Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Reviewing Book Reviews

When I read a magazine or a newspaper, I watch for the book review section. I turn to it like a beacon to see what people are writing about books and which books they are recommending.

If the review is favorable (and most of them are because publications don't want to give space to negative reviews), then I will track down the book and either purchase it or get it from my library. Book reviews have a great deal of influence.

Many new authors believe they can get their book reviewed in local newspapers or even national newspapers like The New York Times. Yet these beliefs are based on dreams and not what is happening in the marketplace.

Last night I was reading Publishers Weekly and found this article, Where the Major Papers Stand. I encourage you to follow the link and read this article about the state of book review in some of the largest newspapers in the United States. It will help you have a more realistic picture of what is possible.

In particular notice the last paragraph of the article (which was called out in a box in the printed Publishers Weekly to add even more emphasis):

“Beyond the Newspapers

NBCC v-p, online, Jane Ciabattari said there’s also been a “proliferation” of Web sites doing book reviews, with newcomers like the Millions and the Rumpus following in the footsteps of online stalwarts like Slate and Salon. She said there has also been “a growth in book coverage among the trusted gatekeepers,” like NPR, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, the Nation, the New Republic, and O, the Oprah Magazine.”

Not too many years ago (before the Internet), the choices for book reviews were very limited. That's not the case today. Instead as an author, I would encourage you to focus on smaller publications (which still have a lot of influence). For example, can you reach out to your local regional or community newspaper with a terrific press release and review copy of your book? Then after you send it, follow up with a quick email or phone call to the editor. In this email or phone call, you check to see that they received it (nothing more and not pushing them to use it). Many authors will send review copies but few will follow-up in this gentle manner.

Also concentrate on encouraging Amazon customer reviews. When someone sends you a glowing email about your book, you can respond encouraging them to write a sentence or two with a Five Star Amazon review. Make it easy for them to do it and send them the link to the specific page.

As an author, you have many resources to use. Are you actively working on getting book reviews for your book? Even if it is not “new,” do not give up on the promotion and reviews for your book. It will pay off for you.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Step Up Your Observation Skills

As a writer, there are many key skills to develop. One of these skills is observation. Whenever I travel, I love to take a few quiet moments in the airport and people watch. Do you? It’s always fascinating and I can always learn something from the observation experience.

Throughout my work day as an editor and writer, I’m fairly isolated. I have my computer screen and my office environment. Other than on my phone and email, I do not have a great deal of face to face interaction with others.

What are you writing? Fiction? Then you need to sharpen your observation skills and build those observations into your characters.

On Right-Writing.com, I have an article from Laura Backes, Editor of The Children’s Insider about the Secrets of Great Characters. Part of her article says, “If you want to write convincing characters, I think it’s essential that you observe children of different ages close up. Make that children who aren’t your own; kids you can look at objectively. See how they interact, how they treat each other, how they treat the adults in their lives. Grown-ups have different purposes to kids at various ages, and the adult characters in your books should fill their appropriate roles. Each year of growth brings dramatic changes, and the division between boys and girls in social situations gets wider by the month. As a writer, you can’t simply increase the age of your characters by a year without reflecting numerous transformations that year brings.”

Laura’s words are true for the children’s writer—but also true for fiction and nonfiction. Whatever type of writing you are doing today—it will usually involve storytelling. The great magazine writing involves telling a good story and showing a character” or a person to the reader in your writing. It’s a challenge for each of us in our work as writers and editors. One key is to work at learning more each day and continuing to grow in your writing.

What are you doing today to grow your observation skills?

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Monday, February 27, 2012

Work with Your Editor

Within the publishing world, there are many important relationships and one of the important ones is between you and your editor.

Editors Len and Carolyn Goss run an editing service for writers called Good Editors. Len Goss has a long background of years in publishing. I met Len when he was the Editorial Director at Crossway Books and before that Len was a Zondervan editor. He’s been in publishing for many years and worked with many different authors. Len and Carolyn Goss have an excellent book, The Little Style Guide to Great Christian Writing and Publishing. The style guide is valuable on a number of fronts and a highly recommended book for any Christian writer. The style guide is valuable on a number of fronts and a highly recommended book for any Christian writer.

