email list, you can always stay connected with your audience and keep them informed of what you are doing.

Here are a few more benefits to building and maintaining your email list:

  • The conversation via email is personal, direct and private. It provides an excellent medium for staying in touch with your readers.
  • It’s cheap, cost effective and everyone online has an email address.
  • You will always have a way to communicate with your audience. Pat Flynn of the Smart Passive Income Blog and  Jeff Goins at GoinsWriter both had issues with their sites recently. They were able to communicate to their readers via email and mitigate what might have been significant and expensive consequences.
  • Use your email list to broadcast every time you have a new blog post and send a surge of traffic to your site.
  • Inform your readers and fans of a book launch, new product or freelance service and provide a link to your sales page.

Here’s a tip: Subscribe to successful authors, marketing gurus, popular self-publishing blogs and so on to get a free marketing lesson in each email you receive.

Look at the subject line for their email. Did it catch your attention or intrigue you? Did you open the email? Why?

Analyze the copy used in the body of the email. What was the tone they used? Was it conversational or salesy? Was there a ‘call to action’? (Were you asked to do something, like click on a link? Did you?) How did they get you to take that action?

So, If the Money is in The List, Should I Use My List to Sell?

Use your email list like you use social media–as a way to connect further with your readers and fans. Interact and inform your readers; don’t constantly promote and sell.

Use your own experiences as an email recipient to define what is great content. Spammy, hard selling is out. Remember, as with everything involved in building your writer platform, you are trying to build trust in you and your brand. It only takes one click to unsubscribe, so make it worthwhile for your reader to stay.

If your subscribers trust that your newsletters or updates provide awesome and unique content (and are not just filled with shameless self promotion), your open rate will increase and your subscribers will be happy to spread the word about you–and what you have to offer.

Provide a call to action or link that directs your reader back to your site where you are promoting your book launch, speaking engagements, new post or other events and services. Keep it conversational, engaging and have a single purpose or action.

Think quality, not necessarily quantity, and consider managing your readers expectations by letting them know when and how often to expect emails from you. By attracting relevant pre-engaged visitors (for example, through guest posting, social media and great on-site content) and providing the most useful information you can, you should see a steady rise to your email subscriber list.

Getting Started

One of the biggest oversights many writers make in their book marketing efforts is not starting an email list right from the start. In fact many successful online entrepreneurs have stated that waiting before developing their email lists was a big mistake they made early in their careers–and a costly one.

Don’t wait for perfect. It’s tempting to put off list building until your site is tweaked to perfection, you have a killer “ethical bribe” (more on this below), or you finally have a book to market. It also might seem easier to just work on your social media strategy and leave list building for a later project.

The problem is, that building your email list is just too important to ignore.

Online marketing strategist, Derek Halpern of Social Triggers urges those of us marketing online to stop promoting our social media profiles at the expense of our email list. He notes that “email marketing crushes social media marketing”, and he uses some statistics from his own extensive platform to prove his point.

With this in mind, move building your subscriber list to the forefront of your book marketing efforts and ensure it has a prominent position when developing your author blog or website.

Building your email subscriber list is a key component in creating and maintaining a ‘captive’ audience. By doing so, you will grow an accessible, thriving fan base that will be the cornerstone of your successful writing career.

Engaging with Readers on Goodreads

By Cynthia Shannon, Author Marketing Specialist at Goodreads

Whether you’re just starting out or have written multiple bestsellers, as an author you play an important role in promoting your books to readers. What’s one of the best places to connect with readers? With more than 50 million members, Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, and offers multiple ways for authors to gain a following.

Be a Reader First

One of the easiest activities you can do to engage with readers on Goodreads is to review and recommend books—after all, a love of books is what got you into writing in the first place, right? You can talk about why you loved a book you just read, create a shelf of your favorite books of all time, or recommend books you used to research your own—the opportunities are endless. Each time you shelve, rate, or review a book, it creates an update for anyone who follows you, making reviewing books one of the best ways to build a following and engage with your readers.

