1stNews from 1stBooks, March 20, 2002
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Editor's Message
* Article: "Boost Book Sales With Do-It-Yourself
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Amanda Brown Gets Picked Up by
a Traditional Publisher
* Article: "Three Simple Steps to Writing Your Book"
* 1stBooks News: Well-Known Authors and Celebrities Who
Published With 1stbooks
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter
Welcome to our third issue. If you're one of our new
subscribers, you'll find back issues at
Our marketing article is a bit longer than usual. While I
could have shortened the introduction somewhat, I thought
that the author's story provides a lot of extra context.
Here's someone doing everything right, and using an easy
method to build interest in her book--a method available to
each and every one of you.
The second feature is by Jim Donovan, who has sold over 100,
000 copies of his self-published books. Maybe sometime in
the future we'll have an article by Jim about book
marketing. However, this time he covers finding the
motivation to write a book, in incremental achievable
If you have a comment to make or an article to submit,
you'll find a contact address at the bottom. Please forward
the entire newsletter to your writer friends.
BOOST BOOK SALES WITH DO-IT-YOURSELF SYNDICATION
by Lenore Wright
When I signed a contract last spring to write my first book,
I was excited by the challenge of marketing a book online.
I have spent 20 years pitching and selling screenplays in
Hollywood so I figured I knew something about selling.
I had an experienced marketing partner--my publishing
company had been selling books online for years. They put
up a terrific website and generated a blizzard of promotion
materials. I couldn't wait till my book was online, ready
to dazzle the global audience I imagined was waiting to
Reality intervened and destroyed my na´ve expectations.
Though my publishers certainly knew how to sell books; they
didn't know how to sell my book. I faced a realization many
authors confront--I had to put significant effort into
marketing if I wanted my book to sell.
I read every article I could find on marketing books. When
the recommendations made sense to me (and were within my
budget), I followed them.
~ I wrote articles for print publications aimed at my
~ I did radio and print interviews.
~ I created a website to promote my book. On the site, I
offered a sample chapter and posted reviews and reader
~ To hold my visitors longer, I featured articles that
illuminated my book topic.
~ I created an email newsletter targeted to my potential
Each of these efforts increased my website traffic and I
received great feedback from writers--but I wasn't selling
To reach a larger audience, I explored several content
syndicators on the Web: iSyndicate.com, ScreamingMedia.com,
Mediocom.net, and Snapsheet.com. I found out that the
writers who succeeded in Web syndication had hundreds of
general interest articles or newspaper columns to market. I
had a few dozen tightly focused articles to sell. As an
experiment, I decided to self-syndicate my articles to
sites whose traffic overlapped with mine. Guess what? I saw
I'll take you through the process step by step:
1) I created a column synchronized with my book material.
My book is a career guide targeted at novice screenwriters
looking for their first script writing opportunities. The
weekly column I created for syndication--"The Screenwriters
Web--offered practical tips for using the Web to market
2) I searched for e-zines that appealed DIRECTLY to my book
I chose successful e-zines appealing to aspiring
screenwriters. To find e-zines that will appeal to your
readership, research current online publications in these e-
zine directories: http://www.ezine-universe.com and
3) I emailed two sample columns to the editors of the e-
zines I targeted.
I cut-and-pasted my columns within my email message
offering them for syndication--savvy editors won't open
file attachments from people they don't know. The results:
I placed my column in seven of the top film e-zines. Soon
after the first column ran, my website traffic doubled,
tripled, and then quadrupled. [Editor's Note: If composing
in a word processor and pasting into email, turn OFF curly
quotes, em-dashes, and other special characters before you
4) Next I researched e-zines that INDIRECTLY appealed to my
I chose e-zines appealing to creative writers, authors and
journalists. I only contacted sites that offered fresh
content and attracted solid, targeted traffic. After seeing
a few samples of my column, most of the editors agreed to
run it either on their site or in their email newsletters.
The effect of this self-syndication experiment was
electric. My visitor stats soared from a few hundred per
week to thousands per day. Hundreds of visitors make my
site one of their 'Favorites' each week and dozens of them
sign up for my newsletter each day. But most importantly,
my book sales have climbed steadily.
If you're an author with a book to sell, do-it-yourself-
syndication could benefit you. These suggestions will help
you get started:
1) Create a column that complements your book. If you're
marketing a nonfiction book, focus on your unique
expertise. If your book is fiction, your column could
feature the genre of your book or some aspect of creative
2) Learn from experienced columnists. Read these tutorials
on writing a column (note: if your email program splits the
URLs, just copy both halves into your browser):
"Go Forth and Syndicate" by Thomas Pack
"Syndicating Your Weekly Column" by Elizabeth Laden
3) Research and handpick the e-zines that run your column.
Tip: When you research an e-zine in Google, click on the
'similar pages' link below the description to find other e-
zines that carry similar articles.
4) Choose e-zines that offer fresh content and target your
book audience. The e-zine directories I mentioned earlier
categorize the publications by topic or you can search
publications by title or subject at http://www.publist.com
5) Focus on successful e-publications--check the number of
subscribers. Tip: Determine the success of an e-zine by
checking who links to it. Go to Google and type this phrase
in the search box--"link:www.URL". Replace URL with the
address of the site you're researching.
