The Ivory Tower – Are These My Akashic Records?

Ivory towerFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaThe term ivory tower originates in the Biblical Song of Solomon (7:4)[1] and was later used as an epithet for Mary. From the 19th century, it has been used to designate an environment of intellectual pursuit disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life. In American English usage it is also used as shorthand for academia or the university.This is another one of my crazy stories…Over the past decade of my life I have uttered the following phrase a million times, “You just can’t make this shi** up”! Once again today I find myself completely blown away at the way my human experience continues to show me in a BIG way that we are much much more than what is obvious to our worldly eyes. This is another one of my stories, a story of how one movement (yes) has led to the next moment and on to the next possible movement (yes). If you have listened to me speak or if I have had the pleasure of working with you, you know that I am a HUGE proponent of saying YES to our internal guidance system, even when it feels scary, uncertain, impossible or extremely uncomfortable. What I love love love about “Yesses” is that one yes leads to many outcomes; it is never a linear event.Several months ago I said yes to a volunteer position. In fact I had a strange knowing that this position was going to be offered to me and that I should say yes. This was a stretch for me because I thought that I had given up on volunteering for these kinds of positions long ago. But here I was being asked by my universal guidance system to say yes, so I did. In November of last year a string of events (a string of yeses) transpired that had me thinking OH this is why I said yes to that volunteer position. I was more than satisfied with that outcome; I was thrilled to say the very least. But what happened a few weeks ago has me understanding that nothing is linear, nothing is about 1 event, 1 outcome or 1 yes, it is always an unfolding of our life progress. I know, I know I haven’t given you much yet; you want some meat to chew on unless you are vegetarian or vegan and you want a celery stalk to chew on. I’m tolerant and flexible, I can accommodate both.


Here we go… so I’m doing what I am supposed to do at my monthly volunteer assignment. I am there to support someone who is leading a group and promoting their individual practice. I set up, break down, greet and become invisible for an hour and a half. The fun part is that I get to listen to the group leader and mildly participate in any activities, like guided meditations and so on. But, I do so with one eye open, because my “job” is the safety and comfort of the room, I am there to support not participate. In this particular circle, the participants were led to do three different closed eye meditations (journeys). Again I mildly participated in the first two, but somehow the last one got me, I was gone from that space and on to a spiritual vision.I have to interject here that this is unusual for me, I do not get (or think I get) spiritual visions. My guidance system works differently and it usually happens with a Knowing, not a full on VISION. The other part to this is that the VISION I had does not go along with how I participate in this illusion. I am going to mention the akashic records, and I want you to know that this is not a place or a topic I feel even remotely comfortable discussing but it is a part of the VISION I had so I will be referencing them.THE VISION:(we are instructed by the group leader to go to our akashic records to access information that we may need in this moment) Instantly, I see a massive, brilliant white, marble building in the sky, kind of sitting or surrounded in clouds. There is a steep and wide staircase, as wide as the building leading up to golden doors that seem to go on forever reaching up into the sky. The doors open as my presence approaches, (I seem to be flying, floating or gliding as if on a magic carpet). I check in with a Being, I state my name “Virginia _____, to see my records please”. She/It nods and says to a guide who I perceive but do not see, “take her to room 333-10490249″. (she actually says the word “dash” 333 dash 1049… , don’t ask me why I remember the number, I just don’t know why, but I do!) I am instantly in a space or a white room, at first I do not see anything but white. I say “I would like to know what I have forgotten”. I then see walls of books as high as the sky, vast beyond belief. A booming voice strongly states “HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN WHO YOU ARE? You helped tear down this IVORY TOWER”, then all of the books and shelves within that space started to tumble down on top of me leaving a gaping hole where there was nothing or maybe an opening to infinity and beyond. I am startled and in shock by the voice and what was happening in the space. (then I hear the group leader, call us back).I open my eyes and realize I that my consciousness had completely left that space during the meditation, I was shaking, my heart was racing. What had I just seen? What in the world had just happened? The leader asked the group if anyone had seen anything. I tried to relay what had just transpired but I did not have words for the experience quite yet.What does it all mean? For each of you reading this you might have an interpretation of my vision, in fact I was really, really tempted to reach out to a physic medium friend of mine for her interpretation. But I stopped myself. The lessons that I have learned thus far in my journey have been instructing me to always look within for the answers and then reach out to others for support or confirmation. So I have been sitting with this vision for a few weeks.


