Interview: Mukul Deva

Hiya! What have you been up to lately, guys? Me? I’ve been writing postcards. Postcards, you ask? Yes, postcards to all over the world. If you’ll look to the right sidebar, there is a banner to the Postcrossing website. The idea is simple. You’ll get 5 different addresses to snail-mail your postcards to and for every postcard received, you’ll receive one of your own! The addresses can be as far-flung as Iceland or even as near as your own home country if you so choose. What an interesting idea, right? I personally love writing postcards as it allows me to practise squeezing whole paragraphs of what makes Singapore interesting into the small space that the postcard affords. LOL. After a while, you’ll start to realise that there ARE fun things about your country to wax lyrical about. =)

And the replies you get from the people you sent postcards are fun too coz they’ll also share a little of their lives on the other side of the world. 😄

The “Liselle” postcards I bought from Lisa Lee seem to be pretty well-received by my Postcrossing recipients~! Hehe…maybe I should start creating my own Rainy Skies postcards myself. 😄

Okie, on to today’s awesome guest: Mukul Deva! I first saw him at a APSS meeting in 2011, and I really wanted to chat him up. Unfortunately my natural shyness took over and I didn’t manage to get to know him. As fate would have it, however, Karen Leong not only chatted him up…she also eventually formed a partnership with him! It’s like such a lucky break for me. @_@

Anyways, Karen introduced me to him and we hit it off immediately. You wouldn’t guess it from his authoritarian air, but he is really a witty man of vast knowledge. His no-nonsense stance comes from years of being in the Indian military, which naturally provided the fuel for his bestselling military action books like  “Salim must Die” and “Tanzeem”. Impressive, huh? But then again, I usually interview impressive people. HEHEHE. Alright, enough of my random musings and on to words of wisdom from this man!


Tell us something about yourself that doesn’t appear in your public profile.

Are you sure you have the space…:) because there is a lot. It doesn’t say that I quit school pretty early in life – on realizing that education (not learning) and me were mutually exclusive commodities. It doesn’t say that I’m a die-hard romantic. And lots more juicer stuff which I’m keeping for one of those barely concealed biographies…:)

You are able to write and publish 10 books over the course of your writing career on top of establishing a security company & establishing yourself as a trainer/mentor/coach, how do you manage to find all the time, energy and inspiration to do all these?

It’s pretty simple actually.

Time – doesn’t need to be found. It’s right there – in touching reach – all rhe time. we have to learn to respect it and manage it wisely. Energy is inherent when you find that which inspires you. So all I would say is that we need to dream a dream and have the passion to live it. Everything else happens pretty much on its own.

Would you say that it’s important to live first before writing? Will reading widely suffice as well?

Not really. There are no set rules for any creative process – which is what writing is. Each of us has a unique perspective – we simply need the courage and discipline to share it with others

Where do you get the material for your books?

I guess I have a rather fertile mind – and ‘naughty’ too – which really helps since I write lots of thrillers..:) And of course I am a keen observer – of life and people.

How do you get readers to pay attention to you out of so many other writers of your genre in the world?

I guess I tell my stories well…:)

How will you advise a writer who has been writing for a long time but has yet to find any commercial success?

Keep writing…:) Practice DOES make perfect. And understand that writing is as much a science as an art – there is a process – by following which we enhance quality, quantity and speed. Learn to separate the WHAT and the HOW – that will make your job easier and the book more interesting

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Mukul will be making his appearance at the Singapore Writers Festival 2012 in the following events:

  • Multi-Hyphenate Writing Talents | 4 November 2012 | 10:00 am – 11:00 am
  • How to Write a Best-selling Novel and Screenplay By Mukul Deva | 9 November 2012 | 9:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Plenary Session with Mukul Deva, Lynette Owen and Malcolm Neil | 9 November 2012 | 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

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Interview: Lisa Lee (Fashion Artist)

Hi guys! Today’s awesome guest is going to be Lisa Lee, the fashion artist behind fashion icon “LIselle“. I met her at the STGCC where I bought a few lovely postcards from her. I’ve interviewed all manner of comic artists and writers but this is the first time I’ve met a fashion artist. 😄

You can tell that she has quite the entrepreneur streak in her by the way she has successfully marketed her designs through fashion platforms like merchandising and licensing. So read on if you want to attain commercial success for your own art too! ^_^

Tell us about your journey as a fashion artist. How did you evolve from being an artist to a savvy entrepreneur?

It was back then Lisa Lee3 years ago, after my completion of my studies in UK, I started to venture back to M’sia to start up my fashion brand career, Liselle. Liselle is a feminine fashion character I depicted while I was studying in UK. From the surrounding and sentimental atmosphere in UK, I depicted Liselle and her lifestyle around her. During my exposure of Liselle, it started to caught attention from my professors and also others collaboration partners in UK.

And slowly these has led me to more opportunities of career development of Liselle and eventually turning her into a substantial fashion art brand. Through the process of developing and managing Liselle, I began to being exposed to many industrial professionals that has been there to guide and also influence in a way of how I should carry a great work with me. There I met a lot of different professionals, and involving with projects and events that has eventually engaged me to learn how the real industry is all about.

Why did you decide to become a fashion artist?

