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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Hi Diane,

If you get the right editor, he or she can help you with the dialogue. After spending years writing the book, it should be done professionally before sending it to an agent or publisher. The frustration is not knowing who to turn to for the help. It's like putting names in a hat.

I had Darcie Roy and she was wonderful. My book came alive with her help. She charges $2.00 a page and helped me bring out my emotions and asked questions on how or why I said this, or she tells you to explain a situation better. She doesn't just do the grammar and normal checking.
If you are interested her email is: darcieroy@hotmail.com. She will at least help you in direction.

I run writer's workshops for beginners because I had no idea what or where to go with my material. So, what happened. The MS sat there for months. I was scared to make a decision on who to call. I also offer my material that I teach in my class on my website. I know a lot of writer's can't afford to go to the class whether it be from not being able to afford it to having the time.

It's in a professional binder and it takes you through the beginning of your thought to write the book to promoting and marketing. The 44 page booklet has websites for editors, and how to save on books that you can't afford to pay full price for.

Check my site out. www.ahealingheart.net and you will see the booklet. I'm not writing to push a sale, only to let you know it's written for writers who freeze on the steps to get the book published. Its so easy to understand and follow. It shows samples of material needed for the publisher.
I hope I've helped you.
Has anyone had the luck of finding an agent? I'm going to write to one in California because I love her website and testimonies.
Other authors ask me, "Why do you want an agent? You have to pay them 15% on top of what the publisher gets.
I gather and agent, if the agent is good, helps get your book to a traditional publisher. They may help you market the book if you have a platform to promote it.
Am I right following this belief?
HI Bill,
Hi how are you?
It is now a year that I launched my book all by myself! Not sure if self -publishing has paid off as I made many mistakes ....like spending way too much! However, I wanted to follow my dream and get the book out to the public. As many authors have reported that has been the biggest challenge. I spent money on a Steve Harrison promotion ...not fruitful! I splurged on the LA book Festival...not profitable! I have wonderful friends that have sponsored book signings and so far that has been the best, but still not a wide enough scale!
So, now I am looking for more venues for my book, Leaving With Love: Eternal Messages From The Heart. I guess the conclusion is Marketing is the biggest challenge unless you have a huge budget!
Good Luck! Keep in touch! Loved reading about Marta...impressive!
Gayla
Gayla, I commend you on your book. I empathize with your problem because my book also talks about the proverbial "elephant in the room" known as death. Keep in mind that death is still a taboo for many people. They think it will come on some faraway day when they are at home lying in bed surrounded by loving family members. The reality is that most people die in hospitals and nursing homes. Too many people prefer to ignore discussions about death. They become terminally ill and die, leaving others to figure out the plans they never made.

I suggest that you become laser-focused on your target audience: senior centers, AARP groups, groups focused on terminal illness, public libraries, family focused programs, and others you discover as you do your research. I find that books like ours sell better when we can speak to an audience and help them become more receptive to the topic first and the book later. Joining Internet groups and getting media attention related to your target audience, etc. can also help. Read all you can about marketing because there are lots of things you can do that are not expensive. Some are even free, but they require time, organization, and determination. I wish you the best.

Frances Shani Parker
Frances,
Great comments to Gayla about finding niches for her book. I noticed one potential group of readers you may have overlooked, though. As baby boomers age, we're finding more and more multigenerational families where the baby boomers are caring for their parents at the same time they raise their children. This may be a valuable potential market; one that's reasonably easy to reach.

Google topics such as "caring for parents," or "multigenerational families" to learn the popular web sites where potential buyers congregate. Also use Technorati to search for popular blogs using the same search criteria. Contact the web masters or bloggers on the topic. Offer to send review copies. Offer to be a guest blogger. Try to leverage you book to their readers.
Hi Frances,
You sure are promoting and pushing aheard; good for you. After two years waiting to break through a Catholic organization, I finally received a call from Our Lady of Divind Providence Chapter of Magnificat to speak on Feb 7th.

