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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Four Paths to Publishing


For the past 400 years, the publishing industry was dominated by agents and publishers. If you were an author and wanted to publish a book, you had only one option open to you. You had to get in touch with an agent and hope that he finds your book good enough to then present it to a publisher. Even here, you had to pray that the publisher took a fancy to your book, and marketed it well. Of course, you still needed people to come and buy your book.

Nowadays, however, the print media has undergone a radical change. People use computers not only to write the book, but also to publish it and there are innumerable tools which make this easier. In fact, publishing a book has never been as easy as it is now.

If you overlook the traditional route to publishing (which is still open to authors, by the way), there are three other routes that an author can take – the DIY route, General Contractor and Publishing Package.

Although each of these are still a form of self publishing, they differ quite a bit from each other. We will discuss each of these routes in greater detail in the following chapters.

DIY Publishing

Advantage:

  • Cheapest way to publish.

Disadvantage:

  • Limited formats
  • No professional service
  • The author will have to find services apart from the publishing one.


Nowadays there are software tools such as Booktango and Lulu which help you create books. This software is usually limited in scope and many offer only ebook formats but the advantage is that you can have your book out in at least one format through one retailer.

There is a common misconception that the DIY route means free publishing, but this is not so. Even if you are able to complete the book yourself, and even format it, you should still have it edited by a professional which will cost you money. And marketing your book calls for you spending more money.

General Contractor

Advantages:

  • Choosing specialists for each job

Disadvantage:

  • Can end up the most time and money consuming

The General Contractor route is more of an organizing job where you find different specialists to do different jobs for you. You can get an external editor, designer, publicist and any other person that you feel you will need. There are others called publishing consultants who will undertake to do this for you, although they themselves may not be an expert in anything other than finding good vendors.

The only problem with this route is that because you are using so many specialists, it can end up being quite an expensive proposition. Sometimes, this route may also take more time than any other publishing route.

Below we give you a list of the different tasks that are associated with publishing:

  • Write book
  • Create title
  • ISBN
  • Copyright
  • Edit
  • Cover design
  • Interior design
  • E book formatting
  • Illustrations
  • Cover copy
  • Print formats
  • Digital formats
  • Print books
  • Ship books
  • Sell books
  • Track royalties
  • Create website
  • Generate publicity
  • Social media marketing
  • Conduct video interviews
  • Attend events
  • Create video trailer

Publishing Package

Advantages:

  • One stop shop for all your needs.

Disadvantages:

  • You may end up paying for services that you do not need.


The easiest route is to go to an author-services company. Such companies typically have various packages with various budgets, offering different levels of service. You choose what you want and pay for it. Although this is similar to the General Contractor route, the difference is that you will have only one point of contact for all your services. You also do not need to do any organizing, the company will do it for you.

This route is more transparent than the General Contractor method because you upfront how much it will cost you. Unlike the General Contractor method, where you will know the cost only at the end.

Traditional Publishing:

Advantages:

  • Publishers' expertise will ensure a polished end result and you may also get an advance on future royalties.


Disadvantages:

  • It takes the longest time.
  • Publishers are looking to acquire titles to books rather than go the traditional route.

Traditional publishing takes the longest time of all publishing routes because publishers usually take a long time to evaluate and select a book before they publish it. This means that you need to be very patient if you are going this route.

A publisher also has a certain expertise that is not found with the other routes. This expertise can be anything from editing it to making it better, to having a sales force that will aggressively market the book. These advantages are also disadvantages because the publisher retains rights to your book. This means that the amount of control you have on your book is much lesser than all other methods.

Due to the recent changes in the publishing industry, publishers themselves are looking at acquiring rights to books published in other formats and then publishing it.

Below we give you a simple example to explain the differences between the four routes.

We compare the different routes to publishing to a person who wants to eat a meal and is looking for ways to do it.

The first option is to cook the meal at home. It is the cheapest option because you can Do It Yourself but you are limited by your ability and experience.

The second option is to go to a food bar at any grocery store. They have various different options for you to choose from and you can select what you need out of it. This is similar to the General Contractor route.

The third option is a full services restaurant, where you get to choose what you want to eat, get recommendations from experts, have people serve you your food and clean up after you. You may end up paying more for the same food than if you had cooked it at home, but here, you are not just paying for your food but also for the service and the convenience that the restaurant offers you. This is what a publishing package does for you.

The traditional route to publishing is an odd one. It is like you going to a full service restaurant and not paying for your meal. The flip side is that you have somebody else choose your meal, and have them control who eats at that restaurant too.

Publishing Path
Like
DIY
Making a meal at home
General Contractor
Grocery store food bar
Publishing Package
Full service restaurant
Traditional
Having a third party order and pay for you


Which is the best route for me?

By now you will have a fair idea of what the different options to publishing are. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so you need to choose the option that is right for you.

Goal Setting:

Don’t set unrealistic goals. If you expect your book to make it to the top of the bestseller list, you have probably failed before you begin. There is no clear route to success and all you can hope for is that if you publish your best work, it gives you the success that you deserve. Make sure you clearly define your audience and are committed to your work because that is the only thing that is in your hands.

The right man for the job:

Although the book is yours, you may not have all the skills required to publish it. If that is the case, hire professionals to do what you cant. You have to ensure that you get your best work out there to have any shot at success.

Commitment:

You need to be committed to your book and commitment means spending time. You have to plan beforehand for the amount of time that you are willing to commit to your book. Many people use an author-service simply because they are unable to commit more of their time.

Have a budget:

Whenever you spend money, you need to have a budget in mind and this is true in publishing as well. Make sure that you have a budget and you stick to it.

The publishing industry is in flux right now and the best time for an author is probably yet to come. This is because with the number of self published authors exploding, it is only going to get easier to publish.

Of course, the more authors there are, the more difficult it is to succeed, but that does not mean that you cannot publish your book.

Monday, December 9, 2013

How I started writing

Becoming a writer is never an easy task. And it's not the hard work involved with sitting down and getting it done that I'm talking about here. Nor is it the financial implications of you taking time off from more “productive” work to satisfy what others will call nothing more than a “whim”.
It's your mindset.
Far to the contrary of what people may think, writers are not born. They may have some innate talent, and some people are more inclined to write than others, but they all have to start somewhere. And until you get your mind right, you aren't going to.
And whether you believe it or not, this is the most difficult task of everything. And nobody can help you but yourself. But once you've made up your mind, you must realize that there's more than one way to go about this and although I can't generalize for every writer on the planet, I can tell you about myself and hopefully this will help all those who are thinking of writing, but haven't made up their mind as yet.
When I started writing, I had two options before me. I could write a fantasy novel that would become an immediate hit (sort of like J.K.Rowling) or I could start writing more mundane, down to earth stuff that would put butter on the bread for my family.
I chose to go with the latter. You could say that I took the easy way out by not giving in to my passion, but when you have a family with kids, your passion kind of takes a back seat to bread on the table. Also, although you may put up a front that you're as good if not better than Rowling, there's always that tiny voice inside you which says “You can fool everyone else, but not me. Do you seriously think that a greenhorn, an amateur, a person who's never written before like you, can actually become like Rowling. Come back down to Earth.”
Don't get me wrong. I didn't think I'll fail. If you anticipate failure before you start, take my word for it, you are definitely going to. I was however unsure of how successful I would be. And I wouldn't know till I started, right? Sort of like how you can never learn to ride a bicycle without riding one. It's all part of the “mindset” I was talking about.
And so I started writing articles for a living.
To be frank, I wasn't making much money, but I stuck with it anyway. My logic was simple. Whenever you change your career line to take up something new, you have to give yourself time to get to know the job. Only after that can you expect to start making money. This is why people don't like to switch careers because they will have to take a cut in pay when they do so.
Leaving aside the earning, I think that this is very important for every writer. It is only in very rare cases that people who have never put pen to paper can get success with their first work. Most successful writers have begun with failures. Even Rowling wasn't a stranger to failure and she probably suffered more than most other writers before her books came out. Just read up on her life on Wikipedia and you'll understand.
Although you couldn't very well say that I was a failure at writing, my starting to write articles came in helpful in another way. During the 4 years that I wrote for other people (including books that have become moderately successful on Amazon) I understood many things.
One of the most important things that I gained, was my writing style. Initially everyone copies others who they think write well, but over time, you kind of settle down to a style that is very unique to you.
The second and not too far distant from the first thing was that I understood what people wanted. To a writer of novels, this comes as failure where publishers decline to publish their work. To me it came in the form of people saying what they wanted out of my articles and being happy with what I gave them.
Not that I didn't make any mistakes, but one of the biggest advantages of doing my kind of work is that people are willing to work with you, especially if they feel that you have future potential. And so many of my clients sent me informative articles and even trained me to write better and it was all this that helped me polish my writing to a great extent.
The third thing is that you find out what interests you. During my writing years, I took up all kinds of work, writing cookbooks, health and fitness articles, product reviews, technical, marketing and so on. And when you write across so many topics you find out what interests you and what doesn't. To me it was health.
Once these became set, all it needed was a push in the right direction, and this push came in the form of an online psychological assessment that I took at strengthsfinder.com. This test is great and I recommend that everyone should take it whether you want to become a writer or not. If you're honest with your answers, it gives you an amazing level of feedback on the kind of person you are and also encourages you to form an action plan on your future.
It was this test that finally pushed me into writing my book and since the time I took the test, I've already finished one chapter in my book on Diabetes.
I'm not done yet, and I'll keep posting on my progress. I'll also be available to anyone who wants any tips from me, and if I can help anyone to start writing, that's more than enough reward for me.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

PASSION: Holding Your Interest Over Time


You must be willing to immerse yourself in the subject. Ask yourself:
  • Is this something you’re interested in anyway? Even if you weren’t doing this business, would you be involved in this niche or interested in the subject matter?

