Monthly Archives: August 2017

An Independent Author’s Checklist: What You Need to Have Ready for Ghostwriters, Editors, and Graphic Designers

NOW AVAILABLE through Kindle and Kobo FOR FREE! Click on the above image to download your copy now.

As an independent author (a.k.a. “indie author”), you are the project manager of your own book’s production from start to finish, from conception straight through to publication. This may include hiring a freelance ghostwriter (if you choose not to write your book yourself), an experienced editor, and even a professional graphic designer for best results. It all depends on the type of book an indie author wishes to produce.

For example, there are different components involved with designing a paperback book than an ebook of any kind; and there are even more components to consider if that indie author wishes to publish and print a hardcover book. An Independent Author’s Checklist includes an important list of questions indie authors will want to answer for a graphic designer, ahead of time, to ensure the book is completed properly and professionally the first time around. This type of preparation can save time and money for both project stakeholders because it can prevent complete do-overs in cases where the designer was unclear about the indie author’s original vision.

Communication is so important throughout this process—not only with your graphic designer. An indie author will also want to have certain things prepared ahead of time, in certain ways, for both the ghostwriter (if applicable) and the editor. As such, it’s often helpful to have a checklist at your disposal that makes this entire process run as smoothly as possible—particularly for the indie authors who are new to the whole publishing business. That’s why I created An Independent Author’s Checklist and decided to publish it online for indie authors everywhere. I want you all to have as much helpful information as possible at your fingertips, so you all have a positive publishing experience coupled with the best possible chances of success. That is my wish for you.

An Independent Author’s Checklist includes helpful information for indie authors regarding effectively communicating your book’s vision to a ghostwriter. Although some indie authors are both qualified and have the time to write their own books, you might choose to hire someone else to help you create that compelling narrative. Both are acceptable ways to produce a book. That said, when hiring a ghostwriter to help pen your book, it is important for indie authors to remember that ghostwriting is an ongoing, collaborative process (much like the entire publishing process). To make things run smoother, you should be prepared ahead of time.

An Independent Author’s Checklist also includes important guidance for indie authors regarding how to submit one’s manuscript to an editor so that it contains all the information you want edited. For example, some indie authors will only have the main body of their book interiors professionally edited. In that case, often any front matter, back matter, and back cover copy that is added after the fact is riddled with all kinds of spelling errors and typos, diminishing the professional quality of the book. But for indie authors like you who follow the guidelines in this checklist, you’ll avoid these issues and end up with the best possible result.

WEEK SIX: LAUNCH YOUR BOOK | Pre-order the Fourth Installment Today!

WEEK SIX: LAUNCH YOUR BOOK | PUBLICATION DATE NOVEMBER 28, 2017

BOOK PUBLISHING SHORTCUTS FOR ONLINE MARKETERS
Six Weeks to Creating a Book Series that Earns Passive Income from Several Sources

Week One: Outline Your Book
Weeks Two to Four: Write Your Book
Week Five: Refine Your Book
Week Six: Launch Your Book

“Lather, Rinse, Repeat!”

Now online marketers can learn the method today’s most successful authors are using to sell THOUSANDS of books online per year!

* * *

More and more, I come across people who want to publish a book for all kinds of different reasons—to promote a business, fulfill a lifelong dream, commemorate a special occasion, et cetera—and they want it done quickly (e.g., within four to six weeks), and with a minimal upfront investment. These are the people (e.g., the online marketers) who would rather utilize algorithms to grow their readership than spend any amount of money on traditional forms of book promotion. These authors also want full control over their own creative processes and release dates, and they’re fine with selling their books online only. A perfect example of this type of author is today’s email marketer who is producing an “information product” (their lingo for “ebook”) as part of an ongoing email marketing campaign.

Today’s most successful online marketers know that ebooks, emailing marketing, and affiliate marketing are just as legitimate sources of passive income as real estate investment trusts and high dividend stocks are. They also know that the best way to grow one’s readership (e.g., subscribers list, followers, online fan base of any kind) is to provide genuine and consistent value that is highly useful to those readers.

Ebooks are probably one of the most effective tools in an online marketer’s arsenal. An ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site. An ebook can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or by plane, or even when standing and waiting in line. Ebooks are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to an online marketer’s blog or other important information sources, providing even further value to readers. Ebooks are quite easily updateable which is especially helpful to online marketers who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there who are more than happy to help online marketers promote and sell their ebooks all over the world. It’s like having a massive sales team without having to pay them an upfront salary!

Many online marketers are now turning their previously-written blog posts into ebooks rather than starting from scratch to write a whole new document. It’s a great way to produce and share an ebook quickly which is what this series is all about: “rapid release” publishing. This “rapid release” publishing technique is used by many of today’s most successful online authors to grow their respective readerships quickly. It has produced seven-figure incomes for some and six-figure incomes for many others. Done right, it can work for online marketers, too.

