Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Author Training Manual by Author Nina Amir!

Author Guest Post

How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea that Sells

Most aspiring authors believe their ideas are unique and readers absolutely need to read their books. Like these writers, you may feel convinced your book idea is new, fresh, timely, different, and essential.

It’s great to feel passionate, enthusiastic and confident when the proverbial light bulb goes off, but those feelings—and your conviction—simply aren’t enough reason to write and publish a book. You must have facts that unequivocally prove your idea is unique and necessary in the marketplace. These facts must convince a literary agent, first, and an acquisitions editor, second, that your book is marketable. They also must convince you as an indie publisher that you have crafted a viable product—on with a chance of succeeding, which means selling.

Create a Marketable Book

If you want to write a commercially marketable book that stands out in its category—the shelf where you find it in a physical bookstore or where it is catalogued in a virtual bookstore, you must develop an idea that is unique and necessary. That means you not only need to provide a book with a high degree of value to readers in your target market, but you also need to write a nonfiction book that offers new information or a different angle on old information. It should “fill a hole” in that category, which means you have to write a book no one else has written yet and that is needed in that particular subject area.

How to Craft a Unique and Necessary Book Idea

One of the ways this is accomplished is by determining if the book is unique and necessary compared to competing books—other books like it that have previously been published. To accomplish this, you must conduct what is called a “competitive analysis” of books in the same category as your book. Then you evaluate how to make your book better than the competition.

To complete the analysis, first, determine your book’s category. Is it a business, body-mind-spirit, travel, reference, history, or craft book, for example? Second, use the internet, or go to your favorite local bookstore, and examine books you feel are direct competition to yours. These are books someone might buy instead of yours because the content is so similar.

When you have 5-10 bestselling books (preferably traditionally published) released in the last three years, study:

* the table of contents
* the foreword and who wrote it
* the front cover
* the back cover
* the first chapter or two
* the index
* the author’s biography
* number of pages
* whether the book is available in paper back, ebook or both
* category choice
* publisher
* price
* year published

Next, take a look at your own idea and compare it to the top five competitive titles you have analyzed. Ask yourself:

* How can I create a better book?
* How can I create a book that better serves readers?
* How have these authors underserved readers in such a way that opens up an opportunity for me?
* How do these books fall short of readers’ expectations or needs?
* How is my book the same as these (and how must I change my book to make it different)?

In other words, use these books to spark ideas that will help you hone your idea into the best possible book in the category or topic area.

Brief statements that describe the pros and cons of the competition should be included a book proposal, should you want to pursue traditional publishing. For a business plan for a self-published book, you can include all the detail you like. For more information on how to write a business plan for your book, click here.

About The Author

Nina Amir, the Inspiration to Creation Coach and author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, transforms writers into authors. She inspires people from all walks of life to create books that positively impact readers and to develop careers as authors, achieve their goals, and fulfill their potential. Nina is a sought-after nonfiction developmental editor, proposal consultant, and author, book, blog-to-book, blog, and results coach. Some of her clients have gone on to sell 300,000+ copies of their books and to land deals with major publishing houses. She writes four blogs, has self-published 12 books and is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.


Book Review

The Author Training Manual by Nina Amir
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books
Publication Date: February 18, 2014 eBook / March 18, 2014 Paperback
Format: Paperback - 248 pages / Kindle - 1291 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 1599631458
Genre: Nonfiction / Writing / Publishing / Reference

BUY THE BOOK: The Author Training Manual

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE

Book Description:

Anyone can publish a book and become an “author,” but if you want to become a successful author with a profitable publishing career, you need a clear, step-by-step guide to help you develop book ideas that sell. In The Author Training Manual, expert editor and book coach Nina Amir reveals the exact process successful authors have used to create business plans and proposals for their books and teaches you how to view your ideas through the eyes of acquisition editors and literary agents.

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, plan to traditionally publish or self-publish, The Author Training Manual provides you with the tools you need to achieve your goals and become the author publishers and readers want. Inside you’ll find concrete steps, evaluations, sample business plans, in-depth training activities, editor and agent commentaries, and much more – all designed to help you stand out, from the slush pile to the shelf.

Book Excerpt:

Millions of aspiring authors around the world dream of self-publishing or traditionally publishing a successful book. If you’ve picked up this book, you likely share that dream.

Today, almost any writer can change his or her status from aspiring to published author.