My interpretation:Everyone is special, therefore no one is special. -Eric PearlThe Ivory Tower represents to me the human tendency to want to prove, show or be better than, more educated than, more experienced than and/or more enlightened than. On the other side of the spectrum is to experience unworthiness because of these unfounded comparisons. We see this in the secular world and unfortunately this tendency permeates the spiritual world, or the so called AWAKENED world. But my Knowing tells me that this is all an ILLUSION. There is no-thing that can amplify or diminish my connection and perfection. I AM one with my creator even if I have never picked up a book, attended a seminar/training, obtained a degree or spent 30 years acquiring experience in the art of healing. The one and only thing that separates any of us from our SUPER NATURAL power is the illusion of separation. All that we have to do is remember who we truly are. We are the essence of pure love. Nothing more nothing less! Within that essence is the power to BE whole.So I stand here today and ask you, is there anything in the records of your souls journey that can help you KNOW that you are ONE with your creator? Is there any past pain or suffering that will lead you to your KNOWING that you are and have always been PERFECT and that the illusion of this world with all of it’s wounds would only have you forget this? Tear down the walls of illusion, “The Ivory Tower” and step into the vast space of expansion where you do not need to figure out or fix anything. You just simply need to remember.It’s time to WAKE UP now.

Book Promotion and Marketing

Books do not market themselves, nor do agents and publishers do all the work for you if you’ve gone that route. And if you’re a self-published author, that means most or all of the burden of marketing falls upon your shoulders.

This article talks about methods you can use to promote your book. One thing I want to point out is that it’s difficult to determine which methods pay off even after you’ve made them. Sometimes book sales can happen as a result of a combination of two or more different methods, and even after the fact, you may not know which methods played a role.

Most of these approaches are free, except for your time, so I say, try as many of them as you can.

MARKETING PLAN
It is advisable to have a marketing plan before you start, even if it’s a simple plan that evolves over time. Consider the following elements:

• Set goals for yourself — establish a number for the number of books you want to sell, earnings, number of books written, number of author interviews you do, number of guest blogs you participate in, Amazon ranking, number of hits on your website, number of Facebook “likes,” number of articles you write, and number of positive reviews you get.

• Know your target audience. What age are your potential readers? What gender? Are they likely to be from a specific geographic location? Do they have special interests?

• Know your competition. Find books similar to yours and read their reviews. See what others like about their books. Check out the author’s Amazon author page, their website, and their blog. See where their books are priced. Learn everything you can about your competition. Learn from their successes and their failures.

• Prepare a budget. There are lots of free resources out there, but it is unlikely you will be able to publish a book at no cost whatsoever. Consider these potential costs:

o Editing
o Proofreading
o Cover design
o Formatting
o Printing
o Distribution
o Advertising

• Think about your brand as you act upon your marketing plan. For authors, your brand is your name. Think about what you want people to say about you, and then behave accordingly. Be consistent within your website, blog, author profile, on-line discussion groups, and interviews. As Warren Buffet once said, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

• And finally, track the results and revise your marketing plan as needed.

MEDIA KIT
Always have a media kit available to send to the media when asked or to hand out at book signings, speaking engagements, conferences, and any other place where there is potential for self-promotion. At a minimum, include the following:

• Book summary
• Press release
• Select book reviews
• Author bio and headshot
• Image of book cover
• Where to buy the book
• Author contact information

CREATE A GOOD PRODUCT
I almost hesitate to include this on the list, but more than once I have been asked to review a fellow author’s manuscript or published book, and it violates every writing rule on the books and/or it contains typos. At the very least, I recommend investing in a professional proofreader.

WEBSITE
It is essential for authors to have a website, and for those of you who have never created one, or think you don’t have the skills to create one, think again. It’s not that hard. I used Yahoo Site Solution to create mine, but there are numerous others available. Just Google “free website design” and you’ll see tons of site design tools for free. If you truly can’t handle designing your own website, or don’t have the time, you can always hire it done. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $1,000 for a very basic site.