 

[COMING SOON!] Seven New Ebooks in the T-Shaped Marketing for Authors Series

Guest Blogging and Content Syndication

HTML Coding for Beginners

Mobile Marketing

Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Social Marketing

Video Marketing

T-Shaped Marketing for Authors. The New Way to Sell Books.

Online marketing provides today’s authors with a vehicle to reach a worldwide audience where, in the past, they were pretty much limited to their own backyards. But to make any kind of real headway in this crowded space full of millions of people doing the same thing as you’re doing online, you’ve got to be Internet savvy to a degree. You’ve got to figure out a way to stand out among the rest by combining analytical and creative skills together. I’m talking about T-shaped marketing.

Co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin (2013), provides this succinct description of T-shaped marketing on his company’s blog:

“T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad
array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few).”

In other words, your deep knowledge/ability—the stem of the T—is the content you’ve written about in your book(s). The flat, horizontal part at the top represents the various creative and analytical skills you can learn to best utilize the Internet in selling your book(s).

Some of today’s most recognized companies used their own unique T-shaped marketing strategies (also referred to as “growth hacking”) to build their businesses quickly when little or no venture capital was available to them: Airbnb used some shrewd background coding to hack the Craigslist platform to boost its own site’s user experience; PayPal grew quickly by paying early users for referrals; and Dropbox used a strategy similar to PayPal’s by giving early users extra storage for referrals. These tactics piggybacked their other online efforts (e.g., SEO, PPC) to supercharge each company’s scalability, hence the term “growth hacking.”

Authors can do the same. They can use T-shaped marketing to their advantage, and many of today’s most successful online authors already do. Each ebook in this series will focus on one particular T-shaped marketing avenue so authors can learn to utilize several customized strategies:

* Online (paid) and Offline (unpaid) Book Reviews | Advertising vs. Publicity
* Email Marketing
* Advertorials and Blogging
* Content Syndication and Guest blogging
* HTML Coding for Beginners
* Mobile Marketing
* Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
* Search engine optimization SEO
* Social Marketing
* Video Marketing
* And the list goes on!

Authors are entrepreneurs, and T-shaped marketing is every entrepreneur’s friend. The top authors move more books by getting in front of their customers and communicating with them in a clear and consistent manner; and they do this by virtue of social media marketing, blogging, book reviews, email marketing, publicity/media tours, and all the other T-shaped marketing strategies we’ll be discussing. They do what’s necessary to make themselves stand out among all the rest for their particular genres, just as business people do with traditional companies.

The good news is it’s possible! There are examples right before your eyes—right inside these mini ebooks—of successful authors who have used T-shaped marketing to sell THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of books. You can use T-shaped marketing like a pro, too. I’ll show you how.

T-Shaped Marketing for Authors – Inaugural Ebook

[eLearning Industry] The Virtues Of eBooks And Audiobooks In eLearning

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

This post first appeared on the eLearning Industry website in June 2017 here: The Virtues Of eBooks And Audiobooks In eLearning.

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When it comes to the types of information products you can provide as free eLearning tools to prospective students, an eBook (such as a .PDF, .MOBI, or .EPUB) is a great option. In fact, so is an audiobook. Never limit yourself to one format over another, because each has its own unique advantage.

eBooks And Audiobooks In eLearning: The Advantages Of Each One

Everyone learns in a different way. Some people are more visual eLearners who prefer to savor and digest the text in front of them, at their own pace, in the quiet comfort of their favorite learning space. An eBook not only allows them to do this, but it also allows them to go back and review what they’ve read, to give it further thought later on.

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And then there are the people who spend so much time commuting by car on a daily basis—whether they’re driving to work, or taking the kids to and from their extracurricular activities after school—that they’re left with little spare time for any kind of “traditional” reading at the end of each day. They still want to better themselves as much as the visual eLearners do, but what can they possibly do? Audiobooks are the perfect eLearning tool for this group.

As a book publisher and sales coach for authors, I train aspiring and established authors, e-teachers, and various other internet marketers about everything related to book writing, publishing, sales, and marketing so they can achieve the best possible results in all areas of this business. My advice to them all is that each and every information product has its own merits, and it’s therefore wise to utilize them all whenever you can. If you cast a wider net, you may just catch more fish and help even more people than you could have with only one format.

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!

