Category Archives for "Writing and Publishing Process"

Preparing Your Book for the Editing Phase

If you’re selling a car, you are likely to wash it, clear all the junk out of the boot, and wipe down the dashboard, vacum even under the seats, and ensure you’re going to get a good price for it.   If you are selling a house, then you’ll likely fix those irritating little dripping tap and sqeaky floorboards, paint the spare room, and maybe replace the curtains in a couple of rooms, right?

Why do you do this?  It’s not only because you want to present your car or house in it’s best view, but because you know those things need doing, and so you do them, because you know there’s maybe a little more money to be made by doing so.     When it comes to getting your manuscript ready for an editor to go through it, you need to think like you’re selling your house or car.  The things you know are there that need fixing and can be taken care of by you, will translate into two things:

  1. A lower fee charged by your editor for him or her not having to take care of the obvious tasks.
  2. A little more respect from your editor for your having taken the time and made the effort to present your manuscript as ready for them to work their magic.

Why are these both so important?

If you check with your editor and /or publisher before the professional editing phase about things like use of ” or ‘ to show dialogue, UK Evs US English, various spellings of some words, how they like to treat footnotes, indexing, or references etc, you are going to save perhaps hundreds of dollars invested in their time and efforts by their not having to change simple things.   Some things you can even line up on with your editor or publisher from when you start to write.   This will also save you a lot of time to get right at the start.

Your editor needs to be able to focus on the sentence structure, the content that flows, the parts that don’t work, and the things that don’t make sense.   That’s what you use an editor for.   However, every editor I know  – and I’ve worked with quite a few now –  hates having to do simple and obvious corrections all through a manuscript – it slows down the process considerably. And can be frustrating.

Having your editor respect your efforts to get your manuscript ready for them, means they are more likely to love doing your editing, and given how much reading they have to do for a living, having them love your work just makes for a better relationship all round.   And that’s worth having don’t you think?

Your editor should be part of your team – work closely with them and you’ll find your writing improves signifiantly over time too.

 

Happy Writing…

 

 

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The Importance of Book Reviews – Why and How

Guest Post by Jeanne Felfe, Author of the Booklife Prize 2017 Quarterfinalist novel The Art of Healing

After you read a book, do you leave a review in at least one place: Amazon, Goodreads, Kobo, B&N, Net Gallery, skywriting, etc? You can usually leave a review anywhere books are sold online, regardless of whether you bought it there. In 2015, I decided to leave at least one review for every book I read. Why? Mostly because I had to honestly ask how I could expect readers to review my books if I wasn’t willing to do the same. I keep track of the books in a simple spreadsheet—title, author, genre, date read, quick thoughts, where reviewed, and how I know the author (in real life (IRL), Facebook, signing, etc.)

Why is it important to write reviews?

Bottom line—reviews help readers decide which books to spend their money and time reading. I always read reviews prior to purchasing, especially if it’s by an author I’ve never read. Reviews provide genuine feedback that helps me allocate limited resources. By reviewing books you’ve read, you can have a direct impact on convincing others to also read it (or not). Word-of-mouth plays Continue reading

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Write Your Book in 90 Days – Online Program Launch

Finally, we’re ready to launch the new How to Plan and Write your book in 90 days, using Dixie’s proven formula for authors of Non-Fiction.    This is the program where authors can work through the process I use for one-on-one planning, then writing and developing a manuscript.    Due to demand for my personal time, I just simply can’t clone myself to accommodate the demand for my time do set about last year developing this special program.

Please take  a look at this landing page – where you’ll find information about the contents of this program.

Retailing for three monthly payments of $97.50, it includes a special one-on-one coaching session with Dixie personally, to keep author’s on track.   A one-on-one coaching session is usually $250.00 – that’s a HUGE saving! 

We’ve been testing this program for months now and continually fine tuning the contents and delivery and we’re very confident that the program as a guided DIY option works really well for a fraction of what you’d pay for Dixie to personally work with you on planning, writing, and developing your Non-Fiction book.   There’s also two additional courses in development that will walk participants through the produciton and publishing phases and then the marketing, distribution and promotion phases of becoming an Author-ity Author.

Here’s some early reviews for the program:

This course is absolutely fantastic! I have utilised Dixie’s book coaching services in the past which took me from idea to a published book with excellent results. The 10 week DIY Author-ity Authors Program gives me all the tools and resources I need to take my ebook idea from concept to completion. The best part is, I can work at my own pace, but still have access to Dixie’s expertise whenever I need it. KD Forsman, Freelance Writer writingforcash.com
 
“I was blogged down with too many creative ideas. This made me stop, PLAN and restart with clear focused action. Easy!  Clear direction, planning and accountability – perfect for clearing your writing head-trash!” Sue Lester, Mindset Healer & Coach,

Check out all the details here:

If you have any questions at all about this please contact us - including options for becoming an affiliate and getting paid commission for directing other people to this program.  

