Bob Baker's Full-Time Author Blog

How to Write a Book

Do you feel overwhelmed by the thought of cranking out enough material for a full-length book? Don't dispair. This advice from a successful author should help.

I've had the good fortune of meeting Alan Cohen twice now. He's the author of many books in the spiritual genre, including such titles as Why Your Life Sucks (and What You Can Do About It) and Dare to Be Yourself. He's a prolific writer with an engaging writing style.


Here's a passage from Alan's book I Had It All the Time:

If I considered the prospect of writing an entire book, I don't know if I could or would do it. The idea of filling a volume with quality material seems overwhelming. Instead, I record one idea at a time -- the one that excites me the most -- and somehow all the ideas add up to a book.

I've written eight books in the last thirteen years. If at the outset someone had asked me to do that, I would have laughed and told them, "No way!" But there actually was a way -- one insight at a time.

When I write, my attention is fully with the word and sentence at hand. The aliveness of each idea carries me to the next one. Each word is as meaningful as the final production of the book. The journey is rewarding for its own sake.

I love the simplicity of his thought process. Focus on the word, the paragraph, the scene, and the section you're writing in that moment. Of course, you may have an outline or an overall theme that guides you, but as you write, all that matters is the microscopic viewpoint.

In fact, this is how many of my own books were written -- as articles or blog posts that I later compiled into collections of my work on a certain topic.

Maybe you can do the same as you write your next book.

-Bob

P.S. Now you can get FREE access to my Self-Publishing Confidential report filled with my best book publishing advice. Go grab your free report now.

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

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out my Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

SEO for Authors: How to Turn Your Articles and Blog Posts Into Marketing Magnets

Are you losing out on high-quality Internet traffic simply because you're making a few dumb mistakes?

Are you confused by search engine optimization (SEO)?

If so, relax. Even I, a supposed Internet marketing "expert," have to constantly remind myself of some key principles to stay sharp. (And yes, I still make dumb mistakes :-).

An article on the Mequoda Daily site offers some good advice for making the most of online articles and blog posts -- so you increase the odds of your ideal customers finding you.

The article made two points I want to focus on:

Put primary keywords in the title. If your keyword is "organic gardening," then your article title should be something like "10 Organic Gardening Tips" or "How Organic Gardening Helped Me Lose 10 lbs."

Absolutely. Don't be cute or vague with your article and blog titles. What's more likely to pull in web visitors: "What I Did This Weekend" or "Wind Surfing for Beginners (or How I Embarrassed Myself This Weekend)"?

Be specific and make sure the main topic of your article is in the first few words of the title. Notice how the title of this very blog post begins with "SEO for Authors."

Include keywords in your URL. Both dashes and underscores are acceptable to Google now, so use either, but make sure that you are using your keyword in your URL. If your keyword is organic gardening, your URL might be www.site.com/10-organic-gardening-tips.com.

Many blogging platforms do this automatically, based on the title you enter. But if you're uploading content to your own web site, make sure the page address is filled with keywords.

Over on my music site, I'm doing some research for an ebook called "How to Recession-Proof Your Music Career." So the other day I searched Google for "how to save money" and "how to save money on gas."

Here are some of the article titles and addresses that came up:

How I save money
www.zenhabits.net/2007/02/how-i-save-money/

How to Save Money
www.mahalo.com/How_to_Save_Money

How to Save Money on Gas
www.wikihow.com/Save-Money-on-Gas

Saving Money at the Gas Pump
www.ftc.gov/savegas

See the beauty of this? Be clear about what you're writing about, and make sure to label your titles and web pages so people can find the great stuff you write about online!

-Bob

P.S. Now you can get FREE access to my Self-Publishing Confidential report filled with my best book publishing advice. Go grab your free report now.

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

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out my Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

The Kama Sutra of Book Marketing

When was the last time you thought about book promotion and making love at the same time? Been a while? Well, by the time you finish reading this post, you may do it more often. (Thinking about the combination, that is. How often you "do it" is up to you :-)

This whole idea started when I ran across an article by Desiree Gullan called "The Kama Sutra of Marketing." It reminded me of an analogy I've used often: Marketing is a lot like dating.

But most self-promoting authors don't think of it that way. And because of that, they struggle to get noticed, connect with readers, and generate increased sales.

So, here are some lessons from the Kama Sutra you can apply to your book marketing, inspired by Gullan's short article:

1) Don't settle for anyone - search for your soul mate.

You've heard the jokes. "He's not Mr. Right, but he's Mr. Right Now." When dating, especially if people feel desparate, they settle. Instead of finding the right match, they pursue relationships that have little long-term potential. "Well, it's better than being alone," they say.

Do you do the same with your book marketing? Are you out to catch the interest of anyone who will listen? Or are you more discerning? The best way is to decide who your ideal customer match is. Who is your book-related soul mate? Then focus only on attracting those types of people.

2) Get to know them first

What do you do on a first date with someone you really think has potential? Talk endlessly about yourself and how great you are? Or do you listen a lot and have a two-way dialogue?

It's the same with book promotion. It's not all about you and your needs. Get to know your audience and what their interests and concerns are. Share some of yourself and your story as you get to know them better.

3) Don't forget foreplay

Okay. You're excited. You met someone new who really likes you. You anticipate the potential pleasure so much, you can taste it. Time to move in for the kill, right?

