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New Year, New Writing Schedule

December 31st, 2013 . by Peggy

Is 2014 the year you write your eBook?Is 2014 the year you really want to get that book written?

Whether it’s a breakout novel, a business book to help your company or build your profile, or just a creative explosion, 2014 can really be your year. I’m totally revising my newsletters into a once-a-month inspiration email that will give you all sorts of reasons to keep writing. It’s a like writing class that you don’t pay for!

Each month will include:

  • Downloadable writing calendars and writing schedule mini-poster for your wall
  • Punctuation mark of the month, including usage tips and examples
  • Monthly themes and writing prompts
  • Writer’s Wrecipes – my personal collection of brain-and-heart-feeding soul food
  • Writing contests and events worth knowing about
  • Recent Kindle stats and top sellers
  • Client Spotlights including cool real-world secrets to share with you
  • Tech tips to solve marketing and publishing problems we all experience
  • Monthly specials on products and templates to make your writing easier, cheaper, and more enjoyable

Be sure you’re signed up! Click here to sign up if you haven’t already: http://eepurl.com/jQ-lf

I’m on a mission of my own in 2014

… to finally get that historical novel of mine written and out there! I’ve spent over a decade working on various non-fiction projects and a few novels that are frankly, not that hot. :) Although I’m a trained technical writer and researcher, I’ve never studied how to create fiction. But this book is special – I’ve had it in my bottom drawer and in that dusty corner of a hard drive for years. I’m sick of fantasizing about it – I want to experience the writing of it! I’ll share my own writing trials and successes as we move through the year. I’ll tell you frankly what works for me, and what doesn’t.

I’m also giving myself permission to fail on this project, which is a very uncomfortable step for me. I’m not happy when I make mistakes, but I recognize that as a serious character flaw, and I want to work on it. If you have tips for me, I welcome them!

Let’s spend 2014 working together, inspiring each other, and getting books DONE!

Again, be sure you’re signed up for the monthly newsletter list by clicking here: http://eepurl.com/jQ-lf

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Paulo Coelho on Writing and Procrastination

November 25th, 2013 . by Peggy


You’re not the only one with a problem to do with writing and procrastination. Just start, says Paulo Coelho.

This short video not only shares the author’s feelings about the problem all writers face, but contains a really cool book trailer from Germany about his latest work, Aleph.

In case you’re not familiar with Coelho, he is the Brazilian author of The Alchemist, the story of the shepherd who travels to Egypt to pursue his “Personal Legend”. It is from this book that comes the now very popular concept of the universe working in mysterious ways to help you achieve your greatest desire. Coelho is known for writing regularly, now authoring over 30 books, although he had a rocky start. Yes, this man knows about procrastination – he had at least one failed career and had been living as a counter-culture type (Can we say hippie?) for some time before settling down to do what he had always known he should do – become one of the world’s best-known novelists.

I found it particularly interesting that Paulo acknowledges the distractions of social media. Perhaps this comes from his uphill fight to market his books to the international success he now experiences. He’s no wimp – he knows that you not only need to write, but to think about the business of writing. He has used video contests on Facebook to help market his books, tweets regularly, and has an active volunteer life around social change issues. He’s also known for his approach to open-source content, and yes, he writes up to three blog posts a week. (Sound familiar? I’m not the only one who keeps saying this!)

This is the 4th video is a series. The others can be viewed on Coelho’s blog, http://paulocoelhoblog.com/.

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Author Bullying – A Scary New Trend?

May 1st, 2013 . by Peggy

Are you an author who has been bullied? Write to me in confidence about your experience, via email at peggy@wizardofebooks.com.

I was thrilled when I recently found out that a friend’s daughter had found time to write a long trilogy of fantasy novels. In between raising her four young children, she has written a beautiful series, with all the high drama and symbolism that I think will make her work stand the test of time.

But only yesterday, I received a request from my friend, the author’s mom, to please go like her Facebook page “to make her feel better”. Apparently, she had recently encountered some people who were giving her a really hard time about a variety of things related to her book: her choice to self-publish, criticizing the covers (for which she hired a professional book cover designer), and various other aspects of the book business she has decided to start. We’re not talking about critique of her writing, the sort of constructive help that authors need to improve, but just hard-core bashing.

