Overcoming Loneliness

A child watches as a mother cuddles her daughter in their play together. A teenage girl walks alone past a group of peers as they laugh and talk together. A young man lays aside his values to become part of a crowd. A single mom flips the pages of a magazine as she watches couples strolling through the park. An elderly man picks a daisy and ponders the hole left in his heart by the loss of his dear wife. Loneliness is a world-wide epidemic.There is loneliness and then there is pathological loneliness. We all experience loneliness at times throughout our lives when there is a loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, or your child moves away to start his own life. But pathological loneliness is like a bottomless pit. Once the emptiness takes hold it seems almost impossible to fill up with love. Like a leaky cup losing water; the hole in the sufferer’s heart never seems to heal. No matter how many people reach out to help, love-hunger continues to gnaw away at the person whenever he or she is alone. This kind of emptiness is most often caused from deep emotional wounds which have been inflicted in childhood.


When children do not receive sufficient affection and affirmation they find themselves lacking in self-esteem, confidence, and purpose as they grow. They often flounder in their social skills, education, and mental stability. They have difficulty receiving God’s love and question His care for them. All of which leaves them wanting and lonely.Although for these individuals, a deep intimate relationship with the Creator of the Universe seems impossible, the best means of healing a lonely heart is developing a close relationship with your Heavenly Father. He knows how to fill all the cracks and crevices where loneliness lurks. He promises He will never leave you or abandon you. Christian counseling may also be a necessity to get to the root causes and bring about mental and emotional healing.There is much you can do to help yourself move out of your isolation and build new friendships that can be both stimulating and fulfilling.Here are some ways to overcome loneliness:• Recognize what it is that causes your lonely feelings.• Identify the effects that loneliness has on your life, both physically and mentally.• Make a list of potential adjustments that can be brought about in yourself and your activities to allow more social interaction.• Seek out individuals who share similar attitudes, interests, and values with you.


• Develop new friendships by joining small groups such as a Bible Study, book club or walking group.• Volunteer to sit on a committee or look for options to serve in your community. These opportunities are both rewarding and beneficial to your emotional health as you meet people and cultivate new friendships and social interactions.• Learn to see yourself as God sees you. You were created with unique gifts, talents and personality traits which will be a blessing others.Loneliness can be overcome; however you will need to make a conscious effort on your part to make a change in your daily routines. Making the effort to alter the way you see social activities, friendships and yourself can eventually make you happier and healthier. You will surprise yourself in how you positively impact others around you.

Strategies To Position Yourself As An Expert, Create Wealth And Fame Through Book Writing

Introduction
Books represent one of the most lucrative products you can develop to position yourself as an expert both on and offline, more so, online. Your book can get to the White House, Kremlin or Buckingham Palace, some of the most secured places in the planet, which you may not be able to get to. But a book is a low value product, selling at about $10 to $20 so you need to sell thousands of books to really make money. Here I’m talking about really good books, well researched and written with a good storyline. An average book rarely sells more than a few thousand copies so you need to put in your best effort to ensure your book makes it to the best seller list. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.

There are many schools of thought on how one should approach the issue of book writing. Should you write a book after you have achieved fame or write a book to achieve fame? I believe it’s an egg and chicken story. I strongly believe any person who has a story to tell should write a book to bring his or her story alive. Fame is secondary but it may as well follow if you pursue the right strategies before, during and after your book is published.

A book should be at the centre of your strategy to becoming an expert. With your book, you can launch courses, mount seminars, join the speaking circuit as a motivational speaker, turn your book into a film, turn it into several formats like eBook, and audio book. So writing a book is very pivotal to your quest to building an expert empire. Indeed the easiest, fastest and boldest way to position yourself as an expert is to write a book. If you look closely, the fame legendary personalities such as Tom Peters, Simon Sinek, and Peter Diamandis, to mention just three, have achieved was aided by their books. Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence (written with Bob Waterman) propelled him to stardom. So did Start With Why and Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Simon Sinek and Peter Diamandis respectively.

