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5 Benefits of Collaborating with a Ghostwriter to Bring Your Book to Life

Ghostwriters are incredibly valuable resources for authors who want to share their ideas, stories, or expertise with the world but don’t have the time or inclination to write a book themselves. At Amplify, we employ a meticulous interviewing process to align our authors with skilled ghostwriters who prioritize our client’s vision, objectives, and tone.

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of hiring a ghostwriter to carry the writing lift on your book, here are five crucial benefits that hiring a ghostwriter brings to the table:

  1. Expertise: You might be the leading authority in your field and an excellent communicator, but putting expertise on paper isn’t as easy as it might seem.  Ghostwriters are professionals who specialize in crafting compelling content and communicating complex ideas—skills that are crucial when writing long-form content like a book.
  1. Efficiency: Writing a book takes time, which is a precious commodity for thought leaders. Even if you have the ability and interest to write your book, your schedule might not allow it. A ghostwriter will handle the writing process from start to finish, allowing your book idea to come to fruition significantly faster than it otherwise might have. 
  1. Objectivity: A ghostwriter can provide a fresh perspective and help you see your ideas in a new light. With the benefit of their expertise and point of view, your manuscript will end up more well-rounded, balanced, and accurate.
  1. Confidentiality: Ghostwriters usually operate under a confidentiality agreement, which means they won’t disclose their involvement in the writing process unless you want them to. This can be important for thought leaders who want to keep their writing process private.
  1. Stress reduction: Hiring a ghostwriter keeps your deadlines manageable and allows you to focus on other tasks, like exploring publishers or building your personal brand. Though you’ll be responsible for reviewing outlines, research, and chapters as they progress, you can relax knowing that your book is consistently moving forward even on the days you don’t think about it.  

If you have a book idea but aren’t sure how to execute it, hiring a ghostwriter might be the solution. Interested in learning more about ghostwriting services or need assistance figuring out if this is the best path for you? Use our contact form to connect with a member of our team.

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7 Key Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Book and How They Can Impact Your Writing Process

“I should write a book.” It’s a common idea thought leaders and those with influence have, and it’s one worth exploring. Infinitely rewarding and usually resulting in new and unexpected professional opportunities, writing a book is something everyone should consider if they have the knowledge to share, a story to tell, or are looking to widen their reach and impact a larger audience.

But before diving headfirst into such a critical, extensive project, there are seven key questions you should ask yourself to ensure you’re prepared for the journey ahead:

  1. Why do you want to write a book?

Before you get started conducting research, outlining material, or interviewing ghostwriters or book coaches, it’s important to establish what you want your book to achieve. Your primary goal might be to generate new business, expand on the core concepts you’re already sharing in other mediums, or to transition into another phase of your career. Or, maybe you want to sell as many copies as possible to establish a second stream of income or leverage your book to make guest appearances on podcasts by other thought leaders who you’ve always admired.

No matter your goal, if you go into your work with a clear mind and set expectations, you’ll be able to select partners who understand and embrace your vision and feel confident that you’re always moving forward on the path that’s best for you.

  1. Who is your target audience?

Knowing you want your book to be read is one thing. Knowing who you want to read it is another. Establishing a target audience is critical before writing and publishing a book—without one, you risk overlooking the people who need your ideas the most and lessening the cultural impact of your work.

Ask yourself additional questions, like: “In order to achieve my goals, who needs to read my book?,” “Who will benefit the most from my ideas and viewpoint?,” or “Who is responding to my content already?” Once you have the answers, you’ll be able to tailor your writing and overall structure to your audience’s needs and expectations.

  1. What makes your book unique?

Unless you’re planning to write a book on a cutting-edge topic that’s never been explored before (and you might be!), there’s likely another book like yours on sale already. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—spend some time reading titles that are in the same genre or subgenre as yours and figure out how you can and should stand apart.

For example, you might be able to explain certain concepts more effectively than anyone ever before, or you might have a new take on an old idea. Either way, determining what makes your book special will help you reach your target audience and will ensure your project reaches its full potential.

  1. What is your writing style?

For many, this can be one of the hardest questions to answer. If you haven’t written a book before or plan to work with a ghostwriter, you might not know what style best suits your subject matter or what you ultimately prefer.

Take a step back and identify both the books you most like to read and the books your target audience is most often reading. Use those as a jumping off point to find the style that feels most comfortable and effective for your content.

  1. How will you write your book?

Once you’ve answered the first four questions, you’ll need to decide how you want to execute your book. In most cases, there are three primary options:

  1. Write it yourself with editorial support
  2. Write it yourself with the support of a writing coach
  3. Onboard a professional ghostwriter

The choice ultimately comes down to your bandwidth, writing and research capabilities, and personal preference. There’s no wrong path to producing a book, and what’s best for one author might not be for another. Consider what will benefit your messages and aspirations the most and make the choice that’s right for you.

  1. What resources do you have at your disposal?

Whether or not you write the book yourself, you’ll need to lean on connections and external resources at some point during the process. You might want to integrate real-world case studies from colleagues in your manuscript, access another writer’s research, or ask a high-profile member of your network for an endorsement.

Figure out who you know and who might be willing and able to help you, and remember to lean on them when the time comes.