I decide to become a fashion artist because ever since young, my mom has put me on to many beautiful clothes, and I was always being curious how I can actually express my thoughts and feeling deep inside me of a clothing or dress. So I guess these nature of being a fashion artist eventually began a root to me.

ImageWhere did you get your inspiration for Liselle from?

I depicted Liselle when I was in UK, therefore, it can be observe my inspiration truly derive from the atmosphere and surrounding that has been influencing my artwork of Liselle.The coming years, I will travel to Vienna and Paris to continue my second series as again, a great atmosphere is good for originality.

What made you decide to brand Liselle as a viable marketing tool?

I still remember how my professor used to tell me “What do you want to do with that beautiful artwork of yours,..think again.”There’s when I realized, to express a good artwork needed more than just plain depicting it. There’s a long journey I see in front. Today, Liselle artwork is for licensing business, Liselle is a platform for fashion event and show and also for merchandising product application.

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What are some challenges that you met while developing Liselle?

People. In Malaysia, it’s always a challenge when you start to do something people never really tried. But my greatest challenge is how I continuously believe and influence people around me that a fashion artist can be more than that if you believe in what you are creating. From a fashion artist to organizing, managing, event planning and communication,-it’s all a package if you want to do something real to you. And now, I have established my own company “Lisa Lee Creative” as a creative platform for me and Liselle.Lisa Lee Creative is a design company for me to run my design and creative business to corporate clients, manage and developing Liselle as my in house brand and also providing fashion workshops.

What are some of the most memorable moments you’ve experienced on your journey as a fashion artist?

Being really daring to challenge myself to make an event or idea come true. Many people might think I have experience in business or experiencing in managing an event as often you see me out there. But honestly and truthfully, everything is a first time. Initially, I do hesitate and scared deep down but I know if I don’t try, there’s no opportunity at all. There’s when I believe we do not need to do something with experience. Just do it if you want to, but you got to believe and find solutions. There’s where my tagline of Liselle came about –“Dare to Dream, Dare to Shine”.

What is the one golden advice that artists should remember if they want to establish themselves as professionals or make a career out of their art?

“Dare to Dream, Dare to Shine”

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You can visit Lisa’s work at her office and showroom at: 

B-3-18, BBT One, Lebuh Batu Nilam 2, Bandar Bukit Tinggi, 41200, Klang, Malaysia.

Website: http://www.liselle.com.my

Enquiries: enquiries@liselle.com.my | liselle_lww@yahoo.com

Make me look good

For some time now, I’ve been considering putting up posts on networking and image because other than the creative and production processes of our work, establishing professional relationships & dressing to make a first good impression are also important.

I also have intentions of doing a podcast on the social commentary of “why there seems to be more male comic artists than female ones?” Hehs. But that will come after I manage to get my panel together over Skype.

In any case, here is a video by Ms Sharon Connolly (an image consultant) on how to improve your image. Now I’m not advocating you to go for a complete transformation or undergo cosmetic surgery. Nor am I asking you to drop the kilos so you can look good in clothes (unless it’s for health reasons).  What I’m going to encourage you to do instead, is to present yourself in the best possible light. You don’t have to wear suits all the time if you’re not comfortable in them (and besides it’s sweltering HOT in Singapore right now). All you have to do is dress in well-made clothes that fit you and make you feel good. When you’re confident of your appearance, you’ll naturally shine and people will gravitate to you. =D

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the video! And do stay tuned for future posts of the networking and image nature. I know I’ve been terribly bad at keeping up in this blog but I WILL try my best. =)

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What I learnt from 7 authors & 1 publisher

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a APSS meeting thanks to Karen Leong, who is a really brilliant speaker cum inspiring friend of mine. I wouldn’t normally be found at a meeting targeted at nurturing speakers but this particular one had several published authors who were there to give valuable insights on the art of writing and publishing so Karen asked me along. =3 If you guys get the opportunity to attend such events, you should really go for it. You don’t just learn, you also meet people who could help you on your way!

Here are the esteemed authors who made their appearance at the meeting:

  • David Goldwich: Author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Win-Win Negotiation Skills, and Getting into Singapore
  • Eric Feng: Author of Get to the Point!
  • Christian Chua: Author of How to be a Success Magnet, From Singlish to English, The Essential Teenage Handbook (and more)
  • Mukul Deva: One of the pioneers of the Indian thriller novel, and Author of three bestsellers in three years.
  • Shirley Taylor: Author of 8 books and Series Editor of 8 books in the STTS Success Skills Series
  • Tremaine Du Preez: Author of Think Smart, Work Smarter in the STTS Success Skills Series (Korean translation rights bought within 5 days of publishing!)
  • Michael Podolinsky CSP, Pearson Prentice Hall author of 13 books

Now, only 1 of the 7 authors present was a fiction writer. The rest were all motivational speakers/authors but hey, the tips are valuable nonetheless so I shall share what I learned here. All you aspiring mangaka and writers who want to get started on your Great Novel/Manga had better sit up and take notes! =3

1) It is possible to complete a book within 20 days: According to Michael Podolinsky, all you have to do is block out 90 minutes every day to write. It doesn’t matter when you do it as long as you devote 90 minutes to just pure writing. Tremaine Du Preez did it by switching off all internet access and her handphone.

2) There is no such thing as a writer’s block: If you know your subject, if you have a life full of personal stories, if you have an outline that details what goes into your book, you shouldn’t even be complaining about a writer’s block at all. If you don’t know enough about your subject, then research research and research!

