Friday, February 28, 2014

Social Media Without Draining Your Day

How in the world, have I tweeted more than seventeen thousand times? Yes, that is an accurate accounting of my activity on Twitter

First, I was an early adapter and have been on twitter for seven or eight years. While there are times when I have not blogged or put out my newsletter or other ways to touch my audience, there are very few days that I haven't sent out consistent information about publishing on twitter. 

The result is that I've built a large following on this platform. Publishers are looking for authors who have a large and on-going social media presence. I've often written about platform-building ideas and even have a free Ebook on this topic (use the link to get it immediately).
Social media doesn't have to consume your day and hours of time. It can—but doesn't have to do so. It does not drain my day and I'm active in the social media area. For example, I have over 92,000 twitter followers. I want to give you several tools and insights of what I'm doing to consistently have a growing social media presence yet I do it with focused effort.
I tweet daily. In fact, I tweet several times a day. 

Last year I wrote about how I pass along the various reading that I'm doing in the publishing area. Follow this link to read it. I am always looking for great content to pass to my followers. I am consistent in doing this and it only takes seconds to accomplish.
Over the years, I've made a number of online resources and free telseminars. I keep a list of these tweets in a small file. Throughout my day, I will cut and paste these tweets into Hootsuite and they go out to my followers. Because I've compiled these tweets into a file, they are easy and quick to find and do not take long to use. 

In addition, I've told twitter to paste all of my tweets on my Facebook profile. While I do not spend much time on Facebook, people regularly thank me for all of the content that I pass along there. It's because of the settings in my Twitter profile that I set once—-that the tweets show up on Facebook.
I use Hootsuite throughout the day to post my tweets. If I go on a trip or I'm away from my computer or at a conference, I set up Hootsuite to continue tweeting throughout my trip. You can plan tweets several hours or several days in advance through this tool and it works like clockwork. Recently Regal Books announced this great free ebook with the details about how to use Hootsuite.
Every day I use Refollow. I blogged about this tool several years ago. It is not free but worth $20 a month in my view because it is adding about 100 followers a day to my twitter numbers. Every day I get on Refollow and I follow other people's followers. I select people who have the same target market as I have. The followers are selected by their last tweet and I only follow people who are active on twitter by tweeting in the last 24 hours. A certain percentage of these people I follow will begin to follow me and my number of followers continues to increase.
Finally every day I use Manage Flitter (Free). This tool improves the quality of my followers. It allows me to quickly eliminate fake twitter profiles, non-English speaking twitter followers and those without an image in the profile. Finally Manage Flitter gives me the ability to unfollow people who do not follow me back. It is an easy tool to us and something I do daily—and some times twice a day. The time factor to use Manage Flitter is minimal and takes seconds to accomplish a great deal with tremendous value in my view.
Hopefully I've made this explanation about my social media straightforward and simple so you see how I accomplish it in a short amount of time yet I take action every day and consistently. It is the consistency that counts and draws people to follow me and my information about publishing on a regular basis. If you don't tweet regularly, then there is no need to read your tweets. Yet use free tools like Hootsuite to make the process relatively quick yet effective.

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Stop The Multiple Submissions

In the magazine world, it is common to simultaneously submit your query to a number of different magazines. Each publication is different and sometimes an editor will want a 500 word article while others will request a 1500 word article. As the writer, you can create two distinct articles to meet these needs. 

In the world of books, simultaneous or multiple submissions are also common. Literary agents and editors are notoriously slow to respond to submissions because of the high volume. I often tell people that being an acquisitions editor is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. I read a high volume of material every day yet I'm actively looking for great writing to publish. The practice of multiple submissions is accepted throughout the publishing world.

So what multiple submissions do I want you to stop?

An author sent me his manuscript last week and then almost immediately sent another email saying to delete that one and he was sending the right manuscript. A few hours later, this same author sent another email saying that he wasn't going to get it done today but it was coming tomorrow. Then that day, he wrote saying it would be the next day. Yes the chain went on until he sent and resent his submission several times. I want you to stop these types of multiple submissions. In fact, an author should never send such a submission in the first place. It makes a poor impression on the editor and you have no regard for how that submission comes across to the editor or agent.

Here's the reality: we receive hundreds of emails in a single day. The back and forth actions—send and withdraw from an author do not help you feel good about the submission in the first place.

