Writers Explore What It Means To Be ‘Black Cool’

Once just a temperature, “cool” is a word that has come to mean so much more than that: Cool can be applied to an attitude, or a style or a sound — it can even be used to simply mean “OK.”

In a new collection of essays, Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness, writers explore the definition of coolness within African-American culture. Writer Rebecca Walker edited the book and compiled a series of essays aimed to build a “periodic table of black cool, element by element.”

She tells NPR’s Neal Conan: “I really wanted to name ‘black cool’ specifically because I think that the more it’s appropriated, assimilated, commodified, the more distant … the cultural contribution to global discourse becomes from actual black people. If blackness is separated from this aesthetic of cool that comes out of our culture … we lose the understanding of how much we are actually giving to this world.”

Read more

How to Publish a Book

So you want to know how to publish a book. Well there are several methods you can utilize to get your grand idea into the hands of hungry readers. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Traditional publishing: This involves having a literary agent that shops your manuscript around to the Big Six publishers and hopefully gets you a contract. Some of the pluses here are that your name will be associated with one of the remaining large international publishing houses. The minus for that is, you will have to locate the literary agent and shop your book to them. You will also have to have your own marketing plan created and ready to implement in order for the large publishing houses to even look at you. You see they want you to still do all the leg work and generate the sales from your books and they’ll end up with your “fans” and you’ll just get the associated name. If you’re into that, hey there are worse ways to make a living – but remember they rarely accept “untested” writers so if you’re new; prepare for a long arduous journey to stardom.

Independent publishing: This is also called self-publishing. This method is the fastest and also becoming the most utilized method for getting books published. Basically, you write the book, you hire an editor (or do it yourself) to proofread your book for grammatical, and thematic errors. Then you select a self-publishing company (aka DIY publishing). You pick the “package” you can afford and voila! You are a published author. The plus here is that you have total control over your product. The minuses are still that you have to have a marketing plan and you still do the leg work for selling your book. The difference is that while you won’t have the “association” you will keep more of your profits.

eBook publishing: This is still a relatively new method of creating books however, it will eventually become the norm as technology continues to move forward. eBooks are created to be read either online using your computer or using specific text readers like Kindle, Nook etc. The books are created using specific software programs and are marketed in the “stores” for the specific readers where the books can be read. The pluses fall under the “virgin territory” realm as this is still emerging technology. The minuses fall into the “cost-effectiveness” category as you must find ways to distribute your eBooks. There are companies that will automatically convert your publications into eBook formats for extra cost as well as companies that only create eBooks for all formats. Again you must research these companies for the best publishing price.

Membership publishing: Again this is a relatively new form of publishing but the concept is an old one. Basically you create a membership site and you publish your books in a sort of blog format. You can sell your memberships to either be “all inclusive” meaning they pay for the whole book and can download it from the site or read it there after logging in; or you can sell them a chapter at a time for a minimal price, say $.99. Which may seem strange to you; but if you think about it – most books contain at least 10 chapters in them which means you made $9.90 for your book. Imagine how much that changes if you have a book with 12 or 15 chapters in it. Think about the regular cost of buying a book in the store. You may not be able to get away with pricing your book for $19.99 if it’s a paperback right off the bat; but if you have 24 chapters and your members are paying $.99 a chapter to read it as it unfold like a soap opera; you made $23.76 on that same book that you would have normally priced at $9.99 or $12.99.

These are just some of the ways you can get your books published and turn a profit. Always keep in mind though that whether you go with a large publisher, a small publisher or do it yourself you must have a marketing plan in order to find the people looking for your book.

You Shouldn’t Fear Writing a Press Release

All our press releases

Image by Christopher S. Penn via Flickr

Taken from Writerstopia Magazine, Dec. 2011 – with permission

The word “Press Release” seems to scare most people to death. On top of that not many people take the time to even think of writing their own Press Release. We hope this brief article will help clear up some of the mysteries surrounding this simple form of marketing.