3) Make a contract with yourself or your friends and family to complete your project: Many of us procrastinate. I know I do so I end up not completing my Rainy Skies project as I should. =x BUT! If you make a solemn promise to yourself or your friends/family to deliver by a certain date, you can do it! As Mukul Deva mentioned during his talk, “Any fool can have a dream, unless you put a date to it.”

4) Give your readers what they want: A few questions that publishers will frequently ask aspiring writers/mangaka: will your book sell? Will it appeal to your target audience? Does it fill in a lack in the current market? While you’re penning your great work, do it with these questions in mind because according to the statistics compiled by Bowker, publisher of Books in PrintÂź, an average of 336,814 books were published worldwide each year from 2002 to 2008. So to sum it up…how can your book stand out as a drop in the ocean?

5) Books sell best in series: What does JK Rowling, Laurell K Hamilton, Tite Kudo and Masashi Kishimoto have in common? They’re all bestselling creators with wildly popular series.

6) Come up with a plan: Shirley Taylor, who is another great speaker, showed us a template she used for her books. Since she’s a communication specialist, her books are more of the how-to variety. She divided her chapters into manageable sections that people can easily digest in an instant. Of course, we can’t do the same for fiction books or manga but at least come up with a plan. It’ll get you going when you run out of juice while writing or drawing. =3

7) Social media is your best friend: We’re now living in an age of social media. Involve your readers in your creation. Get them to run votes on the type of product they’ll like to see. Like what Eric Feng would say, “don’t just bake a cake, ask people what type of cake they want to eat.” Sounds logical hoh. He also mentioned that readers who get involved in your product are more likely to buy your book. Makes sense, doesn’t it? =3

8 ) Self publishing vs published by a publisher? Both have their plus points: We had this really handsome dude from Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) come in to talk to us about being published by a publisher such as MC. Chris Newson, who is the GM of MC told us that being published by a published is vastly different from being self-published because the publisher takes on the unenviable task of marketing. They will put your books in the bookstores, arrange for book signings etc etc. Oh, one thing he mentioned: bookstores are the worst places to launch a book because the general public don’t really give a damn about your book unless you are James Lee or JK Rowling or Tite Kudo. Chris then went on to recall how heartrending it was to organise book signings but no one turned up. =x

And if your book is launched at the same time as MM Lee’s book? Good luck, pal. =x Hence, social medial such as blogs are very very important in pushing your book into the public awareness. =3

Christian Chua is a self-publisher, but then again he owns a printing company of his own. While publishers sell in bulk, he sells his books by first doing a small print run, then sending free samples to his target audience. For example, Christian first printed 450 copies of a book before sending them as free samples to ALL the primary schools in Singapore along with an order form. Only after receiving orders did Christian run another bigger print run. =3

Another self-publishing benefit that Christian mentioned was the ability to cut side deals, like sponsorships if you happen to mention a particular brand/company (several times) in your book. =3

9) Work with the publisher you’re most comfortable with: Someone asked how to choose a publisher during a meeting and the general consensus among the guest speakers was this: work with someone you can click with.So what if Publisher A can give you 10 times as much upfront as compared to Publisher B, which makes a more affable partner? A long-term working relationship is what gives you the best opportunities and least headaches. =3

10) A book is really judged by its cover: I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Books are judged by their covers so do invest in a good designer or artist to do your cover or you will regret it. =x Go to the bookstore and sit there for a few hours like Eric Feng to find out what are the type of covers that attract people. Or run votes on your Facebook page to garner opinions. Trust me, a cover can really make or break your book sales. It’s just like how a pretty girl will catch your eye first before the average one will, right? =3

AND SO! The top 10 gems that I managed to glean from the meeting. It has been a really wonderful experience because everyone is such a good speaker! NO ONE, and I repeat, NO ONE stumbles over their words (like moi). T.T

And everyone was so energised, I felt thoroughly exhausted after the session. LOL. But hey…you guys should really go for such sessions if you can coz it’s really galvanising and inspiring. =3

In fact, I’m going to wake up earlier every day to write for 90 minutes! Girl Guide Promise! >.<

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Image: domdeen / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Build An Audience For Your Book With A Blog By Jimmy Moore

Do you have a book that has been released online or offline? If so, you ought to read this article on how to draw in more readers! =3

This post was first published on Writers Weekly on January 18, 2006.

Shhhhh. I’ve got a secret to share with you that you may not even know about.

In fact, if you have ever written a book or thought about writing a book, I’m gonna let you in on something that won’t cost you a dime of money, but could produce an incredible opportunity to effectively market your work.

What is this dream plan for building an audience of enthusiastic buyers for your book? Simply put, it’s a blog. What’s that?!

A blog, short for weblog, is a web site journal where you can post just about anything you want about whatever subject matter interests you the most. For me, after losing 180 pounds on a low-carb plan in 2004, I knew I had found a topic that I was very passionate about sharing with others and that there would be an audience who would be willing to listen.

In April 2005, I started my “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb” blog located on the Internet athttp://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com. When I first started my blog, I had just begun work writing on my book, also called “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb.”

The early days of a blog are kinda like being on a 100-watt radio station out in the middle of nowhere. You talk and talk and feel like nobody’s listening. And if you expect to find instant success with your blog, then just don’t bother.

