Adding the Urgency Factor

“Urgent!!! Act now.” “2 days left to save.” “LAST CHANCE!” 


We’re suckers for those subject lines, aren’t we?


One of the strongest tools in marketing is urgency. You see these tactics all the time. Here are the four most common ones: Time (limited time, last time, now, today only, deadline, seconds, minutes), Speed (now, act now, don't delay, hurry, rush, instant), Scarcity (once in a lifetime, one day only, never again, last chance), and FOMO (price going up, offer expires, now or never, final sale).


Like us, you’ve probably made a purchase based on one of those factors, and there’s nothing wrong with it. Understanding how marketing works is a super useful tool when writing your book. We commonly tell our clients to “bake in” the marketing hooks. That means viewing your manuscript through the eyes of a marketer. 


(Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a...

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5 Things to Do After You've Finished a Draft

So you’ve finished a draft of your…novel, business book, etc. Now what? There’s a strong tendency to want to go back and begin revising and working on it all over again. It’s natural to feel that pull. 


Let’s look at some options that will help you come back to your draft inspired and ready for your next steps.   


1. You’re going to be kind to yourself.
 There’s a strong temptation to look back after finishing a draft and think it’s crap. You’re not going to be mean to yourself. Everyone makes bad art. This is a part of the process.


2. You’re going to remind yourself that you’re showing up for writing and art.
 Be proud of that. Completing a draft, even an unpolished first draft, is a step most writers never get to, believe it or not. It’s hard to finish. Be proud of your efforts to get this draft completed. If you want to take it a step further: celebrate. Maybe it’s ice cream or a...

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John Maxwell on Story

John Maxwell understands the power of story. He’s used it to sell over 35 million copies of his books. PowerPoint and statistics will only get you so far. If you want to be memorable, you need stories. They are the secret sauce of John’s writing. 


During a recent Minute with Maxwell, John unpacked how important storytelling is. “I made my career in telling stories,” John explains. On a recent trip to Jonesborough, the oldest city in Tennessee and dubbed the “Storytelling Capital of the World,” John attended the National Story Festival, which they have once a year. 


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“The greatest way to express yourself is through story.”

- John Maxwell  

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What is a magnet of storytelling?


“The greatest way to express yourself is through story,” John said. “I thought principles without stories. It was a great mistake.”  


Early in...

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Judge Your Book By Its Cover

New York Times Bestselling author Adam Grant recently said, “Instead of telling kids they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, should we teach them to judge negative and positive examples differently? Don’t doom a book by a bad cover—but give a book with a great cover a chance.” Adam makes a good point, as he often does.


The thing about covers is: No one intentionally makes a bad cover. No one wants to “doom” their book, but so many often do. In today’s email, let’s find a way to follow Adam’s advice by giving your book a better chance with a great cover.


Here are three tips (plus one bonus tip) for creating a great book cover:

  1. Know Your Genre. If you’re writing a detective novel or a thriller, you know the elements that tell your reader what type of book this is. Once upon a time, Amish fiction was a hot genre in publishing. That means the cover had to feature a bonnet. Whether it was on the head or in the...
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Does the Size of Your Book Matter?

Does the size of your book (page count) matter?


Yes…and no.


Historically, publishers have determined the price of the book primarily based on the page count. Many of the hard costs incurred in publishing a book – raw materials, shipping, printing, binding, etc. – were directly proportional to the size of the book. Basically, the bigger the book, the more it costs to produce. And relatedly, the bigger the book (i.e., the higher the page count), the more value consumers will perceive.


A basic example of this is: a publisher believes that a consumer will pay $25.99 for a hardcover book that is over 220 pages. The size of the book plays a factor in the consumer's end decision. If the book was 90 pages, there would be a huge hesitation to charge $25.99. That’s what the publishers believe.


When a traditional publisher contracts with you to write a book, there will be a stipulation in the contract on the word count, not the page count. Most nonfiction trade...

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Advice from New York Times Bestselling Author John Eldredge

John Eldredge has sold over 14 million books. He’s achieved success way beyond what most writers ever dream of. Over the past 24 years, the Yates & Yates team has had the pleasure of working alongside John on his books and publishing. Recently, John shared some advice with our team. He focuses on two things when writing a book. Today we want to share those tips with you.


Tip #1 Set a writing schedule


In order to get the writing done, you’ve got to have a schedule. Life will provide plenty of obstacles that will get between you and doing the writing. A schedule can help shield you against those times when things come up. If you don’t make writing a priority, other things will fill your schedule.


A schedule also establishes a rhythm for your writing routine. You know when it’s time to work on your book. If you leave yourself vulnerable to the whims of inspiration, you’re setting an unreliable writing schedule. Don’t do that. It probably...

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Don't Make This Mistake

There’s this funny thing writers do and it’s a big mistake.


During a recent conversation with a potential author client, he said he had a book idea that he was really excited about, but he was saving it for his second book because he believed there was a different book he had to write first. What?!


This is a huge mistake. 


Don’t delay your big idea. 


If you’ve got a great book idea that you are excited about, write that book! There are no rules that say which order books should be written in; unless it's a series, obviously. This might seem straightforward, but the writer's brain is constantly creating hurdles and rules. You should always question the rules. It helps to say them out loud or ask yourself, "Would I share this rule as advice with a fellow writer?"


Here’s what we like to tell our clients: Go where the wind is at your back. Whether that’s a book idea or a chapter in your book proposal. Use...

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Do You Need to Have an Author Website?


Many aspiring authors wonder - do I really need to have an author website? Well, consider this: as literary agents, one of the very first things we do when we get a book proposal, or someone refers an author to us, is to Google them. This is what publishers often do when they receive a book proposal as well. Do you know what comes up when someone Googles you? Ideally, they land on your author website!


That means that, yes, you do need to have an author website. And, it also means that you need one before you even submit your book proposal. 


So now you know you need an author website. But what exactly should you include on your author website so it will serve you effectively?


To answer that question, we’re giving you free access to a teaching video on that exact topic from our course
 Grow Your Author Platform: How to Get Noticed and Sell More Books.

Watch: A Winning Website


In this module, we’ll explain the utility of your...

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Why Your Word Count Matters

Your word count matters.


Should you be concerned with your book’s word count? Absolutely. Knowing and understanding why word count matters is an important indicator for your project. Let’s make sense of these numbers.



One of the scariest requests a writer can get is to add words to a manuscript she thinks is complete. Suddenly, what you thought was done or close to it, needs an extra chapter or (and this happens) an extra 5,000 or 10,000 words. That’s a lot of words to add to something you thought was done. But why does word count matter? Wouldn’t coming in with a low word count just mean the book will be shorter?



It’s not quite that simple.



There are two reasons why word count is important.



The first reason is word count helps a reader determine if your book is a fit for him. Every reader has an expectation for how long a book will be based on the genre they want to read. For example, if you write a novel and it is long, like Russian literature...

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What Value Are You Bringing?

Every successful author adds value. They build a bridge to their audience with that value. It’s why we subscribe, follow, and listen to them. Whether it’s purely for entertainment or wisdom or insight, value is what every author has to bring if they want to succeed


That’s why it’s important to stop what you are doing today and ask yourself, “What value am I bringing to my audience?”


This question plays a huge part in determining the felt need for the books you write. The things you feed your audience should be tiny morsels for the main course - your book. Value is what keeps them coming back for more. 

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“The smart author knows that everything begins with delivering value consistently.” 

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Check out this quote from James Clear, author of Atomic Habits: “Good marketing can sell once, but only a good product can sell twice. In the long run, your performance reverts...

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