Flipping through the book, I selected the section on the Editor-Author Relationship and asked the publisher for permission to excerpt it. One sentence stood out to me: “Trust is at the core of the editor-author relationship.”

I’ve had good and bad experiences as an editor and as an author. For example, several years ago I was editing an author’s manuscript which was full of sentence fragments and poorly constructed sentences--that had no flow from my perspective. I spent a ton of effort to make things understandable and clear--but the author accused me of messing with his style, being over 40 (yes) and generally too heavy handed (I was following the publisher’s instructions to me). He screamed loud enough that I was booted off the job (compensated for my work--but not used). The book is now out and I wish it well.

Many other times, the editor has lifted my prose to a new standard through their work. They have clarified sentences, improved verbs and many other functions. As someone who has been in this business a while, whenever you go through it, I’d encourage several actions:

  • Don’t fight every single change. Pick and choose your battles carefully. It’s a sign of wisdom and cooperation and positions you as an author who understands the process.
  • Celebrate and appreciate the editor and their hard work on your prose. In general, it’s a thankless job to be an editor—yet the editor is the person who monitors the quality of the end product—and ultimately stands for the reader. Their work in quality control is critical to the overall successful result of the product.

I know firsthand when the editor/ author relationship works, it’s a beautiful experience. The two people work in harmony for the best possible product. Love your editor. It’s an important connection. I recommend you read Understanding the Editor-Author Relationship. Then continue working each day to build and strengthen these relationships.

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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grab Writing Moments

Are you planning writing moments into your day? Do you have a set time in the morning or late at night that you specifically give to your writing?

Every writer is different. I've met many prolific writers and I find the majority have a word count or specific goal that they want to achieve to keep their writing flowing.

For my own writing life, I've found it is important to have short term and long term writing projects. For example, I've got a new product that I've had in the works for a while and I continue to chip away at getting the writing done on a regular basis. For you, it could be a nonfiction book or a book proposal or a novel or a new Ebook. These lengthy projects are not written in a single session or overnight.

I've also got shorter magazine articles including columns for publications that are on my writing schedule. I encourage you to grab your writing moments.

Last week it was time to take my car into the shop to get the oil changed. I planned to wait for my car in the customer service area. I could have watched some mindless television or read a book or grabbed a few moments to write. I used that time to write.

My writing was not random but focused. I needed to write a 500 to 700 word article. I had written a title and a few outlined points for the article. In my mind, I knew how I was going to put it together and execute my plan—yet I had not taken any time to put my fingers on the keyboard and get it done.

On my way to the shop, I grabbed my AlphaSmart 3000. I take my AlphaSmart when I travel and people often nudge me and ask, “What is that thing?” It's old technology and isn't connected to the Internet or my email. It's simply a tool to crank words into your computer. It runs on two AA batteries and you never lose any words. It can hold up to 100 pages of text. Some of my novelist friends will write entire books on their AlphaSmart. The screen only shows four lines of text but it is a terrific keyboarding device. I take my AlphaSmart when I travel and use it on airplanes. The person ahead of me can put back their seat and I can still crank out the words. It is basically indestructible and a trustworthy tool.

When I reached the shop, I pulled out my outline and began to pour words into it. In a short amount of time, I completed my rough draft of the article. The AlphaSmart holds eight different files and has a limited spellchecker. I say limited because it does not include words like “website” or “blog” yet it will help you correct many words so I use it.

Just so you know I'm not the last AlphaSmart user on the planet, watch this two-minute video from bestselling author James Scott Bell about Snatching Time (click this link if you can't see the YouTube image).

I purchased my AlphaSmart several years ago on Ebay for something like $30. It was a wise investment and it helps me grab writing moments and make them productive.

What steps are you taking today to grab the writing moments in your life and make them productive?

