Thursday, December 22, 2011

Heaven's Gate--on You Tube...

The Heaven's Gate Movie..


Trailer for the movie to the series that is now playing on the Internet. Inspired by the information of Heaven's Gate, their teachers, their students and the 1997 documentary "Heaven's Gate: The Day After".
  •  likes, 0 dislikes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Writers Use Linked In

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=iksnoncab&v=001Mk_gIOuRuDZsYfyjsJS1D1g2Qdcl3QhpQvKxQlLZqaersRU3BzalmyO_qui_yPVppu6rHaSp2LajswN2V52iVhDsDehWBgnjzzvK5A0O8Unp4KJCD-DtejIcWy0n-hHa7PFLGhH-J7viwXJCsLLAjicA3Ut1Agu-XtVME5Ogk4g5hb03kNVkb2P2c5ima9npYQAuzNatiZiN3rrTljLsXAckBLjpEX3GCe6a0jm5YO_2C9WN_VCnRh7wtWIhhEJb#LETTER.BLOCK11

No More Excuses!

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1400/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8954



No More Excuses: Change the Definition of Rape

Tell the FBI Director Robert Mueller:
It’s high time for the FBI to modernize their archaic definition of rape ("The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will") to reflect the reality of rape in the United States. Please give final approval to update the Uniform Crime Report so that the definition of rape includes all victims. Every rape should be counted.

The Wicked Wives review

The Wicked Wives is a good read --the author calls it a "novel based on a true story".

The main protagonist, Tom Rossi, Assistant DA, is well developed and easy to identify with<br/><br/>The antagonsits are many--the conspirator, Giorgio, the 16 wives accused of killing thier husbands, the insurance agents who wrote policies on the husbands lives, and more.

I agree with the author who states this ia a story made for a movie script.  <br/><br/>That said, as a reader, it is sometimes difficult to follwow due to the many characters and the detailed legalities and trials.

The language is someties too modern for 1930's Philadelphia and the detaisl of the area are too few and general to anchor a reader in the story setting.

Tom's lovelife is troubled and his rapid change in partners at the story's end make him seem shallow and insincere.

However, it is a true crime story, and those are often more truth than storyline.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

What can a Media Kit do for you and what should be in it?

Media Kit 101

Joel Friedlander of The Book Designer answers this for CreateSpace

Great tools from an Amazon publisher!

Create Space
an imprint owned by Amazon has recently made some changes that are VERY BENEFICIAL for authors!

when your file is uploaded, there is now a full page by page interactive review advising where there are potential errors or issues (example images with low resolution)

This makes it so easy to spot issues BEFORE you pay for an receive a proof copy book that has no value!

thank you, CreateSpace!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Deb's Live Love & Write Best of the Blogs 12/01/11

Deb’s
Live, Love & Write
Best of the Blogs Issue 12/01/11


From  Murfreesboro Writers Group  <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->            <!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->

Annmarie Lockhart announced last night that Susan Ashley Michael's poem "Flying on Fat Tuesday" has been nominated by vox poetica for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. The poem was inspired by memories of her late husband, Robert Michael, and will be included in the upcoming MWG anthology, Motivation.


From the Book Designer Blog

You’ve probably heard that virtual book tours are a great way to promote books, but did you know that there are several different ways to showcase authors and their books through a virtual tour?
Virtual book tours can include book reviews, guest posts on blogs, interviews on podcasts or radio shows, social network events, contests, book giveaways, and more. These tours are sometimes called book blog tours or virtual author tours, or abbreviated as VBT.
Tours are often done as part of the launch of a new book, but they can be successful any time after the book is published. They are just as effective for fiction and nonfiction books — only the venues and the type of content will vary.

