Author Strategies

Book Publishing FAQs

In last week’s blog, I answered several FAQs concerning book writing.  This blog covers FAQs concerning book publication.

1. After my book is written, what comes next?  

Answer:  There are several steps needed before your book can be published.  The three main steps are:

  • Editing and proofreading
  • Book layout design
  • Book cover design

After these are done, the publication process can begin.  You’ll need to have created your meta data (e.g., the price you want to charge for your eBook and print book, and your book description).  You should review the digital proof of your book and after you determine that it looks OK, you should order a print proof. Once you sign off on the print proof, you can approve your book for publication and it will be live within 5 business days.

2. How long will it take from the time my book is written until it is published?  

Answer:  The timeline depends on a number of factors.  Key among them is your ability to turn around drafts.  When you get an edited draft of your book, will you review it right away or will it take you some time to get to it?  How many rounds of review are you asking for from your editor, book layout and cover designer? Also, how long is your book?  Editing and proofreading take twice as much time for a 100 page book as for a 50 pager. On average, SkillBites is able to perform editing, book layout, cover design, formatting and publication of a 50 page book in 4 to 5 months, when the author is able to review drafts and provide feedback and responses quickly, within 3 days from getting a draft or inquiry.

3. Should I create an eBook, a print book or both?

Answer:  I recommend that you create both an eBook and a print book.  With an eBook, it is easy to send the eBook file to a prospect or colleague, and it’s free.  You can also use the eBook as an opt-in on your website, to help you build a list of prospects.  With the growth of e-readers, many people prefer reading on a tablet, where you can increase the font size, and you don’t have to carry around the books that you want to read.  However, the majority of readers still prefer print books. Unlike eBooks, people can take notes in print books. Also, when you hand a hot prospect your paperback book, it is much more powerful than sending them the eBook file.

4. How much should I expect to spend on publishing my book?  

Answer:  The cost depends on many variables. A short book will cost less than a long book.  If an illustrator is needed to create illustrations for the book, that will cost more than a book with stock images or no images.  A book printed in color will cost more than one in black and white. The cost also depends on what you decide to do yourself and what you choose to outsource to others. You can do it all yourself, but of course it will take quite a bit of your time, you’ll probably become frustrated when things don’t work the way you think they should, and you may not get the quality you desire.   The average SkillBites customer who has written a 50 page book and hires SkillBites to provide editing, book layout, basic cover design, formatting and publication on Amazon as an eBook and print book, spends roughly $2500.

5. How do I find a publisher?  

Answer:  Finding a traditional publisher is hard.  You need to write a lengthy proposal, and you can anticipate a lot of rejections.  Publishers are looking for authors with a blockbuster book, a large following and a strong marketing plan.  It’s rare that they accept a new author unless the author can show great promise of selling a lot of books. That being said, you can read the acknowledgement section in books in your industry, and you’ll often find an agent or publisher listed there that you can contact.  If you want to get your book published quickly, you can either self-publish or utilize a hybrid publisher such as SkillBites to manage the publication process for you.

6. What kind of royalties can I expect from my book?  

Answer:  From a traditional publisher, you can expect to receive somewhere between 5% and 20%.  From SkillBites, you would receive 75% of the net revenue with most of our packages. So if SkillBites has published your book on Amazon for $20, Amazon will take out its share, and you’ll receive 75% of the amount paid to SkillBites, which will yield to you about $7. Keep in mind that you can make much more from leveraging your book to get more customers buying your services and products than you can from the sales revenue from the book itself.

Do you have questions on book publishing that you want answered?  Email me at and I’ll get back to you with my answer.


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Book Writing FAQs

In this blog and the next 2, I will answer some of the frequently asked questions I get on writing, publishing and marketing a book.  This blog covers FAQs on book writing.

1. How long should my book be?

Answer:  Your book should be as long as it needs to be to get your message across.  That could be 30 pages or 300 pages or longer. Keep in mind that most people don’t read 300 page books any more, particularly non-fiction books.  In fact, the average reader gets through just 18 pages of a non-fiction book before putting it down and not getting back to it; so if you write a short book with the most important information on your topic, your readers will appreciate it.  Besides, if your main purpose is to use your book to get people to recognize your expertise, then a short book is fine.

2. How many words do I need to write for a 100 page book?

Answer:  The number of words you need to write depends on several factors, including the dimensions of the book, as well as the size of the margins, the type and size of the font and the quantity and size of any images, graphs or charts in the book.  A common size for books is 6” x 9”. There are about 250 – 300 words/page using normal margins and font, and no images. So a 50 page book in 6” x 9” without pictures is about 12,500 – 15,000 words, and a 100 page book is roughly 30,000 words.  

3. What if there are lots of other books on my topic?

Answer:  The fact that there are lots of other books on your topic is actually a good sign – it means there is lots of interest in your topic.  How many weight loss books are there out there? And yet there’s always room for more. Most of the information in books is available on the internet for free anyway, so why would anyone buy a book when they can get the information for free?  Because it can take hours to find good quality free information, and information in a book is perceived to be good quality. In addition, books are generally well organized, provide guidance and action steps toward overcoming whatever it is that the book talks about and thus save time, energy, effort and money for the reader.

