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Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Authors Need A Practical Plan

Authors know the online world is important to their book marketing efforts. Yet many authors are overwhelmed with the possibilities. The majority of writers want to write instead of market their books. Every busy author has limited time and resources to market their book. Where do they begin and how can they create an effective in their online marketing strategy?

From my many years in publishing, when you face such questions, it is best to learn from someone who knows the world of online book marketing intimately and can give you sseasoned direction. Long-time publicist Fauzia Burke is one of these experts. Recently I read Fauzia's new book, Online Marketing for Busy Authors, A Step-by-Step Guide. This an eye-catching book is easy to read and loaded with practical information.

The book is organized into three phases. First, you need to get organized, then you need to turn your thinking into action and finally, you need to learn to stay the course. In the first section to get organized, you have to dream big, know your reader (target), set realistic goals and have a priority list.

The second section helps you turn your ideas into action with step-by-step information to create an online marketing plan, build a website, create a mailing list, blog and social networking. I found each section to be straightforward and easy to apply advice. In order to cut through the confusion, Burke encourages authors to focus on six priorities: website, mailing list, blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and video. Her detailed recommendations are in the book.

In the third section, Burke encourages authors to promote without being promotional. I understand it is a fine distinction.

 Scattered throughout the book are a series of “Tip for #BusyAuthors” and each one is simple yet full of insight. For example, “You don’t have to be an early adopter and chase every social media tool. Use tools that have a track record for success.” (Page 40)


In the final pages of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, A Step-by-Step Guide, Burke writes, “The famous line said it all: “You gotta be in it to win it.” If you are not available online when people are searching for information, the chances of them finding your book and buying it are slim. Remember: Every reader who takes the time to seek information on a related topic is an interested, and qualified buyer—a warm lead. Just the kind we like.” (Page 140-141)

I loved the simplicity yet power in Online Marketing for Busy Authors, A Step-by-Step Guide. I highly recommend it.

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Friday, April 22, 2016


Writers On the Move


I have a new article on Writers On the Move. A couple of months ago I learned about this group and got the opportunity to contribute once a month.

My article today about How To Grow A Large Twitter Following is not new information to readers of The Writing Life. Yet I want you to know about it for several reasons:

First, support Writers On the Move by reading their content. Notice in the right-hand column there is a simple place to subscribe to the blog. I encourage you to do this and get their different posts via email (so you will not miss anything). I'm a subscriber and have been learning a great deal from my fellow contributors.

Second, understand the value of guest blogging on other people's site. In my article, I include several links to some of my other online resources. It's what you can also do when you guest blog. From my experience sometimes they restrict the use of these links to your brief bio but even this case is exposure to a new audience of people. It will help you generate traffic and other things to your own content.


In Mastering the New Media Landscape, Barbara Cave Hendricks and Rusty Shelton call this type of content “rented media.” It is not my blog or content yet I get to contribute here once a month. In this particular instance, one of my friends recommended me as a contributor. There are numerous opportunities where you can also ask to become a guest blogger or a regular contributor. I want to encourage you to go after this type of exposure for your own writing life.

As writers, we are surrounded with many opportunities. Will you seize the day and take advantage of this opportunity for your own writing?

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016


5 Ways to Become An Action-Taker


Many of us have dreams and desires for success in the publishing world. We want to have people read our books and write material that is read and appreciated.  Almost every day I'm speaking or emailing people who hold this dream. About 83% of Americans plan to write a book during their lifetime and many people have written a manuscript but can't seem to figure out how to move forward with it.

From my years in this business, I want to give you concrete and practical steps you can take to become an action taker and move forward with your dreams. I define an action-taker as someone who does more than dream but takes daily action to move toward making those desires a reality.

1. Create a specific goal and write it down. If your goal is not written, then it will be hard to achieve it. You can write it in a notebook or in a little card that you carry and look at from time to time.

