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The Importance of Amazon Best-Seller Status

Over the weekend, I got busy with a colleague’s book and we worked out a strategy for her to rise up from number 1-gazillienth to Number 1 Best Seller status on Amazon.   Wow – that’s no small feat – I hear you say.  Well for those of you who are familiar with the Amazon beast, it does take a bit of taming, and some serious thought went into this project.   Not least due to the fact that the book has been out for a couple of years already, so we’d missed the magic 90 day window.

Now, the fact that I have days on end where I live and breathe Amazon, Books, and All things relative to listing and ranking on Amazon, should not muddy the waters here.  Even for someone like me, getting to the actual Number 1 position – and getting the Coveted Best Seller Badge added to the listing was more than I had hoped for – a solid top 10 would have been a great achievement.   But we pulled our best out of the hat and got there.   Yay.  

Now – while this may sound like a big old Braggidocious Me session – the reason I’m writing about the Amazon Best Seller thing is this:

  • It does count,
  • There is a strategy behind achieving this kind of outcome,
  • and it matters – a lot.  

The Value of Credibility

You see, Amazon is still one of  the holy grails of lists to get your book on.   It’s a massive credibility booster as an author, because most readers do not know these strategies and the marketing efforts behind getting results.  They assume  that this means the book is stupendously successful and therefore the author must ‘really know her/his stuff’ to have sold so many books and have so many reviews.  And to some degree they are right.  The really crappy books don’t tend to get there at all, or stay at the top for long.  And there are a lot of crappy books out there.  This again all comes back to what you want to have happen when you write a book – why are you doing this?

If credibility is not one of your top three reasons, then back up and bugger off.  You’re wasting your own time and that of your readers.  Because  credibility will be what makes sure your book is of quality, gets a fair amount of attention and marketing, and earns you rewards in the form of work/career opportunity, higher fees, and maybe even awards and money.

So how do you get your book to the top of the credibility charts?

For starters, ensure that your Amazon listings and profile, bio, and reviews are easy to see, well done, and actually do promote both you and your book(s).  That includes paying attention to your descriptions, having a good looking profile page, and some reviews.

There’s more – lots more.  But getting these parts right are very important.  Did you know that Amazon is second only to Google for searching information about just about anything?  Particularly anyONE.   So if you’re trying to be taken seriously about what you do – please ensure you pay attention to the importance of how great you appear to be on Amazon.

And THIS is a GREAT looking profile builder for Ann Dettori Wilson today! 

Pssst – you can click on the image to get to the Amazon listing – and I highly recommend the book if you’re thinking about writing one yourself. 



If you are an author, want to be one, or have a book on Amazon that is not working hard for you – get in touch with Dixie today.   

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Common Mistakes Authors Make: Not thinking about who their readers are

Authors not thinking about who their readers are is a major issue.  This is not only Author-ship 101, it’s Marketing 101.

Up until only a dozen or so years ago, in terms of author marketing it was OK to focus on going wide… who’s the general target market.  For example – women aged 25-45, who lived in suburbia and worked full time. Now, it’s a much better idea to niche it down to understand who exactly your reader(s) are likely to be.  For example – 40-55 year old women who take holidays overseas at least once a year, most likely drive a blue Ford Taurus, work an average of 35 hour per week, have two, but no more than three children aged 15 or over, and  a dog.   Maybe also a cat or a budgie.

Why is it so important to know your market to this level?

Because you want to know how much time they are likely to have for reading, how many books a year, are they likely to read fiction or non-fiction, what other authors are they into, and do they prefer Kindle or printed books? Where do they hang out on line? Are they more into Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Linked In, or Facebook?   Single, dating, independent, gay,straight, belong to women’s groups, drink chardonnay or merlot?

The more you know about your intended readers, the more easily you can pinpoint a marketing strategy aimed at exactly those people – not all the maybe readers.  Because the ‘maybe market’ are less likely to finish reading your book  – and finishers are more likely to review and post feedback. And the maybe market are easy to get the attention of through your target marketing, but their conversion rates are lower, meaning that it costs you a lot more to advertise your book to them.