Types of Virtual Book Tours

A traditional virtual book tour typically lasts about one to three weeks, with a different tour stop each day.  Original content is provided to each tour host and you can continue promoting the tour stops even after the tour is over.
An extended tour goes beyond the traditional tour and can last for several weeks or months.  One variation is to publish a series of articles on each blog you visit. Or schedule one guest blog post or interview per week on an ongoing basis.
A short “blastoff” tour of one to five days on lots of blogs at once is designed to push up the book’s sales rank on Amazon within a short period of time. One option for this type of tour is to provide all of the blog owners with standard content, rather than providing unique content to each blogger.  The content could be a book excerpt, an author interview, or a book review by the blog host.
You can design an entire tour around social media, or mix social media appearances with other tour stops on blogs, podcasts and online radio shows. Social media tour events can include Twitter chats, organized discussions on Facebook, and video chats on Google Plus.
Another strategy for a virtual book tour, especially during a book launch, is to combine a tour with an “Amazon bestseller campaign.” In these campaigns, people who buy a book during a certain time frame receive bonus gifts from the author or from JV partners who contribute bonuses and help promote the event.
<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->No matter what type of virtual book tour you plan, it’s important to be well organized and to get started with the planning at least two months in advance.
To learn how to organize your own successful virtual book tour, check out the new Virtual Book Tour Magic

From NPR

What Sticks: Five 2011 Books That Stay With You

The True Story Of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost At Sea And Of The Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, And Fools, Including The Author, Who Went In Search Of Them

Hardcover, 402 pages
Melville's influence has run deep this year, providing, among other things, the central motif for Moby-Duck, Donovan Hohn's quest narrative about 28,880 bath toys lost at sea in 1992. What begins as a seemingly whimsical search for rubber duckies spilled overboard in hurricane-force winds in the North Pacific becomes a primer in oceanography, a whale of an adventure tale and an eye-opening inquiry into the disturbing, growing environmental effects of plastic pollution and climate change on our oceans. Carried off on the current of his own questions, Hohn quit his private-school teaching job to become a self-proclaimed "amateur driftologist." He avidly tracks the possible paths of the floatees far beyond his comfort zone. His obsessive odyssey takes him on storm-wracked voyages to Alaska, Hawaii, a Chinese toy factory and the Arctic Circle in the company of oceanographers, beachcombers and merchant mariners. While his quest, like Ahab's pursuit of the great white whale, has its excesses and longueurs, Moby-Duck has indelibly altered the way I think about the roughly 71 percent of the Earth's surface covered by our no longer so shining seas.

<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]-->
A New Blog dedicated to the members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult -=contribution, info, pictures, ideas, welcome!



Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

News from Writer's Digest --2012 Yearbook

New-at Barnes and Noble- Avenue!  2012 Writers Digest Yearbook

Here is my top 5 from this great --just purchased--publication!

1) Creativity Portal is once again in the top 101 websites for writers and is now #2! Creativity Portal!

2) Some indie bookstores are now charging admission to attend author events like book signings! AARRGH

3) A Publishing industry expert is saying that within 3 years, a publisher (even an indie) will be able to reach 50%  the book buyers without needing to print books and risk inventory (by using print on demand)

4) Fantasy and Sci-Fi remained strong sellers for 2011 and are projected to continue in 2012

5) This is the era of the Ebook--Amazon sold more ebooks in 2011 than printed books, with Kindle leading the pack at 75% favor and Nook close behind at 70%!

This is a Must read for all serious writers!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A great Event at Fairytale Books in Nashville!

Authors of Herman's Journey a true caterpillar to butterfly story! 

Another of the local authors reading her books of children's poetry 

Fairytale Books! 

Deb Simpson talking to Herman's "mom" (Author) 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ann Patchett's Parnassus Books is now open!

Parnassus Books Now Open in Nashville!

Sales or Marketing?

Link for original story

I talk to writers every day who are thinking about publishing their own books. Some have friends who have self-published, so they know it can be done. Or they’ve read the blogs of writers who are doing well in the Kindle store. Or they are just tired of waiting for the agent, the editor, the publisher to get back to them.
Whatever the reason, there’s one objection I hear more than any other from these writers:
“I just want to write, I’m not a salesman.”
And that’s too bad. I think this attitude represents a real misunderstanding on the part of authors. Here’s why.

It’s About Marketing, Not Sales

Think about the difference between marketing and sales.
Book marketing means promoting your book to people who are likely to be interested in it. The main activity of marketing is communicating to these likely purchasers.
Sales, on the other hand, is completely different. It’s the process of making transactions, the exchange of money for books, in this example.
You can’t sell a book to someone who’s not interested in it or who doesn’t want to buy it.
Marketing your book, on the other hand, is something similar to what you are probably doing already when you talk about your book to friends, family, or other writers.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Is Penn State the ONLY issue? NO! Talk to your kids!

REALITY CHECK: The U.S. Department of Justice reports that sixty-seven percent of all sexual assault victims are children. One in four girls and one in six boys will experiences some sort of sexual abuse before the age of eighteen. Ninety percent of children are victimized by someone the family knows and trusts. Forty percent of offenders who victimized children under age six were juveniles. [Data varies]

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

News! Deb Simpson @ Fairytales Books 11/19/11


Saturday November 19th 2011 1030 to 1230 
Deb Simpson, Pink Place and Blue Blaze 
Book Reading and Signing 
Prizes and fun for all kids!  
Stop by and see Blue Blaze 
(The Monster Truck)
 Crush The Competition!



www.DebSimpsonBooks.com/news.html

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ready? Set? Launch That Book!


8 Ways to Make Your Book Launch Take Off

First, decide whether you want to run all of your activities on a single day, over the course of a week, or extending to a longer time period. Any of these options is workable, and I encourage you to spread them out if your time is already at a premium. Remember that you’re in charge, so you get to decide the exact parameters of your book launch. Here are some things you might include in your book launch:
  1. Media Kit – This is essential. It’s the established way for you to get your information to book reviewers, media contacts and other bloggers. I won’t go through the whole media kit here, but it should include your book launch media release (see below for more information), photo of your book cover, photo of the author, marketing information, sample interviews, and a concise cover letter.
  2. Guest Posts – One of the best ways to bring your message to new groups of readers is by offering to write guest articles for other bloggers. This can be done as part of a blog tour or on its own. In any case, by introducing yourself and your subject to new networks of readers, your book will get more of a boost at its launch.

  3. Book Trailer – Short videos that act like movie trailers for your book have become more and more popular in the last couple of years. Some books seem to lend themselves to this treatment more than others, and some of the most effective I’ve seen are for fiction, like thrillers and romances.
  4. Media Contacts – One way to help your book get off to a good start is to get the attention of the media. This might be through an interview with the local newspaper or radio station about your book, or it might be articles you submit to magazines or online periodicals in your niche. Developing a list of media contacts who are interested or who have reported in the past about your topic will be very useful for this effort.
  5. Book Reviewers – Planning your review campaign well in advance will allow both print and online reviewers plenty of time to prepare a review about your book. Although we can’t dictate the schedule on which these reviews are released, let reviewers know when the launch will be happening and other events scheduled for the time period of the launch.
  6. Contests & Giveaways – One of the techniques that’s been used to good effect by lots of authors is to give away a set number of books during the launch period. These may be offered by lottery, for leaving comments on your blog, for posting Tweets about the book launch, or any other way you can dream up to attract people’s interest. Free anything is still a powerful pull for lots of people, and getting your book into as many people’s hands as possible is the aim of your launch, so get creative here.
  7. Blog Tour – A blog tour organizes the guest posts, giveaways and blogger networking into a formal schedule during your launch period. Setting up guest appearances on blogs, which allows the bloggers to introduce you to their readers, is a terrific way to grow your own reader community and enhance your relationship with lots of bloggers in your niche. You can promote your tour schedule on your own blog and through social media to create some excitement for all the events you’ve planned.
  8. Media Release – Although your media release is an integral part of the Media Kit I mentioned at the beginning, it’s really a key piece of your book launch as well. Why? A well-written and targeted media release will bring together all the best reasons people should be interested in your book, your subject, you and your book launch. And if your book legitimately addresses more than one audience, take your basic media release and re-write the headline and first paragraph to highlight the connection to other groups.
Taken together, putting together a book launch can be a lot of work. But there are a lot of tangible and intangible benefits you get from going through all this trouble. And while our basic aim is to sell books, if you’re in this for the long haul, you’ll recognize that these benefits will repay your efforts in many ways. For instance, by going through the launch, you can:
  • Create better relations with other bloggers in your field
  • Better understand your readers and why they respond to you
  • Explore aspects of your subject that might be of interest to different groups of readers
  • Learn which approaches work best in driving traffic, and interest, about your book.
Running a book launch can be a demanding, exhausting and exciting adventure. You’ll learn a lot, and you’ll be able to use that learning for your next book. So give it a try.http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/top-8-tactics-to-power-your-online-book-launch/

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Little Pink Books at the Country Awards Show in Nashville!

