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9 Online Author Hacks to Boost Your Writing and Thought Leadership

In 2023, authors have a plethora of online tools and technology at their fingertips to enhance their writing experience and productivity. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting your authorial journey, these nine online author hacks can be game-changers and help you become more efficient and effective. 

9 Websites and Digital Tools to Utilize

1. Grammarly: Elevating Your Writing Quality

As an author, impeccable grammar and spelling are nonnegotiable. Grammarly, a powerful online writing assistant, acts as your vigilant editor, helping you correct grammar and spelling errors while offering suggestions to improve your writing style. It not only polishes your prose but also educates you on common mistakes, making you a better writer in the process.


  • Enhanced Writing Quality: Grammarly helps eliminate grammar and spelling errors from your, boosting your credibility as an author.
  • Improved Writing Style: The platform offers style suggestions, helping you refine your unique voice and engage your readers effectively.

2. Hemingway Editor: Crafting Clear and Concise Prose

Ernest Hemingway was renowned for his straightforward and concise writing style, and the Hemingway Editor aims to help you achieve the same. This web-based tool highlights complex sentences, common errors, and suggests improvements to make your writing clearer and more concise.


  • Clarity and Readability: Hemingway Editor ensures your writing is easy to understand and captivates readers from the first word.
  • Saves Editing Time: It streamlines the editing process, making your work more polished and ready for publication.

3. Evernote: Your Digital Note-Taking Companion

Authors often find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Evernote is a versatile note-taking app that allows you to capture and organize your ideas, research, and inspiration in one place. With its syncing capabilities across devices, you’ll never lose a brilliant idea again.


  • Organization: Evernote helps you categorize and store your ideas, making them easily accessible when you need them.
  • Collaboration: You can collaborate with other writers or researchers, streamlining the collaborative writing process.

4. Goodreads: Author’s Social Media Playground

Building an online presence as an author is crucial for connecting with your audience and promoting your work. Goodreads provides the ideal platform for authors to connect with readers, promote their books, and discover new ones. You can join book clubs, engage in discussions, and even run giveaways to gain exposure.


  • Audience Engagement: Interact with readers, gain feedback, and build a dedicated fan base.
  • Book Promotion: Showcase your work, participate in giveaways, and leverage the platform’s advertising options to boost book sales.

5. Scrivener: The Ultimate Writing Software

Scrivener is the go-to writing software for authors who need robust tools for planning, outlining, and organizing their writing projects. It allows you to break your work into manageable sections, making it easier to structure your book.


  • Project Organization: Scrivener’s unique organizational features help you stay on top of your project, no matter its complexity.
  • Efficiency: The software streamlines the writing process, saving you time and reducing distractions.

6. 750 Words: Cultivate a Writing Habit

One of the biggest challenges for authors is maintaining a consistent writing routine. 750 Words is a platform designed to help you overcome this hurdle by encouraging you to write 750 words every day. It tracks your progress and motivates you to build a daily writing habit.


  • Consistency: Developing a daily writing habit is key to completing long-term projects.
  • Accountability: The platform holds you accountable, tracking your daily word count and encouraging regular writing.

7. Capitalize My Title: Title Capitalization Made Easy

Getting the capitalization of titles, subtitles, chapters, and headings correct can be a tedious task. Capitalize My Title simplifies this process with a user-friendly website that ensures your titles are properly capitalized according to style guidelines, including The Chicago Manual of Style, which is sure to be your editor’s and publisher’s preference.


  • Professionalism: Correct title capitalization enhances the professionalism of your work, whether it’s a book, chapter heading, or blog post.
  • Time-Saver: Save time by avoiding manual capitalization rules, allowing you to focus on your writing.

8. Quillbot: AI-Powered Sentence Correction

Avoiding mistakes in your writing is crucial, but it’s not always easy to catch every error. Quillbot, a free online sentence corrector powered by AI, reviews your text for grammatical errors and offers suggestions for improvement.


  • Error-Free Writing: Quillbot ensures your writing is free from grammatical and structural errors.
  • Learning Tool: It helps you learn from your mistakes, improving your writing skills over time.

9. Linktree: Centralize Your Online Presence

Authors often have multiple online profiles, from personal websites to book listings with various retailers. Linktree allows you to consolidate all these links into one place, simplifying the process for your readers, fans, and followers to access your content.


  • Accessibility: Ensure that your audience can easily find and navigate to your various online profiles.
  • Marketing Efficiency: Use Linktree to promote your books, blog posts, and social media profiles in a cohesive manner.

