Monday, May 24, 2010

Discover The Missing Piece

Are you missing a critical piece of your business? If you are a small business owner, speaker, coach or consultant, according to Sophfronia Scott, you need a book. In fact, you can build your business around a book.

Wednesday evening, I will be interviewing Sophfronia but I want to ask your questions so now is your chance to watch me grill this journalist who spent over twenty years writing and editing for People and Time. When she published her first novel, "All I Need to Get By" with St. Martin’s Press in 2004, one prominent reviewer referred to Sophfronia as potentially "one of the best writers of her generation." Sophfronia holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard. In her current position as executive editor of The Done For You Writing & Publishing Company, Sophfronia helps entrepreneurs and speakers to write and publish books to promote their businesses.

Whether you have a question or not, go over to AskSophfronia and sign up. You will receive a free copy of her special report, The Missing Piece which you can instantly download.

Hope to speak with you on Wednesday.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Labels: , ,


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ask Plenty of Questions

At first I didn’t notice the publisher name on my room key at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. It was Cross Books, the self-publishing arm of Lifeway.

Last Wednesday at breakfast I spotted several writers who I met originally a year ago during the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. One of the authors, a pastor’s wife of a Baptist Church had decided to publish her first book with Cross Books. I listened to this author tell me about her challenges producing the book, getting in touch with the publishing house and how with each connection she was speaking with a different person at the publisher.

Finally this author pulled her new book out of her bag and showed it to me. I immediately noticed the barcode on the book did not include the retail price of $16.99 nor was the price printed on the back of the cover. As I looked closely at the book, I noticed the publisher address on the copyright page: Bloomington, Indiana. Then the pieces fell into place. This author had published with Author Solutions. I located this article from Publishers Weekly. It points out Cross Books is an imprint of Author Solutions, the largest self-publishing company in the country—yet this author was unaware of Author Solutions and had never heard of them. Author Solutions is the parent company for several imprints including West Bow Press with Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher. The PW article mentions that West Bow has published 50 titles with another 200 in the process.

Almost two years ago, I interviewed Susan Driscoll, who was then the president of iUniverse. Susan moved to a different publisher when Author Solutions purchased iUniverse. At that time, iUniverse was publishing over 400 books a month. According to this article in American Way magazine, Author Solutions brought over 21,000 titles into print in 2008 (or an average of 1,750 books each month). Self-publishing has only grown in popularity in the last two years, I can’t imagine the number of books they are publishing at this time. While I'm sure some authors have great experiences with Author Solutions and their various imprints, it only seems fair to be aware of their large number of books. This newly-published Cross Books author that I met at the writers' conference had no idea she was a small part of a huge publishing entity.

The experience reminded me again of the necessity of authors to ask lots of questions before they sign up with any publisher. You want to make sure it is a right fit for you and your publishing goals. The author at Cross Books left our conversation encouraged with some plans and action steps to take with her book.

I found the experience renewed my own commitment to my authors to be a good communicator and to be in touch with them about their questions in a timely fashion. Only through good communication can people feel informed and able to do good work in the creation, distribution and marketing of books. Once again, I learned and grew as a member of the publishing community. What active steps are you taking to grow in your knowledge of the publishing world?

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Labels: , , ,


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Take Action for Your Dreams

Over the last few days, I've been pulling together my handouts and teaching notes for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference and the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. If you check the dates on these two events you will see they are back to back or I will be nine days on the road. I'll be teaching six hours in Colorado and three hours in North Carolina plus meeting with many writers one-on-one and enjoying the conference experience.

At each of these conferences, I meet new people and also can catch up with long-term publishing friends. Every conference is an event with many conversations and benefits which happen from these exchanges.

Are you planning on going to a conference this year? I highly recommend that every writer or would-be writer make the effort to get to a conference. If you want to see my schedule for the year, here's where I keep it. I've added a couple of events over the last few weeks.

These events seem to start and end quickly. In between there are many interactions and dozens of ideas which are discussed. Resources are offered and sold. Many people leave these conferences enthused and energized about the opportunties for them in the publishing world. Yet there is one key distinction of the people who would like to be published and the ones who eventually get published: the ones who get published take action on the ideas and teaching.

If you could come along with me to these events, you'd be surprised at the number of times I offer to help someone--and I never hear from them again. They do not take an active follow-up role after the conference. The participants who take action will eventually succeed. That perserverance will pay off.

Over the last few weeks, I've been listening a second time to Arielle Ford's Everything You Should Know series. In some cases, I'm listening to the teaching for the third time. Why? It is a great deal of information to absorb and recall and especially to apply to your writing life.

I heard Arielle Ford affirm something that I've found true as well: there is no such thing as an overnight success. Every author who ultimately becomes a bestselling author or well-known has been in the trenches for years. They've been interviewed on the small radio stations and they've been telling people about their books for years and faithfully working on learning the writing craft.

Arielle told about an author she was promoting years ago who was a PhD and was riding the train over from Connecticut to a small cable TV station for an interview about his book. As this author rode the train, he felt regretted making the effort and time for this interview. He wondered if anyone would be watching the interview. That day, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal was home sick and caught this interview. The journalist was fascinated with the author and eventually wrote a front page story for the Wall Street Journal. That article propelled the author into the media eye and ultimately on the New York Times bestseller list.

You can't always tell the value of an interview or a review from what you see on the surface. Instead, you need to continue to take action and work toward achieving your dreams.

In each chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, I have a dig deeper section with additional resources and a section for the reader called Awaken the Dream. I'm pushing the reader to take action and apply the material to their writing life. It's what I will be doing in Colorado and North Carolina--encouraging writers to take action. It's the only way to achieve their dreams.

What steps are you taking today to move forward and achieve your own plans in the publishing world? For some people that will involve learning the craft of writing. For others, it will mean reaching out and forming new relationships with editors or writing some magazine articles. For others, it will mean looking for new ways to reach their audience and tell them about their book.

From my years in the publishing world, every editor and agent that I know are actively looking for the best projects to bring into print. My encouragement is that you make a plan then take action on your plan--today and tomorrow and the next day. It will pay off for you.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Labels: ,