Why I Lost 15,000 followers in 24 hours
Last week I lost 15,000 Twitter followers in 24 hours. For many
people that loss would have been devistating and possibly wiped out their
following. I went from
220,000 to 205,000 followers. I've been on Twitter since 2008 and actively
working every day to increase my following.
What happened? An article in the New York Times explained Twitter is
battling fake accounts and has slashed millions of these accounts. As the
article explains, “Twitter’s decision will have an immediate impact: Beginning
on Thursday, many users, including those who have bought fake followers and any
others who are followed by suspicious accounts, will see their follower numbers
I applaud Twitter's actions in this area but it has had impact
on many users. At one point years ago as an experiment, I did buy some followers
and my followers increased over a 24-hour period. Now those followers were fake
accounts and I would not expect them to engage with me or be interested in any
of my tweets.
Last year one of my writer friends launched a book with a New
York publisher (in fact one of the big five). She had a modest Twitter following
but in a short amount of time her followers increased to over 100,000–-which
looks suspiciously like she purchased those followers rather than growing the
following (as I have done). I just checked her followers and now she has 14,500
followers for a dramatic drop.
I want to make several key points from this experience to help
1. While Twitter continues to be an important social network,
do not try and game the system with buying fake followers. I
have written about the five
actions I take every day on Twitter. There are good reasons I have
a large Twitter following.
2. Don't forget Twitter is “rented” space. I
don't own or have any connection to the Twitter company. They could cancel or
block my account at any time eliminating my presence. I don't expect this
elimination to happen and to my knowledge have been obeying their rules (key for
If you don't understand this concept of rented media, I
encourage you to study Mastering the New Media Landscape by Barbara
Cave Henricks and Rusty Shelton. I regularly speak with authors who have built
their entire platform on
Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn or Twitter. Yet these authors have never
considered the risk of such efforts.
3. Diversification is important as you plan
your presence in the marketplace. Henricks and Shelton talk about this in the
final chapter of their book giving six ways to “futureproof” your media
presence. The advise is wise and worth your following it. Make sure you have
media that you own: your websites, your blog and your email list. If you
haven't read my free ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author,
I encourage you to get it
There is one safe prediction I can make about the social media
landscape: it will continue to shift and change.
What steps are you taking to master the new media landscape?
Let me know in the comments below.
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Labels: Barbara Cave Henricks, ebook, followers, platform, platform building ideas for every author, rented media, Rusty Shelton, Twitter
Your Submission Must Be Electronic and Easily Readable
Every writer should have the need to keep growing and looking for
new avenues and ways to market. As an acquisitions
editor at Morgan
James Publishing, we receive many submissions—over 5,000 a year for only 150
books that are published. Yes that is high volume but as editors, we are always
looking for the right authors and right material.
|Every editor needs an electronic submission.|
About a month ago, I received an author contact from one of my
colleagues. That day, I sent an email to this author letting her know exactly
what I needed and how to submit her material. A few days ago, I got a text from
my colleague asking about this author. I said she had never responded to my
email. Something many people forget is email sometimes does not get
through. I reached out to this author again on email and picked up the phone to
call her (rare for an editor or agent to call).
Later that day I began to receive her submission in hard copy on
my phone—which I could not read. It was pages of a manuscript texted to my
phone. I asked her to email it to me. The email came one page at a time with the
hard copy attached—-many emails. I went back to this author and explained I
needed a single file in an electronic form as an attachment.
In conversation, I
learned this author had an electronic file for her manuscript and then her
computer crashed. She lost the electronic files with her computer crash. She
only had a hard copy of her manuscript. With this explanation, I understood why
she was trying to get me the hard copy.
I told this author how for years, every publisher requires the
author to send an electronic version of their manuscript or proposal. It is the
only way to get your material into the consideration process with an editor or
agent. Your computer crash and the fact you don't have the file is a barrier to
getting your submission considered. If you have this problem, you
1. Retype your manuscript into a Microsoft Word file.
2. Hire a student or transcription service to type your
submission into Word.
3. Forget about this book and start another one. This last point
is not what I would recommend since the author has invested hours into creating
I have no idea what this author is writing and whether it has
any merit or not—since I did not receive it in a form where I could read it.
