Extracurricular Activities

I am amazed at the number of Christians involved in extracurricular activities. One of those areas of interest is politics. In a number of social outlets, the platform of negative reporting is spearheaded by Believers. If they dislike a politician, they illustrate their contempt with negativity. If they endorse a political party, they will sound the trumpet of praise and adoration. If it’s a political ideology they disagree with, they will express it with carbon monoxide rhetoric. I am not interested in whether someone is Republican, Democrat, or whatever. What concerns me is that the harvest fields are ripe for harvesting, but the harvesters seem more concerned with issues unrelated to reaping. (John 4: 35) The last thing I want to do is to turn off a potential Believer by expressing a political viewpoint that might add to the further polarization of our society. The majority of our political understanding is determined by what we read or hear from the media. Can we honestly promote something as truth, when all we know is from biased reporting?


Our Country is in a mess, but I am at rest because God is in control. This is a time for Christians to stay the course. This is the time to stay focused. This is the time to pray for those in authority. (I Timothy 2:1, 2) This is the time to make sure our priorities stay in line with God’s Word.I don’t believe there is a Biblical subject that has not been written or verbalized about. The redundancy of theme writing and publications has inundated the social platforms. Faith shared articles and quips have continued to be popular with the faithful. My concern is that those outside of the Faith have little or no understanding of what our jubilation is all about. While the Christians encourage each other with the Word, the unbelievers remain in the dark searching for the allusive answer to what life is all about. It is time for Believers to leave their spiritual “Disneyland” and share their lives with those that are living day by day. It is exciting to feel the spiritual goose bumps in our closed communal gatherings, but the real excitement is releasing the “rivers of living water” to those in our communities that are looking for something to quench their thirst from the heat of sin.


The Life Book is what Believers need to tweet about. We need to share what God is doing in our lives, and what our lives are doing in serving God!

E-Books: Value and Price

For the last several years, the debate has raged over e-book pricing. What is the best price? What is the customer willing to pay? What should the government and courts do to monitor the situation? It can all be confusing and put authors into a tailspin.

While the courts, online retailers, and large publishing companies continue to argue and battle it out, what is the independent author supposed to do? No one has all the answers, but some common sense, a little experimenting with prices, and some knowledge of the industry can help you determine an appropriate price for your e-book. Remember, there is no perfect price for every book; what is a good price for one book may not be the right price for another.

Here are some questions to consider when determining the price for your e-book:

What is the value of your book?

You need to determine your book’s value before you set the price. Did you write a short erotic novel to compete with the other one million out there that you spent maybe a month or less writing? Then its value is probably fairly low because it may not be in great demand. Are you writing a specialized thesis on a topic that has never had a book published on it before-then the value may be very high, although your reading audience may be small. Did you spend ten years writing and researching your book, or did you write it in a week? Can your readers easily get the information in your book elsewhere?

I once told an author her one hundred page history book was overpriced. She replied, “What do you think my book is worth when I spent five years writing and working on it?” Obviously, she perceived her book’s value as high, but her readers, seeing a slim volume that won’t take long to read, may not see it as so valuable. Consider also the value of your reader’s time. Will your reader think it worthwhile to pay $9.99 for something that takes an hour to read? Perhaps time is more valuable than money to your reader so he won’t want to pay $9.99 for what he may perceive as ten hours of work reading your book but he would pay $2.99.

If you insist your book’s value warrants a higher price, you could be right, but you will need to convince your reader of that value through your marketing efforts.

What is the most and least you can charge for your e-book?

Never should you price your e-book over $9.99. While a few major publishers can get away with higher prices for best-selling authors, $9.99 is the limit for most of us because Amazon decided that $9.99 was the cut off for paying out higher royalties. Books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 will receive 70 percent royalties from Amazon, while those over will receive a lower royalty of 35 percent, meaning your $15.00 book will earn you only about $5.00 as opposed to $7.00 for your $9.99 priced book. I won’t speak to every e-book retailer’s pricing model here; you’ll want to look at them individually, but $9.99 is definitely the highest you should go.

The advantage to pricing high is more money per book, but it also means you will likely sell less books. That said, lower priced books might be seen as of less value-being from unknown authors, poorly written, or simply short. To me, anything priced under $2.99 I automatically think must be of lesser quality and that even the author doesn’t perceive its value as high.

If you’re an established author, a middle price of $3.00-$6.99 is reasonable for an e-book and probably will not dissuade most readers from buying your book. Only if you have a book the reader will perceive as having high value should you price it in the $7.00-$9.99 range. A book in that price range should have the value of information worth buying, or you should be a well-established author with a large following-meaning thousands of readers.

How many books do you want to sell?