This therefore, all comes back to the first rule of writing a book – decide why you are writing it, for whom, and what you want to have happen when they read it.

Why are you writing a book – and why now?

What made you get up one day and say – I’m going to write a book about leadership, or customer service, or dog grooming for poodles.

Who is going to read that book – and why do they care what you have to say on the matter, vs the same subject covered by literally thousands of authors over the last decade.  In the case of Leadership, there are actually 10s of thousands of authors.

What do you want to have happen when someone reads your book? 

Will they grab your details and book you for coaching, training, to speak at their convention in the spring?  Do you want to elicit a lot of fan mail for your ego?  Or do you want your readers to form a political party and start campaigning about something?

Again – in each of these instances, the first thing to note is – who is your reader?

When you’ve worked that part out – you might be ready to write and promote your book. 



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Books are Like Babies

Why Books are Like Babies…

I’ve often drawn a comparison to writing books as being like having a baby – you have no idea what it’s going to look like; whether you’ll end up going through the whole nine months and then under or over time at the end, or if the birthing process is going to be 52 minutes or 52 hours (my first born took that long to get here – he’s still a lover of slow and sleepy).   The dramas you have as a parent after your baby arrives are also akin to a new book.  The launch phase, even the first time you give your book to someone special and then sit on your hands, hopes and dreams as you wait for some much yearned for feedback.  “Oh it was delightful having your son visit our home – he played so nicely with the other children.”   or “Yes your book was great – I sat up all night reading it!”  Much the same thing… as any author who is also a parent will tell you.

And books are like babies in other ways.   For a start, there is no one special formularised way to do any of the following:

Get pregnant, get through your pregnancy, what you’ll crave, how hard and fast your contractions will be, whether you’ll have a few false starts, if you’ll cross your legs at the end and say “I’m never having sex again” or “Bring it on – let’s create our own basketball team honey!”

From there, it’s a question of, what kind of kid will ours be? A creative, sports player, funny kid, serious, high achiever, or regular easy going jokester… will he or she grow up to be a little wild, studious, a romantic, a spoiled brat, or the next Mother Theresa?

You just don’t know any of this when you first contemplate having kids, and even all the way along the process until well into adulthood, you really have no idea how they’ll grow or what the outcomes will be by the time they leave home as young adults.  And every kid is different – even identical twins are unique in their own special ways.

So too are books.  There is no single formula for how to write, nurture, develop, give birth to, or nurture the outcomes for any single book. But you can take some leaves out of any good ‘parenting’ guide.

For example:

How long it will be, what sort of book it’s going to be, the genres it will fit into, what you want to have happen when someone reads your book.  You can decide if you want quotes or summaries at the end of each chapter, or images and diagrams, placed throughout.  If you want your chapter headings to look one way, and your fonts and headings to be another way, then that’s up to you.

I have Tim Ferris’ Tools of Titans beside my bed, and regularly pick up this book and read a chapter or two before starting my day. I’m alway struck by how different it is from start to finish. Some chapters are really short, and have completely different content styles  than others.  Its a feast of a book: visually, literally, and mentally. I may well still have the same well-read, falling-to-bits version by my bed in another 30 years, because every page is so incredibly unique. But at 700+words, and for the style of book it is -and the fact that Tim Ferris can probably get away with just about anything by now –  this book works.  Because having a standardised anything in this style of book simply would not ensure it was well read and highly prized over any period of time by book nuts like me.  And that’s who it’s targeted at. Info-junkie-book-nuts.

For all your wannabe authors out there who stress over what your book ‘should’ be like – relax.  It’s just like having a baby.  You have only so much control over how you nurture, develop, grow it, and give birth to it.  But by all means, engage in the help of a good medical team, devour the nutritional diet that is best for you, breathe slowly and steadily through your aches and pains, and look at other books to see how you would love yours to ultimately turn out. And work with a publishing coach just as you would a midwife to ensure your best outcomes, and to have someone on hand to ask all those seemingly dumb questions.

