Are Your Book Chapters Like Pringles?
For many years, I've admired and read the books from New
York Times bestselling author Joel C. Rosenberg. We follow each other on Twitter and have
exchanged emails. I've reviewed and promoted his books but never met face to
face. His parents live nearby and attend Calvary Chapel South Denver. When
Joel's father retired after four decades as an architect, they created Ministry
Architecture. I learned about their annual fund raiser at their church,
bought a ticket and attended the event. As a writer, be aware of these types of
events (which may be in your city) then make plans and attend them. In my local
Denver Post newspaper, the Tattered Cover announces author events each week in
the Sunday newspaper. Attending these types of events can give you some unique
opportunities—if you are aware and seize them.
His first novel was The Last
Jihad (Forge Books) published in 2003. This political thriller was
a page turner with an opening that I still recall 15 years after reading it (yes
that good and memorable). The book caught on and reached the New York
Times bestseller list. A
committed Christian, Rosenberg moved this book and his future books to
Tyndale House Publishers.He has written several nonfiction books but the
majority of his books are fast-paced political thrillers.
Rosenberg spoke to a packed crowd for over two hours. The
majority of his talk was about flash points and current geo-political events
where he has first hand knowledge. I found it educational and fascinating. Woven
into his speaking were several keys for writers that I want to emphasize in this
1. Joel C. Rosenberg is a brilliant storyteller and writer. I
suspect some of it is his natural ability but other skills he learned and
perfected. Every writer needs to learn how to spin a solid story whether in
print or orally.
2. As a writer, Joel Rosenberg is plugged into the world
geo-politics, traveling and meeting with world leaders. He mentioned meeting
with the President of Egypt, the U.S. Secretary of State and other officials—and
these meetings were recent with a current and fresh perspective. Formerly he
lived in Washington, D.C. and now he lives in Israel. His lifestyle plays into
his writing. If you want to know more details and keep up on Rosenberg's
insights, one of the ways he suggested was subscribing to his blog updates (follow this
3. He pours his personal insights about the world into his
novels. He talked about writing chapters that were like eating Pringles. He
dares his readers to just read one chapter without continuing to the next
chapter. The ongoing action and short chapters compel readers to keep going.
Rosenberg told about getting regular emails from readers who
have stayed up all night reading his novels. Now that is amazing
storytelling and something each of us should aspire with our writing. Are you
making your book chapters to be consumed like Pringles?
Each of us can be learning and growing from our world around us.
I encourage you to take action in this area in the days ahead.
When a bestselling author comes near you, do you attend the
event and what do you learn or gain? Let me know in the comments
What does a prolific author learn from meeting a bestselling author? Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)
Labels: author, bestseller, Calvary Chapel South Denver, Joel C. Rosenberg, Ministry Architecture, novel, publishing, writing
Create Writing Routines
I have a number of writing habits including writing each week
for the Writing Life.
Every morning I use Refollow to
follow 800 new people in my target market. I've been doing this habit
for years and yes clicking my mouse 800 times is a bit boring and routine. Why
do it? Because consistent use of this tool is one of the reasons that I have a large following on
Twitter. This fact combined with the other habits I've created have gathered
a large following or platform. Follow this link to learn the details of my every day actions
Every day I read and/or listen to audiobooks. As I read, I'm
learning new things but also feeding into my writing life and habits. As I've
mentioned before, for every book that I read or hear (good or bad). I take a few
minutes and write a review. I've reviewed over 900 books and products on Amazon and over 500
books on Goodreads. This volume has happened because I've created a writing
habit which I execute over and over.
Currently I am listening to an audiobook from historian Doris
Kearn Goodwin called Leadership. It's a book on the current
bestseller list and I got the book from my local library through Overdrive. Goodwin compares the
leadership style of four different U.S. Presidents. In my listening so far, she
has included Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and
Lyndon Johnson. The background and style of each man and how they tackled the
leadership issue has been insightful. Eventually when I complete the book, I
will write and post a review. Listening to audiobooks is a habit I've cultivated
which feeds into my writing.
Whether you write a lot of a little, consistency is one of the
keys. If you begin a blog, then I encourage you to grow that blog and
consitently write or post on it. Some people use guest bloggers to fill their
blog. There are many different ways to do it—just be consistent as a basic
principle. You can also reuse this material or a book or in a newsletter or any
number of places. I have a free
teleseminar about reusing your content. Also I have a 31 Day course on making money from
your blog which is risk-free during the guarantee period.
Your writing routines will be different from my routines. Create
patterns in your life for your writing. If you do, I believe you will be more
consistent, prolific and productive. In some cases, a routine can become boring
but change it up to keep it interesting—yet continue doing the action. Each of
us as writers needs to be continually building our email list, completing magazine writing
deadlines, getting to events and meeting new people.
