9 Mistakes Most Authors Make, Per Steve Harrison

By Douglas Winslow Cooper

On January 16, 2015, I listened to a fine webinar by marketing and publicity expert Steve Harrison (@PublicityGuy on Twitter, head of Bradley Communications Corp.) on nine common errors, to which he added a tenth. He emphasized that your book represents you, so make it as good as you can. 

The errors:

1. WRONG STRUCTURE: Don’t deviate from the tried and true, such as Covey’s itemized 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Blanchard’s parables in the One-Minute Manager, or the classic How To…. Imitate what has succeeded in the past.

2. WRONG PUBLISHING OPTION: Your choices include self-publishing, co-publishing with a subsidy press, getting an agent and a conventional publisher. Then, too, there are print and digital. Each has its plusses and minuses.

3. WRONG TITLE: Keep it short. Make it intriguing. Make a promise. Bust a myth. Quantify, such as Tim Ferriss did in The 4-Hour Work Week. Get advice from others, even run a focus group.

4. NOT MEDIA-GENIC: Need a hook to get attention: Fame. Celebrity. Current event. How to. Myth busting. Controversy. 

5. WAIT UNTIL PUBLISHED TO START CASHING-IN: No, start as soon as you have a good title and some work done on the book. Pre-sell, if you can. Lecture. Do interviews. 

6. TRYING TO SAY EVERYTHING IN ONE BOOK: Pick your best, save the rest. A few key ideas you can explain clearly, forcefully.

7. NOT IDENTIFYING  A “CHOIR” TO PREACH TO THAT WILL SING YOUR PRAISES: Need a tribe to help promote you. Rick Warren’s Purpose-Driven Life advanced by congregations he contacted. Robert Kiyosaki pushed Rich Dad, Poor Dad with help from multi-level marketing contacts. 

8. NOT DESIGNING YOUR BOOK TO FACILITATE FOLLOW-UPS: Make it easy to know how to reach you. Solicit email addresses from fans. Much money from books comes from follow-up activities, like speeches.

9. NOT HAVING A TEAM: Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor single-handedly. Others help with ideas and actions, serve as “multipliers.” 

10. PERFECTIONISM: Promising nine items, Harrison delivered one more: the French say, “the best is the enemy of the good.” Nothing man-made is perfect, and if you wait to reach perfection, you will not publish. 


Harrison’s company, Bradley Communications, presents an extended marketing course for a limited enrollment; you can get more information about it if you contact their site right away at http://yourquantumleap.com.

"Produce, Publish, Publicize"

By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

In her Produce, Publish, Publicize author Sabrina Sumsion crisply covers these three aspects of becoming a successful author for three different groups: the would-be best-sellers; the “make-a-buck” middle; and those who write for family, friends, “posterity.” Available through amazon.com, her book looked good on my Kindle, and sold for a bargain price. This brief summary cannot do it justice. Buy it.

“Know thyself,” Socrates reportedly said. If you think you can produce a best-selling novel or non-fiction book, then you are going to invest more effort in it than those who are writing it to send a message to the world or as an adjunct to their other activities or primarily to tell their story to their relatives.

Produce: Write the best book you can. Revise it repeatedly. Get help with editing for content and for copy correctness [grammar, spelling, punctuation]. If you hope for a best-seller, you will have to pay for editing help, unless you land an agent and a contract with a traditional commercial publisher (those whose names you see on the spines of the best-selling books in your genre). Even then, you will likely need an editor to get your manuscript in shape for trying to snare an agent.

Publish: To get an agent, you will need to have high-class material and perhaps already be well known. Without an agent, forget about getting a traditional commercial publishing company to pay attention to what you submit. (Of course, rules have their exceptions, but although the race is not always to the swift, it pays to bet that way.) An agent will connect you with suitable publishing houses and should take your book on a commission basis only, typically 15%. (Avoid agents requiring up-front fees.) The publisher should give you a non-trivial advance and will supply editorial and art-work support and later will help with publicity.. The middle category of authors will likely pay a few thousand dollars to get the book published by a subsidy press and will then hope to sell enough copies or give them away productively so as to offset the cost. If you are writing for posterity, you will be paying a subsidy press to publish your book and will probably be giving away almost all of your copies. 