  1. How will you utilize those resources to promote your book?

It might seem far away now, but it’s never too early to begin promoting a new book. Start brainstorming promotional ideas and opportunities and always be thinking of who might be able to amplify your book’s reach once marketing is at the center of your focus.

By taking the time to ask yourself important questions before you start writing or working with a ghostwriter, you’ll ensure your manuscript is purposeful, well-organized, and motivated by clear objectives. 

Need help getting started? Contact us today.

Asking yourself questions before you start writing a book can be an important step in the writing process. Here are a few reasons why it’s important to ask yourself questions before you begin writing:

  1. It helps you define your goals: Asking yourself questions about what you want to achieve with your book can help you clarify your goals and ensure that your writing is focused and purposeful.
  1. It helps you understand your audience: Asking yourself questions about who your audience is and what they might be interested in reading can help you tailor your writing to meet their needs and preferences.
  1. It helps you organize your thoughts: Asking yourself questions can help you think more critically about your writing and organize your thoughts in a logical and coherent manner.
  1. It helps you stay motivated: Asking yourself questions about your motivations for writing a book and what you hope to achieve can help you stay motivated and focused during the writing process.

By taking the time to ask yourself important questions before you start writing, you can ensure that your writing is purposeful, well-organized, and motivated by clear goals and objectives. This can help you write a book that is more engaging and enjoyable for your readers.

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Do You Need a Publicist? 8 Questions to Guide an Author’s Decision

As an author, your book is your baby, and you want it to reach as many readers as possible. This is where a publicist can be an invaluable resource. A publicist has the expertise and connections to get your book in front of the right people, improve your media presence and interview skills, and increase the overall visibility of both you and your book. 

Beyond securing media opportunities and interviews, publicists can also help you navigate the complex world of book reviews, bestseller lists, and personal brand development and can help you develop a long-term strategy for success. When it comes to promoting a new book, these are the elements that boost your book’s visibility and help get your content into the hands of people who need it. 

That said, it’s crucial to remember that not all publicists are created equal, and someone with decades of experience still might not be equipped to help you reach your desired audience. And, depending on your skill set and interest level, you might not need to invest in a publicist at all.

To decide if hiring a publicist is the most strategic move for you, you’ll need to do your research and seek out someone who understands your vision, your content, and your goals. 

Before taking the leap,  ask yourself a few questions to ensure you’re making the right decision.

8 Questions to Ask Yourself

What do I hope to achieve with my book?

Before you sign an agreement, you need to be clear on what you hope to achieve with your book. Do you want to get it in front of as many people as possible? If so, hiring a publicist is likely the best move. You’ll need to find someone who can secure numerous and wide-ranging media opportunities—from interviews on growing podcasts to features in leading or national publications. 

Are you interested in becoming a bestseller or selling a certain number of copies? In that case, you’ll be best served to partner with someone experienced in facilitating speaking opportunities and putting together a strategic book launch campaign. 

Either way, knowing what you want to achieve will help you ask the right questions when interviewing potential publicity partners or help you decide if it’s the right path for you at all. 

Do I have the time to promote my book effectively?

Promoting a book takes time and effort, so it’s important to understand just how much time you can devote to that work. If you don’t have a list of influential and relevant contacts handy, you’ll need to brainstorm who best to present your book to, secure their contact information, make the connection, and manage any necessary follow-up and resulting conversations. 

If you’re busy with other projects or your business, it may be difficult to carve out the time you need to do this successfully.

Am I familiar with the media landscape and how to pitch to journalists?

If you’re not closely following what journalists are regularly writing or inquiring about, it can be difficult to break through and capture the attention you want and need from media. Or worse: if you’re not paying attention, you might miss the ideal opportunity to promote your book.

A publicist can help you navigate this terrain and get your book in front of the right people at the right time and in the right way.

Do I have a pre-existing network of media contacts?

If you already have a network of media contacts and are comfortable leveraging them, it may not be necessary to hire a publicist. However, if you’re starting from scratch or need separation, a publicist can help you build your network and take the lead in communication.

Am I comfortable with public speaking and being interviewed?

Promoting a book often involves public speaking and being interviewed by journalists. If you’re not comfortable with these activities, a publicist might not be the best fit for you. Instead, you may want to focus on other book promotion opportunities like social media or digital advertising.

However, if you’re willing to learn or eager to get in conversation with a member of the media, a publicist will both help you prepare for these types of engagements and make sure you’re interview ready.

Do I know the right questions to ask once I’ve secured a media opportunity?

Securing a media opportunity is just the first step. Once you’ve landed an interview or speaking engagement, it’s important to know the right questions to ask to make the most of the opportunity. A publicist can help you prepare for these situations and make sure you’re ready to capitalize on them.

Do I know the dos and don’ts of this type of work?

Promoting a book can be tricky, and there are certain dos and don’ts to keep in mind. For example, try not to pitch multiple journalists at the same publication on the same beat, endeavor to pitch your book during normal business hours for the best results, and stick with email unless the journalist requests a call. 

If you have an eye for determining unspoken rules, you might not need a publicist to navigate these waters, but if you need some assistance learning the ins and outs of the industry, a publicist will make sure you’re represented professionally and always putting your best foot forward.

