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annehart

annehart

Simplify your writing

— feeling smile

 

Book and photo by Anne Hart.

 

Even novels, stories, poems, and lyrics can be step-by-step guide books in a sense that help readers to make decisions and choices easier to figure out, follow, and/or transcend. Do publishers look for creative writing that focuses on simplifying to make the story clearer, less complex, and easier to imagine walking in the 'shoes' of the main characters -- or steering clear of the choices your characters act upon in the story?

 

Do editors seek stories of commitment, putting bread on the table, keeping family together, and pulling your own weight or at least doing your share of pitching-in to make life and the story along with each character's choices easier to follow? Does writing sell more, appeal more to readers when values emphasized are universal, events everyone goes through at different stages of life?

 

Help people celebrate significant experiences. Interview, transcribe, organize, edit, write, and publish a personal memoirs or business history book, booklet, or pamphlet. Or include with the book a sleeve containing a CD or DVD disk on the inside back page. That disk would contain the same material as the text portion of the book, but as a narrated audio or video ‘book.’

 

When children grow, up they’d love to see great grandma on video, hear her voice narrate her own life story’s highlights, and discuss the times and scenes from her past. The paperback or hard cover book would contain the same material that easily can be read without technology.

 

 Here’s how to start. Your first step is to offer potential clients unique, individual, customized books or booklets. The type of books you would write and publish would be memoirs and gift books. To operate your business, you’d need to hire as independent contractors interviewers to interview clients in a variety of cities nationally or around the world. 

 

You’d not only write the book, but also arrange any photos or other graphics, publish the books, and send finished, bound copies of the book or booklet to your clients. Your client would pay for a fixed number of copies of this book, enough to be both affordable for the client and profitable for you. On the average, you’d write and publish about 25 books per year, with the help of freelance writers or a team of writers working as independent contracts on assignment.

 

The type of book you’d write mainly would emphasize personal stories. They would be personal books that come out of journals and celebrations, life stories, business histories, tributes, and appreciation material. To begin, divide your categories into these main topics:

 

Personal Celebration Books

 

Quincinera (Hispanic 15th birthday party)

Start of teenage years

End of teenage years

Reaching 21

Military Service

Life stories/memoirs
child’s memories
Pregnancy Diary
Travel tips and memorabilia/Travel Guides

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Celebrations

Ethnic Rites of Passage

Confirmations

Ordinations

War experiences

Immigration stories—the journey and life in the new country

Bilingual life stories in family’s original language with English translation section of same information

Moving stories—relocation, new house.

Surviving an illness and healing journal

Diet success story “How I lost weight and kept it off.”

Memoirs and photos at various stages of life—how a person changed every seven years

High school journal

Religious experiences

Inspirational journey

Motivational testimony

Diaries

Wills/Testaments

Eulogies

Childbirth experience/Bringing home baby

Adoption stories/open adoptions

Leisure life

Retirement

Selling the large house and moving to smaller quarters

Transition to assisted living

Volunteer experiences: documenting acts of kindness

 

Relationship Books

 

Anniversaries

Adoptive child meets birth parents after decades

Dating history gift books
Engagements/Betrothals
Wedding stories
Wedding gifts and favors
Couple’s life stories together
Family histories

Genealogies

DNA reports linking families
Commemorative Occasions
Friendships
Reunions

Divorce journal of details

Battered spouse detail and dates of incidents journal

Events book

Religious conversion explanations to children

Partnership unions

Pet’s journey through Life

Dog weddings

New pets introduced to older pets in the household

Merging of families—man with three children marries woman with three children

Extended family histories

Friends for 50+ years

Several couples buying one vacation home together

 

Gift Books

Children’s letters

Lessons Learned from Life (celebrity interviews)

How to Make the Most of What You Have

Exercise or dance lessons

Scholarship(s) or Fellowships won

Haiku poems

Report cards from past generations

Original designs or writings preserved for future generations/keepsake albums

Jokes (original, not copyrighted by anyone else other than your client)

Personalized children’s books—a story book bearing the name and photos of each child. This can be a universal novelette, novel, or story featuring the child.

Travel stories and events with details

School year books with a twist—customization and details

Valentine’s Day, for each year for many years, or one specific event—first Valentine’s day before the wedding.