2. Break this goal into action steps that you can take to achieve it. Maybe your goal is to start a blog on a consistent basis.  People are amazed at the volume of content in The Writing Life—over 1300 entries. The volume comes from consistently taking action and adding to the content. I also have a lot of information about blogging in this free teleseminar on the topic (follow the link).

3. Commit to moving on toward that goal every day. Some goals like a book manuscript or a book proposal take time and can't be created overnight but can be done with consistent effort. The old saying, “Inch by inch it is a cinch” is true. If you decide to write a page or two every day, then you will be able to keep your momentum going and complete each of the parts of a book proposal or a book manuscript. Getting your ideas down on paper is one of the first steps to completing the project—but it will take consistent action and effort to get it done. I've done and you can do it too. Use my free Book Proposal Check List to guide you in this process. Also make sure you check out the various resources and links to other information on this one-page document.

4. Seize unexpected opportunities.  In the past, I've written about the need for every writer to respond to their emails and phone calls—which is the essence of good customer service. Anyone connected to publishing is in the communication business. Admittedly communication doesn't often happen so if you communicate, you will stand out in a positive way. 



Last week Julie Eason sent a short email asking if I was available to participate in her Business Book Summit and could she interview me right away. I did not hesitate but said yes and scheduled a time to be interviewed. The summit begins next week in a couple of days and is free. I'm grateful to be able to talk about book proposals and Morgan James among such a great line up of speakers. Yes, Julie asked me—but I read my email, said yes and scheduled the interview. Unexpected opportunities will come to you as well. Are you taking action? 

5. Face Your Set Backs or challenges and keep on moving forward. Everyone has bumps in the road. These bumps could be a personal or family crisis or something with your work or even a technical challenge with your computer or software or ???? These challenges happen to all of us including me. The key is what are you doing to get through the roadblock or challenge. From my experience, there is a way through your challenge. Don't ignore them but take action and work your way through them. 

Often I read about someone who is an “overnight” success. They have suddenly skyrocketed on to the national front through a book or a YouTube video or a media outlet. Yet if you carefully examine the life of that “overnight” success you will learn (as I have) the person has been faithfully in the trenches and taking action. Many people tout the best-selling success of Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen.  Throughout the first year of this series, each author followed the “Rule of Five.” It is a stellar example for each of us. 

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Saturday, April 16, 2016


Get Answers for Your Book Proposal Questions


For over 25 years, I've been in the publishing business and I continue to learn new information every day. One of the keys (which no one controls) is making the right connection with the right person at the right time and the right place.

While you can't control that element, you CAN be actively working to learn all that you can about how to make the best possible pitch. Also you can get insights and answers from experienced editors.

I want to help deepen your understanding of how editors and agents make their decisions about your proposals and pitches. Remember editors and agents don't read manuscripts. They read book proposals.

Even if you are going to self-publish, you still need a book proposal because this document gives you a business plan for your book. It's true whether you are writing nonfiction, fiction or even children's books. 

As a frustrated acquisitions editor to help writers send better submissions, I wrote BOOK PROPOSALS THAT $ELL, 21 SECRETS TO SPEED YOUR SUCCESS. This book has helped many would-be authors to get an agent or a publisher. This book has over 130 Five Star reviews.

But don't get this book from Amazon. Why?

In recent weeks, I have purchased all of the remaining copies of the book from my former publisher. I slashed the price from $15 to $8 and created new bonuses for anyone who gets this book:

http://BookProposalsThatSell.com

On Tuesday, April 19 at 6 p.m. EST or 3 p.m. PST (starts promptly according to www.Time.gov), I'm going to be answering your questions in a FREE 70-minute teleseminar. You can sign up and ask me any question about proposal creation and proposal marketing at:

http://askaboutproposals.com


In addition, I've created a new FREE Ebook for everyone who signs up at the teleseminar: SOME BOOK PROPOSAL INSIGHTS. For the last few years I've written a column for Southern Writers Magazine. You can gain my proposal insights in this 30-page Ebook packed with content when you sign up at:

http://askaboutproposals.com


I'm excited to help many more writers to be successful 
with their publishing dreams as they read and study BOOK PROPOSALS THAT $ELL) http://BookProposalsThatSell.com). I encourage everyone to ask a proposal question at:

http://askaboutproposals.com

I look forward to speaking with you on April 19th. If you can't make the time of the call, please go ahead and sign up anyway. The entire teleseminar will be recorded and EVERYONE who signs up will receive an email with the replay link. Also if you sign up, you will be able to 
download the FREE Ebook right away. This report is loaded with valuable advice.

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Monday, April 11, 2016


When Pitching Select Power Words


In February, the tenth season of The Voice premiered on NBC. I've been watching this program from the beginning and enjoy the Blind Auditions. Four mega-talented recording artists turn their backs to the stage and listen while a contestant has 90 seconds to preform a song. During the song, the four coaches can decide if they want the artist on their team and hit their button. If more than one coach turns, then the contestant gets to select their coach. In this selection process, each of the coaches makes a short pitch to the artist about why they should be selected.

I've been fascinated to watch the words these mega-artists use to entice the contestant to select them. Often the contestant goes into the session hoping to be on one team but the words in the pitch will influence their choice.  If you watch the show, I encourage you to focus in on these pitches because you will learn something critical about the power of words.  If you haven't seen the show, I encourage you to check out this program.

From my years in publishing, these pitches are similar to the process that happens in with a book proposal or a query or an oral pitch during a writers' conference. In the pitching process, you only have a few seconds to capture the attention of the editor or literary agent.  Here's some keys in this process:

1. The writer has researched and knows something about the publishing house or the literary agent. To get their attention, you have to know that professional is interested in your type of writing. You can get this information online or in a writer's market guide or through going to the bookstore and looking for similar books to your proposal.

2. The writer has selected their words to pitch. The subject line for the email is thoughtful and the first paragraph has been written to capture attention.  If the pitch is oral and in person at a conference, the author has written their pitch and practiced it so they catch attention.

3. The writer listens to the feedback from the editor or agent. How is your pitch received? Is there interest or a response to send more information? Does the professional suggest some adjustment or refinement? Are you open to those suggestions? The best type of publishing is collaborative where there is some give and take from the editor or agent and the writer.

4. Do you follow-up and submit your materials or whatever is requested? If so, you will put yourself in a different category. One of the surprising facts about this process to me is that many writers never send in their material after a conference. Or they never follow-up on the email from the editor or agent. I've had this lack of response many times in my years in publishing.  If you carry through or follow-up, you will be the exception and standout in the pitching process.

I have much more detailed information in my Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. In recent days, I purchased all of the remaining books, have slashed the price and created new bonuses for everyone who gets the book.  I wrote this book as a frustrated acquisitions editor who wanted to help writers succeed. Whether you write nonfiction, fiction or children's books, you will learn a great deal from the study of this book.  Readers have gotten book deals and top literary agents from using this resource.

Whenever you pitch, I encourage you to use power words to get the reception you want from the publisher or editor. If the pitch is on target and excellent, maybe like The Voice contestants, you will have more than one agent or editor who wants your work—and you will have a choice in this process.

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Tuesday, April 05, 2016


Learn the Business of Writing


How do you learn the business details of the writing world and which tools to use? From my years of attending writers' conferences, this information is important to your success as a writer—yet rarely taught.
Later this month, I will be in Orlando, Florida teaching Business Tools for Every Writer.  Much of what I've learned has been in the school of hard knocks—trial and error.  Some of what I will be teaching is attitude and daily approach. Without a plan or a haphazard plan, you are certain to hit nothing. If you can’t make this session, I encourage you to look over my speaking schedule and try to connect in person at another event.
Part of the challenge of the writing life is there is no single path to success or a bestselling book. If an exact formula existed, then publishers and authors would use it every time with a guaranteed result. It does not exist. Instead there are principles and actions each of us can attempt for our own books and our own writing life. Then we can see which ones are relevant and useful and which ones are not appropriate for you.
Whether you are aware of it or not, you are constantly making business decisions related to your writing. For example, when someone wants to buy your book, do you send the customer to Amazon (or some other online bookstore) or do it yourself? While I've written more than 60 books for traditional publishers, I've selected several books which I sell myself. If you look at my book page for  
In the last few weeks, I purchased all of the remaining copies of my bestselling book, Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. The book has over 130 Five Star reviews on Amazon but don't buy the book there. Why? I've purchased every remaining copy from my publisher, built my own website, slashed the price from $15 to $8, created new bonuses if you buy the book from me, written my website (at 
http://BookProposalsThatSell.com) and much more.
Yesterday, someone purchased the book. I took a few minutes, printed a label, printed a packing slip, packed up the book. Tomorrow I'm headed to my post office to send this book via media mail. In this process, I made a number of business decisions. I'm making more money on the book sale. The money is coming directly to me and not to my former publisher (who paid royalties once a year—which is typical). Finally I'm putting out more effort to send the book myself instead of sending it to a bookseller or a third party. Also the person who purchased the book is on my email list, gets my follow-up bonuses and makes a personal connection with me—which never happens if they buy the book from someone else.
These small business decisions are rarely taught—but critical to your own success. First, I encourage you to be aware of these decisions, then stop occasionally and evaluate these choices. Is it time to go in a different direction or add a new tool or let go of a tool which is not working? It is important to learn the craft of writing and storytelling. Yet it is also important to handle the business aspects of the writing life. 
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Tuesday, March 29, 2016


How to Make Sense of the Ever-Changing Media World

The world around us is always changing.  Magazines and newspapers which existed several years ago are gone. New social networks for authors spring up often.  As a writer, you want to make sense of these changes and understand them—but more important than awareness, you want to select the ones which are going to be the most effective for you and your writing.

The advice you find is often conflicting. Some people would say blogging is your path while others will proclaim the key is Pinterest or Twitter or radio. As a writer in the publishing community, you feel pushed and pulled in many different directions so you spin around and around and are unsure which way to go. When I discover this conflicting information, I seek information from long-term experts in the area. 


Earlier this month, two PR experts released Mastering the New Media Landscape. I read this book cover to cover and learned a great deal. Some of what I learned is captured in this article.In straight-forward language, Barbara Cave Henricks and Rusty Shelton explain how successful marketing has changed in recent years.

 Today’s marketing landscape includes three categories which matter for your focus: rented, earned and owned media. Like a three-legged stool, promotion needs to encompass each area. For years, earned media was the only game in town like television, radio, or a review in the New York Times. As they explain on page 14, “The challenge with earned media is that it is extremely difficult to get.” Rented media is “a presence and content that you control but that lives on someone else’s platform or stage.” (also page 14). Examples of rented media are Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. They are rented because as a user you do not control the platform and for any reason, they could disappear. Owned media is something you control like your blog or website (assuming it is on your own domain) and your email list. Because you own the media, you can make a direct connection to your target audience.
Mastering the New Media Landscape page 15


Mastering the New Media Landscape is packed with current examples and specific how-to information. You will want to use your highlighter with this book and consume every detail, then take action to apply it to the successful marketing of your own products, services and brand.


As they explain in the opening chapter, “The key change we want to encourage you to make is to think of reaching an audience via earned or rented media, not just as the end goal but rather as crucial components of driving people to your owned media space, be it your website or email list, where you can extend that interaction for a much longer period of time.” (page 20)


Many authors and even some publishers and “PR experts” have a haphazard plan to embrace the changing media landscape.  I highly recommend a careful and thorough reading then application of Mastering the New Media Landscape.

To summarize, here's two key points for every writer:

1. When you need advice, turn to experts—not just the first person who crosses your path but someone with years of experience.

2. Try their advice and if it works follow it. If it does not work for you, stop. Your path to find your audience is different from my path. Each of us need to take action and be working at it. Doing nothing is the sure path to failure. Take action today.

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