6 Ways to Get a 6 Figure Book Advance

With this year drawing to a close, as writers we need to look ahead to the New Year. So part of the karma of the New Year is to gain more income.

It’s the dream of 81% of the population to write a book. No matter how many times people tell you how difficult it is to do, nearly everyone wants to do it. There hangs a certain romance around writers. I think it’s a kind of nostalgia or grieving for some forgotten part of ourselves. We long to return to a place where magic and imagination are revered.

Others may just want the quick glory or fast buck they associate with being an author. But whatever you want, getting a 6-figure book advance is possible if you have the skill, drive and know-how. Here are five tips to get you started on achieving the dream of becoming a well-paid, respected author.

1. Know the Industry

Educate yourself on how the publishing industry works. Unlike the old days when publishers were looking to cultivate long-term relationships with authors who would be in their stable, today their top priority is just to sell books.

When I was traveling in Mexico this year I met a woman whose husband has been a best-selling author for twenty years in England. He has had the same agent and publisher for those same twenty years. Every time he came out with a new book his publishers expected it to be “number one” on the English equivalent of the New York Times bestseller list. They worked with him to make it so. In America the bottom line is king. You must be able to substantiate your claim that your book will fly off the shelves, without any help from the publisher.

2. Prove there is a Market for Your Book

In today’s world you need to show that your book will sell to one large audience, or many smaller niche audiences. Quantify each audience with statistics that show that they buy books on that subject. It’s not enough to say that this audience would be interested in your topic. You must be able to prove beyond a doubt with your well-researched facts that your readers are a *book buying* audience.

3. Develop a Platform

This is the most important aspect of your proposal after you’ve proven that there is a pressing need for your book and that book buying audiences will scoop it up. A platform is simply YOUR ability to sell books to the audience that you have said will buy-from you.

It’s all about the numbers. How many people are on your e-zine list? How many people do you speak to every month? How many people buy your products and services now? Do you have big name corporations or organizations that will buy your books in bulk? Do you have a regular column, or write for publications? Are you frequently seen in the media? If you don’t have an impressive platform you don’t get a 6-figure advance.

4. Map out a Marketing Plan to Promote Your Book

Your plan should include everything from speaking engagements, online marketing, licensing, and media placements. It must be realistic and do-able. In other words you can’t say that you’ll speak to organizations of 1000 people or more if you’ve never done it.

5. What do publishers hate most?

When you say that you’re right for Oprah. Unless you’ve already been a guest and taped the show please NEVER say this if you don’t want your reputation instantly sullied.

Instead show how you will build on your past publicity. If hosts or producers say that they want you back for another segment because you did such a good job the first time, say it. But if you haven’t done much media to date, don’t fret.

You can begin today and get a substantial number of profiles, features, and comments in the media in a few months by joining PRLeads.com, a service which delivers reporters queries (the stories they need experts for) daily to your email box.

6. Get Endorsements

Big names sell products in a big way. Getting known names of celebrities, best-selling authors, actors, athletes, well-known experts in your field, media personalities, any famous name that has glitter gives you the kind of credibility that can’t be bought.

One of my clients, who got a number of New York Times best-selling authors to write about him, accomplished three things with his endorsements. Each person who wrote about him told a different story about why he would be a winning author. The first one lauded him as a highly successful professional. The second stated that my client’s book filled a gap that her book failed to address. The third demonstrated that the people my client was trying to reach were an avid book buying market hungry for his type of book as they had bought hers.

These meaningful endorsements effectively helped him get his 6-figure advance. (And he got media coached by me before he met the editors at the big New York Publishing houses who then bid on his book at auction).

Don’t just get endorsements saying you’re terrific. Make your endorsements do double duty by helping you prove there is a market and that you’re the one they want to buy from. This is the type of information that makes you stand out from the other 150,000 authors who are published every year, most of whom never earn back their advance. Don’t be one of them. Instead, follow this advice and you’ll be well on your way to earning a 6 figure book advance. Good luck!

Happy New Year’s

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio

Want to Sell More Books? Don’t Be an Expert; Be a Filter

So, how much would you pay someone to sift through your email each morning, deleting the garbage and presenting you with the 5 (out of 500) emails you need to respond to? If you already have someone like that, lucky you! But if you don’t, I bet this sounds like a dream. In the age of a constant flood of information, consumers will pay good money for a filter. So if you want to sell books, be the go-to person for your market.

If you’re wondering how to become a filter, give some thought to the filters you may not even be aware of. For example, in the book publishing market I can think of two major ones: Dan Poynter and John Kremer. They are both filters. Why? Well, they have zeroed in on their focused market and have become the go-to people for everything publishing and marketing. Writerstopia has done the same thing; they’re all about self-publishing and marketing for independent authors.

