Making self-publishing exciting and profitable

Ages ago, my first teaching gig was at a university. I did not teach students. I taught faculty and staff.

One of the courses I taught was PageMaker. A number of faculty wanted to publish their workbooks and textbooks. But, paying someone to publish them wasn’t practical.

So faculty would attend. Or, they would send their clerical staff who would actually be the people typing, doing layout and actually getting words on paper. At that time, the campus print shop was the usual option. Not pretty, but it got the job done.

I’m excited to see Glasstree Academic Publishing come into being. They offer what all those instructors needed: well-crafted original textbooks.

This is also a boon for anyone interested in creating print products for academia. Your skills are needed. Work with faculty who provide content. You edit. You do layout.

Bonus

There is a bonus to Glasstree. They pay 70% royalties. That’s a LOT.

Academic publishing is going to be a bit different than publishing a novel. There is a different process.

Selling academic textbooks may not seem like an exciting field. But, this is a seller’s dream. The average textbook sells for nearly $100 each. Multiply that times the number of students in your class who are required to buy that textbook. Now calculate 70% of that income. You keep that. Well, the author keeps it. They may have to pay for editorial staff, artwork and other services. But, this still stands to be a higher profit than any other kind of publishing.

And, there is a captive audience. Every time someone signs up for your class—cha-ching. You just sold another textbook.

Time is running out. “Glasstree is currently in a limited free trial period until December 31, 2016. During this time, authors can publish as many titles as desired, free of charge, receiving a range of complimentary services.”

Take a look. Give it a test run. Now, THIS is exciting!

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Building a book

Writing a book is about more than writing a book. We treasure books. We understand how to read books. A book is more than words. It can, and should be, an interactive experience.

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Lulu Author Ray C. Freeman published the FIRST EVER Augmented reality pop-up book! His book features virtual three-dimensional artwork by eighteen artists. Learn more about Ray’s book Pop Up (AR)t A Technology Enhanced Publication here: http://ow.ly/1kCo300zNKx

 

 

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Lulu Author Suzanne Conboy-Hill’s new book Let Me Tell You a Story is geared towards individuals with literacy difficulties. Her book is a collection of short literary fiction and poetry, exploring themes of relationships, disability, loss and vengeance. All sound tracks are accessed by scanning an QR code. Lulu is proud to be part of this wonderful project! . Learn more here:http://ow.ly/LK59300CoLF

hackFieldtrip! Making a QR code is easy and younger people love them. I used QRcode Generator. There are several out there but this is one that lets you create something more decorative than the traditional black-and-white QR code.

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You just type in your web address and your QR code is generated. You can alter the shape 14 different ways and choose colors for foreground and background. You can embed your logo in the center. Mine is a big long so it isn’t as pretty as it could be. Save it. Use it like any graphic. People scan it with their smartphone, using any QR code scanner. Your website pops up. You can direct QR users to a specific page, or to your website. In my case, I used my WordPress blog instead of my website. Have fun. Share yours! I’d like to see your QR code!

You can do really interesting things with books. Self-publishing has moved way beyond what your local copy shop can handle.

Yes, I am biased. I prefer Lulu. I admit it. I don’t work for them. I publish through them for myself and others. They offer hardcover and other options you just can’t get from other publishing companies.

#lulurocks

#thinkfastwritefast

 

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Gimme a pipe

One unresolved self-publishing issue is pipes. Browse an old copy of PC Magazine from 1993 and you’ll see that the pipe concept has been around for a long time. Basically, for those who don’t want to click-and-read, it’s a method of moving digital information from one place to another.

Whether you are self-publishing for someone else, or hiring someone to self-publish for you, pipes matter. How do you get your information into the cyber bookstore?

The person who will receive the royalties needs a self-publishing account. That person sets up their tax information, designates what account should receive the royalties, and a host of other bits of data.

The person who actually uploads the content of the book and the book cover needs access to that same account.

So if you hire someone to format your file for any kind of a book, they need to have access to your account. If you are an author, do you really want to give your Createspace or Lulu password to someone you hire? The author’s account contains credit card information, which is actually pipe in from CyberSource.com.

