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How to Start Writing a Book


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I’ve published over a thousand books in my career and have worked with a variety of interesting authors worldwide. Their backgrounds range from university professors and bank CEO’s to Olympic athletes and technology executives.

Because writing is an art, it is easy to get stuck in the process. I’ve seen many authors become paralyzed by their own over-analysis of their topic. Others will research so meticulously that they never seem to make any progress. Many authors will take 12 months or more to write a book. Some take several years to come up with a complete first draft of their manuscript. Others simply don’t finish at all.

The key to completion is harnessing the power of momentum. While each author has a unique process for completing a book manuscript, there are dozens of different methods for writing books. In response to this thorny issue, I’ve discovered a system that will cut that time down to a few weeks.

Let’s explore a couple methods.

We’ll start with the ”straight A student” when it comes to writing a book so that you can see the best-case scenario. This writer is Chris Widener, and he is a professional speaker. Besides writing a New York Times bestselling book, he is the fastest writer I know. After he conceived his book over a couple of months, he sat down at his local Starbucks for 12-days straight and wrote a 35,000-word manuscript. Most mere mortal authors have a different experience. Let’s look at a few more examples.

Many authors start their book projects by taking time off of their “day job”, or taking a sabbatical. The most common methods people use to write a book is to step away from their everyday life for 6 to 12 months, and then go off somewhere interesting and write. On average, this approach takes about a year.

Another way that’s quite common, especially with non-fiction books written by hyper busy executives, is taking a few months to draft the essence of the material, creating a cogent outline, and coming up with stories to support each point. Once this outline is in place, they hire a professional writer to do the heavy lifting of crafting the body of the book. A good ghostwriter will take the author’s ideas and concepts, then translate them into the written word, expressing the material in a style that meshes with the author’s voice.

Ghostwriting is an excellent option for authors who are clear about what they would like to say but haven’t yet honed the craft of composition. It’s an efficient way to work, and it’s completely legit. As long as the ghostwriter and the author of record speak the same language, this can produce some highly successful results.

However there is a downside to this tactic. The reason many authors want to hire a ghostwriter in the first place is that they have difficulty expressing themselves. This can make for muddled communication and imperfect results. If you choose to hire a ghostwriter, you will need to be clear about your content and your objective.

The final method for writing a book is a system we use at Made for Success Publishing called Book in a Weekend. It’s a high-velocity, time-compressed system for writing books inspired by agile product development methods. This is great for the author who may want to write a book themselves, or come up with an outline they can hand off to a ghostwriter to do the writing for them. This is the most effective method for setting up the writing project and producing a time-compressed outline of a book in a weekend.

The most important aspect of writing is to get the project started. Once you have started the writing process, it’s easier to gain momentum and complete the manuscript. It is essential to work from a detailed outline of the book, much like a Table of Contents. This helps you organize your writing and stay on track.

What we do with this Book in a Weekend process is fairly intuitive, but it’s easy to put off completion. We work with the author to break the book down into a series of small chunks. By chunks, I’m talking about chunks of writing, so each part of the book gets broken down into 800-word sections. Now, you’ve got a plan for writing each 800-word piece.

These sections of writing can be thought of in the same way you might think of writing an article or an email. In my line of work, I type a lot of emails. A really long email is usually about 800 words. If I’m writing a short email, it might be 50 to 100 words. By breaking the project down, the author might think of each section as a series of long emails.

Most people can sit down for an hour or so, write a long email and overcome any typical distractions. Carving out an hour to write is a fairly achievable goal. If the author can string together those messages into the timeframe that we recommend, the book will develop naturally like clockwork – usually in just a couple of days.

The Book in a Weekend process entails following these 7 sequential steps. In fact, I use this exact method to write my own books.

1. Conceptualize your book by answering the question of “What’s the big picture of your writing?”

2. Identify your target audience.

3. Brainstorm title options for your book.

4. Gather and organize pertinent stories that can be used to make key points.

5. Build the Table of Contents with your key ideas.

6. Assign stories to each Chapter.

7. Assign how many words you plan to write for each Chapter.

When I wanted to create my first manuscript, I went on a retreat for a few days. I rented a hotel room on a mountain lake, removed all distractions and didn’t even answer my cell phone. It may sound like a dream vacation, but believe me – I was definitely in Work mode. I’d wake-up early to write as the sun came up, and then would reward myself at the end of the day with an early evening motorcycle ride around the lake.

I found that organizing my ideas using these steps really helped me overcome my natural tendency to procrastinate on the project. Ponying up the cash for the hotel room also helped give the project the gravitas is needed. By the end of my stay, I had an actionable manuscript, which I later published first as an ebook, then as a physical book and finally as an audiobook. Since then, that book has gone on to sell thousands of copies on autopilot.

With that, there’s only one question left to ask: what are your plans for the weekend?




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.

  

icon1August 9, 2016
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How To Make Your Author Website the “In” Place To Be


Once upon a time, when books were only printed on the static page, the conversation was more like a monolog. This meant the author’s career was a bit like a college lecture on, say, frog dissection. It was a lonely, dusty, echoey place to be. I mean, who wants to wake up and smell the formaldehyde? Not fun. Not fun at all.

Even as recently as ten years ago, there was little chance for a reader to get involved in an author’s work except by writing to the author, or maybe showing up at a lecture or book signing. Thankfully, all that has changed.

In the age of digits and downloads, the author’s website is, well… electric, and even electrifying. Now it’s more like a hip coffeehouse, or a dinner of nouvelle cuisine at 10:00 pm. It’s become a busy hub for a wide array of content and media – interactive and highly actionable.

This shift in dynamic may seem obvious, but it’s overlooked more often than it should be – much to the detriment of the author. If you’re not sure where your own author website falls on the scale between humdrum and howling – between frog dissection and sautéed frogs’ legs – these tips may lend you just the clue you’re looking for.

Whisper – You Don’t Have To Shout

Does your website shout at readers with a dozen or more calls to action? You want to involve them, not confuse them. The adage from the advertising world is to direct a Visitor’s attention to just one thing, with one “Call to Action” message. Make sure your website is easy to use, with just the right balance between form and function.

Focus on content over design. You want a crisp, clean look with one clear call to action. Still, the substance of your message is more important than the look and feel, so keep the bells and whistles to a minimum. Don’t use Flash if you can help it (due to mobile phone limitations), and trim your images to a manageable size before adding them to your posts. Let the site load time be fast and light.

The intent of your website should focus on the reader, not on you. Yes, this is your website, but you’re not the one using it. It’s all about your readers and what you can do for them.

Use your About page for boasts, toasts, testimonials and kudos. Keep the rest of the site focused on your reader. Have a tab for book news and reviews, offer a newsletter, and make sure you’re easy to contact – things that show you’re not only aware of their presence, but you’re glad they came.

Think of your role as something like being the gracious host of a great party. If you just talk about yourself, you’ll only inspire a lot of yawns, and folks may decide to turn in early or head to the shindig down the block. Instead, present your guests with a scintillating array of topics to nibble on. Also introduce them to other personalities they may enjoy, and get the conversation going.

When someone shows up at your site, offer them exclusive unpublished content that they can’t get anywhere else. Give them juicy morsels they would gladly pay for, like a short video, podcast episodes, short fiction, white papers, explainers and sample chapters.

Create content worth sharing, something your readers might pick apart over coffee or happy hour with their incredibly interesting friends.

How To Keep Readers Coming Back For More

  • Be generous. Whose work do you read or recommend? Why is it worth anyone’s precious free time? Support your peers and your fans at the same time. Shine a spotlight on people and topics that might not otherwise cross your reader’s path.

  • Be human. Talk about your works in progress, and share the biggest triumphs and trials you have in the writing process. Are you stuck on one idea? Did you just shift the gender of your lead character and now you have to rewrite half your book? Did you suddenly realize that your magnum opus on finding happiness is really more about finding faith? Are you simply bored with the sound of your own voice and can’t wait to finish your manuscript? Let your readers peek behind the curtain.

  • Be social. Encourage your readers to promote your fresh content on social media, and make it easy to do. For example, you can use the free service at ClickToTweet.com to socialize your blog content. Summarize the topic of your blog post into about 100 characters, and include your ClickToTweet link. This will automatically post your headline, witty comment or quip to Twitter. For added link juice, use a hashtag.

Encourage comments on your blog and get involved with the conversation. In fact, why not encourage comments on the comments to build a real sense of community?

With a slight shift in focus, you can transform your author website from a dusty lecture hall into a roaring success. The career you wake up may be your own!




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.

  

icon1December 29, 2015
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Tell the World with a Book Trailer Video – Author Training Series


by Bryan Heathman

Get out the popcorn and dim the lights! As an up and coming bestselling author, it’s time to promote your book the old fashioned way: with a promotional trailer.

Whether your book is a fictional story or it’s the true story of a brand, passion or success philosophy, your book ought to be in pictures. Posting book trailer videos online is a solid step on your path to publishing success.

Seriously, take a look at the way a single movie can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in a single weekend. How did you first hear about the movie? Was it social media, a movie critic or word of mouth?

The same dynamic of movie awareness works equally for books. So it is important for you, the author, to get the ball of momentum rolling with a book trailer to tease interest in your book.

To get people to spend a week or two reading your book, they are going to have to want it… bad! So your promotional activity will need a hook, which often starts with your book trailer video.

From the Big Screen to the Screen In Your Hand

Video promotion on the internet is far less expensive than traditional advertising, and after a few preliminaries, many authors can do it. As an author with a book to promote, this includes you. About 1-2 minutes of video is all you need to get your message across to smartphones and tablets everywhere. With the right planning and a little push, these mobile devices are where you book may be read as well.

You can use inexpensive tools to make your book trailer if you know which ones to shop for, such as EasySketch Pro or VideoMaker FX. Because they’re user friendly and widely available, using these tools may mean that your video ends up looking the same as everyone else’s. The difference is how you use the tools. Creativity is key. If you can hire someone to create a quality book trailer for you, so much the better.

Making and sharing your own videos does seem exciting to a lot of authors, and I admit it can be fun. But before you cast yourself as the next John Huston or Cecil B. DeMille, take time out to do some planning.

Think about your process and map it from start to finish. The video production process includes only a handful of steps, but each one is key to your book trailer’s success.

First, start with your book trailer’s concept. Decide ahead of time what the viewer’s key take-away will be. Create a clear call to action that is the natural conclusion for the message they’ve just seen.

Next, decide how much of your story you want to reveal in your book trailer. What’s the heart of your video? Where do you want the viewer to begin and end? Script it, and have a clear idea of the visuals you plan to use. Video production professionals call this step storyboarding.

Record the audio first, then use it as the anchor for your video. It’s much easier to sync the video to the audio, instead of the other way around, and the results are more professional. Whatever approach you use, there’s almost always a creative solution for any production obstacles you find.

Online Traffic = A Packed House For Your Book Trailer

Now that you have a finished video, it’s time to get the word out. Though it’s not the only game in town, YouTube is the obvious distribution channel of choice. It’s where the viewers are, and viewers are what you want most for your new book trailer.

YouTube has so many astounding statistics, it would be a waste of space to try to name them here. If you want to research it, here’s a link to the source itself.

I will add, though, that YouTube.com boasts more than 1 billion unique users, or one-third of all people who use the Internet. That’s nearly as many people as inhabited the planet 100 years ago, when the movie industry was new. It’s 1/7 of the world population today. You don’t have to convince people to go to YouTube. You just have to get their attention.

To get your share of viewers for your trailer, start with a keyword rich title. It should include your book title or central character, as well as any other descriptive information or keywords you’d like to capitalize on.

Next, your description should also be keyword rich. Begin the first line with a link. This should coincide with your call to action, either to the page where viewers can join your mailing list, or where they can buy your book directly. Your description should be as long as a full article for best keyword optimization and Google juice.

Finally, give a clear compelling call to action, such as subscribing to your YouTube channel, joining your mailing list, or simply buying your book. It may seem obvious to you, but your “call to action” won’t be to your viewers. They’ll be too mesmerized by your masterful storytelling prowess!

If optimizing your videos is too slow a process for you, advertising opportunities abound on YouTube and Facebook as well. Find videos on the site that have an audience similar to yours, and buy inexpensive ads that attract a crowd to your own video. You’ll find hordes of people showing up on your channel, hungry for more.