Can I afford to invest in a publicist’s services?

Finally, it’s important to ask yourself if you can afford to secure a publicist’s services. Publicists are an investment, and though typically worthwhile,  it’s important to weigh the cost against the potential benefits before making a decision.

Is a Publicist Right for You?

In the end, hiring a publicist is usually a smart choice for authors looking to boost their book’s promotion and media presence, but it’s crucial to approach this decision with careful consideration and strategy. The questions outlined in this post can help you identify your goals, determine if a publicist is right for you, and find the partner who brings what you need to the table.
If you’re interested in future guidance and support during your publishing journey, don’t hesitate to contact us today. At Amplify Publishing Group, we specialize in helping authors like you achieve success through expert book marketing and publicity services.

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The Writer’s Guide to Beating Burnout: 7 Causes of Author Burnout and How to Avoid Them

Publishing a book provides thought leaders with countless opportunities, but it can also be exhausting. Beyond conceptualizing your book and finalizing the manuscript itself, you’ll spend time and mental energy reviewing cover designs and test layouts, brainstorming marketing strategies and ways to leverage your network effectively, and participating in a variety of book publicity opportunities and events. 

Burnout happens to even the most accomplished and experienced authors, and it’s easy to find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed while navigating your competing priorities. That’s why it’s crucial you find ways to stay motivated, focused, and energized while working on a long-term project like a book. 

There are numerous factors that can lead authors to experience burnout. In the following sections, we will explore seven of these contributing factors and provide a corresponding solution for each one.

  1. Excessive workload

    Writing is often a time-consuming process, and many authors struggle to keep up with the demands of creating new content on a regular basis.

    Solution: Learn to say no
    It’s okay to turn down opportunities that are not aligned with your goals or take away from your priorities. Focus on what you can realistically handle and what will move the needle for your work.

  1. Tight deadlines

    Deadlines are a routine part of the publishing experience, but they can also weigh heavily on an author’s mind, creating mental roadblocks that result in high-stress schedules.

    Solution: Set realistic goals
    To improve your productivity, practice time management. Daily word count targets, a writing and editing schedule, and dedicated windows for media interviews will help you make progress without adding unnecessary stress.

  1. The constant pressure to succeed

    From publishing to publicity, the world of books is competitive. Authors often put undue pressure on themselves to find immediate success with their latest release or secure the highest profile media coverage possible at every turn.

    Solution: Focus on what you can control
    No matter how hard you work or plan, there will always be things outside of your control during the publishing process. Keep your eye on what you can directly influence, and rely on your partners and resources to set you up for success.

  1. Lack of support 

    It’s easy for authors to isolate themselves from their support system and peers, especially while writing the first draft of their manuscript or conducting research.

    Solution: Lean on your network
    Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support and guidance. Your contacts, fellow authors, and the publishing community can help you cope with the demands of writing or promoting your book and might help you make other professional connections that will lessen your workload.

  1. Creative blocks

    Creative blocks can be a significant contributor to author burnout, resulting in a lack of motivation and frustration. Without inspiration, authors may find themselves struggling to generate new ideas and meet the demands of their work, leading to stress and overwhelm.

    Solution: Seek out inspiration
    Find inspiration from other sources, such as books from other thought leaders, articles in media outlets you’d love to be featured in, podcasts you dream of appearing on, or TED Talks, to keep your creativity and motivation levels high.

  1. Limited time for self-care

    With so much focus on writing and meeting deadlines, it can be difficult for authors to make time for self-care activities, like exercise, relaxation, and socializing.

    Solution: Establish boundaries and prioritize self-care
    Set aside time for intentional activities that help you recharge and take care of your physical and mental health. Exercise, meditation, and hobbies allow you to step away from your computer, take a break from the publishing process, and come back to your book with a fresh perspective.

  1. Stress and overwhelm

    Publishing a book requires authors to navigate a complex and often unfamiliar landscape of editors, ghostwriters, publishers, marketing professionals, and others. This can be overwhelming, especially for first-time authors who are trying to learn the ropes while also managing the demands of writing and promotion.

    Solution: Practice gratitude
    Remember why you started writing in the first place, and focus on the positive aspects, like the opportunity to create and share your big ideas with others.

Final Thoughts: Overcoming Author Burnout and Staying Motivated

Burnout can happen to any author—no matter where they are on their publishing journey. The most important thing you can do is prioritize yourself and remain open to finding new, manageable ways to stay on track with your book. 

Have another suggestion for authors experiencing burnout? We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment or share how you avoid author burnout with us on social media. 

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Posted in:Resources

The Inside Scoop to Getting Testimonials

Testimonials can be some of the first words a consumer reads when picking up a book. These book blurbs serve as a way for readers to get immediate access to a book’s praise directly on the front and back cover, rather than having to search for them online. But how do authors get these endorsements from noteworthy people?

Let’s go over why this praise can be helpful, what a good testimonial looks like, and how to even get them.

Relevance and Quality

There are many reasons why you should consider having testimonials, some of them being that they strengthen your author credibility and attract readers to your book’s plot or themes. 

