1stNews from 1stBooks
September 3, 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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Advertisement

Chicago-Area 1stBooks Marketing Support Group: Jim Durkin and Sheila Peters will have the next meeting of their group Thursday, September 11 at 7:30 pm, Barnes & Noble, corner of Chicago and Washington Streets in Downtown Naperville, IL. The store's number is (630) 579-0200. This group has been featured in the Naperville Sun and Daily Herald newspapers.


Table of Contents


Editor's Message

It's been a while since our writing-craft article focused on copy editing. I believe that more than anything else, good copy editing can make the difference between a book that people want to read and one that they pass over. Even the best writers need a fresh eye. Good content and good design are definitely part of the equation—but it's the uncaught typos, the twisted sentences, the mixed tenses, and so forth that make a reader put down a book with the feeling that the author can't be trusted. Usually, readers don't even know why they react that way. Don't let it happen to you; follow professional editor Andrea Howe's advice and get your manuscript worked over professionally.

This issue's marketing article is something I wrote at the request of a senior 1stBooks executive about how I've begun to build the marketing campaign for my own newest book. With luck, I'll be able to share with you every once in a while as the book becomes successful. Meanwhile, you'll find a number of techniques I'm using that you can replicate.

And, of course, this issue contains a 1stBooks author success story and several places where you can enter your book, including one where early entry saves you money.

Nothing is in this issue's Seasonal and Topical column. If you have a book that we've not previously listed in this space relating to going back-to-school, the Jewish High Holidays, or the autumn harvest, send me the title, one or two descriptive sentences, and your Book ID number. I'll try to slot you in. Email me at shorowitz@1stbooks.com.

And, last but certainly not least, 1stBooks is proud to announce that on September 23, we're launching our inaugural online writing class! We've partnered with Gotham Writers Workshop, the preeminent writing school in the USA, to bring to our writers the finest on-line program available. 1stBooks recently sat down with the President of GWW, Andre Becker, to talk about our exciting alliance. To read more about this, visit http://www.1stbooks.com/backissues/gotham.html.


How to Take a Self-Published Book from Obscurity to Part of the Culture

By Shel Horowitz, shel@principledprofits.com

Can a self-published book influence the way society thinks about business? I intend to find out. With my newest book, "Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First," I've created an aggressive marketing campaign that I hope will not only sell many copies, but also change the perception of what a successful business means: an antidote to the Enron/Worldcom/Arthur Andersen way of doing things, based on honesty, integrity, and quality, advocating cooperation with competitors, rather than cutthroat market share grabs.

The campaign has many facets, some of which were put into place months ago, and some that are just starting or slated for the next few months. These are a few of the techniques I'm using:

  • Blurbs: Before publication I collected 56 endorsements, including Chicken Soup co-author Jack Canfield, a former US Secretary of Labor, and a number of prominent business owners, authors, and marketing gurus. After publication, I have continued to collect words of praise and regularly add them to the "what others say" page on the book's website.
  • Reviews: So far, the new book has already been reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Foreword Magazine, Midwest Book Review, and several other places. With my previous books, I was able to get reviews and other media coverage even years after publication, so I expect the review list will continue to grow.
  • "Amazon Buy-In Day": Taking a page from 1stBooks author Joe Vitale's bag of tricks, I'm asking several newsletter publishers to ask their readers to buy the book at Amazon.com on Monday, September 15 (for more on Joe's marketing tactic, visit http://www.1stbooks.com/joevitale.html). Unlike Joe, I'm not offering a gazillion bonuses—just a free copy of the electronic edition with live hotlinks. I expect to have this offer in front of at least 200,000 readers and hope to sell 50-100 copies that day, earning forever the title of "bestseller." (The direct link is http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0961466669/globalartstravel)
  • Professional Quality: I hired professionals to get the book designed inside and out, copy-edited, and indexed. That enabled me to get a national distributor who is not ashamed to put my title in front of major book buyers around the country. I write my own press releases, but that's because I write author and publisher press releases for a living.
  • Non-Traditional Book Distribution Channels: In the book, I list other copywriters and many other resources; all of these are potential dealers, and I'm approaching all of them—as well as the 56 pre-publication endorsers. I also hired a special markets consultant who sold 1,000 copies, before publication, to Southwest Airlines. The website offers people a chance to sell the book and earn commissions.
  • Dedicated Website: I registered both http://www.principledprofits.com and http://www.principledprofit.com. Everything on this site is designed to create interest in the book—from readers, resellers, and the media.
  • Media: Over the years, I've been interviewed by hundreds of radio, print, Internet, and TV reporters. I'll be contacting all of them about the new book—and pursuing new opportunities as well.
  • Author Appearances: I've already set up one speech to a business group (for which I'll be paid) and a book release party at a local bookstore. I'm approaching other organizations about talking, and some of these will materialize.

Will it all work? I'll keep you posted!

