Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Unusual Interview Opportunity

I love to learn from others who have spent years in publishing—and especially those rare individuals who have written many books and become bestselling authors. One of my long-term friends is Jerry B. Jenkins. He has written more than 175 published books and sold over 70 million books including over 62 million in the Left Behind series.
Jerry’s diverse career has included stints as a sportswriter, photographer, sports editor, magazine editor, magazine publisher, book editor, book publisher, biographer, marriage and family author, syndicated cartoon strip writer, and graduate school writing instructor.
On Thursday, January 5, 2012, at 5 p.m. PST, 8 p.m. EST, I’ll be interviewing Jerry in a FREE 70-minute teleseminar. During our interview, I will be encouraging listeners to learn about and get a copy of the 27th Edition of The Christian Writers Market Guide. Last year, Jerry took over the authorship of this critical reference book from our friend Sally E. Stuart.
Everyone who registers for this free event at: http://askjerryjenkins.com will be able to ask Jerry a question about writing or marketing. I’ll use these questions to grill Jerry during the teleseminar.
In addition to asking a question, for registering, you will receive a chapter from Jenkins’ book Writing for the Soul called Pursuing Publication. This free 24-page Ebook is immediately available when you register for the event.
If you can’t make the LIVE event on January 5th, I encourage you to go ahead and register for the event. If you don’t have a question, just say “no question” and reach the confirmation page where you can download Jerry’s free Ebook. Why go ahead and register? The event will be recorded. Shortly after the teleseminar, everyone who registers will receive the link to the recording. Then on your own schedule, you can listen to the replay recording on your computer or iPod.
I’m looking forward to the January 5th event at: http://askjerryjenkins.com and hope to speak with you soon.
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Monday, December 26, 2011

Do You Want A Bestseller?

Authors regularly ask me how their book can become a New York Times bestseller. It’s because of my role as a book publisher at Intermedia and my years in the publishing business. I wish I had some magic bestseller pill that I could dispense when I get this question but I don’t know how to find that pill. I don’t believe there is anyone who has that pill.

Sure there are people who will sell you programs and plans to push your book to the top. In some ways, looking for a formula for bestsellers is like checking out the latest diet book. These diet books always appear at the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. People face a new year and are determined to find the magic formula for losing weight and getting into shape. Over 15 years ago I wrote a diet book in 11 days which has sold over 100,000 copies.

My co-author told me, “Terry, losing weight is simple. You need to eat less and exercise more.” Yet this co-author realized people needed more instruction than these simple words.

I can tell you the simple words work. In the last 12 months, I made a decision for my own eating habits to eliminate as much sugar and carbs in my diet and to exercise daily. Throughout the entire year, I only missed about 16 days and mostly because of travel. The results: I weigh over 30 pounds less than I started January 2011 and I feel better. Yet to make such a change, I had to make many daily decisions about eating and exercise. It took a great deal of hard work to achieve what I accomplished.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been re-listening to the audio tapes from Mega Book Marketing University 2007 with Mark Victor Hansen. I’ve not heard this information in several years. Even mega bestselling authors like Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield worked like crazy for the first several years to sell their books. They followed the rule of five—where they each did five things each day to promote their book. That consistent action of a radio interview, a television interview, a newspaper articles, a blog post, etc. after a while reached a tipping point and the books became a bestseller.

Woven into the fabric of their story about success for Chicken Soup for the Soul is a consistent message of hard work to promote and market and sell their book to readers.

There is no magic pill. Most authors are unwilling or uneducated to do the necessary promotion work for their book. It takes a daily and consistent effort. What steps are you taking today to establish your presence in the marketplace and your expertise in your particular topic or area?

Recently I met with an author who wants to write a book about the sanctity of Christian marriage. I can appreciate and value such a desire. Her book (which I haven’t seen) may be terrific. I encouraged her to begin writing magazine articles and to start blogging about her marriage experiences. Also I encouraged her to begin a twitter account about marriage and posting on Facebook about marriage to establish her own expertise in this area. The regular effort to promote her own expertise on her selected topic will take some time to pay off but I believe her consistent action will pay off. It doesn’t happen instantly.

You’ve probably heard about someone who has become an overnight success. Yet when I look closely at these overnight success stories, these people have been in the trenches for years writing their stories, speaking to audiences and building their reputation in a particular area of the market.

