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    Review of THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE, PUBLISH, AND SELL YOUR BOOK by Patricia L. Fry (see her website)


    Sitting down and writing is exactly the wrong way to start your book project. According to Patricia L. Fry, the author is far better off starting with a book proposal. The book proposal serves as a roadmap to writing the book and a marketing tool. Equally importantly, Fry points out, the proposal can be an invaluable tool in creating focus for a book. Rather than vaguely hope that a book will reach "everyone," Fry reminds the author that a minority of Americans are readers at all, and that most of the readers specialize. Authors are far better off identifying target markets (e.g., 12-13 year-old girls rather than children), and also knowing how large those markets might be.

    Fry's book proposal is the first step in a two-step offering. The second is a marketing plan. Fry dismisses the comfortable idea that the publisher will do the work of marketing, arguing that most books will be sold by the author. Therefore, it's essential for both author and publisher that the author have a marketing plan for ensuring that those sales take place. Fry gives specific examples of things to avoid in the marketing plan (e.g., vague promises to hold conferences, book tours, etc.) and suggestions on how to be more specific.

    In the second third of the book, Fry turns to advice on writing and publication. With her own background in selfpublication, Fry provides plenty of information on the nuts and bolts of creating a publishing company, soliciting printer services, purchasing ISBN blocks, and pricing the final product. Nonfiction writers, in particular, are likely to find her suggestions helpful as she discusses ways of stepping outside of the bookstore to find additional venues for the self-published book.

    In the final third of the book, Fry turns to promotion. As she correctly points out, many authors are introverts by nature. Unfortunately, writing a good book is only the first (although worthwhile) step toward success. Without effective promotion, books will languish unsold in the author's spare bedroom or in the warehouse of the publisher.

    I found Fry's discussion of the book proposal and marketing plan to be invaluable. Although most of Fry's examples come from the non-fiction world of her own background, the basic concepts and requirements of a good proposal are identical in fiction. Similarly, every publishing company, including even the largest, would welcome a focused, specific, and achievable marketing plan as described by Fry. The publicity sections also provided plenty of useful information, but were a bit more general (and thus less helpful to the writer) than were the sections on the proposal and marketing plan.

    Any writer who's contemplating self-publishing for a nonfiction book would do well to get their hands on a copy of Patricia L. Fry's THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE, PUBLISH AND SELL YOUR BOOK. Even readers who intend to go with traditional, royalty-paying publishers will find plenty of value in Fry's guide.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 7/15/06

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