1stNews from 1stBooks, May 21, 2003
1stNews from 1stBooks, May 21, 2003

This newsletter is sent to you on the first and third Wednesdays of every month by 1stBooks, http://www.1stbooks.com

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Table of Contents


Editor's Message

Brian Jud is another of the publishing gurus who has honored us with his wisdom. Brian created a whole industry, beginning with a book on how to find a job, and for the last many years has been helping small publishers with a wide range of creative marketing approaches. The writing article is a back-to-basics piece this time: ten points to improve any piece of writing.

Our regular Success Profile and Seasonal features are back, since the issue is back to normal size—and this issue, we've combined them because the only person who we have a seasonal blurb for is worthy of a success profile as well. (In April, we asked everyone that had submitted an article, Success Profile, or query to the Seasonal and Topical column to re-send them to me at shorowitz@1stbooks.com. If you have not done so, please do it today!) And more places to strut your stuff in the News From the Publishing World section.

Finally, the move to our new headquarters over the weekend went extremely well. Our larger and more state-of-the-art facility is located at:

1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200
Bloomington, IN  47403

Our email addresses, telephone numbers and fax numbers are still the same.


Getting Buzz for Your Book: Three Strategies

By Brian Jud, brianjud@attbi.com

Word-of-mouth "buzz" may be the most productive way to spread the word about your titles—and it doesn't cost anything. You can get people to talk about them constructively through the copy on your book's back cover, your publicity and the Internet.

Promote Through Your Back Cover Copy
Use your cover copy to establish kinship with your readers. Jay Saffarzadeh did this when, on his book Introduction to Email and the Internet. He changed the subtitle from "For those of you who are inexperienced..." to "For those of us..." By changing "you" to "us," he affiliated with the reader.

Testimonials on your back cover can also work in your favor, and some people can start the buzz more easily than others. Try to get an authority—a person who has demonstrated greater knowledge on a topic than the average consumer. Also, celebrities generate positive response because of their prominence in another field. And connoisseurs have excellent credibility because of their authentic but nonprofessional opinion of the title or topic.

Similarly, someone with a shared interest brings similar, credible significance to the topic. An expectant mother singing the praises of your book about pregnancy or the criminal investigator endorsing your murder mystery fit in this category. They are not experts, but are everyday people who have read the book and deem it interesting and informative.

Promote Through Your Press Releases
One way to stimulate positive communication in your press releases is to give proof through your words and actions that you have your customers' best interests in mind. For example, avoid the sense of urgency in your publicity. Shun terms such as, "buy now or lose this offer forever." Yet, still make your message exciting, helpful and informative.

Use the "shock-of-difference" approach; describe your title from a different, more compelling angle or offer a challenge (Can You Pass This Memory Test?). Or advise the reader NOT to buy something (Don't Buy Car Insurance Until You Have Read All These Facts). Finally, involve the reader by using verbal play such as a sequence of words or sounds that provokes repetition through rhythm or alliteration.

Promote on the Internet
Perhaps the fastest way to stimulate word-of-mouth communication is over the Internet. First, actively participate in online discussion groups, but remember that most of them frown upon tactless commercialism. Instead, simply steer the discussions to your topic, reply to every question related to your topic and include a descriptive signature with a link to your website.

Secondly, encourage "word-of-mouse" referrals through the design of your website. Create a site that is educational, simply designed, fast to load and easy to use. Provide better service, more timely information and advice so visitors can find answers to their questions. Give visitors inside information—something new and unique—and tell them to pass it on to others. Also, suggest that people bookmark your site so they form the habit of returning to it—but avoid focusing your entire strategy on repeat visitors. Even with the best of intentions, your visitors may not return.

Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant and creator of the Book Marketing Battle Plans (for special markets). Contact Brian at P. O. Box 715, Avon, CT 06001; (800) 562-4357; or visit http://www.bookmarketingworks.com


News From the Publishing World

1) Cincinnati Celtic Music & Cultural Festival Contest - $100 awards each for unpublished poetry, short story, and one-act play on Celtic themes. Deadline: June 2. http://home.fuse.net/cfl/writers-contest.html

2) 2003 Barbara Mandigo Kelly Peace Poetry Awards - $1000 adult prize, two $200 youth prizes, unpublished, original poems in English. Deadline: July 1. "To encourage poets to explore and illuminate positive visions of peace and the human spirit." http://www.wagingpeace.org/new/programs/awardscontests/bmk/BMK_2003_rules.htm

3) The annual Police Writers conference sponsored by the Police Writers Association will be held in Indianapolis August 15-17. Meet with police officers who are authors and those who write about law enforcement from across the country. Great speakers, workshops, networking. For more information or to register, visit http://www.policewriter.com/Conference/details.htm.

