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Writing Your Book
Thinking, planning, writing your book
  • Choosing your title
  • Writing your book
  • Keyboarding and dictating
Specific category writing
As you complete the manuscript
  • Deciding to sell to a publisher or publish yourself
  • How to find (the right) publisher
  • How to find (the right) agent
  • Self-publishing
  • Costs
  • Revisions and new editions

Thinking, planning, writing your book

Imagine being a published author. Picture people coming up to you at a meeting with a copy of your book and requesting an autograph. Visualize passing a bookstore and seeing your book in the window. Consider being interviewed for an article. Imagine the fame that comes with being published.

A book provides you with more credibility than anything else you can do: more credibility than an audiotape, a videotape, a seminar, a screenplay or a song. People place a higher value on a book than on a tape-even though the same amount of work may have gone into the production. The fact is authors are highly valued in our society.

People think if you wrote a book, you know something. And you probably do. When you think about it, you are writing your book from the very best research plus personal experience. You research every book and article, distill them down to the essentials, direct your writing toward a specific audience and illustrate it with your personal experiences. You are earning an advanced degree in the subject. Your book validates your expertise and lends more credibility to what you say.

There are many justifications for writing a nonfiction book. Some are fame, fortune, to help other people and because you have a personal mission. Can you imagine doing what you love and loving what you do?

"Thank you for investing your time and money to allow me to share this new book-writing concept with you. I will make sure your time and money are well invested." -Dan Poynter

  1. Idea for your book.
  2. Qualify the proposed book according to the six musts. See Writing Nonfiction.
    • Research the subject.
    • Check for other books (resources and competition).
    • Check the possible title.
    • Get a model book.
  3. Select a working title.
  4. Draft the cover copy.
  5. Set up your binder with dividers, front matter, and backmatter. Slip the mock-up of the covers into the outside pockets.
  6. Assemble research materials into chapter piles.
    • Research. Gather more content.
  7. Decision: Keyboard or dictate
  8. First draft, rough draft. Get what you have into the binder. Draft all chapters before going back to edit.
  9. Second draft. Content edit. Research and fill in the gaps.
    • Gather quotations, if you decide to use them.
    • Draft question list. Start getting answers.
    • Draft an illustration list: the photos and drawings you will need. Start locating them.
  10. Third draft. Peer review. Send out chapters for feedback.
  11. Get testimonials for the back cover, page one, etc.
  12. Fourth draft. Copy edit. Clean up the punctuation, grammar, and style
  13. Fact checking.
    • Confirm stories and facts.
    • Confirm addresses and figures.
  14. Decision:
    Sell to publisherorSelf-publish
    Get agentTypesetting
    Draft book proposal
    Sign with publisherProofreading
  15. You are published.
  16. Promotion: Send out review copies, host autograph parties, give radio/TV interviews, etc. See The Self-Publishing Manual

The journey: from idea to published book
Here is the chart of your book-writing journey. As you move through it, you will want to get Document 620, Your Book Writing & Publishing Calendar. One of the biggest pitfalls in writing and publishing is the lack of sufficient planning, especially the first time around. You don't want to tie up funds by purchasing materials too soon and you don't want to miss some important publicity because you missed a filing date.

If you are writing your book alone, you will appreciate the guidance in Writing Nonfiction. If you are writing with a collaborator, such as a co-author or ghostwriter, you need Is There a Book Inside You?

Choosing your title and subtitle
Selecting the title and subtitle will be the single-most important piece of copy writing you will do for your book. A great title will not sell a bad book but a poor title will hide a good book from potential customers. Both your title and subtitle must be a selling tool. They are the hook that help sales.

Select a working title now so that you can improve on it as you work on your book. Start with a short, catchy and descriptive title, and add a lengthy, explanatory subtitle.

Writing your book.
Put your research materials into piles-one pile for each chapter. Do not start with chapter one; it may be the hardest to write. Nonfiction books have several parts-we call them "chapters" in the book writing business. They are related but they do not have to be in any particular order. Start writing the chapter that is the shortest, easiest or the most fun. You will probably draft the first chapter last-and that is OK. The first chapter usually is an introduction and how can you know where you are going until you have been there?

Make your manuscript look like a page out of a book. Set your margins so that the text block will be about 4.2" wide and about 7" tall. Your laser printer will place the text block in the center of the sheet of paper. This layout is more attractive and easier to work with than the traditional double-spaced manuscript page. For specific margin settings in MS-Word, see Writing Nonfiction.