Encourage Questions from Readers—You Choose Which Ones to Answer

Another way to connect with readers on Goodreads is to let them ask you a question. Ask the Author is a Q&A platform on Goodreads that allows readers to submit questions to authors via their author profiles. Ask the Author is unique in that it doesn’t make questions visible to the public until the author chooses to answer them, giving authors control over when and how to respond. Once you have made your answer public, Goodreads’ social amplification then kicks in. Each answer is shared in the newsfeed of the person who asked the question, as well as anyone who follows you. In addition, the collection of your answers is available on your profile (creating a richer source of information about you) and on a dedicated Ask the Author landing page unique to you. They are also included in a weekly email round up of your content to your followers.

On top of that, readers automatically receive an email when their questions are answered. Readers can express their delight by liking or commenting on the answer to keep the conversation going. Since this interaction shows up in the newsfeed of all their friends, it raises even more awareness about the author’s activity.

Getting the Most Out of Ask the Author on Goodreads

Answering questions on Ask the Author is as simple as responding to email, and there’s no limit to how long your response can be—in fact, thoughtful and well-crafted answers work best. You can even include images! Any author who has claimed their author profile on Goodreads can participate, and 40% of all Goodreads Authors have already answered questions including Richard Russo, Sylvia Day, Alan Moore, Kristin Hannah, Michael Connelly, and Lois Lowry.

You can enable Ask the Author directly from your author dashboard (if you’re unfamiliar with the Author Program, click here to learn more). To ensure you have a great experience, follow these tips:

Set expectations.
Customize your Ask the Author message to state how often you’ll be responding to answers. It’s ok to let people know you’ll only pop in once in a while! You can also solicit specific questions, or indicate a specific time and date for when you’ll answer.

Answer at least 4 pre-seeded questions.
Give readers more content to engage with: Answer a few of the questions that Goodreads asks every author who turns on the feature, such as “Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?” or “How do you deal with writer’s block?” This indicates to readers that you’re there to engage. You can always edit the answers with updated information down the road.

Leave Ask the Author on.
Don’t miss an opportunity to delight a potential fan. Keeping Ask the Author on allows readers to reach out to you when they first discover your Goodreads Author profile page. If you do have it switched off, make sure to turn on Ask the Author no later than six weeks prior to publication date of your next book so you can use Ask the Author to re-engage with readers.

Get alerts.
Make sure you see new questions when they come in. Adjust your email notifications from your author dashboard. You can elect to receive a daily or weekly email of new questions.

Respond to (some) repetitive questions.
Instead of simply telling the reader you’ve already answered a question, copy and paste your response or link to the answer. That particular reader will appreciate your response in the email she receives.

Encourage readers to follow you.
Build your followers so that more people see your answers. Add the Goodreads button to your website, include it in your newsletter, or insert a link in your email signature to help people find you on Goodreads.

No questions? No problem! Sometimes readers can’t think of a great question to ask (it can be a little intimidating!), so give them content to engage with instead. Here are some examples of things you can do:

Repurpose publicity kits.
Many publicity teams compose sample Q&As for media kits, and these become more visible when placed on Goodreads. Repost those questions via Ask the Author, and provide the answers through the author account. Share links to the complete Ask the Author landing page, or to just one individual answer when pitching media.

Point to media coverage.
Pull out an interesting question from an interview or media appearance, provide a partial answer, and link to the complete media hit.

Ask other authors questions.
Since answers show up in both authors’ respective newsfeeds, this is a great way to increase a debut author’s audience. Continue the conversation in the comments section!

Tell a story.
Promote an excerpt or writing sample by simply asking to “share a story.” The custom piece will delight readers, whose engagement on it via likes and comments further amplifies the reach.

Incorporate Ask the Author as your FAQ page.
Use the Q&A platform to your advantage by linking to them on the Frequently Asked Questions page on your website.