This begins with the perceived influence of the reviewer. Even if the reviewer is not a household name, it’s crucial to make sure that they have industry experience. It always looks good to include a subheading or title after the person’s name to explain why they are relevant to this book. That means you’ll have to ensure that you are collecting testimonials from people that have real knowledge about their field and – this is critical – are able to communicate their thoughts concisely and creatively.

Some blurbs you receive from top authors or leaders might be bland or non-specific. While it may be great to hear from them, a successful testimonial is eye-catching and narrows in on particular aspects of the book that make it unique. The goal should always be quality over quantity. 

Cultivate contacts that know you personally and/or professionally and can speak to your work. Vague statements are not worth your book’s cover – you want specific feedback that speaks to real aspects of the book and has concrete rationales for why that particular person is offering their endorsement. Your book deserves the best possible quotes. To get them, you’ll want to pick people that are not only knowledgeable in their profession, but also eloquent and have the ability to express why something works. They have to be able to communicate that well to an audience. 

Brainstorming Questions

  1. Who are your readers? Who influences them?
  2. What elements of your book are most important to you, and who in your field can speak to those specific topics?
  3. What does your ideal testimonial sound like? What do you want audiences to take away from your book? This will help focus your queries and request for reviews/blurbs.

Organization and Process

Coming up with a system for gathering testimonials is a large part of the process. Having a streamlined methodology will help you stay focused and will allow you to maintain the goals you have set for yourself. Check out the following tips to help you begin collating reviews and testimonials:

  • Craft a short template query that you can send to prospective readers for their blurb or feedback, but make sure to leave room for a sentence or two that can be personalized. Sincere compliments go a long way. The template should explain explicitly that you are looking for a quote for the book, what you hope to accomplish, and, if the person does not know you personally, introduce yourself briefly but substantively. 
  • Depending on the volume of queries you intend to disseminate, maintain a spreadsheet that keeps track of the names you are reaching out to and the status of their decision(s). In general, it’s best to spread your net wide, as you will not get responses from everyone. (The net should not be so wide, though, that you begin to move away from the focus of the book.)
  • Establish deadlines for yourself and for your reviewer. 
  • Make sure that the system is as user-friendly as possible for the person you are requesting a testimonial from; send the book to them in whichever format they like, and try to accommodate their needs.

Elements of a Memorable Testimonial 

Any testimonial should tell the reader how they will benefit from the book, but being able to illuminate that in a way that pops is a golden ticket to a top-notch testimonial. 

Short and succinct blurbs are the best, but don’t be afraid to seek one that’s a bit longer. Having the reviewer explain what they learned is always a good starting point. It is always important to find a balance between substance and style. You want a reader to see a testimonial and actually get information from it, rather than just absorb a glowing review that may be sycophantic in nature.

Brainstorming Questions for the Reviewer 

What are some particular pieces of information that they learned, and how relevant are they to the book as a whole? Do they match the themes?

How was the information in the book conveyed, and what makes it different from other books on the market?

Strong Examples

Contains specific remarks about the book and/or language that is visual or surprising

“Ignore this book at your own peril.” —Seth Godin, Rework

“For those of us who didn’t pursue MBAs – and have the penny-ante salaries to prove it – Sorkin’s book offers a clear, cogent explanation of what happened and why it matters.” —Julia Keller, Too Big to Fail 

Lean In is an inauguration rather than a last word…” —Anna Holmes

“What Sandberg offers is a view that shows twenty-somethings that choices and tradeoffs surely exist, but that the ‘old normal’ of blunting ambition so that can fit in one category or another does not have to be the way it is.” —Gayle Tzemach, Lean In

Weak Examples

Lack of specificity, personalization, snappy wordplay

“This was an inspiring book full of great advice and tips on how to succeed.”

“A must-have book for all managers and businesspeople.”

“The best book I’ve read all year!”

With these tips in mind, what are you waiting for? It’s time to go get those well-crafted testimonials! Let us know how it goes by contacting us at or tagging us on social media:





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Why You Need an Amazon Author Central Profile

You’re almost there. Your Amazon listing is officially live and ready to be shared, but the word on the street is that you need to set up an Amazon Author Central page too. Isn’t it enough to just sell your books through Amazon? Not quite.

An important rule of bookselling is: if there’s ever an opportunity to connect with your readers, take it. Amazon Author Central is one of those opportunities.

Author Central is a free and user-friendly online profile that will enhance your author brand and allow you to track sales. It can also be your answer to selling more books. Let’s go over why every author should take the time to create an Amazon Author Central profile.

When should I create an account?

As soon as your Amazon listing is up! You’ll want to optimize your listing and add a profile before sharing your pre-order link with the world. This way, you’ll have a professional-looking page for your first consumers (and this will also help with your Amazon SEO).

Why should I create an account?

There are six elements of an Amazon Author Central profile that can lead you to becoming a bestseller: biography, photos and videos, blog feeds, events, books, and URL. With all of these optimized on your profile, an Amazon Author Central page can…

1. Increase your Amazon and Google search rankings. The more active you are on your Author Central page, the higher you will appear in search results with keyword searches. This leads to organic sales and increased traffic to your various pages.