It’s Time to Embrace Digital Tools

These nine online author hacks can significantly benefit writers of all experience levels. Whether you’re looking to improve your content, enhance your organization and productivity, or streamline your online presence, these tools and technologies are essential for modern authors striving to succeed in a competitive digital landscape. Embrace these resources, and watch your career flourish as you become a more efficient and effective author.

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Posted in:Resources

Book-worthy Ideas

By Josh Bernoff, author of Build a Better Business Book

Is your idea worth building a book around?

Given the amount of effort required to plan, research, write, and promote an effective book, this is an important question. If your idea is too small, or too vague, or not interesting enough, then creating a book around it is a fool’s errand. But if the idea is solid, with major consequences, then writing a book might be just what you need to get people talking about it.

So let’s dig into what makes a book-worthy idea.

What is an idea?

That’s one of those questions that seems both obvious and confusing. But here’s my proposed definition:

An idea is a previously unsuspected connection among concepts that leads to nonobvious consequences.

This applies to every nonfiction book I’ve ever worked on—fifty books in total. Ideas are always built on existing concepts. What makes the idea interesting is a new way of looking at those concepts. What makes it worth working on is that it has consequences: once you understand the idea, you need to change how you think, how you plan, what you do, and how you talk about it.

For example, David Epstein’s book Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World (Riverhead Books, 2019) explains how the most successful people pursue and connect a diverse collection of expertise rather than specializing in one area. James Clear’s book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (Avery, 2018) is built around the idea that changing habits can generate remarkable results, along with a systematic way to understand and implement those changes.

The best ideas like these are simple—not simplistic, but simple enough to explain in a sentence. And they have three other qualities: they are big, right, and new.

Big ideas have consequences

It’s tough to write books about small ideas—you’ll run out of material. For a book that matters, you need a big idea.

That big idea can still be limited to a specific field of study, like marketing, direct marketing, or even email marketing. But it must be big enough to have facets and consequences worth writing about at length. It must create ripples. You can write a whole book about those facets, consequences, and ripples and then build a career off of your expertise in them. You’ll never run out of material.

The right ideas are believable

Here’s an idea: Social media will make the world a better place. That’s an attractive concept, but the evidence is mounting that it’s just not true.

For an idea to be persuasive, you need evidence that it’s worth taking seriously. That evidence could be data. It could be examples and case studies. It could be a synthesis of proven ideas from other people. But there has to be evidence.

New ideas stand out

To be successful, a book needs to be differentiated. You have to be able to finish the sentence, “This is the first book that . . .”

Now, there are no completely new ideas. But there are always ways to differentiate your book. Maybe you’ve written the first book about how to use AI to write movie scripts. It won’t be the first book about scriptwriting or the first book about AI, but it will still be unique in its field.

You can distinguish your idea by applying it to a new audience or a new problem, or by being the first to describe it in a step-by-step way. There are lots of ways to differentiate. But unless you differentiate your idea, you’re just a copycat. No one is well known as the second person to come up with an idea.

Simple, new, big, and right ideas spread

Simple ideas are easy to repeat.

Big ideas have far-reaching consequences.

The right ideas stand the test of time.

New ideas pique interest and attract attention.

Combine all of these, and you’ll be able to build a solid book whose premise people are likely to understand, care about, and repeat. That’s a formula for an idea that catches on.

Josh Bernoff is the author, coauthor, editor, or ghostwriter of eight business books including the social media bestseller “Groundswell.” Book projects on which he has collaborated have generated over $20 million for their authors. His blog, at www.Bernoff.com, featuring daily posts of interest to authors, has generated 4 million views. He lives with his wife, an artist, in Portland, Maine.

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Posted in:Authors, Resources

How to Get the Media to Promote Your Book: Proven Strategies to Capture Media Attention and Skyrocket Your Book’s Visibility

Author: Eric Schurenberg, Amplify Publishing Group Editor-in-Chief, Former CEO of Inc. and FastCompany

Congratulations! Your book is now all but finished—the manuscript has been approved, edited, and sent off to the printer. But you’re not done yet.

Now you have to make sure the world knows your baby is born, soon to be ready to be read. The best way to spread the word beyond your own network is through the media—the complex, ever-evolving, multiheaded ecosystem of traditional journalists, podcasters, newsletter writers, bloggers, and influencers. Their reach can not only help build your book’s sales but also raise your profile. The book you created can open many doors for you as a thought leader, but it won’t do so if no one has read it. And it won’t be read if no one knows it’s out there.

