Friday, December 14, 2007

Possibilities Abound--If You Persevere

As we approach the end of another year, I've been thinking about some of the great things which happened this past year--and some of the things which I attempted and fell flat. Yes, each of us have things on each side of that situation. Can you major on the possibilities and look for new opportunities? They are certainly out there yet only if you keep your eyes open for the possibilities and persevere. Many people along the way seem to drop off, give up and quit. Are you one of those people? You can make a choice not to be one of their number.

One of the continual discussions in the publishing community is whether a particular piece of writing is publishable or not. With the variety of possibilities from Internet to print-on-demand to traditional publishing to magazine work, there is always a way to get something to the audience--provided you reach the right audience. Publishability is a question the publisher will always ask--because they are investing a large amount of money into your project--just to produce it and also to market and sell the book.

I see many projects which don't have the depth or substance to be a book--and instead they are a longer magazine article or a substantial magazine article.

Who will you reach with this particular book AND does this publisher have the ability to reach that audience? Some publishers are better equipped to reach into an audience than others. Some times a publisher will consider your potential audience and reject the project because they are ill equipped to reach that audience and know it would be a mistake and misguided use of their resources. The answer about your audience returns to the age old question of researching the market and knowing how you will reach that market.

For example, if you are a children's author and tell me your book is going to be for any child from 3 to 12, your project gets immediately slated for rejection. You have no understanding of the divisions of children's literature and how that is handled in the bookstores and libraries of the nation. Your project is way too broad in scope from the beginning. Keep reading if you are a children’s author because I have some resources for you in a minute.

The same concern is true in the adult market when you say in your book proposal or query letter that your target market is women from 25 to 80 (as one which came across my screen this week said.). You have not done your preparation as a writer to see the true possibilities. So do not be surprised when that idea doesn't hit too broad of a target.

Who are you targeting for the sales of your product? If it is the brick and mortar bookstores, then you need to work toward a traditional publisher for your product because no one reaches these stores better than the traditional publishers. I love traditional bookstores and try to spend as much time as I can in them--browsing the books and purchasing them in the store.

If you have read these entries, you will know that I have encouraged you to get a copy of Brian Jud's 304 page book called Beyond the Bookstore, How to Sell More Books Profitably to Non-Bookstore Markets. Most writers do not understand that more than half of the books sold each year are sold outside of the bookstores. Jud helps authors understand some of these out-of-the-box markets. Here's a rich resource of training for authors which I have not mentioned. Booksurge is an Amazon.com company and Jud has been holding a series of free webinars which you can watch--and learn a great deal.

If you can show a publisher a large market (even if outside of the bookstore) and you have the ability to reach AND energize that market to purchase your new book, then you have moved out of the rejection pile and into a publishable category worthy of a publisher's consideration.

And for the children's authors, as a resource, you should subscribe to the free newsletter, The Children's Writing Update. Late last night I was reading the current issue and to my surprise found my blog on The Writing Life mentioned. They have produced a new ebook called I Wish Someone Had Told Me That! ebook where 64 published children’s writers give inside tips about what they wish they had known before they made the journey. Here's a YouTube video about this resource:

I've learned the hard way to add this link for my Feedblitz readers. Otherwise they have no idea what I’m talking about unless they return to the Internet entry.

Finally no matter where you are in the publishing process, I want to encourage you to listen to this Mp3 called The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightengale. It is the only gold record ever achieved for the spoken word and absolutely free from Mark Victor Hansen. You have to enter your first name and email to get the link--and you can opt out at any time. If you are wondering about success and how to become successful, this recording is loaded with sound tested wisdom. I've heard it a couple of times. It will encourage you that the possibilities abound if you persevere.

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8 Comment:

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Unknown Left a note...

Good blog as usual. I am like a tortoise, the slow and steady approach -- to writing. Last month, I attended a one day conference, met Cec Murphy (a huge draw) and a fellow writer I know. A local magazine was represented, we hit it off and he joked about running over me in the parking lot. I told him he couldn't -- that I was going to write for him. Whala, received my first assignment this week from him...another step along the way...and no, he didn't run over me in the parking lot!

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Great comment. It's unfortunate but we forget the valuable lessons from the tortoise in our own writing life.


At 2:46 PM, Blogger cindyMN Left a note...

I have a teen daughter that is very much interested in being a writer or journalist. She likes to write her own stories on the computer. I have a few questions. She would like to enter some competitions to see how good a writer she is. Where would you find info on any comp's out there?
and what would be your advice on college? What sort of degrees? and can someone really make a living these days doing this?
Thanks so much.
LOVE your blog!

At 8:48 AM, Blogger Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter Left a note...

I have a question Terry, where would you suggest a writer spend their time when they're marketing their book. Brian Judd has lots of great ideas [I get his e-zine thank you so much for telling us about it]. For those crucial first 30 days after publication where do you suggest a writer focus their marketing efforts?

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


I know you want a one size fits all answer here for those first 30 days--but it's different for each book. If publishers knew the answer, they would have told authors about it years ago. There are dozens of variables for each project. Here's what I know for a fact--the Chicken Soup for the Soul authors did four things a day with the launch of their books--for the first two years. I mean a radio interview, a magazine article, an Internet promotion, a postcard campaign, etc. Many authors want their success but simply aren't willing to pay the price.


At 10:03 AM, Blogger Kristi Holl Left a note...

Great information as usual, Terry. Thank you for being so generous with us! You do a lot of the leg work for us, finding such great (and usually free) resources. Now...back to your post to sign up for a couple things you shared!

At 5:01 AM, Blogger John James Left a note...

Great blog! I like writing, I find it very enjoyable. Only thing is I rarely have enough time to write. I'm consering hiring a copywriter like James Alenteal, Copywriter. What does everyone think about this?

At 5:56 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Thanks for the comment. I am unfamiliar with the copywriter you mentioned. There are many good copywriters. It's like anything else--you need to check out their credentials and other references before you hire them. Best wishes as you move ahead,



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