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Pen IN Hand
Sell That Book
By Peggy Bechko
November, 2007, 15:30

As a new writer just starting, you may consider it necessary to become some sort of super hero or a promotional whiz to kick your book into high selling gear. That ain't necessarily so! Here are a few tips that will help you think in terms of sales even before you begin writing that book.

  1. Let's start with fiction. I hate to tell you this, but nonfiction books sell better than fiction. I know, I know, not fair! Still there it is. It just makes sense to write a nonfiction book first if you can. Any special expertise? A fresh angle on a subject you're well versed in? Think about it. If the book does well, you can use that experience and those funds to springboard your fiction writing career. And it doesn't hurt to have a writing credit under your belt.

  2. Choose a subject that allows you to write a book that people need and want. How-to books are ever popular. There is a rising market for e-books and that fits well with the how-to market. Some MP3 players and iPods now download e-books as well. Bottom line: informational books sell well.

  3. Women buy many more books than men do about 75% more actually. You might try writing something helpful directed at women. Odds are high your sales will be higher with the result of more money in your pocket and more exposure of your name.

  4. Shorter is mostly better. Especially if you're writing a how-to or other informational book. Plain talk and short sentences are welcome. That's, of course, talking about nonfiction. Fiction is a horse of a different color. Nonetheless, even in fiction, if you're writing in a specific genre check on the lower end of the word count. Remember shorter is also usually cheaper to publish.

  5. Ever think of doing a series? In the nonfiction category, the Chicken Soup Series and the Dummies series leap immediately to mind. In fiction, there's the Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon in Romance and there's also Orson Scott Card's Sci-Fi classic Ender's series. Many more series exist in both categories, but you get the drift. Series build upon themselves creating more exposure and more sales. Doesn't hurt either when approaching an editor to mention you have ideas for several more book sin the same vein. And if you're self-publishing the same applies.

  6. Choosing a title is a lot more work than it first appears. Tap into emotions. Remember the last time you picked up a book? How long did you look at that cover (front and back) before you opened the book or put it back on the shelf? You must hook your potential buyer and reader from the first second. Then remember, odds are the editor or publishing house will probably change it. Sigh, that's the biz. On the other hand if you're self-publishing it's going to be totally up to you to come up with that great title, short but informative. And that doesn't even include the artwork for the cover. Get input from friends and writers if you do this yourself, or hire a professional graphics company to produce that cover.

  7. Don't forget speaking engagements whether you're going in for nonfiction or fiction. Decide what you might charge to coach others either in the subject you've undertaken (nonfiction) or about writing in general. Speak at seminars. Yes, I know, speaking in public freaks you out. Well, get over it. Sooner or later you're gonna have to do it so you better get ready for it.

  8. Think about marketing before your book is released. Better yet, think of that when you're writing the book. Think about how you might present it, where you can advertise, are there blogs or newsletters where you can post information about the book when release is imminent? Places where you want to send it for possible review? Set up your own website. Write all this down. Jot down other opportunities when you see or hear about them while you're still creating your masterpiece.

Try these ideas and you'll find you have a much better chance of creating a book that sells well when you hit the market.

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Author of Doubleday western novels, Harlequin romances, Fictionworksfantasies (eBook format), Peggy Bechko has also optioned screenplays domestically and abroad, written for an animated series and for variety of other venues. She's working on a new novel and collaborating on a animated series.

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