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Friday, February 24, 2012

10 Tips to Sell Your Photos Online

For a moment, stop and think about the photos you've snapped on your digital camera or on your computer’s hard drive right.

Now consider your answers to these questions:

• Are there are any photos of dogs, cats, birds or other pets? • Are there any photos of other animals, like wildlife? • Are there any photos of people, like cute babies? • Are there any photos of nature, such as forests, mountains, and beaches? • Are there any photos of landmarks? • Are there any other interesting photos, like bridges, rainbows, sunrises, waterfalls, buildings, etc?

If so, you could be sitting on an absolute fortune!

That’s because people love buying photos online, especially through stock photo sites and photo product sites.

And you can get your share of the money by following these 10 tips for selling your photos online…

1. Find out what people want. The easiest way to sell your photos online is by focusing on the photos that people really want to buy.

Example: Go to istockphoto.com to see what’s popular. Then create something similar.

2. Focus on one subject. People who buy photos on products (like t-shirts) or those who buy photos to upload to their websites don’t want cluttered photos. So when you take a picture, be sure to focus on one primary subject.

3. Edit the photos. Of course sometimes clutter is unavoidable – and that’s ok, as long as you crop and edit the photo using software like Gimp.org.

4. Create transparent or white backgrounds. This is particularly important if you’re selling your photos on stock photo sites.

Example: If a person wants a photo of a laptop, they want JUST the laptop – they don’t want to see the table it was sitting on when you took the photo.

5. Upload photos to stock photo sites. Want a quick and easy way to start selling photos TODAY? Then upload your photos to sites like istockphoto.com.

6. Put your photos on photo products. This one takes a little more time to get set up, as you’ll want to proof the products before you start selling them. But you can charge more for these products, which makes photos products (like t-shirts and coffee mugs) very profitable.

7. Create themed packages.

Example: Create a package of 25 photos of poodles. Or create a package of famous landmarks. Point is, photo packages will sell better if the photos are related.

8. Offer exclusive licenses. Sometimes you may sell the same photo to hundreds of different people. At other times, you may consider selling exclusive licenses so that just one person has the rights to this photo. You may charge hundreds of dollars or more!

9. Market your photos. Sure, you’ll make some money by uploading your photos to stock photo sites and photo product sites. But you’ll make even more money if you cast a wider net by advertising your photos.

Example: You can start a Fan Page on Facebook.com or post an ad on CraigsList.org.

10. Create an email list. Finally, be sure to keep in contact with your prospects or customers by starting an email list. If you don't have a list, then take my free 21 lesson course (follow this link) or get my inexpensive Ebook The List Building Tycoon to learn this important skill. Then with your own email list, you can turn buyers into repeat buyers!

Whether you’re new to selling photos online or you’re a seasoned pro, you can make more money by using the above tips. But to make even more money, then you need to get your hands on The 31 Day Guide to Selling Photos Online. You can get your copy right here: http://www.moneywithphotos.com/

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Three Easy Steps to Sell Digital Photos Online

You’ve heard that you can make money selling your pictures online. And you’ve heard that anyone can do it, even those without fancy equipment or expensive training.

The good news is that what you’ve heard is true!

Here are the three easy steps you need to take to start cashing in on this profitable opportunity…

Step 1: Find out what people want.

You can’t just put any old photo online and expect to make a fortune with it. Sure, you may make some money just by luck. But if you’re serious about making money, then you need to sell the stock photos, photo packages and photo products that people are willing and eager to buy.

How do you tell what people want? Here are two ways:

• See what they’re already buying on stock photo sites. Most sites tend to designate their “hottest” photos and/or they list how many people have downloaded the photo.

• Ask your market. That’s right, put out a short survey to find out you’re your prospective customers are interested in buying.

Step 2: Shoot and edit your photos.

Once you know what people want, then your next step is to take your photos and edit them using software (like Gimp.org).

Tip: The key is to focus in on one subject and to remove the clutter from the background of the photo. You’ll also want to take close ups of your subject.

You can then use your photo-editing software to:

• Crop the photo so that the subject of your photo is the main component in the picture.

