Writing for Young Adults

Writing Irrisitible Kidlit by Mary Kole from Writer’s Digest Books (www.writersdigest.com) discusses everything from target audience to. To write for the young adult reader, Kole writes, “Remember the electricity of adolescence? You have your first love, your first seriously bad decision, your first moment of profound pride, the first time you’re a hero.”

Young adults (YA) like most genres. Fantasy is big with the YA market, but so is romance. One of the biggest errors that writers who want to write for this audience make is forcing the characters into a genre, because you think that’s what is selling right now, Kole explains. YAs have a good BS (bullshit) meter, so when you write for this audience, you must be authentic. Trying to force your story won’t cut it for this target audience.

 Characters need to be fully developed for the YA audience.

Self-Publishing vs Indie Publishing

There is still a lot of question in some people's minds about what the difference is between indie publishing and self-publishing. Indie publishing and self-publishing can sometimes be considered the same. However, as a self-published author, you are normally paying a "vanity" press, which charges you for every process. Vanity publishing often means that you pay and pay and pay for the privilege of someone else making money on your work. They operate a lot like a traditional publisher with the exception that they charge exorbitant fees. They also keep the lion's share of the profits giving you a smaller "Royalty." Vanity presses earned their reputation as using sub-standard processes, which made bookstores refuse to handle them.

Indie publishing means that you are in control of your manuscript. Unlike the "vanity" press, you are not bound to pay for services that you don't need. On the other hand, all the services that you need, you have to find on your own. Although you must do all the work from beginning to end, there are people who will help you with each phase of your publishing process. Being your own publisher may seem daunting, but understanding that you own and control you material makes up for it. When you get published through any other means, you do not own your intellectual property: the publisher does. If you are not in control of the entity that purchases the ISBN, you are relinquishing your work to someone else. Each title requires its own ISBN, because this is the "International Standard Book Number." Without the ISBN and its bar code, you cannot put your book into book stores or just about any store that codes the bar code into inventory and point of sale cash registers. So the ISBN is a huge part of publishing your book.

Here's what I want you to understand: that ISBN is connected to the ownership of the material. The publisher owns the ISBN, which translates to the publisher owning your intellectual property. If you want to use that material for another product, you cannot do it! That is, you cannot if you aren't the publisher.

Creating multiple products from one collection of material makes the most sense. If you are an entrepreneur, in particular, you want to create and recreate as much as possible!

Becoming your own publisher is not as difficult as it might seem. You can be published through CreateSpace.com and choose your own ISBN and own publishing "imprint," which only costs $10. On the other hand, you can pay $125 for one or $250 for 10 ISBNs. You can get your book printed by an on-demand printer, which also is your fulfillment agent. LightningSource.com may give you other advantages, such as higher quality paper or different book sizes, including hard cover book options. As a publisher, you get to make all the choices. No one is making you, the round peg, fit into the square hole. You are in total control!

Becoming Your Own Book Designer

Self-publish and become a Book Designer, as well. Don’t let that scare you! It’s really not as hard as you think. What size book do you want to create? Some standard sizes are 6-inches by 9-inches or 7-inches by 10-inches.

Being your own Book Designer can actually be quite fun! Who better to design your book than you! After all, you’re the one that birthed this creation into being. Why give it up for adoption to someone who hasn’t been intimately involved like you have been. Editing, on the other hand, is best done by someone who is not close to the writing project. Definitely hire this part to be done. While your friend may edit your book for free, you often get what you pay for. I suggest hiring a professional editor. It is almost impossible to find your own mistakes. Most people will read over their errors, seeing them the way they should be rather than the way they actually are.

Are you planning to have pictures in your book? How many? Where do you want them to go? Are the photos needing to face associated text? Here’s a tip. All left-hand pages are even numbered and all right-hand pages are odd numbered. So if you want a photo to face associated text, you’d make sure the photo was on an even page and your text on the consecutive odd page. To do this, you may find you have a blank page. Try to keep blank pages on the even numbered pages. You might also think of some creative uses for any blank pages, such as adding a famous quote or adding an additional photo or drawing.

Some people ask if special software is required. Actually, whatever word processing software that you are using can be adapted to do everything you need to do. The page sizes and your default page size on your software package is usually 8-1/2 inch by 11 inch. You can, however, set your page size to the size book that you are creating. It is often called a “trim” size, because the pages used to be printed on huge sheets of paper, cut into pages and then after assembly, the book was “trimmed” to the appropriate size.

CreateSpace.com, an on-demand printer, even has templates for you to download for Word. But by changing the page size by going into Layout Mode and choosing a “custom” size, you can change the book “trim” size to fit one of the choices at your on-demand print shop. You can also choose your margins, which ultimately affect the size of the printed part of the page. In general, page margins are set to .5 inch or 1 inch. Smaller trim sizes should have smaller margins to squeeze in the most text on the pages. However, you do need to consider space for binding.

Lulu.com is another on-demand printer, which works similarly. It offers a few different opportunities, such as hardback books. They, too, offer templates to use for the choice of sizes and binding. Lulu.com also offers some flexibility in paper quality, which is important for some indie- or self-publishers.

Novices sometimes want to change the font size to squeeze in a lot of text. It’s not exactly wrong to do that, but one has to think about who your target market is. Text size is generally larger for young children and people in their senior years. Text needs to be easily read, so I usually never go below 10 points. To be truthful, I probably only use 10 point type on the copyright page, because no one really needs to read this on a regular bases. There are always exceptions to everything. But when you are formatting your book, you need to make it readable. Yes, less pages make your book cheaper to print. However, if the print is too small to read, you won’t sell many books, because no one can read it.

