Coaching Yourself to Create a Bestseller

Today, 26th June 2019, I started to write the forward to the book.

The book has been at the planning stage for a couple of weeks. That time has been spent in creating a mind map and in endless discussions with myself about tone of voice, subject matter and the normal vascillations that occur at the start of any major project.

It is something of a relief to have actually got started. But as I have said elsewhere this project is not simply about writing a bestseller, it is about how to CREATE a best seller. A big part of the project is around what I will be doing to market the book in order to make it sell well.

Let’s be honest about it, most writers just want to write, that is the bit that we all enjoy. But what’s the point in expending all of that effort if no-one ever gets to read our output. I have 8 published books only one of which sells in any meaningful amount and even that does not create sufficient income to cover all of my monthly outgoings.

The other point that really matters about this project is the concept of coaching myself. As I write the book I will be consantly coaching myself to keep myself going and to make sure that I do all the necessary, non-writing, work required to get the book moving off the shelves once it is published.

I will be publishing the book in e-book format on Smashwords, where the book is already available for pre-order, and subsequently in paperback on Amazon.

The purpose of my blogposts is to allow other writers to follow what I am doing in real time so that they can learn good practices for creating bestsellers of their own in any genre. You can follow the posts that I will write at important stages in my progress by checking in here or by signing up to follow me on Feedburner whence you will be notified whenever I publish a new post on this bolg.

Coaching Yourself to Format Your Book for Any Ebook Platform or for Print

This article is a bit of a cheat because I never format any of my books. I simply let my Vellum software package do the work for me.

Personally I now write all my books on Vellum, but you can write your books in Word and them copy and paste them into Vellum and it will automatically format your book for you.

Vellum automatically creates or updates your Table of Contents as you create each new chapter.

One of the best features of Vellum is the wealth of easy-to-understand help articles that they provide on their website. They are a small team of dedicated programmers who seem to really have a handle on the challenges that writers and authors face. They do everything in their power to make our lives easier.

The best part about Vellum is that when you are ready to publish your book all you have to do is click on the “Generate” button at the top of your page and Vellum automatically formats your book for all Ebook platforms (including Kindle, Kobo, Apple etc) and for print books.

You can get started by downloading a free version of Vellum from their website at Some years ago I purchased the top end version of Vellum and I have never regretted this purchase. It has made my author’s life much easier, saved me hours of time and a great deal of angst.

There is one issue with Vellum and that is that it only works on Macs running one of these versions of macOS:
macOS Sierra (10.12)
macOS High Sierra (10.13)
macOS Mojave (10.14)

But as you are a creative person I assume you already use a Mac.

There are other software packages for use with Microsoft products like Book Creator and you can use Google Docs. However, I have never used any of these products and cannot recommend them because I have no idea how valuable they are. Sorry.

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Coaching Yourself to Brief a Designer to Produce a Really Excellent Cover for Your Book

Before approaching a cover designer you need to prepare a thorough brief so that the designer is really clear about what you want before they start work. The work you do before approaching your designer will save you hours of work and much money.

It would be nice to think that your designer would read your book before starting work, but the facts of life are that designers are selling their artistic skills and their time. Reading a book can take several days. Do you want to pay your designer for that time? Probably not. So, your best option is to prepare as thorough a brief as possible for your designer.

It is job of the author and publisher to decide what will attract the attention of readers and get them to buy the book. I always work with the well tried and tested A.I.D.A. acronym frequently used by advertising agencies:

Attention, what will grab the reader’s attention. This is the value of pictures that grab attention.

Interest, what will get them to take a greater interest in the book. A good title that suggests the main benefit that the reader will receive when they read the book.

Desire, what will arouse their passion and get them to really, really desire to own the book.

Action, what will tip them over the edge and get them to order.

To this end the essential elements of a good cover design brief should include the following:

  1. A description of the book content. The settings, the main characters, what makes them interesting and why the book has been written. This provides the designer with general background to help them to understand the area in which they are to work.
  2. What is special or unique about the book. This gives the designer an idea of what will sell the book. It helps them to focus their attention on the first essentials. You might mention here the passion that drove you to write this particular book.
  3. The target audience. Who the book has been written for.
    1. This could include, age, gender, occupation, income group, location.
    2. Where they get their information.
    3. Their habits, hobbies or special interests.
    4. Known likes and dislikes.
    5. Anything that particularly frustrates or animates this target audience.
    6. Any other information that describes the typical reader.
  4. The text for the front and back covers.
  5. Any illustrations you want to use (perhaps your photo for the back cover). You should check out copyright on any illustrations you plan to use.
  6. Any particular likes, dislikes or preferences that you have. Here you might show covers of other books that you particularly like.
    Proportions of the design and any other special needs like bleed etc.
  7. Your budget for the design.
  8. Your time scale for completing the task.

Note: The cover design for this book Coachng Yourself to Create a Bestseller is currently a mock-up I produced myself. I am using this as a placeholder until my designer has completed the finished design. Readers of this blog will see the finished cover as soon as I publish it. Click this link to receive alerts whenever I publish a new article about Coaching Yourself to Create a Bestseller.

There will be more detail about all this in Coaching Yourself To Create a Bestseller which you can preorder now from Smashwords.

Today I Briefed a Designer to Create a Cover for My New Book

You may have noticed that the cover design that went with the first article in this series that is entitled “Coaching Yourself to Create a Bestseller” is a somewhat amateur effort. I mocked up that cover myself so that I had something to use to illustrate the book. It helped to give the project life for me.

Today I decided, in the middle of writing a chapter of the book, that I would like to brief a designer to produce a more professional looking cover. I should explain that a close relative has recently completed a university degree course in design. He obtained a good degree. It is nice to be able to give him interesting work and also to have an opportunity to pay him.

This was what I wrote in my brief:

Hello Dan,

“My new book is entitled: “Coaching Yourself to Create a Bestseller.” 

“It is aimed at authors who have not yet had a book published or who have had a book published that did not sell well.”
“The book covers the writing, the publishing and the marketing of a book in a way that will get it to sell well.”
“A thought, in the back of my mind, is that this could lead to a series of ‘Coaching Yourself’ books, e.g. Coaching Yourself to Super Self-Confidence or Coaching Yourself to be an Outstanding Leader. Therefore the words ‘Coaching Yourself’ could be a logo that runs across all the book titles, front covers, blog banners, twitter banner etc.”
“As I am writing the book I am also blogging about what I am doing to create pre-sales.”
“This is my effort at producing a cover size 1,400 px wide:

Would you like to have a go at improving on this.”
I find that taking time out from writing the book’s text to write these blog posts and to do research helps to make the project more real and energises me.

Today I Started Marketing My New Book

I only just completed the Forward to my new book but already I have started the marketing process.

It is something of a drag to have to stop writing when I am full of ideas about the book, but I really do want to create a bestseller so I have to discipline myself to take time out for marketing.

Today I went over to Goodreads and created a page for my book Coaching Yourself to Create a Bestseller. This means that even though it is not due for publication for another 4 months it is already available for comments and pre-orders on two major internet platforms.

Then, whilst I was on Goodreads I researched an article on the Authors and Advertisers Blog about how another publisher (I am a self-publisher) had promoted a book called The Silent Patient to make it a bestseller. I read about all that they had done to create a pre-publication buzz around the book. I made a number of notes of actions I need to take and also put markers on my calendar to remind me that on particular days I will have to take certain actions.

Actually, being dragged away from my main writing task was not that bad because I got a lot of energy from studying what I need to do to transform my book into a bestseller. The research I did also provided a few hundred new words for my book.