• Remove grain and other noise from the picture.

• Create special effects, such as blurring part of the photo, turning it into a black and white or sepia photo, etc. Just be sure that any special effects you use actually enhance the photo and make it more desirable to buyers.

Step 3: Make it easy for people to find your photos.

Even if you have the best photos in the world, you won’t make a dime if no one sees them. That’s why you need to advertise your stock photos, packages and photo products.

There are plenty of ways to do this. Here are three popular ways:

• Start a blog. You can get a free one at WordPress.com. It’s a great way to draw traffic in from the search engines as well as keep in touch with your prospects and customers.

• Upload your photos to multiple sites. Where allowed, be sure to upload and advertise your photos and photos products on as many sites as possible. For example, you can sell products on CafePress.com, Zazzle.com and other photo product sites.

• Sell them on eBay®. Here’s a whole community of people just looking to buy stuff – so tap into these buyers by selling your photos and products here!

The above three steps give you a great start to making money online with your digital photos. However, if you want to move from making a few dollars to making a living, then you need The 31 Day Guide to Selling Photos Online. You can use the Ebook risk free for 60 days. If you take action, you can be making money on your photos in this amount of time. Use this link to get your copy.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sell Your Digital Photos & Make Money

Get this: You don’t have to be a professional photographer in order to make money with your digital photos.

That’s right, now even amateur photographers can make money taking pictures. And truth be told, you may already have a goldmine of photos sitting on your hard drive.

Whether you have vacation photos, photos of pets, photos of landscapes or just about anything else, there’s someone out there willing to pay cash for your pictures!

There are plenty of ways to sell your digital photos. Here are three popular ways to do it:

1. Upload your photos to a stock photo site. This is one of the most popular methods. Simply go to a stock photo site like iStockphoto.com and start uploading your photos. You then get cash every time someone buys one of your photos.

There are a few ways to make this strategy more effective, including:

• Finding out what people want to buy. Once you know this, then you can take photos around these subjects.

• Knowing how to advertise your photos. You need to use the right keywords in order to get prospects to notice your photos.

• Editing your photos. Buyers tend to like clean photos that they can upload to their blog, sales page or other web page. Thus if they want a picture of a dog, for example, then they don’t want a whole lot of other stuff in the background of the photo (like your TV and coffee table).

2. Create photo products. Yet another way to make money with your photos is by putting the photos on products, and then selling the products.

Example: You can create and sell photo products such as:

• T-shirts • Wall clocks • Calendars • Posters • Coffee mugs • Jigsaw puzzles

Fortunately, there are a lot of websites that make it easy for you to do this (such as Zazzle.com). Indeed, many of these online sites even let you set up a store to sell your merchandise, meaning you don’t even need your own website to get started making money. And of course you can always have some of the merchandise shipped to yourself so that you can sell it locally.

3. Sell the resell rights to photo packages. Still another way to make money with your photos is by selling your photos to marketers, who then resell your photos to others. In other words, you create a profit opportunity for other people.

Example: A marketer may take a package of 25 of your photos and resell them to web designers. Or maybe the marketer will create websites using your photos and then sell the websites. Or perhaps the marketer will create and sell photo products.

So what’s the advantage to you?

You make money while saving time. Instead of selling your photos one at a time to hundreds or even thousands of customers, you can package your photos and sell them for $100 - $1000 to a handful of marketers. Much easier!


There you have it – three ways to make money with your photos.

Of course you’ll make more money once you know the details of these methods. And you’ll make more money when you know the other popular ways to make money with your photos. You can download all the details right here inside The 31 Day Guide to Selling Photos Online. I encourage you to check it out because all of the risk is on me. You can use it for 60 days and start selling your photos. This guide is step-by-step guidance to your success in this area of selling photos.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

Watch this free Rush Hour Traffic Video

If you have a website, then you need to continually learn how to generate traffic. What can you do in one 60–minute time period?

In an hour you can drive 70 miles on the Interstate (if you're obeying the traffic laws). Or you can get a manicure and haircut. Or you can watch a couple of reruns of Seinfeld.