Publicize: There used to be hundreds of thousands of new titles set forth in America each year. The advent of easy self-publishing means a million or more new titles are newly minted yearly. How to get the public to buy yours? The expensive way is to buy advertising. Harder, much less expensive, is to generate publicity. In best-sellerdom, the publishing house will do some advertising, will send you on some promotional trips, and will expect you to do what you can to get yourself and your book noticed. 

Sumsion writes, “Publicity is to books as wings are to birds.” About half of this book is devoted to publicizing. “Best-selling authors do not sit back and expect sales to come pouring in.” They work very hard at promoting themselves and their work. Publishers now expect this. A publicist herself, she recommends you hire one, but recognizes that this can be expensive and not truly necessary…if you have the skill and exert the effort to do what a publicist would do for you. She says you must not be discouraged by rejection: in a good week about 5 of 200 media contacts will result in a worthwhile interview, appearance, etc. She gives advice on finding a capable publicist. They will typically charge $1000 or more per month, and there are no guarantees, so don’t mortgage the house to pay for one.

Getting noticed usually requires finding “the hook” for your book, something to catch and hold the media’s attention. She lists twenty, including: current events; how to; top 10 (or any number); holiday (even create one); play on words; challenge; put the expert (me) to the test; connect to a celebrity; publicity stunt; involve the audience; involve the host; beware; discuss a problem; trends; make-over; controversy; success after failure; give yourself a special name ( e.g., “the great____”).

A professional publicity campaign starts with pre-publication publicity, where advance review copies of the book are sent to those who might be interested enough to read and comment on it, producing, hopefully, “blurbs“ that can adorn the book‘s cover. You need press materials: “we consider a press release, a sell sheet, a Q&A and two cover letters essential for a publicity campaign.” See her book for details.

You’ll want to send out free copies for reviewing once the book is published. Book signings where your book is on sale are good, but you can hold them at libraries, too. Book signings at book stores are becoming rarer.

The remainder of this book contains much valuable information on the details of getting favorable publicity. 


Marketing Your Memoir

By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

You have written your memoir and now have to get someone to read it, better yet, get many people to buy it. That was the problem that faced me.

As a memoir writer, you have the advantage of a fairly popular genre and the disadvantage of having only one memoir, not a series of memoirs that might support each other. If someone likes your memoir, you do not have another to offer.

Early in my quest for book-marketing insight, I found John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months! His other books were novels, sold at $0.99 each, nine different titles, five with the same “hero,” the somewhat unsavory Donovan Creed. Locke sold his How-To book for $4.99, correctly predicting that would-be self-publishing authors, such as myself, would readily ante up the big bucks for it. Glad I am that I did. 

I will paraphrase Locke’s “Business Plan”:

1. Write the best book you can. Done: Ting and I: A Memoir.

2. Create a website. Done: tingandi.com .

3. Use Twitter to get people to your website. Done, http://twitter.com/douglaswcooper

4. Answer all your emails from readers. Will do.

5. Create a simple blog site. Done: http://douglaswinslowcooper.blogspot.com

6. Use Twitter to call attention to your blog. Yes.

7. Epublish your ebook. Done, through Outskirts Press and on Amazon‘s Kindle..

8. Repeat the cycle with other books you write. I have co-authored three other memoirs and edited two more.

Locke maintains that his low ebook price, $0.99, encourages uncertain buyers to try his novels, as it did me. He by-passed conventional publishing houses because he wanted to write his books his way, not theirs. He tried many of the suggestions offered him for marketing, but eventually came down to his website - blog - Twitter triad for success. 

Locke emphasized, as well, that he wrote his books with a particular kind of reader in mind, his market niche. Depending on the kind of life you have led, you may have significant constraints on niche-seeking. With a few exceptions, mine has been a quiet life.

Amanda Hocking, twenty-something author of “young-adult paranormal” novels [USA Today, February 9, 2011] sold 450,000 ebook copies of her nine titles, most priced at $0.99, in January of 2011 alone. She writes about vampires, zombies et al., and promotes her book through a blog, Twitter and Facebook. Social media move ebooks as well as helping to sell conventionally published works.