Why You Should Write a Book
As I indicated above, you don’t write a book to achieve fame. If you do it well, fame will come. You write a book to share a compelling message. John Kremer is a well known authority in the book business. He is the author of the best-selling book, 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. Here are his top 10 reasons why you should write a book:
1. Become an expert
2. Support a cause
3. Share a message
4. Change lives
5. Attract better customers
6. Build your list
7. Establish an institute
8. Build a tribe
9. Create wealth
10. Sell rights

There is no feeling more exhilarating than stumbling on the world’s most iconic airports, libraries, shops and websites and finding your book displayed alongside those of the planet’s most revered authors like Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferriss. Books capture our imagination. Emily Dickinson said “there is no frigate like a book”, and an unknown author said, “if you drop a book and three pounds of gold, pick the book first before the gold”, while Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “of all the things in this world, only two will have the greatest impact on your life, the books you read, and the people you meet.” Nothing else comes close to giving you inner peace and satisfaction that exceeds all understanding than a book. So get up and start writing your first book.

Writing Your Book
A book is basically a story about yourself, others, events, phenomena, situations and the like that you pick up the threads and convey to others in the most poignant way that instructs, informs, motivates, inspires, entertains and educates. A book is at the intersection of ideas, information and knowledge packaged as a story. You package your story by exploring questions such as the following, first suggested by Brendon Burchard, the best-selling author of several books, including The Charge, Life Golden Tickets, and The Millionaire Messenger:
• Who are you and what have you been through in life that others can relate to in their own life?”
• What have you overcome and how?
• What did you figure out along the way?
• What did you succeed at-what results did you get?
• What are you going to teach me that I can apply now to make my life better?

Arising from the above questions, Brendon suggests asking secondary questions that will enable you flesh out your ideas, such as:
• A story of struggle from my past that my audience might relate to is…
• Something I have overcome in my life that others might find inspiring or feel a connection with is…
• The main lessons I have learned from my journey include…
• Accomplishments and affiliations I have in my life that help further my credibility include…
• Lessons I can teach people that will help them in my topic area and their life situation include…

Your Keys to Success
John Locke, who sold 1 million eBooks within five months and then wrote a book about it suggests the following:
1. Have a plan
2. Know your target audience
3. Take a business approach
4. Use the right tools and use them properly

The Three Ps That Bring Your Plan Alive
According to Brendon Burchard, one of the top 100 most followed online trainers on Facebook, you need the following – without going into details:
• Positioning
• Packaging
• Promotion

Three Cs That Show You Are Out There Only For Your Audience
Brendon further recommends the following, again without going into details:
• Care
• Compassion
• Consistency

The Six Simple Steps to Writing Your Book
In my interaction with friends, BWC (Book Writing Clinic – which I founded) alumni members and a host of others, the top question that usually crops up is “where do I start?” Briefly you can follow this seven-step sequence:
• Step 1: Decide What You Wish To Write About
• Step 2: Decide The Title & Sub-title of your Book
• Step 3: Decide The Content
• Step 4: Research Your Book
• Step 5: Decide Who Will Write The Book
• Step 6: Write, Proof Read & Edit Your Book
• Step 7: Publish & Release Your Book To The World

The Six Sections of a Typical Book
A typical book will have the following sections but note that nothing is caste on stone:
1. Acknowledgement
2. Introduction
3. Foreword
4. Preface
5. Contents
6. Index

Six Simple Steps to Structuring the Book or the main contents
According to information from BWC alumni members, this is the section most would be authors struggle the most with. Indeed, other than a book, you can use this approach for any product. If you’re a beginner, it requires limiting your book to five or seven chapters. This is how it’s done. Pick a notebook and divide it into five or seven sections (corresponding to the number of chapters you wish to write) and write the section or chapter headings and then follow that up with the five points you wish to make per chapter. Then begin writing. As a beginner, it’s important you don’t stretch beyond five major points per chapter to avoid repeating yourself. If you follow the sequence above, your notebook will look something like this:
Chapter 1: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 2: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 3: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 4: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 5: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.

The Three-Step Formula To Writing Each Chapter and sub-headings
This is nothing more than the basic tool we use in every conceivable endeavour to generate ideas, which goes by the fearful name brainstorming. Brainstorming is a simple process for thinking about, listing ideas and grouping similar ideas together into buckets. This is how it is done:

Step 1: Draw a circle and write the main idea you wish to brainstorm on in the center of the circle, example, “how to cook mouthwatering coconut rice.”

Step 2: Write or list everything you know about coconut rice, with each idea sticking out from the circumference of the circle as legs. For coconut rice for instance, it will include rice, coconut, fish, and so on.

Step 3: Start brainstorming.