The first thing you have to remember is that a Press Release is a “news” item. It needs to “inform” people, NOT sell them something. For example, you are reading this report because you want to learn something that will BENEFIT YOU. You aren’t reading it just so you can buy something else. If money is the driving force in your business – you won’t go too far. Your main goals should be in pleasing customers, providing them with a high-quality product and more than their money’s worth. The trick is to do all this while still making money. People don’t care what mountains you had to climb, what seas you had to cross or what tribe of people you had to learn the ways of just to find a secret formula. Instead – they want to know WHAT the secret formula is.

The sales circulars you print and mail sell your product. A Press Release informs others about your product. Instead of your main objective being to sell the product and have the customer send in an order immediately, a Press Release informs the customer exactly how your product will benefit their lives. This must be conveyed in the form of a “newsworthy” Press Release. If you have a sales circular to sell a product, you can easily turn it into a Press Release without much difficulty. It’s just a new marketing angle of presenting your product to the public.

The following is an example of a typical Press Release for a publishing service:

So many people are entering the mail order market these days, but so many of them are getting ripped-off by a bunch of hype. People are promised untold riches in a short period of time. The hype ads play with their emotions by making them believe it’s so easy to make money through the mail. It’s sad.

However, a new book has just been released to help solve these problems for the average person. For the first time in history – a REAL directory has been compiled listing the ACTUAL name and addresses of 179 honest and trustworthy mail order folks. People can write DIRECTLY to these people and receive FREE information to get them started in their own business now!

It’s unbelievable. Without trying to sell you anything else, you can get this book for only $4.95 – a price anyone can afford. Meet the real mail order dealers who care about their products and want to help you get started doing what they are doing.

Only available from Graphico Publishing, PO Box 488, Bluff City TN 37618.

As you can see, this is a short but sweet Press Release – however, you should be able to see the “newsworthiness” in it. Its main focus is on the fact that most people get ripped-off when they start their first mail order business. The solution to this problem is a new directory that is available for the first time in history. The “sale” is slowly led into because the reader will naturally want to get their hands on this one. It doesn’t ask for money it only tells the reader how to get a copy if they want one.

Here’s a great test for a real press release. Since your final sales pitch is included in the last paragraph – read the Press Release aloud. Would it still be worth reading WITHOUT your sales pitch? If so, it’s probably a Press Release.

Press Releases come in many forms due to the product you are writing about.

However, the basic rule of thumb still applies. If you’ve never wrote one before – it may be a little difficult. Don’t despair. Grab the latest daily newspaper and read some of their informational articles. Notice how each article is written and pattern yours after the same format. After you do a few of them – you’ll be able to “get the picture.”

When your Press Release is written to your satisfaction, the proper way to submit it to a publisher is: Be sure and type it on a typewriter or computer.  Standard format is double-spaced and not longer than two 8 1/2×11 pages. Be sure and put your name, address and page number at the top of each page.

Write the note: “For Immediate Release” at the top. If you are only sending the press release to one publication – tell them it’s a “first run.”

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

So How Do You Write a Book Proposal Anyway?

Okay, this is one of the few times you’ll get information from me and a shameless plug for something I’m promoting in the same location, that being the space for this posting.

The simplest way to answer the above question is that you write a proposal step by step. It’s like most things, you break it down into steps and before you know it, you’ve got a finished product. This helps to keep up confidence because the steps are the goals and they mark you achievements.

For my classes, I’ve broken writing book proposals down into 10 key steps. They are pretty cut and dry on the surface and the steps are easy to follow:

  • Step One: Getting an idea for your book.
  • Step Two: Develop the idea and expanding on it.
  • Step Three: Assessing the market.
    • Who needs this book? What’s the competition for the book?
  • Step Four: Outlining your book.
  • Step Five: Researching your book proposal, and fleshing out your outline.
  • Step Six: Writing the proposal query letter.
  • Step Seven: Sending your query letters to agents and publishers.
    • You send the queries while you’re working on the proposal. This helps you to gauge reaction to your work.
  • Step Eight: Writing the proposal.
  • Step Nine: Writing the sample chapter.
  • Step Ten: Revising your proposal

See simple right? Well here’s that shameless plug I promised you, I can give you the steps but it’s the visuals that help you understand just what is expected; so I offer a couple of ways to get my “visuals”.

