Posts Tagged ‘book title’

The publication of your first book marks a milestone in your life and in your career. You’ll probably never forget the excitement you felt when the first box of books arrived and you reached in and could hold your book in your hand.

Hold that thought! Because your feeling of joy and satisfaction will soon be followed by the question, What am I going to do next?

Where’s the second act?

At some point, your agent, clients, friends, and publisher are going to ask you, What are you going to write next? It’s not an easy question to answer, here are some of the things you should be thinking about:

  1. Write or market? Should you devote more time to marketing your current book, or should you move on to new projects?
  2. Topic. Are you going to write about the same topic, or a different topic?
  3. Format. Will you write another book, or will your follow-up project be an audio, video project?
  4. Distribution. Are you going to self-publish your next project, continue with your current publisher, or seek another publisher?

Some of the answers to these, and other, questions may be beyond your control. Depending on your agent’s, or your, savvy, your current publishing contract may limit your options. Unless the dreaded “Right of first refusal” clause was deleted from your contract, for example, you may be limited in your publishing options.

Likewise, if you don’t have clear copyright ownership of your book title, or, at least, the key words in it, you may not be able to take the title elsewhere or use it for creating your own back-end events, products, and services.

Your book’s sales also make a difference. The sales of your book will influence your desirability and bargaining power with your current publisher and your reception at other publishers.

Is your title expandable?

Most important, Were you looking to the future when you chose the title for your first book? Did you choose an accurate, distinct, and memorable title that you can expand into a series of books? Was the core idea of your first book so specific that it won’t survive the test of time? Or, did you choose a title that describes a condition that will be around a long time?

The ideal book titles balance brand and specificity.

  • Narrow book titles, like How to Get Rid of the Water In Your Basement, doesn’t provide many opportunities to build your brand. These titles are so literal that there is nothing to remember.
  • Branded titles, however, emphasize an attitude, approach, or perspective, such as the 5-Thumbed Homeowner’s Guide to Getting Rid of Water in Your Basement. Now, using a title formula, you can do what Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing series, the …for Dummies series, or Robert Kyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad series, did and create a series of best-sellers that can be added to over the next 20 years!

When you’ve chosen a branded title, you can create a series of 5-Thumbed Homeowner Guides to building outdoor patios, renovating bathrooms, or converting a spare bedroom into a home office!

Should you re-invent the wheel?

Thus, when selecting topics for follow-up books, avoid the temptation to reinvent the wheel. Instead, look for ways you can build on the brand you began with your first book or e-book.

The following are some topic ideas you can use when choosing a topic for your follow-up book:

  1. Go deeper and narrower. In your follow-up book, you can explore a particular aspect of the process described in your original book, going into greater detail than you did in your original book. Often, a topic that you covered in a single chapter of your original book- -or, even- -just part of a chapter, can form the basis for your next book.
  2. Different formats, different prices. In contrast to going deeper, you might explore ways to write a less expensive version of your original book, perhaps one designed to appeal to newcomers to your field. If your first book was an expensive Handbook, for example, your follow-up book can be a Weekend Guide. By offering a lite version of your original book, you can appeal to a particularly price sensitive market.
  3. Narrower market focus. Another alternative is to narrow your focus, and focus your next book on a particular market segment. If your first book introduced 10 ideas or tools, for example, for online marketing, your follow-up books could apply the ideas or tools to particular business categories or occupations. A series of books on home maintenance, for example, could be created targeting different geographic areas, i.e., cold climates, warm climates, humid coastal locations, etc. Jay’s Guerrilla Marketing series, for example, has been adapted for financial planners, non-profits, performers, and writers. There are also versions targeting techniques, like online marketing.
  4. More helpful. Even if your original book contained exercises and questions intended to help readers apply your ideas to their specific situations, there’s usually room for improvement. In this case, consider offering a workbook containing worksheets and planning sheets readers can use in conjunction with your original book.
  5. Case studies and profiles. One of the best ways to return to the theme of your original book is to describe the experiences of readers who read your book and followed your advice. Undoubtedly, new ideas and perspectives will emerge as you interview your original readers, which will add interest to the follow-up book.
  6. Updates. New challenges, opportunities, technologies, and trends are constantly appearing, and new case studies are likely to emerge. In some situations, there are opportunities for yearly updates. In other cases, however, you can wait for new tools to establish themselves before writing a book describing their impact on your field.

The importance of planning ahead

Planning has been a constant at every step in this Author’s Journey (see previous installments in the Author’s Journey series). Whether you’re picking a topic, analyzing the competition, creating a table of contents, or setting up a blog, you start with a plan. Serendipity will always present itself, but it’s essential that you look to the future when planning, writing, marketing, and profiting from a book.

In this segment of my Author Journey series series, I’d like to encourage you to speak your way to book publishing success by speaking about your book at every opportunity.

Speaking is one of the best ways you can promote your book while planning and writing it. It creates a special bond with your audience, paving the way for book sales and lasting relationships.

