Two ways to share your articles widely…

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For veteran digital writers, what I’m going to share is old news.

But if you are new to sharing and marketing on the Web, a dandy way to do that is to write articles (think 500-1000 words) and let either (or both) www.articlesbase.com and www.ezinearticles.com make them available to hundreds of other outlets, free.

You must register with both (no charge), and that is pesky but fairly straightforward. And you must read the regulations.

Mostly, you would like to have the reader link back to you about nine times, plus insert affiliation product links–plus add a few facts to make it look legit!

Good luck with that. You can link to yourself once, but not in the first three paragraphs (or above the fold)–and none of the affiliation links.

Really, what you want to do is make the article jump with facts, quotes, new stuff, and information that the user can share in their newsletter or article. The better the content, the more benefit to you, and of course the two web sharers. And you can’t beat the price!

Zero in on your best piece, tighten it up to fit the limit, and share it to see how the process works.

I’ll see you at the 2/2 newsletter!

Gordon Burgett

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What a “ready-to-publish” reviewer looks for…

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Often I’m asked what I need to provide a solid “go, change, or stop” book review before the author goes to press or finishes his or her manuscript before querying an editor at a publishing house, though I don’t recommend writing the book before querying (as you will read below).

I’ve been directly involved with publishing for 40+ years, published 100+ items through my own firm (since 1981), and had 38 of my own books in print. My bio gives the details.

When a potential clients approach me, I send them to my pathfinder service, and if it’s what they need and want, we start with the 11-point info outline that follows.

About 90% are at what I call the second, or “intermediate” stage: when they are well into the book, probably about to begin the final production (and proofing) but have yet to send the book to the printer. Sometimes they are more in need of marketing advice; those often have the final, printed book in hand. What follows is what I tell the “intermediates”:

“Put yourself in my position, All I know about you is what you tell me. So I need to know what you know or think about your book and I need to see what you have produced (in its best, early draft state, at least), plus know the questions you have at this point, so I can answer them.

… if you send me a (warehouse of items) to read, there is no time for commentary. And if you send too little, what can I say?

So I’ve compiled a list of the kinds of things that help me put you on a firm, fast, and profitable path to book fame, whether you publish it or some distant house does. Please answer them as best you can. And feel free to send me anything else you think I should know. If it’s not clear why it’s being sent, attach a note to it and tell me. I’m too nearsighted to read minds.

It’s best to answer these on other paper, sticking to the same numbering system please! Typed or computer-printed takes less time for me to read. If you must write by hand and that’s illegible, please print. (You can also respond in Spanish or Portuguese, if that’s more comfortable for you.)

1. I assume the book is nonfiction–not a novel. If it isn’t, stop. Don’t go to GO. You just saved (my fee). I don’t (can’t) provide this service for novels. If it is nonfiction, start answering at #2.

2. What is the book about? Summarize it in a paragraph or two; maximum, one page.

3. Why are you writing it? What do you expect to get out of it: money, display of expertise, clients, fame, revenge?

4. Who will buy this book? Specifically. What benefit(s) will it give them?

5. Do you plan to self-publish this book or have it published by another firm? If the latter, do you have a publisher in mind?

6. What other books are on the market now that are identical or very close to what you propose? Others that are similar? Why would they buy your book rather than those? In other words, how will yours be different?

7. Provide a rough outline or table of contents of your book.

8. What remains to do to complete this book? What has been done that you didn’t send me? Do you have questions about the steps yet to take? What are they?

9. How do you plan to sell this book? Do you have questions about its marketing? If so, tell me all I should know about its intended market. How will you let them know that your book exists? Are they already aware?

10. Are you proposing to sell the core idea of the book in other formats? As articles, a speech, seminars, a newsletter, tapes, and so on? If so, please explain. Do any of these already exist? (This helps me help you integrate your book into a larger empire-building structure at the outset, to save time and increase your profits.)

11. What else should I know about your book to get you on the best possible path…? (Again, I can’t read minds!)

Do the best you can. I don’t need every fact but I do need enough to get a clear picture of the structure and purpose of the book.

Let’s take a pause here. The questions may have overwhelmed you. You may even be thinking of chucking this “pathfinder” idea out the window and kicking back to do the damn thing at your own pace. Fine.

But whether you’re thinking of selling this book to a publisher or even self-publishing it, these questions are what you must know before you definitively print the words on the paper.

Even more important, if you want another publisher to accept your book, by now you should have approached them, writing and sending them only what’s needed for them to make a decision. The reason for that is that they often (in fact, very often) suggest (early on) that you approach the topic differently than you planned, and it is far easier for you to do it “right” from the beginning than to rewrite it later.

So if that’s the case, tell me and we will work with what you have done to fit it into a stronger queried approach to the publisher. But if you’re going to self-publish, continue. We’ll work forward to the next stage of production.

