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Authors: Boost Your Blog Posts

Posted on: October 13th, 2015 | No comments 


As a nonfiction author, you’re an expert on a topic—be it health care, personal finance, or neuroscience. This is what sets you apart from others and makes your blog posts more interesting. From time to time, it’s important to offer your readers a different perspective for the content you write—so you are not predictable or promotional. Here are four ways you can make your content more intriguing.

1. Offer expert critique of the hottest issue in the news if you are qualified. Alternatively, you can amplify what someone else is saying about the issue. The Ebola virus has become a major health concern and one that transcends borders. If you’re in health care, write about how to not catch viruses in general or clarify any myths about Ebola.

2. Show readers parts of the profession/work you do that they don’t know about. If you’re an expert don’t repeat the advice people get everywhere; write about topics that only you would know about from experience. For example, if you’re a venture capitalist, what do you observe about entrepreneurs in their closed-door meetings and pitches that people don’t see? If you’re a financial planner, what are some of the situations clients bring you that are most common? Think about what you see or know and offer these insights in a post.

3. Make a “best of” list. Nobody has the time to read everything, which is why “best of” lists are popular; they winnow down content into bites of information. Plus, they are fun and interesting. Think about ways you can simplify the universe of information on your topic and come up with recommendations—“5 Best Movies on Finance and Wall Street” or “5 Best Business Memoirs” or “10 Worst Book Jackets.”

4. Ask other experts in your field or a

Finding Facebook Friends and Fans: What Authors Need to Know About Big Changes in Facebook

Posted on: January 25th, 2014 | No comments 

Chances are once you’ve published new content to your website, you automatically update your other social media platforms to reach friends and fans: you send out a tweet, update your Pinterest and LinkedIn accounts, share on Google+, and post to Facebook. What you may not know is the new content you just posted on Facebook will not automatically appear on your friends or fans’ newsfeeds. In fact, your content will reach smaller number of fans than before. If you want to ensure reaching all your fans, it will be at a cost.

In the good old days it was a given that your posts would appear in your fans’ newsfeeds (where people spend the majority of their time) but according to Facebook, the onslaught of content has increased competition for what is limited space. Over the past six months, Facebook changed its algorithm; now, fewer fans are reading your content in their newsfeeds.

Reaction to the changes at Facebook has been mixed. The small business owners profiled in the New York Times article, “Facebook Revamps Ads to Compete With Google,” are not complaining; in fact, some have embraced the changes. But comments posted by other small business owners to an Advertising Age article (“Facebook Admits Organic Reach is Falling Short, Urges Marketers to Buy Ads,”) are far from happy. To read candid comments on the relative worth of Facebook for business owners, irrespective of the changes, read “A Social Media Marketer Assesses Facebook’s Advertising Platform” (NYT).

There is no doubt that Facebook is an important tool for authors. It’s where you can generate “Likes” for your work, comment on posts, and interact with your fans. But with these new changes, you’ll have to decide whether it’s the right social distribution channel for you. Our recommendation?

It’s Never Too Early: Self-Promote Your Self-Published Book While You’re Writing It

Posted on: January 14th, 2014 | No comments 

Big Fish Media is chronicling author Susan Price in a series of posts as she navigates the world of self-publishing. We follow the choices she faces, the decisions she makes, and the challenges she encounters in all areas, including research, production, and marketing. We’ll also offer tips, resources, and insights about self-publishing.

By Sarita Venkat

Susan is in the home stretch of completing her manuscript. As an expert on the topic of family philanthropy (she’s been immersed in the field for 15 years), Susan is writing a book titled Generous Genes: Raising Caring Kids in a Digital Age, which builds upon her 2001 book The Giving Family. Generous Genes will reflect the way kids are using technology as a tool in their giving. She started writing her book in earnest in early 2013; countless hours of research later, along with more than 100 interviews, and nearly half the words toward her goal of having a 60,000 word manuscript by February 1, 2014.

