Monday, August 12, 2013

Take Action to Grow

This morning I was organizing my desk and found a CD from a conference I attended in June. The Write to Publish Conference generously gave each attendee a free copy of 26 sessions from the previous year. 

Yet my copy was still in the wrapper and unopened. Despite my good intentions, I had not heard any of these sessions for my own growth as a writer.

Also today I picked a book off my shelf that I had purchased months ago, yet never opened the pages and read it. It is one of the many how-to books that I regularly read and apply to my writing life or business practices.

As writers, we have good intentions to learn and grow but we don't take consistent action. I regularly speak with authors who have good intentions to send me a promised book proposal or a manuscript. 

Yet a million interruptions have come into their life and they haven't sent it—but they still have plans. Ironically these same authors want to tell me about some pricey training where they've just returned. I've met a number of people who attend many training sessions on a regular basis—yet they have joined the ranks of the person who comes to an event yet doesn't apply the information they are absorbing. It strikes me as a waste of good intentions.

I want to encourage you to apply whatever teaching or training you have received—as you continue to learn more about your craft. I have taken the shrink wrapper off the CD with teaching from a writer's conference. I'm going to begin to listen to some of these sessions.

That book which has been on my shelf for months. I will open and spend some time reading and gaining insight from this seasoned professional who wrote the book.

As I listen to the audio programs and read the book, I will take notes and apply lessons to my own writing life. Each of us have good intentions. The key distinction is if we take action on these intentions and move forward. 

If you are looking for a boost to your writing life, then I encourage you to take my Write A Book Proposal course or read my Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams book. You must take action to grow and achieve the desires in your heart.

How are you moving ahead to accomplish your writing dreams and plans?

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Thursday, August 08, 2013

Build Publishing Habits

If you are writing a novel or a nonfiction book or ???. What are you doing each day to succeed with this writing project?

Yes, it is important to craft an excellent work with terrific storytelling and craft. We learn these skills through our own reading and continual practice. Writing should be a habit which you continually cultivate and practice on a regular basis.

Yet what about other areas of publishing where you need to develop habits?

Recently I heard from an unpublished author who was getting rejected or no response from literary agents. She was sending out a children's book and couldn't understand why she could not succeed. I wrote this author that she needed to do more to understand the marketplace. Only a few literary agents that I know represent children's books for several reasons. First, the advances are very low for children's books. 

Also it's hard to get a children's book published and much of the writing work is Work Made for Hire or something an agent wouldn't be involved in. Finally agents are looking for writers who demonstrate that they have been published. You have to show this skill through writing for print magazines or other recognized forms. This unpublished author was floundering because she had not done the basics to understand the market. As a daily habit, she needed to be reading published authors and how-to books as well as connecting with someone to help her. 

Reading in the field is another publishing habit that every author or would-be author should be developing. There are free newsletters and many ways to learn from others. Are you tapping into these resources?

Another publishing habit is to constantly build your connections to others. It doesn't require tons of time but it does require consistent effort. For example, posting on twitter and Facebook in your area of expertise is a publishing habit. You can use tools like Hootsuite so it does not have to consume much time but the consistency will pay off.

I spend the majority of my days working with authors as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James. My personal goal is to help as many authors as I can to achieve their dreams of getting published. As a result of these goals, I'm on the phone with authors or literary agents. Or I'm answering emails or interacting with my Morgan James colleagues about book projects. I have a series of habits that I execute each day related to my work at Morgan James.

What goals do you have for your publishing life? Have you written them down and are you looking at them on a regular basis? What habits do you need to develop in order to achieve these goals?

As you are consistent, it will pay off for you in the marketplace. I have a great deal of free information in my ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author. If you haven't read this Ebook, I suggest you get it and study it, then apply the lessons to your writing life.

What new publishing habits are you developing?

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

How Are You Asking?

A great deal of publishing involves the process of asking. For example, if you want to write a magazine article, then you learn how to write a one-page pitch letter called a query and send it to an editor. Essentially you are asking that editor to publish your article. 

It's the same with books. You have a book proposal or a book manuscript and you ask the editor or agent to consider publishing your material. It's critical for each process that you ask in the right way to receive a positive response. I've invested a great deal in this teaching process creating courses and free teleseminars and articles.

As I consider this concept of asking, it is a biblical idea. James 4:2 says in the NIV, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” One of the keys is asking with the right strategy and in the right way.

Many times I speak with writers who are struggling financially. There has always been a “starving artist” type of mentality with writers. In recent years, some new tools are available (without cost) to help you raise the funds that you need to accomplish your dreams. Some people call it “crowd funding” and other times it is called “joyful giving.” It's a way your connections (friends and family) can financially support your publishing vision.

One of the most successful programs online is called Kickstarter. I read a new book from Aimee Cebulski called KICKSTARTER FOR DUMMIES. Whenever I want to learn a new skill, I’ve found it is important to learn from people who have detailed experience in this area. Aimee Cebulski is one of these people. She not only writes about Kickstarter but has used it successfully to fund her book, THE FINDING 40 PROJECT.

In the introduction for KICKSTARTER FOR DUMMIES, Cebulski writes “Kickstarter has quickly become a mainstream way to get a creative project made.” Most people have no idea how to raise funds for their creative project, Kickstarter gives anyone the ability to raise funds—but it does take strategic planning and thinking to pull off successfully. This book will help you understand the details and creative possibilities.

The Kickstarter model is working. Page 6 says, “As of March 2013, individuals using
Kickstarter have:

• Launched 89,400 projects
• Funded 37,300 projects – a success rate of 43%
• Raised $434 million”

“Kickstarter uses an all-or-nothing approach to fundraising. This means, if you don’t hit your fundraising goal within a certain timeframe (about 30 to 60 days), you get nothing. As a result, you need to be very strategic in your planning, your goal-setting, and backer solicitation, all of which I cover in depth in this book.” (Page 7)

The illustrations, step-by-step instructions and depth of this book make it a “must-have” for anyone who is going to use Kickstarter effectively. I recommend you get this book, study it carefully then launch your own creative endeavor. Aimee Cebulski has shown readers the path for their own success and opportunity with KICKSTARTER FOR DUMMIES.

Open your mind to new ideas and approaches. For some of you, Kickstarter will be a path you should explore to get the funds you need to publish your book or to market your book. The opportunity is certainly there for you. Will you seize it and ask others?

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