In my view, the payoff for having a writing routine is
completing and getting done what others just dream of doing. Many people want to
write a book but if you get that book published you enter a smaller circle of
people. And if your book sells (and not just a few but in a large number), then
you enter even a smaller number of people who succeed in writing a bestselling
One of the basics is creating writing routines then sticking
with those routines. What sort of writing routines do you have? Let me know in
the comments below.
Have you developed writing routines? Get some ideas from this prolific author. (ClickToTweet)
Labels: audiobooks, boring, consistency, Doris Kearns Goodwin, dreams, habits, Leadership, Overdrive, publishing, Refollow, routine, Twitter, writing
Use the Power of One Word
|Are You Looking for The Next Big Thing?|
In the publishing world, words fill our lives:
If you are in stall and spinning your wheels, I encourage you to
use the power of one word to propel you forward. It does seem amazing but you
can tap into the power of one word if you consistently use it. Are you ready for
this word? The word is next. Speak it aloud: next. This one word is hopeful and
expecting something to happen in the future.
- a number of times each week, new books arrive in my
- new submissions from authors come into my email box
- new relationships happen on the phone or email or in
- new opportunities to speak and help other
Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen, co-authors for
Chicken Soup for the Soul, have a story that many people have
forgotten because of their success. The Chicken Soup for the
Soul series is one of the most successful in the English language. Yet
these books were rejected 144 times—which is more rejection than most people
will take. In this rejection process, Jack and Mark learned to look at each
other and say the word: next. Yes they mourned the rejection but they did not
stop and kept moving ahead to the next opportunity. If you want to read Mark
Victor Hansen talking about this issue, follow this link to the free sample of Jumpstart Your Publishing
Dreams. Mark writes about it in the foreword to my book.
As writers, we hear the word no a great deal in the publishing
world. We write a book
proposal and try to get a literary agent or a publishing contract. Yet we get
rejected and sometimes that rejection is over and over. We get little
feedback and form rejections saying things like “not a good fit” or “not
right for us.”
For others, we get a book contract from a publisher, yet you
decide the timing isn't right so you don't sign that particular contract. I
understand the timing and publisher and details have to be right. I have it
happen often with my work at Morgan James. We go through our internal process to
evaluate a book and decide it will be right right book for the publisher (a team
process). Then we issue a contract but the author doesn't sign it. I've had
authors sigdn their contract years (yes years) after I've initially presented it
to them. It is all about timing, passion of the author, resources,vision and
other such intangibles. As someone who has been in publishing many years, I
understand these intangibles but they are still frustrating. When I feel the
frustration, I say to myself the single word: next. Then I move forward on
For other authors, their book is not selling and they wonder
what to do next. I spoke with an author last week who published his book a year
ago, then was plunged into a personal medical situation which prevented him from
marketing and promoting his book. Now his health situation is resolved and I
encouraged him to begin again. Yes he had missed the launch window for his book
since it is already in the marketplace, but it is never too late to work on the
promotion of your book. Next.
I wrote this article to give you hope and encourage you to keep
moving—in spite of the rejection and the no thank yous. If you can't write or
publish in this place, look for the next opportunity. I know nothing will happen
if you don't move forward, take responsibility and take action. You can do many things in the publishing world but your action will be
the difference maker in this process. If I can help you in this process, my work
contact information is on the bottom of the second page of this
What steps do you take to get it done? Let me know in the
Use the Power of One Word to Propel Your Publishing Life. (ClickToTweet)
Labels: book proposals, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Jack Canfield, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, literary agents, Mark Victor Hansen, next, no, publishing, rejection, writing
How To Get It Done
Life is full and complicated for every writer. We have spouses and children and grandchildren and pets and extended family. There are interruptions and unexpected things which happen. In this article, I want to give you some ideas about how to get it done.
Admittedly in publishing there is a lot to do—writing the work is a challenge, finding a publisher, then getting it into the market and on-going marketing. Every aspect of the business involves effort and work. Many of the aspects are routine and involve simply siting at your keyboard and moving your fingers. I don't want to be too simplistic but getting the ideas out of your head is often the first active step in the process.
On the surface, people look at my work and believe I must be doing something different. I've written more than 60 books for traditional publishers (and in many different types—but all nonfiction). I've also written for more than 50 print magazines (stopped counting at 50). Plus I'm now working in acquisitions at my third publishing house. I'm blessed to have great opportunities (which I try and seize) and I continually work at growing my relationships.
First, let me give you basic truth about how to get it done. There are many things which are not getting done in the process of getting something done. I have my own share of unanswered emails, unreturned phone calls, Things around the house to fix or clean…..the list goes on and on. No one gets it all done—even if they look like they are getting it done.