If you price your book at $0.99, you’ll need to sell ten e-books to equal if you had priced it at $9.99. Possibly, the lower price will make your book attractive enough that you can sell ten times as many books, as if you had left the price at $9.99. If you can sell ten books at $0.99, wouldn’t you be better off because now you have ten readers more likely to read your future books so you can price those higher?

What does the competition charge?

Look up other books in your genre. If you’re a new romance author, what are other new romance authors charging? If you’re writing your third business book and your first one became recognized in the industry, you can probably afford to price your business e-book higher. Price at or slightly lower than the competition for books in the same genre or similar to yours. If a reader sees two books about Lady Jane Grey, and yours is a dollar lower, unless the other book appears to have more information, yours is the one likely to be bought.

Where are your readers buying their books?

While I doubt many of the e-book sellers out there are spending time comparing what you’re selling your e-book for at various online stores, you probably want to be fair in charging the same price across the board. That said, just because your book is at Amazon doesn’t mean that’s where your readers are going to buy it, so make sure you sell it at many sites-Barnes & Noble, Kobo (the Canadian e-book seller), and Google Play (where people with Android phones and tablets are buying). Are you selling to the twenty-year old who is likely to buy at Google Play or are you selling to senior citizens who might prefer to buy at Amazon, which is more familiar to them? Make sure your book is at all places and then price accordingly. Your twenty-year old is a college student with little money so $0.99 is a better price for him, but then most e-book sellers will want you to sell for the same price at all their stores.

Do you have more than one book, especially a series?

If you have more than one book, consider pricing one lower. If you’ve written a series, you might want to give away or price low the first book in the series to sell it. Then if you hook readers with it, they will want to read the rest of the series. If you’ve written multiple books but not a series, I recommend pricing the book you and other readers consider your very best book as the lowest because after all, you want your very best to be what people first experience so you give the best impression and win them over as future readers.

Could you serialize your book, or sell it in individual chapters?

Serialized books-especially novels-have been around for centuries, and recently, more and more authors have started to sell their books as chapters or short installments. If you’ve written a short book-up to fifty pages or so-and it works as a stand-alone piece, price it low, such as at $1.99, and then continue the series at the same price or slightly higher. The reader will be more likely to buy four books at that lower price, if he likes the first one, than buy one book for $7.96 when he isn’t sure he’ll like it, and you’ll still make $7.96 if he ends up buying all four.

How good are you at marketing your book?

Marketing is the bottom line. Whether you price high or low, just because you’ve written a book and made it an e-book doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it. Yes, someone might stumble upon it at an online bookstore and buy it, but if you make a true effort to market it, you’re going to sell more books. If you are good at marketing, you will be able to promote your book as having value and being entertaining, and then perhaps you can price it higher because of that perceived value and higher interest. If you’re not going to spend much time marketing, then price low so the lower prices can help to compensate for your lack of marketing efforts.

Don’t Be Left Behind

No hard rules exist for e-book pricing. Every author needs to determine what works best for his or her individual situation. Try pricing high, and if your books don’t sell, try pricing lower. Be aware of trends or reasons why your e-book might be more popular one month than another-if you’re writing about the American Revolution, you might sell more e-books in June and July around Independence Day than you will in February-so maybe you lower or raise the price accordingly at such times. Develop a strategy, stick with it for a few months, then reassess and readjust your prices accordingly. Whatever you do, remember that e-book sales are now starting to outpace printed book sales, so don’t be left behind by ignoring the e-book pricing question.

Strategies To Position Yourself As An Expert, Create Wealth And Fame Through Book Writing

Introduction
Books represent one of the most lucrative products you can develop to position yourself as an expert both on and offline, more so, online. Your book can get to the White House, Kremlin or Buckingham Palace, some of the most secured places in the planet, which you may not be able to get to. But a book is a low value product, selling at about $10 to $20 so you need to sell thousands of books to really make money. Here I’m talking about really good books, well researched and written with a good storyline. An average book rarely sells more than a few thousand copies so you need to put in your best effort to ensure your book makes it to the best seller list. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.

There are many schools of thought on how one should approach the issue of book writing. Should you write a book after you have achieved fame or write a book to achieve fame? I believe it’s an egg and chicken story. I strongly believe any person who has a story to tell should write a book to bring his or her story alive. Fame is secondary but it may as well follow if you pursue the right strategies before, during and after your book is published.

A book should be at the centre of your strategy to becoming an expert. With your book, you can launch courses, mount seminars, join the speaking circuit as a motivational speaker, turn your book into a film, turn it into several formats like eBook, and audio book. So writing a book is very pivotal to your quest to building an expert empire. Indeed the easiest, fastest and boldest way to position yourself as an expert is to write a book. If you look closely, the fame legendary personalities such as Tom Peters, Simon Sinek, and Peter Diamandis, to mention just three, have achieved was aided by their books. Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence (written with Bob Waterman) propelled him to stardom. So did Start With Why and Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Simon Sinek and Peter Diamandis respectively.

