Today in the Hot Seat is author Bill Benitez who’s on a book tour promoting his non-fiction title, Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others. I’m about half way through reading it and I’ll be posting a review shortly.
Bill is giving away a $5 Amazon gift card for a commenter on each stop on his book tour, and a $50 Amazon gift card as the grand prize at the end of the tour. So if you have any questions for him be sure to post them.
Mostly I read books on writing, publishing, and business with a break for a mystery thriller in between. The most recent book I read was also the best. It was The Commonsense Entrepreneur by Joel D Canfield. The last novel I read was The Charlemagne Pursuit by Steve Barry.
I watch more TV than I would like because it takes me away from writing. I watch enough news to keep up with things but as little as possible. My favorite recent programs are Masterpiece Mysteries and Classics and Homeland. I also enjoyed Treme while it was on.
Guilty Pleasure…I love old movies with Doctor Zhivago, Casablanca, and Unforgiven among my favorites. I recently watched the Maltese Falcon. I love sleeping in on weekends and having breakfast in bed.
Best Advice You Ever Got… It involved two messages from individuals I respected very much:
1.Do every job as if your signature will appear on it in large letters that everyone can see.
2.Never send anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to see as tomorrow’s headline.
A Country or Town You’d Like to Visit…
Two years ago I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Spain taking a tour that began in Lisbon, Portugal and ended two weeks later in Madrid, Spain. This year we visited Cuenca, Ecuador and loved it so much we plan to return to another area in Ecuador next year. After that I would love to visit Paris and leave from there on a river cruise through Europe.
Highly Recommend You Read This Title…
I’ve read lots of books on business success but I definitely recommend The Commonsense Entrepreneur by Joel D Canfield if you only have the time to read one business book. No matter your level of business expertise, you will gain from this book. For a book on life and love The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran is my favorite. I have read it dozens of times and given it as a gift over the years. Always keep two or three copies on hand for gifts. Its beautiful language, tenderness and invaluable life lessons make it a must read. It was written in 1923 and is still a good seller.
Shameless Self Promoting….
My book Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others is based on the first hand experience of writing and publishing over a dozen books and a half dozen ebooks. After reading many books on self publishing offering dozens of options I was disappointed because I was looking for a proven and repeatable method to self publish. I developed a method that works consistently and can be duplicated by anyone using the information, illustrations, and instructions in Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others. The book is now available on Amazon and at bookstores and complete details may be found at http://selfpublishingworkbook.com .
Complete information on Positive Imaging, LLC, my publishing company is available at http://positive-imaging.com or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Frustration With Traditional Publishers Leads To Self Publishing
In 2007 my wife Barbara completed a wonderful children’s chapter book called Lottie’s Adventure and begin sending it to traditional publishers. Despite some great preliminary reviews, all she got was rejections and lack of response. This was quite frustrating for her and I wanted to help.
As an IT professional, I had read a lot about print on demand and made up my mind to learn all about it and then publish Lottie’s Adventure. It was a lengthy learning curve and I made lots of mistakes including the selection of a POD company that was more expensive than necessary. Nevertheless, we produced a high quality book and in spite of our lack of knowledge we sold quite a few copies of Lottie’s Adventure.
After this success I realized that self publishing had potential for some of my own writing and began developing effective, efficient, and lower cost methods to publish the books that I wrote. Since then I have written and published six books and a few ebooks of my own and established a publishing company that has published six books plus several ebooks for other writers.
After consistently producing and marketing quality books worldwide I decided to share these proven methods in a new book covering every step from idea through book creation to worldwide sales. That book is Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others.
Planning The Book – The Outline
Step one for any book, after the basic idea appears, is to create a clear and concise
plan. Knowing why you are writing the book is important to developing a viable
plan. If you are writing simply for your own enjoyment and to share some
knowledge or an experience with anyone who may be interested, with little
concern for potential profit, then the first step should be creating an outline for
You begin this outline by writing down all the major topics you wish to convey to
your readers. Put them all down without attempting to flesh them out or placing
them in particular order. At this early stage, spending too much time on
individual topics could cause you to lose focus of the main topics. After you have
listed them all, organize them in the best possible order so that each topic
logically follows the previous one.
Now is the time to flesh them out. Go back to each topic one at a time and add
whatever thoughts come to you. There is no certain length for this and don’t
worry about structure. You are still at the thought development stage to cover as
much as you can before actually beginning the writing. As you write down all
these thoughts, new topics and ideas will come to you. Don’t dismiss them; write
them down as they come to you even if they belong elsewhere. You can move
them later. The important thing at this stage is not to lose the thought. Read the
section on creating and using an outline to see the simplest way to take full
advantage of an outline to create your book.
If profit is the main objective of your writing, another method may be more
appropriate for you. Once you know the niche or topic of your book, find the
market for that particular niche. That is, determine whom will purchase your
book and where you can find these prospects. This is a critical step because if you are unable to locate readers interested in your topic, it may be that a niche doesn’t exist or is so small as to make reaching it difficult and unprofitable. Since your intent is to profit from writing your book, this is a good time to revisit your concept and perhaps alter it for better marketability or perhaps abandon the idea and look for a marketable niche.
Knowing Your Market
While this book doesn’t deal directly with marketing and promotion, the odds of a
book selling are increased considerably if you know your market and write your
book to fulfill their needs. This is not possible if you have no idea about those
interested in your book and how to reach them.
While it may seem that this knowledge is about marketing and not writing or self
publishing, it’s just the opposite. This knowledge will help you write the book so
it’s of real value to your potential buyers and to create a cover that conveys a
strong message indicating clearly that the information these book buyers want is
in the book. This will make your book marketable and contribute to increased
sales before you even publish.
The Final Format
In this early planning stage you must decide on the final format. Is it just going to
be available as an ebook? Kindle is really popular but it doesn’t work for some
books that require a much larger page. There is a larger Kindle available but it is
considerably more expensive then the standard model or the Kindle Fire which is
the one to which you should aim your ebook. There are other kinds of ebooks that
work perfectly well even with letter size books. Learn more about publishing for
the Kindle in chapter fourteen.
Is the book going to be available as a paperback? Are you going to come out with
both paperback and ebook at the same time? Making these decisions should be
part of your planning. All of these various formats and how to take full advantage
of them is covered in other chapters.
When I was going to publish my first book, which was a children’s book my
wife had written, I spent several hours at a large bookstore going through
similar books. I must have looked through at least fifty different children’s
books to find out if there was some standard formatting that I should use
for my first attempt at publishing a book. I learned something very
interesting that day. There were no two books formatted the same way.
There were some similarities but many more differences. The important
thing was to make the book look professionally published and there were
obviously many ways to do that.
There is an easier way for you to do the same thing using the Amazon.com web
site. Just go to the site and search for books in your niche. Most of the books will
have the look inside feature and you can take a look at the layout without going
to a bookstore. You can even print out pages for closer examination. There are
also some excellent books on the subject of book design. However, don’t believe
that you are stuck with one certain format as right or wrong. Strive to make your
book original and professional and there are as many ways to accomplish that as
there are publishers.
If you decide to read one or more books on book design or visit book design
blogs, remember that the information you are reading is of value but not carved
in granite. Your ideas also have value so use the information to learn the things
that look obviously wrong but remember to be creative while maintaining
professionalism. For an inexperienced self publisher it can be difficult to choose
the correct format for a book. That’s the reason studying the work of others is so
helpful, at least while publishing your first book