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John Ranger talks about A Chronicle of the Roman Twilight, his fascinating account of the disintegration of one of history’s most famous empires.

Please briefly describe your book . . .

A Chronicle of the Roman Twilight explains how circumstances arose early in the first decade of the fifth century AD that caused the Western Roman Empire to disintegrate during the course of the next seven decades. We all know that it fell but the circumstances are poorly understood by the vast majority of people in western civilization. This book covers the period AD 383 to 410 during which the western half of the Roman Empire was wracked by three civil wars that rendered the country incapable of countering the massive barbarian invasion that erupted across the Rhine River on December 31, AD 406.

And can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a retired computer programmer and database administrator who spent 32 years at IBM East Fishkill, with a B.Sc. degree from the University of Manitoba, Canada and a lifelong interest in Roman history. I have one son and live in Wappinger Falls, New York.

Do you have any particular literary influences?

Two history books, Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court AD 364 – 425 by John Matthews and Barbarians Within the Gates of Rome by Thomas Burns, have been the most influential for me. Insofar as style goes, I have always felt that if you read well you will write well. My favorite historical novels are I, Claudius, Claudius the God and Count Belisarius by Robert Graves and Julian by Gore Vidal.

What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?

Not easy to state. For far too much of their history the Romans had seen themselves, one way or another, as their own worst enemies. Even during periods of barbarian invasions the Romans always had the time and resources to fight civil wars among themselves. They continued this right into the fifth century except from December 31, 406 on they were too exhausted to repel or subdue barbarian invaders any more.

Are you working on a sequel to A Chronicle of the Roman Twilight?

I just want to get my first book published above all. I cut the last six chapters out of it because they would have made the book much too long which some people would say it is anyway. If there ever is a sequel then they will form the beginning of it.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Ignore literary agents. I went that route 20 years ago and got absolutely nowhere. After 37 rejections I gave up and went back to work. They are simply not interested in first time authors.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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Veteran author Guy Franks discusses his new book, A Midsummer Madness, along with his literary interests, writing approach, and passion for baseball!

A Midsummer Madness was born out of my love for William Shakespeare and baseball. To me, the music of Shakespeare’s metered verse, his cutting wit, his insight into the human soul, pairs nicely with the perfect distances of baseball, with its theatrics and homespun wisdom. When I listen to Giants manager Bruce Bochy I hear Prospero. When Coriolanus offers his services to his enemy Aufidius it reminds me of Jeff Kent, the great Giants second baseman, choosing to sign with their archrival the Dodgers. The famous actress Tallulah Bankhead understood the parallel when she said, “There have only been two geniuses in the world — Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.”

When I watch a game of baseball, preferably with a cold beer and a bag of salted peanuts, I see a Shakespearean play unfold before me. There is a beginning, a middle and an end, and it’s filled with great characters, surprises, and twists of fate. It can be a thrilling triumph like Henry the Fifth, a Comedy of Errors, or, depending on one’s fortunes in the bottom of the ninth, a tragedy like Julius Caesar. But comedy or tragedy, all the ingredients of any one of the Bard’s plays are there to enjoy on a baseball diamond. It was the great baseball writer Roger Kahn who first drew the analogy between a minor league ball club and an Elizabethan acting troupe traveling from town to town plying their trade. In A Midsummer Madness, I’ve attempted to take the great themes and elegant poetry of Shakespeare and blend them with the dirt and grass of baseball to make a savory tragic-comic stew spiced with music and wordplay.

My stage is set in 1986 Connecticut during the great renaissance of minor league baseball, and my acting troupe is the New Britain Kingsmen of the Double-A Eastern League. The Kingsmen are managed by Shakespeare Louis Glover. “Shake” Glover is my focal point. As the Bard-quoting skipper of the Kingsmen, he is meant to embody the harmony that is Shakespeare and baseball. He’s an ex-ball player turned successful minor league manager, but he’s also Leontes in A Winter’s Tale, as well as Henry the Fourth with a little bit of Prospero thrown in from The Tempest. The story follows the Kingsmen from opening day to the championship game, and along the way I’ve woven in characters and subplots from such Shakespeare plays as Hamlet, Othello, Henry IV, Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It. 