Stake your claim and your area. The dream is possible but it will take hard work. There is no doubt about it but I believe you are up for the task.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ten Tips For Getting Traffic Through Social Media

Editor's note: Today I'm honored to welcome Jimmy D. Brown and his guest entry for The Writing Life.

By Jimmy D. Brown of Traffic F.U.E.L.

Here then are 10 tips for using social media to drive traffic to your sites…

1. Complete your profile.

When you first open your Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo or other social media site account, fill out your profile (including a picture). Doing so makes it easier for people to get to know you and build relationships with you, which will make it more likely they’ll click through to your site.

2. Interact.

Social sites are, by definition, social. They’re two way streets (not monologues). That’s why you shouldn’t just post content and move on. Instead, spend a few minutes each day interacting and getting to know people in your network.

3. Include a link to your site on your profile page.

This tip is simple but effective: Give people a reason to click through from the social media site to your blog or squeeze page. A promise of a free solution usually makes for a good enticement.

4. Ask your followers to “retweet” and repost.

If you create a “buzzworthy” post (such as a post on a hot or even controversial niche topic), as your Twitter followers to “retweet” it and ask your other social media networks to repost it.

5. Spend time each day growing your network.

Commit to spending at least 10 minutes each day growing your network. You’ll see big results by the end of the month. And you’ll be amazed at the size of your network in six months or a year from now. 6. Link your social site pages together.

Link your Twitter account to your Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, HubPages and other social media pages. And vice versa.

7. Use your real name so that you’re easy to find.

People who want to do business with you won’t respond well to working with “BaseballBoy72.” Instead, build trust by using your real name. Doing so also makes it easier for others to find you on Facebook and similar sites.

8. Post good content.

Social media is not just about networking, it’s also about sharing information. If you share some of your best information with your network, you’ll get respect, trust… and more sales. Plus you’ll establish yourself as a niche expert.

9. Optimize some of your content.

Some social sites (such as Yahoo! Answers and Squidoo) get crawled and indexed regularly by the search engines. As such, you may consider optimizing some of your content for the search engines by including relevant (longtail) keywords two or three times for every 100 words of content.

10. Get the most benefit for your time.

Instead of trying to interact and build relationships with thousands of prospects, consider building a relationship with a handful of partners. That’s because just one good partner can send you hundreds or thousands of prospects and customers.

In summary: Social media is only expected to grow in the future – and now is the best time to get involved if you’d like to grow your business right along with it. You can start today by applying the ten traffic-generating, relationship-building tips you just discovered!


Jimmy D. Brown is the publisher of Traffic Jam newsletter and the owner of Traffic F.U.E.L. membership site. Drop by today to learn how to get completely free traffic to any website. Get your free traffic newsletter at http://imstitute.com/go.php?offer=write2sell&pid=20

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Prepare for Your Media Interviews

Several years ago, I wrote a book and my co-author appeared on the Today Show. I was excited about this opportunity to reach a large audience with the news about our book. I watched carefully the short segment to see how our book would be promoted.

By the end of the segment, I was yelling at my television. My co-author never mentioned the book. This person acted like they didn't even have a book. Talk about a missed opportunity! This person appeared before millions of people and didn't weave the title of our book into the conversation.

It's a personal example of where my co-author wasn't prepared for media interviews. If you are an author or small business owner, you want the media to interview you. Those interviews give you a chance to tell people about your business or latest book or newest product release. Do you prepare for these interviews or just “wing it?”

From my experience most people get out of an interview what they put into it. If you prepare and have your “talking points” then you take control of the exchanges and increase the possibilities that the interview will result in the type of article that you want.

Many authors haven't had media training or preparation to meet with the media. They have no concept of how to give a killer interview with the media. To help you in this area, I turned to Hollywood correspondent, Gayl Murphy. During her successful broadcasting career, Gayl has interviewed over 14,000 celebrities. From her years of experience as a journalist, she knows firsthand that for a killer interview, “You've got to tell it to sell it.”

Gayl has put together a special report of Interview Tactics and you can get this free report today when you register for our December 20th teleseminar. In the process of getting your free report, you can also ask Gayl a question about how you prepare for the media to interview you.

I'll be asking your questions to put Gayl on the hot seat and grill her about survival techniques for when the media interviews authors. I'm excited to host this live event and ask your questions. If you can't make the live event, go ahead and register because the teleseminar will be recorded. Everyone who registers will receive the replay information.