Back to Locke, who emphasizes writing for one’s target audience, finding them, interacting with them, listening to them. With your memoir, perhaps your audience is People Like You. There are elements of the our story Ting and I that should have wide appeal to:

1. Adults who like romance stories, with love, courage, devotion.

2. Would-be career women whose marriages had to come first.

3. Asian - American women, especially those of Chinese ancestry.

4. Couples in their second marriages, with step-children.

5. Couples with one member seriously handicapped or critically ill.

6. Nurses, doctors, social workers who deal with the critically ill.

7. Families providing prolonged health care at home.

8. Those making decisions about home hospice or end-of-life care.

9. All who like inspirational stories about success against the odds.

Your memoir will have a different niche, or niches, but as you identify them, they will suggest key words to use in Internet searches to find the magazines and ezines that your potential audience reads. We were able to get some articles mentioning the book published in magazines and ezines that served these niches.

Both the United States’ and Britain’s national multiple sclerosis (MS) societies accepted articles by us, “Undefeated” and “A Book for My M.S. Heroine.“ [Tina’s quadriplegia is due to MS.] 

The online monthly publication, asiancemagazine.com, for Asian American women, has accepted each short article I have submitted monthly for the past four years.

Youandmemagazine.com accepted three pieces, as they are interested in first-person articles dealing with aspects of medicine. 

Wellspouse.com accepted “Interracial Stepparent and Caregiver.” 

Marriage Magazine accepted “Together Forever.” 

I have been less successful in getting pieces in publications for seniors or in any of the general - circulation magazines, such a Woman’s World, which magazines tend to limit their acceptances to writers with established national reputations and clippings.

Joining the Orange County (NY) Chamber of Commerce opened up many useful channels. I have written several pieces that were published in their monthly sixteen-page newsletter that is included in the local daily paper [circulation 80.000], have gotten excellent advice on marketing and help in doing it from fellow members, and have enjoyed involvement with a nice group of people, alleviating occasional feelings of isolation. The Chamber members I talked with encouraged me to start my blog, a personal web site that contains samples of my writing and allows others to comment on them. A member gave me valuable advice on improving our web site and others are planning to go well beyond that in improving my visibility in social media.

Concerning advice he received from others, John Locke noted that the following did not work out for him:

1. Trying to get his books into bookstores [need an agent and a publisher].

2. Trying to get interviewed by newspapers. [We did get a very nice interview article in a local weekly.]

3. Hiring a publicist.

4. Sending out press releases.

5. Radio interviews.

6. Paid advertising in various media.

Locke welcomes the rest of us to try our luck, but his explanations of his experience made sense to me, so I did very little of the above.

Where does that leave us? Good book, web site, blog, Twitter, friends, and prayer. Fortunately, we are not counting on Ting and I to be a money-maker. It is a love story, with reflections on our experience, our thanks to many, and our tribute to our heroine, Tina (born Su Ting-ting).

"How to Get Maximum Publicity in Minimum Time"

By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

Steve Harrison of Bradley Communications Corporation gave a web seminar, a webinar, having this title. I listened raptly as he presented over an hour of useful information for free, followed by a twenty-minute pitch for services his company offers. 

Harrison started out in journalism, having majored in English in college. He soon joined his brother Bill Harrison in publishing the Radio and TV Interview Report, started in 1987, and the Harrisons and their Bradley Communications Corporation have by now coached over 12,000 authors and speakers, helping them to obtain successful promotion of their books and presentations.

The company’s mission is simple: to help you achieve your mission. Among the successful authors that they have helped obtain widespread dissemination of their works are Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, whose Chicken Soup… line of books have sold over 500 million copies. Another author they helped to succeed is Dr. John Gray, whose Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus relationships book and associated activities have made him a millionaire many times over. They also coached Robert Kiyosaki, whose Rich Dad, Poor Dad book also rocketed into a highly successful worldwide publishing orbit.