Why You Should Write a Book
As I indicated above, you don’t write a book to achieve fame. If you do it well, fame will come. You write a book to share a compelling message. John Kremer is a well known authority in the book business. He is the author of the best-selling book, 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. Here are his top 10 reasons why you should write a book:
1. Become an expert
2. Support a cause
3. Share a message
4. Change lives
5. Attract better customers
6. Build your list
7. Establish an institute
8. Build a tribe
9. Create wealth
10. Sell rights

There is no feeling more exhilarating than stumbling on the world’s most iconic airports, libraries, shops and websites and finding your book displayed alongside those of the planet’s most revered authors like Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferriss. Books capture our imagination. Emily Dickinson said “there is no frigate like a book”, and an unknown author said, “if you drop a book and three pounds of gold, pick the book first before the gold”, while Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “of all the things in this world, only two will have the greatest impact on your life, the books you read, and the people you meet.” Nothing else comes close to giving you inner peace and satisfaction that exceeds all understanding than a book. So get up and start writing your first book.

Writing Your Book
A book is basically a story about yourself, others, events, phenomena, situations and the like that you pick up the threads and convey to others in the most poignant way that instructs, informs, motivates, inspires, entertains and educates. A book is at the intersection of ideas, information and knowledge packaged as a story. You package your story by exploring questions such as the following, first suggested by Brendon Burchard, the best-selling author of several books, including The Charge, Life Golden Tickets, and The Millionaire Messenger:
• Who are you and what have you been through in life that others can relate to in their own life?”
• What have you overcome and how?
• What did you figure out along the way?
• What did you succeed at-what results did you get?
• What are you going to teach me that I can apply now to make my life better?

Arising from the above questions, Brendon suggests asking secondary questions that will enable you flesh out your ideas, such as:
• A story of struggle from my past that my audience might relate to is…
• Something I have overcome in my life that others might find inspiring or feel a connection with is…
• The main lessons I have learned from my journey include…
• Accomplishments and affiliations I have in my life that help further my credibility include…
• Lessons I can teach people that will help them in my topic area and their life situation include…

Your Keys to Success
John Locke, who sold 1 million eBooks within five months and then wrote a book about it suggests the following:
1. Have a plan
2. Know your target audience
3. Take a business approach
4. Use the right tools and use them properly

The Three Ps That Bring Your Plan Alive
According to Brendon Burchard, one of the top 100 most followed online trainers on Facebook, you need the following – without going into details:
• Positioning
• Packaging
• Promotion

Three Cs That Show You Are Out There Only For Your Audience
Brendon further recommends the following, again without going into details:
• Care
• Compassion
• Consistency

The Six Simple Steps to Writing Your Book
In my interaction with friends, BWC (Book Writing Clinic – which I founded) alumni members and a host of others, the top question that usually crops up is “where do I start?” Briefly you can follow this seven-step sequence:
• Step 1: Decide What You Wish To Write About
• Step 2: Decide The Title & Sub-title of your Book
• Step 3: Decide The Content
• Step 4: Research Your Book
• Step 5: Decide Who Will Write The Book
• Step 6: Write, Proof Read & Edit Your Book
• Step 7: Publish & Release Your Book To The World

The Six Sections of a Typical Book
A typical book will have the following sections but note that nothing is caste on stone:
1. Acknowledgement
2. Introduction
3. Foreword
4. Preface
5. Contents
6. Index

Six Simple Steps to Structuring the Book or the main contents
According to information from BWC alumni members, this is the section most would be authors struggle the most with. Indeed, other than a book, you can use this approach for any product. If you’re a beginner, it requires limiting your book to five or seven chapters. This is how it’s done. Pick a notebook and divide it into five or seven sections (corresponding to the number of chapters you wish to write) and write the section or chapter headings and then follow that up with the five points you wish to make per chapter. Then begin writing. As a beginner, it’s important you don’t stretch beyond five major points per chapter to avoid repeating yourself. If you follow the sequence above, your notebook will look something like this:
Chapter 1: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 2: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 3: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 4: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 5: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.

The Three-Step Formula To Writing Each Chapter and sub-headings
This is nothing more than the basic tool we use in every conceivable endeavour to generate ideas, which goes by the fearful name brainstorming. Brainstorming is a simple process for thinking about, listing ideas and grouping similar ideas together into buckets. This is how it is done:

Step 1: Draw a circle and write the main idea you wish to brainstorm on in the center of the circle, example, “how to cook mouthwatering coconut rice.”