Speaking builds anticipation for your book’s publication. Whether your audience is a local chamber of commerce or a networking group, or a convention, speaking provides you with immediate feedback about your book’s title and contents.

Each speech also provides you with a deadline to prepare or refine your message and an opportunity to build anticipation for your book by promoting your speech.

As often is the case, of course, you may benefit more from the speech than those in the audience. Each time you speak, for example, you become more comfortable as a speaker and your delivery is likely to improve. Each time you speak, you’ll probably identify rough spots- -awkward words and phrases- -that you can replace with shorter, easier to say words and phrases.

And, don’t forget what you’ll learn from the audience’s questions! One relevant, unexpected question can provide you with a fresh perspective or open up new avenues for you to explore in your book, or your next book.

What should you talk about?

Your speeches should revolve around your book, approached from different perspectives. Options include:

  • Testing the content waters. Previewing the topic, and approach, you’re taking in your book and testing the ideas developed in different chapters. You could prepare one “generic” speech introducing your book, plus a couple of other speeches focused on individual chapters.
  • The writing experience. Many of the people in the audience may be envious of your position at the podium in front of the room; they’re likely to never write a book themselves. You can tap into their vicarious identification with you by sharing your perspective on what it’s like to want to write and actually act on the impulse.
  • Reflections on your book. If your book has already appeared, your speeches, or a portion of them, can discuss what reviewers and readers have said about your book, sparking dialog and questions, plus providing a compelling reason for attendees to buy their own copy of your book so they can comment and join the dialog.
  • Updated information. After your book has appeared, your speeches can provide you with an opportunity to describe new information, interpretation, and trends, that have occurred after your book’s publication.

To help you prepare your speeches, for a limited time, I’ve added a copy of my Author Speech Planning Worksheet to the other resources on my Active Garage Resource Page for you to download and print.

Use the worksheet to plan your speech around your audience’s goals and needs, and keep your speeches as simple as possible. The shorter your speech, the more time there will be for audience comments and questions.

Making the most of your speeches

Here are some of the ways you can leverage your speeches into book sales and marketing funnel profits:

  • Introduction. Always prepare you own introduction; don’t depend on someone else to know what to say when they’re introducing you. An inappropriate or inaccurate introduction can launch your speech on an awkward, confidence-destroying note. Prepare your own brief, 2 or 3 paragraph introduction, and e-mail it to the event organizer ahead of time. BUT, in addition, bring along a printed copy of your introduction.
  • Networking. One of the best ways you can leverage speeches into a book sales is to circulate before your speech, introducing yourself to members of the audience. A little mingling goes a long way, helping you find out what the audience members you meet are looking for in your speech. In addition, pre-speech mingling builds comfort and familiarity that will pay big dividends when- -during your speech- -you look someone in the eye, they’re likely to smile or nod encouragingly.
  • Handouts. Always prepare and distribute handouts; you never know who will be in the audience. Your handouts can be as simple as an outline of your speech, FAQ-type questions and answers about your topic, or a brief backgrounder about you and your writing project. Your handouts can also be thumbnails of presentation visuals, if you’re using them, or relevant resources, like reprints of articles, blog posts, or a list of appropriate websites. Always conclude with a one-sheet describing your book with URL links to your blog or your book’s description on Amazon.com.
  • Landing page. Consider preparing a special landing page for each major speech, or topic that you frequently address. A landing page is a special page of your blog or website that doesn’t appear in your site’s navigation. Create a special, easy to say and spell, custom TinyUrl link to the landing page, i.e., http://tinyurl.com/DoverChamber. Use the landing page to access bonus content not available elsewhere on your site. In addition, build your list by inviting attendees to receive sample chapters of your book as you’re writing it.
  • Pre-publication offers and advance sales. Create a promotion, perhaps in concert with your marketing partners, offering special incentives to those who order your book at Amazon.com before it is published.
  • Press and media. When appropriate, post a draft of your speech in your site’s press, or media, center, along with your photograph and a photograph of your book’s front cover. Make it as easy as possible for your hosts to promote your speech and leverage your words after the speech.

Video

Whenever possible, arrange to have your speech recorded in both audio and video. (Always check with your hosts, of course, to make sure this is appropriate.)

Even if you don’t use the recording on your website, you’ll benefit from seeing and hearing yourself from the audience’s point of view.

But- -more important- -remember that videos don’t have to be long to be effective. A 20 or 30-second highlight from your speech is all that’s needed to add excitement to your website and generate more speaking invitations by presenting you as an experienced speaker.

Are you using speaking to sell more books?

Although few claim to enjoy, or look forward, to opportunities to speak, the reality is that speaking is one of the best ways to ensure the success of your book; speaking helps you plan and write a better book while building anticipation for your book’s publication. Speak about your book at every opportunity, and leverage each speaking opportunity to the maximum. How often do you speak about your book? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned? What’s keeping you from speaking more often? Share your experiences as comments, below!