Publicity is better than advertising because it is free, more credible, and tends to multiply, as media coverage leads to more media coverage.

Publicity makes you an expert. This then increases traffic to your website, word-of-mouth recommendations, distribution, social media buzz, buyers for your product, and makes you sought out for speaking engagements and interviews, giving you the opportunity to raise your fees and product prices and generate even more publicity. You establish a virtuous circle, where success leads to more success.

It surprised me to learn that every day over 100,000 media outlets are seeking guests of one sort or another, interviewees who are in some sense experts, due to education, training, or experience. Despite this, most authors and speakers fail to promote themselves successfully, remaining relatively unknown. Jack Canfield has commented that not promoting one’s book is much like giving birth to a baby and then leaving it on someone else’s doorstep. If you have something worth communicating, then self-promotion also serves others.

Harrison described seven different ways in which famous authors and speakers differ from those who remain unknown.

First, the unknowns have tended to talk about their products, whereas the famous have understood that they must direct attention to good ideas. The famous understand the need for a “hook.” A hook is an attention-grabber, a teaser, the kind of headline you see on the cover of popular magazines. On radio or TV a hook might be prefaced with the words “coming up….” What follows can usefully be a statement of how to do something, the countering of a myth, presentation of a prediction, or the proposing of a question, such as, “Is your house making you sick?” [I would add that journalists have a favored set of question starters: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?]

Secondly, famous authors and speakers give reasons why they need to be covered NOW. They have a timely hook: a season, anniversary, holiday, news event---sudden or predictable.

Thirdly, the famous authors and speakers have not relied on a single hook but have developed multiple, good hooks. Harrison gave as an example a hypothetical book, Nutrition 101. Certainly, one would approach media outlets that are centered on fitness and health, but Harrison gave examples of tailoring the message for those outlets interested in consumer affairs, personal finance, personal relationships, and self-improvement. An example from his talk would be for the author of Nutrition 101 to offer to speak about “five ways to trim your grocery bill” or “how your beloved may be sabotaging your diet.”

Speaking about multiple hooks, Harrison presented the following list of media interest groupings: 

Small business and entrepreneurial advice

Parenting and family

Personal finance




Consumer advice

Sales and marketing

Psychology and self-improvement

Health and fitness

Leadership and management

Career advice

New Age and spiritual

Alternative health.

No doubt there are more, and each of these could be further sub-divided into narrower niches.

Fourthly, the famous utilize many different media types to maximize their exposure:





Trade-published newsletters







Who will become the new Oprah Winfrey? Bloggers may deserve this title. For example, the blog  HYPERLINK "mailto:blog@Babel.com"babble.com is the 276th most popular website, receiving over 4 million visitors per month. To get your message on such a blog, you can offer a guest post, offer to be interviewed, present a book to be reviewed, give away some chapters of your book, offer your book as a prize. To be successful doing this, however, you must research the blog, to make sure that what you’re offering is appropriate.

Fifthly, the famous have had publicity plans, knowing WHO is their core audience, WHAT they read or watch, and WHEN various topics will seem timely to them.

Sixthly, the famous often prepare the ground for their publications and presentations by getting publicity before the book is completed. One good way to do this is through the creation of short, few-minute, videos, placed on YouTube, which has become one of the top search engines on the Internet. In 3 minutes one might cover a topic such as listing “the top reasons men are afraid of commitment.” Be sure to include links to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Finally, the successful have learned that they cannot do this all on their own. There is a lot of work involved, with special skills, data bases, and experience needed. They need the help of professionals, such as the Harrisons and their Bradley Communications Corporation. For  $2500, the Harrison’s will give you an in-depth consultation with one of their consultants, at least four valuable publicity hooks, three half-page ads in their Radio and TV Interview Report, four ads in their publication Experts4Interviews, a 90% discount on attending Steve Harrison’s multiple-day $2000 publicity workshop, and they will shoot, edit, and upload five videos for you. They placed the value of this package at over $5000. Those who are interested in learning more about their program should go to the website http://specialpublicityoffer.com 

Author John Gray: Monk to “Martian” Millionaire

By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

John Gray, author of multi-million-book best-seller Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, was interviewed by Steve Harrison of Bradley Communications, who present a year-long training program for 100 authors who want to become millionaires, too. See their site yourquantumleap.com. 

