Writing a Book for Your Business: Hooks

A reader asked me about writing a book, and getting it published. Her goal is to promote her coaching business; she hopes that her book will give her visibility. It can certainly do that, but if you’re writing a book for your business, you need to ensure that your goals match those of your publisher.

Your goal: to promote your business.

Your publisher’s goal: to sell lots of books.

The bigger the publisher, the more books the company aims to sell. This means that you’ll need a good hook to gain a publisher’s interest. Celebrity books sell (some of them) because they have a built-in hook: the celebrity’s name. The publisher hopes that the celebrity’s fans will buy the book.

The Independent reports in Zoella: Zoe Sugg’s book Girl Online becomes fastest-selling debut novel ever:

The 24-year-old has become an online sensation after creating video blogs with beauty advice, helping her gain more than 9 million subscribers to her two YouTube channels since 2009.

For the publisher, the hook was… 9 million subscribers. They gambled that some of Zoella’s subscribers would buy the book, and the gamble paid off.

You need a hook: find it, before you start writing

What’s a “hook”? Something which gets attention. Check out Amazon’s top nonfiction books of the month. They’ve all got hooks; it’s in the title. Currently, a book called “Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End” is this month’s top seller. That’s not surprising, because we’re all either worried about our own health, or the health of someone close.

Consider this book, “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”: a brilliant hook, right? And so it was. The hook sold the book, until it was exposed as a fake.

When I’m ghostwriting nonfiction, my first step is always to find the hook. It should be your first step too, if you’re writing a book to promote your business, and want to find a publisher. Good luck — it’s an essential first step, and it’s well worth bending your brain to find it. :-)

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial Fiction Bonanza: Get Readers, Get Fans — Make A Solid Income From Your Fiction FAST

Serial fiction has been around since the days of Charles Dickens. Self-publishing authors love it. Discover how to write serials in our new four week class. Coaching is included — you’re not writing alone.

By the end of the program, you’ll have published several episodes of your serial fiction. You’ll also be steadily marketing, while you’re writing and publishing.

Join us: you’ll have a lot of fun, and you’ll boost your fiction writing career.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Earn while you learn, with Angela’s Writing Classes..

Writing Journal 65: You CAN Self-Publish

Writing Journal 65: You CAN Self-Publish

My writing journal for Thursday, October 16, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I woke up early this morning, at 4.30AM, with some clever twists for the mystery novel tumbling through my mind. I created a cluster diagram, then wrote it up, and started my daily stint on the novel a few minutes early. I managed 3,200 words, before I wound down. After yesterday’s dithering, I was pleased that the writing flowed this morning.

Without any doubt, this is one of the easiest novels I’ve ever written. Hmmm… the universe might be trying to tell me something.

An aside to the universe… if you want me to write mysteries, PLEASE drop an intriguing sleuth into my brain. I’ve been rereading Phil Rickman lately. I’d love to be gifted with a sleuth like Merrily Watkins.

Onward with the two nonfiction books. I forced myself to work solely on the ebook, rather than the print book, and achieved 1,800 words.

Breakfast. It’s cold this morning, so Honey limped a little. I hope her arthritis will improve as the weather warms up.

I ate my toast while reading and responding to email messages from clients and students. I make notes for Julia to type up.

More work on my new website

Progress on the new website. I’ve got some lovely goodies lined up for readers. More on that soon.

Next, some on-going copywriting for a couple of retainer clients.

A short interruption, while I go for my walk. The storms of the night before last don’t seem to have done any major damage; we were lucky.

You CAN Self-Publish

I had lunch while reading social media, and found this gem from Hugh Howey, Group Hug.

Had to snicker at this one:

3) It will end your writing career if you self-publish.

Actually, it’s just as likely to start your writing career. A friend of mine just sold his self-published book to a Big 5 publisher for several hundred thousand dollars. It may have been true at one time that publishers only looked at material if it had never been published anywhere else before, but that was laid to rest a long time ago. The stigma is gone within publishing houses. 50 Shades of Grey selling a bazillion copies changed all that.

Yes, it’s fascinating that all the “you’ll be ruined!” screams about self-publishing have died down. Now the screamers just bash Amazon. (Sigh.)

Of COURSE you can self-publish. You can do whatever you please. And take it from me, if you knew how frustrating it is to deal with middle-people like agents and editors, you’d run away screaming from anyone who offered you a traditional publishing contract.

Self-publishing gives you freedom, above all. Yes, it can be scary, and yes, you’ll make mistakes. However, at least you’re not paying for others’ mistakes. Once you sign away your rights in a piece of writing you can’t easily get them back.

Blogging…

Next, blogging. I need to organize content for clients’ blogs, and do some research. That takes several hours.

Finally, I have a few minutes to check how many draft posts I have on my own blogs. I need to write more draft posts, so I’ll do that tonight.

It’s after 4PM, which means that I need to catch up on phone calls and email messages.

The bullet journal Kickstarter campaign was a roaring success

The campaign raised over $79,000.

I started using the bullet journal system on September 18, so I’ve been using it for just on a month. Why, oh why didn’t I start using it earlier? It combines perfectly with Evernote and Things, and makes it wonderfully easy to track goals. I love it; I decorate my pages with stickers and Washi tape, so I can see how close I am to a goal at a glance.

Your bullet journal can make it hard NOT to do things, because those items you’ve migrated keep staring it you. It’s easier to do them, than it is to keep looking at what you’re avoiding. Fun.

