Archives for February 2010

Write your book: The sticky metaphor of duct tape

Of course, one of the most popular tapes is duct tape. Tim Nyberg, who has
co-written seven books on the subject, including “The Jumbo Duct Tape Book”
and “Duct Shui,” calls it a panacea.

“It’s easy to use, you can rip it with your bare hands, and it doesn’t come
with any instructions, so it doesn’t limit creativity,” he said.

I read this in a New York Times article this morning about the coming wave of gecko-inspired tapes. That final quote, about not coming with instructions, and thus not limiting creativity, gave me a pleasant jolt.

Is my writing that way? Does it induce an experience in the reader that allows them to step into new creative paths?

Being a word person, I was not surprised to learn that I was not the only person to hear, “duck tape,” when someone said, “duct tape.” (Go to old Prairie Home Companion episodes for extensive wonderful exploration of this theme.) That aspect of duct tape is also inspiring: Will what I call my products be as sticky?

Which thought leads me to a book every marketer should read: Made to Stick, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.

Be sticky. Write better. Name well.

Words Matter Week 2010

Words matter. Words matter to me a great deal. And as I’ve just learned, there are many others, including the the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, to whom words matter, too. To learn more about Words Matter Week, click here.

Write a book: The diamond is your friend for more than book-writing

One of the most popular posts on this blog is The diamond is your friend, which is almost a year old. The idea (go read it if you haven’t; it’s very brief) seems to resonate with everyone who thinks about writing–anything, not just books.

The notion that (usually) you are writing for a purpose, for a reason, is obvious. Yet so many of us get caught up in the composition, and overlook the obvious. Everything you write should be based on the diamond you identify, whether it’s a book, a blog post, an article, or a script. Everything.

I think this is the most fundamental “how to write a book” lesson. If you take it to heart, you will be well on your way to writing whatever it is you are attempting, and having it accomplish its purpose. Go read The diamond is your friend.

The “secret” to success: Write a book, then work on your Internet marketing strategy

I put the word “secret” in quotes because I’ve been doing my best for quite a while to make sure that this simple approach is NOT secret. To make money from what you know, all you have to do is write your book (use my method, described in my free book). In so doing, you will create a structured body of information that you will be able to easily convert into a variety of products, each of which can become the basis of a separate stream of income for you.

Once you’ve done that, your next step is to market your products on the Internet.

There are many courses available, ranging from free to thousands of dollars. What I’ve found is that most of them suffer from a major flaw, as far as the person monetize his or her expertise is concerned: Too much information.

You see, the steps to promoting and marketing your products and services on the Internet are not that complex. The challenge is that at each phase of the process, there are many choices.

Most people offering Internet marketing education take the approach of teaching you a variety of ways to do things, and allowing you to make your own choices as to what suits you best. My approach is different: At each phase, I have chosen a specific way for you to do things, and that is what I teach you. This guarantees that you have a complete marketing system up and running in the shortest possible team, and at the least expense possible.

And even still, what I’m offering is by no means a “get rich quick” scheme. It involves a lot of work. But all it takes is following clear instructions and doing the work. Anyone can do it.

Check out my course here.

How to find a coach to write a book

Just enter “coach to write a book” in your favorite search engine. This website, along with several others, will pop up on the first page of the results. As far as I know, all the coaches whose names pop up are professional, and have guided many would-be authors to the completion of their books.

But do you really need a coach? Perhaps all you need is a clear method. Now, far be it from me to discourage anyone from engaging a coach to write a book. But on the other hand, no coach that I know wants to sell you something you don’t need. I certainly don’t.

I suggest you get my free book, “The Simple Secret to Writing a Non-Fiction Book in 30 Days, at 1 Hour a Day!” Click here. Download the book and read it. Then see if you need a coach to take you to your next step.

DynamicBooks: Textbooks That Professors Can Rewrite Digitally (NYT)

Am I the only one who thinks this is a very big deal? Textbooks and their publication are an industry in turmoil, and I believe this is an important direction. What do you think?


Readers can modify content on the Web, so why not in books?

In a kind of Wikipedia of textbooks, Macmillan, one of the five largest
publishers of trade books and textbooks, is introducing software called
DynamicBooks, which will allow college instructors to edit digital editions
of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes.

Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course
syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and perhaps most notably,
rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equations or illustrations.

While many publishers have offered customized print textbooks for years —
allowing instructors to reorder chapters or insert third-party content from
other publications or their own writing — DynamicBooks gives instructors the
power to alter individual sentences and paragraphs without consulting the
original authors or publisher.

“Basically they will go online, log on to the authoring tool, have the
content right there and make whatever changes they want,” said Brian Napack,
president of Macmillan. “And we don’t even look at it.”

More: Click below
February 22, 2010
Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

John Kremer’s free advice is priceless

John has made a career out of helping people market and promote books. His 1001 Ways to Market Your Books is an essential addition to any author’s library. He has an email newsletter, John Kremer’s Book-Marketing Tip of the Week, at his website; you should subscribe to it, if you are serious about promoting your book.

Here’s the table of contents of the current issue:

In this issue . . .
— Giving books to radio/TV hosts
— Tweets you don’t want to miss
— Using a Virtual Assistant to Help You Sell More Books
— #17 hit
— Turning lemons into lemonade: website feedback you can use
— Reporter Connection
— specialty retailers

Publish your book on Kindle

While the exact numbers aren’t public,’s Kindle electronic book reader has been a huge success. And the way Amazon has things set up, it is silly for anyone who has a book not to convert it to the Kindle. Here are the steps:

  1. Make sure that your manuscript is in a format acceptable to Amazon: HTML; PDF; plain text; MS Word (.doc); or Mobi (.mobi or .prc). Also, for marketing purposes, make sure you have links to your website within your book.
  2. Head over to Amazon’s Digital Text Platform site. Fill out the paperwork. Follow the instructions to prepare your book for conversion.
  3. You’ll need a cover image that’s at least 500 pixels on its longest side, TIFF or JPEG. And if you have any color images, convert them to simple grayscale before uploading; the Kindle can only display 4 shades of gray.
  4. Your share of any sales is 35%. You set the price of your book. The vast majority of Kindle titles are around $10, but they range from free to $100+.

That’s it! Now, you might think that 35% isn’t much; after all, if you publish a book yourself, you get to keep the entire sale price. But consider: From your sale price, you must pay your production costs, your marketing costs, and any other costs. On Kindle, Amazon does it all for you. All you do is upload your book.

By all means, do good keyword research and make sure your book will be found by people looking for it.

Your Kindle income stream can become a nice addition to your information publishing empire.

A wonderful expression of new media–certainly part of the future of books

Check out WeFeelFine. Especially the interactive version you’ll find on this site. The authors (Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar) wrote software to scan blogs for feelings and categorize them in different ways, then present them in different ways.

Each emotional event is a particle. The colored particles are shown in different displays. You can click on a particle and the sentence with the feeling will be displayed.

It elicits a kind of awe–even a feeling of overwhelm, for me, after a few minutes of browsing the surges of feelings.

What I love about it is that it is playful, beautiful, and profound–and that it represents a lovely evolution of the notion of “book.”

Please explore it and tell me what you think in comments here.

To write a book, try FastPencil–it’s free

I’ve been watching startup FastPencil (Campbell, CA) grow from a “good idea” to a powerful, practical, writing, collaboration, and publishing environment. (I even wrote a self-referential book there, “FastPencil Your Non-Fiction Book in 30 Days!”) It’s an environment in which it is easy to create and collaborate on a manuscript, then move it seamlessly into publishing and promotion, while leaving your options open.

Check it out. It’s free.

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