I'm looking forward to this opportunity for you to learn from such an experienced professional as Gayl Murphy. I hope to be speaking with you during our live event on Tuesday, December 20th. Register today.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Little Actions Have Big Potential

Are you dreaming of some great things happening in your writing life over the next few months? I hope so. I look around at the publishing community and see great opportunity for readers—online and in print—in books and in magazines. As I read the publishing news, I learn about a continual stream of new publications and new publishing efforts. Each one is full of big potential—only if you take action.

As I speak with authors, I find many of them have deep-seated dreams for their novel to find a publisher or their nonfiction book to jump on the bestseller list. I applaud the dreams but they must be backed with consistent action. Are you searching for the right publisher for your next work? Are you actively approaching literary agents to champion your cause? When you learn about a new editor, are you writing that editor and pitching an article or an idea? Are you approaching long-term editor friends with your ideas and pitches?

When I dig into what these authors are doing to expand their writing life, I find very little action. I don't know what will catch fire and become the next best thing in the new year. I do know I will not find it, if I'm not actively looking. Also if you are stuck or not finding a place for your work, I encourage you to knock on a different door. If you are writing novels, then try to publish some short stories. If you are writing a nonfiction book or book proposal, then pitch some magazine articles and write some shorter works. If you don't have any presence online then begin building one. There are few overnight successes but the key is to take action every day and build potential. That potential remains unrealized if the pitch is never made and the book stays on your computer or in your file drawer.

It's an old image but big doors turn on little hinges. As a writer, you are looking for the right connection or connections to move you into the next level with your publishing life. It will not happen unless you are on the move and taking action—daily action.

And when you get rejected? I've been in this business many years and I believe it is important to plan your response for how you will handle rejection. I encourage you to follow the example of Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield. When they were looking for a publisher for Chicken Soup for the Soul and getting rejected. Each time, they turned to each other and said one little word, “Next.” That word propels you forward to the next opportunity and the next place to consider your work. It prevents you from sticking the idea back in your drawer and never sending it out again.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Key Tool For Every Author

From my years in publishing, I've learned authors are a stubborn bunch. Most of us have huge dreams for our writing. We want other people to read it, publish our work, pay us fairly for our work—yet we don't want to actively be involved in marketing our work and telling other people about our writing. We want to create and write more words. I've been consistently teaching writers to add regular marketing to their writing life. These skills are something that everyone can learn—and it's not too early (or late) in the process for you to begin building your audience.

Recently I met with a much-published author who had a stack of proposals and ideas for books that he wanted to write. I admired his drive and desire to write new books. He does have some websites and I checked out those sites. During our conversation, he mentioned that he didn't have a platform or visibility in the market.

As I looked at his website, this author was missing a key tool in his arsenal of reaching his audience. He had no list-building device on his website. There are many different forms of this list-building device. In general, the author offers a free Ebook or a free audio or a free special report—in exchange for the reader giving their first name and email address. In the last few years, I've created a number of these types of offers.

For example, my Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to A Rejection-Proof Submission is a free Ebook. I promote this Ebook on my name website, my blog and a number of other places including twitter.

When you create one of these tools, you are gathering names and emails for an email list. Each time you send an email (whether a single offer) or an e-zine, you include the removal or unsubscribe links so the reader can no longer receive your mailings.

Everyone begins with a small number of subscribers then through providing consistent quality materials, your list grows and your audience grows. To me, List Building is a key tool for every author or would-be author. It doesn't matter if you are writing nonfiction or fiction, poetry or novels or magazine articles, every writer and author should be working on this regular communication tool.

To help you with more of the details about how to build a list, I've launched The List Building Tycoon. This step-by-step guide will teach you the various elements of list building and start today to gather your audience. This 76–page resource is backed with my 60 day risk-free guarantee.

Whether you get my List Building Tycoon ebook or not, I hope you will begin to take action and develop your own audience. It's a key step for every author.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Use Audio to Grow as a Writer

Each of us have the same constraints for our writing life: time. Yet some people manage to get so much more done in that 24 hour period. We want to write (and have plans in this area) yet we also want to continue to grow as writers and communicators.

One of the tools that I've been using for this area of growth has been audio. While I don't have a long commute like many people, I do spend a fair amount of time in my car driving—even in short bursts of time like five or ten minutes. How do I use those short amounts of time?

Several years ago, I purchased Jack Canfield's bestselling book, The Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. I hauled the book to a conference where I saw Jack and he autographed my book. I hauled the book on several trips—yet never managed to crack open the pages and read it. If you are a reader, I imagine you have a few books where you handle them in the same way.

