Tag Archives: TheListenLady

So you want to write a book


You have made an excellent decision which will generate almost no income, leave you without more letters to attach to the end of your name, and will take up hours upon hours of your valuable spare time.

listenladyribbonAll depressing facts aside, there are many good things about writing a book. First of all, and most importantly, writing a book will force your to think through your opinions very carefully, consider the pros and cons of your arguments, and address all the points that you normally avoid because they simply get your goat. Writing a book helps you clarify your thoughts and discover what you do and don’t know. It’s a great learning tool that can’t be replaced by reading blogs or taking a class.

A nice bonus to writing a book is that it helps you improve your writing skills. I, for one, did not realize there were a few words that I overused like some people overuse ‘um’ when they’re talking. I just have a terrible habit of just inserting the word just every time it just seems like the right place to just insert the word. I also seem to really overuse words that really don’t need an extra word to really make the point. Really, truly, completely, totally, ¬†terribly, and other similar ly words don’t make your point more precise. They make your point longer. After reading a few books on how to write a book, I was able to spot many weaknesses in my writing. And I keep finding them. And improving my writing.

Finally, writing a book gives you a great sense of accomplishment. You can hold the finished product in your hands at the end of the day and know that you did that. And that’s pretty cool.

So back to depressing part. If you want to write a book, be prepared to spend hundreds of hours at your laptop while other people are biking and hiking and skiing and playing hockey. Be prepared to write even when you have a massive case of writer’s block. Be prepared for people to ask are you done yet after you deleted ten pages of horrid garbage.

The depressing part is what made me dump the formal text book style of my book and start over again with what would eventually become The Listen Lady novel. It was definitely a non-standard choice and I figured if my book was boring me, it would certainly bore everyone else. So as you sit down and decide that now is the right time for you to write a book, consider this.

It doesn’t HAVE to be a text book. It doesn’t HAVE to be 400 pages long. It doesn’t HAVE to be written with formal language. If your book is 10 chapters and 100 examples of behavioural economics, then so be it. If your book is a 50 page sonnet about mobile research, then so be it. You need to love your book and if that means you write a non-standard book, then so be it.

I did. It makes a great gift for any research on your shopping list. ūüôā

Self-Publishing an iBook-approved ePub from Smashwords

listen lady social media research
You may have seen The Listen Lady on Amazon, Kindle, and even in the iBookstore but did you know I self-published it? Not only did I write it, I came up with the title, I wrote the description on the back cover, I provided the cover artwork, and I formatted the entire book right down to the copyright page, the placement of the page numbers, and the fonts. It wasn’t particularly fun and exciting but I did it.
If you’re comparing the cost and timelines of bringing a book to market, the only option is the self-publishing option (unless you’re independently wealthy). It seems that there are a lot of writers out there and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what exactly I did.
So here are the most commonly asked questions and answers.
  1. How much did it cost? Zero.
  2. What’s the best website to do this? Run, do not walk, directly to Createspace.com and sign up for an account. It is free and has every feature you need. When you’ve finished doing what Createspace tells you to do, your book will be available for purchase on Amazon.com in both paper format and electronic format.
  3. How long does it take them to approve your book and put it up for sale? As long as it takes you to click on “Publish my book.” Perhaps, 100 milliseconds.
  4. How do I get my book on Kindle? Follow all of the steps that Createspace outlines for you and get your book on Amazon. Once that’s done, you just need to check the box to say put it on Kindle.
  5. How do I get my book on iBookstore?¬†Same deal. It’s just a button click to “Send my book to the iBookstore.” BUT, the iBookstore is extremely picky about what they allow and they will reject your book for many unnamed reasons. Here are a few things that I figured out the hard way.
    The Listen Lady

    Photograph I took as one option for the cover page of The Listen Lady

    • Remove all multiple hard line returns. You may have inserted these to ensure there was pretty spacing between sections on a print or pdf version but iBook doesn’t like them. Use a hard page return, or a centre page option if you really must have large blank areas.
    • Reduce all font sizes to less than 18 points.
    • If your ebook includes images, create alt text for each of them. Right click on the image, select the “alt” option, and type something in there. Either describe what the image is or simply type a word like your name or book title.
    • If your ebook includes tables, convert them into plain text and use tabs instead.
    • Consider exchanging all the non-standard margins and page sizes for standard 8 by 11 sizes.
  6. How did you do all the formatting yourself? Download the templates that Createspace provides. The templates will make sure your page numbers are in the right spot, the spacing is right, the table of contents is right. You could, of course, do it all yourself from scratch but chances are you’ll give up in frustration and download the template anyways. The formatting can be tricky so don’t start until you’ve saved up a good portion of patience.
  7. Where did you get artwork for the cover page? Well, if your SO isn’t a fabulously talented artist, then you have a couple of really good options. First, take your own very high-res photograph and use that. Just be sure not include unwilling people or brand names without permission. Go generic with fruit and skies and animals and such. Second, Createspace has a great selection of images in the system that are free for you to use. Even better, all the images are the correct size and shape and resolution so you know it’s going to look great.
  8. How much do you have to sell the book for? It’s really up to you. For the paper version, Createspace will tell you to charge at least $X.X so as to cover their printing costs. So, if they tell you you must charge $3.00, then you can charge $3.00 and make 0 profit. Or, ¬†you can charge $4.00 and make $1 profit. But, when it comes to the digital version, you can sell your book for free if you wish. Or for $4.00 if you wish. It really is up to you.