Supplement an author tour.
Authors can’t make it to every town in which they have fans, so delight those readers by adding a virtual tour stop to the author appearances schedule. Allow readers to submit questions throughout the tour, and announce on what day you’ll answer them.

Don’t Forget You’re a Writer!

Answering questions is a great way to show off your writing skills. Readers love funny stories, insights into who you are, and information that has never been shared before. It can be tempting to try and answer lots of questions with just 1–2 sentence replies but these can end up being disappointing. Readers are genuinely interested in learning more about you and your books. So browse your favorite authors on Goodreads to see how they’re answering questions!

Goodreads provides authors with many other tools to promote their books and engage with readers through the Goodreads Author Program. To learn more about the Author Program, click here

Who Doesn’t Want To Be an Award-Winning Author?

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How would you like to become an award-winning author?

Now that your book is published, the next step is to promote it so that others can read the message God gave to you.

One of the best ways to gain exposure and influence buyers to purchase your book is by pursuing book awards.

When buyers are given the option of two books on the same topic, but one has won an award, buyers will consistently choose the award winner. Winning a book award is great for promotion and publicity, plus it verifies the worth of your book – which consequently boosts its sales.

Two of the publishing associations Certa Publishing is a member of host annual book awards, and one is still open for submissions!

Last year, 2 of Certa’s titles won Silver Awards in the Benjamin Franklin Awards. Will you and your book be next?

The Independent Book Publishers Association hosts the Benjamin Franklin Awards, which is regarded as one of the highest national honors for publishers and authors. For each of its 55 categories, 1 Gold and at least 2 Silver awards are given per category. In addition to prestige, winners receive:

• 2 tickets to the award ceremony
• an award certificate
• special award stickers to affix to the winning books
• recognition on the IBPA website before and after the awards ceremony
• announcement to major trade journals (including Publishers Weekly and Book Business)
• announcement to select public libraries
• announcement to all IBPA social media channels

Titles must have a copyright year of 2016 to be eligible. Entrance fee is $195 and the deadline to submit is 12/1/16. Certa Authors, CONTACT US to submit your book!

Although you are not guaranteed to win, the benefits are priceless if your book is picked for an award. We hope you will consider pursuing this opportunity to let us help promote your book!

Remember, once you win an award, you will always be known as an “Award-Winning Author!” 

Please let us know if you have any questions about this opportunity!

How to Craft a Compelling Elevator Pitch

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If you didn’t catch our last article on why you should create an elevator pitch, take a moment to be convinced! Read it here.

Now that you know how important it is to have your own, how do you actually go about crafting a good elevator pitch? 

Here’s what author/influencer Michael Hyatt has to say:

“First, understand that the pitch will be different depending on whether you are offering an information product (e.g., non-fiction book, speech, consulting service, etc.) or an entertainment product (e.g, novel, screenplay, comedy act, etc.). Note that when I use the term “product,” I am referring to your creative output regardless of the form. It could be an actual product, a service, or even a cause.

An elevator pitch for an information product should consist of four components:

  • Component 1: Your product name and category.
  • Component 2: The problem you are attempting to solve.
  • Component 3: Your proposed solution.
  • Component 4: The key benefit of your solution.

Here’s an example from my current project:

I am writing a new [Component 1] business book called Platform. [Component 2] It is designed for anyone who is trying to get attention for their product, service, or cause. [Component 3] I teach my readers how to build a tribe of loyal followers, using social media and other new technologies. [Component 4] I explain that it has never been easier, less expensive, or more possible than right now.”

An elevator pitch for an entertainment product should also consist of four components:

  • Component 1: Your product name and category.
  • Component 2: The main character’s ambition.
  • Component 3: The conflict he or she encounters.
  • Component 4: The real significance of the story.

