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NON-Fiction Writing/Publishing

Jason_MI

New Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
106
8
15
Kimber didn't seem to like my responses on her thread, so I thought I'd start a new one. :)

I originally posted this on her thread:
For non-fiction writing, even in an industry rife with unintelligence such as construction, I've noticed over the years that several people, some of whom I know, have gone from being hammer-swingers to authors.

Most followed a fairly simple path:
1. They took part in online forums and organizations, which is where they started their reputations. Posters on The Journal of Light Construction and Fine Homebuilding, for instance; the two most professional sites, really became well-known and networked.
2. They began publishing small articles in one of those magazines, or in dozens of the offshoots. Some even got involved in the big educational/trade shows where they put on classes, demonstrations, etc.
3. Once they began with these small items, many of them moved totally into a secondary tier of construction; consulting, business owners, authors. Yes, they were still working, but their work went from physical to management. From there, some even began controlling the businesses as an outside entity. Think it doesn't work? Think of Pulte Homes; one of the largest homebuilders in the country. He's sitting on an island somewhere sipping a beer, not swinging a hammer in the Las Vegas sun.

And to me, one of the most important aspects they appear to never have lost:
They always kept networking, and much of it free or tax-deductible. Forums, mag articles, opinion letters, trade fairs.
They always controlled their online personas towards their goals; no rantings, no attacks, no wandering off into mindless surfing.

Authorship, no matter how small, really can lead to something, as long as it's focused.

I'll start there and add some more thoughts (and questions), later when I get a chance.
 

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kimberland

Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
825
120
38
www.businessromance.com
Jason, you're killing me!
I loved your responses.
I printed them out
and carry them with me everywhere.
When I'm feeling a little blue,
I look at them and find the strength to go on...

But seriously,
I simply didn't want to steal MJ's Non Fiction thunder
(as compared to my imaginary thunder,
thunder that doesn't really exist
but could possibly exist somewhere
... or not, pending on the fiction you write).
 

Jason_MI

New Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
106
8
15
I ain't tellin' you about the fiction I write.

Anyhow; here's a question....how much research do you think should be done in investigating non-fiction writing. For instance, the project I'm working on now involves spreadsheets and Project templates that I developed over the years for homebuilding. Most large-scale homebuilders (e.g., Toll Brothers), have their own software systems, most other builders just have a lassiez-faire approach, but some builders, notably owner-builders, want specific project scheduling/specification/invoicing/estimating 'assistance'. I have those, and can put together a book/associated templates for this.

So, I guess I now have several questions:

1. What format should they take, in your humble opinion (e.g., website, ebook, printed, direct mail, etc.)
2. What support would they have?
3. Would you try to self-publish or push off to a publisher. What about affiliating with an existing site/company that is involved in similar work?
4. How much research would you do into what's currently available, and how much tailoring would you do to make it more unique/different/better/easier/smaller/bigger?

Or is that too many questions?
 

nomadjanet

Contributor
Aug 28, 2007
310
54
26
TX
I ain't tellin' you about the fiction I write.
Anyhow; here's a question....how much research do you think should be done in investigating non-fiction writing. For instance, the project I'm working on now involves spreadsheets and Project templates that I developed over the years for homebuilding. Most large-scale homebuilders (e.g., Toll Brothers), have their own software systems, most other builders just have a lassiez-faire approach, but some builders, notably owner-builders, want specific project scheduling/specification/invoicing/estimating 'assistance'. I have those, and can put together a book/associated templates for this.

So, I guess I now have several questions:

1. What format should they take, in your humble opinion (e.g., website, ebook, printed, direct mail, etc.)
I would start with Ebook cheap & easy. need to copywrite any materials first.
2. What support would they have?
create a faq and do email at first until you get a handle on the top 100 questions then flesh out your faq
3. Would you try to self-publish or push off to a publisher. What about affiliating with an existing site/company that is involved in similar work?
depends on the size and scope of your program/doc
4. How much research would you do into what's currently available, and how much tailoring would you do to make it more unique/different/better/easier/smaller/bigger?
I would beta test with 20 clients, change up what needs changed; Beta test with 50 clients; change up again. By this time you should get some good Buzz in the industry.
Create a 20 minute presentation on helping small builders appear more professional & compete on a more level playing field & appear at builder trade shows they always need speakers, offer to do it for free. This will Niche your program as a solution for small builders who want a more professional way to do business but can’t afford their own program.



Or is that too many questions?
Just my 2cents
Janet
 

kimberland

Bronze Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
825
120
38
www.businessromance.com
The format, I think, would depend on your target customer.
I love the publish in eBook, use the proceeds for the print launch idea
but...

There are a lot of industries where the average person isn't as computer savvy so they wouldn't read anything online.

I usually ask them if they read blogs (or simply look for laptops in the office, that's an indication of at home computer usage).
If they don't do that, they would certainly not buy eBooks.
 

Jason_MI

New Contributor
Jul 25, 2007
106
8
15
I'm glad you brought that up, Kimber. In my experience with owner-builders (whom I was originally thinking of as the target), or perhaps those thinking of becoming builders (and during the late 90's, every guy with two nickels to rub together wanted to build spec homes), I would say that yes; they generally are more computer savvy than most people. By that, I mean they actively are seeking out information and resources to help them figure out how to GC a new home for themselves; and in general (again), people building new homes have more money and education than many others....hence, they have more technological experience. At least that's my take on it at the moment.
 

PEERless

Bronze Contributor
Jan 23, 2008
1,469
105
81
[bump]

I am finishing the manuscript for my first nonfiction book and wanted to let you in on some of my pre-publication marketing strategy:

Shameless Plugs: Every conversation, E-mail, blog post, forum signature, etc. mentions my book.
Social Networking: Myspace creeps me out, but FaceBook works. 750+ friends, 10% of whom have joined my group.
Adwords: Adwords.
Guerrilla Marketing: A REALLY CLEVER strategy that is paying off big. I will reveal this shortly.

After the manuscript is in hand, I will begin Phase II including YouTube, radio, local bookstore chumminess, and anything else y'all think of.
 

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