 

I’ve been a baseball fan all my life. My dad took me to my first game when I was a boy to see the San Francisco Giants play at Candlestick Park. Some of the greatest players of all time where there—Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey—and I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s the finest game ever invented, and the fact that it has remained relatively unchanged for a hundred and fifty years and has survived the vagaries of time gives me solace. The poet Sharon Olds put it best when she said, “Baseball is reassuring. It makes me feel as if the world is not going to blow up.”

Like most of you, I was formally introduced to Shakespeare in high school. I think it was Romeo and Juliet in Mrs. Burns’ English Class. Once I got to Cal Berkeley as an English Lit Major, Shakespeare was an inevitability, like Haley’s Comet, and I hopped on that comet and have been riding it ever since. I have read all of his plays, some multiple times, and my DVD movie library contains many of the best adaptations of his work—movies like Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet (the one with the sublime Olivia Hussey), anything by Lawrence Olivier, and Kenneth Branagh’s Henry IV. I also enjoy movies or plays that have fun with Shakespeare (Theatre of Blood with Vincent Price comes to mind), or ones that entertainingly update his plays like Ten Things I Hate About You, which is a rendition of Taming of the Shrew set at a high school. It was movies like these that were the idea behind A Midsummer Madness.

 

A Midsummer Madness is my third novel. Beggar King is an historical fiction novel set in Ancient Greece that was published in 2008. Railhead is a western novel set in 1869 Wyoming and was published in 2012. Historical fiction is my preferred genre, and I think that each of my literary influences—Hemingway, Faulkner, Twain, Steinbeck—all wrote historical fiction novels in one way or another. Certainly Dickens and Tolstoy did, and in terms of more modern influences I would point to Steven Pressfield and Charles Frazier. During my research for A Midsummer Madness, I experienced the added delight of discovering some wonderful baseball writers like Roger Kahn, W.P. Kinsella, and David Lamb.

When I sit down to write a novel, it has to have a subject that grabs me and keeps me motivated through the months of research and writing. Whether it’s the myth of Odysseus or the old west or Shakespeare and baseball, the passion for my subject matter has to be there. And I hope that this passion comes out in my work. I try to write the same way Clint Eastwood directs—straight forward, moving the story along, not wasting scenes, and keeping the viewer engaged. If I can accomplish that, I’m happy. And along the way, if I can impart a little about my philosophy or the power of myth, without hitting the reader over the head with it, I’m even happier.

I’m planning something of a launch party for my book here at the local library. My wife is also working hard on social media to get the word out. Signed copies of my book are also going to Larry Baer, CEO of the San Francisco Giants and to their manager Bruce Bochy. I’m hoping to use their positive feedback on my new website that iUniverse is designing for me.

This is my first run at self-publishing, and I have to say that iUniverse delivered on everything they said they would in a timely and professional manner. I’ve also recommended them to other author-friends of mine as an alternative to trying to crack through the granite monolith that is traditional publishing. One of my favorite experiences was working with the iUniverse folks in designing my book cover. And, of course, nothing beats the kick you get when you see that book cover for the first time on Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

My advice to aspiring writers would be directed to a very select group of authors who, like myself, are trying to write a book while at the same time working a full-time job and raising a family. Find a way to carve out the time. That’s all I can say. I wrote my first novel when I was a middle manager in a major corporation, with a wife and two kids, a home mortgage, and bills to pay. But I found a way to carve out an hour or two, here and there, sometimes at home and sometimes at work, and over time, little by little, brick by brick, I finished the book with my family and job still healthy and intact. It might take years, but what the heck. What else do you have to do?