Once a client accesses an author’s Createspace account they have full access to edit the account so that all royalties are deposited in the client’s account, instead of the author’s.

Someone needs to invent a way for editors and layout personnel to access a self-publishing author’s account without giving them full credit card, and other payment, access.

As editors and design staff, we need to inform authors that they need to help us advocate to protect their payment data.

No client has ever asked if I am bonded before giving me their passworded information. They don’t ask for legal contract wording to protect them.

I am concerned about the liability on my part. How do I protect myself? If uploaded data is less than perfect, I need to see the online viewer only accessible via passworded access.

All self-publishing companies need to address this issue.

How do you handle this? As an author, do you give out your password to editors and layout providers?

As an editor or designer, do you log in with authors’ passwords?

#pipesmatter

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Serially, folks

Lists. They are everywhere on the internet. 7 Ways to Do This and 15 Ways Not To Do That. Are they effective?

I have created several series. The first was a few titles in Holly Lisle’s 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About… series.

I revisited the series concept when I wrote for Genealogy Today. My first series for GT was about databases. I happen to love a good database. But, I discovered that most people leave a lot of the fields blank when they use a database software program like Live Roots™ and so on.

Those fields are important. Let’s say you find two different people with the same name as your grandfather in one of the census enumerations. If you know that grandpa was a jeweler, then he probably wasn’t a coal miner or a chimney sweep. So, it can be really wise to fill in all the blanks.

As databases are shared more online, I found the issue even more frustrating. I would find really good data—but some piece of information would be missing. I really wanted to see a complete profile for every single person.

I wrote a dozen articles about databases, in serial format. Even as you read this, dear readers, I see some of your eyes glassing over.

Yes, I needed to generate some enthusiasm for reading the series. So I came up with “The Compleat Genealogical Database” and wrote a separate article on the 12 most common fields that really should contain data.

The Compleat Genealogical Database: Legal Events
The Compleat Genealogical Database: Property Ownership
The Compleat Genealogical Database: Death Data
The Compleat Database: Life Events
The Compleat Database: Education
The Compleat Database: Cultural Affinities
The Compleat Database: Citizenship Matters
The Compleat Database: DNA and Health
The Compleat Database: Non-traditional Relationships
The Compleat Genealogy Database: Compleat Names
The Compleat Genealogy Database: Names
The Compleat Genealogy Database: Religious Affiliations

Later, I wrote another series on The Genealogy of Communities. The focus there was on different groups of society, like logging camps. Yes, really. You can find the names of people who lived and worked in logging camps. That just might explain why 20-year-old Bobby was missing from the census that year. He was off in the wilderness felling trees.

The Genealogy of Communities
Genealogy of Communities: Logging Camps
Genealogy of Communities: Fishing Camps
Genealogy of Communities: Seminaries and Other Educational Communities
Genealogy of Communities: Indian Reservations
Genealogy of Communities: Prisons
Genealogy of Communities: Asylums, Hospitals, and Sanitariums
Genealogy of Communities: Prostitution
Genealogy of Communities: Faith-Based Communities
Genealogy of Communities: The Utopias
Genealogy of Communities: Intentional Community in the Next Century

So, what’s the point of a serial?

Serial readers. You want to keep your readers reading.

Tell me more.

In the articles I wrote, I had a process. I would list my topics ahead of time, before I ever started writing.

I am not that particular about the number of topics. There may be something magic to the number 7 or 13. But, I don’t actually do a count. I have read some research on this subject and have yet to read anything that says a specific number guarantees readers. I am more concerned with being thorough.

The Genealogy of Communities, had a nice flow. It began with an article that introduced the series. The name of that article became part of the title for every individual article. That way, if anyone remembered the words Genealogy of Communities and wanted to find my articles again, they could Google Genealogy of Communities.

As I wrote each article, I created a link to the previous one. That way, I could guide any reader to the previous article, just in case they started in the middle of the serial.

It’s possible to mention what your next topic is, as you are writing. But, you don’t usually have a live link to add yet. But, you can add a live link to the previous article.

