One of the best ways to get publicity for yourself, your product and your book (and yes you need this way before it is finished and sent to press) is to get media coverage. A good piece of editorial can go a long way and when you consider how many people view that website, listen to that radio station, buy that paper/magazine or borrow it from the library the exposure one little article can get you is amazing.
That’s why I leap at the chance to be interviewed by anyone who asks me, providing it makes business sense.
I met Lisa Finnegan in cyberspace three days ago when I discovered she was an author and journalist like me, lived abroad, like me, and was starting a new website called WhileAbroad. Today, the result of my interview is online.
I love being featured on blogs and websites and places where readers can comment. And of course I always make sure that my books and services get a wee mention, and my website too!
You can read the result of that interview here:
Interview with Jo Parfitt about Women on the Move
Tell me about your book. What is it about? Can you describe it in just a few sentences? To show that a book has focus it is vital that it can be described briefly and succinctly.
The Global Nomad's Guide is to University Transition is a handbook for students who have been living outside their passport country but are either returning home or transitioning to another host country for college/university. Unlike their domestic peers, these global nomads must face a double transition – adjusting to a new stage of life as an independent young adult, as well as adjusting to a new culture, for even their home country will be foreign to them in many respects. This is something that takes them by surprise as they struggle to fit in, understand themselves and their peers and search for a place of belonging.
Why did you write it?
In the five years following my family’s re-entry to the U.S. and, as a result of living in Boston which has over 200 colleges and universities, I found I was coming into contact with more and more college students who had lived the expatriate life. I kept hearing familiar patterns to their stories, some far worse than others, but too many were stories of silent suffering, sadness, loneliness or, in extreme cases, severe depression. These were young adults who had spent incredibly rich childhoods in other countries and cultures. They spoke a variety of languages, understood that there are many ways of doing, living and believing that are not necessarily wrong but just different from their home-country norms. They sported hidden diversity that made them good bridge builders, ambassadors and communicators. But somehow upon returning to their “home” culture, they found themselves misunderstood, weird, strange, standing out as being different, misfits in the very place where they had always imagined they belonged. Their stories and experiences, together with my own family’s experiences, convinced me that this population of repatriates needed to benefit from what those who had gone before them had learned along their journey.
Why do you think needed to be written? What will your book do for other people?
Third culture kids/global nomads are very different from most of the people they will be surrounded by on their university or college campuses. They need to understand that it is their life experiences that have made them different. If they learn how to live out those differences in a positive way, they will not only survive but they will thrive in their university setting.
TCKs have the double transition of not only having to adjust to a new stage of life as an independent adult, but to a new culture as well, for even their home culture will be foreign to them in many respects. If they understand what to expect as they go through the various stages of transition and are prepared for the quagmire of emotions that accompany each those stages, they will be able to get through it. They will come to understand that the roller coaster ride is not only normal but even expected.
This book will guide students to a better understanding of themselves, what their issues are and give tips, tools and strategies for dealing with those issues. Personal stories and advice from TCK students who have gone before them will pave the path for a smoother transition.
Who do you think will read your book? What made you think that there was a market for it? Now that it’s been out for a while, what proof do you have that you were right?
It does not matter how good a book is, or how good your writing is if no one knows about it. What steps have you taken or do you plan to take to promote your book? Are you a speaker or trainer? Do you have a blog? A website? A newsletter? Do you use Facebook, Twitter or other social media tools? What about press releases and sending out review copies and free articles? Have you had any other ideas? Which methods do you think work best and can you give me any examples?
How did you publish your book? What was your route to publication?
Self-published through a publishing agent – Summertime Publishing
Self-belief can be a big problem for writers. How did you manage to stay confident in your ability and remember that you were good enough to write your book? How did you cope with the days when you thought you could not do it and that it was rubbish?
This is very personal, but I am happy to share it. I felt I was called by God to write this book. Every time I would begin to be full of self-doubt, a little sign of encouragement (and sometimes a big sign) like an email from someone or a conversation with someone who ‘got it’ would appear. I walk my dog in the woods everyday and in those quiet moments so many thoughts, ideas and inspirations would come to me. I knew, without a doubt, that I was meant to write this book. So many insights were revealed to me and I knew they had to be shared with a broader audience than what I could achieve through my seminars alone.
It’s easy to procrastinate, to blame writers’ block and to put off finishing your project. How did you keep yourself motivated? And how long did it take you to write it? What was your routine?
I gave myself a deadline and I worked feverishly to meet it or even beat it. I wanted these students to have this book in their hand for graduation. I put most of my life on the back burner, even giving up some of my regularly routines and activities. I knew it would only be for a few months, so it wouldn’t be too bad. Some days I had too much to do with priorities for the house or family and I gave up writing for that day. But then I would make sure I had huge blocks of time to just write.
What was your biggest challenge regarding the writing of your book? How have you overcome that?
I was often confused as to the process, but I just kept asking questions.
I believe that getting feedback is really important to help you recognise when your writing is really good and to find ways of making it even better. How did you get feedback on your work?
I sent some chapters I was having trouble with to certain people who I knew would be truthful and give me some advice.
I gave a few chapters to folks to review and give me their opinion.
If you were to give advice to someone else who is thinking about writing a book based on their life experience what would be your number one tip?
If you do not have a publisher you may want to get your book project subsidized. There are many internet sites where you can fundraise for your projects such as KickStarter.com. Check it out.
In my monthly column at The Hague Online, where I am Writer in Residence, my topic this week was inspired by a workshop I ran on Tuesday at the International Women’s Connect group in Utrecht. We got to talking about all the reasons why so many people have not got round to writing yet, when they have plenty of ideas, lots of enthusiasm and even some talent. There are many reasons for procrastination and putting off doing something we love to do. However, I believe they are all excuses, and in my column I set about squashing them all – flat.
To find out how, read on here.
My good friend, marketing coach, Stephanie Ward of Firefly Coaching is always going on at me about the importance of having a niche. When, last year, I finally gave in and decided to focus on one area – helping expats to write books – I watched my turnover go up and up and up. It is now four times what it was this time last year and I put that all down to Stephanie.
When it comes to publishing, the same applies. If you read The Long Tail by Chris Anderson, he explains why writing for a targetable niche is vital if you want to create a book that is a steady seller rather than a flash in the pan.
In the great book, The Wealthy Author, by Debbie Jenkins and Joe Gregory, they explain how to write and publish just such a book. One of the things they suggest you do to check that your idea has a niche is to see how many magazines are out there devoted to that niche. Find more than three and you have a niche.
The great thing about writing for a niche is that you can create a database of websites, publications, organisations, bookshops and so on that serve that target market and then focus on getting editorial, advertisements and so on in those places and then – and here is the best bit – you can continue to create new products for that same market and keep on marketing them to the same contact list. Any marketing professional will agree that it pays, if, once you have a new customer, that you keep on selling to the same customer. The more products you have in your niche, the more you sell and the more profit you make. The more books you write on one subject then the more likely it is that you will be seen to be an expert in that area.
Let me give you some examples of three authors who know all about the value of the niche and the series:
Peter Kaye is a medical doctor and he specialises in palliative care. He writes books for people who work with, care for, or are related to the terminally ill. This is his niche. He built a database of hospices, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals and sells his books to this same list. A quick look on Amazon showed that his books include: Notes on Symptom Control in Hospice and Palliative Care, A-Z Pocketbook of Symptom Control, Breaking Bad News – A Ten Step Approach, and many more.
Robin Pascoe writes about expatriate life and her many years spent overseas, combined with her training as a CBC journalist, have made her an ‘expat expert’. Her titles include: Homeward Bound, A Moveable Marriage, Raising Global Nomads and A Broad Abroad. Her books are aimed for people living overseas and so she markets them through her excellent blog, writing articles, speaking at conferences and travelling the world speaking to international schools and clubs.
David Hampshire writes for Survival Books, and this company produces books for those who want to live, work or buy property overseas. His titles include: Buying or Renting a Home in Switzerland, Buying a Home in France and Living and Working in America. He has a defined niche and defined market. One look at his website and you will see an impressive number of series of publication, many written by David.
I have just given you three examples, but there are many more.
Does your book have a niche? Could it become part of a series?
Yeah, I know, some folks say that if you want to write a book based on your experience, expertise or knowledge you just need to put fingers to keyboard and start writing, right? Noooo. I think we can all benefit from a little preparation. Also, I think that it is too easy to think about our ideas and let them whirl round and round our brains without putting those random thoughts into any kind of order.
The first step to writing a book is – thinking about it
The second step is – research
The third step is – planning
The fourth step is – writing a trial chapter
The checklist below will help you to check you have done enough preparation so that you can actually do the fun part – writing
Ready? Here’s the checklist . . .
So, you want to write a book?
Are you clear about your motivation for writing a book? Money, fame, reputation, legacy, sharing what you know?
Do you know who your competition is? Have you read those books, decided what works and what doesn’t and checked out their Amazon rating?
Does your book idea have a wow factor, something different, a Unique Selling Proposition?
Do you already have some fans, a tribe, Twitter followers, a blog, a website and lots of articles and other material out there on the Internet?
Do you have a support group, mentor, coach, writing buddies and trusted readers who can give you feedback every step of the way?
Are you prepared to write in your natural voice, simply, easily, accessibly and aim for a complete Shitty First Draft before going back to edit it?
Have you decided which of the following you are going to have in your book?
Have you mind-mapped your book?
Have you mind-mapped a chapter?
Have you written a contents list, complete with foreword, acknowledgements, title page, resource section and so on and received feedback on it?
Have you written a sample chapter and received feedback on it?
Have you explored the options available for publication: agent, publisher, print on demand, setting up your own publishing company, using an online publisher?
When you have completed this chart above you are well on your way to making your dream of writing a book a reality.
All the latest news, views, and writing tips from Jo Parfitt and the team at Summertime Publishing