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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Science-fiction writers who are looking for inspiration need look no further than most daily news reports, especially if they wish to write about Earth in the not-so-distant future. The changes that we will see over the next 20-40 years are becoming increasingly clear from reading articles about economics, politics, and science, as well as society in general. With this in mind, here are a few tips from iUniverse to get you started on a sci-fi novel with the above parameters.

Economics:

Politics:

  • The “Corporation” will be more important than the “Country”. We’ve seen this happening since the 1990s, partly with the corporate influence on international politics (consider Halliburton’s role in the US-Iraq war). Google has already gained great prominence as a provider of information, and has the potential to exert greater political influence. It has already acquired the technology to create military robots! (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-25395989)
  • Chinese president Xi Jinping

    China will be a much more active player in world affairs. Again, we have seen this brewing since China’s resurgence in the 1990s. Hitherto, China has confined itself to soft hegemony, as seen in economic diplomacy, but this will change as China gains more financial dominance. Shanghai will replace Hong Kong as the center for Asian trading and finance, and overall China will be more belligerent.

Lest these forecasts seem a bit grim, the scientific side of the near future is much more auspicious.

There will also be new social developments:

  • There will be an increase in mixed-race couples and families. Anyone who lives in an Asian expatriate hub, such as Singapore or Hong Kong, sees larger numbers of mixed-race children and couples each year. The trend of mixed-marriage is particularly strong between Asians and Caucasians.
  • Same-sex couples will be more common. The recent passing of the Same-sex Marriage Law in the US betokens more matrimonial alliances of this nature.
  • Families will be smaller. First-world nations have seen a steady drop in family sizes since the Baby Boomers started having children, and this will continue as prices rise out of proportion to salaries, and as people become more educated. Even countries like the Philippines have started to institute some degree of birth control. Families of the future will probably only consist of one child, with two children (as with retirement) viewed as a luxury for the rich.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.

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Veteran iUniverse novelist and experienced self-marketer Douglas Gardham tells us why “It’s Never Too Late”.  Gardham is the author of The Actor and The Drive In.

I was asked the other day whether I was thinking of going back to the engineering world I’d left prior to publishing The Actor and The Drive In. I said ‘no’ quickly; maybe even a little tersely. It was a question I couldn’t remember having been asked. I never think of doing such a thing. The past finds its way into my work but I never think of returning to it.

But it made me think about how I’d come to be at this place.

My engineering world began many years ago following what turned out to be something of a monumental decision in my life. I’d been writing; mainly lyrics and some poetry, never thinking it would one day become as large as it has. Music was my thing and what I wanted to do but my band had broken up, and likewise my dream. I was left disappointed and scared. What was I going to do? I could put my decision down to trading dreams for a paycheck but that wouldn’t really be fair as that dream was more fantasy than something I was really willing to make real. With the good fortune of math and science on my side I went off to university to become an engineer. Today I know I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t confident or bold enough for what it takes to chase a dream or even to know what it was.

Though writing had found me already and knew it, I didn’t. It never let me go throughout my corporate work life. I was fortunate that it was writing. I could write and read anywhere—early morning, late at night or any spare minute or two—and at the same time experience the wonderful joy of marrying my best friend, becoming a father and watching my son and daughter grow up while I did too. I am beyond grateful every day for these wonders as it is doubtful they would have happened were I to have chosen to take the path of the artist back then.

What is incredible today is I am getting to live that dream. I do my best not to forget my good fortune. The Henry David Thoreau quote at the beginning of The Drive In has resonated with me for years, “Most men live their lives in quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” It’s a theme of The Drive In. I’m thankful daily that I’m not six feet under having never realized that song.

I’m now at the point where I don’t want to do anything as much as I want to write. The feeling is ever present like now as I write this piece. It’s not something on my bucket list to experience. It’s not a wonderful accomplishment to be proud of (though I am) but instead, more simply, it’s what I get to do. It’s what I’ve always done in a way since I was a young teenager (and if you include reading, even longer). There is a plan for my life. There is for everyone’s, but being mere mortals, it’s not ours to understand or even control despite many years of thinking to the contrary (remember math and science are my strong suits as an engineer). It is ours to live, however.

