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Three Steps of Book Discoverability

December 16, 2014


Step Two: Social Media

To continue on from the first step of book discoverability, SEO, today we look at some ways you can utilize social media in the quest to keep your book in front of your potential readers.


Consider Your Target Audience

Take some time to find out where your target market is spending most of their time communicating. If you’re a YA writer, you will find more traction on newer, trendier social media platforms than if you are a Business writer and looking for an older, more highly educated audience. Also consider what content attracts your target audience (status updates, photos, video) and make sure it is mobile-friendly. Here is a helpful article containing demographic highlights from 5 major - and grown - social networks: http://www.marketingcharts.com/online/user-demographic-highlights-from-5-major-and-growing-social-networks-38939/


Social Amplification

When someone, who could be a complete stranger to you, shares something you put out into the world, treat it as a big event! Say thank you often, loud, and publicly. According to this article, 90% of us trust recommendations from friends, so when you do get an authentic endorsement, celebrate it, and encourage people to keep carrying your message on for you.

Be prepared in advance so when someone does share your information, that is shared correctly and in the best way so that it can continue to amplify meaningfully. This means taking care of your the way your information displays images and text when shared across the internet. You can do this via the code within your own website by making sure your structured date is formatted correctly. If you need some assistance here, visit schema.org, an open graph for Facebook, Twitter cards, rich pins, Google+, search engines, and more.


Wherever You Are, Be There

It is more likely than not that when you decided to write a book, you did not realize you were also signing up to work in marketing. Play around on various social media platforms and decide what you like to use that also works for your readers. You don’t need to sign up for 10 different social media accounts and wear yourself out keeping up with all of them. Start with the one you like most and spend some time creating connections, content, and remaining consistent before you take on something additional. Depending on who you ask about frequency, and what the product us, it can take a consumer at least 5-7 times to be exposed to a message before decagon to make a purchase. So wherever you decide to be engaged in social media, really be there and be focused and you will start seeing results. If you do decide to embrace multiple platforms at once, look into a scheduler to help you manage everything, such as HootSuite.

Here are some social media fun facts to consider from the Center of Social Media as well.


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Interview Series: GBG’s Editorial Department (Part 3)

December 9, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

This week, I continued my conversation with our editorial department about developing and editing books.


3. How do I know if I need an editor to look over my book?

It’s very difficult to evaluate your own work and determine what sort of editorial work it needs. By all means, have friends and family take a look, but you typically have to take their feedback with a grain of salt: people who know and like you are prone to paint a pretty rosy picture of your work (though, of course, they may also raise incredibly good points—it just depends).

A more reliable route is to have an impartial party, like an editor, review your work. You could send it off to agents and publishing houses, which may, if you’re lucky, give you thoughts for improvement. If you need major developmental work, though, it’s likely to be a flat “No,” or no response at all.

If you want a detailed description of the work your book might need, many companies and freelance editors offer manuscript evaluation services. This allows you to hire someone with professional editorial experience to assess and explain the issues present in your manuscript. That evaluation should give you an idea of whether you just need a bit of polish and tidying up or whether you need to step back and rethink larger elements of the book.

4. What is the difference between an editor and a ghostwriter?

In short, an editor shapes words the author has written while a ghostwriter channels the author and puts the author’s ideas into words.

Developmental editors may write sentences or short passages during their work, but the author has already done the heavy lifting of creating content. But when you hire a ghostwriter, that person takes on the work of putting the words down in a way that eventually adds up to a book. While the editor’s first step is to read your manuscript, the ghostwriter’s first step is to talk with you at length—maybe even conduct an interview or two—to understand what you envision for your book.

From there, the ghostwriter will likely conduct long, recorded conversations with you; read and adapt any other forms of media you’ve created on your subject (articles, blog posts, videos, etc.); or conduct some independent research on the topic. Then, working to channel the author’s tone and style, the ghostwriter creates content for the author to review and edit.

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Happy Pub Day!

December 2, 2014

All of us at Greenleaf Book Group send congratulations and best wishes to our authors who have books launching in December!

100 Paintings by Rob Mango

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Interview Series: GBG’s Editorial Department (Part 2)

November 24, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

This week, I asked our editorial department a second question about developing and editing books.

2. What are the different types of editorial work that may be performed on a book?

Though nearly every freshly written manuscript can benefit from an editor’s eye, some need more TLC than others. Here at Greenleaf Book Group, we divide editorial work into five levels. Starting with the heaviest . . .

Project development. In a project development process, the book editor provides assistance to the author while he or she writes or revises a manuscript. If the author is just starting out with an idea and some rough content, the project-development editor will guide them through big topics like audience, theme, structure, and goals of the book. They will then assist the author in creating an outline to structure the writing process, and will evaluate chapters as they are written, telling the author if any course-corrections are needed.

