Monday, September 27, 2010

The 5 Mistakes Most First-Time Authors Make

Anyone can write a book and just about everybody wants to. According to a New York Times article reporting on the findings of a survey, 81 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them and plan to write it. That's about 200 million people. Talk about competition!

The truth is, however, that only 10 percent of aspiring authors will be successful, if even that many. So how do you get to the head of the class? Well, not making these five mistakes first-time authors typically make will help.

  • The first mistake first-time authors make is they don't identify their market. They don't ask before they get started, "Who will buy my book?" Or worse, they think, "Everyone will want to buy my book." You must identify and write to a specific audience to have a marketable product. Probably the number one thing many new authors do incorrectly is start to write about something they're very passionate about without first finding out if there are enough people with the same interest who would buy the book.

  • The second mistake first-time authors frequently make is not being aware of the costs involved and then over- or underspending. You might ask, "How can I underspend?" Well, you can underspend by thinking you can do it all yourself and not having a budget for an editor, cover designer or marketing assistance. You can overspend by not knowing the typical fees for these services in the marketplace and paying too much. If you spend too much on production or marketing, you may not be able to recoup your money with the sale of the book. So, it's important to know what you will need and how much you should be spending on those services before you begin the process.

  • The third mistake first-time authors make is not knowing how to determine whether to traditional-publish or self-publish. Not knowing the pros and cons of both avenues and choosing the wrong method wastes your time and money. For example, nonfiction authors who want to establish their credibility in the marketplace and position themselves as experts want to get the book on the market as soon as possible. They can't afford to spend the time it can take going the traditional route, which could be up to four years to find an agent, publisher and wait out the publishing process. However, if you are writing literary fiction and getting reviews and acclaim from literary reviewers or perhaps being on the New York Times bestseller list is your goal, you may be best served to try the traditional route.

  • The fourth mistake first-time authors make is they don't have a marketing plan. Most people know not having a marketing plan when self-publishing is just dooming the book to failure. However, even if you have a publisher, you are expected to market yourself. Not many aspiring authors know this is important and they think the publisher is going to take care of marketing, so they don't include that information with their submission proposals. But you can show you do know the "ins and outs" of publishing and how important marketing is by including a marketing plan with your proposal or novel submission. If you do, you're going to set yourself apart and get closer to the head of the class.

  • The fifth mistake first-time authors make is giving up too early, or giving up at any stage of the process. What blocks success in publishing (or any field) more than anything else is having the "I can't" attitude. The whining: "I can't speak in front of people." "I can't travel to seminars and conferences." "I can't find the time." "I can't start learning about how to market on the Internet." You've heard those excuses. Hopefully you haven't said them. But I'm sure you've heard them if you've gone to a writers group or a conference. Replace that attitude of resistance with an attitude of persistence. Successful authors find ways to say, "I can" and "I will."

Many of these five mistakes are made as a result of misconceptions or myths that are typically held about the publishing business.

But, the truth is that EVERY mistake first-time authors make is a result of ONE big error. That error is attempting to write and publish a book without first learning about the process.   Writing is a passion. But publishing is a business. Successful authors learn the difference. Once educated, it's easy to skip past the mistakes and misconceptions and start to cash in on the miracles. Miracles happen every day in the current publishing market, and the next one could be yours, if you decide to invest in your publishing success.

This article was excerpted from the Publishing Made Easy & Profitable curriculum,  Lesson 1, "The Mistakes, Myths and Miracles of Book Publishing." If you're ready to jump over the mistakes and myths and experience the miracles of publishing, get the education you need. Publishing Made Easy & Profitable is a 10-week home study course that can catapult you to the head of the class. Review the entire curriculum here>>

Friday, September 10, 2010

Wordpress Blog as Your Marketing Hub

VIP Author Talks Special Event

Ten years ago, an author with a website on the Internet was a big deal. Today, having a website is like having a cellphone...everyone has one. And just like smartphones are to cell phones, Wordpress blogs are to author websites. If you want to stand out in the crowd, a customized Wordpress blog is your ticket.