Before creating your website, you’ll have to get yourself a domain name. Domain registration is cheap and easy. I used Namecheap, but there are many others available. Most web hosts offer domain registration as well. Put thought into the name. There are tips for choosing a good domain name on the Internet such as you’ll find on thesitewizrd.com.

You’ll also need a web host in order to post your website on the Internet. I used Yahoo, but there are numerous others. My advice is to find one that offers 24/7 tech support. Some are better than others.

Things to include on your website are:

• A “Home” page that welcomes people to your site and gives them an overview of what’s inside
• Your bio, including a photo of yourself
• Your contact information
• A synopsis of your book and cover of your book if published
• Testimonials
• Links to other sites you think may be on interest to your audience
• Some sort of “freebie” whether a sample of your work, writing advice, sharing your expertise, links to related sites, etc.
• Where to buy your book
• The right keywords in the page titles, tags, and contents of your page

Promote your website as often as you can. Include the URL on your business cards and stationery (if you use stationery, and if you’re under 25, if you even know what stationery is). Include the URL as part of your bio. Put it in your e-mail signature block. Whenever you give someone your contact information, include your website URL.

BLOG
You have to blog nowadays. (If you’re reading this article from my website, and you’ve checked out my photo, you know this statement didn’t exactly roll off my tongue.) In my day… well, never mind. Today people blog. They read blogs, and they follow blogs. Blog, blog, blog.

It’s relatively easy to create a blog. There are numerous blog templates to choose from. I chose WordPress. It’s easy to use and it’s clean. For me, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered blog where you have to sift through a lot of erroneous stuff looking for what’s meaningful to you. Another pet peeve I have is to see typos in blogs. Blogs should be well thought out and proofread. Otherwise, you may lose credibility with your audience.

Most bloggers aren’t going to spend time reading or following a blog that doesn’t interest them, so the lesson here is to create material that is of interest to those who you want as followers. Sounds like a simple concept, but it really isn’t. It takes a lot of thought to get it right. Focus on providing your readers with free worthwhile informational content, even if it means commenting on other peoples’ blogs or directing them to other sites. It’s okay to have fun, too. Don’t be afraid to do something a little crazy once in awhile.

People love freebies, and free eBooks are a great giveaway since they don’t cost you anything.

Conducting polls can generate great discussion on your blog. I’ve seen authors post things like “Choose which cover you like best,” “Tell us about your all-time favorite character in a book,” and “What makes you keep turning the pages?” You might learn something very valuable in the process.

It’s one thing to create and maintain a meaningful blog, but it’s quite another thing to draw people to it and then become your followers. Including the right keywords will help. Asking questions can also result in some lively discussions and keep viewers coming back. I saw on one person’s blog, “Make me smile today… leave a comment or question.”

Don’t forget to include other links on your blog. Make it easy for readers to see what else you have to offer, including the link to buy your books.

Blog sites need to be consistently updated with new material. Once to twice weekly appears to be an acceptable frequency. Too few posts and you’ll appear stale. Too many may cause an overdose for your audience.

Remember, promoting your books should be secondary on your blog. If you do a good job with the rest of it, book sales will follow.

Like websites, blogs take time to catch on. Don’t get discouraged the first year.

AMAZON.COM AUTHOR PAGE
If your book is available on amazon.com (and if it isn’t, you’re missing out), it behooves you to create an Amazon author page where you can include your bio, photo, a link to your website, blog and twitter page, events, and videos.

SIGNATURE BLOCK
Be sure to include all your links in your e-mail and stationery signature blocks.

BOOKMARKS (not the electronic kind)
Bookmarks are an inexpensive way to promote your books. Include on your bookmarks a copy of your book cover, a synopsis, your bio and all your web links. Carry them with you wherever you go and give them away like you would a business card. Pin them to community bulletin boards. Always include one in books you give away. Ask your dentist, hairdresser, or dry cleaners if you can leave a supply in their reception area.

