Friday, September 28, 2007

Head To the Library

Several weeks ago I received a phone call from a local reference librarian in the Glendale, Arizona Public Library. Last year, she pulled together a successful free program of speakers about various aspects of writing. During her call, she asked me if I would participate in this year's gathering. This meeting is tomorrow.

If you are in the Phoenix area, I have the links and location in my author listing on Book Tour. I'm going to talk about the information which is in my free Ebook, Straight Talk From The Editor, 18 Keys To A Rejection-Proof Submission.

At last year's event, they had about 400 to 500 people who participated in the day. I'm going to bring copies of my Book Proposals That Sell and see if I can sell a few books.

These events are a bit speculative. You never know whether there will be only a few people at them or many people. I see it as another opportunity to gain exposure for my work and also possibly collect more names and email addresses for my Right Writing News.



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Power of Asking

Have you ever noticed the number of customer reviews and in particular five star reviews for a book on Amazon? I do. In fact, when I check out a book online I will often turn to Amazon and read those customer reviews. Many books are never reviewed. Some books only have one review. Others have many reviews.

If you check my Book Proposals That Sell, you will see it has over 70 Five Star reviews. I regularly look at the reviews and competition for my title. A few of those books have reviews but none of them have anywhere near 70 Five Star reviews. How did that happen? Many of the reviews came naturally and any book which is much reviewed has its foundation based on a good book.

I also have learned the power of asking. If someone writes me and tells me about how much they appreciate the book, I take the proactive approach. I ask if they will go over to Amazon and write a few sentences with a Five Star review. I give them the link to go right to the page and I’m grateful for many people who have responded.

I’ve heard that success shows traces of success. It also has to do with the power of asking.

In a little over a week, I will be hosting a teleseminar with the president of iUniverse, Susan Driscoll. If you don’t know iUniverse is one of the leading self-publishing companies in the country. Earlier this year I met Susan at Mega Book Marketing University and was fascinated with her background of leadership in traditional publishers like HarperCollins and others. I love Susan and Diane Gedymin’s book, Get Published! I asked Susan if she liked doing teleconferences and she said she loved them. Now you (and I) get the opportunity to ask her any question. In the next couple of days, I’m adding a couple of audio clips but the site is working and can be used to register. I hope you will do it. Susan agreed to this session because I asked.

If you are promoting a book or looking to build your visibility in the market or possibly trying to get published in magazines, then I recommend you use the power of asking. Yes, you will face some rejection (all of us do) but when that happens just look for the next opportunity and keep on asking. You never know what can happen in the days ahead.

So many writers feel powerless in the publishing world and nothing could be further from the truth. I think more writers could succeed from asking.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Pass On Value

Through the years, it's been my privilege and opportunity to interview hundreds of best-selling authors. After the interview, I've written their stories for different magazines but I've learned much more than I could ever build into a 1,500 word personality profile. As I've gained new insight and information, part of my make-up is to pass these lessons on to others. It's one of the best ways to cement the information in my own life but also to help others in the process.

I've set up an affiliate program which continues to grow in members. It's free and simple to join. If you work the program, it gives you some passive income potential. Each month I am sending payments to my affiliates who are participating and selling from their participation. It's been exciting to see the growth in this aspect of my work and the benefits for others and myself.

Several months ago I held my first affiliate training session as a teleseminar. I recorded that call and saved the study guide from it. It's given me another resource to give to new affiliates and encourage them. Yes, the examples in the training relate to my site and my products. Here's the beauty of it: the information is universal. If you learn how to use my affiliate links, then you can use other people's affiliate links and increase your own earning potential.

I'm continually looking for new products to bring to my audience--whether I make them or they are from someone else. I know I'm passing along material which has value and earning potential for each person who uses it. This tactic will not be right for everyone and some people will leave your newsletter list. I see this leaving process as a part of the purification process. The only people you want to stay are the people who trust your recommendations and read your material. It is not "fun" when people chide you for sending out too much advertisements when before you were giving out totally free content. (Yes, it's happened many times to me.) I understand that people have different seasons and it's not appropriate for everyone.

At the same time, my newsletter list continues to grow and have strength in the process. I'm still committed to bringing excellent content articles to my Right Writing News list. I've produced 29 issues at this point and only subscribers have access to those free back issues. It is over 400-pages of excellent how-to-write material and part of my commitment to passing on value to writers--whether experienced or brand new.

I'm holding a second affiliate training later today. It’s my second teleseminar for affiliates. I will record the call so if you are reading this entry after the fact, you can still catch the training. I'm picking up where I left off with the first training session and giving additional tips and insight to increase the effectiveness of each affiliate. It's like any writing skill—it only works if you use it. The tips are universal and can be applied to any aspect of your Internet marketing efforts.

