Last month in the Writer’s Corner, we discussed some of the reasons a book proposal may not be accepted by a publisher. One of the areas we mentioned was the author’s failure to share a marketing plan for the book.
A proposal that doesn’t share the author’s marketing plan for the book misses an opportunity to impress the publisher with the author’s enthusiasm for the book and commitment to promoting it.
Think about the reasons people will buy your book and how you will let them know it’s available. Share this insight with the prospective publisher in your book proposal.
Explain Your Platform
Chances are if you have written a book or are feeling a strong urge to write a book, you are an expert in your field of interest. If so, you have a professional network or what is commonly called a “platform” that you can work from to sell your book.
A common mistake aspiring authors make is to dash off a book proposal to a publishing house as soon as an idea comes to mind, without taking time to prepare a solid proposal. Take time to avoid these common mistakes.
Sending the Proposal to the Wrong Publisher
Many authors find their proposals are rejected because they send a proposal to the wrong publisher. Most publishers have a target market; some are more specific than others. Check to see who is publishing books on topics similar to your book. If you think your book may appeal to a certain publisher, check to see what books have come from your prospective publisher recently. Does your book seem to fit the publisher’s niche?
Consider marketing your book to a corporation, foundation, or association to use as a gift, marketing incentive, education tool, or resource for their members, employees, or customers. Have you ever been offered a free book for subscribing to a magazine or joining a book club, saved UPC symbols from a cereal box to send in for a free children’s book, or received a free book from an association? Large corporations and organizations buy thousands of books for promotions, and they seldom produce the books themselves.
Is your blog ready to birth a book? Some writers start blogging with the intention of turning their blog in to a book eventually. Others start a blog because they have something to say or reflect upon. If you have been blogging or writing a column for weeks, months, or maybe even years, you may be surprised to find you have produced plenty of material for a book.
Consider These Ideas
Analyze your past blogs or columns for common themes. Do recurring themes emerge that could be combined in chapters? Or, do you have so much information you need to create a book on each theme?
If columns seem unrelated they can still be tied together in a book with a title like “Thoughts on Your Subject by Your Name” or “Your Name Examines the Mysteries of Your Subject .” Or, take advantage of the popularity of your column by using the column name in the title of the book.
Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and the lightening bug.”
Ernest Hemingway once told an interviewer, “I rewrote the ending to Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.” The interviewer asked, “Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?” Hemingway replied, “Getting the words right.”
Do you have a great idea for a book on breastfeeding? Or, maybe you have a first draft or a chapter or two in a file somewhere? Think seriously about making 2013 the year you get that book published. Put it at the top of your list of New Year’s resolutions.
For the past couple of months in The Writer’s Corner, we’ve been exploring creative techniques non-fiction writers can use to incorporate stories into their writing. In October we discussed plot, and in November choices for narrating the story. This month we’ll share tips for writing dialogue.
First tip: Here’s an enjoyable activity for the Holiday Season - listen to those around you. People say the darndest things! Whether you are at a holiday party, shopping at the mall, or enjoying a holiday cinnamon spice mocha latte at your favorite writer’s hangout, pay attention to the conversations of those around you. Yes, you have permission to eavesdrop. This can be great research for learning to write interesting dialogue.
Use Creative Non-Fiction Techniques to Create Compelling Writing
In last month’s Writer’s Corner, we began to explore creative non-fiction techniques authors can use to ensure that their writing is interesting and compelling to their readers. In general, non-fiction writing is about sharing facts. While facts and data about your subject may be truly interesting, consider the impact you can make by using a story to help your reader interpret those facts. An anecdote or case study can show how your facts emerge to impact real people’s lives.
So we’ve begun to look at creative non-fiction techniques to help you incorporate stories that bring your message home to your reader. Last month we looked at the story line or plot and explored some options authors have for presenting the action in the story. This month we’ll look at options for narrating a story.
Non-fiction authors can use some of the same creative techniques fiction writers use to engage their readers. The way you frame the information will depend largely on your subject and your target audience. Your book or article may be highly scientific in nature, or it may focus on cultural or social issues. Your writing may be intended for physicians and other health care professionals, or it may be intended for parents. In any case, you want your readers to clearly understand your message. You also want the reader to find the writing interesting and compelling.
Putting words into written form gives them a life of their own, a power above the spoken conjecture. Even though the author’s theories may not have been proven, recording them in black and white gives them credence above the transparent spoken word that can more easily be contradicted and forgotten.