As loyal readers know, I am an advocate of having multiple revenue streams. I know it doesn't sound as romantic as being solely a book publisher, but it certainly helps pay the bills.
I am also an advocate of making sure that all my products whether print or web are of good quality. A recent project that I have been working on is a redesign of my main website on online high schools.
So why a redesign? Here are a few reasons:
The new site went live two days ago and it seems to be doing all three of those things. Perhaps. Always hard to know until you are a month or two into it.
So what does a website design have to do with publishing books. I am able to tell that many of the books that I sell come from folks who go to that site and then click through to Amazon. If that is your model, and it is certainly mine, then it makes sense to have a website that attracts folks and that provides a real service.
And that is redesigned upon occasion.
I have been having working done on my database. It will allow me to export in ways that I could not do so before. Why is this important?
Take a look at the data you will be using for your book. For me, this is easy because it includes hundreds of school listings. Are all of these schools exactly the same? Of course not and that is why I want to be able to export in a myriad of ways. My thought is that you create a database, so that you can write/create multiple books in as easy a way as is possible.
I now have the ability to export into my preferred format information that could produce eight different books (at least), but means that I do not need to keyboard in that information. This takes a book that could take months and turns it into a one-month project (once the database is done).
It also means that, should I keep up with the database, new editions are so very much easier. I would like to get to the point where I have new editions every year. This will make that goal easier.
I have been out of town for the last several days, so didn't have much of an opportunity to work on the database. I did, however, make some decisions that will fundamentally change what my books and websites will look like. As I have said before, I consider my books and websites as one because I produce content for both and I try not to give precedence to one over the other.
So, that being said, I have decided that the best way to approach my work is to make as strong a connection as is possible. I am not quite ready to put it all out there yet (partly because there is a website owner out there who has decided his business model is to copy my work), but, as soon as some of the pieces are in place, I will announce it here first.
I think one you have seen it, you will realize that it all makes perfect sense. Or so is my hope.
by Dan Poynter
Savvy nonfiction author-publishers take each chapter of their nearly complete manuscript and send it off to at least four experts on that particular chapter's subject. This step in book writing is called "peer review."
Some experts might get two or three chapters but most will get only one. Do not overwhelm them. If you send the whole manuscript, most experts will put it on their desk with the best of intentions and never get back to it.
An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made in a very narrow field.
--Niels Bohr (1885-1962), Danish physicist and Nobel Laureate
Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One-Minute Manager Library, says "I don't write my books, my friends write them for me." He explains that he josts down soe good ideas and sends them off to friends for comment. They send back lots of good ideas that he puts into his manuscript. Ken is being very generous, of course, and what he is describing is "peer review."
What you get back from your peer reviewers is extremely valuable: They may add two more items to your list; they sometimes delete whole paragraphs where the practice has changed; they occasionally cross out that comment you thought was cute but was potentially embarrassingly stupid, and they sometimes even correct punctuation, grammar and style.
Also send copies of the complete manuscript off to friends, family, literate objective readers, potential buyers and even a Devil's Advocate or two. The more feedback you get the better.
When your book comes out, you will receive far less adverse-reader reaction because the book will be bulletproof. After all, it has be reviewed and accepted by the best.
And, there is another valuable reason for peer review: You have more than two-dozen opinion molders telling everyone about your book -- and how they helped you with it.
Dan Poynter, the Voice of Self-Publishing, has written more than 100 books since 1969 including Writing Nonfiction and the The Self-Publishing Manual. Dan is a past vice-president of the Publishers Marketing Association. For more help on book publishing and promoting, see http://ParaPub.com. (C) 2003
And in a burst of energy this week, I got significant work done on the database. That's always a good thing. Feeling much better about getting the database done on time.
I have begun to think about book titles. Originally, I had thought that this would just be Complete Guide to Online High Schools, 2nd Ed. However, then I began to consider the idea of branding the book as in Best Online High Schools: The Companion Guide to the BestOnlineHighSchools.com website. Well probably not that sub-title because it would be horribly long, but you get the idea.
There is a lot to be said for having the book mesh with the website. Quite a bit of recognition of the connection between the two. Also, it is a simpler title and perhaps works better within a Google search.
So will I make this change? Hard to know. Certainly something to consider. What do you think?
The work continues onward with the second edition of my book. I have been looking at some formatting issues because, in addition to the print version, there will also be a Kindle version (and perhaps others).
I am continuing to build the new database. The work is not going as well as one would hope. Yes, I push onward, but I also end up stopping to fix things that I find on the website. The usual fix? Links that no longer link. It's amazing how quickly some of the information becomes outdated. And, to be sure, much of the information for the book comes straight from the website.
In total, the work is going a little slow, but I have been distracted. That's a problem with me; I get excited by new projects and end up spending less time where the time should really go. I work better with goals.
So, the goal for this project is that I have the database completely done by the end of December. It could be faster, but I have other ongoing projects that help pay the bills.