BTW they’ve not dumb questions at all – just outside of your own knowledge base for now.  By the time you’re ready with number three you’ll be dishing out chocolate chip cookies an hour before dinner time too!   🙂



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How to Get Good Social Proof

Author David Stannard’s Awards for wine and business = Author Gold!

As an author, you need more than just your own press to tell the world how great you are, or worthwhile your books are.   You need to gather indisputable evidence that you’re great at what you do, and that you have bona fide fans, or an ability to back up your claims.  But how to get this and what forms of Social Proof are available to you?  Here’s how to get good social proof as an author, expert, leader in your field.


Anything that is not obviously a paid-for advertisement of  customer delight will be a great start.

For example:

  • LinkedIn Recommendations – give some to get some. Be generous, and also stick with only giving and accepting ones that are genuine and meaningful.  Don’t buy into the ‘tit for tat’ options offered by some people who don’t really know you, or your products and just want to gather less genuine ones for themselves.
  • Delighted to have had one of my own books make this list in 2019.

    Enter your industry awards, local business awards, and anything that allows some independent review and analysis of your business, product, best practice examples.  Yes that gold label on the bottle of your wine, or your X of the Year label on your website do mean a lot to your market when they’re researching you.   Finding that someone you’ve been referred to really does have the kudos you are seeking impacts on you and the more ‘genuine’ the award is, the better too.

  • Speak – from the boardrooms to the convention centres – get on stage and do a great job of inspiring your market to take action, and review your presentation positively.  Get feedback, ask for reviews.  Best option of all is to grab quick video testimonials from your audience members and put these on your website.  These are extremely hard to go past when you have someone in a life moment saying how much they enjoyed your work, your presentation, or how inspired they feel as they leave the room.
  • Write more than just one book – grow a series – don’t end up a one-hit-wonder. BE more! Do more.  Nuff Said! 
  • Collaborate with other ‘stars’ (and be selective in this area) you can work with on joint projects. Help and support each other to be extra-ordinary at what you can do. Some people are well worth aligning yourself and your brand with.  But take your time to do this well, and ensure its a win-win situation.
  • GET GOOD, no, make that GREAT at what you do.  Own your space, and strive for excellence.  Always.

This is something you need to prioritise as part of your regular marketing efforts.  It’s far too easy for opportunities to slip by, but incredibly important to nurture them. Plan for this.

Author David Stannard, winning Silver Stannard for Marketing – his books were the central theme for this prestigious award in 2016.

I have one client who has not ever bothered with getting recommendations, and ahead of launching his book, had a massive job to ensure that there were people out there talking about him being good at what he does.   It’s the same with reviews for books when they are published.  Having other readers say they like your book enough to rate it and comment means the marketing you do is supported by these reviews – not just in the obvious way, but also by Amazon.  (See the article I wrote on the importance of Amazon Reviews here)

I have other clients who regularly seek award opportunities and use their books as part of their marketing strategy.  For example: In 2016, David Stannard – The Vision Guy, used his books as the primary theme for marketing his winery and on a budget that was less than 5% of his closest competitor, took out the International Silver Stevie Award for Marketing.

In a nutshell, you need to know this.  the social Proof you get from awards, recommendations, reviews, and speaking is worth a lot in terms of your book sales, marketing, and ability to rise to a level of excellence in your industry.   So seek and grab all those opportunities.

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Writing a Series, and What to Write Next

Are You Writing One Book or Ten?

I don’t know about you, but I constantly have ideas for books and blogs and articles racing through my head.  Yes it gets pretty darned busy in there at times.   So prioritizing the potential output is sometimes the hardest part of the job.   Here’s a few things you might like to know about how to do this, starting with working out what’s up next.

Deciding on a priority for the next book or series.

Working out what to write and in what order is easy if you follow my simple steps.    Start with the idea.   Let’s say you want to write a book about Customer Service.   Let’s break that down into sections – maybe it’s a book about Customer Service in retail.   Then you could extend do one for Service Industries, or one on Trade or Construction Industry, or perhaps just making it the beauty industry.    Suddenly the ideas are rolling faster than the ink in your Parker Rollerball right?