While you’ll find filters in different markets, they share a lot of the same characteristics. Filters are out there weeding through information so you don’t have to, and then they are posting their findings on their website, blog, or talking about it in their podcast. Sometimes they’re doing a combination of all of these things to keep their readers informed.

Next, filters are so laser focused in their market that not only can they filter out the “noise” for you so you don’t have to, they can then compartmentalized the noise into sub-filters. These sub-filters become even more significant, and here’s why. Increasingly, we are living in an age of customization. I mean when was the last time you bought an entire CD or read an entire newspaper? More than likely you’re buying your music one song at a time on iTunes, or you’re reading your news selectively or, in many cases, through RSS feeds that allow you to tap into only the content that you want. We’ll put all of this together in a moment, but for now, start thinking about the customized element to what you’re doing.

The tools we have at our disposal (many of them free) make becoming a filter extremely easy. Blogs, podcasts, RSS feeds, all of these help us to build our filter and therefore, build our audience. But before you launch headlong into filtering, consider these quick tips:

Becoming a filter requires dedication, but the benefits will pay off in ways you can’t imagine (and many that will fill your bank account). When I talk about dedication, what I mean is *you* must read every publication that’s out there on your topic so your reader doesn’t have to, and more than that, you should read outside of your area of expertise because you never know where the big ideas will come from. Take an afternoon, once a month, and devour your reading material. I read an average of 27 magazines a month. Yes, it can be overwhelming (at times), but the upside is that you are constantly staying dialed into your market. That’s the first step to becoming a filter.

Be crystal clear about what you’re filtering. If you’re sitting in a huge market like, let’s say automotive, you probably don’t want to talk about every single car that’s out there or being developed. Perhaps you want to focus only on hybrid vehicles. Now your direction is clear. Once you have this direction, your website should reflect that. Your website should be the first marketing piece you look at as you’re developing your focus.

Next, ask yourself if your book is a filter. If it’s not, it should be. Being a filter is tougher for fiction authors of course, but you non-fiction folks should have no trouble leveraging this into your books.

Blog, podcast, and write, write, write on trends, reviews, hot new ideas and things that are so-so. I always tell people that I am my own test lab. If you want to try something new in marketing, check with me first. It’s likely that I’ve already tested it on myself. In fact, all of our programs are built from things I tried first. If I don’t like it, or it didn’t work, I won’t sell it. That’s a filter. And I’m not just talking about filtering stuff you can offer to a client, be objective! Be a filter for the competition, too, and by all means, send people to other vendors if they can offer what you can’t. Remember, the customer/reader came to you first.

Make customization your best friend. So, let’s use our car example again. Let’s say you wrote a book on hybrid cars and your site is all about hybrids as is your blog, newsletter and podcast. But now you have built your brand sufficiently, and it’s time to break out into new areas. How about this: ebooks for focused markets. Quick and easy tips, like “Buying a hybrid for seniors” or “Buying a hybrid for families.” The key to remember is that each of these markets has its own specific needs. When it comes to buying a car, the needs of a family are different from those of a senior or single.

What’s your brand? Everyone’s a brand, even Nora Roberts. Becoming a filter will help you brand yourself. Remember that people don’t buy a book, they buy a brand. If you’re clear on your brand, you’ll sell more books. Figuring out your branding doesn’t need to be complicated, but it does need to be focused. I’m not talking about the kind of branding that requires hours of logo development. I’m not even talking about a brand that’s necessarily original. Yes, you want to be unique, but the key isn’t doing something no one else is doing, the key is doing it better.

So how can you become a filter? What’s your market and focus? Perhaps you’re thinking that you can apply some of these principles, but not all of them. That’s OK! The thing to remember is that being an expert is passé. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but these days everyone’s an expert. They’re a dime a dozen. What you want to be is a filter.

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio

Create Your Own Market For Independent Books

There’s an estimated 3 million Independent authors worldwide. If these writers join forces the potential impact is staggering.

As of right now, the print-on-demand companies estimate that over 90% of their authors sell less than 30 books per year. The question is: how do you expand the position and exposure in the bookselling market and offer Independent authors an opportunity to sell more books?

The traditional brick and mortar marketplace has an established base of approximately 10,000 retail locations large enough to warrant the attention of major New York publishers. Unit sales of individual titles are in decline and some experts suggest readers are tired of the same old thing – the market lacks new authors and new titles.

Total book sales in all markets (excluding schools and textbooks) is estimated at around $20 billion dollars. One percent equals $200 million dollars. All that is required for Independent titles to capture this one percent in sales is to form an online market, a central location, totally independent from any established publishing entity. That new creation would allow the Independently published book to be shopped by readers from around the world. The potential increase in sales is dramatic. The key is the development of this community, a destination for readers interested in purchasing the finest Independently written and published books from around the world: A place where the potential for Independent writers would open up to the world.