In reality, 5 – 7 people should participate in a typical brainstorming exercise. Follow brainstorming rules, which I suppose you know. If you don’t know read it up. Typically, avoid criticizing any idea, just keep bringing out the ideas no matter how outlandish. At this point we are looking at quantity, not the quality of ideas. The rule is, the more the ideas the better. After you have exhausted all the ideas, start eliminating repeated, unworkable and impracticable ideas, and then group related ideas into buckets. With your brainstormed ideas at hand, you’re ready to write your first book.

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Becoming an Expert Author
Book writing is a creative endeavour so the tendency as a beginner is to start doubting yourself. You start asking, what credentials do I have? You start fearing that people will laugh at you when your book comes at. My advice is to think of the opposites. Think of the applause you’ll get. Think of the new opportunities that will open up for you. Brendon Burchard, the founder of the now defunct Expert Industry Association, has the following advice for new writers trying to hammer out their first book. He says, don’t:
1. Let your inner critic take over.
2. Fail to keep your readers engaged.
3. Write and edit at the same time.
4. Forget to track your results.
5. Add too much irrelevant details.
6. Publish before you’re ready.
7. Stop learning when you know enough.

The Fastest Way to Get Your Book Published
As a beginner, your chances of landing an agent and getting you book published by one of the top three global publishers are slim. However, you can enlist Amazon’s vast resources to release your book to a global audience by using one or all of the following:
• Amazon Create Space (for physical books)
• Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) (for eBooks)
• Amazon ACX (for audio books)

Publish on Demand Service Providers Other Than Amazon
Other than Amazon, the following independent publishers will gladly publish your book for as low as $500 depending on the contract you choose:
• Author House
• Greenleaf Book Group Press
• Telemachus Press
• Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
• Trafford

Formats to Consider Other Than the Physical Book
To gain enough traction, you need to publish your book in a format that people can access anywhere in the world. Without going into details, here are the main formats:
• PDF
• Epub
• Mobi (Kindle)
• Audio Books
• Book Turned Into A Movie

Pricing Your Book
Pricing is one of the most difficult and tricky aspects of selling books. Book prices range from 99cents for eBooks to $25 for hard covers, with the average for paper backs being about $10. While the default price for Amazon eBooks is $2.99, on your website you can sell at any price, indeed, for as low as 99cents. As a self published author you control how you price your book but as a general rule of thumb, the cheaper your book, the more you’ll sell. Unless you have deep pockets and a huge marketing machinery to engage in massive promotion, my best advice is to price your book at a single digit.

Platforms to Market Your Book
Here are the platforms in order of accessibility and control for selling eBooks and audio books:
• Your website
• Amazon
• Audible
• Lulu
• Indie Books
• Goodreads
• CD Baby
• Sound Cloud
• iTunes

Your Book Marketing Strategies
If you recall, under the keys to success, we quoted John Locke as recommending, have a plan, know your target audience, take a business approach and use the right tools and use them properly. We also mentioned the three Ps that bring your plan alive as positioning, packaging and promotion. If you did you job well at the beginning, you’ll reap bountiful dividends. Your blog and your website should be the command posts or home bases to bring your book marketing strategies alive. The subsidiary channels will be your Facebook Page, Twitter Handle, LinkedIn Page, YouTube and Vimeo channels. All the channels should work to drive prospects to your website to buy your book and position you as an authority and an expert in your own neck of the wood.

Jeremy Jones in a blog post “How to Write and Publish a Book to Become a Bestselling Author in Less than 30 Days”, wrote, “Writing a book is the most powerful way imaginable to market and promote yourself. The big picture is that you can rapidly create content and be seen, read, and heard on any Internet-capable device anywhere in the world and be promoted by the biggest brands in the world, namely iTunes, Amazon, and Google.” Jeremy suggests:
1. Create your content only once by answering questions in the form of a livecast.
2. Capture the video and promote it through Google Hangouts or YouTube Live.
3. Take the same content and repurpose it into a podcast and post it on iTunes.
4. Take the same content and convert it into a book cast.

Conclusion
Start writing to impact the world. Tell the world your story today, tomorrow may be too late. What I have said may seem daunting for a beginner but it’s not. That’s why you need help. The specific or exact steps to execute the strategies and ideas I have highlighted are sadly outside the scope of this article. If you wish to learn more, enlist in my Expert Empire Program, Book Writing Clinic or book a direct coaching session with me and you will be on your way to writing your first book, which may become a New York Times best-seller. You will never know until you take the first bold step to write your book. Paul Sweeney once said, “you know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”

Book Promotion and Marketing

Books do not market themselves, nor do agents and publishers do all the work for you if you’ve gone that route. And if you’re a self-published author, that means most or all of the burden of marketing falls upon your shoulders.

