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Sunday, April 21, 2019


How to Press Forward When Stopped

As a writer, how to you move when stuck?

As writers, I've learned we are frequently told the word “no.”

Your idea isn't a good fit for us.” (A polite rejection)

Not publishing this type of book.”

There are many other ways we are told no or stopped in our tracks. For example, I've mentioned in these entries about using the tool called Refollow every day to grow my social media presence. 

Refollow helps you follow up to 800 people in your target market—and you can also unfollow about 1,000 people a day. You can get month's FREE trial and see if you like using this program (use this link). Consistent use of Refollow is one of the reasons I have a large Twitter following.

I want to use this program as an example of how we as writers need to not get stalled with “no” and instead keep pressing forward. Today I used the program and followed 800 new people. Normally I open a window in my browser and Refollow works along as I do other things. To make sure the program is working, I check on it from time to time. Refollow works with Twitter and sometimes the program will stop and flash a message saying the program stopped not because of the program but because of Twitter's limiting the number of people you follow.

When this happens, I suspect some people close the program and stop using it—and return tomorrow. I do not take this path. Instead Refollow allows you to unfollow people who have not followed you back. In some cases, I've been following these people for years and they have not followed me back. I use the program to unfollow people. Even using the unfollow portion of the program, I am stopped. I get a message saying my connection between the program and Twitter has expired and I have to restart. Some people at this message, would probably quit the program. Instead I try it again—and often it keeps working. The program and the process isn't perfect or straightforward because it works with Twitter. You have to determine your next move when stopped—continue or use a different aspect or decide to return later (even tomorrow).

This process is often the same in other parts of the writing world. You pitch a magazine and get a rejection. (Follow this link for a resource to help you.) Or you approach a literary agent and they don't respond or they say their client list is full for your type of writing. Or any number of other polite ways people say “no.” When you get this response, does it discourage you and you take it personally or do you press forward with something else (like a different type of writing)?

I encourage you to figure out your game plan before you get stopped or hear no. Then keep moving forward with the next plan on your list. Otherwise, you go into stall and don't accomplish what you wanted. The choice is up to you. I choose to look at the world as full of opportunity and you are searching for the right opportunity. 

As writers we have many different directions for our writing. I've written books, magazine articles, websites, Ebooks, radio scripts, and other types of writing for many different audiences (preschoolers, young readers, teens and adults). If you need some ideas, I encourage you to download and read the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (no optin and use this link).

How do you press forward when you are stopped? What are your strategies? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, April 14, 2019


Five Sure-Fire Ways to Fail as a Book Author


For many years I've written on the positive ways to succeed as a book author in these articles. Yet there is another path which many people take on the road to publishing their book. Here's five sure-fire ways to fail as an author:

1. Believe if I build it, they will come. These authors pour energy and effort into building a great website for their book. While a website is important in your book marketing, it isn't everything. You may have the slickest well-written website but without telling people about it, no one will come. There are millions of websites online. If the author doesn't drive traffic and eyeballs to see your content, then it does not help you or your book sales. There is much more to the process than simply building a website and hoping (without action) that people will come.

2. Believe I know everything there is to know about publishing. I've met authors (some of them even well-known bestselling authors) who believe they know everything there is to know about publishing. These people ooze confidence. I've spent decades in this business and read the trade magazines and other things constantly. Things are constantly shifting in publishing and there is always more to learn—and I do learn new things all the time. Overconfidence can be a pitfall for authors. It is great to believe in yourself but be balanced in that view.

3. Believe the publisher will sell my books for me without marketing. Publishers make and release amazing books. Yet without marketing and telling someone about that book—then no one will purchase it. No matter how you publish your book (traditional, hybrid or self-publishing), the bulk of the marketing effort will fall on the author. Authors are fooling themselves if they believe their publisher will sell the books—with or without marketing. Yes publishers can get your book into bookstores—but it is the author's marketing efforts that get readers to purchase the books.

4. Believe attending a writers' conference is a waste of time. For an author to go to any event (local or far away), you will invest time and money in this process. If you attend these events with the wrong expectations or attitude, then you will set yourself up to not get anything out of it. I believe every author can cut down their learning curve from attending writers' conferences, meeting the right people and applying the information they learn to their book and marketing efforts. Knowledge without action is worthless but you can certainly meet many of the right people at a conference. If you haven't been to a conference or haven't been for some time, I encourage you to make plans and a commitment to get to a conference (check out this link for a list of some conferences). Attending a conference can invigorate your writing life and success as a book author.

5. Believe the title, cover and publisher do not matter. Each of these elements are critical in the book purchase process. I've bought books because of a title or a cover design. I've also not purchased books because of the publisher.  Many consumers do not notice the publisher and I admit to being a more sophisticated consumer than many people. These elements are a critical part of the book production process and essential for your success.

