The response to my first post on Steve Harrison’s free teleseminar, “7 Most Common Mistakes Authors Make”, was extremely positive! Given this, I’m sharing a few more of his tips and how I am, or will be, using them for my nonfiction book.
Break a myth that people want you to break
Harrison suggests that authors find out what would appeal to readers and what will get them to want to read more. There are a significant number of myths about college transfer, particularly between four-year colleges and universities, which we debunk in our book. I’ll give you a few examples. First, that transferring colleges is something that parents and students should be ashamed of. Secondly, that students who aren’t happy with their first choice of colleges should immediately transfer to another four-year school or they will never return to college or earn their college degree. Thirdly, that every difficult circumstance a student encounters at their initial college will automatically necessitate a college transfer. And finally, that the transfer process will require as much, or more, parental involvement and input as the student’s original college search and application process.
Get your book to go viral
This usually occurs when you write a book that affects people emotionally or resonates with them in a way that makes them want to share it with others, Harrison explains. When we initially began interviews for the book, I’ll confess that I was slightly skeptical about the topic being one with immense popular appeal. However the more stories I heard from parents, other involved adults, and the college students themselves, the more I realized exactly how prevalent college transfer is and just how helpful and transformational this type of book would be.
Navigating the higher education system in the twenty-first century is a very different experience than when I transferred in 1982. Though many of the basic reasons for transfer and the emotions associated with it remain the same, the amount of time a student can lose and the costs associated with transfer can be staggering. The Ultimate Guide to College Transfer offers a step-by-step guide from initially evaluating whether transfer is the best option for the student to successfully transitioning to a new college or university. Relevant tips are shared from real students, parents, and college professionals which helps make the whole process less frightening and confusing.
Amazon is key
The original title of the book was The Ins and Outs of College Transfer which no one seemed to like but us! However, according to Harrison, we did do one thing right and that was to include the words “college transfer” in the title. Luckily we got even more specific with the final title, using both “ultimate guide” and “college transfer”, two search terms that will help readers find the title on Amazon.
His second recommendation was to fill out an “author page” at Amazon’s Author Central, which I had already done a month before when I accidentally stumbled on an article recommending it while cleaning my office. This page is where others can find out more about you as a person, see your photo, and read other things you’ve written (in my case regular blog posts). As Harrison emphasizes, this helps potential readers feel more connected to you as a person. One area that definitely needs some improvement is our reviews. As of this date we only have one. He recommends authors aim for at least twenty-five.
Harrison ended the teleseminar by urging participants to focus, plan, and prioritize but, above all, to take action. Lots of work to look forward to!