Marketing consultant and copywriter Shel Horowitz is the author of Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First and Grassroots Marketing: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World." Visit his sites at http://www.principledprofits.com and http://www.frugalmarketing.com.


Sucess Profile: Barry Cohen Gets Paid to Promote His Book

[Editor's Note: I have long been a fan of getting paid to do your own marketing. All of you can be promoting your books through author talks and, after a while, you can even get paid for them. Here's one 1stBooks' author who has a new income stream promoting his book.]

Barry H. Cohen, author of Ten Ways To Screw Up An Ad Campaign (Sept. 2001) [Editor's Note: "2001" isn't a typo. Just because the book is "old" doesn't mean that people don't want to hear about it or that you can't promote it.] just landed his first paid speaking engagement. Barry has addressed numerous business groups with his workshop eventually evolving into the book. New Hope Natural Media, hosts of the Natural Products Expo East, have signed him on to give a workshop at their Washington, D.C. Expo on September 5.

Cohen remarks, "50% of my business volume is in the natural health products field, so it makes sense for me to address this group." His book will be offered for sale at the Expo...plus, he will receive a $500 honorarium.

Read more about Barry's book at http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/7265


News From the Publishing World

2004 Independent Publishers Book Awards (a.k.a. the IPPYs)
Deadline: April 15, 2004
Entry fee: $60 before November 15; $65 November 16-January 15; $70 January 16-April 15, 2004
More details at http://www.independentpublisher.com/ipaward.lasso

ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards
Deadline: January 15, 2004
Entry fee: $50
More details at https://www.forewordmagazine.com/photos/botya2003.pdf

Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards
Deadline: December 15, 2003
Entry fee: $100/1st entry; $50/additional entries
More details at https://www.writersdigest.com/contests/self_published.asp

National Outdoor Book Awards (for titles published between June 1, 2002 and August 28, 2003)
Deadline: August 28, 2003
Entry fee: $65
More details at http://www.isu.edu/outdoor/books/policy.htm


"But My Writing's Fine!" You Still Need an Editor

by Andrea Howe, andrea@bluefalconediting.com

I love to read. It's the best thing in the world. I travel wherever the writer takes me and have a wonderful, scary, or mysterious time...

What's the worst thing that can happen to you while you're immersed in a book—besides your mom calling to tell you to eat better? It's having to read a sentence more than once because it doesn't quite make sense or flow well with the story. Whatever the cause, this can be fixed by a good copy editor.

People, especially those new to this business, don't know what a copy editor is or why they would need such a person. I didn't even know what a copy editor did until I was in college. Simply put, a copy editor makes sure the work is grammatically correct, punctuated properly, and, above all, makes sense. It's not a slight to the author to say that the work needs an editor. Most writers are just too close to their own writing to recognize problems. You get caught up in something that you've written and your brain turns the words into what you expect to see, filling in blanks and transposing letters. That's the way the brain works. An editor is a fresh pair of eyes looking specifically for those mistakes that are easiest to make (e.g., using "to" instead of "too").

"Well, isn't the publisher responsible for hiring someone like that? I mean, it's their book, too." Not necessarily. Although some publishers do have editors working for them, many major houses won't bother to take a book to that stage if it doesn't look good already. They want to know that you care enough about your work to have someone polish it a bit. Sometimes, that's all it needs. Other times, it's a little more intensive.

Perhaps English is your second language. It's easy to confuse colloquialisms and verb tenses. English is not an easy language to learn, even if it is your first. School curricula in the United States don't include basic grammar and spelling the way they used to. I remember spending only two, maybe three, weeks learning how to diagram sentences (identify the parts of speech). My grandparents did that throughout their schooling.

With the invention of the Internet and Email, people are getting lax in their use of proper spelling and grammar, even in their use of shorthand instead of actual words, IYKWIM (if you know what I mean). As society progresses into a true computer age, people are forgetting how to write.

Don't count on your spellcheckers and grammar checkers to catch mistakes. You need someone who speaks and writes the language. The computer's just guessing based on the rules. Hopefully, a good editor knows how to use a serial comma. A good editor understands why the use of "hopefully" in the previous sentence is wrong. (Word's grammar checker didn't find it.)

So, don't forget this vital step in the process. Give your book a chance to succeed.

Andrea Howe is a freelance copy editor and proofreader, and she always welcomes new clients. She can be reached at (714) 937-1480, and her website is http://www.bluefalconediting.com.


Letters

I just received a glowing review from Mr. Warren Thurston at http://www.bogglebooks.com...

Mr. Thurston is an Australian author of children's books and offers no-charge eBook reviews of any fiction genre to authors. Other 1stBooks authors might like to know.

This is SO exciting! 1stBooks DOES make dreams come true! Thank you!

Louise Underdahl, PhD
The Soul of Work: A Quest for the Transcendent
http://www.soulofwork.com
(See the full review at http://www.soulofwork.com/press.html


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