If you have any other questions, leave a comment below and I’ll answer them here.

Good luck!

Charles Dickens Interviews the Author of “The Listen Lady” #MRX

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Image via Wikipedia

I can’t believe my good fortune. After I released my interview with Dr. Seuss just a couple of days ago, ¬†Charles Dickens was eager to also read the Listen Lady and interview me. Here is the transcript of our conversation.


Mr. Dickens: If any one were to ask me what in my opinion was the dullest and most stupid spot on the face of the Earth, I should decidedly say not The Listen Lady.

Ms. Pettit: That’s a real honour to hear coming from you. I worked really hard to ¬† make my characters Crystal and Brooke believable and interesting as teacher and student of social media research. Placing the story inside a bakery was fun as well. I think I’ve visited every bakery in Toronto so I know all the delicious and interesting things about research and baking. Writing it all into a story was the hard part.

Mr. Dickens: The difficulty of writing English is most tiresome to me.

Ms. Pettit: You’ve written at least fifteen novels so I can understand that you might be tired of it. Right now, you’re quite overdue for a new book so you must have something really wonderful in the pipeline. Anyways, this is only my first book about social media measurement so I’m certainly not tired of writing yet. .

listen lady social media research

Mr. Dickens: I am the only child of parents who weighed, measured, and priced everything; for whom what could not be weighed, measured, and priced, had no existence.

Ms. Pettit: That explains why you liked the book! If you grew up with measurement, then this is definitely the book for you. The Listen Lady is all about measurement, particularly the common errors associated with measurement. Once you get into the nitty-gritty of social media research, you can see just how skills-based it is. Like any research method, it looks easy on the outside, but once the measurement is in your hands, you can see just how difficult it is. I suspect you have only a little bit of experience with social media so this application would have been very new to you.

Mr. Dickens: No man can form an adequate idea of the real meaning of the word, without coming here. 

Ms. Pettit: That is high praise. Given your experience with social media and the fact that you don’t have a confirmed Twitter account or Facebook page, I feel good knowing that even someone with no background can learn from the book. Business owners, marketers, and even famous authors like yourself can learn about social media research in an easy to understand way.

Mr. Dickens: O let us love our occupations, Bless the squire and his relations, Live upon our daily rations, And always know our proper stations. 

Ms. Pettit: That’s for sure.¬†I’m lucky to be in a position where I love the work that I do and have a group of people around who make it possible for me to spend my free time writing and writing and writing.¬†It’s been a true pleasure speaking with you sir.


facebookThe Listen Lady is available on¬†Amazon.com, and on¬†Smashwords¬†if you’d like an ebook version.¬†Like TheListenLady fan page on Facebook¬†to get the latest news on availability and stay tuned¬†for more info! (No, I was not REALLY interviewed by¬†Dr. Seuss. Check the facts jack.)

(Yes, I really WAS interviewed by Charles Dickens. And, if you recognize the source of all of his questions without searching them on the internet, I’m very impressed!)

Dr. Seuss Interviews the Author of “The Listen Lady” #MRX

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, 1957 It is with ¬†great honour that I share this interview with you. Dr Seuss is one of my favorite authors and I was thrilled when he contacted me to receive an advance copy of The Listen Lady and subsequently interview me. So without further delay…


Dr. Seuss: Did you write it in a house? Did you write it with a mouse?

Dr. Pettit: Um… ok…. Those are odd questions to start with but yeah, over the last year or so I wrote it in my house, at least most of it. Some parts were written in my backyard or while I was traveling. And in terms of the mouse, I tended to use the scroll pad on my laptop instead. A scroll pad isn’t nearly as efficient or comfortable as a mouse but I made it work.