ON-LINE DISCUSSION GROUPS
There are numerous online discussion groups you can join to get advice, give advice, and network with authors, editors, book reviewers and publishers. Three of the most popular venues for discussion groups are Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads (see more discussion on each of these down the page). Become an active participant in discussions–the more you interact with fellow members, the more you learn and the more exposure you’ll get for your books. Look for successful authors in these groups who have great web pages and/or blogs you can follow and learn from them.

Many groups have separate areas of the site that will allow you to post information about your book. Use these to promote your book, but don’t forget to provide feedback on postings from your fellow authors. Not only are you helping them gain exposure, but you will gain some for yourself. These groups are all about helping each other.

FACEBOOK PAGE
Social media sites are a must for authors, and Facebook is by far the largest and most popular. But before you go promoting your book on your Facebook wall, give serious thought to creating a Facebook Page (f/k/a Facebook Fan Page). This will keep your professional posts and other activities separate from your personal ones. Facebook Pages are viewable by anyone, even non-members, so your posts can get significant exposure with the right keywords. One of the great features of the Facebook Page is that when someone ‘likes” your page, it gets broadcasted to their contacts, potentially reaching many more people who may be interested in your books.

Post milestones, book launches, interviews, and book signings on your Facebook Page… anything that you deem interesting to your followers and potential book buyers. As long as you keep it interesting, it won’t be considered spammy. Strike a good balance for the number of posts. Too few and people will think it’s not an active and current site. Too many and people may get annoyed. Be generous with including links, not only links directly related to you, but include other links that may be interesting or helpful to your audience members. Direct your visitors to places they may not otherwise have visited.

It’s important to get people to “like” your Facebook Page, as search engines, such as Google, favor Facebook Pages with lots of “likes.” One way to get “likes” is when you “like” someone else’s Page, ask them if they will return the favor.

Just remember, Facebook is all about creating relationships, whether you’re using your personal profile or professional page. It is not advisable to use Facebook strictly as a selling tool. Once you make connections and earn their trust, the sales will come naturally as a side benefit.

LINKEDIN
What Facebook does for social networking, LinkedIn does for business-oriented networking. With more than 50 million members worldwide, LinkedIn provides a vast pool of valuable networkers and potentially buyers for your books. Just as you would create interesting posts for your blog and Facebook Page, you would do the same in LinkedIn. But also like Facebook, you don’t want to make your LinkedIn site into a hard sell endeavor. That will just turn people off.

Use LinkedIn for offering interesting articles, making announcements and reaching out for advice and/or offering advice. Increase your visibility by encouraging discussions and comments. Offer freebies. Create contests. Make it fun. Even though it’s business, people still like a little fun.

REVIEWS
Book reviews are the best way to promote your book, and while you can pay good money for them, you can also get them for (almost) free. For the cost of a book and postage, you have the opportunity to get great publicity from a good review, and the rewards can be enormous by posting them on your website, your blog and anywhere else you have exposure.

One way to get reviews is on amazon.com. When someone tells you they really enjoyed your book, ask them if they would write a short review on Amazon. A positive book review on Amazon is worth its weight in gold. Potential book buyers read reviews! If you can get ten or more positive reviews, your book looks like a winner for anyone looking to buy it.

You may want to try offering a free book to someone in exchange for a review. Just be cautious who you pick. If it isn’t an experienced reviewer, you may get back something you don’t want to ever share with anyone. Experienced reviewers know how to highlight the important things you did well and constructively state where the book needs improvement.

It’s not easy to get one of the top five book reviewers to review your book, but it’s always worth a try. They are Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Midwest Book Review. A more comprehensive list may be found at stepbystepselfpublishing.net/reviewer-list.html. Some charge for their services, and others don’t.

BRAGMedallion.com is a privately held organization that brings together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union. BRAG (Book Readers Appreciation Group) states its mission as “recognizing quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.” Books submitted are read and evaluated by members drawn from its reader group and judged using a proprietary list of criteria, but the single most important criterion they ask their readers to use in judging a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. Once a book meets this standard of quality from three out of three reviewers, they award it their B.R.A.G. Medallion™. Less than 15% of books submitted receive this honor, so if you submit your book and you become an honoree, you can use it proudly to help promote your book.