Your book publisher may undertake some publicity for you, and you can always hire an independent publicity firm. But be realistic. The overstretched publicity staff inside a traditional publisher must promote many books besides yours—some of them by celebrity authors who will always get the lion’s share of attention. The in-house publicist’s first goal is to maintain their relationship with bookers and editors at media outlets, not promote your book.

Publicity firms can give you more attention, but they are expensive. You should expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 per month. And they cannot work miracles. You’re likely to find that even professionals have a hard time rising above the flood of books swamping media inboxes each month. To put the maximum effort into publicizing your book, you will need to wade into publicizing yourself in tandem with that of your publisher or hired PR firm.

Now, that may sound quixotic. How can you have any effect when you are new to the field and don’t have a contact list full of media stars? Well, you’re probably not going to get yourself booked on Today or reviewed in the Washington Post right out of the gate. There is simply too much competition. Steve Levingston, the Post’s longtime non-fiction book editor, has just half a dozen book review slots a week and estimates that he gets 100 pitches a day from authors and publicists seeking reviews. But if you start at a realistic level—building a foundation among smaller media outfits, practicing your pitch, and building towards your ideal outlet—you might just do better than you expect.  

Start by creating a press list that hits your target audience where they get their information

You almost certainly know your audience better than any publicist, and you have the clearest idea of where they get their media. Focus on those outlets. This will help you narrow down the number of options and find the outlets best suited to cover you. If you’re not sure, consider books that compete with yours: Where were they reviewed or otherwise covered? Find out the names of the editors or producers responsible for assigning or scheduling that coverage. Don’t limit yourself to just one platform, such as only print or only podcasts. The odds are that your audience gets its information on lots of different platforms. Explore them all. 

Before pitching anyone in media, get to know them

Once you’ve identified the decision-maker you want to pitch, study their work. Do your best to understand what interests their audience and construct your pitch accordingly. In the introductory paragraph of your email, let them know that you appreciate their work and clearly explain how your book relates to their interests and/or beat and why it would be of interest to their readers or viewers.

Craft a pitch that helps you stand out

Remember that everyone in this communication chain is pressed for time, including you. So get to the point quickly. It helps to create a core pitch that you can customize for each different outlet but that you don’t have to recreate each time.

Before you put a finger to your keyboard, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What might inspire this journalist?
  • What makes my book or message topical?
  • How do I stand apart?
  • What problem do I or my book solve?
  • What do I want to happen after I send this email?

Open your email by explaining why you’re reaching out and letting your contact know that you follow their work and understand their audience. But keep it short. Then, offer a brief overview of your book, emphasizing why it’s especially newsworthy and why it holds special meaning for your contact’s audience and your contact in particular (if you can).

Be sure to give reasons why you, as an author, are worth paying attention to. The reasons could include your professional credentials, past press you’ve received, the size of your social media following, the endorsements your book has received, or any combination of the above.  

Close with an ask that

a) they are likely to be able to grant and

b) helps them do their job.

At my former shop at Fast Company, for example, one editor was responsible for assigning stories relating to design, another for content related to social impact, and yet another managed non-journalist authors who contributed articles under their own byline. All three of them are barraged by publicists seeking attention. You’ll have a much better chance of being heard over the noise if you pitch your book on design thinking to Design Editor Suzanne LaBarre rather than to Social Impact Editor Morgan Clendaniel or to Editor-in-Chief Brendan Vaughan. Even if they don’t take you up on your pitch, they will appreciate that you took the time to avoid wasting theirs.

Follow up regularly, but not too regularly

Wait at least a week, if not two, before following up on any email you send. Be aware that it’s not unusual for a journalist to take several days or weeks to respond and, in many cases, not to respond at all. Don’t be discouraged. Instead, be thoughtful and professional when following up—try waiting until you have an update or new information to share with the journalist.

If you’ve followed up with someone a few times without a response, it’s time to move on to the next opportunity. You can always return to this same contact later if you have any game-changing developments to share.

Accept graciously when someone declines to work with you. You have everything to gain by keeping the relationship positive. For example, you can bounce back by pitching yourself as a subject-matter expert who can give commentary on a specific topic on the journalists’ beat. That kind of mention gets your name in print and gives you the chance to request your book and the purchase link included in the article. In many publications, you can propose contributing a column. Online publications are particularly fond of listicles—for example, “5 Ways to Engage Remote Employees” or “Top 10 Pieces of Advice for New Bosses.”

