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April 2018
49

Once in a while I consult with authors who want my advice, usually on how to spread the word about their books. Just last week I had a Skype session with a nice man who had that exact question, so as we began the hour I asked him this:


What is your book about?


He couldn't provide a succinct answer.


He said it was a memoir, kind of. Then he said it was divided into four parts of his life. Then he told me about all four of those parts, which took quite a while. I wanted to be engaged but found myself less than enthralled by his disjointed explanation.


Do you see the problem here? Potential readers want to know WHAT YOUR BOOK IS ABOUT, period. If the description doesn't grab their attention right away, they will most likely move on to something else. Shiny penny syndrome.


After the nice man finished telling me about his book, it was clear that one of the "four parts" sounded leaps and bounds more interesting than the other three, so I encouraged him to focus on that one for the description. The other sections might be fantastic in the book itself, but on a surface level they sounded pretty ordinary. A memoir needs to promise something extraordinary, because unless you're famous, no one really cares about your life story.


It's not easy to come up with a compelling description of a book, but it's important. When you reach out to reviewers over email, for example, they will agree to read your book only if they think it will be interesting. Play around with variations and see which one receives the best results. It may take a few tries, but you'll get there!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Marketingtip: how to find book bloggers

Marketingtip: make it easy for people to pay you

3,670 Views 49 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, books, authors
16

A smart way to encourage influential people to read your book - think bloggers, book club moderators, social media addicts, etc. - is to offer to send them a copy. The cost to you will depend on how aggressive you are in your efforts (I've given away hundreds of books over the years), but here are three ways I've learned to save money:


1) Offer to email a digital copy.


If you can get a reviewer to read a Mobi or PDF version of you book, great! It won't cost you a penny. Some reviewers refuse to accept electronic files, but it's always worth asking.


2) Use the "send as a gift" option on Amazon for a Kindle or print version.


If the person you want to read your book will accept a Kindle version but isn't tech savvy enough to manage a Mobi file, offer to purchase a Kindle version of your book through Amazon. The reviewer will receive a link to download it within seconds, and you'll get a royalty on the sale! (The same goes for print versions, which can be a good option if you have Amazon Prime and the free shipping that goes along with it.)


3) Request the "book rate" at the post office.


I like sending books the old fashioned way because it allows me to include a personalized inscription for the reader, which I think is a nice touch. If you choose this option be sure to request the book rate, which will cut the shipping cost WAY down. The only downside is that to get the book rate you can't use the self-service kiosk and thus have to wait in line, but the money you'll save over time is worth it.


What are you waiting for? Get pitching!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Are you making this marketing mistake?

Marketing tip: Stay organized!

1,880 Views 16 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, writers
14

Went or gone? Refer or recommend? Here's a quick refresher on how to use these tricky words correctly.


Went vs. Gone


WENT and GONE are both forms of the verb TO GO.


WENT is used in the past tense (also known as the preterit/preterite tense):


  • I knew I needed to study, but I went to the movies instead.
  • Gloria wanted to go to the movies, but she was responsible and went home to study instead.

 

 

Simple, right? Yes! But read on.


GONE is used in the present perfect and the past perfect tense (also known as the pluperfect tense):


  • I should have gone home to study, but I went to the movies instead. (Present perfect tense)
  • I thought that all of us had gone to the movies, but later I found out that Gloria had gone home to study. (Past perfect/pluperfect tense)

 

 

Generally the mistakes happen when people think they should use WENT when they should use GONE.


  • Gloria should have went to the movies. (INCORRECT)
  • Gloria should have gone to the movies (CORRECT)


  • If Gloria had went to the movies, she probably wouldn't have aced the test. (INCORRECT)
  • If Gloria had gone to the movies, she probably wouldn't have aced the test. (CORRECT)


  • I should have went home to study instead of going to the movies. (INCORRECT)
  • I should have gone home to study instead of going to the movies. (CORRECT)
  • Remember, WENT is past tense only. GONE is present perfect or past perfect only.


Refer vs. Recommend


REFER means to direct someone to someone or something for treatment or information:


  • My doctor referred me to a knee specialist.
  • Can you refer me to an honest mechanic?


RECOMMEND means to endorse someone or something as worthy.


  • Can you recommend a knee specialist?
  • Gloria recommended her mechanic for the job.


What word pairs trip you up? Please share in the comments!


-Maria

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.


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Two abbreviations that are easy to confuse

Are you making this common grammar mistake?

1,447 Views 14 Comments Permalink
12

Have you long dreamed of writing a book, but for one reason or another have yet to sit down and do it? Author Meg Nocero's story might inspire you. In her own words, here's how writing began as an outlet for surviving grief - and ended up changing her life.


In April of 2011, not only did I lose my mother to breast cancer, I also lost my way. To navigate the grieving process, I turned to writing as a healing tool. I started simply. I would wake in the morning and read from a book that resonated with me. When a quote or a passage spoke to me, I grabbed my journal and channeled at least three pages of longhand about what I felt my mother would want to communicate to me about it. One day led to the next, and this routine led me to complete my first book, a self-help guide called The Magical Guide to Bliss: Daily Keys to Unlock Your Dreams, Spirit & Inner Bliss. My intention is for the book to empower readers to step into the unknown and wake up to a universe packed with possibility, because that's exactly what happened to me as I wrote it. In addition to allowing me to feel connected to my mom, it helped me muster the courage to make a career change after twenty years as a federal prosecutor. I'm now an inspirational writer, speaker and coach, which I believe is my true calling in life. Even now I turn to my book daily for clarity and direction. It is my morning meditation, it is a place where I transform dreams into reality, and it is liberating and healing in a way like no other. It is where I wrote my way out of darkness to rediscover my inner light. It is what helped me transform into a beautiful butterfly.


If that's not a reason to sit down and start writing, I'm not sure what is. Thanks to Meg for sharing her story! To learn more about her, visit www.MegNocero.com.


-Maria


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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at www.mariamurnane.com.

1,548 Views 12 Comments Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, writing, promotions, motivation

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