Category Archives: Self Publishing

How can I afford to write a book? Corporate sponsorship!

Most would-be authors have never considered book sponsorship.  Yet this is a creative and effective way to leverage other people’s money (usually corporations) so that you can write, publish and promote your book.  Let’s look more closely at exactly how you can access this money.

It’s a dream so many of us have – to write a book.  People come to us all the time with their book ideas.   When individuals come to us, they often have one of the following ideas:

  • A great novel idea they want developed.
  • A biography based on incredible experiences they have lived through.
  • A self-help topic they feel can benefit many people.
  • A topic they know a lot about and want to share their knowledge.

If any of these sound familiar, read on.  Most people bring forward really good ideas.  Yes, there are a few truly bad ideas that come up.  But they are rare.  And we do get some “kooks” – eccentric people whose ideas just don’t make sense at first blush.  But you would be surprised how engaging a totally crazy idea can be; most of the “kooks” have ideas with good book potential.

With a few exceptions, most book ideas we see have what it takes to succeed, if only the authors can get their hands on…

A)    A good writer or editor
B)    Publishing
C)    Good marketing
D)    The money to pay for A, B, and C above

Workshop: How to get money to pay for your book

Money for my book

“D” is the key, of course.  “A” is easy – we provide top-quality professional book writers and editors.  “B” is easy, too – there are plenty of publishing options, including self-publishing and POD (print-on-demand) publishing programs, and we are happy to help our clients decide what publishing option is most effective for them.  As for “C”, we can also put our clients on the road to effective marketing.


All this takes money, and we don’t do banking.  Some authors have money when they come to us.  Many do not.  We would love to help them all, but our writers need to eat, too. That is where corporate sponsorship kicks in and works its magic.


Not long ago, I was approached by someone who runs a not-for-profit animal shelter with a real tear-jerker tale of two puppies they had rescued and how one of them survived.  But they had no money.  So I suggested…

“Have you considered contacting a pet food company to be a sponsor?”

This book was just screaming to be written and to be sponsored.  Not every book is this obvious, but most books can be sponsored in numerous ways.  After a couple more fairly obvious candidates for sponsorship showed up on my door (one related to health and the other that could show off a nice tourism destination), I realized that I should do something to help all those would-be-authors lacking the financial means to move their ideas forward.

So I took action.  I contacted a couple experts in sponsorship, and I was thrilled to find a corporate  sponsorship expert who specializes in authors and books – Jane Ubell.  Although she generally charges a pretty hefty fee for her expertise, she was willing to share her best tips and discuss practical ways to land sponsors with a small group of our clients for a ridiculously small entry fee. (Yes, you could be one of them, but only if you are one of the first ten to sign up.)

Did you know you can get several sponsors for your book?  You could, for instance, get a sponsor to pay for the printing, another to pay for or supply refreshments on a book tour, another to provide transportation, etc. Some independent authors have actually become very adept at getting sponsors to help them sell their books.

All you need to do is find the right angle.  And you need to pitch the sponsor. Others are doing it successfully.  Just search Google for “sponsored my book” to see what might be possible.

At this point, you might have some questions:

  • How do I start searching for a corporate sponsor?
  • Who would want to sponsor my book?
  • How do I find a sponsor for my book tour?
  • What do I say to convince a company to sponsor me?

These are pretty complex questions with different answers for each situation.  Which is why they are best addressed case by case rather than in a huge assembly hall.

Of course, the first step is to make a list of all the things your book is about.  A self-help or how-to book might be obvious.  A fantasy novel, less so (not many companies selling pet supplies for dragons or magic dust for river fairies, right?). But even a fantasy novel can get sponsorship, so you might need some help.

Next, think of your readers and what types of products they like.  Are they more into fancy coffees or beer?  Hunting and fishing or macrame?

Once you have the list, then comes the strategy…which is where the “pretty complex questions with different answers for each situation” comes in and you might need help answering those questions.

Thankfully, Jane Ubell will be helping navigate questions like these at a private consultation with ten of our clients on October 15.  My hope is that ten amazing ideas will become books following this extremely focused session.

If you wish to be part of this intimate, two-hour workshop, you can sign up here.

Book Sponsorship Workshop

Interestingly, I am right now in the process of building a niche book project with built-in sponsorship opportunities.  In fact, there could well be thousands of sponsors for hundreds of these niche books over the next decade.  It is very exciting.  I firmly believe that sponsorships will be a major power tool for independent authors of the future.

The key is knowing how to access the sponsors.

Just a postscript word on the workshop…

Because the workshop is a custom, personalized event, there is no telling what will be discussed.  But here are some of the points that are expected to be covered…

  1. How to find companies that are in alignment with your project
  2.  How to turn these companies into a sponsor
  3.  How to create benefits that will entice them to want to be your partner
  4.  How to create a deck that will “speak” their language
  5.  How to close the deal
  6.  How to keep them as a sponsor
  7.  Create pitches and learn how to bring in immediate cash each time!
  8.  How to ask for the money and practice asking! (I am pretty sure there will be a lot of interest in this).
  9.  Clever ways to get free PR.

This workshop is not the only way to find sponsors.  You could also hire somebody who moves in corporate circles.  Or you can try crowd-funding on Kickstarter or IndieGogo.  Or you could just go for trial and error, knocking on doors.