2 Examples Of Educational Guides For Authors

Below are a couple of excerpts from one of my most recent educational guides for authors. I’m including them here simply to show you the unique features and benefits of these 2 eLearning formats:

Example 1: A Non-Fiction eBook For Cooking

This is the promotional content (a.k.a. elevator pitch) for a non-fiction eBook cookbook:

When only a choice dessert made from the finest ingredients will do, you need The Cheesecake Doctrine. Now a wide variety of cheesecake recipes from all around the world are quickly searchable and at your fingertips, on every digital device from your smartphone to your tablet or computer desktop, in this easy-to-use .EPUB cookbook. Extraordinary delights await you from chocolate cheesecake and unbaked cherry cheesecake to an appealing variety of gluten-free treats. Why wait? Download your copy right now and impress your guests tonight!

Example 2: An “Inspirational Novella” Audiobook

Whereas the elevator pitch for an “inspirational novella” audiobook might sound more like this:

Based on a true story about the author’s own battles to overcome incredible odds and build a successful health supplement business from humble beginnings as an underprivileged orphan, this is the ultimate in inspirational audiobooks. Are you tired of “the nine to five grind” of the standard workday? Would you love to enjoy more success in all areas of your life, particularly with money? Now you can learn the financial success formula described in this book from someone who understands, firsthand, what it is to struggle and succeed.

Whether you’re listening at work, during a jog, on a plane, or in the car, you’ll enjoy this inspirational novella so much more with its studio narrated voice-overs and professional music scoring that allows you to truly feel the experience and emotion of the story The Path Less Worn. Download this audiobook now so you have it ready when the inspiration hits. You’ll be so glad you did.

CLICK HERE TO BUY IT NOW!

Offering Your Students eBooks And Audiobooks In eLearning

Through these two examples, you can clearly see the respective benefits of each format. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could offer your free eLearning tool to your prospective students in both formats, so they could choose which one works best for them? Do you see how helpful this could be? At the end of the day, it’s quite simple to convert an eBook to an audiobook using the services of a platform like ACX.

When it comes to the types of information products you can provide as free eLearning tools to your prospective students, an eBook (such as a .PDF, .MOBI, or .EPUB) is a great option for sure. In fact, so is an audiobook. You should never limit yourself to one format over another because each has its own unique advantage that can help you to reach more people.

* * *    * * *    * * *

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2017 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

The Science of Revision: Words Are All We Have

Jack Strandburg, Freelance Editor at J. S. Editing Services

Revising fiction, whether in the form of a short story, novella, or novel, is more than spell and grammar check; every fiction writer knows that; otherwise there would be no need for editors, and having recently started a freelance editing business, I’m thankful for that fact.

I have edited more than thirty-five novels in various genres, and although different genres offer different challenges, and “what to look for,” the common goal among the genres is to capture the reader and throw him or her into your world.

A work of fiction, if written well, consists of three major components – Character, Plot, and Setting. The argument of whether one is more important than the other two can, and is, discussed in books and articles ad nauseam, and for that reason, is beyond the scope of this blog.

My intent is to provide a set of guidelines on how to approach editing in all three components to produce the best possible story.

You probably got enough sleep last night, so I won’t bore you with a lot of narrative; instead I’ll stick with examples, which I believe does a much better job emphasizing my point . . . you know –show v. tell.

I will spend a little time on the three major components, but want to focus more on a topic, that perhaps does not command as much attention, yet, in my mind, is as equally important as “the Big Three.”

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Character:

We want the reader to “see” our characters, so we strive to provide as vivid a physical description as possible. We accomplish this by using similes and comparisons.

“In the eyes, round beneath soft brows, the slender, finely shaped nose, and full lips, I saw both sensuousness and refinement.”

“His measured walk resembled a skilled countryman as distinct from the shamble of the general laborer.”

“Joe left Arizona to attend college in California,” tells the reader little about Joe, but “Joe said goodbye to his parents, left his rural home in Phoenix, and drove to California to study engineering in UCLA,” not only reveals much more about Joe, but perhaps raises the question, why did Joe drive rather than fly?’

Plot:

Ensure there is conflict and obstacles for the protagonist, the antagonist presents a challenge, and the flow of events is seamless.

Ensure the accuracy of factual information. For example, if a character travels from New York to Spain, he or she should not complain about the rental car’s lousy gas mileage.

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Setting:

Show v. tell when describing a place in your story, with heavy and frequent references to the five senses.

Word Power

When I edit, either for myself or for a client, I spend at least as much time, if not more, on word power. The goal should be to write each sentence in the least number of words as possible, provided, of course, it does not change the meaning or sacrifice what the writer wants to say.

Most writers know to avoid adverbs by either eliminating them, or substitute more powerful verbs.

Weak words and phrases, such as “that, had, have, would have been,” (the list is far too long for this blog) are, in the majority of cases, are unnecessary. They function only as a distraction to the reader. The same applies to overused words and phrases, such as, “the fact that, all of a sudden, at the very least, in spite of, and if nothing else.”

