How to know if your book will be a hit…
before we write a single word!
One of the biggest hurdles would-be authors face when deciding to write a book is that age-old question…
Will it sell?
At least that’s the question you SHOULD be asking, before dumping a bunch of cash — and months of your time and energy — into creating a book that nobody except your mother wants to read.
Of course, with me and the team at 4PlayBooks working behind-the-scenes as your Hostwriter, editor and all-in-one book production team, creating an engaging and compulsively-readable book is already a whole lot easier for you.
But the question remains… how will you market your book?
Good question. That’s why publishers demand a ‘book proposal’ from potential authors, before they even consider putting their name on the LONG list of books they may consider introducing to their editors and agents for production.
Because out of the tens of thousands of book proposals they receive each year, mainstream publishers will ‘seriously consider’ short-listing only a few dozen of them…
And only a tiny handful of THOSE short-listed authors are lucky enough to ever get green-lighted… just to start the extended process of creating a finished manuscript that MAY be published 2 or 3 years later.
As I said, that’s if they’re lucky.
But is luck all it takes to market your book?
Trouble is, even after all that work has gone into creating their perfectly-polished manuscript, many authors believe that ‘finally getting published’ is their ticket to Easy Street. When their book hits the shelves, it won’t be long before they’re a New York Times best-seller, right?
Um, not exactly…
You see, a lot of people have the misconception that a big publisher is going to market their new book to fame and fortune. And that’s simply not the case.
In fact, a big part of the ‘book proposal’ publishers demand from would-be authors (before they’ll even think of taking them seriously) is a detailed marketing plan of how the AUTHOR plans to promote and sell their own book!
No surprise there, since publishers want the author to have some skin in the game too.
Especially when there’s a lot of money at stake
Now I’m guessing your reason for writing a book probably doesn’t include dreams of making it a New York Times best-seller, either. And that’s a relief. Because that’s a whole other conversation. Getting on that list is a different game… and whether or not that game would actually help you, it’s a can cost (you guessed it) a WHOLE bunch of money to play.
Besides, like most entrepreneurs and executives, you really just want to promote your personal brand, your company, or your products and services to warm up a receptive audience…
So you don’t actually need to get on a publisher’s best-seller list for your book to be wildly successful at its REAL purpose… to sell your authoritative reputation (and your stuff) to that audience so YOU become the best-seller!
Fortunately, getting your book onto your best customers’ radar is a whole lot simpler than hitting the top of a made-up popularity list. It’s not necessarily push-button easy, but not as tough as you might think.
Besides, since you’ll effectively be the author and self-publisher of your own book, you’re probably wondering about a few key questions, too.
Get the answers to the same questions a big, mainstream publisher wants to know…
• Who’s the intended audience for your book?
• What’s the book going to be about?
• Do you have enough to say about your subject to fill a book?
• Is the author any good at their subject… AND at writing about it?
• How and where will this book be promoted?
• Do you have a built-in audience of buyers for your book?
Now, getting those answers BEFORE you’re waist-deep in piles of crumpled notepaper and digital dust is the smart marketer’s approach to book-writing.
That’s why we’ve created a customized book-proposal package for would-be authors that helps show you EVERYTHING you’d want to know about your book’s chances for success. The 4PlayBooks Paste-Up, Pitch & Proposal package gives you the opportunity to collaborate and brainstorm with us to discover all the answers you need about making your book fly.
To create one for you, we’ll use the same kind of deep-thinking process you’d go through if you were pitching your book idea to a traditional publisher. The kind of preparation that can take expert editors and authors weeks to prepare (and they typically charge a few thousand dollars for an 8-10-page document to prove it!)
Plus, we’ll go way beyond the short blurb of marketing information, 0ne-page biography and sample chapter that many book-proposal writers might try go get by on. After all, since you’ll be self-publishing your book (with our help), you’ll want a clear idea of how your book will stand up and grab your readers’ attention… even though you won’t have to wait in line for a typical publisher’s extended approval process to get started.
So if you want to ‘dip your toe in the water’ before jumping in with one of our complete book packages, you can try seeing your book idea come to life through a publisher’s eyes (think of this approach as your author’s training wheels)…
The best part is, when you decide to go ahead with your book idea (with our help, we hope)… if you decide to take your book’s ‘Big Idea’ in an entirely different direction… or even (gulp) if you think you want to go it alone… either way, you’ll have a clear path to the finish line. Effectively, your Paste-Up, Pitch and Proposal package is a great way to see if YOU would want to buy your own book, since you’ll be able to sample its most important and influential book-selling components in real life, including…
- a strong working title
- a chapter-by-chapter content outline
- a sample chapter
- a full-sized, full-color cover mock-up
- a direct-response marketing plan, and…
- a life-sized, printed mock-up of your actual book to have, to hold, to try out and to show off to your friends, your family and your favorite customers as a ‘work in progress’!
You’ll know exactly what we’ll be writing about for your book, and why. Plus, you’ll have a good idea of the impact your book’s ‘look and feel’ will have on your target audience … and you’ll have a solid marketing track to run on when the writing’s finished, too.
Here’s what you’ll get with your own Paste-up, Pitch & Proposal package:
Book Launch Audience Brainstorm (BLAB) session – To bridge the distance between the first spark of an idea you have for your book and the Big Idea that will take it over the top, you’ll need a decent amount of content… and a lot of depth and detail on the information, personalization and audience appeal that you expect your book to contain by the time it’s done.