The first is that you can attend my class on How to Write a Book in 30 Hours where I go over all 10 steps in depth as well as help you flesh out your book. As a bonus I will also tell you the easiest way to write a best-seller and help you create a proposal. This is a webcast so all are welcome. If you cannot join the original webcast session as long as you register you will have access to the full broadcast to download.

Well that’s part of the shameless plug portion of this posting, hope you will attend the class or at least visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”

That’s the end of the shameless plugs for today. Thanks for reading the blog. Good luck with your writing.

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan

Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours

Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

5 Reasons Why You Write the Book Proposal First

Let’s get this out of the way right now. All non-fiction books are sold on proposal.

Now there’s the heavy aspect of this article all cleared up. What comes next is that supporting content that all writers should have after making their initial eye catching statement. (Okay all publishers expect to read after your first eye-catching statement of fact).

There are several reasons you want to write the book proposal first.

  • Reason 1: You learn whether or not a publisher is interested in your work. If you are a mainstream writer, with millions of book sales under your belt most publishers won’t baulk at publishing your work, no matter what subject you chose. But if you are a newbie or even a published but less known author; the proposal is your best friend, if it’s well thought out and written.
  • Reason 2: You may receive an advance for writing your book. This depends on who you are the book’s subject matter. The target audience it will be marketed to and the size of the publisher who takes it on. Again, for the mainstream million copies sold writer, this is not a problem; but your proposal is your lifeline when you are less known and can make or break this decision to advance you moneys based on a book that isn’t written yet.
  • Reason 3: A book proposal is much easier to sell than a complete book. It’s easier to read a 20 or 30 page proposal than a 400 page book. Let’s face it; editors don’t have the time to read every single manuscript that land on their desk.
  • Reason 4: It’s easier to make changes in the book’s concept at the proposal stage. You may be in the ballpark with your idea but perhaps the publisher or editor want to flesh it out and take it in a new direction. Depending on the subject its timeliness might mean the publisher wants to market to a different group; or whittle your idea down to market to a single niche that’s hot at the moment and expand it later.
  • Reason 5: With a proposal, the publisher, in the person of your editor, can take ownership of the book. It’s like bespoke tailoring: the editor feels that the book has been specifically written for the publishing house.

Even if you decide to write your book first, you’ll need to create a proposal once you’ve written it. No agent or publisher is interested in reading an entire book to assess its viability. That’s the proposal’s job: to ensure that your book has a niche in the marketplace. As you do your research for the proposal, you’ll work out whether or not your book is likely to sell. You can shape the book at the proposal stage, much more easily than you can when it’s a huge stack of print or a giant computer file.

Sometimes you may get an idea for a book, but the idea is amorphous, it doesn’t have a real shape. You may want to write several thousand words to see whether the book becomes clearer in your mind. But write the proposal before you write more than ten thousand words, because your book must target a specific group of buyers.

Again if you’ve never written a book proposal for, visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”

See you soon,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan

Teacher of: How to Write a Book in 30 Hours

Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

The Perfect Partnership – You and Your Publisher

In the last post I told you about writing a proposal in order to accomplish two things. The first being, “whether you had a book worth writing” and the second thing was getting paid to write the book. Now let’s talk about the reason you really need your proposal and how it affects your relationship with your new business partner – your publisher.

When you work with a publisher, remember, the publisher’s business is selling books. The company acquires books which it hopes will sell, and sell well. Your publisher is putting up the money to publish your book, so you need to approach the project from his point of view as well as your own.

Publishers sell books on consignment. Publishers’ ship books to bookshops, and if a book isn’t sold within a certain time period, it’s destroyed. The bookseller strips the cover from the book and sends the cover to the publisher for a full credit. This is the “return“. If a title doesn’t sell, the publisher takes a beating. As you can imagine, publishers are no keener to lose money than you or I.

The reason I’m bringing this up now is that you must keep this “return” thing in the back of your mind when you create your book proposal. Why you may ask? The answer is simple; it means that your proposal needs to emphasize the ways in which you, as the writer, will take responsibility for the book’s success.

You will try to ensure the success of your book by gauging the marketplace. You will work out who the likely buyers of your book might be, and the reasons they will have for paying good money for your book. You’ll assess the competition for your book. You’ll work out ways in which you can promote your book, so that people hear about it. You’re in partnership with your publisher, and if you’re prepared to take responsibility for that role, the publisher will be much more likely to buy your proposal.