After posting your book trailer video to YouTube.com, be sure to upload the video to your Amazon Author Central Account and Goodreads account.

After that, what more can you say – except, “Pass the popcorn.”



You Tube Marketing: Social Marketing Media for Your Business

YouTube and other video networks started with a social intent, but their use in online business promotion has exploded as social marketing media has become part of the everyday. Google gives high marks for inbound links to a site from YouTube, and no SEO campaign is complete without including YouTube. Creating video content to market your business is a breeze with this entertaining program. Liv Montgomery, the eCommerce Gal teaches you how to leverage social marketing with video and YouTube. Put your online business promotion on the fast track now.







Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1December 16, 2015
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Building Social Proof in Social Media Circles – Personal Branding Tips


by Bryan Heathamn

Since the taming of fire, people have aligned themselves with various clubs, clans, groups, movements, organizations and sports franchises. The obvious illustration of this is rooting for your home team. Where were you last Super Bowl Sunday? The odds are high that you remember where you were, and that you weren’t watching the big game alone.

This fact about association presents a great chance for anyone promoting anything, not just advertisers with over the top TV ads, but individuals too. In your case, this collective behavior offers a ripe opportunity to promote your book.

I live in Seattle, a city where football team spirit is high. No, wait – high is an understatement. Football here is a mania, after the local team took a couple trips to the Super Bowl. Walk down any street on a Sunday afternoon, and you may feel like Charlton Heston in a scene from The Omega Man or Will Smith in I Am Legend. It’s that quiet; everyone is inside, watching the game.

Fans don’t cheer feverishly only on game day here. Head out some Friday night to any pub, tavern or bistro. You’ll find that nearly 50% of the folks are dressed up in team jerseys and logoed sports caps. They’ve joined the tribe, and they live it. These fans give new meaning to the term “die-hard fan”.

Imagine if just one-tenth of them were wearing the logo from your book cover too. What would your career as an author look like then? What if your book could revolutionize the culture and galvanize people together the way a sports team unites beer drinkers, even on a team’s night off? Using social media, this idea may not be as far-fetched as it seems.

Social Proof Can “Show You The Money”

Social proof is a concept that plays to the deep-seated human need to be socially accepted. We assume that if other people are doing it, it must be the right thing to do. We don’t take into account what they know – just borrow their actions, believing the research has already been done for us. We don’t do it because we’re mentally lazy. We do it because we want to fit in and be accepted.

This desire is so deep-rooted that we will even do things that are contrary to our best interests – financial or otherwise – in order to stay consistent with what we assume about other people’s decisions. Most people leaving a theater will go through the same door everyone else is using, even if there is an unused door right next to it. We subconsciously assume it’s the right thing to do. We do it on autopilot.

The principle of social proof means we will convince ourselves of the correctness of other people’s decisions and make choices that conform to them. To speed up the decision-making process, we choose the path more traveled in the blink of an eye. Flying on autopilot is a fundamental aspect of human nature, and it helps us process the bombardment of messages we get all day long.

Leading the Pack

According to a 2014 study by Edison Research, 67% of Americans are active on some kind of social media. More than 75 million Americans check their social media accounts several times a day. About 58% of us use Facebook.

With two-thirds of the country checking in with their friends, family and neighbors at breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s a whole lot of opportunity for you to promote your book – just by showing up.

5 Tips to Build Reputation on Social Media

  1. Testimonials & Reviews: Using testimonials on social media are a great way to access the phenomenon of social proof. Using social media, you can publish testimonials and reviews from people who fit the demographic or psychographic profile of your target audience. The idea is to show that there’s support for your book from people who look “just like me”.

    To do this, ask your biggest fans for real testimonials (yes, this can include your mother). You will be surprised by what people have to say, and you just may learn a thing or two about your book. The more you can demonstrate that many people support your work, the more others will perceive your book as something worth reading.

  2. Join Groups: Another tactic you can use is to join groups within your social network. Find congregations of people who most closely match your book’s natural demographic. Groups make for a ready-made audience, and often they are hungry to associate with published authors. You can find groups that are indirectly related to your topic as well, populated by your ideal audience. The key is to become a regular and active voice in the groups. LinkedIn is a great place to get started.

  3. Start a Group: Consider creating your own group, either within your social network or on your own membership site. You can promote your group to your network of like-minded friends of colleagues, and watch your engagement numbers skyrocket.

  4. Solve a Problem: Communicate a compelling promise or purpose that speaks to an intense pain or pleasure for your group. Offer a newsletter or ecourse so you can stay in touch with them, and show them how to overcome the pain or increase the pleasure.

  5. Street Team: Finally, you can create a tribe with the groups you affiliate with. Use these contacts to build a street team, a small collective of three to twenty people who are avid fans of yours. If you put them to work to promote your books in social media channels, you could well find yourself at the hub of a jersey-wearing crowd – one with your number on it.

When it comes to measuring your influence in social media, many professionals turn to services like Klout.com to measure their effectiveness. Setting up a profile takes a few minutes, and the ongoing reports will help keep you on-track with your effectiveness in social media channels.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.




icon1November 25, 2015
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Social Media, Book Promotion and the Sweet Smell of Success


by Bryan Heathman

Ah, the sweet smell of success: your book is finally a household name, the topic of conversation in coffee houses and the subject of toasts in fine dining establishments. Just yesterday, you turned down a media interview due to your busy schedule. Tomorrow you’re off to Barbados for a quick dip in the salty surf, then a date with a rum-laced umbrella drink under a palm tree. Lucky you!

Or was it luck? Maybe it was all that time you put in on social media, carefully cultivating relationships with your fans and followers. You lost track of how many late nights you spent loading up your Buffer account, cheese popcorn crumbs littering the front of your PJ’s like so much dandruff.

“Oh, if they could see me now,” you mutter, catching a sideways glimpse in the mirror. Whatever happened to that polished look you cultivated so carefully for your book jacket? Gone is the mohair suit and the carefully waxed hairstyle. “Uff, it’s a good thing I’m not on my web cam…” you say under your breath.

But in reality, checking in with your fans doesn’t have to mean looking polished all the time. Unlike days gone by, you don’t necessarily have to show your face to sell a lot of books.

The thing about promoting yourself (and your book) on social media is that you can literally do the work anywhere you choose to be. The magic combination of a solid manuscript, the right book cover and a good social media promotion campaign can put your readership over the top. It just takes a little planning and a couple of good tools, then you’re off to the races! Or the sands of the Caribbean. Whatever.

Social media sites are the most efficient and cost effective way to get your message in front of potentially millions of people. Google’s $1.6 billion purchase of YouTube and Facebook’s multi-billion dollar IPO shouted a wake-up call to anyone who’d been hitting that marketing snooze button. There’s good reason for these high price tags; social networks offer a pool teaming with commercial opportunity for major players and individuals alike. As a published author, this opportunity now includes you. The playing field is about as level as it gets.

As an author you can leverage the ready-made audiences on social media. This means you can get involved with groups that either are tailored to your audience or dovetail nicely with your topic. Take a look at how big publishing companies are using social media to promote their top authors, then borrow a page from their playbook.

Using Social Media to Generate Social Proof

Social media helps you generate what marketers call “social proof”. Publishing your carefully cultivated testimonials from your readers can build the bond of trust for your would-be fans and their immediate social circles. The psychology of word-of-mouth testimonials is a powerful ally for authors who don’t yet have huge brand awareness. According to a survey by eMarketer, an overwhelming 99% of people surveyed believe that testimonials are credible and influence their buying decisions.

To leverage social proof online, follow these 3 steps:

1. Clearly understand your target audience – both their demographics and psychographics. Who are they? Get clear about their age, income, location, family life, interests and peeves. Find out what makes them hurt and what gives them pleasure.

2. Create messaging and imagery that is consistent with your target audience. For instance, if you are targeting empty nesters who are between 50 and 63 years old, you would use inspirational messages and images consistent with their outlook. In this case, you might use imagery of happy grandchildren, RV travel to national parks, beach vacations, spas or wine tasting.

3. Pick your “call to action” campaign strategies from options that are consistent with your target audience’s lifestyle. Then consider which techniques will influence their buying behavior. Do you want them to take a survey? Tell their friends? Watch a video and comment on it? Get creative, and keep your audience involved.

Keep Your Message In Front of Your Fans with a Book Marketing Timeline

You can increase your sales and your free time by creating a social media campaign timeline. Timelines are essential, and all successful authors use them to organize social media campaigns. Some authors even use their timelines to set and track their campaign goals.

Come up with your present and future goals, along with action plans for today, tomorrow and next month. Have a method for tracking sales so you can see what’s working for you. Pick a few social media networks to focus your activity, and post to them 2 to 3 times a day. Increase this frequency for the 3 weeks on either side of your book launch, and stay interested in how people are responding to you and your message.

It may seem like a bit of work to pack in, but there are plenty of automation tools such as Buffer.com or HootSuite that can help you manage the workload. You can pre-write an inventory of Facebook posts or Twitter tweets in advance and load-up your free Buffer account to stimulate engagement with your readers.



Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.



Online Business Promotion

Join serial author Liv Montgomery for a fun and fanciful look at the world of Online Business Promotion including “how to” tips for social media and YouTube videos.


icon1November 16, 2015
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Get Swept Up In the Adventure – It Was a Dark and Stormy Night In November…


In the spirit of National Novel Writing Month, take an escape into the unknown as you explore the art of writing…

He passed a well-manicured hand across his balding pate. It was an absent minded gesture, an insecure idiosyncrasy that had evolved over the course of many years, despite his elevated rank. Renard gladly would have traded some of his hard-won wisdom for the boundless vigor of his youth – along with a few traces of that glorious head of hair he once had. Now his retirement was staring him square in the face. Yet somehow he wasn’t quite ready to be “mothballed”.

What occupied his full attention at the moment was the glossy tablet in his hand. He’d found it on his desk when he arrived in his ready room. He pressed the screen, and an image came to life – his assistant’s daily video briefing with his proven “6-up daily priority” system. “Captain, here is the piece you wanted to look at. I still have a few bugs to work out, but with luck it will transport you to another time and place. I hope you’ll go easy on me, since I had only a short amount of time to…”

As the bland female voice droned on, Renard opened the file she referenced. It only took a moment for his assistant’s voice to fade into the background as a strange glow filled his peripheral vision. He looked up to see lush green tropical vines now taking the place of furniture in his ready room and the humid scent of jungle loam clung to his nose and mouth. “What the…?”

Startled, Renard stood up so briskly he was sure he’d knocked over his chair. But when he turned around to look, the chair was gone. In its place was a small rowboat, its oars still dripping from the mighty river behind it. A creature yowled in the trees above him, an unearthly sound that penetrated his spine. Suddenly he heard footsteps in the bushes beyond the boat. He heard a pair of muffled voices speak, too low to be discernible. “Is someone there?” Renard called, but there was only silence.

What happened next he never could have imagined, even if he lived to be three hundred. A buccaneer came crashing out of the brush, flying through the air backward and landing prostrate on the sand next to the rowboat! A moment later, a black jaguar came bounding after him with a scathing shriek and leapt upon his chest. “Get off me, you she-devil!” he shouted, flinging the creature back into the brush. “You’ve crossed me for the last time!”

The pirate scrambled to his feet and hurried for the boat, sweeping up Renard en route. “Come on, we’ve got to get out of here. I tell you, she’ll tear us to pieces.” Renard stood dumbly for a moment, the words sounding like a foreign language to his addled brain. But the sight of the jaguar running at full speed directly toward him shook him back to his senses. “Dammit, man, get in and get down!” Renard obeyed just as the boat left the shore and caught the swift current of the river.

Stealing himself to peek over the side, Renard watched in amazement as the jaguar stood upon her hind legs and transformed into a buxom raven-haired beauty. She shook her fist and called after the sinewy rowboat, “I hope you found what you were looking for!”

Suddenly there was a rapping sound, and Renard shook off the trance. He was back in his office, standing behind his desk. The jungle, the buccaneer and the jaguar woman had all gone. There was only his mild assistant, standing in the doorway, looking expectantly. She tucked a raven lock behind her ear. “Captain Renard? I said I hope you found what you were looking for. Have you had a chance to read the draft of my novel yet? I appreciate your taking the time to indulge in my hobby with me, and I hope I haven’t…”

Renard stared for a moment, taking in the scene, shaken but unscathed by the encounter. “Hm? Oh… yes. Yes, it was quite engaging. You could say it really swept me away. I all but felt that I was really there. You say this is your first attempt at writing…? Yes, there’s something to this.”