The concept is to open the market for Independently written books and offer readers the opportunity to shop for new titles, never before seen by the public at large. One community, bringing voices never heard and stories never told to the world.

The biggest problem with selling more Independent books is that an individual cannot imitate what the bigger publishers do in a market they control. The best opportunity to sell more Independently published books is to create your own market. Big publishing houses don’t use the Internet to sell their books. Exploit their weaknesses, and help establish your own online destination for selling book(s).

It is not economically feasible to establish a brick and mortar presence for Independently published books. The hurdles to even the smallest market share is cost prohibitive. The best strategy is through the use of technology, the Internet, to create a combined web presence, a community, where writers can market themselves and their book(s).

The strength of the Independent writer and author is the combined size of the group. When we create the community and develop a following, the old adage “build it and they will come,” will ring true. Major New York publishers relish in the fact the market for Independent books is fragmented and floundering. The last thing they want to see is a joining of forces into one location where readers can shop for books. The creation of a single community of Independent authors would send shock waves throughout the business! Let’s create our own market and stop trying to break into theirs.

It’s free, and the first step toward total independence in the marketplace for bookselling.

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio

Easy Book Marketing

The most common mistake people make when self publishing their books is to ignore marketing until it is too late. As an author, you want your book to be the best in its category. There are many decisions to make right from the start. But the in order to make it stand out from the rest, you need to market your book carefully.

Who are you planning to sell your book to? This is the most critical question you need to answer. Before taking any steps to promote your book you, be aware of whom your target audience is. ‘Everybody’ is not the correct answer to this question, although it is a common answer. The more focused you are on your target audience the easier it will be for you reach them. After identifying you target audience, you should try to gather as much data about them as you can. The next step, outline your goals and objectives. Next determine your budget and implement your strategies. From there, you can then determine what form your book should take. For example, the size and weight, number of pages, type of cover, etc.

The bestselling books are not necessarily the best books so it depends on how it was promoted. It used to be a common wisdom that the only way to become a bestselling author was to go through a major publishing house. However, for many years, many bestsellers have actually been self published and self promoted. When deciding whether to self publish your book or not, you should examine the advantages that successful self-publishers seem to have over their not so fortunate counterparts.

Has your book already been published? You want to make sure you are going to market with something new. So make sure to do some research before putting all your effort into selling something that has already been sold. Your title will be critical in capturing your target audience so choose it carefully. Similarly, your cover should catch your target audience’s eye. Think of what appeals to that particular demographic.

As writers have a reputation for being sensitive creatures, it should first of all be noted that those who plan to handle the marketing and publicity aspects of their book themselves should shed this image and possess thick hides. While sensitivity is great while writing your book, you have to alter your approach and become practical when it comes to marketing it. You should not take any negatives situations that arise personally and should feel as if all the setbacks are taking you closer to your end goal.

In this age of internet a book that is promoted through the web gains an added advantage over those which are not. Thus, to promote your book online, you should first of all have an exclusive website for it. Here you should display your book’s cover, excerpts, reviews and testimonials on the home page and provide links to distributors that carry your book. Another way to get your book noticed is by including it in a books in print database. Several online bookstores use this database. If you are not building a website for your book then you can use an email promotion campaign for promoting it. First of all, you should send a newsletter to your different email contacts. Inform them about your book and then follow up with a sales letter.

Another way to promote your book online is by creating your own blog. Having a blog has now become one of the most profitable things on the web. On your blog you can add the link to your site and depending on the popularity of your blog it can receive more than one hundred thousand hits a day.

Price is a major consideration in marketing your book. Be aware of your target audience’s typical disposable income level. This can make or break successful promotion of your book.

These are some basic tips on how to start thinking about marketing your book. This is an ongoing process and will require constant re-evaluation. Become aware of what works for other authors and incorporate ideas when they make sense. Above all, have fun marketing your book!

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio

How to Find Web Writing Jobs

If you’ve decided that working as a WAHM writer is the best work at home job opportunity for you, then you’ll need to figure out how to get writing assignments. Fortunately, when you work as a web writer there is no shortage of job opportunities. It all depends on where you look and how much research you are willing to do.

Web writing can break down into several different categories. Before you begin looking for work, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to get credit for your writing. If you insist on byline, you may have difficulty finding a lot of paying jobs. Byline jobs are out there if you look. However, the most money to be made is from working as a web ghostwriter.

Many WAHMs find success with ghostwriting. When you work as a freelance ghostwriter you provide writing services for clients who will then use the work as their own. Ghostwriting as a WAHM is a lucrative opportunity, especially when you focus on web writing. For the most part, the Internet is a text and image based platform. Companies and individuals who run websites constantly need text to make their websites attractive to visitors. Since writing is something that a lot of people would rather not do, this leaves plenty of opportunities for people who love to write.