Hello there!
Below are two wonderful updates from the Little Pink Book at Hope Matters Productions.

1. Friday, October 28th at 8pm CST: Join me at the Inspirational Country Music Awards! You can watch the awards thru the links listed below. I'll be walking the Pink Carpet with my heroes---136 breast cancer survivors; then enjoy VIP seating as we become the PINK back-drop for awards stage!
75 of those 136 survivors will be After Breast Cancer Program participants; one of the organizations benefiting from sales of my Little Pink Book entitled When Your Mom Has Cancer. I'll also be walking beside two of my dearest survivor friends, Vicki Kennedy & Tina Henderson. Also honored on this very special evening: precious loved ones whose lives were stolen away too soon. My Little Pink Books will be featured in several surprising ways throughout the awards!

Meet me at the awards through one of these links:

For more viewing options & information, please go to: http://blog.becausehopematters.com/posts/little-pink-book-bound-for-inspirational-country-music/

Major award nominees for this year’s honors include: Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, Ronnie Dunn, The Band Perry, Josh Turner, Randy Travis, Ricky Skaggs, The Isaacs, and George Strait. Artists set to perform include the Oak Ridge Boys, Lee Greenwood, Ricky Skaggs, Guy Penrod, Buddy Jewell, and Chuck Day with additional artist presenters and performers to be announced. 

2. Please also enjoy my latest feature in the Emerald Coast Magazine:
http://emeraldcoastmagazine.com//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=531

I'm SO excited! Thank you all for your encouragement, support & prayers along this entire journey of HOPE---Huge Outcomes are Possible Everyday!

Hugs,
Maryann
P.S. Attending these awards came in part from my book appearing in Martina McBride's music video, "I'm Gonna Love You Through It."
If you haven't seen it yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxIt70j_SPk

--
Maryann Makekau
Author & Inspirational Speaker
Founder, Hope Matters Productions Inc.
850.582.3496
PO Box 2021
Fort Walton Beach, FL  32549
http://becausehopematters.com/2011/

Another winner from Amanda Stephan!

Amanda has done it again!

"Lonely Hearts" is a well written tale of finding love later in life, after you're certain it will never again be yours. Injected with gentle humor and fierce faith, it is a story that can be read by all ages without concern.

The interwoven practices of church and prayer and the strong belief in homeschooling tell us much about the heroine, Becky, and the author, Amanda.

With enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and enough joy to make you rejoice, "Lonely Hearts" is a sweet and enriching read.

Thank you, Amanda, for being the author and muse in this story!

Another Success--like "The Price of Trust" (Amanda's first novel...) 







Lonely Hearts
One lonely mother. Two matchmaking kids. Three eligible bachelors and some very yummy apple pie…
Becky Callis is the widowed mother of two, trying to make ends meet. Moving to a new town, things get a little complicated when her mischievous children think she's been lonely far too long and try to take romantic matters into their own hands. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazon launches SciFi Imprint!

Amazon's new imprint

mazon Publishing Launches Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Imprint, 47North
New science fiction, fantasy and horror imprint debuts with 15 books to be published in 2011 and 2012
SEATTLE, Oct 11, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced the launch of 47North, the seventh imprint from Amazon Publishing, focused on science fiction, fantasy and horror. 47North launches with 15 books, including "The Mongoliad: Book One," the first in the ambitious, five-book, collaborative Foreworld series led by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. All of these books will be available to English readers in Kindle, print and audio formats at http://www.amazon.com, as well as at national and independent booksellers. 47North will publish original and previously published works, as well as out-of-print books.
"Amazon customers have a huge appetite for science fiction, fantasy and horror books, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce readers to new and established voices in these genres," said Victoria Griffith, Publisher, Amazon Publishing, West Coast Group. "We are especially happy to have a diverse list at launch, and look forward to publishing across a wide range of subgenres."
47North will launch with the following books & series:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Live Love and Write!: Deb's Article in MB Post--Amy Parker!

Live Love and Write!: Deb's Article in MB Post--Amy Parker!: Changing the world, one word at a time Related Articles No Related Articles By: DEB SIMPSON, editor@murfreesboropost.com Posted...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Deb's Article in MB Post--Amy Parker!


Changing the world, one word at a time


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Changing the world, one word at a time

AMY PARKER
Amy Parker, a diminutive brunette with sparkling eyes and an ever-present smile, does not look like a hard-charging woman whose goal is to change the world.

But, Parker’s small stature is not an indicator of her size as an author.

She has written or co-written more than 20 books for a variety of readers, but she is most widely known for her cherished collection of Christian children’s books.

Parker said things haven’t changed much in her life since she published her first book, Night Night Prayers, in 2008. It has now sold more than 115,000 books in markets reaching across the United States.

“I am still a mom and wife, and the same person I always was,” she said. “When I do book readings, I am still surprised and completely thrilled to hear other moms talk about their children’s reaction to the books.”

Parker smiled as her husband, Dan, looked on with obvious pride and joy.

“I love hearing that very young children memorize the lines in my books, and ask to have them read to them again and again,” she added. “One mom told me that her son’s first sentence was a line from my book Night Night Prayers, and that warms my heart. But, I think the greatest achievement of my children’s books has been in the way they fostered the practice of prayer in the home.”

Parker said the Murfreesboro community has been warm and welcoming to her, as she did readings and events.

She said many friends have helped her along her journey, including Kim Hasselbrink, who called schools and churches in the areas and told them they needed to have Parker do a book reading.

As a result of her friend’s calls, Parker was busy for weeks afterward.

Parker then talked about how much support and encouragement she has received from the Murfreesboro booksellers, especially the Barnes & Noble at The Avenue.

“They have been so welcoming, and have treated me like someone important, even though I’m not. I’m just me,” she said. “They even set up a shelf just for Amy Parker books. I can’t say enough about how supportive they have been. They really support their local authors here.”

Shawna Wadley Jackson, assistant manager for Barnes & Noble, said working with Parker is a dream.

“She is just about as sweet as they come,” Shawna said. “Anything we do she appreciates, and that makes me want to help her any way I can.”

When asked about how things have changed for him with the publication of Parker’s books, Dan said he gets excited by seeing Parker’s books on the bookstore shelves, and says it is encouraging for the entire family, to see her having success doing what she really wants to do.

Parker describes Dan as the person who grounds her, who brings her back to reality, while still supporting her and encouraging her to do the work that they both believe she is destined to do.

Parker is now encouraging Dan as he starts his own small business, Parker Professional Land Survey.

After 14 years of marriage, the bond between Parker and Dan remains strong.

They are the proud parents of two sons, Michael and Ethan.

Parker credits much of her strong Christian values and her drive to change the world, to the reinforcement she received from the teachers in her hometown of Watertown.

 An historic town only 30 miles from the heart of Rutherford County, Watertown is a world away in lifestyle from bustling, busy Murfreesboro.

Parker learned to read at a young age, and did her first book reading in kindergarten at Watertown Elementary, when she read The Night Before Christmas.

“The teachers in Watertown nurtured me and turned my ‘wanna’ do one day’ into a ‘gotta do today,’” she said.

Parker moved to Murfreesboro in 1997 to attend MTSU, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in English, in 2000.

Parker found that while she liked the conveniences of living in the ‘Boro, she also enjoyed the various neighborhoods and communities, which seemed to her like small towns in the midst of a metropolis.

While Parker loves the children’s books she has written, she plans to expand her reach as she continues to use her words in changing the world.

Parker plans to write inspirational stories of phenomenal people who have overcome challenges, in an effort to demonstrate that people can live a life of purpose if they have faith and focus.

She believes using her writing and words are God’s purpose for her life.

In fact, Parker has sometimes felt that God is handing out copies of her first book, Night Night Prayers, because the sales volume has been so unusual for a Christian children’s book.

Parker and her family are active members of World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, which believes its mission is to discover, develop and use each person’s special talents in ministry. That fits in with Parker’s personal mission of “changing the world, one word at a time.”

Amy Parker’s books are available in Barnes & Noble and other bookstores, and online from most major booksellers.

Parker frequently gives book readings in the local community. For more information about upcoming appearances and future publications, visit www.AmyParkerBooks.com.


To contact Deb Simpson, visit DebSimpsonBooks.com.

Book Planning Tool--Mind Mapping

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/10/roger-c-parker-mind-mapping



How to Get Started Mind Mapping Your Book (and everything else)

by JOEL FRIEDLANDER on OCTOBER 10, 2011
Post image for How to Get Started Mind Mapping Your Book (and everything else)
By Roger C. Parker
I’m pleased to present a guest article today from Roger C. Parker, the author of numerous best-selling books who also self-publishes and runs the Published and Profitable Blog, a source of endless tips for brand-building, graphics, publishing and other interests. I turned to Roger to introduce me to mind mapping and here’s his response:

Although mind mapping as a creativity and productivity tool has been around for decades, it amazes me that many authors still haven’t discovered this simple technique for organizing ideas and creating action plans for planning, writing, and marketing books.
I say “technique” to emphasize that mind mapping can be done anywhere, including the back of a napkin, on yellow legal pads, or white boards.
However, authors who use mind mapping software on their computers and mobile devices enjoy the most benefits.

What is mind mapping?

Reduced to its essence, mind mapping is a form of visual thinking that converts ideas and words into easily-understood visuals that let you to display the part-whole relationships that exist in complex projects, like the chapters and contents of a book or the tasks (and deadlines) associated with a book marketing plan.
Think in terms of clouds in the sky. Take a piece of scratch paper, and:
  1. Draw a big cloud in the middle. Label it My Next Book.
  2. Add several smaller clouds around it, (like planets around the sun). Temporarily label them Chapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3, etc. (Later, you can add the specific titles of each chapter.)
  3. Next to the cloud indicating each chapter, list the ideas you plan to address in each chapter.
The power of mind mapping is that, at a glance, you can see the whole project and how the various parts fit together. From this fresh perspective, you can add, delete, or move chapters and their contents until everything fits together just right.
If you’re mind mapping on a computer, of course, you can simply drag-and-drop chapters and ideas to different locations.

What you can do with mind maps?

Here are some of the ways you, as an author, can use mind mapping:
  1. Organize your ideas into a table of contents for your book
  2. Plan a book proposal or a book marketing plan
  3. Create an editorial calendar for upcoming blog posts and social marketing
  4. Plan articles, speeches, white papers, and marketing materials like one-sheets
  5. Locate and analyze competing books on Amazon.com
  6. Prepare creative briefs for vendors like web designers
  7. Create a business plan for leveraging your book into back-end profits.
  8. Plan, prepare, and present visuals for meetings—even at the last minute
Mind mapping for authors
Click for the complete mind map
For example, here is the mind map I used as the basis of this article. I created it in bed on my iPad, using Mindo,[1] a $6.99 mobile app. After I finished the map, I exported it as a text file to Microsoft Word, for completion on my primary computer. Download a PDF copy of the map.[2]

What features are found in most mind mapping programs?