I've written about only five of many different ways a book author can fail. The details are an important part of the process. Maybe I'm missing a critical way for an author to fail? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, April 07, 2019


The Missing Link for Book Reviews


Through the years, I've asked numerous people to write a short review on my books—and it has not happened. There are probably many reasons why this happens:


1. They haven't read the book.


2. They are not writers and have no idea what to write for a review.


3. They are busy and never get it done.


4. They forgot and no one reminded them about your need for the review.


These reasons are only a few of the endless possibilities. To write a review does not seem complicated to me. Of course, I've been writing reviews of books for years in print magazines and online. I've written over 900 Amazon reviews and over 500 reviews on Goodreads. Almost daily someone approaches me about reading their book and reviewing it. With limited time to read, I answer but turn down the majority of these requests.



Click this image to learn about this tool

My friend Sandra Beckwith has created a simple tool to address this problem and help writers get more book reviews for their books. A former book publicist and long-time member of the publishing community, Sandra understands authors are challenged to get reviews for their books. You can see my interview with Sandra at this link. To address this need for more book reviews, she has created a “reader book review form” or a template to help your readers write then post their review. Two types of templates were created since a nonfiction review would be different from a fiction review.


In addition to creating a well-written template for nonfiction or fiction, Sandra has included information with ideas for writers to distribute and promote the book review form. Also she includes blanket permission to give this form away with as many copies as you want.


Whether your book is brand new or has been published for a while, I believe every author can profit from the use of this simple and inexpensive tool. My strong recommendation is that you purchase this tool (follow this link) then use it over and over to stir your readers to action and write more reviews.


Will this tool help you get more book reviews? It will definitely not help if you don't get it—or if you get it and don't use it. From my years in publishing, Sandra has created a practical tool for authors. I plan to use my template over and over, then I will know if it works or not. I encourage you to take similar action and let me know in the comments below about the innovative ways you are using this tool.


Tweetable:


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Sunday, March 31, 2019


Endorsements Sell Books


As a long-time reader, I have purchased a number of books because of an endorsement on the front or back cove or just inside the book. These brief words from someone with name recognition help you sell books. Sometimes these endorsements are called blurbs.

From my years in publishing, the process of getting these endorsements is often a bit mysterious to writers.
Without the author taking action during the production process, endorsements don’t happen. Many books are published without endorsements but if your book doesn’t have endorsements, you are missing this sales tool.

You have to ask people to endorse your book. One of the keys in this process is to understand these high profile people are busy and do not assume they will read your book before they send their endorsement.

What To Ask and What To Send

--Write a clear short subject line in email: like Easy Blurb Request. These people get a lot of emails and you want to make it clear from the beginning how your request is different and easy for them to handle.

--Attach the cover and the edited manuscript (probably not in layout at this point). Don’t assume they will read the manuscript but you want them to be able to read it and see the  designed cover.

--Write a brief email with only a few sentences. Give them a deadline and offer to write a “draft endorsement” if they don’t have the time to write one themselves. As I’ve done this process, I’m always surprised at who will ask for a draft endorsement. You have no idea of their schedule and  whether they are home or traveling or in some intense deadline. You want to make it easy so they agree to do it.

--Ask how they want to be identified. Some of the possible options are bestselling author, editor at ___ or president of ____ or any other way. You will get a variety of answers but want to identify your endorsers as they want to be named. Many of us have different roles in different places.

--Use their website contact form or social media to reach them. Some of these high profile people are hard to reach but you want to ask more people than you will actually need. When I did this process recently, some long-time friends did not respond. Others sent emails and said no for various reasons. 

If you can, you want to gather several pages of these endorsements. Some will be broken into phrases and used on the inside but also on the front or back cover.


For a couple of examples of endorsements, I encourage you to look at the sample of my Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (follow this link). Notice the variety and different types of endorsements in these pages. You can do the same with your book. Also look in detail at the story of Jacqueline Marcell who self-published her book about elder care and had many high profile endorsements. She details her process and some of her resources in this article (follow this link).

After the book is in Print

When you have books in hand (often before the official release date), send a signed print copy to the endorser with your note of appreciation. This person helped you and your gratitude is an important step in the process.

It does take effort to get these endorsements but they pay off in increased book sales. Also online sites will often put the endorsements in the editorial dection of the book—i.e. before any customer reviews for the book—which is another opportunity for you as the author to influence and encourage the book sale.

Some writers wonder about the integrity of this process. The endorser didn’t read the book cover to  cover before adding their name to this process. Even though I understand how this process works, I still buy books because of a particular endorsement on a book.

My encouragement is for you to put the effort into this process during the book production and it will pay off for you.

How do you gather endorsements for  your book? Have I missed anything? If so, let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, March 24, 2019


Does Your Book Include Acknowledgements?

The acknowledgement section is where book authors express gratitude.

As a long-time reader and lover of books plus my involvement in various aspects of the publishing industry, I notice fiction and nonfiction books include an acknowledgement section. This category appears in the Table of contents (mostly for nonfiction books).

These pages are where the author tells about the contributions of others to the book. They can be beta readers, editors, agents, others in the publishing house, along with friends and relatives. I have always read these sections and learn a great deal from them. For example, who is the literary agent for a bestselling author? The author could have included this information in the acknowledgement section.

