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The Ultimate Book Gift

I love giving and receiving books for Christmas, but have you ever considered the ultimate book gift? You could give someone you love the chance to write their own book. Now some of you might be laughing. What kind of gift is that? Is that just a recipe for a miserable, lonely winter? I don’t think so. A prominent executive I know has just given his 80-something father the gift of a book, his own memoir, just for the family. So how can it be fun and enriching for the would-be author of this book? First, he’ll sit down with [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:49-04:00December 18, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on The Ultimate Book Gift

The Question You Need to Ask Before You Start Writing Your Book

If you’re thinking of writing a book, you might wonder: Where do I start? My answer might surprise you. Put down your pen, shut down your laptop, and think about the following question: What is your book about? Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not. When I put the question to authors at Barlow Books, they often come up with pretty vague answers, or perhaps a long list of points. When they do, it tells me they can’t answer the question clearly. That’s when we go to work with our authors to define what they want to write about. We [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:49-04:00December 11, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on The Question You Need to Ask Before You Start Writing Your Book

What to Do When a Publisher Rejects Your Book

When a traditional publisher says no to your book, it’s painful. You’ve worked hard on that book, and you’re convinced that it can change minds and make a real difference in the world. But the publisher didn’t buy it. In the old days — five years ago, for instance — your only option was to self-publish your book and resign yourself to the fact that your book would never appear on bookstore shelves. But now you have another option: Hybrid publishing. Hybrid means you get many of the advantages of traditional publishing — high quality in editing, design, and production, [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:50-04:00November 27, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on What to Do When a Publisher Rejects Your Book

Three Ways to Publish Your Next Book

If you are looking for a publisher, what do you do? With the explosion of book publishing options online, it’s getting confusing, so here is the lowdown on the three options you have to publish your next book: Traditional publishing: The publisher pays for editing, design, printing, and distribution. In return, the publisher makes most of the money and keeps control of the project. Upside: You don’t have to pay for publishing, and you get a top-quality book that’s sold in bookstores. Downside: It’s very hard to land a traditional publishing deal. Self-publishing: You pay upfront and control the project. [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:50-04:00November 14, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on Three Ways to Publish Your Next Book

Why I am a Hybrid Publisher

If you’re looking for a publisher, what are your options? You can try to land a deal with a traditional publisher like Penguin Random House or HarperCollins. If you get one, you’re very, very lucky. On the other hand, you can try to publish yourself. Yes, you’ll be able to get your book on Amazon, but there’s a big downside to self-publishing:  Most self-published authors sell only a handful of books to family and friends. It could be because most self-published writers do not get the professional design and editing help they need to create a high-quality book. Or because [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:51-04:00November 13, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on Why I am a Hybrid Publisher

The Hidden Power of Being Vulnerable

We all want to look like we’re strong and confident. We want people to think that we never make mistakes and that we always know what we’re doing. But have you ever considered the power of being vulnerable, of exposing your weaknesses, and what you don’t know? You might be surprised to see what happens. Being vulnerable can help to create a strong bond with your audience. Then, when it’s time to share an idea, they’ll be ready to listen. Take Noman Bacal. He was a successful, high-powered lawyer, who ran a national law firm until a year before it [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:51-04:00November 6, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on The Hidden Power of Being Vulnerable

True Family Wealth

How do you create true wealth in your family? By earning more money and handing it to the kids so they have an easier life than yours? That would be a mistake: Just look at all the young people who inherited the big bucks, only to squander it and lead indifferent lives. Yet you don't want to starve them of cash either, says Chris Clarke, author of a new book called True Family Wealth. She spoke this week at Verity, a prime women's club in downtown Toronto. Instead, consider treating your family like a business, and use the great business [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:52-04:00October 5, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on True Family Wealth

What do ghostwriters have in common with record producers?

I’ve been watching The Defiant Ones, the terrific documentary on the two great record producers, Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre. The four-part series is hugely entertaining, but it also reveals a lot about the collaboration between these record producers and stars like Bruce Springsteen and Bono. We’re obviously not rock and roll stars, but we do have something in common with the record producers. In the documentary, Jimmy says his sole aim is to bring out the greatness he sees in the musicians. We see how he works intensely with them to bring out the best. So do we. Creating [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:52-04:00September 6, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on What do ghostwriters have in common with record producers?