I decided I wanted to learn the information in The Success Principles and another means to that information was through audio. I purchased the audio book and loaded the six CDs into my car player. Then for the next few weeks every time I was in my car—even for a few minutes—I turned on the audio book. In a short amount of time, I heard every single CD and learned a great deal from these CDs. In fact, the experience was so valuable to me that I plan to hear the entire book again soon.

Several weeks ago, I launched Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams Audio. It is almost an hour and a half of my teaching about different ways you can jumpstart your publishing life. It doesn't matter whether you are unpublished or much published, you will gain practical insight and inspiration from this CD.

Karen Morerod, author of More Than Just A Pretty Face, wrote about my CD, “The most challenging thing for me is: time. My family is great at giving me writing time, but after working seven hours away from home, my energy/creative levels are waning by the time I get home - IF, indeed, I have the luxury of being at home in the evening.

Many times I’ve driven the two hours from KC to Mahattan and I must say, listening to your CD was the fastest drive I've ever had! Usually when I try to listen to CDs in the car, my mind wanders. But this CD totally got me encouraged to get BUSY - plus it had such practical ideas. The CD gave me vision! It was wonderful.”

Time is the challenge for every writer. If you choose wisely, you can use audio as another tool in your arsenal to grow as a writer. It's what I'm doing. Are you?

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Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams Audio Workshop


Friday, December 02, 2011

Continually Build Your Audience

It's one of the simple yet necessary actions for every author or would-be author. They need to continually build their audience—people who follow them, learn from them, enjoy whatever they have to say and read their work and finally buy their products and services.

While the need is simple, the importance can't be overstated. There is a great deal of competition for our attention in today's marketplace.

There are multiple ways to build this audience for your message. For years, I've encouraged authors to regularly write a newsletter and send it out. I've been building my own newsletter list since February 2004. On a regular basis I send this publication to my audience. This consistent communication device helps you:

  • Build your expertise and credibility in the marketplace
  • Allows you to encourage and motivate others
  • Gives you a means to share information
  • Gives you the ability to sell your products and services

Yet here is one of the keys with a newsletter—you need to continually add subscribers and build your audience. One of the easiest ways is to give away a free Ebook or something of value to the people you want to attract. In exchange for the free Ebook, the reader has to give you their first name and email address. Through this exchange you build the reach of your audience and message.

For several years, I've been using a tool to build my subscriber list called PopUp Domination. Whether you have a regular website or a Word Press blog, PopUp Domination is a great resource because it allows the reader to easily sign up for your free offer. In addition to receiving the free offer, that reader is added to your list of subscribers for ongoing communication.

I use this tool on several different websites including the one with my name: www.terrywhalin.com. If you go to this site, you will see that you can receive my free Ebook, Platform-building Ideas for Every Author.

Another place I use PopUp Domination is at the sign-up page for my affiliate program: www.terryinfo.com If you go to this page, you will see the pop up for my free Ebook, You Can Make Money and the simple sign up buttons.

A third place where I use PopUp Domination is on my Book Proposal Coach website: www.bookproposalcoach.com. You will receive a 91–page Ebook, Book Proposals That Sell Extra Special Report.

Currently PopUp Domination is announcing the third version of their program. I recommend you look into it as an important tool in your arsenal of building your subscribers and audience for your message.

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Thursday, December 01, 2011

Gain Skill at Choosing the Right Word

For every writer, a key foundational skill is word choice. It's critical to use the right word at the right time. Nancy Ragno has written a terrific tool in this book, WORD SAVVY, USE THE RIGHT WORD EVERY TIME, ALL THE TIME to help every writer in this area.

In the opening pages, Ragno clearly identifies her audience and what you will learn in these pages: "Being word savvy mans that you keep abreast of the times. You stay on top of important new words entering the language and are alert for words you need to know. You are aware of the keywords computers are likely to scan for your resume. You know the important terms and buzzwords in your field. Through word savvy you stay in the loop, maintain your competitive edge, and keep on top. How can you achieve word savvy? This book tells you what you need to know. You'll learn how to:

* Master seventy-six commonly confused word pairs.

* Conquer fifty-two commonly misused words.

* Use tricky singulars and plurals with assurance.

* Include the right keywords in your resume.

* Keep abreast of new buzzwords in your field." (Page 1-2)

As someone who has studied the language for many years, I loved reading this book and found many great reminders plus I learned a great deal from it. Becoming
WORD SAVVY is a key step for every success-oriented reader. I recommend this book.

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