Step 2: Write or list everything you know about coconut rice, with each idea sticking out from the circumference of the circle as legs. For coconut rice for instance, it will include rice, coconut, fish, and so on.

Step 3: Start brainstorming.

In reality, 5 – 7 people should participate in a typical brainstorming exercise. Follow brainstorming rules, which I suppose you know. If you don’t know read it up. Typically, avoid criticizing any idea, just keep bringing out the ideas no matter how outlandish. At this point we are looking at quantity, not the quality of ideas. The rule is, the more the ideas the better. After you have exhausted all the ideas, start eliminating repeated, unworkable and impracticable ideas, and then group related ideas into buckets. With your brainstormed ideas at hand, you’re ready to write your first book.

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Becoming an Expert Author
Book writing is a creative endeavour so the tendency as a beginner is to start doubting yourself. You start asking, what credentials do I have? You start fearing that people will laugh at you when your book comes at. My advice is to think of the opposites. Think of the applause you’ll get. Think of the new opportunities that will open up for you. Brendon Burchard, the founder of the now defunct Expert Industry Association, has the following advice for new writers trying to hammer out their first book. He says, don’t:
1. Let your inner critic take over.
2. Fail to keep your readers engaged.
3. Write and edit at the same time.
4. Forget to track your results.
5. Add too much irrelevant details.
6. Publish before you’re ready.
7. Stop learning when you know enough.

The Fastest Way to Get Your Book Published
As a beginner, your chances of landing an agent and getting you book published by one of the top three global publishers are slim. However, you can enlist Amazon’s vast resources to release your book to a global audience by using one or all of the following:
• Amazon Create Space (for physical books)
• Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) (for eBooks)
• Amazon ACX (for audio books)

Publish on Demand Service Providers Other Than Amazon
Other than Amazon, the following independent publishers will gladly publish your book for as low as $500 depending on the contract you choose:
• Author House
• Greenleaf Book Group Press
• Telemachus Press
• Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
• Trafford

Formats to Consider Other Than the Physical Book
To gain enough traction, you need to publish your book in a format that people can access anywhere in the world. Without going into details, here are the main formats:
• PDF
• Epub
• Mobi (Kindle)
• Audio Books
• Book Turned Into A Movie

Pricing Your Book
Pricing is one of the most difficult and tricky aspects of selling books. Book prices range from 99cents for eBooks to $25 for hard covers, with the average for paper backs being about $10. While the default price for Amazon eBooks is $2.99, on your website you can sell at any price, indeed, for as low as 99cents. As a self published author you control how you price your book but as a general rule of thumb, the cheaper your book, the more you’ll sell. Unless you have deep pockets and a huge marketing machinery to engage in massive promotion, my best advice is to price your book at a single digit.

Platforms to Market Your Book
Here are the platforms in order of accessibility and control for selling eBooks and audio books:
• Your website
• Amazon
• Audible
• Lulu
• Indie Books
• Goodreads
• CD Baby
• Sound Cloud
• iTunes

Your Book Marketing Strategies
If you recall, under the keys to success, we quoted John Locke as recommending, have a plan, know your target audience, take a business approach and use the right tools and use them properly. We also mentioned the three Ps that bring your plan alive as positioning, packaging and promotion. If you did you job well at the beginning, you’ll reap bountiful dividends. Your blog and your website should be the command posts or home bases to bring your book marketing strategies alive. The subsidiary channels will be your Facebook Page, Twitter Handle, LinkedIn Page, YouTube and Vimeo channels. All the channels should work to drive prospects to your website to buy your book and position you as an authority and an expert in your own neck of the wood.

Jeremy Jones in a blog post “How to Write and Publish a Book to Become a Bestselling Author in Less than 30 Days”, wrote, “Writing a book is the most powerful way imaginable to market and promote yourself. The big picture is that you can rapidly create content and be seen, read, and heard on any Internet-capable device anywhere in the world and be promoted by the biggest brands in the world, namely iTunes, Amazon, and Google.” Jeremy suggests:
1. Create your content only once by answering questions in the form of a livecast.
2. Capture the video and promote it through Google Hangouts or YouTube Live.
3. Take the same content and repurpose it into a podcast and post it on iTunes.
4. Take the same content and convert it into a book cast.

Conclusion
Start writing to impact the world. Tell the world your story today, tomorrow may be too late. What I have said may seem daunting for a beginner but it’s not. That’s why you need help. The specific or exact steps to execute the strategies and ideas I have highlighted are sadly outside the scope of this article. If you wish to learn more, enlist in my Expert Empire Program, Book Writing Clinic or book a direct coaching session with me and you will be on your way to writing your first book, which may become a New York Times best-seller. You will never know until you take the first bold step to write your book. Paul Sweeney once said, “you know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”