Bridal showers

Baby showers

Baby naming book or baby naming event

Building a house

Book of thank you notes for an event, gift, or celebration

Pet showers (new dog or cat shower)

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Confirmation

Baptism

Conversion

Christmas gatherings over the decades

Recipes/cookbooks preserved from generation to generation (original)

Hanukah, Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah memories and other holiday gatherings

Ramadan

Holidays of feasting with family book with details gathered over many decades as memoirs of events.

Birthdays

Weddings

Mother’s Day

Father’s Day

Children’s Day

Grandparent’s Day

Cousins’ Books

Special Anniversaries

New Home/housewarming

New Boat/Yacht

First Apartment

College Graduation

Age-related celebrations

21st Birthday

100th Birthday gift book

Cruise memories

Bon Voyage

Welcoming newcomer books

Life stories of uncles and aunts as gifts to nieces and nephews or cousins

Novel for children or other age groups and genres

Plays or skits and monologues based on real-life stories or memoirs

Poems

Songs with lyrics

Interviews

Letters collected

Change of Name

Passing driver’s license exam and getting one’s first car

Born Again Spiritual Theme

Marking each stage of life transition

Timeshare stories

Room mates/Sharing a household

 

Business Books

 

Grand openings

Success stories/case histories media book

Switching brands—why customers switched to your product

Promotions

Elections/Politicians in Office

News Clipping Collection on a Theme Gift Book

Authors’ Media Tours Gift Books

Case histories

Entertainment/Music/Theatrical

Tour Guides/travel tips/restaurant guide

Opera

Dining and Restaurants for each city

Walking Tours/Guided Tours

Museums

Galleries

Outdoor Theme parks

Local museums

Camp grounds

State Fairs

National Weeks Celebrating a Theme

Mothers Day

Children’s Day

Fathers Day

Grandparents Day

Clubs/national associations

Ethnic Themes

Historical neighborhoods/homes

Video/Virtual Reality theme parks

Volunteers’ work book of thanks and gratitude

Professionals such as dentists and doctors or hospitals—commemoration or thanks to staff.

Wedding chapel history/church history

Solving problems and getting results case histories

Branding

Retirement parties and retirement stories, tributes, or histories

Corporate roast with jokes and standup comedy routines
Appreciation book from clients, customers, employer, or employees

‘Why’ customers switched to your product book of step-by-step details that potential clients can follow to solve problems and get results.

Professional associations’ events

Conventions

Public speaker’s experiences

Inventory

Political views of family members

Campaigning

Public Relations

Video news releases with similar material in paperback print as text

Courses or other instruction, tips, and strategies or techniques (how-to)

Employee’s suggestions from suggestion box saved for many decades

Inventions

New license to practice a profession

First job

Contest or competition winner

Sports achievement

Award/Hall of Fame/Historical sites/Museums/Galleries

Activities after retirement

Motivational speakers

Instructional/Educational Gift Books

Literacy Tools and Photos

Restaurant Guides with Price Ranges

Fundraising

Non-profit agencies work overseas documented

Computer camp or drama camp experiences remembered

Author’s creative salon with book reviews or poetry and photos

 

Target Market

 

            Look for turning points, unique significant events, and highlights. Examples could be rites of passage and grand openings, graduations, or the start or finish of major life events. Journals and diaries may be turned into customized books. The major events would pertain to individuals and businesses, schools and organizations. Any situation that has a measurable life span, rite of passage, celebration or ritual may be turned into a book of memoirs.

 

            Clients would ask for a variety of different-sized books or booklets and pamphlets. The length of the book as well as the number of words and pages would differ. The emphasis is on details to share or real-life stories. Each book would be sold as a gift. Customers could order a set number of books.

 

You keep the master copy on disk and backed up in a disk drive or put on a CD or DVD. You can offer the book in print, as a print-on-demand book saved also in your computer and if you want to add voice narration, also as an audio book and/or narrated video using photos, images, video clips, and memorabilia recorded. You could include DNA-driven genealogy reports, maps, graphics, and interpretations in plain language. Back up any files for storage as master copies. Relatives and friends may order additional copies.

 

If your client is of interest in the public arena, the book also could sell as a published work. Make sure the book is copyrighted in your name and that you have all the publishing rights to the work which is based on interviews with your clients or video and audio recording your clients.

 

The reason the book is copyrighted by you as a business and not by the client is that you’re doing the writing and publishing. The client is being interviewed by phone and recorded in audio and/or video. From this information, you are transcribing the life story or business history. Then you are editing it for grammar and spelling. You are organizing the book so that similar topics are grouped together. Then you are changing the files of what you typed as a document into a PDF file that will be transformed into a print-on-demand book.