Whatever approach you try, if you don`t have the money to write your book…go and get the money from someone else.*

* The author of this blog in no way wishes this statement to imply that he condones< /br>bank robberies, train robberies, muggings or pickpockets.

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Win a free copy of The Frugal Book Promoter

So you’ve written that masterpiece.  Perhaps you wrote it yourself, or perhaps you hired a ghostwriter.  It is destined to become a best seller.  Now all you have to do is get the word out.

But, wait!  What’s this? There is a hole in your pocket?  You have very little money to spend on promotion?

Fear not.  It is not how much you spend that counts, but how cleverly you spend it.  And that is why you need…

…the Frugal Book Promoter, by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Whether you have a publisher or whether you are self-published, whether you are trucking around crates of paperbacks or trying to pull in clicks to a website, the Frugal Book Promoter is full of tips on how you can spread the word without breaking the bank.

Read Kristin’s review
of the Frugal Book Promoter,
which we published earlier.

And now, to make things even more frugal for you (in case that hole in the pocket is really getting out of hand), we are giving away three free copies of the Frugal Book Promoter to three lucky contest winners.  The contest runs all through November, and there are four ways you can win:

1. Tweet this contest.  You can tweet once a day, and each tweet is another entry in the contest.

2. Follow us on Twitter. We do blab a lot about everything from website promotion to health, business to entertainment, finance to …well…pretty much whatever. But it’s all good stuff.

3. Follow Carolyn Howard-Johnson on Twitter.  She is somewhat less of a blabbermouth than we are.

4. Blog about this contest.  This is the big one, worth ten points, giving you a much better chance of winning one of the three prizes.

Three winners will be chosen in the first week of December based on the number of entry points they rack up.  The Rafflecopter widget below makes it easy for you to enter and easy for us to tabulate.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Should You Self-Publish?

You have a great idea for a book—or a book you and rewritten/polished by a ghostwriter. You have the visions of touching people’s lives, of being mobbed with adoring fans (or people who care passionately enough about your book to argue the inconsistencies endlessly in online forums), of being on “Oprah”.

However, the idea of dealing with submissions, agents and publishers may make you think twice. You don’t want a cast of thousands involved with your book. You want the final say, you want the control over marketing, publicity, book covers and, of course, profits. Yet self-publishing has a stigma attached to it, based on the faulty thought, “Well, if a book is any good, surely a publisher will buy it.”

The stigma persists and ignores the story of a man who wrote a book for his daughters, submitted it to agents and publishers, got the brush-off and self-published it. When he persuaded local bookstores to take the book, the booksellers found that the book became a local bestseller. Simon and Schuster snapped up the book we now know as The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. The book is good, and a publisher did buy it—but only because Richard Paul Evans persisted and believed in his book.

You might want to self-publish your book for a variety of reasons, even though you’ve hired a ghostwriter to make the book perfect. As good as the best ghostwriter is, the publishers, even the small presses, and the market dictate what gets bought. It’s selelection, not rejection.

The ghostwriter’s job is to make sure people want to read your book once it’s in their hands and they’ve opened the cover to look at Page One. The ghostwriter may or may not, depending on your contract and the agreement you’ve reached, help you with publishing or self-publishing advice. As a ghostwriter, however, my potential reasons for self-publishing are:

  1.  You want a greater share of the profits, bearing in mind that you’ll also assume all the costs (including the ghostwriter fees).
  2. You only want to pay for the books you plan to print.
  3. You want to “test the waters” and see how much demand there is for your book—a limited-release rollout beta-test, as it were.
  4. You want total control over which groups you speak to and what publicity you do (bear in mind that if you want to sell books, 100 percent of the responsibility for publicity is on you, as it usually is for everyone but the big-name authors).
  5. You want total control over the content of the book, right down to whatever proofreader you hire (a proofreader is different than a ghostwriter or editor, and is essential to the finished product). You also assume the risks there, even if you publish under a pseudonym.
  6. It’s your family history or other material so niche-oriented that a publisher wouldn’t accept it.
  7. You can’t wait for a publisher because the material is time-sensitive. For example, if you or someone you love have a life-threatening condition and you want to tell your story to ask for help or to help someone else, you might not want to go through the delays of submitting the book to a publisher or agent. Or the material is about some personal nightmare you’re suffering—for example, medical malpractice (documented) and you want to win public sympathy. (Be certain to check with an attorney.)
  8. You intend to start your own publishing company.

You are probably asking yourself, will a ghostwriter take me on if I announce firmly and decidedly that I want to self-publish? That depends on the ghostwriter. In my case, it’s a firm yes. Other than the satisfaction of completing a job that you’re happy with, I have no ego stake in your book.

In fact, a ghostwriter will probably be pleased to help you prove that old chestnut about self-publishing somehow being inferior wrong, wrong, wrong. To quote screenwriter William Goldman on the movie industry, “Nobody knows anything.” Today’s self-published book may well be tomorrow’s hit or life-changing vehicle.

Don’t assume that a ghostwriter won’t work just as hard to get your book right if you’re self-publishing as if you’re submitting to the William Morris Agency or HarperCollins. Ghostwriters will ask the same of you in return. If you’re determined enough to publish your book yourself, to get an ISBN number, to obtain distribution, to file for copyright and to incorporate your own publishing company, the odds are good that you’re determined to make your book the best it can be by working with us and getting at least three separate people to proofread it. You can be a success.

 And we’ll even coach you the night before you appear on “Oprah”.

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