Whatever you do, do NOT pay someone to post bogus reviews on Amazon.com or any other site. Not only is this dishonest and less than honorable, but you’d only be fooling yourself about the quality of your writing.

INTERVIEWS
You may be surprised at how easy it is to get interviews that focus on you and your book. Send your press release or other promotional pieces to radio and TV stations, newspapers, newsletters and magazines and ask for an interview. A local ethnic TV station contacted me when they saw the press release for my first novel, “The Coach House,” and invited me in for an interview. My book had an ethnic thread running through it, and they thought their viewers would be interested in it. Did I mention they have 500,000 viewers? You’ll also find agents, publishers, editors and other authors who include author interviews on their blogs. I ran across several such people in the online discussion groups in which I’m a member.

BOOK CLUB AND DISCUSSION GROUPS
Book clubs and book discussion groups love to have the author present for their discussions. The tricky part is finding a book club who is interested in your book. Word of mouth may be the best way. Spread the word to your friends you would be willing to participate in a book club discussion.

There are thousands of online book clubs, but since they are online and accessible to anyone, you can be sure they are inundated with requests, so try to be genre-specific in your queries. Here is one book club list book-clubs-resource.com/online/. I am sure there are many others.

BOOK PROMOTION SITES
Launched in 2007, Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. They claim to have over 8,900,000 members who have added more than 320,000,000 books to their shelves. Goodreads allows authors to submit their books for consideration.

Here’s a list of other book promotion sites.
Authonomy
Bibliophil
Book Buzzr
BookBrowse
Bookhitch
Booksie
Filed By
Jacket Flap
KindleBoards
LibraryThing
Nothing Binding
On Book Talk
SavvyBookWriters
Scribd
Shelfari
Wattpad
WhoWroteThat
WritersNet

LOCAL ESTABLISHMENTS
Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, newsletters, and trade journals. Call your local radio station and offer to do an interview. Contact your local library and book stores and offer to do a signing or free lecture. Talk to everyone you visit about your book–your dry cleaner, dentist, doctor, and grocer. Look for bulletin boards wherever you go to post information about your website, blog and books. Make the postings fun and eye-catching.

BUSINESS CARDS
Something as inexpensive and easy as business cards will let others know you’re a serious professional writer.

POST CARDS
I live in a 56-story high rise with 482 other residents who are neighbors (of sorts) and potential book buyers. I designed a postcard with a very easy-to-use template from Paper Direct and sent it to all my neighbors. On the front, where the stamp and address label go, I included an image of the front cover of my book, a one-sentence synopsis, and the fact that I’m a local author. On the back, I included a little longer synopsis, where they can find my book, a few promotional sentences from someone who had reviewed my book, and my contact information.

PRESS RELEASES
Press releases get the message out about your book launch, and anyone can write one. Send yours to any media outlet you think will be interested in helping you promote your book – TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, newspapers, book stores, book clubs, book discussion groups, book reviewers, etc.

There are templates available such as on PRWeb.com, pressreleasetemplates.net and smallbusinesspr.com for do-it-yourself ones. If you want to engage a service, try mymediainfo.com, cision.com or vocus.com. Muckrack.com is a free service.

TESTIMONIALS
Testimonials can be a great tribute to the story you’ve written, even if coming from family and friends. Post them on your website and in your blogs.

Here’s something fun to try. If your storyline includes something a certain celebrity or group of celebrities could relate to, send a request to their manager or agent asking for a testimonial from the celeb. For example, let’s say you’ve written a story about how a young man pulls himself out from the depths of an impoverished childhood and makes a name for himself in the world. Wouldn’t it be a coup if Jay-Z or Jim Carrey (each with a similar story) would endorse your book with a two-sentence testimonial?

TARGET GROUPS
Try connecting with groups or associations who can identify with your protagonist and/or storyline. For example, let’s say your protagonist is biracial and has a difficult time fitting in. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who have experienced the same thing and many of them belong to the Association for MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA) or subscribe to Mavin Magazine. On AMEA’s website, they list recommended books (fiction and non-fiction) for their members, and Mavin Magazine has an E-Library available for their subscribers. This would be a good opportunity to offer some freebies or a discount for members. Since there’s a group out there for just about everything, this avenue is worth pursuing.

