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Friday, June 05, 2009


The Power of Asking

We live in a busy world and the pace of life seems to get faster each day. The amount of email and good things that we can jump into only seems to multiply: blogs, twitter, facebook, myspace, forums and email newsletters. My encouragement is for you to handle it one task at a time. It is OK, not to blog or be involved in twitter. Each element is a choice and you have to know and understand the reason you have strategically decided to be involved in such an effort. Also periodically return to your different obligations and see if they continue to contain value. If not, then see how to eliminate or reduce them. It's something I'm actively doing all the time.

In a couple of weeks I will be speaking at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. I'm looking forward to telling the audience some unusual stories about my journey into publishing. How was I asked to be their keynote speaker? You can find some of those details in this post from Emily Akin. In particular notice the sixth paragraph, "Once she picked her jaw up from the floor, she opened the message, in which Whalin expressed interest in being on faculty for 2009 conference. He mentioned his "deep family roots" in Kentucky, included several topics on which he could speak, and added that he would have a new book out in time for KCWC '09." (I've underlined what I'm emphasizing here.). I wrote Emily, the conference organizer, and asked to be considered for their faculty. The rest of the story is also in this post but it started with my own initiative to ask for consideration. What sort of dreams do you have for your own writing life? Are you asking?

This week during lunch with one of my authors, he asked me about how to get the endorsements and foreword for his forthcoming book. We discussed some possible names and relationships that this author has established. One of the keys in this process is to simply ask the people for their help. Also how you ask is critical. When you ask, I recommend you position your question in the easiest possible way for that person to say yes. For example with an endorsement or foreword for a book, the people who are most often approached are very busy people. How can you make your request stand out--and make it easy for that person to say yes?

If you haven't been in publishing, you probably don't understand these high profile people (the type you want to endorse your book) are regularly asked to write an endorsement. Yet they have several hurdles in accepting such a request--time to read the book and then write something coherent and appropriate about the book. In the process of asking them, I recommend you offer to possibly write them a "draft" endorsement. It will erase the potential hurdle and position you as an understanding person who wants them to say "yes." I've written many drafts of endorsements over the years and sometimes the person will take my exact words and other times they will rewrite them. It adds to the power of your asking if you ask in the right way.

Throughout the week, I've been thinking about this simple principle. Ironically bestselling author Jack Canfield wrote about the same topic in his newsletter through the article, Good Things Come To Those Who Ask. I encourage you to read, study and apply the principles in this excellent article.

What is holding you back from making the next step in your publishing life? I have many insights about taking next steps in my Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Have you read it? Are you implementing the information? If not, then I'm asking you to get your copy today.

Are you using the power of asking? Do it today and you will be surprised at what can happen. I believe something amazing is in store for you.

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7 Comment:

At 1:59 PM, Blogger Bob G Left a note...

I just recently went through the endorsement-seeking process for my first book (in the business/marketing field) which will be published in October. It was a pretty big project in itself. Thankfully, I ended up with several big-name endorsers.

My biggest advice is that you've got to rely on your personal network and go first to people you know personally who will be happy to do you this big favor. I had a few good friends that were "locks" for reviews. Then I had some more stretching targets that were friends of friends. This led to some pretty nice additional endorsers as my friends were able to open the door and vouch for me. Finally, I had a list of "stretch targets" that I really didn't expect to get. I choose people who I had quoted in my book or people in senior management of the companies I profiled. I used LinkedIn and Twitter to reach them directly (two ways you can find people when you don't have their email address). A small handful of several stretch targets accepted my request. Roughly 75% of my personal network, 30% of friends-of-friends, and 20% of my stretch targets ended up giving me an endorsement over a 2 month process.

Other suggestions are to make sure you Fed-Ex a galley copy immediately, follow up after a few weeks, and offer to give them some ideas for what to write.

Finally, don't be too down when you have people reject you or simply not reply at all. If you ask about 40 people chances are strong that you will get 5-10 at least to endorse you, which is a very good number.

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Bob,

Great input about endorsements. I agree that you have to ask many more people than you think you ultimately will get for your book.

To my surprise when I wrote Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, I asked a number of people--and was only turned down a few times. It was a nice "problem" so I ended up with four pages of amazing endorsements which you can see in my sample: http://www.terrylinks.com/jypd

Thanks again, Bob,

Terry

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Lynn Left a note...

Most of us don't remember to ask for what we want. Thanks for the reminder.

I love the idea of writing a draft endorsement. It's important to respect the time of others.

Lynn

 
At 9:09 AM, Blogger Pat~ Left a note...

Terry, I've lurked your blog for a long time, and even heard you at writer's conferences...but have to admit, I have a hard time with the concept of an author writing their own drafted endorsement, and then getting the big-name person to sign off on it. True, it may work (due to time constraints or possibly even a sense of guilt/obligation/relief for the endorser), but I'm not convinced the end (increased book sales) justifies the blurry means, here. Maybe I'm just too much of an idealist, but this is the sort of thing that tempts me to be cynical about the publishing business (even Christian publishing).

Just my two bits...and sorry if they seem to be not quite on board.

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger Faith Imagined Left a note...

Terry, thanks for the post. I've enjoyed following you on Twitter and on your blog.

Does your book, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, apply to all genres or just nonfiction? Would it be helpful to a Christian Fiction writer?

Thanks again for keeping us informed. I'll tuck this post into my mind for future reference when I need courage!

 
At 7:19 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Faith Imagined,

Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams has broad application to any writer--fiction or nonfiction. The principles about publishing apply to any type of writing.

Terry

 
At 12:40 PM, Blogger Cindy Left a note...

Thanks for the advice to become an "asker". This is one of the biggest hurdles I am working to overcome on my journey to publication, particularly because my own sphere of influence isn't that large. I am having to look toward others whom I don't know. It's intimidating but I am learning a lot. Thanks again!

 

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