Holiday Gift Idea: Nina Amir’s Author Training Manual

Posted December 18th @ 6:03 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Nina Amir Author Training Manual Is an Ideal Holiday Gift Idea for the Writer In Your LifeNina Amir’s Author Training Manual is an ideal holiday gift book for the author or writer in your life who wants to write a book.

Nina Amir’s Author Training Manual joins Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes, which I recently reviewed, as one of the two most important writing books published during 2014.

Nina Amir’s Author Training Manual is  a practical, detailed guide for new authors  It offers advice, examples, and exercises to help you:

  • Develop Marketable Ideas
  • Craft Books that Sell
  • Become the Author Publisher’s Want
  • Self-Publish Effectively

About the Author Training Manual‘s contents

Visit Biggerplate.com to download a Mindjet MindManager mind map of Nina Amir's Author Training ManualAs you can see from the sample Mindjet mind map at right, that you can download for free or view online, The Author Training Manual is organized into three sections:

  • MANUAL. The first section addresses the importance of developing an appropriate “author attitude” and the need to realistically evaluate your book’s potential for success. The following chapters describe Nina’s 9-step writing plan for preparing a detailed book proposal—regardless of how you intend to publish your book.
  • SAMPLES. Next, there are examples of completed book proposals showing how other author’s addressed the topics in previously-described 9-step plan.
  • TRAINING EXERCISES. To help readers make the transition to authors, the final chapters offer hands-on ideas, exercises, and questions for readers to use as they address the 9 steps.

Practical, realistic writing advice

Like Ann Hadley’s Everybody Writes, Nina Amir’s Author Training Manual offers a realistic approach to writing. Neither over-promises by offering an unrealistic “silver bullet” approach.

Both stress the core values of creating a manageable, sustainable writing process. Neither Ann Hadley nor Nina Amir promises instant, effort-free gratification. Both obviously love the writing process and advocate quality and craftsmanship.

Whether you purchase them separately, or together, either offers an ideal holiday gift that can have a significant impact on the recipient’s and career.

About Nina Amir

The Author Training Manual reflects Nina Amir’s experiences as an author, book coach, speaker, and blogger. It’s enhanced by examples and quotes from Nina’s extensive personal network of authors, book coaches, and clients who have followed her program.

This is Nina Amir’s second book for Writer’s Digest. Her first was How to Blog a Book: How to Write, Publish, and Promote Your Book One Post at a Time.

About Nina Amir

You can learn more about Nina Amir at her blogs and websites, which include: www.NinaAmir.com, www.WriteNonfictionNow, and www.HowtoBlogaBook.com. Her social media presence includes Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

If you’re familiar with either (or both) Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes or Nina Amir’s Author Training Manual, share your impressions and takeaways below!

Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big 2014 Holiday Gift Ideas

Posted December 17th @ 6:50 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Check out Sarah Susanka's Not so Big Holiday Gift Suggestions for the perfect gift for your design-conscious and mindful friends and family membersClick the image to view Sarah Susanka’s list of tasteful Not So Big holiday gift ideas for your family and friends that really matter.

If you’re a long-time Published and Profitable friend or member, you’re probably familiar with Sarah Susanka and her Not So Big books that have changed the way homes are designed and lives are re-designed.

I’ve interviewed Sarah on several occasions. My interview with her was one of the most revealing  of the more than 120 Published and Profitable author interviews I’ve conducted.

A genuinely profound thinker

I discovered Sarah Susanka through her extensive Not So Big House series of books. Sarah introduced a new way of thinking about what makes a place feel like home–discussing characteristics many people desire in their homes and their lives, but didn’t know how to verbalize.

Then, she did what many thought was impossible: she refined her Not So Big ideas and successfully applied them to lifestyle design in her bestselling Not So Big Life: Making Room For What Really Matters.

You can also learn more about her by watching her Possibilities—Life’s Invisible Feast TEDx presentation, visiting her Facebook page, or from blog posts like these:

The importance of Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big holiday gift lists

There’s a delightful serendipity to her carefully-curated gift lists. They contain numerous products helpfully organized in several categories. Many of her suggestions may be in categories you don’t normally explore. Many are functional, others simply inspiring to look at or think about.