I hope do-it-yourself syndication works as well for you as
it did for me.
Lenore Wright's eBook "How to Break Into Screenwriting" is
available on her website http://www.breakingin.net For tips
and tutorials on script marketing SUBSCRIBE to her free
newsletter by sending an email to newsletter&breakingin.net;
1STBOOKS SUCCESS PROFILE: AMANDA BROWN
1stBooks author Amanda Brown has sold the print rights for
her novel, "Legally Blonde," to Dutton, a division of
Penguin Putnam Publishing, after initially publishing
"Legally Blonde" with 1stBooks in 2001. She also captured a
foreign publishing contract with Heyne Verlag of Germany.
"1stBooks Library offers its deepest congratulations to
Amanda on this great accomplishment," said Robert McCormack,
Chief Operating Officer of 1stBooks. "We are pleased that
the quality of 'Legally Blonde' is being recognized
throughout the publishing industry. We believe this
achievement can further open the door to larger traditional
publishing opportunities for many of our other talented
authors and is a strong reminder of the power of self-
"Legally Blonde" was Ms. Brown's debut novel and the basis
for the hit movie of the same name starring Reese
Witherspoon and Luke Wilson.
If you're currently a 1stBooks author and have a success
story of your own, please email it to us at
the subject "success story."
Three Simple Steps to Writing Your Book
By Jim Donovan
Step One: Get a pen.
Step Two: Get some paper.
Step Three: Begin writing.
This plan may sound overly simplistic, but in reality,
writing a book is not such a terribly complicated task.
Most people get bogged down by thinking they have to do it
all in one big chunk. My friend Colleen is a great example
of this thinking. Being a natural coach--some might say a
nudge--I would ask Colleen from time to time how her book
was coming. She had been working on a book about her unique
experiences as an animal communicator. It's a book that I
thought would help a lot of people who lost a beloved pet.
So, being true to form, I would bug her about her progress.
One day Colleen sighed and said "Jim, I just can't find the
time to write a book. I'm too busy." Realizing that this
was a pretty common problem, I decided to try a different
approach. "Colleen, do you think you can write one page?" I
asked. "Sure," she replied, "No problem!" I suggested she
write a page and call me the following day. She did.
Happily she informed me she had begun and written the first
page. "That's great!" I exclaimed. "Now, go and write
another page and call me again tomorrow." Colleen is a
pretty astute woman, so it didn't take her long to figure
out my strategy. She made a commitment to write a page a
day, or something close to that. Several months passed and
one day I asked her how the book was doing. "It's ready for
the final editing," she joyously blurted out, all smiles.
The idea of writing a book is, for most of us, an enormous
undertaking. To think we can do it in a big chunk is self-
sabotage. It's like the old story of how you eat an
elephant--one bite at a time. By chopping the book process
down to a page a day, you'll be more inclined to begin.
Once you do that, you're already moving toward completing
If you're ready to stop procrastinating and start becoming
an author, the following plan will help you get going:
1. Decide roughly how many pages you expect your book to
be. If you're writing a non-fiction or business book,
you're probably planning from 160 to 250 pages.
2. Now on a calendar, count out the number of days it will
take you, allowing for about one page per day. Add a few
weeks to allow for the unexpected.
3. Mark the date on your calendar and, in your journal,
write out your goal as if you already completed it. Write
something like, "On or before December 31, 2002, I have
completed writing... (and put in your working title). I
followed this very procedure with my second book, "This Is
Your Life, Not a Dress Rehearsal," and, even though I was
way off schedule at many points during the process, I
actually completed the book within a few days of my goal.
I'm not exactly sure how it worked out. I was not able to
write every day due to changes in my schedule--but somehow,
magically, the book was finished on the target date. It was
as if a part of my sub-conscious was keeping track of what
was happening and guiding my progress along the way. I'm
not asking you to take my word for it. Test this idea for
yourself; you'll be amazed at the result.
Jim Donovan is a professional business coach who
specializes in working with authors and publishers who want
more success for their books. He is the author of the
"Handbook to A Happier Life" and "This Is Your Life, Not A
Dress Rehearsal." Jim's articles, book excerpts, and a free
subscription to his newsletter are available from
Here's a list of a few well-known authors and celebrities
who published with 1stBooks:
* Buddy Ebsen's debut romance novel "Kelly's Quest" (#3 on
the Los Angeles Times Bestseller List)
* Comedienne Rita Rudner's "Naked Beneath My Clothes"
* Thomas Hargrove's "Long March To Freedom," which was
inspiration for the movie "Proof of Life"
* Bruce Kimmel, story writer of the teen-fave movie "The
* Martyn Burke, director/screenwriter of "The Pirates of
* Former CNN Headline News anchor David Goodnow's "Coping
With Your Job"
* Be part of the Publishing Revolution! Get your book
published quickly, inexpensively, and professionally--and
keep all the rights. To request our free publishing guide,
ABOUT 1STBOOKS LIBRARY
Since 1997, 1stBooks has helped thousands of authors become
published. We offer you complete control over every aspect
of the publishing process, and work with you to produce
your book in the formats right for you: paperback,
hardcover, and/or electronic (eBook). Because we use print-
on-demand (POD) technology, we produce books as they are
needed. This means neither you nor we have to invest lots
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