I hope this helps all you self-publishers out there!

How to Market a Book

As an author, you want to write and publish, but you’d also like to sell your books. To sell anything, you have to market it. Even as an author, you have to market! You cannot get there on your name, because as an Indie or Self-Published author, you don’t yet have a “name.”

Traditional Publishers often organize book tours, which is great, but that’s the most expensive way to market. As an Indie Publisher, you probably don’t have that kind of money, and the truth is even if you did, you might not have the clout to pull in enough interested buyers to make your investment in travel worthwhile. However, Indie Publishers need to get on-board with Internet Marketing Methods.

You need to do several things online to bolster your visibility. First, you need to create a Website for your Book. However, your Website needs to be geared to your buyers. What are they looking for? What are the BENEFITS for your potential buyers and readers?

One of the first things you probably did when you began writing your book is to think about your target market. If you didn’t actually do that step explicitly, you probably did without consciously thinking about it. Now is the time to spend that time to clearly define your target market. Next, you need to write down every benefit that your target market would find by reading your book.

Create your Website using those benefits. Also, create a good tagline that encompasses the book’s topic. Make your About the Author page also Benefit driven. Make sure your Home page also has a call to action. In other words, it needs to be a good sales page. Your entire site needs to be a sales page.

Paying an Internet Marketing Specialist might be worth the money, because you probably will get a better return. All of this is good for your Website, but a Website is only the place to start!

In his book “The Complete Internet Marketing Strategy Guide”, author Ed McDonough says:

“To effectively market on the internet today, you need to strategically utilize other key internet marketing components in conjunction with your website. Social Media, Email Marketing, Blogging, Search Engine Optimization and Keyword Specific Websites are all requirements of a sound Internet Marketing Strategy.”

So, get on Facebook, Twitter and everything else! But don’t think that’s going to do it!

You also need to do research on keywords that people would use to search for your book. One great strategy is to create some videos on YouTube that then drive traffic to your site.

Again, paying an Internet Marketing Specialists (You can contact Ed McDonough at ed@executivecoached.com) to do all of this for you will probably be a good investment, which is less than the cost of airline, motel, and food for going to just one place in the country to promote your book.

Writing Your Elevator Speech

Your ELEVATOR SPEECH is a short version of your sales pitch, a description of your main product, or service, and who you are. Your ELEVATOR SPEECH is a fundamental element of marketing your business. It’s a very short version and as its name implies, this needs to be so compact that you can deliver it on an average elevator ride, approximately 30-60 seconds.

The number one thing we must look at, however, is your audience. Equally important is the hook that you use to pull your listener into you short talk. Stories usually have a beginning, middle, and end. While an elevator speech is a very, very short story, it does not follow the normal story format with the exception of the “hook.”

Your hook asks a question or makes a statement that entices your listener to hear what you’ve got to say. There are a lot of different perspectives on for who or what you should focus, but that really depends on your audience.

Most business people are going to be giving an elevator speech to potential clients/customers. Therefore, your focus is going to be a sales pitch. However, if you are in front of potential investors, then you need to focus more on you and why they should invest in your company.

Let’s look at your elevator speech for a potential client: Your hook is likely to be their problem, which is followed, of course, by what your, product or services might do to solve this problem. For example: Do your clients respect you for your knowledge? A book would help them see you as an authority figure. I have a workshop starting in December, would you like to join?

This is your whole sales pitch in three sentences. Your elevator speech can be a bit longer, but it needs to hook the client with their problem and offer them the solution that your company can fix.

Self-Publishing Growing Breed

There's a new world awaiting for those who are writing and publishing today. Only a few years ago, your best bet was to get an agent and get published with a Publishing House. If you self-published, there was a huge stigma attached to self-publishers akin to that of the Scarlet Letter. Not so, today!

Self-publishers are among a growing breed of indie publishers. You can publish under your own small press. You might just publish under the demand printer, or you can still duke it out with agents and publishers. However, more authors are choosing the indie way. Some sources say that consumers are buying more indie-published books, which includes self-publishing.

 

Why? Perhaps the main reason this is happening is that big time publishers still take so long getting a book out that its relevance may have past by the time it is released. Another reason is that e-readers have made it easy to publish your book in one of the e-reader formats. Thousands of readers now carry stacks of books around without the weight of even one thick book.

Don't worry, printed books are not becoming extinct! You can still publish a printed book and many, many people still prefer their page turning to the slide of an e-reader. Plenty of big box book stores, as well as, indie book stores are filled with the smell of ink and paper.

 

If you are a well-known personality, such as television or movie star, then publishing your book, whether it is good or not is going to be easier. The big publishing companies know the book will sell based on name recognition. If you aren't well-known, then they may accept your book on its merits, but you probably will receive little to no marketing. Book tours are reserved for the best-selling authors.

As an indie (self) publisher, there are many benefits that include:

Reap the larger profits instead of the smaller royalties, which allow you to support your own marketing budget.

Total control of the price structure.

Creating unique opportunities for reading excerpts from your book and/or book signing events.

Depending on content and genre of book, you might even team up with a non-profit, which will help you sell books and help fundraise for them. I love it when you can do two things simultaneously!

Create a book to support your business or speaking events.