Until next time,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Sell Your Book the Easy Way

If you’ve dreamed of writing a book but weren’t sure of where to start or even if you were good enough to write a book; there’s great way to find out if you’ve got the “write stuff”. Okay all puns aside, writing a book is the easy part, the hard part is trying to sell you book. But the best part of book writing is that you don’t need to write your book before you get some money! That’s right you didn’t misread.

You can honestly get paid to write a book before it’s even written. It’s easily possible to make a fast $20,000, or more. There have been instances when authors have made seven figures — over a million dollars for only twenty pages of text.  It sounds incredible, but a fast seven figures is certainly possible if you have a HOT, hot idea or have had an experience that hundreds of thousands of people want to read about.

The magic money in question is called an advance. It’s the money a publisher will give you prior to you writing the book.

The next thing that should have come into your mind is “how do you get a publisher to do that; pay you the advance?” Well, the answer is, you write a book proposal.

This is why before you write your book (especially non-fiction books) you write a proposal.  A book proposal is the business plan for book writers. Okay that’s the simplified way to think of one, granted most business owners don’t like writing business plans but without one, you will fail in business. The same is said of book proposals. They focus you on your topic, help you formulate the most important things that a publisher wants to see – your marketing strategy and the bottom-line of how you plan to recoup the money the published is spending on you and to whom you are selling the book to.

Writing a proposal is the smart way to write a book. It’s the way professional writers sell non-fiction. Selling a book on a proposal is much easier than selling a book that you’ve already written. A book proposal is a complete description of your book. It contains the title, an explanation of what the books about, an outline of chapters, a market and competition survey, and a sample chapter. A publisher will read your proposal, assess its feasibility, cost it, and if it looks as if the publisher will make money, the publisher will pay you to write the book. When you’ve sold your proposed book to a publisher, your role doesn’t end with writing your book. You’re in partnership with your publisher to ensure the book’s success. If you do your part, both you and your publisher will make money

A book proposal functions in the same way as any business proposal does: you’re making an offer to someone you hope to do business with. It will be treated by publishers in the same way that any business investor or financial institution treats a business plan or business proposal.  The proposal is the roadmap that helps you to not only sell your book; it helps you write your book. So before you sit down and pen one thing, sit down and create your book proposal.

If you’ve never written a book proposal for, visit Writerstopia.com, the publication for self-publishing and independent authors, click on the “Writer’s Radio” tab and click on the free download link, and you’ll receive a courtesy copy of “Dr. Ande’s How to Write a Book Proposal in 7 Days.”

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Creating Booklets Let’s You Make Money Writing “How To” Guides

If you want to make money, exercise creativity and help others, then you should invest some time in writing the basic “How To” guide.  It’s something anyone can produce, and with all the proper ingredients at the right time, you can make a proper living with.  The hard part, of course, is getting all the proper ingredients at the right time.

Your basic “ How to Guide” is usually two pages in length, sells for $3, and outlines instructions, details, or a “How-To Method” for solving a problem:  making more money, saving money, attaining greater happiness, or fulfilling an ambition or desire. These are called folios. Folios is another word for booklets, pamphlets etc.

The main difference to remember when creating one is the size and the composition you choose. Folios are generally four pages of content folded in half and have a paper cover. Booklets etc. are longer and their covers are usually card stock and can be bound in a variety of manners such as spiral, combed, saddle stitch or perfect binding. The price also varies, depending on the content and the number of pages. Booklets at minimum at around $5 but can go up to $10. If you are savvy you’ll create electronic versions of the materials which can sell as “eBooks” and they start off at $.99 for a “folio” size and go up to $44 for larger more in depth topics.

Any man, woman or child can write a saleable report on any subject – providing he or she has knowledge of that subject through personal experience, research, or both.  A lot of women write successful money-making reports based upon better ways of solving household problems.  And a lot of men write successful money-making reports on how to get greater pleasure from leisure time activities such as fishing, woodworking or other hobbies.  The list of subjects one can write about is endless, and reports on how to make more money easier and faster are no more limited to male authors than expertise in cooking is limited to female authors.