    Yes, because this drives the development of clickplan.net. This allows me to increase my intrinsic value that helps me to teach which in turn accelerates the product development. The byproducts of developing clickplan.net can be sold.

  •  - Does creating information products for this niche seem like it would be fun for you? Or would you have to force yourself to do it and would it seem more like work?

    Yes.

  •  - Do you like the people that are involved in this niche? Do you empathize with your prospects and can you really put yourself in their shoes? Or are they just a means to end or something you’d have to tolerate along the way?

  • Yes.

     - Can you see yourself in this niche five years from now? Again, you’re building a business for the long-term. So ask yourself whether you can maintain the enthusiasm into the future. You won’t know for sure, of course. After all, you can change and grow a lot in five years. But you’ll have a pretty good idea. 

    Yes.

Why you should create a product based on your skills

One of the information product I bought on Infopreneur business says:


But one of the big mistakes people make is thinking that whatever they know or whatever they've learned is actually common knowledge. And because they think it's common knowledge, they don't think it's worth anything to anybody. It's human nature. Once you know something, or once you've invested the time to master something, it’s easy to assume that everyone else knows it, too. 

If you can add value to the existing books by providing a unique point of view, make it easier to learn and improve on the products currently sold, you can definitely sell your information product.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Offline Direct Marketing Strategies

Niche businesses are the best way to go online. Putting your business on autopilot is huge step toward making it a success. By reprint rights and turn them into affiliate programs. Take reseller programs and turn them into affiliate programs. Advance notification of special offers.

Be open to new technologies - even if it makes you uncomfortable. Be open to changes in business. Accept and embrace the possibilities of any media.

Maximizing the lifetime value of a customer should always be your primary goal. Focus on backend marketing - selling other products to customers who have already bought from you. Use great salescopy and work the backend.

It requires a greater level of sophistication to make money online today. It's complicated and complex. A person with discipline and the determination to get it right and prosper.

Offline advertising driving traffic online can give a big boost to the bottom line. Combine electronic and hard copy.

  1. Do your model, tweak it.
  2. Do your sales process and pricing.
  3. Get your back end and your marketing model done. The goal is to get a working model that makes money.
 4. Get offline and reproduce the same model to generate a new revenue stream.

Remember that results with one media are indicative but not predictive of results with another media. Test online (offer, price, guarantee, headline, benefits etc) then take your winners and test them offline - you'll have an increased chance of success.

Integrate online and offline worlds

A good online model has a good chance of working offline and vice-versa. Your R&D budget should always include marketing promotion testing. Offline equity is more than online equity.

The best way to earn credibility is to practice what you preach.

Find a group of people who have a problem that needs a solution or a neglected group in need of attention. Go after a niche and take that small little market that nobody cares about and nobody thinks you ever could make money at and make tons of money. Monopolize that market.

Create your own product, then you own it and you control it. Make yourself go through the needle. To make serious money, acquire skills and knowledge. Learn the fundamentals of direct marketing and information marketing. Then keep reinventing and expanding your business over and over again.

Always seek more information and more strategies. Duplicate others successes - learn from the best and model your efforts after what has worked for them. Train yourself to endure, not to enjoy short-term success.

The Internet is not a business, it's a communication medium. To be a success, you need a business plan and you need to be willing to try more than one media or strategy. Real business involves acquiring customers with that media and then serving those customers repeatedly.

Create a business plan to acquire, serve and capitalize on customers. The media is a way to acquire more customers but your business needs to be your first concern. Niche marketing is easier online than offline. People with well defined interests and problems congregate in forums, websites and email lists.

Take something generic and turn it into a niche. Example : Piano lessons --> Play by Ear --> Gospel or Jazz. This strategy works well because of tighter message to market.

Letters from X, sell in demand merchandise

1. List passion.
2. Write problem statements. Checkout groups and forums.
3. Research supply and demand.
4. Find a solution to the problem.
5. Find out if they will pay for the solution.

Sell anything you can think of. Check out CafePress. Search for 'Reprint Rights + Your Topic'. You can sell software, ebooks, paid subscription newsletter, members only site. Use Google suggest : 'How to fix X'.

100:1 is good supply / demand ratio. KEI > 1 is good. Ariel or Verdana, white background, black font. Make sure web page can load faster - compress html. Quantify in headline. Ezine hub, newsletter access, ezine locator.

Top 100,000 rank is good for super affiliate. Ranking, Link popularity. 50 - 100 keywords, key phrases. For keyword tracking use Click Plan

Prequalify Leads

1. Website for generating leads. Get many more targeted leads.
2. Website for direct sales.
3. Low cost customer service.
4. Sell back-end products / services.
5. Build loyalty with customers.

Why self publish ebooks?

Why self publish? 
 
  - Publishers don't consider books that don't sell certain number of copies.
  - Publish control approval, distribution, printing and know-how of publishing.
  - Free ebook creation
  - Distribution is democratized. Readers care about author and not who published it
  - Professional publishing best practices are available to authors for free.
  - Traditional publishers are losing monopoly
  - Competitive advantage over traditional publishers. Better job of reaching readers. Traditional publishers tend to price the product high that can hurt sales.
  - No longer the last option for a writer
  - The global sales of your ebook

Self published author == Indie authorship

Why ebooks?

  - It's a growing market. Print books are shrinking market.
  - People prefer changeable font size.
  - Lower cost than print
  - Huge selection
  - Convenient browsing and purchasing
  - Countries outside the US are entering the exponential growth phase of their ebook markets

Advantages of Self Publishing

 - Faster time to market
 - Creative control
 - Better distribution to global market
 - Ebooks never go out of print
 - Lower expenses
 - Lower prices to consumers
 - Earn more per book (60 - 80 % vs 12 - 17 %)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Converting Your Private PDF Files to Text Files

1. Split the file into several files using online pdf file splitting tool. Each split file should be 2 MB or less.
2. Convert each of the split PDF to text file by following the steps in the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) in Google Docs Tutorial video.
3. Name the converted text file as the name of the pdf_number where number can be 1, 2, 3 and so on depending on the number of text files.

Reducing Clutter to Create Space for Writing

I bought Fujitsu Scanner to convert printed material to PDFs. It helped me to reduce clutter and simplify my workspace. It is now easier to find my research material and focus on writing books. Now when you scan the printed materials scanner allows you to use OCR which will allow you to search the scanned PDFs but the problem is that it slows down the scanning.

Enter Google, now you can easily convert any PDFs that you can share publicly by following the instructions below.

Convert Scanned PDFs to Text

Create a folder in your website and upload all the PDF images to that folder. Now create a public web page that links to all the PDF files. Wait for the Google bots to spider your site.

Once done, type the query "site:example.com/pdf filetype:pdf" to see the PDF documents as HTML.

Evernote is an alternative to Google OCR conversion. But it provides you a way to convert your private PDFs to text.

Reference: Convert Scanned PDFs to Text

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Straw-Man, Wood-Man, Tin-Man, Iron-Man

Here is a process for getting quick feedback to write a compelling book that readers want to buy.

Straw-Man

Straw-Man version is the first draft. The quickest way to create the first version is to have your friend ask you questions about the topic and you answer them. You can record this session as a video.

Define the scope of your book by stating what you will cover and what you will not cover. Use constraints to your advantage, for instance : This book will be about 100 pages. I will spend a weekend to create the Straw-Man version.

It is also a good idea to list top 3 problems that you will address in your book. Practical, hands-on approach to the book that helps the readers to accomplish their primary goal will be easy to sell and spread by word of mouth.

For programming books, you can come up with some examples you will use to illustrate the concepts. The first example will obviously be an hello world example.

Get the video transcribed on Elance or Odesk. Revise the transcript and make it flow smooth by arranging the sequence of concepts. Work your way backwards and create a table of contents for the draft version. To create table of contents you have to group paragraphs into sections and sections into chapters.

Wood-Man

Use the Straw-Man version material to teach a small group of people (2-3). This will create what Napolean Hill calls as the Master Mind. Record the teaching session. Students will ask questions on things that is not clear. Answer them. Also observe your students and see if they are able to accomplish the learning objectives. It is important that your material helps them. Because your promise in the beginning of the book must be fulfilled if you want to be one of the best selling books.

After the class, revise your material again based on the feedback. This will result in Wood-Man version of the book.

Tin-Man

You can have a group of 5 to 10 to teach a class and repeat the process as before.

Iron-Man

Take the previous version of your book and make a presentation to an audience of 50 to 100 people. You will have to answer people at various skill levels which will be a challenge. After revising the material you will end up with the Iron-Man version.

Your book eventually becomes a proxy for you. It is able to handle more students as you progress through the different levels.