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Six Easy Steps for Promoting Your Book From the Stage

I’ve just returned from Auckland, New Zealand, where I attended the extraordinary Global Speakers Summit of 2018.   While there, I connected of course with a number of high profile speakers, authors, and several extremely talented Game Changers working in their particular areas of expertise, determinedly changing the world one speech, connection, or radical idea at a time.   It was heady stuff being in surrounded by so many extra-ordinary people, and I learned so much in a short few days.

I have attended the GSS before, and also several of the GSS member country events since 2002.  What I find most fascinating about these events, is the fact that we all have quite varied expertise, and while many authors were there, just as many of them were in the dark about how to really make their books ‘pop’ from the platform.  So I’m going to share a handful of tips I was discussing with people this past weekend and hope you find it helpful next time you’re on stage and have the chance to Continue reading

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Why it’s not really just about ‘the book’

Before, During, and After your topic development – what you most need to think about:

I was talking with someone today about what comes first – the chicken or the egg… ok… the book or the speaking topic!

The issue is often a matter of priorities – and what you’re already doing.  What have you already invested in, and how is that going for you? If you are already a speaker, getting paid to share your wisdom from the stage then start with that, and refine your topic, work out the main thing(s) you want to share, with the audience you most want to inspire with your own wisdom, experience or stories.   And from there a book is an easy (and essential) addition to your marketing materials and back of the room merchandise.

If you are already writing non-fiction and want to become a great speaker, or just get more books selling then you need to be speaking to groups and larger audiences when possible to ensure your books are getting to the hands of those you want to inspire, beyond just seeing and hearing you speak.

Either way – they are interractive and essential parts of the whole.  You can’t be a speaker who doesn’t write, any more than you can be a writer/author who does not speak.  They just go together like, well… love and marriage… a horse and carriage – ok enough with the musical cliches, but you really need to put these things together firmly in your mind!

If You Have Already Started the Journey

“But what do I speak/write about?” I hear you say…  or “what if my topic changes between one modality and the other?”

Why not start with evolving where you are currently and getting into some serious planning about your topic first… and then you’ll know exactly which Everest you wish to climb!  For example, if you are already talking about leadership, or sales and marketing, how can you Continue reading

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Creating Down-Time to Feed Your Creative Spirit Increases Your Creativity and Productivity

One of my favourite things to do over the holiday season is to turn everything off.  No emails, phones, social media – nothing for a few days.   It’s THE easiest time of the year to ‘detox’ from all work related things.  And then… after a few days of lolling about in the sun (I live down under so Xmas in the summer) and I’m totally ready to plug into my creative brain.   And then … the MAGIC happens.

I always remind my self of just how powerful down-time can be when my creative juices are seriously inspired by taking a break from everything.   In fact, last week I ‘ran away’ for a few personal reasons, to the tranquility of the beaches in the extraordinary Cook Islands.  For those of you not familiar with the place, it’s a little north of Fiji, and south of Hawaii…    the middle of the South Pacific and OMG – so beautiful… anyway I digress.   The point is, that the calm waters, absence of friends and distractions, not to mention the delicious sunsets I was able to meditate on every day for a week was enough that now I’m fully firing all of my creative sparks and ready to start my next novel.

The magic happens when we unplug for a while.  Last week I also started reading Ariana Huffington’s book ‘Thrive’.   An excellent reminder of just what happens when we do things like rest, pay attention to our sleep habits, take naps, meditate, and focus on nurturing our selves properly.   My highest recommendation for something incredibly good to sink into over the New Year by the way…

While slowing down to speed up may seem counter-intuitive, it really does work.   Magic really does happen for us creative types when we take our eye off the deadlines, necessary work commitments and turn our phones and computers off for a few days.   Even a few hours is worth doing – and just sitting and focusing on … NOTHING!

Whether you meditate or not – and this is not a blog about doing that – finding thinking time clear from distractions is the single most important gift you can give to yourself.  As  a writer, I know that clearing the decks is the only way to ensure I get to tap into the best way to move forward on anything I’m writing.   So I do usually try to do this, but making a regular habit of it, is never easy.