When I finished the series, I went back to every single article and added live links to every article in the series. I was just being thorough.

Other Articles In This Series: 

Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2009.

 

I am a practical writer. I wanted to link to the article before and the article after each one. But, I also wanted readers to know the entire list of articles and how to find them.

The value of a serial is to keep readers reading. Not only do you need to add new material, you need to make sure your readers can find it.

Binge-watching

Binge-watching has had an impact on society. It is a new way of presenting the serial concept in one big dose. Instead of waiting for a weekly edition—and maybe missing it—now we can watch at our leisure. A new innovation is the release of an entire season all at one time. Order up the pizza and send all calls to voicemail.

A lot of writers create series. Readers like the characters or the story or the topic, and they want more.

Generally, writers release one book, make a big splash, go back to writing, release another…. But, recently, as a guest at a meeting of Writers on the River, in East Peoria, Illinois, I was surprised to hear author Amanda Meredith say that she prefers to wait until all of the books in a series are complete before she releases the series.

I think Amanda may be ahead of the curve. What’s good for Netflix is good for… writers?

wotrPhoto from Facebook. Writers on the River. Jessica Ann Clements, Amanda Meredith, Mandee Wallace Shanklin, Melinda Huff Bones,Anya Breton, Aly Grady and Judy Rosella Edwards ( a/k/a Think::Fast::Write::Fast).

 

hackAnother idea for a series is to repackage several monographs, like Amazon Short Reads, into a single volume as a collector’s edition. Maybe even sell it as a hardcover (yes, I’m talking about Lulu.com again).

Serial writing can be a good thing. It keeps readers on board. It can help you organize your writing. You have options: publish individually, or publish all at once for your binge-readers. And, you can still order out for pizza.

#thinkfastwritefast

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Slow down…you publish too fast

I am fully aware that this may sound contradictory but, seriously, slow down your process! Don’t leap at publishing. You are likely to regret it. You need a plan.

It’s true that you can literally upload your words and see your book listed on Amazon and other sites within minutes. Okay, maybe an hour, by the time you fill in all the information and setup your royalty payment system.

But, it’s fast. It’s real fast. It’s…too fast!

Coordinating publication is not always as precise as one might like, unfortunately. A book may not literally be available as an eBook the very moment that it is available as a print book. Those are two different delivery systems. You can come close. You might even make it happen. But, chances are you won’t flick a switch and both will go online simultaneously.

More importantly, it doesn’t matter.

Unless you are a world famous author, readers are probably not poised at their keyboards, ready to hit the buy button the moment your book appears like they are when concert tickets go on sale. If, they are, I’d like to hear about your experience.

But, seriously, slow down. Take a beat.

Before you upload anything, create a schedule. Yes, a schedule. You are going to need to coordinate your marketing efforts based on that schedule.

I currently have a client who has an August release date on a book we started working on in January. I admire that. It’s smart planning. He teaches, does public speaking and podcasts. He has set a realistic expectation.

There are issues that you need to deal with that take time. You need to test that your text appears the way you thought it would. You need to make sure your cover art looks good. If not, you need to revise and upload—maybe numerous times until you get things just perfect.

Did you think your book was going to have text on the spine? It has to have a minimum number of pages in order for that to happen.

hackIf your book is too slender for a spine, you need to add more pages. But, don’t just add blank pages. Get creative. Add a worksheet. Create a crossword puzzle using words from the book. Create pages for Notes. Add reviews. Add pages talking about other books or services you offer.

Createspace recommends that you take the time to buy a copy of your print book so that you can proof it. Lulu requires it. The process varies.

I highly recommend ordering a copy and looking it over meticulously. In my rush, I once spelled not one, but two, words wrong on the back cover of one of my own books. I’m always experimenting with decorative page number art. Sometimes it looks fabulous in print. Sometimes, not so much.

While you’re waiting for the book to arrive, you should have been writing press releases, planning your email campaign, organizing a social media blitz and creating landing pages. How many? Maybe 27. Maybe 4. As Jay Berkowitz, author of Ten Golden Rules of Online Marketing says, there is no magic number or perfect campaign. You have to constantly test to see what works with your customers for a given product. And, what works for one book may not work at all for the next one.