Or you can learn some interesting things (several "contrary to popular belief" eye-openers) about generating free traffic to your website.

Your choice. :)

If you've got just under an hour (50 minutes) to watch a training video about free traffic, then I've got a link for you below.

Free Traffic expert "Jimmy D. Brown" (he's been getting free traffic to his website continually for the past TWELVE YEARS … since 2000!) has made available a very interesting video in which he answers questions about generating free traffic.

You can watch it today (at no cost) by visiting this link.

In the video Jimmy answers questions like…

1) What is THE best way to get free traffic?

2) How can I get quality "buyer" traffic and not "useless" traffic?

3) How does the "little man" get those with big lists to mail for them?

Plus seven more!

Watch the video now and here are just a few things you'll learn…

* 3 keys to using article marketing to get REAL results.

* 3 things you *MUST* do in order to get free traffic from ANY source.

* A couple of simple "tricks" for getting BUYERS instead of BROWSERS.

* The truth about viral marketing, SEO, backlinks and more.

* 3 case studies of "unknowns" (at the time) who got me to promote them - how they did it and how you can too.

Watch the video now at this link.

NOTE: I must warn you in advance that Jimmy shakes things up a bit when he talks about why he does NOT "waste time" on some of the most popular techniques being taught today. You will find some good stuff that you need to take to heart!

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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Catch this Book Marketing Resource

For almost a month, I've had a browser window open to catch this interview with John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books for Authors and Publishers. I receive blog post email updates from Joel Friedlander and this interview looked like a good one. I didn't have a chance to listen to it—until today.

Joel has the link to the audio on his website or you can watch the interview on YouTube. You can download the audio and hear it on your computer or iPod. I listened to the audio version and found it fascinating.

To quote Joel's blog:

“John’s three top tips:

  1. Build relationships with bloggers
  2. Blog tours with big blogs to be effective
  3. Social sites where readers congregate

Topics discussed:

  • What killed the Amazon Bestseller campaigns
  • The role of social media in book marketing
  • John’s three favorite social networking sites and why
  • How to connect with thought leaders on social media
  • Automating your marketing efforts
  • How John uses Twitter lists
  • Why John doesn’t check his Twitter DMs
  • How blogs help authors market
  • What to do about ebooks
  • A quick way to raise your book’s ranking in the Kindle store
  • The problem with book trailers
  • The power of women in book marketing”

I found the discussion between Joel and John engaging. Both of these men know a great deal about marketing and selling books. I recommend you take notes and apply it to your own books.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Keep Experimenting to Sell Books

I've never met a book author who didn't want to sell more copies of their work. It doesn't matter if they are published through one of the largest publishers or Podunk Press (I don't believe there is such a small publisher named Podunk Press but maybe since there are many of them).

I've interviewed more than 150 bestselling authors and spoken with hundreds of other authors. If you bring up the topic of selling more books, almost every author has a story about something they tried yet failed to work. Often these stories are filled with the author blaming someone else for the lack of sales. They blame:

  • their publisher
  • their publicist
  • their agent
  • their editor
  • the wrong title
  • the wrong cover
  • the missing endorsements
  • _____ you name it

It's rare that I hear the author blame the real culprit: themselves. Yes, it's hard to admit but it is the first step toward selling more books and understanding who bears the true responsibility for selling books—the author.

In Jack Canfield's bestselling title, The Success Principles, How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, he begins the book with some fundamentals for success. The first principle is: Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.

For book authors, you can easily take the word Life and substitute Book: Take 100% Responsibility for Your Book. It's amazing how your attitude will shift if you take this simple step.

Many authors long to have their book appear on the bestseller list. For some authors they equate getting on the bestseller list as their benchmark of success for their book. Over ten years ago, I read Michael Korda's Making the List, a Cultural History of the American Bestseller 1900–1999. Korda at the time was the Editor-in-Chief at Simon and Schuster, one of the largest publishers. If you haven't read this book, I highly recommend it.