This article talks about methods you can use to promote your book. One thing I want to point out is that it’s difficult to determine which methods pay off even after you’ve made them. Sometimes book sales can happen as a result of a combination of two or more different methods, and even after the fact, you may not know which methods played a role.

Most of these approaches are free, except for your time, so I say, try as many of them as you can.

MARKETING PLAN
It is advisable to have a marketing plan before you start, even if it’s a simple plan that evolves over time. Consider the following elements:

• Set goals for yourself — establish a number for the number of books you want to sell, earnings, number of books written, number of author interviews you do, number of guest blogs you participate in, Amazon ranking, number of hits on your website, number of Facebook “likes,” number of articles you write, and number of positive reviews you get.

• Know your target audience. What age are your potential readers? What gender? Are they likely to be from a specific geographic location? Do they have special interests?

• Know your competition. Find books similar to yours and read their reviews. See what others like about their books. Check out the author’s Amazon author page, their website, and their blog. See where their books are priced. Learn everything you can about your competition. Learn from their successes and their failures.

• Prepare a budget. There are lots of free resources out there, but it is unlikely you will be able to publish a book at no cost whatsoever. Consider these potential costs:

o Editing
o Proofreading
o Cover design
o Formatting
o Printing
o Distribution
o Advertising

• Think about your brand as you act upon your marketing plan. For authors, your brand is your name. Think about what you want people to say about you, and then behave accordingly. Be consistent within your website, blog, author profile, on-line discussion groups, and interviews. As Warren Buffet once said, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

• And finally, track the results and revise your marketing plan as needed.

MEDIA KIT
Always have a media kit available to send to the media when asked or to hand out at book signings, speaking engagements, conferences, and any other place where there is potential for self-promotion. At a minimum, include the following:

• Book summary
• Press release
• Select book reviews
• Author bio and headshot
• Image of book cover
• Where to buy the book
• Author contact information

CREATE A GOOD PRODUCT
I almost hesitate to include this on the list, but more than once I have been asked to review a fellow author’s manuscript or published book, and it violates every writing rule on the books and/or it contains typos. At the very least, I recommend investing in a professional proofreader.

WEBSITE
It is essential for authors to have a website, and for those of you who have never created one, or think you don’t have the skills to create one, think again. It’s not that hard. I used Yahoo Site Solution to create mine, but there are numerous others available. Just Google “free website design” and you’ll see tons of site design tools for free. If you truly can’t handle designing your own website, or don’t have the time, you can always hire it done. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $1,000 for a very basic site.

Before creating your website, you’ll have to get yourself a domain name. Domain registration is cheap and easy. I used Namecheap, but there are many others available. Most web hosts offer domain registration as well. Put thought into the name. There are tips for choosing a good domain name on the Internet such as you’ll find on thesitewizrd.com.

You’ll also need a web host in order to post your website on the Internet. I used Yahoo, but there are numerous others. My advice is to find one that offers 24/7 tech support. Some are better than others.

Things to include on your website are:

• A “Home” page that welcomes people to your site and gives them an overview of what’s inside
• Your bio, including a photo of yourself
• Your contact information
• A synopsis of your book and cover of your book if published
• Testimonials
• Links to other sites you think may be on interest to your audience
• Some sort of “freebie” whether a sample of your work, writing advice, sharing your expertise, links to related sites, etc.
• Where to buy your book
• The right keywords in the page titles, tags, and contents of your page

Promote your website as often as you can. Include the URL on your business cards and stationery (if you use stationery, and if you’re under 25, if you even know what stationery is). Include the URL as part of your bio. Put it in your e-mail signature block. Whenever you give someone your contact information, include your website URL.

BLOG
You have to blog nowadays. (If you’re reading this article from my website, and you’ve checked out my photo, you know this statement didn’t exactly roll off my tongue.) In my day… well, never mind. Today people blog. They read blogs, and they follow blogs. Blog, blog, blog.

