1stNews from 1stBooks, May 1, 2002
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The Profitable Publisher's Guide
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Editor's Message
* Article: "Niche-Marketing for POD Authors, Step Two:
Define and Dissect Target Markets"
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Judy Sangregorio And Yvonne
Hemsey Tepper Get a Double Dose of National TV Exposure
* Article: "Games and Puzzles Can Make You a Better Writer"
* 1stBooks News: Books at a Discount
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter
Welcome to Issue #6. We had quite a lot of response to
David Kilpatrick's article ("How I Got a Terrific Cover,
for Free") about getting a cover design from a "green"
designer, for free. So, for the first time, we're going to
run a few of your comments in a comments section.
As a side note, when I published my own book some years
back, I also found a cover artist who wanted the credential
in her portfolio, for free. Her cover was eye-catching,
though it lacked some of the niceties that a more
experienced designer may have included. I do believe that
there is a time and place to pay for services.
However, in situations where you have the leeway, there's
nothing wrong with doing it inexpensively. As long as both
parties fully consent and the end product is good enough to
be used, I, for one, don't see a problem. But if, for
example, your book is in an extremely competitive niche,
it's probably worth your while to pay for professional
cover design, professional marketing, copywriting, and
various other ways to help your book stand out in a crowd.
We also received a question about how to enter awards such
as ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year. As the editor, I
will share award entry info as it comes my way, and those
of you who want to enter these awards, I ask only that you
notify us if you're a winner or finalist.
Many of you enjoyed Todd Hayes's piece in our second issue.
We continue his series this time with a look at how to find
and understand different market sectors.
NICHE-MARKETING FOR POD AUTHORS, STEP TWO: DEFINE AND
DISSECT TARGET MARKETS
By Todd Hayes, mailto:thayes&undergrounde.com
[Editor's Note: Todd's first article can be found at
Niche marketing is the old standard in the publishing
business. A dedicated niche is where authors, publishers,
and distributors gather the strength for producing and
distributing new material. Define your targets well and you
will be rewarded.
Niche marketing has a lot to do with definitions. It is the
opposite of mass marketing, in which you try to satisfy the
broadest audience possible by generalizing a product and
pitching it to a large market. A good niche market is 2,000
people. A great niche market is 200 people.
Why? Because the smaller your target group, the easier it
is to discover what they want. For each niche you approach,
you'll want to present your material as fulfilling the
desires of that specific market. This is easiest when
you've defined your targets very well.
Here's a target brainstorming exercise: Write down as many
general markets for your books as you can think of in ten
minutes. They can be reader-specific, genre-related, or
geographic markets. They may relate to occupations,
acquaintances, leisure activities, political preferences,
subscriptions, or events. They can be very large markets or
very small. Write down whatever comes to your mind.
This list you've created will be a pool of markets you can
choose from to define special-interest groups going
forward. It is possible to target and approach thousands of
niche markets in a single communications campaign, but when
profiling small markets, draft niche definitions one at a
Choose one of the markets from your list and write it down
after the header "General Market." Under your general
market header, create some qualifiers to narrow your focus.
A "who clause" is a good method of assigning qualifiers.
Below are two examples of niche profiles using the same
general market heading and different who-clause qualifiers:
General Market: Pet Owners
- Who live in Detroit
- Who buy books about pets
- Who have an email account
General Market: Pet Owners
- Who breed terriers
- Who frequent a veterinarian
- Who attend dog shows
A niche-market profile may describe a few thousand
prospects, or it may define a single editor or agent
working at a specific company. By profiling a niche market
with qualifying characteristics as above, you not only
define individual prospects for your titles, you establish
rules on how, when and where to approach them about
purchasing your books.
Todd Hayes is the CEO of UndergroundE Corporation and a
regular lecturer on marketing and publishing topics.
UndergroundE is the creator of Access Cards, an inexpensive
distribution tool that helps independent authors and
publishers sell their titles to targeted markets. For more
information about Access Cards, please send a blank email
message to mailto:authors&undergrounde.com. UndergroundE
also produces a goal oriented Niche Marketing for Writers
workshop. To learn more about the workshop, send a blank
email to mailto:nichewriter&undergrounde.com. You will
receive a response automatically.
1STBOOKS SUCCESS PROFILE: JUDY SANGREGORIO AND YVONNE
HEMSEY TEPPER GET A DOUBLE DOSE OF NATIONAL TV EXPOSURE
Judy and Yvonne, authors of "Terrific Wedding Tips: For a
Joyful and Stress-free Celebration" have recently appeared
on both the CBS Early Show (with 1stBooks COO Mack
McCormack) and Fox's Good Day New York. In both cases, they
talked not only about their book, but also about the
1stBooks publishing process (printing as needed, no wasted
inventory, more publishing opportunities for writers,
etc.). Congratulations to these media-savvy wedding
planners! They were persistent; when they couldn't get the
media interested in the subject of their book, they
switched the focus to the publishing process, and got not
one but two important hits. To learn more about their book,
GAMES AND PUZZLES CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER WRITER
Copyright (c) 2002 by CJ Lockman Hall,
As a writer, do you constantly thumb through the thesaurus
searching for the right word? Is your spelling a little
iffy? Do your articles, poems, or stories have the same
layout, style, and tone? If you're nodding your head, try
these five tips to improve your vocabulary, spelling, and
breadth to shape yourself into a well-rounded writer.
