Free Webinar next Thursday – How to Write and Publish a Successful Book

December 2, 2010

How to Write and Publish A Successful Book!

Next Thursday, November 9th at 12 noon Mountain Time (7pm UK time), I am going to be a guest presenter for Lisa Peck, the Step It Up Queen!  Many of Lisa’s newsletter readers have asked her about how to write a book and get published. They also want to know how the market has changed.  I am excited to be presenting a complimentary webinar to the Step It Up!  readers to answer those questions. You are most welcome to participate as well.

On the webinar, I will be sharing my top tips for successful writing and publishing, such as:

  • How to pick the right concept for your book
  • How to arrive at the ideal length, style, tone and even content for your book
  • How to find the right publishing option for your book
  • How to get the book planned and written quickly
  • How to get the best return on your efforts

I am trhilled to be able to help Lisa’s readers – and YOU – progress on the exciting book writing journey.

To sign up for this free webinar, simply go to:  www.stepitupqueen.com/write/

Advertisements

The Book Midwife warmly welcomes Xlibris to the world of Book Coaching

October 20, 2010

It is great to see that a major partnership/cooperative publishing company like Xlibris has recognized the benefits of helping people to create great books faster.

Wrongly categorized as ‘self-publishing’, companies such as Xlibris actually can add a lot of value for aspiring authors.  These companies don’t leave the author to sort the publishing out him- or herself.  They are a professional alternative to an amateur trying to put all the pieces together, which often results in less-than-inspiring books and costly mistakes.  If you have ever read a poorly thought-out, poorly designed or error-ridden book – and possibly thrown that book across the room in exasperation as I have – then you will be pleased there are people trying to improve the situation.

The ultimate value-added service is getting help planning and writing the book, which ironically is the where most authors think they are on their own.  Help is at hand, and has been for a long time.  The Book Midwife® company, for example, has already helped over 300 aspiring authors get their ideas into excellent manuscripts, typically in less than a quarter of the time the average author spends struggling to write a mediocre book.

Having surveyed thousands of aspiring authors over the years, we have found that most people never even start a book, and over half of those that do start, quit after months or even years of trying and failing to get their thoughts into a sensible and viable format.  How sad is that?

Here at The Book Midwife®, we look forward to collaborating with Xlibris and all other professional cooperative publishing companies, to raise the standard of the industry by raising the overall standard and quality of new books.

And so many more of the millions of aspiring authors out there will finally get to realize their dream of holding not just a book, but an excellent book, in their hands.

Mindy’s Top Ten Tips for Launching a New Book

May 29, 2010

One of my clients emailed me bright and early this morning, excited about his new book which we are just launching.  He is an expert in his field, yet he has not launched a book before.  He was looking for ideas to do some extra promotion himself.  I found myself typing up my ten top tips and thought it would be worth sharing those with everyone else.  You may have heard some, most or even all of these before.  And there are definitely many other things not on this list that you can do to launch a book.  These are just my top tips, and I welcome more ideas and comments.  Hopefully there is at least a kernel of an idea here which could help you sell more books.  Have a wonderful day and a successful month ahead.

Mindy Gibbins-Klein, founder of The Book Midwife, with a selection of books she has helped to deliver

1.  Get a PR strategy together well before the launch if possible.  Either use the services of a PR company or put a plan together yourself.  If your publisher offers reasonable PR, work with them to ensure you get what you want and need.  Someone needs to contacting key media people – journalists, editors and bloggers who write about your topic.  Look for relevant magazines, websites and groups/clubs/forums.  The more the merrier.  I’m always surprised when people skimp on review copies.  Dan Poynter and I suggest in our Turning Experts into Published Authors seminars, that you have hundreds of review copies available and get them into the right hands.  If you are doing this yourself, simply contact the editors and journalists directly, speak passionately and briefly about the importance of the book, and ask if they would like a review copy.  Do not send books ‘blind’, i.e. without confirming people actually want one.  Make sure to include a covering note with every copy, with your press kit or at least the key points about the book, and state that you are happy to be interviewed.

2.  Have a book website, even a simple one.  The minimum content is a good blurb or sales copy about the book, a nice high-resolution front cover, testimonials and reviews and, of course, a link to BUY the book.  Ensure you can fulfil orders quickly; if not, then link your BUY button through to Amazon or another site that can automatically send books out when ordered.