Dr. Seuss:¬†“Don’t give up! I believe in you all. ¬†A person’s a person, no matter how small!¬†And you very small persons will not have to die.¬†If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!”

listen lady social media research

Dr. Pettit: Your encouragement is very much appreciated but I’m really not that small. I’m five foot eleven. Regardless, I did try very hard. There were many occasions when I wasn’t sure ifI could finish writing the book but then I’d talk to some new people who were really curious about how social media research worked and they had nowhere to turn to get information. Those conversations would re-energize me and I’d be eager to get my hands on my laptop again. In no time at all, I’d be back on track.

Dr. Seuss: From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.

Dr. Pettit: You’re too kind! I didn’t intend it to be a humorous novel but I did try to put funny little stories in here and then. Actually, when of the stories are drawn from real situations. Some of my colleagues might recognize a story or two. I know your focus is always the humour but I hope you enjoyed more than just the funny bits. I hope you enjoyed how I turned a social media research textbook into an interesting story, a story that anyone, regardless of their experience with research or baking can learn from.

Dr. Seuss: And that is a story that no one can beat, When I say that I saw it on Mulberry Street.

Dr. Pettit: Ok then… That’s great… I’m not sure what bookstore is on Mulberry Street but I’ll be sure to check it out. Thanks. I think.



The Listen Lady is available on Amazon.com, and on Smashwords if you’d like an ebook version. Like TheListenLady fan page on Facebook to get the latest news on availability and stay tuned¬†for more info! (No, I was not REALLY interviewed by Dr. Seuss. Check the facts jack.)

Reviews of “The Listen Lady: A novel and social media research guide” #MRX

listen lady social media researchHave you heard? I wrote a book! It’s a novel that will help researchers, marketers, and business owners learn the theory and practice of social media research. You read that correctly, a novel! I’ve woven all the facts and theory into a fiction novel so that you can learn something new and have a little fun at the some time.

Read these early reviews!

Annie has baked a sumptuous cupcake of a story using all the mysterious ingredients of social media to illustrate practical marketing applications that any entrepreneur could understand and apply to make their business more successful. –¬†Cam Davis, Ph.D. @CamDavis48, Managing Director of Social Data Research

¬†The book is a lovely, easy read which neatly identifies, lists and extols the key pillars of our Social Media ethics and tops them off with a nice little analytical “cherry.” –¬†Finn Raben, @Finn01, Director General of ESOMAR

FANTASTIC! Very clever wording choices, phrases. Imagery is excellent. Crystal is someone I relate to. –¬†Kathryn Korostoff, @ResearchRocks, President of Research Rockstar, Author of How to Hire & Manage Market Research Agencies

¬†Annie manages to place a real-world stepwise guide to conducting social media research in a clever fictionalized novel form. This book is great for business and research managers alike. Well worth the read! –¬†Vaughn Mordecai, @Discores, President of Discovery Research Group, Author of The Landmark Blog

¬†A¬†sure¬†sign of the times‚ÄĚ ‚Äď proof that social media research has come of age, a ‚Äúhow to‚ÄĚ book has been written in a light hearted way by no less than our favourite blogger, LoveStats. A ‚Äúmust read‚ÄĚ for aspiring social media analysts. –¬†Tessie Ting, @TessieTweets, Co-Founder of Conversition

facebookThe Listen Lady will soon be available on Amazon.com, for Kindle, Sony readers, and, of course, in the iBook store. Like TheListenLady fan page on Facebook to get the latest news on availability and stay tuned for more info!

New book! The Listen Lady: A novel and social media research guide baked into one #MRX

listen lady social media researchHave you noticed how boring and complicated some textbooks are?  Have you spent night after sleepless night tossing and turning, desperately hoping someone would write a market research book that was fun to read? Have you been searching for something to help you learn more about social media research?

Then look no further!

The Listen Lady, a new book by moi, explains the technique of social media research in one of our favourite art forms – the non-fiction fiction novel! It covers advantages, disadvantages, sampling, data quality, variables, and more using plain language that business owners, marketers, and researchers can understand. And to lighten things up, it’s told as a story, not as a textbook. You can learn the technique for yourself by following along as a ¬†small business owner learns the technique for herself.

Is it fun to read? Yes!
Is it easy to understand? Yes!
When can you buy it? Any day now!

Curious what experts have to say about the book? Here are some early reviews.

The Listen Lady is magically delicious!” – The Lucky Charms leprechaun
As God is my witness, I’ll definitely read The Listen Lady again.” – Scarlett O’Hara
Read or do not read The Listen Lady. There is no try.” – Yoda
It’s greeeeeeat!” – Tony the Tiger
I’m Batman!” – Batman

facebook the listen ladyIn just a few days, the Listen Lady will be available on Amazon.com, Kobo, B&N, Diesel, for Kindle, Sony readers, and, of course, in the iBookstore. To get the latest info including availability dates, like TheListenLady fan page on Facebook. Stay tuned for more info!

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