That’s why we’ll brainstorm with you on everything from your book’s concept… to the products, services and ideas you’d like it to highlight… to the audience you hope to appeal to — along with several complementary audiences you may not have considered, but who could represent a major source of support, referrals, reputation and credibility as your book’s champions!
It’s a lot like the wise old saying “If you’ve only got 4 hours to chop down a tree, spend the first 3 hours sharpening your saw.” And a BLAB session with us and our ‘wicked questions’ helps you look at your book’s potential market & competition… considers its format and life-cycle… fleshes out your book’s purpose and widen its appeal… and gets you headed in the right direction — before you write a single word.
Themed Book Outline & Chapter Summaries – With your book’s direction roughed out after our BLAB session, now it’s time to see what all those ideas look like on paper. So we’ll create an outline to follow the overall theme, chapter topics, and even draft some catchy working titles for each section. From there, we’ll go into the individual summary descriptions of the depth and direction for each chapter, along with a plan for how everything flows and fits together.
Finally, we’ll highlight the benefits your readers will receive from each section, and suggest complementary topics, offers or services to coincide with each chapter. After all, your book is a tool to sell YOU, too.
First Chapter / First Draft – Like a publisher, agent and editor, you’ll want to know how the concepts, stories and ideas we discuss with you will actually read and flow in real life. The writing style, ‘voice’, depth and organization of ideas have all got to fit together… and be captivating and satisfying to your readers, too.
So we’ll write up a sample chapter on one of the topics we select together from the themed book outline above (we suggest starting with the first chapter), and give you a head-start on grabbing your readers’ attention right from the start.
After all, our goal as your Hostwriter is to make sure we translate your ideas and raw data into words that sound just like you… only better.
Full-Color Book Cover Mock-Up – As you probably know from reading our book Executive 4Play, one of the strongest attention-getting parts of your book is its cover. Done right, the cover is more than a few words of large type and a splash of color… the cover needs to carry the weight of the entire book on its shoulders, for at least the first few seconds it takes for a potential reader to decide if they want to look further. The cover is what starts the conversation with your reader… so we’ll start with some of our favorite cover-art mockups, and create a full-color, full-sized mockup of what YOUR cover could look like — with your industry, your audience and your competition in mind.
Since the cover is so important to your book’s success as your ‘ultimate business card’, you’ll probably want to tweak and change and move things around a few times before the book’s done. So we don’t pretend this will be the final, finished copy of your cover layout… but it will give you a good start at seeing all of the cover elements together in full color. And give you a realistic-looking sample to show your friends, colleagues and closest advisors to get the ball rolling on those fine-tuning tweaks you may not have even thought of yet!
Full-sized Book Mock-Up – As you know, nothing makes an impression like the weight, size and ‘thunk factor’ of your own book hitting the table in front of your best prospects. So, just to experience what that will feel like for your own audience of readers and best prospects, we’ll create a ‘working model’ of your book in the actual size, paper, format and typestyles that we’ll use for your actual book, in real life.
Sure, it’s handy to have a mock-up around to see what your actual finished book can look and feel like… to see if you like the typestyles, or to see how well the ideas we discussed during our BLAB session actually represent the finished book you have in mind. After all, it’s a lot easier to know if you like a shade of blue by actually seeing it… instead of merely listening to someone describe the color over the phone.
Plus, with a full-sized mock-up of “a book in your hand with your picture on the cover”, you can show it off to your closest friends, best customers and trusted advisors, to get their input… and to begin building up a buzz for your upcoming book release!
Direct-Response Book Marketing Plan – Here’s where the rubber meets the road… because we’ll outline a direct-response business plan that explains how and why your book will make you money — by using it to catch the attention of people who could have the most influence on your business success.
Whether that’s bloggers, news media contacts and other thought leaders in your industry… board members, hiring executives, and colleagues (or colleagues-to-be) at the companies you’d love to be working or partnering with… or even putting your book directly into the hands of your best customers and prospects, we’ll combine our favorite online and direct-marketing strategies with the ideas and resources we’ve discussed with you during our BLAB session together, and show you how to reach those people who are most interested in knowing the story behind the companies and products they choose to support when they decide to buy from you.
As you can see, a lot goes into making your book successful, so you can achieve and exceed the goals you have for it as a reputation-enhancing, business-boosting ‘ultimate business card’. And maybe you haven’t quite figured out whether the ideas you have for your first book (or your next one) are worthy of the time, creative energy and expense of preparing a full manuscript.
Plus, I won’t kid you here… writing a book together is a significant commitment of research, preparation and telephone time for both of us… even if you already have most of your book’s material ready to go. Like any extended relationship, it’s best to know how well we communicate, get along and understand your ideas if we’re going to commit to working together with you over the long haul.
So you may want to start smaller… with the potential of re-using and expanding on the ideas that work when inspiration hits — or better still, when your test-marketing proves you have a winner!
That’s exactly why we’ve designed the 4PlayBooks Paste-Up, Pitch & Proposal package you see here… to make it easy to get started, and ‘test the waters’ on SO many levels before we both go all-out with your proven book idea.
Ready to get started? Simply click the big red button below and select a timeslot on my calendar for an introductory call between us. I’ll get back to you with a few questions, answers and next steps to ease your timeline, payment terms and peace of mind.