How do you get things done? Several things:
1. Baby steps and continually pushing ahead with your writing—in spite of what else is going on in your life.
2. Persistent and continual knocking on new doors of opportunity. I've written about this in the past and it's the need of every writer. When you aren't writing for magazines and the book contracts have stopped, take a minute and think about why this is happening. Are you still writing query letters and pitching your ideas to editors? Are you writing book proposals and pitching those new ideas? If not, maybe that is the reason.
3. As you have ideas, consistently take action on these ideas. For example, today I was scanning through my news feed on Facebook. I noticed one of my Morgan James authors talking about how her book will make a great Christmas present. It was a terrific action on her part—which linked to her book on Amazon. I clicked the link and noticed this book had one Amazon review. This book came out four years ago—the same year as my Billy Graham biography, which just went over 100 Amazon reviews). I reached out to this author on email, complementing her on the marketing effort—and giving a number of other ideas of what can do to improve. I may or may not hear from this author but I had some ideas and took action on them.
Also maybe you've seen my little personal campaign to get over 100 reviews on Amazon. It happened and I'm grateful for everyone who helped me. I blogged. I emailed (individually and on my email list). I called people and any other way I could to get to this number. My point is it did not happen organically or naturally or without any effort.
Nothing happens without your taking action and responsibility. You can do many things in the publishing world but your action will be the difference maker in this process. If I can help you in this process, my work contact information is on the bottom of the second page of this link.
What steps do you take to get it done? Let me know in the comments below.
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Labels: . reviews, Amazon, Billy Graham, book proposal, magazine, Morgan James Publishing, publishing, query, writing
Better Than Thinking: Action
Let It is great to have thoughts about the world of publishing. There is a place for careful deliberation in our writing lives. But the real difference maker is when you take action on those thoughts. How are you moving from idea to plan to action?
I noticed one of my writer friends launched a new book and recently made the New York Times list. Initially I looked at the details of the book and noticed it was over 500 pages. My reading time is limited so it is rare that I read a book of such length. Yet I was fascinated with the success of this book reaching the bestseller list. I noticed it was available on audiobook and I checked it out through Overdrive.
Listening to a few chapters, I could see why the book made the bestseller list. The writing and the storytelling was fascinating. I made a point to call my friend and congratulate her on the success of her book. We haven't spoken but exchanged voicemails where she told me that she has never listened to any of her books on audio. Our exchange was brief but we did make a connection. The continued connections is an important part of the writing life.
Last week I read a blog post from literary agent Wendy Lawton called An Innovative Approach—Case Study. Wendy wrote about the launch of a three book series from Doug Newton called Fresh Eyes. I met Doug many years ago at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. David C. Cook where I used to work years ago, published these books. Often series books are released six months or a year apart but they decided to release all three of these titles at once. I looked at the books and found them intriguing. Then I looked at the pages on Amazon and Goodreads. I noticed the books had been out about a month and only had a few reviews. I have plenty to read. In fact, people approach me almost daily to review their books. Yet I wanted to help my friend Doug Newton (even though I had not corresponded with him in many years).
I wrote asking for a review copy of the books and they arrived late last week. Over the weekend I read through one of them (Fresh Eyes on Jesus’ Miracles: Discovering New Insights in Familiar Passages) and caught the excitement and innovation in these books. I'm posting my review and promoting the book.
Why tell you about this process? Because you can follow the same course of action. If you learn about a book that you would like to read, don't hesitate to reach out to the author or publisher and request a review copy of the book. When you get the book, read it, then write an honest review. Finally send an email to the author or publisher after you have posted your review. This final step of follow-through is important. Everyone gets a lot of mail and email but the ones which stand out are the ones which actually take action.
How can you turn your ideas into action? What practical steps can you take today which will feed into your writing life? I applaud thinking and thoughtful consideration but even more I appreciate taking action.Let me know in the comments how you are taking action on your thoughts.
Thinking is great but there is something better: taking action. Get ideas and the details here. (Click to Tweet)
Labels: . thinking, action, Amazon, David C. Cook, Doug Newton, Fresh Eyes, Goodreads, Jesus' Miracles, reviews, Wendy Lawton, writer
Levels of Persistence
Persistence is an important quality for every writer. When you
rejection letter (and it happens to all of us), then you have to persist to
look for the next opportunity for your writing. Instead of putting the
submission aside, you take active steps to get it back into the market with a
different editor or literary agent.
I've been thinking about the different levels of persistence and
how it plays into the writing life. Since I studied journalism at Indiana, I
have been a life-long newspaper reader. Not the digital version but getting a
daily newspaper and reading it cover to cover. From time to time, my newspaper
doesn't show up. Maybe the carrier skipped me or whatever happens but I have to
call the circulation office for a replacement newspaper.
Recently my wife reminded me of a period years ago when I lived
in a different city and the newspaper delivery problem was happening over and
over. To resolved it, I actually drove to the newspaper office and spoke with
someone face to face about it. My level of persistence was great and someone got
the message and it was finally resolved.