With all my calls returned, I do my daily review. It’s the end of another writing day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 32: Promoting with Ebooks

Writing Journal 32: Promoting with Ebooks

My writing journal for Saturday, September 13, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Happy days. I made a huge push, and got the final words done on both the nonfiction book with 2,500 words, and the novella, with 1,300 words. Basically, it was just a dash to the finish line. Lots of holes in both books, but that’s OK. At least I have a first draft. No matter how many books you write, each and every one is different, and the challenges are different.

Until you get your first draft done, there’s always a niggling doubt that something will go horrendously wrong, and the book will drive itself off a cliff.

I’m pleased I got that out of the way. It’s Saturday, so it’s a short writing day.

At the moment, my current projects include: blogging, the company history ghostwriting project, and the freebie ebook I’m writing for a client.

Ebooks to promote your business: create your marketing plan first

Here’s a tip for marketing with ebooks.

Although freebie ebooks aren’t the marketing goldmine they used to be, they’re still highly useful. If you’re using them, create your marketing plan first. Start by setting goals: what do you hope to achieve? Who’s your target market? How will you promote your freebie? How will you schedule promotions? Creating a plan first saves time. It also ensure that you’ll get the results you want.

Honey’s ready for her breakfast, so I make my own at the same time. I eat my toast while skimming through email. I’ve got to respond to important messages now, because I have a couple of student coaching calls tonight.

Time for my walk. This week, I’ve had a couple of days when I didn’t walk, and I feel guilty about that. When Honey was younger, she forced me to walk. She’d sit staring up at me reproachfully when “walk” time arrived. If I spent longer than ten minutes finishing up some work, she’d get progressively more reproachful.

I spend a couple of timer sessions on each project. I’m tempted to spend more time blogging (blogging’s always my favorite project), but I resist, so I can do a little more on the company history. Then I create a couple of cluster diagrams for the ebook, and spend ten minutes on research.

Enough. Time for lunch, and my Saturday errands.

Back again: coaching calls

I got back way too late, but it was fun. Now it’s time to prepare for the coaching calls.

My daily review is done, as is my weekly review. My word counts are good. Now for the calls, and then the writing day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 10: Fiction, Copywriting, and Nonfiction Review

Writing Journal 10: Fiction, Copywriting, and Nonfiction Review

My writing journal for Thursday, August 21, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Fiction: fourth novella started

Early morning start with fiction. Time to begin the new novella. I’d already outlined this novella, but I came up with a fresh idea. So I did an initial cluster diagram for the people and the plot.

It’s a fun and exciting plot, and I adore the main characters. Wrote 600 words; just planning material. Outlined the first scene. It made me laugh out loud when I when I was outlining it, so I’m looking forward to writing it.

I made good use of The Writer’s Digest Character Naming Sourcebook by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I have the hardcover first edition, published in 1994. It went out of print a few years after that, and second-hand copies were selling for hundreds of dollars. That must have inspired the publisher to bring out a second edition; it’s an excellent reference, highly recommended.

Looking for a nonfiction book idea?

If you’re looking for a good nonfiction book idea, here you go: create a character naming book for fiction writers. Not merely lists of names, but also chapters on how to name your characters in various genres.

I did an Amazon search, while there are few reference books on naming characters, genre-specific character naming books should sell well. I’d buy one on naming characters in the various romance genres, for sure.

Since I’ve got a busy couple of days, I’ll save reading and editing the LONG third novella I completed yesterday until the weekend.

I need to get going on this new book. I’ve already second-guessed myself by discarding my first outline. So I want to get it well underway, in case I change my mind again. I also need to get a little distance from third book, so I can see where the holes are.

No time for the nonfiction book this morning. I need to complete a couple of client copywriting projects. I’d hoped to do them yesterday afternoon, but I got back too late.

First one: client’s okayed the sales letter I sent him for review, so I need to write a couple of email messages for him to send to his list.

Second: write some calls to action for a client’s newsletter, plus edit the newsletter so that Julia can format it and send it to the client.

A quick pause to give Honey her breakfast, and have my own.

Then back to the office.

Authentic writing — program page completed, and online

Authentic Writing: Develop Your Writer’s Voice, And Sell

I completed the program page for Authentic Writing: Develop Your Writer’s Voice, And Sell  — it’s now online.

I’m hugely excited about this new program. My coaching students are getting results with the process, and the beta testers did amazingly well with it.

Then, on to email from clients, and students.

I need to return lots of calls since I was out at the on-site yesterday, so that’s next.

A busy morning. I need to clear my mind, so I’m off for a walk… No, I’m not. It’s raining again. Sigh… I’ll go this afternoon. I play some music to clear my mind, and do a cluster diagram of the MUST DO tasks for the day. A couple of ebooks are back from editing, so they take priority.

Next, audios for my coaching students

I enjoy creating videos, but they can be a bear for people to download if they don’t have a reliable connection, or if they’re using a phone or tablet.

After many requests, I’m creating more audios. Audio files are smaller, and as useful as videos, if the accompanying material is outlined in steps.

It’s time to run some errands, and then lunch.

Final review and edits on two ebooks

My editor’s sent her edits on two nonfiction books. She said they’re clean. Just some fact checking, and more explanatory paragraphs needed in some chapters. I want to get them done. Then I can send them off to the beta readers and the client. I’ll need to spend the next few hours on it.

Some writers hate editing. I enjoy it. My only challenge is to stop myself from writing more. I return a phone call. Then I turn on Spotify and dive in.

More phone calls, so I can catch people before they go home for the day. Then back to the edits.

Finally done. I managed to complete a couple of small copywriting projects too, so a very good day.

Oh woe – I never did go for my walk. The horror… Silver lining: at least I got the work done.

Daily review done; word counts done… done for the day. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.