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How to Write, Publish, & Promote a Nonfiction Book


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This is an online course for aspiring authors—a clear, practical six-step process for taking your book from planning to promotion. Here's what you learn: Do you have a viable concept? What parts of a book will you have to write in addition to the chapters? Why should you get organized before you even begin to write? How do you set realistic deadlines and stick to them? Where do you find the right experts to help you? What does it take to get your manuscript ready for the printer? What are your publishing options, and which one is best for you? If you self-publish, what is this going to cost? If you want a traditional publisher, what should you know about literary agents? How do you let the world know about your book and where to buy it? What are the best ways to establish a presence on the World Wide Web? Why is Amazon so important? Why should you blog? And most important, how do you apply all that you have learned to your book?

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How to Write, Publish, & Promote a Nonfiction Book

  1. 1. 3 Learning Objectives for Module 1 • At the conclusion of this module, you will be able to: – Describe how the course is structured – Explain the six steps involved in writing, publishing, and promoting a nonfiction book – Prepare to actively participate in the course 3
  2. 2. 4 An Overview of the Six Steps • What follows are the six essential steps covered in this course, presented in order: 1. Planning 2.Writing 3.Professional Partners 4.Production 5.Publishing 6.Promotion 4
  3. 3. 5 5
  4. 4. 6 Planning • What it is – Planning is the first and most important step in the process. It forces you to ask yourself many tough questions, including “What is my book about?” • Why it matters – A plan or proposal – is your thinking document – a work in progress – organizes your thoughts – helps you plan every element of your book – tells you if you have a viable book idea 6
  5. 5. 7 The 10 Questions: Why They Are Important, What They Tell You • Force you to think through every aspect of your book • Help you determine whether you have a viable book concept • Form the basis of a formal book proposal • Are all you need, if you self- publish • Become the beginning of your marketing plan 7
  6. 6. 9 Writing • What it is – The heart of the matter – The content – Most time-consuming step • Why it matters – Your subject is important to you. – You want to share it with others. – You want your readers to respond. – You will also write the other parts of your book: front and back covers and front and back matter. 9
  7. 7. 10 Parts of a Book: Why Each Part is Important • There are four main sections in any nonfiction book, and each section has a specific function. • Covers must be well designed, eye-catching, and informative. • Front matter includes the information you want to share with your readers. • Chapters contain your subject matter—your message. • Back matter provides another chance to share
  8. 8. 11 Get Organized As important as planning is before you begin writing, it is equally important to organize every step of the writing process. There are four steps: 1. Set up your book files. 2. Organize your files. 3. Save your files. 4. Create a writing plan. 5. Fill in your deadlines
  9. 9. 12 Fill in Your Deadlines • Today’s date________________________________________ • Deadline for first draft of all chapters____________________ • Deadline for second draft of all chapters__________________ • Deadline for third draft of all chapters____________________ • Deadline for preface__________________________________ • Deadline for introduction______________________________ • Deadline for acknowledgments________________________ • Deadline for second draft of front matter_________________ • Deadline for references_______________________________ • Deadline for bibliography_____________________________ • Deadline for appendices______________________________ • Deadline for index___________________________________ • Deadline for any other back matter______________________ • Deadline for second draft of back matter_________________ • Deadline for copy-edited manuscript____________________ • Deadline for revisions of copy-editing____________________ • Deadline for final draft of book_________________________ • Deadline for graphic designer__________________________ • Deadline for proofreading layout_______________________ • Drop-dead deadline for printer__________________________ •How much time do you have? • How are you going to allocate it? • What do you have to write? • What is today’s date? • What is the “drop-dead” date for the printer? The time between today’s date and the “drop-dead” date isall the time you have!
  10. 10. 14 Professional Partners • What it is – All the people who will play a role in your book. – Whom you choose depends on many factors. – Think about what you need and what you can’t do on your own. • Why it matters – Very few people can or would even want to do everything that must be done to take a book from concept to completion 14 Each member of your “team” is an expert who is focused on making your book a success.
  11. 11. 15 What Are Professional Partners? • No one is an expert in all aspects of publishing. • You are going to need some help. • Professional partners are experts. • Make a list of – Experts you might need – Referral sources – Experts’ websites – Experts on LinkedIn – Experts in Facebook groups
  12. 12. 16 Production • What it is – Between the completed manuscript and the published book is a series of activities handled by the publisher. – If you self-publish, you make production decisions. – Production details may seem confusing at first, but many of them are just a matter of preference or fact. • Why it matters – There are many factors that attract you or leave you unimpressed. Someone made decisions on every one of those factors. – No matter how you publish, you will play a role in those decisions. 16