Keyboarding or dictating
If your typing is not great, use speech-recognition software to dictate your book. Speech-recognition software speeds the hardest part of writing your nonfiction book-the first draft. Dictating is quick and easy if you use the organizational plan outlined in Writing Nonfiction; you only need an outline. While speech-recognition software used to be very expensive, today it doesn't cost much more than a fancy keyboard.

Whether you are keyboarding, dictating onto tape or using speech recognition software, the procedure for writing your book is the same. Divide your notes and research materials into chapter piles. Then pick up one of the piles, spread it out on your desk in some semblance of order and began to "write" from these notes. Your first draft is your rough draft; just get the research materials on to the hard disk.

Binder secret. As you print out early drafts of your book, place the pages in a 3-ring binder and carry that binder with you everywhere you go. Busy people often have trouble finding the time to return to their desk and "the book." With the binder system, the book is always with you. As you go through the day and find a minute here and there, open the binder and write in your changes, notes and comments. Periodically, enter your changes into the computer and print out new pages.

With the binder under your arm, the book will be continually in your thoughts. Your work will improve and your manuscript will improve. The binder is an anti-procrastination crutch and it works. See Successful Non Fiction

Specific category writing

Fiction v. Nonfiction. There is a difference between entertainment and information, known as fiction and nonfiction. Every nonfiction book is unique. The buyer interested in the subject of raising llamas is not necessarily a good prospect for a book on skydiving or waste-water treatment. Fiction, on the other hand, is related to other fiction in its category. A reader who buys one mystery is a prime candidate for another mystery. Fiction must compete for peoples' time. People must choose not only between reading this book of fiction and reading other books but between reading this book and engaging in other forms of entertainment such as going to a movie or walking on the beach. Nonfiction does not compete for time. Nonfiction is information that people buy because it will save them time or money. It is much easier to convince people to buy nonfiction than fiction. We often say "start with nonfiction and do not publish fiction until you can afford it."

At Para Publishing, we specialize in coaching nonfiction book publishers to sell more books. Some of our programs, ideas, leads and resources will work for creative literature but that is not our specialty.

Children's books. Twenty percent of the US is made up of children; 4,000,000 babies are born every year. There is a large market for children's books and they are relatively easy to sell be they fiction or nonfiction. Children's books tend to have a longer sales life than adult books. They start off slow and build over time.

According to Publishers Weekly, children's books fall into the following categories: 27% picture books, 17% books for babies and toddlers, 20% for younger readers, 19% for middle readers, and 17% for young-adult readers. Decide which category your work falls into.

Producing children's books just recently became a lot less expensive. A new type of printing allows you to avoid expensive color separations and to print in quantities of 100 or 500 to test the market before you print more. See The Self-Publishing Manual and Document 610

Cook Books. People are cooking less but obsessing about it more. They are eating out more (spending 29.4% of their food dollar) but are buying more cookbooks. They are doing more reading about cooking than cooking. People are cooking for others so infrequently that when they do, they will do anything to make sure the meal comes out perfectly.

More than 1,000 new cookbooks are published each year and they sell well.

So cookbooks are becoming more and more specialized: For diabetics, no salt, for menopause, etc. The Civil War Cookbook intertwines history and cuisine for insight into the lives of the soldiers in the battlefield. See Document 613 .

Travel books. Getting paid for travel can be great fun. In fact, digging out a story in a distant land can be stimulating, allowing you to get more out of your trip. Few people are full-time travel writers. Most supplement their income and their lust for journeying to far-away places. See Document 616 .

Religious books are relatively easy to sell. There is a large market and much demand. See Document 618 .

Screenplays. With the expansion of television to 500 channels, there is a larger and ever-increasing need for content. Viewers want fiction (entertainment) and nonfiction (how-to, documentaries, etc.). Someone has to come up with the ideas and someone has to write the scripts. See Document 638

Newsletters. Articles and news items you publish in your magazine or newsletter can be saved for your book. So the periodical can help you to get maximum value out of your research. Newsletters can bring you fame, fortune, help a lot of people and fulfill your mission but they have to be part of your overall company plan. Make sure your newsletter provides a lot of helpful, interesting news; do not make it just a puff piece for your books and other company activities. See Document 611.

As you complete your manuscript

If you wonder whether your manuscript has potential, here are two suggestions:

A. The secret to good material: peer review.
Smart nonfiction authors take each chapter of their nearly complete manuscript and send it off to at least four experts on that chapter's subject. They enclose a cover letter that goes something like this: "You are an expert in this subject and I value your opinion. Please make your changes, additions and comments with a red pen. Be brutal, I can take it. I would not ask for your input if I did not want and need it. If you will take part, I will mention your contribution in the Acknowledgments and send you a free copy of the book as soon as it comes off the press" (no, you do not have to pay them) "and here is a SASE. I have a tight deadline."