Where Will NaNoWriMo Take You In November?

November is National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. All around the world, more than 300,000 people are boldly attempting the impossible – to pound out a 50,000-word book manuscript in a single month. NaNoWriMo lends a spirit of community and support to what is normally a solitary effort.

People from all walks of life are throwing off the bonds of self-consciousness, casting aside the conventions of quality and grammar, and launching the books they’ve always dreamed of writing. Waitresses and mechanics, executives and ship captains alike have all taken the challenge. Not all will finish, but many will – enough. Some books will go on to be published, and a few will even be best sellers. Will yours be among them?

December 1st will come and go, whether or not you participate in this worldwide writing event with the kooky name. Will you be counted among the adventurous who leave the sandy shores of complacency and sail the uncharted waters of a world of your own making? There’s only one person who knows for sure, and that is the writer within you.

To learn more about National Novel Writing Month, trek on over to their website at NaNoWriMo.org. And to find out what you can do with your manuscript, check out the publishing tools and book marketing services at MadeForSuccessPublishing.com. I promise, you won’t get eaten – and you’ll be in good company!



Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1November 11, 2015
icon2admin

Sample Campaign – The Tried & True Book Selling Technique


So you want to promote your new book. You’ve witnessed other authors racing to the top of the best seller charts, and you wonder what they’re doing to build mega success. If you’re like most authors, you’re not sure how to go about reaping this kind of success for yourself.

Want to know a secret? You don’t have to be original to be good.

In fact, the less original you are in some cases, the better off you’ll be. As they say, success leaves tracks. Follow the tracks, and you’ll find success.

Take for example the traditional author’s boring, stalwart best friend, the Sample Campaign. Sending samples of your book to retail buyers, bloggers, reviewers and other influencers will boost awareness with the people who matter most, gaining exposure for your book and for you as an author. Using giveaways to create buzz while you are in pre-launch can be an inexpensive and effective way to generate publicity.

The Sample Campaign involves sending either physical copies of your book to reviewers or distributing e-copies to qualified centers of influence. Both tactics involve an investment of time, research, risk and reward.

Launching a Sample Campaign may sound expensive – and it is expensive if you try to get creative with this approach, but there are ways you can be both unoriginal and highly successful.

Copycat Book Marketing and Other Cheats

If you’re going to model the best, start by looking at the Amazon best seller list within your book’s category. Find the best-selling books that are most like yours and model their marketing tactics. What do you see? Would you buy these best sellers?

The odds are high that all of these books have received the royal treatment from a staff of pros, yet the approach is kept focused and simple.

What best-selling authors know is that the goal is to get attention from centers of influence. People who have a megaphone and a crowd who are always glad to lend an opinion.

If you want to get lots of good reviews from your Sample Campaign, you’ve got to make your book buzzworthy. Make sure it’s not just a scintillating read, but engaging from the first moment readers encounter it.

First Impressions: the title, book cover and description are the most influential elements when it comes to helping people determine whether or not they will buy your book – or review it for their audience.

Professional Design: your book cover is the most important feature of your book, and it should be intriguing. Make sure your cover is a match for your genre. If you’ve written a mystery, don’t use romance imagery – the kind with windswept lovers embracing on a naked rock above a storm-wracked cove. You might raise an eyebrow or two, but where’s the mystery? A poor cover will make it harder to sell your book.

Enticing Description: Your description needs to pull people in as well. Start your description with something provocative, and use your chosen keywords right up front. Make buyers and reviewers ravenous for more. Would you buy your book if you read your own description?

How Can You Distribute Sample Copies of Your Book?

Review copies are given away free, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t come at a price for the reviewer. Select only reviewers who are the most likely to come through with their promised action. Because you will be investing your time, resources and energy in distributing your samples, be choosy about who gets to have them.

Here is a 3-step formula to generate heat in your Sample Campaign, used by marketing pros who are “in the know” about how to sell books.

Step 1: GOODREADS Set-up

You may already know about Goodreads.com, but many authors use an ineffective approach. Start by creating a reader account using your author name. Before you do anything else, get familiar with the venue (this is called “lurking”), then review several books. After you’ve become a trusted member of the community, you can add your book or have someone add it for you.

Once your book has been added, you can change your status to “author”. You’ll have to submit an application to Goodreads’ staff for review, and this takes a couple of days. Be sure to add your social media links to your Goodreads account and website.

Once you’re established on Goodreads.com, click the link to “Create A Giveaway”. These are physical books you’re giving away, so you’ll need to buy copies of your book and send them to the reviewers who request it. Be sure you conduct only one giveaway at a time or this can get expensive and confusing.

Step 2: BLOG TOURS

Capitalizing on blog tours is an excellent cog in the wheel of your Sample Campaign. To do this, take a title from your Kindle best seller list and Google it with the search term “blog tour.” This search will yield bloggers who customarily review books and need something to blog about.

Your next step is to contact the bloggers and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing your book. Give them plenty of advance notice, typically about 2 months. Popular reviewers are often booked well in advance, and these are the ones you want to reach.

When you contact them, include a link to your Goodreads page so they can see your alluring cover and intriguing book description. Ask for their review to be published within the first 5 days of your release, preferably on your actual release date.

Step 3: BRICK AND MORTAR

Indie bookstores love authors, and many would welcome you for an author book signing. When you run your giveaway campaign, contact the store manager first before you seed the marketplace with copies of your book. Make it your goal to send out only copies that will actually yield results. Track where each one goes and follow up until you get solid results.

If you work with a publisher, ask them for a list of buyers from their Rolodex to send samples.

Book reviewers are real people with busy lives. When you request a review, don’t make the mistake of pitching your book like a used car salesman. A brief personal introduction followed by a simple paragraph describing your book should do the trick. Ask for permission to send them a review copy, and then be sure to follow up. Stay on track until you achieve the success you’re looking for.

With this kind of focused activity, perhaps someday you will find your work on the best seller list… and start reaping the success your literary endeavor deserves!



Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.





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Book Awards – Resting On Your Laurels and Other Thoughts on Winning Book Writing Competitions


Competing for a writing award is an often-overlooked tactic in the book marketing list of “To-Dos”. But is it worth it? Let’s take a look.

Back in the day – I mean way back – citizens of the Greek Empire knew they had made it big when they were crowned with a wreath made from bay laurel leaves. You know the kind: the pungent herb you use to season your holiday bird.

The ancient Greeks used laurel wreaths as awards for accomplishments in sports as well as poetry. Later on the Romans copied the Greek custom and awarded laurels to victorious conquering generals. Judging from the size of the Roman Empire, they must have gone through a lot of leaves. Eventually the generals got lazy, a lot of internal squabbling happened, and the empire declined. So too did the custom of awarding laurels.

Laurel wreaths are still used today as the symbol of academic success, and they’re sometimes used in graduation ceremonies for master’s degrees. A poet laureate is someone who’s been given this distinction.

After the ceremony, there’s a lot of feasting and often a sad good-bye to days of scholarly endeavors – no more burning the midnight oil or striving for literary perfection. This is where the phrase “resting on your laurels” comes from. It means relying on your past successes and not pursuing new challenges or paths to glory. Well, at least for some….not for authors!

Popularity vs. Profitability

Why does this matter today? As a matter of habit, or maybe just human nature, we are obsessed with competition. As soon as something is invented, right on its heels comes a new kind of award. We just can’t seem to stop comparing one thing to another and crowning the moment with a token of our esteem. Ask any Nobel laureate.

And it’s fitting, isn’t it? What better way to memorialize the moment or benchmark the best? A stroke of genius deserves recognition, whether it’s a gold medal in the international Olympic games or a regional award for a new work of fiction. Usually with this recognition comes some kind of remuneration and some amazing publicity opportunities.

We just love to recognize the best, hold it up for example, and challenge anyone to do better. It makes for forward progress in the most wonderful way.

This brings us to the topic of book awards and the enormous boost they can give to your reputation – and your book sales.

Bryan Heathman’s Top 7 Book Awards for Authors

Winning an award for your book may seem unlikely at first blush. After all, the competition and requirements for submission are usually thought to be pretty stiff. But in reality, the fee for submitting your magnum opus for Pulitzer Prize consideration is only $50. Some authors spend that weekly at their friendly neighborhood Starbucks.

Imagine carrying around the title of “Award-Winning Author” on your business card. You just might get past some velvet ropes a little easier with that kind of clout (hey, it could happen).

Besides Pulitzer and Nobel, the list of prominent book awards reads like a “Who’s Who” at an acronym convention: PEN, NBA, NBCC and Booker to name a few. But there are lesser-known, more accessible challenges to meet, such as Benjamin Franklin, Independent Publishers Guild and Writer’s Digest. Besides bucking the competition for the major brass rings, you are much more likely to win the Sophomore Cup and be the proverbial big fish in a small pond.

Besides lots of celebratory perks and a cash prize, winners are announced to major trade journals, news outlets, public libraries, social media and blogs. Consider your entry for the following awards when you publish your next manuscript:

The Benjamin Franklin Awards: the Independent Book Publishers Association is a non-profit organization that offers advocacy and education. Their Benjamin Franklin Award honors independent publishers and self-published authors for excellent book editorial and design.

Independent Publishers Guild Award: the IPGs Independent Publishing Awards celebrate the achievements and successes of IPG members. Frankly it’s a great way for them to drive membership, and it’s a great way for you, the author, to connect and network with other serious professionals.

IPPYS – Independent Publishers Book Awards: the Independent Publisher Book Awards (the IPPYs) shine a light on excellent independent, university, and self-published books each year. The independent spirit comes from all corners, and books are judged on merit, not necessarily polish.

Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Awards: Foreword Reviews is dedicated to discovering new indie books. The INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards help showcase the best indie books for readers eager to discover new stories by unknown authors.

Dan Poynter Global Book Awards: winners of this ebook award get the customary hoopla that accompanies book awards – stickers, social media buzz and press releases. As a winner you’ll also be considered for a one-year scholarship award for Dan Poynterís Para Promotion Program.

eLit Awards: the eLit Awards are committed to illuminating and honoring the best of English language entertainment. The eLit Awards include digital publishing in a wide variety of reader formats with submissions from around the world.

Do you have any favorite literary awards? If so, send me a message via www.MadeForSuccessPublishing.com/blog or LinkedIn Messaging and I’ll update this list periodically for the benefit of the writing community.





Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1October 21, 2015
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Big Exposure for Authors – Trade Publication Reviews


by Bryan Heathman

Publicity - Title of Grey Book.

Of all the tactics an author can use to become noteworthy, getting your book reviewed by the New York Times is right up there.

A thumbs up from the likes of Publishers Weekly or the Library Journal is not just some stroke for the author’s ego. It can translate to big bucks in terms of buy-in for your book. The right recommendation can open doors for an author where before there only seemed to be a brick wall.

Once you’ve finished writing your book, getting wide distribution in the marketplace should naturally become your focus. Book buyers hesitate to engage with an author they’ve never heard of. I mean, even you and I hover briefly over the 1-Click Order button on Amazon before committing to an unknown author. Book buyers and readers alike look for a source of information they can trust before making a buying decision on a book in a sea of millions of book titles.

Reviews provide that confirmation, whether the comments come from consumers or professional critics. So, let’s explore how to get your book reviewed by major trade publications. Every successful author has been unknown at some point, and reviews help to bridge that gap between obscurity and celebrity. Finding reviewers who are willing make your name known is a simpler process than you might expect.

Why Book-Trade Reviews?

Reviews have a permanence that time-based media just doesn’t have. TV and radio shows can offer a wide audience. However, their time-based quality means a lot less leverage for you, the author, in getting your name in front of your chosen audience. The shows typically air just once, and then they’re gone.

Written reviews in trade journals, libraries, magazines and websites will last for years. Any time your book-buying public is looking for information about you or your topic, they’re going to stumble across those reviews. In fact, you can even excerpt these reviews and use them in your marketing materials.

So how do you do it? What’s the secret to getting the guys at the top to notice you? Is there some kind of mojo that only hired publicists have the license to practice? Let’s look at a two-pronged effort to do just that.

