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

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Let’s see a show of hands of who would love to have a publishing contract?

I have a great guest today. Nina Amir is the author of the bestselling How to Blog a Book: Write, Publish, and Promote Your Work One Post at a Time (Writers Digest Books) and The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively (Writers Digest Books), transforms writers into inspired, successful authors, authorpreneurs and blogpreneurs. Known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach, she moves her clients from ideas to finished books as well as to careers as authors by helping them combine their passion and purpose so they create products that positively and meaningfully impact the world. A sought-after author, book, blog-to-book, and results coach, some of Nina’s clients have sold 300,000+ copies of their books, landed deals with major publishing houses and created thriving businesses around their books. She writes four blogs, including Write Nonfiction Now and How to Blog a Book, self-published 12 books and founded National Nonfiction Writing Month, aka the Write Nonfiction in November Challenge.

Thank you for this interview, Nina. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was in middle school or so. I used to write stories about horses when I was young, and in high school I thought I might become a novelist. My mom told me that “only good writers make a living as novelists,” so I figured maybe I should find another way to make a living as a writer! I took a journalism course, began writing for the school newspaper and local papers, and went on to get a degree in magazine journalism. I graduated from college and began working as an editor and writer.

One day a friend asked me to edit a nonfiction book. I figured I could probably do the job since my college professor told me I could write a book if I could write an article; he said a nonfiction book was just a series of articles on one topic strung together. I knew how to edit. I edited his book. And then the next two books I edited went on to be great successes. One was picked up by Simon & Schuster and has sold well over 300,000 copies and is still in print. The other was self-published and sold more than 150,000 before the author sold it to Sounds True many years later.

After working with many aspiring authors, I decided I wanted to write some books, too.

Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?

My new book, The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively, offers aspiring authors a process to help them produce marketable book ideas—ones that sell. The exercises it contains train them to become successful authors by helping them develop an Author Attitude, produce a business plan for their books and evaluate themselves and their ideas through the same lens used by agents and acquisitions editors. It is meant for all aspiring authors—and even published authors, whether they write fiction or nonfiction, plan to self-publish or traditionally publish, because they all need the tools and skills to determine if a book idea is a viable product in a target market, which is the job these publishing professionals perform.

Why did you choose your particular genre?

I spent many years trying to learn how to succeed as an author. I still spend a lot of my time learning what it takes to become published and successful. Very simply, I wanted to pass on what I had learned to others. I felt I had learned some essential lessons that could benefit others. I also wanted to inspired writers to succeed.

Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?

I have self-published 12 short books, but The Author Training Manual and my previous book, How to Blog a Book, are both published traditionally by Writer’s Digest Books.

Was it the right choice for you?

Yes, I feel having a traditional publisher was the right choice for me. I think as a nonfiction author who wanted to further establish my expert status, having a traditional publisher to back me helped establish my credibility. A traditional publisher serves as your venture capital partner. When someone is willing to put money into your idea and into you, it says something to others—to readers, to potential customers and clients—about the value of what you have to offer as well as your value as an author and expert.

Also, independent publishing requires the time and energy to be a project manager as well as the funds to back your own ideas. I have done this before; I don’t mind doing it, but I actually prefer to have a partner and let them do the project management and take the financial risk.

Additionally, with a traditional publisher, my books gain more visibility because they end up in brick-and-mortar bookstores. It is rare for an indie publishers to get a book in a physical bookstore. I really like seeing my books in Barnes and Noble, and even had How to Blog a Book on end caps on holiday season!

How are you promoting your book thus far?

I have been tweeting about the book for quite some time.

I also blogged a fair amount of the second draft of the book. I didn’t actually blog the book, though. That draft has been available on my blog, writenonfictionnow.com. Of course, all those posts were promoted on all my social networks.

I offer a related class, Author Training 101, which is available as a home study and a live version. That helps me promote the book. In fact, I wrote the first draft as the text for the class.

And just before the book was released, as it was released, and just after, I’ve guest posted. In other words, I’ve been on a blog tour.

How is that going for you?

The blog tour is going great!

In particular, my efforts to get pre-sales with blog posts and podcast and internet radio worked really well. In my Amazon Author Central account I actually could see that the book was well ranked on Amazon long before it was released. At one point, right after a post on a popular, well-trafficked blog, the book managed to get a rank below 16,000 among all books on Amazon, but in one category it actually made the Top 100 list. That means that it unofficially had Amazon bestseller status before any books went through the register. I’m not exactly sure how that happened…but it did. I even took a screen shot!

Do you have another job besides writing?

My job currently revolves around my books. I train writers to become successful, published authors and to build a business around their books. I primarily work as a coach, providing author, book, blog-to-book, blog, and results coaching. In conjunction with my coaching and books, I also speak and teach. I also offer other services to writers.

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?

Learn to love it. Too many aspiring and published authors complain about it, hate it, don’t do it, or do it half-heartedly. This will not help you succeed.

Promotion is a necessary part of becoming a successful author. Assuming you want to succeed, you must promote your book. Not only that, you must start before the book comes out by building author platform. Promotion only works if you have an author platform—someone to promote to.

So, accept this fact. Learn to love it. And do it. Promote yourself and your book or books. Period.

What’s next for you?

Continue on to the next book! I have a huge list of books yet to write.

Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?

The best place to find me is at www.ninaamir.com. This is the hub of all I do. If you want to go directly to one of my blog, you can visit www.writenonfictionnow.com or www.howtoblogabook.com. To find all my books, go to www.booksbyninaamir.com.

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