But if you write freely about what is in your heart, share openly and honestly about what’s on your mind, and provide relevant content that people will want to read, then you will begin to build an audience who will follow you and want to come back for more.

To let others know about my blog, I went to other similar kinds of blogs and web sites to introduce myself and to let them know about what I was doing. I probably posted my URL on about 50 different low-carb message boards to get the word out about it. In my first month online, I had about 5,000 pageviews.

By the third month I was online, the pageviews at my blog grew to 10,000 that month. In the meantime, I continued to post articles on a daily basis to keep the web site looking fresh and new all the time and I bought the domain name for my book, LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com. I had the domain forward all of the traffic to my blog. This is an excellent way to build those repeat readers by making it easy for them to find you, and the faithful will come back to you often.

Whatever you do, don’t just suddenly stop posting to your blog. Nothing frustrates a reader more than to come to your blog for three or four days in a row with zero updates. Some people may wonder if you’ve gone away forever and may never come back. Don’t leave ’em hanging. If you can’t post for a few days, then let your readers know it.

When my book debuted six months after I began my blog, I was getting about 15,000 pageviews per month. This built-in audience for my book gave me an instant marketing strategy to provide them with an additional resource for information about low-carb, something that I had already been providing them at my blog.

Since they knew my writing style and felt confident in my ability to write, I noticed that many of my blog readers began buying my book. While that was not my sole purpose in creating the blog, it certainly didn’t hurt to build an audience that would be receptive to my book when it was released.

In the three months since my book has been released, the pageviews at my blog have simply skyrocketed. November and December each had 20,000 pageviews and the month of January is expected to easily surpass the 30,000 pageview mark. WOW! I would have never thought something free would ever bring about this kind of success.

But it has and you should learn to capitalize on it, too. Don’t be afraid to stir up a little controversy in what you write. Readers like to root someone on who is willing to fight for a cause they believe in. No matter what the subject content of your book may be about, there is always an audience looking for a leader. Be that leader!

Don’t be afraid to change the format of your blog often so the web site looks like you are working hard on it — and you are! Also, don’t be afraid to market your book front and center at your blog. You are providing your readers a service by imparting information to them. Many of them will reward your consistency at your blog by getting your book and telling others about it, too.

One of the things that helped me grow my blog was when other blogs posted links to articles I had written. This brings in many new readers who would have otherwise never come to your web site. Feel free to do the same for anything you see on someone else’s blog. You can even post a permanent link to their blog which many will reciprocate with a link to yours.

Building this community of readers can and will help you market and sell your book. I have had the fortune of having three fully-paid speaking engagements/book signings in Huntington Beach, CA, Milwaukee, WI, and Brooklyn, NY in the past two months because key people discovered me and my book thanks to the work I invested at my blog. Never underestimate the power of this invaluable tool for building a growing audience for your book.

Jimmy Moore is a customer service specialist and freelance writer from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is married to Christine and enjoys working out and writing on his Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog. A former 410-pounder, Jimmy is now a healthy man thanks to the low-carb lifestyle. You can visit his website (and blog) at http://www.LivinLaVidaLowCarb.com and you can read more about his book at http://www.booklocker.com/books/2183.html.

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Selling Advertising Space In Books By Angela Hoy

Was surfing the web just now when I came across a rather interesting post on getting your own sponsors or ads in your publication. Have fun reading it~! =)

This post was first published on Writers Weekly on Jun 08 2005.

Don’t you wish companies would offer you money to include an ad about them in your next book? Most of us would love such an infusion to our writing income. A question about this coveted practice arrived in my in-box just this week.

Wendy wrote in with the following:

“Several years ago, my first health-related book was released. I am in the process of updating the manuscript and preparing for the second edition. While doing so, I also did a little research and found several companies whose nutritional products would benefit my reading audience. Before approaching these companies, I plan to set up a mock page with their product, formatted in the style of the section of my book for which it would be placed. However, before I approach these companies, I would like to have a good idea of a realistic dollar amount to ask for featuring their product. How do I go about finding out what a ‘customary’ fee should be for someone to advertise their product in a book?”

Unfortunately, this is one of those “what to charge” questions that you won’t find any firm answers to no matter where you look. If you feel you have a manuscript that may interest potential advertisers, there are several questions you should ask yourself.

Self-Published or Not?

Is your book going to be self-published or is a traditional house interested in it? If you’re turning over the rights to your manuscript to another company, they will want to do any advertising negotiations directly and they’ll probably choose not to sell any advertising at all. If they do, they’ll be paid for that advertising space. If you’re self-publishing, you, of course, get to keep any advertising income that comes in.

Are you established or unknown in your genre or field?

Let’s be realistic. Unless the author already has a built-in customer base through current contacts, such as prominent membership in a large organization, ownership of a successful electronic or print publication, writes a newspaper or magazine column, has impressive sales on a past title, or has the potential to draw incredible press based on current events, advertisers just aren’t going to want to risk their money on someone who can’t offer them any distribution and publicity guarantees. Your chances of success in this endeavor will be much greater if you’re already known in your field, if you have had past success with book sales on a previous title, or if you have a really incredible opportunity to draw press (i.e. “I was Saddam Hussein’s Personal Assistant” or “Michael Jackson’s Plastic Surgeon Speaks Out”). Authors with a strong local angle may have success selling ads to local companies.

