When Your Book Marketing Stalls

By Harriet Hodgson 

Book marketing takes constant work, energy, and patience in order to generate sales. Long ago, I learned that book marketing was, and continues to be, a never-ending task. Since I'm not a natural marketer (I could barely sell Girl Scout cookies),book marketing is a challenge. In recent months I've intensified my marketing efforts.

My granddaughter made a 30-second video and posted it on the Internet. I'm working with a local winery and hope to do a book launch there. Although I've been hard at it, the increase in sales has been minimal. Yes, I'm discouraged, and you may be discouraged too. What can authors do when sales stall? That's the question I asked myself and here are some answers to it.

Don't give up. According to one of my publishers, customers think they act immediately after hearing about a book, but this isn't really what happens. In truth, three or four weeks may pass before a customer buys a book. So authors like you and me need to continue our efforts. The smallest step may yield big results.

Learn more about marketing. My current publisher, WriteLife, has an authors' portal on its website. Authors can click on the portal, enter a password, and find information on a broad range of topics, including copyright information, wholesale pricing, and marketing ideas. You can also watch YouTube and Facebook tutorials about book marketing.

Try a different route. My next release is a cookbook for family caregivers. I brainstormed on ways to publicize the book and this led to an "off-the-wall" idea--partnering with a local grocery store. I shared my idea with the store dietitian. She would create a display of healthy products, I would talk about the cookbook, sell autographed copies, and give away handouts with sample recipes. The store director is considering this idea now.

Connect with other authors. I posted on my publisher's author portal and am posting more often on Twitter and Facebook. The results have been amazing. For example, one author gives away information cards about her book. Following her example, I ordered cards from an online company. Four book covers are on the front of the card and book descriptions are on the back. I distribute these cards when I speak.

Take a chance. On the spur of the moment, I called the community manager of a local bookstore. (I'd worked with her before.) We had an excellent conversation, swapped ideas, and agreed that this is a tough marketing town. I think the manager understands me better now and I understand her better. The following day I emailed her and thanked her for her phone time. And time will tell if anything comes from this conversation.

Increase social media posts. Social media are the conduit to book sales. I've joined several new groups and pay close attention to what other authors are saying. What isn't working for them? What is working? You may be able to adapt an idea to your book genre. These posts may spark marketing ideas and actions.

If you aren't keeping a book marketing log, I hope you'll start one. You worked hard on your book. Now it's time to work even harder on book marketing. Let your light shine!


Harriet Hodgson has been a freelancer for 37 years and is the author of 35 books. Her latest releases include Happy Again! Your New and Meaningful Life After Loss, The Family Caregiver's Guide, Affirmations for Family Caregivers, A Journal for Family Caregivers, and soon-to-be-released The Family Caregiver's Guide. Visit her website to learn more about this author, grandmother, and caregiver



The Sovereign Psyche: Systems of Chattel Freedom vs. Self-Authentic Freedom

by Ezrah Aharone

247 Pages, Nonfiction, Softcover and Hardcover

"The Sovereign Psyche" is not just the title of the book.  More importantly "The Sovereign Psyche" is the motivating consciousness, intellect, and willpower that is necessary to materialize what the book defines as "Self-Authentic Freedom" as opposed to "Chattel Freedom." Chattel Freedom is when the value of a people is predicated upon the extent to which they serve the interests and institutions of others.

As such, this work asserts that there is no such thing as intellectual or institutional equality, and that Black/African people have been unknowingly thrusted into an "intellectual and institutional war," where second-place finishers either experience varying degrees of chattel freedom or they could end-up dead.

The book shows how world systems revolve around pecking orders of sovereignty and power, not democracy or equality, which is why Jeffersonian Democracy has proven unsuitable to redress the most crucial of Black America's needs.  In response, Aharone diagrams a course for an "overdue" intellectual and institutional revolution to combat racial issues that neither time nor legislation has resolved since 1865.

Regardless of the issue or aim, "genuine solutions entail what we as Black/African people intellectually and institutionally do for ourselves" Aharone writes.  "If 'Black Lives Matter' then we as Black people must channel the end-uses of our intellect and the resources of our institutions to not only prove and enforce it, but also leverage powers to penalize and/or repudiate violators."

