Thursday, August 17, 2017

Serve Libraries With Your Books - Time Sensitive

If you follow the publishing news, you are aware the physical bookstores are shrinking. This year over 240 Family Christian bookstores closed their doors.  One of the wide open areas for authors is the public library.

Libraries have:

• People who love authors and books
• Budgets to buy books
• Hold events for authors to sell books
• And much more

Yet how to you sell your book to these librarians who are buying books? In the last week, I have purchased the Real Fast Library Marketing program and I’ve been working through the various lessons. I’m about to begin actively selling my Billy Graham book to libraries using this system. I marked this post as Time Sensitive because the two-hour webinar and discounted program will only be available for a limited time (as shown through the countdown timer on the site). Use this link to watch the webinar.

Whether your book is brand new or has been out a couple of years (like my biography, Billy Graham) you can actively use this library program. It is not a quick fix and will take work. Every author can use this system and the training for their book. I encourage you to check it out.

Also, I have one more request. Two years ago I wrote a biography of Billy Graham. The book has been well-received and has over 50 reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. You can learn more about the book at: http://BillyGrahamBio.com Also I’m working on the audiobook which will soon be released.

Using the Real Fast Library Marketing program, I’ve learned how to create this single page about my Billy Graham book:  http://terrylinks.com/BGLibrary

Can you please:

1. Look at the document and print it. http://terrylinks.com/BGLibrary
2. Take it to your local librarian and ask them to consider buying the book.

The Bible says in James 4:2, “You have not because you ask not.” I’m asking for you to touch your library and ask them to order my book. Thank you in advance for your help.

Whether you have published traditionally or self-published your book, you have the greatest passion for your book. This two–hour webinar about marketing to libraries is only available for a few more days. Also use the link and scroll down to the middle of the page. You will find a 24-page FREE PDF about libraries to learn about this market. As you can see, I’m learning a lot from the course and recommend it.

Throughout this program on a repeated basis, one of the keys to successful selling into libraries is the attitude of the author.  Authors need to serve the librarians and prepare materials to show they are actively marketing their books and encouraging people to go to libraries. It is the attitude of service to libraries which will catch the attention of librarians.

What are you doing to get your books into libraries? Let me know in the comments below.

Note: Normally I only post once a week but this week I'm making an exception because of the time sensitive webinar.    


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Monday, August 14, 2017

What's Your Nonfiction Hook?

Every writer (book author or not; fiction or nonfiction author) needs a nonfiction hook--the enticement you use for media and readers. You need to carefully consider your hook because it is what you will use to build your platform, gather your tribe, get interest and interviews from the media and much more. 

I have seen many fiction novelists struggling with this area and it's partially why I'm writing this article. These writers have crafted a great page-turning novel and gotten a publisher. Each of these steps are terrific and to be applauded. Yet when you get your book published, you are only part of the way in the publishing journey. The next step is to attract readers and media and sell your book (marketing). It's where many fiction authors struggle.  No journalist in the media cares that you've written a brand new novel. You have to take the nonfiction hook in your novel and use that expertise to attract readers and media and generate excitement for your book. 

To catch a fish, every fisherman uses some type of bait on their hook. It's the same process with writers. You need to think about your bait that you use with your hook to catch the attention of readers and media. As a novelist, in the process of writing your book, you have focused on a particular nonfiction topic or subject. What is that topic? Write it down because this topic is your nonfiction hook to interest readers and media. Because you have completed a novel, you have become an expert in this area. Now use this expertise to build your platform, attract readers and media. Each novelist will have a different and unique area of expertise.

For example, Rabbi Marc Rubenstein has completed a new novel from Morgan James Publishing called Weddings By The Glass. The novel releases in February 2018 but follow this link and you can order an advanced copy from Rabbi Rubenstein. I love the beautiful cover on this book. Rabbi Marc has conducted over 3,000 Jewish weddings and is an expert in this area. Also he lives in wine country of Temecula, California and has trademarked the term “kosher wine.” Each of these areas of expertise are hooks for readers and the media. His novel is excellent (and yes I was the acquisitions editor for this novel so I'm a bit bias in my endorsement).

As a novelist, you have poured great creativity into writing your story through making unique characters and plot twists. Now that your book is completed and published, I encourage you to pour some of this creative energy toward determining then exploiting your nonfiction hook. It will help you build your audience and get attention from the media so you can tell others about your novel.