It’s relatively easy to create a blog. There are numerous blog templates to choose from. I chose WordPress. It’s easy to use and it’s clean. For me, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered blog where you have to sift through a lot of erroneous stuff looking for what’s meaningful to you. Another pet peeve I have is to see typos in blogs. Blogs should be well thought out and proofread. Otherwise, you may lose credibility with your audience.

Most bloggers aren’t going to spend time reading or following a blog that doesn’t interest them, so the lesson here is to create material that is of interest to those who you want as followers. Sounds like a simple concept, but it really isn’t. It takes a lot of thought to get it right. Focus on providing your readers with free worthwhile informational content, even if it means commenting on other peoples’ blogs or directing them to other sites. It’s okay to have fun, too. Don’t be afraid to do something a little crazy once in awhile.

People love freebies, and free eBooks are a great giveaway since they don’t cost you anything.

Conducting polls can generate great discussion on your blog. I’ve seen authors post things like “Choose which cover you like best,” “Tell us about your all-time favorite character in a book,” and “What makes you keep turning the pages?” You might learn something very valuable in the process.

It’s one thing to create and maintain a meaningful blog, but it’s quite another thing to draw people to it and then become your followers. Including the right keywords will help. Asking questions can also result in some lively discussions and keep viewers coming back. I saw on one person’s blog, “Make me smile today… leave a comment or question.”

Don’t forget to include other links on your blog. Make it easy for readers to see what else you have to offer, including the link to buy your books.

Blog sites need to be consistently updated with new material. Once to twice weekly appears to be an acceptable frequency. Too few posts and you’ll appear stale. Too many may cause an overdose for your audience.

Remember, promoting your books should be secondary on your blog. If you do a good job with the rest of it, book sales will follow.

Like websites, blogs take time to catch on. Don’t get discouraged the first year.

AMAZON.COM AUTHOR PAGE
If your book is available on amazon.com (and if it isn’t, you’re missing out), it behooves you to create an Amazon author page where you can include your bio, photo, a link to your website, blog and twitter page, events, and videos.

SIGNATURE BLOCK
Be sure to include all your links in your e-mail and stationery signature blocks.

BOOKMARKS (not the electronic kind)
Bookmarks are an inexpensive way to promote your books. Include on your bookmarks a copy of your book cover, a synopsis, your bio and all your web links. Carry them with you wherever you go and give them away like you would a business card. Pin them to community bulletin boards. Always include one in books you give away. Ask your dentist, hairdresser, or dry cleaners if you can leave a supply in their reception area.

ON-LINE DISCUSSION GROUPS
There are numerous online discussion groups you can join to get advice, give advice, and network with authors, editors, book reviewers and publishers. Three of the most popular venues for discussion groups are Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads (see more discussion on each of these down the page). Become an active participant in discussions–the more you interact with fellow members, the more you learn and the more exposure you’ll get for your books. Look for successful authors in these groups who have great web pages and/or blogs you can follow and learn from them.

Many groups have separate areas of the site that will allow you to post information about your book. Use these to promote your book, but don’t forget to provide feedback on postings from your fellow authors. Not only are you helping them gain exposure, but you will gain some for yourself. These groups are all about helping each other.

FACEBOOK PAGE
Social media sites are a must for authors, and Facebook is by far the largest and most popular. But before you go promoting your book on your Facebook wall, give serious thought to creating a Facebook Page (f/k/a Facebook Fan Page). This will keep your professional posts and other activities separate from your personal ones. Facebook Pages are viewable by anyone, even non-members, so your posts can get significant exposure with the right keywords. One of the great features of the Facebook Page is that when someone ‘likes” your page, it gets broadcasted to their contacts, potentially reaching many more people who may be interested in your books.

Post milestones, book launches, interviews, and book signings on your Facebook Page… anything that you deem interesting to your followers and potential book buyers. As long as you keep it interesting, it won’t be considered spammy. Strike a good balance for the number of posts. Too few and people will think it’s not an active and current site. Too many and people may get annoyed. Be generous with including links, not only links directly related to you, but include other links that may be interesting or helpful to your audience members. Direct your visitors to places they may not otherwise have visited.

It’s important to get people to “like” your Facebook Page, as search engines, such as Google, favor Facebook Pages with lots of “likes.” One way to get “likes” is when you “like” someone else’s Page, ask them if they will return the favor.