I see a lot of unnecessary words and phrases, and although not necessarily considered “bad writing,” and usually skipped over while reading, when such words and phrases are eliminated, their distraction is obvious.

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“He thought to himself to “he thought.” (who else would he think to?)

He nodded his head” to “he nodded.” (as opposed to nodding his shoulder?)

“He shook his head to indicate no.” to “he shook his head.” (Granted, he might shake his head for another reason, but the context would indicate whether he was responding to a question).

“He got up out of bed.” to “He got out of bed,” or even better, “he climbed out of bed,” which eliminates the unnecessary “up,” and also substitutes a more powerful verb.

Of course, we have the ever-popular phrase I read in books, newspapers, and hear in movies and TV shows.

“Past history or past experience.” All history and experience is “past.”

A number of verbs used to link a second verb are prevalent in fiction writing, most notably “take and took,” “made and “make.”

“He made a move,” to “he moved.”

“He took a shot,” to “he shot or he tried, or he attempted.”

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During the first revision of my first commercially published novel, the editor cited the elimination of two unnecessary words – that and had.

Of course, has and have can be included by default.

That can be eliminated in most (not all) cases unless the writer was referring to a specific person, place or thing. (that man, that chair, that city).

Before: “By the way, I just wondered if you think that this dress looks good on me.”

After: “Does this dress look good one me?”

Before: “Suddenly, I thought that perhaps she should go back over there and sit down on top of the fence.”

After: “She should go sit on the fence.”

Eliminate or substitute all forms of “some.” (someone, somebody, sometime, somewhere), by instead being specific in identifying the person, time frame, or place.

Minimize the occurrences of pronouns within the same sentence or paragraph.

Before: He got out of bed. He went to the bathroom. He washed his face and shaved. He took a shower. He dressed and went to the kitchen. He made breakfast. (6 sentences, 6 occurrences of “he”)

After: He climbed out of bed and went to the bathroom. After a shave and a shower, he dressed and went to the kitchen to make breakfast. (2 sentences, 2 occurrences of “he”)

By applying these concepts during your revisions, you will produce a much tighter,  much cleaner, and easier to read story.

© Jack Strandburg

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Coming soon! Watch for it in the fall of 2017.

T-Shaped Marketing for Authors. The New Way to Sell Books.

Online marketing provides today’s authors with a vehicle to reach a worldwide audience where, in the past, they were pretty much limited to their own backyards. But to make any kind of real headway in this crowded space full of millions of people doing the same thing as you’re doing online, you’ve got to be Internet savvy to a degree. You’ve got to figure out a way to stand out among the rest by combining analytical and creative skills together. I’m talking about T-shaped marketing.

Co-founder of Moz, Rand Fishkin (2013), provides this succinct description of T-shaped marketing on his company’s blog:

“T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad
array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few).”

In other words, your deep knowledge/ability—the stem of the T—is the content you’ve written about in your book(s). The flat, horizontal part at the top represents the various creative and analytical skills you can learn to best utilize the Internet in selling your book(s).

Some of today’s most recognized companies used their own unique T-shaped marketing strategies (also referred to as “growth hacking”) to build their businesses quickly when little or no venture capital was available to them: Airbnb used some shrewd background coding to hack the Craigslist platform to boost its own site’s user experience; PayPal grew quickly by paying early users for referrals; and Dropbox used a strategy similar to PayPal’s by giving early users extra storage for referrals. These tactics piggybacked their other online efforts (e.g., SEO, PPC) to supercharge each company’s scalability, hence the term “growth hacking.”

Authors can do the same. They can use T-shaped marketing to their advantage, and many of today’s most successful online authors already do. Each ebook in this series will focus on one particular T-shaped marketing avenue so authors can learn to utilize several customized strategies:

* Online (paid) and Offline (unpaid) Book Reviews | Advertising vs. Publicity
* Email Marketing
* Advertorials and Blogging
* Content Syndication and Guest blogging
* HTML Coding for Beginners
* Mobile Marketing
* Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising
* Search engine optimization SEO
* Social Marketing
* Video Marketing
* And the list goes on!

Authors are entrepreneurs, and T-shaped marketing is every entrepreneur’s friend. The top authors move more books by getting in front of their customers and communicating with them in a clear and consistent manner; and they do this by virtue of social media marketing, blogging, book reviews, email marketing, publicity/media tours, and all the other T-shaped marketing strategies we’ll be discussing. They do what’s necessary to make themselves stand out among all the rest for their particular genres, just as business people do with traditional companies.

The good news is it’s possible! There are examples right before your eyes—right inside these mini ebooks—of successful authors who have used T-shaped marketing to sell THOUSANDS and THOUSANDS of books. You can use T-shaped marketing like a pro, too. I’ll show you how.