Harrison sends me multitudinous emails with useful information as part of the campaign to get this year’s hundred students registered for the program. No doubt the program is valuable, to the attendees and to the company.

Authors, like myself, dream of being as successful as John Gray. Whether we can replicate the process that got him there is not so clear. Before becoming a famous writer, for example, John Gray spent nine years as a monk. I’ll skip doing that. He has written 16 books, of which only one has had exceptional success. Men are from Mars… was written at a time when people thought, at least you were supposed to think, that men and women are nearly identical. Doll houses for little boys and guns for little girls were sometimes recommended. Gray’s message was simple: men and women are very different, more different than people from different countries, almost as though they come from different planets.

To be a successful author, Gray maintains, you need to give a new perspective, with passion. To be a successful author, you must not only write a worthwhile book, you must promote yourself and the book, and market it successfully.

In fact, a successful book is not likely to be enough to give you the luxurious lifestyle you might envision for yourself. Instead, you need something to follow up, perhaps more books, but more likely special programs, such as training programs for people in general or perhaps for authors specifically.

Ideally, you would have done substantial groundwork, such as presenting workshops, before writing and publishing your book. John Gray, having left the monastery, worked as a computer programmer, then as a coach, giving workshops on interpersonal relationships.

The original source material for Men Are from Mars… was titled Men, Women and Relationships. Gray says that the text was much too long, even though it did sell 50,000 copies in its first year. A book agent was willing to represent Gray, and in fact found him due to a seminar that Gray had given. 

Gray came to realize that his book needed to be substantially shorter, and he took something like the best dozen of roughly a hundred concepts, and wrote them up in a friendly fashion, easy to read. Men might be described as “martial,” a word derived from “Mars,” and they see themselves as problem-solvers. Women could be described as from Venus, seeking partners, not problem-solvers.

Even though, as events proved, the ideas in the book were right for the time, it took another year after it was published before it made the New York Times bestseller list.

Once Men are from Mars… left the bestseller list, some seven years later, Gray found himself somewhat depressed. He soon learned, however, that one can make more money from activities related to the book, such as seminars and training, than one may make from the book itself.

Gray advises new authors that radio and TV, especially radio, can be successful venues for book promotion, as long as you have something fresh, with “a hook,” like his Mars-Venus analogy. Jack Canfield made similar points. Harrison’s company produces a “Radio-TV Interview Report” in which one can advertise to attract interviewers.

I appreciate the free training materials that I’ve gotten from Steve Harrison’s company, Bradley Communications,  and other providers of writer training programs. Although I was very pleased with my own first book, Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, it has not flown off the shelves. I have done most of the things that have been recommended for promoting the book, and I have gotten some local publicity in the form of newspaper articles and magazine articles, yet sales have been slow, roughly a couple per week.

A year from now, Harrison’s program will have nearly another 100 graduates. Will there be room on the bestseller list for all of them? Successful authors can tell us what they did, and they can sincerely believe that what they did caused their success. What we don’t know is how many other authors did much the same things and were never heard of. Still, if one doesn’t try, one will never succeed. 

The Harrison-Gray interview was valuable. I was not convinced enough to try to be among the elite 100 chosen to be allowed to pay for and participate in the year-long program, but perhaps if I were younger, more ambitious, more optimistic….

A few players shorter than six-feet tall have played in the National Basketball Association. How did they make it? Later do they end up giving seminars on that, too? 

Canfield: Make a Million as an Author

By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

The Chicken Soup… series of books co-authored usually by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen are a major source of Canfield’s more than 500 million books sold. Even if it were only a dollar per book profit, we are not talking chicken feed, but real money, money most authors never come close to earning. On March 8, 2012, I attended a telephone seminar by Canfield, “How to Get Where You Want As an Author/Speaker,” part of a series sponsored by Steve Harrison’s Bradley Communications group, whose teaching programs are available through yourquantumleap.com, teaching programs Canfield credits for getting him well started in his writing/marketing career.