What you get back is terribly valuable: They add two more items to your list, they cross out that part you thought was cute but was really embarrassingly stupid, they sometimes even correct punctuation, grammar and style.

When your book comes out, you don't have to wait for your readers' reaction because you know the book is right. After all, it has been reviewed and accepted by the best. And, there is another valuable reason for peer review: You have more than two-dozen opinion molders telling everyone about your book-and how they helped you with it.

B. Manuscript evaluation.
Author/Publisher Gordon Burgett will read your manuscript and make recommendations on market targeting, manuscript re-work (if necessary), publishing and marketing. Gordon is an author who knows publishing from the inside, out. Contact him at Tel: (805) 937-8711 or

Book Publishing is a great business because book publishers are so helpful, friendly and supportive. The reason publishers are so nice is that no two books are alike. It is a rarity that two books on the same subject are published in the same year. Consequently, publishers do not feel threatened by other publishers. In fact, publishers often promote other books and each other. This is why when an author contacts a publisher and he or she determines the manuscript is not for them, they are eager to recommend another publisher. They know of lots of other publishing companies and most relish in being able to help an author and the other publisher get together.

Anyone can be a publisher. A publisher might be a large company in a tall glass building located in New York or it could be you because the definition of a "publisher" is the person who puts up the money-the one who takes the risk. He or she has the book printed and then distributes it hoping to make back more money than has been invested. Your right to publish is guaranteed to you by the First Amendment to the Constitution. You do not have to get a license or register with any agency. As a practical matter, most book publishers do register by getting International Standard Book Numbers and sending books to the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office. Most publishers want to be easily located. So, whether the publisher is a big New York firm or a first-time author, the publisher is always the investor.

Your publishing choices
There are five ways to turn your manuscript into a book. You may sell your manuscript to a large (usually New York) publisher; sell it to a medium-sized (usually specialized) publisher; get an agent to find and negotiate with a publisher; pay a vanity press (bad choice), or publish yourself.

Conventional large publisher
Large New York publishers are good at one thing: getting books into bookstores. They have the reps and a long-established pipeline. They are reasonably good at moving fiction, autobiographies and reference books such as dictionaries. Larger publishers are not as successful with nonfiction, valuable information that people buy to save time, money or otherwise improve their lives.

Consider the life you want for your book. The big publishers have three selling seasons per year. They will put your book into the market for one season-then it's history! They will publish the book and throw it into the stores for a four-month selling season only.

Some authors argue there may be greater prestige being published by a New York firm. But no one cares who published your book. Have you ever heard anyone say: "I love Harper-Collins books. I buy everything they publish." Potential buyers want to know if this book will solve their problem and whether the author is a credible person. They never ask who is the publisher. Ask any author whom New York has published and you will get nothing but complaints.

The six large publishers are consolidating, downsizing, going out of business while the 75,000 small publishers are proliferating at the rate of 8,000 new publishing companies every year.

Myth: Publishers promote books. Publishers put up the money, have the book produced and use sales reps to get it into bookstores but they do not promote the book. The author must do the promotion. The problem is that most first-time authors think the publisher will do the promotion. Once they figure out that nothing is being done, it is too late, the book is no longer new (it has a quickly ticking copyright date in it) and is being remaindered. Get a promotion budget in your contract, let your publisher know you want to help make the book go and submit a promotion plan with figures to help them wisely spend the money budgeted.

Medium-sized (specialized) publisher
Smaller publishers tend to specialize in one or two niche areas such as business books, boating books or baby books. The owners and staff are usually participants in their books' subject matter. For example, those who publish parachute books, market with a sense of mission-because they like to jump out of airplanes. If you are looking for a publisher, you are likely to sell more books and be treated better by a medium-sized publisher.

Approaching and selling a smaller publisher is usually easier too. Most do not require lengthy book proposals to convince them a book is viable. They know their subject, their own line of books and what their customer wants.

How to find (the right) publisher
The secret is to match the manuscript to the publisher. Better publishers specialize in one or two niche markets. They know their subjects and do not have to send your manuscript out to a reader for evaluation. They also know how to reach the potential buyer and can jump-start your sales by plugging your book into their existing distribution system to specialty shops.

