Archives: business

A guest post by Dianna Huff

typewriterDid you know that many of the business and self-help books you see on store shelves – or at your iTunes or Kindle store – are written by ghostwriters? Sometimes referred to as “copywriters,” ghostwriters are the voice behind CEOs, politicians, celebrities, gurus – anyone who needs something written. In addition to books, ghostwriters will often write articles, reports, speeches, and blog posts for individuals. A ghostwriter can specialize in a niche, such as a highly scientific or technical area, or generalize and tackle just about any topic.
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How many authors here today know what co-op means, what a typical print run is for his/her type of book, or how returns factor into sales? How many editors know how LinkedIn or Pinterest can relate to book marketing, in what ways authors are using their social networks, and what connections they may have to larger organizations? Often, we’re not asking these questions of each other. We’re doing what we can, in silos.

Imagine if authors and publishers could inform and strategize with one another. Imagine if we were all really on the same page. This begins with having a shared strategy built on the principle of transparency. There is a way to learn, enjoy different perspectives, not put so much pressure on ourselves, and still, at the end of the day, be productive. It’s the result of an open collaboration between parties, which becomes possible as our roles expand.

Collaboration, beginning with defining parameters and goals, is key to excitement, energy, and execution. Here are ways in which it can be developed at the very first meeting:

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It’s the time of year when we turn from thinking of, and giving to others, to focusing more on ourselves. Growing older, we often become more conscious of the areas where we need to improve, at the very same time more challenges arise to block us: busy work schedules, children, perhaps elderly parents, or pursuits that seem to require all of our energy.

Many of us turn to self-help books, which spring evergreen during this season. But unless you’re looking to “Lose Weight Fast! or improve your appearance in some other way, there aren’t always books for you on the bestsellers list. You’re more likely to find Wheatbelly, Eat to Live, or Hungry Girl to the Max! (A title I personally admire while polishing off the last of pumpkin cake leftovers.)

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A tweet can make a difference.

I see this happen all the time. But many writers I’ve advised to blog and tweet, will grieve: “no matter what I do, I don’t see anyone coming to my blog!”

But then, suddenly, one day, one hour, and within ten seconds, that changes, and one of the most influential Twitterers falls upon your blog, and tweets about it to his thousands of followers. And suddenly, you see 20 new follows and an unprecedented spike in your web traffic; if you’re published, maybe even a spike in your Amazon ranking.

In publishing today, there is no such thing as “build it and they will come.”

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Apple was too rich. And everyone used Google and Amazon: it didn’t require much personality.

But at the turn of the 21st century, when today’s twentysomethings were making their “generational debut,” crossing over from college and into the real world, Facebook was both free and personal. Think Chris Andersen meets Bono (both, as it were, early investors).

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Why Book Blogs Matter

I recently interviewed with a blogger I like, and met on Twitter, on how I see book bloggers changing the business of publishing, and why social networking, or utilizing social media for actual networking purposeshas become a new way of “storytelling” for authors. You can read the rest of the interview here.

Q. How do you see the role of social media play­ing in book mar­ket­ing today and in the future?
A. 
I believe that suc­cess­ful books are made on the basis of word-of-mouth: whether your book club, a friend or fam­ily mem­ber, a movie some­one loved that was adapted from a book.

Word-of-mouth has never been quan­tifi­able. Nei­ther has social media.

Nor has pub­lish­ing ever really been all that inter­ested in quan­tifi­able value—that’s not where our pride is.

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