Later, I Googled “chicken soup for the soul,” an early best-seller, and got 17 million hits. Here’s a surprise: Canfield and Hansen were rejected by 144 publishers before they got one who said yes, making that gentleman a multi-millionaire. Rejected by one hundred and forty-four publishers and yet they persevered! It still took eighteen months for this book to make the best-seller lists. During that time, Canfield and Hansen studied such successful authors as Ken Blanchard, Scott Peck, John Grey et al. They looked for patterns in successful promotions. Eventually, they reached #1 on the NY Times  best-seller list and sold over 10 million copies of the English-language version alone.

Canfield had been a school teacher, dedicated to motivating his students, often by raising their self-esteem. His mission became to inspire and empower people to live to their highest visions with love and joy. He has done well by trying to do good.

Some secrets of his success include:

- big goals are needed

- envision future achievements

- make your own luck; attract it

- meditate

- don’t be reluctant to sell what you have created

- provide solutions for people

- make your goals specific and challenging

Canfield quoted Gen. Wesley Clark , “It takes no more time to dream a big dream than to dream a small one.”

Canfield was also influenced by Chicago billionaire businessman W. Clement Stone: 1. Think big. 2. Do it now. 3. Visualize success and affirm you will achieve it.  4. See #2.

Canfield and crew specify a specific charity to receive some of the proceeds of each book. To succeed, one must give. What goes around, comes around, and often these charities have helped publicize the books to their members. Non-members like the idea that some of the book price goes to a good cause. One hand, it seems, washes the other. Often, Canfield and Hansen have donated articles they have written or chapters from their books, and have given away untold numbers of their books to those who will help spread the good words.

Authors, he emphasizes, must get out of their offices and talk with people if they hope to increase their book sales. Join organizations. Network. Read Speak and Grow Rich by Dottie Walters. Talk beats print for selling.

Canfield greatly benefited from Harrison’s Radio-TV Interview Report, which helped him to do over 600 interviews his first year. After that, he “cut back” to about 300 per year, so interviews lasting as long as one hour, and these longer ones are the most productive.

Can’t get bookstores to let you have a book signing? Not to worry. Only 1 out of seven Americans go to a bookstore in a year. Look for other places to put your books, depending on topic. Any place where people wait is a candidate, and you split the profit with the proprietor or even let him have it all, as word-of-mouth advertising is precious.

Writing Your Memoir with a Coach

By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

A memoir is the story of your life, as you saw it, as you understood it. It is less
formal than an autobiography or a biography. It tells the truth, not necessarily all
the truth. Reasons for writing a memoir include:

1. Self-understanding: Some facts will speak for themselves. Some will need
interpretation. Some will reveal what was unclear to you then. Some will give you
more insight into yourself and those who influenced you.

2. Explanations to others: Your audience can be your spouse, your family, your
friends, neighbors, colleagues, the world. You had reasons for the choices you
made. Explain them. You learned from the outcomes. Share those lessons. You
may want to take credit or accept blame. Do so.

3. History: You will not be available forever to tell the stories that deserve to be
told. Your memoir lives on. You may choose to add leaves and blossoms to the
bare branches of your family tree. An occasional knot-hole or broken limb may
deserve mentioning and explanation.

4. Thanks. You want to thanks publicly and at length those who have enriched
your life. Our memoir thanked those who have saved my wife’s life and helped
keep her alive.

Why hire me as a coach?

1. I have recently self-published [though Outskirts Press] my book: Ting and I:
A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion. I know how to do it and can help
you find a path to publication. You will not need to convince an agent or a major
publishing house, both difficult paths to publication for the new writer.

2. I have been a researcher, a teacher, and a writer. I can help you organize,
research, write, edit, proofread, and publish your memoir. Currently, I have a few
other clients and have time for several more.

3. I have broad experience and years of higher education to aid in giving you
insightful and impartial assistance with your work.

4. I will help you get organized, get going, and keep going.


Publishing’s Long Tail

 By Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

“More nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.” That need
not describe the modern would-be book author. The publishing world has been
changing, giving newcomers a greater opportunities for being published, while
making it less likely that their books will have large audiences. Let me explain.