To find these specialized publishers, check your own bookshelf. Then go to your nearby larger public library and consult Books In Print, a multi-volumed reference listing all the books that are currently available for sale. Look for smaller publishers who do good work. Then look up their addresses in the last volume. Or search through the listings at or other online bookstore on the Web. When you contact a specialized publisher, you will often get through to the top person. They will know what you are talking about and they are always very helpful. They will be able to tell you instantly whether the proposed book will fit into their line.

Never just mail a manuscript off to a publishing company; always send it to someone specific. See the listings of appropriate acquisition editors in Literary MarketPlace. Check the Acknowledgments in similar books; authors often reference their editor. Call the editor (or the publisher in a smaller house), reference the similar title they published and ask if he or she would like to see your manuscript. Then you will have someone to send your work to.

Many larger publishers prefer to have manuscripts filtered through agents.

Literary agents provide three services. They find a publisher by matching your manuscript to the publisher; they negotiate the contract; and they may help you develop the manuscript. Most agents today will require you to draft a book proposal for submission to the publishers. Proposal writing is usually a lengthy and time-consuming process.

A survey of 80 top literary agents revealed they reject 98 percent of what they receive. The rejection rate for fiction is higher than for nonfiction.

It is getting tougher to be an agent. The big publishers continue to consolidate. There are only a few large and just a handful of medium-sized publishers that will give an advance large enough to make a 15 percent agent commission meaningful. In fact, there are just six large Trade publishers left. Divisions within the same large publishing house will not bid against each other.

How to find (the right) agent
Many (larger) publishers prefer to have manuscripts filtered through agents. In this case, you must match your manuscript to the agents because they specialize too. Do not approach just any agent; do your homework. Find out what types of manuscripts they have been successful with.

See the various agent directories such as the Guide to Literary Agents by Donya Dickerson, Literary MarketPlace and ask around. Get a list of agents from the Association of Authors' Representatives by logging on to or call 212-353-3709. Locate and call authors of works similar to yours. Ask who their agent is. Many agents attend writer's conferences in Santa Barbara, Maui and other venues. For information on the Maui Writer's Conference, see Maui has more than 50 agents attending and sets up meetings for you.

"For nonfiction, Dan Poynter is the top coach for writing, publishing and, most important, promoting."
-John Tullius, Founder and Director
Maui Writers Conference

Vanity and subsidy publishers
Vanity publishers produce around 6,000 titles each year. Under a typical arrangement, the author pays much more than the printing bill, receives 40 percent of the retail price of the books sold and 80 percent of the subsidiary rights, if sold. Many vanity publishers will charge you $10,000 to $30,000 to publish your book depending upon its length. It is hard to understand why an author would pay $30,000 when he or she can have the book printed for $1,500 or less.

Vanity presses almost always accept a manuscript for publication and usually do so with a glowing review letter. They don't make any promises regarding sales and usually the book sells fewer than 100 copies. The vanity publisher doesn't have to sell any books because the author has already paid him for his work. Therefore, subsidy publishers are interested in manufacturing the book only. They are not concerned with editing, promotion, sales or distribution.

The review copies a subsidy publisher sends to columnists usually go straight into the circular file. Reviewers are wary of vanity presses because they know that little attention was paid to the editing of the book. Further, they realize there will be little promotional effort and that the book will not be available to readers in the stores. Therefore, the name of the vanity publisher on the spine of the book is a kiss of death.

There is a lot of money being made from unsuspecting authors. The vanity press is not a good choice. Do not pay a publisher to publish your book.

Self-publishing isn't new. In fact, it has solid early-American roots; it is almost a tradition. In the early days of the U.S., the person who owned the printing press was often the author, publisher and printer.

Some authors have elected to publish themselves after being turned down by regular publishers. However, many more have decided to go their own way from the beginning. Some have started as self-publishers and sold out and some have built their own large publishing businesses. See Books That Were Originally Self-Published, Document 155 for examples.

Self-publishing is good business. Writing a book is a creative act; selling it is a business. Some people can do both while others are more creative than businesslike. You have to ask if you want to be a publisher. Do you have an office, the time to conduct the business and a place to store the books?

There are many more tax deductions available to the author-publisher than there are to the author. There are more write-offs for entertainment, travel and electronic toys.

But, what about bookstores? Small and medium-sized publishers use distributors to get their books into bookstores. Since distributors have sales reps, these publishers have the same access to the stores as the large publishers. See Wholesalers, Distributors and Bookstores.

Self-publishers make more money on their effort, get to press sooner and keep control of their work.

If you invest the money in your manuscript, you can make a lot more than what you would get from a publisher in a royalty-nearly 40% of the list price. Why accept 6 percent to 10 percent in royalties when you can keep much more? Why share the profits?