“Why are you wasting time on this?” *

“Nobody is ever going to buy it.” *

“You’re so full of yourself.” *

It took me many years to distinguish between proper criticism, which builds an author’s skills and confidence, and just plain bullying, which does nothing but tear down the fragile hope of any small business owner. Constructive criticism should leave the artist with a feeling of direction: they now know what to do to make it better. Bullying is just the opposite. You’ll know it by its familiar feeling: the childish playground jabs that come from a place of fear and lack of personal confidence on the part of the deliverer. It turns out that all the grownups that tell you to just ignore that were right – but because that’s almost impossible to do, we all let it get to us on some level or another.

Several times, I’ve witnessed author bullying take place in person, for example, at a recent coffee shop meeting with a client. Our server came by our table to ask if we needed anything else. When we responded with a “No, thank you.” He could be heard sniping to the other server at the counter, “Oh god – another fake author.”

Incidents on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media are more common, possibly because the sniper is somewhat  distanced from the artist. Some recent tweets I found included language like this “… more stinking advice from a self-publishing expert…”, “The proliferation of self-publishing has meant a bumper crop of terrible book covers…”, “… yet another writer who couldn’t get an agent and decides to make a bad book at home.”

The worst one I witnessed myself was at a dinner a year or so ago, where the guest speaker was a self-published author of several mystery novels. He had been making the tour of the country for months, promoting the books by doing talks at writer’s groups and libraries, forming relationships with small bookstores across the country, and selling his way through the trip of a lifetime. The talk that night was widely advertised as “mystery author” etc. etc., and even though I knew he was self-pubbed, he was not mentioning that in the marketing. I quickly found out why. After his lovely talk, and the gift of three books for those who could answer his trivia questions, he offered to take questions from the audience. One woman stood up and asked him, “Is it true that you self-published these books yourself, including the cover artwork?” “Why yes, it is!” he proudly answered. The woman stood up, grabbed her sweater off the chair, and as she left the room, could be heard to be grouching, “I came here tonight to hear from a REAL author, not some guy making books in his basement.”

Wow. I looked at her as she passed me on the way to the door, and I lightly asked her, “Where’s YOUR book?” To which some of those around me chuckled. She gave me a nasty look and bolted for the parking lot, without paying for her drinks – at least, as far as I could tell.

I think many authors hear this sort of story regularly, but don’t talk about it, perhaps to avoid giving it any more energy than they have to. However, I believe that bullies need to be confronted with their actions to stop. They need to be told that just like kicking kids on the playground isn’t tolerated, this type of behavior is unprofessional and will not be tolerated in the literary community. You will be branded.

Local Author Joan Burge, (of OfficeDynamics.com) who has self-published over a dozen books, recommends surrounding yourself only with positive people who will help you achieve your goals – not lose faith in them.

She suggests…

“Involve Others. Get others involved in your goal. Share your dream with a friend, family member, peer, or professional associate. Caution: if they are not supportive but instead share their fears and doubts, then limit your conversations with them regarding your goals.

Seek Guidance. Ask others who know about your plan to recommend resources or people contacts. Solicit feedback about your ideas and plans.

Use Mentors. Find people who have done what you want to do, or have what you want to have. Tell them you admire their accomplishments and ask for ideas. Ask them how they overcame barriers. Mentors can help you think out solutions to problems.”

Are you an author who has been bullied? Write to me in confidence about your experience, via email at peggy@wizardofebooks.com.

* These are direct quotes told to me by authors who have personally experienced author bashing.

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My New Year’s Resolution? Write LESS.

January 29th, 2013 . by Peggy

 

Write LESS Be Better - in 2013, I'm actually planning to write and blog less, but better quality.bThink about it: how do we get into trouble every year? We over-commit: 1000 Words a day for every day of the year! 6 new books! 16 blog posts each month! And it’s all supposed to be brilliant.

NOT.

Writing less means that each time you sit down to write, you’re not doing it because you’re compelled to do so. You write when you’re inspired, and only then. And, if you stop before you have exhausted yourself, there’s something left for next time. There’s still water in the well.

I don’t know about you, but I’d guess that 90% of what I write is crap. This year, I’m trying to leave more of that in my head, and just get the 10% out that actually matters.

