Monthly Archives: January 2011

The Publishing Industry: Are we up a creek without a paddle?

I need to blow off some steam. My turn to rant. I’ve been through it all, writing classes up the wazzoo, critique groups to choke a horse, one of those really, really bad-news literary agencies we all know about, the search for good representation and the rejects, the requests, the pitching big and small independent publishers and back again. The agreements, the contracts – you name it, I’ve been there. (Sheesh, and I thought two divorces were bad?) Through it all, I’ve developed an Author Success Coaching business using the expertise of more than 30 years experience to help make sure authors trying to gain readers/buyers for their books can get as much success as possible, even in this crazy, gyrating industry vacillation.

Where are we all going to be in two, five, ten years? All the horror stories are out there. Watching this industry mutate into what it eventually will be is like giving birth, only more painful. What’s all the fighting about? You can’t hold that baby in, you know. It’s gotta come out, gotta grow, develop and become what it’s going to be. The baby? E-publishing of course.

Aww, look how cute it is? A really special infant! One that doesn’t cost nearly as much as it’s cumbersome, paper and printed mass-quantity books siblings. This little baby can be anyone’s child; big publishers can sire it, small independent publishers can make them, even authors can do this! It’s a … miracle.

Now, let’s talk quality. I have always been a supporter of self published authors, always made sure to focus my consulting efforts on their difficult responsibilities for marketing and promoting themselves and their work. Let’s face it, if the publishing industry in any form is going to survive, we’ve all got to market and promote. But more than that … we have all got to fight for good quality writing! We all have to strive to be better and better. Nothing turns a buying customer off more than having a bad experience with a product. One or two bad meals and they never go to that restaurant again. A bad fit and they won’t be purchasing clothing at that store again. And … badly written stories will eventually turn them off to buying books by specific authors and even specific publishers.

We – authors, agents, publishers and even online book stores – are in the entertainments business and if we don’t know that, we’re all going to be up a creek without a paddle.

Like movies and sports events, we’re fighting for the customer’s discretionary dollar – and Lord knows, there aren’t a whole lot of those these days. Lucky for us, e-books cost much less – unless of course, some backward thinking traditional publishers have their way. But then again, even though they don’t seem to know it yet, they’re not running the show anymore, are they?

We can sell books anywhere, anytime, and at everyone’s convenience. No more worrying about what time a store opens or closes or if they have the book we want in stock. No more concerns about returns and the recall of advances. Sure, we may not be looking at advances the way we used to, but what we as authors are looking at is a much, MUCH larger percentage of our book’s sale going right into our pocket.

I can see how all of this would get caught in the old school publishing dinosaur’s throat, can’t you? Without all the mammoth expenses of the traditional publishing model, how can the huge publishers demand so much anymore? I may be a little high on “possibilities” wine here, but doesn’t e-publishing level the playing field? Like, for the first time EVER?

This transitional period is going to be all about rolling with the waves, keeping our knees soft and understanding that everything eventually settles out. Kinda like skiing down a double black diamond slope; don’t hold your breath, keep your eyes peeled, your skis pointed downhill, hips loose and whatever you do, don’t panic.

We’re going to get through this, and the authors, publishers, literary agents and multitude of advisers out there will all do just fine if we stop paddling in different directions. Pick a path and go.

Go e-publishing because if you don’t at least seriously consider it today, it will make all the decisions for you later, and not that much later. In two years, it’s estimated we won’t even have paper magazines or newspapers anymore, no more traditional libraries, no more mega or mini book stores, just the internet for buying and downloading books. Why fight when the tide is this strong?

The future is nipping at our butts, let’s just make friends and forge ahead with the author careers we want on this new, exciting playing field?

Author Success: A “Well Business Planned” Future, part 12

PART TWELVE: Show and Tell

You have done it all! You have completed your Book Business Plan! We’ve covered:

But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson, Your Subject Hooks and Selling Handles, How Long, Author Platform and Book Platform, Target Markets, Your Exposure Plan, Your Promotional Plan, Your Competition, Resources Required, Bio and Photo and Book Outline Requirements

It’s time for Show and Tell! Time to use everything you’ve worked so hard to put together (almost as hard as you worked to write the book!).

A serious author, one who plans for a full career as a writer, understands all the elements we’ve covered. They know that writing IS their business. They understand the responsibilities of promoting their business, expanding it, growing it … building it. A successful author is aware of the market, how to write for it and sale to it. That author knows that some battles – like developing an entirely new market or bucking what the readers, agents and publishers are asking for – just may not be productive. The point of gaining sales success is to also gain the ability to write what they want. Everyone must pay their dues, be seen, heard, watched and followed. It’s just how the world works.

An author with a strong Book Business Plan has established a commitment to their career. They’ve made the effort, did the work, faced the questions and created perfect solutions for marketing themselves and their books. They understand that this shift in the industry (the shift that drops marketing responsibilities onto the author’s shoulders) is not a bad thing. It is a challenge, but it’s also a boon! Authors who take the reigns into their own hands are always happier with the final results, especially if they’ve efficiently planned for those results. Think of it as a 12 step program to take us all from what the publishing world used to be … to what the publishing world will be. AND, making sure we’re all ready to ride this new machine to the winner’s circle.