Most publishers work on an 18-month production cycle. Can you wait that long to get into print? Will you miss your market? The one and a half years don't even begin until after the publisher accepts the manuscript. Why waste valuable time shipping your manuscript around to see if there is a publisher out there who likes it? Publication could be three years away.

Once you turn your manuscript over to a publisher, you lose control. They sometimes decide to save money by leaving out some illustrations and they often change the title and lose the theme of the book.

Is there a Book Inside You? has a self-paced quiz to help you decide between a large publisher, a medium-sized niche publisher, a agent, a vanity press and self-publishing.

For more information on the mechanics of publishing, see The Self-Publishing Manual, How to Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book.

Selling out to a publisherPublishing yourself
Must draft a proposalNo wasted time
Must find an agentNo wasted time
18 months to get off press5 weeks to print the book
Advance against royaltiesNo advance or royalties
$3,000+ for initial promotion$1-3,000 for printing and promotion
No royalties for 2-3 yearsMoney flows in 30 days
Little promotion by publisherYou can be sure book is promoted
Lose control of bookKeep control of book
Make less moneyMake more money
Book is in stores for 4 mos. only Book sells forever
No revisions allowedAlways up to date
Fewer tax deductionsMore business expenses
Good possibility of rejectionNo rejection
You can concentrate on writing and promotingMust run the business too

Risk Comparison

But what does it cost to publish?
Let's compare prices for traditional ink-press printing, digital PQN (Print Quantity Needed) and POD (Print-On-Demand, one book at a time). We will compare a softcover (perfect bound) 144 page 5.25 x 8.25 book with black text and a four-color cover. These estimates depend on the current prices for paper, etc.

  1. Press (ink on paper): $1.55 each but you have to print at least 3,000 to get a price this low. So, your print bill will be $4,650. See below.
  2. Digital printer (short run): 500 copies for $2.80 each or a print bill of $1,400, or 100 copies for $5.17 each and a print bill of $517. For more details, see The Self-Publishing Manual and suppliers.
  3. POD (single copies): May run $6 to $10 and are often bundled with other services. Print-On-Demand is a good option when a book has run its course, your inventory is exhausted and you still receive orders for a couple of copies a month. Rather than invest in inventory, you can have books made one-at-a-time as needed.
Hardcover. Most books are manufactured with soft covers, called "perfect binding." In traditional printing, hard or "case" binding runs about $1.00 extra per book. For digital production, the cost for case binding is $1.65 to $3.25 each, depending on the page count (thickness) of the book. Those prices include the hard covers and the dust jackets. Then there is typesetting which most of us do on our computers, book cover design and other pre-press expenses. After the book is printed, it has to be promoted with book reviews, news releases and some direct mail advertising. For a book like the one described here, you should budget about $3,000 to $5,000 to get started. A good portion of your budget will be spent on promoting the book after it is printed.

Recording your book on tape, disk and download.
You are not just an author or just a publisher or just a book promoter, you are an information provider. Some of your potential customers commute or travel a lot; they do not have time to read your book. But they do have time to listen to it.

You are an expert in your area. You must dispense your information in many ways: Books, magazine articles, audiotape, video tape, seminars, speeches, and private consulting. All of the messages are the same but the delivery method for each is different. Spoken-word recording is an efficient delivery medium. Use your book as a script and record it word for word. See Document 635, Audiobooks.

The large (New York) publishers publish books by the season. There are three seasons each year so their books have a selling season of four months. After the four-month period, the book is moved to the backlist, is replaced on the frontlist by other titles and is forgotten. Smaller publishers take a much different approach because they are often the author too and are much closer to both their subjects and audience. They know it is a lot easier to sell a revised edition of the same book than it is to write a brand new one.

Your book has a reputation, a niche in the market and a market share. Why kill it off? Keep your book alive.

Sometimes a revised edition may be priced higher because it has a reputation that precedes it. And you may sell it to the same people who bought the earlier edition. They read you once and they are prime candidates for the latest information.

People can be divided into three groups:
Those who make things happen
Those who watch things happen and
Those who wonder what happened

Authors make things happen.
Start making things happen today.

Your future is up to you. Do not just hope for a bright future. Make a decision. Plan now and soon you will be doing what you want to do. Your book will be the cornerstone for the future you are building. See Free InfoKit.