Freedom of the Press and Other Juicy Tactics

One method you can use to publicize your book is writing press releases and getting distribution. Sometimes press releases are picked up by major publications, which can provide amazing support for a book release.

In addition to reprints from major media outlets, your press release can end up being indexed by Google for your main keywords. This puts your announcement in front of all kinds of book reviewers, online bloggers and the buying public.

To request a book review from one of the major trade publications, the process is not that complicated. In fact, it involves only one step: ask.

Start by sending a personalized e-mail with details about your book, then wait for a response. Make your query tailored to the publication you’re submitting it to, and use the editor’s name in your greeting. Don’t make your submission about you; make it about them. Be direct about how your material will interest and benefit their audience.

This method may yield a certain amount of failures, but that’s part of the process. The best baseball player hits the ball only 3 out of 10 times. You can make up for what you lack in skill with a large number of review submissions. And over time, you’ll get better.

With that in mind, here is a list of contacts for Media & Trade Review Submissions:

New York Times

Publishers Weekly (retail trade buyers)

Library Journal (library buyers)

Kirkus

Foreword

Shelf Awareness (retail trade buyers)

The hardest part of putting your book in front of the professionals on this list is getting started. It can be overwhelming. Contacting any publication you respect or admire can be intimidating. So muster-up your courage and dive in. Get organized, and keep moving.

Remember that reviewers would be out of business if it weren’t for authors like you. You have an obligation to give them something to talk about. Who knows? The next review you read may be your own!




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




Check out the Bryan Heathman’s book Conversion Marketing: Convert Website Visitors into Buyers

In today’s business climate, transacting eCommerce on the Internet represents the fastest growing marketplace in the world – but few people really understand how to make it sing! Harness the online money making potential of your business with trade secrets from this acclaimed industry insider, veteran of more than 150 marketing campaigns in the corporate Big Leagues. From creating hefty mailing lists to launching powerful viral marketing campaigns, you’ll learn the tricks of turning the noise of the digital realm into a chorus of eCommerce for your business. Let this eBook show you how to make money while you sleep!






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1October 7, 2015
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Book Publicity Media Kits – The 5 Essential Elements Journalists Need


by Bryan Heathman

Successfully marketing your book basically means letting people know that it exists. After all, you wrote down your best ideas so that others would read and enjoy them. Getting more book sales translates to more people sharing your best ideas – fact or fiction— and benefitting from them.

As the person who’s primarily responsible for promoting your book, one smart move you can make is to leverage the huge media potential available to authors. Doing this will mean you won’t be the only person touting your book. You’ll have massive media outlets helping you out.

The problem with using traditional publicity is that the process can be intimidating. Buyers for book distributors and retail book stores decide how many copies to order per outlet based on publicity and demand. Getting regional or national exposure helps drive that demand. But how can you get publicity for your book when there’s so much competition for face time in the media?

The answer lies in preparation. Having a complete media kit prepared ahead of time for all your publicity contacts will ensure that they have access to everything they need to decide to put you in front of their audience. In fact, a media kit will stack the odds in your favor, and getting mass exposure becomes a matter of making yourself available to media outlets.

Time starved magazine editors, radio personalities and TV talk show hosts are all looking for completeness and professional presentation. They need to see a total package that will help them out with their stories. If you can present them with the material they need ahead of time, you are much more likely to land that interview, book review or feature. This preparation comes in the form of the media kit.

The 5 Essentials of a Book Media Kit

There is a wide assortment of materials that authors include in their media kit, but many of them are overkill for a journalist in a hurry. Sometimes less really is more. Your complete media kit should include the following elements:

1) Your Author Biographies – Yes, you need more than one bio. Depending on the length, these may include your professional background, your experience as an author, and even information about your lifestyle such as where you live.

Your bios should be offered in the following lengths:

  • 2 lines (120 characters)
  • Short bio (50 words)
  • Medium bio (100 words)
  • Long bio (400 to 600 words)

2) Your Press Release – This should include meaty useful content, citing you as an authority on the topic with a reference to your book. It should not be an announcement that you’ve written a book. There’s no quicker way to bore a journalist, and these are the people you want to excite.

Besides meaty and content and sound bites, your press release should include the following often omitted data:

  • Headline up to 20 words
  • Subheading (optional)
  • Dateline (City, State, Date)
  • Call to action at the bottom of the release
  • Your contact information – don’t make people work hard to find you

Click here for tips on writing a Press Release for your book launch.

3) A Book Synopsis and Sample Chapter — Pull your most important information onto one sheet. Include a cover image, the title & sub-title, table of contents and key selling points. Include reviews and endorsements if you have them. If you don’t have them, then set aside time to get them. Include book review excerpts if you have them, such as, “This book is a thrill ride! I couldn’t put it down.”

4) Publicity Photos — Offer more than one type of publicity photo. Make sure these images are professionally done with nicely balanced contrast and clear, sharp focus.

  • Image of your book cover created by a professional book graphic designer
  • Head shot of just you with even lighting and an approachable facial expression
  • A candid shot of you in a relevant context, showing you in an environment that relates to your topic

5) Sample Interview Questions, Tips, Quotes and Sound Bites — People in the media may not have the time to read your book, so make it easy for them to understand your work. Include sample interview questions in your media kit. Radio and TV personalities especially love these. Journalists love to see list of tips that they can reprint in connection with your book. All media people love to use quotes and sound bites, so feed them what they want.

The thing to remember about your media kit is that it’s a work in progress. It will constantly need to be updated. If you set it and forget it, in time it will forget you. Stay active in the life of your book’s publicity. With proper care and feeding, and it will provide you with fat royalty checks for a long time to come.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1September 22, 2015
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Traditional Media Exposure = Rocket Fuel for Your Book Launch


by Bryan Heathman

There are several thousand ways to successfully publicize a book that I’m aware of, and some are more effective than others. For example, you can promote your book by selling it back-of-room during speaking engagements, and you may actually make thousands of sales this way. The problem with this approach is that your own involvement limits the number of sales you can make, as the opportunities to speak are scarce… as is your time. This “scarcity principle” applies other marketing tactics I’ve seen authors use – not just public speaking engagements.

Imagine how much more effective your marketing efforts will be when you invest your time instead of spending it. Think of the activities you can do that will offer you leverage. Using traditional media such as radio, TV and print can give you massive leverage.

By putting your book in the hands of other people who can reach a large audience for you, you are leveraging their audience. Imagine sitting down for an interview with a radio talk show host. How many people can you reach in one 10-minute chat? What would audiences for your book look like if a dozen radio shows picked up a press release you distributed? How might your book launch change if your interview became syndicated? What would a stint on Good Morning America do for your sales?

Traditional Publicity Doesn’t Have To Mean Boring

Using traditional media such as radio, television, newsprint and magazine exposure for your book can make or break your sales numbers. This is anything but boring. By distributing your book through channels that will automatically publicize your work to large groups of people, you are investing your time and resources wisely. Let’s take a look at how you can apply this kind of leverage to your Book Marketing Plan.

Whether you’re looking for a burst of heat from your initial book launch, or your topic is evergreen and you’ve got your eye on long tail sales, publicity can give you the leverage you need to put your book into the hands of readers. Social media and other interactive types of publicity are great for this.

Yet for most authors who take the time to draft a Book Marketing Plan, somehow traditional publicity keeps getting lost in the mix. Despite the prevalence of social media in our daily lives, traditional media is still not only an effective publicity generator, it’s often the most effective way to sell pallets of your published book.

The three months surrounding your book launch are a time of intense activity. With the right chemical mix of traditional publicity and social media, you can be sure that your book continues to make sales long after the launch is over.

A Media Kit Is Rocket Fuel for Your Book Launch

A media kit helps establish your credibility and enhances your reputation before you even start your marketing campaign. This means buying resistance to your books will be much lower. People will be more inclined to believe in you when you have a solid reputation.

A media kit is a branded set of marketing materials that’s rich with content, not hype. It includes collateral material for journalists, book reviewers, talk show hosts, bloggers and consumers. Frequently a time-starved journalist won’t take a minute to look into the media kit to make their decision about whether to cover you. They’ll rely on the summary you provide. If your information is complete and looks professional, they will simply use the material you have given them.

People in the media don’t have time to read your book, so make it easy for them to understand your work. If you are considerate of their needs, they are more inclined to cover the story of you and your book.

Include sample interview questions in your media kit. Radio and TV personalities especially love these. Journalists love to see list of tips that they can reprint in connection with your book. All media people love to use quotes and sound bites, so feed them what they want.

Above all, make sure you provide your contact information right up front. In fact it should be on every part of your media kit and every page of your website. No one should ever have to guess how to reach you.

Do you have questions about what to include in your book media kit? Click here for the 5 essential elements of a book media kit.

By leveraging traditional media, you can launch your book to stellar status join – maybe even join the galaxy of published superstars. The only question that remains is, how high do you want to go?




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1September 22, 2015
icon2admin

Book Reviews: How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon


by Bryan Heathman

As an author, the best thing that can happen for your book is that titillating four-letter word we all love and fear at the same time: BUZZ. Getting people to read and talk up your book is what it’s all about.

Buzz is the reason for those late nights hunched over your keyboard with an empty cup of something at your elbow, while a long-suffering significant beckons from the next room to come back to bed. An audience for your greatest ideas is the reason to lie awake, staring at the ceiling, piecing together the right words to express your ideas. Buzz is the reason to take the contents of your head, convert them to verbiage and digits and publish them in an ISBN-backed, endorsement-bedecked, jewel-tone-covered volume called My Great Work.

Clearly, buzz is what you want. The goal is to generate a flurry of well-deserved hype over the 3-month time frame surrounding your book launch and thereby tell the world your story. But how does a lone author working from a spare room get buzz, and how much is enough?

Let’s start this question of buzz by addressing the topic of book reviews, or what professional marketers like to refer as social proof. There are 2 types of reviews which authors seek – professional reviews (trade reviews, media outlets, etc.) and consumer reviews. Let’s take a deeper look at getting consumer reviews.

Separating the Papyrus from the Chaff

From legacy publishing digests to rogue Indie publishing specialists, information abounds online about how to successfully launch your book and get reviews. After all, consumer book reviews are the bread and butter of many a book launch campaign with good reason. One thing has been proven…consumers make buying decisions based on social proof.

Last week I took a fantastic scuba diving adventure with my daughter, exploring reefs and shipwrecks off the coast of Florida. After seeing the tropical fish in the delightfully warm 86 degree water, Alex, the store manager of the scuba shop, asked us to log into TripAdvisor to write a review. Alex knows how important reviews are to his business – both in terms of positive reviews and the quantity of reviews.

The same principles of getting reviews for a scuba diving shop can be applied to books.

Plenty of quality reviews on Amazon.com alone signals the difference between the roar of the crowd and the figurative chirping of crickets. With authors I advise on book marketing, I require at least 30 reviews on Amazon before we can take your Marketing Plan to the next level. The reason is that several highly effective book marketing tactics require that you have this number before you can launch a substantial campaign.

So, what are the steps you can add to your marketing checklist to kick-off your book launch with lots of reviews?

The 5 Most Effective Steps You Can Take to Get More Book Reviews

1. Develop an overall Marketing Plan. Think about how you can market your book as you’re writing it – not as an afterthought. If you wait until your manuscript is finished, you will either delay the launch or suffer from low book sales. Include book reviews as part of this plan, and draft a clear, specific strategy for getting them.

2. Write a great book. The book you write should stand up to thoughtful analysis, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Have it professionally edited, commission an excellent cover, and let your book stand on its own merits.

3. Keep a list of reviewers. Develop and organize a list of people to tap for reviews as you’re writing your book. Ask yourself “Who has a vested interest in expressing their opinion about my work?” Begin this task early on, and maintain steady activity. Here are a few ideas to get start building your list:

  • Friends and Family: reach-out to your inner circle of people closest to you and ask for a favor to write a review once your book is published. Some authors can achieve the requisite 30 reviews from this source alone.
  • Fans & Supporters: keep a list of people who know, like and trust you. These folks will have the greatest emotional investment in the success of your book. Many authors will organize a “book launch tribe” who perform various tasks throughout the book launch. Using social media networks is an excellent forum for organizing tribe members.
  • Colleagues: list the people who are in your industry who would be interested in supporting your work. You can trade promotion with them and perhaps even launch a joint venture promotion.
  • Reviewers: these are people who have an established reputation in the field of literary criticism. This category includes book bloggers, media personnel and celebrities. Notable reviewers can be your most effective allies in getting attention for your book.
  • Podcasters: remember podcasting? Well, it’s back, and it’s on the rise. Currently Americans listen to 20 million hours of podcast material every… single… day. (No lie.) Team up with podcasters to review your book and help you spread the word. Better yet, recommend that they tie their review to a 3-part series that includes an interview with you and a retrospective on your topic. The more you prepare material for them, the greater the chances of success for both of you.
  • Online Retail Communities: request book reviews on from top reviewers on Amazon.com, GoodReads.com, iTunes, BarnesandNoble.com and other similar e-tailers. Be polite, be informative, and follow up. Finding these reviewers is easier than you think…keep reading.