In the introduction, Korda writes, “The bestseller list is therefore neither as predictable nor as dominating as its critics make it out to be. Plenty of strange books get onto the list and stay there for a long time…at least half of the books on any given list are there to the immense surprise and puzzlement of their publishers. That's why publishers find it so hard to repeat their success—half the time they can't figure out how they happened in the first place.” (Page xv) I love his honesty. There is no magic bullet and it is different for every book. The author is key.

Some books start slow and steadily sell then catapult in sales. Other books begin strong then sales drop to nothing. There is no consistent pattern.

My encouragement is for you to keep experimenting with different methods to sell your book. Each author has a different experience.

Yesterday I spoke with an author who had sold 8,000 to 10,000 copies of his self-published books. He had held over 300 book signings for his book. For many authors book signings have yielded almost nothing but not for this author. He regularly speaks at schools and service clubs and even AARP meetings.

If you aren't speaking much as an author, I encourage you to get a copy of Barbara Techel's Class Act, Sell More Books Through School and Library Appearances. This book gives step-by-step help and is loaded with ideas where you can take action.

What proactive steps can you take to learn a new skill or try some new way to sell books? It doesn't matter if your book is brand new or has been in print for a while. Keep the experimentation going until you hit the elements which work for your book.

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Use Book Reviews to Help Others

One of the ways that I broke into publishing on a consistent basis was writing book reviews. As more books are being published, there is an ever-increasing demand for book reviews. If you read books, then you can tap into this important area of publishing. You will help others and also gain visibility in the marketplace.

For a number of different publications, I wrote individual book reviews. Then one of these publications asked me to be their book review columnist. For this assignment, I wrote a series of book reviews for each issue of their magazine. I selected the books, received review of books from various publishers, then I wrote my reviews and sent them into the magazine on deadline to be published. Over several years, I held this role with this magazine until it came to an end. Then I became the book review columnist for another publication for another season.

Neither one of these magazines where I was a columnist are in print today. I learned a tremendous amount from my experience of writing those book review columns.

While I've gone on and written many other things including a number of books, I continue to write for magazines and continue to publish book reviews. One of the places where I write book reviews is in the customer review section of Amazon.

If you have purchased a book on Amazon, then you can write a customer review on any book. It does not matter whether you have purchased that book through Amazon or not because you can still write a review. For example, I read a number of books from my local public library. After reading the book, I write my review and post it on Amazon. It is a way you can support books through writing these customer reviews. They are not lengthy but at times, you may be among the few people who have reviewed a particular book.

When the Governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, wrote Scorpions for Breakfast: My Fight Against Special Interests, Liberal Media, and Cynical Politicos to Secure America's Border, I read the book and wrote a Five Star review because I enjoyed the book and learned a great deal from it. When the President of the United States and Governor Brewer had a moment together at the Phoenix Airport, the story received a great deal of media attention. Many of the one star reviews on the page are people who don't like Governor Brewer—and it is fairly obvious to me that they did not read the book. The book continues to have a fairly good sales number on Amazon because of the controversy.

Consistently when I read books, I will write an Amazon review. I've written over 350 of these reviews. Here's some pointers for writing reviews:

1. Read the book. It seems like this aspect should be a given but people try to write reviews without reading the book.

2. Craft a good headline for your review. I suggest you create several words that draw the reader into reading your review.

3. Write a short summary of what the book is about. It doesn't have to be lengthy but needs to show you absorbed the contents of the book.

4. Pull a little quotation from the book and note the specific page where the quote appears in the book.

5. End with your recommendation about why someone should read this book.

As an example, I'm going to show you a review I wrote about journalist Todd Starnes' book, Dispatches from Bitter America, a Gun Toting, Chicken Eating Son of a Baptist's Culture War Stories.

My review is located here. I began with a simple statement as the headline to show the reader what they would gain from this book: This Book Is Certain To Stir Conversation at the Dinner Table

In my opening paragraph, I tried to summarize the contents of the book: From the red, white and blue cover along with the overalls, Bible and gun, award-winning journalist Todd Starnes makes a clear statement of his conservative perspective. Get ready for an insider's glimpse at the current state of America in DISPATCHES FROM BITTER AMERICA.