Do you want to get into major media? Answer this question…

Why now? If you want to get into major media with news of your book, you’ll need to answer this question. And you should ask yourself why your book is relevant now before you start writing. Journalists know that in any news story, opinion piece or feature, they need to tell readers at the very beginning why they need to read their story right now. When you’re pitching reporters, you should do the same. You can always find a news peg, as my former journalistic colleagues used to call it. We have a book coming out in October called Hypnotherapy [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:53-04:00August 31, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on Do you want to get into major media? Answer this question…

How a Book Can Boost Your Speaking Career

Barlow author Eric Termuende is a hot property on the speaker’s circuit these days. His calendar is packed with engagements all over Canada, and when I met him in one of his favourite restaurants in Vancouver’s historic Gastown the other day, he looked like he was having a great time, even if he was a little tired. It’s a big change from one year ago, when Eric was giving one speech a month at half of today’s price. How did it happen? For one thing, Eric’s agents at the National Speakers Bureau have been working hard to boost the number [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:54-04:00April 7, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on How a Book Can Boost Your Speaking Career

We’re On A Mission

Are you on a mission? What is it? If you’re not sure, you might ask yourself: What’s driving you? Why do you do what you do? It took me a long time to find the answer, and it turned out that the answer came from the authors who work with my publishing company. As a publisher, I have the privilege of listening to authors who are on all kinds of missions. Neurologist Antoine Hakim, for instance, is on a mission to prevent dementia with his upcoming book, Save Your Mind. Financial planner Chris Clark, author of True Family Wealth, is [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:55-04:00February 9, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on We’re On A Mission

Facts Matter

Facts actually matter—not alternative facts, but cold, hard facts. So began the great Toronto defence lawyer Marie Henein in The Globe and Mail last week week: “In the justice system, where I work, evidence grounds the adjudication of each and every dispute. You may argue about what inferences should be drawn, but objective facts are indisputable. Likewise, science requires testing and analysis of data before conclusions are drawn. Acting on facts serves us well,” Henein wrote. “Except, it appears, in the current political climate. George Orwell warned about the perversion of political thinking in 1945, when he wrote “… the [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:56-04:00February 7, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on Facts Matter

Ideas worth Spreading: How to get a TEDx talk

If you are trying to tell the world about your idea, as most Barlow Books authors are, a TEDx Talk is a great way to do it. You might even get onto the big stage and deliver a TED Talk watched around the world. It will give you great publicity and some terrific video content for your website and social media platforms. TEDx Talks are broadcast on YouTube, where everyone can see them. Some Barlow authors have already done their TEDx Talks. Eric Termuende, author of Rethink Work, gave a talk called Bigger Than Work, all about the kind of [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:57-04:00January 19, 2017|Resources|Comments Off on Ideas worth Spreading: How to get a TEDx talk

How Can Authors Maximize Their PR Opportunities?

As a publisher, one of my favourite things is seeing Barlow authors in the major media. So it was great to see Jim Beqaj on Global News this morning to talk about his new book, True Fit. True Fit, which went on sale in stores across Canada a couple of weeks ago, is about how to find a job by being the real you. Jim, who hired hundreds of people while he was a top honcho on Bay Street, now runs a consulting firm where he routinely tells clients to be themselves—if they want a job that will make their [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:57-04:00December 1, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on How Can Authors Maximize Their PR Opportunities?

Timing Matters in Book Publishing

Why now? It’s one of the basic questions of publishing. Why should your book be read right now? What makes it relevant to your target audience? If you can answer this question convincingly, you’ll be amazed to see how many people listen to what you have to say. Two of our authors at Barlow Books are a perfect illustration of this crucial rule. Both are young—younger than the Millennials. And both have their finger on the pulse of something important in the world right now. I was thinking about this as I watched 17-year-old Clare Morneau step up to the [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:58-04:00November 10, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on Timing Matters in Book Publishing

How to Get That Op-ed Published

Writing an op-ed, an opinion piece that goes on the page opposite from the newspaper’s editorial page, is a great way to get noticed. It will give you a wonderful platform to sell your idea, and your book. But it’s exceptionally hard to get that op-ed published. How can you increase your chances? Op-eds are typically very short essays, usually under 800 words. You might think that a shorter essay is easier to write than a longer one, but in fact, short is harder than long. Every word counts. Right off the bat, you need to answer three questions: What’s [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:59-04:00October 19, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on How to Get That Op-ed Published