4. Get engaged. Cultivate relationships with the people you want to review your work. Be willing to trade your engagement with them for their thoughtful comments about your book. Be ready to get involved in their conversations on their blogs and social media. Participate. In this area, the more attention you give, the more attention you will receive.

5. Get social. Use social media to generate excitement about your work in progress. Don’t just release your book – launch it. As your big day approaches, make it clear that advance copies of your book are available in exchange for credible reviews. The number of copies you give away will have a marked impact on the number of reviews you receive. However, scarcity sells. Position the review copies as a scarce commodity, even when you’re giving away a thousand of them. In fact, expert review campaigns in advance of your book launch can lead to best-seller status for your book. I’ve seen it happen time and again. Promoting review copies on social media is a great way to jump start your campaign.

Getting quality book reviews isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t have to keep you up at night. After all, those long hours spent staring at the ceiling are best kept for crafting your magnum opus. Using these 5 steps will make your book promotion that much easier and help you get the kind of buzz you’re looking for. The right reviews at the right time can be just the nudge you need.

Author Resources for Getting Book Reviews:




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




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Book Endorsements: The Power of Third Party Validation


by Bryan Heathman

In the realm of book marketing, there’s an axiom that goes like this:

“If I say it, it’s up for debate; if someone else says it, it must be true.”

Third-party validation is a sure-fire method of getting people to draw a conclusion about me or my book. In fact, a well-known endorser has proven to add instant credibility to books and professional speakers.

Do you doubt me? You can prove it for yourself. Try this exercise: decide for yourself which of these statements sounds better if you say it about yourself, or if it sounds best coming from a trusted third-party expert:

  1. This book is the most efficient, effective path to living up to the potential inside you.
  2. No other author delivers so much yet still leaves the reader hungry for more.
  3. Each delicious word lolls around on the palette like a chocolate-kissed gem – you’ll want to try these foolproof recipes for yourself.
  4. The author is clearly the most knowledgeable person of our time and a credit to society.
  5. Put on your thinking cap – this book is lightning in a bottle. You won’t be able to put it down.

Got your answers? Good.

It probably didn’t take you long to decide that if you had written these blurbs about yourself, then you would have probably stopped at #2 (if you were feeling generous).

However, if any of these quotes about your work came from a head of State, a New York Times best-selling author, or the winner of a Nobel Prize, you’d probably crack the cover on your book and read at least a couple of lines (chocolate-kissed gems, anyone?).

Third-party validation is the most compelling reason to go after book endorsements for your work. It’s also a very intimidating step in the list of things that an author must do to get noticed in the crowded book marketplace. In terms of phobias, requesting endorsements is not far behind root canals, furry South American spiders and that dreaded numero uno… public speaking!

But unlike the items in the paragraph above, getting book endorsements doesn’t have to be all that scary. There’s really very little risk involved, and the benefits far outweigh the price of your request. The few steps below will help you ask for—and get—the endorsements that are so critical for your book’s success.

It’s simple. Don’t ask, don’t get.

Ask, and you just might collect a priceless recommendation from someone you really admire. Having the thought leader in your field say good things about you is sure to up your ratings, not to mention your book sales. So ask for the endorsement.


Five Essentials for Getting Quality Book Endorsements

Now that we’ve established this is an important step to take, let’s take a look at what you need to do to get your first “Yes”.

1. Ask an Author. Authors are usually responsive to requests for book endorsements. They “get it”—start with the experts in your field or genre. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get a response, especially when you remind them of the exposure they will gain from your marketing.

2. Ask an Expert. Experts also thrive on exposure and professional courtesy. Aim high when asking for an endorsement. I typically get a 20-50% response rate using the system I’m giving you here.

3. Send Your Endorsement Letter. Starting with a letter, request a endorsements for your book. In fact, I’ve gone as far as creating an Endorsement Request Template which I share with authors published by Made for Success Publishing. Your letter can either be inserted into the body of an email, or it can be mailed as a physical letter. Your tone should be complimentary without sucking up, and you’ll need to briefly state something that the two of you have in common. Make sure they know how to contact you in reply.

Just last week, I sent an endorsement request to a famous author whose book has sold 25 million copies. His book also has a major motion picture releasing this quarter. He sent me a response saying “maybe,” based on his ability to squeeze-in this request during his upcoming new release book tour and red carpet movie premier schedule.

4. Send Your Book Review Materials. Once your endorsement prospect has answered your letter and said “yes” or “maybe” it’s time to give them the tools to do the job. Offer an at-a-glance summary of your book: the introduction, the table of contents, and a couple of sample chapters. Use your judgement about whether to mail a copy of your materials or send it via email. If you send an email, provide a website link with a protected URL where the endorser can download a PDF as some folks are shy about opening email attachments they receive from strangers.

5. Include Endorsement Samples. Make some suggestions about what your endorser might say. Prepare three or four sample endorsements, since people in your network may ask you to write the endorsement for them. Make the comments easy to digest, but also let them glow a little around the edges.


To Best Seller Status and Beyond

The endorsements you collect can be quite valuable for you and your book, long beyond launch day. It helps to think of the time and effort involved as an investment. What you put in will return to you in the form of dividends.

Book endorsements will be featured on your website, Amazon.com, in your marketing materials, on your book jacket, on sell sheets that are sent to retail book buyers, and many other places.

The time and resources you invest in this stage of your marketing campaign is more than worth it. The right book endorsement will open doors for your writing endeavors, your book, and your paid speaking opportunities.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.





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Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1August 31, 2015
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The Write Stuff – Choosing the Best BISAC Genre for Your Book


by Bryan Heathman

In the beginning, the world was void – formless, nameless, unreadable. Then everything got categorized, and we’ve been trying to file it ever since. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

So too with books. Just as soon as an author writes something, somebody comes along and categorizes it. The most successful authors categorize their work first, then write it.

When you have information, you need to put it somewhere. You’ve got to be able to access it again, and other people will probably want to look at it too. Thus was born the BISAC, the Publishing industry’s answer to the Dewey Decimal system.

The BISAC is a list of hundreds of categories and sub-categories that has rapidly becoming the industry standard for classifying books by genre. There are those who argue that in time it will replace the venerable Dewey Decimal System. Others contend that it already has.

If you’re a published author – or would like to be – it pays to educate yourself on the technicalities of book publishing. You only need to be a little bit more savvy than the rest of the pack in order to be miles ahead, perhaps even capture that elusive best-seller status.

Let’s take a look at how choosing the right category can help you sell more books.


Dewey or Don’t We?

The Dewey Decimal System is most commonly associated with stern-faced librarians and dusty book covers. I can remember volunteering at the Arbor Heights Grade School library as a kid, hoisting abandoned volumes into gaps on the shelves, putting away the day’s reading material while Miss Marian looked on from behind her half-glasses while adjusting her bun.

It was kind of fun. I could sort and organize, while enjoying the smell of ink and leather that when combined makes that “library smell.” Come on, you know what I mean! The fact that I grew up to be a publisher is amusing to my high-tech executive sensibilities – but then, certain advances in publishing technology have helped take the toil out of hocking Tolstoy and his modern-day equivalents.

This leads us back to the BISAC, more formally known as the Book Industry Standards and Communications list. What I’ve found in working with authors is that very few of them have ever heard of the BISAC. Little do they know how essential this tool is for their publishing success!

Unless you’re writing for your own amusement, we can make the argument that your book needs to fit into an established genre. People need to find it, and book sellers need to be able to organize War and Peace next to your masterpiece.

Many would argue that the Dewey Decimal system does this, but that does little for the author when it comes to selling books at retail. This archaic system is too confusing, and it takes an entire course of study in Library Science to learn to speak Dewey.


ISBN for Ibsen, BISAC for the Basics

The ISBN (International Standards Book Number) is a numeric commercial book identifier based on a 13-digit code (generally), and it serves as the anchor for your book’s bar code. Retailers and e-tailers need to have one for your book in order to sell it – even if your name is Henrik Ibsen and you’ve won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

But the ISBN doesn’t do anything to help customers find your cherished volume. It’s for machines only – not at all user-friendly. The Dewey Decimal System is the next best thing, but it still doesn’t quite fit the bill.

Way back in 2007, there was a flap in the news about a public library in Texas doing away with the Dewey Decimal System altogether and organizing their catalog like a bookstore would. The nerve! Imagine helping people find what they’re looking for in an easy-to-understand way. What system did they use? The BISAC.

The BISAC is the brainchild of the Book Industry Study Group, and their list itself is copyrighted material. But just about every bookseller in the world refers to it now. I predict that it won’t take long for libraries to catch up. You can find the BISAC master list on the BISAC website: https://www.bisg.org/complete-bisac-subject-headings-2014-edition

At the core of every book is a sense of relativity – where your book fits into the grand scheme of things. As you set about to draft, polish and market your magnum opus, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who else has written a book like yours?
  • Why is their book successful?
  • Who will want to read your book?
  • What is the single most relevant category for your book?
  • What is the most appropriate BISAC genre for your book?

Some authors don’t like to be pinned down to a single category as they write. What they don’t realize is that they’re doing themselves a disservice by ignoring genre requirements. Books aren’t supposed to be elusive. Even books on cryptozoology are easy to find with BISACs.

When you sit down to write, try to think like a book seller. Choose a BISAC that matches your material. With a little discipline and forethought, your manuscript will serve more people with less effort.

In the end, you’ll actually sell more books. Now that’s a category any author can live with – the best-seller category.




Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with bestselling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Congratulations to Robert Spillane, author of An Eye for An I: Philosophies of Personal Power

An Eye for An I: Philosophies of Personal Power is now available in both paperback and as an ebook.

This book discusses ancient and modern philosophers whose ideas enable us to gain insight into and mastery of ourselves. It is what the ancient Greeks called moral philosophy and its main precept is ‘know oneself’. The ten philosophies discussed in this book embody ideas of considerable fascination and force which can change lives by penetrating the illusions of appearances of common sense and the delusions of common sense which mislead us. We philosophise when we reflect critically on how we are living, and relate to other individuals. Philosophy is, therefore, a meditation on who we are: it is An Eye for an I.





Katherine-Owen-ImageBrought to you by Katherine Owen, CEO of GOKO. Katherine brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. She owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.


icon1August 26, 2015
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How to Write a Press Release for a Book Launch


For authors seeking that elusive “best-seller” status, self-promotion can be your best tool for driving laser sharp traffic and increasing book sales.

Of all the self-promotion options available, distributing press releases is probably the most overlooked method. It’s unfortunate because it can be highly effective – especially if your press release is picked-up by a major news outlet, journal or magazine. In a few rare cases, it can even launch you to stardom.

The mistake most authors make with this tactic is believing that the launch of their book is news in itself. Nothing could be more boring to the buying public than banging your drum about launch dates and press runs.

Your angle needs to be one that touts your problem and solution, mentions you as an author or expert, and includes the name of your book almost as an incidental point of fact.

The topic of your press release needs to be timely or even cheeky – something with an off-beat hook that captures the reader’s imagination. You’ve got to make them feel what you feel about your topic, and then demonstrate that reading your book is the only logical next step.

Besides being a gripping read, a good press release is timely, newsworthy, and contains links to your book listing so readers can get more information about it. Every day, publishers, editors and journalists pick up press releases as they mine for breaking news within an industry. This offers valuable exposure for you and your book.

One success story I want to share with you is from a professional speaker and author I know named Keith Harrell, who had an extraordinary experience with this kind of publicity. One day Keith was contacted by a reporter who had seen his press release. The reporter was writing a “Day in the Life” story about half a dozen professional speakers for a financial newspaper.