Then there are other time-sensitive issues like creating a pre-release campaign, or other distribution options that require a book be exclusive for a certain period of time. Read the fine print.

Your job is not done when you upload your book. You need to set up book-signings, rub elbows with other more experienced writers and connect, connect, connect.

My favorite book is not a current one. It is the Cluetrain Manifesto. I highly recommend reading it but I will give you the short version: business is a conversation. You need to be conversing with people. Some of them will become your customers. Some will become your Chief Enthusiasm Officer.

You need to build in time for executing your plan. Setting aside 45 minutes to upload your book is such a tiny part of what you need to be doing. As a writer, you have the advantage. A great deal of what needs to be done involves writing.

hackJust slow it down a bit. Create a spreadsheet. Use an Airtable Blog Editorial Calendar. Write like mad and schedule posts via a social media management tool. Create a Facebook Page. Your Wall where you post pictures of your kitten is not a Facebook Page. It is a Wall and serves a different purpose. You need a Page.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll start talking about being Serial. I’ve used the Serial concept in so many ways over the years. You may find it helpful, too.

cluetrainIn the meantime, I’ll give you a reading assignment. Talk about innovations in publishing, the Cluetrain Manifesto is available online for one penny.I bought the hardcopy back when it first came out, some 15 years ago.

 

 

 

#thinkfastwritefast

 

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Drones? Really?

Yes, #dronesaregood. And, yes, I wrote a book about drones.

What does that have to do with you? Everything.

A couple of years ago, I bought my husband a nano drone and a remote control helicopter. A nano drone is an itsy bitsy little drone that literally fits in the palm of your hand.

Both have been sitting on a shelf, collecting dust. In a quandary over what to do with them, it occurred to me that I could try flying them. What a novel notion!

Ever the researcher, I Googled everything I could find about drones. It was fascinating.

I soon realized that I did not, in fact, need to register the little nano drone. But, before I even got it out of the box, I also realized I was going to want a bigger, better drone. Soon. With a camera.

When that day comes, I’ll need to be registered. So I went ahead and began the registration process only to discover that you actually register yourself—and then attach the registration to your drone.

That was just the beginning of my education. As I learned, I realized that novices like myself need a place to record that information.

I found some fabulous online databases where you can record such info along with tracking your flight experiences and skills. I signed up for a couple of them. But, they really are more than I needed, considering I still hadn’t taken the nano or the copter out of the box.

So, practical person that I am, I created a sort of manual for recording that information, with the intention of publishing it. My background is Instructional Systems Technology so the first thing I usually think about is what kind of package my book needs to be.

This manual has basic information in it. But, it also identifies information you need to know. Things like what kind of drone you have and what kind of battery it uses.

It is designed so that you can carry it with you and write in information. Did you learn to turn left? Seriously, it’s a pretty big deal. Now, how about right?

Don’t worry. It’s simple. It’s just like taking care of anything else. Simple, but necessary.

But, the real reason I am posting about here is the self-publishing aspect. This book cried out for a format that lays flat so you can write in it.

Lulu does that. Createspace, everyone’s go to, does not.The book is called, “The Care And Feeding of My Drone.” It is woman-written for girls and women, and others.

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Visit http://www.lulu.com/create/books to see the Lulu options. Not all of them are available for distribution to certain outlets…but I will tell you all about that later.

 

Learn more about Lulu from their blog.

Next time? I will tell you more about the marketing secret behind how to use Lulu to a writer’s best advantage. Intrigued?

#thinkfastwritefast

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Self-publishing: Who’s watching the store?

Growing up, we went to my aunt’s house for every holiday dinner. She loved hosting and every holiday was the same. Great food, gentle jibes, funny reminiscences and invariably my uncle would wait for the inevitable lull in the conversation.

Then here it would come. “Ramblers are the best car ever made.”