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Top Kindle Indie Authors Worth Following

July 31st, 2012 . by Peggy

As a followup to my blog post for VivMag.com, about why women over 30 write better eBooks, here’s a list of the top female indie Authors worth following on Twitter, and definitely worth reading.

I was fascinated with how each of these women market themselves. Some have many books, others have very few. Some are wild about Twitter, and some are not. They use tools like video and podcasting to help get their eBooks out there. Their pricing is all over the map. And if you follow each of them carefully, you’ll learn more about their writing style, their attitudes about their business, and how that plays into their success.

In no particular order…

EL James

( https://twitter.com/E_L_James/)

- Fifty Shades of Grey

- Fifty Shades Darker

- Fifty Shades Freed

Karen McQuestion

(https://twitter.com/KarenMcQuestion)

- The Long Way Home

- A Scattered Life

- Easily Amused

Click here to see all of Karen McQuestion’s Kindle eBooks

Ruth Cardello

 (https://twitter.com/ruthiecardello)

- Maid for the Billionaire

- For Love or Legacy

- Bedding the Billionaire

Jamie McGuire

(https://twitter.com/jamiemcguire_)

- Beautiful Disaster

- Providence

- Requiem

Click here to see all of Jamie McGuire’s Kindle eBooks.

 

Tammara Webber

(https://twitter.com/TammaraWebber)

- Easy

- Where You Are

- Good For You

 

Colleen Hoover

 (https://twitter.com/colleenhoover)

- Slammed

- Point of Retreat

 

Zoe Winters

 (https://twitter.com/zoewinters)

- Blood Lust

- Save My Soul

- The Catalyst

 

Erin Kern

 (https://twitter.com/erinkern04)

- Here Comes Trouble

- Looking For Trouble

 

CJ Lyons

 (https://twitter.com/cjlyonswriter)

- Nerves of Steel

- Sleight of Hand

- Face to Face

Click here to see all of CJ Lyons’ Kindle eBooks.

 

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10 Things to Know Before You Write an eBook

July 25th, 2012 . by Peggy

My number one question of all time is, “How do I start writing an eBook?” Here are my top 10 recommendations.

1. Don’t buy any software or services.

Part of the reason I do what I do is to demonstrate to Authors that they really, really can do this all by themselves. As you’ll see as you get to know me, the approach I recommend is actually very simple. Besides, one of the biggest concerns you should have as you build your eBook business is to avoid creating dependencies. In the eBook business, those who build on a foundation of frugality are the ones that win in the long run. The only exceptions are an editor (non-negotiable, in my view), possibly a tech like me, and possibly a graphic designer for your cover. Otherwise, any halfway tech-savvy marketer really can do this from their kitchen table.

2. Start writing in a basic word-processor.

This is not the time to try to learn anything new. Your focus needs to be creating spectacular content. Avoid the distraction of fancy software by using something with which you’re already familiar. For most writers, that’s still MS Word. My fave happens to be OpenOffice, which is – you guessed it – FREE. It looks a lot like MS Word, and in fact, can open, edit, and save files right back to the MS Word .doc format. Just don’t go out and buy a new computer or think that you need to upgrade. Ironically, I actually spend more time for my eBook clients stripping out the hidden codes and back-end gunk from fancy software, than designing the actual eBook itself. I really do. And it’s a pain. Use what you already have and things will turn out much better in the end.

3. Don’t forget to do your research.

Before you move much farther past the beginning of your outline, be sure that you do some basic keyword research. This is how you find out if the book is even worth writing, because if there isn’t a market for it, why write it? Or, can it be tweaked into something that is marketable? Can you discover an opportunity that you didn’t know existed? Is the idea ahead of it’s time? Behind the times? Right at exactly the right time? I find that in about two hours of some basic – and fun – research, I can learn more than I could ten years ago in 6 weeks of work.

4. Don’t lose momentum.

When that muse appears, RIDE HER, ride her HARD, into the sunset. Your family’s opinion of your late-night writing sessions shouldn’t be allowed to phase you. So what if you drink a little more coffee or eat a few popsicles: just get ‘er done. If you’re in the mood to write, drop everything else. Don’t ignore inspriation, or you’ll bore of it quickly, and then it will never get written. (That boredom is the number ONE stumbling block I see in clients.)

