Bob Baker's Full-Time Author Blog

Your Indie Book Publishing Advantage

Do you ever feel like a small author fish drowning in a big book publishing pond? Ever feel like you're at a disadvantage because you don't have the money and backing of a big corporate entity behind you? Wanna know the reason you feel that way?

It's because you have chosen to define yourself by those terms. If you want to feel more empowered, it's simply a matter of making better choices about the way you define yourself.

Here's another way to look at your situation as an independent publisher in the modern world. You have an advantage as a hands-on author that major publishing companies and blockbuster authors simply don't have: the ability to communicate on a more personal level with your fans.

A Deliver magazine article by Linda Formichilli, titled "Keeping It Real: New Media Are Forcing Marketers to Be More Authentic With Their Target Customers," sums this up wonderfully. Here's an excerpt:

Genuine is an e-mail from a person rather than a company. If the lead singer of some band that I like sends out an e-mail to those of us who have registered our interest, that's authentic in a way that a record label sending out an e-mail wouldn't be. If the lead singer responds to his e-mail, that's even better. A MySpace page is more authentic than a billboard. A blog is more authentic than a press release. It's all about having a human voice and re-personalizing the connections.

The example above might be music-related, but it applies to books too. As a do-it-yourself publisher, you live in an incredible era. It's never been easier to personally interact with people around the world. And as an author who has only hundreds or maybe thousands of fans, you are able to communicate with them in a much more personal way than an author that has millions of fans.

That's not to say you won't some day have millions of followers. But in the meantime, don't beat yourself up for not being at a "higher level" with your career -- whatever that means.

For now, embrace and be grateful for your independence and current status. It is allowing you to build meaningful relationships with fans -- the kind of bonds that will last a lifetime and lead to a stronger, more satisfying career in the long run.

-Bob

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Create a Major Book Buzz Online. Discover how to use the Internet to attract book buyers like a magnet. Learn more ...

7 Secrets to Writing a Book That Sells

Penny Sansevieri offers a free article at her site that covers seven keys to creating a buzz over your book. They're all good, but 5 and 6 are especially worth noting:

Follow the media. What's the media talking about these days? Keep track of media buzz -- what they're paying attention to and what they're writing about. Delve beyond the front page of your paper to the second or third page and see what's filling the pages. If you can get your hands on out-of-state papers, do a comparative review. Do you see a trend in coverage? Is there something that seems to be getting more buzz even if it's on page six?

Talk, teach, listen. One of the best ways I've found to get in touch with my audience was to teach a class and do speaking engagements. When I was putting together my book, Get Published Today, I found that the classes I taught provided valuable information for creating a great book because they put me directly in touch with my audience!

Follow the media. Talk, teach and listen. Simple advice -- the kind that can make all the difference in the world.

-Bob

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Create a Major Book Buzz Online. Discover how to use the Internet to attract book buyers like a magnet. Learn more ...

How to Create a Major Book Buzz Online

I'll admit it. I've been accused of being biased. Some people feel I focus too much on Internet book promotion and disregard traditional retail sales, reviews, etc.

Maybe they're right. But the only thing I can do is share what I know has worked for me (and hundreds of other authors). And that's making smart use of the Internet to create a buzz about my books -- and generate healthy sales!

I make a nice living as a self-empowered, independent author largely because of the ways I've learned to use the Internet to reach my ideal readers. And I advocate you consider doing the same thing.

I recently revealed my most potent Internet book marketing strategies for the first time during a live 48-minute presentation. I compiled the materials from this talk and just released it as a package called "How to Create a Major Book Buzz Online."

It includes the complete MP3 audio of the live workshop, along with the 70 PowerPoint slides I used, and a two-page handout. If you're interested, take a closer look on this page.

To your success!

-Bob

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The Power of Book Titles

When I'm asked, "What's the best thing I can do to promote my book?" ... I often say, "Come up with a great, attention-getting title."

Sadly, it's usually too late for the author to use that tip, since their book is already published as Prairie Dogs by the Dashboard Light or some similarly vague and confusing title.

Make no mistake, a strong title will be one of your biggest book marketing tools -- along with killer content, smart use of the Internet, etc. So make sure you spend a lot of time crafting your title before you publish -- or even begin writing -- your next book.

A great title ...

  • Tells you exactly what the book is about
  • Lets you know who the book is for
  • Spells out a reader benefit
  • Uses words in a clever and concise way
My favorite type of title is the two-parter. A short (two to four words) main title, followed by a slightly longer subtitle.

Here are some examples:
  • The UltraSimple Diet: Kick-Start Your Metabolism and Safely Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 7 Days

  • Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail

  • Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams
A new fav of mine is Skinny Bitch. (Sorry if you're offended by that.) It doesn't really have a subtitle, but the prominent description on the cover serves the same purpose: "A no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous."

Look over the examples above. Really examine the word choices. Notice how they hit the four hot button issues I listed earlier.

Here are more good examples of strong two-part titles:
  • Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't

  • God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

  • Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

  • Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
And two examples of simple one-line titles (each only seven words long):
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

  • How to Win Friends & Influence People
Now you know: Your book's title can make or break its reach into the marketplace. So take whatever time you need to come up with a great one.

-Bob

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Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out the brand-new Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

Who Have You Irritated Today?

If you consider yourself to be a writer or author of any kind, you are officially in the Idea Expression Business. That means you like to take concepts that exist only in your mind and bring them to life through the words you craft on a computer screen or piece of paper. It's a wonderful creative quest.

But writers can also be sensitive artistic creatures who value the feedback they get from others -- sometimes to their detriment.

It's fine to be aware of what others think of your ideas and story lines. It's okay to be energized by positive feedback. It's good to learn from more experienced writers.

The danger comes when you water down your voice and perspective in an attempt to please everyone. Guess what? You'll never please everyone anyway. And, more often than not, when you try to, you end up pleasing no one.

So, as you write articles, short stories, blog posts, and entire books ...

  • Be bold
  • Take a stand
  • Express your opinion, even if you risk alienated some of your audience
  • Experiment with writing styles and turns of phrase
  • Look for the angle only you can bring to the subject
  • Don't be afraid to piss someone off!
Brian Clark wrote about this as it relates to blogging:
You need the courage to alienate the wrong people in order to resonate with the right people. You need to stick to your convictions when people tell you you're wrong simply because your knowledge doesn't mesh with their opinions. Blogging by consensus is a recipe for failure.

Your success will be determined by the execution of your vision. The fact is, if no one hates you, you’re doing something wrong. Trying to please everyone is the goal of mass media. That’s why it sucks.

My pal Scott Ginsberg also addressed this with his post, "
If everybody says you're nuts, you just might be onto something."

I've been writing about music marketing and artist empowerment for many years. But only recently have I begun spreading a similar message to authors and independent book publishers. And I bring a lot of my DIY rock & roll attitude with me as I share how I built my full-time publishing business.

Not everyone agrees with me on every issue or idea I express. And that's okay. I don't want to sound like everyone else. I couldn't if I tried.

I'll rarely write about the traditional path to publishing. I'll never write about how hard it is to publish your own book or other doom-and-gloom topics that you can hear in spades from others.

That's not my mindset. So I share what I believe and what's worked for me. Not everyone will agree with me. And you know what? ...

That's just fine with me!

So, who have you irritated today?

-Bob

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Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out the brand-new Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.