Let’s get a little more technical  

BOOK Genre: Customer Service

Extensions  – Other books in that Genre:  for Retail, Trades, Construction, Financial Services, Hospitality

Break that down further to Books on specific areas of Customer Services:

  • Fashion Retail =Mens/Women/Kids/Outdoors Stores
  • Trades Retail = Paint and decorating/plumbing/appliances/Tiles/Lighting
  • Construction = Builders/Electrical/Landscaping/Plumbing
  • Financial Services = Mortgage brokers/Financial Institutions/Banks
  • Hospitality = Tourism/Travel/Cafes/Restaurants/Bars/Food/Delis

Before you know it you could write either 20 chapters – each on one of the above areas and make your book very generic to cover all those places who use Customer Service, or need to train staff in that area, or ,you could just get really busy and write 10-20 books.   Each for a specific industry and subcategory.   Customer Service for Landscaping Companies – I bet there’s not much in that category, right?

(Actually I did a quick Amazon search and there’s nothing using that particular set of keywords – but many more generic CS titles). 

But which one first?

Easy – start with what you know. Cover the industry or industries you have to do the least amount of research for.   Then as you go, expand from there. If you know Retail, then start with that.  Niche into: Customer Service for Clothing Stores, then expand into customer service for women’s Fashion, and/or Menswear, then sideline that out to Outdoors stores such as NorthFace, Katmandu, or Macpac types.   Tenting, Boating, Fishing, Sports stores are then a natural progression because they still call on your skills writing about clothing. ie – is it the same selling a flotation devise as a shirt?  Maybe – size, fabrics, features like pockets and zips… you get the picture right?

There are all books on retail and all based on Customer Service.   Some of the information may well be the same – you might even be bored to tears by your own subject after the fifth book, but remember, you now have a series.  A series is easier to market than an individual book.

Just grab a look at how Michael Gerber, author of The EMyth did it.   By the way – I got to hang out for some one-on-one time with Mr Gerber back when he was just starting this expanded process of his book series, and wow, one of the smartest men I ever met, and a real gentleman.   He was the first person to explain this concept to me – and I have read several of these books now.  I highly recommend you do the same to further understand this entire principle.

Once you know what kind of series you intend to write, then put some timing and parameters around it.

On the Subject of Titles

You may decide to write your series as a same name series… like the EMyth for Dentists, the EMyth for Optometries, the EMyth for Construction, the EMyth Manager etc.   Or, you may decide to name your books something specifically relevant to each one For example Louise Hay did it  with Trust Life, then You Can Heal Your Life, then Heal Your Body, then the Power; is Within You,  Each of these books is a stand alone, but as a set they still look and read like they belong together.

The concept behind this is simple.  If you are writing about a topic that you deeply care about, then decide first what it is, and what you want people to do when they read your books.  Ideally, you want them to either read more of your books, or book you to speak at an event where you can promote your books.   Either way – a person who already cottoned on to your brilliance in one book or form, is going to be much easier to sell to than someone brand new.  That’s Marketing 101 – and by the way – my own marketing books are part of a series, and there’s more about this concept in my Advertising, Branding, and Marketing 101 book.

Deciding on your titles – well that’s another whole blog topic, but it is also covered in my new online course about producing your Non-Fiction book.  I also cover such topics in my weekly hangout sessions on Thursdays… details for that is here.

 FREE Authority Author Hangout Sessions – Registration 



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FAQs about Writing and Publishing Non-Fiction Books

I was talking with an old friend this week, who is one of the most knowledgeable retail marketing specialists I know.  He’s written a number of books over the years, but his self publishing skills are by comparison, almost non-existent.    Sometimes life’s like that – we know so much about what we do, but learning new tricks, especially in an industry that is increasingly complex and fraught with pitfalls, is just too hard.  And this is how it is with my friend.  Despite having attended a number of great training events over the last few years, and having had some moderate success with his books, crossing that hurdle of knowing enough to get real traction with his books is just too hard.