There it was. Every holiday dinner. I believe the last Rambler rolled off the assembly-line in 1969 so chances are pretty good that you have never even heard of the Rambler. It had its heyday. There was a time when only Ford and Chevrolet were more popular.

Today, when I think about holidays, I think of Ramblers. They are charming memories right up there with the 8-track player in my first car or the curb feelers my friend’s dad put on her car when she went off to college. Yes, she was humiliated but dad was helping pay her tuition.

It has mystified me for quite some time that writers find it so difficult to consider an alternative to Createspace for their publishing needs. It would be like talking about a Rambler when everyone is driving a Prius or a Tesla.

Yes, there was a time when the Rambler was cutting edge. And, there was a time when Createspace was the only game in town.

Today—just today–I had a conversation with a writer about the advantages of publishing books through Lulu when I finally understood the confusion. It’s about the store.

As consumers and producers, we can’t see the store for the publisher.

…we can’t see the store for the publisher.

Traditionally, if you wrote a book, you sent the typewritten pages to a very large company where someone decided whether your words would ever see the light of day. Oh, a typewriter was a machine that was just a keyboard that printed characters directly onto paper. And, you used these little bottles of white paint to correct mistakes.

There were a limited number of publishing companies and they could only create a limited number of titles. The vast majority were discarded and hearts were broken.

That’s not to say they were bad books. Partly, there was a limit to how many books editors had time to read and were willing to take a chance on publishing.

I worked for a very, very, very brief time for a major bookstore. I was mortified that there was a special dumpster out back where, every single day, it was our job to dump books that weren’t selling. It would cost too much to even sell them on eBay. Obviously, traditional publishing has its issues.

The old-fashioned solution was vanity publishing. A writer—any writer–could pay a vanity publisher to print books. Yes, they paid to have their words published. Vanity publishing was very popular with family histories. If you wanted to print out 17 copies of your family’s genealogy, you could do that.

You paid. You paid to have them printed. You paid to have them shipped to you. Then, you schlepped the books to the family reunion and handed them out or, again, paid to have them shipped to Uncle Bob and Aunt Margie.

You can still pay to have your books printed. It’s a charming method, kind of like the Rambler sitting in my uncle’s driveway.

Paying to print still exists. You can actually pay to print through Createspace and even Lulu. You can hire someone to do the layout. You can hire someone to create a cover. You can hire someone to edit.

But, you don’t need to. And, you shouldn’t have to.

I predict that, as time passes, we will see fewer and fewer people paying for publishing. It’s a dying tradition. You will even see fewer instances of writers paying for layout services.

Right now we are in a mystifying time. It is overwhelming to many writers attempting to get their words into reader’s hands.

Part of the issue will solve itself. Part of the issue is age. (Let me just mention here that I am 59 years old, as of this writing.)

I used to be a software trainer. There was a time when I could literally not remember the last time I saw anyone under the age of 30 show up for a computer class. Even the youngest thirty-somethings already knew most of what was covered. Sometimes they would actually tell me they were only there to give moral support to someone who was really intimidated by Microsoft Word. Someone older.

The world had changed. You couldn’t give away a manual typewriter. Everyone was growing up with the opportunity to learn ever more sophisticated uses for computers and learning to do amazing things easier and faster than we expected.

Enter Amazon.

Where is the store?

If you knew the basic Styles process, you were lightyears ahead. Suddenly, you could create and sell your own books and it cost you nothing. In fact, you got paid just for doing it.

That’s where the confusion first arose. Where was the store? The store was inside your computer.

But, where?

Amazon is not a publisher. Nor are they a printer.

Amazon sells books. That’s are a store. They sell things. They don’t produce things. They sell things. There are a number of stores. Just like any store, they sell products from various producers.

They do own Createspace. But, they carry books from a myriad of both traditional and self-publishing sources.

Where is the printer?

The printer is not the store. But, the printer can sell books.

The printer is Createspace or Lulu or a handful of others. I just Googled “Self-publishing.” The top four hits were paid advertisements for companied that will print anything you want—if you pay them enough money. The first unpaid entry is the Wikipedia definition of self-publishing.