Some of the questions I posed may seem elementary, but I need to know what you are planning and thus I need to know the answers. And if you haven’t asked these questions yet, you must do so now so we can get you on the best possible footing before you invest a lot of money in printing.

So that’s what I need from intermediates. Bundle it up, send me what I must see, tell me what you want to know back (or assume I will give you a full response about what is still needed for it to be the best book possible), include the letter of agreement, moolah, and we’re in business.

A last point: new writers are rife with paranoia. I’m over my head in my own writing work so I’m not going to steal anything of yours. Nor will I show it to anybody else. Faith. I want you to be successful. Why else would I do this?”

———

I’m sharing this with you so if you are planning or writing your own book, it may help you ask yourself the proper questions before you invest too much wasted time and energy. Once you have the answers firmly in mind, the organization of your book is faster and firmer, and you will have found the selling hooks you can use to earn a proper (or even wildly improper) financial return!

——–

I talk about this topic often at my free monthly newsletter at www.gordonburgett.com/nl.htm. You can also find out more at www.gordonburgett.com or www.ancillarypublishing.com.

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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Your most obvious book buyers?

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Who most benefits from your words?

Let me pluck a few words from my newest book, Publishing and Marketing Your Book by Ancillary Marketing, out for about a week!

“Here’s where you create the magic list of people with your bug in their blood, the kind who buy books and know other fans or fanatics. So if your book is The Ten Chess Strategies Every Player Must Know, chess is the common denominator that defines your beneficiaries. Your list is a who’s-who of chess information buyers. It tells where you must send information that will sell enough books to justify the time and cost. Let your mind wander, list every group, person, association, related beneficiary (math teachers, chess stores, specialty gift lists for the gifted), and so on. Then you go to Google and see what more comes of when you enter these in chess+___ (chess+math teachers). A big buying world suddenly becomes yours!

“Oh yes, are you keeping track of all of this in specific files? Are you keeping the name and address (plus the e-mail info) of every person and group you are contacting or who buy? Why? To make selling your second book or other products about five times easier! And if you catch the web marketing mania, you will have a responsive starter e-list.”

My book is about how to submit and sell through LightningSource, Lulu, CreateSpace, Blurb, Scribd, Smashwords, and Kindle, and is second-step match to last month’s book, Writing Your Book for Ancillary Publishing. (See www.ancillarypublishing.com for a bargain on the two.)

A final thought. A “chess” book is a niche book. Lots of chess readers and buyers in the ancillary markets, but a lot more that can be directly approached if you also publish the book yourself and both pre-test and largely pre-market by using the steps in Niche Publishing: Publish Profitably Every Time. That removes the big out-of-pocket expense risk in self-publishing.

Then add the ancillary books to your own book and you’ve got a wee “chess” empire going–the kind of planning any chessmaster would enthusiatically suggest!

Best wishes,

Gordon Burgett

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Sample chapter: publishing your book at Scribd

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Here’s a review copy of the shortest chapter in my e-book (released today) called “Publishing and Marketing Your Book by Ancillary Publishing.” The book explains key facts, tips, and the submission process at all seven ancillary publishers: Lightning Source, Lulu, CreateSpace, Blurb, Kindle, Smashwords, and Scribd. For more details and a purchasing discount, please see www.publishingyourAPbook.com.

_____________________

Scribd sits a bit at the side of the other (ancillary publications) because it primarily deals in documents and short books—average length publication is 43 pages (13,640 words). Charging for your document or book also seems to be at least tacitly discouraged—or maybe just not much encouraged. Their selling mechanism also seems the weakest of the seven.

They seem big on sharing information. Scribd provides the platform to write and make your words available, I guess to draw readers to your area of expertise and thus validate you as the authority. You write, upload, and either make the text accessible or sell it through the Scribd bookstore, which is also rather hard to find. But if you do sell something, your profit ratio is high—80%!

What will they accept? Information, novels and novellas, factual essays, poetry, newsletters, original sheet music, resumés, corporate reports, presentation slideshows, recipes, and more. They don’t seem to care if the cover is a plain old black-and-white term paper front page or fancy and multicolored. Nor is an ISBN an issue or whether you are sending the same text to other publishers.

Most ancillary publishers accept your book in just one format (or two), but Scribd excels in taking your offering 19 different ways: Windows .doc, .docx, .ppt, .pps, .pptx, .xls, xlsx; Open Office .odt, .sxw, .odp, .sxi, .ods, and .sxc; Adobe .pdf and .ps; wPub; all OpenDocument formats; .txt, and .rtf.

Getting it posted could hardly be easier, though if you want to change items (like a cover, which is the first page of your submission) you must resubmit the entire manuscript or document; and once a copy has been sold, that’s it, no changes. The original will remain posted, and you can then submit new versions.

As different as this publishing vehicle is. you can’t just dismiss it. Scribd claims to be the largest social publishing company in the world, visited by 60 million viewers a month. Begun in March, 2007 in San Francisco, it includes items in 90 different languages and has posted more than 35 billion words. A hidden plus: they don’t care if you link back to your own newsletter or blog site. 

