Sunday, May 12, 2024

Authors Must Prime the Pump

By Terry Whalin

When I begin a new nasal spray for my allergies, I have to spray a couple of times to prime the pump. Then it will work properly. For this article, Im adding an image of an old-fashion pump. For this pump to give water, you have to pump it a number of times. Through taking action, you bring the water up from the well until it runs out of the pump. 

Authors have to prime the pump to sell their books and in this article I want to give you some ideas and details about actions in this process.

Someone must hear about your book dozens of times before they purchase it. The author is the person with the greatest passion for their topic--and it is up to you to drive this exposure or prime the pump--with social media, stressing the benefits of your book, telling stories, sending emails, writing magazine articles, shooting videos, going on podcasts and radio shows and many more actions--hopefully you get the idea.

Recently David Hancock, the founder of Morgan James Publishing, and I were talking about the presale process. He said at 13 months bestselling author Dave Ramsey will begin talking with his audience about a forthcoming book and the content of it. He will tell his readers that he is writing the book and a bit of what it will contain.  When Ramsey talks about this forthcoming book, he is peaking the interest of his readers and priming the pump for them to prepare to purchase it. 

In other articles on The Writing Life, Ive mentioned that Im a Daniel Silva fan of his writing. Each year, Silva writes a single novel which is released in July. Almost a year ahead, he will announce the title in his newsletter then a few months later, he will show the book cover. A few months later he will announce the book is ready to be pre-ordered. His next newsletter will announce that readers can order a signed copy of this forthcoming book. How does he sign these books? His publisher sends him a page of the book and Silva signs these pages then returns them to the publisher. They are bound into signed copies. Its called a book tip-in and is used to drive pre-sales for the forthcoming novel. 

I ordered my copy of A Death in Cornwall on April 3rd and the book will not release until July 9th. Whether you order your book from your favorite independent bookstore or an online bookstore like Target, no copies of the book will ship until the release day. Ive already ordered my signed copy. 

According to David Hancock, “The best time to begin marketing and telling people about your book is the moment you decide to write it or today--which ever day comes first. As David told me, there are three reasons bookstore buyers purchase a book. First, youve compared your book to other books on your topic or category. Because other readers have bought X number of that book, the bookstore will order your book for their customers. The second reason for bookstores to order your book is you are the right person, talking about the right topic at the right time. Yes, there were a number of rights in that last sentence but you can sell books if they line up. The final reason is that you as the author are consistently talking to your reader about this topic. That consistent effort pays off with a steady stream of book sales in the bookstore. 

Every Author Must Cross Two Bridges

As David Hancock recently told me, every author with their book needs to cross two bridges. The first bridge is:

1. The Authority Bridge. The public must perceive you as the right person talking about the content of your book. You show you are an authority through consistently talking about the topic of your book. Also you bring the audience along on your publishing journey as you write the book, look for a publisher, get rejected, keep trying and eventually get accepted. 

2. The Permission Bridge. Most authors dont build this bridge. Instead the hold their content close to themselves then begin to share it when their book comes out. If you have built the permission bridge you have shared your content and expertise on the topic and earned the right to ask your readers permission to buy your book. Youve not only created a book but created associated products such as a readers guide with study questions or a journal or have launched an online course associated with it. What else can you build in addition to your book? Can you create a keynote speech tied to your content which you give to various groups and settings? As David Hancock said, readers beget readers. 

As you build the authority bridge and the permission bridge, then you begin to build the community or tribe who love your content and your work. As Jay Conrad Levinson, the creator of Guerrilla Marketing in the 80s often said, he made $35,000 on his book but $10 million because of it and the related products from it. 

During my conversation with David Hancock, he also gave me the top four best practices to sell books:

1. Word of Mouth. People talk about the books they are reading. How did the book change them? Give them access to your content and they will talk about you and your book.

2. Consistent Email. It sounds old fashion but here's the truth. Not everyone has a Facebook page but everyone has an email address. David suggested sending one email a month and this regular communication on your topic will build your audience.

3. Podcasts. There are millions of podcasts and they need authors who can speak with authority and passion about their topic. Learn how to pitch and get on these podcasts

4. Social Media. Many writers will groan at this final one because in general there is a lot of noise on social media. David advises you to be consistent, be a real person and it takes patience. 