Almost daily I see writers who are pitching a novel or a nonfiction book. Yet they have no network or platform and no idea how to build that platform or audience. I've got ideas how to do it and some of those ideas will be taught this afternoon through my teleseminar.

During October and beyond, I've got several exciting teleseminars scheduled so stay tuned. If you look at my speaking schedule you will see, I'm still committed to traditional writers conferences and working on my material that I will be teaching on cutting-edge techniques at the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference. Hope to see you there where I can pass on more valuable lessons and insight.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Answer The Obvious Questions

At every stage of the book purchasing process, readers come with some basic questions. Are you answering them? If you have a book proposal or a book manuscript, you are attempting to catch the attention of a literary agent or an editor. Or when the book has been contracted and you are finalizing the text to turn in your manuscript, have you answered the obvious questions of the reader?

Often as writers, we are focused on crafting an excellent story or an excellent nonfiction book. At some point in the process, we need to return to the reader and make sure we've answered the obvious. Steve Weinberg raised this issue in his recent Soapbox column, "Another Eisenhower Biography?" in Publishers Weekly. I know Steve because we are members of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Steve was reviewing a forthcoming biography on President Dwight Eisenhower from Michael Korda. In this 800–page book, Korda praises another biographer of Eisenhower but doesn't tell the reader why he is adding to the literature on the former President.

Weinberg explains the reason for his question, "I'm also assuming the role of consumer advocate. I think of my mother, an avid, 83-year-old reader who is unlikely to consume more than one biography of Abe or Marilyn or John or Jesus, given her philosophy of so little time, so many more books to devour. My mother wants to know why the new one is ostensibly the best choice for her."

Ultimately the reader wants to make the best possible choice for their limited reading time--and it's up to the writer to make sure the convincing answers are somewhere in the text of the book.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Innovative Strategies To Reach Teens

Throughout my day, I gather current event and news information from many different sources. One of these sources surveyed parents and teenagers about the amount of time teens spend in online activities. It was something like the parents estimated their teen was online for an average of two hours a day when actually they were online double that amount of time or four hours a day. I looked but could not locate the source of this new study for you yet the parents had no real concept of the amount of time their teenagers were online.

Publishers understand this volume of time teens spend in various online activities and are attempting to use this to their advantage and sell more books. Just in case you did not see it, the cover story for Publishers Weekly (September 3, 2007) was called Teen Marketing 2.0. I point out this article so you can see some of their innovative strategies to tap into this market. If you are writing for teens, this article will possibly stir some ideas.

If you are not writing for teens, it may also stir some ideas for you. It's important to learn the craft of writing and I've devoted a lot of articles to that topic in my Right Writing News as well as on the pages of Right-Writing.com. Yet at the same time, it's also necessary to build your audience and constantly reach out to touch your particular niche. It does take time and energy but it’s entirely in the realm of possiblity--if you work at it.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

A Viral Blog Traffic Tool

Today I received an invitation to join the Blog Rush site. It's a new syndication method to get your blog entries out to a broader audience and generate more traffic. The traffic is divided into different categories and I selected "writing and literature" for my entries on The Writing Life.

Registration is simple and to activate your account, you put a widget on your blog like this one:

Notice that it is pulling from other blogs which are in the system in my category. Behind the scenes they are monitoring abuse and will kick the spammers and others who have bad motives off the syndication network. It’s brand new but I suspect it's going to be viral and spread to many parts of the blogsphere in a short amount of time.

I plan to keep an eye on the various entries, check them out and see how they relate to my entries. You can do the same. Try it and see what happens.

I hope Blog Rush helps some of you.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

If They Don't Come

In the Field of Dreams movie, Ray Kinsella, a novice farmer living in Iowa hears a voice that says, "If you build it, they will come." Throughout the film, Kinsella builds a baseball field in his cornfield.

It happens all the time, an author or a publisher will invest a lot of energy and dollars in building a fancy website to promote their book. Yet no one comes to the site. The author hasn’t learned anything about how to get traffic to his website so while the site has a lot of functionality, it has little or almost no use. What can be done?

Last night I was reading what literary agent Chip MacGregor was writing about some of these issues. He’s got some wise counsel in this area and encourages authors to take proactive steps. Also I'd encourage you to read this article from The Wall Street Journal about the energy that Penguin poured into their book, Eat, Pray, Love to turn a bestseller. It's not easy and it's not done accidentally. Another aspect to make sure you notice, the book is well-crafted. As this quote in the article from Barbara Gattermeir points out, "I was hooked on page one." I've not read this book but I’m fascinated with what has happened to it in the marketplace.