Imagine creating the following graph: list the books published in the preceding
year from 1 to whatever, in the order of their sales for that year, and plot the
sales against that rank ordering. The best-selling book’s sales would be plotted
high, at position 1, the second-best-selling book’s sales, somewhat less, at the
number 2 and so on. The curve would fall continuously, but would go on and on,
reaching values just somewhat larger than or equal to one. This kind of curve is
said to have a “long tail,” staying above zero much farther than most common
mathematical curves would. There were several hundred thousand new titles
published 2010, I have read, and the expectation for 2012 is a million or so, with
the advent of electronic book publishing (“ebooks”) and publishing on demand
(“POD“) printing technology. A decade ago, far fewer new titles were published.

Economics and technology enable this explosion in the number of titles “in print,”
where we consider those that are available as ebooks as being “in print,” whether
or not anyone prints them on paper. My magnificent 2010 tome, Ting and I: A
Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, recently ranked about one-millionth on
the Amazon list of printed published books sold by them and about 250,000th
among their Kindle ebook offerings. Imagine if a book store was to try to keep the
top million sellers, so you could be sure to find mine there: at a half-inch (1/24th of
a foot) thickness average per book, and only one book per title, the shelf space
needed would be (1/24th)x(one million)x(feet) = 42,000 feet, almost eight miles
of shelf space. [Mine would be way down at the far end.] No sensible book store
would try to carry the top 1 million best sellers, and my book would be doomed.
With the Internet and Amazon and my publisher’s [Outskirts Press‘s] Print on
Demand technology, my book has a chance to be seen by people who would
never have had that opportunity years ago.

This “long tail” situation allows economical production and “storage” of far more
books than ever before, giving the writer for a niche market a chance of being
published and being read by his proper audience. The best-seller lists will rarely
have such a title on them, but the book will be published and its author will have
a shot at reaching his intended readers. The costs for printing and storage will
be relatively small, the profits per book possibly large, and the number of buyers
largely dependent on the author’s ability to promote himself and his work, as
well as on the quality of the book itself. Fear not, this long tail can be to our

Eight Keys to Becoming a Rich Author

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D.

I heard a terrific telephone seminar by Steve Harrison, the title of
which was, “Seven Things That Rich Authors Do Differently
from Poor Authors.” Actually, Harrison added an eighth key
to authorial financial success, and so I re-titled this summary
piece, “Eight Keys to Becoming a Rich Author.” To give Steve
and his brother Bill Harrison their due, let me recommend that you
go to their website: yourquantumleap.com and sign up for their
future offerings.

The kind of book under discussion here is a nonfiction book
that logically lends itself to some formulation as a “How
To…” offering.

Steve Harrison asks what business we as authors think we’re
in. The answer is that we are primarily going to have to be
in marketing and promotion and public relations if we are to
disseminate our tools, our information, our good advice to those
who would profit from the same.

Here are eight keys, paraphrasing Steve Harrison’s talk:

Number one: a good book does not in general sell itself. You
need a marketing plan.

Number two: an author should promote not only his book
but other offerings. Examples were given of the expensive
[$195] game marketed by the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad; food
supplements marketed by the author of Body for Life; and the

various offerings of Stephen Covey whose The Seven Habits of
Highly Effective People yearly ranks high on the best-seller lists
and who gets $65,000 per speech.

Number three: more valuable than the copyright on your
book is the list of customers who bought your book. From
that list you can make offers which eventually will produce
income. You have to be setting up to be able to offer something to
those whose names and addresses you capture this way.

Number four: as part of your book, perhaps as an appendix,
you should be offering services and / or products, or at least
soliciting e-mail addresses so that you can contact them later
with such offerings.

Number five: where possible, try to sell the books in volume
to organizations rather than one by one to individuals. A good
example is the success that this technique has brought the author
of The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren.