2. Track your sales performance by country. The profile will give you sales data through BookScan, a data provider for the book publishing industry, which doesn’t track all sales (only print book sales from bookstores and Amazon sales) but does provide insight on sales trends.

The sales tracking also includes a ranking, showing how well your book is doing compared to other books on Amazon. With constant access to your sales numbers by country, you’ll be able to observe what sales and marketing techniques are working and what aren’t.

3. Make changes to your listing on your own. Amazon gives you more control over any changes you want to make to your listing, such as changing the book description. This immediate and direct control will save you the 48 to 72 hours it typically takes for Amazon to make changes to any listing on their end.

4. Increase traffic to all of your book listings, including your websites and social media channels. Since your author page will display all of your books for sale at Amazon, a reader will be able to easily check out your other work. If they liked one of your books, they’re only a few clicks away from browsing the other titles you’ve written. This is an easy way to generate sales. They’ll also have access to your social media platforms and website. Even more, they can follow your Author Central page to receive alerts when you publish a new book.

5. Easily monitor book reviews and consumer discussions. Instead of having to constantly refresh your book listings in hopes of reading a new review, you’ll have access to all of your reviews in one place.

6. Build your credibility by giving readers a more personal glimpse of who you are. Readers want to know you and feel connected to you. By having photos, videos, a biography, and updates on your life through social media, they’ll continue to support your work. A detailed Author Central profile shows that you’re a professional, one who cares about their readers and has a compelling and trustworthy platform. It’s always a good sign when an author has a strong online presence. The more you can add to your profile, the more readers will feel that they have a personal relationship with you. The goal is to create a powerful first impression that leaves readers life-long fans.

The increased visibility, credibility, and readership of an Amazon Author Central profile is worth any time you spend optimizing your account. This is an easy marketing resource that you don’t want to miss out on.

Create your profile now.

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What Makes a Good Interior Design? What to Expect During the Design Process

Once the writing and editing of your book have been completed and a cover concept selected, the next step is solidifying an interior design. Though interior design may seem straightforward, the process is far more intentional than simply placing words onto pages and starting the presses. A strong interior design should always complement the cover design, and takes into account content, genre, and any included graphics. Making reading an easy and pleasurable experience is why design is an important step in the publishing process.

So, what are the nuts and bolts that make up a strong interior design? There are several hallmarks to keep in mind.

1. Reads Well.

Readability is the ultimate goal for a book’s interior and, as previously mentioned, a good design will allow the reader to effortlessly fly through the pages. Crowded text, messy graphics, and not enough visual negative space yields to a cumbersome reading experience. A good balance between visuals, negative space, and appropriate font selection ensures an approachable book that encourages readers to keep reading and communicates information effectively.

2. Complements Cover Design.

The interior should be a natural extension of the cover, and as such, their styles should complement each other. You don’t want your reader to open your book and be surprised by what they see. An example of good design is in Melissa Agnes’s book, Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, which uses negative space to convey peace and calm on the cover and interior.

3. Follows Industry Trends.

An outdated interior design is a sure way to immediately convey to the reader that your content may be antiquated as well. A modern interior design that is indicative of your content and genre is always recommended.

Producing a finalized set of files that are printer-ready requires several rounds of editing. After the cover has been completed, the design team lays out the first few chapters of the book into a sample interior design, called a test layout. The design team and the author discuss any edits to be made before the team locks in the design. Then, it’s on to the full book layout.

Once the full manuscript is laid out according to the agreed-upon design, the author is given the opportunity for one final read-through for any final, minor changes. In-line changes to the text are accepted here, but major rewrites are highly discouraged (and sometimes impossible without re-laying out the book). Too many significant changes disrupts the design process, slows down production, and can cause reflow from page to page.

Once all final edits are incorporated and the files have been signed off on, the book is ready to go to the printer.

Interior Design In-Depth

Major design elements include font, font size, header selection, chapter openers, running footers, and other stylistic elements (if applicable) such as charts, graphs, and photos. Your publisher will likely provide you with their recommendations in each of these areas. An experienced design team will have experience working with all these elements, and come up with a design tailored to your book’s needs.

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Book Marketing for Thought Leaders: Reviewing 2020 and Looking to the Future in 2021

Let’s say you just spent two years hard at work writing a book. Brainstormed, outlined, wrote, edited, re-wrote, re-edited, and finally had a book you were eager to share with the world. At some point in late 2019 or early 2020, you got your hands on an advance copy…and you were beyond excited for your publication date, which was set for March 2020. This book was to be the key to further establishing yourself as an expert in your industry. In addition to earning royalties on book sales, you were excited to have your book be a critical element of your overall platform and content game plan, opening doors for new opportunities such as speaking and consulting arrangements. Everything’s going great until, exactly one week after your launch, the world stops in its tracks because of a global pandemic. Of all the things book launch-related to worry about, contingencies for a global pandemic were likely not on anyone’s radar.

Let’s recap what happened in 2020:

As it became clear the pandemic wasn’t going to reach a speedy resolution, books started trickling out in the summer and the latter half of 2020. Many meticulously scheduled marketing plans were thrown out the window.

– Live events were canceled. This included speaking gigs, conferences, book talks, launch parties, author readings, and book signings.

