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.

Nancy Duarte’s Slidedocs Shares a New Way to Tell Your Story

Posted March 11th @ 6:37 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Nancy Duarte's Slidedocs describes a new way for authors and content marketers to tell their storyDiscover a new way to share your story by downloading a free copy of Nancy Duarte’s Slidedocs.

Slidedocs builds on Nancy Duarte’s reputation as a leading visual thinker, reflected in blog postsTEDx interviews and presentations and bestselling books like Slide:ology and Resonate.

Her firm’s portfolio provides an extensive gallery of examples of today’s best practices for presentation design and content created for today’s leading technology firms.

What are Slidedocs?

As described in a Fast Company Design blog post, Book Written Entirely in PowerPoint  Aims to Reinvent How Businesses Communicate, Slidedocs is a new concept, defined as “a visual document, developed in presentation software, that is intended to be read and referenced instead of projected.”

Like a well-designed presentation, Slidedocs focuses attention on one idea per slide (or page), yet provides space for sharing more supporting text or graphics.

In her words, “…if you present information in chunks with a Slidedoc, readers can breeze through it and get at the heart of the ideas much more efficiently.”

Endless content and design options

The templates that accompany the Slidedocs download permit endless design optionsAs you can see from the example at left, the PowerPoint-based Slidedocs format permits endless content and design options.

Notice that engaging variety of pages layouts, yet the underlying design of the pages reflect a consistent professional image.

PowerPoint templates

Best of all, when you download Nancy Duarte’s free 165-page Slidedocs book,  you also get two PowerPoint templates to use exploring the power of the Slidedocs format for content marketing and book promotion.

Applications for Slidedocs

Slidedocs offers great potential for authors and content marketers, especially those who have PowerPoint experience (which probably includes every author and content marketer). Possible uses include:

  • Books and ebooks formatted to reflect a strong brand and a “series” consistency
  • Documentation which can be easily navigated using PowerPoint’s Outline or Slide thumbnails options
  • Newsletters intended for both print and email distribution
  • Reports that invite readership, even when they contain highly detailed information
  • Presentation support materials distributed for study both important meetings as well as after presentations
  • Training materials and procedures manuals

How would you use Slidedocs?

What are some of the ways you could put Slidedocs to work promoting your book or expanding your content marketing options? Share your ideas and impressions below, as comments.

Take a Fresh Look At Your Blog’s About Us Page!

Posted March 4th @ 9:50 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Get a fresh perspective on your blog's About Us page by attending today's free book coaching callGet a fresh perspective on the effectiveness of your About Us page by joining today’s Published & Profitable’s free book coaching call!

The call is your chance to review the effectiveness of your current About page, and get some suggestions for your page.

  • During the first part of the call, I’ll be sharing lessons learned from an analysis of a particularly well-done About page, as well as a few others.
  • Then,  we’ll open the lines for callers, inviting you to share your favorite about pages, discuss your current writing progress, and ask any questions you might have about planning, writing, promoting, and profiting from a brand-building book.

Free About page critique

In addition, if you’d like, we’ll take a look at your About page, and provide some impartial feedback and suggestions. You’re also invited to discuss your February writing experiences and progress, and your March writing and book marketing goals.

To learn more…

To learn more about saving time while telling your story on your About Me page, attend today’s free book coaching teleseminar call. It takes place Tuesday, March 4, at 4:00 PM Eastern. To attend, call 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391.

Save Time Telling Your Story on Your About Me Page

Posted March 3rd @ 6:02 am by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Use these questions to when creating an About Us or Frequently Asked Questions pageSave time creating your About Us or Frequently Asked Questions page by thinking of it as a series of interview questions.

Coaching clients frequently tell me that the About Us page is one of the hardest pages to create for their blog or  website.

The problem, of course, is a lack of a structure, or starting point, for sharing their story.

That’s why I was so impressed when I discovered Bruce McDuffee’s FAQs About the Author page on his Modern Marketing for Industry blog.

It provides a question and answer template that you can adapt to your specific story.

Benefits of the interview approach

As you will see when you Bruce’s page, Bruce tells his story as answers to interview questions. The question and answer format builds momentum, focuses his answers on specifics, and encourages a conversational tone.

The lack of focus in a conventional About Us page also leads to including too many details about you, rather than filtering your story to focus on what’s relevant to your prospects.

The question-and-answer technique is also scalable. After creating your answers, it will be relatively easy for you to edit and condense your answers to a short, background summary, like the one that Bruce McDuffee uses in the header of his blog.