Thinking, Planning & Writing Your Book - Resources

  Successful Nonfiction: Tips & Inspiration for Getting Published by Dan Poynter. This is a gift book for the writer within or the writer in your life. It might be described as Life's Little Instruction Book meets Chicken Soup for the Writer's Soul. Each page hits you right in the thought process with a tip, an explanation, an illustrative story and a writing quotation. All writers will find this book informative, insightful and fun. "Bet you can't read just one."

You will discover: 38 Tips on how to write, 11 Tips on why you should write, 4 Tips on why your writing project should be a book, 21 Tips on what to write, 7 Tips on doing research, 9 Tips for building your book, 3 Tips on Copyright, 10 Tips for finding the right agent or publisher, 6 Tips on book promotion, And much, much more.

Successful Nonfiction is a beautiful book. The soft cover book has gold stamping, embossing, French flaps, end sheets and a matte finish. It is a book as an "art form".

ISBN: 978-1-56860-061-1
Cover Price: $14.95

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Your Book Writing & Publishing Calendar, When to do What. Book publishing is easy but the book trade is unique. This checklist assures you are doing everything right, doing them in the right order and are doing them on time. References and resources.  5 Pages.
ISBN: Document 620
Cover Price: $9.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $4.95

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Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books by Dan Poynter describes the New "Book" Model: the technology has finally arrived to enable us to write, produce, sell and promote books faster, easier and cheaper. You will discover how to build your book rather than just write it. You will multipurpose your "book" into downloadable, CD and ebook versions. You will wring maximum value out of your work by spinning off audiotapes, videotapes, magazine excerpts, foreign-language editions and more. In fact, Writing Nonfiction will be your constant reference on writing and producing books as well as marketing your manuscript. You will learn how to break the topic down into easy-to-attack projects; how and where to do research; a process that makes writing easy; how to improve material; how to evaluate your publishing options and how to develop an individualized and workable plan. This book will help you decide whether to sell to a large publisher, a specialized publisher, get an agent or publish yourself. Using the "pilot system" of organization, the binder concept and the check-off lists will accelerate your book writing. If you are in the thinking-planning stages or the writing stage on your manuscript, you need this book.

Sample the Flip Viewer version of the eBook. Click or drag the pages. Test all the buttons.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-110-6
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Describes the New "Book"  Model:  the technology has finally arrived to enable us to write, produce, sell and promote books faster, easier and cheaper.  You will discover how to build your book rather than just write it.  You will multipurpose your "book" into downloadable, CD and ebook versions.  You will wring maximum value out of your work by spinning off audiotapes, videotapes, magazine excerpts, foreign language editions and more.  In fact, Writing Nonfiction will be your constant reference on writing and producing books as well as marketing your manuscript.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-126-7
Cover Price: $29.95

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Dan Poynter’s Book Publishing Encyclopedia. Finding book resources fast. Time is money. Writers, publishers and publicists need access to resources--quickly. Whether you deal in entertainment (fiction) or information (nonfiction), you need information on the book industry.

Dan Poynter’s Book Publishing Encyclopedia is the "Book Publishing Answer Book." It has thousands of tips and references in an easy-to use alphabetical encyclopedia. Each fact, figure, resource or reference, in its 222 pages, links to a specific page on a web site for more information.

Poynter’s Encyclopedia is available in softcover, large print and four types of eBook. All are laid out alphabetically--A through Z and have a voluminous index. The eBook editions may also be searched electronically.

Dan Poynter has been gathering these facts and figures for years. He has written more than 120 books and hundreds of other information products. The media come to Dan because he is the leading authority on how to write, publish and promote books.

Keep this reference within easy reach; you will refer to it often. When you have questions, this book will supply the answers and they will be easy to find.

Available in standard print, large print and three types of eBook.



ISBN: 978-1-56860-127-4
Cover Price: $19.95

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"For those planning to write a book someday, Is There a Book Inside You? is a must."
-Press News Syndicate

Selecting a Book Title That Sells. Creating the title/sub-title will be the single-most important piece of copy writing you will do for that book. Your title/sub-title must be a selling tool. It is the hook that helps determine sales. Learn the basic elements of a catchy title and the never-to-be broken rules. Fascinating.  7 Pages.
ISBN: Document 630
Cover Price: $11.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $7.95

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The Self-Publishing Manual, How to Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book by Dan Poynter is a complete course in writing, publishing, marketing, promoting and distributing books. It takes you step-by-step from idea, through manuscript, printing, promotion and sales. Along with an in-depth study of the book publishing industry, the book explains in detail numerous innovative book-marketing techniques. "Whether you sell out to a publisher or publish yourself, the author must do the promotion. This book is about promotion." The Manual is a Bible and a constant reference for publishers. Writer's Digest Book Club selection. Revised edition.