Remember that Iron-Man has his weakness. This version does not mean your book is perfect. Aiming for perfection will not help you publish the first version. You can always refine your book later based on reader feedback.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

WoodMan Version of First Two Hours of Test Driven Development Course

The following WoodMan version of the two hour tutorials sold out very quickly. The lessons were broken down into 10 minutes segment that is easily digestible. It gradually increases the level of complexity.
Who is it for?
This is for beginners. You are new to TDD or only heard about TDD.
Prerequisites
1. You already know the basics of programming.
2. You know basic Ruby.
3. You have already installed Ruby 1.9.x or 2.0, RSpec 2.x and your favorite IDE on your laptop.
What will I Learn?
You will learn about :
• Assertions
• Test First Programming.
• Problem Solving Techniques : 
-  Obvious Implementation
-  Fake It Till You Make It
-  Problem decomposition : Divide and Conquer
• Designing experiments to answer your own questions and learn on your own
• Validating your ideas by running tests
Overview
If you complete the exercises you will walk away with strong foundation to learn more about TDD on your own or attend subsequent TDD classes that will build upon this foundation.
You will be able to use TDD on simple problems like Factorial, Fibonacci etc. You can apply these TDD concepts to any language.
Structure
• Introduction         -  10 Minutes
Your Background
Where did TDD come from?
What is TDD?
Why TDD?
When is TDD applicable?
• Demo      1           -  10 Minutes
What is not Test First Programming? Developing a calculator example : addition and subtraction.
What is an assertion?
How to use assertions?
• Exercise   1           -  10 Minutes
Extend the calculator example to implement multiplication and division.
Applying Obvious Implementation to solve problems
• Discussion             -   10 Minutes
Making your code robust.
Why use testing frameworks?
What is Design By Contract?
• Exercise   2            -  10 Minutes
Make the calculator class robust by applying Design By Contract
• Demo      2            -  10 Minutes
Test First Programming using RSpec. Developing a calculator example : addition and subtraction.
• Exercise   3            -  10 Minutes
Implement multiplication and division using Test First Programming.
• Guided Exercise  1  -  20 Minutes
Implement Factorial by using Test First Programming.
Discovering the public API
Making examples executable
Applying Fake It Till You Make It
• Wrap Up                -  20 Minutes
Summarize lessons learned. Q&A.
The presentation will give you the background and the demo will illustrate how to apply the concepts. You will then practice TDD by working on coding exercises. I will conclude the session by reviewing the solution to the exercises.
Required Software
You need to have Ruby 1.9.x or 2.0 and RSpec 2.x already installed before the class. We don't have time to deal with installation issues. I will NOT spend any time on installation issues during the class. Send me an email before the event to get help on any installation problems.
Refunds
In order to reduce no-shows, you need to pay for this event. You will get a full refund when you show up for the event or change the RSVP to No by Oct 18.
If you don't change your RSVP to No or you don't show up, then you will NOT get any refund.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Creating Straw-Man Version of the Book

Straw-Man Version of Your Book

Straw-Man version is the draft version of your book material. You want to get feedback from your customers from the draft version. I scheduled an event using meetup.com to teach 3 students the material from the first chapter of the book. The learnings for me from this meetup can eventually become the first hour of a 10 to 15 hours online course. 

By watching the student's reaction and answering their questions, I can refine the material and it will eventually become the Wood-Man version. Forming a group also creates what is called the Master Mind by Think and Grow Rich. 

Testing involves evaluating the material by judging whether it accomplishes the learning objectives or not. This can only be done by allowing the students to work on exercises to evaluate their understanding of the material. 

Here is the event details page:

TDD for Beginners : Writing your First Test

Who is it for?

This is for beginners. You are new to TDD or only heard about TDD. 

Prerequisites

1. You already know the basics of programming.
2. You know basic Ruby.
3. You have already installed Ruby 1.9.x or 2.0 and RSpec 2.x on your laptop.

What will I Learn?

You will learn about assertions and Test First Programming. 

Overview

If you complete the exercises you will walk away with strong foundation to learn more about TDD on your own or attend subsequent TDD classes that will build upon this foundation. You will be able to use TDD on simple problems like Factorial, Fibonacci etc. You can apply these TDD concepts to any language. 

Structure 

• Presentation      -  20 Minutes
• Demo               -  20 Minutes 
• Exercise            -  30 - 45 Minutes
• Solution Review -  20 Minutes

The presentation will give you the background and the demo will illustrate how to apply the concepts. You will then practice TDD by working on coding exercises. I will conclude the session by reviewing the solution to the exercises.

Required Software  

You need to have Ruby 1.9.x or 2.0 and RSpec 2.x already installed before the class. We don't have time to deal with installation issues. I will NOT spend any time on installation issues during the class. Send me an email before the event to get help on any installation problems.

Refunds
In order to reduce no-shows, you need to pay for this event. You will get a full refund when you show up for the event or change the RSVP to No by Oct 11. 