But, similar to the conundrum many writers face, it’s been challenging to keep up the writing momentum and find the time to promote her yet-to-be-published book (she’s also accepted a few paid consulting opportunities; while enticing when she’s getting no advance for her book, they have added a further wrinkle to her already tight schedule).

Publicity is critical at all stages of the self-publishing process so it’s never too early to promote your tome. As someone who has traveled the traditional publishing route with her previous titles, Susan will miss having a publicity department supporting her new book. (“Even though people complain that they didn’t get much help from the marketing folks, they still do some things for the author.”)

For example, Susan took advantage of the 2013 holiday season to generate buzz for her book

Key Elements of Author Websites (post 1 of 4)

Posted on: October 14th, 2013 | 1 comment 

Big Fish Media has added website design to our portfolio of services.  During the last six months, we have developed the official website for the legacy of C.K. Prahalad; and the website for the book Choosing Change, by Susan Goldsworthy and Walter McFarland.  We’ll have more news about our planned offerings soon; along the way, we’ve been doing our homework on top issues for nonfiction authors deciding to develop a website for their book. Over the next week or so, we will publish four posts offering insight, tactics, advice, and best practices to authors, drawn from our experience and analysis of successful nonfiction author websites.

Remember that in almost every case, authors need to be active in social media as well as operating a successful website. And, as Jason Allen Ashlock wrote in his excellent column The Truth About Author Websites, many experts believe a bad website does more harm than good.  Because of the importance of costs and providing updated and new content, we still recommend WordPress as the best development platform and learning to self-admin your site is critical.

Consider a few of these basic must-dos for an author’s website, assuming his or her book is going to be published commercially and in distribution:

1. Keep content fresh: whether via blogging, news updates, interactive Q&A features, or other means; don’t allow your site to become stale (if you’re going to have a blog, be committed to creating new material at least once a week). Link to your social media.

2. Invest in a WordPress-savvy designer for a simple, elegant and functional approach. That may seem like obvious advice.  What’s important is to visualize information in a style that consumers are used to: note the design on Simon & Schuster’s new websites. 

3. In terms of functionality, the

Self-Publishing: What’s Your Motivation?

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 | 2 comments 

by Sarita Venkat

Big Fish Media is chronicling author Susan Price in a series of posts as she navigates the world of self-publishing. We follow the choices she faces, the decisions she makes, and the challenges she encounters in all areas, including research, production, and marketing. We’ll also offer tips, resources, and insights about self-publishing.

 Even before Susan self-publishes her book she has something many—if not most—self-published authors lack: a solid foundation. In our conversations I learn what sets Susan apart from other writers.

  • Having passion: If you are writing a book to make money, stop right now. The only way you’ll succeed is if you are deeply passionate about your topic. Working with parents to help them instill philanthropic values such as giving and serving in their children (toddlers to teenagers) is Susan’s passion.
  • Being clear and focused: Susan has a purpose for writing her book: she wants to update her 2001 book The Giving Family: Raising Our Children To Help Others. For the new book, she will incorporate fresh ideas and insights that reflect giving in the digital age. Susan is also writing this new book to secure more speaking engagements. (“I am an extrovert and giving speeches is a great way to interact with people.”)
  • Understanding self-publishing: Susan has already traveled the traditional publishing path with her previous six books. But she wanted to try something different this time. Similar to other authors, she wants to retain more control of the publishing process and prefers not to find an agent or publisher this time. But, Susan is aware that it won’t be easy. If you are self-publishing be clear about what parts of the process you will do and those that you will outsource.
  • Being a subject matter expert: Susan has been

How to Meet the Self-Publishing Challenge: A Case Study with Nonfiction Author Susan Price

Posted on: September 18th, 2013 | No comments 

by Sarita Venkat

I just finished reading Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch’s book APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur—How to Publish a Book. In excruciating detail, the authors take the reader through a step-by-step process on how to self-publish by (fittingly) self-publishing APE. The book is a guide and resource for authors exploring an alternate publishing route. It’s also a good reminder that in the digital age, it doesn’t hurt writers and publishers to know about the social and technical tools available and accessible to them.