If you like this article and want to learn more, I encourage you to get my free Ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author. Just use this link and you will get immediate access.

In the comments, let me know if this article was helpful and what sort of action you are taking with your nonfiction hook. 


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Monday, August 07, 2017

Several Ideas to Face the Daily Challenge

I've been in a reflective mood and maybe it comes from passing another birthday this coming week. As I grow older, I begin to understand why the Bible calls that our days are fleeting. Each of us have the same 24 hours in each day. The key detail is how we use this time. 

As I think about the challenges of each day, I understand several facts:

1. Everyone has interruptions. Yesterday I spent several hours at the Apple Store because my wife's iPhone 5C was having screen problems.  At the store, we upgraded her phone to an iPhone 7 Plus and it took several hours that I was not planning on spending. These types of unexpected situations are part of our life. Yet do you wisely use the time which you do have available to you?

2. Not everything gets done. Yes on the surface I may look like I get a lot done. I do tweet almost 14 times a day with great content. Also I have over 100 new followers a day on Twitter. Yet the bulk of my day is spent as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, talking with authors, emailing authors and others about their books.  Despite the things I accomplish in a day, I know and understand that not every email is answered. Not every phone call gets made or returned.  As an editor, I work hard at customer service, answering key concerns and returning calls—but there is still more to do.

I have magazine articles to write and books to finish and websites to update. If I paused to make a list, it would be endless and to be honest I'm assuming that you have a lengthy list of things to do as well which and while you chip away at it, everything does not get done.We have to live with this fact.

3. Use the right tools to have the best results. Through trial and error, I've learned to use different tools on my phone, different computer programs and other ways to cut down on time and get things done. For example, when I travel, I continue to write on my AlphaSmart 3000 which I purchased years ago on Ebay for about $30. The AlphaSmart is not connected to the Internet, runs on batteries and holds large volumes of information with a full size keyboard. This tool is not right for every writer but it is one that I've used repeatedly to get my writing done.

Are you experimenting with different tools and programs to see if they help you get more done in a shorter amount of time?

4. Balance is important. Every one of us need to have a certain level of balance in our daily lives. Have you listed your key goals and priorities? Just the act of writing these goals can be a great first step. Then have you broken those goals into small steps that you can accomplish? 

As I think about the big picture of my own life, I have a number of things which are a key part of my day. I need Time for Faith (reading the Bible and prayer each day). I need Time for Family (the connection to my wife and children—even if they are grown children). I need Time for Work. I also need Time for Health ( and I build exercise into almost every day). I need Time for Relaxation (yes some of you may find it hard to believe but I go to movies, I read for fun and I watch television). Finally I make Time for Friends. Admittedly some of my days are out of balance but it's part of the way I'm wired and working to attempt to have some level of balance in my life and work.

These are my ideas to help you face the daily challenges of life. Are they helpful? I hope so. Do you have other ideas? Tell me in the comments below. 


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Monday, July 31, 2017

Realistic Book Publishing Information

If I want to learn about publishing, I want to turn to an expert. Amy Collins has been in book marketing and distribution for over 20 years. She started her career as a book buyer in 1996. I found THE WRITE WAY to be loaded with insights. Read this book with your yellow highlighter and be prepared to use it often.

In the introduction, Collins writes, “As a writer on the verge of publishing, you are enthusiastic about your work and determined to see it through to book form. While these are certainly helpful qualities in battling the challenges ahead, there is one tool to help you overcome the obstacles and push forward during the final stretch: That one key tool is knowledge.” (Page 6) This title is packed with such knowledge. 

Whether you want to produce an excellent book, sell it to bookstores or simply sell many copies (broad distribution), then you need this information. 