If you don't change your RSVP to No or you don't show up, then you will NOT get any refund.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Creating ERRC Grid for Your Book

Step 1 :

Find the top 3 books in your topic on Amazon. Read the reviews and create a document with the following sections: Positive Factors, Negative Factors. I was able to create additional sections due to large number of reviews such as Where to Go Next, In Scope, Out of Scope and Topics.

Step 2 :

Classify
: Group similar items that you find in the reviews. Phrases might be similar that expresses the same concept. Combine and merge them into just one phrase. For instance, in my research readers liked :

Practical and hands-on, Step by step approach
Very concise and educational.
Easy to Understand, Clear, Easy-to-follow, Plain spoken explanation

I logically grouped these phrases. Now I can go a level up in abstraction like this:

Delivery Style

Practical and hands-on, Step by step approach
Very concise and educational.

Readability 

Easy to Understand, Clear, Easy-to-follow, Plain spoken explanation

So in this case, the factors that buyers use to make a buying decision are Delivery Style and Readability. One of the reviewer actually based his rating by breaking his rating into different criteria:

Readability
Coverage of topics
Depth of coverage
Credibility
Accuracy
Relevance to software quality

Then gave the Overall rating based on the average of the above scores.

Step 3 :


Create this grid in a big sheet of paper. I use the 'Premium Self Stick Easel Pad'. Fill out each sections of the grid. Factors are the characteristics of the book that the readers use to make a buying decision. These factors can be derived from the Amazon reviews. This research is fuzzy, so expect some difficulty in analyzing the reviews.

Eliminate will contain the Negative Factors. Create will contain things that most of the top 3 books did not provide, if you cannot think of factors then one of the book did not provide. Raise is where you amplify what readers liked but the existing books did not provide enough of it. Reduce is where you list things that must be lowered because readers don't want it to be covered in depth.


Eliminate and Reduce steps helps you simplify your book. Create and raise list will make your book unique, helping you to come up with a unique selling proposition.


Here is the ERRC grid for my book :

Eliminate

Humor                                    [I am not a comedian. Reader can read some other book for that purpose]
Digressions
Developing Frameworks
Third-party version problems
In-depth coverage of the subject [Not in Straw-Man version, maybe later based on feedback]
Chapter on how to do TDD in different languages [Not in Straw-Man version, maybe later based on feedback]
UI Testing material is unique
Web application
Tips, tricks and strategies to using TDD tools [Refer them to other books for tool specific material]

Database related testing
Race conditions [Explain in the section on scope when TDD is insufficient. TDD is not a silver bullet]
Rambling
Repetition in case study
Bloat


Reduce

Non-Linear Coverage of Topics   [Connect new concepts to what they just learned to increase comprehension]
Collection of Notes and Tips        [They don't need my book if I don't add value to existing resources]
Good presentations on XP and Agile Modeling [Provide only enough details to set the context in the introduction]
Discussion on test coverage tool
Explains how to use TDD tools [Cover only just enough to discuss the TDD concepts]

Raise

Real World Examples
Design Principles
Show Misconceptions and Mistakes

Coherence
Practical advice
Practical and Hands-On

Clear and Concise
It is easy to understand for a beginner
A good foundation for understanding TDD
Well Defined Scope                            [The author had failed to establish the expectation for the reader]
Explanation of the TDD process and its benefits
Explain Thought Process of didactic examples
Explain the thought process of developing a complete application
From inception to the finished product
Supports the daily development work as well as the planning for a TDD project
The next best thing to sitting down for a pair-programming session with a TDD guru.
Downloadable code examples
Well organized

In depth coverage of mocks
Discuss what tests to write
Design Insights
Clear code format


Create

Code for Every Section
Examples in Different Languages
Hands-on Exercises
Solution Checkpoints
Domain Driven Design Concepts
Code Mutation Tool  (Heckle)

Head First Style [Version 2]
Put framework related material on the website where it can be updated
Provide code that is error free
Provide final and intermediate versions of the code. Code showing Before / After for each lesson.
Provide link to code repository to document the evolution of the code, checking the code in at the end of each test.


Now you have a blueprint for your book. Use this to create your Straw-Man version of your book. I will discuss about how to evolve your book from Straw-Man, Wood-Man, Tin-Man to Iron-Man in my next blog post.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Self Publishing Success Free eBook

This ebook is only 41 pages. It is filled with practical tips to becoming a successful self publisher. You can download a free copy by clicking self publishing success free ebook.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

T-shirt to promote your website

You can design your own T-shirts at Cafepress.com. Higher the quantity higher the discount. I ordered 12 T-shirts to get bulk discount. Just upload your logo and design the front and back, checkout and your done.