I’ll close with an interview I heard recently where Tom Petty was being interviewed promoting The Heartbreakers’ 40th Anniversary Tour. He was answering a question about his career and shared with the audience a question he’d been asked recently by a young musician. The young man had explained that he loved music and wanted to make a career out of it but something else had come up; an opportunity that looked pretty good, what should he do? Mr. Petty in his usual down-to-earth drawl told the young man that he should take the opportunity. The person interviewing Mr. Petty sounded surprised by his answer wondering why he would not encourage the young man to follow his dream. Petty explained that he’d been extremely fortunate as a young teenager, after seeing The Beatles and Elvis on television, of never wanting to do anything but make and perform music. He said that a life in the arts tests a person in ways that if there is anything else even remotely attractive or more interesting, experience had showed him that a person would eventually go there. It was a great piece of advice. If it’s supposed to happen, your time will come, and with it a chance to pursue it. You’ll know it when it does; it’ll be in your heart and you won’t want to do anything else.

It’s never too late.

If you haven’t yet read The Actor or The Drive In you can get them at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Chapters-Indigo or pretty much wherever you find books.

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iUniverse author Darren Sylte tells us about his new children’s book, There Is a Dragon under My Door.

My name is Darren Sylte. I am a teacher in Washington state, and I am also the father of 3 great boys who helped inspire my love for reading and writing stories.

As I father I realized the importance of not just learning to read, but also being able to comprehend what you read. When my son was old enough, I began reading to him most every night. We read through hundreds of children’s books, and we read many of them multiple times. The more I read to him, the more I was able to instill a true love of  reading in my son. This time in my life was the true inspiration that drove me, as an adult,  to write the stories that I have written.

If I have  one message to relay to my readers it would be to read, and to fully engulf your mind and your imagination into the books you are reading.  Let them take you places, and let them change you into whatever you want to be. Give yourself permission to escape to a place that you have never been to, to visit a place inside your book that is a new world or a new adventure to you.  Open the pages of your book, and swim in the beauty of the written word that you hold.

Over the course of several years I have compiled many children’s stories as well as 3  novels. Three of these stories follow a brave, young boy as he attempts to navigate the big new world around him using his creative imagination.

I write stories to help to inspire the gift of imagination in children, and to give them  a love for reading. If I can put a smile on a child’s face, than that is reason enough for me to write.

There Is a Dragon under My Door is my first publication. I am new to the world of marketing but that will not stop me from reading the story to children any chance I get. I do have plans to read at local libraries in my area.

Presently I am working on building a website to support children, and to help them build  their own imaginations through story writing.  My website will also have a grade level drop down menu, for writing prompts for all ages.

There Is a Dragon under My Door is my first experience in publishing. iUniverse has been a great resource for me, from the initial contact to the final product. iUniverse provides exceptional communication and remarkable flexibility in working with me in all phases of the process. The guidance from the iUniverse team was indeed extraordinary.

My closing thoughts  to any inspiring writers and authors out there is pretty simple. Write, write, and write.   To coin a phrase:

“Write for the right reason: write for others.”

We, as a people, are best rewarded by giving to others. It is only in giving to others that we can truly be fulfilled in the quest for ourselves. And that my friends, is the real reason that I write.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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In our previous post, iUniverse looked at three crucial aspects of writing self-help books, and today we continue with more helpful guidance.

Tal Ben-Shahar

Include anecdotes and experiences from other people. Stories about yourself are of course very important, and may be your chief resource! At the same time, your book becomes more convincing if there are anecdotes from other people’s experiences. These need not be people that you have met – you can get the stories from reading.