With the next paragraph, I pulled a quotation that I found in the introduction about what motivated Starnes to write this book: I found the stories engaging and fascinating---yet carefully researched and documented (the final pages of end notes show the detailed research. In the introduction, Starnes gives this background as he sits in the Red Arrow Diner, "As I sipped on a cup of coffee, I was reminded of the lyrics from that great lee Greenwood song, "I'm Proud to Be an American."...And that's how I came up with the idea for this book. It's a collection of stories from my travels across this country--conversations I've had with regular folks who have deep concerns about the direction we are going as a nation." (Page 9) Also when I use a quotation it is a subtle way of validating that I'm not just throwing some review on Amazon. I read this book.

In the final paragraph, I summarize why the reader wants to read this book: The well-told stories are organized into sections: Dispatches from DC, Dispatches from the Fly-over States, Dispatches from the Schoolhouse and Dispatches from the Pew. Get this book and absorb every story. You can't help to be educated and entertained through DISPATCHES FROM BITTER AMERICA.

Whether you write books or magazine articles, whether you have been published a great deal or never, I encourage you to write book reviews. You will be a help to the authors and others who are looking for good books.

Book reviews are another proactive way you can be involved in the publishing community.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Fill A Need with Your Writing

Are you writing what you want, then trying to find someone to publish it? Or are you finding a need then writing to fill it?

Many writers begin the writing process because they want to tell a particular story. They sit at their computers and pour words into a novel or a short story or a nonfiction book or article. I call these writers inspirational writers. Their own desires drive them to determine what they write. They complete this story, then they turn to the marketplace and say, “OK, where can I get this published?”

I often meet these writers who have been inspired to write a book at a writers' conference. They are wise to come to a conference because just coming and learning from the faculty or other writers will put them light years ahead of other people who are in the same place and trying to get published. Also conferences help writers learn about the importance of the writing craft and putting your materials in the expected format for editors and literary agents. Each of these insights will help you on the road to publication.

Yet there is another approach to writing—and it is a path which I believe is more productive if you want your work published. Instead of writing whatever pops into your head or heart, I encourage you to find a particular need then write to fill that need.

How do you discover what the editor wants?

1. Check their online guidelines. Almost every magazine and book publisher has a website with guidelines. Use Google to look for the site and take several minutes to see what they need. If you follow the guidelines, your submission will enter the realm of possibility—what the editor needs.

2. Look for a theme list. Whether the publication is large or small, many magazines have theme lists. The editor is specifically looking for articles on a particular topic. If you follow their guidelines and submit an article the right length and on a theme topic, then you have laser focused your submission to this publication and are writing to fill a need rather than sending something that “might” be what the editor wants.

3. Attend a writers conference. Many writers come to a conference trying to sell their writing. That's not necessarily wrong but a more productive way to approach the conference is to research in advance several of the editors or agents. Through your advance work, you have learned the types of books and articles that they publish. You bring something to the conference specifically for a publication or publisher or agent. This type of targeted approach will help you.

Finally when you attend a conference, make sure you are asking the editor what they need that they don't have. Then listen for the answer, make a note of the need—and return home committed to writing what this publication needs. Taking this type of action puts you in a different category as a writer. It increases your professionalism but also the likelihood that your writing will find a place in the market.

Several Current Opportunities to Learn

Thursday evening I'm teaching a free teleseminar as part of the Global Teleclass on Writing a Winning Proposal and Find Your Champion. You have to hurry but there is still time to register for the class.

In early March, I will be attending and meeting with authors at Author 101 University in Los Angeles. It's going to be a fabulous event filled with learning and great people on the faculty. I have great anticipation about this event. If you are in the Los Angles area—or not—there is still time to register and attend the event.