Sounds a little drab, doesn’t it? I mean, who wants to be relegated to a by-the-way blurb in a dry-as-toast financial journal like this? That’s what all the other speakers thought. In fact, the reporter had contacted six speakers and asked each one for an interview. But Keith was the only one who responded to her call, so the reporter ran a full-page article devoted just to Keith. Lucky Keith!

It turned out that the reporter was writing this article for the Wall Street Journal – yes, THAT dry-as-toast little financial journal. Through this one event, Keith Harrell went from virtual obscurity to fame overnight. This led to his success with a New York Times best-selling book and a multi-million dollar speaking business.

I have to add that in order for the reporter to contact Keith in the first place, Keith’s press release needed to contain certain elements, and it had to be a good read. It had to capture the reporter’s imagination, and it needed a clear call to action at the end. Here’s an outline you can use for your own press releases.

First, plan to write more than one. Then make sure that your press releases all contain the necessary elements, which I’ve listed below. Make it easy for anyone interested in your work to find you, contact you and promote you. Finally, distribute your press releases to as many relevant media hubs as possible.

In your press release, include links back to your website to create more traffic and create buzz about your website. Writing articles and distributing them via partner websites and article distribution websites (such as ezinearticles.com) are also excellent sources of free traffic.

Contents of a Standard Press Release

  • Headline – this can be up to 20 words
  • Subhead – this is optional
  • Dateline – city, state, and date of press release
  • Article beginning – catch the reader’s attention, including problem & solution
  • Author quote – this a meaty and compelling sound byte
  • Author info – a paragraph or two about the author
  • Book info – a paragraph or two about the book bout the book
  • Contact – include links for review copies and media interviews with you, and include your website address
  • CTA- conclude with a clear, compelling “call to action”
  • Hashtags – include social media hashtags
  • About the Author – your author biography, about 500 words

For Non-Fiction:

Lead your press release with the main problem and its solution in the first paragraph. What problem does your book solve? What solution will readers find? Lead the press release audience to your book obliquely. That is, state the problem and solution, then mention that your book supports this premise. Include anywhere from 3 to 7 tips from your book, and tell people how they can find out more.

For Fiction:

Lead with the key character at the beginning of the press release. Include the emotional angle of your premise. Tell people what emotions they will experience as they read the book, and help them preview their reading experience. As you write your press release, be clear about your target audience, and speak directly to them.

Write your press releases for consumers, bloggers, journalists and the Google search algorithm. There are several large news services where you can distribute press releases with newsworthy information to reporters worldwide. Some of these include PRNewsWire.com and businesswire.com, to name just a couple.

As you dive into this promotional medium, you’ll find a whole new world to discover. Now… get cracking! The world is waiting to discover you.




Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Shout out to Paul J. Thomas, author of Bite Size Advice

Bite Size Advice is now available in both paperback and as an eBook.

While there are many blogs, not all are created equal. One which stands out from the crowd is a thought-provoking and eclectic blog written by Paul Thomas. Paul is the Chief Executive Officer of Gateway Credit Union in Sydney. Gateway was a relatively early adopter of blogging and maintains one of Australia’s leading business blogs.

This book is a compelling collection of some of Paul’s blog posts – 100 to be exact. His weekly posts are a combination of economic commentary, thought leadership and financial hints. What ties these seemingly disparate categories together is that they are all written through the prism of a banking and financial services lens.

For a limited time, eBook is available for .99!


icon1August 19, 2015
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Smarter Amazon Listings for Books, eBooks and Audiobooks


by Bryan Heathman

Getting a book into tens of thousands of reader’s hands is no easy task. One of the greatest challenges an author faces is overcoming the problem of obscurity. Digital book catalogs have unlimited shelf space, making it increasingly difficult for interested readers to find your book.

Over the weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a senior executive from Amazon.com. I was sitting in his freshly remodeled home, enjoying appetizers on the porch on a warm summer evening. This executive manages a team of people at Amazon who perform the software development on Amazon’s search algorithms.

This conversation took an interesting turn when we started talking about Amazon’s search results, such as what you see when you type in search terms like “high performance tennis books.” I was curious as to the weight (if any) they give to historical conversion rates when deciding which books to display in the search results. This was interesting to me as the author of a book called Conversion Marketing, which delves into how to optimize a website to boost ecommerce conversion rates.

What I discovered was interesting in that Amazon displays the most relevant search results as possible while resisting the temptation to display the highest converting items in their catalog.

Why is this important to authors? What this means is that when you, or your publisher, creates your book listing on Amazon, it makes a material difference in the sales of your book based on how you structure your book listing and your book’s information (or metadata).

I like writing about the topic of online book conversion because authors keep asking me, “How can I sell more copies of my book?” Over the last decade of my experience publishing books, I’ve discovered that getting a book into the marketplace effectively involves the collective knowledge of 30 different people.

From slick cover design to writing punchy marketing copy, the demands of publishing your book involve some highly specialized skills. If you’re not an expert at all of them – and trust me, no one is – it’s time to work a bit smarter.

I own a company that helps authors publish their work, then distributes their books and audiobooks internationally. That gives me a unique perspective on the question of how to sell more books. Not a week goes by when I don’t have authors approaching me for help boosting the sales of their books. The most common mistake independent authors make is that they try to do too much themselves. I’ve witnessed a lot of missed revenue opportunities from false starts, poor workmanship or negative reviews. These mistakes can be very costly indeed.

So what can you do to create a great looking book listing on Amazon.com, which also drives high traffic from Amazon search results? Here are my top 3 marketing tips for structuring a great performing book listing on Amazon.com:

Tip 1 – Keyword Research: establish what keywords people use to find books in your genre. Use these keywords throughout your book listing. If you can include key phrases in your title, sub-title and/or descriptions, you’ll be doing great. To research keywords, consider resources such as AMZ Tracker.

Tip 2 – Book Description: structure your book description with over 1,000 characters. Also, it can help if your description is HTML coded. Finally, make sure your description is well written. A search will begin and end here if the description cannot get the point of your book across quickly.

Tip 3 – Bullet Points: many Amazon shoppers like to have a quick summary of the book, at a glance. Using bullet points in your description can help, with the key selling points of your book. What goes into your key selling points? A few ideas include mentioning awards, endorsements, a synopsis and the genre of your book.

Follow these simple guidelines for your book listing in electronic catalogs, and you will be well on your way to getting your work into the hands of eager readers.




Congratulations, Paul J. Thomas, on your newest book Bite Size Advice: A Definitive Guide to Political, Economic, Social and Technological Issues.



Bite Size Advice is an indispensable tool for those wanting to increase their political, economic, social and technological literacy. Written in clear and concise language, it demystifies the key issues impacting our day-to-day lives and delivers invaluable advice in bite size chunks. Now you can find out everything you wanted to know about almost everything.










Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing, GOKO Publishing’s US partner. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.





Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1August 10, 2015
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Publishing History: It Didn’t Start With Gutenberg


Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock (or a clay tablet), you probably know that the publishing industry is in the middle of a revolution right now. You see the evidence everywhere.

Mass publishing has seen greater changes in the past ten years than at any other time in history since the invention of the Gutenberg press.

In 1436, Johannes Gutenberg built a machine to mass produce books, and the first one he printed was the Bible. That one event helped change the world, putting consistent and important information into the hands of the public.

Now producing and distributing information is accessible to the general public. This happened because of sweeping changes in technology, including the Internet, ebooks and smartphones. For better or worse, any Joe can publish a book now, and it doesn’t have to rival Holy Scripture in order to be published.

This means there’s never been an easier time to get your name out there as an author. What used to be nearly impossible in the context of legacy publishing is now commonplace. No longer do you need an agent, publisher or publicist to claim the Holy Grail called “published author”.

But is there a downside to this change? What roles have these publishing professionals traditionally filled to earn their keep? Let’s take a quick look at some history and assess whether publishing is really the smart choice.

It Didn’t Start with Gutenberg

Though the Gutenberg press launched the mechanized publishing industry at the dawn of the Renaissance era, the process of distributing information is thousands of years old. The job of scribe – one who copied books for a living – dates back to ancient Egypt. Scribes were commonly authors as well. Knowing how to read and write was not all that typical; and so you could say these authors were really published!

With the Printing Revolution of the 1400′s, quality control became a factor. Publishers needed to make sure that the manuscripts they produced were up to grade. Thus, the job of editor was born. There was also a glut of manuscripts on the market, and so publishers became a bit choosier. This spawned the role of book agent.

Up ‘til now, book and magazine publishers spent a lot of their time buying or commissioning content. Typically these seemingly stuffed shirts would only consider manuscripts submitted by an agent. (Imagine!) To get an agent, an author had to write a book synopsis, market analysis and sample chapters of their handiwork. It was a lot of work, though it did focus the project in a way that is now seemingly unheard of.

Once a book was accepted for publication, the negotiation would start, nailing down a number for the purchase price, with haggling back and forth. Intellectual property rights and royalty rates were the chief commodities, but there were also movie rights, tie-ins and merchandising to consider. Think Harry Potter, one of the most successful book series in history.

All of this activity was – and is – predicated on conversion, the act of converting prospective readers into buyers. As with all industries, commerce is key.

Gutenberg Didn’t Have Conversion Problems

The difference between Gutenberg and today’s publishing industry is that Gutenberg published the Bible. He just didn’t have the distribution problems that you and I face today, and converting book browsers into book buyers was no problem. You wanted a copy of the Bible? You’d go see Gutenberg. He was the only game in town.

Now the publishing industry has exploded, and it’s easier than it has ever been in history to get your book in print, literally or virtually.

Services like Smashwords, CreateSpace and Pronoun make it possible to make your book available worldwide at the click of a button. Any first-time author who’s repeatedly been rejected by the stuffy agent/publisher model can see why this opportunity is so attractive.

However, there is a downside. Easy publishing means there is no mandatory check on an author’s skill or quality of the work. Any person with an Internet connection can publish their work, regardless of its literary merit or readability.

Beyond this obvious point is one that’s even more compelling. Because there’s so much content that’s now being dumped into the marketplace, overcoming obscurity is now the author’s greatest challenge. Competition is at an all-time high!

In fact, it takes a team of about 30 well-qualified people to put a book into play – to take it from the author’s mind to the readers’ heart. It seems those old fuddy-duddies who once provided a filter between the author and the marketplace actually did perform a viable service. Editors, graphic designers, distributors and a salesforce all play a useful role in a successful book launch.

This means that in order to be successful as a published author, you need to get really good at wearing about 30 hats. You can either grow a lot of heads, or call in some reinforcements.



Congratulations, Dr. Sally Ernst, on your newest book GOTCHA! Your Little Black Book for a Safer E-xperience.




Cyber Security in a Language Anyone can Understand. Gotcha! The essential handbook on Cyber Security for business executives. Gotcha! raises awareness of the serious nature of the cyber security threat and provides practical steps and key questions that will help assess potential threats. Gotcha! Is an easy-to-read, yet deeply informative resource book that addresses the crucial issues of 21st century life.








Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1August 3, 2015
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Book Marketing – The Achilles Heel of Authors


by Bryan Heathman, CEO of GOKO Publishing’s US partner

He was in his 50’s and his steel-blue eyes could bore a hole through a sheet of steel.

“What do you mean I need to launch a $25,000 marketing campaign?” Rod’s voice was steady, from years of practice leading teams for technology companies.

“Listen Bryan, I didn’t sign up for this – press releases, blog posts, cowtowing on social media, butt kissing on talk radio, writing jacket blurbs. I’m not a marketer. The only thing I’m going to write is my story and my ideas will sell themselves.”

I sighed, as I’d heard this story too many times to count. “I’m sure you can see that the work needs to be promoted,” I offered, thumbing the corner of his thick manuscript. The meeting had dragged on longer than I’d expected, and the chic seafood restaurant was now empty of lunchtime traffic.

“You’re a promoter and that’s what I’m evaluating you for, isn’t it?” he quipped.

“Um, actually I’m a publisher,” I retorted. “You see, my job is to move books through distribution channels in order to exponentially expose readers with your writing. “

“Fine. Whatever. You can do that too. I’m just not going to do anything but write my stories. I’ve been leading teams for 20 years, and I’m not going to change that now.” He took a sip of his ice tea. “I’ll leave the marketing up to you to figure-out. My game is technology and leadership.”

