Gordon Burgettís Newsletter

for Writers, Speakers, Publishers, and Empire Builders

June 15, 2010

 

Goodbye Google Ad Words

Iím fed up with all of the big webfirms that sell services but have no way for their clients to get back to talk to a live, functioning, able-to-do-something contact who speaks understandable English.

Most irksome is Googleís Ad Words, which simply is too good (or virtuous or busy or greedy) to even bother to tell me how I can contact them so they can rectify (an apology is beyond my expectations) taking $100 from my account and spending it on a discontinued ad campaign. Then have the gall to come back for more money!

So goodbye, Google. Lulu is getting close to that DO NOT USE OR RECOMMEND list too, and while Iím at it, Iím putting three more firms on my managed-by-arrogance, my MBA, list. What kind of idiocy (or business model) proposes service to paid clientele, then hides so those clients canít find them? Maybe the same kind of logic that says if your book is just sitting around long enough, they will make copies of it (your property) and give it away free to libraries!

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Why would you bother to write articles any more?

Not too many years ago that question, to me, would have been heresy since I put two daughters through grad school by writing and selling articles, and selling them again, while telling others how to do the same!

Yet Iím asked that question more and more now. Understandably. The pay is low, the query and prep time higher, newspaper markets are fleeing, more folks are banging on the editorís door, there are fewer second rights selling outlets, and on a penny-per-minute ratio it alone is hard to justify.

Still, if seen from a different perspective, articles are still big moneymakers. And they are still the belt notches that show that you can write, have selling power, and know the system. Hereís why I would include them in oneís writing packet:

* Nothing gets out faster to the right eyes and points at your expertise better than a niche piece that everybody in that field needs to know or know about. It leads directly to you building on that copy through workshops, breakout sessions, or seminars that the niche readers will attend and for which associations will gladly pay well.

* In the same vein, if you have a new book in print (or soon to be), articles are a great way to share your material. Tell in the bio slug how the reader can contact your website or buy your book.

* An article in print has long legs, and a reprint or copy can quickly expand the depth of your credentials, resume, or digital bio (with link). The more prestigious the publication, the longer the legs, although any printed article trumps none, presuming itís well written, honest, and is a testament to your articulation.

* One good article can lead to many related pieces, which in turn become a book. Or prove your expertise, which is the stuff from which committee membership, consultation, association leadership, and requested collaboration often come.

A last thought: donít just think of 2,000-word masterpieces. Think of four 500-word masterpieces. If positioning is the best tender for your articles, these have a far better chance of being usedóand of putting your name, words, thoughts, and help in front of four times as many eyes.

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Will I offer new manuscript services for ancillary-published books?

Since the bound copy of How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days has crept into the general selling market, Iíve had a surprise bevy of questions about whether I will offer editing services to help would-be publishers prep and submit their books to (and publish through) LSI, Lulu, CreateSpace, Blurb, and Smashwords (to get into Kindle and iPad). Three immediate responses:

(1) It costs a lot less, and is fastest, if you buy (or at least read) my new book to see if you need help at all. Itís written to make all of that quickly doable and free by you!

(2) Yet I know there are cases where itís wiser and much faster to get professional help so you can focus your time elsewhere, where your uniqueness is far more valuable. So yes, I will help a couple of new clients at a time. 

(3) I see my help particularly valuable in strategizing an empire built around a book published many ways, with support products and services integrated early into that empire. That and my possibly helping ease the books through the ancillary publishing venue(s) faster.

My problem is time since Iím already doing this kind of consulting often and enjoyably for standard non-fiction to-be publishers through my Pathfinder program, plus other publishing and speaking. 

This new kind of manuscript service, for ancillary publishing, will be rather customized at the outset until I see who needs what! If you are exploring this kind of assistance, let me know what you have in mind to see if Iím the right person, how I can help you best realize your goals, and what that might cost. All in strict confidence, of course. 

I will likely define the program more fully in coming newsletters, after I know where it works best.

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You may need more book cover artwork now

Itís certainly easiest when we just send a book to another publisher for them to publish. All they want is our book text in some sensible Word format, and from that they will create the interior design and the book cover. Oh yes, our suggestions about what that book should look like will fall on profoundly deaf ears, they wonít pay us much or often, and they will also change our title!

One cure is self-publishing and/or working through ancillary publishers. But then we are responsible for the cover artwork. If we publish through Lulu, CreateSpace, or Blurb, we can create acceptable covers through each, though they will differ from each other.

So most of us will probably have a cover designer create a cover that can be adjusted a bit from the bound book to the digital version, to which an ISBN and the appropriate price can be added, if needed. That way the same book can be published by many houses and it will have the same external appearance.

Yet to do that you now need many different cover files from your designer. 

Not too many years back, I only needed two kinds of covers from my cover designer: a full cover .jpg (front, back, and spine) and a front cover (also .jpg) for the digital version. When it came to promo materials, mostly fliers and cover downloads, I also requested .pdf copies of the both covers. These were in addition to the designer sending the approved cover artwork to the printer. He called his counterpart, I presume, at the printing firm so that when I sent my book text as an email attachment (in .pdf format), he also sent the cover(s) the same day so that both were linked to the same proof!

Lately, with ancillary publishers added to the submission mix, we also need cover files that are 600 pixels or larger (up to 1,000 pixels is fine) so the covers can also be used (and easily read) in thumbnail formats.

Thatís the core of the work-for-hire agreement I have with a cover designer: possible designs for the cover, my selection, my final artwork OK, its submission to the primary bound book printer (I will submit it to the ancillary houses), and the additional files mentioned above that I keep on disc and at the book file on my computer. That way, with the choices at hand, I can paste and submit as needed without becoming a pest.

Some add postcard and bookmarker artwork in the same package. A friend also has poster art included. Ask cover designers you are considering if they have any other cover file ideas they can add to the package.    

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A good free source for book publishing and marketing info

CreateSpace (from Amazon.com) offers a monthly webinar, usually by my friend and marketing guru Brian Jud. (We co-presented a niche marketing program a couple of years back to the then Publishers Marketing Association University in New York City.)

You can see Brianís last six webinars, with their valuable download handouts at their respective links, in the CreateSpace newsletter archives.

In How to Get Your Book Published Free in Minutes and Marketed Worldwide in Days I explain, step-by-step, how you submit your book to CreateSpace (and six other houses) for ancillary publishing.

CreateSpace also conducts frequent polls of those whose books they have published and are selling. The most recent poll asked ďWhat has been the most successful means for promoting your (book)?Ē So far, 64 answered this way: social networking 30%, word of mouth 25%, own website or blog 16%, press releases and media outreach 5%, paid ads 2%, other 2%, and none at trade shows.

An earlier poll, with 139 respondents, asked ďHow long did it take you to complete your work, from concept start to available for sale?Ē The replies: under 3 months, 19%; 3-6 months, 14%; 6 months to a year, 20%; 1-2 years, 14%; 2-5 years, 19%; 5-10 years, 8%, and 10+ years, 6%. One factor must be added: the ancillary publishing outlets, like Create Space, have only been available for a couple of years. Earlier, it was considerably more difficult and expensive to publish your own book, and that must have had a negative effect on quick completion. That is, those who took the longest may not have known what they could do to put it in print. No such excuse now.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett