Tag Archives: author

How ebook readers choose which book they want to buy?

2017-11-20

A traditional wisdom says that a book’s author, title and cover are the key factors for a customer to make a purchase decision. A survey conducted in Germany among people who mostly read ebooks published by indie authors shows slightly different decision making preferences.

Amazon Kindle ereader in hand, books in the background
The survey among 2342 people in Germany discovered that the most important factor for their purchase decision was the book description. Writing a blurp is a difficult job already, and this piece of data only raises the standard.

Here are the survey results for the question how readers choose which book to buy:

89% of readers decide to buy a book based on the book description.
65% trust the author’s name.
49% of readers trust reviews.
48% can be convinced by a smart book cover.
46% of buyers go after the price.
45% title makes a difference.
15% are affected by the book’s bestseller rank.

Die Self Publisher Bible, survey resultsSource: Die Self Publisher Bibel.

The full results of the survey can be viewed (with graphs) at Die Self Publisher Bibel.

Anja at Indies Go German has translated some of the survey results to English with brief analysis.

It looks like Germans who prefer reading indie authors favor Kindle instead of German-based Tolino ebooks and ereaders. In the general German ebook market Amazon Kindle and Tolino are, however, considered to have practically equal market shares.

According to the survey, for German ebook readers, bookstores are the most important way to find new ebooks. So, searching, exploring book descriptions, reading reviews, downloading samples and all the functionality at an online bookstore really matters to readers.

If you think about the times gone by when the only place to find new books was a bookstore, the decision-making process is quite similar with ebooks. At a brick-and-mortar bookstore, you wander along corridors and scan the bookshelves. Something catches your eye, you stop, and pick up the book. You browse the book, view the cover and perhaps read a paragraph here and there. If everything matches with what you were looking for, it’s a deal.

Tips for making successful research work for a nonfiction book

2017-11-06

In order to write a nonfiction book manuscript, the author has to do research to make sure all the facts are correct. A motivational book on igniting a career is more about excitement than historical facts, but a book about the application of artificial intelligence in electric vehicles certainly must be based on facts. Research can be time consuming work, but it can be conducted effectively and without wasting valuable time.
man writing at office desk, stack of folders in front
Jeff Biggers, a narrative nonfiction author, has collected tips for research that he has learned during his long writing career. He has written nonfiction books, articles, radio stories and plays, and monologues. His published books include travel books, memoir, cultural and literary history, and investigative journalism. Biggers says that the research strategies he employs in one genre typically are the same for others, including fiction and poetry. Here are his tips.

Notebooks

Jeff Biggers recommends carrying a notebook (paper and pen) everywhere you go. Some writers may agree with the pen and paper strategy, while others prefer a tablet or a smartphone. The advantage of an electronic note-taking approach is that the notes can (and should) be copied to a safe storage instantly after new points have been written down.

Read

It is elemental that the author thoroughly understands the topic. Reading, listening and viewing all kinds of stories about the subject is helpful.

Interviews

Interviews of people who know something about the topic not only adds information to the research, but also adds color to the book. I couldn’t agree more. In addition, interviews can be the most fun part of the entire research project.

The scene

Movies are made of scenes, as well as many fiction books. Nonfiction book can also use the same techniques: have interesting characters, a plot and a conflict.

Folders

Jeff Biggers recommends organizing research material into folders. He uses physical folders, but the concept is the same if you use folders on your computer. Again, it is vital to backup folders to a safe place if anything terrible happens to your computer’s hard drive.

Enough research

It is likely that all nonfiction authors do more research that they can use for their books. It is inevitable. It is practically impossible to know in advance if a lead or a hint of information will lead somewhere that is valuable for the book.

I believe one of the best ways to restrict the amount of research work required for a nonfiction book is to really carefully plan its scope. And one of the best ways to quickly assess the scope is the Table of Contents of the planned book. It is even possible to show the TOC to someone else, say, an editor, agent or publisher and ask their opinion about the book’s planned scope.

10 items writers should include in a nonfiction book proposal

2017-10-21

Authors who are planning a nonfiction book can submit a proposal to publishers (or agents) once the book concept is crystal clear in the author’s mind. The manuscript doesn’t have to be ready. The potential of the book is evaluated from the information delivered in the proposal. This applies to nonfiction books only, and here are ten items that publishers and agents typically expect to find in a proposal.

eyeglasses on computer keyboard
These ten items for a nonfiction book proposal were originally outlined by Marisa Corvisiero

1. Title and Word Count

The title doesn’t have to be the final one, since it is often changed by the author or the publisher during the publishing process. Nonfiction books can have a title – subtitle structure which allows explaining quite a lot about the book.

In the era of ebooks, the traditional wisdom for the length of a nonfiction book (85,000 words, or about 300 printed pages) doesn’t apply anymore. For instance, we have published nonfiction ebooks that are about 50 pages, and also books that are about 500 pages.

Assuming that the author is still planning the book, the tentative word count indicates the scope of the manuscript and the amount of work required.

Many publishers also want to get a tentative idea for how many pictures, photos, schemas, tables and other elements besides text the author is planning to include in the book.

2. Tagline

A short, one or two line description about the concept of the book. The purpose is to make the product interesting and attractive.

3. Blurb

A short summary of what the book is about. What the reader will learn and the key points that will be made in the pages.

4. Structure of the Book

How the book will be organized and why. Often, however, it is better to include a comprehensive Table of Contents that shows the structure.

5. Target Market

A description of who should buy the book, who it is written for, and why they need it.

A list of competitive products belongs in this section, with analysis how this book will be different and/or better than books already in the market.

6. Author Bio

Readers will want to know if they can trust the author’s expertise. This is all about credentials.

7. Marketing Plan

Publishers want to know how large audience the author can reach. They will then add their activities to the mix. Any ideas for delivering the message to the world are welcomed by publishers. Authors must be ready to do book marketing as well.

8. Endorsements or Media Coverage

If an author can get endorsements from renowned people for the book, here is the section to mention it. Also possible media contacts, or earlier appearances in media should be listed here.

9. Table of Contents

The more detailed the Table of Contents is, the better picture the publisher gets from the book concept. This is the key element for many publishers when they consider what the book really is about and ponder its positioning in the market. For more information on the details publishers may expect to find in the TOC, read this article.

10. Sample Chapters

A chapter or two of the book should be included in the proposal. Many agents want three to five chapters, but it varies, as well as publishers’ requirements. Submission guidelines should be followed. A sample is important for publishers and agents in order to evaluate the author’s style, voice, and way of presenting the information.

Ebook news digest: literary tourism, collaborating authors, waterproof ereader, ebook statistics

2017-06-02

News on ebooks, writing, and travel

ereader on top of stack of books
Literary Tourism: Travel The World’s Book Towns
Book Riot

Towns with an exceptionally high number of bookstores are sometimes referred to as booktowns. Book Riot has collected the most notable towns from Canada, Norway, South Korea, from around the world into an article – in case you want to visit them all.

5 Critical Mistakes of Author Collaborations And How to Avoid Them
The Creative Penn

Co-authoring a book is not as common as collaborating with other artists for a piece of music or a film. An author who has succeeded in collaborative projects with other authors has identified five key issues. 1: learn to know your co-author before starting a project.

Snapshot: June 1, 2017
I Love My Kindle

The author of the post loves the Kindle, but if you love numbers (and data on ebooks) read the post. One of the many bits of data is that every day about 2000 new titles are added to the Kindle Store. Makes any and every publisher think how to differentiate from the mass.

Traveling in Scandinavia – Free Ebook Download
Klaava

A collection of travel stories, cultural tips and tourist information for North Europe. Free EPUB and Kindle ebook download.

Travel Writing: All You Need To Know
Jerry Nelson

The post describes the genres of travel writing and the authors who are the most famous representatives of the genres.

An Interview with a 21st Century Nomad
Mapping Megan

Steve Moore, a writer, has been working on the road for 20 years, long before the world started talking about the digital nomad lifestyle. He has perspective to nomad life.

Over 2 Million Historic Photographs Now Available Online – Pique Your Interest With A Peek Into History
SLR Lounge

Europeana project is like an online museum, preserving old European objects digitally. Now, two million images has been archived and made available, but check the rights before you download because not every photo is in public domain.

Kobo’s new Aura H20 is a smaller, cheaper version of its best e-reader
The Verge

A waterproof ereader for the vacation season sounds like a good idea. Kobo has released a new version of its waterproof device, and the reviewer likes it.

This is why book publishers want details about potential authors’ blog and social media footprint

2016-12-17

If you already have had an opportunity to talk to a book publisher or an agent about your terrific book concept, you may have been asked about your blog and social media presence. For you, they don’t necessarily have anything to do with your aspirations as a writer. Maybe you don’t even have a blog and your social media is mostly about watching cat videos on Facebook. Here is the thing: when a publisher is estimating the size of the market for your book concept, the audience you are able to reach yourself can be a significant factor.
man thinking what to write on aptop
Let’s take an example. You have been living and working in Berlin, the capital of Germany, for a year. You have learned so much about the culture, country and people that you are planning to write a cultural guide to other foreigners who intend to move to Germany. If you have a travel blog where you discuss about the country, the city, the language and the way Germans behave, you probably have an audience. Your blog or other social media contribution is also a quick way for publishers and agents to browse how and what topics you write about. If, on the other hand, you have only updated your Facebook page that your family and friends read during the year, it really doesn’t count as an audience.

Without going into details of blogging, tweeting, instagramming or whatever will be the next big thing in social media, the key thing is: how many people you can reach on your own?

Many experts in the publishing business call this the Author Platform. For an extensive explanation on the Author Platform (also known as the Writer’s or Marketing Platform) and how to build one for yourself, read this article at Writer’s Digest.

The Platform concept is particularly useful for nonfiction writers. Publishers and naturally readers expect that the writer knows what he or she is talking about. The writer must be an authority of the topic of the book. This doesn’t mean that he or she should be a world-renowned expert, but should have the credibility so that the audience can trust the information in the book. Experienced, professional writers can write just about anything, but they have plenty of techniques and contacts for verifying the information they write.

If we use the cultural guide to Germany as an example, living and working for a year in Berlin gives enough experiences to write a book, but probably means that the guidebook won’t dive very deep into the local culture. If the aspiring author writes the manuscript in Berlin, it may take another year, and the authority only grows.

So, these two key things are the reasons why publishers and agents are interested in writers’ footprint (both in the real world and on the Internet):

1. Audience
2. Authority

When we discuss about writing and book publishing, we easily neglect an important factor that impacts both the publishing decision and the whole book project. Especially nonfiction books are not only about text, but also about photos, schemas, tables, drawings, and today also (thanks to ebooks) about animations and videos. If you can shoot decent photos or videos, draw pictures or put together smart data tables, it is a big advantage for you.
photographer taking a photo in flower field
If you have a plan for a nonfiction book, and are looking for an ebook publisher, read this as well.

When Authors Insult Each Other, It Is Pretty Witty Literature

2015-03-24

When authors dislike a colleague, they really know how to deliver the message to the world. Who can describe beauty and kindness, or ugliness and stupidity better than authors? Because they are writers, they tend to deliver their message in writing, which makes our job easier to correctly quote them.

Woman leaning on pile of books
BBC collected the best sound bites from famous authors when they had something nasty to say about their fellow authors. Here are highlights from authors who have critically evaluated their colleagues.

Truman Capote on Jack Kerouac: “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

Norman Mailer on Jack Kerouac: “His rhythms are erratic, his sense of character is nil, and he is as pretentious as a rich whore, sentimental as a lollypop.”

George Bernard Shaw disliked Shakespeare: “With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare. The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would positively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him.”

Voltaire called Shakespeare a “drunken savage” … “vast dunghill”.

Mark Twain wasn’t impressed by Jane Austen. “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone”.

Oscar Wilde wasn’t a fan of poetry: “There are two ways of disliking poetry; one way is to dislike it, the other is to read Pope”.

Evelyn Waugh on Marcel Proust: “Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective”.

TS Eliot: “Aldous Huxley, who is perhaps one of those people who have to perpetrate thirty bad novels before producing a good one, has a certain natural – but little developed – aptitude for seriousness. Unfortunately, this aptitude is hampered by a talent for the rapid assimilation of all that isn’t essential”.

Edith Sitwell: “Virginia Woolf’s writing is no more than glamorous knitting. I believe she must have a pattern somewhere”.

Maybe Virginia Woolf responded to Sitwell, but Woolf certainly had an opinion on James Joyce’s Ulysses: “An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me: the book of a self-taught working man, and we all know how distressing they are, how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking, and ultimately nauseating”.

James Joyce was insulted by DH Lawrence as well: “Nothing but old fags and cabbage stumps of quotations from the Bible and the rest stewed in the juice of deliberate, journalistic dirty-mindedness.”

Wyndham Lewis: “Gertrude Stein’s prose-song is a cold black suet-pudding. We can represent it as a cold suet-roll of fabulously reptilian length. Cut it at any point, it is the same thing; the same heavy, sticky, opaque mass all through and all along.”

Gustave Flaubert on George Sand: “A great cow full of ink”.

Robert Louis Stevenson on Walt Whitman: “Like a large shaggy dog just unchained scouring the beaches of the world and baying at the moon”.

The Most Desired Jobs in Britain Are Author, Librarian and Academic

2015-03-01

In many countries books, authors, and avid readers are appreciated and respected. Even though writers are usually respected, everyone who has tried writing as a profession knows how hard work it is, and how few writers can make a living by writing alone. In Britain, however, author, librarian and academic are the most desired jobs above any other work.
author is the most desired job
Ten most desired jobs in Britain in January 2015 were:
1. Author
2. Librarian
3. Academic
4. Lawyer
5. Interior Designer
6. Journalist
7. Doctor
8. TV presenter
9. Train driver
10. Teacher

YouGov.com, most desired jobs

Gender differences were significant. Two most preferred jobs for British women were librarian and interior designer, whereas men wanted to be train drivers or Formula 1 racecar drivers.

YouGov conducted the survey.

Authors Don’t Have to Sit down to Write Fabulously

2015-02-27

Sitting still at a keyboard and typing away for hours and hours a day is necessary from time to time, but if a writer works this way for long periods back ache, sore shoulders and stiff neck may become problems. This is exactly why some authors occasionally try and write standing up. I have tried it myself, and it is not as crazy as you might imagine.

Ernest Hemingway used to write standing up every now and then. He is not only writer who has discovered alternative ways to write – other than sitting down in a study at a keyboard. How about writing naked as J.D. Salinger did? Here is an infographic Unusual Work Habits of Great Writers by Ninja Essays.
writing habits of famous writers, infographic. Essay Ninjas
Infographic from Ninja Essays.

Top Ten Writing Tips for Nonfiction Authors from a Fiction Author

2015-02-18

Writing is craft that some writers learn in their daily work and others learn by taking courses. You might think that nonfiction and fiction writing require very different skills, but it is surprising how many bestselling authors write both types of books. Some have started writing because they were journalists, others because they had to draft educational material for their classes.

mikael niemi, author, book signing at a book show
Swedish author Mikael Niemi signing books at a book fair.

The author of Hobbits and The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien knows what he is talking about when he offers his advice for writers. Even though he wrote fiction on his spare time at home, he wrote nonfiction for his daily work.

Here is Tolkien’s top 10 writing tips infographics from Essaymama.

tolkien, tips for writers

Tolkien’s top 10 tips:
1. Vanity is useless. Your book is important for you, but be realistic how important it is to the rest of the world.
2. Keep a stiff upper lip. (Find time to write no matter what).
3. Listen to critics. Critics – Yes, Trolls – No.
4. Let your interests drive your writing. [this is very true for nonfiction as well – a book written with both passion and facts communicates with readers]
5. Poetry as a road to prose.
6. Happy accidents. Tolkien carefully planned the books but gave a chance to new ideas as well.
7. Dreams give us inspiration.
8. Real people make great characters.
9. You may be the next best selling author.
10. Books you write may seem trite.

In Addition to Writing Well, It Doesn’t Hurt to Master These Skills

2015-02-10

It is true that published authors have other skills besides their ability to write well. The important thing is that getting published is not black magic – if you approach it like a business or a large project at work where you really want to succeed, you see the big picture and pay attention to multiple elements that come into play.

A published book or a whole writing career, however, is built on writing skills. Some authors learn the craft at work as they write instructions, product descriptions, web pages, or anything that requires planning for an audience and creating a structure for the piece. Other writers begin by taking writing lessons – if you do, it is highly recommended to take a course that includes multiple genres, such as non-fiction, theater, fiction, travel and articles for magazines.

Woman using watching laptop computer screen

With this in mind, let me summarize Lifehacker’s excellent article on starting a writing career. Here are the skills Lifehacker considers to be important for a writer to succeed.

Social Skills

– Network with other writers and professionals in the business.
– Use social media as your networking platform and to build follow-up.
– Ask around for writing opportunities and what book publishers are looking for.

Resourcefulness

– Use the experience and skills you already have to find your own place in the world of writing. For instance, if you like the great outdoors and photography, have you ever considered travel writing?
– Adapt to the changing world and new requirements. For instance, today it is becoming common that publishers expect writers to take their own photographs and video clips for an article and for a book manuscript.

Marketing Skills

– Brand yourself. Branding is often a misunderstood concept, but in this context it is important to be professional and consistent within the chosen brand.
– Learn about search engine optimization (SEO).
– Market your articles and posts to web publications (both paying and non-paying guest posts).

Thick Skin

– Show your work, you never know who’ll see it.
– Welcome criticism – both good and bad.

Persistence

– Typically, it takes time to learn the craft of writing, but it also takes time to break through.

Age Doesn’t Count: Author Breakthrough Can Happen at Any Age

2015-02-08

Maybe it is because literature Nobel prize and other major award winners already tend to have a long career behind them, since I have always thought that an author has to be old to become famous. That isn’t the case as an infographic created by Blinkbox Books illustrates. Age really doesn’t count for authors: the breakthrough book can be an author’s debut at 26, or twentieth book at 65.

JRR Tolkien published his first book at 46, and continued to write for many years. John Steinbeck discovered his success at an age of 36 with his fifth book. JK Rowling was 33 and Stephen King 32 when they discovered their success formulas.


Explore the careers of some of the world’s most successful authors. Click image to open interactive version (via Blinkbox Books).

Author Erkki Leppänen: Marketers Are Storytellers

2014-02-08

Erkki Leppänen is a seasoned sales and marketing professional, who has trained hundreds of new talent during his career. He has also authored guidebooks for marketers. We asked Erkki Leppänen his tips on writing non-fiction books and on good reads about sales and marketing topics.

Erkki Leppänen: Placebo is for Real - ebookYou have authored a number of popular sales and marketing books, like ‘Placebo Is for Real‘. How did you get interested in marketing?
I was studying at California State University, Fresno, and decided to attend a Marketing 101 course. Professor Robert Hampton happened to be the lecturer of this course. It is because of him I got interested in marketing at the very beginning. Robert Hampton really made a difference in my life at that point of time.

How did you find your own style of writing, and what is your personal working process when you write?
From the very beginning, I wanted to write about complicated marketing issues in a simple manner. I use short sentences and easily digestible language. I also use figures and sometimes even pictures with speech bubbles to make my point.

I spend plenty of time on finding an interesting topic. In addition, I take reader feedback seriously and revise the manuscript accordingly.

I also look forward to the development of ebooks that may be moving towards multimedia. If that happens, it would certainly change my personal writing process.

What else have you written?
I have written a master’s thesis in the field of marketing. While I was studying at California State University, I also wrote to the college newspaper, The Collegian. I also participate in discussions on marketing blogs and exchange ideas with other marketing people.

Name your 5 favorite non-fiction books?
1. Seth Godin: All Marketers Are Liars.
This is s a book about stories people tell themselves – stories they really want to believe. It’s not really about lying, but rather about how authenticity is the best marketing method of all. Godin argues that people have always communicated important ideas via stories, and they have always believed in those stories. I find this book quite fascinating. Seth Godin is my favorite non -fiction author.

2. Carl Richards: The Behavior Gap: Simple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money.
Carl Richards points out the mistakes human beings make again and again with money. Then he shows how they can shape their behavior in order to invest, save, and spend money to produce happiness.

3. Dan Ariely: Predictably Irrational.
Dan Ariely describes the hidden forces that shape people’s decisions. This book is a fascinating journey to the many ways people act against their best interest. Dan Ariely refutes the common assumption that people behave in fundamentally rational ways. These misguided behaviors, however, are not random or senseless. They can be predicted, and Dan Ariely shows just how to do that.

4. Daniel H. Pink: To Sell Is Human.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of every nine Americans is working in sales. Every day more than 15 million people earn their living by persuading someone else to purchase something. We’re all in sales now, says the author. The book offers a fresh look at the art and science of selling products and ideas by persuading other people.

5. B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore: The Experience Economy.
The experience economy is the new phase in economical development following agrarian, industrial, and service economies according to the authors of this great book. Businesses have to orchestrate memorable, pleasant experiences for their customers in the experience economy, because these experiences produce instant gratification to the customers. The book gets to the very core of marketing.

What can we expect from you in the future?
The readers can expect more pleasurable reading experiences in the field of marketing. Also, I have opened an email box that lets me be in contact with readers, and answer questions and comments they may have. The email address is: theplacebobusiness@gmail.com .