3.  Create a promotional video, put it on YouTube, then create a short link to the video

4.  Blog about the book, including the short link

5.  Post status updates about the new blog post on Twitter, Facebook, Ecademy and LinkedIn

6.  Remember to update your own newsletter list, with exciting copy about the book launch

7.  Get flyers or postcards done with the book cover, sales blurb and testimonials and ordering/purchasing information.

8.  Then start attending local networking events, *always* having at least one copy of the book with you and 50-100 postcards.  At the end of your 40/60 seconds, ask who would really like a copy of the book.  Then pass a free copy to the first or most eager person with their hand up.  The rest get postcards and you can ask them to spread the word as well. 

9.  Be willing to give plenty of copies away, as it always pays off at some point.  Anyone who gets a free copy should blog/tweet about the book and give you an Amazon review in return.

10.  Remember to update your website and blog regularly!  I would suggest you do this at least weekly at the beginning, and include new testimonials and reviews, new videos, special offers and promotions.

If you want more specific help, there are some great services available from some excellent book marketing and PR people.  There are a few that I recommend regularly with confidence, so please contact me if you would like to be referred.

Best of luck with your book launch.  It is a very special milestone which you should be proud of.  Most people never even start their books, much less finish them (trust me, I speak to hundreds of aspiring authors each month). 

I look forward to hearing about all your success!

Some people think your book has no right to exist

April 22, 2010

I thought it was resolved.  I thought it was a free market and that more authors now had the right to write and publish their work.  I thought – wrongly, as it turns out – that people in the publishing industry were finally beginning to realize the benefits of democratic and open publishing, creating more opportunities for all.  Self-publishing, cooperative or partnership pubishing, publishing on the web – these are the vehicles which have allowed more people than ever to get their thoughts and ideas into the market.  It seems, however, that there are still a few people stuck in the Dark Ages.  One speaker at London Book Fair has me particularly riled this morning, and an ongoing thread on LinkedIn has me smacking my head in disbelief.

First, I must report that London Book Fair, despite only 50% of expected attendance, was a huge success for my two companies.  I had valuable meetings with people who suddenly had time in their schedules, I wasted no time waiting for food, drink or lavatories, and the whole atmosphere was more relaxed and conducive to good discussions.

One of the seminars at LBF, entitled “Not to Dare: Has British Literature Become Risk-Averse?”, concluded that writers are now being forced to bear more of their risk and complete their books without being paid in advance.  Oh dear, my heart bleeds for those poor authors.  Welcome to the real world, folks!  And thank you for falling in line with our way of doing things, traditional publishers.  But apparently it is shocking to some people that things have had to change in this way.  Are you surprised?  When you think about the flat or falling book sales figures, the rising costs of production and the uncertainties inherent in the industry, is it any wonder publishers have had to rein in the budgets and take fewer risks?  Of course it isn’t.  Those of us who have operated in this way for years know that the authors and publishers who persevere without having a safety net or any certain return on their investment of time or money are the real heroes.  So I don’t actually have a problem with authors taking the risk.

What I do have a problem with is the arrogance and condescending nature of some publishing people who still think it is their right to be gatekeepers, playing God and deciding which books deserve to be published and which don’t.  At the seminar, former publisher Alison Samuel defended big publishing and declared that “there were an awful lot of bad books that did not need to exist”.  Perhaps it is the old-fashioned, elitist and deluded model of the big publishing houses that does not need to exist.  In 2006, I wrote an article stating that Every Book Deserves to Be Written and Published.  That was also our strapline at The Book Midwife for several years.  I have taken plenty of flak for that comment, but I stand by it.  Alison – and anyone else who cares to argue with me: I never said ‘bad books’ deserve to be bought, read or liked.  I just said we shouldn’t deny people the right to get their books into print.  If publishers or anyone else wants to be careful with their investments, please do.  That’s prudent.  Just don’t say that certain books shouldn’t exist.

