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Sunday, October 12, 2014


Like A Kid In a Candy Store

For the last couple of days, I attended the Mountain Plains Bookseller Association Fall Discovery Show in Denver. The various regional associations divide the United States and the Mountain Plains area is one of the smallest in the country. I went to this event many years ago and it was fun to return to it again. I was like a kid in a candy store.

While not as massive as Book Expo event, this trade show brings many booksellers from the western states together to see old friends and learn about new products. The exhibit hall was mostly books but also included related products. Publishers were giving away Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books which will be in 2015. I enjoyed walking around and meeting new people and learning about forthcoming books from different publishers. 

One of the interesting non-book products was Rolli Stamps from Funny Bone Muse. Check out this little video:



At another exhibitor, I learned about Woker, which is a word card game. I'm not much of a game player but with coaching from Lisa Teore, the creator of the game, I managed to play one hand of Woker—which to me is similar to Scrabble yet with cards. Booksellers throughout the country carry Woker in their stores. Lisa mentioned that the local Tattered Cover carries this game.

I'm always interested to learn what publishers are doing to promote and capture attention for their forthcoming books. At the Penguin Random House booth, I picked up an Advanced Reading Copy of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. This book will not release in the stores until January 2015. The ARC came wrapped in a cover sleeve with a window which said, “You'll never look out the window the same way again.” It captured my attention and I carried it home to try out this novel.

Friday night, I attended the Author Banquet, which featured four authors from well-known publishers. The room only held 150 booksellers and others from the show so this particular ticket was a “hot” item. Every chair had the four books from each of these authors—and each of these books were signed. Two of these books were nonfiction and two were fiction. After the meal, each author spoke for a few minutes giving background about their book and hopefully intriguing the publishing professionals in the room to buy and hand-sell their books in the days ahead.

Each of the four speakers were entertaining and interesting in their presentations. One of the four writers had not done his research about what booksellers think about Amazon. This author opened his presentation with a joke about Amazon which fell completely flat in the room with booksellers looking at each other wondering if they should groan or politely chuckle. 

Whatever you think about Amazon, they have forever changed the business of selling books. The Author Banquet was filled with booksellers from the west and many of them have strong negative feelings about Amazon. To even mention Amazon during a presentation revealed how little this author understood booksellers.

I gained a tremendous amount of new friends and learning from a couple of days at this trade show. If you get the opportunity to attend such an event, I encourage you to seize it.

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Monday, October 06, 2014


GoodReads Giveaways on My Books

One of the ways I'm spreading the word about my new books is to give some copies away on GoodReads. Here's where the giveaways are located on GoodReads. Please tell others and sign up yourself to possibly get one of the copies.

First the updated edition of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams by W. Terry Whalin

Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams

by W. Terry Whalin

Giveaway ends November 05, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Second my biography of Billy Graham which releases a few days before Mr. Graham turns 96:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy Graham by W. Terry Whalin

Billy Graham

by W. Terry Whalin

Giveaway ends November 05, 2014.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win


I hope you will check it out, enter yourself and pass it on to your friends.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014


Five Reasons Authors Need GoodReads

I am no GoodReads expert. Millions of readers are on this site talking about books. Over four years ago in 2011, I learned about this site through some email or article or bit of information that came across my computer screen. I registered at GoodReads then for three years I almost never returned. 


Earlier this year, I saw GoodReads likes book reviews. I have reviewed over 450 books on Amazon (who also owns GoodReads). I took about an hour and cut and pasted some of my Amazon reviews on the GoodReads site. Currently I have reviewed about 85 books. 


Almost two months ago, my friend Sandra Beckwith interviewed Cynthia Shannon, the Author Marketing Coordinator at GoodReads. The teleseminar was excellent and if you did not hear it, you can follow this link and get this inexpensive educational teleseminar. 


As I listened to this event, Cynthia spoke about the need for authors to claim their Author Profile Status. While I had not done much on my profile, I had taken this step to be identified on GoodReads as an author. Next Cynthia talked about the incomplete profile which didn't have the author's photo or links to the Author's website or twitter account. As I followed along online during the event, I discovered, I was one of “those” authors.

Immediately I fixed my GoodReads profile. I added my photo and filled out my profile adding my twitter link and much more. Yet I didn't complete the teleseminar and was pulled away from my computer. It wasn't an issue because the event was recorded and Sandra sent us the recording (which is still available). Days and weeks passed before I caught the final portion of this event this week.


There was a place for book trailer videos so I uploaded my two videos. Also I saw a little shadow image at the top of the GoodReads home page with a number next to my small photo. It read 495. To my horror, I discovered this number was people who had requested to be my friend on GoodReads and I had not responded or answered. 

Thankfully I've resolved all of these requests and accepted these friends and grown my friends on GoodReads.Now you can tell the truth of my opening statement: I am no GoodReads expert—but I am learning and growing in my knowledge of this site. 

In fact, this week I learned the salesmen at Ingram Publishing Services can see a little icon when they look up our names. It is a GoodReads icon and shows whether the author has an active GoodReads presence or not. IPS is the distributor of the Morgan James books. My Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham biography are both published through Morgan James Publishing. It is important that I work at reporting my promotion activities to these sales people because they sell the book into the bookstores. Every bookstore buys books based on the perception of what the author is doing to promote the book. See why I became more interested in being active on GoodReads?

If you are an author or want to be an author, here are five reasons authors need to be on GoodReads:

1. There are 30 million readers on GoodReads. Yes 30 million. Earlier this year they touted 25 million and now it is 30, so it has increased five million in nine months. Just look at the growth curve for this site and that is a good reason for your involvement.


2. You want to interact with people who love books. GoodReads is all about readers and reviews and finding good books then talking about them. Marketing Expert Penny Sansevieri had a lengthy section about GoodReads in her Ebook HOW TO GET REVIEWS BY THE TRUCKLOAD ON AMAZON. I wrote about Penny's book several months ago (follow this link). 


3. You want to be involved in reading and talking about books. On GoodReads, there is a section called Groups. There are thousands (no exaggeration) of groups on any imaginable topic related to talking about books. Join a couple of groups and just like any forum or group, observe and read the conversation before jumping into it. If you can contribute to the discussion, then that is terrific. You will find more readers through tapping into these groups.


4. You want to get more reviews of your own books. I've discussed this important aspect of books in other articles but book reviews sell books. If you want to get more reviews, then as an author I encourage you to participate in Giveaways


5. If you are a book author, you need to claim your GoodReads author profile. One of the relatively new features on GoodReads is a section called Ask the Author. The author has to turn on this feature. Then on your dashboard (that only you can see), you will see new questions to answer. It gives you a place to interact with your readers.


I've only scratched the surface of this extensive site. There are many more reasons than these five to regularly visit and learn about GoodReads. It will pay off for you in ways you can't even begin to imagine.

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Saturday, September 13, 2014


When You Can't Find A Tweet

Check out SnapBird at www.SnapBird.org

In the last six years since I've been on Twitter, I have consistently tweeted. When I find an interesting article in my reading or anything else related to writing, I often will take a few seconds and send a tweet with a link to this article. Days, weeks and months of consistently tweeting has added up to over 21,000 tweets. Now that amounts to a bunch of information in my twitter profile

Sometimes I will reference an article and want to return to it. One of the best ways to find that article is to locate my tweet. But I have thousands of them and how do I easily find that information?

When I face this situation, I will turn to a free tool called Snap Bird. The first step is to authenticate your twitter account. You have to be logged on to your twitter account. It is a one-time process to authenticate your account. 

Snap Bird is easy to use and menu driven. You can search your tweets, a friend's tweets, your direct messages or tweets mentioning you or where you are someone's favorites. I like how this tool is quick and sorts through a number of tweets. If it doesn't find the tweet, then it can continue searching. The program has limitations but often using it, I can locate my missing tweet.

This tool has a specialized use—searching your tweets. For some of you, it may come in handy. I hope so.

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Monday, September 01, 2014


Five Ways to Get Your Writing Unstuck

Throughout my day writers will email me for help with their writing. The words I have in my Twitter profile is one of the key reasons: I love to help writers. Let me know how I can help YOU! I include my email in my twitter profile to encourage such correspondence. 

As an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher, I get a lot of email every day. Yet I make a point to answer each one of the emails from writers who are asking for help. From my 20+ years in publishing, I know it is hard to navigate the publishing world. I've sent my share of emails and letters into the system which have gone into a void—or so they seem because nothing came back from my careful shaping and sending them. It can be discouraging.

Recently a ministry leader wrote me about being stuck. He had started writing a book but gotten stuck at the second chapter. What actions should this leader take to move forward on his dream of writing a book?

Many times writers are stuck and unsure how to move forward. It happens with book projects because they are not simple 30 minute or an hour in length. To write a book takes a great deal of consistent effort and energy. When it comes to writing a book, one of the best tools is to first, write a book proposal. The key portion of the proposal that will keep you writing and moving ahead is the chapter-by-chapter outline. This simple outline is the structure for your book. You can even print it out then cross off the chapters as you write them.

If you are stuck in your writing, here's five ways to get unstuck:

1. Evaluate Your Goal. Are you committed to this writing project? I've always found if I've made a commitment, then the writing will get handled. OK. I've committed to write a book or a magazine article or an online article or a press release. Think about the type of consistent effort will it take to accomplish your goal. For example, books are not produced overnight but will take a consistent effort.

2. Set a Goal You Can Accomplish. Be reasonable with yourself and set a writing goal that you can achieve. From my experience it is often a certain number of words such as 500 words a day or 5,000 words a day (which is a lot of intense writing to reach 5,000 words a day but it can be done). 

3. Move Consistently toward Your Goal. To accomplish any goal you have to move forward. I like what one of my writers friends told me about creating a 400+ page novel, “No little elves come out at night and write my pages.” No one else can do the work for you. You have to find the time and simply do it. If it means getting up an hour or two earlier or staying up late at night or skipping some television, then you have to work at it to meet your goal.

4. Periodically Evaluate Your Goal. If you are having success, then take moments to celebrate. Each of us will celebrate differently. It is important to evaluate and celebrate if you are moving toward your goal. If you measure how you are doing with your goal and you are not making progress, then possibly it is time to readjust your goal and make it more reasonable or something that you can actually accomplish. Don't beat yourself up that you have to readjust. Simply acknowledge it and keep moving forward.

5. Get an Accountability Partner. Yes maybe you could accomplish your goal on your own. From my experience, it is better if you have someone else asking you periodically about your goal and how you are moving toward it. This person can be someone that you speak with periodically on the phone or email or best physically see often. 

I know I was only going to write five ways to get your writing unstuck. I'm throwing in a bonus sixth method. Maybe you are stuck in your writing because you have been trying to accomplish a long piece of writing such as a book or a novel or a workbook. If you have been chipping away at completing a longer work, here's something to consider in this process:

6. Diversify Your Writing. While many people want to write a book, there are many ways to get published—outside of books. Often books take a long time to get into the market—especially if you go through a traditional publisher. Magazine articles are short and fun to write plus you can get them published a lot quicker than a book and it will reach many more people than the average book.

People like me who are in publishing want to see that you have been published. Your magazine publishing credits will help you attract the attention of a literary agent or book editor. My updated version of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams has a great deal of information about publishing to help you get unstuck.

Use these five methods to get unstuck and move forward with your writing. Take action today.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Showing Up Is The First Step

It may seem pretty basic but in the writing world (as well as other aspects of life), the first step is simply showing up. If a magazine requires the writer to send a one-page query letter, then you will need to learn how to write a query, then send an appropriate pitch to the publication. If you take one step, and then the next step, you will give yourself the best possible opportunity for success.

Many people wonder how I've managed to get my writing into more than 50 magazines or to write more than 60 books. I have never claimed to be a fantastic writer but I am a very consistent writer. If I'm at a conference talking with an editor about ideas and the editor says, “That's a great idea, Terry. Write that up and send it to me.” Immediately after the meeting, I make a note, go home and write up my idea and send it to that editor. 

Over the last few years, I've met with hundreds of writers at various conferences. These writers have pitched their idea either in writing or orally and I've told them, “Terrific idea. Write that up and send it to me.” Yet few people follow through and send me their material. Showing up is the first step.

Wednesday night (August 20th), you have one of these opportunities—but only if you show up to the live event. I'm going to be interviewing the Morgan James publisher, Rick Frishman. The questions for this teleseminar are not coming from me or from Rick but from the audience. Rick has been involved in the various aspects of book publishing for many years. Twice a year, Rick pulls together the illustrious faculty of Author 101 University, which is one of the premier writers conferences in the United States. It is not a Morgan James event—but there are a number of Morgan James authors at the event. Editors and agents from many different area of publishing attend Author 101 University.

While I'm confident Rick will provide great information during our 70–minute teleseminar, something else is happening during this session. Throughout the teleseminar, Rick will be giving away some registrations for the October Author 101 University event. To win one of these registrations, you must take the first step—show up at the live event and be prepared to possibly win.

Will you take the first step to show up? I encourage you to register. If you don't have a question, then put “no question” and keep going through the simple registration process until you reach the confirmation page where you can listen to the teleseminar or dial in on your telephone.

Hope to speak with you soon.


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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


3 things you can do today to get amazing book blurbs tomorrow


What’s worse than not making the effort to get glowing blurbs for your book before it’s published?

Not planning ahead to make sure that you get them from the most impressive and influential people possible.

While you can completely “cold call” the rock stars of your genre or industry and get cover blurbs that will make your mother proud, you’ll have a greater success rate – and work half as hard at it – if you take a few steps in advance.

Why? Because you’re more likely to get a positive response from someone who knows your name than from someone who has never heard of you.

When it’s time to ask people to write blurbs – those endorsements and testimonials you place on your book’s cover and inside front pages or on your retail sales page – you will be talking to people who “know” you instead of people who think, “Who is this person?”

Maybe you’ve been in this situation yourself before: Two people ask you for a favor. One is someone you’ve heard of and the other is a stranger. If you’re like most, you’re probably quicker to respond favorably to the person you know of than the person you don’t. That’s just human nature.

Take action now

Fortunately, you can take specific actions now so that you’re no stranger to the people you want to endorse your book in a few months. And the good news is that it’s not hard or painful.

Here are three things you can do today that will pay off when you’re ready to make that important request later.

1. Socialize online.

Connect on social media, but make sure that you’re using the right social media networks. 

Going after high-profile foodies or chefs? Look on Pinterest. Are the people who will blurb your book in the business world? Check out LinkedIn. Looking to connect with Millennials? Try Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr.

Follow them. Retweet or share what they share. Comment on their status updates and blog posts. Use your best judgment about how much of this is enough and how much is “too much.” You don’t want the person to feel like they’re being stalked, but you do want them to learn your name. 

2. Socialize in person.

Is your dream blurber making a presentation near where you live? Attend and introduce yourself before or after. 

Compliment the speaker and presentation in a follow-up e-mail, mentioning something specific that resonated with you.

When author Minda Zetlin attended a conference featuring Tom Peters as a speaker, she was smart enough to introduce herself on site and ask if he’d write a blurb for her book. To her delight, he agreed to do it. 

“It wouldn’t have occurred to me to ask him if I hadn’t seen him speak,” she said.

Attend networking events where you might meet someone who will be an ideal endorser. Register for key conferences, seminars, and trade shows where you will meet the right people while you learn even more about your topic and audience.

3. Ask for introductions.

Do you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody? Ask for an in-person or virtual introduction. (This is a particularly good approach when you want blurbs from celebrities and other famous people.)

Don’t even think of leveraging the introduction to request a favor immediately, though. Help that person get a sense of who you are and what you do, first. Be generous with your time and information before ever expecting anything in return. You might send that person links to articles you think he might be interested in, or compliment her when you see she’s been quoted by the press. Notice what others do to keep you engaged with them – in a good way – and emulate that.

Add structure now that will pay off later

Do more than connect with these people you think will help you sell more books when they provide an endorsement.

Catalog or document your contacts, too, in an Excel file or a Word grid. Record their name, contact information, why they will be good “blurbers,” and how and when you’re staying in touch with them. You’ll then be able to use that documentation to your advantage later, when you ask them to write an endorsement for your book that will influence the people you know will benefit from your knowledge or story.

What’s holding you back from going after your dream endorsement?

About the author
Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to publicize, promote, and market their books through her training programs and free “Build Book Buzz” newsletter. Sandra’s new multi-media program, “Blurbs, Endorsements, and Testimonials: How to Get Experts, Authorities, Celebrities, and Others to Endorse Your Book,” takes the guesswork, uncertainty, and mystery out of this important process and shows you how to get the blurbs of your dreams. Use coupon code BLURB before June 27 to save 33% off the already low purchase price.

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