In recent days I've been having repeated problems with my Denver
Post not being delivered. I've called the circulation office almost daily but
the paper has not been delivered. I decided to raise the level of persistence. I
looked on the newspaper website and found the name, email and phone number of
the Senior Vice President of Circulation. I called this executive and left a
straight forward message and I emailed him as well about the poor customer
service situation with a plea for him to get it fixed,. Now I understand
thousands of people take my newspaper every day—but my level of persistence
raised the situation. While my newspaper situation is not
resolved, it is improving yet I'm determined for it to be fixed.
Do you have this level of persistence with your writing? Are you
determined to get your book published or to get into a particular magazine
or be represented by a particular literary agent? Maybe you want to speak at a
particular conference or event? Are you contacting the leaders on a regular
basis with innovative topics to speak at their event?
The reality is everyone has interruptions, family situations or
some other personal crisis. It throws off their ability to handle your writing
situation. With an email or a text or a call, can you get on their radar to help
them with a need?As you meet the needs of this person, they will in turn help you
meet your needs.
Are you persistent with your writing life? Tell me in what ways
in the comments below.
Is persistence a quality you have as a writer? Get insights here from this experienced professional. (Click to Tweet)
Labels: Denver Post, follow-up, magazine, newspaper, persistence, writing
The Hidden Costs of Publishing
|Like an iceberg, there are hidden costs in publishing.|
There are many things in the world of publishing which simply
add to the cost and effort to happen but are never documented or talked about.
In many ways, these elements become some of the hidden cost of publishing. In
some ways publishing is like an iceberg. We can see the top on the water but
don't realize all that is below the surface. In this article I wanted to tell
you about a couple of these hidden costs then give you some tools and basic
principles for your own writing life.
People look at my large twitter following and would like to have that ability
to influence and touch others. Yet are you willing to do the work to build that
following? I've detailed the five every
day steps I take with twitter. I use a program called Refollow to help automate this
effort. Sometimes the program does not work. Every day I can use it to quickly
follow 800 people in my target market. Then I can also use this program to
unfollow people who have not followed me back. Some of these people I followed
years ago and I use Refollow
to automatically unfollow them. This unfollow process involves clicking and
unfollowing each person—up to 1,000 a day.
Recently several times the program gets stuck. The only way I've
found to get it working is to leave the site (stopping the process) and to begin
it again (and reclicking all those times). Other times error messages are thrown
up on my screen. Maybe Twitter has blocked the unfollow process or something
else. These stops and starts amount to some substantial time with zero or little
results. Yet I persist because I understand it is all part of the process of
continuing to build my audience and presence in the market. I use these tools
consistently day after day.
Over the years, I've created a number of online information
products like Blogging for
Bucks or my Write a Book
Proposal course. I've automated many of these products through
autoresponders and other tools. Each of these products include my 100% Love it
Or Leave It Guarantee. If the buyer isn't satisfied in a period of time, they
can send an email and ask for a refund. This guarantee is a key part of selling
products online and it is rare that someone will ask for a refund. This email
arrived at a time when I was challenged with other things—yet I took the time to
make the refund. Carrying through with your promises is a key part of having an
online business and successfully selling products online. It doesn't make it
simple or easy.
Here's some basic principles for every writer to get beyond the
hidden costs of publishing:
* Understand they are there and keep going in spite of
*Automate when you can. Investing in tools like Hootsuite, Manage Flitter
and Refollow allow me to
continually grow my presence and saves time
*Keep growing in your craft of writing, attending conferences,
taking online courses and reading books. I've got shelves of how-to books I've
read over the years and continue to read them.
*Timing is critical and yet often out of your control. I've had
authors who have looked for an agent for years (not found it) then return to
Morgan James and ask if they can sign our book contract. I've had it happen
numerous times. An author signed recently who I have been speaking with off and
on for three years about her book.
*Take the long view of success yet keep doing the little things
and working to promote you and your writing. Over and over I speak with authors
who continue promoting yet have stopped telling their publisher about their
promotion (big mistake in my view). The publisher is going to assume they are
not promoting and has stopped talking about the author with their sales team and
the sales team to the bookstores since it is tied together. Yet if the author
continues to promote and tells the publisher, then the communication
and promotion to the bookstores can continue. Consistent communication
No little elves come out and write this material for us. We have
to be the ones to tell the stories and complete the work.
Do you recognize the hidden costs of publishing? What tips can
you give us about how you persist and get it done? I look forward to reading
Are there hidden costs to publishing? Read about some of them here with ideas to get beyond them. (Click to Tweet)
Labels: authors, books, hidden costs, hootsuite, Manage Flitter, Morgan James Publishing, publishing, Refollow, refund, Twitter