There are some important steps to take to do this:

  1. Commit to a time or day and/or day per week when you just turn everything off and focus on … nothing.
  2. Consider when you are at your best in terms of the time of day when you can write, create, do and honor those times.  But just before then, try to get some thinking or meditation time happening.  You will be more productive – I promise!
  3. Schedule non-breakable ‘me’ time. Whether this is weekly, monthly, annually, daily – just create what works for you – the combination of options – and COMMIT to that.
  4. Keep an ‘inspiration’ journal or folder, so that if you ever do get stuck on your ‘focus on nothing’ time, you can gather some extra inspiration from there. Fill it with ideas, dreams, quotes, ideas… don’t just stick it in your bottom drawer – refer to it often as needed.
  5. Consider what rituals might support you in your quest for time out.   Lighting a candle, taking a bath, mieditaing at sunset or sunrise, walking on a beach, spring cleaning… what ever it takes, work that out and work with that!

When you feed your creative spirit with stress free time, your creativity goes up, your productivity goes up, and your income and satisfaction, not to mention your happiness levels all go up too.

So  – what do you have to lose?

Absolutely nothing! 

 

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Cola or Champagne – service levels and what they mean

I work in an industry where a lot of people put their hands up and say ‘Oh I can do that for you’, or ‘me too’.  I’m talking about coaching – in any format, and regardless of speciality, there seems to always be someone waiting to offer their card, promote their services, and be ‘that guy/gal’ at the networking event.

For a long time Coaches have been compared with real estate agents and car sales people for their sheer enthusiasm when it comes to ‘I can do that for you’ style of pitching for business.  I asked my own coaching tutor who was a master practitioner at the time back in 2003: ‘If everyone wants to call themselves a coach, and there’s no legal or educational requirement that they be properly trained, then why are we (on the 2 year program I was on) working so hard to want to ‘be coaches’. She responded with a well considered answer:

“What you will do is bring coaching skills to the table when you do what ever  else you will do, and you will be significantly better at THAT because of it.”

My ‘that’ has turned into publishing, which for more than a dozen years now has meant that my business is all about helping others to write, produce, publish and market their non-fiction books – to a very high level of content and overall production quality.   And for me, it does not end with the finished product arriving on my authors’ doorsteps;  we keep working together to ensure the marketing and the fine tuning of the distribution and leverage opportunities is maximised for the long term.

I know that a lot of people are populating the publishing industry – expecially in terms of self publishing or Indie trade, with promises to help people write a book.   Others are then saying they can help print, design, format, edit, produce, or even get the book onto Amazon.

Yay!  And please excuse my cynicism – but there are a lot of these helpful people out there.   Sigh!  The terrible tragedy is, that as a result of many people doing a ‘good enough’ job, there is a glut of ‘barely average’ quality books all vying for attention in an overcrowed market.   In non-fiction books alone, under the category of Leadership, there are 100s of thousands of titles.   And it grows every year… as do all categories.

The Book Business is BOOMING!

While this seems to be the age of ‘fast and furious’ in many ways, from the demands for instant gratification for Gen-y’ers, faster internet speeds, faster travel, fast-track education options and even speedy restaurant services, when it comes to some things, you just can’t rush them.  In order to do the whole job, well, and achieve outstanding outcomes so that you really are standing out from the crowd in any busy market place, you must slow down and Get.It.RIGHT!

With books, you have to expect it’s going to take time to do a great job of writing, then publishing your work.  While I have also managed (once) to start and publish a book in under two months (with multiple authors contributing which in some ways helped and others hindered the progress) this is certainly not ideal, due to the increased chances of mistakes being made – errors than can ultimately damage the reputation of the writer(s).

There are a number of new companies out there all promoting what they can do for authors to fast trak their publishing journey – I think of them as the Cola beverage options; yes they’ll quench a good thirst, but ultimately put a lot of dirty sugars and chemicals into your system which can slow you down.    By comparison, a glass of fine wine or Champagne is to be enjoyed,  with others helping to drink it,  and if it’s of excellent quality it won’t give you a headache the next day.

I don’t like being the cause of other people’s headaches.    And while a quick ‘thirst quenching’ option might be a good one in some instances, a slow and steady team effort that is remarkable for outstanding results is surely a better option for professionals who are sincerely focused on having excellent books to support their marketing efforts.

If you are serious about writing, producing an excellent non-fiction book to position you as an authority in your field, and you really do know how to own that position, then please don’t undersell yourself by doing an average job of sharing your wisdom.  Your book deserves better and so do you.

Invest a little more, extra time too,  and enjoy a Champagne journey towards becoming an Author-ity.

 

 

 

 

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NaNoWriMo and a busy November

If you’re into various author and writing forums you’ll be aware of this looming thing tht happens every year now called NaNoWriMo…  which basically stands for National Novel Writing Month. Its a global call to action for writers to pen a novel of  50,000 words within the month of November.