We agreed that I’d help him with that.  I’m very excited about doing so – because he’s a great marketing specialist.   And I respect him immensely, so it’s a joy for me to be able to ‘show him a bit of good stuff’ around what I do well.

But this overall got me thinking about some of the most common FAQ’s about writing and publishing non-fiction that I am address with each week.

FAQs Like These:  

  • How long should my book be?
  • How can you be sure of good structure?
  • What should I write in – which program?
  • Is it really necessary to write it all or can I just record it and get it transcribed?
  • I know Amazon is important, but really do I have to be on there?
  • What’s KDP Unlimited?
  • How do I get an Author Page set up properly?
  • Why can’t I get better reviews?
  • How do I get reviews?
  • Why are reviews important?
  • How do I decide which categories are right for my book?
  • Should I use Facebook Ads for promoting my books?
  • What kind of files should I create my ebook in?
  • Should I do a book launch?  What kind?
  • What is Ingram Spark exactly?

Oh – the list is endless… these are just a few things I’m frequently asked about.  

Starting this coming Thursday, 17th January I’m going to start having open hangout sessions in my Authority Author’s Cafe space on Zoom – so you can ask me any of these and get straight answers, easy solutions, and helpful sharing about all these things. Every Thursday morning at 10am.   I’ll be here.

But you gotta Register so I know to expect you.  It won’t matter if there’s one of us, 10, or 100…. let’s just talk publishing ok…


Please review it share it, or create a set of questions… decide if you want to attend once or a dozen times…   but don’t hold onto those burning questions any longer… I’m here to help.


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Book Stores and Online Stores – The Difference Down Under

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked one question back in 2010, I’d have retired already. That question was, ‘how do I get my books on Amazon?’

Back then I’d usually answer with, ‘Why Bother?’

The bricks and mortar stores in Australasia were still selling books, albeit, not terribly well. However, many were closing, and most had diversified beyond selling books, and had ‘warehouse sales people’ behind their counters, many of whom were far from passionate about books, and were unable to be of much help if the requested book by a customer ‘wasn’t in stock or on the computer yet’. Add to that, due to the sheer volume of books available, book store owners and managers were simply challenged beyond believe to know what might be worth stocking and what might gather dust and end up heavily discounted a few months later. It was hit and miss to stock shelves, and Indie Authors missed out most of the time, as much due to the quality of their books, but also due to the lack of sales channels that led them easily to get their books noticed by buyers.

Amazon was equally challenging back then, because due to their own internal rules about needing to have enough stock on hand to supply orders quickly, the warehousing of books and distribution channels meant that if you didn’t have some kind of managed warehousing of your books based in the northern hemisphere, you would likely be rejected by Amazon anyway.

Forward to 2017 and all the rules had changed. Now, as we head into 2019, it was easier than ever to upload your books to Create Space, Ingram Sparks, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Kobo, Kindle. E-books can be sold via Kindle within minutes of being uploaded, and Create Space can fill orders within days of your setting up an account.  And a further update – in 2018 Create Space merged with KDP, (Kindle Direct Publishing) to make uploading even easier in many ways.

The quality of print on demand is outstanding, and the need for warehousing hundreds or thousands of copies of your books has gone. No more expensive outlays for authors to stock printed copies, fulfill their own orders by lining up at the post office. The royalties are paid when and as expected, with full reporting functions built into all of the platforms available to sell on.

So, what’s the problem with all that?

Ignorance mostly!

Authors are still struggling to know what to do, how to do it, and the learning curves around uploading can be fraught with deep time-wasting pits of despair. It takes time, and a lot of reading the fine print and understanding the process to do your first upload onto either Create Space or Kindle. Working out how to price your book, determine the best categories and why this is important, and even understanding the special ways that Keywords work for or against your book’s success takes time and knowledge.

Unfortunately, the average newbie author often does not see the value in paying for expert help, despite the fact that they are now saving significant amounts on the production and printing of books. And this is the one thing that needs to change for authors, especially in Non-Fiction genres. Getting armed with the knowledge needed to do this well, is as critical an investment in publishing a book as editing and cover design is.