I signed up for a Google Alert for the title of my book, “The Coach House.” That’s when I discovered there are quite a few restaurants around the country and in Europe named The Coach House, and that got me to thinking. I sent each one of them a letter telling them we had something in common and maybe we could do something fun that would benefit us both, like have them hold a drawing (business cards in a fish bowl) where one of the prizes was a copy of my book. In return, I could advertise their restaurant on my website, blog, and Facebook page. Think outside of the box, they say.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Don’t discount word-of-mouth with family and friends. If all my FB friends re-posted my book announcement, I would reach close to 10,000 more people. That’s a lot of potential book buyers.

Cleaning Out The Clutter – 7 Steps To Sell Or Donate Used Books

It’s a good feeling to get your house cleaned up and the clutter removed, disposing of things you don’t need or don’t use any longer. And books — those dusty relics taking up space on your bookshelves or squirreled away in boxes in the attic — often become the target of most house de-cluttering campaigns. How long has it been that you’ve read that book? Do you really need it any longer? Why not get rid of it?

But, before you haul those used books off to the dump, take a little time learning about how to sell or donate used books to help local charities raise money, to recycle resources, and even earn some extra cash for your family.

Used books are hot sellers online. Websites like Amazon.com, eBay.com and CraigsList.org are filled with listings of used books. Some popular titles are no longer in print, so their value keeps skyrocketing. Some niche titles are collectible or hard-to-find. Some titles contain in-depth ‘how-to’ information people are searching for online. And, some titles simply help people save money by buying used over pricier new books.

In any case, take the time to follow these 7 steps to check typical pricing of used books before you dispose of them.

Step 1 – Gather your books you want to get rid of in one space, preferably one that has a large table for your to work. Your dining room table will do just fine.

Step 2 – Separate out fiction from non-fiction. The best titles to sell online are non-fiction, ‘how-to’ titles.

Step 3 – Sort the fiction titles into two boxes: Keep and Yard Sale. In the “Keep” box, I would put early or first editions of famous writers like Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway and Rudyard Kipling. In the “Yard Sale” box, I would put popular fiction by authors like Dan Brown, Nora Roberts, Stephen King or Sandra Brown, plus anything from book clubs, slightly damaged books, recipe and cooking books, weight loss books and the stacks of magazines you want to get rid of fast.

Step 4 – Sort the non-fiction into two boxes: Keep and Yard Sale. In the “Keep” box, I would put biographies, history, how-to, pet, religious, UFO alien and crop circle books (big sellers!), relationship books, travel books, homeschooling topics, and any other books which look to be of a limited press run or contain unique content. Sometimes even small booklets on health topics sell very well online. In the “Yard Sale” box, put in Time-Life, Rodale Press, or Reader’s Digest books (these seldom sell online for enough to cover your shipping costs), books that are heavily marked up with writing or highlighting, outdated college textbooks, and heavily used children’s books, dictionaries, or self-help reference books.

Any damaged books, moldy books, or those titles that have torn, crinkled covers or are missing pages, throw them away now.

Step 5 – Sit down in front of your computer. Log onto Amazon.com with your “Keep” box on one side of you, and your “Yard Sale” box on the other side of your chair. Take the first book from the “Keep” box and set it next to your computer keyboard, face down. Somewhere on the back cover you should see an ISBN (“ISBN” stands for “International Standard Book Number,” which since the mid-1960s has helped the publishing industry keep track of millions of books).

Type that book’s unique 10-digit (sometimes a 13-digit) ISBN into the search bar at the top of the Amazon.com webpage. If you cannot locate the ISBN on the back cover or on the book publisher info page, then simply type in the title of the book, as you might very well find it that way too. Scan through the results until you find the book that matches the front cover of your book.

Now, click on the image or the book title, find the correct format (hardcover or paperback) and then select “Used” pricing. Your used book results page should deliver several pages of book listings for sale right now.

Don’t be surprised if the first few books are priced a $.01. Scroll down the page. If by the 5th or 6th listing you start to see pricing rise up to $6, $7, $10 dollars, keep it and list it for sale later. You’ll earn anywhere from $3 to $7 each when these sell. If you see the first two pages containing nothing but $.01 books, then place your book in the “Yard Sale” box to the side of your chair. Click back to the Amazon homepage. Pick up the next book. Repeat until you’re finished.