Whether we meet at Author 101 University or not, I encourage you to hear the replay of the teleseminar that I did recently with Rick Frishman, the founder of Author 101 University. With your first name and email address along with “no question” in the space, you will reach the recording of this event which you can download to your iPod or computer. Rick was loaded with great advice for any writer. In addition, you will be able to download The Top 20 Tips for Aspiring Writers from Rick's book, Author 101 Bestselling Nonfiction. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you can gain insight from this free Ebook. Rick and his co-author Robyn Freedman Spizman asked the authors, editors and agents they interviewed for the book (long-time publishing professionals) for their top 20 tips. Every writer can profit from this little Ebook. You will probably want to read and re-read it on a regular basis.

If your writing isn't getting published as much as you would like, then make sure your writing is focused on a need in the marketplace. And continually be looking for the right place for your writing. You can do it.

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List Building Tycoon


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wear Out These Pages

Patricia Fry knows the truth in this famous quote from one of the greatest promoters, P.T. Barnum. He said, "Without promotion, something terrible happens--nothing!" Too many book authors fail to take complete responsibility for promoting their books. Throughout Promote Your Book, Fry validates her claim in the subtitle, "over 250 proven, low-cost tips and techniques for the enterprising author." This book is loaded with a gold mine of ideas and resources.

Pointed personal stories are combined with practical tips and website references for even more action steps for the savvy author. If you want to sell books, you need to study every page of this book then apply it to your book promotion.

While this book is packed with insight, I loved this idea: Design A Hotfile. She writes, "Life has a way of racing past us while we're busy trying to keep up. And if you are promoting a book along with everything else that you do, it can become overwhelming. Think about it, how may good promotional ideas have escaped your grasp and been tossed aside simply because you are too busy or too preoccupied? That's why I suggest you grab each promotional idea you stumble across, without judging it, and file it in your hotfile. When things calm down, your speaking circuit has slowed down, you've sent out your quota of press releases for the month, you've made several cold calls, open up the hotfile and see what's in there." (page 166-167) This concept alone is brilliant and an example of what you will find in Promote Your Book.

If you have a book to promote, get
Promote Your Book today and begin taking action on the ideas. It is never too late.
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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Focus Intentional Writing

It happens every day. Writers dream of having their work published in a magazine or a book. They commit time to write during the early morning. Or maybe they write in a journal each day or a blog. Possibly you are one of those writers who love words and crank out something every day.

From my experience, this type of random writing is unfocused and not pointing toward a specific goal. What is the goal of your writing? Are you doing it to help people? Are you doing it to tell a good story? Are you writing to capture your memories of the moment?

If you are blogging for a book deal, then read what Jane Friedman recently wrote in Please Don't Blog Your Book: 4 Reasons Why.

I've met novelists who love to write stories. Years ago I was in a critique group with a novelist who had written seven or eight novels. Each one was substantial storytelling and involved hours of work. I asked him if he had ever submitted the work to an editor or agent. “No,” he said. “I just love to write.”

I admired his discipline and love of storytelling as well as his commitment to write. Yet at that time, he had no plan or endgame for his writing. In the years since, we encouraged this writer to submit his material and the bulk of that writing has appeared in print.

There are millions of blogs. This week I received an email from a writer who had been blogging and wanted me to read some of his writing. I saw that he could tell a good story (and told him so). Yet the writing was scattered with no obvious target audience or purpose. Again it was unfocused.

For example, my blog on The Writing Life has over 1,000 entries. Each article is focused on the writing and publishing world. It is planned and intentional in what goes on these pages. Also to help you, I have a search tool in the right-hand column. Scroll down and you will find it and can search for any term to see articles that I wrote years ago on a particular topic. It is a rich resource.

If you are going to blog then I encourage you to focus your writing on capturing your passion. Make sure your target audience is clearly in focus with each entry. Also look for ways to monetize your blog and turn it into a revenue stream. If you have 31 days, I encourage you to get a copy of my 31 Day Guide to Blogging for Bucks. You can read it risk-free for 60 days. I'm confident the content can change your writing life from unfocused to laser focused.

With a plan for your writing, the days ahead can be full of promise and publication. I encourage you to action today to move forward.

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