We are excited to host Nina Amir on her WOW! Women On Writing blog tour for her newest nonfiction writing how-to book, The Author Training Manual. Margo first met Nina a few years ago when she did her blog tour for How to Blog a Book, a very helpful book about writing a book one blog post at a time. Now, Nina, the perfect example of a strong, successful and determined woman, is back with another book, and she tells us about it in her own words. If you are in the beginning stages of a book proposal or novel, this book is for you! And you can win a copy right here on the Lit Ladies. Go to the Rafflecopter form on the bottom of this post to enter to win!
From WOW! “Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, plan to traditionally publish or self-publish, The Author Training Manual provides you with the tools you need to achieve your goals and become the author publishers want. Inside you’ll find concrete steps, evaluations, sample business plans, in-depth training activities, editor and agent commentaries, and much more–all designed to help you stand out, from the slush pile to the shelf.”
Read on to find out more straight from Nina!
LL: When should a writer read The Author Training Manual for it to be most helpful? Before or after writing a book proposal? Once a book is published or before you start submitting to publishers?
NA: The best time to read The Author Training Manual and to utilize its training exercises is when you first get the idea for a book. This allows you to see your idea through the same lens as a publishing professional, like an agent or acquisitions editor, to evaluate it using the same tool, a business plan or book proposal, and to also retool it or tweak it to make it more marketable. You see, the process in the book, which I call the Author Training Process, helps you evaluate your idea to determine how to make it viable—salable. If you start before you write a word, you can produce a manuscript with a high likelihood of selling to a publisher, if that is what you want, and then to readers. If you self-publish, it will help you produce a book that will sell in your target market.
That said, you can use the book’s process after you’ve written your proposal to learn if you’ve done a good job and to learn to evaluate the contents of the proposal—something most writers don’t know how to do. It’s a bit late after the book is published…
LL: Thanks! So this is a how-to book for writers working on a proposal or the draft of a manuscript. Is this book mostly for non-fiction writers, fiction, or both? Why?
NA: The book is for nonfiction and fiction writers and for writers working in every genre no matter how they plan to publish. The reason why is simple: Every book benefits from a business plan.
The reason why publishers require a book proposal, which is a business plan for a book, is because it provides an argument for publication of that book. It’s the aspiring author’s way of providing proof that the idea is marketable.
After all, the aspiring author is actually looking for a venture capital partner, someone to financially back their book project. Publishers serve that role, and, as such, want to know if the products in which they invest will provide a return on investment. A business plan—or a proposal—is used to determine this.
They also want to determine if the aspiring author is a good business partner. This is why they look at author platform and at the promotion plan. They want to go into business with someone who can help sell books. They may also want to know if the author plans to write more than one book.
If authors want to self-publish, they need business plans for the same reason. They become publishers; they create start-up publishing companies. They need business plans for their books to convince themselves they should invest their own time and money in their ideas.
As I explain in The Author Training Manual, a business plan also helps you craft a book that will sell. So, the business plan may seem, well, all business. But it’s also about writing the best possible book—one that targets the market and provides readers with value while also being unique and necessary in its category. To accomplish this takes creativity…creativity and inspiration based on a market and competitive analysis that are part of the business plan.
So, yes, this book is for everyone…every writer who wants to write a successful book.
NA: I had written a number of book proposals. I didn’t necessarily enjoy writing them, but I realized the value in creating them. There’s a precious moment when you when you realized you are ready to write your book…totally ready. Plus, you realize you have taken your idea from pure inspiration to a concrete structure with clearly defined content targeted to a market. Not only that, you feel certain the book is unique and necessary… You’ve created a book that can succeed.
I decided that this process of writing a book proposal had value to everyone—if used as more than just a vehicle for landing an agent or publisher.
I spoke to a few experts, like Mike Larsen, literary agent and author of How to Write a Book Proposal, and self-publishing guru Dan Poynter. Both agreed that my process, which I first called the “proposal process,” was an excellent idea. So I pursued it.
LL: How is this book similar to or different from your book everyone is familiar with–How To Blog a Book?
NA: How To Blog a Book is focused on how to write, publish and promote your book using blog technology—one post at a time. It’s provides a solution to the constant complaint I hear from writers: I don’t have time to build author platform and write my book. The Author Training Manual, on the other hand, is focused on how to produce books that sell—to publishers and to readers. It’s about how to craft successful books. It’s also about how to create a successful career as an author.
Chapter 4 in How To Blog a Book covers “Developing Your Blogged Book’s Business Plan.” In those 23 pages, I cover the basic steps of “the proposal process.” In The Author Training Manual, I have expanded on that one chapter and renamed that process “the Author Training Process.” Basically, I felt the process deserved a whole book—242 pages!
In fact, I had the idea for The Author Training Manual before How To Blog a Book, but How To Blog a Book was purchased and published by Writer’s Digest Books first.
LL: Please share with us one or two of the helpful pieces of advice from the book that writers HAVE TO KNOW to succeed!
NA: Here’s something you might not consider. For aspiring or published authors to succeed, they need more than just good ideas or writing skill. They need the right attitude. I call this Author Attitude. It consists of four primary elements.
First, you need willingness. You need willingness to do whatever it takes, to do more than just write, to change, to learn new things, to step outside your comfort zone, to make mistakes, to take risks, to fail, to succeed, to play big and be seen, to get rejected, and to run your own publishing company.
Second, you need optimism. Studies show that optimists succeed more often than pessimists. Optimists don’t take rejection, criticism and mistakes personally, which helps them avoid getting stuck. Optimistic people approach challenges as opportunities to move closer to their goals. Pessimistic people see them as obstacles, or reasons to quit.
Third, you need objectivity. Writing and publishing requires the objectivity to see yourself and your work from readers’, editors’ and publishing professionals’ perspective. When you can do this, you can take the necessary steps to improve your work and make yourself into an attractive publishing partner.
Fourth, you need tenacity. Writing a book isn’t easy. It can take a long time. It’s often said that the real work of a writer begins after publication when you begin promotion. You must have determination, persistence and perseverance—all elements of tenacity—to get from aspiring to published (and successful) author.
Here’s an acronym to make it easy to remember the elements of an Author Attitude: WOOT. According to the Urban Dictionary, the word “woot” originated as a hacker term for root, or administrative, access to a computer. It works well when applied to the topic of attitude because to change your attitude you must access your “computer”—your mind.
Apply attitude to your great, marketable ideas and your writing skill, and you’ll be well on your way to success!
LL: Where can writers find out more about you and The Author Training Manual?
NA: They can find me at www.ninaamir.com. My blogs are at www.writenonfictionnow.com, www.howtoblogabook.com, and www.asthespiritmovesme.com. Find all my books on Amazon easily at www.booksbyninaamir.com. I have a few more at writenonfictionnow.com.
LL: Thank you, Nina! Don’t forget to enter to win this helpful book for writers!