All of Sarah Susanka’s gift ideas are tasteful and thoughtful, but never ostentatious.

By this point, you may be a bit overwhelmed by the impersonality of shopping malls, big-box stores, and the hustle of shopping for the perfect combination of appropriateness and price for those in your life that matter. If so, you’ll find an “oasis of quality” in her list. The perfect holiday gift for someone who really matters may jump out at you as you explore her gift ideas. Feel free to share your favorite discoveries from among her lists as comments, below.

Language of Content Strategy | Author Interview and Mind Map

Posted December 15th @ 6:43 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

This free Mindjet MindManager mind map of The Language of Content Strategy offers a new way to organize your book and content marketing ideas Click here for a fresh perspective on organizing your content marketing ideas by downloading a mind map of The Language of Content Strategy.

I prepared this mind map to help you prepare for tomorrow’s interview with Scott Abel, Content Wrangler and co-author of The Language of Content Strategy.

Attend my interview with Scott Abel on Tuesday, December 16th, at 4:00 PM EST.

Relevance of The Language of Content Strategy

The Language of Content Strategy is one of 2014′s most important content marketing books. It’s a must read for content marketers looking for a fresh, “accessible, “fast read”  approach to organizing information and making it easy to access. It’s a highly-accessible way for content marketers to learn more about content strategy.

It also a great resource for explaining the importance of content strategy to clients and prospects.

The Language of Content Strategy defines and explains the relevance of 52 core terms contributed by 52 content marketing experts from around the world. Each chapter (or term) appears on two facing pages. The Language of Content Strategy is resource-rich, containing a description of each of the contributors and their contact information.

How to use the mind map

I prepared this MindManager mind map and uploaded it to Biggerplate.com to help you:

  • Get a better perspective of the The Language of Content Strategy. The mind map offers a “big picture” view of the contents, so you can see how the contents are organized into parts.
  • Boost retention while reading. If you’re a MindManager user, you can use the mind map it take notes while reading, instead of underlining.

If you’re presently a Mindjet MindManager user, download the mind map and use it as a tool to help you retain more ideas from this book.

  • Create subtopics for your takeaways, comments, and questions associated with each chapter.
  • Use MindManager’s Notes feature for questions, extended notes or quotes about each chapter.
  • Tip: when adding Notes, remember to insert the page number you’re referencing.

If you not already a MindManager user, you can explore the mind map online using the interactive Mindjet Viewer.

  • To collapse the parts, or sections, of the book, Click the – (minus sign key) . This allows you to focus on just one part of the book at a time.
  • To explore the chapters associated with each part of the book, click the + (plus sign key).
  • To magnify, or zoom-in to just a section of the book, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the + (plus sign) key.
  • To zoom-out, or show more of the map, hold down the CTRL key while pressing the – (minus sign) key.
  • Panning. Hold down the mouse button to reposition the image, making it easier to view parts of the book at higher magnification.

Where you can learn more about The Language of Content Strategy

Learn more about The Language of Content Strategy from these two recent blog posts,

Help for authors and thought leaders

One of the reasons I invited Scott Abel to a Published & Profitable interview is that The Language of Content Strategy also offers important lessons for authors and thought leaders looking for efficient ways to organize their 2015 book ideas.

During our interview, we’ll be addressing some of the ways that the ideas behind The Language of Content Strategy can benefit authors looking for efficient solutions to organizing their ideas and writing their book as efficiently as possible.

How to attend tomorrow’s interview with Scott Abel

All Published and Profitable friends and members are invited to attend this free, one-hour teleseminar interview with Scott Abel. It takes place Tuesday, December 16, at 4:00 PM EST. To attend, simply dial 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. Invite your friends and co-workers. Call a few minutes early and introduce yourself.  There will be an opportunity at the end of the call for you to ask Scott questions. Or, submit questions before the call as comments, below.

Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes | Writing Tips for Content Marketing

Posted December 14th @ 3:39 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Llearn how to write better content by previewing a MindManager mind map Ann Handley's Everybody Writes at BiggerplateClick the Image to learn more about Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes by downloading a MindManager mind map of its contents.

It doesn’t matter how much writing and content marketing experience you’ve had, Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content should be on your bedside table or desk.

It offers a welcome combination of perspective, details, and insights from one of the most recognizable names in content marketing.

Learning from the mind map of Everybody Writes

I created the free downloadable mind map for others who want to learn more about Everybody Writes before buying it and also for those who want to use it as a learning tool while reading the book:

  • If you’re a MindManager user, you can download the mind map and use it as a template for taking notes and as you read each chapter. This is better than underlining.
  • If you’re not a MindManager user, you can explore Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes on screen, exploring the table of contents and how Ann has organized 74 chapters and dozens of resources into 6 parts. You can collapse the contents for a big-picture view of the book, or expand and zoom-in to explore the chapters in each section. I’ve also added background information and links for you to explore.

Ann Handley’s writing tips for content marketers

Learn more about Ann Handley and Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content at Amazon.comEverybody Writess addresses the challenges content marketers face trying to create a continuous stream of helpful, relevant content.

Previously, marketers have stressed different writing skills, such as direct marketing (with its emphasis on prompting immediate sales) or the later creative and positioning eras.

Today, however, the main challenges content marketers face are to:

  • Continuously educate your market with relevant “how to buy” and “how to use” information targeted to buyers at different stages of  the buying cycle.
  • Engage your market’s interest with stories that build lasting emotional loyalty and relationships.

There are also additional challenges:

  • Competition and information overload. Content marketers must attract, engage, and build lasting relationships in an information-saturated online environment.
  • Small-screen world. Increasingly, content is read on mobile devices like iPhones, laptops, and tablets with screens far smaller than usually found on desktop computers.

Ann Handley’s perspective…

Ann Handley is the Chief Content Officer of the Marketing ProfsIn Everybody Writes, Ann Handley shares ideas, experiences, and examples to help content marketers meet today’s online writing challenges. She’s organized her ideas in 74 chapters, organized in 6 parts.

Resonating throughout Everybody Writes is Ann Handley’s emphasis upon brevity and clarity.

Many current writing books emphasize the differences that technology imposes on today’s content writers, but none describe the challenges and solutions as well as Everybody Writes.

Everybody Writes begins by acknowledging the difficulties that many in business and marketing face when approaching a writing project, then proceeds to offer increasingly-detailed writing advice for content marketers.

As you can see from the book’s table of contents, Ann practices what she preaches. Everybody Writes contains 74 chapters, organized in 6 parts. Some chapters are as short as 2 or 3 pages. She communicates using short words, short sentences, and short paragraphs.

Not just another writing book

Everybody Writes is more than just another book about writing. It’s a book with its origins in content marketing. It’s a follow-up to her co-authored pioneering book, Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks (And More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business, which continues to be a bestselling content marketing title.

Ann is also the Content Strategy Officer for Marketing Profs, an education and training community of more than 600,000 followers.

You can learn more about Ann Handler at her Amazon.com author page and her personal bog. She is also a columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine (that’s her portal page) and a LinkedIn Influencer.  She is a frequent presenter at content marketing events around the world, like Content Marketing World.

Everybody Writes reflects her extensive network of content marketing luminaries. Everybody Writes is enhanced by numerous examples and exclusive comments and quotes from conversations with other A-list content marketers.

Storyteller

Ann Handley is a high-personality storyteller. She writes as she talks–with enthusiasm and humor. In Everybody Writes, Ann Handley discusses her writing experiences and challenges in a way that you can identify with.

You describes her writing processes, how she manages her time, and the work-arounds she’s created to avoid commuting–such as building a stand-alone office in her backyard.