More ways exist to self-publish a book than ever before, which means you have many options should you choose to go that route. You’ll find it harder to change your status from aspiring to published author if you want to be traditionally published, but it’s not impossible. You just need to convince a publishing company to produce your book for you by following the steps presented in this book.

No matter which path to publication you choose, the most difficult task before you involves creating a book that sells. According to Publishers Weekly, the average book sells three thousand copies in its lifetime—not per year. The publishing industry deems a book “success- ful” when it sells large numbers of copies—usually many more than three thousand copies per year. Bestsellers, for example, outsell other books in their categories.

Since you are reading this book, I’m going to assume from this point forward that you want to produce a book that sells an above-average number of copies per year or reaches bestseller status. That means you want to be a successful author by publishing industry standards, so keep the average books sales noted earlier mind as you work through this process.

Many aspiring authors think all they need to produce a successful book is an outstanding idea, a sound story structure, and a well-crafted manuscript. Indeed, these elements sometimes suffice, but more often creating a bestseller or a book with above-average sales involves much more.

In particular, it takes a certain type of attitude. I call this an Author Attitude.

The Cold, Hard Facts of the Publishing Industry

To develop Author Attitude, you must make yourself aware of the cold, hard facts about the publishing industry. These facts are meant to help you understand the difference between simply becoming an author and succeeding as an author.

While the number of books published each year increases—Bowker projected a staggering four thousand books per day were published in 2011—the number of people and publishers who buy them decreases annually. That means the marketplace has become increasingly competitive, making it harder to find readers and publishers. Yet, out of a U.S. population of 317,132,631 people (as of November 2013), 81 percent still want to write a book, according to The New York Times.

Many writers produce manuscripts or books only to discover later that their creations aren’t viable. After spending months or years writing and honing their craft, these authors then suffer great heartbreak and disappointment when they discover traditional publishers don’t want to publish their manuscripts or readers don’t want to purchase their self-published books. Maybe the writing isn’t up to par, or the book isn’t unique or helpful to readers; the author might not have a “platform,” promotion plan, or expertise in the subject area, among many other things. Platform is visibility, authority, and engagement with your book’s target audience that gives you influences in that market.

Today, many readers simply cannot find most books. Bowker reported that in 2011, three million books were published in the United States. Marketing expert and bestselling author Seth Godin predicted that fifteen million ISBN numbers were purchased in 2012. If all of those ISBN numbers were used, it is possible that at least as many books were published that same year. That’s a lot of books for readers to sift through when deciding to make a purchase. It’s easy for yours to get lost among them all.

Not only that, if your book is traditionally published, it stands less than a one percent chance of being stocked in an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore, according to Berrett- Koehler Publishers. Self-published books almost never make it onto bookstore shelves. And if your book is not in brick-and-mortar bookstores, you miss another chance for readers to discover you or your book.

Even authors like Godin, with fourteen bestselling books, including Permission Marketing and Tribes, normally get only one or two copies of their books into each physical bookstore. In fact, Godin conducted a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign for his newest book, The Icarus Deception, primarily to prove to publishers that his books should be promoted inside bookstores. Even his publisher needed proof that booksellers should carry large quantities of his books and display them prominently. If a successful author like Godin has trouble getting books into a bookstore, you can imagine how hard this task proves for the average traditionally published author.

Once you get your book into either physical or online stores, you have to find ways to get it noticed. You have to ensure its cover makes readers feel they must not leave the store without it. The average nonfiction book sells 250 copies per year, reports Publishers Weekly—and nonfiction outsells fiction, so we can assume the average novel sells fewer copies per year. Taking into account the cost of editing and design, that’s hardly enough for any traditional publisher or self-publisher to earn back the cost of producing and promoting a printed book, let alone make much money. (Average yearly e-book sales are about the same as print book sales, possibly just a tad higher. According to novelist Mike Cooper, the average Amazon e- book author earns under $300 per year.)

With these facts in mind, it’s no wonder that along the way some writers discover they aren’t cut out to produce successful books—ones that do sell to lots of readers and to publishers. They might discover this after they’ve self-published or traditionally published their books or maybe while they are trying to publish them (or even while exploring their options). Maybe they are unwilling to learn the necessary tasks, they can’t or don’t want to hire someone to help them do those tasks, or they simply don’t want to compete in the industry or the marketplace. Maybe they have other commitments, like family or a “real” job. So these writers may decide they feel comfortable writing books that sell a below-average number of copies.