The man was formidable. If it weren’t for the fact that he was referred by a high-profile professional speaker, I would have called for the check and gone to my next meeting.

No, book marketing was definitely not his thing. While he went on on with a voice of authority, I mused about how he would come across at a book signing.

But there was something about Rod that made me stay on. Maybe it was the quality of his work; it really was good.

“I’ll see what I can do.”

Of Jangled Nerves and Disruption

I’m telling you about Rod because his situation is common among writers. In my work as a publisher, I usually deal with two types: those whose motto is “I breathe, therefore I speak,” and those whose motto is “I write, therefore I don’t need to speak.” One is outgoing; the other is not. One is people oriented; the other is well qualified to work in a Forest Service fire watch tower – alone.

In both cases, their medium is words. And in both cases, “sale” is a four-letter word. Sales and marketing are the last things either of them wants to think about. They just want to work with the words they love.

Unfortunately, a love for words just isn’t enough to get a finished book into the hands of readers. In fact, as I’ve said so often before, writing your book is only 5% of the work involved.

Unfortunately for authors like Rod, writing is all they know. The good news is that I’ve got a crew of about 30 people who handle the tasks of editing, book design, sales and distribution. So many authors try to take on all of these tasks at once and succeed at only a few – if any. It’s just too much for one person to master.

I think young authors are a little less buffeted by the disruptive storms of change and technology than those who are more seasoned. But anyone trying to keep up with a market that has changed as radically as publishing has is in for a bad case of jangled nerves, as evidenced by the number of Create Space authors that cross my desk on a daily basis. The average book launched last year only sold 500 copies, which is far below the expectations of people like Rod.

Selling the Sizzle

When my team and I take on a new project, the first thing we ask is, “Who’s the audience?” My job is to find authors who want to be published, but have made strides towards the enormous task of selling their work to the public. It starts with assessing the playing field and crafting a story that resonates with a hungry audience. How this story gets told is up to each author.

Here are a couple successful book marketing practices to get you started:

  • Blog Tours – provide articles to high traffic bloggers
  • Radio shows – guest appearances on local or national radio shows
  • TV appearances – many New York Times best-selling authors get their start with appearances on Good Morning America
  • Social media – this is a great vehicle to build a big audience at a low cost
  • Bookstore signings – bookstores and libraries are always a fun place to talk about your book
  • Speaking engagements – there is nothing more effective than sharing your ideas with a crowd to generate book orders
  • Advertising – it has never been easier than today to purchase advertising to a highly exact audience. We have partnerships with several email newsletter publishers that still get amazingly high response-rates with readers
  • Partnerships – professionals in this business build relationship with others who have large audiences, effectively structured deals with the philosophy “I’ll scratch you back if you scratch mine”

What I love about my job is that I help get words and ideas into the hands of readers around the world – readers who wouldn’t have access to these ideas without easy access to a book.

Whether it’s through libraries in Liberty, Kansas or on Kindles in the Amazon jungle, the authors we publish have a reach that wouldn’t have been possible for them otherwise. It’s great to see them realize their goals, and the quarterly bottom line shows how effective a publisher can be in the distribution food chain.

For authors like Rod, a publishing relationship is a godsend. Now his business philosophies can be enjoyed everywhere, and his book sales show it. That’s something any author can sink their teeth into.



Congratulations Robert Spillane!

Goko Publishing wants to congratulate and support one of or new authors, Robert Spillane. Getting a book from concept to reality is no easy task and Robert has just completed publishing his second book in just 1 year!!



EyeforanI_TransparentAN EYE FOR AN I
This book discusses ancient and modern philosophers whose ideas enable us to gain insight into and mastery of ourselves. While this sounds like psychology, it is what the ancient Greeks called moral philosophy and its main precept is ‘know oneself’.

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EntertainingExecutives1_3_1ENTERTAINING EXECUTIVES
Office politics, power struggles, ulterior motives, personality differences …all combine to make this cynical poke at the “executive branch” of a typical office highly entertaining. The setting takes you to a management training program where several managers are invited to attend.

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Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.






Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.







icon1July 20, 2015
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LIBRARY DISTRIBUTION: THE SWEET “Shhhh” OF SUCCESS


When you write a book, getting book distribution is a major component of publishing success. Getting the widest distribution possible for your book should be your main goal. Once you’ve gone to the trouble of writing your best ideas and publishing them, you’ll want as many people as possible to engage with you.

As a publisher, a number of the authors I coach come to me with many misconceptions about book distribution. They think that all they need to do is publish their book on Amazon Kindle, and they’ll have a best seller on their hands.

In reality, Amazon represents fraction of the book market. Of the scores of methods for distributing your work, online retail is just one of them. Likewise, there are many money-making derivatives for your work. eBook sales comprise only a fraction of the revenue you can make when you publish intelligently.

Having a publisher on your side will help you navigate the maze of details involved in getting your book to market. A good assisted self-publishing company will have access to hard numbers you may not even have considered before as an author. They will also have inside connections you just can’t leverage any other way.

Shhhh! Libraries Are Publishing’s Best Kept Secret

The Theological Hall In Strahov Monastery In Prague.

When you publish your book, one of the best ways to ensure that you have a captive audience is to distribute your book through the public library system and a network of corporate libraries. For you as an author, this could mean having a printed volume of your manuscript available in every town and city in the country. There’s nothing sweeter than that sweet “Shhh” of success when you show up for your book signings.

Libraries buy huge quantities of books all the time. Why not yours? To get started, first you’ll need to understand how they buy and what influences them to make those buying decisions. Once you know this, you can sell untold volumes of your book (pun intended – sorry).

The reality of this distribution tactic depends on how popular your book is to start. Unless you have a team of sales people promoting your book to libraries through their own catalog, your book would need to be immensely popular in order to shout above the noise of the overcrowded book marketplace.

On the other hand, having a sales team promoting for you is not some pipe dream, as many might expect. For the authors I work with, it’s a reality.

Just about everyone agrees that library distribution sounds like a great idea. But how do you actually make it happen? For the answer, let’s take a quick look at how today’s libraries came by their current circulation system.

How To Get Your Book Into Libraries

At one time, Andrew Carnegie was the richest man in history. He made enormous gobs of money in the steel industry, and he became famous as a philanthropist. In fact, he spent the first half of his life making money and the second half giving it all away.

Carnegie was influential in promoting lending libraries throughout the U.S. The story goes that he would approach cities and towns, Chambers of Commerce and local fraternal organizations with an offer to help them build a library. He would put up half the money for the library if the townspeople would come up with the other half through taxes or other fundraising. This meant a boom to the existing library system, and the result is what we see today throughout the U.S.

To put books into the branches, committees discuss the topics and authors that people want to read most. The library commission meets regularly, usually annually, to decide generally what should go into the library. Libraries can order books for their patrons, and they often keep track of the most requested books.

There is also an inter-library lending system. If you order a book from your local library in Seattle, your cherished volume may come to you from as far away as Boise, Idaho. The Internet has changed much about the way libraries work, including speed, but the lending concept remains the same.

Each library has a procurement officer who decides which books to buy to put on the shelves locally. If there’s enough demand for a book and they have the budget, they will buy it.

On the other side of this equation, publishing companies have teams of sales people who meet with the book buyers at libraries and library conventions, convincing them to order the books in their catalogs.

Many libraries will only work with a restricted number of catalogs. This means if you’re a lone wolf trying to get your foot in the door at your local branch, you may have a bit of a hurdle to get over. The place to start is the procurement office at district headquarters.

One author created a musical stage play for children to promote his children’s book, complete with 5 actors and dancers. The author took his troupe on the road to local bookstores, libraries and schools to perform a live musical depicting characters from his book “The Kid with the Red Juice Mustache.” Parents of children attending the show lined-up to buy his book, as did the librarians hosting his events.

Having a publishing house do the ground work for you is ultimately the easiest option for increasing your book’s distribution. This is true not just for getting your book into libraries, but getting it into the scores of other outlets clamoring for new books to loan or sell.

With the right kind of push, you could be hearing the sweet “Shhhh” of success!




Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

Leadership App

This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

learn-more
icon1July 7, 2015
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PUBLISHING – Blessing Humanity with Words & Ideas


“I don’t know if I can do this anymore. Sometimes I think I just might have to quit.”

I looked at my friend across the table from me as he spoke. The cheerful chatter of the coffeehouse around us played a striking contrast to his mood. It was obvious he was carrying quite a burden.

The pastor’s brows knit together, his eyes were downcast, and he was leaning forward with intense interest. “I love counseling young couples – I really do – but it’s just so hard, seeing them on the brink. It’s like I get them too late.”

I hadn’t listened to him long, as the answer started clearly unfolding before me. He had the same predicament as so many other business professionals with whom I work. Still, I let him talk it out over coffee, laying down some of his burdens from the past week.

Finally he said, “I wish there was some kind of instruction manual for young married couples, you know? Then all the words and tools I give them could make a difference before they even get married. But nobody’s written that book yet, and I don’t know what to do.”

“Then you have to write it,” I said. “It sounds to me like you’ve been called.”

He looked up at me from his coffee, a bright light of recognition in his eyes. “Huh. You think so? Maybe you’re right – stem the crisis before it starts by giving them the manual… You know, that’s not a bad idea. In fact, I think I really could do this.” He leaned back in his chair, mulling over the idea.

“Sure,” I told him. “It’s a question of leverage. Don’t you think we’re given the answers, contained within the problem?” His response told me he agreed.

And so, another book was born.

As a publisher, I see the act of publishing as a blessing. It’s not just about saying your piece for its own sake. It’s about blessing the world with your discoveries. Whether you’re writing fact or fiction, the words you publish offer the world something new, something valuable, and something uniquely your own.

Standing On the Shoulders of Published Giants

Gutenberg made a wise choice when he published Bibles as the first mass-produced books. Those in power accused him of working hand-in-hand with the devil. Certainly they didn’t want their most priceless knowledge to be in reach of the common man. Truly, knowledge is power.

But Gutenberg pointed out that no one in league with evil would publish the Bible. By making this choice, he demonstrated that the printing press was not developed as an influence from dark forces. It was a convenient way to spread wisdom through the land.

Publishing spreads information democratically. That means it’s not just in the hands of the few, but it’s accessible to anyone who can read. Each generation can build upon the knowledge of the previous one – as Isaac Newton put it, “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

I strongly believe that writing is a gift to humanity, bettering the human condition. It also can be the most powerful weapon on earth. Ideas can be used to kill, or cure.

Sharing your thoughts through the medium of books means you can reach people around the world, now and in the future. The words you write today are a blessing to the generations to come.

Like my new friend the pastor, the world is hungry for your knowledge, experience and wisdom. It is important for you to write your book and see it through. Who knows what lives your ideas can change?


Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump Bryan_Heathman and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.


icon1June 29, 2015
icon2admin

Nobody Becomes a Success Alone, Period


by Chris Widener

Nobody becomes a success alone, period. There is no such person who is “self-made.” I know this because I have regularly involved myself with some of America’s most successful people and as I listen to their stories I realize that all of them have had what I call their own “booster club.”

When I think back over my life I realize that I have had my own booster club: People who gave me a boost, either through direct help, opening doors to others or opportunities, or through their belief in or encouragement of me.

encourage

I think of my mother who was left a widow at age 40 to raise me alone. She believed in me. She sacrificed for me. She gave up much so that I could become what I dreamed of. My mother was my booster!

I think of a man who is the CEO of a twenty five billion dollar a year company who, when I was only three years out of college and striking out on my own, sent me a check out of the blue. It wasn’t an investment; it was a gift. Then he sent another… and another. Every month for nearly 7 years he sent me a check. Nothing large enough to live on but enough to be a sign that he believed in me. When I asked him why he did it, he said, “Because I believe in what you are doing and that you are the one to do it.” To have someone of his stature believe in you! Wow – is he ever a booster!

I think of my good friends, Tony and Jenni. When they were married they moved in right next door to us. They have become our best friends. Every step of the way they have loved us, challenged us, and encouraged us. They have been there in the darkest hours and in the brightest days. They are definitely boosters!

I think of my two friends named Kevin. The first, my best friend, lives here in Seattle. He is a guy that I laugh with, talk about things with and thoroughly enjoy all of my time with. He always comes through for me. In fact, as I right this, he came through for me just yesterday! When I know that I need a boost, he does whatever he can. And being one of the most competent men I have ever met, he always gets the job done. Major booster!

