About Lucille Zimmerman

Lucille published a book about self-care with Abingdon Press. She and her husband are celebrating 27 years of marriage and are experiencing the "empty nest." She has a private counseling practice in Littleton, Colorado and teaches psychology courses at Colorado Christian University. On a typical day you will find her walking her dog Chipotle, reading, writing, and seeing clients. She loves good coffee, belly-laughter, fly-fishing, and Honey Nut Cheerios. www.LucilleZimmerman.com Twitter: LucilleZ

The Surprising Thing About Book Influencers

My first book is almost a reality. In fact, a box could show up on my doorstep any day.

This stage of the process is humbling because I have to rely on busy people to read and help promote my book. At this point, I reminded myself that I’m not only working to promote myself, but I’m also working for the publisher who put so much faith into my project. That makes it a little easier to do the asking.

Two weeks ago, my publisher’s marketing gal, Cat, asked me make a list of all the media people and influencers who would read and promote my book. Media people? I only know the PR guy at Focus on the Family and a baseball sports announcer.

iStock_000013189752XSmall

Cat said media and influencers can be anyone who has a large audience. That means bloggers, authors, and speakers.  With that being the case, it turns out I know a lot of influencer and media peeps.  So, I collected names and addresses and passed them on to my publisher. Now hard copies are on the way to their doorsteps, too.

So what have I learned that I can share with you? Authors shouldn’t just ask for help from friends. They should ask for help from strangers, and big-time famous people.

Why?

You will be amazed at who says yes (and who says no). When I put out the word, I had some interesting responses: Some of my friends said they were too busy but if I passed along a copy, they’d try to get to it. Another friend hasn’t responded at all. Conversely, famous people I never thought I’d hear back from said, “Sure, I’d be honored.” Others went above and beyond: “You bet, and why don’t you let me put your book in a giveaway at my retreat and I’ll write a special feature about you” or “Hey, I’ll mention you at this event.”

Even strangers can have a powerful impact on your sales. I read a few articles that said if you can find top reviewers from Amazon to read and review your book, it can boost your sales. Finding someone within the top 500 is considered a coup. So yesterday I sent out four inquiries to reviewers who are interested in my genre. Two top-50 reviewers responded, “Sure, send the book.”

Feel free to read the articles about Amazon Top Reviewers here:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/RNCWTLEMV71VM

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2012/09/16/get-amazon-book-reviews/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/16/amazon-top-customer-reviewers_n_878262.html

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/easy-tips-for-getting-more-amazon-reviews-now/

I guess the moral of the story is reach out to everyone, pray for the best, and don’t get hurt or upset when people say no. Lots of people will come out to support you.

If you’re a published author, how did you find people to promote your book? 

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A Top Tip for Getting Readers to Your Blog

Most authors realize they have a huge responsibility to market themselves. One way to do this is to create and write a blog. In this post, I’d like to share my best idea for getting your blog posts noticed.

iStock_000020504124XSmallGoogle Analytics helped me see what my most popular blog posts were in 2012. I predicted it might be the post I wrote for Michael Hyatt because he has several hundred thousand readers each month. I did get a lot of views, but not anywhere near the amount my top three posts received.

Here are my top three posts in regard to number of views:

Life Code by Dr. Phil – A book review

The Surprising Happiness Lessons Downton Abbey Teaches Us

Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know and Emotionally Focused Therapy

The mission statement of my blog is to offer help for hurting people. I also like to include  ideas related to physical, emotional, and spiritual selfcare since that is the focus of my soon-to-be-released book.

So what is it my three most popular posts have in common? In addition to offering help, they all deal with topics that are popular in mainstream media. Romans 12:2 tells us not to conform to the pattern of the world. However, we can use the culture to draw readers to our books and our blogs.

Life Code, written by Dr. Phil, is being published by his son’s publishing seo services company: Bird Street Books. (It is only available through their online bookstore at TheBookNook.com) The book tells you how to deal with users, abusers, and overall “bad guys” we all have in our lives. It also includes 16 tactics for winning in the real world. For the past month Dr. Phil has been featuring various aspects of this book on his daily talk show. So when people search for “Life Code,” my book review shows up.