4) Donard Publishing Short Story Competition, no entry fee, winners based on who receives the most votes. Deadline: June 20. http://www.donardpublishing.com/story03.html

5) Ebony Farashuu won Honorable Mention in the Poetry category for The Sistah Circle Book Club's Self-Published African American Authors Awards, for her debut collection, "Butterfly Kisses: Poetry For The Many Faces Of Love." http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/13623

6) Chicago-Area 1stBooks Marketing Support Group - Jim Durkin and Sheila Peters will have the third meeting of their group Thursday, June 5 at 7:30 pm, Barnes & Noble, corner of Chicago and Washington Streets in Downtown Naperville. The store's number is (630) 579-0200.


10 Secrets For Writing Success

Copyright © 2003, Shaun Fawcett, shaun@writinghelptools.com

1. Preparation Is the Key
Do all of your research before you start to write. Even a letter might require some calls or reviewing a file. Prepare yourself mentally before writing. So, don't sit down to write too soon; mull it over for a day or two—or an hour or two. Let your subconscious mind work on the problem, and when you finally do start writing, it will flow.

2. Always Use a Sample
I always find some previous work or a sample of work similar to what I'm doing. It really stimulates the creative writing process and increases productivity significantly. If I'm writing a letter, I post a copy of a similar letter, or the one I'm responding to, in my direct line-of-sight. It helps me focus and keeps my mind on the subject at hand, minimizing the tendency for my mind to wander.

3. Do the Outline First
Jot down a few quick notes on the main points that you want to cover. This process forces you to think logically and choose a chapter order.

4. Shorter Is Always Better
Look for ways to cut the length. Cut anything that does not enhance the core message or add value.

5. Use Concise and Appropriate Language
Your book should use simple and straightforward language for clarity and precision. Use short sentences and don't let paragraphs exceed three or four sentences. As much as possible, use non-technical language. Explain any technical terms or acronyms.

6. "Be" Your Addressee
Clearly visualize your audience. Imagine the specific reader. I often imagine that I am sitting across the boardroom table, trying to explain my points in person. Try to see the situation from the reader's perspective: What would you look for?

7. Write, Then Rewrite
No matter how much preparation I do, I can improve on the first draft. When I'm writing that first version, my main focus is to get the essence down on paper. At that stage I don't worry about perfect phrasing, grammar or logic. I want to capture the critical words and phrases that form my core meaning.

8. Format Is Important
Make sure your book looks professional. Your credibility is on the line; your book is your representative. If it is not professionally formatted, it will reflect negatively on you, even if the content is good and it is well-written.

9. Read It Out Loud
Some people who haven't tried it may laugh when they read this, but it really works. At any point during the drafting process, but definitely at the final draft stage, read your work out loud. You'll pick up awkward phrasing and unnecessary repetition of words or terms.

10. Review Spelling and Grammar
Last, but far from least, double-check the spelling and grammar in your document. If your book is riddled with spelling mistakes and obvious grammatical errors, it will appear unprofessional and your credibility will suffer. Watch out for homonyms such as "four" and "fore."

Shaun Fawcett is webmaster of several writing help websites containing tips, tricks and tools to help people with their everyday home and business writing. You can pick-up his latest eBoo,k Writing Success Secrets, (13,000 words and 56 pages of detailed tips, tricks and pointers) at no charge by visiting http://www.writinghelptools.com/sga.html


Seasonal and Topical/Success Profile

Event: American Cancer Society Relays for Life (held throughout the US in late May and June)
Book: Miracle Lady on 6th Floor by Ruth E. Foat
URL: http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/9558

Ruth has also been actively promoting her book:

  • Speaking to numerous ACS chapters, church and community groups
  • Keynoting the Relay for Life in Mason City, Iowa—and coordinating the event's book table
  • Receiving publicity in two cancer publications and a general-interest magazine


News From 1stBooks

Extended Book Order Hours
You can now reach our Book Order Department Monday through Friday, 9 am to 9 pm CST via the book order hotline at (888) 280-7715. These extended hours will facilitate more orders from West Coast authors, customers and bookstores. We know our authors are busy people—working, promoting and selling their books. Our commitment is to provide them all the tools they need to continue to be successful in promoting and marketing their book. The extended hours have been in effect for the past month and have been quite successful, so tell your friends, family, retailers and place your orders today!

Welcome, Neal Goff
Publishing industry veteran Neal Goff, who has held senior positions at Scholastic, Bertelsmann, Prentice-Hall, Time and R.R. Donnelley (a major book printer), has joined the 1stBooks Board of Directors. His wide-ranging expertise in publishing and printing will be a strong asset, and we extend our warmest welcome. For more on Neal, please visit http://www.1stbooks.com/misc/nealgoff.html

About Our New Format
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About 1stBooks

Since 1997, 1stBooks has helped thousands of authors become published. We offer you complete control over every aspect of the publishing process while working with you to produce your manuscript in paperback and/or hardcover formats. Because we print books only as they are ordered using print-on-demand (POD) technology, neither you nor we have to invest lots of cash in unsold inventory. This, in turn, allows us to provide very affordable and prompt services. Visit http://www.1stbooks.com/getpublished/1stnews.html to request our free publishing guide.

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1stNews from 1stBooks was created to provide useful information for authors, especially those new to the publishing process. Sent the first and third Wednesdays of the month, we cover book marketing, POD production, writing, and related issues.

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