How to Run a Logo Design Contest for your Website

I recently ran a logo design contest at 99designs.com. Here is some tips on how to run a successful logo design contest.

I read a book on Logo Design for the designers to get an idea of the process that good designers use. So I extracted some of the best advice and included it in the job description. Here it is:

1. Keep it simple.
2. Make it relevant : Logo must be appropriate for Click Plan. Go to the site and read the home page content to get an idea about the business.
3. Make it recognizable : Just its shape or outline gives it away.
4. Think Small : Design should work at a minimum of around one inch size without loss of detail.
5. Focus on one thing : Incorporate just one feature to help the logo stand out.

For the first round of the contest tell all designers to provide designs in black and white only. No color. This allows you to focus on the form and not be distracted by colors. Once you pick your finalists then you can tell them to add colors. I kept it very simple by sticking with just two colors. I already knew what colors I wanted I was happy with the end result.

You can see the result on my Click Plan site.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Useful Articles from Publish Your Own eBooks Blog


1. How to Publish an Ebook

What is an aggregator? Why choose an aggregator? What are the different distribution channels for ebooks?

2. Why You Should Sell Ebooks at Your Own Site

This article discusses the pros and cons of selling ebooks on our own site.

3. The Importance of Building an Author Platform

What is an author platform? What you should do to create your author platform?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Self Publishing Infographics

Self-publishing vs. Traditional publishing infographic
Infographics about Self Publishing
Self Publishing by the Numbers
The Self Publishing Process
Self Publishing Infographic
Self Publishing Infographic by Americas Press


The Adventures of an Independent Author: Self-Publishing Statistics

The Adventures of an Independent Author: Self-Publishing Statistics

Interesting stats from this blog:

10% of authors earn 75% of royalties
Total Books published by country, the top three are : USA, UK, France
56% make over 25k, 28% over 50k, 15% over 100k
Two types of author: 56 % : Sell book cheaply to get more readers. 44% : Charge a higher price and make more money from fewer readers.
42% of authors can never changed the price of their books
41% Paid for a cover designer (the most popular form of paid help) 29 % paid for copy editing.

Top 10 Popular Posts for The Adventures of an Independent Author Blog

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Self Publishing Toolkit

The Self Publishing Toolkit by Daphne Dangerlove is a simple and straight forward guide to self publishing on Kindle Direct. Sticking with what a new autor absolutely needs to know, Dangelove provides step-by-step information on theprocess of publishing to the Kindle, marketing your book and more.

This book is particularly useful for writers who aren't familiar or comfortable with using online promotion methods. It includes information on website design, SEO basics, and the importance of creating an email list. It doesn't matter how much or how little you know about about the technical side of being online, you'll find something here that will help.

The one real weakness of Toolkit is that it is geared solely for fiction writers. While some of the information will apply to and be helpful for non-fiction writers, a great deal of it will not apply.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Self Publishing News 2/4-2/10

Apple's Big Announcement: Apple is rolling out it's own program for self publishers, in an attempt to challenge Kindle Direct's current market domination.

"The Gatekeeper's Are Gone": Publishers are slowly adapting to the change the self publishing explosion has created. Some small publishers in Minnesota talk about how they are changing their business with the times.

Leading Self-Publishing ServiceProvider Outskirts Press Pays Authors $300 to Publish Books inFebruary: Check it out.

 Space Marines?: Big geek news this week - Games Workshop accused a self publisher of copyright violation for using the term "Space Marines" in her title. A term which has existed since decades before Games Workshop was founded. Self publishers are uniquely vulnerable to this kind of attack.

A Look at Marketing: Self publishing and traditional publishing have different approaches and needs when it comes to marketing.

Finally, two great articles on the perception of self publishing. One looking at how the perception of self publishing has changed and the other examining how self published author can continue improving the reputation of self publishing.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Joy of Formatting for Create Space

My first book is almost ready to be published. It is written and edited, has a wonderful cover, and is starting to feel like it is really happening.

It is also, for the first time, starting to feel like work. That's because of the three days I spent formatting it for CreateSpace (with more to go when I tackle formatting for e-book conversion.) If there is a more tedious, annoying, painful part of publishing a book than formatting and layout, I have yet to find it.

Formatting starts with the page size. That's actually the easy part. You go into page formatting, set the page size according to CS's guidelines for the book dimensions you want, and you are good.

If you haven't already, pick out a font preferably two different fonts, one for chapter titles and one for your actual text. Then you go through, page by page, and are change font, font size, and alignment for your entire book. You can't just 'select all' to make the changes - if you do, your chapter headings will end up the same size as your text, which doesn't work at all. Don't forget to justify the text (and NOT justify the chapter headings!)