5. Involve yourself in the book’s community.

By this I mean that if you’re writing a steampunk novel, by all means, join a steampunk society and go to the meetings. Business books mean getting out to networking meetings, and setting yourself up for speaking gigs. Poker books mean you should be playing daily, as part of some sort of group. Think of yourself as sitting in the center of a massive web. Look for opportunities to expand beyond your local geographic area, such as joining organizations that have expansion chapters, like Rotary clubs. And that’s just the (so-called) “real world”. Be certain that everyone in the online community related to your topic knows who you are. This is where social media comes in, as a way to easily integrate yourself and let people know about you. Very importantly, you should buy an eBook that is grounded in your community, perhaps the most well-known, and read it in the format in which you think you will publish. (Ie., if you’re aiming for a Kindle eBook, buy a Kindle version and read it that way, to familiarize yourself with the format. It’s surprising how many Authors come to me for help, yet they’ve never bought or read an eBook themselves.)

6. Buy the domain name, and secure social media ID’s in the name of your eBook.

If you haven’t hear me say this before, you need to buy the exact domain name of your eBook’s title. If the .com isn’t available, re-title the book. Setup a basic WordPress blog at that location and start making regular entries as you write, to build traffic to your site. Even if you never plan to write a single blog post or post a single tweet, at least buy or reserve the title, and your Author name, so that nobody else gets them, as yes, people will look for you by your Author name, the title of the eBook, and under any pseudonyms you have.

7. Start building an eMail list.

Please do NOT simply add people to your email program’s personal address book. Besides the fact that this doesn’t work, it happens to be illegal. (I’ll shortly have a revised version of my Cheat Sheet about this topic, which will explain all of this in detail.) Instead, use a free or low-cost account at MailChimp, aWeber, 1ShoppingCart, or even ConstantContact.com to manage this. It not only allows you to build a legal double-opt-in list, but also to offer things like free stuff when people sign up, and have really attractive-looking templates for your content. List-building will become a permanent, ongoing activity in your business. The sooner you start, the better.

8. Design the cover.

This might sound premature, but actually, it’s quite important. The sooner you can start talking about your upcoming eBook, the better. You’ll need to put an image of the cover on an information page on your blog, perhaps on your business cards, and of course, on social media. I have also printed out poster-size versions of it and put it on my vision board to inspire me to get it done more quickly. Or to brag.

9. Start looking for an editor.

You may need one of any of a variety of types of editing, from style and content editing, to simple copy editing, which is really mostly grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. The earlier you can form a relationship with this person, the better. As I said above, it’s a non-negotiable. The book must be edited at some point, and it’s probably a lot less expensive than you think. Objectivity is key – do NOT hire a friend or a family member. Besides ensuring basic writing ability, ignore any degrees on the wall. The most important thing about this editor is that you trust them. If you don’t, find someone else.

10. Write a proper marketing plan.

I don’t mean a series of unrealized ideas, but an actual written plan. I don’t mean a business plan, either, but a very specific marketing plan. And no, this doesn’t need to be more than a page. It must simply be concrete. (Concrete does not mean inflexible, by the way.) I use MindMeister.com, which is actually a mind-mapping tool, to create what ends up looking more like an infographic than a marketing plan. This allows me to change it when needed, and I can block out specific tasks that I need to complete in a certain order to make things move along. It also looks pretty darn sexy when printed out and posted on the wall.

While this is obviously not an exhaustive list, I think it covers the most important points. You’ll note that most of this is about setting up marketing tools for down the road, not actually about the writing. This surprises most of my clients that I don’t tell them how to write, or that I don’t start talking about how to use formatting for the manuscript. This is because all of that is secondary to your ability to sell it. Anything in the formatting can be fixed, modified, or more likely, is inconsequential anyway. What I want most for you is to realize the benefit of making these strategic choices up-front.

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5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before I Wrote My First eBook

July 2nd, 2012 . by Peggy

I’m about to complete my part in eBook number 170. Here’s what I wish I’d known before I started this journey.

1. You will need to write much more than you thought.

Alice might be in Wonderland - but she's not in over her head.