Giving a Speech vs. Writing a Book

If you’re one of the great speakers on the circuit right now, you might be thinking of writing a book to boost your career. How hard can that be? I asked that question to a 24-year-old rising star on the international speaker’s circuit. Eric Termuende travels and speaks across Canada, the U.S. and Europe for a living. He’s at home on the stage. When he talks, he never speaks from notes. He just riffs off his central theme about the need to change the way we work in order to keep the best and brightest employees, many of whom happen [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:41:59-04:00October 19, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on Giving a Speech vs. Writing a Book

How Great PR Gets Books on Shelves of Stores

This week, to celebrate the International Day of the Girl, we are publishing Kakuma Girls, the inspiring story of teenage girls at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. It’s by 17-year-old Clare Morneau. Ever since this book went on sale at Indigo and stores across Canada a few days ago, Clare has been a media sensation. She’s been interviewed on TV and profiled in magazines and newspapers, and as her publisher (and a former longtime journalist) I think she shows remarkable composure for a girl in the middle of Grade 12 stresses and strains. Maybe it runs in the family: Clare’s [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:00-04:00October 12, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on How Great PR Gets Books on Shelves of Stores

Do reviews matter?

The short answer is yes. People often buy a book based on word-of-mouth—what people say about your book—and reviews can influence what people say. Reviews can also help you if you are writing a book to get your idea out in the world via the media, or if you are selling yourself as a speaker or a consultant. So how do you get reviews, especially at a time when the book review sections in most newspapers have shrunk or even disappeared? There are different ways to get third-party endorsements for your book. Blurbs Ask prominent people to write an endorsement [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:00-04:00September 21, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on Do reviews matter?

On a Mission

If you are writing a book because you have something important to say to the world, it’s crucial to get your message into the media. This way, you can get the word out, about your book and your mission. It’s not an easy task. Journalists get a deluge of requests for press from publicity reps and publishers, and most of the time they don’t open the emails. Press releases go unread. I know; I was a journalist for 30 years, and I never read most of the PR releases that landed on my desk. Yet when you have a truly [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:01-04:00September 13, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on On a Mission

When Asking for Help Feels Good

Do you have trouble asking for help? For entrepreneurs, it’s tempting to say, I’ll do it myself. I don’t want to impose on anyone by reaching out for help. But the incredible thing is that people actually want to help if the cause is inspiring. I’ve been reaching out to fellow publishing professionals to help up to 20 young non-fiction writers sharpen up their ideas for a book at an evening seminar at the end of August. It’s free, no strings attached, and I’m asking the pros to donate their time for free — plus a glass of wine and [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:03-04:00June 28, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on When Asking for Help Feels Good

The Five Questions I Never Asked During 30 Years in Journalism

When you're working for a newspaper or magazine, you don't have to think that hard about your audience. The readers are already on the page. You have to make readers want to read your story, but you don't have to draw them to you. Books are different. You can't rely on a major news organization to do the marketing for you. You have to find your readers, get them to know your book exists, and then convince them to buy your book instead of another one on the market. That is why every book should start with five questions: What [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:03-04:00June 21, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on The Five Questions I Never Asked During 30 Years in Journalism

How to Give a Great TED Talk, From the Head of TED

What’s the secret behind the greatest TED talks? Who better to ask than Chris Anderson, head of TED. He’s got a new book out, TED Talks, and recently he came to Toronto’s Rotman School of Management to talk about it. His advice is heartening for all of those (like yours truly) who are tired of the celebrity junk that claims so much of the head space these days. “It's all about the idea,” Chris told his audience. “Offer your audience a gift, an idea that can impact their behaviour years in the future.” Yes! “An idea infused with passion can [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:04-04:00May 31, 2016|Resources|Comments Off on How to Give a Great TED Talk, From the Head of TED

Should You Judge a Book by the Way it’s Financed?

Should you judge a book by the way it’s financed? A lot of people do. They think that if someone else pays for your book, it will be better than one that is partly or fully financed by the author. As a publisher, I think that’s silly. A book should be judged by its quality, not by the way it's financed. There are plenty of high quality books out there that are financed by the author. And there are lots of mindless celebrity books that get deals from traditional publishers. It’s because of the numbers. You may have a brilliant [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:05-04:00November 24, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Should You Judge a Book by the Way it’s Financed?

Who’s Reading Your Books?

Who's the average book buyer in Canada? BookNet Canada has just released a terrific survey to answer that question, and some of their findings may surprise you. The survey of 4,277 Canadians in early 2015 focussed on those who actually bought books. That was 19 per cent of the total number, or 784 book buyers, and they were typically well-educated middle-aged women. Now for the surprise: Canadians still like to buy their books in stores. On-the-ground stores. In Canada, about 55 per cent of book lovers bought their books in stores, while the rest shopped online. The picture is very [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:06-04:00November 18, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Who’s Reading Your Books?