Downton Abbey is a British period drama that first aired in the fall of 2010. The show depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants around the time of World War I. The series has received critical acclaim from television critics and won numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries. Now in its third season, Downton Abbey has become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world. I was able to tie my happiness ideas into aspects of the show.

In case you missed it, Gotye’s song, Somebody That I Used to Know, topped the US, UK, and Australian, as well as 23 other national charts, and reached the top 10 in more than 30 countries around the world. The song has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide, becoming one the best-selling digital singles of all time. The song is so popular there are several hundred re-mixes on Youtube. The video perfectly characterizes a couple who can’t connect, so I use that to talk about marriage counseling.

The secret to getting a lot of views on your blog is to find something that is a really hot topic and then try to conform your blog message around that topic. I’ve been getting about 200 readers a day, from all over the globe, for my review of Dr. Phil’s book.

Here are some tools for helping you figure out what is popular:

Online article: Ten Tools to Tell You What’s Hot

http://www.searchenginejournal.com/10-tools-to-tell-whats-hot-today-right-now-even/47886/

Goodreads List of Popular Books

http://www.goodreads.com/book/popular_by_date/2012

Top 100 Songs:

http://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100#/charts/hot-100

Goodreads Popular Book Lists

http://www.goodreads.com/list/popular_lists

 Most popular shows, celebrities, Movies, Videos

http://www.tvguide.com/top-tv-shows

Thomas Umstattd Jr just posted a really helpful video yesterday: 

12 Secrets of Excellent Blogs

What are some popular topics you’ve noticed lately? 

Ten Thoughts About the Book Endorsement Process

As a first-time author, I had no way of foreseeing each step along the way. If you’re a soon-to-be-published author, I hope some of my experiences will help you know what to expect when the time comes.

One question of particular interest for me was,

What will the endorsement process be like?

Endorsements show up on the back or front cover of your book, as a blurb from a well-known author or celebrity. Here’s what I can tell you now that I’ve moved into this part of having a book published:

  1. You should start making a list of who you would like to endorse your book way ahead of time. Begin collecting email addresses and mailing addresses. Your publisher will most likely want both. They’ll probably prefer sending out a digital copy of your book, but a few of my endorsers specifically requested a hard copy, and the publisher made accommodations for them.
  2. Don’t ask for names of people you admire. That’s not enough. You have to find well-known names that lots of people know and admire.
  3. Make sure the names you are hoping to get as endorsers share something in common with your book. e.g. You probably would not ask a self-help guru to endorse your fiction book.
  4. Consider local and international names. Don’t be afraid to reach big! I was surprised by the people who said yes to my request.
  5. Don’t be surprised if this is the scariest part of your book-publishing journey. There is something very humbling about asking famous people to read your book.
  6. Realize every publisher does things differently. My publisher wanted me to contact the potential endorsers first. Once I had the go ahead from the potential endorser, the book went out from the publisher, along with a letter. The letter contained instructions as well as a deadline.
  7. The most important piece of advice I learned was from Michael Hyatt in his book, Platform. Ask your “sure things” first. These are the one or two people with whom you’ve built a relationship, the ones you feel will most likely offer an endorsement. Once you have a yes from them, you can insert their names in the email to your next potential endorsers. No one wants to be the first to say yes to endorsing, but they’ll probably get excited once they recognize other potential endorsers’ names.
  8. Don’t ask for the endorsement. Ask if they’ll read your book and consider an endorsement.
  9. Don’t get discouraged by the no’s. Trust God knows who should and shouldn’t endorse your book.
  10. Pray for your potential endorsers. Pray they’ll have time in their schedules and that God would bless them for their generosity.