Step 6 – When you’re done, your “Keep” box stack will be quite small compared with your “Yard Sale” boxes (yes, you will have more than one by now!). Pack those boxes tightly, tape them up well with packing tape, and store them in a closet or corner of a room in your home that is dry, out of the sun, and has low humidity. When springtime comes and you hold a big yard sale to dispose of unwanted items, unpack all your “Yard Sale” fiction and non-fiction book boxes, set them out on a long table, spine facing up, and sell them for 25 cents to $1 each. On the final day of your sale, offer up a “bag sale” — that is, let people stuff a shopping bag full of books into a bag for $2. You’ll be amazed how many books will fly off that table!

Step 7 – When the yard sale is done, take the remaining fiction and non-fiction books to your favorite local non-profit thrift store or church charity shop to donate them. These old books often have a long lifespan, kept alive by browsers who frequent these stores looking for bargains and wanting to help support the non-profit. Ask the store manager if you can get a donation tax receipt before the books get unloaded. I have done this in the past, and I’ve gotten a generous tax deduction on books I would otherwise have had to haul off to the recycling center. Remember first to dispose of any soiled, moldy books, otherwise you’ll be burdening the charity shop instead of helping them.

Now, somewhere in the steps between when you checked the online price for your used books and you haul the unwanted old books off the charity shop, you’ll want to keep busy in your spare time by listing the books left over in your “Keep” boxes at online websites to raise extra cash.

I recommend listing on the Amazon Marketplace, then expand to other websites if you need to. Start slow, learning how the system works, and price your books competitively to move them quickly.

By considering the sales rank of your book, you’ll have a fairly decent idea of how quickly it will sell. If it is in the top 100,000 of Amazon sales, it should sell within 1-3 months. If a title is selling used for $7.50, price yours at $6.99. If a title is selling used at $20 or more, drop yours to $12-$15 for a quick sale.

My advice is that you not list your “Keep” books at less than $5.99, as you won’t earn much more than $2 each, and you’ll be running yourself ragged running back and forth to the Post Office. Likewise, I would not bother posting a book that has a sales rank above 5 million, as this book likely will add to your clutter forever, instead of leaving your home more open and less crowded — your ultimate goal in your home improvement housecleaning exercise in the first place.

Choosing Your Book Format: Hardcover or Paperback

In the past, the decision about a book cover followed a steady pattern with traditional publishers. Most big name traditional publishers would print a book in hardcover, and then some months later, the paperback version would come out. This process was followed for a couple of reasons. A new book, especially by a well-known author, was a collector’s item. The first edition of a hardcover book was something to treasure, and it was often of the highest quality and made to be aesthetically pleasing, including having a dust jacket. People who wanted a book they could treasure for the rest of their lives would buy a hardcover book. But not all readers could afford hardcover books, so a cheaper mass market paperback would eventually follow. Depending on how much value the readers perceived that the book would hold for them, they might opt to buy the hardcover or they might wait for the paperback. On occasions where the hardcover did not sell well, the paperback edition was never released.

As the world of publishing has changed in the last couple of decades, more publishers have begun to bring out only paperback versions for books perceived not to be of such great lasting value, especially in terms of genre books like romance novels and mysteries. This move saves the publisher money and also makes the books available to a target audience that might not have paid as much for a hardcover of a mystery that can be read in just a few hours.

Now that self-publishing has become so popular, and because traditional publishers are struggling to remain financially stable, more and more books are being printed solely as paperbacks because it’s the most affordable choice. However, hardcover books are still chosen for significant titles by traditional publishers, and some self-published authors also choose hardcover books, often in addition, but rarely in place of paperbacks.

In choosing a book cover format, authors should think about the way the book will be used, the practicality of the cover choice, their own printing costs, what price the market will bear, and how potential readers will view the cover. Following is a breakdown of guidelines for choosing a book cover format for self-publishers.