ISBN: 978-1-56860-134-2
Cover Price: $19.95

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"The Self-Publishing Manual is the first book I recommend to those considering becoming a publisher."
-Jan Nathan, Executive Director
Publishers Marketing Association

The Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2


SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BOOKS Book publishing is changing: this book describes how to take advantage of those changes. This Volume II is the sequel to The Self-Publishing Manual (Volume I), the most successful book ever written on the subject.


Learn how to use new techniques to write your book faster, new technology to publish it for less, new ways to distribute your book more economically, ways to have fun promoting it and how to profit from your investment by cutting out all of publishing’s’ gatekeepers in the middle.


You will discover how easy it is to:

&              Build your book rather than just write it—and copyright it in your name.

&              Print a small quantity and keep a small inventory.

&              Multipurpose your “book” into downloadable, CD, and eBook versions and others.

&              Wring maximum value out of your “book” by spinning off audios, videos, magazine excerpts, foreign-language editions, and more.

&              Bypass the publishers and go directly to a short-run book printer.

&              Set up your own publishing company and take the tax breaks.

&              Promote your books with email, book reviews, autographings, feature articles, and radio/TV interviews.

&              Promote your book for virtually no costs via social media.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-146-5
Paper Price: $14.95
eBook Price: $7.97

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Resources on Writing and Publishing Specific Types of Books. An Instant Report listing books, magazines, newsletters, pamphlets and associations dealing with specific areas of book writing and pub-lishing. For example, there are three books on how to write, produce and market cookbooks, four on travel, eight on life stories, etc.
ISBN: Document 140
Cover Price: $4.00
Self-Service Electronic Price: $0.00

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Specific Category Writing - Resources
Fiction & Poetry. Fiction and poetry must be sold-just like any-thing else. This Report will put you in touch with the right people and products: books, tapes, reports, magazines, mailing lists, con-tests, marketing consultants and more. It tells you how to find a fiction publisher. Also see the Report Locating the Right Distributor.  7 Pages.

ISBN: Document 606
Cover Price: $11.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $7.95

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Children's Books, Resources for Writing, Producing and Promoting Juveniles lists the help you will need to write, produce, pub-lish and promote this unique type of book.  8 Pages.

ISBN: Document 610
Cover Price: $11.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $7.95

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Cook Books, Resources for Writing, Producing and Promoting Books on Food lists the help you will need to write, produce, publish and promote this unique type of book. 5 pages

ISBN: Document 613
Cover Price: $10.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $6.95

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Travel Books; Resources for Writing, Producing and Promoting Guidebooks. Lists the information sources you need to successfully publish and promote travel books.  4 Pages.
ISBN: Document 616
Cover Price: $10.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $6.95

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New Age Books; Resources for Writing, Producing and Promoting Books on metaphysics, the occult and new thinking. Provides the leads you need for more information. Names and numbers.  3 Pages.

ISBN: Document 617
Cover Price: $9.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $5.95

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Religious Books; Resources for Writing, Producing and Promoting theological books. Lists the information sources you need to successfully publish and promote religious books.  5 Pages.
ISBN: Document 618
Cover Price: $9.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $5.95

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Screenwriting: Fiction (theatricals) & Nonfiction (documentaries) by Gail Kearns is jammed with tips, ideas and resources on writing screenplays from Movies-of-the-Week to sitcoms. She also tells you how to protect your work.  7 Pages. 
ISBN: Document 638
Cover Price: $11.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $7.95

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Newsletter Publishing; A Resource Guide provides tips and lists the help you will need to write, produce, publish and pro-mote a newsletter. 4 pages.
ISBN: Document 611
Cover Price: $9.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $5.95

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AudioBooks: Turning Books & Speeches Into Spoken-Word Downloads & Disc Products shows you the quick and easy way to turn your material into a new product. Background, tips, ideas and resources. 8 pages.
ISBN: Document 635
Cover Price: $11.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $7.95

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As You Complete Your Manuscript - Resources
Books That Were Originally Self-Published. Many bestsellers were published by their authors. A list. 2 pages.
ISBN: Document 155
Cover Price: $4.00
Self-Service Electronic Price: $0.00

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Book Titles That Were Changed. Many bestsellers started out with a different title. A list. 1 page.
ISBN: Document 156
Cover Price: $4.00
Self-Service Electronic Price: $0.00