Although this work centers upon Black/African people, the sovereign functions and frameworks are universal in application.  In this context, Aharone writes that "the sovereign concepts and criteria presented are far more rational than radical being that 'The Sovereign Psyche' will not only remain a driving force of 21st-century freedom, but those who do not embrace it will be subjugated to those who do."

The central question is, to what extent will Black/African people harness the willpower and employ the intellect of "The Sovereign Psyche" to actualize our own systems and institutions of self-authentic freedom, government, and development, without apology or permission?  This work offers the ideological apparatus to make this possible, just as others are doing all around the globe.

Ezrah Aharone is a scholar of Sovereign Studies and an Adjunct Associate Professor at Delaware State University.  He is the author of the political books Sovereign Evolution andPawned Sovereignty which Rolling Out Magazine reviewed as being “a collector’s item, alongside Welsing's Isis Papers and Woodson's Mis-Education of the Negro.”  Born in Newark and raised in Passaic, NJ, he is a graduate of Hampton University.  He has lived and worked in West Africa where he is now a business and political consultant (see


11 Ways to Simplify Your Book Editing

By Amy Harrop  

Exhausted, drained and ready to move on.

Do these sentiments describe how you feel after you write a new book? I can relate.

You've spent countless hours researching and writing your latest offering and can't wait to get it into the hands of your readers. But your excitement fades when you realize the awful truth - you still have to edit your manuscript!

Even after you've come up with a topic, brainstormed interesting angles and arguments and done all the writing, your book still isn't finished until you complete this all-important step.

But here's where the problem lies...

For a lot of writers, the editing process can be an absolute nightmare. In fact, many would say that editing is much more grueling than actually writing the book.

Truth is, it doesn't have to be.

I'm not going to tell you that editing a full-length book is going to be fast and easy - because it's not. However, it can be a much more streamlined and straightforward process if you utilize the following tips to make editing your book a lot simpler.

1.            Step away from your work.

Have you ever gotten so close to your writing that you've practically memorized every word on each page? It happens to the best of us.

The problem with this is that it makes the editing process that much more difficult.

The solution?

Put some well-needed distance between you and your work before you start editing.

It may seem counterproductive to stop working on your manuscript in order to become more productive, but that's exactly what this simplification strategy calls for.

Editing after you let your writing "rest" allows you to view your work through new eyes. You instantly pick up simple mistakes and find opportunities to make your writing better that you would have glossed over or ignored completely if you didn't.

If you can afford to ignore your content for a day or two, you'll reap the benefit of using this tip. However, even if you don't have that kind of time to spare, just a few hours away from your work will do wonders for enhancing your editing efficiency when you actually get started.

2.            Use editing software.

One of the simplest ways to give your book review a boost is to use software specific for content editing. While nothing compares to the editing power of the human brain, some of the apps and software available for this task come pretty darn close.

At the very least, editing apps like Grammarly help make the process a bit more simple. The software scans your writing and looks for common issues within your grammar and spelling. It then brings the errors to your attention so that you can make the edits.

Along with checking for spelling errors, Grammarly picks up the following grammatical mistakes:

•             Fragmented sentences

•             Double pronouns

•             Double negatives

•             Passive voice

•             Confused prepositions

In fact, Grammarly uses an advanced set of rules to spot 250 different kinds of language issues in your writing.

Talk about a time saver!

Editing software works at a much higher level than anything your regular word processing program could do, so it's well worth the time spent using it.

However, there's one important caveat. Whenever you use any spell checking software, always be on the lookout for pesky homophones. Homophones are words that sound exactly alike but are spelled differently and mean completely different things (ex. coarse and course, or their and there). Spell checker software often doesn't do a thorough job of picking up on every single one.

3.            Plan your content carefully.

While it may require more time upfront, if you take the pains to create a detailed outline for your book it makes editing much simpler when the time comes.

Whenever you sit down to write a lengthy piece of content it is always best to create a "map" of sorts before you begin the actual writing process.

Doing this offers several valuable benefits. However the most important one, as far as editing is concerned, is that you stay on track.

