MindMapping Shortcuts for Writing a Book

Posted March 26th @ 2:21 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Mindmapping content dashboard shortcuts help authors save time planning and writing a bookMy latest Mindjet Content Dashboard post shows how to use Map Parts to save time planning and writing your books and content marketing.

Map Parts are reusable combinations of topics and subtopics designed for content dashboards.

Map Parts benefits

Map Parts save time by providing a structure for your book research and planning.

  • Consistency. Map Parts help ensure you include all necessary information when analyzing competing books and creating a table of contents.
  • Ease of use. It takes just seconds to add a create a map part and add it to the Map Parts task pane, accessible from the lower right of the MindManager screen. Once created, Map Parts can be easily added, by dragging and dropping, into the Content Dashboard map you’re currently working on.

Map Parts examples

Here are some of the ways you can use map parts with various Content Dashboard maps:

  • Book Competition Tracker. My Book Competition Tracker map provides a convenient and space-efficient way to track the key characteristics of competing books in an orderly way. It also provides an efficient way to keep track of competing authors with multiple titles.
  • Expert Tracker. My new Expert Tracker Map Part makes it easy to insert links to an expert’s social media, and makes it faster access their various social media postings without revisiting their website.
  • Chapter Contents. My new Chapter Contents Map Part, part of my Book Planner mind map, reminds you of the repeating text and graphic elements that you might include in each of the chapters of your book.

Learn more about Map Parts

Visit my latest post on Mindjet’s Conspire blog, Mindjet Dashboard Series: Saving Time with Map Parts, where you can see before and after examples of the Map Parts in use. Share your experiences using map parts, as well as questions and suggestions for future Content Dashboards and Map Parts as comments, below.

Writing & Publishing Tips for Positioning Your Book

Posted March 24th @ 6:34 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Andy Crestodina, author and founding partner of Orbia Media, will share writing and publishing tips used to position Andy's book, Content Chemistry, apart from competing content marketing books. Attend a free book coaching call when I interview Andy Crestodina, author of Content Chemistry, about how he positioned his book apart from other content marketing books.

Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing, contains writing, design, and publishing lessons every author and content marketer can benefit from as they begin to plan and write their book in a crowded field.

  • You’ll gain a behind-the-scenes look at the questions that were asked and the positioning options that were chosen to set the book apart and enhance its appeal to prospective readers.
  • We’ll discuss the origins that the Chemistry title and metaphor play in the book’s story, and how it influenced the book’s organization, graphics, and text.
  • I’m going to ask Andy questions like, “Which came first, the copy or the layout?”
  • I’ll ask Andy how page-to-page variety and consistency maintain reader interest, and th role that white space plays in easy reading, even know the book shares in-depth, research-based content marketing methodologies and details.

Finally, I’ve asked Andy to prepare a summary of the main content marketing takeaway ideas he wants readers to remember from Content Chemistry.

Who should attend this interview and book book coaching call?

This call is for you if you’re considering writing a nonfiction book to promote your business and establish your firm as the “go-to” firm in your field. The more competing books there are in your field, the more you’re likely to gain from attending this call.

This call is your chance to learn from an author who did it, and in a way that benefited his career an his business. Time permitting, you’ll be able to ask Andy questions about your book project as well as your goals of expanding your author influence and page rank which can help you promote your book more effectively.

Here are more articles to check out before the call:

How to attend the call

I’ll be interviewing Andy Crestodina on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 4:00 PM Eastern. All Published & Profitable friends and members are invited to attend. There’s no charge. Just call 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. Call in a few minutes early and say hello! Invite your friends who are considering writing a book or who simply want to learn more about content marketing. They’ll thank you, and so will I!

More Design Tips from Andy Crestodina’s Content Chemistry

Posted March 23rd @ 6:39 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Book design tip from Content Chemistry; sell the book's contents on the back coverThe back cover of Andy Crestodina’s Content Chemistry provides more examples of ways to use design to set your book apart from the competition.

In yesterday’s blog post, Book Design Tips from Andy Crestodina’s Content Chemistry, I described how the  design of the front cover and inside pages reflected a different approach to content marketing text and graphics.

The inside pages, for example, contain plenty of white space, encouraging readers to use the book as a workbook for jotting down ideas as they occur while reading.

The front cover, shown yesterday, provides a visual summary of the benefits readers will gain from the book, including:

  • 54 charts & diagrams
  • 33 quick tips
  • 16 warnings.

Back cover design tip

The back cover, shown above, likewise, is designed to provide a poster or infographic-like, at-a-glance summary of the benefits readers will get from the book. The visual elements include:

  • Periodic Table of Content. This is the books primary positioning element, a unique and carefully thought-out display of the different ways content marketing messages can be distributed.
  • Positioning statement. The text to the left provides a concise, yet detailed, description of not only the book’s content, but also its style. In Andy’s words: This handbook is more than 100 pages of step-by-step web marketing advice, written in plain English….
  • Supporting summary. The text to the right provides details, organized under two subheadings: To be successful, websites must do two things… and In order to do this, web marketers must do two things…
  • Summary. The text reversed out of the black background summarizes the benefits, concluding with: “…You’ll know where you’re going and how to get there. And youll know how to measure it all.