Number six: the publicity that you can generate from a
news event or an interview is not enough. You need to find
other methods of exposure, such as writing articles, having a
website, having a blog, entering into a joint venture, presenting
tele-seminars such as the one I just listened to along with 1200
other attendees, regular seminars, a radio or television show, a

Number seven: in general, the real money is not to be made
from book sale profits but rather from follow-up activities
such as training workshops. An example was given of a woman
who puts on 10 weekend workshops a year, getting 15 attendees
at $1200 per person.

Number eight: finally, don’t operate alone. Develop a
support team. Hire others, work with interns, find designers, use
temporary help, whatever is necessary to get the job done.

As a memory aid think of the word “FAME:”
Focus your plan for the next 90 days.
A lot more exposure needs to be obtained.
Models proven to work must be your guide.
Execute. Or as Nike says, “Just do it.”

The tele-seminar was informative and interesting. I presume that
the Harrisons get their benefit by the mailing list that they develop
through those who register at their site, yourquantumleap.com.
Some who register will likely become paying students of theirs.

I have book-writing clients who will benefit from some of the
suggestions for getting clients for their agencies or in producing
how-to seminars. For myself, this suggested ways to expand my
book- writing-coach business, and perhaps to take a portion of
our book Ting and I: A Memoir… and develop a handbook on managing skilled nursing care at home.


Poynter’s Book-Writing Advice

Summary and excerpts from BOOKS: Tips, Stories, & Advice on Writing, Publishing and Promoting, by Dan Poynter, Para Publishing, Santa Barbara, CA, 2000

Chapter One: On Writing

Typically, four stages: rough draft, content edit, peer review, and copy edit.

“Write a page-turner: get the reader past page eighteen,” where most readers never reach.Make chapter one compelling.

“Don’t allow interruptions” while you are writing.” Find a time and place to be left alone.

“Take your time.” Books typically take hundreds to a thousand hours to write. Occasionally, they have been written within as short a time as three days…for a contest, for example.

“Allocate time,” preferably almost daily. Amateurs average about a dozen hours per week, but pros average about 30.

“Overcome writers block” by collecting even more information on your topic. Write something, almost anything, to get underway.

“Respect your reader’s time.” Be pithy, concise, non-repetitive….

“Be precise.”  Short sentences, one idea per. Active voice, avoiding prepositional phrases; put subjects and verbs toward the beginning, avoiding trite expressions and jargon.

“Combat procrastination.” Do it now.

“Write your very best.”

“Make your writing compelling.” Inform. Motivate.

“Make your book worth the money. Size matters.”

“Get editorial and design help.”

“Know when to call a ghostwriter.”

“Do not edit any of the chapters until you Rough Draft the entire book.”

“Make the project portable.” Have a manuscript binder.

“Fill in the blanks. The Second Draft is your content edit.”

“Writing is all about re-writing.” As long as your revisions are improvements.

“Know what to cut.”

“Be careful of collaborations.” Partnerships are difficult, like marriages.

“Use email. Save time.”

“Get help from experts. The Third Draft is the peer review.” Send out chapters and eventually the book draft.

“Keep your book to yourself at first.”

“Check your facts.”

“Hire a copy editor. The Fourth Draft is the copy edit, the cleanup.”

“Know when to call a book doctor.”

“Hire a proofreader. Do not try to proof your own work.”

“Use quotations. Relevant quotations confirm your advice.” Best when near your related words.

“Use anecdotes.”

“Use humor….the set-up and the punch line.”

“Add illustrations. Say it with pictures.”

“Combine writing with….” That is, write while doing something else also.

“Get a computer. You need the best tools.”

Consider using speech-recognition software to allow dictating First Draft.

“Practice your craft.” Write and re-write.

“Set deadlines.”

“You are finished when your manuscript is 98 percent complete– as long as it is 100 percent accurate.”

“Encourage reader feedback.”

Other material in this excellent book:

Chapter Two: Why Write?

Chapter Three: Why a Book?

Chapter Four: What to Write

Chapter Five: Research

Chapter Six: Build Your Book

Chapter Seven: Copyright

Chapter Eight: Finding an Agent, Finding a Publisher

Chapter Nine: Book Promotion

Appendix: Your Action Plan

Book includes numerous reference titles, links, resources.