Staying on topic based on your original content plan lowers the chance of you having to edit heavily because of a lot of irrelevant or erroneous content sneaking into your first draft.

It's incredibly easy to go off on a tangent and end up having to cut a large portion of your book because certain things shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Reduce or eliminate this problem by making your outline as detailed as possible and referring to it often as you write your book. You're guaranteed to have significantly less editing to do than you would otherwise.

4.            Focus on one aspect of editing at a time.

Are you one of those people who are proud of their multitasking abilities? Can you usually do several things at once and stay highly effective?

The truth is that 9 times out of 10 multitasking makes you much less effective than you would be if you focused all your efforts on performing one task at a time.

This is especially true when editing a book.

Instead of trying to fix spelling mistakes, tweak formatting and rearrange sentences for better flow in one fell swoop, focus instead on editing one aspect of your book at a time and stick with it until that phase of editing is complete.

If you try to tackle everything at once you run the risk of feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. If that happens, your editing and final results suffer.

A simple way to approach editing in phases, is to start with a broad edit and work your way down to editing specific aspects of your book. Doing this lets you laser focus on what needs to be done to improve the book without wasting any time and also improves your editing efficiency.

5.            Edit your book in print.

Have you ever read a document in hard copy and noticed things that your eyes never did when it was on screen? It's a common problem with a simple solution.

Print your book and use a red ink pen to make edits to the physical document. It's an easy way to make the editing process more simple and effective. Seeing your words in a different format is often all it takes to make mistakes glaringly obvious when your eyes would have only glossed over them in digital form.

Printing an entire manuscript and then sitting down to edit with a pen may seem like more work, but the effectiveness of the method actually supercharges your editing productivity and you finish faster with less hassle.

6.            "Find" simple mistakes.

Have you ever misspelled the same word or name over and over again as you've written a book?

A simple way to find continuously misspelled words throughout your copy is by using the "find" feature that comes with most word processing software.

Instead of scanning through the entire document manually, simply bring up your "find" feature, type in the misspelled word and use the "replace" feature to correct every instance of that mistake throughout your document.

A quick warning however. When you use this feature, make sure that you are only correcting whole words and not accidentally changing parts of words. That would create an editing nightmare of its own.

That or which, your or you're, whether or weather? Another great application for the find feature is to look for commonly misused words so you can get them out of your copy and put the correct word in its place.

7.            Read your manuscript aloud.

Have you ever written something and thought it looked just fine on paper only to read it out loud later on and wonder what on earth you were thinking when you wrote it?

It happens because when you read silently, your brain tries to make the process easier by predicting what it thinks is written on the page instead of what is actually there.

Reading your work out loud is one of the simplest methods for quickly and easily spotting mistakes in your writing.

•             Typos

•             Clumsy sentences

•             Passive voice

•             Unclear points

•             Poorly worded sentences

It overrides the natural tendencies of your brain and brings any problems hidden in your work to the forefront of your critical mind. Hearing your words makes it obvious whenever they don't flow as smoothly as they should. When you come across awkward phrases and sentences you'll automatically trip up and stumble and you'll know exactly which areas need work.

When you use this technique, make sure to read through your manuscript slowly and deliberately, pronouncing each word as clearly as possible.

8.            Have someone else read it for you.

One of the most effective ways to get your editing done while simplifying the process is by enlisting the help of someone else, specifically a beta-reader.

Beta-readers read through your manuscript and offer priceless feedback that helps you supercharge your book editing.

This person doesn't need to be a professional editor or have high-level writing skills. But if they have an above average grasp of the way the English language works as well as a genuine interest in the topic of your book, a beta-reader can be an invaluable addition to your editing process.

Not only will they point out where you've made grammatical and spelling errors, but they can also provide insight on the actual content of your book. Use this information to do your changes and improvements and make the book even better for your final readers.

This benefit alone is one of the reasons why using beta-readers is a great move for self-publishers.

If at all possible, try to get your book into the hands of at least 3 different beta-readers. That way you'll have more than enough feedback to ensure that your final draft sparkles and is highly relevant for its intended audience.

9.            Write first, edit second.

One of the worst mistakes you can make as a writer is trying to edit your work as you write. Not only does this make the editing process much less efficient and productive, but it also brings your writing creativity to a screeching halt!