Consider offering giveaways, especially to radio, podcasts, and influencers. Giveaways garner interest in your book and have the added value of generating possible consumer reviews if the readers post on Goodreads or Amazon.

Play the long game.

Think of media coverage and the pitching process like pyramids. You need a strong, wide foundation in order to effectively build up to one great point at the very top. Start by pitching smaller outlets that make sense for your target audience. Outlets like local newspapers and niche podcasts can be great for this purpose. They can help establish you as a credible source of content and provide some social proof to journalists up the food chain. Plus, it allows you to practice being interviewed about your book with relatively low stakes.

Once you feel you’ve built a sufficient foundation, transition into midsized media, like regional newspapers, local TV programs, and other reputable outlets that stop short of being household names. After checking that box, you’re ready to go after the most competitive outlets, like major newspapers, popular podcasts, and primetime news programs.

Finally, remember that there are many ways, besides sales, to define your book’s success. The act of writing was no doubt a powerful way to crystallize the ideas you wanted to bring to light, and your book now serves as persuasive confirmation that you have something of value to say. But a book is likely to be just one element in a thought leadership portfolio that includes speaking, consulting, and board memberships. Maintaining a healthy relationship with the media can help on all those fronts.

In other words, remember that you are pitching the media, not just your book. You are also pitching yourself. So take the time to learn what makes each journalist or media outlook tick, and do your best to be helpful to them—as you would any client. Be courteous, persistent, empathetic, and, above all, patient, and you’ll see results.

Eric Schurenberg is Amplify Publishing Group’s editor-in-chief and a media executive, award-winning journalist, and the former CEO of Mansueto Ventures, the owner of Inc. and Fast Company media properties.

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Boosting Author Visibility and Credibility: Unveiling the Power of Trade Reviews

In the world of book publishing, reviews from reputable trade publications can significantly enhance an author’s visibility and credibility. Not only do reviews from industry publications lead to increased attention, they give you immediate credibility and respect within the industry and with readers. In this blog, we will explore four exceptional book trade review sites that are highly regarded in the industry. These platforms offer authors and publishers the opportunity to have their books reviewed, helping them gain valuable exposure and recognition.

Let’s delve into the five key benefits of obtaining press and media coverage for authors.

  • Increased Visibility: Media and review coverage exposes authors and their books to a broader audience, helping them capture the attention of readers who may not have discovered the book otherwise. This heightened visibility opens up new avenues for connecting with potential fans and readers.
  • Credibility and Validation: Positive reviews or features in reputable media outlets add a layer of credibility and validation to the author’s work. With thought leadership books in particular, readers like to know that the content they’re about to purchase and engage with is valuable and effective in advance. Endorsements from established trade publications expedite this process, helping new books and authors without many consumer reviews or history establish their reputation and quality. 
  • Book Sales: Positive press coverage and media attention can significantly impact book sales. Reviews and features in influential publications can pique readers’ interest, leading to increased book purchases and wider distribution. 
  • Industry Recognition and Awards: Well-regarded trade publications often feature books that stand out in terms of quality, originality, or impact. Being reviewed and recognized by these publications increases an author’s chances of receiving industry awards or nominations, further solidifying their position within the literary landscape. Such accolades can open doors to new opportunities, including speaking engagements, literary festivals, or collaborations with other authors.
  • Distribution: Media coverage can open doors to new distribution channels. When a book receives positive reviews or features in reputable media outlets, it gains credibility and validation. This, in turn, attracts the attention of distributors and retailers who are more likely to stock and distribute books that have garnered positive press.
  • Media Exposure and Interviews: Quality reviews often lead to media exposure, providing authors with opportunities for interviews, features, or guest appearances. These interactions allow authors to share their journey, insights, and the story behind their book—giving followers and readers a look beyond the content itself.

Now, let’s explore four trade review sites and how authors can utilize them to maximize their book’s visibility and impact:

  • Kirkus: Kirkus Reviews is one of the most well-known and respected trade publications in the book industry. With appropriate lead time, publishers can submit books from all genres to Kirkus for review consideration. It’s incredibly competitive to earn a review from Kirkus, but if you do, you’re guaranteed to impress others in the book industry. In addition to their submission option,  Kirkus offers a convenient online platform for indie authors to submit their books for review. For a small fee, authors can submit their books directly, eliminating the need for physical copies to be mailed, and receive an honest, guaranteed review in return. To learn more about Kirkus and their indie review process, visit their website.
  • Foreword Reviews and BlueInk Review: Foreword Reviews, a prominent book review magazine, offers multiple options for authors seeking reviews. Authors can submit their books for editorial reviews, although acceptance is not guaranteed, or request a paid review. Either way, the author will receive high-quality, honest feedback in return on their work.For more information about these review options, visit the Foreword Reviews website.
  • Publishers Weekly: Publishers Weekly, another renowned trade publication, primarily prefers submissions from publishers. PW is one of the most competitive trade reviewers within the industry, so always check with your publisher at least four months in advnace of your publication date to see if your book has been submitted for consideration. However, authors have had some success submitting their books independently as well,  the paid option called BookLife. For more information about BookLife and their review submission guidelines, visit the BookLife website: Additionally, Publisher’s Weekly offers a non-paid, editorial option called GalleyTracker, reserved exclusively for publishers.
  • Booklist and Library Journal: Booklist and Library Journal are prestigious trade publications known for their formal and selective review processes whose primary audience is librarians. Unlike the previously mentioned platforms, these publications exclusively accept books from publishers. Authors can engage submission services to handle the process, which typically involves shipping physical copies of the book to both BookList and LibraryJournal, but they must submit their books through their publishers.

Elevating Your Book’s Visibility and Success

Obtaining reviews from prominent trade publications is an excellent way for authors and publishers to gain exposure and media attention for their books. The review sites mentioned—Kirkus, Foreword Reviews, BlueInk Review, Publishers Weekly, Bookkist, and Library Journal—all offer unique opportunities for authors to have their books reviewed by qualified individuals. By carefully considering each platform’s submission process and requirements, authors can make informed decisions about which sites align best with their goals and target audience. Regardless of the chosen platform, these trade reviews can significantly contribute to an author’s visibility, credibility, and overall success.

The benefits of this type of coverage also extend beyond the initial review, often leading to increased book sales, audience expansion, and industry recognition. Engaging with these trade review sites opens doors to new opportunities and establishes a strong presence within the literary world. As authors navigate the publishing landscape, harnessing the power of press and media becomes an essential component of their promotional strategy. Embracing these trade review platforms is a crucial step toward achieving recognition and success in the competitive world of publishing.

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Cracking the Code: The True Return on Your Investment in a Thought Leadership Book

Author: Eric Schurenberg, Amplify Publishing Group Editor-in-Chief, Former CEO of Inc. and FastCompany

When I talk to first-time authors about creating a book with Amplify, one question inevitably arises: “Will my book sell enough copies to make a positive return on my investment?” I don’t think it’s the right question, exactly, but I get it. So, I give the author a choice of two replies: the strictly factual one and the useful one.

The factual answer is that sales depend on a host of imponderables. To name a few: the breadth of your book’s audience appeal at the time of publication; the size and devotion of your following; the elbow grease you’re willing to put into marketing; the presence or absence of competitive titles at the time of release; and the book’s staying power over time. Because Amplify’s policy on bulk sales is particularly favorable to authors (you keep 85 percent of the cover price versus 70 percent at the typical competitor), another factor is how likely your book is to win bulk sales.

Still, let’s be honest: Bestsellers are vanishingly rare. If your main reason for writing is to get rich off of book sales alone, you’re playing some mighty long odds.

There is a more useful answer, though, and it starts with another question: For you, what really counts as return? You would not be reading this post if you didn’t already believe

a) that you have knowledge others find valuable and

b) that you get personal satisfaction out of deepening that knowledge and sharing it.

I’ve seen how instrumental a book can be in raising an author’s profile and burnishing their reputation. I’ve seen that building a personal brand delivers significant financial return. I’ve also seen how deeply fulfilling it can be for an author to research, build unique knowledge, and deliver a book that serves a personal mission. In other words, if you can measure success by something other than the cash registers at Amazon or Barnes & Noble, let’s talk.

Start by thinking about what a book is. It is a sustained, deep crystallization of the unique ideas and perspectives you bring to the world. Even in a digital world, a book carries magic. It has an impact. It changes minds. And it endures in a way that more transitory content can’t. Think of the books that have moved you. In the business world, Good to Great, The Big Short, Moneyball, and The Hard Thing About Hard Things are still quoted today, decades after their launch. In personal growth, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and Daring Greatly still inspire years after publication. You can’t say the same about those authors’ decades-old blog posts or podcast episodes.

