Saturday, August 20, 2011

If You Are Tired of Getting Rejection...

You need to change up your game plan. On one hand, you are to be applauded for getting your material out to the editor or agent for consideration. Some writers never even take that active step. Every published writer has had plenty of rejection, it comes with our profession. The basic task of every writer is to get their writing to the right editor for the right publication at the right place and the right time.

There are many reasons for rejection and some of those reasons have to do with the writer and some of them have to do with timing.

A key step to changing your game plan is to get some more information or training. This training can come from a writers conference or instruction from others online like my Write A Book Proposal course or from how-to books.

In Philadelphia, Conference Director Marlene Bagnull was talking about the merits of Mike Nappa's book, 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected, and how to be sure it won't happen again! Marlene wrote an endorsement for this book that calls it “a must-read book for writers who want to get their book in print. Now only will you learn why your manuscript has been rejected, you'll learn how to fix it.”

It was toward the end of the second day of a panel of book editors and Marlene was speaking about Mike's book. I encouraged her to read Reason No 1. Flipping to the page she read, “Your Writing Is Crap.” It was not what you usually hear at a Christian writers conference.

According to industry insiders, there are a million proposals, queries and book manuscripts in circulation in different literary agencies and publishing houses. If you have submitted anything to an editor, you normally receive a form rejection letter saying it didn't meet their editorial needs. The form letter gives no insight for why you were rejected.

Mike Nappa pulls back the curtain and helps writers understand why their precious book pitch was rejected. He is straightforward and frank with his advice which is generously on every page of this well-written book.

For example, Reason #14 is one most writers don't want to learn: "You are lazy." Nappa concludes this section saying, "If you want to get published, you've got to be willing to do the work it takes to optimize every opportunity. If you don't want to do the work, all of the writers conferences and workshops in the world will not do you any good. Remember there is no such thing as a lazy writer...only those who get published and those who don't." (Page 69)

The 77 Reasons Why Your Book Was Rejected are divided into three main sections: Editorial Reasons for Rejection, Marketing Reasons for Rejection and Sales Reasons for Rejection. With Nappa's years of experience as an editor and agent, he has poured terrific value into this book. No writer likes to be rejected but every writer can profit from a detailed study of this book. I highly recommend it.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Perils of Procrastination

Many writers operate under the philosophy, why do today what I can put off until tomorrow? Yes, they have dreams but they are not consistently working toward achieving that dream. Year pass and they continue wanting to get their book published yet it still has not happened.

I met one of these writers at the Philadelphia conference. I’m going to use the name Bob but his name was not Bob because I don’t want to embarrass him but simply use him as an example. As we talked about his book, Bob rummaged through his papers and showed me a proposal from the year before which a faculty member had written and given specific recommendations for improvements and changes. In the weeks and months between last year’s conference and the current one, Bob had not reviewed the revisions and made the improvements. Instead he tucked it into a file which he brought to the next conference. He was mired in a procrastination cycle. I’m certain from time to time Bob wonders why he is not making progress on his dreams about a book—yet he is not taking action to learn his craft, improve his writing and continue moving forward.

Also at the conference, I was talking with a faculty member and made a suggestion for a possible project. This editor agreed it was a good idea then said, “I have this problem with procrastination. It will take me a while to get to it.” At least he was acknowledging his challenge and the validity or merit of my idea for him. At the same time, with his words, he was putting off taking any action on the idea until a later date.

I understand the challenge of procrastination. My writing and publishing life is crammed with activities—much more than is humanly possible to accomplish. Yet I also know the merits of goal setting and continually moving forward to accomplish a concrete goal.

Over three years ago, I took an online course from Jimmy D. Brown called Memberaire. The program is designed for anyone to learn how to create their own online course and launch it in a short amount of time.

Enthused about what I was learning from Jimmy each week, I followed the lessons and completed the assignments. I decided not to launch my course right away but to work on the creative aspects with a different schedule. Because of the volume of other deadlines and projects, I wanted to have more of the course in place and written than just a lesson or two as Jimmy suggested. I loved the course material and read it faithfully. The tyranny of the urgent forced me to slack off on completing the weekly assignments yet I stuck with his course.

It ran for a full year. As each lesson arrived in my mailbox, I faithfully printed each one. I burned through several reams of paper with these weekly assignments.

