Monday, October 27, 2008

Are you just one sheet away from publishing success?

I'll admit to using the title question as a play on words. The "one sheet" I'm referring to is a marketing tool, not a single page of manuscript. Speakers have been using one sheets for years, but it's a relatively new item for writers who traditionally have relied on bios, summaries, reviews and press releases to promote their work. If you're not getting the results you want from your promotional efforts, you may want to try a new format for presenting your material.

A one sheet can actually be two-sided, but essentially it's a brief summary that encapsules the essence of the author, book and topic or message. It's a handy-dandy item that can be faxed (least desirable), emailed or downloaded from your website. You can mail or email one sheets to introduce yourself to the media, bookstores and/or any audience that you want target.

The content you include in your one sheet will vary according to your specific purpose, but it should contain the following:
1. Book cover image, ISBN number, retail price and ordering information.
2. Short synopsis or summary of the book.
3. Your photo, brief bio relevant to the book and contact information (website, email, phone number, publicist's or agent's info, etc)
4. Quotes or excerpts from reviews, testimonials or endorsements.

Additionally, you can tailor the one sheet to represent your other functions. Are you a coach, speaker or consultant? Add a section with the titles and descriptions of services, seminars or presentations you offer.

One sheets can be created in Microsoft Word or in graphic programs such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. The final document must be converted to pdf so it can be easily be read online, downloaded or emailed. Making a pdf also preserves your fonts so that even when the document is opened on someone else's computer, it will still look the same as you intended. (A pdf is read online in Adobe Reader, a program that anyone can download for free and most people already have installed on their computers.)

Adair Cates, author of Live Your Intention: Ten Steps to Creating the Life of Your Dreams, has three one-sheets, each tailored to a specific audience. Adair has become a master at promotion on a shoe-string budget, doing much of the work herself. It's paid off in a big way for her and the response she has garnered has paved the way to creating a video featuring her book and speaking. She has also posted video clip and photos from the many media interviews she has arranged.

Adair is not trained as a graphic designer or media specialist, so she invested the time to find out what other successful authors and speakers were doing and then did what she needed to do to get the same results. More often than not, publishing success requires learning new skills, stepping out of comfort zones and experimenting with new strategies. If you need assistance with the graphic presentation, hire a graphic designer to help you produce a document with a professional flair.

So, spice up your presentation with a new look. One sheets are a simple, inexpensive and effective way to transmit your message. And you may find that the new approach can make a big difference in the response you receive.

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