In this blog post, I want to give you an unedited recording of my interview with David Hancock which is about 35 minutes. This recording will provide more details than this article. Follow this link and download the audio to your computer and save it. There are three vertical dots on the right side of the recording. Click the top dot of the three on the right and it will let you download the audio then listen to it. 

What steps are you taking on a consistent basis to prime the pump with your audience? What am I missing? Let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, May 05, 2024

Don't Overuse This Word and Get Blacklisted

By Terry Whalin

Words have incredible power to influence and affect our life and work in the publishing community. There is a common word which authors will often use but in this article I want to give specific examples and discourage you from overusing this word and having the retailers blacklist your book.

Years ago when I was on the faculty of the San Francisco Writers Conference, I spoke with a bookseller and learned not to use this word in my conversation. I showed this retailer the first edition of Book Proposals That Sell and in my pitch I told him the book had over 100 Five Star Amazon reviews. Instantly he frowned and told me that he didnt care about Amazon reviews. Yes the single word not to overuse is Amazon.

Instead of touting that you have an Amazon bestseller, you can say your book was a bestseller in _____ category. Instead of saying you have 56 Amazon reviews, you can promote your book has 56 Five Star reviews (or whatever number of Five Star reviews you have received). It is a slight revision but a significant one.

Amazon is a large player in the book retail market but many bookstore people believe Amazon has destroyed their business. The book market has made dramatic shifts and Amazon has been a factor in those changes. For example, at Morgan James Publishing, Amazon accounts for about 24% of our overall business. When I meet an author who has only published on Amazon, I tell them they are missing 76% of how Morgan James can distribute and sell their book. Our books are in 98% of the bookstores in North America including the brick and mortar bookstores. Recently I was looking for a book cover image on one of our novels and the first place I located it was at Target.com. Morgan James sells our books at Target along with over 180 other online retailers.

Give Your Readers Options

When you set up your website and the page to sell your book, what link or links do you include? I was looking at the books from a long-time author friend. He writes a new blog each week and sends it like clockwork. I admire and respect this type of consistent action from any author. Today I checked his book sales page. Each book had a single button that said, “Click Here to Buy on Amazon. He used a publishing company to create his book and I didnt recognize the name of his publisher. Yet he was giving his readers one option to buy the book: Amazon. As Ive been saying in this article, its the one word you dont want to overuse. 

Instead of sending your readers to a single place like Amazon, I encourage you to give them options like Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, their local independent bookstore or getting it directly from you (even encouraging readers they can get a signed copy from you). Its how I set up my sales pages and heres a couple of examples for some of my books. The sales page for Book Proposals That Sell is here. The sales page for 10 Publishing Myths is here. The sales page for Billy Graham, A Biography of Americas Greatest Evangelist is here. The reader is going to buy the book where they normally purchase books. As an author, you want to give them options and dont just send them to a single place. 

A Little Known Bookselling Fact

While on the surface, the community of booksellers looks large with thousands of bookstores from chains like Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores. Most of the sales people for these chains have been in the book business for many years. As a part of their work, they cultivate and maintain relationships with owners, authors, editors and many other people in the industry. These sales people know each other and have developed friendships. On one level they are competitors but on another level they are colleagues. These colleagues speak together and share information. When an author is only focused on sending readers to Amazon, these sales people notice and can blacklist your book from the brick-and-mortar bookstores. According to my recent conversation with David Hancock, the founder of Morgan James Publishing, such a blacklist practice is happening.

Sometimes You Cant Avoid the Word

In 2019, Morgan James Publishing released Steve Andersons book, The Bezos Letters: 14 Principles to Grow Your Business like Amazon. Even before the release date, this book garnered a great deal of attention. The Morgan James foreign rights person sold the book into multiple languages including the highest advance received in this area for a book in the 21-year history of the company. The Bezos Letters has hundreds of Five-Star reviews and a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Its unusual for a book to achieve this level of success which translates into many book sales. 

Yet this book could not avoid using the word Amazon. According to David Hancock, “The brick-and-mortar bookstores blacklisted The Bezos Letters from the release in 2019 until this year. Now in 2024, the brick-and-mortar bookstores began to order and sell this title.  The success and continued sales of this title eventually removed it from the blacklist. At the end of the day, retailers want to stock and sell books which will move off their shelves and into the hands of buyers. The steady and continued sales of The Bezos Letters eventually won over the retailers who want to serve their customers and sell books.

What actions will you take?