4. How do you find the time to write a book?

Answer:  This is one of the biggest issues for business owners and professionals who are already overburdened with work.  There are three key steps to finding the time to write a book. The first is determine whether your book is truly a high priority for you. If so, then you’ll make it happen; if it’s not, then you’ll find other issues taking up your time, and you’ll lose interest.  The second step is to understand why it is important for you. When you know your why, it will help you evaluate whether to work on your book or do something else that has come up. The third step is to create a plan for getting your book done. The plan would identify when and for how long you will write, where, when you will be done with the writing, etc.  You need to schedule the time just as if you were scheduling an important meeting, and keep to your schedule unless issues of greater priority intervene. If you can carve out even as little as 15 minutes per day, you can make progress.

5. How do I find a topic that my audience would be interested in reading?

Answer:  I have a 5-step process for this.  Basically, you want to identify a topic that solves a problem that your target audience faces.  It doesn’t have to be entertaining. Provide value: save money, save time; make things easier, get over a hurdle; reduce aggravation or pain; increase revenue; obtain some other benefit.  Once you’ve identified the topic you want to write on, you should confirm interest in that topic. You can do that by conducting a survey, or hold a focus group, or reach out on social media.  You can also do market research on Amazon or Google, or on blog posts and YouTube videos.

6. How long does it typically take to write a book?

Answer:  That depends on many factors, such as

     ✔️ the length of the book you are writing,

     ✔️ the amount of time you devote to it,  

     ✔️ how much material you have already created on the topic of your book that you can incorporate into your book,

     ✔️ how clear you are on your topic and how much research you need to do, and

     ✔️ whether you will do the writing yourself or hire a ghostwriter.

If you are writing a short book (50 pages) yourself, you are clear on the topic, and you don’t need to do any research, then if you can spend roughly 5 hours/week, you can get your book written in about 2 to 3 months.  That does not include the time for editing and other post-manuscript services, but is a ballpark timeframe for the writing of a first draft of a short book.

Do you have questions on book writing that you want answered?  Email me at and I’ll get back to you with my answer.


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Narrate Your Own Audiobook

Audiobooks are becoming more popular with over 20% of book consumers stating a preference for listening to a book rather than reading one.  If you’ve ever thought about narrating your own book, you would do well to listen to the July 2018 SkillBites Show. Gabriella Cavallero was our guest this month, and as the narrator of over 900 audiobooks, she had some key tips to share about narrating an audiobook.

Gabriella is a lead voice and presentation coach at Articulate: Real&Clear.  She has over 25 years’ experience as a professional actor, teacher, director, voice and dialect coach.

Some of the tips that Gabriella shared include:

– Knowing how to breathe properly is key to communicating authentically. You want to have a full, present, supported voice.

– Learn how to use a microphone properly – make sure you’re not picking up background or environmental noise which will interfere with the recording; avoid breath and mouth noises; and know how modulate your tone based on the distance from the mic and how to keep a steady distance in relationship to the microphone, especially during a long recording session.

– Narrating well involves acting skills such as being able to sound like you are speaking naturally rather than reading written language; speaking without stumbling; knowing when to take breaths and how to take breaths as inaudibly as possible; and knowing when meaningful pauses are effective.  Varying your voice in tone, inflection, resonance, and tempo not only when you have many characters but also in the narrative (non-dialogue) sections of the audiobook is key to being understood and keeping your audience engaged.

– Preparation is critical. You can save a lot of time by doing the homework before you get into the recording session.  You need to be clear about what you want the reader to get out of the book. Marking the text ahead of time is essential, e.g., underlining the words/points you want to stress or lift up for the listener, and notating where you need a definite tone change at the beginning of a new paragraph or section. For books with multiple characters, you also want to mark the varied voice choices you’ll make so the listener has no trouble distinguishing between characters.

– Be consistent in your accents/dialects and vocal choices for your characters.

– Good physical alignment helps you have the fullest vocal quality.  You need to sit or stand with a straight spine with your head over the trunk of your body for optimal breath support.

– You need to maintain an even level of energy.  If you find your energy ebbing, take a break, move around, do a few stretches, and stay hydrated.

– Do a sample narration and listen to it.  Do you like what you sound like? Is there sufficient variation of pace, range, rhythm and tone?  Do you emphasize the right points and pause at appropriate places? Do you hear any breaths or lip smacking?

– Think about whether you ought to hire a professional/s. You want to create a high quality product.  Even if you have a good voice, it may be more expensive in the long run to narrate the work yourself. Creating the best quality, professional audiobook takes a team of people. An engineer who know how to work the recording equipment optimally and be listening for consistency, a coach or director who can be your ears during the process and get the best “reading” you can give, and an editor to do the review and edits before you send the audiobook out into the world can be the difference between an “okay” audiobook and a brilliant one.

For more information on Articulate:  Real&Clear, visit the website  To reach Gabriella, email her at


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Should you try Facebook ads?

