Some Things I Learned at the
San Diego State University
Writers Conference – 2010
and more things I know and share with you!
Patricia L. Brooks, author, writer, speaker, publishing consultant, faculty www.plbrooks.com www.blog.brooksgoldmannpublishing.com
“Connecting readers to authors is the Primary Goal” here for this weekend!
TAKING A LOOK AT PUBLISHING:
· You must have a good concept and/or a great story first.
o Readers have a lot to choose from and demand good work.
· You must have good writing skills.
o Readers are an educated and intellectual – give them what they want!
· You must know the market – our readers are a savvy bunch.
o Research with interviews, online, library sources and personal observation.
· You cannot quit – be resilient and persevere.
o If you write, you have to write.
· You must be open to suggestions from various sources.
o The best information comes from surprising voices – be open.
· You must be professional in all you do.
o Do not take short cuts; take time to do it correctly up front.
· You must be genuine in the writing and promotion.
o You get what you give out, give it your all.
TAKING A LOOK AT YOUR MANUSCRIPT:
· It must be clean and revised several times before the editing process.
o Don’t throw your book together in haste, show the editor respect.
· It must be enough for a book – consider first a short story.
o Take a hard look at your topic then do your outline and table of contents.
· It must be more than a regional piece if you have lofty goals.
o Honor our global society and allow yourself all the opportunities out there.
· It needs goals, objectives and strategies in a well written plan.
o Write out the steps you will take to your destination and the action needed.
· It needs an author who is willing to take risks to make it a success.
o Remember launching a book means always believing in your project.
· It needs to find a place beyond its initial comfort level on your blog.
o Respect the audience is looking for what you have to say – so say it!
TAKING A LOOK AT YOUR MARKETING:
· Research every aspect of the niche, primary and secondary markets.
o Understand you have readers you may be unaware of, give it some thought.
· Prepare a synopsis of the book chapter by chapter.
o Be prepared to share your work when called upon by an agent or the media.
· Write an Author’s Platform for your book – regardless of genre and topic.
o See my blog for a sample – a good practice for all of us!
· Prepare a Book Proposal – regardless of how you plan to publish.
o Decide if it will be independently or traditionally – this helps you get organized!
· Always have a couple of fully revised chapters ready for review.
o Remember, somebody may agree to do a peer review for you – be ready.
· Develop a full Marketing Plan – this is your product.
o Request this outline from me and get started; no one else will do it for you.
· Read reviews of books currently coming out regardless of genre.
o Peruse the newspapers everyday – you will learn from these commentaries.
· Compare your book to current titles to know where to position your book.
o Don’t be afraid of the 300 books published every day – just be ready.
· Determine immediately what is unique and different about your book.
o Practice your 30 second commercial so it rolls off your tongue easily.
· Extol the virtues of your book and how it will entertain, inform or educate the reader.
o Do something to be competitive – readers want value for their time.
· Toot your own horn – no one else will do it as well as you will.
o Forget shyness – you are now promoting a product and yourself.
· Be fully aware of who is the reader/buyer of your book.
o Do surveys, interviews or give away chapters for feedback to learn more.
· Be very clear on the angle and/or twist of the book.
o Be sure it is clear to you, so it is even clearer for the reader – keep it simple.
· Be unwavering on why we “need” to buy your book and read it.
o Remember you want readers to read the book and tell their friends about it.
· Be absolutely sure of where the “hole” is that you can fill in the market.
o Address this quickly, step back and take a strong approach to your plan.
TAKING A LOOK AT A MARKET ANALYSIS:
· Who is the true audience for this book?
o Is it broader than first anticipated; has a new trend come to light?
· How big is that audience?
o What are the demographics, the statistics to back your information?
· Who is the target market for the book?
o Have you considered all options for the first line of readers?
· How will you find them?
o Are they online, in bookstores, at events, in organizations or in corporations?
· Are you being brutally honest with yourself about your market impact?
o Is there more that you can do to make yourself successful?
· What genre will this book fall into first?
o Have you had a peer review to be sure you are seeing the big picture?
· Where will bookstores shelve this book for the best sales?
o Peruse bookstores and visualize your book on the shelves and ask booksellers.
· Are you willing to role play your approach to bookstores?
o Practice with a book seller; tell them your book will be out soon. Take notes.
· Do you have all the questions and objectives, all the answers prepared?
o Practice dealing with “no” and with “yes” – anticipate the situation.
· Do you understand the market trends playing a part in your book launch?
o Read the newspaper – research online – understand the book business now.
TAKING A LOOK AT THE PR/MARKETING PLATFORM:
· How will you create “Book Buzz” – word-of-mouth FREE marketing?
o Can you write a Hot 100 Hit List of close friends and contacts?
· How will you share your expertise to enhance your book’s PR?
o Do you have a credibility statement on yourself?
· How have you become an authority in your writing?
o Why did you choose your topic? What made you knowledgeable?
· Are you willing to speak to groups with your book?
o Be preparing a talk – even 20 minutes for a non-profit to boost sales.
· Are you willing to blog faithfully about your writing or your book?
o Be keeping a log of blogging ideas that relate to your topics.
· Do you have a current bio, website and/or business card to enhance your image/PR?
o Start collecting these from other authors and visualizing the same for you.
· What is the angle you will use to get good PR immediately?
o Review PR and media releases on other author websites in your genre.
· What is distinctive about you and your book that would make for good PR?
o Begin journaling while writing the book or promoting it – talk to yourself.
· Do you have a critique partner you trust to read all your PR/marketing materials?
o Join a writers group and critique group – trust other writers.
· Are you willing to attend writing/publishing conferences to improve yourself?
o Do at least one or two a year – and be a writer/author.
· Do you read at least a dozen or more books a year in your genre?
o Read to write – no excuses; if you don’t read, your readers won’t read either.
· Are you willing to show your passion for your book by doing all of the above?
o Pace yourself – pick three for the first month and add as you go – good luck.
GENERAL REMINDERS FOR ALL OF US:
· Think of your book as a business or commercial entity.
· Pick a subject you have expertise in and write on it with fierce abandon.
· Inform yourself on how many books are written on your topic.
· Create an audience for yourself.
· Understand what your book means for other people.
· Study “smaller” competition too – not just the best seller list.
· Write what you know.
· Listen to advice you hear again and again.
· Trust your writer’s path, the stories that haunt you, the unique stories.
· Believe these stories pick you; you are here for a reason, so write to some degree daily.
ENJOY – AND HAPPY WRITING – PATRICIA