Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Snatch Writing Time

“What are you writing these days?,” one of my friends asked. I had to do some personal accounting for a second. I’m not currently facing a book deadline and I’m not cranking out a certain amount of words each day.

Most of my personal writing is emails to authors and my colleagues at Morgan James. This type of communication does not show up in print.

If you aren’t writing much but would like to do so, are you committing time to regular writing? If not, then I suggest you take a step back and see how you are spending your time.

Maybe you are doing more reading or maybe you are spending more time playing games or watching television or spending time on social media such as twitter or facebook. 

Each of these ways of spending time are OK but none of them include regular writing and do not move ahead your dreams and desires as a writer.

I’m writing these words on a two hour flight. As I look around at others. Some people are asleep. Others are making small talk with each other. Still other people are reading while some are playing games on their computer like solitaire.

As writers we can choose a different path and way to use our time. Instead of those other activities, I’m using my AlphaSmart and pounding out a few more words. I’m writing.

Prolific novelist James Scott Bell teaches writers to snatch time. Check out this video where he talks about it:

If you aren’t accomplishing your novel or your magazine writing or your blog, then I encourage you to take an accounting of how you are spending your time. If your writing is a priority, it will get done.

I’m choosing to write some words and get them out to you. What about you?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Help Drive My Ebook to #1 on Amazon

My newest book is now on Amazon Kindle Book Marketing Success Secrets: The Constant Drumbeat of Every Writer (Conversations About Marketing Interview Series: Volume 1:4) co-authored with Marketing Expert D'vorah Lansky. This 47 page book is FREE--until Midnight PST Thursday, October 18

I'm writing to tell you about the book and encourage you to download it right now at: http://amzn.to/RaBsxx

As Kathy H. Porter wrote in her Five Star review: "Today, authors have to be actively engaged at every step of the publishing process. Which means, once the book is written, it's time to bring it to market. If this sounds like a daunting task, it doesn't have to be. D'vorah Lansky knows just the right questions to ask on your behalf during her interview with Terry Whalin, a guy "...who understands both sides of the editorial desk - as an editor and a writer." Whalin explains that an author's marketing message is really an extension of their professional brand which he likens to creating a "constant drumbeat.""

Also Porter, quoted part of my book saying, "Writers have to learn how to beat that drum and beat it all the time, to tell people about their book. I've read and heard over and over that people have to hear about your book probably six or seven times before they actually reach into their wallets and pay money for that book, and decide it's something important that they need. So how many times can you beat that drum over and over to help people realize that?"

Here's how I suggest you take action:

1. Download your own copy of the book at:

2. Tweet about the free book to your friends or
tell others on Facebook saying something like:

Get @TerryWhalin's Amazon Kindle Book The Constant
Drumbeat for Every Writer Reached #1 on
Kindle.FREE at: http://amzn.to/RaBsxx

3. Finally, write a couple of sentences of praise (review) on Amazon along with a Five Star review.

Here's what we're trying to do--and you can help. The Ebook is already #1 on Amazon Kindle but you can help drive the Ebook to #1 on Amazon.

Thank you for being a part of this effort--and downloading the book. I'm eager to help your writing as you read and use the content of this book. Here again is where you can get it:

If you miss the small window of time where the book is FREE, don't worry because the Ebook price is affordable at only 99 cents so I hope you will still get it at: http://amzn.to/RaBsxx

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Writing Your First Draft

Do you find consistent time to write? In this busy world, it is a challenge for all of us.

Yes, I struggle with this issue since I have a day job as an acquisitions editor. It means the bulk of my day is spent on the phone with authors and literary agents or reading manuscripts or processing their material and championing their cause to our publication board or answering author’s questions about contracts. The business of publishing is not easy and involves lots of communication via email and the phone.

Often this situation leaves limited time for writing. I want to list several ways to make this time:

1. Make writing a priority. Is it more important than watching the latest news program or reality show? You need to understand you are making a choice to watch these programs.

Or are you sleeping instead of writing? Maybe you need to write first in your day instead of reading through Facebook or your email. In taking this stance, you are making another choice and giving your writing priority.

As I write these words, I’m on an airplane headed to Chicago. The people around me are sleeping or reading or talking with each other. I’m not doing any of that but instead pounding the keyboard of my AlphaSmart.

While I do have a laptop in my bag, my AlphaSmart is a perfect tool for writing on the airplane. It has a full size keyboard and only four lines on a little screen. It runs on three AA batteries and is always ready to go when you turn it on and start typing.