If you are curious about whether Facebook ads would be a good way to go for your business or to promote your book, then read on. In this month’s SkillBites Show, Julie Friedman Bacchini discussed the power of Facebook ads and provided some pointers to running an effective Facebook campaign.

Julie is the owner of Neptune Moon, a digital marketing firm that she founded almost 19 years ago, at the inception of digital marketing. She began her talk by distinguishing Facebook ads from Google ads. When you do a Facebook ad campaign, it’s more like having an ad in a magazine. People reading the magazine will gain awareness of your product or service by seeing your ad, but they may not be interested in purchasing at that moment. Google ads are tied in with what people are searching on, so there is a more direct correlation with their interest in buying something similar to what you are offering. If your main objective to increase awareness, then Facebook ads can be a good tactic to try. Moreover, with the terrific targeting capability of Facebook, you can place your ad in front of your ideal audience, the very people you want to be aware of your product or service.

With Facebook, you have two main options: you can create an ad that consists of text and an image or carousel of images, that appears on the news feed, or on Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) or in Facebook Messenger; or you can boost posts, such as when you want people to be aware of a sale you are holding, or an event you are hosting. For both of these options, it is critical to have defined who you want the ad or post to be seen by. Facebook offers considerable granularity for your selection – demographic information such as age, income level and geographic region as well as interests, family, pet ownership, etc. You can also use Facebook’s Look Alike feature, and ask Facebook to find people who have similar background to the people you identify, either to include those people or to exclude them.

You also want to determine how long you want the campaign to run and how much you want to spend. You can set a budget of how much per day or how much for the duration of the campaign, and that can be as low as $5 or $10. For budgetary purposes, Julie recommends a minimum of a three month campaign with $500 per month. Anything less than that will not give you the data to determine whether the campaign is effective for you.

In that regard, you definitely want to track how well the campaign is working, which you can do by putting Facebook pixels or URL tag on the landing page that people who click on your ad are going to. Then you can use Google analytics to compare how long they are spending on your landing page, what other pages they are visiting and whether they are buying your services or products more frequently than people who are coming to your site other than from the ad.

Julie advised that Facebook users respond much better to visuals than text. You’ll want to have several images picked out so that you don’t run the same ad images and have people get bored with your ad. You can also use video in ads, and not just static images.

In addition, you must make sure the landing page or website you are sending people to is fast and mobile responsive. It won’t help you at all if people abandon your site before they get there because it is too slow to load. And when people come from a Facebook ad, it will be slower than when they come directly to your site, so keep that in mind.

For more information on Facebook ad campaigns, you can visit Julie’s website,, or communicate with her via Twitter (@neptunemoon) or LinkedIn.


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Need Leads?

One of the hardest parts of running a business is maintaining a steady flow of prospects and customers. It can take a lot of time and effort to connect with enough of the right people to achieve that steady flow, which may not be what the business owner wants to be doing. Rick Itzkowich, the guest on this month’s SkillBites Show, has developed a system that makes it easier and quicker to generate leads and convert prospects to customers. Rick is a Vistage Chair, a successful millionaire entrepreneur, speaker and author of The Referral Playbook: How to Increase Sales with Proven Networking Strategies. Rick is also a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and recognized Forbes CommunityVoice™ Contributor, he speaks 5 languages and he plays on a nationally ranked tournament baseball team.

Rick’s system consists of a combination of online networking using LinkedIn, and other sites, as well as offline networking. He has found that LinkedIn represents the shortest route from people you know to people you want to get introduced to. To get those introductions, you need to:

  • Develop a relationship with the person you are seeking an introduction from, and to do that, you need to provide value, such as sharing their social media posts, connecting them to others in their target audience and sending them information that is relevant to them;
  • Make it easy for them to make the introduction, such as by providing text about what you do; and
  • Follow up and stay top of mind, so that when they are ready to buy they think of you.
  • Rick shared a number of tools he uses to make it easier and quicker to provide value, such as ActiveWords, where you can use a single key word that will trigger longer text to appear. For instance, if you want to thank someone for inviting you to connect on LinkedIn and to offer them a gift (providing value), you could draft the text once and assign the word ‘gift’ to the text, so when you want to respond to someone’s LinkedIn invitation, you type the word ‘gift’ and the full message appears.

    Another tool he uses is QuoteActions. This sends an inspiring, motivational quote which includes his contact information, helping him provide value and stay top of mind.

    Another tool is If you find out that someone is interested in golf, for example, you include that information in the person’s profile on, and will scour the internet to find articles and videos about golf that you can send the person.

    The tips shared in this post consist of less than a third of what Rick shared on the SkillBites Show. To hear the entire interview, click here. Rick provides significantly more tips and tools in his impending book, The Referral Playbook. To receive notice when the book is published, as well as to receive Rick’s guide, “How to Monetize LinkedIn in 10 Minutes Per Day,” go to Rick encourages you to connect with him on LinkedIn, or email him at or, so he can develop a relationship and determine how best to provide value to you.


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