How Small Business Owners Attract Publishers and Literary Agents

how to attract publishers, how to get media interviews, media interviews, public relations and media interviews, how to attract pubishers

Media Magnestism: How to the Publicity You Want and Deserve

Are you a small business owner who’s still trying to get the attention of a publisher or literary agent?

Haven’t they noticed you and your writing?

What’s the deal with that?

Perhaps, they’re too busy reading about James Erwin. If you don’t know the story of James Erwin and how his responses to a Reddit question landed him a deal with Hollywood, here’s the scoop from Wired magazine.

James Erwin writes software manuals for an Iowa financial services firm. The pay and short commute aren’t too shabby. One day at work (on his lunch break) he logged into Reddit and decided to answer the following question posted by Reddit user ‘The_Quiet_Earth,’ “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit?”

James posted his answers in segments and basically started writing a story that would soon get so much attention that it got him a Hollywood deal.

James was contacted by Adam Kolbrenner who runs literary management and production company Madhouse Entertainment. He forwarded the Reddit link to an executive at Warner Bros., and a producer on the movie “300” said he wanted to be involved in getting James’ story produced. Warner Bros. made him an offer. The rest is history.

Congratulations to James! [Read more…]

How to Make Your eBook Stand Out

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If you wrote or plan to write an eBook, follow the guidelines outlined below on how to make your eBook stand out. Having and providing readers with great content is half the battle. I know you’ve heard this before, but sales and marketing are part of the equation. Publishing is a business! Remember, you’re not in the business of selling books. You’re in the business of sales and marketing and solving problems.

How to Make Your eBook Stand Out

1. Write an eBook that readers want to read. What problems do people have? What solutions can you offer them? Research and dig to find what people need help with. Of course, if you’ve experienced a problem or got through a difficult time, you can best believe that others have experienced what you did. Write about it!

Make sure your eBook has been edited and proofed before you publish it. Hire an editor

2. Reach out for help. Get together with a group of 2-4 five writers and critique each others’ work. Make sure constructive criticism is the name of the game. Hire an editor (you’ll want to do this anyway) to review your work. Also, check out web-based writing communities such as CritiqueCircle, WritersBBS, My Writers Circle, and other critique groups.

3. Purchase an ISBN number. This is how retailers track the sales of your book.

4. Cover design. Go big, or go home! Make a statement by having a cover design that literally (I know I used literally) stands out. Use bold colors and graphics. You want to grab the attention of readers. However, make sure readers can understand what your eBook is about by creating a ‘targeted’ book cover. This is known as the 2-second test. If they can’t tell what your book is about by looking at the cover, a re-design is necessary. Hire a professional graphic designer or use the services provided by your self-publisher. This way you’ll look like your belong at Barnes and Noble and ‘mom and pop’ bookstores.

5. Think beyond the ink. Thanks to technologies such as the iPad, you can include graphs, illustrations, and video clips. Reading devices will evolve throughout the years. Visit BookBaby and learn about their available special formatting options.

6. No more Word. Alas, you’ll have to convert your Word or Text file to make sure it’s compatible to eReaders. The main file extensions are:

1. EPUB (.epub). Is the most popular and standard format. It allows DRM. Major retailers use this except Amazon.

2. Mobipocket (.mobi). Users can add a blank page within the text for notes, bookmarks, corrections, and drawings. Very cool!

3. Kindle (.azw). This is Amazon’s proprietary format based on mobipocket. It comes with its own digital rights management protections.

The good news is you can use Adobe InDesign (love this) to convert your book to an EPUB eBook. Visit JimAndZetta or ePub Conversion and get assistance with the conversion. Another alternative is to have your distributor/self-publisher convert your eBook for you.

7. Sales and marketing. The most dreaded step for some writers; others embrace the joy of sales and marketing.

Sell eBook here:

1. Apple iBookstore for iPad

2. Amazon (Kindle)

3. Barnes and Noble (Nook)

4. Reader Store (Sony Reader)

5. Google eBookstore (multiple readers)

Use the following marketing tips to spread the word about your eBook:

Social Media. You’ve heard this before but it begs repeating. Open a Facebook Fan page and actually interact with your fans. Get to know them don’t make it all about YOU because this will deter readers. Hold a contest, say “Thank You” once in a while, chat with your fans, and allow them to have discussions about your eBook. Create a separate Twitter account. You may consider opening a MySpace account since the website is undergoing major changes.