I knew that I’d probably want to write more than just one eBook, in fact, I could imagine dozens that I wanted to create, but deep in my heart, I didn’t really think I’d get to be part of this many. While I’ve certainly not created all 170 alone (about 1/3 of them I did alone – the rest were collaborative efforts with some incredible people) from that first one, I gave myself permission to not do it if I didn’t feel like it. That was not realistic. It was also not professional. I recently said to someone who had just gotten through number 1, “That’s great – now do 7-10 more by the end of the summer.” She was not enthused.

The reality is that eBook success is exponential. This is a volume business. While each item that you create might be a wonderful success, it might also be a horrible failure. Long-term success depends on producing timeless content with a long life span, and creating enough content that you’re known for a body of work rather than one or two products. Besides, a pattern is easy to replicate – only the first eBook is a learning experience.

2. You must be committed to your niche.

Over and freakingover again, I say, know your keywords.

The most expensive part of any business is customer acquisition. (Aka, sales.) Once you get a client under your wing, it’s much cheaper to sell more of the same sort of stuff to the same person, than it is to get new customers. That means that you really need to know your audience, and their needs, from day 1. This is most easily discovered through keyword research. Then your job becomes very simple: just create more of that which your niche desires. Otherwise, you find yourself constantly in a state of experimentation and newness. Your niche is your reader family. Take them unto your bosom. They are actually pretty easy to feed – if they want spaghetti every night, then for heaven’s sake, give it to them.

It took me a few years to get really good at doing keyword research. In the meantime, I did a lot of guessing, and wrote a lot of lovely content that didn’t sell. Spare thyself this agony. I’ve shared the basics here in this free eBook: Keyword Cheat Sheet, now in version 4.2. Costs you nothing to both download and use.

Don’t forget you can also serve multiple niches. I write under 11 different pseudonyms (some for clients, and confidential) and each of those serves a completely different niche. I’m sure there’s crossover, but a pseudonym is like a sign that says to readers, “Hey, remember that stuff you liked? There more of it right here.”

3. The money is in affiliate marketing.

While it’s true that things like SEO and social media are extremely important, affiliate marketing allows me to leverage the networks of others. (I had heard that expression for years before I knew what they were talking about.) By making small payouts for each referral, and making it easily trackable, it means that if I just focus on creating really great stuff, I can make other people confident in recommending it.

Affiliate marketing is a fairly broad term that has a number of different meanings, but essentially, eBookers can use it to track payouts to others who help them sell more books. There is no limit to the number of affiliates you can have, or how creative you can get with it. Watch for more help with this topic from me in coming months, in things like classes and eBooks.

4. It can be extremely boring.

I admit there have been days when I feel like if I spend one more minute looking at a monitor, I’ll claw my own eyes out. To top it off, for a little over 5 years, I worked from home in a beautiful but isolated area, a small gulf island off the west coast of Canada. This meant that if it weren’t for the dog, there were days when I wouldn’t open my front door. If I were to do it again, I’d make sure that I worked in a shared office space of some kind, like I do now, and networked in the real world more, like I do now, and lived in a city or more populated area, like I do now, in Las Vegas.

Besides the lifestyle issues, I now know it wasn’t good for my writing. Isolation is often seen as a requirement of Authors, and while I’ve seen the benefits of that sometimes, I can now see that I lacked objectivity about my business in general, and certainly about writing. It definitely makes for better non-fiction writing to be part of a team, where I’m not working exclusively on my own agenda. Being able to think like a reader, instead of like a writer, is an important skill for writers of all types.

5. The ramp-up time took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Partly because I was a noob, and partly because I was unfocused, it took me a long time to learn what I really needed to get done in what period of time. The original audience that I assumed existed, it turned out, didn’t exist at all. At first, I ignored the ghost writing market. (Stupid.) I didn’t write any fiction because I assumed it wouldn’t have a market. (Also, incredibly stupid.) I chose prices that were both too high and too low. (Stupid, and unresearched.) I agonized over the little things, which it turned out was a waste of my time. I took forever to figure out that I needed to partner with others to create cool products and services.

While I still struggle with typical self-employment issues, like setting aside time for my own projects versus that of clients, I now realize that the instant success that I thought was coming was a joke. I ignored the concept of critical mass, and it took until my own product number four before many people noticed my product number one. This took over 2 years, and in the meantime, instead of recognizing that this was all part of a normal development cycle, I called myself a failure.