At the end of last year or two years after completing Jimmy’s course, I was reviewing some of my future projects. I chastised myself for not completing and launching my own course. I clearly made a decision to stop procrastination and take action. I began to speak daily time on creating and launching my own course. Ultimately several months ago I launched my Write A Book Proposal course and have students taking the course around the world.

My creation of the course was not without glitches and learning many lessons. For example, my course is a three month course which involves something called recurring billing. That means after 30 days, my shopping cart has to bill for the next 30 days. Then after 30 more days, the shopping cart has to bill for the final month. Because the course is available 24/7 students begin and reach that 30 day point at different times. Ideally you set up the controls so it is handled automatically. For the first batch of students I handled that billing by hand but now it is all automatic. My persistence and continual effort has paid off. I’ve received glowing comments about my teaching in the course from different students.

While in Philadelphia, I met one of my students who came to the conference from Sydney, Australia. She got on an airplane and came 17 hours to reach the U.S. then seven more hours to reach Philly. I was honored and amazed with such passion and effort to come to a conference—and this student’s enthusiasm for my Write A Book Proposal course.

I’m happy to report that I took action on my procrastination. You can do the same with your writing. What projects or dreams are you putting off to “another day?” Make a decision to take action and reach for your goals. It will take planning and consistent action but you can definitely get there. You don’t have to be stuck in the past. The future is yours if you reach for it.

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Monday, August 08, 2011

Keep Your Message Fresh

In a few days, I'm headed to Philadelphia for the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I look forward to the opportunity to see old friends but more importantly to give back to other writers and help them achieve their publishing dreams. My schedule worked out to be a bit complex this year since I return home on Saturday night, then leave late Sunday morning for the Oregon Christian Writers Summer program. I'm excited about both of these conferences. At each location, I am teaching different workshops.

When I teach, I prefer to use paper handouts rather than Power Points or something else. In my view, simple is better in this case and less likely to cause trouble. I've been in workshops where the instructor apologizes for his crashed computer or spends the hour fooling around with some gizmo instead of teaching his content. I'd rather cram as much information into my time as possible to give the greatest value.

I spent a number of hours this weekend pouring through my handouts for my workshops. While I may have taught this information before, I do not want to pull out my old notes and simply give the same old tired information. It's not how I keep the information fresh.

Each day I'm learning new methods to improve my own writing and I want to pass that information on to others. I added lots of new information and new resources to each of my handouts.

It's normal for a conference to restrict the number of handouts that they allow per workshop. I understand because they are trying to limit their expenses. I've found an easy way around that limitation. After I revise my handout, I create a PDF, then put that handout online. Each handout includes a link at the bottom of the first page to where the resource is located. As a part of my workshop, I call this detail to their attention and encourage people to go home, pull up the handout and track each of the online resources for additional teaching beyond the workshop.

I hope the participants make good use of this added resource. If I was sitting in the audience, I certainly would make a point to follow through when I returned. In fact, I've done it a number of times from conference instructors.

Because the workshops are recorded, occasionally I receive emails from people who are listening to my teaching from several years earlier. For those listeners, I want them to get the greatest value from these workshops.

If you would like to attend one of my forthcoming conferences, you can keep an eye on this link. On this page, I maintain the latest information about where I will be teaching.

I've given you some ideas about how I work on keeping my message fresh when I teach. It also applies to my writing. How are you keeping it fresh? Are you writing about the same old stuff or are you still breaking new ground? If you are stalled in one area of the market, I encourage you to look for new opportunities. They are all around you if you are looking for them. You can plow new ground for your writing but you have to be active and take the first step.

I've got a number of new projects in the works for the coming days so stay tuned. I'm keeping my message fresh and challenge you to do the same.

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Saturday, August 06, 2011

Plan For Your Blog To Succeed

Over six years ago, I started blogging from my passion to help others in the publishing community. My idea was simple: to give my insight about the writing and publishing world. I’m using those words in the broadest possible way so I write about the magazine and book worlds. I highlight new products that I’ve created and what I learn from others. While I never dreamed it would get this big, my blog has over 1,000 searchable entries in it. This place alone has a wealth of material about writing.