It's a breakfast event with over 200 women and a priest. I have to talk about my leaving and returning back to the church. It's in my memoir A Healing Heart; A Spiritual Renewal.
I have to talk for 45 minutes and they will allow me to do a book signing and sell my binders from my writer workshops. It's a great door opening for me.

I love some of your ideas on who to target because my book also starts out with my father dying of cancer and the wonderful help from hospice.

Thanks again. Visit my website www.ahealingheart.net
Hi, Gayla.

A big marketing budget may help sell books, but it doesn't insure success. What matters is a well written book targeted at the right audience. To reach your target audience, you will want the book to be available where your potential readers will find it (and that isn't necessarily in bookstores), at a price your readers will be willing to pay and good publicity to make readers aware of your book.

Your book is available on Amazon. That's one piece of the distribution puzzle, although it may not be the best, or only, distribution channel for your title.

What I noticed about your book on Amazon was its price, $42. How does that price compare to other books in your genre? It seems high to me. I'm no expert, however, so I suggest you do some research. My favorite technique for researching comparable prices is to go to one chain bookstore (Barnes & Noble, Borders or Books-a-Million), one independent bookstore and Amazon. I go to the section of the store for my genre and look for the competitive titles. I track the publisher, title, author, publication date, page count and price. I write them down on a piece of paper for later reference. Patterns will begin to emerge about your book's pricing compared to others in the genre. I have a form I provide clients to use for this exercise. Contact me if you are interested.

Books in certain genres tend to be priced in price ranges. For example, many travel books are $12.95 to $14.95. Business books are priced $21.95 to $29.95 (for hard cover). What becomes clear is that you don't want your book to be priced too high or too low compared to others in your range. If your book is priced too high, readers tend to overlook new authors in favor of better know authors with books more properly priced. If your book is priced too low, readers may not think it has as much value as others in the genre.

Good luck with your book project.
I couldn't agree more with Bill's advice. Thank you for the helpful details, Bill. By the way, this is how some of us come to decide that books are not the most profitable way to market our messages. Think in terms of a multi-purpose manuscript.

One current marketing campaign I admire is Grammar Girl's series of email messages about holiday-related grammar issues, coupled with giveaways of individual chapters of her book in eBook format. She is doing a lot of good by improving people's English--and I think it helps rather than harms sales of her book. A clever detail is the repeated image of her book with a green bow tied on, to visually underscore the image of her book as an appropriate holiday gift.
My biggest challenge? Finishing the dadblame things. I have four manuscripts going at once, plus research. When I get burnt out on one project, I move on to the next. Sort of a round-robin process, altho I'm making progress. Sort of. :)
Hi Kristine,
I can relate to your jumping from one project to another. I finally told myself I had to get a system going. So, I finished my second memoir and it's at the editors. It was too long (close to 600 pages) so I made a sequel out of the last 300 or so pages. I'm now polishing it to also send to the editor.
In-between, I wrote my query letter, book proposal, synopsis, and when everything is complete, I'll look for an agent or publisher.
I've been asked to speak at engagements (both books are on losing my husband (1985) and daughter (2006) from Alcoholism) and book signing.
I'd say, you have to take the first project and put the time and effort into that or you will be spending the next five years not finishing any.
I read a remark another author talked about and it makes sense, hopefully, when these books are completed. She said to take certain days of the week to complete a project; example, Monday & Wednesday write in the manuscript, Tues and Thursday promote and market the books, Saturday and Sunday call bookstores to book sign. Just an idea on getting organized.
So many of us try to accomplish a bunch of tasks and end up doing nothing.
Good Luck to you.
You might want to read David Lakhani's book, The Power of an Hour. It's about Fearsome Focus. Good luck to you!
Hi, Kristine.
There have been several good suggestions made to help you complete your various projects. Another way to look at each project is to begin with the end in mind. This may help crystalize your thinking and give you the focus you need to complete the manuscripts.

Beginning with the end in mind means thinking about who your desired reader is. What is that reader looking for in your book? What problem is your book solving? Once you determine the answers to these questions, finishing the book may become easier. Write what your readers want to learn.

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