Orphans and Widows are particularly annoying - that's jargon speak for when a single line of a paragraph ends up a different page than the rest of the paragraph. Most word processing programs have a way to automatically avoid Ophans and Widows, but you can still have problems, especially if your chapters have subheadings - word processors don't recognize a subheading on one page and the following paragraph on the next as a Widow, but it still looks bad on the page.

Basically, it was a lot of going through the text, over and over again, making sure that there was nothing I had missed that would cause problems later or not look good. Unfortunately, there is no short cut to a good looking book. So take your time, go through page by page, and you'll get there.

Now I'm off to reward myself for all my hard work. Take care.

Friday, February 8, 2013

How to Self Publish Successfully: Top 5 Blog Posts

How to Self Publish Successfully is an advice blog for self publishing authors run by the Alliance of Independent Authors. ALLi is an awesome resource for new and established self publishers that is well worth checking out.

Members of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) On Being A Member- If you are interested in joining or learning about ALLi, check out this popular post, where member have left dozens of comments on what they like (and don't like) about being a member of ALLi.

“Amazon Is Playing Indie Authors Like Pawns,” says Smashwords founder, Mark Coker- This guest post by the founder of POD publisher Smashwords looks at some of Amazon's demands and why having multiple retail outlets is your best option.

Please Don’t Call Me An Indie Author- Another popular guest by, by Talli Rolland. Here Talli discusses why she wants her readers to see her an author like any other.

Are Indie Authors Devaluing Books? By ALLi Community Builder, Melissa Foster- Melissa Foster examines the 99 cent book, and how it hurts authors and self publishing.

Bookbaby or Smashwords Best for Self-Publishers?- Part One of a five part series on picking distributors for your self published book.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review: The Fine Print of Self Publishing

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levine is absolutely necessary or an utter waste of time. For the author who is prepared to do the work of self publishing themselves, this book is a waste of time. If you are interested in hiring a self publishing company, then you need this book.

Mark Levine has a legal background and a passion for the rights of the author, both of which show as he clearly and extensively evaluates the major self publishing companies and lays out which ones are worth dealing with and which ones will only rip you off. He examines the various parts of a self publishing contract, and which phrases are warning signs of a contract that you will regret in later years.

Sadly, a significant portion of self publishing companies are not good for the author. Because of the sheer number of scam companies and unethical practices out there, the book can often come across as negative or disillusioning. However there are several outstanding and good self publishing companies as well. If you want to hire a self publishing company, getting this book can save you thousands of dollars, massive headaches, and the rights to your books.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Week's Top Articles on Self Publishing 1/28-2/3

A new non-profit organization is working to bring indie books to libraries.

A collection of self publishing articles and blogs from around the web for the months of January.

A good run down of information to be aware of before you start on the journey to self publishing.

HuffPost takes a look at the pros and cons of the different paths to publishing. If you aren't sure whether or not self publishing it right for you, check it out.

As an alternative to choosing between self pub and trad pub, many authors are walking a middle road and doing both. Here is one hybrid authors take.

For a different take on self publishing, this blogger looks at the effect self publishing a non-fiction industry book had on his consulting business?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Self-Publishing Resources: LiveHacked.com

LiveHacked is a blog for writers run by Nick Thacker. Nick writes "on living and writing well." He is a great resources for ideas and information on writing and marketing your self published book.

Here are the top 10 posts from LiveHacked over the past year:

Using Scrivener and Evernote to Write Your Book - Scrivener and Evernote are great tools for a writer, and here Nick lays out how they make the writing processes smoother.

In Search of the Perfect Steak Recipe - This was Nick's experiment in perfecting SEO techniques. Check it out for a look at how good SEO is done - and for the awesome recipe.

Scrivener: The Ultimate Guide to Exporting Ebooks (Kindle, ePub, etc) - Formatting for conversion to an ebook is a real pain. This blog post describes how you can use Scrivener to convert your manuscript directly to an ebook.

Scrivener: An Introduction to Novel Writing - A quick and easy intro to using Scrivener that focuses on the basic process without worrying about the distraction of advanced features.

How to Make Reading a Habit - One of the most common pieces of advice for an author is: READ. This post lays out a great way to make reading a habit - and looks as ways to make reading enjoyable, if you are usually a reading hater.

How to Read Faster and Understand More - Tips and tricks for upping your reading speed and comprehension.

Great Thrillers: Books Like James Rollins - A look at some of the great thrillers published over the past year, and what makes a great thriller.

Selling Books: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need - Nick intended the title of this post to be snarky, but amazingly, it's true. This is a great, all-inclusive guide to selling books.

How to Find the Perfect Audience for Your Book, And Then Sell It to Them - A guide to building a mailing list to create an audience and fan base for your writing.

How to Learn ANYTHING Faster than You Ever Thought Possible - This "brainstorming session on steroids" is a great way to boost your learning.