Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Tell Your Stories

How do you sum up a personal life experience into words? As a publisher, I review manuscripts daily. With every book I publish I personally perform a quality check. Recently, we finished the layout of a book about a cancer patient who lost his life. His wife wrote a book from her perspective as the caregiver. The pages of her book, filled with photographs, documented his journey from health, cancer, to treatment, and then to death. Tears immediately rolled down my face as I thought about her journey. I say “her” journey and not “his”  journey because the wife chose to honor her husband by telling his story through her eyes to help others through the process of caring for a loved one with cancer.
Unfortunately, there are people who are living with cancer right now. This woman's journey began when she answered, “yes, I do” to the statement, “Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, keeping only unto him, so long as you both shall live?” Now, she is on a different journey to tell cancer patients how they can live longer and productive lives. In addition, she tells her story about caring for her husband through all the treatments, doctors’ visits, and life changes. She details in her book how to manage the journey as a caregiver with personal regimens and ways to prolong and improve the quality of a loved one’s life through alternative methods.
To write such a personal journey requires a purpose beyond the pain suffered. When something tragic has happened in your life, reliving that moment and retelling the story is difficult. The purpose of writing your stories is not necessarily to see your name on a list of bestsellers. Your stories—the good, the bad, and the ugly—are a part of you. Telling a story through a book enables you to become accessible to others and touch them when you do not have the opportunity to do so face to face.

Telling a story through a book is a way for author and reader to connect over a message. If a book's message is strong enough and is shared by many, it can create change. For business people, a book is a way to share expertise. It is a format for potential clients to take home with them, study, read, and learn from an expert. It can even be a way to prime clients before they embark on hiring for a specialty.

As an author and publisher, I believe writers have an opportunity to preserve their thoughts, experiences, creativity, and most importantly, their faith in print, as well as in other forms of media. We all have a story to tell to impart encouragement, inspiration, education, entertainment, and more. What is your story? Are you ready to tell it?

Nicole Antoinette owns and manages Faith Books & MORE Publishing in Gwinnett County, GA. She believes writers have an obligation to preserve their thoughts, experiences, creativity, and most importantly, their faith in print, as well as through other forms of media. To learn more about publishing your book or republishing this article, contact Nicole Antoinette at or 678.232.6156.

Copyright © 2012 by Nicole Antoinette Smith.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Show Me The Money!

Practically every author wants to know how to make money from his or her book — particularly self-published authors. There are a number of ways you can make money from your book. The best place to start is with:

1. A Platform

If you don't have either of these elements, it's going to be difficult to make money from your book, whether you are self-published or whether you publish with a traditional publishing house.

Having a platform means that you base your book on your brand, which is what you want to be known for or know as. Without a platform, you'll find it difficult to take your book to the next level.

The next must-have element is a plan. What are your goals for your book? What does success look like and how will you measure that over time? There are a number of things to include in your book plan and you have to consider all of those things including who your target audience or primary identified reading audience is. Hopefully, that audience also melds well with who your target audience is for your business or for your platform.

Then, of course, you have to consider what your budget is for your book project; not just the production aspect, but also the marketing and promotional aspects.

Once you've developed and determined each of these aspects, you should look at your investment in this project. Oftentimes, from a business perspective -- and even from an individual one -- we look at expenses. I challenge you to view your expenses for your book as an investment because there is a result we expect from our investments and that is a return. So rather than look at your expenses as simply money out of your pocket, think of them as an investment in the long-term benefit of your book project and of your business.

Consider various ways you can make money from your book, not just from book sales. Once you define your platform, you will discover some creative ways to make money from your book. These include speaking engagements, teaching, webinars, teleseminars, and information products among others. I challenge you to be creative. This is the information age, but it's also the engagement age. People are willing to pay to be engaged with you and with the content of your book, specifically if you've positioned yourself as an expert.

So build on your platform and discover new ways to show me the money (and show yourself the money) as a result of your phenomenal book.    

What creative ways have you used to make money from your book?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success."

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Today's Blog, Tomorrow's Book

Last year, I was asked to contribute an entry to Anne Wainscott-Sargent’s blog, The Writing Well. She was competing with herself on a challenge of writing 30 blogs in 30 days, which is a significant amount of work. That, coupled with her rigorous guidelines on content valuable to her writer readers, made the task tough and begged for co-authorship. Her friends and colleagues came out in force. Many people have asked me to repeat/update my entry, “Today’s Blog, Tomorrow’s Book,” for this year.  So, here it is:

Since my entry last May, not much has changed in the world of blogging: Technically, there are more options to post but the process is the same: type, share. Purpose-wise, it continues to be a robust floor for idea exchange, leading to engaging discussion and innovation. I’ve watched several of my clients successfully use blogging as a prototype to more formal work, beta-testing their opinions and conclusions to the judgment of the public before including them in dissertations, screenplays, and books.