Project development can also apply when an author has finished writing but needs help doing a revamp. Author and editor have the same big-picture talk—What’s this book supposed to do? Who is it speaking to? How is it different from other books like it?—and then use that discussion to create a plan for rearranging and/or rewriting the existing content.

Developmental editing. In a developmental edit, the book editor jumps into the content ready to move pieces around, cut inessential content, and prompt the author to write new material. Maybe your book has good ideas in it, but you’re repeating the same thing in many different chapters. If so, you need a developmental editor. Maybe your book starts out as a guide for CEOs but in its second half gives advice that’s more applicable to mid-level managers. You, too, need a developmental editor. Or maybe your book has more of a zigzag than an arc, leading readers back and forth through chapters and topics without a clear sense of where they’re going or where they’ve come from. Yes, you also need a developmental editor. Maybe your book has plot lines that fizzle out or that make jarring leaps in timeline or scene. You might think about seeking a developmental editor.

Of course, needing a developmental edit does not mean that you’re not a good writer or that you aren’t a leading expert in your topic. It just means that, to present your message in the most appealing way possible to people who buy books, you could use some help rearranging, finessing, and clarifying your content.

Substantive editing. If developmental editing is like major home renovation—tearing down walls, converting a garage, adding on a patio—then substantive editing is like tasteful interior decoration. This level of book editing is all about the flow of ideas and the quality of the prose—it’s similar to another term you might have heard: “line editing.” While the substantive editor won’t work on structure and focus at the same depth a developmental editor, he or she will smooth out or rewrite clunky or confusing sentences, query you when a point is ambiguous or infelicitously worded, or strengthen transitions between ideas within a section or between sections within a chapter.

Copyediting. Copy editors get down to the nitty-gritty of technical style, grammar, clarity, and usage, improving sentence structure where necessary and increasing the overall readability of the text. This is the person who points out all those things like dangling modifiers and who makes sure you’re using the correct punctuation with your restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses.

Copy editors—who simply must be meticulous and detail oriented—handle a whole host of issues that, while they might seem trifling to some, have a huge collective impact on the reader’s sentence-by-sentence experience of the book and on the book’s status as a professionally produced product. The copy editor will make sure that your hyphens, en dashes, and em dashes have all been deployed correctly, that your proper nouns are all spelled correctly, that you’re capitalizing terms consistently and correctly, that you don’t drop miscues, that your verbs and subjects all agree, and so on. The changes may be granular, but they’re essential.

Proofreading. Ideally, proofreaders don’t make waves in a manuscript. They’re the last defense against typos and formatting errors. They look at the final, designed pages of the book, scanning for visual and textual inconsistencies and any other problems the copy editor may have inadvertently missed. When the proofread is completed, you should have squeaky clean pages. 

Of course, editors and proofreaders are human, and typos do squeeze through now and again—often it’s a missing conjunction or article that the human brain sees even if it’s not there (such as be or an). When that happens, take a deep breath, call your publisher, and have them slate the change for the next printing.

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Interview Series: GBG’s Editorial Department (Part 1)

November 18, 2014

Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.

This week, I asked Brandy Savarese from the editorial department about developing and editing books.

1. What does a book editor do?

 Depends what kind of editor we’re talking about!

 An acquisitions editor has the role of bringing projects in to a traditional publishing house. They don’t typically get down-and-dirty work in manuscripts; their main function is to target authors and books that they think are a good fit for a particular house or imprint, and that readers will want to buy.

Apart from that, “book editor” usually refers to the people who, in some form or other, take an existing manuscript and collaborate with the author to make it better. That work can range from the major (shifting the focus of the entire book or lopping off whole chapters) to the minor (politely suggesting that a comma might make a particular sentence clearer).

Whether the changes they suggest are big or small, the book editor always serves two masters: First, they must serve the targeted reader of the book, dutifully reporting to the author passages that may confuse or annoy or bore or offend, suggesting how to remedy the problem, and catching bothersome errors and omissions.

The editor’s second master is, of course, the author. He or she must ensure that the author is on board with changes to the book, and that any alterations maintain the spirit and tone of the author’s work. An author should never feel that their editor is inserting him- or herself into the book, or making changes that the author feels are unwarranted.

So, think of a book editor as a sort of test reader, one who also brings experience to bear, along with a willingness to frankly point out issues a more sympathetic test reader (say, your husband or your mom) might not. At the same time, the book editor is the author’s partner, offering explanations and solutions for the issues they identify and general support through the revision process.

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