Wait! Hold your horses, Casanova Carl (or Valerie Vixen). Ease into the blessed event. Warm each other up first.

From a marketing standpoint, that means don't be so quick to ask for the sale. Wine and dine your readers (figuratively) before you flash your "Buy Now" button. Tease them a little with samples and introductions to your work. Leave them wanting more!

4) Be a great lover

When the time comes to consumate the relationship, make sure you deliver the best goods you can. Make it a joyful and stimulating experience. One they'll remember (and maybe even tell many others about) for years to come.

That means you must create a quality product (be it a book, download or audio program) filled with useful information, inspiring ideas or entertaining stories. Make it the best book on your topic. Thrill your partner so much, they'll want to recreate the experience again and again.

5) Call them the next day and ask for another date.

Finally, don't leave them hanging after your first meaningful encounter. Get back in touch soon to thank them and let them know how much you enjoyed the experience.

With books, this is when you follow up after the sale. Why? Because, if it was good for both of you, you want the relationship to continue. You want to interact more and enjoy more positive experiences (and book sales) together.

See, there is a connection between the Kama Sutra and book marketing.

So, from now on, when you're engaged in book marketing activities, I encourage you to think about dating and making love.

But vice versa ... you might think twice about that one :-)

-Bob

P.S. Now you can get FREE access to my Self-Publishing Confidential report filled with my best book publishing advice. Go grab your free report now.

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

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out my Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

Are You Breaking Any Book Publishing Laws?

The other day my girlfriend Pooki and I were riding our bikes along the Katy Trail near our house. There were a few times along the route we slowed down to take in the view.

And I noticed something that suddenly struck me as profound. You've probably noticed this too. Let me explain ...

You see, I'm a big believer in Laws. That certainly applies to most state and local laws, but what I'm referring to here are the bigger, more important laws: The Laws of Nature and the Laws of Physics.

What the heck am I talking about?

Here's the thing: These are the laws that power everything. Gravity, the sun, weather systems, ocean currents, the rotation of the earth, even nuclear reactions. Those are some powerful laws!

Therefore, I believe if we behave in accordance with these laws, it only stands to reason that we'll live more natural and harmonious lives.

Okay, back to the bike ride and the big revelation ...

Whenever you reduce your speed on a bike, the slower you go, the more wobbly your balance becomes. The faster you go, the more stable the bike is.

I'm sure it has to do with inertia and the gyroscope effect -- all laws based on physics.

So if this is an irrefutable Law of Nature, how can we apply it to our lives?

That's simple: Keep moving on your quest! Keep moving forward with your book, your passion, your purpose as an author, your pursuit of happiness. It's only through constant motion and progress that you gain your balance and hit a steady, confident stride.

Of course, you'll hit a few potholes along the way. There will be speed bumps that force you to shift direction. But that doesn't mean you have to stop moving.

And if you do slow down, get distracted or neglect your true calling for a while, things will get wobbly. You'll feel off balance.

And it's only natural. Because it's the Law at work.

So if things have been off kilter lately, ask yourself:
  • How have I been slowing down my forward motion?

  • What's been holding me back?

  • And, most important, what can I do to get steadily back in motion?

-Bob

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

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out Bob's Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

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Just Stop It!

Are you feeling fearful about the state of the economy and sky-high gas prices, and how they are affecting your book publishing and promotion efforts? Here's an inspiring, in-your-face message from Joe Vitale that might shake some sense into you.

I first spoke with Joe in 1995 when we was a copywriter and marketing guy in Dallas. Since then he's become an Internet marketing guru who now weaves a lot of spiritual and positive thinking messages into his work. He was one of the teachers featured in the book/movie The Secret.

Here's an email Joe sent out just today ...

Stop it!

Stop paying attention to the media.

Stop paying attention to the doom and gloom of anyone and everyone around. Stop getting sucked into being a victim.

STOP IT.

You won't go anywhere buying into the cultural trance that there isn't enough and times are tough.

You won't accomplish your big goals, or do anything of real greatness, as long as you give in to outer circumstances.

You have to take back your power.

You have to take back your control.

You have to "awaken."

Recently I told a woman who was interviewing me that I was homeless and in poverty only as long as I stayed stuck in survival "thinking."

As soon as I put my mind on what I "wanted" to have instead, I began to shift and get better results.

This can happen for you, too. It took me ten years. You can do it in one weekend.

But you have to stop listening to the media paint a picture of darkness.

The media paints it by finding something dark to report on, whether it's true or not. You and others listen to it, believe it, and before you know it, you have "created" what the media painted.

They predict a recession before there actually is one.

But people believe the media, fall into fear, stop spending, and suddenly a recession is here.

This has to stop. And it can stop right now.

Break free from money worries.

Break free from job worries.

Break free from health worries.

Break free from love worries.

Break free -- PERIOD.

This great message was admittedly sent to promote Joe's Miracles Weekend event in September. But even if you take the event completely out of the picture, there's still a lot of power in his words.

So ... are you ready to STOP IT?

-Bob

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

Just getting started? Want to jump-start your career as an independent author? Check out Bob's Self-Publishing Success Secrets 101.

Did you enjoy this blog post? Subscribe now and get all of my newest ideas delivered by email or RSS feed. Learn how here.