Writing your report is easy and quite simple.  However, it does take longer, and requires more sweat, blood and anguish for some people to produce a “finished” product than it does others, even if they are equally intelligent and knowledgeable.

The best advice anyone can give you on how to write a “how to” guide is to advise you to write as though you were talking to someone – as though you were instructing your next door neighbor via the telephone on the subject at hand.  I use the word telephone here to point out that regardless of how much you wave your arms, point your finger, or even draw pictures, you aren’t getting the message across, and your neighbor won’t “see” what you’re talking about until you tell him in the kind of language he can understand.

Until next time,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Dr. Ande’s Tips on Article Publishing

Welcome to a new year.

Let’s start with some tips for successful article writing. Back in the day I started out as the writer and editor of my school newspapers going all the way back to elementary school (the parent’s circular). So I have decided to give you some tips on how to create your articles if you plan to write for publications or online blogs.

  1. Test Your Idea:

To lead to a sale, your query must convince the editor that you have a clear idea of what you plan to cover in the article, and what approach you ‘re going to take.

So before writing the letter, think your article idea through carefully, and picture yourself describing the article to a friend.

  1. Find Your Angle:

Finding your angle is often a matter of narrowing your topic.  A topic like “Sports” is far too general, narrow it to say, “Table Tennis” is better.  Often, reducing the story to a single dimension e.g., focus on a key person, place, or event – gives a salable angle.

When your subject is popular, you must give the editor a fresh approach.  One way is to take an idea like “Overcoming Failure” and give it a twist to something like “Failure Can Be Good for You.”  It needn’t be exotic to sell, something as mundane as “New and Improved” has worked by adding a new ingredient to the usual.

  1. Research Helps:

While many queries can be written entirely from your own knowledge, a little research can pay big dividends by seducing the editor.  Facts sell editors on an idea.  Editors look for queries with many specifics:  Don’t just write that “Last year millions of people suffered from yeast infections.”  Tell how many millions – and why!

Research both the topic and the markets you’re aiming it at. A common reason for rejection is because of inadequate knowledge of the magazine.

  1. Shaping Your Raw Material:

After you have the basics:

    1. the idea
    2. the slant/facts, and
    3. the market

Then you’re ready to write your query.   A good query starts strong, and never lets up until the editor is sold.  Follow the two newspaper dictums; the five W’s (who, what, where, when, why) which explains the story immediately, and “the inverted pyramid” which emphasized putting the most interesting information first.  You’ll lose the editor’s interest if you save the best for last, and always remember EDITOR’S CUT FROM THE BOTTOM UP!

  1. 3 Main Sections to a Query:
    1. The Lead Paragraph
    2. The Summary
    3. The Author’s Bio.

Each has a specific purpose: first, tell the editor what the story is, then why she/he should buy it, and finally who is going to write it.

The Lead – is aimed to hook the editor and make them want to continue reading.

Once you’ve aroused the editor’s attention, move directly to a summary of the article.

Summary – This section should convince the editor that you know where you want to go with the article; it should outline the points you plan to cover or provide factual information about your topic – giving only enough to prove that your story is real.  Here you can mention your sources.  Tell the editor who’ll you’ll be talking to, and if experts are they on the cutting edge of today’s technology.  Also include here a working title for the article.  Don’t spend a lot of time trying to get a provocative headline, because titles are often changed by the editor before publication.

Author’s Bio – is where you sell yourself as a writer to the editor now that you’ve sold him/her on the idea.  Don’t be bashful; editors expect a bit of sell in the bio.  There’s nothing wrong with saying, “I’m highly qualified to write this article because…” if a convincing reason follows.  Start your bio with your publishing credits, and include magazines similar to the one you’re pitching if you can.


Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine

Happy New Year from Dr. Ande!!!

May 2012 be filled with lots of creativity, interviews, book sales, and publishing for you all!

Thanks for reading,

Dr. Ande,
Creator of: The 30 Hour Business Plan
Author of, 65 Tips for Affiliate Marketing Success
Host of, Dr. Ande’s Marketing Radio & Biz Talk with Dr. Ande
Associate Editor: Writerstopia Magazine