I've reviewed thousands of submissions during my years in publishing and never
seen this particular situation. I point out several lessons from it:
1. Get your manuscript to the editor or agent in a format they
can read. I've met authors who do not type. If you don't type, then take a
typing course or get a book or figure out your way around this
2. Before you complain to the company or editor, make
sure the format of your submission is not the issue. The reality is every editor
and agent receives many submissions. Sometimes things do get missed and we are
not perfect in this process. Just make sure it is not your issue before
you reach out to someone else.
3. Follow the editor's or agent's guidelines. If you don't follow directions, then you
can't get considered.
4. Follow-up to make sure you are giving the editor what they
need. We receive volumes of material and want to help but have limitations on
our own time and resources.
As a writer, you are searching for the right fit for your
submission. It will take effort on your part to find this fit. Good
communication is important every step of the way. It took some digging on my
part to figure out why I was not connecting with this author and her manuscript.
I'm encouraging her to retype her lost manuscript and get it into the market for
Have you been skipping a publishing basic as an explanation why
your submission is not hitting the mark? Let me know in the comments
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Labels: acquisitions editor, book, editor, guidelines, literary agent, manuscript, Morgan James Publishing, publishing, submissions
Two Ways to Write A Magazine Article
|Two types of Leaves & Two Types of Articles|
If you want to reach readers with your writing, one of the most
effective methods is to write magazine articles. As your articles are published, you
will reach thousands (if not millions) of readers. Through my years in
publishing, I've written many different types of articles on all sorts of people
and topics. The variety is endless in the print magazine world.
In the beginning of my magazine writing, I would be inspired to
write a personal experience article or a how-to article. I would sit down and
write the article with no magazine or market in mind. After I wrote this article
to the best of my ability, I opened up my writers' market guide and searched for
some place to send the article or write a query. The process took a lot of
searching and energy—and often involved getting rejected because I didn't send
it to the right editor or right publication.
This type of writing is known as inspirational writing. You are
inspired to write something so you sit down, put your fingers on the keyboard
and write the complete article. It is one way that many people write and
eventually with enough persistence, find the right publication or editor and get
There is a second way to write a magazine article: write for a
particular publication and what the editor wants or needs. As a writer, you learn about these needs as you read and
study the submission guidelines. Almost every magazine has a set of editorial
guidelines on their website. Some of these guidelines are more detailed than
others. Sometimes the guidelines will say the percentage of freelance work they
publish. The higher this percentage, the stronger the need of the publication
for freelance writing (as opposed to something they write with their staff).
In addition to their guidelines, some
publications include a “theme list.” These publications have planned specific
themes they want to publish and they are solid indicator of what the editor
believes their readers want to know. To get published, you can either write a
query letter or write the entire article and send it to the editor (follow their
guidelines). The second way to write a magazine article is a more targeted yet
also involves meeting the needs of the editor and reader. Because it is
targeted, it has a higher probability of publication and less time for the
writer to search for a market and then get rejected and search for another
Inspirational writing is fun and
something I still encourage you to do—particularly with personal experience
articles. Each of us have unusual personal experiences in life but the successful
published writers will take these personal experiences and use them as grist for
their writing and craft their article. Almost every magazine uses personal
experience stories (large circulation and small circulation).
My purpose in writing this article was to
show you a more targeted (and potentially successful) method to get your writing
into print publications. Writing for magazines is a solid way to build your
platform or presence in the market, reach readers and build your reputation as a
writer. After many years in publishing, I continue to write for
What tips do you have for writing for
magazines? Let me know in the comments below.
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Labels: assignment, editors, inspiration, magazine articles, publications, query, readers
The Ever-Changing World of Publishing
Last week I learned one of my regular writing assignments was
disappearing. For every issue of the publication, I've been writing a column for
the last six years. It was sad to receive such news but in some ways it was not
unexpected. One of my key relationships at the magazine was
leaving. With this change, the staff took the opportunity to revamp their
publication through this revision my column was no longer needed. I responded to
the editor with a gracious and understanding way with the hopes I can write
articles in future issues. My response was well-received and possibly I will be
able to write more in the future.
This experience reminded me that the world of publishing is
always changing. During my years of writing, I've seen publications start and
fold (cease to exist). Publishing companies are sold to other entities and as a
writer I get a letter saying my book is going out of print. These are only a few
of the variety of changes. Sometimes your work is a part of that decision and
other times, the decision has nothing to do with you or the work and everything
rests within that company.
In the ever-changing world of publishing, here's several key
principles to keep in mind:
1. Change is always a part of this business.
Some of the changes you can control but many of them you can't. Your attitude
in the middle of change is critical.
2. Never assume
your writing opportunity will continue. As you submit your material and
it is accepted, each time express gratitude and flexibility. These attitudes
will go a long way with your publishing colleagues.
3. Diversify your writing and your income
streams. Look for other opportunities and be knocking on doors. Your
skills have many different possibilities. If you need to explore other
possibilities I have a free list in the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing
Dreams. You can download this chapter here (follow the link).
4. Persevere with your writing. I've watched
many people give up on their writing over the years. The ones who get a
publisher and continue in this business are the writers who persevere with the
work. Admittedly some days it is hard but each of us need to keep our fingers on
the keyboard and keep writing.
What are your tips for handling and thriving in the
ever-changing world of publishing? Let me know in the comments below and I look
forward to hearing from you.
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Labels: attitude, change, diversity, gratitude, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, magazine, publishing
Four Actions After A Conference
|The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College|
This weekend I traveled home from Write To Publish, held on
the campus of Wheaton College at the Billy Graham Center. Off and on, I've
been going to this event for many years but had not been for two or three
years. Throughout the event, I spent time with old friends, met many new ones
and spent several intense days talking about publishing and writing and
Often these events are filled with writers attending their first
conference. Others attend each year to give a boost to their writing. These
writers come with their writing and their dreams and plans to speak with editors
and agents during the event. As an editor, I taught a few classes during the
event but also met with numerous writers one-on-one listening to their pitches
and helping from my years of experience.
I heard some remarkable stories and pitches. From others I heard
about their heart-wrenching stories about their struggle to get published and
find the right place for their work. Throughout the event I listened and
spoke with them. Admittedly these events can be overwhelming when you
return. The world of publishing contains many different opportunities and a wide
variety of publications and publishers. When you are overwhelmed, one response
is to spin and do nothing. My encouragement is for you to take action and here
are four steps:
1. Take time for reflection. Which
opportunities did you hear about which you want to do? Make a list of
these publications or publishers, and then reconnect with the editor.
2. Review the editor's guidelines
or theme list. Are you writing something that they want or are seeking?
If so, read through your
book proposal or query and send the editor what they requested. Throughout
the event, I heard about some great book ideas—nonfiction, fiction, Christian,
general market, and children's books. Some people handed me a paper copy. In
each case, I asked them to email the material to begin the process. A few
writers emailed the material during the event (very few). A number of them will
go home, revise and improve their material, then send it to me. Others will
3. Organize your business cards and contact
information. Get it in a form you can access quickly. We work with
people who we know, like and trust. A business card with an email and phone is a great first step,
but add the information into your address book. You might not need it now but
you may need it several months from now and want to be able to easily access
4. Apply what you have learned to your writing
life. Throughout the conference, I taught three different workshops
(social media, book
proposals and Goodreads). It is wonderful to learn about these topics and
listening to the information is the first step. Yet your actions after the
conference are critical to your writing success. In each of these workshops, I
gave specific action steps for the writers to do. The writers who take these
actions steps will move forward with their writing and be closer to achieving
their dreams and plans.
During the conference, I met several editors and learned about
publications that I want to write for in the months ahead. I am taking my own
action steps to move ahead for these dreams to become reality.
5. Bonus action. Reach out to some of the
people you met at the conference and write them right away via email or even
snail mail. It will do a great deal to foster and build your
What steps to you take after attending a conference? Let me know
in the comments below. I look forward to learning your action steps.
When you return home from a conference, what actions do you take? Get four ideas here. (ClickToTweet)
Labels: action, book proposals, business cards, Christian writers conference, editors, Goodreads, social media, Wheaton College, Write To Publish, writers, writers conferences
The Importance of Sending Good Content
Are you learning from others online? Excellent. Are you passing
along this content to others? For me, this process of sending good content to
others is an important part of the writing life. In this article, I want to give
you some ideas how you can pass along what you are learning or reading to
I have been on twitter since 2009 and tweeted thousands of times. If you look
at my twitter feed, you will notice the majority of my posts are pointing to
articles from others. I follow a series of blogs from experienced writers
and receive these blogs in my email box. If you have a blog, it is important to
add this feature to your blog so others can read your content on their email. Over and over email has been
proven as one the most effective ways to reach others.
If you want to send out good content to others, you need to
develop a method or system for taking consistent action. The regular action is
important to establish your reputation in the market as someone who helps
others—not just once but over and over.
For example, I use Hootsuite to schedule my social media posts then I tweet about
12 to 15 times a day but these posts are spaced throughout the day and each one
is different (with different words and a different image). Each day I have
developed a pattern with my posts. This pattern is something I've created with
different spots on my posts for different types of content and from different
people. For example, I post content from a writer about once a day and not
multiple times. I begin each day of social media posts with an inspirational quotation and image. The fact that I have a
pattern makes my repeat actions easier. I don't have to create something and
instead I am simply filling in the designated positions.
Your social media posts will be different than mine and in a
different pattern. My key point is encouraging you to develop a system that
works for you and your writing
life. After you have such a system, your actions will be routine. Each week
I take about 30 minutes to finalize my social media posts. I say “finalize”
because the grid or slots for my different posts is not finished until I
finalize—but I have much of that grid filled in because I take a few minutes
each day looking for great content and adding it to my posting plans in Hootsuite.
Reading about my actions are a good first step but here's some
action steps for you to take:
1. Decide to send good content to your audience on a regular
2. Create a system (possibly using Hootsuite) to make your
actions regular and consistent.
How are you sending out good content to your audience? Let me
know in the comments below. I look forward to learning from you.
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Labels: . Hootsuite, blogger, consistency, content, planning, social media, Twitter
Why Every Writer Needs Persistence
Publishing is an imperfect process with many variables and much
which can go off the rails in the process of making or marketing a book. For
example, one of my authors launched a one-day only giveaway of her book on
Amazon. She had sent emails, Facebook posts and all sorts of other means to
spread the word about this one day event. The author had worked with our team at
Morgan James and
gotten it all set—so she thought. Then Amazon did not reduce the price.
Early in the morning, I got a call from the author about this
potential disaster to her marketing effort. I reached out to a colleague who
reached out to someone else to get Amazon to quickly adjust the price to zero
for the day. In an hour or two, it was resolved and the author was able to
continue to market her one-day special event. Morgan James does not control
Amazon but we work with Amazon to make such campaigns happen and the author
persisted to get it going.
Today I tried to call an author using the app which I use for my
Morgan James work. The app shows my New York phone number and why I consistently
use it for calling authors. In my case, the app did not work or dial the number
and only gave me an error message. This app had been updated overnight and
something was not working. I persisted to get it working, deleted the app on my
phone and reinstalled it. Then it worked again. For this author, I only had her
phone number. I did a quick search and found her website—which had no email
address or phone but did have a contact form. I filled out the form so she would
have my email and know what she needed to do to reach me with her submission. I
persisted rather than giving up when I could not get my phone app to work. These
types of actions are what we have to do as writers and professionals. Normally
there is a way around the challenge—if you persist.
Or another example, I have almost reached the limit on my
Facebook friends and throughout each day I post material related to publishing
and writing. Facebook continually makes changes to their system and recently I
noticed the images on my posts from twitter were not showing up. I figured out
how to edit those posts and add the images so I made that adjustment.Then a day
or so ago, Facebook removed the ability to add images to such posts when you are
editing them. I had to make another adjustment to get it to work. Persistence is
key to this process for every writer.
There are many strange technical things that happen every day in
the process of my work. Do I let it derail me and keep me from working or do I
persist and find a way around it? These challenges often have nothing to do with
me but it takes persistence to accomplish the work.
How are you applying persistence into your writing life? Let me
know in the comments below.
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Labels: Amazon, Facebook, Morgan James Publishing, persist, persistence, writer