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 Publishing Contracts, Sample Agreements for Book Publishers on CD is a collection of the 22 most needed legal documents covering every facet of the book publishing business including: An author-publisher contract for a trade book, a publisher-illustrator agreement, a foreign rights agreement and 19 more. Just slip the CD into your computer, call the appropriate contract to the screen, fill in the names and check the suggested percentages. Then print out these lengthy contracts. You do not have to draft the agreements, you do not even have to type them. Available on computer CD to save you all the keyboarding. Available in MS-Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF. 
ISBN: 978-0-915516-46-9
Cover Price: $29.95

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Write it Once - Sell it Forever, How to Update Your Books. It is a lot easier to sell a revised edition of the same book than it is to write a new one. Updating a book can be quick and easy if you have a plan. This Instant Report provides that plan. Set up your system now. 5 pages.
ISBN: Document 619
Cover Price: $10.95
Self-Service Electronic Price: $6.95

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MBP-My Book Project--in a Binder

  WRITE YOUR BOOK BY-NUMBERS: just fill in the blanks. You have heard of paint-by-numbers. It means filling in the blanks according to a pre-determined plan. PAINT-by-the-numbers is a step-by-step outline that makes you look like a master. This system shows you how to WRITE-by-the-numbers.

Writing books is hard work—unless you have a plan. Without a roadmap, it is easy to get lost. Without noticeable progress, it is easy to become discouraged and lose momentum.

Dan Poynter will supply you with a classic, zippered leather binder. In it is a 48-page book-writing template. Each page of the frontmatter, chapter headings and backmatter comes with complete instructions and tells you what to put on that page—your book is structured and ready for your material.

Also included: a CD with the set-up file for your book. Just copy it to your computer and your book will be automatically structured on your machine. The CD also has other valuable documents to speed you to becoming a published author.

This Template in a Binder will accelerate your book project by helping you visualize the entire task and by guiding you through the writing process.

This system will make a difference in your book writing so that your book can make a difference for the world.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-144-1
Cover Price: $297.00

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Get all of our books, disks, reports and documents in print and electronic form. You will receive everything you need to write, print and promote your book-faster, easier and cheaper. This is a complete, step-b-step, turn-key program. Most files are in both MS-Word and Adobe Acrobat PDF; take you choice. The Acrobat Reader software is also included on the disc. There are three valuable kits to invest in:

Starter Kit, #1:

Includes everything you need, and nearly everything we have, to lead you through your project:


4 "pBooks" -- Books on paper:

·                     "The Self-Publishing Manual: How To Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book"

·                     "Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts Into Books"

·                     "Is There a Book Inside You?: Writing Alone Or With A Collaborator"

·                     "Dan Poynter's Book Publishing Encyclopedia"


3 "pBooks" -- Books on disc -- for easy searching:

·                     "The Self-Publishing Manual: How To Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book"

·                     "Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts Into Books"

·                     "Successful Nonfiction: Tips & Inspiration For Getting Published"


·                     9 Special Reports on production and marketing.

·                     36 Instant Reports on production and marketing.

·                     Subscription to the Publishing Poynters newsletter.

·                     Supplier List. Service vendors to the publishing industry. Document 250.

·                     3 Book writing, producing and publishing information kits. (Autobots)

·                     Poynter's Secret List of Book Promotion Contacts, Document 112.

·                     Your books' back cover layout form, Document 116.

·                     Telephone Order Form, Document 147

·                     The New Book Model diagram.


ISBN: 978-1-56860-082-6
Cover Price: $297.00

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Master Kit, #2:

More resources to make your project go faster and easier.

Everything in Kit #1 PLUS:

·                     Publishing Contracts on Disk.

·                     Business Letters for Publishers on Disk.

·                     Mr. Self-Publishing's Notebook. All the tips and resources from the Publishing Poynters newsletter archive.

·                     30 minutes of telephone consulting on your project with Dan Poynter.

ISBN: 978-1-56860-083-3
Cover Price: $497.00

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Professional Kit, #3:

Everything in Kits #1 & #2 PLUS:

·                     Quotations by Dan Poynter on books, writing and publishing.

·                     60 minutes of telephone consulting on your project with Dan Poynter

ISBN: 978-1-56860-084-0
Cover Price: $897.00

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  Contacting Para Publishing LLC. Email:
  Telephone: +1-805-968-7277; Fax: +1-805-968-1379
  Postal Address: PO Box 8206-240, Santa Barbara, CA 93118-8206 USA.
  Street Address: 530 Ellwood Ridge, Santa Barbara, CA 93117-1047 USA.

Some relevant numbers: SAN 215-8981: Fed ID 95-6532235: Duns 09-141-9358: ISBNs 0-915516 and 1-56860.