Sell it in the blurbs

Your head is afloat with ideas, your book is ready to burst, there is so much information that you have to share, but before you start you are asked to condense it into the stuff that goes onto the cover.  You stop for a moment, a rabbit caught in the headlights, it’s like being asked to do your pitch at a networking event, you draw a breath, it catches, your head starts to spin, the fancy facts about your book leave you and your mind scrambles.

When it comes to selling your book, you have just a few seconds to capture someones imagination and those few seconds are vital.

I recently went to a networking event and we were challenged to sell ourselves in 15 seconds.  5 groups of 5 sat together for just 10 minutes, it was the fastest round robin I have ever done, and you know what when we then stood up to say what we did, I really understood what most of the people said.  Try it with a group of fun, like minded business friends.

Another way to find out if your blurb really resonates with who you think your intended readership is, is to write several versions of it and try it out.  Don’t be surprised if you get a few blank looks or even a deluge of questions.  Both are good, both are challenging you to hone your description and really focus. You will be pleased that you did.

Most of us hate criticism,   however, it is in those critical moments, when you really listen to what is being said and reflect that you can really learn.

Thinking of your first or next book….

Describe your book in two or three paragraphs (500 words or less).

What is the title and subtitle?

What is the category under which it would sell?

Thinking about your target audience, what would make them what to read it?

Now rewrite it as if it was the back cover blurb and make it really cry out to your audience and by this imagine there were no boundaries, and let your passion shine.

Reasons to outsource to a book coach

“Marketing (writing) is not an event, but a process.  It has a beginning, a middle but never an end, for it is a process. You improve it, perfect it, change it, even pause in it. But you never stop it completely”. J Conrad Levinson

One of the steps in succeeding with your writing is keeping at it, never taking your eye off the ball. You can spend time developing the plan, after which you should spend the rest of your time  writing, editing and getting it to publication. Your readers are waiting for you.

A book coach and mentor can:-

  1. Help you to find the sweet spot for your book.
  2. Provide practical ways that enable you to start and carry on writing
  3. Take the writing (and other)  function off your shoulders (if that’s what you want) leaving you to do what you do best
  4. Set up the plan and coach you through the book  process.  A little hand holding can go a long way.
  5. Review your book and business/marketing  strategy and uncover important facts that you may not be aware of – such as what is your best reader profile, which books would be most profitable and which would serve your business best  Its often not what you think.
  6. Review your end to end book processes, remove waste and lean them up.
  7. Develop and implement  process to  ensure that you only write content  that fit you ideal reader  profile.
  8. Develop a simple, working action plan for you to implement.
  9. Help you to build a writers branding toolkit (website, author profile, book blurb, blog)
  10. Help you to develop and plan your new author website.
  11. Interview customers and develop case studies so that you can use these as part of your book.
  12. Review all of your plans to ensure consistency.
  13. Help you to develop and launch  products and services around your book.
  14. Set up and run seminars for you.
  15. Prepare your for networking events..
  16. Act as a conduit to other organisations, like PR, cover design, printing, book marketing and manage this process for you.
  17. Bring a fresh pair of eyes to your book.

Look around your business, what book could help you to sell you, your business and create another revenue stream for you.

Reasons to join a book writing club

Reasons why joining a book writing club will keep you on trackbudding author

There are many courses and workshops designed to help you write better, to teach you style and the mechanics of writing.  They are great fun, I love going on writing courses of all kinds, creative, business, storytelling and memoirs.  These courses pull me out of my comfort zone and challenge me to think of new ways to express myself.

There is something about belonging to a group that encourages you to write, that through sharing and feedback enables you to develop your work (and you as a person), provides inspiration, motivation and much needed support.

In addition to courses there are a plethora of excellent books that describe how to, I know, my bookcase is full of how to books.

However the way I like to learn is by doing.  I love to share, brainstorm, bounce ideas, get good critical feedback , be challenged and be held accountable.  If I am honest, I am also competitive, I undertake lots of research and like to get my homework done early.  Girly swot or what?

So why should you consider joining a book club?

Here’s eleven that I have come across:-

  1. You have a vague idea of what your book will be about, feel unable to map it out, start (or continue) writing, decide exactly what it will be about and who it is for
  2. You know what your book will be about and need some support to make it a reality
  3. You have lots of book ideas, you want to decide which one first and actually get it written
  4. You have been toying with a book idea for years, keep procrastinating and want to be held accountable for moving it forward
  5. You have lots of disparate chapters written, there doesn’t seem to be any flow.  You would like some feedback, guidance and a way to pull it into shape
  6. You are happy with your writing style, have ideas, some content and would like help to really define who it is for and how you will use it before you carry on
  7. You have some of your book written, seem to have lost your personality along the way and would like to be part of an inspiring group who will help you to put that back into your writing and book project
  8. You want to test your ideas out with a group of people who will give honest feedback and support
  9. You have a deadline and being part of a group will help you meet it
  10. You want to make you book accessible to a wider audience and want the support of a wide selection of people to ensure that it is better understood
  11. You just want to be a part of a writing group for pleasure or personal development
  12. Insert your reason…

Whatever your reason, the key is that a book club is not about how you write, your grammar or spelling, its about providing a process that you can follow, ideas, inspiration, encouragement, support, motivation, coaching, mentoring, fun and a self published book, all of your own.

Email or call me for an informal chat, I would love to hear about your ideas and book project.

Data, information, knowledge and books

Creating a business bookI am guessing many of you in business,  are frustrated by processes and systems, replication and double handling, and of people not communicating and sharing knowledge.