Others decide the path to publication is just too long and arduous. They leave their dreams of becoming authors behind and choose different paths. They give up.

Then there are the aspiring writers left wondering how—despite the above facts, their situations, and the often harsh and competitive publishing industry environment—they can change their status from aspiring to successful published author. They are not put off by the obstacles in the facts presented or by what life has thrown their way. Full of optimism, they cling to something else they have heard: “Now is the best time in history to become an author.” They are willing to do whatever it takes to produce a salable book and to publish and promote it until it sells well. They are determined, persistent, and perseverant. In fact, they have the essential characteristic of successful authors: an Author Attitude.

I hope you have it, too.

If you aren’t sure whether you have this attitude, no worries. This manual, and the training process it includes, will teach you how to develop an Author Attitude.

Of course, some writers have this attitude naturally; most, I believe, have worked at developing it. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen come to mind. They received over 140 rejections prior to getting Chicken Soup for the Soul accepted by Health Communications. The book has sold over 200 million copies due to the authors’ commitment to promoting the book in every way possible—including sending free copies to the sequestered jurors serving on the nationally broadcast first O.J. Simpson murder trial. The jurors were then pictured on national television carrying the books! The authors promoted the book in five ways every single day after its release. Now that is Author Attitude.

My Book Review:

In The Author Training Manual, author and expert editor and book coach Nina Amir provides aspiring writers with a clear step-by-step guide loaded with important tools and practical techniques that will guide them to achieve their goal of becoming a successfully published author.

Nina stresses that in order to succeed, the author has to view their book as a business, not just a creative endeavor, and as such it is important to create a business plan and proposals for their books that will get them out of the slush file, noticed by literary agents and acquisition editors, and on the bookstore shelf.

The Author Training Manual is the ultimate reference guide with sample business plans, nine important steps to create, publish, market, and promote your book, evaluations and training activities, current publishing trends, and in-depth editor and agent feedback.

The author stresses that the author has to develop an author attitude with essential characteristics: WOOT!
* Willingness
* Optimism
* Objectivity
* Tenacity

Finally, if the author follows the nine steps on their journey, they'll be on their way to becoming a successfully published author!

* Develop Author Attitude and Plan for Success.
* Know Your Book and Why Someone Would Want To Buy It.
* Analyze How Many People Really Might Buy Your Book.
* Compare the Competition and Discover If Your Idea is Unique.
* Examine the Structure of the Book.
* Decide if Your Book's Content Matches Your Initial Vision.
* Discover Ways to Brand Yourself and Earn More Money.
* Weigh Whether You are the Best Person to Write This Book
* Gauge If You Make a Good Publishing Partner or Indie Publisher.

The Author Training Manual is a must have reference guide for all aspiring and established authors!


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Wednesday, April 2
Guest Blogging at The Book Designer

Thursday, April 3
Interviewed LIVE at Professional Content Creation

Monday, April 7
Interview at Virginia Beach Publishing Examiner
Guest Blogging at Obsessed with Progress – Motivation for Goal Getters

Tuesday, April 8
Interview at As the Page Turns
Guest Blogging at The Future of Ink

Wednesday, April 9
Interview at Blogcritics

Thursday, April 10
Book Review at A Simple Life, Really?

Friday, April 11
Guest Blogging at Literarily Speaking

Monday, April 14
Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life

Tuesday, April 15
Book Review at Blooming with Books
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Heart {619}

Wednesday, April 16
Book Review at Digital Pubbing

Thursday, April 17
Book Review at Reader Girls
Guest Blogging at Write Now Coach

Friday, April 18
Guest Blogging at Writers Helping Writers

Monday, April 21
Book Review at Bound 4 Escape

Tuesday, April 22
Book Review at Lov Romance Books
Book Review & Guest Blogging at The True Book Addict

Wednesday, April 23
Book Review at I Heart Reading

Thursday, April 24
Book Featured at Authors & Readers Book Corner (review coming soon)
Book Review at My Book Retreat

Friday, April 25
Q&A + Giveaway at PUYB Virtual Book Club

Monday, April 28
Book Review at The Book Connection

Tuesday, April 29
Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Guest Blogging at Sharing with Writers

Wednesday, April 30
Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Book Review at Teena in Toronto
Book Featured at The Opinionated Me
Book Review at The Literary Nook Book
Review at Deal Sharing Aunt
Book Review at Like a Bump on a Blog

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