The lifespan of eBooks can be just as long, if not longer than printed books. They are subject to update and regular revision, as they’re not burdened by the overhead of a stock of books. This means that you can spend a lot longer ramping up an audience, building your list, your reader base, and your discoverability. It’s worth it, and it’s normal. Savour it as part of the journey.


So when I take my daughter into my lap, and explain to her what it takes to be a good eBook creator, (and those of you who know me know that I do this often…) I talk to her about technology, commitment, and taking the dog for a twice-daily walk. At six years old, she already has a plan to write a series of books about cats and Barbie. Next week, we’re doing the keyword research about that.

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6 eBook Tools That I Can’t Live Without

June 25th, 2012 . by Peggy

Part of my job is to try all sort of things that help Authors. Here, I’ll show you six things that I’ve personally tried, and that are really helping me with various things related to online marketing and eBooks.

1) Evernote is great for;

- web-based research, saving web pages

- take a pic of a white board, it saves it as searchable text

- recording audio notes to myself (using the associated FREE Android app)

- my to-do lists and perhaps even dictation on the go

2) Smashwords is great for;

- reviewing an excellent style guide when formatting your eBook for almost any platform

- uploading an eBook to multiple platforms at once, including Kindle and others

3) Audioboo.fm is great for;

- quick podcasts using only my Android phone

- interviewing Authors and Experts with no prep or notice

- immediate, no editing, low-tech

- finding other 5-minute podcasts to listen to, both at home and on-the-go

4) MailChimp is great for;

- growing and managing my email list

- designing and sending out really nice-looking newsletters

- pay only as I need to and my list grows

5) MindMeister is great for;

- outlining before I write eBooks, white papers, audio products, and blog posts

- setting goals and outlining the tasks I need to complete to achieve them

- org charts, planning websites, and even illustrating processes to clients

6) Visual Thesaurus is great for;

- the obvious (an interactive thesaurus like no other)

- brainstorming domain names, eBook titles, products, and keywords

- try changing the settings and watch things fly around!

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How to Think Like a Successful eBook Author

June 5th, 2012 . by Peggy

 


Rodin's The ThinkerBecoming successful in any field often requires a shift in thinking. Here are some of the shifts that I myself experienced, and that I continue to witness in clients and other successful eBook creators.

1. Stop thinking of yourself as an Author.

Authors are amazing, creative, driven, and professional people. However, as the motivated creator of an eBook trying to crash into what might be a crowded niche, you need to shift yourself from almost all traditional thinking, and quickly.

My own fantasy of what it meant to be an Author was probably like that of many people: the Author as an introvert creative, working from behind a leather-topped desk in a quiet study, the oak-paneled walls lined with books, and a dog stretched out on a thick carpet at my feet. Occasionally, I would fetch myself a whisky from the mini-bar in the corner, or gaze out at my ocean view for inspiration. My publisher would take care of everything, and send me fat checks once a month, all because I was gifting the world with the gold that came out of my brain.

Yeah, that’s pretty far from my reality. Instead, after a rowdy morning of getting the kidlet off to school and taking something out of the freezer for dinner, I whip through Starbucks on my way to an office that I share with a crowd of marketing types. I then run down my whiteboards and address whomever is screaming the loudest. I eat lunch while typing or talking on the phone, scramble to meet deadlines, meet with new and existing clients about 3 times a week, test out new technologies or tools, write blog posts like this one, plan and execute official launch dates for ebooks or new information products, setup affiliate marketing data for the products of myself and clients, and then when that’s all done, dinner’s over and the kidlet asleep, I do a bit more market research to try to find the next niche that I can exploit to the max.

While I’m not in that luxury den, I must say that I find this much more rewarding. NO, this is NOT a life of luxury, but it is fulfilling. I love marketing. I love technology. And I especially love the freedom that I have to keep reinventing myself and my work over and over again. The reality is that successful fiction Authors (versus me as a product creator) do a lot of the same things I do, all day, every day. They might call themselves something other than an information marketer, but really, that’s what all of us are. Once our false expectations fade about the exotic life of an Author, we discover that this, being a marketer with a sort of literary bent, is actually way more fun.

2. Get into a tech groove.

Let’s face it: books mean technology. Even if you are writing for print in the most traditional sense, with a publisher and (perhaps) even an advance, you’re still in a technology-run business. There is simply no working around that. The time of Authors being lumped in with lawyers and real-estate agents for their lack of tech knowledge has passed. Content creators must now at least understand, and hopefully fully control, all aspects of their content distribution.