  13. 13. 17 Before You Publish • Manuscript is written, edited, and copyedited. • One more step:Production • Depends on the publishing method • If you self-publish, you must understand production. • If you publish traditionally, much of the production will be handled for you. • Become an informed author.
  14. 14. 18 Module 5 Publishing
  15. 15. 19 Publishing • What it is – Converts digital files into e-books or printed, bound pages or e-books • Why it matters – Your book exists to convey a message. – Your book must be in a form readers can access. – There are more publishing options for authors than ever before. – The more you know about those options, the better equipped you are to choose. 19
  16. 16. 20 Why it’s Important to Understand Your Publishing Options • The publishing world is changing every day. • The biggest change is in emerging technology. • The more you understand about this world, the better your choices will be. • There are five main publishing options.
  17. 17. 21 Publishing Options 1. Conventional publishing 2. Independent (“Indie”) publishing 3. Self-publishing 4. Print on demand (POD) 5. Electronic (E) publishing
  18. 18. 22 Costs of Self-Publishing Professional Partners Estimated Fee Administrative Asst $25-$60/hour Attorney $150-$350/hour Book Coach $75-$300/ hour Copy Editor $4-$10/pg, or $18-$35 /hour Development Editor $10-$12/page or $75- 125/hour Designer (cover) $450-$650 Designer (interior) $5-$15/page Distributer Nominal registration fee + 55% of profit Ghostwriter $20,000-$50,000 Professional Partners Estimated Fee Illustrator A well-kept secret Photographer $500-$10,000 Proofreader $2-$3.75/typeset page or $15-$25/hr Printer 500: $3.65-5.25 each 1,000: $2.36-3.50 each Proposal Development $3,000-$5,000 Publicist $75-$350+ per hour Reviewers Free book; no charge Website Designer $1,500-$5,000 Total $30,900-$82,579
  19. 19. 23 What You Should Know About Literary Agents Your agent is a partner who will … – Critique your book proposal before it is submitted – Make suggestions or edits to help you improve proposal – Submit your proposal to interested publishers – Secure advances, settle contract disputes – Review royalty statements – Ensure that publishers meet their contractual obligations – Become your support system, guide, and cheerleader – Bring a new editor up to date on you and your book – Earn money only when he or she sells your book proposal
  20. 20. 24 Module 6 Promotion
  21. 21. 25 Promotion • What it is – Your book has been published. – Now, you must get it into the hands of readers. • Why it matters – Many books are vying for readers’ attention. In nonfiction, there are thousands upon thousands. – Letting people know is called promotion. – Promotion is your responsibility. 25
  22. 22. 26 Fill in the Boxes of Your Marketing Plan 26
  23. 23. 27 Harnessing the Power of the World Wide Web—1 • You must have a presence on the Web. Here are some of the most effective ways to promote your book: • Website – Doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, but provides a place to make your book easy to order • Social networking – Connects people and encourages conversation • Amazon – Offers numerous opportunities to sell books and develop an “author presence”
  24. 24. 28 Why Should You Blog? • To provide value to your readers Most successful bloggers are generous. They give away lots of information, and it’s all free. • To inform, teach, guide, entertain, or all of these Content should relate to the mission of your blog. • To develop a following of loyal readers One visit to your blog is not enough. You want readers to return, again and again. • To sell ideas, services, or products Content counts. You have to have something to say, something worth reading. 28
  25. 25. 29 Amazon: Where Readers Will Look for Your Book • If you have a book, potential readers expect it to be on Amazon. • Amazon is much more than a huge, virtual bookstore. • Its greatest value may be in the • ways it can sell YOU. • Marketing your book on Amazon should be the heart of your promotional plan. • There are so many benefits for authors, it is worth the trouble to learn your way around. 29
  26. 26. 31 Congratulations! • You have done what you set out to do. • It took real motivation, especiall y if this is your first online course. • In this module, we are going to revisit your goals and map out where you go from here. 31
  27. 27. 32 Assessing Your Own Progress • You have learned: • The basics of online learning • How your own efforts determine how far you progress in your book • What you need to know about each of the steps in the process 32 • How to apply what you know to your own book • It is time to review what you have accomplished so far and what you still need to do to finish your book.
  28. 28. 33 Assessing Your Experience 1. Online courses are dynamic; they grow and change based on feedback from participants like you. 2. Your feedback will help me improve this learning experience for those who will follow you. 3. Please take a few minutes to fill out a very brief survey by clicking the link below. 4. Your response is completely anonymous. 5. Rate each statement from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). 6. 7. Thank you for your participation! 33
  29. 29. 34 Next Steps • A private, one-on-one consultation to discuss your book, answer your questions, and help you determine where you go from here • A 25 percent discount on my services; offer good for one year • Please contact me to set up a time to meet by phone, Skype, or FaceTime. 34 Call 314-968-8661 or email me at