Are interested in finding out how you can make your blog do some double-duty as a marketing hub, too? If so, please join us for a special event when VIP Author Talks interviews Marty Dickinson for a special teleclass presentation, "Wordpress Blogs as Your Marketing Hub."

During this special teleclass, you will discover the answers to these questions:

  • What is WordPress, and why is it so essential for the promotion of your book, speaking, and business?

  • Should you use the WordPress free hosting option or not ? (And, how the wrong answer could paralyze your business.)

  • How can you assure your WordPress installation is secure from hackers?

  • How can you connect your website with Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin? (Which will easily save you 10 hours a week.)

  • What's involved with converting a traditional (old) website into a WordPress machine? (Design limitations and how to get around them and still use WordPress.)

  • How can you promote your main business online using multiple websites produced with WordPress? (And why you would want multiple websites in the first place.)

  • How can having a WordPress website set the stage for dozens of higher-level, traffic-building techniques for your website?

Have a question not listed above? Write it down now to ask during the live Q&A at the end of the teleclass.

Mark your calendar right now to join us for this informative teleclass!
Topic: Wordpress as Your Marketing Hub

When: Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Time: 4:00pm Eastern Time (3pm Central, 2pm Mountain, 1pm Pacific).

How to Register:

For Authors Only and VIP Authors Inner Circle Members: You are already registered. Log on to the Members-Only page for call-in details. The audio recording of the class will be posted to the members page within 24 hours after the event.

Non-Members: Not a member, but want to hear the class? You can pay for the class only.

Registration for this event is now closed. The audio recording of the teleclass is available for purchase on the VIP Author Talks Audio page. Review this and all VIP Author Talks programs here>>

Speaker Bio:

Marty Dickinson started his first website in 1995 and is the co-author of Web Marketing All-in-One for Dummies. He manages more than 100 of his own websites and helps authors, speakers and business owners around the world with their Internet marketing through his company HereNextYear, Inc.

Publishing: Dead, Alive or Born Again?

When bestselling author Seth Godin dumped his publisher a few weeks ago and announced he'll be bringing his books and products direct to audience from now on, it set off a series of blog posts and articles about the death of publishing. Those who made the pronouncement admitted to using the headline more for attention than anything else, but the consensus was that publishers should be very afraid.

Of course, those posts inspired a host of "we still need publishers" posts and articles. So who is right? Is publishing dead or alive?

butterfly I say "Publishing is Born Again!" I like the idea of being a Born-Again Author: it has a nice ring. Being a born-again author in the born-again publishing world enables me to bring the best of the traditional publishing to a new, improved model. And I prefer to think of this time as a metamorphosis--like a butterfly emerging changed after being restricted within a cocoon.

I prefer this metaphor to that of a phoenix rising from the ashes because I don't believe everything from the traditional publishing system of the past 100 years deserves to be set aflame. No book burnings necessary!

And, btw, Godin is not the first bestselling author to venture into new territory, paving the way for lesser-known writers who feel the same need for emancipation. Earlier this year, Stephen Covey made a radical move to publish exclusively with Amazon.

And, JA Konrath has sparked a movement among published authors with a backlist of unpublished titles to publish their work digitally. The result? The self-published digital titles priced at $1.99 to $2.99 bring in more royalties than their books with their publishers do or ever did. Konrath announced he'd be self-publishing through Amazon from now on, too.

The truth is, however, that most authors (indie or not) are not going to rock the publishing world by making these "blasphemous" statements. No publishing house has shaken in its boots yet when indie authors went solo. Yet, clearly the numbers are starting to add up. 2009 was the first year ever to see more new self-pubbed titles than traditionally published.

The Writer Magazine has pitched its tent in the self-publishing area, sponsoring the pre-BEA writers conference which this year was a self-publishing event, rather than the Writers Digest "pitch an agent" fest of previous years. The Writer is also sponsoring the 2nd annual Self-Publishing Expo in October 2010.

