1stNews from 1stBooks, June 5, 2002
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
* Editor's Message
* Article: "Online PR: The Key to Growing Your Book Sales"
* 1stBooks Success Profile: Phil Young, Media Whirlwind
* Article: "Organize Your Nonfiction Book in 10 Easy Steps"
* 1stBooks News: 1stBooks Author Wins SPA Award
* About 1stBooks Library
* About This Newsletter
Welcome to our eighth issue. This issue's articles really
don't need an introduction, but I do have two quick favors
to ask of you:
First, this is the email address where you're receiving this
Is this the best email to reach you? If it is, do nothing.
If it isn't the best email to reach you, email
the address where you currently receive this newsletter and
address where you would prefer to receive this newsletter.
Secondly, what's the primary reason you want to publish with
us (or, if you're already a 1stBooks author, what was the
primary reason you've already published with us?)?
1. Economical way to get published
2. Fast way to get published
3. Promotions and marketing support
4. Ability to tailor book to my needs
5. Personal contacts
6. Price of book
7. Author payment percentages
Email your primary reason to
Online PR: The Key to Growing Your Book Sales
(c) 2002 by Timothy P. Bete,
The Internet can help set you apart from other authors, sell
books, and become seen as a top producer in your field.
Online promotion techniques aren't complicated, although
they do take some time on your part. The best part is that
online promotion is inexpensive and effective. I used online
PR techniques to help a national nonprofit sell more than
5,000 copies of a book it published--in only three months.
* Brand Your Name by Creating a Website
The first step to online promotion is branding your name by
creating your own website. It doesn't have to be complicated
or expensive. Most of your online publicity will drive
people to your website so they can buy your book. Having
your own website is the easiest, cheapest way to create a
national and even international image for yourself--without
being published in national and international print
Since you are your product, consider using your name as your
website address (e.g., http://www.yourname.com). Your
website should be simple and include basic information, such
as your bio, reader comments, where you've been published,
editor comments, writing samples, contact information and
where to purchase your book. [Editor's Note: If available,
you may also want to get the domains for your book title
and/or subject; they can all "point" to the same website.]
If you're selling your book through an online bookstore,
check into its affiliate program. Amazon.com, BN.com, or
BookSense.com will give you a percentage of the sales from
customers who come from your website.
* Get Email Subscribers
If you write a regular column or articles, getting
subscribers can be a key success factor for your book. I use
Yahoo! Groups to allow readers to subscribe to my parenting
humor column. Yahoo! is a free service that allows readers
to subscribe by sending a blank email message to my account.
People who read your work regularly are your best potential
book customers. Each time I post a new column on my website,
I send a message to my 1,750 subscribers. I know one author
who had 40,000 email subscribers to his column. His huge
online readership helped convince a publisher to take on a
book he wrote. The publisher figured on selling the book to
many of those readers with virtually no promotion expense.
* Drive People to Your Website
But how do you get readers to visit your website? First, put
your website address everywhere. Promote your website on
your business card, in the signature line of your email, in
your article bylines, in letters, and especially in articles
you write for other websites. Then, use various sources on
the Internet to drive people to your website.
The first is Usenet, an informal news service. It contains
more than 40,000 individual news groups on every topic from
aviation to yoga. Many of these groups have thousands of
readers, who are dying to read your material. In most cases,
anyone can post messages in these groups. You can tell
thousands of people about your book (as long as you stay on
topic when posting).
With Usenet, you have to visit the website to read posts.
Conversely, with Internet mailing lists and e-newsletters
(also known as e-zines, e-mags, or email newsletters), posts
are emailed to users. There are thousands of different e-
newsletters and several places you can search them.
Two of the biggest are Yahoo! Groups and Topica. Combined,
they have more than one million lists that can be searched
by topic. If you join a group, you can post to it or at
least submit information to the editor.
New-List is a series of mailing lists segmented by category;
you receive notification when new email lists are created.
It has more than 15,000 subscribers and hundreds of topic
areas. It's a great place to find newsletters within your
When you come across a list that looks appropriate, email
the editor or moderator, telling them about your book. When
I do this to promote my humor column, I typically get a 30
to 50 percent response rate--editors who are willing to
mention my column. I recently got my column mentioned in an
e-newsletter that has 100,000 subscribers. My website
traffic went through the roof!
When it comes to the details of online publicity and
marketing, I highly recommend Steve O'Keefe's book,
"Complete Guide to Internet Publicity." Steve provides all
the technical know-how to do all the things I've mentioned
Websites Mentioned in This Article:
"Complete Guide to Internet Publicity" by Steve O'Keefe
Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop
Tim Bete's award-winning humor column
Yahoo! Groups: http://groups.yahoo.com
Tim Bete is co-director of Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop,
an award-winning humor columnist and e-marketing manager at
the University of Dayton.