The second Kevin lives in Atlanta. He is a “new” friend but has already been a big booster. He has been willing to open doors for me that I never would have been able to budge because those on the other side would have been unwilling to open them. But on his recommendation, they have. A great booster and a person I will get to know better throughout the years.

I think of Kyle. Kyle has boosted me literally millions of times – ever time he publishes my articles he helps me bring my message to the masses. To know that a person like Kyle sees the value in my message is an incredible boost!

I think of my most fanatical booster, my wife Lisa. No one believes in me more than she does. In fact, there are many times I wonder who she thinks she’s married to! She sees the best in me even when there is nothing good to see. She sticks by me through it all and encourages me to go for my dreams. What a blessing – what a booster!

I think of my kids. They boost me every time I leave in the morning and when I come through the door at night. They boost my life and my career! Above all, they boost my happiness and my spirits each and every day. Big boosters in little bodies!

So where does this leave us? Is this just a trip down memory lane? No, in fact, I have two specific actions for you as it relates to boosters:

One, make a list of your boosters. Then take a moment to send them a note to say thanks for what they have done and been for you!

Second, decide for yourself that you will be someone else’s booster! Be very specific and begin to invest yourself into that person’s life. Encourage them. Open doors for them. Challenge them. Give of yourself to them so that they can soar. Be their booster!

Bring on the boosters!

Chris Widener has been speaking professionally since 1988 and has shared the stage with top political figures, nationally known TV news anchors, best-selling authors and professional athletes. Chris has written over 450 articles and is the author of eight books including the New York Times best seller “The Angel Inside”. He has produced over 30 audio programs on leadership and motivation and is one of Goko Publishing and Made For Success Publishing’s prolific authors.


icon1June 24, 2015
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I Could NEVER Write a Book!


by Bryan Heathman

Did you know that over 70% of people have written down “writing a book” on their bucket list? As such, I get business executives frequently asking me on planes or at the gym about what is involved in writing a book.

This Is My StoryYears ago, I was one of these people who wanted to write a book but didn’t know how to get started. Now having done written a book (on top of a busy schedule), I share the process of writing with aspiring authors all over the planet.

My advice for aspiring published authors is simple…all it takes is the right kind of preparation. In other words, you have to prepare to succeed.

But many people in my sphere of influence don’t just want to write a book – they want to write a best selling book. In fact, they come to me on their quest to get famous as a result of writing a book.

So the question remains, even though the marketplace is swamped with books, can you become a best selling author?

The answer is “of course!” But why am I so sure? Because the best seller lists are populated by authors – and somebody’s got to be on those lists. Why couldn’t it be you? The right kind of preparation and the knowledge of where to apply some extra effort can make all the difference between just another book release and a runaway hit – with you holding the reins.

As a publisher, I’ve worked with some of the best-selling authors in the world. Some of them truly are great writers. Ironically, others are merely great marketers. To me, it takes a winning combination of both in order to be truly successful as an author, to have staying power and to reach the top. Like any goal, you need to begin with the end in mind.

If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail

In high school, my wrestling coach had this quote on the wall of our gymnasium: “If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail.” Every day our team would reflect on this philosophy, and we were encouraged to develop a plan to overcome our weaknesses and leverage our strengths. Now many years later, this philosophy has proven to hold true in many pursuits…including building best-selling books.

Writing a book that becomes a best seller is feasible if you start your book project with the proper planning. Following the same niche-vetting process is required for every book, fact or fiction, no matter what your reasons may be for writing your manuscript. Once you determine what to write, preparing the book for your selected niche market becomes part of the writing process.

The first decision to make about your book is the decision to approach it with a sense of professionalism. Decide what your book is about and who it’s for. Understand who your competition is. Decide that you will complete your book and that you will publish it. Give yourself a deadline, and work steadily to meet it. Commit fully. This is the one distinguishing factor that all successful authors have in common – professionalism.

To get started with the proper planning and preparation you’ll need to create a book proposal, no matter which publishing model you choose. Whether you’re going to shop your manuscript to legacy publishers, self-publish it or choose something in between, proper planning is one of the biggest steps you can take on the road to best seller success.

The reason is that your book proposal will help you focus your writing ideas and help you treat your book as a business. The proposal includes a synopsis of your book, an analysis of your market, a comparison of competing books that are already in stores, and your plan for marketing your book.

In my travels with breakaway best-selling authors I often ask about their success stories, then look for common denominators of success. Here are a few of my discoveries – each best-selling author has at least one strength which include elements like:

  • Writing a syndicated newspaper column
  • Regular writer in an industry-specific magazine
  • Being a charismatic salesperson
  • Writing a high traffic blog
  • Large email database (or access to several)
  • Media savvy in radio or TV
  • Speaking within industry associations
  • Having a large social media following, typically on one social media platform (oddly, rarely on multiple social media platforms)

If you are already in the business of writing or speaking, take a look at the sales figures from your previous works and include these numbers in your proposal. Also include the number of speaking engagements you can line-up during the next twelve months, along with any book tours, media appearances, press releases, blog posts, and social media figures and projections. When your details start to take shape, so does the outline of your book.

Crystalizing Your Vision

As part of your preparation, ask yourself the following questions. Include your answers in the pages of your proposal.

  • Why do I want to write about this particular topic? Find your topic and angle. Do you have any story ideas or other compelling points to make? Start with a seed idea then build on it. Even the great works of the ages began with a simple seed that blossomed into rich maturity. Using stories is a great way to create a gripping, readable, authoritative book.

  • What do I want my book to do for me and for others? Determine whether your book will support another part of your business. Decide how you want your book to affect others and what you want them to take away from the experience of reading it.

  • Which specific audience do I want my book to attract? Are you writing fiction for stay-at-home moms looking to spice-up their daily routine? Are you writing Leadership materials for up-and-coming executives under 35 who are striving to build their career success? Know your target audience and get inside their heads.

  • Who else is writing successfully on this topic? What kinds of tactics are they using to gain exposure for their book? Success leaves tracks, so follow in the footprints of other best sellers.

  • Which format is best suited for my book? Should I publish in print, digital ebooks or both? Amazon sells more digital eBooks than print books. Surprisingly however, most authors make more income from their physical books. Having a well-designed physical book will boost your credibility.

  • Who would most likely be a good evangelist for my book? Take a look at the people in your inner circle and your social networks. See who is the most likely to serve as a center of influence for promoting your book, then figure out an incentive for them to talk-up your book.

    It’s well within your reach to become a best-selling author. In fact, in some cases you can be a #1 Amazon Bestseller with a minimal marketing effort, given the right niche. When you break it down and take the right steps to reach your publishing goals, what sounds unwieldy today becomes matter of fact tomorrow.

    The important thing is to get started. You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – so take a shot. Why not get started sharing your legacy with the world today.

    Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.



    Bryan Edired 1Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success. He works with bestselling authors and consultants which have included the late Zig Ziglar, Donald Trump and John C. Maxwell in the role of publisher and marketer. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book on converting website visitors into paying customers. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes working for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.




    Inspiring Leaders at your Fingertips

    Get access to some of the world’s top minds on Leadership and Motivation in this new iPhone app.This powerful library in a unique universal app will motivate and inspire you to change and improve your life and the lives of others.

    Leadership App

    This collection of life-changing audios includes masterpieces on personal improvement, inspiration, leadership and business success from famous speakers, authors, thinkers and self-made millionaires.

    FREE audio with download,“Resolving Conflict” by professional speaker and coach Tony Alessandra. Learn invaluable tips on how to deal with conflict and create positive resolution.

    learn-more
    icon1June 2, 2015
    icon2admin

3 Steps to Grow Brand Recall: Has anyone got a tattoo of your brand?


A brand serves as an important placeholder for your company’s reputation. This means good business for you and peace of mind for your customers. When people have a good experience with a brand, they’re more likely to make a repeat purchase. In other words, they become brand loyal, even when given the choice to buy a competing product. This leads to brand recall, and the cycle repeats itself resulting in enormous growth potential.

Tattoo artist at work, close-up Here’s something to contemplate. Rumor has it that more people have the motorcycle brand Harley-Davidson™ tattooed on their body than any other brand name in the world. Whether its truth or fiction, it’s at least plausible. Now that’s loyalty!

If you’ve been reading my series on Branding, by now you now that we’re talking about a process of creating distinctive and durable perceptions in the minds of your customers. We do this by distilling what your company represents down to its purest essence- something that your target audience can grasp in a matter of moments – a look, a feel, a song, a sound.

The effort to brand your company or yourself can pay off handsomely, sometimes to the tune of billions of dollars. In my branding talks, I refer to this as a business’ growth factor. The brand of the #1 soft drink company in the world is so tightly monitored – so Mega – that I’m at risk using their name in this article for possible intellectual property right infringement.

However, that company’s CEO once famously said he could walk into any bank anywhere in the world and take out a loan….based on their brand value alone! Imagine that kind of clout in your business.

In fact, this soda company’s global market penetration is so strong that people can identify the white-on-red logo even without seeing the brand name. I don’t even have to say their name, but I’m sure you know which soda company I’m talking about. We’re talking about a growth factor to salivate over.

People who closely identify with a brand are not only more likely to buy what they bought a second time, but they also will buy related items from the same brand. In fact, they’ll recommend the brand to others and even remain brand faithful in spite of a competitor’s price cut. That’s the kind of brand identity that anchors true loyalty and spurs mega growth.

I know you’re asking “How can I relate this to my business?”

So the question to ponder is this…how can you take these lessons and generate your own brand growth factor? Here are 3 practical recommendations to get your customers to stick to make repeat purchases.

1. Make It Memorable:

Your company can’t benefit from referrals and repeat business if people don’t remember your name. When it comes to making your brand memorable, try using an unusual color combination, the way FedEx does with their purple and orange. Use shapes and sounds that convey your brand’s image, or even distinctive behavior or gesture. Jingles, cartoon characters and spokesmen are great for this.

We all remember our first trip to Les Schwab Tires, because the mechanics are trained to drop their tools and literally run to your car to provide service. Savvy career professionals use a style of clothing to make their personal brand memorable. Author Tom Wolfe was known for his famous white suits, and Flo from Progressive Insurance is unmistakable with her retro look and flippant attitude.

Develop your own unique image and make it stick in the minds of your buying public.

2. Keep It Familiar:

Branding has a big effect on customers and non-customers alike. Think about that catchy jingle that just won’t get out of your head. It’s familiar, isn’t it?

Psychologists have found that familiarity leads to affinity. In other words, when people get to know you, they like you. This means people who have never even done business with you may recommend you even when they’re not your customers – simply because they know your brand. Seeing your ads around town, having one of your pens in their desk drawer, or seeing your social media posts all add up to contributing to your growth factor. Those who are familiar with your brand will spread the word the next time a friend or colleague is looking for your kind of referral.

3. Be Rock Solid:

When consumers make a buying decision, there’s less risk in choosing a brand name over an unknown commodity. With an established brand, you can spread the respect you’ve garnered. This means your latest, greatest product, service or location can gain acceptance in spite of newcomer status. But start by being reliable in the first place. Mind your reputation, and keep it clean.

For fun, I play the jazz trombone in a 17-piece swing band. Recently our band was hired to perform in our region’s largest winery, Chateau Ste Michelle, where we delighted visitors with party music to augment their wine tasting experience at the chateau. Ste Michelle established a good reputation with regional winery tours which are close to a major metropolitan city, thereby solidifying its brand and goodwill with millions of wine lovers. Subsequently, the winery added brand extensions to their mix with new sub-brands at various price points. With this approach, the primary brand benefits from the positive perceptions generated from both their premier line and their affordable line.

Following these 3 steps to brand recall can lift what you sell out of the realm of a commodity and contribute to your growth factor. Instead of dealing with price-shoppers, you’ll have customers who would gladly pay more for your company’s goods and services.

Who could ask for anything more?

Katherine-Owen-ImageKatherine Owen, CEO of GOKO, brings her expertise in the publishing industry and combines it with a powerful team. Katherine owns and operates GOKO Publishing and is part-owner in a traditional publishing company, The GHR Press. Katherine holds a Masters Degree in Marketing and Management from Macquarie University’s Graduate School of Management (MGSM) in Sydney, Australia.






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icon1May 26, 2015
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