Millions of people start a blog with no plan. They have a passion for their topic and begin pouring words into their blog and posting them on a regular basis. I applaud that passion but one of the keys for your blog to succeed is that you have a plan for how your blog will earn money.

I’ve heard of people who turn their blogs into a six-figure income center yet I’ve also watched others start a blog, work hard at it and then eventually abandon it because it didn’t make them a dime.

I’m sure you’d like to be in the former category rather than the latter.

You can increase your chances of doing so but following these three easy steps for making money as a blogger…

Step 1: Create quality content in a hot niche.

People aren’t interested in reading ads or “spun” articles that are nothing more than gibberish. They want solutions to their problems. And that means they need quality content. In other words, they want useful information that solves their problems.

Here’s the key, though: While the information you provide should be useful, it should also be incomplete.

That is, it shouldn’t completely solve your prospects’ problems. After all, if you completely solve your prospects’ problems, then they really have no need to buy what you’re selling.

One way to provide useful but incomplete solutions is by sharing articles that tell people what to do, but don’t go into detail about how to do it.

Example: A marketing blog might have the instruction “buy a good domain name at NameCheap.com,” but it doesn’t get into the details of what it means to buy a “good” domain name. Then the blogger can point to a short report that tells people how to build a website (which includes how to choose a good domain name).

Step 2: Monetize your blog.

You’re already providing useful content. Soon you’ll have plenty of readers eyeballing this content. So before you bring in the traffic, you need to find ways to monetize the traffic. Here are three ways:

* Promote products and services. These could be your own products or affiliate products. If you don’t know or understand the word affiliate, I encourage you to get my free Ebook on this billion dollar industry (click the link in this sentence). Read my Ebook and sign up to become one of my affiliates.

* Sell advertising space.

Example: You can sell a rotating banner ad on the home page of your blog. You can even sell plain text links.

* Get people on your list. Instead of focusing on getting people to buy products or click on ads, you can focus on getting them on your list. Then you can build a relationship with them, which makes it easier for you to sell products on the backend.

Step 3: Drive traffic to your blog.

Your blog is ready to make some money – now you just need traffic! Here are three ways to get traffic:

* Start a Facebook Fan Page. I used a simple tool Facebook Fan Page Engine to build my own Facebook Fan page. You can see my Facebook Fan page at this link. Please click the “like” button and get my free Ebook.

* Get JV (joint venture partners). Then co-promote each other on your blogs, such as by guest blogging.

* Submit articles to article directories such as EzineArticles.com.

There’s not enough room in this article to share with you all the tips you need to know to make a killing with your blog. That’s why you need The 31-Day Guide to Blogging for Bucks. Get your copy here now: http://bucksforblog.com.

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Thursday, August 04, 2011

Ten Ways to Capture Your Blog’s Passion & Profit

Most people start blogging because they are passionate about their particular topic or subject matter. Each day they pull up to their computer and crank out some more words then post it and go on with their day. Through their blogging, these writers:

* Establish themselves as an expert on their topic

* Begin to gain readers to their writing

* Grow their communication skills through regular writing

While I applaud these three benefits from blogging, take a minute and think about the time and effort you are pouring into your writing. Can you balance that effort and turn a profit from your writing? Whether you are just starting a blog or have been blogging for some time, I want to give you the top ten ways to make money on your blog.

1. Create clever post titles. People don’t come to your blog to read advertisements. Instead, they come to read good content. And their first clue as to whether the content is good is based solely on the titles of your blog posts. That’s why you need to create interesting, benefit-driven post titles.

Example #1: Here’s an example of a ho-hum title: “Dog Training Tips”

Example #2: Now here’s an example of a title that will get people reading your posts: “10 Surefire Dog Training Tips That Will Have You Firing Your Dog Trainer!”

2. Optimize your content for the search engines. Your blog won’t put a dime in your pocket if no one reads your content and sees your ads. That’s why you should seek to optimize your content to pull in traffic from the search engines. You do this by finding out what keywords your market is already searching for in Google, and then including these keywords in your articles two or three times per 100 words of text.

3. Weave product recommendations into your content. Your ads shouldn’t be confined to your blog’s sidebar – you can also put them directly into your content.