You should also make sure to use some quotes from authorities in psychology or related fields. One writer who excels at this is Tal Ben-Shahar, in his books Happier and Being Happy.  Ben-Shahar consistently backs up his ideas and theories with statements from other experts and academics.

Provide both short-term and long-term advice. One of the criticisms against self-help books is that they promise too much, too fast. Titles like “A Quick Guide to Happiness” or “Change Your Life in Three Easy Steps” give the impression that the genre lacks a serious approach to dealing with serious problems. Hence, it is important to be honest with readers and say that the journey to living a happier life is not accomplished in a day, a week, or even a month – it is a long-term endeavor that requires patience and hard work. (The other components are up to you!)

Still, we admit that the typical reader browsing in the self-help section wants some assurance that a book will provide some short-term help as well. In this busy day and age, people do not want to wait for answers to their problems. So along with your long-term plan, include some short-term tips for how people can initiate self-improvement. This can include exercises, dietary changes, and mantras that they can say to themselves every morning.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.

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iUniverse’s Sandra Donald discusses her book of poems, It’s Your Time, as well as her marketing strategies and activities.

Please briefly describe your book . . .

My book, It’s Your Time, is a journey of life, describing the spiritual challenges we face and presenting musical lyrics to feed your soul. It’s a place to unwind, be intense, be in or out of love, be thoughtful or cry.  It seeks to pull at strings and thoughts, unblock the blocked, capture a laugh and reinvent the wheel for all the things you need.

And can you tell us a little about yourself?

I live in Notting Hill Gate, London, United Kingdom with my husband James. In February 2009 I opened my monthly Soroptimist International magazine; it contained an advert asking members to submit a poem based on the theme of hope, imagining women and children survivors of war in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Rwanda. Subsequently my poem “My Life Hope” submitted in response to the advert was chosen to be featured in the Soroptmist’s book Voices in Verse raising money to help empower women and children to regain their lives.  I read the poem at the book launch, which coincided with International Literacy Day on September 8, 2009.  In April 2007 after my mother’s death a fountain of inspiration switched on unbeknownst to me. It now sits alongside my faith, leading me on a new navigational journey. This inspirational outpouring gave birth to D’Casio singer songwriter and my album ‘How Could You?’ On 30 October 2015 I woke to find my left arm and leg lifeless and unable to move. I was suffering a stroke. Once discharged from hospital and my life had regained some normality, I knew I had to write It’s Your Time.

Do you have any particular literary influences?

When I was writing I had no influences or understanding of genres.

At school my poetry class meant one thing, an empty page and staring out of the window. I never imagined that I had the ability to write let alone complete a book. I grew up in care and was looked after by the local authority. It wasn’t a nurturing environment so no one knew what my dreams were; I didn’t excel at school and wasn’t expected to.

The poems within my book come from an extension of daily writing in my journal and recording my thoughts and feelings. I found lots of words swimming in my head whilst writing and I could hear and feel a way of expanding them into a poem.

What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?

I’ve tried to write about life’s challenges and hope that something will resonate with you to bring you what you need in that moment of time.

Are you working on a sequel to your book? 

The sequel to my first book has already started.

A friend has suggested that I write about my musical journey, which I’m thinking about. It’ll require a different style of writing but so watch this space!

Are there any events, marketing ideas, or promotions planned for your book? Please feel free to mention any accolades you have received.

My Marketing Strategies

Word of mouth

Being open to suggestions

Listed number four on amazon.co.uk when searching by book title.

Facebook and Twitter

Book website www.itsyourtimebook.co.uk

Self-promoting: I always have a copy of my book with me.

Tatter cover Book Store, Denver, Colorado feature my book on it’s inventory list www.tatteredcover.com

Contacting Independent Book Stores in person and by phone (53)

Upcoming Events

Saturday 12 May at 94th Charter Lunch for Soroptimist International Greater at the Lancaster Hall Hotel London, Craven Terrace, London, W2 3EL, United Kingstom. I will be performing and selling books.