As an example of the insider information, Collins writes, “Here are some sobering statistics from Nielsen Bookscan, a company that tracks the sales of more than 6 million books in the United States:
• Each year, only two to five books sell more than a million copies each.
• Less than 1 percent of the books published this year sold more than 500 copies. That’s it.
• This year, major TV stars went on daytime talk shows, hawked their wares, showed up on NPR and still sold less than a few thousand books. The vast majority of  books published by major publishing houses lose money. Far more books published by small presses lose money. More than 80 percent of books published lose money. This isn’t meant to make you change your mind or discourage you in any way. I just want you to get a grasp on the book industry and realize how unpredictable it can be. Knowledge is power, remember? The more realistic your goals, the better able you will be to achieve those goals. Besides, once you have invested in this project, you are going to be looking for results. If your goals are in line with a realistic idea of success, then you are going to be much happier with yourself and your accomplishments.” (Page 50-51)

From reading stacks of books on publishing and writing, you never find this type of realistic information in a book. Never. Collins includes timetables about what authors need to do when to make an excellent book then push it into the market.There is specific contact information for authors (even if they self-publish, to explore distribution and marketing channels for their book.

Whether you are working on your first book or you have written many books, you will gain important information in THE WRITE WAY. I highly recommend this book.

Let me know if you've found realistic publishing information like this book in the comments below.


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Monday, July 24, 2017

Review Your Business Card for Key Basics

I've become an expert at skimming business cards on the spot with writers. My actions spring from my own frustration with missing information. Over the years, I've exchanged thousands of cards with people at writer's conferences. When I did not glance at the card on the spot, I would tuck it into my pocket, take it home, then discover missing information like a phone number or email or mailing address. As an editor, it would force me to email this person and gather the missing information (wasting time and energy).

The best time to gather this missing information is when you are meeting face to face with this person. Recently I was in Nashville for a Morgan James Publishing author event. I met a number of authors at this event and exchanged business cards. One of these authors, a medical doctor-turned-writer-podcaster, lived nearby in Boulder, Colorado. When we exchanged cards, I glanced at the information and it only contained his website. There was no email address nor phone number. He said, “My email address is on my website and I want people to go to my website.” It was good to know he had a rationale for the missing information—but I still collected it on the spot and wrote his email and phone on his business card. Others might not have his information from his business card but I gathered this important data on the spot.

When I attend events, my business card is one of the key tools that I use. Some of my long-term friends are amused at the changes in my business card over the years. I've added and improved my cards. Each time I reprint, I evaluate the information to see if it contains what I need. Because I work for a New York publisher, I have a business card which contains my photo, direct dial phone number, work email, and other information. Here's my Morgan James business card:
Whalin Morgan James business card - Front

Whalin Morgan James business card - back
Yet I live in Colorado and I'm also an author with my own blog, local mailing address and books. In recent years, I've been carrying two business cards. The local card shows off this information. Here's the front and back of my personal business card:
Whalin Personal Business Card - Front
Whalin Personal Business Card - Back
Since I've shown you what I'm using for my business card. Now take a minute to review your card and make sure it includes the basics:

*a current photo

*your phone and email address

*your physical address (or at least your city to give the receiver your time zone)

*twitter name

*blog website

*giveaway to build your email list (one of the most important author tools)

How did you do on the basics? Are you missing something? The most difficult element to proofread is something that is missing. That's why we need a checklist to make sure you cover everything. If you are missing some element maybe it's time to reprint your business cards.

Let me know your experience with business cards in the comments below.


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Blog Milestone:

With this article, I've gone over 1400 entries in the Writing Life. I've been writing this blog since 2009 and posting only one article a week, takes time to reach such a mark. There is a massive amount of information in these entries. If you have never used it, I have a search tool in the right hand column of the blog (scroll down to locate it). You can use it to find information on different topics—and I often use this tool to find past entries.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Beyond the Radio Interview

Last week I was in Nashville with some of our Morgan James authors for another great event. It was similar to the event I detailed in March (follow the link if you didn’t read it). It was another distinct event to help and train our authors (a scarce activity across publishing from my experience).

I met a number of authors that I’ve brought to Morgan James for the first time which was fun after speaking with them on the phone and email for months.

One of these authors had done over 40 radio interviews—which is fantastic and to be commended. There are thousands of radio stations which are eager to interview authors and it is another terrific way to promote your book and give it exposure. If you don't know or use radio, follow the insights in this article about radio.

This author was saying the interviews barely made any impact with his book sales. I asked if he had saved the audio recording of his interview for on-going promotion. He looked at me with a blank stare and said no. It showed me that I’m taking an additional step with my radio interviews that some authors are missing. In this article, I want to show you how to preserve the interview for on-going promotion. You've invested your time and energy into the radio interview. How can you maximize and repurpose the interview for even more use than the single station?