Here’s an example from a mythical project about the modern composer, Eric Whitacre:

I am shooting an [Component 1] inspirational documentary called Cloudburst.[Component 2] It is about a young, extremely gifted musician who dreams of becoming a symphony conductor. [Component 3] The only problem is he can’t read music. As a result, no one in the music business will give him a chance. [Component 4] Yet he ultimately succeeds because of his honesty, optimism, and hard work.”

Obviously, pitches can vary widely, depending on your offering. Regardless, you want to create an elevator pitch that is clear and compelling. This is a prerequisite to attracting the partners and prospects you need to succeed.

Once you get your elevator pitch fine-tune, don’t deliver it like a mechanical parrot. Instead, do what Michael Port suggest in his excellent book, Book Yourself Solid, Chapter 4: use it as the foundation of a meaningful sales conversation.”

So what is your elevator pitch? We’d love to hear it!

3 Reasons To Create An Elevator Pitch

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As you make your way across the convention hall to find a particular publisher, you silently repeat your introductory sentences. You arrive at the booth, confidently shake hands with her, say your perfectly worded lines, and smile as she replies. Suddenly you realize she’s asking you exactly what makes your book stand out from the rest in your genre. Eyes wide and mind panicking, you search for a sufficient response, but you’ve only prepared so much…

Don’t get caught off guard.

Always be prepared to present yourself and your book succinctly, naturally, and confidently. An elevator pitch may sound old fashioned in this technical, fast-paced age we live in, but it is actually more important than ever! When you have the opportunity to make that in-person connection with someone, you’ll want to use it to your advantage!

When you don’t have an exciting and concise elevator speech, you will fail to connect with your potential customers and you will lose business. Why handicap your platform-building goals before you even get started?
                   – Michael Hyatt

It’s safe to say that people with successful platforms and products have spent a lot of time crafting and perfecting their elevator pitches. If a pitch is successful, then potential readers (or clients or partners) become connected and invested in you and your book. If a pitch is not successful, then an opportunity is missed.

Here are 3 reasons why you absolutely need an elevator pitch:

  1. Find Clarity.
    What could be more important for an author than to know precisely what their book is about? Yet, it’s alarming how many people don’t have a concise, compelling description of their work. By writing and practicing an elevator speech, you will not only gain clarity about your own book and its message, but you will also provide more accurate clarity when you present it to others.

  2. Gain Perspective.
    If you’re trying to connect with potential readers, you must view your pitch from their perspective. What do they want? What problems do they have? What do they hope to achieve? Only once you’ve considered the perspective of your potential readers can you create a pitch that is effectively compelling.

  3. A Tool for Support.
    You can’t do everything by yourself. In order to successfully launch anything significant, you’re going to need help along the way. Whether you’re talking to a publisher, editor, marketer, or readers, you need to be able to quickly share what you are all about.

Are you convinced of its value yet? If you’re ready to start crafting your elevator speech, keep an eye out for our next article on how to do just that!

Submitting Your Manuscript for Review

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Ready to send your manuscript to a publisher for review? Don’t make the mistake of being under-prepared!

Manuscript submissions come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, but nothing frustrates a publisher more than having to sift through badly formatted submissions with little to zero introductions. When editing your manuscript, stick to a neat, uniform look that will invite your reviewer to read it, rather than confuse them with a cluttered format. Based on the mistakes and negligence of other writers who have come before you, check out some of these things not to do when you submit your manuscript.

DON’T:

  • Have blatant spelling and grammar mistakes throughout your manuscript or cover letter.
  • Send a manuscript lumped together as one paragraph (you’d be amazed what we’ve seen!).
  • Disregard the submission guidelines and instructions on the publisher’s website.
  • Send the manuscript in the body of an email.
  • Forget to research the type of books represented by the publisher.
  • Use strange colors or fonts – stick to something standard and easy to read.
  • Compare yourself to incredibly famous writers. Let the reviewer find those similarities.

