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Transplant Handbook for Patients
FAQs
What most new authors do not know.

AVOID GETTING RIPPED-OFF BY "PUBLISHERS."
Pod scams and frauds

FINDING THE RIGHT LITERARY AGENT
Match your manuscript to agents with experience in your book’s category.

FINDING THE RIGHT PUBLISHER
Locate publishers that specialize in your book’s category.

WRITING A BOOK WITH A CO-AUTHOR
Writing alone v with a collaborator

WHAT CAN YOU WRITE ABOUT?
Pick a subject that will sell

WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW
Experience + research = great books.

FINDING TIME TO WRITE YOUR BOOK
You have the time; I’ll show you where it is.

NO MORE AUTOGRAPH PARTIES
You will draw more people to a "mini seminar."

HOW TO PRICE A BOOK
There is no formula for setting the price on a book—but there is a system.

GATHERING TESTIMONIALS & FOREWORDS
Endorsements sell books.

DRAFTING YOUR BACK-COVER SALES COPY
The outside of your book should sell the inside.


AVOID GETTING RIPPED-OFF BY "PUBLISHERS."
Pod scams and frauds
by Dan Poynter

Authors and publishers are being contacted by organizations offering “self-publishing services.” They employ "boiler rooms" of sales people making relentless calls designed to wear you down. Their come-ons become hard to resist.

Be careful. Be very careful.

Several of these companies have tarnished records with many unhappy customers. Authors have complained to the Better Business Bureau and some companies have been sued.

When people are victims of scams, they often report the incidents in various places on the Internet. Before doing business with POD publishers or any other person or company that wants your money, make a Google search for:

(Company name) + Scam
(Company name) + Fraud
(Company name) + Rip-off
(Company name) + “Better Business Bureau”

Verify their authenticity and track record. Read the reports and be advised.

For more information, see The Self-Publishing Manual, volume 2.


FINDING THE RIGHT LITERARY AGENT
Match your manuscript to agents with experience in your book’s category.
by Dan Poynter

Your mission is not to find just any literary agent, it is to find the right agent. Some are advocates while others are gatekeeper.

Some literary agents have a passion and a track record for certain kinds of books: cooking, travel, children’s, business, parenting and so on. To find the right agent for your manuscript, simply match the written Work to the agent.

Look on that shelf in the bookstore where your book will be. Check the Acknowledgement pages of similar books; some authors mention their agent. Locate and call authors of works similar to yours. Ask who their agent is.

For example, literary agent Patti Breitman, (John Gray, Men are from Mars and Richard Carlson, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff), is a confirmed and renowned vegetarian. When she was new to the business, she attended many vegetarian conferences and let people know she was looking for manuscripts. After she sold a few, the word spread in vegetarian circles.

Now, Patti represents the founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, Ingrid Newkirk (You Can Save The Animals); the founder of Physicians' Committee for Responsible Medicine, Neal Barnard, M.D. (Foods That Fight Pain and Food for Life), the 4th generation cattle rancher turned vegetarian who got Oprah sued, Howard Lyman (Mad Cowboy) and several others.

Today, Patti receives several queries and proposals for vegetarian books. As she is not taking on new clients, Patti declines the opportunity to work with even the best vegetarian authors. She will suggest other agents and encourage the writers to persevere because she shares their passion.

"It's harder for a new writer to get an agent than a publisher."
—Roger Straus, president, Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

At writers’ conferences, try this non-threatening way of approaching agents: Instead of asking an agent to read your manuscript. Place them in a more objective position by saying, "You are an agent and know most of the other agents. I realize agents have a track record in certain types of work. Which agents would you recommend for this manuscript?" You may be astonished at the positive reaction you get.

For more help, explanation and direction, see Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books.

Good agents specialize. Successful authors know where to look for agents.


FINDING THE RIGHT PUBLISHER
Locate publishers that specialize in your book’s category.
by Dan Poynter

Perhaps you would rather a publisher handle the production and distribution of your book. The secret is to match your manuscript to the publisher. Better publishers specialize in one or two niche markets. They know their subjects and do not need 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 and visit a few of larger bookstores. Look on that shelf where your book will be. Search your topic at an online bookstore such as Amazon.com. Then go to your nearby public library and consult Books In Print, a multi-volume 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 of BIP.

When you contact a smaller, specialized publisher, you will often get through to the top person. The editor or publisher will know what you are talking about and they are usually very helpful. They will be able to tell instantly whether the proposed book will fit into their line.

Another way to match your manuscript to the publisher is to see the listings of appropriate acquisition editors in Literary Market Place but remember that LMP lists larger publishers but not all of them. Also check the Acknowledgments in books similar to yours; authors often reference their acquisition editor.

Contact the editor (or the publisher in a smaller house), reference the similar titles they published and ask if he or she would like to see your manuscript. Now you will have a person to send your work to.

Never just mail a manuscript off to a publishing company; always send it to a specific person. Larger publishers receive more than 200 unsolicited manuscripts every day. Most are not opened. They are rubber-stamped "Return to Sender." You are getting rejected without being read.

Don’t send manuscripts, proposals or query letters out randomly to just any publisher. Send to publishers who know what you’re talking about, want to hear from you and know where to sell your book. To get worthwhile results, do your homework.

For more help, explanation and direction, see Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books.


WRITING A BOOK WITH A CO-AUTHOR
Writing alone v with a collaborator
by Dan Poynter

Writing a book with a co-author usually creates a very close relationship. You are not two independent writers placing your work between the same covers. Each of you is drafting sections or chapters and exchanging them so that the other may edit and add content.

Maryanne Raphael loves working in collaboration. Maybe it is because she began writing before she learned to read so she had to have a collaborator, her grandfather, who typed her stories, as she dictated them. The first story they submitted was called Pray for the Wanderer. It was not too long before Maryanne got her first rejection slip—at age five. Fortunately, she persisted.

Thirty years later when Maryanne told a Catholic nun the story, she said, "Oh, I have a wonderful story about Wanderers." This time Sister Roberta was the one who dictated the story and Maryanne typed it, tightening and adding a few items. They mailed it to Catholic Digest who published it under both their names. Sister Roberta had taken a vow of poverty so she insisted Maryanne keep the entire check. No wonder Maryanne loves to collaborate.

Some authors work best alone; they find that a co-author slows them down.

"I’ve always believed in writing without a collaborator, because where two people are writing the same book, each believes he gets all the worries and only half the royalties."
—Agatha Christie, 1890 – 1976, English mystery writer.

Collaborations are easy to get into and may be difficult to get out of. Most business partnerships have similar track records as marriages. A marital divorce is hard on the kids. A collaboration divorce is hard on the book. Some authors may be better off hiring a content editor or a ghostwriter.

For more explanation, guidance, a responsibility chart and a contract, see
Is There a Book Inside You? Writing Alone or with a Collaborator.

Be careful of collaborations.
Do not team up with someone you would not go camping with.


WHAT CAN YOU WRITE ABOUT?
Pick a subject that will sell
by Dan Poynter

What do you want to be doing in two years? What do you want to be writing about? What do you want to be thinking about? What do you want to be dreaming about? What gets you so keyed up that you wake up before dawn with your eyes wide open and your head is spinning with ideas? Realizing you are too excited to sleep, you head to the keyboard.

Plan your future and your book now. Do not to write on something that you are no longer interested in and do not want to pursue. Write what interests you.

“My object in living is to unite my avocation and my vocation.”
—Robert Frost, 1874-1963, American poet, Tramps in Mudtime.

For example, let’s say you have been selling cars for the past ten years, but your hobby is golf and you are a pretty fair golfer. Even though you are an expert on cars, your passion is on the greens. Write on some aspect of golf. Once your book is published, people will request interviews, articles, seminars and consulting. Plan now to make sure they approach you on your passion.

Rich and Sue Freeman never intended to become writers. After 20 some years climbing the corporate ladder, they requested six-month leaves to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. Some 2,200 miles later, they conquered Mount Katahdin only to hear they would not be returning to the company. They had been downsized.

With all their options open, they decided to share their newfound love of the outdoors. They kept hiking, researching, writing and applying their years of corporate knowledge to running the publishing business.

Their first effort was a guidebook on the trails around their hometown that could be used by people of all ages out for a stroll. Books on hiking trails led to guides on biking trails and then to publishing other outdoor-recreation authors. While their income dropped the first year, they were alive with a new passion.

For more help, explanation and direction, see Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books.

Turn your passion center into your profit center.
Instead of writing about what you used to do, pursue what you want to do.


WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU KNOW
Experience + research = great books.
by Dan Poynter

You must have expertise or experience to be a credible nonfiction author. Expertise could mean you have an advanced degree in the field. Experience means you have lived it. You do not need a Ph.D. if you have personal understanding, dedication to do research, and a deep desire to spread the word. The most important question is "Have you been there?" Experience counts.

"You must have experience to write a good nonfiction book, so please do not write a book on how to get rich unless you are already rich."
—Patricia Clay, actor.

His engineering firm told Bob Bly he needed to relocate from New York City to the headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. His fiancée did not want to leave Manhattan so he resigned and started a new career as a self-employed industrial writer. He produced brochures and data sheets for chemical companies and industrial equipment manufacturers.

This transition from employee to freelancer was an educational experience, one he knew many others would go through (or hope to some day). This experience became the topic of his book, Out on Your Own; From Corporate to Self-Employment, published by John Wiley & Sons.

A fresh outlook can be an asset. When you are beginning in a new field, you are sure to have the same questions your readers will have. Collect information as you learn, record as you study and blossom as you grow.

Then run your manuscript by other experts on your subject matter to make sure you have not left anything out or written something you misunderstood. That is your third draft and it is called peer review.

For more help, explanation and direction, see Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books.

Write from experience plus research.


FINDING TIME TO WRITE YOUR BOOK
You have the time; I’ll show you where it is.
by Dan Poynter

How long does it take to write a book? According to Brenner Information Group, on the average, it takes 475 hours (60 eight-hour days) to write fiction books and 725 hours to write nonfiction.

Subscribers to Writer’s Digest magazine spend 12.64 hours writing each week. Beginners spend seven hours a week and advanced writers spend 30.5.

You’ve lived 78 years and you expect me to ghostwrite your memoir in a week? —Gail Kearns, writer and editor.

When Maryanne Raphael first read about the international Three-Day Writing Contest, she thought it was a joke. But the idea of writing a book in three days fascinated her. So several years later she signed up, got a sponsor, and arranged to spend Labor Day weekend at her keyboard day and night.

She began typing as fast as she could, writing her best at all times because there was no time for rewriting. The subconscious was in control with the conscious mind in the dark much of the time. The same powerful curiosity that kept her writing, keeps her readers turning pages.

With breaks for taking naps, Maryanne finished the manuscript by the deadline. The Man Who Loved Funerals, is now in New York with her agent who thinks it is her best work.

For many authors, the writing of the book is not grueling; it is a journey to be enjoyed. Many writers like to set aside a few hours for their writing each day; they establish a schedule and stick to it religiously. A few have the luxury of writing full-time or of getting away to concentrate on their writing. They find marathon writing is more fun and avoids the challenge of getting back to the manuscript each day. Still others have to fit in their writing whenever they can.

Nat Bodian decided to write his first book in 1979. Finding time was difficult because he worked full-time as a marketer at a New York publishing house and commuted from New Jersey. He did some writing on the bus to and from New York, some was done on a pad of paper walking across Manhattan and some was done during his lunch hours. Then, evenings after his children were in bed, he continued in a basement typing room until the wee hours of the morning and on weekends.

The Book Marketing Handbook was published by R.R. Bowker 20 months later and it is still selling. This and several more industry books led to his nomination to the Publishing Hall of Fame.

For more help, explanation and direction, see Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books.

Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King wrote powerful articles and books about their activities or causes while behind bars. Make effective use of your most valuable asset: your time.


NO MORE AUTOGRAPH PARTIES
You will draw more people to a “mini seminar.”
by Dan Poynter

One of the joys of being a published author is being appreciated for your Work. Getting a favorable response to your book from a crowd of people is an event most authors look forward to. But many authors and author-publishers misunderstand the purpose of a book signing and they attend unprepared.

Book signings are a form of product promotion not available to producers of other goods or services. But autographings are not a party in your honor—you and your book are not even known yet. Bookstores, both chain and independent, stage events to attract potential customers into their stores.
The stores supply the venue; the author supplies the audience.

Never do an autographing; always offer a mini seminar. Attract buyers to your autograph parties.
—Terri Lonier, author, Working Solo.

An "autograph party" says, “Come and appreciate me (and buy a book)”; a "seminar" says, “Come on down and I will give you something free (information) that will improve your life.” Always think of the benefit to the potential customer. How can you lure them out of the house and down to the store? Your appearance is a promotional opportunity for you and it will require hard work.

Patricia Bragg (Health-Science) publishes health and fitness books. To promote her mini seminar at a local bookshop in Santa Barbara, she posted handbills in all the local health food stores and fitness centers. Then she made a postcard mailing to her customer list within a 50-mile (driving) radius. The store was packed and she was on for more than four hours—until closing time. The store sold out on many of her titles and gave out rain checks.

Authors are celebrities; they are the draw. People think if you wrote a book, you know something. And, you probably do. Nonfiction books are written from the best research you can do, you direct your material toward a certain type of reader and you further explain your advice with your own experiences. Book writing is a journey. Often we do not know where the process will take us. We learn everything there is to know about our subject and, in effect, we are gaining an advanced degree in our area of interest: we do the research and then we do the paper. So, authors are pretty special, often interesting and do know quite a bit about their subject area.

When my parents taught me not to write in books, they did not know they were raising an author who would autograph them. They turned my last book tour into a guilt trip.
--Dan Poynter, author & publisher.

The store might publicize your appearance with a sign in the window for a few days and may place a notice in their event schedule. Attracting the rest of the crowd is up to you.

Don't be stingy. Generously mention other books in your category during your presentation. Go over to the shelf where your book is displayed and find books that you like. During your mini-seminar hold up the books and describe what you like about them. "This is one of my favorite books—and the perfect companion to my book." "This is the book that inspired me and got me started in this field." And so on. Why let the attendees go home with one book when they can carry three or four? The store will notice your (improved) sales and that will make it easier to get booked at other stores.

For more help, explanation and direction, see The Self-Publishing Manual.

These mini seminars may lead to longer ones for other groups at other locations—for money.
Go for the exposure and go prepared. Your book deserves it.


HOW TO PRICE A BOOK
There is no formula for setting the price on a book—but there is a system.
by Dan Poynter

Book pricing depends more upon genre or category than on production costs. You should look at price from the bottom up and from the top down.

Bottom up ↑ The Traditional Method (8x)

Bottom up: You must price your book at least eight times (8x) the printing and trucking-in costs. This is your delivered production cost.

Do not include the prepress (design, typesetting and layout) costs in your calculation. These are one-time charges that should be written off. In days past, we used to mark-up both prepress and production costs 8x, but those costs have been considerably reduced because of the computer—publishers can set their own type now, cutting down on some of the prepress expenses. Besides, your book will be around a long time; you will be able to spread those costs over many printings.

Neither the customer nor the retailer knows or cares what it costs to print the book. They only know what it is worth to them.
—Roger Pond, author.

Why eight times? Because of distribution and promotion costs. If you charge less than the 8x mark-up, you won’t have enough money to promote the book.

Distributors (66%), wholesalers (50-55%) and stores (40%) have to be paid for delivering your book to the reader-buyer. Each takes a hefty cut of the list price.

Promotion is also expensive, and it is normal to invest 20 to 30% of the gross back into the process of selling your book. Depending upon the subject matter and the size of the potential audience, we often send out more than 500 printed review copies to appropriate blogs, forums, websites and opinion molders. Reviews are the most effective and least expensive promotion you can do for your book. Review copies are inexpensive promotion but they are books not sold.

Top Down ↓ The Additional Method

Top down: The price you put on your back cover, imbed in your bar code, put on the order blank on the last page of your book and list in all your promotion should be as much as the market will bear. Visit a bookstore and check out the prices of other books like yours.

Retail price is established by the marketplace not by the cost of production.
—Jerrold Jenkins, The Jenkins Group.

Yes I know?your book has "no competition"; all authors think their book is unique. Buyers do have a choice. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking your book is for everyone.

For instance, I publish books on skydiving. I would like everyone to jump out of a plane—to have fun, to skydive safely and to come back, make more jumps, join the club, buy equipment and (hopefully) buy more books. But, I am realistic. I know skydiving is not for everyone. (I am not sure why because gravity makes falling easy). Just because you spent the last year pouring your heart, soul and credit limit into your tome, that does not mean everyone is interested enough to buy it and read it. Now, that said, realistically determine the profile of the potential purchaser for your book.

Visit a bookstore and look for other books on your subject that would be purchased by the same type of person. Your book will be compared with the books next to it on the shelf. Also look at the formats of those books: shape, color of paper, and types of binding.

You want to find what your potential buyer is willing to spend. If you are selling to teenagers, your price will have to be low and softcover. If yours is a business book, $34.95 and hardcover with a dust jacket may be right. If this is a professional book aimed at doctors, lawyers or accountants, a hardcover book without a jacket at $90 would not be out of line.

Please do not call and ask me how much you can charge for your book. For books on book promotion (such as The Self-Publishing Manual) and for books on parachutes (such as The Parachute Manual), I can make an educated guess. I do not know your field or your customers. I would have to visit a bookstore and check the shelves. You must do the same.

Prices should be based upon market factors first. What is the customer willing to pay for this product? —Roger Pond, author.

If you poll bookstore managers on pricing, remember that lower prices will sell more books, so they will often advise a lower price.

You do not have any control over the top-down price. Your cover price must be right in the middle of those sitting nearby on the shelf. Customers will compare. If the cover price is too high, you will price your book out of the market and it won’t sell. If it is too low, the book will not be credible and potential buyers will think there is something wrong with it. You also won’t make enough to invest in further promotion.

Often, you will be surprised what people will pay for your book. There are many examples of people who raised the prices of their books and actually ended up selling more. But, in these cases the buyer was somehow convinced of the value and benefit of the book.

Compare. Hopefully, your bottom-up price (8X) positions lower than your top-down price. If there is an overlap, you will have to reformulate the design of your book. In other words, cut back the size, leave out color photographs or use less-expensive materials.

Pricing your book is not hard. Calculate your costs and visit a bookstore. Do your homework.


GATHERING TESTIMONIALS & FOREWORDS
Endorsements sell books.
by Dan Poynter

More than 1,300 titles are published in the U.S. each day. There is no way anyone can know and rank them. That is why the book industry relies so heavily on blurbs.

A blurb is a short sales pitch or review of a book usually printed on the jacket or in an advertisement. The word was coined by Gelett Burgess, a Boston-born humorist and author [1866-1951).

Testimonials, endorsements and quota¬tions or “blurbs” sell books because word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful forces in marketing. Anything you say about your book is self-serving but words from another person are not. In fact, when readers see the quotation marks, it shifts their attitude and they become more receptive.

Harvey Mackay placed 44 testimonials in the frontmatter of Swim with the Sharks; he had endorsements from everyone from Billy Graham to Robert Redford. Did these luminaries buy a book and write unsolicited testimonials? Of course not. Mackay asked for the words of praise.

Your mission is to get the highest-placed, most influential opinion-molders in your field talking about your book. You have more control than you think over whom you quote, what they say and how you use their words. The easiest and most logical time to gather blurbs is following peer review of the manuscript. Testimonials are not difficult to get if you follow this two-step process.

Most testimonials are superficial, teach the reader nothing and lack credibility.
—Ron Richards, President, Venture Network.

Step #1. Send parts of your book out for 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.

Step #2. Approach your peer reviewers for a testimonial. Now the target is softened up. You are not surprising them by asking for a blurb for a book they haven’t even seen. In fact, since you matched the chapter to their individual interest, they have already bought into the project and become familiar with your work.

Now, draft the (suggested) testimonial yourself. In order to get what you need and in order to control the blurb, draft an optional blurb. Then include a cover letter like this: I know you are a busy person. Considering your position and the direction this book takes, I need a testimonial something like this: . . .

Drafting a testimonial is a creative act; it takes time and careful thought. Editing is easier than creating. Your endorser does not even know how long the blurb should be. So, provide help. Some 80% will just sign off on your words, 10% will add some superlatives and 5% will get the idea and come up with something much better.
Testimonials should be short: one or two sentences, followed by the person’s name and title. There is not enough room on your back cover for lengthy endorsements.

Forewords are approached in the same manner as endorsements. What you get back from the writer is just longer.

Gather testimonials and forewords by putting words in their mouths.


DRAFTING YOUR BACK-COVER SALES COPY
The outside of your book should sell the inside.
by Dan Poynter

Everyone Judges a Book by its Cover.
And what you can do about it.

People do not read the book before making a buying decision. Consumers do not read it in the store. Sales reps only carry book covers and jackets to show store buyers while wholesalers and distributors say “just send us the cover copy.” All buying decisions are made on the illustration/design and the sales copy on the outside of the book. Yes, packaging is everything.

Each year, U.S. industry spends more than $50 billion on package design. Now, that is not $50 billion for the packages not for the contents. That money is for the design of the packages. Packages prompt buyers to reach for the product whether it is pantyhose, corn flakes or hair spray.

Stores have tens-of-thousands of books being displayed spine-out. With all this congestion, it is hard to get attention. Initially, all a potential buyer sees is the book’s spine. If the browser takes it down, he or she will gaze at the cover about four seconds and the flip it over to read the back cover. On average, he or she will spend just seven seconds here so the trick is to keep them reading longer. Your copy has to be punchy and benefit-laden; it has to speak to the potential buyer.

Print out the “Paint-by-Numbers” outline (no charge) from
http://DanSentMe.com/sites/para/resources/allproducts.cfm
Get Document 116. and fill in the blanks.

Your book cover designer will lay out the package and incorporate the illustration, put it all on disk and send it to your printer but you must draft the sales copy. This book cover worksheet will take you step-by-step through the sales-copy draft process. Use your computer so you will be able to move the copy around once entered.

Drafting ad copy is hard work. Ad-copy writers, people who write ads for a living, need to stimulate their imagination. Most of them study the field constantly. When they see an element of an ad they like in a magazine or on line, they will pull it out, circle the good part and put it in a “swipe file.” When they are commissioned to write an ad, they will go through the swipe file looking for ideas. You can use the same stimulating procedure but there is an easier, more direct way to do it.

Look for four or five other books at Amazon that are very close to your book. Think to yourself, if someone were to buy that book, would they be a good candidate to buy your book?

Print out the multiple pages. Highlight the buzz words and good book descriptions. Now, spread out the page and draft your sales copy. All the good, descriptive sales copy is in front of you. The highlighting will stimulate your copy-writing imagination and make the drafting easy.

Here are explanations for each area of the Document 116 outline.

A. Front cover. Select a working title and subtitle. Keep the title short and make the subtitle descriptive.

List the most important person in your field (association or industry) for the foreword (and please note the spelling of Foreword.) You will try to get them to pen the foreword later.

B. Spine. Stack the title on the spine so it will read more easily on the shelf. Use a bold, san-serif, vertically-legged typeface such as Arial Black, bolded.

C. Back cover.

1. Category. Visit a bookstore and check the shelf where your book will be displayed. Note the categories on the books and the shelves. Listing the category on the back cover of your book will insure your book will be easy to find—because the bookshop personnel will place it on the right shelf.

2. Now you need an arresting headline addressed to potential buyers. You want them to relate to the book and find themselves in it. Do not repeat the title here; do not bore the potential buyer. You have already “said it” on the front. Use an alternate approach. For example, The Self-Publishing Manual’s back-cover headline is Why Not Publish Yourself?

3. Description. Concisely (two to four sentences) state what the book is about. What will the reader gain by reading this book?

4. Bulleted promises or benefits. Promise to make readers better at what they do. Be specific. Focus on who your audience is and what they want. Think: about who are you talking to and what are they going to get from the book.

You will discover:
• (benefit)
• (benefit)
• (benefit)
• (benefit)

5. Testimonials and endorsements. Dream up three different endorsements from people you would like to quote. If This book changed my diplomatic strategy. —Colin Powell, would look good, try it. Use names or titles recognizable in your field—sources that might impress potential buyers. This is just a draft; dress it up. You will secure some of these quotations later.

6. Show the author is the ultimate authority on the subject. Just two or three sentences will do.

7. End with a sales closer in bold type. Ask the book-browser to buy the book. Use something like This book has enabled thousands to . . . and it will show you the way too.

8. Price. The book industry likes a price on the book. The price is a turn-off to potential buyers so place it at the end of the sales copy. Never locate the price at the top of the back cover. If this is a hardcover book, place the price at the top of the front flap.

9. Bar code with International Standard Book Number (ISBN). The bar code on a book identifies the ISBN, which in turn identifies the publisher, title, author and edition (hardcover, etc.). Make room for, but do not worry about, the bar code and ISBN just now.

For more details on the ISBN and bar code, see Document 112 (free) at
http://DanSentMe.com/sites/para/resources/allproducts.cfm

Your title, subtitle, back-cover headline and benefits may be swapped. Once you have them written down, you may wish to move some of them around. Perhaps one of your benefits would be a better subtitle.

Most back cover copy is weak and uninspiring. The title is repeated and then is followed by several quotations and a bar code and that’s it! Haphazard copy is the sign of lazy (and maybe inexperienced) copywriter. This lack of effective competition on the shelf gives us the upper hand.

Book cover illustrations and design have improved tremendously over the past 30 years. Author/publishers used to spend all their efforts on the text and the cover became an afterthought. Some publishers remember it was Robert Howard who brought bright, insightful, relevant, remarkable covers to the industry. There are many great cover designers today and it was Robert Howard who started it all.

A good cover artist will read through your book and create a cover that will reflect the message of the text. The cover and text should match.

Years ago, we said “Write your ad before you write your book.” This was to help you focus on who you were writing to and what you were going to give them. Then we realized the most important ad you will ever write is your back cover copy. Now we say: “Write your cover copy before you write your book.”

Packages sell products and covers sell books. Give your books the opportunity in the marketplace they deserve. Package your text to quickly tell the idle browser what is inside.


Dan Poynter does not want you to die with a book still inside you. You have the ingredients and he has your recipe. He shows people how to write, publish and promote their books through his books, seminars, ezine, articles, etc.
Dan is the author of more than 120 books, has been a publisher since 1969 and is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP).

For more information on his speaking events, see
Speech Descriptions
http://parapublishing.com/sites/para/speaking/speechdesc.cfm

Speaking Calendar
http://parapublishing.com/sites/para/speaking/calendar.cfm

Para Publishing, PO Box 8206, Santa Barbara, CA 93118-8206 USA.
Bus: +1-805-968-7277, Mob: +1-805-448-9009.
DanPoynter@ParaPublishing.com, http://ParaPublishing.com

NOW, SIT DOWN AND WRITE SOMETHING.

© 2010, Dan Poynter

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  Contacting Para Publishing LLC. Email: info@parapublishing.com
  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.