Just remember, Facebook is all about creating relationships, whether you’re using your personal profile or professional page. It is not advisable to use Facebook strictly as a selling tool. Once you make connections and earn their trust, the sales will come naturally as a side benefit.

LINKEDIN
What Facebook does for social networking, LinkedIn does for business-oriented networking. With more than 50 million members worldwide, LinkedIn provides a vast pool of valuable networkers and potentially buyers for your books. Just as you would create interesting posts for your blog and Facebook Page, you would do the same in LinkedIn. But also like Facebook, you don’t want to make your LinkedIn site into a hard sell endeavor. That will just turn people off.

Use LinkedIn for offering interesting articles, making announcements and reaching out for advice and/or offering advice. Increase your visibility by encouraging discussions and comments. Offer freebies. Create contests. Make it fun. Even though it’s business, people still like a little fun.

REVIEWS
Book reviews are the best way to promote your book, and while you can pay good money for them, you can also get them for (almost) free. For the cost of a book and postage, you have the opportunity to get great publicity from a good review, and the rewards can be enormous by posting them on your website, your blog and anywhere else you have exposure.

One way to get reviews is on amazon.com. When someone tells you they really enjoyed your book, ask them if they would write a short review on Amazon. A positive book review on Amazon is worth its weight in gold. Potential book buyers read reviews! If you can get ten or more positive reviews, your book looks like a winner for anyone looking to buy it.

You may want to try offering a free book to someone in exchange for a review. Just be cautious who you pick. If it isn’t an experienced reviewer, you may get back something you don’t want to ever share with anyone. Experienced reviewers know how to highlight the important things you did well and constructively state where the book needs improvement.

It’s not easy to get one of the top five book reviewers to review your book, but it’s always worth a try. They are Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Midwest Book Review. A more comprehensive list may be found at stepbystepselfpublishing.net/reviewer-list.html. Some charge for their services, and others don’t.

BRAGMedallion.com is a privately held organization that brings together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union. BRAG (Book Readers Appreciation Group) states its mission as “recognizing quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.” Books submitted are read and evaluated by members drawn from its reader group and judged using a proprietary list of criteria, but the single most important criterion they ask their readers to use in judging a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. Once a book meets this standard of quality from three out of three reviewers, they award it their B.R.A.G. Medallion™. Less than 15% of books submitted receive this honor, so if you submit your book and you become an honoree, you can use it proudly to help promote your book.

Whatever you do, do NOT pay someone to post bogus reviews on Amazon.com or any other site. Not only is this dishonest and less than honorable, but you’d only be fooling yourself about the quality of your writing.

INTERVIEWS
You may be surprised at how easy it is to get interviews that focus on you and your book. Send your press release or other promotional pieces to radio and TV stations, newspapers, newsletters and magazines and ask for an interview. A local ethnic TV station contacted me when they saw the press release for my first novel, “The Coach House,” and invited me in for an interview. My book had an ethnic thread running through it, and they thought their viewers would be interested in it. Did I mention they have 500,000 viewers? You’ll also find agents, publishers, editors and other authors who include author interviews on their blogs. I ran across several such people in the online discussion groups in which I’m a member.

BOOK CLUB AND DISCUSSION GROUPS
Book clubs and book discussion groups love to have the author present for their discussions. The tricky part is finding a book club who is interested in your book. Word of mouth may be the best way. Spread the word to your friends you would be willing to participate in a book club discussion.

There are thousands of online book clubs, but since they are online and accessible to anyone, you can be sure they are inundated with requests, so try to be genre-specific in your queries. Here is one book club list book-clubs-resource.com/online/. I am sure there are many others.

BOOK PROMOTION SITES
Launched in 2007, Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. They claim to have over 8,900,000 members who have added more than 320,000,000 books to their shelves. Goodreads allows authors to submit their books for consideration.

Here’s a list of other book promotion sites.
Authonomy
Bibliophil
Book Buzzr
BookBrowse
Bookhitch
Booksie
Filed By
Jacket Flap
KindleBoards
LibraryThing
Nothing Binding
On Book Talk
SavvyBookWriters
Scribd
Shelfari
Wattpad
WhoWroteThat
WritersNet

LOCAL ESTABLISHMENTS
Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, newsletters, and trade journals. Call your local radio station and offer to do an interview. Contact your local library and book stores and offer to do a signing or free lecture. Talk to everyone you visit about your book–your dry cleaner, dentist, doctor, and grocer. Look for bulletin boards wherever you go to post information about your website, blog and books. Make the postings fun and eye-catching.