The list goes on, but if your manuscript submission needs to have one thing—other than your work—it should always be accompanied by a cover letter.

Your cover letter should include the following:

Explanation of the book
Provide a concise summary of your book. What genre does it fall into? What is it about? Tell them about your work!

Author bio
Many of us dread writing about ourselves, but this doesn’t have to be your life’s story! Just write something brief that will help the publisher and your readers get to know you better as a writer.

Connections and credits
Is this your first or fifth book? Did your short story get published on a blog or in a magazine? Did you intern for a publishing company in the past? Are you friends with someone notable? Humbly mention any of your relevant connections and significant publishing credits.

Marketing plan
Explain what your ultimate goal is for promotion. Who is your target audience? How are you going to reach them? Even if you don’t have definitive answers on your future marketing goals,it says a lot that you are even thinking about it on your own. Furthermore, talk about what you are already doing to promote yourself. Are you on social media? Do you have a blog?

Why you? Why them?
Be sure to explain why you think that publisher is the right one for you, and why your book is a good fit for the publisher. Not only does this show your attentiveness to the publisher’s brand and mission statement, but it displays a certain kind of intentionality that’s refreshing to any reviewer.

Once you’ve crafted a cover letter, tidied up your manuscript, spell checked them both multiple times, and sent your submission to the publishing company, the final step is to be patient. Most publishers get numerous submissions a day, so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few weeks or even months. Feel free to follow up, but don’t become a nuisance. 

Hopefully all of your hard work and forethought will help your manuscript stand out amidst the rest!

Announcing Your Book to the World!

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Congratulations!

Your book is in your hands; it is now easily seen on the Internet through your publisher’s website, Amazon.com, Google Book Preview, and – if you’ve gone the extra mile – your own website, blog, and social media sites.

Now your attention should shift to how to direct people to your book. How do you, without sounding like an obnoxious sales person, let all your family, friends, acquaintances and strangers know about your book? The two easiest, and free ways, are through the use of simple emails and social media.

Most people have at least 100 people in their email contact list. This is the perfect place to start. Take your time and construct a well-written email outlining what you have been working on, why you have written a book, your qualifications (if applicable) in the subject matter, brief book description with a strong hook, links to purchase your book, social media links and links to your video clips on YouTube. All your links can be in your signature as to not make your email too long. You have to be conscious that people have short attention spans.

The last thing, and possibly the most important request, to include in your email is an appeal for your contacts to forward your email along to their contacts. Let’s just say 50 of your contacts send it to their 100 contacts. Now instead of only reaching 100 people, you have reached 5,100! Now think of if just 100 of those 5,100 sent your email to their 100 contacts! Your total is now 15,100! As you can see, if your email is compelling enough, your exposure could explode with just a few emails!

This exponential growth found in the forwarding of your email can also be easily duplicated with social media. If you do not already have one, set up an author or book Facebook page (separate from your personal Facebook profile). Ask all your friends and contacts to find you on Facebook and friend your personal profile and like your book page. There are several other social media outlets that you would benefit from being a member; however, Facebook is currently the most important.

When creating or editing your author profile and book page, make sure you have an intriguing author bio, book description and links to all the places they can find your book. In your photos section, have a professional author photo as well as your front and back book covers.

Use the email you have already created as a Facebook post that all your friends can read and comment on. The reason this is important is because when they comment on it, all of their friends (that are not necessarily already your friends) will be able to see it. So once again, you see the potential for an explosion of growth by just doing one thing.

It is very easy to keep the flow of communication going with your friends on Facebook. You can post little quotes from your book, ask questions, discuss future books, go in depth (in short posts) about different subjects in your book, discuss some of the characters in your book, share links to your blog, and so much more.

As you can see, there are endless possibilities to promote your book that actually do not take a lot of time. I want to stress that these ideas can be used to begin the marketing of your book anytime from the writing process through having a published book in hand years later!

It’s never too late to start!