It is always best to keep the writing and editing processes completely separate.

When you sit down to write your book, do exactly that. Just write.

Forget about spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, proper formatting and all that jazz. Just get your thoughts out of your head and onto the page. Don't worry about fixing mistakes as you create. You'll take forever to finish your first draft and waste a ton of time in the process.

Once you've finished writing, now is the time to sit down and get busy with editing the piece.

Keeping the two activities separate saves you time and effort and typically results in a faster and simpler editing process.

10.          Edit in short blocks of time

Another simple way to enhance your book editing process is to condense the time you allot for editing into short blocks.

Doing this forces your mind to focus on the task at hand, which improves your concentration abilities and makes you more effective at spotting and correcting mistakes in your writing.

I use and recommend the Pomodoro technique to enhance and simplify my book editing.

The technique itself is simple and involves planning your work schedule around short blocks of time of intense focus that you alternate with regular breaks.

So when you sit down to edit Pomodoro style, your schedule should look something like this:

•             Edit for 25 minutes

•             Take a 5 minute break

•             Edit for 25 minutes

•             Take a 5 minute break

•             Edit for 25 minutes

•             Take a 5 minute break

•             Edit for 25 minutes

•             Take a longer 30 minute break

Rinse and repeat this process until you've finished all your editing.

Using short and intense focused blocks of time boosts your productivity and helps you get your editing done much faster than you would otherwise.

11.          Hire a professional.

When all else fails and you really want to get your editing done quickly with as little stress as possible, simply outsource it.

These days there are multiple sources where you can find well-qualified editors who will go through the painstaking process of making sure your book is reader ready without you having to lift a finger.

Of course, going this route requires that you shell out a few dollars, but sometimes having an expertly edited book without having to do it yourself is totally worth it.

So if you're feeling tired and burnt out but you've just gotten to point where it's time to polish your manuscript, try some of these tips to simplify your editing process and get your latest book out there now!

Check out my blog for more publishing tips. Amy Harrop Blog

Book Review by Mike Ramey for September


“In his attempt to wipe out the knowledge of God from one generation to the next, Satan attacks God’s formational institutions: the church and the family.  These attacks are rising.  A response is required.”

--Preface to “A Theology of the Family”
Edited By Jeff Pollard & Scott T. Brown

    With the continuing rise in Home schooling--especially among people of color--there is always a search for historical and well-researched books that plainly spell out those virtues of family, church and Christian religion guaranteed to uplift our current and next generations.  Enter Jeff Pollard and Scott T. Brown with their massive work: “A Theology of the Family: Five Centuries of Biblical Wisdom for Family Life”  (2014, 714 Pages, The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches).

    This is, actually, more than a good theological work.  Yes, it is KJV in its Scripture citations and scope, but it packs a lot of the best work put forth by well known and not-so-well-known preachers and bible teachers over the last FIVE centuries on the institution of the family, straight out of the Word of God.

    “Family prayer and the pulpit are the bulwarks of Protestantism!  Depend upon it, when family piety goes down, the life of godliness will become very low.”

--Arthur W. Pink, Pastor & Author
“A Theology of the Family”

    Pastors and their families could also benefit from this work, as it contains sound instruction on the issues of Godly Manhood, Marriage, Family Worship and Virtuous Womanhood.  The preaching lineup is a deep as this book is large…from the Puritan era, right up to some of the ‘preaching heroes’ of our modern age.  One of the beauties of this book is that it provides a clear roadmap as to how churches could--from the pulpit to the pew--start bringing forth solid truths to turn many a family around.  After all, if the home is right…this will help the church, the school, and society as a whole.

    Pollard and Brown have a hit on their hands.  This book may be found through your favorite on line book seller, or may be obtained through The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (www.ncfic.org).

Mike Ramey is a Minister, Reviewer and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.  On Line Reviews brings current and lesser-known titles to public light in the quest to re-kindle a love for reading and thinking in a sea of modern technology.  Feel free to reach him via email at manhoodline@yahoo.com.

Lift up Christ and lay the sinner low. --C. H. Spurgeon