Being an author is time consuming, often for low returns, and yet is one of the most creatively rewarding things a writer can do. Seeing others benefit from your shared stories, wisdom, experiences is priceless and getting those reviews that mean you know you’ve contributed valuable knowledge to someone anywhere in the world is heart-warming to say the least. Getting those checks from Amazon is also pretty exciting. But if we’re all going to do it well, and ‘ace it on Amazon’ we have to start approaching the technical ends of publishing. That means paying for expertise sometimes, just as you would for social media specialist work, and design skills.

In 2019, I challenge all authors to up-skill – not by diversifying their studies across too many publishing topics, but mastering one or two necessary areas, and sharing that knowledge with others. That will still keep the overall cost of successfully publishing down to an acceptable level for most indie authors – and make it even more viable to pay for the specialist areas you need to dive into occasionally.

So what’s likely to happen to publishing in 2019?

There’s a lot of talk about Publishing 3.0 – the new wave of publishing that will totally and radically affect publishing, and particularly self or indie publishing companies and authors.  Ultimately this will mean authors being able to circumvent even the online publishing options such as Amazon and Ingram Spark to have an even more direct means to market and supply our books to readers.   Stay tuned – as this unfolds I’ll share more about this.   But, the value  issue that we are still entrenched in is the need to have the rankings and marketing tools provided by Amazon and co.

Until we work out how to ace the best seller lists without being part of those lists, we still need to be doing three things supremely well:

  1. Writing and producing extremely good books – not erring on the side of average – ever!
  2. Being well versed in all the many tools and options available to us as indies, and there are so many it’s easy to get lost in these – so the value of publishing coaches is even more valuable than ever.  I am one, but I too engage with the services of one – we all work better with a coach, especially in this fast changing industry.
  3. Thinking of ourselves not just as writers, or authors, or even as thought leaders… but as business owners, with the diversity that goes with the many parts of our businesses that need attending to.   The marketing, the production, the administration, and planning!

And staying abreast of it all – is a full time job!

How are you going to manage as an indie publishing author in the New Year?


If you need some help with the writing, marketing, production, or any other parts of the process for writing/production of Non-Fiction books, check out our new online program DIY details, or message about your needs and we can engage with some help for you.   

Starting in January – the last Thursday of ever month will feature the Online Author-ity Cafe sessions where you can find out more about what’s going on in the indie publishing world for Non-Fiction writers.

Details are here: LINK 


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The RIGHT book at the RIGHT time, for the RIGHT readers…

I was talking today with someone about writing a book about a tough subject, but one that could have lasting positive – and maybe a few negative – repercussions.  For her, writing the right book, at the right time for the right readers, means a book that gets attention.  A book that inspires change.   A book that is hard to walk away from.  It’s about writing what needs to be written – and sometimes it’s not always the one you think is burning to be written.

Last week, over brunch on a Sunday morning, I talked this over with another author I’d worked with last year, who mentioned that her business coach discussed this with her, and they both agreed, that her first book was the one that has had the most impact, and means that her next book – the one she originally thought she should start with – will have a lot more impact.

You see, you have to be willing to put it out there as to why what you want to say  what matters.   If you just focus on sharing the wisdom without the story that goes behind your gaining that wisdom, it’s potentially not going to have the same levels of connection for the reader.  Readers like to know that you have the right to share and give advice.

About 20 years ago, I was adviced by a colleague to read Anita Broddicks book about The Body Shop.   He felt that because she was a dynamic woman in business, and he viewed me as having similar potential perhaps, that I’d get a lot out of it.   As I respected him and his views, I brought the book and ploughed slowly through it.  Then decided never to read it again.   She was not a single mother, working like a trojan to raise kids, pay the bills, survive the chaos and loneliness  of an existence that I was enduring at the time.   Her kids had grown, she had a husband, and money to put into her dreams.  All things that were unrelatable for me.   I wanted inspiration from someone that had walked my journey, and could give me hope that I’d survive beyond next month.