4. Post regularly, such as twice per week. Doing so makes your blog “sticky.” It also gives your readers a reason to keep coming back and again and again, which gives you another chance to sell them something.

5. Create regular weekly features. This is another way to get your visitors to return on a regular basis.

Example: You can create a feature called “Friday’s Super Tip,” where you post your very best niche-related tip every week.

6. Make use of your blog sidebar. You can post text ads, banner ads and other graphics, links to your best blog posts and a newsletter subscription form in your sidebar.

7. Rotate products on your blog. Doing so keeps your blog fresh. But it also gives you a chance to track and test your offers to see which ones put the most money in your pocket.

8. Use pictures. You can post relevant pictures in your articles as well as your sidebar, which will work to draw people’s eyes to your content and ads. You can get these photos for as little as $1 each at stock photo sites.

9. Encourage people to subscribe to your RSS feed. People who are subscribed are more likely to become a regular reader of your blog.

Don’t just rely on people subscribing to your RSS feed, however…

10. Get people on your newsletter list. One way to do this is to password-protect some of your best posts, and then offer access to these posts only to those who’ve subscribed to your newsletter list. Another way is through a Feedblitz account. Use the link to set up a 30 days trial. You can set up a simple way for people to subscribe to your blog and receive it through their email. I have over 500 subscribers to my blog using this system.

These tips are just scraping the surface when it comes to making money with your blog. If you want to make real money with your blog, then you need an in-depth guide that shows you exactly how to set up a blog, create content for it and make money with it. You can get The 31-Day Guide to Blogging for Bucks by going to: http://BucksForBlog.com.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Discover Passion and Profit in A Blog

You have selected a topic that you love and started a blog. For most of us, we are passionate about that topic and it is a fun place to write our thoughts. While the word “blog” has become common it started from the term web log or a place on the web to log your thoughts. According to one site, there are over 450 million active English blogs.

I enjoy writing in my blog yet in these challenging economic times, I also see the value in combining my passion with earning some money. Over the next several entries of The Writing Life, I want to show you several different ways you can either start a blog or begin to earn from your blog. And since a blog is so flexible, there are plenty of ways to monetize it.

Here are the top three ways:

1. Sell your products.

This is the most obvious way to make money with a blog: If you have products or services to sell, then promote them on your blog.

You can put permanent banners and text ads in the sidebar. I encourage you to take a moment and look closely at what I've done on The Writing Life. If you click some of the banners, you will see they refer to some of my products such as my Write A Book Proposal course or my book, Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. You can also weave your product links into your actual blog posts.

Example: Let’s suppose you’re selling a weight loss book on your blog. You can post a “Top 10 Tips for Losing Weight” article on your blog. And then at the end of the article you can include a link to your book, “101 Tips for Losing Weight.” If people like your 10 tips, then they’ll be eager to buy your book.

Why does this work so well?

Because blogging gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise. When you establish yourself as a trusted expert, people are more likely to buy from you.

2. Sell affiliate products.

Don’t have your own products?

No problem: You can sell affiliate products. That means that you get a commission every time someone buys a product or service through your affiliate link.

There are plenty of big companies that have affiliate programs. One of the most popular affiliate programs for physical products is the a Amazon.com program, simply because your buyers already know and trust Amazon.com.

But if you’re going to sell downloadable information products, then one of the best affiliate programs is via Clickbank.com, where you’ll find thousands upon thousands of products to sell. Best of all, the commission rates are generous. You’ll see them as high as 50% and even 75%! I've written a free 30–page Ebook, You Can Make Money. Just follow the link and get it.

3. Insert AdSense ads.

Still another way to make money on your blog is by showing Google AdSense ads on your site. You make money every time someone clicks on your ad!

Here’s the biggest benefit of this method:

You don’t have to sell a thing. You don’t have to convince anyone to buy. All you have to do is post good content on your site to attract prospects… and you get paid every time they click on an ad. It’s easy!

What’s next?

I’m sure by now you can see that there’s a world of profitable opportunities waiting for anyone who wants to start up a blog.

If you’d like to know what the Internet's wealthiest bloggers know about making money with a blog, then look no further than The 31 Day Guide to Blogging For Bucks. I encourage you to get your copy right now—risk-free since you can use it for 60 days. This guide will really open your eyes to the possibilities!

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