You are designing the cover which would be given free to the client using either art work or photos supplied by the client or your own graphic designs.

 

You can do this yourself or hire a graphic designer to design all your book covers. This artist as an independent contractor would work for a fee per book cover. Or you could ask for art work or photos saved at 300 dpi as a .tiff file, with CMYK color, for example using PhotoShop software. The books could vary in size or stay a basic 6 by 9 inches. Art work for the cover would be saved on a CD and mailed to you as a 6 by 9 inch file saved at 300 dpi as a .tiff file.

 

For all this work, you’d charge a fee that would cover writing, editing, and publishing. Production work includes designing the cover, shipping and handling, and printing on demand several authors’ copies. The client would pay for as many copies as the individual ordered. Finally, you’d display the book’s cover and marketing information on a Web site for the client or save it to a CD and send to the client so that the client has a copy of the book in paperback, on a CD, and saved as a Web site on a CD. It’s up to the client whether to upload information about the book to a personal Web site.

 

          You could host the Web site with the book information or catalogue, or the book can be entirely private and sent only to the client to distribute to family and friends or employees. Some books would be private, such as a child’s story. Parents wouldn’t want their child’s name and image outside of the family.

Businesses touting success stories and histories may want a book or pamphlet circulated among employees and prospective clients. How the book is presented depends upon the client’s needs and preferences.

            Sharing meaning defines ‘communication.’ What you are doing is bringing to life family histories, life stories, journals, or successful business experiences. Memoirs can be presented in print or as audio and video recordings or all together.

For example, present the book in text on acid-free paper, then include a pocket or flap envelope pasted to the inner cover of the book or pamphlet containing a CD or DVD that has a video and/or audio narration with graphics such as photos as memorabilia. This three-way enhancement of a life story or business case history/success story offers reading, viewing, and listening that can extend far into the future for generations. 

 

Publishers who buy a book or any other item on its buzz value are buying simplicity. It is simplicity that sells and nothing else but simplicity. This is true for computers, MP3 players, books, or items that have to be assembled by the buyer. Simplicity sells in instructional manuals and in how-to kits.  It's good storytelling to say it simply. People want user-friendly gadgets, stories, and information.

Simplicity means what you have to offer gives your customer all the answers that everyone looks for in exotic places, but finds close by. What's the great proverb that sells anything to anyone? It’s to stand on your own two feet and put bread on your own table for your family.

What’s your client’s life story slogan or main message? Is it about living on less and enjoying it more? Or is it about “you get what you pay for?” What is the most important moral point in a life story? Is it about telling each person to pull his own weight? Pulling your own weight is a buzz word that sells any product or practical, concrete application of an abstract idea that teaches and reaches through simplicity.

The backbone of the media emphasizes the values of simplicity, morals and faith (or trust). These are universal values. Doing the best to take care of your family sells. That’s the buzz appeal you need to emphasize.

Consumers and publishers go through fads every two years--angel books, managing techniques books, computer home-based business books, novels about ancient historical characters or tribes, science fiction, children's programming. The genres shift emphasis, but values are consistent in the bestselling books, toys, and any other product.

You need to offer simplicity, values, morals, and commitment in whatever you want to share to make a living. Look at trends. To live on less and have more, find the highways to simplicity. Target those values. Emphasize commitment.

Buzz is universal, but you need national press to get publishers bidding. National press gives you credibility in the eyes of major publishers. The world is impressed by front page coverage in The Wall Street Journal because of what it symbolizes--stability, dependability, security, centeredness.

               Find a newspaper article that relates to what information you want to share. Write to the reporter covering the feature. Query to see whether there is an interest in your story or feature. Make sure you have a new angle on your project. Does your item emphasize universal values, morals, simplicity, and commitment?

 

               Does it span real history in a way that reads and works well? Quality is the most important trait. Visibility and credibility give your product momentum. Buzz appeal gives momentum to the practical application of your idea. Universal values and simple lifestyles sell each time they solve problems, give results, and offer benefits with balance.

 

         Take drop-ship products from a company at no cost to you. Sell the products online, on eBay, for example. The products are stored in the company’s warehouse, not in your home. You could have the company mail the product directly to the customer after you collect the payment, take your share or commission, and notify the company of the sale and customer’s shipping address.