Fiction or Non-Fiction

Fiction authors won’t have as much luck as non-fiction authors in attracting advertisers, and must be pretty creative to figure out advertising candidates for their titles. But, this can actually be fun.

One idea for fiction authors is to attract sponsors instead of advertisers. For example, you might be able to convince the manufacturer of a certain type of lingerie to pay you to have your main character only (and repeatedly) wear their brand of lingerie in your romance novel. Or, if there is another type of recurring theme in your book (like your character frequently drinking a certain brand of soda), you may be able to work a deal with a manufacturer of that product. If one manufacturer says no, try switching brand names and approaching another. I’m sure your character won’t mind being addicted to, say, Dr. Brown’s (yes, that’s a real soda) instead of Nehi. Why didn’t I mention Coke and Pepsi? Because I’m being realistic. When trying to work one of these deals, you should focus on smaller companies that aren’t yet a household name. A small, specialty soda manufacturer will probably be more receptive than Coke or Pepsi to a creative sponsorship deal like this.

If my romance novel was set in Bar Harbor, Maine, for example, my main character might be addicted to Bar Harbor Root Beer, manufactured by Bar Harbor Brewing Company and Soda Works. If I were writing a ghost story set in Bangor, Maine, perhaps I would approach local restaurants for sponsorship opportunities, before I decide which old restaurant houses my protagonist spirit. Sure, my first choice would be The Sea Dog, right there on the Penobscot River, but there are other riverfront restaurants in the area that would work just as well. If you think about it, you can probably come up with some pretty clever ideas! And, using local companies and locations increases your chances of local press! In addition, any local companies appearing in your book will probably want to carry copies of your book on consignment for their customers.

If your book does sell well and eventually lands a traditional contract and sells even better, whatever company your character is associated with may very well be a household name in the future.

You may also be able to convince other authors who write for your genre to run ads in the back of your book for their own books…though they’ll probably just offer you an ad swap. But, why not swap ads with your author friends and help each other out this way?

For non-fiction authors, the possibilities are much greater…and less creativity is required when trying to determine who might want to advertise in your book. Simply create a list of product and service categories that will complement the topic of your book. Which companies might your readers be most interested in? Approach them about running ads in your book.

Having a hard time coming up with a list of potential advertisers? Pick up a magazine that targets your book’s audience and make a list of the advertisers appearing therein. You can usually find some quick contact information about them in their ads, too.

Printing Press Or Print On Demand?

If you’re self-publishing, are you using a company that uses a printing press or are you publishing through Print on Demand (POD). If you’re purchasing thousands of copies of your book up front, you’re probably using a printing press. Advertising income helps to defray those initial printing costs. With POD, unless you’re using one of those companies that charges inflated setup fees (more than $500), you probably won’t need advertising income to pay the setup fees. But, it’s okay to try to earn extra money by selling ads anyway!

How Much To Charge?

If you’re selling just enough space to cover the initial costs, figure the amount you’ll be spending on editing, design, and printing. That’ll be the dollar amount of advertising space you’ll need to sell to cover your fees on that run. How many ads can you put in the book (without diluting the quality of the material you’re offering)? Divide your costs by the number of ads you think you can sell and that’s how much each ad should cost. You can, of course, sell the ads for more money. If you want to try to earn more than your costs, go for it!

You should not accept any payment, or accept only a token down-payment, until your manuscript is finished and ready to publish. The advertiser will trust you and be more willing to work with you if you don’t demand money before you need it for production.

What Can You Guarantee The Advertiser?

The potential advertiser is going to want a guarantee for their dollars. How many eyeballs will see that book? You will probably need to promise that a certain number of books will be printed and distributed/sold. If you collect enough advertising income up front, you may be able to give away enough free copies to satisfy the advertiser’s demand for distribution. That’s how controlled-circulation periodicals work. They sell enough advertising to enable them to distribute their publications for free to a specific type of readership. But, if you are skilled (and lucky!) enough to sell enough ads to give away your book, your advertisers are going to want specific guarantees about how, when and where your book is being distributed to a targeted list of people that will be interested in the types of products and services advertised in your book.

If you can’t guarantee distribution or sales, you may want to offer to also promote their company on your website and/or in your ezine, or other promotional materials, such as press releases. If you’re publishing through POD, you may want to offer the advertiser space in your book for the first ___ number of books sold/distributed. You can then approach them for additional money if they want to keep advertising in the book after the initial limit is reached.

The advertiser is also going to want distribution information for your book. Where will your book be for sale? What online bookstores will have it listed? What local bookstores or other retailers have agreed to carry your book? How many unique website visitors do you have each month? How many people really subscribe to your ezine? Make sure your list is clean and only contains live email addresses!

Do you sell advertisements on your website and in your ezine? How much do companies pay for those and do you have repeat advertisers (which indicates the ads are working)? Your book advertisers will probably want a list of testimonials or references from any current advertisers. And, if you do have paying advertisers, those should be the first people you approach to advertise in your book!

Are you getting married?

Whatever you do, don’t offer to run their ad in your book for an unlimited amount of time or in an unlimited number of books. You never know what can happen! You could be offered more money from one of their competitors. The company could get some really bad press, making your relationship with them undesirable in the future. You may want to simply stop publishing the book (while they demand you keep it on the market and keep selling copies). Your book may be picked up by a traditional publisher who may insist on changing the name of the sponsorship companies, or may want to drop all ads. The problems that can arise from marrying yourself to an advertiser like that are endless.