Hardcover
If you are publishing your first book, you probably should keep your costs low until you know your book will sell, so you are better off opting for a paperback over a hardcover book. That said, there are some exceptions to this rule. Hardcover books are often a good choice for:

  • Children’s Books-because children might be rough with their books so these covers will give the book greater endurance.
  • Cookbooks-because a hardcover book can more easily lay flat on a kitchen counter for quick reference while cooking.
  • Coffee Table Books-hardcover books are easier to hold than paperback books because coffee table books tend to be larger than the average size of 6×9 or smaller used for most paperback books.

While most nonfiction titles and novels will do best as paperback books, you might also ask yourself what perceived value your readers will find in the book. How important is your book, and how important will your readers perceive it to be? Putting your ego aside, you need to understand that your readers are probably not going to place as great a value on your romance novel as they will if you write a biography of Mark Twain. The type of cover you use will speak to the reader, telling him how important your subject is. Remember, readers do judge a book by its cover.

One final advantage to a hardcover book is the amount of “selling” text you can place on it. It is possible to print a nice looking hardcover book without a dust jacket so that the front and back material are the same as if you printed a paperback. However, most hardcover books are printed with dust jackets, which allow for more text to be printed on them. A good formula for text on a dust jacket is to fill the back of it with testimonials you’ve collected from other authors or experts in your field. Then the inside front flap can provide a description of your book that might even run over onto your inside back flap. The inside back flap can also provide space for a short biography of the author and room for a color author photo. Room for more text means more space to sell your book to the potential reader.

That said, if you’re like me, you may find the dust jacket gets annoying while you read the book. I have a tendency to remove the dust jacket while I read, but if readers do that, it doesn’t hurt anything once the book has been sold.

Finally, think about the cost to you and the customer. A paperback book is more affordable to authors and readers. However, a hardcover can be produced sometimes for as little as four dollars more, and that cost can be passed onto the customer by selling the book for five dollars more so you still make a profit on the hardcover. The question is simply: Will people be willing to pay five dollars more for the hardcover edition?

Paperback
The paperback cover is most affordable, and except for the few exceptions listed above, it is probably the best choice for any book, especially novels and self-help books and other nonfiction titles. Again, your book will be judged by its cover, so people may perceive your paperback book as of lesser value-meaning they might actually think the content is of less value too-than if it were a hardcover. However, there is no longer any sense that people are “slumming” by buying paperbacks. I don’t know the percentages for a fact, but I would guess that at least 90 percent of books are printed solely as paperbacks today, especially among self-published books.

You have a little less space on a paperback cover to write text that will sell the book, but you can generally fit on the back cover all the information that you would include on the inside flaps of a hardcover’s dust jacket. If you wish to include testimonials, you can place them inside the front cover as the opening pages. I have mixed feelings about placement of testimonials. Many readers will read them in choosing to buy the book, but others will go to the book description first-most people will buy the book because the topic interests them more than because someone famous said the book is great-but having both can only help so it’s up to you whether or not you feel your testimonials deserve back cover space. Often you can fit just one or two short testimonials on the back cover with the description and author bio to balance everything out.

French Flaps
I’m seeing more and more books published with French flaps. This format is basically a hybrid. It is really a paperback book, but the flaps are an extended part of the paperback cover that fold inward to serve as a dust jacket without being removable. French flaps provide the same space as a hardcover for book descriptions without the expense of a hardcover with a dust jacket. A book with French flaps does cost more than a paperback, but depending on how many books you print, it will probably cost you less than a dollar more per unit.

I believe a lot of authors are choosing to use French flaps because they believe this format makes their book look more professional or significant than if it were simply a paperback. Readers may be impressed with the look of French flaps and even see them as a novelty, but frankly, I find such books annoying to read-the flaps have a tendency of wanting to flip up, making the book somewhat unwieldy. This format feels pretentious to me, like such books have delusions of wanting to be hardcover books.

Making the Choice
Personally, a standard paperback is good enough for me with the few exceptions of books I’ve listed where a hardcover is preferable. While I have offered some guidelines here for choices, no two books are the same and special circumstances may exist that would make one cover a better choice than another. Every author must choose for himself which book cover will best suit his book to promote its value as well as be most desirable in format and price to potential readers.

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