The controversial thread on LinkedIn appears in the Book Publishing Professionals club, and legally, it would not be right for me to reprint content from there, as it is a private club.  It’s probably OK for me to divulge the title though: “Does anyone else out there, besides me, think that self-publishing should just go away and let “real” publishing take over again?”  I think it was designed to polarize people but I am stunned at the level and the vehemence of the arguments on both sides.  Nearly 900 comments and counting, with some people still arguing that publishers should have the right to decide what gets published and what doesn’t.  Sweeties – I grant you the right to decide what you publish.  Leave the rest of us alone so we can get on with writing what we want, publishing it how we want, and creating as much success as we can with our books.

We can now help even more people write and publish their books

March 28, 2010

Last week I trained a new writing coach/consultant. Kate Keenan is now officially a Licensed Associate with The Book Midwife, and she is going to be superb! Kate has over 30 years of experience as a licensed psychologist and is a trained coach. She has also written 14 business books which, collectively, have sold over one million copies! She is just finishing her 15th book and will be publishing it with Ecademy Press. Kate is based in Bath, UK and has a specific interest in helping academics and professionals create more popular (less academic) books. A big warm welcome, Kate!

Kate Keenan, our newest Book Midwife Licensed Associate

There are about 10 other coaches and consultants who will be trained in The Book Midwife methodology over the next six months. With so many people wanting to write and publish good books quickly, we are always looking for more good people, so please keep your eyes and ears open. Applicants should be trained coaches or practising consultants, have their own business and ideally have written and published a full-length book.

Time for a mate?

March 18, 2010

When was the last time you had a good old-fashioned chat with a friend? No phones or computers around, just great conversation.

I arrived in Greenwich, CT late Thursday night, and by Saturday we were involved in the worst storm the area has seen for about 40 years. The wind was howling and the rain was pounding down. Then the power went out and stayed out for 24 hours (some people we know were affected for 72 hours or more).

With no Internet and not wanting to waste our phone batteries, my mother and I settled in for a nice quiet evening. Later, I spoke to many other people who ended up doing the same. They had ‘quality time’ forced upon them, and they remembered how great it can be. I worry sometimes that relaxed conversation is rapidly becoming a lost art.

When I lived in Argentina in 1981, we used to get together with friends and family nearly every day to talk and drink mate (pronounced ‘ma-tay’). Mate is a green tea-type drink, full of caffeine, which you drink through a metal straw. The mate ball is filled up with hot water before each person drinks, and the whole experience is one of patience and calm, no hurries or worries. Just friendship and sharing. It’s true that in those days there was no Internet, hardly anyone had computers and some people didn’t even have telephones. We used to just drop in on each other, unannounced many times, drink mate and chat. I miss that. Maybe people in Argentina still find time for uninterrupted get-togethers like that, but I have a feeling things are busier and more frenetic now (I would love to hear from you if you live in Argentina and find time to drink mate with friends – and it only counts if you are not checking your iPhone or BlackBerry every few minutes!)

I’m making a personal commitment to start drinking mate with friends again. I may have to teach them how to do it, and we all may have to re-learn how to switch off, even without power cuts.

Follow me

August 22, 2009

I’m going to be posting primarily on my 24 Carat BOLD blog over the next 6 weeks, as my new book is being launched. Please follow me there!

Thanks!

Mindy

A book is NOT just a brochure or a business card!

August 14, 2009

This morning I received an email that has me incensed. I’m absolutely furious.  I know I tell my clients not to write when they are angry, but I just have to make an exception this time.  I hate it when people compare a book to a brochure or a business card. Those items are not designed to inspire, teach or entertain. They are sales tools. If you are seriously thinking about writing a book, then take it seriously and write a seriously good book! One that stands up on its own and positions you as the real thought leader you are.  A good book is a special piece of yourself that you have presented to the world.

If you noticed above, I said ‘write a book’. REAL thought leaders write their own books. They put their own thought together in their own words and that is what their readers want to read. There are several companies selling the hype of having a book and the author not having to lift a finger. And encouraging people to slap a book together and whack it out into the marketplace, as if the only thing that mattered was the book. That really annoys me. That’s why we have so many rubbish books coming into the market and cluttering it up. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of self-publishing and cooperative publishing. I think good books do deserve to be published, but I also feel strongly that any book worth doing is worth doing properly.