What about competing ads?

Will you allow competing companies to run ads alongside each other or does each type of company get the exclusive right to advertise in your book? The latter makes the deal much more appealing to the advertisers, but you should charge them more for that exclusivity to make up for lost sales from other potential advertisers.

Ad Or Advertorial?

Let’s face it. Ads are boring. Advertorials (advertisements that appear to be articles) are much more interesting! Offering more space in an advertorial format for advertisers will be very tempting for them. In fact, their ad may appear to be just another chapter in your book! But, you should label the ad as such. (I’m sure you’ve seen advertorials in your newspaper with that microscopic font at the top that says “advertisement.”) Don’t ever do anything to try to fool your readers or your reputation could be ruined. For sponsorships, you should be honest and acknowledge in the beginning of your book that ABC Corporation is a valued, paying sponsor of your work.

How To Sell?

1. Your manuscript should be finished or you should have enough of your manuscript completed to offer as a sample for potential advertisers. Your manuscript should be edited and formatted and should resemble a book. The advertiser should get a true feel for what the final product will look like. They’re much more likely to buy an ad if they can picture what the final product will look like in their minds. If you’re approaching specific businesses for sponsorships in your novel, you can use a generic name in the book text until any sponsorship deals are complete. You can then insert the name of the sponsoring company throughout the book. (Word processing software makes this a breeze!)

2. You should create a tempting pitch letter for potential advertisers that lists the different sections of your book that will feature ads, information on the cost of sponsoring each section, and a note about any exclusivity offered (will you allow competing ads in the book or not?).

3. The reader above had planned to create mock ads for each company she was approaching…before she approached them. While this could obviously be an incredible waste of time for her, it may also offend potential advertisers. They may think she’s being too forward or that she’s assuming a relationship already exists. It’s a better idea to create a generic ad as an example. You could design a generic ad for each “section” of the book (targeting a different type of advertiser for each section). The potential advertiser can then see what an ad for a company like theirs might look like in that section of the book.

If you’re trying to solicit a sponsor, you can provide text from your book for a specific chapter that says Acme Cola or ABC Lingerie or some other obviously generic name. The potential sponsor can then imagine their company’s name appearing wherever one of those generic names appears.

4. Unless you already have a relationship with these companies, emailing your pitch to them would be considered spam. A better idea is to mail a pitch letter to each company (using your own letterhead that features your book’s cover, of course) with one of two links. You can either provide them with a link to a private area of your website where they can download your manuscript (that includes sample advertisements). Or, create a private section on your website just for potential advertisers and publish your advertising pitch there, using nice graphics and including sample chapters for their perusal. Having a preliminary book cover graphic to feature on your site would also go a long way toward making the book look “real” to potential advertisers. You could name this part of your website something like “Non-fiction author Jane Doe is now soliciting advertisers for her new book.”

You can, of course, print your materials and send them by mail to potential advertisers who you feel may not be online or who may be more receptive to print materials.

When a potential advertiser bites, you should have a contract prepared for their review that spells out the entire relationship between you and your advertisers/sponsors, and details every aspect of the deal. Have an attorney review your contract and make any necessary changes before distributing it to any potential clients.

And, finally, for non-fiction authors, never allow the purchase of advertising space in your book to sway your writing. One way to ensure non-biased writing in your book is to finish the manuscript before soliciting any advertisers.

Once your book is complete and the deals are done, collect all (or the final balance of) fees from your advertisers before printing the books or before submitting your final manuscript to your POD publisher. You don’t want to print a bunch of copies of your book only to learn your advertiser is a deadbeat.

Oh, and one nice thing about POD publishing is that you can usually make changes to your manuscript at anytime (meaning you can submit a new book text with advertisements therein) for a nominal fee without calling it a new edition and without changing your ISBN. So, current POD publishers can still solicit and sell advertisements/sponsorships if they want. To avoid surprises later, be sure to check with your current POD publisher about their fees for changes before heading down this road!

With more newspapers and magazines folding each year, advertisers are looking for other creative avenues to reach their target audience. Why shouldn’t one of those creative avenues be your book?

I’d be very interested in hearing from readers who have sold or purchased advertising space in books and how those relationships developed and ultimately worked out. I’d like to publish a follow-up article with examples and suggestions sent in by readers. Write to me at angela (at) writersweekly.com and I’ll get right back to you.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

1. Click HERE to read a current blog discussion about textbook publishers selling ads in their books.

2. Haven Books has their ad sales data and rates posted online HERE.

Angela Hoy is the co-owner of WritersWeekly.com and Booklocker. WritersWeekly.com is the free marketing emag for writers that features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday. Booklocker.com, is rated the top POD Publisher by attorney Mark Levine. Mark’s book, The Fine Print, analyzes the contracts and services of 73 top POD and ebook publishers. Booklocker.com can publish your paperback or hardcover book in 4-6 weeks for only $217.

This article may be reprinted/redistributed freely as long as the entire article and bio are included.

SOURCE

moon

How to market a new book

So you’ve written or illustrated a book/manga. Your job is not done. Yet. In fact, it’s far from over. Why? Coz there’s still that little thing called “convincing people to buy your book” aka marketing. Thanks to Gail Martin for this post!