BUSINESS CARDS
Something as inexpensive and easy as business cards will let others know you’re a serious professional writer.

POST CARDS
I live in a 56-story high rise with 482 other residents who are neighbors (of sorts) and potential book buyers. I designed a postcard with a very easy-to-use template from Paper Direct and sent it to all my neighbors. On the front, where the stamp and address label go, I included an image of the front cover of my book, a one-sentence synopsis, and the fact that I’m a local author. On the back, I included a little longer synopsis, where they can find my book, a few promotional sentences from someone who had reviewed my book, and my contact information.

PRESS RELEASES
Press releases get the message out about your book launch, and anyone can write one. Send yours to any media outlet you think will be interested in helping you promote your book – TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, newspapers, book stores, book clubs, book discussion groups, book reviewers, etc.

There are templates available such as on PRWeb.com, pressreleasetemplates.net and smallbusinesspr.com for do-it-yourself ones. If you want to engage a service, try mymediainfo.com, cision.com or vocus.com. Muckrack.com is a free service.

TESTIMONIALS
Testimonials can be a great tribute to the story you’ve written, even if coming from family and friends. Post them on your website and in your blogs.

Here’s something fun to try. If your storyline includes something a certain celebrity or group of celebrities could relate to, send a request to their manager or agent asking for a testimonial from the celeb. For example, let’s say you’ve written a story about how a young man pulls himself out from the depths of an impoverished childhood and makes a name for himself in the world. Wouldn’t it be a coup if Jay-Z or Jim Carrey (each with a similar story) would endorse your book with a two-sentence testimonial?

TARGET GROUPS
Try connecting with groups or associations who can identify with your protagonist and/or storyline. For example, let’s say your protagonist is biracial and has a difficult time fitting in. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who have experienced the same thing and many of them belong to the Association for MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA) or subscribe to Mavin Magazine. On AMEA’s website, they list recommended books (fiction and non-fiction) for their members, and Mavin Magazine has an E-Library available for their subscribers. This would be a good opportunity to offer some freebies or a discount for members. Since there’s a group out there for just about everything, this avenue is worth pursuing.

I signed up for a Google Alert for the title of my book, “The Coach House.” That’s when I discovered there are quite a few restaurants around the country and in Europe named The Coach House, and that got me to thinking. I sent each one of them a letter telling them we had something in common and maybe we could do something fun that would benefit us both, like have them hold a drawing (business cards in a fish bowl) where one of the prizes was a copy of my book. In return, I could advertise their restaurant on my website, blog, and Facebook page. Think outside of the box, they say.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Don’t discount word-of-mouth with family and friends. If all my FB friends re-posted my book announcement, I would reach close to 10,000 more people. That’s a lot of potential book buyers.

Cleaning Out The Clutter – 7 Steps To Sell Or Donate Used Books

It’s a good feeling to get your house cleaned up and the clutter removed, disposing of things you don’t need or don’t use any longer. And books — those dusty relics taking up space on your bookshelves or squirreled away in boxes in the attic — often become the target of most house de-cluttering campaigns. How long has it been that you’ve read that book? Do you really need it any longer? Why not get rid of it?

But, before you haul those used books off to the dump, take a little time learning about how to sell or donate used books to help local charities raise money, to recycle resources, and even earn some extra cash for your family.

Used books are hot sellers online. Websites like Amazon.com, eBay.com and CraigsList.org are filled with listings of used books. Some popular titles are no longer in print, so their value keeps skyrocketing. Some niche titles are collectible or hard-to-find. Some titles contain in-depth ‘how-to’ information people are searching for online. And, some titles simply help people save money by buying used over pricier new books.

In any case, take the time to follow these 7 steps to check typical pricing of used books before you dispose of them.

Step 1 – Gather your books you want to get rid of in one space, preferably one that has a large table for your to work. Your dining room table will do just fine.

Step 2 – Separate out fiction from non-fiction. The best titles to sell online are non-fiction, ‘how-to’ titles.

Step 3 – Sort the fiction titles into two boxes: Keep and Yard Sale. In the “Keep” box, I would put early or first editions of famous writers like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling. In the “Yard Sale” box, I would put popular fiction by authors like Dan Brown, Nora Roberts, Stephen King or Sandra Brown, plus anything from book clubs, slightly damaged books, recipe and cooking books, weight loss books and the stacks of magazines you want to get rid of fast.