At the very least, all Authors must get used to the basics;

  • Writing on a computer, using appropriate word-processing software. 
  • Creating eBook content using a standard word-processor. 
  • Using social media. 
  • Blogging or creating other web content. 
  • Deploying and managing their content (and things like reviews) on popular eBook platforms like Kindle or Nook, etc.
  • Linking to places where people can buy the books, and making them easily accessible.
  • Managing a mailing list properly.

The more advanced techy types will take it to the next level;

  • Setting up a shopping cart on your website to sell books and eBooks. 
  • Formatting your own eBook uploads.
  •  Managing your own blog platform, on WordPress. 
  • Setting up things like feeds for your blog or website.
  • Tracking visitors to your blog or website, to see where your visitors are coming from.

And then there are the ones that really exploit the technology that makes money;

  • Conducting webinars or teleseminars. 
  • Using web video conferencing for lectures or virtual signings. 
  • Managing an ongoing affiliate marketing program.
  • Managing digital ad campaigns to sell books or eBooks.
  • Using podcasting to gain recognition and drive traffic.

If you know you’re stuck in the first paragraph, or less, at least know what you need to delegate to the techy types – and how to explain to them what you want.

3. Stop waiting.

The slowness of the literary industry is improving, but it is still its Achilles heel. Independent product creators must work faster in order to meet demand and build market share. In my observation over many years, the idea for a novel does not get better if it steeps for a few years. Instead, it gets neglected. It’s not just about writing every day, which is also essential, but about setting up a production schedule. This allows you to move from one completed project to the next, without losing your momentum or enthusiasm or joy for the content. In the case of non-fiction, there’s often a window of opportunity that is fleeting and small. You either grab it, or you miss it. Speed of production is the way to make money.

4. Keep producing.

If all you have in you is one novel a year, please be sure you have another job. (But don’t stop writing that one novel, either!) One product does not a company make. But, one product can a market open. What I mean by this is that you can do a lot of work to launch one product into the market, and once you open that door, you then capitalize on that by creating more products to fill the market space you have created. Once you have your spearhead product created, be sure to follow it up right away with a companion product, or a sequel, or a study guide, or a series of implementation exercises, or a new edition, or, or, etc. As the expression goes, the second eBook takes 1/10th of the work, and makes you 10 times the money.

5. Template what works.

If I were to consider selling my business, I know that the part that would be assessed for the greatest value would be my templates. I have systems up the ying/yang. Spreadsheets for processes, lists for checking off, template documents with fill-in-the-blanks, step-by-step guides for myself and for clients, pre-formatted documents for creating everything from class handouts to new eBooks, etc. etc. This is where your real value in a business lies: in its systems. This is true of almost every company. McDonald’s is nothing without its templated systems for everything from food processing and handling, to uniforms for employees, to how to scrub a toilet. Templates are what allow success to repeat. I rarely do anything more than once, because in everything I create or do, I look for a way to be able to do it again without any extra work. Yes, I have a lot of wall charts. Yes, I keep a pile of post-it notes in my bathroom magazine rack. Yes, that makes me look like a major geek. But I know that if I want to look professional, I need to save time, and templating is the only way I know to do that effectively.

The moment I let go of the unrealistic fantasy was the moment my company was born. I found real joy in offering something of value to a market that wanted it. I love sharing this with consulting clients, and watching them make the same shift and get real. No, I don’t have an ocean view (especially here in Las Vegas!) but I do have constant inspiration.

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eBook Creators of Las Vegas

November 2nd, 2011 . by Peggy

eBook Group Meets Monthly in Las VegasLas Vegas is an exciting town for musicians, performers, and artists of all types. But there’s one gap: writers. While there are several large writing groups in the area, I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be much support for eBook creators. So, I started a local group here that will meet a couple of times a month and provide coaching and support.

Why not join us? You can register for the group in general, and specific meetings at: http://www.meetup.com/eBook-Creators-of-Las-Vegas/. I sure hope you’ll come out to a meeting!

(Super secret spoiler: I’ve also got a new audio product on the way that I’ll be sharing with Members of this group first…)

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