– Webinars and virtual events became more crucial than ever for author-reader connection, and many occurred in late spring.

– Content accompanying book launches also became more important than ever. Authors competed with the rest of the digital world for attention and needed to deliver unparalleled value.

– Brick-and-mortar bookstores saw already-declining sales for business and thought leadership titles nosedive. Amazon, on a continuous upward trajectory, became even more important. Amazon keywords campaigns increased in importance.

Case study: Invisible Solutions: 25 Lenses that Reframe and Help Solve Difficult Business Problems (March 3, 2020)

Stephen Shapiro, author of Invisible Solutions, is a highly sought-after professional speaker on the topic of business innovation. When the pandemic hit right as his new book hit the market, he pivoted to digital promotion. This meant virtual speaking engagements and releasing more video content. He created a videobook by adapting information from Invisible Solutions into a YouTube format. He also started a podcast, the Invisible Solutions Podcast. Was it ideal? Nope, but he didn’t let a pandemic stop him in his tracks.

“I was already shifting to virtual events and platforms before the COVID-19 pandemic hit,” Shapiro said. “I accelerated my business plan to more than just replicate the live experience, but to improve it while remote.”

Now, let’s look ahead to 2021:

Nobody knows for sure what 2021 will hold for book marketing, though we anticipate live book launches to slowly start returning toward the end of the year. Though there are too many variables to say with certainty, we do anticipate a stronger emphasis on virtual promotion is here to stay.

What does a good 2021 marketing strategy look like?

A good 2021 strategy should incorporate the same qualities any book marketing campaign does: flexibility, creative thinking, and problem-solving. Be sure to add more virtual elements to your marketing plan. Online events that allow you to talk about the book and make connections should be your focus.

Authors with a 2020 or 2021 release shouldn’t stop their efforts after a few months, either. As the average lifespan of a book is one to two years, marketing should continue post-pandemic. Milestones like cover reveals and release date announcements can continue on social media, and award submissions are active as usual. The more you promote your book beyond its first six months, the more likely it is to reach its target audience.

Launching a book in 2020 seemed an impossible mountain to climb, but authors managed to adapt and carry on. 2021 will likely require authors to meet additional unseen challenges. A return to in-person marketing is hopefully on the horizon, but for now, virtual promotion is key to a book’s success.

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Indexing: Turning a Book into a Timeless Resource

A potential reader searching for a book on particular topics and wanting to know how deeply a book covers them will often look at the index. An index gives the reader a sense of the breadth of topics—all the way down to the specifics—that they’ll benefit from, as well as serves as a useful reference for interacting with the book for years to come. It may be an important part of a reader’s decision to add the book to their shopping cart and pick it up again after their initial read, increasing its value over its lifetime.

Books that benefit from an index

Indexes are typically found in nonfiction books, especially those that include reference or technical material. If a title includes topics specific to a certain subject area or industry that the reader may want to return to for quick reference, or if the title includes important keywords that could be used for research, the author should consider including an index. Not all nonfiction titles need an index, however. Narrative nonfiction titles, such as memoirs, do not require one as they do not serve as resource material.

The indexing process

The indexing process is one of the final steps in production before the book is sent to the printer. Indexing can only occur once the full PDF is finalized as final page numbers are needed in order to produce a properly paginated index. Changes after the indexing process is complete could result in layout reflow, causing key terms to shift to different pages and rendering the index inaccurate.

Indexing is typically completed by professionals who have been trained in the skill and, while straightforward from the outside, requires expertise on behalf of the indexer. The indexer reads through the entire book and identifies key words and phrases they anticipate will be important to readers. Indexing is subjective, but all indexers approach the book with the target reader in mind. Some indexers utilize a hybrid of indexing technology in addition to a manual read-through.

When the index is complete, the author receives the final draft of key terms and their associated page numbers for inclusion at the back of their book.

Author involvement

Author involvement for indexing is usually minimal, though depends on the author’s preference. While an author may supply a preliminary list of key terms to the indexer prior to indexing commencing, most authors prefer to let the process unfold without their input and trust the indexer—a trained professional with an unbiased eye—to identify what will be most helpful to readers.

After the completed index has been delivered, the author reviews it and can choose to add or drop terms from it. Adding entries requires going back to the indexer and can add time and cost to the production process. Dropping terms is easier, and can be done without the indexer’s involvement.

Indexing is a consideration authors should begin thinking about during the acquisitions process, as it is a fairly costly endeavor. An index costs a few thousand dollars, depending on the needs of the individual book.

The cost is often worth it, though: an index often increases a book’s use and value, helping it become a staple on a reader’s shelf or a go-to text on the subject matter.

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More Than Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s: The Levels of Editing

You’ve finally got it: a first draft. The last word has been written, and now you’ve got a couple hundred pages ready to be edited. You’ve completed what many consider the hardest part of writing a book, but there’s still work left to be done. It’s time for editing to begin.

All manuscripts need editing. Working with a professional editor is necessary to ensure your book becomes the best book it can be. Some writing requires basic sentence- and word-level polishing, while other manuscripts may need an overarching content edit. It all depends on the author’s writing process and where they feel their writing has ended up after the first draft. No matter what, flipping back to the beginning of the book and breaking out the red pen is a crucial step in the publishing process.