The very effort involved in creating a book solidifies any existing reputation you have as an expert and can actually create a new identity, which can have a powerful payoff. Take, for example, David Pachter, a serial entrepreneur whose book Remote Leadership discusses how business leaders can embrace a remote workforce and build a company culture to support it. The book landed just as the COVID-19 pandemic dispersed workers to home offices, and publications like Time, Forbes, and Business Insider devoured it. In an instant, Pachter became more than just a small business executive. The book and the exposure it triggered established him as an oft-quoted thinker on one of the most powerful trends in workplace management.

Even without a media splash, a book can serve as a calling card—a memorable way to establish both your credibility and your unique ideas. Alisa Cohn, a top-ranked executive coach, introduces herself not by naming the CEOs she has coached but by name-dropping her book From Start-up to Grown-up. She explains, “In a matter of seconds, the book cements my credibility—because a book gives you credibility like nothing else—and my area of expertise, which is helping startup founders make the journey to full-fledged CEO.” Since the book was published, Alisa has found herself forced to turn away business from start-up founders eager to get her guidance on their journey.

More than just a calling card or a repository of your ideas, a book can be the source for a whole platform of ancillary thought-leadership content, including webinars, online courses, social media newsletters, and podcasts. For example, Ben Lytle, the visionary former CEO of healthcare provider Anthem, mined his book The Potentialist to create a three-part webinar series about the future of higher education. Kate Purmal reengineered whole chapters from the audio version of her personal development book, Composure, into podcast episodes. If listeners liked what they heard, they could order the audiobook. The added exposure reinvigorated sales of Composure, which in turn sparked other business for Purmal. “As more people began to get the book in their hands,” she says, “I began to get new inbound opportunities for speaking, executive coaching, and hosting internal corporate programs and workshops.”

More than anything else, the investment you make in a book is an investment in yourself. It is a bet that the hard-won knowledge you have acquired in your life—the stories you have to tell and the ideas you have to share—is of value to others. If you’re right about that, the financial ROI can manifest in any number of ways besides book sales, as it has for many Amplify authors. A book is also a bet that you will find satisfaction in assembling your knowledge and life experience into one coherent work of literary art. If you’re right about that, the ROI there may be harder to quantify, but it’s real. There’s only one way to find out.

Eric Schurenberg is Amplify Publishing Group’s editor-in-chief and a media executive, award-winning journalist, and the former CEO of Mansueto Ventures, the owner of Inc. and Fast Company media properties.

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Posted in:Authors, Resources

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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Posted in:Resources

Unlocking the Power of Hybrid Publishing: 5 Key Benefits for Authors

Hybrid publishing combines the best of traditional and self-publishing models. This method of publishing affords greater control over the publishing process and the final product, while also providing the author with the professionalism, experience, and distribution of a traditional publisher. Here are five ways that hybrid publishing sets itself apart from traditional publishing:

  1. Creative Control and IP Retention: In traditional publishing, authors have little control over the editing, cover design, marketing, and distribution of their books. With hybrid publishing, authors retain the full copyright to their content and are given the chance to be more involved in the editorial and creative processes and make decisions that align with their vision and goals. At Amplify, we think of ourselves as a truly collaborative partner with each of our authors, guiding them toward success and sharing best practices while leaving room for them to make their own decisions.
  1. Speed: Traditional publishing can be a slow-moving process, with most authors waiting at least a year to see their work in print. Hybrid publishing, on the other hand, allows authors to share their world with the world and their audience much quicker, as the timelines are streamlined and made more efficient. And, because of the collaborative nature of the hybrid publishing model, authors have a voice in when their book becomes available.
  1. Royalties: Lower royalty rates are the norm with traditional publishing houses, as the publisher takes the bigger percentage of book sales. With hybrid publishers, the reverse is true, and authors retain a larger share of royalties from book sales. At Amplify, our authors are offered one of the highest royalty rates in the business at 85 percent. 
  1. Marketing: Limited resources for marketing engagements make it difficult for authors who publish through a traditional house, which, in turn, can limit an author’s reach. Unless you’re a celebrity author or someone with a significantly established platform, you won’t always receive the support you’re looking for. Hybrid publishers help authors take a more active role in their marketing work and will establish a clear framework for a book launch and publicity support that you can count on.
  1. Distribution: Hybrid publishing provides authors with access to the same distribution channels as traditional publishing, including bookstores and online retailers. Authors are able to reach a wider audience and share their work with more people all over the world. 

In comparison to a traditional house, hybrid publishing offers a unique opportunity for authors to have more control over the publishing process and their final product. Combined with professionalism and robust distribution methods, it’s easy to see how hybrid publishing is quickly shaking up the industry. 

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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 info@amplifypublishing.com 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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