Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Interview with Nina Amir, author of 'The Author Training Manual'

Nina Amir, the Inspiration to Creation Coach and author of How to Blog a Book and The Author Training Manual, transforms writers into authors. She inspires people from all walks of life to create books that positively impact readers and to develop careers as authors, achieve their goals, and fulfill their potential. Nina is a sought-after nonfiction developmental editor, proposal consultant, and author, book, blog-to-book, blog, and results coach. Some of her clients have gone on to sell 300,000+ copies of their books and to land deals with major publishing houses. She writes four blogs, has self-published 12 books and is the founder of National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

You can find all of Nina’s blogs by visiting her main website, www.ninaamir.com.

Hi Nina and welcome to As the Page Turns.  Becoming an author is easier today than it was years ago.  What do you think changed the whole publishing industry as we know it today?
Nina: I think ebooks have changed the publishing industry, making it easier for just about anyone to self-publish a book, not necessarily to traditionally publish a book, and to call themselves an author. However, just saying you are an author is one thing; becoming a successful author—one that sells a lot of copies of his or her book—is quite another. The average ebook author actually only sells about 550 copies of their book per year. 

I loved The Author Training Manual!  Can you tell us why you decided to write a book to help aspiring authors?
Nina: Sure. I realized that getting published traditionally was not easy and was getting harder all the time. Also, with the huge number of self-published books released per year, it was becoming more and more difficult for indie authors to produce successful books, ones that sold more than the average number of copies. Generally, it seemed to me that going from aspiring to successful publish author was a rather arduous journey for most writers. Indeed, I knew this from my own experience.  So, I wanted to offer these writers a useful tool, one that would “show them the ropes” and give them real knowledge and insight into how to succeed. I didn’t want to just tell them how to write a book; I wanted to tell them how to write a book that would stands a chance of actually selling an above-average amount of copies—succeeding in the eyes of the publishing community.

In your book, you tell us how to become an author that publishers want.  Can you tell us briefly about this?

Nina: Publishers don’t just want good writers or writers with good ideas. They want good business partners. They want writers who understand the publishing businesses. An aspiring author who approaches a publisher and asks for a publishing contract really wants a venture capital partner (whether he realizes this or not). He want someone to financially back the writing, production, publication, and distribution of his book, which is the product he wants to bring to market. And the publisher—the financial backer—wants a good business partner, someone who not only has the credentials and ability to produce the product but who can prove the product is marketable, or viable, and who can help sell that product. That means the writer must have a platform and a promotion plan, as well as a business plan that proves the viability of the product (the book idea). It’s all about business. Having a good idea and being able to write well, of course, helps.
Now there is a difference between becoming an author and becoming a successful author.  What are some tips you would give to authors who already have their books published but want more sales?
Nina: The first tip I’d offer is to increase your visibility. The more time you spend connecting with your target audience, target market, the more books you will sell. And that’s what author platform is all about. That’s why it’s so important.
The second tip I’d offer is to not just sell your book but sell yourself. Get out there and let people know who you are and what you stand for. Be authentic. People like to buy books from someone they know, like and trust.
And expand your reach. Don’t just rely on the people you already know. Find new ways to expand into new markets. Today, people purchase books from an author’s community and from a publisher’s community. So you have to expand beyond your current community as much as possible.
And get off line. Nothing beats meeting people in person.
There are a lot of self-pubbers out there.  What advice can you give them?

Nina: Don’t think that you don’t need to have a business plan for your book; you do! You need one more than anyone because you are creating a start-up business—a self-publishing company. Every business—and every book—needs a business plan. And don’t think you shouldn’t care to see your idea and yourself through the same lens used by agents and acquisitions editors. You should care! When you can see your work the way they would (or do), you can determine if it is marketable. That’s their job…and yours now that you are a publisher in your own right. A business plan helps you turn out marketable work, and learning to see your ideas the way an acquisitions editor sees it allows you to produce marketable products and viable plans for your new publishing company.
Thank you so much for this interview, Nina!  Is there anything else you would like to add?
Nina: It’s true that anyone can become an author, but not anyone can become a successful author. Be sure to develop and maintain a successful “Author Attitude” to help you reach your goals. Be willing, optimistic, objective, and tenacious. Woot!

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