With a background in IT & marketing, I have been around data and information for as long as I can remember.  We implemented systems that captured data in some way and transformed it into information with a variety of reports.  That information was then interpreted by someone and the combination of their knowledge, other information and learnings applied to the business.

For many years I believed that we could exist in a paperless office (possibly a paperless world, ok maybe that’s a step too far).  I sold document management systems, I loved it, them and everything that they delivered.

The same applied to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.  Yep, I really am a fan of keeping prospect, customer, supplier and other contact data in a formalised system.  I am like you, I hate inputting the data, but I love finding what I want easily and the reports which tell me where I am, at the touch of a button.

What I didn’t bank on was that some people weren’t ready for the revolution, they wanted to desperately hold onto their piles of paper and useless systems that they believed would keep them employed.

People, it’s always people, I really don’t get it.  Don’t you know that data and information are useless without your knowledge, learning and shared wisdom?  Without your collaboration, your organisational knowledge will be wasted.

It’s only with people that we can create organisational knowledge assets which can be exploited in some way, either for profit, to enhance existing knowledge, protect IP, reduce duplication, share best practise, further learning, improve what you do and how you do it.

In a nutshell, people can help to:-

  1. Transform data, information and knowledge to add value to the processes and operations of the business, to enable growth and innovation
  2. Use knowledge to provide a competitive advantage for the business

There are a bewildering array of knowledge management systems on the market, as a writer my favourite way of sharing knowledge is of course the humble book, be it printed or electronic.

Instead of trying to implement a company wide system that is usually specified and selected by IT, and held up by the users, why not consider a really simple alternative, create your own business book library?  Or do both?

With the advancements in book publishing you can cost effectively self publish your books as hardcopy, print on demand or via one of the many online platforms like Kindle.

Food for thought?  See you in the library!

About data, information, knowledge and books

Data – individual attributes

Information – collection of data, made meaningful and provides answers to “who”, “what”, “where”, and “when” questions

Knowledge – the application of data and information and provides answers  to “how” questions.  The stuff that sits in our subconscious

Understanding and learning – the bit that happens when we begin to appreciate the “why”

Wisdom – what we get after we have evaluated everything.  The vision from which innovation occurs

Contact Jacqui to find out about running a books for business project or journaling and storytelling workshop for your organisation.

Baked Alaska or Apple Tart?

It was while I was lounging in A lounge Heathrow airport that I pondered the veritable merits of owning an Apple Mac.  I Facebooked my friends to ask.  The jury was hung. Those that adored them said go get one NOW and the others said go buy a PC.

The trouble was they were pretty and my inner child wanted to caress one, so I did.  However my inner geek took over as I considered the specifications and price.

Back in my seat directly opposite Mulberry, my inner goddess started to argue about where my credit card pennies should be spent.  Or what about those lovely new shoes?

With just my Blackberry, I started to Google Apple.  Apple UK compared to Apple Canada where I was heading.  Which Mac should I go for?  Should I buy at the airport or wait till I get to Canada. I even tasked a friend to do some research for me.  Sadly too late, I was airborne when the answer came through.

4000 miles and 7 hours is a long time to consider my options, so I didn’t. I watched rubbish films to distract me from my dilemma.

By 4pm that day I was in Ottawa’s Apple store fondling the silver shards of wizardry.  Crowded and hot I dallied for only 10 minutes.  Tiredness overcame me, my brain frazzled asked why would I want to pay that much for a computer that was the same specification as my HP that I’d bought 18 months previously.

Befuddled, dazed and confused I headed back to my hotel and continued my Blackberry search.

For 3 days, I quizzed everyone I met.  What should I do?  They all said buy….

5 days later and I headed home on my HP and I  sussed why the Apple remained in the store and not in my suitcase.

It’s my buying strategy.  I didn’t meet my basic buying methodology……

I cast my mind back to last time I bought a computer.

My strategy goes like this…..  Inner geek wants new shiney toy for no apparent reason.  Neocortex applies logic and quizzes me, I logically arrive at a set of justifiable reasons I must have ‘it’.  Then I attach emotion to the possession.  I can feel what owning this new thing will mean to my life.

Then I go through a whole set of actions which includes reviewing technical specifications from the overall product to components like the processor and graphics card.  Then I read forums and reviews.  I compare manufacturers and suppliers.  Once my extensive tick list has been compiled,  I head out to touch said item and to ask the shop assistant some seemingly innocuous questions.  Satisfied I head home to buy, usually online.

Logic overcame emotion.  Thank goodness…..  Though I could just have a small one for my writing, couldn’t I?

It’s March 2011 and I am still pondering.  My birthday is in December.  Surely I could have one for them.

April 2011 and I now own a Mac Book Pro.  I justified it as my writers tool and absolutely necessary.

July 2012, it’s been a while and Mary Mac is sooooo useful and easy to carry around.  Versatile beyond compare.

Except…..

Now I want an iPad.

World Book Night: Newport

March 5th 2011 is World Book Night and I am giving away Half a Yellow Sun http://www.worldbooknight.org/the-authors/chimamanda-ngozi-adichie/.

The books are going to the fabulous Damsels in Success.  Starting with Michelle Clarkes group in Cardiff  http://www.damselsinsuccess.co.uk/cardiff.

Everyone who reads the book will be writing a short story, poem or piece of prose which has been inspired by something from the book.  These will be turned into our own Damsels book which we will publish to raise funds for Nadine Honeybones wonderful charity The Autism Directory http://www.theautismdirectory.com.

If you want to be a part of this come to Damsels in Cardiff on March 7th, 9.30 am start.