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Sunday, October 20, 2019


Boost Your Writing To A New Level


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I'm heading to another conference this week and I'm looking forward to it for a number of reasons. Our work in publishing as writers and editors is isolated. Yes I work with my Morgan James Publishing colleagues to get contracts, negotiate with agents and authors and do book deals. I work for a New York publisher yet I live in Colorado. The bulk of my work is done on the phone and email rather than face to face. It's the same with my writing work. The work is often done on my computer or phone rather than face to face. Yes there are some of these physical meetings but not often. During each day, I set my own schedule for phone calls, meetings, and many other tasks. Conferences are a chance to break the routine and do something different.

A conference is an opportunity for me to reconnect with old friends. I've been traveling to some of these events for years and met remarkable editors, writers and people in other roles in this business. Follow this link to a list of various conferences that I know firsthand and recommend. 

Conferences are a chance to catch up on what they are doing—even if it is only for a few minutes. Also at these events, I meet new writers and editors, exchange business cards with them. From my experience, a lot of the people who attend these conferences are coming for their first event. I know some of these new relationships will grow to be significant in my own future work. Why? Because I've seen this type of connection over and over in my past trips.

While I read trade magazines and online newsletters and other tools to keep up on publishing, conferences give me the chance to learn about other changes in the business (maybe something that hasn't been in a publication) or listen to others about what they need for their publication or are looking for. These conversations move the information beyond something from print to something practical that I could possibly do. There is a lot of this type of give and take during a conference whether at a meal or late at night in a hotel lobby or any number of other locations.

Also these conferences give me a chance to give back to others and to teach. I'm teaching a couple of workshops at the conference this coming week. I've prepared my handouts and resources for this class and believe it will help the writing life of those in my workshop—provided they show up and take action on the different resources I will be giving them.

Another reason I love these conferences is I meet people who are looking for a publisher. I'm going to be having a number of one-on-one meetings throughout the conference with writers. I will be able to listen to their pitches and look at their work plus give them some of the distinctions about Morgan James Publishing. I've met a number of people at these events that I've been able to help them get their work into print—from our exchanges are the conferences.

I understand there are challenges for every writer to get to one of these events—whether they are large events or small events. They have challenges in terms of:

* cost. Each of these events have a financial cost for the conference fee, the hotel, transportation, the meals, etc.

* time. These conferences take you away from your current work and things pile up while on the road. Some of these events are long and others are short but they still consume time.

* effort. Some people have to arrange childcare or petcare or other details to be able to get free and go to these events.

From my experience of going to events and conferences for years, I know they are worth any effort to overcome the challenges. It is important to show up, learn then apply the information you gain into your writing life.  I know these events will boost your writing to a new level.

What do you get from going to a conference? How has it boosted your writing? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, October 13, 2019


Be "The Exception" Author


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

From my years in publishing. I know there are many authors who want to write a bestselling book. They take classes and courses and work hard at learning the craft of storytelling and writing. They join a critique group and even hire an outside editor to produce an excellent manuscript and proposal. They go to conferences and meet literary agents and editors, then follow up with their writing. Each of these steps are important and essential to the process.

Publishing has a lot of competition as a part of the mixture. Thousands of new books enter the marketplace every day and there are many books already in print with those authors trying to sell their books. While self-publishing is always an option, it is not a route that I recommend to authors because most of it is not successful (doesn't sell) and you end up doing everything on your own (everything—including functions that you have no interest in doing).

As an acquisitions editor, I'm looking for authors who are the exception. As an author, I'm trying to be the exception in my approach and life. Such an approach is not easy-and if it were, everyone would be doing it. The path is filled with failure and restarts yet there is a path and you can continue in spite of the failure and restarts. From my experience, those persistent authors are the ones who eventually succeed and find their way. Here's a couple of examples of these authors:

Cec Murphey has written many books including his bestselling 90 Minutes in Heaven. He had written many books before this title and received a modest advance (and expectation) from the publisher regarding this book. Through the tireless promotion of Don Piper, this book got on the New York Times bestseller list and has continued to sell year after year. Cec has written many different types of books and he is a great example of someone who is an exception as an author.

Jerry B. Jenkins has published 195 books and been #1 on the New York Times bestseller list 21 times. Left Behind was his 125th book so he was not an overnight success. The Left Behind series has sold over 70 million copies. Jerry has written many different kinds of books and is another example of an author who is the exception.

While you have probably heard of these last two authors, I'm intentionally selecting a third author who is the exception and you've probably not heard of him: Alan Williams. He is the author of The Little Teammate which is a Morgan James children's book. I understand this book has sold over 400,000 copies—and you would not know it from the BookScan numbers or the Amazon ranking. How did it happen? The author is selling copies in bulk to corporation.  Every author can use this strategy to sell books but few do so Alan Williams is an exception. You can learn about bulk sales through this free teleseminar that I did on the topic

Here's a few of my lessons from these exceptional authors:

1. Be consistent and persistent.

2. Timing is not in your control but you can control your effort—so make it consistent and persistent.

3. Look for the open doors and march through them. Most people give up but the ones who succeed keep on knocking and trying and working to find the right place. Persistence and the right connection will pay off in the long run.

Are you an “exception” author? Or maybe you know of one and their actions. Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, October 06, 2019


A Simple Expression of Appreciation


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

The key book which has guided my life in publishing has been the Bible. For many years, I've read a different version of the Bible from cover to cover each year. Reading the Scriptures is a key part of the beginning of each day.  I have been reading in The Passion Translation (Broadstreet). If you don't know about the Passion Translation, I encourage you to get a copy and read it. From my experience, often reading in a new translation will give you fresh insights and perspective. One of the final letters the Apostle Paul wrote was his second letter to Timothy. In 2 Timothy 3:1–5,  he includes a series of godless acts that will happen during the Last Days. tucked into some terrible things is a single word: ungrateful. (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

The opposite of ungrateful is gratitude. As a writer, how do you incorporate gratitude into your daily life?

How you express gratitude doesn't have to be complicated. A simple expression of appreciation can go a long way. My first book, When I Grow Up, I Can Go Anywhere for Jesus, was published in 1992. When the book first came out, I went to the booksellers convention and met with best-selling author Richard J. Foster. His classic book, Prayer: Finding the Heart's True Home had just released. I showed Richard my little 32–page book and gave him a copy. He celebrated with me and prayed with me about the book. Several weeks later, I got a surprise in the mail: a handwritten thank you note from Richard Foster. He was letting me know how much he appreciated the copy of my book.

This handwritten note from a bestselling author was amazing to me—and a practical example of something I've done now for years. I've been writing and reviewing books for many years—in print magazines and online. Almost every day authors and publishers will send me physical books. I appreciate it but to be honest, the volume is way more than anyone could read—even if that is all I did. I read these books in my free time and for fun then write my reviews and post them on Amazon, Goodreads and my social media.

If you can't read every book that comes into your mail box, what can you do? I can take a few minutes and handwrite a note to that author expressing my appreciation for their efforts. I have a box of thank you notes and pull one out, address the envelope and write my note often on the same day I get the book. It is a practice of appreciation that I've done for years—and something anyone can do.

What practices of appreciation do you incorporate into your daily life? Let me know in the comments below.

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