Another type of multiple submission that I receive are half-baked ideas from authors. They write asking me to look over their proposal or idea to see if they are on the right track. Maybe these authors have corresponded with me or met me at a writers conference and feel like I'm approachable (something I want and encourage). Yet I do not run a critique service or editing service. I'm actively looking for great manuscripts to publish. I want to get so excited about your material that I promote it to my colleagues and get you a book contract from a New York publishing house. I can't do this authentically if you have sent your material on multiple occasions.

A third type of multiple submission is what I call the “multiple download.” Rather than send a query, this author put all of his files to submit into PDF, which end up being larger than document files. Then he “zipped” them into three different emails and submitted them 1 of 3, 2 of 3, 3 of 3. Talk about a time suck to simply download and read them! Guess what type of impression this author made about his submission?

Remember the key saying when it comes to submissions and approaching literary agents or acquisitions editors: you only have one chance to make a good first impression. Yes I underlined one chance in that last sentence.

Many authors presume they will be the exception to the rule (choose whatever rule you want to choose). I've learned that most of us will need to carefully follow the different rules before we ever get a chance to be one of the few exceptions.

Instead of assuming your submission will be the exception, I encourage you to polish your proposal with a critique group or a professional editor—before you send it to an agent or editor. You want your submission to have the best possible chance of acceptance. At Morgan James Publishing, we receive over 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 150 books (less than three percent of the submissions).

I want to encourage you to submit your material. Many authors fail because they do not persist to find the right editor or the right agent or the right publishing house. They get rejected or have self-doubts so they never submit their material.

Opportunity is all around us and you have to be on the move to locate the right connection. Just take a slight pause before you fire off that multiple submission to the same editor. It will make a lasting impression—and not the type of impression you want to make on a publishing professional.

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Sunday, February 09, 2014

A Single Letter Makes A Difference

Do you ever get stuck on a project where it seems to drag on and never get handled?

Yes it happens to me. As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. The bulk of my day is involved answering emails and spending time on the phone with authors about their book projects. I'm working with many different types of authors at different stages in the process for their books. It's a lot of fun and interesting work on a wide variety of types of books for different audiences. If you want to know more detail, I encourage you to hear my recent radio interview where I spoke about the details.

In the middle of my acquisitions work, I have my own book projects and on-going effort to tell people about Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Originally I released this book several years ago and published it through my small press, WTW Press

While I have continued to promote my book and teach on the topic, the actual book needed updating in several areas:

—first, I changed companies and moved from Arizona almost two years ago. The Arizona information in the book was outdated.

—several of the resources in the book needed to be changed. Some websites that I wrote about years ago aren't functioning any longer. Change is a constant part of the publishing world.

—Morgan James offered to publish the book and get it out to a broader audience and in many different formats including all of the various types of Ebooks and an audio version of the book. Morgan James is selling their books into 98% of the bookstores in North America including the brick and mortar bookstores.

About a year ago, I signed a contract with Morgan James for this revision. It was exciting. My challenge was finding the time to make the necessary corrections. This sort of time crunch is what almost every writer faces. I went through one round of changes with the designer last March. Yes, it was almost a year ago. I printed my book and carried it to many different places around the country—but never got it handled—until the final portion of December.

Why did I find time during the holidays? Morgan James shuts their offices the last two weeks of the year. While I did answer some email during that time, my correspondence dwindled so I could focus on some other things—like my own writing.

I carefully read through each page of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Imagine my horror when I reached page 237 and this section, “Most people outside of the publishing community assume they will make money writing books, but the publishing numbers present a different story. Less than 90 percent of nonfiction books ever earn back their advance.”

OK, bear with me for a minute because the last sentence of that paragraph did not say what I wanted it to say. What the revised version says is “More than 90 percent of nonfiction books never earn back their advance.” Yes that is the reality that only 10% of nonfiction books earn their advance.

This change was just one of a number of important changes that happened in the revision process. Also the pagination for the book changed so the index for the book was completely overhauled in this updated version.

I'm excited about the information in this book and how it is helping writers. I continue to promote the material and speak on it. This coming week I will be teaching a Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams workshop at the San Francisco Writers Conference. Also next month (March 21st and 22nd) I will be in Spokane, Washington teaching at the Inland Northwest Christian Writers Conference. I hope to see you at one of these events. I'm working on more speaking events later this year and you can always see my speaking schedule at this location.

And if you can't get to a writers' conference where we connect in person, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and begin to study it and apply it to your writing life.

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