Never forget, your Book Business Plan is a living breathing thing. It’ll change with the market, the industry and every new direction you choose to approach for bigger exposure and more book sales. It’s a perfect collection of all the elements and bits of information you will need to try something new with your marketing. It is your friend; it’ll gain weight and lose weight, it get cranky and be sweet. Treat this plan with respect and it will serve you well. And remember, with your next book – fiction, series or non-fiction – you’ll be developing another plan. Sometimes, especially if you are writing a series, you can simply hook onto the successful strategies you created in the first plan. But remember, there are ALWAYS new and expanded directions to reach possible readers. So keep your Book Business Plan fluid. It’s a template for your career, your future and just may become your best friend ever.

And now … (just in case you thought I was finished, LOL) …

There are a few advanced tools and strategies, among them the skill to sniff out and identify multilevel marketing and promotional opportunities. So, the next series in the Author Success blogs will cover just that.

Author Success: Multilevel Marketing and Promotion

This NEW series will cover …

  • The world’s most effective book launch
  • Understanding how to dig deeper into your manuscript for even more selling hooks
  • Taking your platforms to even more effective places for awareness and sales results
  • Taking what you know of your market and expanding it
  • E-book sales success strategies
  • Playing the genre game
  • Cross marketing your book
  • Ongoing sales strategies for when the book launch honeymoon blush is gone
  • Time management that gives you TIME TO WRITE
  • And more

Come join me for the next in my Author Success series … Multilevel Marketing and Promotions. The publication world is changing and YOU, the author, can be sure to be successful no matter what happens. How? By dancing through the raindrops and coming out dry and smiling.


Author Success Coaching

Publicity Marketing Promotions

Author Success, A Well “Business Planned” Future

12 Lessons and they start here, But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson

Got Your Book Business Plan Rocking for 2011?

It’s a new year. 2011. Got your Book Business Plan rocking? What we know of the coming transformations in the publishing industry keeps changing even as you read this sentence, but the things we are sure of impact everything about the way we get published, and more importantly, the ways we promote our books. It’s become critical that an author understand strategic planning for success. How does an author do that?

So many have asked …

Building an effective Book Business Plan is the only sure route to victory. Your book (and future books) are your business and you must organize and set up the success you want for them. The publishing industry is shifting and altering, groaning under the weight of the old and power of the new. Without the right kind of plan, your book … your business … your career as an author … can seriously falter and fail. I’ve been doing online workshops and speaking at writing groups on this subject for nearly a year now, and am currently writing an Author Success Coaching book that focuses on the subject of Book Business Plans, why we need them, how to create them and how to make them more efficient as the market and industry changes.

I’ll be teaching this particular online workshop at least three times in 2011 and doing several live speaking engagements in the Los Angeles area between January and June on the subject. The first online Book Business Plan workshop coming up is at WOW (Women on Writing). This one is a full month long, and gives me the luxury of doing intense interactive work with the participants. Whether an author is traditionally published, e-published or self-published the basic tools and techniques in the workshop can make a world of difference in their success. WOW is the only place I do the entire, 4-week online workshop so sign up early.

January 17 – February 11, 2011

Women on Writing (WOW): Creating an Effective Book Business Plan


One of the most productive things an author can do is write a Book Business Plan. It’s a required exercise for authors writing non-fiction book proposals and easily as important as actually writing the book, whether non-fiction or fiction. Why?

  • Writing is a business
  • Writing is YOUR business
  • Nothing reminds a business person about the importance of their business more than a business plan

This is the reason the very first serious effort you should make in building your platform should start with a Book Business Plan. Want success? Click on the link above and join me!


  • Putting it all together
    In one place and at your fingertips!
  • Your Hooks and Handles
    How to write your 25-30 word elevator pitch to carry you from gaining an agent, through full blown press and marketing promotions
    What about your book will make readers run to buy it?
  • Market Exploration
    Knowing who you’re writing for and where to reach them makes everything from conceptualizing the plot to envisioning the sales venues a whole lot easier.
  • Exposure and Promotional Plans
    Attention! We just love attention, but only the best kind. How to get it and how to make it work for you
  • Estimating and Limiting Costs
    Things to watch out for
    The difference between Free, Cheap, Reasonable, and the levels of effectiveness
  • Resources Required
    Expenses, permissions, packaging, and so much more
  • Book Promo Elements (The Pre-Launch)
    Visibility and Exposure: Website? Facebook? Twitter? Press release campaign? Advertising? Book Trailer? Book Signing Events?
    Expenses – in money and time – for this exposure
    How a powerful pre-launch is planned
  • Press Plan
    We’ll cover elements needed to help you develop effective press exposure
    Author Platform/Book Platform
    The critical differences
    Discussion covering elements and importance
  • A Last Word on Professionals
    What you know, don’t know and should know about professionals who can help create your success

I’ll be keeping you updated on the many other workshops I’ll be teaching and where they’re available in between my regular blogging.

It’s 2011! And it’s going to be one spectacular year for us all!

For more on Book Business Plans …

Writers Write. Successful Authors Write a Book Business Plan.

Author Success, A Well “Business Planned” Future

Lesson 1, But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson

Lesson 2, Your Subject Hooks and Selling Handles

Lesson 3, How Long

Lesson 4, Author Platform and Book Platform

Lesson 5, Target Markets

Lesson 6, Your Exposure Plan

Lesson 7, Your Promotional Plan

Lesson 8, Your Competition

Lesson 9, Resources Required

Lesson 10, Bio and Photo

Lesson 11, Book Outline Requirements


Author Success Coaching

Publicity Marketing Promotions