Putting this idea to work

There are three steps, and several options,  involved in putting this technique to work:

  1. Identifying your key message points. Make a list of the main points you want to address in your story, such as your target market, their challenges and goals, the main points that differentiate you from your competition, and the key ideas you want readers to remember. Don’t write a “script,” just a list–maybe even just a handwritten list.
  2. Prepare the “interview” questions.  Focus on just identifying 8-10 questions, without stopping to prepare the answers.
  3. Review your key message points, then answer the questions. You might want to do this during a fresh working session. Write as conversationally and concisely as possible; don’t try to “fluff up” your answers.

How to save even more time

If possible, arrange for an experienced interviewer to ask you the questions, record your answers, then have the recording professionally transcribed. This gets the first draft of your answers written as quickly as possible.

All that remains is to edit the transcript and, if necessary, provide additional supporting details.

To learn more…

To learn more about saving time while telling your story on your About Me page, attend tomorrow’s Published & Profitable’s free book coaching teleseminar call. The call takes place Tuesday, March 4, at 4:00 PM Eastern. To attend, call 605-475-6150 and enter PIN 513391. I’ll be sharing resources and you’re invited to ask questions share your February writing and content marketing experiences and your March goals.

Tips for Blogging and Content Marketing Success from Rajesh Setty

Posted February 28th @ 2:47 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Rajesh Setty's T is for Teaching shares best practices for authors, content marketers, and career successLessons for authors, content marketing, and career success from Rajesh Setty’s T is for Teaching.

Rajesh Setty’s T is for Teaching provides an excellent case study of the benefits of serializing a theme for authors or content marketers looking for an efficient structure for their blog or ideas for blogging a book.

Use the alphabet to organize your blog posts or a book

One of the biggest problems authors and content marketers struggle with is the need for content ideas, the need to create an on-going series of blog posts.

The hardest part of creating a consistent flow of content is deciding what to write about!

Sue Grafton, of course, was one of the first to use the alphabet as a branding technique for her bestselling mystery series. Her A is for Alibi established a bestselling series that continues today.

Besides providing a way to brand a series of books, the alphabet also provides an easy structure for creating the structure for a single book, as Doug Patt shows in his bestselling How to Architect.

Recently, Rajesh Setty has been writing a series of powerful, alphabetically-titled career coaching and personal development posts; the latest is T is for Teaching.

The series is notable not only for its concise, practical, contents–which I highly recommend–but for the innovations that Rajesh has brought to the concept of creating a series of alphabetically-organized blog posts.

  • Each post in Rajesh Setty's series drives traffic to the other posts in the series by including links to the other postsCross-promoting other posts in the series. Equally important, each of Rajesh’s posts contains links to the other posts in the series. This reinforces the series concept, and continues to drive interested traffic to the earlier posts in the series.
  • Guest posting. Rajesh’s has also posted installments in his series as guest posts on other blogs, such as the Huffington Post. These guest posts expose his  series to an expanded audience, especially since they contain links to other posts.
  • Using graphics to brand the posts. Another lessons from Rajesh Setty’s blog post series is to brand the series by using a consistent graphic style to visually tie the series together. (See graphic at top of article.)

The colors used in the graphics may change, but the shape of the title graphic remains the same.

To learn more

Besides reviewing each of Rajesh Setty’s recent, alphabet-based, blog post series, which I recommend for the conciseness and pragmatism of his advice, I encourage you to think seriously about how you can use the “series” concept to organize your upcoming blog post ideas into a series. The benefits of a series of blog posts include:

  1. Efficiency. By identifying the titles of the various installments in advance, you’ll find it much easier to prepare the individual blog posts.
  2. Synergy. Your series will build anticipation among your readers, as they will look forward to upcoming installments, as well as be more likely to review previous installments.
  3. Expandability. Once you have completed the series, it will be relatively easy to expand it into a book or ebook, or a series of podcasts or videos.
  4. Momentum. As you prepare each post, you might consider creating tip sheets or worksheets to accompany it, adding value to each post, as well as getting a head start on a future book or ebook.
  5. Flexibility. It’s important to note that the series concept does not prevent you from blogging about different topics in between your “series” posts. You are still able to comment on current topics or discuss other concerns relevant to your market.

For additional ways to organize a blog post series, see Book Title Tips to Save Time Writing a Book, More Content Marketing Ideas for Blogging Your Book, and Book Title and Topic Ideas for Blogging a Book.

Will this approach work for you?

What are your impressions after exploring various posts in Rajesh Setty’s “alphabetical” blog post series? Can you see ways to adopt it for your own business? What are some of the ways you could customize the idea to your market’s needs?