*Below I’ve posted an example of the letter I sent to my potential endorsers:

Hi So and So,

(Explain how you know them or their name)

The reason for this email is that I finally got my book written and it’s about to be published with Abingdon Press.
I’m tippy toeing in here, knowing how busy you are. I am wondering if you would consider reading and potentially endorsing my book?
Here are three people who have already said yes to reading and hopefully endorsing my work:
(List the people along with a short bio or web link) 
My book is about self care and includes all the ideas that helped me when I struggled emotionally while moving toward a degree in a counseling psychology program. I have chapters on the importance of solitude, boundaries, play, psychological counseling, authenticity, etc. My book is based on research but written to the lay person. Even though I researched and reworked it for seven years, it’s a quick easy read. Here is a link: http://www.lucillezimmerman.com/book/
Obviously, if you say yes to reading, you are not committing to an endorsement. I would only want that if you found something redemptive in the book.
Thank you for taking a moment to consider. If you do say yes, I just need your mailing address and the best email to send to my editor.
Warmly,
Lucille Zimmerman

How to Write a Non-Fiction Book

Seven years ago, I had so much I wanted to say. I began writing recklessly and randomly, telling my story in various ways.

Five years ago, my agent said people responded to my self-care ideas. My writing found a focus. I made “self-care” the hub.

Then I made a mindmap. Every idea branched off.

I read, I highlighted, I compiled lists and notes. I hoarded quotes and stories. I dreamed, I gazed, I thought, I prayed.

I researched. Not only books but scientific articles too.

Then I gave each chapter a home, inside a file, inside a box. I sorted my quotes, articles, and ideas and tucked them inside those files within the box.

I wrote chapters. I met with critique partners — we sharpened iron. Each new edit was placed into the file. It was a messy hodge podge.

We ate and drank, laughed and cried, and spurred each other on. No one does anything of value alone.

I piled everything into one document and sent it to my agent, who got it sold. A team of editors believed in what I’d written.

The first edit is done. (I love editors!) As of now, I have a title, but I can’t tell anyone until the board approves.

I’m not sure how the book finally gets finished. I don’t know what the cover will look like or when I get to write my acknowledgements, back cover, etc. I have much to learn, but you can be sure I’ll write another post telling you what happens.

Have you written a book? What was your process?

Your Book: Impacting the Final Product

I recently had a conversation with an editor at a medium-sized publishing house. She shared a few horror stories of difficult authors she has worked with over the years. Authors with giant egos and immoveable demands. Authors who argued and insisted they knew what was best.

I was quite stunned to hear this. Then I got sad and then a little mad. Isn’t it presumptuous to think that an author knows more than an entire team of experts at a publishing house?

There will always be times when an author must take control of some of the details of their own books and career. But authors of faith ought to consider a bit more of consistent humility during the publishing process. Here are a few reasons why:

1. The publisher is taking a risk, spending a great deal of money, and they want the book to succeed as much as you. I read one agent’s stats. Of the 2,000 proposals he looked at, he selected 20. Of those 20 selected I’m guessing a publisher bought 10. Publishers pour thousands of dollars into your book, usually more than $20,000 when it’s all said and done. They assign teams to consider titles, covers, fonts, layout, book length, back cover copy, catalogue copy, marketing and ad copy, etc. Your book endures several types of edits. Those of you who are published know it takes at least a solid year to edit, design, print, market and distribute a book, and the publisher is betting on you with the realization that only 10 to 20 percent of books earn back their advance.

2. Editors understand how important your book is. I recently read these comments from an editor:

When an author submits a text to an editor, the author has handed over a sacred object, one that has been countless hours in the construction, and into which the author has poured immeasurable amounts of his or her mind, body, and spirit. The author and everything he or she has put into a text becomes vulnerable to the suggestions, revisions, and deletions of the astute and discriminating editor. The author must trust the editor to do his or her job forthrightly, honestly, and in full awareness of personal biases and areas of intellectual and creative weakness.…. Manuscript in hand, the editor holds an object as precious as a newborn baby, and the posture he or she assumes is that of midwife, responsible for the nurture and health of the ideas to which an author has given birth.