If you wish to inspire, provoke, lead changes, become a recognised author-ity in any area, you have to earn the right to the respect of your readers, your fans, to ensure that they get who you are and why they should care about what you’re banging on about.

It really is that simple.

So how do you know if what you want to write is the right book for now, for what you want to achieve?

First, identify what it is that you are really aiming for.  It may not be quite what you think.  For example:  If you’re going to write about leadership, how can you demonstrate that you get the kind of leadership that YOUR readers want to learn about?  Ahh, so who are those readers?  The real first step is to identify them.

I’m currently about to launch ‘That Sex Book’.   It’s a sassy little number about having great relationships, dating, and excellent sex for over 50 year olds.  It’s for predominantly straight single women, aged 50 – 75.  It’s intended to give hope, discuss ideas, and share some of the funny and interesting stories about these three things.   Yes, married people will maybe read it too, and so might some from the LGBT Community.  Some men will also read it, I’m sure of that.   But the people most likely to buy it and read it and share it are those outlined above.  So I’ve ensured that as I’ve written it, I’ve kept Sally, the 55 year old, sassy attractive, single for the last two years, friend in mind.    I’ve also considered that Janet, my married for 40 years, still sexually active friend is also going to enjoy reading it, and might share it with her husband who will laugh and perhaps recommend it to his best mate too.

I’m possibly going to be asked by any interviewers why I have not gone into more detail about some aspects of sexuality for the LGBT Community but quite simply, that’s both not my primary market and also it’s a demographic I have very limited personal experience with sexually.

No one said you have to write a non-fiction book that is only about facts and ideas.   You can write any kind of book you want to write, because it’s YOUR book.   You don’t get to ask a new parent why they decided to have children with blue eyes instead of brown.   It’s just how it worked out.    Write the RIGHT book at the Right time for the Right readers first.  Open them up to who you are and why you care, so they know why they should care too.


If you want more on how to develop this skill of the right book, right time, right readers, please check out the details for the Online Idea to Author-ity Course Here


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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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Writing in English – but what kind of English?

I’ve a personal preference for reading USA English, but grew up in New Zealand, and learned English based on the good old British based Oxford Dictionary.    Some of the forums I am actively visiting online have some interesting perspective going on around this issue as it relates to authors and what we write, and how we publish our work.   Primarily the issue of which version of English to publish in seems to be all around which country you most intend to market your work in.

If the bulk of your readers are USA based, then definitely write using USA English.  This means change most of your S’s to Z’s, lose most of your U’s, and some of your T’s.   For example:  Favourite, Omelette, and Antagonise become Favorite, Omelet, and Antagonize.   The reason for our language being so different is considered to be based on one Noah Webster’s decision once upon a time to ensure ourdifferences should be political as well as Lexically.   He went on to create the Websters Dictionary, and forced an ongoing divide in how we read and appreciate our language differently.

This means that when it comes to editing, our work as authors is a little less straightforward than we might want it to be.   This is because readers in each country have been known to be quite critical of errors in spelling when faced with too much of it.  A book that is not edited properly will be commented on, and often quite scathingly by readers.   Some will refuse to finish reading something that is too filled with errors – I have personally been known to discard a book half read due to frustration of grammar or spelling.

I believe a bigger issue comes about when one comes from places like Australasia or even other countries where English has been adapted further by locals over a number of decades and some rules apply to one style and some to another.   That’s when you get a complete mishmash of English and for many readers the inconsistency is the real problem.

What can we do about it?

Well for a start, use an editor who understands the rules, and appreciates the differences between each version of written English.  Decide which version you wish to use, and stick to that.

The value of a really good editor can not be underestimated.   While it’s more than ok for a blog to have a few errors of the grammatical variety, a book has to be better than that.   Why?  Simply because it’s going to be read by readers which much higher expectations of quality.  A blog is a quick item of information sharing, a book is a ‘book’ for goodness sake!   It has a longer life expectancy, and further reach than a blog.

Take the time to consider where your book is mostly going to be promoted, and decide on which version of English you will publish in based on that.   And then ensure your editor knows your intentions around this and has the skills to deliver on your expectations.


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