Ive written this article to encourage you as an author to take action for your website and sales pages. Will you remove the word Amazon in your social media and promotion efforts? Will you give your readers a wide variety of bookstore options to purchase your book? What actions are you going to take? Let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, April 28, 2024

Unfulfilled Dreams (And How to Move Forward)

By Terry Whalin

Do you have dreams and plans for your future which have not happened? Its true in my life and work in the publishing community. I have books to write, places to speak, articles to write and pitch, authors that I want to get into print and much more. In this article, I want to give you some ideas about unfinished dreams, how to handle them and keep moving forward to achieve them. As I go through some of my unfulfilled dreams, I encourage you to think about your own writing life and the things you have not accomplished but still want to complete.

--I have authors who have submitted their work to Morgan James and I need to process and move it forward. Working for a New York publisher as Ive been doing for the last 12 years, there is an internal process to follow and Im the person to drive these authors and get them a book contract.
--I have meetings to set up with these authors and move their submission ahead in the process.
--I have to make follow-up calls and emails to authors who have received a contract yet not made a decision about whether to sign it or not.
--I have many other unfulfilled tasks and dreams for the authors Ive brought into the publishing house and need to encourage.

As a writer and author:
--I have several books that Id like to write and publish. The stories are mostly in my mind and not on paper (not a good thing). 
--I have books that need need to get in front of more people to help them know about them and purchase them. 
--I have articles to pitch and write for various publications--in print and online.
--I have stories from others that I want to help get into print and into the world.

As an online marketing author:
--I have websites and products that I need to do more promotion and reach different audiences with them.
--I have some websites and online courses which are not working properly and need correction.
--I have online websites Ive purchased and not built or launched the planned products on them.
--There are many more elements I could add here but you get the idea of the unfinished business.

As a learner:
--I have online training courses (some of them an expensive investment) which I have not heard or used.
--I have training that I have read or heard yet not applied the information to my marketing and writing life. I know getting the information is only the first step but the real work is in the implementation.

As an author:
--I have books from other authors and publishers that I have not read nor written reviews.
--I have books that I want to learn from but haven't read nor applied to my life. 
--I have audiobooks that I plan to hear and learn from the information.

As a person:
--I need to get outside and increase my movement or exercise for my health.
--I need to drink more water and better monitor my food intake.
--I need to become a better listener and increase my love and devotion to God and my family.

Even if you skim this lengthy list of unfulfilled dreams, you can see there are large numbers involved.

How to Move Forward

While I work hard on these different tasks and goals, I'm realistic and understand that I end each day with unfinished tasks. My method is to keep inching my various tasks forward. Some of them will be more rapid than others but every day I keep chipping away at the various unfulfilled dreams.

None of us can predict our future, our health, the lives of our family and much more. Each of us have the same 24 hours in a day and cant go back and redo yesterday. Instead we have to seize each day with celebration and gratitude. What is your way forward for your unfulfilled dreams? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, April 21, 2024

A Different Author Strategy

A Different Author Strategy

By Terry Whalin

Some publishing experts estimate 1,000 new books are published every day. This estimate includes the self-published books and it can be overwhelming when you consider the volume of print material which is entering the world. 

How can an author standout, be different and sell books? In this article, I want to give some strategy ideas and action steps. Upfront, I will tell you each of these methods are not quick and easy. They require effort and work to sell books. 

As you read and study the path of other authors, you need to understand success leaves traces. If you study the details of the success of others, you can discover the path for your own success and sales of your book. First, you have to gather some basics. What type of book are you writing? In general the techniques and path for a childrens book will be different from a novel from a nonfiction self-help book. Each of these types will often follow a different strategy and path to sell their books.

Several years ago I interviewed an author friend who self-published a nonfiction book. In the creation process, he created a book which was well-written with an attractive cover. He crafted the back cover copy and made sure there was a publishing logo on the spine and the barcode on the back was perfect. This friend paid attention to the details as he self-published and produced a book which when placed along side any other book would be accepted. Many people self-publish but they slip on these production details. 

This author targeted book sales to libraries. The American Library Association says there are over 123,000 libraries in the United States. He located a list of these libraries with the phone numbers. For several hours every day, he called the libraries, introduced himself and had a brief pitch for his book. He got the librarian interested in his book, got their name and with their consent, mailed a book with an invoice. It took hours of work and the development of a plan and execution of that plan, but he sold thousands of books in this process.  If you want more of the details, I have this interview in the extra products when you purchase my 10 Publishing Myths book. This strategy to sell books worked for this author and you could learn from his success.