That said, self-publishing isn’t for the fainthearted. The information is overwhelming and the choices numerous. So it got us thinking—why don’t we help demystify the process by shadowing a nonfiction author as they navigate the self-publishing maze?

Meet Susan Crites Price. Susan is a Washington, DC-based freelance writer, book author, and speaker. She an expert on the topic of family philanthropy. Susan has talked about this issue on television (Oprah, NBC’s “Today”) and has written about it in various publications (Working Mother, The Chronicle of Philanthropy).

In 2001 Susan published The Giving Family: Raising Our Children To Help Others, a highly regarded book in the philanthropic world. According to Susan, the book helped her secure some speaking engagements, allowing her to talk about a topic she’s passionate about and in the process, sell more copies. Susan is currently writing an updated version taking into account technology’s role in charitable giving. (“Twelve years ago kids didn’t give online. Today, they do a million things online—including philanthropy.”)

Susan has already traveled the traditional publishing path with her previous six books, so this time she’s decided to self-publish. Why? Similar to many people she wants more control over the publishing process and prefers not to spend time finding an agent or publisher.

So, we’ll

Four Underrated (But Effective) Ways to Sell Your Book

Posted on: February 28th, 2013 | No comments 

Whether you self-publish or work with a traditional publisher, the onus is on you—as the author—to promote your book. It may seem like a daunting task, especially when you have invested so much energy completing your manuscript, but selling your book doesn’t have to be complicated. Yes, you’ll have to put in a lot of time and effort but there are many simple strategies you can pursue that lay the foundation for more extensive investments in PR and advertising. In the age of social media, non-tech ideas are often overlooked. And strategies that enlist help from family members and friends are undervalued.

We asked several successful authors and publishing experts to share the secrets to their book-selling success. While their strategies are wide-ranging, they understood their audiences and built energy around their books. Identifying their market of potential buyers helped them craft and customize their strategies. Big Fish Media partner and author Laura Schenone notes that “you must think deeply about your audience and what would be of interest to the various segments of that audience.” Schenone would know; by understanding her audience, she crafted promotional and marketing strategies that augmented the user experience of her book—The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken. (You’ll have to read the rest of the post to learn what she did.)

So, what are some ways authors can leverage their passion, friends, and limited resources to reach readers and sell books? Here—in their own words—the authors and experts share what worked.

  • Spread the Word with Business Cards: One inexpensive, easy, and low-tech way to build momentum about your book is by using business cards. Editor and writer Toni Sciarra Poynter suggests making cards with the book cover on the front and promotional information on the back—a short testimonial about the book, your

How Authors and Editors Can Work Together: 9 Rules for a Happy Marriage (Part 2)

Posted on: January 29th, 2013 | No comments 

As a consultant, get a good understanding of the type of editorial service(s) the author is seeking for his/her manuscript. You’re the editorial expert so depending on the level of service needed—from straightforward copyediting and proofreading to more complex and time consuming developmental, stylistic, and substantive editing—you’ll be able to determine the client’s needs. (Read in-depth descriptions of each level of service in Part 1 of this post.)
Specifically consider these principles as you think about writing an author-consultant agreement:

  1. Be transparent about your working style. Your prospective client has strong views about his or her book and has big plans for its future. The author is trusting you with “their baby,” and may have little experience with the editorial process. While many editors and writers need solitude to focus on their silent craft, be sure to explain your working style and understand the author’s work preferences as you’ll need to agree on a process. Consider the following questions: How many conversations do you need to be briefed? What is the appropriate number of email queries and questions? How do you prefer to integrate background and research information? What is the best way for you to receive feedback?
  2. Respect the author’s commitment and passion for their written work, but manage your client’s expectations. Building up an author’s hopes should not be a deal-closing tool for an editorial consultant. When you see the manuscript during pre-agreement discussions, keep judgments about its potential out of the discussion. Limit your analysis to the work it will require from you and the expertise you bring to the author’s goals. Don’t criticize or praise the manuscript; if you truly like it, say so briefly. It’s sensible and fair to stay out of the role as a prognosticator of the book’s success or publishing potential. Respected

How Authors and Editors Can Work Together: 9 Rules for a Happy Marriage (Part 1)

Posted on: January 28th, 2013 | 1 comment 

When I was  a publishing executive, I worked with many authors who hired outside editors to coach and edit their manuscripts. Now as a consultant, I’ve edited manuscripts and provided editorial coaching to a range of clients.
Editorial consulting has been key to my business with several arrangements that have led to great working relationships. I’ve also been hit financially by ambiguous or poorly thought-through agreements. Thus, I’ve learned that the best outcomes result from writing expectations into an author-consultant agreement.
When authors and editorial consultants get together, this is the first question to ask: What editorial service(s) does the author want the hiring editor to address? To help you think through this question, here are six types of editorial services that can be offered as one or in a combination (I’m limiting my take to nonfiction editing services):

  • Copyediting—correct spelling, punctuation, grammatical and related mistakes in the manuscript; make references and punctuation consistent, correct figures and tables, and improve sentence structure.
  • Proofreading/fact checking—provide a word by word and sentence by sentence review to correct mistakes; a book manuscript fact check will rarely cover everything, rather, the checker does spot checks of website references, quotes, statements of fact, statistics, and historical statements. Ultimately, the author bears responsibility for the accuracy and originality of their manuscript. (Note: Traditional publishers almost universally provide copyediting and proofreading as part of their production process. Authors with book contracts at major houses typically can forego these outside services.)
  • Developmental editing—advise the author on the structure of the book, such as reordering material, making voice consistent, strengthening research, and identifying gaps or inconsistencies in content and persuasion. The consultant provides manuscript guidance; the author decides whether to implement the changes.
  • Stylistic editing—focus on the quality of sentences, dialogue, paragraphs, the art and

Book Apps: A Marketing Opportunity for Authors

Posted on: September 27th, 2012 | No comments 

Book apps represent a new territory for authors. Our advice? Don’t be intimidated by
this digital technology; an app is a new way to interact with your readers and one that
augments the reading experience.

You know the stats: According to the Association of American Publishers, U.S. book
publishers brought in more revenue from e-books than hardcover books in the first
quarter of 2012—a first for the industry. What’s driving the e-book growth and
craze? Very simply, the explosion of the tablet and e-reader market. Former Morgan
Stanley analyst Mary Meeker’s highly regarded Annual Internet Trends Report
(2012) noted that 29 percent of U.S. adults own a tablet or e-reader—up from two
percent less than three years ago. In 2011 alone, 48.3 million iPads, Android tablets
and e-readers were sold to U.S. consumers according to research by the NPD Group.

The growth of the tablet market brings new opportunities for book publishers with
one particular area ripe for exploration and experimentation: the app market. The
iTunes App Store alone has more than 660,000 apps, of which, 65,102 are primarily
for books. By all accounts, more people will use mobile/tablet platforms than PCs
making apps more relevant and mainstream.

How does this affect book publishers? They’re being pushed to become multimedia
companies by creating audio, video and interactive components for readers. Thus,
publishers are learning that apps are one way to sell content and reach an engaged
audience. Besides understanding app functionality, enhancements, pricing and
marketing, book publishing professionals must answer these questions:

  • Should a book become a dedicated app or an enhanced e-book?
  • Do these “immersion experiences” make people happy when they read their books?
  • Does it add value to the reading experience or does it get in the way of enjoying a book?

Not all books lend