Saturday 2 June, Radio interview at HopeFm.org based in Birmingham, United Kingdom.  Promoting book and music.

August Bank Holiday 25-27 August at Hythe Life Food Festival, Hythe, Kent, United Kingdom.  I will be performing and selling books.

Accolades

Poem “Friends” page 34 of my book was featured in the February 2018 edition of Creative Magazine. You can read it in the link below.

http://www.creationsmagazine.com/articles/C178/poetry.html

JC Freedom House, Douglasville, Georgia a shelter for single women use my book as part development program.

My article ‘How a Stroke Changed My Way of Thinking’ featured on the front cover of Stroke Connections April Edition that referred to my book. The link to the article is below.

http://strokeconnection.strokeassociation.org/Spring-2018/How-Having-a-Stroke-Changed-My-Outlook-on-Life/

Podcast broadcast interview with Melissa Wilson, Founder of The Grass Gets Greener invited me to talk about being bullied, the book and album How Could You?  The interview can be listened to via the link below and on iTunes.

http://thegrassgetsgreener.com/providing-hope-and-healing-through-writing-and-music/

What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with iUniverse?

My publishing consultant was a good listener, encouraging and supportive. When I received my copy of the book I was blown away, when I saw how it had all come together. It was a humbling experience and made me feel encouraged and empowered.

My consultant at Lavidge was instrumental in getting my poem “Friends” featured in Creative Magazine. Presented the opportunity with Stroke Connections who published my article. Melissa Wilson at The Grass Gets Greener also become aware of me and invited me to be interviewed.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?

We all have different starting blocks in life. If I can do it then anyone can.  Dig deep and forget what people think or feel about you because it really doesn’t matter. Surround yourself with positives and ditch any negatives that try and pull you down.

Let the world see the greatness that lives inside. Let it shine through.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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During the laborious and stressful writing process, most authors tend to focus their thoughts on the story, the title, and the front cover. However, there are several other very major aspects of a book that should be considered well in advance of sending the book to publication.  You don’t want to have to make these decisions in a rush or when you are exhausted from having finished your manuscript. Please make sure to carefully consider the aspects below while you are writing your story.

Font style and size: The key requirement here is that the font is readable and does not distract from the story. After that, it is down to personal preference, but please save the “funky” fonts for your marketing materials. One way to help you decide on a font is by finding one that you like in a book that you have read, and then to either track down its name (some books include the font style on the copyright page, i.e. the page before the Table of Contents) or look for a close match. Some popular fonts include Baskerville, Sabon, Garamond, and Utopia. Regarding font size, most writers tend to opt for 10 or 12. A font size that is too large makes the book look cheap and not serious, whereas a small font size is likely to alienate readers when they open it up in a bookstore.

Book length: How long, in pages rather than story, do you want your book to be? With all the options available in modern technology, the length of your story is not the only variable that is responsible for book length. A typical “full” page in the average-sized book has a maximum of 400 words, so you can divide the total number of words in your book by 400 to determine the number of pages that you will have. The fewer words you put on a page, the longer your book will be. However, bear in mind that book length is proportional to book price. For a fiction work, it is advisable to have at least 300 words on a page. Self-help and business books can get away with fewer words on a page, though less than 200 will have a negative effect on shoppers.

Back cover description: Some people may judge a book by its (front) cover, but nearly all potential readers look at the back cover before buying. The back cover is a tremendous opportunity for you to write something compelling about your book. You will want to avoid specific details but also give people enough information to make them open the book. The total amount of words on the back cover should not exceed 220. Make sure there is a fair amount of empty space (i.e. breaks between paragraphs), that the sentences are relatively short, that the print is not small, and that the words are not against a background that makes the text difficult to read (avoid white text on a black background).