I follow the teaching and stories from book marketing expert John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to MarketYour Book. Recently he made a bold claim encouraging authors to make up to $150,000 before your book is published! The strategy of pre-sales is one every author can learn about and practice.

If you have published or plan to publish a childrens book, then look at the information and actions in this section from John Kremer. As with the other strategies in this article, you can learn and then implement the practices for your books. 

Have you heard of bestselling novelist Terry McMillan who has several movies including Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back. As John Kremer said, Her first novel was published by a large New York publisher, but they didnt do much with it. This was in 1987. They sent out press releases. They sent out some review copies. But Terry was a first-time novelist, so media didnt care. Nothing much happened. How did Terry turn around this experience? John gives the details in the Rule of 3,000. McMillan handwrote personal letters to 3,000 bookstores. It was a huge commitment of time and energy but it got attention and paid off. Few authors would make this sort of effort but it launched a bestselling novelist. Maybe you want to follow this path for your book.

John wrote some additional details saying, “The response was so great that she ended up doing a 39-city book tour. Her efforts gained her plenty of rave reviews for her book as well as two reprintings in six weeks. Thats a major success for a first-time novelist. Her publisher got behind her once they saw that the book was selling, and it was worth reprinting again and again. The key point to this story is not who Terry sent letters to, but how many letters she sent. Its a numbers game, and what happens with most authors, even though Ive told them this story many times, is that they ignore this crucial advice. Write a lot of emails.”

One of my Morgan James Publishing authors published a personal story with a tie to the pro-life issue. She mailed 1,000 copies of her book to Crisis Pregnancy Centers around the United States. The effort was a financial and time investment in her book. One of the keys for her success will be the strategy behind it. Did she offer bulk sales to these places and how is she following up on the mailing? Each of these strategies have different details which are important for them to succeed. 

My encouragement is for you to learn about these different author strategies for selling and marketing your book. Try some of them and see if they work for you. If they work, then do it some more. If not, then press on to another one. There is not one path to success but many paths and as an author you have to select the one for you. If there was a single path, every book would be a bestseller. Instead we know some books have dismal sales and others succeed. 

My encouragement is to try a different author strategy to sell your book and keep doing it over and over until you find success. Is there another strategy that you have used to successfully sell books? Let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Why Social Media Is Important

By Terry Whalin

When writers begin to submit to book publishers, they are often surprised with the questions about social media and their specific numbers on various platforms. Isnt social media a waste of time? I often hear this waste of time push back from writers about social media. In addition, Ive read other articles from those inside publishing who say social media does not sell books. In this article, I want to give a series of reasons and insights why every writer needs to be on social media yet also control their time on it so it is productive and not wasted.

At first glance, social media looks like a huge time waster for writers. If you use it well, it can yield great connections and even book sales. Like a lot of publishing, the results for you as an author are buried in the details. 

Choose Your Platform

There are dozens of social media platforms. You want to choose the ones where your target audience is active and using. You can't be on every platform and its unproductive if you are trying to be on everything. Instead select two or three of these websites. Recently I noticed one of my author friends had dropped off Twitter/ X. When I asked her about it, she confirmed that her audience was not on this website and she had deleted her account and instead was emphasizing some other sites. I could see the wisdom in such a decision.

Complete Your Profile and Plan

After you select the sites, fill out all of the details on the profile such as photo, bio and other fields. Each one is different so look at others on the platform and learn from their actions. 

The next step is creating a consistent plan for posting on the selected platforms. Your posts should be interesting, contain an image (for visibility and to increase readability) and diverse. Have you been on radio or podcasts? Do you save those recordings on your own website? If you control them, they will not disappear. Then use those live recordings over and over to promote your book and yourself. 

Create A System and Use Tools

For years, Ive posted thousands of times on three social media sites. On average, I post 12-15 times a day. Ive created a system for myself, a plan and a pattern. As Ive mentioned in these articles I use a scheduling program called Hootsuite. The other common program is Buffer. My encouragement is to create a system which will work for you to be consistent and regular yet effective. You may decide to post three times a day or five times a week or some other schedule. Whatever number of posts that you select, be consistent and do it over and over. 

Sometimes I do not get a lot of response or engagement. It makes me wonder if anyone is reading my posts--yet I continue in my same pattern of posting. Then out of the blue, someone will reach out to me or respond to a post. Your consistency pays off.