This little gizmo holds 100 pages of text and some of my novelist friends write their entire manuscripts on this little device. Years ago I bought a used AlphaSmart on Ebay for $30 and it continues to be one of my best online purchases because I use it all the time. These little machines are tough and never wear out.

While the AlphaSmart isn’t perfect, it is ideal for writing first drafts. You can use it on the fly in any place or situation.

As a journalist, I learned to compose at the keyboard when I was in high school. This valuable skill has allowed me to write almost any place I have a keyboard.

2. Have a plan for your writing. When you write, are you drafting a scene for a book or the opening of a magazine article or a blog post for your readers? If you have a plan, you will hit the ground running instead of procrastinating wondering what words you will put down.

3. Continually be looking to build relationships with editors and other writers. In my years in publishing, I’ve repeatedly seen the importance of relationships. You meet an editor or another writer and maintain your relationship through email or the phone or even mailing a note from time to time. This sort of effort pays off.

Writers need others in the publishing world. We can’t get very far in this business without editors, agents and other publishing professionals and most importantly readers of our material. Give priority to building and maintaining these relationships. It will pay off for you—as I’ve seen it pay over the years.

This week I noticed one of my local friends celebrated a milestone birthday. I spotted the news on Facebook and sent her a little email greeting. Then later in the day I called her to wish her Happy Birthday. I had no other agenda than to make this quick call. I learned she had fudged on her age on Facebook so it wasn’t the milestone that it proclaimed. She appreciated my short call and I did something significant to continue my relationship. What steps are you taking in this area to build and maintain your connections? They are important to your writing life.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to Pitch a New York Publisher

I'm headed out to another conference in the morning. It's the first of four straight weekends with people pitching book ideas. 

I love helping other writers to be successful pitching their ideas. As an acquisitions editor, each week I champion author's book ideas to my publication board and then help them understand the details of our publishing program and their book contract. It is a great deal of fun because with each step, I can see authors get closer to achieving their dreams of getting their book into print.

Many authors fail in this process to capture the attention of an editor or agent because they have no concept of how their pitch is received. Have they included all of the right elements in that pitch? Many of them have not. 

To help you, I've pulled together a short Book Proposal Checklist (follow this link). Download the checklist and also follow the different resources and links I have at the bottom of this page. 

Several days ago, I recorded a 30–minute interview about how to pitch a New York publisher (Morgan James Publishing). I encourage you to download this interview (right click and save as to get it on your computer so you can hear it whenever you want). 

I hope you will learn a great deal from it. I'm excited to hear new book ideas. I hope this helps you.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Keep An Eye on the Trades

If you want to know the inside scoop about publishing and how it works, I encourage you to read trade publications. 

The weekly magazine of the publishing world is Publishers Weekly. If you’ve thought about subscribing, it is not cheap. I’ve been taking it for years and read it cover to cover each week. I absorb a great deal of information because each week covers a different type of book as well as current news about books and authors.

For many years, I made a weekly trip to the library and read Publishers Weekly from the reference librarians. Smile and engage the librarians because they will not have PW in their magazine section. The librarians read this trade magazine to keep up on the publishing world but also to know in advance about books from bestselling authors. It’s how your library always has a copy on order before it releases.

The PW magazines are kept behind the counter and you may have to read it in their sight because the librarians don’t want you to walk off with their resource. For many years, I read this publication in my local library.

Also subscribe to the free newsletters from Publishers Weekly and read them when they arrive in your mailbox. I have read this information for years and it’s been a great education about the business of publishing.

Several years ago, PW started a feature for the back page called Soapbox. Often authors or publishers or publicists will write something inspirational and insightful on this page. It’s well worth reading online (if available some of their material is only for subscribers) or in the print version. 

The most recent PW (Sept. 24, 2012) has a Soapbox column from first-time novelist Rayme Waters called Promote, Promote, Promote. She includes 10 tips on guerrilla marketing. Every novelist (or nonfiction writer for that matter) can gain from these tips. Whether you’ve never published or been published many times, I learned a great deal from this article.

Another trade resource is to subscribe to Publishers Lunch. They have a free version and a paid version of this publication. I get the paid version because of the additional information and publisher access. Yet for many years, I read the free version.

Shelf Awareness is another terrific resource which is targeted to booksellers and librarians—yet includes valuable insights for writers. It’s free and comes five days a week. Most of the writers on this publication are former PW writers.

Trade publications are an important resource. Each of us needs to continue to grow in our craft and using this resource is a solid path of education.

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