Web writing WAHM need only an Internet connection, e-mail address and word processing program to get started. Your own website is not necessary, but it adds a touch of professionalism to your writing business. However, when you are first starting out you can get plenty of work without having a website.

There are several different categories of web writing. When you see the term “content writing” you will normally be providing text for an existing or new website. Your writing will have to be engaging and clear for website visitors. Article writers concentrate on providing articles for websites, newsletters and blogs. Generally, articles for the web are between 400 and 800 words each. Any more than that is difficult for readers to sit through while looking at a computer screen. Copywriters are challenged with putting readers in the mood to buy. They write copy for Internet sales letters and marketing sites. Ebook ghostwriters provide clients with full-length books on a variety of topics.

WAHMs who write need to be professional in their online presence. This means spell-checking all writing, including e-mails to clients. It is also a good idea to get an e-mail address that is specifically used for your writing. A personal e-mail address with a goofy handle will make you seem unprofessional. Your first and last name or a combination thereof is a good choice for your web writing e-mail address.

Writing for the Internet has a few differences from writing essays in school or writing for print magazines. Readers online have short attention spans, and you’ll need to keep your sentences short and your paragraphs clear.

The other difference is the use of “keywords” in certain writing assignments. Keywords are words that have been selected by your client to be used in the article. These words have been selected because they are Internet search terms and your client wants their website to show up for those search terms. Keyword articles will need you to use the word or phrase a specific number of times in the article. Sometimes it can be difficult to use the words without making it sound forced. Experienced web writers have developed ways to make the keywords flow naturally into their articles.

Once you’ve gotten a few web writing assignments under your belt, you can decide what type of web writing suits you best. You can find work on writing message boards, freelance writing job sites and classified ad sites like Craigslist. Whenever you apply for a job, make sure to include your contact information and a few well-selected writing samples.

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio

The Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Your Own Book

Published on German Link

Image by guioconnor via Flickr

Are you an author who has a book that you would like to see published?  If you are, you should know that you do have a number of different options.  While the most common approach taken involves relying on a third party publishing house, you do also have the option of self-publishing your own book.

When an author makes the decision to self-publish a book, he or she has complete control over the whole process.  In fact, that is just one of the many pros or plus sides to self-publishing, as many authors like having complete control over their works of art.  As for the responsibility of an author in terms of self-publishing, an author must write the book, edit it, find a company to manufacturer the printed book, and sell it.  Although the process does seem relatively easy to most, it is important to remember that there are a number of pros and cons to self-publishing.

As it was previously stated, a self-publisher is responsible for the sale of their book.  For many this is a difficult process.  When a third party publishing house is used, they take on most of the work associated with selling a book, such as marketing.  This is not how self-publishing works.  Many self-publishers set up websites where they list their books available for sale.  Even then, however, that website must be marketed so that visitors will find it.  Self-publishers also have the option of approach retailers, including bookstores, hoping to get their books available for sale locally.

Another con or downside to self-publishing is the cost.  Technically, you could say that even when using a third party publishing house, you still pay for the cost of getting your book published.  This is because your publisher does take a fee out of the amount of money that you are paid; however, many authors don’t even take this cut into consideration.  Even though it will cost money to have your book transformed into print, there are steps that you can take to reduce the cost.  The most common approach involves having your book printed on demand, instead of having books on hand.

As previously stated, some self-publishers find it difficult to sell their books.  Yes, this process can be difficult, but many other self-published authors have seen success. When you put the proper amount of time, research, and energy into selling a self-published book, you stand the most chance of making the biggest profit.  This is because, aside from the cost of your expenses, you are able to retain all of your profits.  There is no one else that must share your profits, unless of course you decide to hire help.

Another pro or plus side to self-publishing is the fact that unknown authors are given the opportunity to shine.  Some of the bestselling books today are written by authors who already have an established history or name.  In fact, unless you have an absolutely amazing book or a well-known name, there is a good chance that many publishing companies will not want to take a chance on you.  This doesn’t mean that your book is a poorly written one or that it has a bad story line.  It just means that the publishing market is a tough one.

One of the biggest signs that self-publishing may be right for you if you believe that you have a book that will sell, but you still receive multiple rejection letters from well-known publishing houses.  Self-publishing is also an ideal approach for authors who write books that will sell, but books that only have a limited targeted marketed.  For example, if you are interested in writing a book on your city or town, your targeted market may be quite small and publishers may not want to take a chance with that.

Since there are a number of pros and cons to self-publishing, you should take the time to decide if self-publishing is right for you.  Additional research can help you determine if self-publishing is truly your best option.

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio