November '23 Newsletter
Thanksgiving gives us a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the things in our lives for which we are grateful, to renew connections with family and friends, and to eat lots of great food!
We at SkillBites want to thank all of the people in our network and community. We love helping you gain the credibility and visibility that you attain when you become a published author, and gratefully appreciate your support. As a token of our appreciation, we have a special gift for you, which you can read more about below. Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving.
A while ago, I came across this headline in an email:
I was hooked! I clicked on the headline and read the article. Hooking the prospective readers of our books is also very important. Read below on tips you can use to hook your target reader.
1. In the News
As I mentioned in my last newsletter, in September, I spoke at the Summit on Authorship Rules & Regulations on copyright law, covering such topics as who owns a copyright interest, the Fair Use doctrine, which pertains to when you can use someone else’s content without first getting permission, what to do when your copyright interest has been infringed, and other relevant issues for authors.
In October, I spoke on another summit called Author Success Tips. My presentation was on boosting book sales, and included several strategies for optimizing your presence on Amazon.
If you are interested in listening to either of these presentations, let me know. As soon as they are uploaded, I’ll email you.
2. SkillBites Podcast
Each month, we bring you an expert to help you get your book done, leverage your book, grow your business or improve your life. The shows are recorded, and you can listen to the recording by clicking here.
This month, my guest is Mimi Donaldson, an internationally acclaimed speaker and speaker coach. Mimi has coached and created speeches for TED talkers, executives, celebrities, entrepreneurs and sales staffs. She is the co-author of Negotiating for Dummies, published in 6 languages and sold almost 2 million copies worldwide. She has also published 3 other books, including her latest one, Pitch Perfect: Speak to Grow Your Business in Seven Simple Steps.
In this episode, Mimi explains how to create a quality pitch for presenting ourselves that is relevant, timely and effective. Mimi also addressed such issues as how to overcome your fear of public speaking and how to be humorous even when you aren’t naturally a funny person. Be sure to listen to this episode to take advantage of Mimi’s gifts: a free 30-minute conversation with her to help you create your pitch, and free access to her powerful 7-step formula for crafting an effective presentation.
Next month, my guest will be Lisa Snyder, who will be sharing her expertise on setting up, designing and nurturing of websites for authors.
Last month, I shared six key ways to optimize your book. Next month, I’ll delve deeper into strategies for drafting a compelling book description, selecting the best keywords and categories, and choosing the right price for your eBook and print book.
You can listen to prior episodes by clicking here.
Do you have expertise that you believe would benefit the SkillBites community of entrepreneurs and authors? If you would like to be the guest on the monthly SkillBites Show, contact me at email@example.com or 610-783-4519. If there is a topic you would like to hear on the podcast, let me know and I’ll look for an expert to cover that.
3. Thanks Gifting
We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with so many wonderful business owners and professionals, helping them get their books written, published and promoted. We wish to express our gratitude to the members of our loyal community by offering you a free no-obligation lightning coaching session on whatever challenge or problem is preventing you from starting or completing your book. We’ll send you a brief questionnaire, and following your return of the completed questionnaire, we’ll schedule a free strategy session to help you figure out what you need to do to move forward. Just click here to go to the online calendar and select a time that is convenient to you at least one week from the date you select a time, so you have time to complete the questionnaire and return it to me.
4. New Business Reporting Requirements
As some of you may know, in addition to my SkillBites business, I have a law practice. For those of you who own a business, or work for someone who owns a business, you may not be aware that there are two new business reporting requirements. The first one applies to most businesses registered anywhere in the US, including foreign businesses registered to do business in the US. The new law is called the Corporate Transparency Act, promulgated by the federal government to create a database aimed at stemming the tide of money laundering. If you or your employer own a business that is registered with a state as a corporation, LLC or other structure, the company will be required to file this report starting January 1, 2024, unless it qualifies for one of the exemptions. The exemptions apply mostly to businesses in already heavily regulated industries, such as securities and commodities. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in penalties of $500/day or more until the report is filed, against the business and the person responsible for filing the report.
The second business reporting requirement applies only to businesses registered in Pennsylvania. The state previously required a report to be filed every 10 years, and as of January 1, 2025, is requiring all businesses to file a report annually. The penalty for not filing the report includes dissolution or termination of your business and potentially loss of your business name.
I have developed an overview of these two laws. If you would like a copy of the overview, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it to you.
5. Tip of the Month: Hooks in Books
All authors need to include hooks in their books to entice readers to buy and read their book. Here are 10 ways to do this, and the more of them you use, the better:
The cover is usually the first part of the book that the prospective reader sees, so it needs to be attractive. The image needs to be striking (both on the book and in the thumbprint size on Amazon). In addition, good cover designers know how to place the cover image, the title and subtitle and the author’s name to draw in the prospective reader’s eye. Good cover designers also are familiar with the cover specifications that publishers require. Several times I have had authors come to me with complaints that they can’t get Amazon or IngramSpark or other publisher to accept their cover. Invariably, that is because their cover designer did not meet the publisher’s cover specifications. SkillBites’ cover designers know the requirements so you won’t have that problem.
The title and subtitle need to be enticing. In a previous newsletter, we shared the most popular types of non-fiction business titles, such as The Top 10 Tips to… and How To Do XYZ. If you’d like to receive a copy of that article, email me at email@example.com and I’ll send it to you. When your title and subtitle are optimized with the key words that people are using to search for a solution to the issue you solve in your book, you’re more likely to hook the type of reader you are really hoping will read your book.
The chapter headings should grab one’s attention. Try some intrigue, such as Avoid This Mistake, or An Ah Ha Moment, or And Then This Happened.
The introduction is critically important. If readers aren’t interested in what is covered in the introduction, they may not read any further. If you are writing a how-to book, your introduction should explain the problem or challenge that you will help your reader overcome, and then a brief overview of how your solution will enable them to get past that challenge. Don’t start your book with your story or your credentials. Your readers don’t care (yet) about you; first they want to know that you care and understand them and their needs.
Include interesting stories. Readers love stories. Stories are great for illustrating the points you are trying to make and for developing a connection with the reader.
Use interesting statistics or facts. If you are suffering from back pain, for instance, and read that 98% of people suffering from back pain who used the technique explained in a book were pain free after 7 days, wouldn’t you want to keep reading? Of course, the statistic can’t be made up. You need to identify the source and establish its credibility.
Include humor. Making people laugh will make the book more enjoyable, keeping their attention and making them want to continue reading.
Make your writing simple. The more people have to think about what the text means, the less likely they are to keep reading.
The conclusion should contain a call to action that hooks the reader into following up with the author. This could be a discount or a free consultation or a white paper or something else that your audience would value. You could tie that in with receiving a testimonial – if the reader provides a review on Amazon, for instance, you’ll send them a gift, regardless of the rating they give in their review. Amazon prohibits authors from providing an incentive to get a good testimonial, so avoid doing that.
Last, but not least, the promotion of the book needs to be enticing, to the right audience and on the platforms that your target audience prefers, whether that’s trade journals, direct mail, social media or other venues, to motivate them to consider purchasing and reading your book.
Thanks for supporting SkillBites. If there is anything you think we ought to be doing better or anything we should be doing that we’re not, please let us know. We value your input.