The movement has started and writers needs to wake up and stop worrying about if publishing is dying or not. That's hardly the issue for us. Let the business analysts crunch the numbers and dull their pencil points. We've got books to publish.

For new and aspiring authors, what is important is how to prepare and succeed in the new environment. Good, bad, dead or alive--this is what we got. Seth Godin, Stephen Covey, JA Konrath and the others can do what they do because they are experienced in the publishing process. They know how to put together a good manuscript from an inspired idea, work with editors, produce the material in a form their audience will consume, and promote themselves using the tools available on the Internet today. They are not throwing away all their hard-earned, valuable knowledge of the publishing process, just adjusting the delivery system.

You can do what they do, too--with the proper education, and that begins with the basics that have been around since the beginning of publishing. It also requires knowledge of the new methods and formats and how to determine which best suits your goals. And, finally,  publishing success in this new marketplace is totally dependent on your ability to build a thriving community of readers and communicate with them regularly.

The important question,then, is not whether publishing is alive, dead or born again---but are YOU as an author, ready to die with the old methods, plod along on the fringe, or be born again into the new age of publishing possibilities?

Are you ready to be "born-again" with the knowledge to become a successful author in the current publishing environment? If so, it's time to get the skills and strategies you need to succeed in this market.

Publishing Made Easy & Profitable is the only home-study course that delivers the basic publishing know-how you need and the social media strategies that work today.  Read all about it here>>

Monday, September 06, 2010

Deadlines Extended Due to Oops

Yesterday I made a big "Oops!" I got up early, wrote an reminder email about yesterday's deadlines, put it in the queue to send and promptly hit "delete" instead of "send." Oops.There is no retrieving emails deleted from the queue, and I didn't have a back-up copy. Sigh.

Actually I did quite a bit more than sigh, but I'm not proud of my initial reaction, so let's move on to where I am proud of my next steps. After I calmed down, I looked at the clock. I had about a half hour before I had to leave for a full day of much-needed fun and recreation.

I had two choices: skip the first activity and catch up with the others later, or skip sending out the reminder email. I chose the latter. I AM proud of that choice because too often I choose work over play, and I've made a conscious decision to balance all areas of my life.

Now, here's the deal: We can all benefit from my mistake.

Girls on Stilts at LAAFF
I had a fabulous day out enjoying friends and a visit to LAAFF (Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival) in downtown Asheville, I bought crystals, enjoyed the sites and discovered Kava (more on that in a future post).


You get two extra days on the deadlines! I realize that notifying you today will eliminate those of you who won't even open your computer until tomorrow, because YOU are out having fun! So, here's the scoop:

Tuesday, September 7 is  the NEW deadline to:

Register for 4Ps University and save $100 >>

Sign up for a "Get Acquainted" consult at half price >>

Now we can all LAAFF at my oops!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Labor Day Special: "Get Aquainted" Consultation is Half Price

Sometimes two heads are better than one!

Men in Hardhats on stairs talkingDo you have 1 to 3 questions that need immediate attention?
The approaching Labor Day Weekend gave me an idea. I get so many emails and messages on Facebook and Twitter with questions about writing and publishing that need response right away. But, I rarely can stop what I'm doing and answer the person at the time and must direct the writer to either a personal consultation or group coaching program.

I regularly charge $175 for a 30-minutes exploratory "get acquainted" personal consult. But in celebration of Labor Day, I'm going to offer this short-term consulting package for half price!

This 30-minute live phone  session gives you the opportunity to resolve a writing, publishing or social media problem or just sample working with me without a long-term commitment. Audio recording and 30 days email follow up are included.

Purchase a consult by September 5 to be scheduled on the date of your choosing in September (subject to availability--these will book fast!)

Cost: Reg Price: $175

Only $87 (through 9/5/2010)

(This offer is no longer available.)