The first step is to book an interview and give a solid interview. When you speak to the radio host, you need to pour a lot of effort into the interview. Stand up and walk around your office if this helps you have more energy. Answer every question with enthusiasm as though you are hearing it for the first time.

Radio hosts are busy and often work from  a list of questions that the author or the publicist provide them. I’ve answered the same questions over and over yet each time I act as though it is the first time I’m hearing the question. It is a basic that you need to provide a great interview.

To move beyond the interview, ask for a recording of the interview. Sometimes the radio station will put it on their site after the interview. Other times if you ask, they will email the audio file to you. You have to ask for it or search for it and preserve this audio file.

With this audio file in your possession  the next step is to  listen to it. Is it a solid recording? Do you need to cut out local commercials or anything to make it universal and just your interview? 

I use an audio program called SoundForge for this editing process.  Just like Microsoft Word edits words, you can use SoundForge to edit audio files.

I create or check to make sure I have a solid recording of my interview. Next I upload the audio file to my own hosting site. If I just link to the interview from someone else's site, they are in control and I've had these links disappear. When I put it on my own site, I know the interview is always going to be available online and never disappear. You have to make sure you preserve the interview on a site that you control.

The final step is to  incorporate this interview into your on-going social media efforts (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn). Here’s an example from one of my radio interviews about my Billy Graham book (click on the photo to see the real links in this tweet and try out the interview):
The interview was recorded months ago, yet because it was a morning radio show, it sounds like it happened yesterday. The listener doesn’t need to know the real date.

Because I reuse these interviews, people will regularly email me saying they heard my interview and compliment me. I respond with gratitude and never say when it actually happened (not relevant information for that listener). These recordings continue to promote and drive book sales and exposure for my book—long after the interview.

It does not happen  without the author taking control and action. Are you preserving your radio interviews for on-going promotion?

Tell me about it in the comments section below.


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Monday, July 10, 2017

Steal This Book Marketing Idea

Imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery. I've been observing different book marketing ideas for years and never seen this idea.  I wanted to write about it and give you the details so you can use it (or improve it and use a variation) with launch your book.

Evan Carmichael is a brilliant entrepreneur and marketer. His first book is called Your One Word. It includes an interesting subtitle which stresses a benefit to the reader: “The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter.” Notice several actions with this bookmark:

First, he asks, “Did you get your free bonuses?” The answer is “no” and you keep reading. Every author needs to offer some sort of bonus that ties to your book. Then Carmichael explains how to get the bonuses: “Email a picture of you and the book to oneword@evancarmichael.com and we'll send them to you!” He has set up a special email address for receiving these photos.

Many people are using a smartphone so taking a self-photo with the book is easy then emailing it to this address. In this process, Carmichael captures the email addresses of his readers—which is something every author should be doing—and adding to his email list in this process. I'm unsure what he is going to be doing with the photos, but I guess I will learn because I emailed my photo.

Second, he includes a little Amazon logo with five stars (clearly suggesting readers to give him a five star review). Then he asks for the review saying, “If you're enjoying this book it would mean a lot to me if you could review it on Amazon so others can discover it too!” Evan is following a key principle: if you don't ask, you don't get. Also with a color, he emphasized the words “a lot.” Followed with gratitude of “Thank you!” and his signature.

The overall effect is to touch his readers, get an email address and encourage them to write a book review. This little bookmark certainly caught my attention and I suspect will be effective for other readers. Carmichael's book released on December 6, 2016 and as of this writing has 76 Amazon reviews (way more than your typical nonfiction book). It looks like this strategy is effective.

One other key if you use this idea: write an excellent book. Carmichael has a well-crafted book with solid insights, stories and great interior design (use of bold and sub-heads for example). The foundation of every book is exceptional writing. The book is a hardcover business book with an attractive cover design—and published by Tarcher (an imprint of Penguin Random House). The publisher tells me that lots of energy has been poured into the creation of this book with excellent endorsements and broad bookstore distribution. Your One Word is a well-made book.

In my years in publishing, I've never seen such a bookmark but believe many others can replicate this idea with success. It's why I wanted to show it to you.

What do you think about this bookmark and idea? Is it something you could use? Tell me in the comment section.


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