3.  Editors are eager to change the culture together with you. They are for you, not against you. David Zimmerman, editor for InterVarsity Press, shares, 

On a good day I’m a midwife, holding authors’ hands and breathing anxious breaths alongside them, helping them through the arduous and emotionally wrenching work of bringing their gift to publication. I get to be a witness to the evolution of great ideas, to be the sounding board of audacious thoughts, to be the student of great undiscovered teachers. I get to celebrate countless milestones with authors, from the news of their book’s acceptance for publication to the signing of their contract to the registration of their book with the Library of Congress and the Copyright Office, to the book’s first printing, first sale, first review, first reprint. I even get to dole out money to authors, demonstrating the real material value of the thoughts in their heads.

4. God loathes pride. If you are a good writer, and I’m guessing you are if you’ve caught the eye of agents and editors, your gift comes from God. God crafted you with the ability to put words side by side in a way that causes people to think, cry, and laugh. Your gift impacts the world. The only response to that gift is gratitude.

Praying for your agent, editors, design team, publishing house, and readers is a much more productive way to control the outcome of your book. Trust that they want the same result as you.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

(James 4:10)

How has God asked you to demonstrate humility during the publishing process?

 

Using Pinterest to Pump Your Platform

Pinta-rest.

My 23-year-old daughter claims I say it wrong.

“Mom, it’s pin plus interest. It’s pronounced pin-trist, not pinta-rest.”

It’s an awkward name.

I’d been hearing about Pinterest for months but had no reason to learn how to pronounce it correctly. I didn’t have time for a silly little social media site where people look at photos of puppies, share recipes, and plan weddings.

But social media guru Ingrid Schneider told me it might be a good way to market my book. Surpisingly I got hooked.

Now I’m convinced every author should consider Pinterest as a potential marketing tool.

What is Pinterest? In simple terms, Pinterest is a virtual bulletin board. Instead of using words or tweets, people simply create bulletin boards and pin photos to the boards. Others stop by to see what they’ve pinned. If they like it they re-pin the images on their bulletin boards.

What makes Pinterest unique compared to other social media sites? First, Pinterest requires little effort. If you see an image you like, you click “re-pin” and tell it which bulletin board to go to. Another unique feature is that Pinterest lets you look for images by topic, in addition to people.

Is it really that popular? The site was created two years ago but has since witnessed phenomenal growth in the last six months. Check out these stats:

*In mid-December 2011, the total unique visits hit 11 million. As of February 7, 2012, when I wrote this article, Pinterest was gaining 11.7 million unique monthly visitors.

*Pinterest has 40 times the number of followers it did six months ago!

*Pinterest is one of the top 10 social media networking sites, driving more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined!

Pinterest blossomed in the middle of the country and its primary followers are women aged 25-44, although that is quickly changing. Men make up 20% of users. As companies see the advantages of putting their products on the site, demographics will surely change.

So is Pinterest The New Amazing Network? Chris Brogan says, “It will be for those who use it to build a relationship that goes beyond the pins. Any network is serviceable, if you learn to interact and help people satisfy their needs.

What are the ways people are using Pinterest?

*Retailers are posting images of their products. Pins contain websites that bring viewers back to the store’s website, leading to sales.

*Bloggers are putting images on Pinterest that link back to their blogs. Imagine how one cool image could go viral and share your blog’s link thousands of times!

Can you show me some examples of how people are using Pinterest to market things?

*Tourism –12 Reasons to Visit Buck’s County

*Since my own book won’t be released until March 2013, and I don’t have a title or cover, I’m promoting my counseling practice.

*Companies like Etsy, Nordstrom and Lands’ End are developing a presence on Pinterest. My friend Jim Simon pins his Koostik. Food bloggers showcase their best recipes. Tech reporters list their favorite gadgets.

So how might an author use Pinterest?

*Use it to create a story line or brainstorm ideas about characters, settings, time periods, costumes, architecture, themes, etc. I noticed author Chris Bohjalian started a board for his latest project.

*Upload images of your book cover and post it on a bulletin board of your favorite books. The people who started the site ask that you keep self-promotion to a minimum and be sure to give proper credit to your pictures.