1STBOOKS SUCCESS PROFILE: PHIL YOUNG, MEDIA WHIRLWIND
Phil Young, author of "Golf for the People: Bethpage and the
Black," is a non-stop self-promotion machine! If we listed
all of his book promotion efforts here, it would fill the
entire newsletter, so we'll just give you a few of his
highlights from the last two months:
* Cover story in Newsday's issue featuring the U.S. Open
* High-level contacts with both The Today Show (NBC) and The
Early Show (CBS)
* Coverage in USA Today's golf column and the possibility of
hosting an online chat for them
* Several major radio interviews, including two that are
syndicated on more than 1000 stations
Whew! Hey, Phil--maybe your next book should be on how to
get major media attention! Our hats are off to you! See
Phil's book at http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/10096
Organize Your Nonfiction Book in 10 Easy Steps
by Patricia L. Fry, mailto:PLFry&aol.com
Are you overwhelmed by the idea of putting your story down
on paper? Here's a guide to help you actually write that
1. Come up with a good idea. Have knowledge of and passion
for your subject because it's going to be a part of your
life for as long as you have books to sell.
I recently asked a first-time author how his book was doing.
He grimaced and said, "I'm afraid I'm kind of burned out on
that book." He had chosen a subject based on what he thought
would sell and not something that excited him. After three
years of writing and rewriting and another year of trying to
market his book, he had lost interest.
2. Identify your audience. Who are you writing for? Avoid
focusing so narrowly that you eliminate readers and so
widely that the book can't be pigeonholed. For example, if I
had limited my book on book marketing to just true crime or
just poetry, my audience would have diminished considerably.
Yet, if I had written about marketing rather than book
marketing, I would have lost touch with my audience.
3. Gather material and contact experts. The research process
will show you if you have enough information to justify an
entire book and give you a jumpstart on compiling your book.
4. Get organized. Store research material and contact
information in file folders according to topic or possible
chapters. I spent five years conducting research for my 360-
page local history book. I established one large file drawer
for the book and labeled file folders by topic (pioneer
families, early businesses, annual events, law and order,
first church, etc.). When it came time to write the book, my
chapters practically fell into place.
5. Discipline yourself to write the book. Procrastination
has halted or delayed many a great book. It isn't easy to
add an activity as intense and time-consuming as writing a
book. If this is your dream, be prepared to make some
sacrifices. I once wrote a book in 8 months while working
full-time. I woke up at 4 every morning and wrote for 2
hours before work. I also wrote on weekends.
6. Develop a book proposal. This is a big job, and a crucial
first step--even if you self-publish. A book proposal will
reveal whether you have the makings of a book. Can you
describe your book adequately in one or two paragraphs? Can
you create a detailed chapter outline? Have you thought
about how this book will be marketed? How it stands above
competing titles? For help in writing a book proposal refer
to "The Author's Toolkit" by Mary Embree or "Write the
Perfect Book Proposal" by Herman and Adams.
7. Write badly. While a book always needs a beginning,
middle, and end, you can write the chapters in any order.
Start wherever you feel comfortable and just let your words
flow. Go back to correct and adjust later. And don't be
concerned if it takes you a few hours and several pages
before you've written something you actually like. Just keep
writing and the magic will happen.
8. Edit, edit, and edit. Then, hire someone to edit some
more. Even professional, well-read authors need fresh eyes
to view their work before it's ready for the public.
9. Create a marketing plan. Even before writing your book,
you should be thinking about marketing--whether you self-
publish or locate a traditional publisher. In my book, "Over
75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book," I offer criteria for
making your book a salable item. That's step #1 in
establishing your marketing plan. [Editor's Note: I suggest
reading Joe Vitale's article "A New Way to Evaluate the
Marketing Potential of Your Book -- Before You Print It" at
Secondly, know what you're getting into. Marketing a book is
intense work that can demand several years of your time.
Read books about book marketing before committing pen to
paper or fingers to keyboard.
Most new authors expect to see their wonderful book jumping
off the shelves in mega-bookstores nationwide. But
bookstores aren't necessarily the best place to sell your
books. Marketing a book these days takes research and
10. Decide whether to self publish or find a traditional
publisher. Read "Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual" (Para
Publishing). Talk to other authors. SPAWN (Small Publishers,
Artists, and Writers Network) has an online forum where
members can exchange information and ideas with other
members. Visit it at http://www.spawn.org
Many authors today order just a few copies of their books
from a print-on-demand company such as 1stBooks instead of
ordering thousands of copies. I know an elderly former
school teacher and world traveler who wrote a 500+ page
autobiography just to leave a printed legacy for her loved
ones. She had 100 copies printed and gave them all away to
friends and family.
As you can see, there's more to becoming a published author
than just writing your story. Follow these steps and you
too, will live your dream.
Patricia Fry is the author of 12 nonfiction books including,
"A Writer's Guide to Magazine Articles for Book Promotion
and Profit," "Over 75 Good Ideas for Marketing Your Book,"
and "The Successful Writer's Handbook." Visit her at
1STBOOKS NEWS: 1STBOOKS AUTHOR WINS SACRAMENTO PUBLISHERS
Congratulations to Gordon Riess, whose book, "From Communism
to Capitalism" (http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/5453), won
the SPA's Best Autobiography Book Award.
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