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Aneya Fernando

DIY Tips to Help Market Your Book

market-book_articleSo let’s say you’ve published your book (hooray!) — no doubt with the help of your stellar nonfiction book proposal. Your work is done, right? Not exactly. Your next step is crucial: you need to get people interested enough to actually buy your work. That’s where the marketing efforts comes in.

In the final “Book Publishing” installment of our Profit From Your Passion series, we talked with a variety of publishing experts about how to promote your book, even if you can’t afford to hire a publicist. One of the biggest lessons learned? Don’t stop writing:

There are literally thousands of magazines and websites that regularly hire freelance writers (see our How To Pitch column for leads), and if you’re interested in penning an op-ed or trend piece around one of the topics in your book, it can be a great way to actually get paid to promote your own work. ”It’s important to think about not only the topics that the author has the authority to write and that may interest them, but also how it ties in to the book,” says [Dana Kaye of Kaye Publicity]. “If your audience mostly reads a lot of hard news, then you want to be pitching CNN, the Wall Street JournalThe New York Times. If your audience reads more lifestyle stuff, then going to women’s lifestyle publications and websites makes sense.”

For more book-marketing tips, including advice on how starting a blog can help, read: 6 Ways to Effectively Market Your Book.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Experts Break Down the Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal

book-proposal-2_articleAs part of this week’s Profit From Your Passion series, yesterday we offered advice on how to get your book proposal off the ground. Now that you’ve got an outline in your head for your nonfiction book idea, the next step toward attracting a publisher is to sit down and compose the formal proposal. Although easier said than done, the process can actually help you narrow your focus, determine what your unique angle is — and help you stay organized.

We talked to seasoned writers, agents and editors about the basic elements of a nonfiction book proposal, mistakes to avoid and more. The takeaway is that your book proposal shouldn’t be taken lightly:

One thing [Brian Klems, author and online editor for Writer’s Digest] wishes he’d known ahead of time was that writing the proposal, even after having done most of the research, takes a really long time. “I thought the hard part would be writing the book, and that I’d knock out the proposal in one night. A friend of mine said no, don’t do that… don’t hand it in, give it a couple of days to sit down and start going over it. This is your one shot, you want to get it as right as possible.” In light of how we writers tend to be perfectionists, however, he adds, “You always feel like you can improve, but at that point, you do have to cut yourself off and say, it’s time for me to put it out there.”

For more information on how to write a compelling nonfiction book proposal, read: Getting Started on Your Nonfiction Book Proposal.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How to Get Your Book Proposal Off the Ground

a12000So you’ve got a great idea for a book. Congrats! Before you plunge right in, you’ll want to take some time to craft a book proposal. A few questions to ask yourself: Do you have some knowledge of the publishing industry? Could you be considered an authority on the subject of your book? Are you ready to wholeheartedly promote your book for about a year following its release?

In the third week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, we talk to three leading industry experts, who discuss the various stages of the book-proposal process.

Rachelle Gardner, literary agent at Books & Such, states that you’re likely ready to write a book when you’ve spent years “thinking about [your topic], studying it, writing about it, both in your personal journals and in public spaces, possibly speaking to audiences about it, getting a degree in it or building a career around it.” Your own expertise is an essential selling point in the eyes of an agent or editor. Gardner adds, “You’re ready to write a book when you know what everyone else is writing about your topic, and you are confident that you have something fresh to add to the conversation.”

For more information on the book-proposal process, read: Laying the Groundwork for Your Book Proposal.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

NYT Best-Selling Author and Finance Expert Dave Ramsey on Self-Publishing

a11999Dave Ramsey self-published his first book, Financial Peace, mostly out of necessity. Nobody would publish it, he says, so he went ahead and did it himself, transporting and selling the books out of the trunk of his car. Little did he know that a mere five years later it would go on to become a New York Times best seller.

In the third week of Mediabistro’s Profit From Your Passion series, Ramsey talks about his publishing house, Lampo Press, his new book, Smart Money Smart Kids, which he co-authored with his daughter, and the dos and don’ts of self-publishing:

What advice do you have for a new author who’s deciding whether they should self-publish or try to find a traditional publisher?
I think you have to have a plan if you’re in the nonfiction world to sell the book, whether you’re self published or you’re working with a publisher. If you’re looking to write a book and hand it to someone, and let someone else do all the work, those days are completely gone in our world, with very, very rare exceptions. So publishers are looking for an author that has a willingness to hustle and has a platform of some kind. How are you going to leverage things you’ve done in the past? How are you going to leverage your PR appearances, your knowledge, your Twitter base, your fan base on Facebook?

To hear more from Ramsey, including how his personal finance advice applies to the publishing industry, read: Hey, How’d You Become Your Own Publisher, Personal Finance Expert Dave Ramsey?

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

How To Land A Literary Agent: Don’t Bury Your Sales Hook

LiteraryAgentSo the hardest part’s over. You’ve written a book. Congrats! Now, on to a new challenge — selling it. You’ve heard all the self-published success stories, but eBooks and print-on-demand tomes aren’t your thing. You want your writing to be traditionally published. If that’s the case, the first thing you’ll need is a literary agent.

In the latest Mediabistro feature, literary agents give tips for aspiring authors who want to go the traditional publishing route. One thing to remember? Agents and publishers are in the book-selling business, so don’t bury your sales hook:

“As I’m reading [a submission], I’m paying attention to my gut response: Are readers going to enjoy this and want to keep turning the page?” says Rachelle Gardner, an agent with Books & Such Literary Agency. “Then the other side of it is, regardless of my gut response, can I sell this? And could a publisher sell this to readers? And if so, how?” Gardner recommends writers clearly communicate the sales hook in their initial submission. As in, don’t expect the agent to automatically assume that your cozy mystery featuring a stay-at-home mom turned amateur sleuth will be targeted to unfulfilled women in middle America.

To hear more tips on how to get yourself an agent (and a book deal), read: 6 Tips To Land A Literary Agent.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.

Showcase Your Writing Skills At This Literary Pub

OxfordAmericanThe Oxford American is an original. The mag is dedicated to a variety of writing — essays, memoirs, fiction and narrative non-fiction, all focused on the South. It’s also 100 percent freelance written. A “short” piece for the mag runs around 2,000 words, which is especially refreshing in an era when word count seems to be shrinking at an alarming rate.

Every section of the book is open to pitches. As assistant editor Maxwell George says: “We publish compelling narratives artfully rendered. It’s all at once down-home and cosmopolitan, cheeky and cultured, straightforward and cunning, just like the spirit of the South itself.” As for what kind of writing the editors want:

Because Oxford American favors narrative essay, short fiction and long-form journalism, beautifully written content is held at a premium. A new front-of-the-book section called “Points South,” comprised of short, dispatch-themed pieces, runs around 2,000 words. It’s an entryway for a lot of new voices coming into the mag, George adds. Freelancers may be asked to write pieces on spec, and because the OA has a reputation for harvesting great new talent (and some really good stuff from not-so-new talent, too), there’s a chance another publication will purchase its pieces and reprint them elsewhere.

For editors’ contact info and more, read: How To Pitch: Oxford American.

The full version of this article is exclusively available to Mediabistro AvantGuild subscribers. If you’re not a member yet, register now for as little as $55 a year for access to hundreds of articles like this one, discounts on Mediabistro seminars and workshops, and all sorts of other bonuses.