There’s no shortage of professional book marketing advice out there. But despite volumes of recommendations about author websites, social media, newsletters, and public relations, one author dilemma rarely gets addressed, and it’s the most simple and basic of them all.

It’s when another person — perhaps a relative, colleague, newspaper writer, or book reviewer — looks you in the eye and asks:

So, what’s your book about?

Seems like a softball: How can you not know what your book is about? You wrote it! But many authors have trouble with this question because there are so many possible answers… most…

Are you selling your nonfiction book or merely describing it?

You wrote a powerful nonfiction book, but can you compellingly answer the question “What’s your book about?” Selling your book is not about discussing your topic. It’s about delivering your point.

Whether you have a major publisher or are self-published, whether you have a hungry publicist or a hundred Twitter followers, YOU are your book’s most credible spokesperson and cheerleader.

If that thought frightens you, there’s good news. Promoting your book successfully to audiences, media, and potential fans relies on one thing, and it’s not confidence, conversationality, or charisma. It’s the strength of your POINT.

The Power of Point


There’s no shortage of public speaking dos and don’ts on the Internet — anyone who’s ever given a speech seems to have a point of view. But as a professional presentation coach and author, I’ve found that some of their “nevers” are actually “do with caution” and some of their dos are absolute don’ts.

For example, I recently saw a tweet encouraging speakers to “leave them wanting more.” Really? That’s like a pizza delivery person taking your money, but not delivering the pie. The whole idea is delivering the goods. …

A business conference is a carnival of opportunities, but few attendees scratch the surface of potential benefits.

If you think it’s all about attending the sessions, you’re not getting the full benefit of the conference. Being a passive listener has its advantages, but it is not nearly as meaningful being an active (and brave) participant. Recognizing those opportunities is only the beginning — it is crucial to act on them. If you’re not sure how to step up and take advantage at your next conference, here are some ideas.

Maximize the value of your next conference

1) Get on stage

If you’re qualified to attend a conference, chances are good that…

What holiday is less connected to its historical roots than Valentine’s Day? Jesus gets a big shout-out here and there on his birthday. President’s Day may be mostly associated with underwear and mattress sales, but at least Washington’s face graces the newspaper ads. Even Punxsutawney Phil got a movie deal.

But where is St. Valentine? For weeks now, local stores have been celebrating enthusiastically with cheap jewelry, heart-shaped place mats, heart-themed pajamas, and enough chocolate to keep dentists busy through 2020 — yet Valentine himself is treated more like Voldemort.

The poor guy can’t even catch his fair share of…

When I got married in 2008, my nine-year-old son stood on his chair and gave a succinct toast that, even putting aside my fatherly pride, was one of the most successful speeches I’d ever seen. He introduced himself, made the case for why my wife and I were good people who deserved each other, and wished us well.

Three years later, I was sitting in an auditorium listening to a Senior Vice President deliver one of the least effective speeches I’d ever seen. With nothing more than a jumble of thoughts in his head, he rambled, tossed out ideas as…

The doubling of Twitter’s character limit from 140 characters to 280 came as a welcome relief to communicators.

Now they can use twice as many words to say the same thing… and more is always better, right?

In more formal communications, we’re a bit more enlightened. We broadly understand that “less is more,” but we often take it as a suggestion for improvement rather than a clear pitfall.

In my experience, though, “more” is more destructive — and the need for action more urgent — than that phrase implies. …

If you were delivering a speech, would you knowingly choose the wrong title, bury your point, be rude, use too many words, and otherwise get yourself in trouble with colleagues and bosses? Not if you care about your career. Yet many professionals do these things routinely when they write emails, sabotaging the very purpose of some of their most important communications. Here are the seven most destructive email mistakes, as well as quick fixes that will help you avoid them.

1. Your Subject Line Has Nothing to Do With Your Point

Few things are more misleading than a new thought…

How many times have you evaluated an idea by saying it was “not bad”? Probably many times. But regardless of what you meant to communicate, what did you actually convey with those words? Was the idea amazing, engaging, empowering, or rewarding? Was it even good?

Your audience will never know, because the only clue you gave them was the one thing it was not — “not bad.” Not only is this unclear, but it shifts the burden of effective communication away from you, where it belongs, and toward your audience, who are rightfully expecting it from you. …

Oprah Winfrey’s moving speech at the 2017 Golden Globes Awards was superb by every measure — powerfully delivered, filled with rich and relevant stories, resonant personal details, ample humility, and sincere appreciation. (Not every Cecil B. DeMille award winner has such a moment, but lately the women have been more memorable than the men.)

And now the volume has been raised on Oprah’s political future.

But before we travel too far from Oprah’s shining moment, I want to do something with her speech that Oprah has always done throughout her career: educate and elevate.

None of us can be Oprah…

Joel Schwartzberg

Communications professional, public speaking coach, and author of “Get to the Point! Sharpen Your Message and Make Your Words Matter”

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