It’s a great idea and particularly helpful for anyone in need of  a jolt to their writing habits.  I for one am  very tempted as ameans of testing myself to see if I can do it – but then I am the competitive type.   And I know my habits lately have fallen a little flat in terms of dedicated daily or even weekly work on manuscripts.

And – while this is a site for Non-Fiction authors, the real hook here is that the better we craft our abilities to write stories, the better our non-fiction writing becomes.

But – I’m very torn by the idea of focusing what amounts to mayby 50-80 hours within November  – a busy time anyway for me – with a new project when I perhaps really should be focusing on projects I’m already committed to.

But what would I give up to do this? Facebook in the mornings?  Watching the news at 6 for a month?     How can I fit in an extra hour every day – maybe somedays two whole hours – to undertake drafting another novel.  Maybe I can give up reading for a month?

On the persuasion side of this conundrum, I have two stories that I really do need to write a sequel to and I know if I got going, I could bang the first draft out quite quickly.   I’m bothered mostly by the idea that if I really want to be a writer, I must write – and I know in my guts that I’m not doing enough of that.

If I joined one of the many groups who all focus on helping move the project forward and holding us all accountable I could get a lot out of that.  the NaNoWriMo official site has a great process and members all over the world.   Hundreds of thousands of authors all  writing together does sound like a brilliant project to be part of…

So what’s a girl to do?

Stay tuned…  I’m still deciding!

If anyone else is thinking about it and stillon the fence with the idea at this last end of October, maybe we should compare notes on what’s holding us back and what really is pushing us forward.      

 

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A Perfectionist’s Nightmare

“There are two kinds of people in this world… ” Well actually I think it’s more than that.  Let’s go deeper – there are two kinds of AUTHORs in this world – perfectionists, and every one else!

Authors who are perfectionists by nature, are always going to struggle with the concept of their books not being 110% perfect.   The more relaxed author (see I’m trying to be polite here) is quickly going to get the idea that their book is ready to pubish when it’s 95-99% perfect. In fact, they are likely to throw the word perfect out long before even starting their books, let alone at that critical final sign off time.

But seriously, if it wasn’t for the more relaxed authors among the population, then Amazon would have a lot more storage space.  Art galleries would have more bare walls.   Songs would never be performed live.  Because perfection and the desire to attain it are the killers of creativity.  And while it’s possible to have editors, proofers, and in some cases many of them and countless (literally – we can lose count sometimes) runs back past the final book before that green light is given to proceed to print, there is still likely to be an error (or three, four, five… you get the idea) in a book.

The reason for that is that editors, and proofers are not perfect.  Add to that Continue reading

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Publishing a Book is Like Having a Baby

For all parents who have been through that final stage of pregnancy, then the birth of a child, you know that sometimes it’s a matter of things not always going to plan right at the end.

Then finally, jubilation at the arrival of that new life, and the pain and anguish of the delivery are soon forgotten – well somewhat forgotten! 😉

It’s the same with books.   You can get right up to the wire, have everything ready to upload your book into Amazon, or send off to the printer, and then BAM!   A curve ball comes smashing through your plans and everything gets delayed.  For a few hours, days, or even a week or two.

This past week I’ve been busy with THREE books in various stages of release.  One was derailed  while uploading to Amazon Create Space because:

  • First the there were some unidentified errors that needed fixing.  And no, the editing and proofing stage is not always 100% – in face I’ve read books by some of the highest selling authors in the world that still have the odd error in them.
  • Then the page numbers for some reason kept ‘irritating the margins’ so they had to be fixed.
  • Then there were a few minor other wee things that needed attention, but were easily fixed, but still delayed the process.
  • The files were fixed but showing as still needing to be looked at, and we couldn’t figure out why.  But they seemed to come right once we just reloaded the (same) file.

And of course on CreateSpace, you have to allow for their own process of checking files before you can go further into the completion stages of uploading.

Another book – one of my own – was giving me grief at the final stage of uploading because:

  • First there was an issue with the inside cover page,
  • Then something wrong with the contents list, and finally the cover was not loading properly.   This was addressed by my asking the designer to check and resize, and he laughed and advised that it was definitely already the correct size. So back to the helpful people at Createspace, who advised that the cover was ready, which it wasn’t, and some flapping about with that debate, until suddenly it all came right.   We’re blaming technology and lack of caffiene on that one. 
  • Finally the ordering of the proof copy got stuck in the system.

Finally, one more book is so far seamlessly uploading, everything is going exactly according to plan – textbook perfect!

So you just never know exactly how the final delivery is going to end up.  

All you can do is trust the process, the helpful souls at Amazon – who by the way are brilliant when there is an issue – and that you will get there.

 

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