So how do I get started?

Pinterest is an invitation only website, so you can ask someone who is currently a user to invite you, or ask for an invitation from the website.

Since I write about self care, I thought it would be important to remind you that you don’t have to interact with others on Pinterest and you don’t have to use it for marketing? Fellow WordServe author Katy McKenna has been caring for ailing parents for ten years. Here’s what she says:

Pinterest, in a weird way, is saving my life—and not just my creative life. Because I instantly got hooked, there were no longer enough hours in the day to keep up negative news. I get a kick out of scanning pics and finding those that remind me of the people, places, and things I’ve enjoyed over the years. Now I am thrilled with happiness if I spot on someone’s board a bouquet of roses in my favorite color combo—rust and purple. I am catching myself LOLing about silly stuff like I used to. JOY.

A few more links:

A beginner’s guide

Set up your author Pinterest profile in 10 easy steps

The power of the re-pin

21 must follow Pinterest users  

More tips for getting started

Making your website pinnable 

How to bring traffic to your blog using Pinterest

13 tips and tricks for cutting edge users

The ultimate guide to Pinterest

Everything you need to know about Pinterest

Why more men should join pinterest 

7 examples of brands that pop on Pinterest

56 ways to market your business on Pinterest

Are you using Pinterest to pump your platform? If so, how? If not, why?

7 Ways to Do Book Dedications

Ever since I imagined writing a book I imagined my dedication page. I’m not talking about the acknowledgements page where you thank everyone who ever helped you; I’m talking about that mostly blank page tucked in the beginning of a book, after the title page and publishing credits.

Many people give a clear dedication to a spouse for all his or her longsuffering, but some book dedications are cryptic — they proclaim a public thanks while alluding to stories more interesting than the book itself.

I am fascinated with the topic of book dedications because there is always a story behind the story. There’s a reason the author wrote the book in the first place, and there is often intrigue behind the dedication — a story or relationship we may never know. Here are seven examples of book dedictations:

Loving

A.A. Milne’s dedication to his wife in Winnie the Pooh:

To her – Hand in hand we come Christopher Robin and I, To lay this book in your lap. Say you’re surprised? Say you like it? Say it’s just what you wanted? Because it’s yours — because we love you.

Curious

Betty MacDonald to her sister in The Egg and I

To my sister, who always believed that I can do anything she puts her mind to.

Striving

John Steinbeck to his friend Pascal “Pat” Covici. As Steinbeck wrote Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters, he often mentioned the things he was tinkering with or building around the house. At one point, Pat asked Steinbeck to make him a box; Steinbeck joked that the only specification was that Pat shouldn’t be able to fit inside it. When Steinbeck finished East of Eden, he placed his 250,000 word manuscript into a mahogany box he had carved and sent it to Pat. The note he placed on top became the dedication page of the novel.

Dear Pat,
 You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, ‘Why don’t you make something for me?’ 
I asked you what you wanted, and you said, ‘A box.’ ‘What for?’ ‘To put things in.’ ‘What kind of things?’ ‘Whatever you have,’ you said.
 Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts – the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation.
 And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you.
 And still the box is not full.

Funny

Random blogger to actor Colin Firth in her future, hoped for book

Thanks for playing Mr. Darcy, and for wearing that white shirt in the lake scene.

Touching

J.K. Rowling to Sean PF Harris (the first of her friends to learn to drive and the first with whom she discussed her ambition to be a writer) in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

For Sean PF Harris, getaway driver and foul weather friend

Sentimental 

C. S. Lewis to his God-daughter Lucy Barfield (age 12 when he began the writing the book and age 15 when it was finally released) in The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

My dear Lucy, I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather

Predictable

Dave Cullen to those injured and killed in Columbine

For Rachel, Danny, Dave, Cassie, Steven, Corey, Kelly, Matthew, Daniel, Isaiah, John, Lauren, and Kyle. And for Patrick, for giving me hope.

What are some of your favorite book dedications? To whom will/did you dedicate your book? What will you say? How will you say it?