One editorial size does not fit all. The most common editing options are as follows:

Ghostwrite. A ghostwrite includes the complete drafting of a manuscript, beginning with interviews with the author and other important individuals and moving through a synopsis, outline, and chapter delivery. A professional ghostwriter has the most involvement in a manuscript. An author’s relationship with a ghostwriter can be as involved as they choose.

Writing Coach. A writing coach aids in the creation of an outline, table of contents, and writing schedule. The author writes the manuscript while the writing coach works closely with the author throughout the drafting process by editing each chapter as it is written for content-level concerns. Busy authors who are still invested in doing the actual writing of the book or those who need a schedule to stick to often opt for a writing coach to get real-time feedback.

Content Edit. A professional editor works with the author after the first full draft of the manuscript is completed. They suggest high-level structural and organizational changes as needed that may affect both the prose and content of the book. It’s a good choice for authors who have or will have a completed manuscript and are looking for high-level feedback. A content editor may rewrite sentences as necessary.

Developmental Edit. A developmental edit addresses clarity, style, and phrasing. The editor identifies areas with awkward word choice and sentences, when more information or explanation is needed, or when redundancies arise.

Copyedit. A copyedit involves an editor correcting line-by-line grammatical errors, including spelling, punctuation, word choice, tense, and sentence structure. Editing at this level aims to get the book grammatically sound and ready for print.

After completing your manuscript, you’ll likely have a sense of which level of editing you need. If you’re unsure, an editor or publishing professional can assess your manuscript for the appropriate level of editing needed.

Who will I work with?
Whether you are working with an in-house editor at a publisher or with a freelancer, ensure they have experience and qualifications to complete the level of editing necessary. Budget is a realistic concern, too, so confirm that the editor is providing a reasonable quote for a quality job. Working relationship is another factor. Depending on how heavy an edit your manuscript needs, you may be spending some time communicating with your editor, so see if you jive personally to work well professionally.

Every manuscript needs some level of editing before it’s ready to go to print, and CEOs and thought leaders often need the help of a professional to help bring their book up to scratch in a competitive market. A well written book is a must to represent yourself and your brand well, so choosing the right level of editing helps create a quality product.

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When Hiring a Ghostwriter is the Correct Editorial (and Business) Decision

You’re a thought leader and recognized expert in your field. Your audience enjoys your blogs, your videos, and your social media presence. Your influence is growing. And to keep the momentum going, you’ve decided to add a book to your platform and share your big idea with the world.

What’s the next step? For many, it’s finding a qualified ghostwriter.

So, let’s dispel some myths about ghostwriting here and now. It’s not cheating. It’s not unethical. It’s actually rather common. We estimate half of Amplify Publishing titles utilize the service of ghostwriters. And the other half rely on writing coaches, book doctors, copyeditors, and proofreaders. But today, let’s examine the world of ghostwriting and when it makes sense for you.

Why consider hiring a ghostwriter?
There are several areas in which a ghostwriter can add value and is worth considering:

Editorial quality. Poor quality writing undermines your credibility. Even if you can write, be honest with yourself: Is your writing of the utmost quality? Do you have the objectivity to persuade readers who aren’t already sold on your ideas, as you are? If you’re not sure how well you can represent yourself while writing, it may be in your interests to consider editorial help, be that a ghostwriter or some level of editing.

Time. Even if your writing is top-notch, you still might not have time to sit down and commit to writing a manuscript. Even a modest manuscript might be a six-month project. If you’re running a company or traveling for speaking engagements, you might be too busy. A book project is a time investment as well as a monetary investment, so be realistic with your schedule and whether you can take on another project right now.

Efficiency. Maybe you can write as well as any ghostwriter, but it takes you ten times longer to write one chapter than it would for them. A ghostwriter can step in and add speed while maintaining a quality product. For my book, How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 Secrets of a Killer Author Marketing Platform, I knew I could write well, but knew I couldn’t go to market without some help from Tim Vandehey, who did the heavy lifting on the writing. A professional isn’t just for those who have no time; it’s for those who value the time they have.

What is it like to work with a ghostwriter?
The ghostwriter and the named author spend a lot of time together. Brainstorming sessions, outlining, in-depth interviews wherein ghostwriter picks the author’s brain and develops a sense of their written “voice.” You don’t need to be in the same city, but an initial face-to-face meeting often produces the best writer-client relationship. The style of the meeting depends on you and the writer.

The continued level of involvement after the initial meetings is up to the named author. Maybe you want to be hands-off and just have the ghostwriter send you a completed manuscript. Perhaps you want to take an active hand in shaping the book. Many ghostwriters have a process of developing ideas and structuring the book, and the named author needs to be comfortable with that process beforehand. However the ghostwriter handles it, they will ensure they are staying true to the roadmap you laid out in the preliminary interviews. Understanding this process upfront creates the best working relationship.

What are the costs associated with hiring a ghostwriter?
There is a wide range of budgets involved in hiring a ghostwriter. The price depends on attributes like the ghostwriter’s experience, their credits, and any special circumstances like the complexity of the book or the turnaround time. We’ve worked with ghosts whose fee ranged from $10,000 on the low end to $100,000 on the high end—that’s a reality. But we are always able to find a ghostwriter within the budget of the named author.