Believe it or not, before you create a marketing plan for your book, you need to have a business plan. Yes, you will need a business plan for your book.

Why? Because what you want out of your writing career will impact how you market yourself and your book. Remember what we talked about in Chapter One. We discussed how there were different reasons to write a book, and different definitions of success. In order to create a marketing plan that achieves your definition of success, you will need to think about why you’re writing your book, and what you want out of your writing career.

Scenario 1: You’ve always wanted to be a writer. Your stories are alive for you, whether they are fiction or non-fiction. Writing puts you in the “zone” where you feel most alive. You want to share your stories with others. For you, writing and the story itself are the key goal.

Scenario 2: You write as a means to an end. You have subject matter expertise that is in demand, and you have back-end products or services you want to sell. For you, a book is a way to expand your professional credentials, to land bigger and more lucrative publishing and speaking contracts, and to attract more clients to buy more profitable products from you.

Scenario 3: You write about a cause to change the world. Your book could be inspirational, a “how-to” book, or even an expose. You are an advocate first and a writer second. Your book is a way to change hearts and minds and hopefully, policy or individual actions.

Scenario 4: You are passionate about a subject in which you’ve gained expertise, and you want to share that passion with others. Or, you may wish to gain credibility among others who already share your passion. Your book might be a family history or a biography, or perhaps it’s a book about Shakespeare, origami, or re-enacting Revolutionary War battles. You already know it’s not a book for the masses, but you want to be known and respected among your peers, and to contribute to the body of knowledge about your topic.

We have seen four different scenarios with four different goals, and four vastly different marketing plans. All books are not created equal. As you see with the scenarios above, the goal and the intended audience will make a big difference in the type of media you target, the pitch you create, and the coverage you can expect. Your goal and audience also impact your distribution decisions, ultimate income, and business objectives. In addition, they affect the kind of book promotion that is likely to be effective.

Excerpted from The Thrifty Author’s Guide to Launching Your Book Without Losing Your Mind by Gail Z. Martin. Available on Amazon.com and other online retailers, and in select bookstores.

Why Twittering could increase your profile on the web

If you spend your time online as much as I do (cough cough, don’t worry, I do have a life beyond the computer), you would have recognised the word “Twitter”.

No, it’s not some kind of codeword that you have to crack your brains over. It’s simply a website where you inform the world of “what you’re doing”. Amazingly, this concept fired the imagination of many and became quite the runaway success. Just yesterday, I read an article on how Twitter actually put a Singaporean in touch with a local motivational author. She then proceeded to ask the author out for lunch (aka networking).

The beautiful thing is, Twitter puts people in touch with others across the world they would never have the chance to meet via the traditional means. So like for example, you’ve just written a story or done a piece of art you want critique on. Maybe you feel AMWC is a tad too inactive for you so you decide to Twitter about it. Within a day, you could have people reading or scrutinising your work and giving their feedback about it! Cool right. So yup…do all the Twittering you can because…someday, somehow, someone may just spot you through Twitter and who knows? Opportunities galore could be on your plate for the upcoming years. =)

PS: You could find me Twittering here. XDDD

PPS: Twitter is really a treasure chest full of info…you wouldn’t believe the fresh info I get from it. =x

moon

The difference between making a book and selling a book

Nature, Solitude, and MemoryLet me begin by saying two things: a) I made a book because it was something I wanted to do and b) There is a huge difference between making a book and selling a book.

Having said that, let me introduce myself. I am sin (prefer small ‘s’ to capital ‘S”), I consider myself an artist and I have been drawing for many years.

I have always wanted to publish a collection of my own drawings, so one day I brought my entire folio and went to approach a publisher of local art books if I could get my book published. However, they wanted me to produce a long list of things (a proposal, a CV, a foreword amongst other things like digital copies of my drawings). I wouldn’t say they were unreasonable, but two things I did not want in my book were my CV and a foreword by some credible authority. As a result, I decided to use my own money to print my book.

The processes are fairly simple. Firstly, I selected what I considered to be drawings which represent my artistic development over the years and of course these are what I consider the best selection from my folio as well. After that, I sat down at a cafĂ© and asked myself what these drawings are really about, before I came up with the title ‘Nature, Solitude, and Memory’. Once the drawings and title had been decided, I arranged the drawings in a different file according to the page numbers I want them to appear. Then, I started looking online for various printers. I went down to talk to two printers I considered, and eventually settled on Eventus. We talked about costs, design, and choice of papers. At the same time that I was still negotiating with the printers, I emailed NLB for an ISBN. Once these were settled, I told the printer to start printing.

Okay – so after two weeks or thereabouts I had 1000 copies of my very own book, for $5350. I started looking for distributors, but the only one I could find was Asia Book Distributors. Although they did not agree to help me sell my book, they were very nice people. I had to start distributing my books myself and I approached various bookstores. The VivoCity Page One manager also turned down my book, but he was very nice as well. Eventually, I got about seven places to help me sell my book. Among these are Select Books and Cats Socrates. Others include Books Actually, Casual Poet, La Libreria, Black Market, and Post Museum.

Now let’s do a bit of maths.