Lulu is the top hit for any self-publishing company. So why do so many writers not know that?

It’s a dizzying world and it moves fast. So, let me help you understand it.

Lulu prints books. You pay nothing. You earn royalties when readers buy your books. They assign a free ISBN. It is a legitimate ISBN required by brick-and-mortar and other stores and libraries.

Createspace prints books. You pay nothing. You earn (lower) royalties when readers buy your books. They assign a free ISBN. It is a legitimate ISBN required by brick-and-mortar and other stores and libraries.

Then there are the printers who, for a fee, will print books. Royalties? It’s all a little foggy.

Again, where is the store?

Createspace is a store. Createspace sells books, film and music directly from the artists to the public. Go to http://tinyurl.com/BuyCreatespace and you can chose from 518,980 books, 2,730 videos or 1,385 works of music. Createspace has existed since 2007 and actually dates back to a conglomeration of companies dating back to 2002. That’s almost 15 years. And you didn’t know? Yes, they are a printer. But, they are also a direct-to-the-public store. But don’t worry about that for now.

Amazon is a store. Amazon owns Createspace. You can buy Createspace books, videos and music through Amazon. Or, you can buy from Createspace.

Think of Amazon like this. Walmart is a store. But, Walmart is also Sam’s Club. They are just different flavors of the same company. Amazon is a store and so is Amazon’s Createspace.

Barnes & Noble is a store. They may publish your book, if you send it to them in the right format and leap nimbly over hurdle after hurdle. You have to buy your own ISBN number. According to their website, you will be competing with 100,000 submissions annually just to be considered. B&N prefers that you sell your book to them through a wholesaler. “Wholesalers normally expect a 50-55% discount, pay in 60-90 days, and expect books to be returnable. Some expect free freight.” But, primarily, B&N is a store.

Lulu is a store. We already said that Lulu is a printer. But, they also sell books. You can go to Lulu.com and buy books. Since, they are a printer, as well, they also offer volume discounts.

And, Lulu distributes their books to—Amazon. And, Barnes & Noble. And, more.

So what does this all mean to a writer?

As a writer and a self-publishing guru, I recommend printing through Lulu and distributing, from there, to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, in addition to Lulu. And more.

Lulu offers free print and eBook distribution options that will get your book into the global marketplace. This network reaches online print book retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and retailers in the Ingram catalog network. Lulu also provides eBooks distribution (English content only) for Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, and all online eBooks distributors associated with the Ingram network.

There really is no competition. Literally.

Lulu is your best self-publishing option precisely because it is  not in competition with that list of distribution sites.

Lulu charges you nothing to print your book.

Lulu distributes your books to the stores.

Lulu is not an alternative to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Lulu is a supplier to them (and more) and actually offer you a better chance of getting into B&N and Ingram than if you submit your manuscript directly to them.

So…what was your question again?

The answer is Lulu.

#thinkfastwritefast

P.S. Your blog host, Judy Rosella Edwards, is likely to appear as a top hit if you Google “Self-publishing.” See below.

imIt

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Write your own story

Continuation from 

We’ve been talking about what you need to write, after you finish writing. The third thing you need to pen is your autobiography.

No one can tell your story as well as you. But, I have discovered that the one thing a writer is least able to write is their own story. I have actually taught autobiography writing workshops devoted solely to helping writers craft their own writer’s page.

You will need an author’s page, when you upload your books to any distributor. And, yes, I meant to use the plural because I do expect you to write more books.

Authors depend on a revenue stream. You want to write more books and you want people to buy them. It helps if people remember your name. A customer who likes one book you wrote will likely like another book you write. And, they should.

hackStudy some author’s pages. Now, think about what you remembered about the authors. Your goal is not to write what they wrote. Your goal is to write your author’s page in a similar manner.

I want you to get comfortable finding and reading author’s pages, so I am going to give you an assignment. I want you to go to Amazon and find some authors I suggest. These are random, but very good examples. Let’s take a look at Nancy Tillman.

hack If you don’t have a good photo of yourself, have one taken. Think about your writing when you select what to wear, the setting, and so on. Nancy Tillman’s fun photos reflect her children’s book writing.