Ghostwriting often stirs up negative associations, but it’s a crucial part of the book production process for the majority of successful authors. A great ghostwriter will provide the editorial quality and efficiency it takes to get a book done well and help you achieve your publishing goals.

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The Ins and Outs of Amazon Author Central (and why you should have one)

Many authors right now are wondering how on earth they can connect with their readers when they can barely leave the house.

Without in-person signings, launches, and promotional events, it’s a lot harder to create and build relationships with readers during the pandemic. That said, there is no better time for you, as an author, to take advantage of all the online resources available, such as *ahem* Amazon Author Central.

Amazon Author Central is a free and user-friendly online profile that can enhance your author brand. It can also be your answer to selling more books. We will take you through all the ins and outs of an Amazon Author Page in this post, so get ready!

Where can I find someone’s Amazon Author Central Page?

If you search for a book and click on the author’s name below their book title, you’ll see their author page. This is where you can showcase additional information about you and your book.

Get a feel for author pages by browsing the following Amplify author pages:

George Kroustalis
P.V. Kannan
Howard M. Shore
Jason Khalipa

What can Amazon Author Central do for you?

Creating this page can…

  • Increase your Amazon and Google search rankings
  • Track your sales performance by country
  • Increase traffic to all your book listings, including your websites and social media channels
  • Allow readers a more personal glimpse at who you are
  • Make it easy to manage and respond to book reviews and consumer discussions on Amazon customer forums
  • Build your credibility by providing readers with more information

What are the elements of the profile and how should I use them?

There are six elements of the profile that you’ll want to get started on:


Any biographical information should be clean and concise. With that in mind, your biography should include your biggest achievements, whether that’s being a bestseller, being featured in a noteworthy publication, winning or being nominated for a prestigious award, or being a first or fifth-time author. You can also include a nod to your profession, experience, or interest that influenced and informed your writing. Tell your readers the common themes of your book and why you stand out from other authors. Providing information on how to connect with you or learn more is important, so be sure to list your website, social media handles, and contact information.

To insert your biography,

  1. Find Personal Biography in the profile tab
  2. Select Edit Biography
  3. Paste or write your biography (it must be at least 100 characters)
  4. Click Preview biography to review your work
  5. Click Save biography

Everyone wants to put a face to the name. Add a profile picture and other photos on your page that readers can connect with. On Author Central, you can upload up to eight photos. Think about your author message and try to encapsulate that in your photos. If you have any photos from author events, go for it! However, they don’t all have to be professional. You can post anything that relates back to your book’s themes or subject matter, but ultimately, you want to show readers who you are.

You can get even more creative with a video than a photo. Like photos, you can only have up to eight videos that can’t exceed ten minutes. Upload greeting videos, book trailers, public readings, promos for your next book, or footage introducing yourself.

If you want to add photos,

  1. Find Photos in the profile tab
  2. Select Add photo
  3. Click Browse and select your photo
  4. Confirm you have rights to the photo by checking the box
  5. Click on Upload photo

You can edit the order of photos by selecting Manage next to Add photo and dragging your photos into the order you would like.

For videos, follow the same instructions but under the Videos tab. Amazon will notify you when your video is done uploading, in which you will need to review your video and select Approve video to complete the process.

BLOG FEEDS (also known as RSS Feeds)

Through your author page, you can link your blog (if you have one) and display previews of your recent posts. Sharing blogs on the writing process and inspiration is a great way to provide additional, behind-the-scenes background to the reading experience. Once that is completed, any new posts will upload to your Amazon author page but any old posts published prior will have to be reposted.

To upload your blog,

  1. Find Blogs on the profile tab
  2. Click on Add Blog
  3. Enter the RSS address for your blog (not the URL). You must go to your blog, right-click and select “View page source,” command+F and search for RSS.
  4. Select Add

If you have book signings, readings, or other events, you can let your readers know by posting the information of the times and places. Events aren’t happening too much right now, but this is an option to keep in mind for the future.

To post events,

  1. Find the Profile tab
  2. Select Speaking or other events
  3. Click the Add or Edit link next to the section

And of course, you’ll want to have your books listed on your site so your readers can see all that you’ve written. Make sure you update your book descriptions as you publish additional books. Usually, Amazon will automatically list your books when they’ve verified your account, but sometimes you will have to request to link them.

To add books,

  1. Find the Books in the profile tab
  2. Click on Add More Books
  3. Search for your book by title, ISBN, or author
  4. Select This is my book

To complete your author page, customize your URL. Author Central allows you to enter your own URL and will tell you if that handle is available. It’ll look better (and feel better) to have all the scrambled numbers and letters deleted.

To do this,

  1. Find Author Page URL in the profile tab
  2. Select Add link
  3. Enter your own URL (there will be an auto-generated one but you can change it). The guidelines are: at least 1 character (no more than 30 characters), no spaces, no special characters other than dashes, periods, and underscores, and no profanity.
  4. Amazon will tell you if that URL is available
  5. Click Save

Feeling confident about building your page? Go get started here. Let us know if you have questions by contacting us on:


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