If you are using your own money to produce your own book, the cost of production is usually quite high, and all bookstores usually ask for at least 35% of your selling price. So suppose my selling price is $10, my cost price is already $5.35 and the bookstores are getting $4, so I earn only $0.65 for every copy sold even though I am selling at 200% of the cost price. Eventually, I priced my book at $16. Yes, it’s a bit high, I know.

So far, I’m sad to confess that not a single stranger has bought my book yet, but from people that I know, I have recouped about $600 back out of the $5350 that I spent. (One was a lecturer who paid $500 for 25 copies of them; I gave him 28 copies if I remember correctly.)

And the difference between making a book and selling a book is this:

Making a book is about doing what you want, not what bookstore owners or consumers want. You would usually lose money rather than make a profit. Selling a book is about what will sell, including everything down to choice of paper, cover, content, thickness etc.

So you decide.

sin

moon’s note: So what are you guys waiting for? Go check out sin’s book! =3

50 more ways to promote your book!

Yoz people, I previously wrote about some ways to promote your book. Well, guess what, I found this article which could help you level-up your game. Go on to read it!

FEATURE ARTICLE

50 Things Under $50 You can Do To Promote Your Book

by Penny Sansevieri

If your book marketing budget is tight (and even if it’s not) you
might want to consider some ideas that are powerful, and won’t cost
you as much as you think. Here are a few to consider!

1) Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as $8.95.

2) Head on over to Blogger.com or WordPress.com and start your very own blog (you can add it to your Web site later).

3) Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore.

4) Write a few articles on your topic and submit them onto the
Internet for syndication.

5) Check out your competition online and see if you can do some networking.

6) Do some radio research and pitch yourself to at least five new stations this week.

7) Ready to get some business cards? Head on over to Vistaprint.com. The cards are free if you let them put their logo on the back.

8 ) Put together your marketing plan.

9) Plan a contest. Contests are a great way to promote your book.

10) Google some topic-related online groups to see if you can
network with them.

11) Send thank you notes to people who have been helpful to you.

12) Send your book out to at least ten book reviewers this week.

13) Do a quick Internet search for writers’ conferences or book
festivals in your area you can attend.

14) Create an email signature for every email you send; email
signatures are a great way to promote your book and message.

15) Put the contents of your Web site: book description, bio, q&a, interviews, on CD to have on hand when the media comes calling!

16) Submit your Web site to the top five directories: Google, MSN, Alexa, Yahoo, and DMOZ.

17) Write a great press release and submit it to free online press
release sites.

18) Write your bio, you’ll need it when you start pitching yourself to the media.

19) Schedule your first book signing.

20) Start your own email newsletter; it’s a great way to keep
readers, friends and family updated and informed on your success.

21) Go over to Yahoo Groups and join some online groups on your topic – it’s great Internet networking!

22) Develop a set of questions that book clubs can use for your
book, and post them on your Web site for handy downloads.

23) Add your book info or URL to your answering machine message.

24) Join Audio Acrobat ($20 a month) and begin recording audio products you can sell on your Web site.

25) See if you can get your friends to host a “book party” in their
home. You come in and discuss your book and voila, a captive
audience!

26) Find some catalogs you think your book would be perfect for and then submit your packet to them for consideration.

27) Go around to your local retailers and see if they’ll carry your book; even if it’s on consignment it might be worth it!

28) Add your book to Google Book Search.

29) Research some authors with similar subjects and then offer to exchange links with them.

30) Is your book good for the My Space market? My Space has
recently started doing book reviews.

31) Write a “So You’d Like To…” article for Amazon.com.

32) Ask friends and family to email five people they know and tell them about your book.

33) Leave your business card, bookmark, or book flyer wherever you go.

34) Are there any book fairs you could participate in? Look them up on the Net!

35) Pitch yourself to your local television stations.

36) Pitch yourself to your local print media.

37) Work on the Q&A for your press kit. You’ll need it when you
start booking media interviews!

38) Pitch Oprah. Go ahead, you know you want to.

39) Is the topic of your book in the news? Check your local paper, and write a letter to the editor to share your expertise (and promote your book!)

40) Stop by your local library and see if you can set up an event, they love local authors.

41) Do you want to get your book into your local library system? Try dropping off a copy to your main library; if they stock it chances are the other branches will too.

42) Go to Chase’s Calendar of Events (www.Chases.com) and find out how to create your own holiday!

43) Going on vacation? Use your away-from-home time to schedule a book event, or two.

44) If your book is appropriate, go to local schools to see if you
can do a reading.

45) Got a book that could be sold in bulk? Start with your local
companies first and see if they’re interested in buying some
promotional copies to give away at company events.

46) Don’t forget to add reviews to your Web site. Remember that what someone else has to say is one thousand times more effective than anything you could say!

47) Trying to meet the press? Search the Net for Press Clubs in
your area, they meet once a month and are a great place to meet the media.

48) Want a celebrity endorsement? Find celebs in your market with an interest in your topic and then for it. Remember all they can say is no.

49) Ready to get some magazine exposure? Why not pitch some
regional and national magazines with your topic or submit a
freelance article for reprint consideration.

50) Work on your next book. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is by promoting your second.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Penny C. Sansevieri is a book marketing and media relations specialist who coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, visit http://www.amarketingexpert.com. To subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: subscribe@booksbypen.com

All rights to this article belong to the author. You can find more of such articles at Writing 101.