I hadn't played Scrabble in years when my husband
challenged me to a round at the local coffeehouse. As I
played musical tiles with my seven letters, I occasionally
found myself thinking, "Is that spelled with an A or an I?"
or "Is that a word?"
I jotted down words if I questioned their spelling or
validity. After our game, I looked up the words. Among
other enlightenment, I learned that "id" (psyche) need not
be capitalized and that "wastrel" (vagabond) really is a
word (and would have scored me a lot of points!). That game
of Scrabble proved to be both entertaining and educational.
By the way, I am the reigning Scrabble champ in our house,
although my husband has outscored me a few times with his
"ingenious" (resourceful) use of double and triple score
spaces. That goes to show you that the biggest words aren't
always the most effective words!
Many daily newspapers offer a short and sweet crossword
puzzle and print a real mind-bender every Sunday. Granted,
you're unlikely to use such crossword favorites as "adze"
(cutting tool) and "Erato" (Greek Muse of lyric and love
poetry) in your everyday writing. However, crossword
puzzles can help improve your spelling skills.
As a writer, you probably rely on your computer's spell
checking program to catch incorrect uses of i's and e's and
other common spelling errors. Writing words on paper and
seeing them in print will strengthen your spelling muscles,
helping you to learn and remember correct spelling.
3. A to Z
Choose a word to learn each week. Perhaps it's a word
you've seen but aren't sure how to pronounce, or you're
hazy on its definition, or you want to learn how to use it
Look it up and use it in a sentence or two. Plug it into a
search engine and see what types of usage come back; try to
work the word into a conversation or article. If you start
with A and go to Z, you'll learn twenty-six new words in
[Editor's Note: You can sign up for a "word-of-the-day"
email from Merriam-Webster at
4. Variety Show
I enjoy the range of styles and content in such diverse
publications as Surfer and Surfing (fresh and creative), O,
The Oprah Magazine (contemporary issues), Guideposts
(straightforward, inspirational storytelling), The
Washington Post (well-written articles cover news to
business to sports to lifestyle), and novels that run the
Through reading a variety of quality publications, you can
absorb different writing styles and tones to help you break
out of "your" way of writing. And, by stretching your
literary horizons, you can also develop new ideas and find
5. Be an Undercover Editor
Have you ever read an article or book and concluded, "Gee,
I could have written that better"? (Are you doing that with
this very article?!) If so, go ahead and rewrite--use
different words, cut phrases, slash paragraphs, change the
tone, change the voice, and rearrange the layout.
No, you won't get paid for doing this, but it is a great
exercise to hone your thought processes and editing skills.
In addition, editing someone else's work can give you fresh
insight on your own writings.
Conversely, if you read a passage that you feel is
particularly well-written, go back and review it. What made
it flow? Was it the use of particular words, the length of
the sentences, the presentation? If you tend to stumble
over commas and semicolons when you write, look closely at
the punctuation. Take mental notes and refer to them the
next time you sit down to write or edit.
The bigger your arsenal of useful words, the more skilled
you are at spelling them and using them, the more you read,
and the more you practice writing with different styles,
the more fulfillment you will find in your writing career.
CJ Lockman Hall, M.A., finds most of her writing
inspiration when she is doing anything but writing. She
manages Mind and Sport (http://www.mindandsport.com),
serves on the staff of ewritelife.com, and writes about her
passions for a variety of publications.
Both of the comments below refer the article "How I Got a
Terrific Cover, for Free," which can be read at
Does David Kilpatrick give away his books? No? He expects
money for his work? My, my. Yet he wants to bargain deals
with artists. Hmm. Do you see something wrong with this
Dr Bryan Knight (mailto:drknight&hypnosis.org)
[Editor's Note: Actually, it depends on your objective.
There are literally thousands of people giving away free
eBooks online, including some who have built fortunes
around their giveaways. Perhaps Seth Godin's Idea Virus is
the most famous example (http://www.ideavirus.com). I
intend to run an article about the benefits of giving away
an eBook in a future issue.]
A Good Editor Is Crucial and May Not Be Free
Regarding the experience of the author of "Undercover White
Trash," congratulations on getting a free cover design;
however, with regard to recommending the solicitation of a
proofreader and others to provide their services free of
charge, I'm tempted to trot out the cliche: You get what
you pay for.
FYI, I have seen galley pages from authors who have chosen
to function as their own editors (bad move), and I've heard
of authors utilizing 1stBooks' services without having a
qualified person edit or proofread their books, with
With that in mind, I strongly urge all to-be-published
authors to hire a skilled, caring editor before submitting
their ms. to 1stBooks and to seriously consider whether
someone willing to do the tedious and difficult task for
free should be the quality control manager of their writing
Yours in the interests of great books and fine writing,
Henri A. Forget, freelance editor (mailto:Hforget&aol.com)
1STBOOKS NEWS: BOOKS AT A DISCOUNT
If you're an avid promoter of your book, you can now buy
copies in quantity, and pay less. Discounts range from 40%
to 70%! This, of course, means more money directly in your
pocket because your selling price is the same while the
cost of your product is lower.
To get a complete pricing schedule for your book, please
send an email to:
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