Heres the key reason you need to share the benefits of your book over and over. Its been proven in the marketing world that someone needs to hear about your book at least seven or eight times before they purchase your book. The exposure and highlight of the benefits of your book are a part of the promotion process for your book. Heres another key fact, your publisher may place the book inside a brick and mortar bookstore (which is excellent) but if you dont encourage or drive a reader to go to the bookstore and buy your book, then eventually the book gets removed from the store and returned to the publisher. 

The average return rate for a traditional publisher is 40%. At Morgan James Publishing, most of our books are running around 15%. Last week I checked on the sales from one of my authors who is pitching a second completed novel and synopsis. Admittedly, it took a lot of this author's writing time and effort to produce a second novel manuscript. His return rate from the bookstores for the first novel was 73%! This author needs to make some radical changes in his actions to sell that first novel. If he doesnt take action, he is unlikely to get a second book contract to publish with Morgan James. Authors forget each published book is producing a sales track record. The author is the one who drives this track record through their continued promotion to readers.

Emphasize Benefits for Continued Exposure

As you create your plans to promote your book, look at your different resources. Use live radio and podcast recordings along with other resources to emphasize the benefits of your book to your readers. Also create and use different images with your books and social media posts. In these articles, Ive mentioned using Mock-up Shots for this effort. Follow the link to get lifetime access and use it for your books. Almost every day I use this tool.

Take 100% of Your Responsibility

Some of you reading these words wonder if you have to do it yourself. Couldnt you hire someone or some organization to handle your social media? There are virtual assistants and social media consultants and companies which you could handle your social media. Ive met a number of these people through the years yet Ive chosen to continue to handle it myself. Ive often written in these articles about the first principle of success: I will take 100% responsibility for my own success. The process takes regular and focused effort but is important to reach your readers and attract publishers to your work. The first step is to get the insight, wisdom and knowledge from others. For example, read my 10 Publishing Myths book and see the special offer at the end of this article. After reading it, you must take action for your own writing life. From my experience knowledge without action doesnt give any results. 

I hope Ive helped you understand why social media is important and some action steps to take for your books. What am I missing that you could add? Let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, April 07, 2024

Is It Time for Spring Cleaning?

By Terry Whalin

I love the freshness of spring. Baseball season starts. We freshen up our place from the trials of winter and plant flowers for spring along with other activities. The darkness of winter fades and we celebrate the newness of life with new growth and flowers.

As I ask in this article, is it time for spring cleaning? Ive found that the more Im organized and block different parts of my schedule, then it increases my productivity and output. As Ive mentioned in past entries, almost daily books pour into my mailbox. In general, I unpack them and put them on my bookshelf but over the last few weeks the area for this book has filled. As a part of my spring cleaning, I sorted through some books and took a hard look at each one. Do I have the time to read it? I will look at a few pages and see if the writing is going to hold my interest. If “no” is the answer to these questions, then I remove the book from my shelf and get the books ready to go to a good home elsewhere. This book sorting process is a necessity to organize my office several times a year including spring. 

Creating a Pile Doesnt Work

Like my bookshelves, I do the same evaluation process with the papers on my desk. From my experience, it doesnt work to take a piece of paper or a stapled article and put it into a pile. Instead I have developed a system to know exactly where Im keeping that article and why Im keeping it. 

I admit every author is different in this area. One of the most prolific writers was Ray Bradbury. Recently an article about Bradbury came across my screen with a photo of his office with piles of paperwork. This novelist created a different system for organization which worked for his writing life. My encouragement is for you to create a working system for how you organize your desk, paperwork, books and other tasks so you continue moving forward each day. 

If You Are Stuck in a Rut...

I have a couple of projects which have been stuck on my desk and have not moved--which is a problem if I want them to get published. Ive been stuck in a rut and proscratating on this work. I suspect you have a pitch or two which is also stuck. Spring cleaning is a great time to plot and take a new course of action. 

First determine what you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase your speaking? Do you want to sell more books? Do you want to publish more magazine articles? To achieve these goals, you have to take action and increase the amount of your pitches. Maybe you want to be on more podcasts or radio shows? These programs can be an effective way to sell more books and dont require travel or other elements. The key to booking a radio broadcast or a podcast is pitching to the decision maker?  Craft your pitch and even use a pitch template from someone else if you need some ideas. Then get these pitches into the world. 