After reading Everybodyy Writes, you’ll not only know how to become a comfortable, effective writer, but you’ll also have a lot to talk about if you ever meet Ann at an airport or backstage at a content marketing conference.

Have you read Everybody Writes?

My mind map of Ann Handley’s Everybody Writes joints over a content marketing and writing books at Biggerrplate.com. If you’ve already read Everybody Writes, please share enjoy your impressions and takeaways. Did you find it as rewarding a reading experience as I did? Please share your comments, below.

Lessons from The Language of Content Structure

Posted December 13th @ 6:12 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

The Language of Content Strategy shows the importance of a consistennt chapter design strategyScott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie’s The Language of Content Strategy, shows the benefits of a consistent content and design strategy.

As you can see from the example at left, each of the 52 chapters in The Language of Content Strategy is limited to 2-pages with consistent placement of the key text elements.

You can learn more in my previous blog post, How to Profit From the Language of Content Strategy,

Benefits of a consistent content and design strategy

A consistent content and design strategy pays significant benefits for both authors and content marketers, as you’ll learn when I interview Scott Abel next Tuesday, December 16th, at 4:00 PM EST.

I was originally attracted to the design of  The Language of Content Strategy from a writing and appearance standpoint; the consistent chapter layout improves the reading experience by building white space into each page. The consistent layout improves the reading experience by contributing to a “rhythm” that also makes it easy to locate key messages in each chapter.

But, it turns out there are additional, even more significant benefits:

  • Easier to write. It’s easier to start to write when you have a consistent framework, structure, or template, defining the the contents of each chapter. Instead of starting with a blank slate, the various headers guide your writing, providing an almost “paint-by-number” organization.
  • Improved writing. Writing improves in the presence of limits–when you’re forced to carefully choose your words to fit the available space. A maximum word count (or character count) forces you to self-select just the most relevant ideas and express them as concisely as possible.

But, wait, there’s more!

A content structure also boosts efficiency and profits

The benefits of a consistent content and design plan go even further, however, boosting project efficiency.

  • The Language of Content Structure shows how a consistent content and design system permits book to be efficiently reformatted as card decks,Collaboration. A consistent content and design structure encourages collaboration, because the content structure encourages everyone to include the same message elements and write to fit the available space. Common standards eliminate ambiguity! Authors and content marketers efficiently collaborate with others, profiting from fresh perspectives and voices in their blog posts, books, and white papers.
  • Reformatting. More importantly, a consistent content and design structure allows information to be easily reformatted and used elsewhere. For example, the contents of The Language of Content Structure was turned into a quick-reference card deck and teaching tool plus a year’s worth of blog posts!

This efficiency opens the door to additional income and promotional opportunities as Scott Abel and I will be discussing when I interview him next Tuesday, December 16, at 4:00 PM EST.

In the meantime, you can learn more by watching outstanding SlideShare presentation, The Making of the Language of Content Strategy. It’s an excellent way to learn more before next week’s live interview.

You might also enjoy an article that mind mapping expert Chuck Frey wrote about The Language of Content Strategy for the Content Marketing Institute blog, How Engineering Principles Can Revolutionize Your Content Strategy.

How to attend next week’s Content Strategy interview

All Published and Profitable friends and members are invited to attend next week’s free, one-hour teleseminar interview with The Language of Content Strategy co-author Scott Abel on Tuesday, December 16, at 4:00 PM EST. To attend, dial 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. Hope you can join us!

How to Profit from the Language of Content Strategy

Posted December 9th @ 6:36 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie's Language of Content Strategy can take your content marketing to the next levelScott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie’s The Language of Content Strategy can take your content marketing to the next level.

The Language of Content Strategy is a slim book that offers marketers a big payoff.  It offers you a competitive edge by taking you deeper into one of content marketing’s core disciplines.

It’s a refreshing change from “bigger is better” (and, often, twice as expensive) school of writing and publishing.

The Language of Content Strategy is the ideal Holiday gift idea for the author or content marketer in your life.