Learn more about using design to set your book apart

To learn more about using design to set your book apart in a crowded field when I interview Andy Crestodina, co-founder founder and strategic director of Orbit Media and Content Chemistry author.

I’ll be asking Andy questions like:

  • What are some of the ways to use design to set a book apart in a crowded field?
  • Which came first: the content or the design?
  • What kind of resources are involved?

I’ll be interviewing Andy Crestodina on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 4:00 PM Eastern.

All Published & Profitable friends and members are invited to attend. There’s no charge. Just call 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. Feel free to invite others. There will be time for you to ask Andy your questions about content marketing in general or suggestions for using design to set your book apart from its competition. You can also submit your questions before the call, as comments.

Book Design Tips from Content Chemistry author Andy Crestodina

Posted March 22nd @ 6:03 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Learn how Andy Crestodina, author of author of Content Chemistry: An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing, used design to set his book apart from the competitionLearn how to use design to set your book apart from the competition when I interview Andy Crestodina, author of Content Chemistry, An Illustrated Handbook for Content Marketing on a free book coaching call.

Andy will be sharing design tips for both the front and back covers of your book as well as the inside pages.

There’s more to effective book design than just creating an inviting front cover. The design of the inside pages of your book plays an equally important role in positioning your book relative to the competition and creating loyal readers.

A different approach to content marketing

Content Chemistry is unlike any other content marketing book you may have ever seen. When you pick it up, you’ll immediately notice the difference:

  • Format. It’s a different size and shape, and contains fewer pages–yet includes the details you need to implement or improve an effective content marketing program.
  • Organization. Like a high school or college science course, Content Chemistry is organized in two sections: Part One: Lecture, and Part Two: Lab.
  • FunctionContent Chemistry is designed for more than reading; it’s intended to be used as a workbook. The larger-than-normal pages and tight editing creates space on each page for you to jot down ideas as they occur to you.

Story-telling metaphor

Content Chemistry uses the familiar Periodic Table of the Elements metaphor to provide a context for readers to understand the various ways they can use content to market their business.

Content Chemistry uses the visual metaphor of the periodic table of elements to show how to put content marketing to workAs you can see from the example at left (pages 44 and 45), content marketing options are visually displayed in a single graphic, then explained on the following pages. In Andy’s words:

Elements at the top of the chart are small and tend to have a shorter half-life. Elements at the bottom are larger, slower to create, and last longer.

Elements to the left appear everywhere, on billions of sites and various devices. Elements on the right are more likely to be on your site.

In addition, each element contains a number at the upper right. This shows the word count typically used in that element.

Learn more about using design to set your book apart

Learn more about using book cover and inside page design to set your book apart in a crowded field when I interview Andy Crestodina, author of Content Chemistry on a free book coaching call next week.

The call takes place Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 4:00 PM Eastern. All Published & Profitable friends and members are invited to attend. To attend, call 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. I’ll be asking Andy questions about Content Chemistry’s origins, goals, and its unique fusion of design and content. They’ll also be time for you to ask Andy Crestodina questions about content marketing in general or suggestions for using design to set your book apart.

Tips for Choosing Simple, Effective Book and Ebook Titles

Posted March 18th @ 6:16 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Sometimes the most effective book and ebook titles are the simplest, as Edmund S. Lee's  Three recent ebooks showsSometimes the most effective book and ebook titles and subtitles are the simplest, as shown by these examples by Edmund S. Lee.

As Published & Profitable members know, book titles and subtitles are one of my favorite topics.

Characteristics of the best book titles

The best book titles perform two key functions for authors and their readers:

- Authors. The best titles create a structure that helps authors write their book as efficiently as possible.

- Readers. The best titles make complex projects appear easy, by breaking them up into a series of simple steps.

I’ve frequently written about author and reader-friendly, efficient titles in articles like Book Title Tips to Save Time Writing a Book and How to Choose the Right Title for Blogging a Book.

Master Social Media, 21-Days at a Time

Being a fan of title efficiency, I was very pleased to discover Edmund S. Lee’s trio of social media ebooks that–together–provide over two months of focused daily activity to establishing or enhancing your presence on the three leading social media:

Choosing Titles with a Future

Another lesson the above series of Amazon Kindle ebooks teaches is the importance of choosing a title that can be easily expanded into a series of follow-up books.

The hard part of writing a book is often choosing a title and an structure for organizing and presenting information.

As you can see from the parallelism of the above topics, once a a title and content formula has been identified, it becomes easier and easier to expand the series with additional books and ebooks.

More important, as each succeeding book increases the number of content nuggetts, or building blocks, books like Edmund’s Marketing Blueprint Series can create content for endless repurposed articles, blog posts, podcasts, presentations, tip sheets, videos, webinars, and white papers.