Nancy’s photo is great. But, more importantly, she explains that her goal “has always been to give parents words to say what they feel about their children.” Readers want to know things like that.

Holly Lisle is a writer and a writing instructor. She uses her author’s page to demonstrate her storytelling abilities. I especially love to see writers show off their writing skills as part of their author’s page. But, from a marketing point of view, it is clever to include a quotation.

When I worked in newsrooms, I saw editors rifle through press releases and literally toss those that did not contain quotable material. There were two reasons for that. The first was, a quote gives the story life. The second reason was that, when my editor handed me a press release, I had a conversation starter. I would call the person who was quoted, or their spokesperson, and repeat the quote. Then I would ask them to discuss that with me. It was my icebreaker. It was more of a challenge to write news coverage when there was no quote. A quote hones in on the message and a quote, complete with quotation marks, energizes a story.

A good quote is a great quote for a lead. I used to cover a city government beat that brought me into contact with a woman who was my favorite person for any news story. She always had a quote ready for me. To this day, I have visions of her sitting in her office memorizing her quote before every city council meeting. And, that was fine with me.

She always had a quote that looked good on paper and sounded good when she said it aloud. Whether she rehearsed or not, I never discovered and soon no longer cared. She always got print and we always had a talking point.

Her quotes were not just words. They were keenly focused. They were on point. She was adept at identifying what I was likely to ask and she was at the ready. The questions were simple: who, what, when, where, how and why. It’s not that my questions were all that predictable. She understood media. She was always on point about any issue. She knew the heart of the issue. She never floundered for something to say. She anticipated what the public wanted and needed to know. She didn’t control me. She was at the ready with the key information that people needed to know about and she phrased it in quoteworthy ways.

You can learn to do the same thing. Anticipate what a reporter might ask, and have an answer ready. Use the answers as a quote on your author’s page and in press releases (which we will discuss later). Come up with a few quotes and swap them out on your author’s page, from time to time, to keep it fresh or to test what quotes motivate customers to buy.

hack Changing the content on your author’s page is important. The way to move up toward the top of search engine lists is to offer new content. If nothing changes on a page, it moves down until it is quickly lost among the vast number of pages with new content that are perpetually moving up. For more info, read 5 Reasons Why Fresh Content is Critical for Your Website and SEO.

I’m not especially fond of quirky author’s pages. But, if they work for you, go for it. You know your audience. It is your job to know your audience. That is who you are writing for.
It works well for Suzan Tisdale. I would not normally advise calling yourself a cheeky wench. Cheeky is not a term one easily applies to one’s self. That’s a term that needs to be earned. But, if that’s the name of your blog, you can certainly get away with it.
Susan does a couple of other things any author can do. She makes herself available to her readers.

She posts her website address, her blog address, her Twitter handle, her Facebook address and how to get text messages from her. Yet, she keeps it short.
Most of like to see a few paragraphs. A few paragraphs fit nicely on an Amazon author’s page.

Of course, we all like to break the rules. Some people can afford to. Dean Koontz keeps his author’s bio super short.

“Dean Koontz, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever Anna, and the enduring spirit of their golden, Trixie.”

It is a mere 31 words long. On the other hand, he is so well-known he perhaps doesn’t need to set himself apart. Plus, he is so prolific that his page is littered with work that stands for itself. Not interested in one of Dean’s books? That’s okay. There are dozens more.

Stephen King follows suit, with a single paragraph. David Gerrold wasted no words on his nine-word bio. (Yes, my sentence is intentionally only nine words, as well.)

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Make sure that you have author’s pages. Lulu calls them Author Spotlights. Amazon calls them Author Pages, created via Author Central. Create an About.me page.

As a new author, you need to introduce yourself to the public. Open up. Share a little about what makes you unique and perhaps explains why you see the world differently enough that readers should be interested in you. Be sincere. Don’t try to invent a persona for yourself. Be your genuine self and share what you genuinely want readers to know about your writing.

Find what works. Write content for your author’s page. Add a good photo of yourself.
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