Besides two bits of information, I wanted to make sure you see what Marc Harty has put together as a free 21 lesson eCourse. I'm only about five lessons into this course but I like what's here. It’s clearly written and doesn’t come every day and is divided into small consumable chunks so anyone can learn from it.

Many writers are willing to do the hard work to promote and market their books--yet they need to be educated about how to take cost-effective steps in this area. My hope in this post is to give you some additional resources for the journey.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Whether You Love Football or Not

When a football team wins the superbowl, they take home the Vince Lombardi trophy. I know more than a few people are groaning that football is starting again. Others love the game and watch every single minute that they get a chance.

No matter what you think about the sport, Vince Lombardi was a coach who inspired his players to greatness. I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and watch this three-minute inspirational movie about What It Takes To Be Number One. It’s filled with inspirational quotations from Lombardi and completely transcends football.

As a writer, I appreciate these types of tools to help me. I hope it will encourage you and strengthen your work in the publishing world.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Free Internet Marketing Training

Where do you get sound advice about marketing on the Internet? One of the best venues in my view is to learn from experienced and successful Internet marketing experts. I want to learn from people who have been successful in this area of Internet marketing and their success is evident from their results.

Armand Morin is one of these people who have learned the insider information about how to get attention on the Internet. For the tenth year, he has organized the Big Seminar in Atlanta, Georgia. If you can, I recommend you go to the Big Seminar--no matter whether you have published no books or have published many books or if you work for a publishing company. If you attend with an open mind and listen carefully, you will learn a tremendous amount of information.

Free Internet marketing training is provided before the Big Seminar through the free preview calls with the various speakers. These calls will be filled with content, information and insight. To use this resource, you have to register with your email address, then read the emails for the preview calls and listen to them. I recommend it as a way to learn more about the Internet marketing area.

You may be thinking, "I just want to get a book published or write for a few magazines?" These speakers will be giving innovations which are outside the normal sales channels for publishing. They will give you insight about how to build your platform and gain visibility in the marketplace. My advice is not to be so focused on the publishing goals that you cut yourself off from another route to get there. These preview calls are building up to the event next month so the sooner you register for the better.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Use What You Have

Last week I wrote about The Unwelcomed Teacher: Adversity. If you haven't noticed it, the publishing world is full of bumps in the road. You have to determine whether you will let those bumps become obstacles or opportunities.

I ran into one of these "bumps" yesterday. To help launch my new Ebook, Writing for the Christian Market, I'm offering a free teleseminar. For a portion of the teleseminar, I've been promoting the fact that for part of the session, I have a magazine editor for one of the best places to break into the Christian magazine market. I did not reveal this editor’s name. This editor had agreed to participate and I needed to send him the details about how to call into the session. Imagine my internal groan when I received his email that he would not be able to participate because he teaches a weekly Bible study at exactly that same time period. So much for my magazine editor who would be my mystery guest. Or was it?

With this cancellation, I could have shrugged it and not had a guest editor--or I could use what I have in front of me (a massive network from my years in this market is what I'm using) and see if I could get another participant. I looked in The Christian Writers' Market Guide and located another publication which was similar to the first editor. I picked up the phone and called this editor. I mistakenly thought I had previously met him at a writers' conference. It turned out I had met someone else at his publication. This editor has not taught at writers’ conferences nor ever done a teleseminar--yet he is the main person who edits and selects the articles for his publication. I asked him to participate and he's agreed to participate. What initially looked like a difficulty became something even better.

And the first editor has agreed to participate in another session which I will give next month. Instead of no editors, I'm going to have two different editors give their information to writers who want to break into writing for the Christian magazine market.

If you can't participate in the live event, I hope you will register--so you can get the link to the replay.

My lesson for you is not to give up when something goes another direction than you first planned it. Look for a way to use the resources that you have to make something even better happen from it. That persistence will pay off in the long run.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

What Does The Audience Want?

It's a question that many people within the publishing community are asking. If they could figure out the answer and produce it, then they would create a winning product. There is probably a previous question to this one: which audience? The audience has to be large enough to make a profitable product yet targeted so you can write specifically for the needs of that market.

The simple way to learn the needs of your audience doesn't usually cross the minds of most authors: ask them. One of the best tools to gather this information is The Ask Database. I'm using this tool for a number of different functions. For example, Wednesday, I've scheduled another free teleseminar to talk about Writing for the Christian Market. You can either call into the teleseminar on your phone or listen to it free through a telewebcast over your computer. I will create the contents for the teleseminar around the various questions from the audience. Use this link for a special arrangement that I've made for you to try the AskDatabase for only $1.

Here's another resource for you to learn more about this method. It’s over two hours of free instruction on this topic.

I hope to answer your question on Wednesday's teleseminar. If you can't make the session, please sign up because I'll be sending the link to the replay to everyone who registers.

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