  • Authors and subject area experts considering sharing their experiences and ideas by writing a book will gain increased respect for the role that planning and structure their ideas plays in writing success.
  • Content marketers will be painlessly and efficiently taken deeper into the world of content strategy, guided by carefully curated contributions from the world’s most respected content marketing experts.

In praise of slim books

The appeal of books like The Language of Content Strategy is that they eliminate the distance and distraction that often gets between author and reader.

On many previous occasions, I’ve frequently shared my enthusiasm for slim, tightly written, carefully edited, and beautifully-designed books simplify complex topics and deliver profound and useful information using as few words as possible.

Two of my favorite examples include:

Organizing a slim book

Careful organization plays a key role in writing a slim, profound, and useful book. Scott Abel and Rahel Anne Bailie organized The Language of Content Strategy into five core parts, or sections:

  1. Core Concepts.  The 11 chapters in this section establish the basic vocabulary of content strategy, including terms like content lifecycle, accessibility, and personalization.
  2. Core Deliverables. The next 11 chapters help content marketing professionals relate the basic concepts of content strategy to specific projects by describing the desired outcomes, such as a content inventory or a content scorecard.
  3. Technical Concepts. The following 12 chapters help establish a common vocabulary for business professionals and technical professionals so they can clearly communicate and agree on a content strategy. Examples include content reuse, modular content, adaptive content, and content migration.
  4. Extended Deliverables. The 9 chapters in this section define frequently needed  specialized content strategy tasks, like editorial calendars, wireframes, and style guides which may be required.
  5. Global Content. Content marketing today is international. With a few exceptions, the Internet does not respect geographical or political boundaries. The 8 chapters in this section define the key terms used in managing a global content marketing strategy. These include translation, localization, and terminology management.

The Power of Limits

The Language of Content Strategy is an excellent example of the power of limits, which I wrote about in a recent Content Marketing Institute guest post,  7 Ways Limitations Can Boost Your Content Creation Productivity.

In fact, limitations are at the core of The Language of Content Strategy’s success!

All of the chapters in The Language of Content Strategy are limited to two pagess. Although The Language of Content Strategy contains 52 chapters, each chapter is limited to a two-page spread (i.e., facing left-hand and right-hand pages), as shown in the mind map to the right.

This forced the authors to write and edit as concisely as possible, often, I assume, rewriting and re-editing.

  • What normally happens with unlimited space. When authors and subject area experts are given unlimited space, they’re likely to fill it! They may either include more information than needed, or they may use long words when shorter words might suffice. The writing gets bloated, in other words.
  • What happens when given a structure and maxim word counts. When there are limitations, like the four sections of each chapter in The Language of Content, however, you’re forced to carefully choose your ideas and express them as concisely as possible.

Meeting content strategy experts around the world

In addition to introducing you to the key concepts and terminology of content strategy, The Language of Content Strategy introduces you to over 50 key content strategy experts throughout the world. In each case, you learn their:

  • Email addresses
  • Websites
  • Twitter accounts

This technique exposes you to new ideas and perspectives, providing key networking resources you can learn from in the future.

To learn more about The Language of Content Strategy

In addition to the book’s Amazon.com page, here are three online resources you can explore:

  • The Language of Content Strategy website to learn more about the book, its contents, its contributors, and the card deck.
  • Scott Abel’s Content Wrangler website. Discover numerous content strategy resources, including training and conference opportunities, blog posts, and links to content strategy presentations.
  • Rahel Anne Bailie’s International Design website where you can learn more, and get help, taking your content strategy around the world.
  • Visit XML Press, publisher of The Language of Content Strategy and other content marketing topics.

Free call with Scott Abel next week

Meet Scott Abel, Chief Content Strategy at the Content Wrangler, during next week's free teleseminar interviewLearn more about content strategy and the origins of The Language of Content Strategy next week when I interview Scott Abel, co-author, on Tuesday, December 16, at 4:00 PM EST.

All Published and Profitable friends and members are invited to attend this free, one-hour teleseminar interview.

To attend, dial 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. Feel free to invite your friends and co-workers to join us.