Blogs get our thoughts together. We get a chance to emote, then retreat. Blogs provoke thought and online discussion. When carefully composed, blogs lend themselves to becoming sections or chapters on their own; and when organized, they can flow into a valuable addition to a genre – especially business books and memoirs.  

If you’re thinking about developing your blogs into a book, here is my updated list of things to consider:

1. Identify your expertise. Previously, I said “Identify your passions.” However, I have found that passions may not have deep reserves and sometimes fizzle out quickly. The idea is the same though: You’ve likely covered many topics in your blogs. Review them for threads or trends to identify the focus of your book. What are you most knowledgeable about?

2. Decide the structure and function of the book. Know your competition in the space you are writing and define your goals in publishing.

3. Know your audience. Know what the readers want and expect. You are selling it to them, not writing it for you (unless you just want to keep it in your basement!). 

4. Generate content. And more content. This has always been the case, as writers from centuries ago can confirm. When you’re ready to publish a book, you’ll be able to separate the wheat from the chaff.

5. Find other sources of inspiration. Read. Listen to music. Interview other professionals. These will add texture to your overall products.

6. Follow your blog voice. You will want to reach your readers the same way in your book as you did in your blog. Make sure the writing is consistent, and as formal as you need it to be in both places.

7. Do your research. Look up facts and spelling. Play Clouseau by following a hunch and getting evidence, even if it’s in a quirky way. Just make sure the facts are right. It’s an easy way to build your credibility and keep your readership.

8. Use the Rule of Time Travel.  A Journalism-school rule: Enhance your work with wisdom from the past, examples from the present, and characters in the future.

9. Know when to stop. Be brief, be brilliant, be done. Don’t risk losing your readers’ attention.

10. Get an editor. Or two. Each one will give you different feedback. Do you need an editor who knows your subject matter or not? Give it some thought before paying one. The results will be different.

There you go: an updated list that will help you prepare for assembling your own tome. When you’re ready to take on a book-writing project, know that it can be a smoothly-vectored transition from blog to book. It can increase your platform as an expert, and give your blog followers a treat. Be a little cautious, follow these recommendations, and you’re more likely to leave a lasting impression.

As CEO of Write Advisors, Bonnie Bajorek Daneker helps clients express themselves digitally and in print. Author of The Compassionate Caregiver Series®, Bonnie released her seventh book, CLIMB, in November 2010, with Sandy Hofmann, President of Women in Technology (WIT). Her most recent book, Publishing as a Marketing Strategy, is co-written with five other contributors and was released November 2011. She holds a BA in Journalism from The Ohio State University and an MBA in Strategic Planning and Entrepreneurship from The Goizueta School of Business at Emory University.  

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Art of Self-Promotion

As children, we’re taught that it isn’t proper to brag. Only conceited, self-centered, narcissistic people toot their own horn. The modest, humble folks among us allow others to do their bragging and bidding, thereby making for a much more valuable third-party endorsement.

Well, I’m here to tell you that, as an author, you need to throw that logic right out the window! If you plan to leverage your book to support your brand, image, or business platform, you sure as heck had better learn the art of self-promotion and horn tooting. Most authors think of promoting their book as selling. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Instead, think of it this way: You’re actually serving others. You are educating your target audience about how your book can help them. Isn’t that why you wrote the book; to inspire, educate, motivate, direct, support, or serve others?

You not telling people about your book is like you knowing the quickest, easiest escape from a place of danger and not telling others. Oh sure, you know how to get out of the burning building—and you’ll certainly make it out to tell the story—but what of your comrades left behind to figure out the escape route without the knowledge you already have? That would be just plain selfish and wicked!

There is an art to promoting yourself. The artistic part comes when you realize that you must value your gift. Most artists know, or at least have a sincere inkling, that their artistic gift has some value, first to them and then hopefully to someone else. You have to know this about your book. Remember, you write first for yourself and then for others. When you value your book and its contents, you’ll be in a better position to share what you offer with others.

Secondly, go back to the service part of being an author. Your book provides information or inspiration to readers. Someone, somewhere is waiting for the very flavor that you offer in your book. Don’t cheat them, give ‘em what ya got! Frame your self-promotion as service to those who want and/or need what you offer in your book.

Finally, get over yourself! I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true. When you get over worrying about what people will think of you or say about you when you take the bull by the horns and promote yourself and your book, then you’ll be less inclined to hold back on the yummy goodness of sharing your gift and your service. Develop a succinct message that explains the benefits to the reader, and go about sharing that message with whomever will listen. Understand that those who might criticize your self-promotion efforts probably themselves wish they could do exactly what you’re doing. Unfortunately, they’re stuck worrying about what others will think of them. 

So don’t delay. Get about the business of self-promotion. After all, if you don’t promote your book, no one else will.

What's holding you back from enacting the art of self-promotion?


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of the-book Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and The Book You've Been Wanting to Write and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".
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