It pays to do things right…from the start!

Share your comments about choosing a simple structure for the titles of your books and ebooks, as comments, below. Is this a strategy that could work for you? And share your suggestions for the next topics that Edmund should address?

Nina Amir’s Tips for Becoming a Successful Multi-title Author

Posted March 17th @ 2:35 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Nina Amir describes why nonfiction authors should become multi-title authors to achieve their career goals.

In this guest post, Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and the Author Training Manual, explains the importance of a multi-title book strategy for authors.

In Nina’s words…

I’m a big proponent of authors planning out their careers. When they come to me with one idea, I ask them what other books they plan to write. This allows me to see the possible trajectory of their career and how all their books might work together, one building on the next and helping them sell more books and create an author brand.

It’s important to do this type of planning early. Sometimes your ideas don’t fall in line. You might have one first, but a second idea comes along and ends up being your first published book. They still work as a series, or spin-offs, helping to create a brand.

That’s how it happened to me.

From One Book to the Next

I first conceived a process I called “the proposal process” and a book to take aspiring authors through it around 2008 or 2009. However, before I could get that book sold to a publisher, I came up with a second book idea, called How to Blog a Book. Since I still wanted to write the first book, and I felt the process could—and should—be applied to any book idea prior to being written, I included a chapter on the proposal process in How to Blog a Book.

This was a strategic move. It set me up to write to write my second book (formerly my first book). Only I later revamped that book idea to give it more depth and breadth, renamed my process “The Author Training Process,” and proposed The Author Training Manual to my publisher, Writer’s Digest Books. (I had an agent who did this for me.).

In this second book, I included a chapter related to personal development. It talks about attitude and results. In the book proposal for The Author Training Manual, I included a spin-off book—the next book I want to write—that elaborated on that chapter. If that book becomes my next, it allows me to move into another area of successful authorship related to this book.

In effect, if the publisher accepts this book, I will have taken a chapter in my first book and expanded it into a second book. I will then have taken a chapter in my second book and expanded it into a third book.

I also will have given myself a path as an author to move toward subjects that interest me and to expand my own career as an author and coach.

Can you see the strategy here? In the process, an author brand develops: I become known for producing books on successful authorship and on how to get books written and successfully published.

The Importance of Being a Multiple-Book Author

As you plan out your first book, always think ahead to the second or third book. Here’s why:

  • First, publishers—should you want to go the traditional publishing route—don’t like to invest in one-book authors; they prefer to invest in multiple-book authors.
  • Second, the more you write and publish, the more you sell. That’s why traditional publishers want to go into business with multiple-book authors, not one-book wonders. This speaks to what is known as the “long-tail effect.”

Your second book likely will stimulate sales of your first book, as will your third book or fourth book.

I can already see this happening with How to Blog a Book, whose sales went up considerably the last week of February as more and more people began to pre-order The Author Training Manual. I only expect this effect to increase.

You might even sell books that are unrelated in topic. One of my readers purchased How to Blog a Book and then went on to find and purchase an ebook of mine, called The Priestess Practice, which is only available on my website.

Accountability Partners Help Me Write

With each book I’ve learned something about how I write best. For instance, with How to Blog a Book, I shared the book as I wrote it—post by post. I got feed back, in some cases from my readers. My deadline was created by my blogging schedule of three to four posts per week, and this helped me write the first draft of the book in five months (minus two chapters). While sometimes it was hard to maintain that schedule, knowing I had readers waiting for posts kept me writing. They served as my accountability partners.

With The Author Training Manual, I wrote the draft manuscript in eight weeks as the text for my Author Training 101 course. The students received chapters straight off my computer as I finished them, and many of those very same students edited them and also offered anecdotes for the book. I blogged the book as I revised it, which I found a much less-satisfying process than actually blogging a book. I didn’t have the satisfaction of writing the book on the blog, and it was difficult to break the chapters into blog posts since they were not written for that purpose. Yet, knowing students were waiting for the text as I wrote it, made me get the first draft done quickly. In this case, my students were my accountability partners.

Your List of Forthcoming Books Keeps You Moving Forward

I have found that having a strategy for more books also keeps me writing and working. Whether you plan to self-publish or traditionally publish, knowing another book is waiting in the queue to be written, provides daily incentive to keep at the job of becoming a successful author.

For me, this means I keep building my author platform by looking for ways to promote myself and my work. I keep working on my brand, my websites, my expert status. And I keep writing.

My list of forthcoming books is quite large and diverse. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by the list, and I wonder how I’ll ever have time to write them all. But that’s a better problem to have then to wonder if you have another book in you.

Today's guest post is by Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training ManualAbout the Author

Nina Amir, author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach. She moves clients from ideas to finished books to careers as authors. She shows how to combine passion and purpose to create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world.

A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

For more information, visit www.ninaamir.com and her blogs, www.howtoblogabook.com and www.writenonfictionnow.com. Her next Author Training 101 Course with LIVE Coaching is May 6-June 24, 2014.