When you pitch, you will get turned down (rejected). This process happens to all of us including me. As Ive written in these articles in the past, you are looking for the right fit and this process involves getting a number of rejections before you get acceptance. Learn what you need to do from others, then continually pitch. It sounds simple but takes consistent effort for it to actually happen. 

When You Havent Received a Response

Spring is a great time of year to do follow-up work where your pitches went into a black hole without a response. Did the other person receive the pitch? As editors and agents, we lose things and they get stuck in our email and never processed. I encourage you to use the gentle follow-up approach to prod that other person. Many writers are afraid to follow-up then they wonder why nothing is happening. One of the critical steps for every writer is to follow-up. 

Heres some other ideas and approaches for your spring cleaning:
Each of these actions will take effort on your part as a writer but could yield great results. As Ive written in the past, it will not fly if you dont try and try on a consistent basis. 

Each of us have the same amount of time or 24 hours. How you use that time will affect your results. Is it time for you to take some spring cleaning actions? Let me know in the comments.

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Right Fit Takes Persistence

By Terry Whalin

Change is the only constant in the publishing world. Its like playing the childhood game of musical chairs. The players are constantly in motion and change positions and roles. Its one of the reasons for writers to read the trade publications which report significant personnel changes. Editors become literary agents. Literary agents change and work for a publisher or they become a freelance editor. These examples are just a couple of the continually shifting landscape. 

As a writer, you have a dream and a desire to publish your words. It takes a lot of perserverance and persistence to find the right publisher for your work. The Chicken Soup for the Soul series is one of the bestselling series in the English language. Most people have forgotten their challenging beginning. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected 140 times before they located a publisher. That is a lot of rejection in the search to find the right fit.

There is only one way your book doesnt get published or your story doesnt appear in print or your book stops selling. Its when you as a writer give up on your dream and stop. 
* You stop meeting new editors at a conference or on LinkedIN or through an online group.
* You stop reading about new publishing houses and new publications. Change can mean opportunity for your book and your writing--if you dont stop.
* You stop pitching your writing or your book to literary agents and editors
* You stop writing a book proposal and query letter. If you havent read my Book Proposals That Sell (The Revised Edition), I encourage you to download the free ebook then read it and take action on the information. 

I dont encourage anyone reading these words to stop but instead to choose to keep going until you find the right fit for your writing. 

Last week I heard a published author with an agent tell about her devotional going out to numerous publishers (40 is the number I recall) and getting rejected. The agent and author could not find the right place to publish this idea. Then one of the editors moved to a different publishing house. This editor remembered the authors pitch and asked for the proposal. It was published along with three additional books. Her persistence paid off with four published devotional books. 

Also last week I met a new magazine editor. One of my friends had written an original story for that magazine and never received a response. Her experience was a common one. When I asked this editor about another editor who attended last year. I learned he was no longer with the magazine. I asked if my friend could resend her article to the publication. The editor said this friend should send it directly to her and use my name with the submission. Will it get published? I dont know if it will happen but now my friend has another opportunity. As with the book author, it takes persistence to find the right fit.

In these articles, Ive mentioned how books pour into my mailbox for possible review and from other authors. The volume is way more than anyone could possibly read but Im grateful for each one and the opportunity. I was sorting books which is an ongoing process to keep them organized and limited so it doesnt overwhelm. In the sorting process, I realized that I had two copies of a book. I reached out to another writer asking if she wanted it and she did. Then I packed up the second copy and put it into the mail. I tell you this little story to ask what is sitting on your bookshelf unused that you can pass along to someone else. No matter where you are in the publishing world--a beginner or a seasoned professional--each of us have opportunity. I encourage you to be aware of it and take action. 

Many writers are following the “Field of Dreams” action plan. Im referring to the movie where they build a baseball field then players and people come to it--even in an Iowa cornfield. Writers believe if they pitch to the right literary agent, their book will get traditional published. They believe if they build a great website, people will come. Or writers have many other fantasy ideas which are not based in reality. You have to actively be looking for the right connection and the right fit through your email, phone calls and much more. When you locate a possibility, take action and explore it. For example, last week I spent a chunk of time reaching out to the writers I met at a conference. One of those people emailed me back which was great. She pulled my email out of her spam or junk folder. What is sitting in your spam folder that could be an opportunity?

Do you see the opportunity in publishers and publications when the personnel changes? If you seize the moment, change can provide a fresh opportunity. How have you learned that it takes persistence to find the right fit? Let me know in your comments.

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