Step 4 – Sort the non-fiction into two boxes: Keep and Yard Sale. In the “Keep” box, I would put biographies, history, how-to, pet, religious, UFO alien and crop circle books (big sellers!), relationship books, travel books, homeschooling topics, and any other books which look to be of a limited press run or contain unique content. Sometimes even small booklets on health topics sell very well online. In the “Yard Sale” box, put in Time-Life, Rodale Press, or Reader’s Digest books (these seldom sell online for enough to cover your shipping costs), books that are heavily marked up with writing or highlighting, outdated college textbooks, and heavily used children’s books, dictionaries, or self-help reference books.

Any damaged books, moldy books, or those titles that have torn, crinkled covers or are missing pages, throw them away now.

Step 5 – Sit down in front of your computer. Log onto Amazon.com with your “Keep” box on one side of you, and your “Yard Sale” box on the other side of your chair. Take the first book from the “Keep” box and set it next to your computer keyboard, face down. Somewhere on the back cover you should see an ISBN (“ISBN” stands for “International Standard Book Number,” which since the mid-1960s has helped the publishing industry keep track of millions of books).

Type that book’s unique 10-digit (sometimes a 13-digit) ISBN into the search bar at the top of the Amazon.com webpage. If you cannot locate the ISBN on the back cover or on the book publisher info page, then simply type in the title of the book, as you might very well find it that way too. Scan through the results until you find the book that matches the front cover of your book.

Now, click on the image or the book title, find the correct format (hardcover or paperback) and then select “Used” pricing. Your used book results page should deliver several pages of book listings for sale right now.

Don’t be surprised if the first few books are priced a $.01. Scroll down the page. If by the 5th or 6th listing you start to see pricing rise up to $6, $7, $10 dollars, keep it and list it for sale later. You’ll earn anywhere from $3 to $7 each when these sell. If you see the first two pages containing nothing but $.01 books, then place your book in the “Yard Sale” box to the side of your chair. Click back to the Amazon homepage. Pick up the next book. Repeat until you’re finished.

Step 6 – When you’re done, your “Keep” box stack will be quite small compared with your “Yard Sale” boxes (yes, you will have more than one by now!). Pack those boxes tightly, tape them up well with packing tape, and store them in a closet or corner of a room in your home that is dry, out of the sun, and has low humidity. When springtime comes and you hold a big yard sale to dispose of unwanted items, unpack all your “Yard Sale” fiction and non-fiction book boxes, set them out on a long table, spine facing up, and sell them for 25 cents to $1 each. On the final day of your sale, offer up a “bag sale” — that is, let people stuff a shopping bag full of books into a bag for $2. You’ll be amazed how many books will fly off that table!

Step 7 – When the yard sale is done, take the remaining fiction and non-fiction books to your favorite local non-profit thrift store or church charity shop to donate them. These old books often have a long lifespan, kept alive by browsers who frequent these stores looking for bargains and wanting to help support the non-profit. Ask the store manager if you can get a donation tax receipt before the books get unloaded. I have done this in the past, and I’ve gotten a generous tax deduction on books I would otherwise have had to haul off to the recycling center. Remember first to dispose of any soiled, moldy books, otherwise you’ll be burdening the charity shop instead of helping them.

Now, somewhere in the steps between when you checked the online price for your used books and you haul the unwanted old books off the charity shop, you’ll want to keep busy in your spare time by listing the books left over in your “Keep” boxes at online websites to raise extra cash.

I recommend listing on the Amazon Marketplace, then expand to other websites if you need to. Start slow, learning how the system works, and price your books competitively to move them quickly.

By considering the sales rank of your book, you’ll have a fairly decent idea of how quickly it will sell. If it is in the top 100,000 of Amazon sales, it should sell within 1-3 months. If a title is selling used for $7.50, price yours at $6.99. If a title is selling used at $20 or more, drop yours to $12-$15 for a quick sale.

My advice is that you not list your “Keep” books at less than $5.99, as you won’t earn much more than $2 each, and you’ll be running yourself ragged running back and forth to the Post Office. Likewise, I would not bother posting a book that has a sales rank above 5 million, as this book likely will add to your clutter forever, instead of leaving your home more open and less crowded — your ultimate goal in your home improvement housecleaning exercise in the first place.