Authors: How Do You Reach Your Target Audience?

If you are writing a non-fiction book, who do you think will read it? Do you know who your readers are? Really? It matters if you want to sell books to anyone other than your immediate friends and family. Yet all too often, this question is overlooked. Oftentimes, writers are only vaguely aware of who their target audience is, and if that's the case, the book could be in trouble from the get-go. From the very beginning, you need to know exactly who your target audience is, what they want and need, and how you, the writer, will fulfill this [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:06-04:00November 13, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Authors: How Do You Reach Your Target Audience?

What Should You Do to Sell Your Book the Year Before it’s Published?

What should you do in the year before publication day to sell your book? A lot, as it turns out. What you do in this time is just as important as all the effort you've poured into writing your book. Seven months before publication: Establish your distribution model. Are you going to sell books the old fashioned way, in retail stores? Do you plan to sell e-books and audio books? Will you try to avoid the risk of printing a large number of books in advance by printing on demand? Six months before publication: Get your website in shape. It [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:06-04:00November 12, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on What Should You Do to Sell Your Book the Year Before it’s Published?

How Can You Get More Readers?

Every author should be building an email list. Why? It gives you direct access to your readers, which is gold in the new publishing business. An article in this week’s Publishers Weekly explains why. An email list has a lot of advantages over traditional social media: It’s more intimate. You own it. You can use it to promote book launches, or talk with your readers during the research and writing of your book. It’s a great way to build loyalty, and you don’t have to depend on a retailer or a publisher to reach your audience. Building an email list [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:07-04:00November 10, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on How Can You Get More Readers?

Getting In: Can Self-published Writers Get Their Books into Libraries and Bookstores?

How can a self-published writer get into a bookstore or library? It takes a lot of effort, as this week's Publishers Weekly describes. You have to take books in hand, plus a sell sheet, and visit the buyer at the bookstore, or the librarian in charge of collections. You'll have a better chance of getting in if you integrate yourself in the local book community, by teaching writing at the local library for example. Now you can see why Barlow Books value our sales and distribution partners in Canada and the U.S. They do the selling for you!

By |2023-09-12T14:42:08-04:00October 26, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Getting In: Can Self-published Writers Get Their Books into Libraries and Bookstores?

Will Your Book be Sold in Physical Bookstores?

You've written your book. It reads well. But will it sell in physical stores? Anyone can put a book up for sale on amazon. But will your book get on the shelves of bookstores across Canada and the U.S.? That depends on whether bookstore buyers think they can sell your book to customers. To help convince buyers, we write a sell sheet that tells them, among other things, who your target market is and why people in that target market will want to buy your book. It’s even better if that target market is underserved by existing books. A good [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:08-04:00October 19, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Will Your Book be Sold in Physical Bookstores?

Why We Say No

If you want to write a book to strengthen your brand, does it make any sense to publish one that is poorly written and edited? No, it doesn't. That’s why we at Barlow Books sometimes have to say No to a manuscript. We're doing it to protect your brand. I think you should insist on high quality in the writing of your book. We do. Once your manuscript is submitted to our production team, a seasoned book editor will assess your book to see whether it is structurally sound. Before you submit your work, ask yourself the following questions: Is [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:09-04:00October 19, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Why We Say No

What Does a Book Editor Do?

There are different kinds of editors, and all of them help to create a successful book. Early in the project, you might need an editor to develop and sharpen the idea, and make sure the approach suits the intended audience. Then comes the substantive or structural editor who makes sure the book is in overall good shape. This means that the idea is clear and well developed, and the book is hitting the target audience. A structural editor will also make sure that the chapters are lining up well, and that each chapter is in good shape. Does the author [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:09-04:00October 2, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on What Does a Book Editor Do?

Are You Trying to Get Through to Readers 18-25?

If you're writing a book, and you think young readers might like to read parts of it, how do you get through to the 18-25 demographic? Here's one way: Publish excerpts on Wattpad. This Toronto-based site reaches millions of young readers and allows authors to talk directly with them. Authors don't get paid, but you do get a chance to reach out to a huge audience. Up to now, Wattpad has been known mainly for teen romance but now they're turning their attention to non-fiction topics. You can send in excerpts of about 1200 words and see if you get [...]

By |2023-09-12T14:42:10-04:00September 29, 2015|Resources|Comments Off on Are You Trying to Get Through to Readers 18-25?