Be careful if you are being wooed by companies promising the world. If it sounds too good, it probably is. I know a lot of people who have been to weekend courses costing thousands of dollars, and then spent $20,000 or more, to end up with something that competes with brochures!  Some spent their money and didn’t end up with a book.

Decide what kind of book you want to write and ensure you work with professionals that specialize in that kind of book. I’ve been a book coach for nearly ten years, and I have helped over 300 people make a powerful start on their books. It doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to kick-start a book project! And you can write your own book and have the satisfaction of knowing it’s exactly what you want to say, the way you want to say it. You can do it in just 90 days (or even less – just ask me).

I’ve also helped hundreds of people through the writing process and I’ve helped them get published – over 100 now, and counting. Traditional AND self-publishing. Please don’t get duped by organizations that relegate books to the ‘sales tool’ category. And please don’t throw your hard-earned cash into schemes that are run by people who view books in that way.

A book can and will position you as an expert, but only if you write the best book you can, and only if it offers real value and something original. Something a brochure can never do.

Making a Statement Creatively and Cleverly

August 2, 2009
Mindy sits on the ice bench

Mindy sits on the ice bench

Yesterday I watched ice melt. And I actually felt it melt.  I sat on a bench made of ice in Union Square in New York. The bench was part of an art installation by a Taiwanese artist called Chin Chih Yang, who is concerned about global warming.

There were 3 or 4 benches made of ice, where you could sit – on a towel or not – and contemplate a structure made of 4 more blocks that was being measured with a yardstick. The project is aptly called Ice Emergency!  As the ice melted in the hot New York sun, the levels dropped, mirroring what is happening every day at the polar ice caps.  It felt good and cooled me down, but at what cost?  My sitting on it was actually accelerating the melting process?

I often write and speak about people who are courageous enough to make bold statements. Well, this one hit home with me. It was so experiential.  I have a photo which I will upload as soon as I can, but I wanted to share the news with you immediately. 

Blocks of ice in art installation

Blocks of ice in art installation

You also have bold statements you would like to make to the world.  If you don’t feel like producing a massive art installation, how else could you make as powerful an impact, with your writing or speaking?

We are ALL self-employed and need to be creative

June 30, 2009

Only those of us who have made the jump into self-employment know the real truth. And no matter what happens, we wouldn’t trade it for the world (of employment). The fact that the highs are higher and the lows lower, the wonderful feeling when you make it big and you know it was all down to YOU. On the other hand you have the constant pressure to do more, find more business, be quicker and smarter, more creative…

Now that last one is my absolute passion. Self-employed people do tend to use more of their creativity, I find, because they have to. However, in this volatile world, I would argue that everyone should see themselves as self-employed because they need to shine and stand out even in (or especially in) a job. When the axe comes down, there will be some people that will be spared, and they are the ‘top talent’. Some creativity is required. Now, where to get it when you are working harder than ever and the current climate and people around you are trying to drag you down?

Some of the best ideas I have ever had have been through strategic thinking games, such as asking What If? and following it with more and more outrageous suggestions. Such as, What If people start living to be 250 years old? What implications would that have? Mostly, you need to let your thoughts run free and unfettered for awhile and watch what comes up, without immediately stifling them. If you catch yourself saying ‘Yeah, but that would never happen’, just ask ‘But if it did happen, then what?’ It’s about taking risks, going out on a limb.

The other night my husband and I went to the fantastic Savanna restaurant at the Black Lion pub in St Albans and there was a very interesting music act playing. Imagine two guys in their 40’s playing guitars and singing. They call themselves Whateversclever (no website sadly). The best thing was not their voices, but they were having a great time. The guitars sounded pretty good and there was some fantastic performing on some songs. But the best thing by far was the eclectic mix of songs they chose to play: Beatles, Coldplay, The Monkees, The Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, plus a fast an very non-Reggae version of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry”, and best of all… Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time”. Can you imagine, two middle-aged slightly balding blokes with fairly croaky voices singing their hearts out and strumming and picking away?! Priceless.

My first thought was ‘How on earth did they think to put this collection of songs together?’ They must have asked, What If. What if we played this one, that one… yes, even that one…

We could all do with taking risks like that, whether we know we are self-employed or not.