I posted four items at Squibd on 6/4/09: two free, two for $3 each. I put “101 Niche Marketing Ideas” (which is one of three reports I send free with my newsletter) in two categories. In about six months 645 have opened it at business/law and 308 at how-to guides and manuals. The two paid items have lured in only 195 and 93 viewers—but not one sale, at $3! How could 60 million monthly have missed such gems?

My conclusion, comparing all seven ancillary publishers and having additionally dabbled with Squibd, is that the better your description is here (and almost everywhere else too), the better you will fare. The title had better grab the wandering eye too. Otherwise, there’s a mountain of free things for the picking at Squibd and it’s easy to get lost or overlooked. The point: see other titles and descriptions and work hard to make yours as appealing as possible.

I’ll give you the submission details in a moment, but if you want a good model for a short book that I liked, see Sr. Genaro Medina Ramos’ Náhuatl course book (that’s the language spoken by the Aztecs). Complete, concise, full of content, and well supported with explanatory information.

Here’s the submission process:

1. Open www.squibd.com. You’re in when it has Home, Community, Explore, and Upload along the top line.

2. Go to that upload button. There will be two options. The blue upload is for sharing or uploading items. If that’s your choice, there are two checked boxes: Standard and Public. They are probably what you want. If not, you might explore Enter Text or Single File. (The HELP TOOLS on the bottom will guide you well too.) Then just follow that path…

3. Above the blue choice is the yellow shaded box telling you that that’s the road to the Scribd Store uploader. Click the “Seller’s Guide” link and you will see five reports. Browse the first two, if you wish, but the third (Signing Up), the fourth (Preparing Your Content), and the fifth (Publishing Your Content and Configuring Sales Options) will walk you through the process for items you want to sell. The first two have short but excellent You Tube videos that tell you what to do.

4. In the first of the three, Signing Up, you must open a Scribd account to sell there. Fill in the usual stuff—all the asterisks. If you have a PayPal account, they pay you that way. Or you can be paid by check. You are reminded that your work must be original—but that doesn’t mean exclusive.

5. In the second, Preparing Your Content, some of the advice is standard e-book stuff: avoid numbering the pages, 12-point type minimum, keep your margins consistent, and strive to make the content clear and attractive. To keep the final viewed (or downloaded) document consistent with what you see on your computer, they prefer you use .pdf, particularly with artwork and if color is used (which they advise against since monitors see colors differently). Shorter documents are best done in list format (8.5 x 11 is fine) but longer books (read side by side) work better with narrower layouts (try 4 x 7). Very important: test all hyperlinks first since only active links will work in your final e-book. Remember to fill in all title and author metadata. Finally, no passwords or encryptions permitted.

6. The third, Publishing Your Content and Configuring Sales Options, leads you backward to the yellow box you went to in #3 above. Where it says “Click to Chose Files,” do that, then find the e-book file you want to download in Scribd. (This is what we prepared in “Writing Your Own Book for Ancillary Publishing.” It is most likely your Magic File #3, in pdf.)

7. But don’t upload that file yet because in Scribd the first page of the file is your cover! So you must, in essence, put Magic File #5 (the cover) in the document as page one, add the text (File #3) next, resave it all as one file in .pdf, and that becomes your special Scribd file.

8. This cover will be seen as a 1” x 1.5” thumbnail. If your regular cover is fancy, simplify it, keeping these things in mind: (a) color is fine but keep it sharp, unmuddled, (b) use lettering that is clear and easy to read; use a bold sans-serif type font (I like Arial), no script, and (c) avoid a drop shadow or special effects but put a thin line outline around the cover.

9. Now, when you browse, find your special Scribd book file, click OK, and a white field will open to the right side of your screen. Follow the instructions there. When you are at the end of several sections in this white window, up will pop your file downloaded and ready to sell!

10. The first section is the download. It will also ask you to pick a price (or let Scribd do it; nothing for less than $1). Close that section.

11. Copyright verification will appear. Tell it how you happen to be selling the copy and give it an ownership reason (like, “I wrote it!”). Hit continue, and in the third section you give the book or item a category, as many metatags as apply, and a description. It will suggest a “discoverability rating” so those 60 million monthly will see you. If it’s “low,” keep adding legitimate tags and more description.

12. When you leave that section, you are published! Your e-book (or e-document) is ready for instant selling or sharing.

13. This is the oddest, quickest to use, and most likely the least profitable of the ancillary publishing sites. But being a published author could hardly be easier. And who knows how many of those viewers will wander over to your website and buy one of everything you sell?

For the full e-book from which this section is extracted, please see “Publishing and Marketing Your Book by Ancillary Publishing.” I also address this topic regularly at www.ancillarypublishing.com and at my free monthly newsletter.

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