For many years, these acknowledgement pages appeared in the early pages of a book. I suspect many readers skipped right over them and headed to the first pages of the book. In recent years, these acknowledgement sections have been tucked into the final pages of books (nonfiction and fiction). I still read them and often learn some extra information about the author in the process.

I've found many writers are looking for a literary agent. If you are in this category, you can use my free list of agents (follow this link) for their mailing address, website, email address, etc. I encourage authors to use this information not to SPAM them but for research. You are looking for the right agent who handles your type of book when you make your submission.

One of the ways to personalize your submission is to pick up some information about the agent from an acknowledgement page. Not every agent lists their clients on their website and even if they do, this list may not include all of the people they represent.  Who is a similar author to the book you are pitching?  One strategy with your submissions is to pitch your book to agents who represent this type of work. You know they are interested in this type of book. One of the ways you can discover the bestselling author's agent is in the acknowledgement section.

I believe the acknowledgement section of books is an important place. As authors, it is where we can express public gratitude to others who have helped us in the process of book creation and getting the book into the market.

Do you include an acknowledgement section in your book? How do you decide who to include in this section? Do you put it in the front or the back of your book? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, March 17, 2019


Try My Secret Twitter Tool for FREE

What goals and dreams do you have for the months ahead? Reach more readers? Sell more books? Get them to your online course? Speak to more people? These goals or others are terrific but you must have the connection to people.

Since 2008, I’ve been on Twitter along with millions of other people. If you follow me, you will see that I tweet often throughout the day—which is one element of my success. To use Twitter effectively, you can't tweet once a day or once a week (like I see many writers doing). Consistently providing great content to your target audience is an important part of this process.

A second key is in this process of growing your presence on Twitter is using a secret tool every day. I've been using this tool consistently for years. The tool is called Refollow. In a few minutes, you can follow 800 new people in your target market. A certain percentage of these people will follow you back and your numbers will climb. My daily use of this tool is one of the key reasons I have over 200,000 followers on Twitter. You can follow the link in the previous sentence to see the number of my followers.

Please note my 200K followers are not bought or fake. These are real people who engage with me and my content. It’s what I want for you as well—to grow a large responsive audience.
Refollow is not complicated or expensive. I’ve arranged for you to get a FREE trial. Just use this link.



I use this $20 per month tool to follow 800 specific people every day in my target market, It is not random but I’m following people who are interested in my content or tweets. Your target will be different from mine but you can use the same tool to grow your Twitter following—and in only minutes a  day.

What if I follow them but they don’t follow me back?
Refollow also covers this aspect with another feature. The program will locate people who you have been following but have never followed you back. In my case, some of them I’ve been following for years and they haven’t followed me back. In minutes, I can unfollow up to 1,000 people a day. All of these details are within the rules of Twitter and accomplished through Refollow.

Discover the details and get your FREE trial at this link.

I want you to succeed and achieve your dreams. Refollow can be a key part of your success--provided you take action and use it consistently.

In the comments below, let me know how you are growing your following on Twitter. Maybe you have a different tool you are using and I'd love to learn about it. 

Tweetable:

Use this “Secret” Tool to Increase Your Following on Twitter. Get a FREE Trial. (ClickToTweet)


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Sunday, March 10, 2019


Use the Writer's Pivot When Stalled


It happens to me every day: I try something that doesn't work.

--program stalled. For example, I've mentioned using Refollow every day. It's a great tool but sometimes the program doesn't work or gets stalled. I have to return to it later in the day and see if it will work (and often it does so it is worth coming back to it again after several hours).

--phone call unreturned. As an acquisitions editor, I have convinced my colleagues to issue a contract for a book at Morgan James Publishing. I've not heard from some authors about their decision. Some authors take time and explore other options before they sign with Morgan James.


--emails unanswered.  I send email which does not get a response from another publishing colleague or an author. Some emails get stuck in a SPAM folder. Other times the person is busy and doesn't answer or many other reasons.

--pitches ignored. Some of my pitches to editors and others are not answered. Maybe it is a pitch to speak at an event or teach a workshop or write an article.

--lots of other similar things. With these various examples, I hope you get the idea what I'm talking about here. It happens to everyone. 

When something goes wrong, how do you respond? Do you have a game plan to keep going? I call this shift of action using the “writer pivot.” It's an intentional shift of direction into a new area where you can have success and get something accomplished.

Maybe you are promoting a product, and that effort is not working. My encouragement is for you to shift into something that will work.
There are several important action steps in this process.

1. Take your own responsibility. Many details are outside of my control. I can't control how others will react or respond. What I can control is my own response. I encourage you to understand this aspect and take your own responsibility. Basically you control what you can, then let the rest go and shift into something else.

2. No matter what happens in the process, keep moving forward. This often is an act of the will and requires persistence and  perseverance—excellent qualities for everyone in this business.

3. When one type of writing is not working, I encourage you to try a different type of writing. maybe you need to create an information product or a membership course. If you are a book writer, then maybe write some magazine articles. There are many different options in the writing world. I explore some of these options in my free first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (follow this link to download).

Don't go into stall but use the writer's pivot.

How do you react when something isn't working? Let me know in the comments below.

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