Table of Contents: In addition to the back cover, potential readers also look at the table of contents. Hence, referring to each chapter simply by its number, e.g. “Chapter 1,” will not be advantageous. Instead, especially for self-help and business books, make sure to have an interesting title for each chapter. This also works well for thrillers and other fiction – just look at the chapter titles that Ian Fleming used in his 007 novels!

Book subtitle and elevator pitch: Especially for nonfiction works, subtitles are essential. The successful formula is a catchy title plus an informative subtitle. This is a two-pronged attack, as it both attracts and informs the shopper. As for the elevator pitch, this does not go into your book itself, but it is the concise way that you respond when you are asked, “What is your book about?” It should be 15 seconds long, and is basically a short extension of your subtitle.  This will be extremely important for marketing your book, both orally and in writing.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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Books about self-help are one of the five top-selling genres in the world. Revenues from self-help books continue to reach nearly $1 billion per year. So what makes this genre so popular, and how can we write self-help books that will sell well and also help others?

Eckhart Tolle

Technology has done many excellent things, but it has not helped in decreasing stress levels. Psychology research actually shows that depression levels are higher across all age groups, in both developed and developing nations.

Hence, with life becoming anything but easier, the self-help genre is in demand. People want to know how to be happier and achieve some level of balance in their lives. Today, iUniverse gives some tips on how to make your self-help book successful in the market.

To begin:

Make sure that your book has a structure. Self-help books can be introspective, which means that there is a risk of rambling. There is also the danger of forgetting that you are writing for an audience, not for yourself.

Make sure to arrange chapters clearly: we advise making an outline and sticking to it closely. One writer who does this very effectively is Stephen Covey, as in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Assume that the reader will have some doubts. This means that you need to intelligently guess what your readers’ questions will be, and then formulate direct answers. People who read self-help are indeed looking for help, but they also need to be convinced. A classic example of an author skilled in this kind of empathy is Eckhart Tolle, whose The Power of Now is actually written with a Q&A structure. To achieve this, you should ask someone to read your manuscript, as they will have an impartial view and can inform you if you are not providing concrete answers.

We’ll be back with Part Two!

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter.

 

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iUniverse’s Issa J. Gammoh talks with us about his three books, Relationship Equations, Spiritual Enslavement, and Righteous Management.

 

Please briefly describe your books . . .

Originally one book that I chose to split into three, each one of the books give a specific insight about dealing with major issues that are the causes of many further troubles that exist in our world today, the books are short, straightforward and aim to benefit any individual whether they were advanced readers or novice ones.

And can you tell us a little about yourself?

Sure, I am originally from Jordan, the Middle East not the basketball player… have been living in Montreal, Canada for the past 8.5 years. I am the founder of the Reiki Grandmasters Academy branched in Amman, Montreal and Dubai, it’s the first spiritual academy of its kind where it unites science and spirituality. These books are made for my students my source of inspiration. Other than that I’m an electrical engineer, philanthropist, financial advisor and an artist with a continuous passion to contribute to the world around.

Do you have any particular literary influences?

Having dealt with a lot of students with different backgrounds and different clients with different problems was the source of my motivation. Furthermore, having the love that I have for my culture whether it was in Jordan or Canada gave me enough insight about what people need in terms of knowledge in order to evolve and grow.

What is the one message you would like to convey to your readers?

What’s written in all books is just a fraction of what you can find out on your own and through your own eyes, you could read a thousand books but still lack the knowledge about what is going on in your life, make sure to target your reading and interpreting skills not only to words on paper but also to your own life and where you currently stand.

Are there any events, marketing ideas, or promotions planned for your books? Please feel free to mention any accolades you have received.

Not at all, my favorite method is word of mouth, maybe in the future I’ll refer to traditional publishing.

How would you describe your iUniverse experience?

Easy, friendly, fast, and professional.

Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?

You can do it. Just keep that in mind.

Make sure to check out the iUniverse site for more advice and blogs, as well as iUniverse Facebook and iUniverse Twitter. For a FREE Publishing Guide, click here!

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