● Create a website. Create a ‘special’ website for your eBook. Blog about it and be open to feedback from readers. You may consider creating a forum on the blog to allow readers to discuss your eBook.

● Schedule a book signing and or readings. Readers love to meet authors. I should know. I volunteered at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona and witnessed many book signings. It’s exciting for readers to meet and speak with authors. You may consider reading your book and having the audience discuss it. You’ll receive a lot of feedback and insight.

● Get to know other writers. Start a group where writers can meet and discuss writing topics such as eBooks. You could always create an online group or find one on the internet.

● Attend conferences and trade shows. Be where the industry is. Networking and making connections can take you and your writing to the next level.

Writing and selling an eBook has transformed through the years. Digitally distributing your eBook is yet another adventure you get to experience within the world of publishing. If you ever feel that self-publishing isn’t for you or worth it, remember that great writers such as William Blake, Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T.S. Elliot, John Milton, and many others self-publishing their writing at one point or another. Imagine how many more readers they would have reached through eBook readers. Write on, write from the heart!


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How to Select a Self-Publishing Company

Image representing Cafepress as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

Many authors are choosing to self-publish their books instead of waiting around for a literary agent or publisher to publish their books. This could work for you. If you have good business acumen, understand marketing and selling, and are willing to do the work, your books could sell better through self-publishing than traditional publishing.

Let’s face, waiting around for a literary agent or publisher could mean waiting a long time. It’s no surprise that authors have many self-publishing houses to select such as CreateSpace, AuthorHouse, Balboa Press, Lulu, iUniverse, CafePress, and many others. If you specialize in Christian books, there are even Christian self-publishing houses. That’s how huge the market is. The question is, “How do you select the right self-publishing company for your books?” Keep reading to find out.

How to select a self-publishing company

1. How long has the self-publisher been in business? Make sure the self-publisher you choose has been in business for five or more years. Work with a company that knows what they’re doing. Make sure they understand the publishing industry; otherwise, you may end up with a huge inventory of books.

2. Do they have graphic design, editing, and proofreading services? Do you want to hire a graphic designer/illustrator? An editor? Proofreader? Or, would you like these professionals to be under one self-publishing house? Sometimes you’re better off hiring your own designer, editor, and proofreader; however, if you don’t want to spend time looking for them, you could use the self-publisher’s staff.

3. Do they offer ISBN registration? Most self-publishing houses offer you the opportunity to register you book. Read the print before you use their service. It costs $99 to register your book; you may want to do this.

4. What types of marketing services do they offer? You can’t get away from marketing, not even with traditional publishing. How would you rate your marketing skills? If your skills aren’t that great, it may be worthwhile to take advantage of a self-publishing company’s marketing service.

5. How professional looking are books? Some self-publishing companies turn out better looking books than traditional publishers. Remember, the pressures on you to make your book stand out from the crowd. This means your book cover must be spot on. You’ll want to have your book edited and proofread for errors. Believe it or not, some well known authors have books published (recently) with grammar and spacing errors. Yikes!

6. Ask a lot of questions. If you don’t understand something in the contract, ask about it. You may want to hire an attorney to look over the paperwork. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

7. How do you price your book? Does the self-publisher provide ‘price setting’ guidelines or do you pick a number out of the sky and hope for the best? Some self-publishing companies will provide authors with guidelines for pricing. Research the market for your particular genre and see what books are selling for. This will help you set your price.

Self-publishing your books doesn’t have to be scary. Your books can do very well if you know and understand that publishing is a business. It doesn’t matter if you self-publish or use a traditional publisher, it’s still a business. You must be prepared to advertise and market your book. If you wrote a non-fiction book, be prepared to speak about it. Inquire about radio and TV interviews (early morning shows are best). Do what you can to create a lot of ‘buzz’ around your book. You never know who’ll be listening!


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