There are over 100 mind mapping software programs available, but most offer the following 12 features. (Note that the terminology, however, is likely to differ from program to program.)
  1. Topics and subtopics. These are the building blocks of a mind map. Topics  are equivalent to the sections, or parts, of a book. Subtopics are equivalent to chapters. Each subtopic can contain its own subtopics for the main ideas, of topic headings, included in each chapter. Topics and subtopics can include graphics, like photographs, as well as links to files, email addresses, and website URLs.
  2. Icons are symbols supplied with most mind mapping software programs. You can use icons as a type of visual shorthand to indicate topic category, importance, or sequence. You can also use icons to show progress completing a task.
  3. Boundary. Add boundaries to visually group topics and subtopics together by adding a common border and background color. You can also use boundaries to provide selective emphasis.
  4. Comments. Use comments to add brief explanations to topics or subtopics, such as describing the relevance of the topic. You can also use comments to remind you to add more information at a later date.
  5. Notes. Notes are one of the two most often ignored features found in mind mapping software. Notes permit you to add longer text passages, like sentences and paragraphs, to any topic or subtopic. When ideas occur to you, you can start writing your book right in the mind map. Notes are normally not visible, until desired. Thus, you can write as much as desired without cluttering up your map.
  6. Relationships. You can add lines between non-adjacent topics and subtopics, to show cause and effect relationships between them or common characteristics.
  7. Tasks. Mind maps can be used for project management, such as scheduling your writing and marketing tasks. Many programs let you add start and stop dates to topics and subtopics, making it easy to plan, delegate, and track the various tasks involved in complex projects. Another task tool is the ability to add resources to topics, to indicate who is responsible for completing the tasks.
  8. Filtering (or, reporting). Many mind maps can create summary views that display only completed, incomplete, or tasks that are behind schedule. They can display task responsibilities for different individuals or departments.
  9. View. Mind mapping software permits you to display as much, or as little, of each map as desired. You can get an overall view by collapsing your map to display just the chapters of your book. Or, you can expand your map to display all the subtopics associated with each chapter. Some programs permit you to temporarily display just one topic and its sub-topics. All programs let you zoom-in to magnify part of a map or zoom-out to display the big picture.
  10. Collaboration. Mind maps are intended to be shared with others. Special “reader” software permits you to share maps with others, like editors and literary agents—even if they don’t own the mind mapping program that you use. Other mind mapping programs permit multiple users to share and contribute comments, ideas, and information to mind maps hosted online.
  11. Review.  Many programs include a review feature, similar to Microsoft Word’s Track Changes command, that permits you to track individual contributions.
  12. Export is the second important, but frequently under-utilized feature. It’s important to remember that mind maps are not islands, but are intended to be used with other software programs. Most programs can export the information displayed in a mind map to various word processing, presentation, spreadsheet, and project management programs. In addition, most programs can create graphic files for including in print publications and HTML files for display online or embedded in blogs and websites. Finally, many programs can export, or share, files with other popular mind mapping file formats.

Other frequently found mind mapping features

Many programs permit you to select from among different map backgrounds, or you can visually brand your maps by adding your own custom background.
Some mind mapping programs can automatically number topics and subtopics, or sort them alphabetically. Many offer editing features like Find and Replacewhich can save a lot of time.

Why you can’t go wrong choosing a mind mapping program

Mind mapping software programs are available for all platforms, including Windows, Macintosh, and mobile apps for iPhones and iPads.
There are 2 reasons you really can’t go wrong when you’re getting started.
  1. Risk free trials. Some mind mapping programs are free, and most mind mapping program offer 30-day, risk -free trial versions. This allows you totry before you buy.
  2. File-sharing. Many mind mapping programs can exchange files with other mind mapping programs, importing and exporting data. This allows you to start with one program and not lose access to previously-created maps if you move on to a different program. (Some formatting may be lost, but the ideas will be there.)
Like all self-employed professionals, today’s authors have more to do and less time to do it. Today, efficiency is as important to an author’s success as their ability to express their written ideas clearly as possible.
Mind mapping can make a major contribution to an author’s success by making it easy to organize ideas and schedule tasks at the start of a project. Time spent planning and organizing ideas at the start of a project planning your projects will be more than saved later, when you find yourself writing more in less time. And, you can start planning anywhere, when the ideas strike, drawing mind maps by hand or starting them on your iPhone or iPad, then exporting them to your primary computer for completion.
Invitation: if you’re using mind mapping to write your books, or are new to mind mapping, share your experiences and questions below, as comments.
RogerCParkerRogerCParker-99QuestionsRoger C. Parker is a book coach and consultant who has been advocating mind mapping for authors for over a decade. HisPublished & Profitable blog[3] contains numerous mind mapping tips and mind maps of current nonfiction books. Roger’s written 40 marketing, design, and writing books, including one of my favorites, #Book Title Tweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Compelling Article, Book, and Event Titles[4].
If you’re looking for do-it-yourself developmental editing tips, Roger invites you to download a free proof of his do-it-yourself guide to developmental editing,99 Questions to Ask Before Writing and Self-Publishing a Brand-building Book. It’s a workhorse of a workbook you can immediately put to good use.