Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ask Your Hard Publishing Questions

There is often confusion on the world of publishing. At times you get conflicting information. Is it better to self-publish or to do the work to go with a traditional publisher? Do you need a literary agent? How do you find a good one? 

Sometimes you read about agents who do nothing or are crooks (yes they are out there). You read some websites and that information conflicts with what you hear from published authors or in writing books. Where do you get an experienced answer to your hard publishing questions?

When I face these types of questions, I turn to an expert. Yet how do you even reach an expert and especially if you don't know many people in publishing?

Tuesday, March 1st, I'm interviewing Rick Frishman who is in his 39th  year in publishing. For many years, Rick ran one of the largest public relations firms in the United States—Planned Television Arts in New York City (now called Media Connect). For almost ten years, Rick has been the publisher at Morgan James Publishing. He has guided many authors to become bestsellers and knows this industry inside and out.
Here's your opportunity: I've convinced Rick Frishman to go on the hotseat for my questions during a LIVE 70-minute telewebcast on Tuesday, March 1st!

* * * Here's My Small Request * * *

Rather than have the "content" come out of Rick's head (or my head) for the March 1, 2016 telewebcast at 6 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST, I decided to let you ask Rick a question. 

Sound fair?

So, if you could ask Rick Frishman ANY question you wanted about attending a writers conference  like Author 101 University, what would your question be?

Here's your chance to ask Rick directly and get registered for our call on Tuesday, March 1, 2016 (starts promptly according to www.Time.gov). 

Click the link below:


 * * Get Rick Frishman's FREE Special Report * *

You will receive a FREE copy of Rick Frishman's special report, Creating An Award Winning Proposal that
Rick wrote with Robyn Freedman Spizman. It's FREE  if you ask a question and register for this telewebcast. 
Click the link below:

After your question gets submitted, you'll find out how to get phone access and webcast access to Rick and myself for our LIVE telewebcast, March 1, 2016. If your schedule doesn't allow you to attend this LIVE event, I encourage you to go ahead and register—and ask your question. The event will be recorded and everyone who registers for the event will receive the replay recording.

Rick is one of the most experienced people in publishing that I know. I hope you will bring on your hard questions about various aspects of the publishing business. I will be reading these questions and then asking Rick on Tuesday. I hope to speak to you soon on the call.

Here's a place to ask your hard publishing questions. (Click to tweet)

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Are You Checking Your Twitter Followers?

If you are just starting on Twitter or have been there for a while, you are probably thrilled when anyone follows you back and you are growing your followers. Even though I have over 165,000 followers on Twitter, at least once a day, I'm checking through those followers and looking for several things:

1. Is this follower someone that I want following me? The world is full of people that I don't want to follow you such as porn or people who are only selling twitter followers or have no content. If I spot such a person, then I quickly block this person and exclude them from being one of my followers. Their tweets will not appear in my twitter feed if I block them.

2. Does this person speak English? I do not speak Arabic or Chinese or Japanese or ???. I speak English and only want to follow and have followers who tweet in English.  If you read their profile, in seconds you can determine whether they are writing in English or another language. Or possibly they don't have anything in their profile (as many new people don't). In these cases, I open a new tab and take a quick look at their tweets. If I see it is in another language, then I block these followers.

3. Is this follower in my target market and something I would want to see in my twitter feed (my home page on Twitter)? I make an instant decision and at times I block these people as well and remove them from Twitter.

From the outside, it may look like I follow everyone who follows me. I don't. It's important to make sure you have the right followers. I've written about the daily actions I take on Twitter. If you want to know more of these details, I encourage you to follow this link. I'm continuing to use these tools. In this article, I'm writing about some other simple and quick detailed actions I take with my twitter followers.

I appreciate the people who follow me on Twitter. While it may not seem like you have a lot of control over who follows you, you do. Take consistent action. If you attract porn or spam or twitter trolls, then others in these categories will begin to follow you as well. Through your consistent action, you send a message to others about the types of followers you want to have on Twitter.

From my years in publishing, nothing happens overnight. You will not have hundreds of entries in your blog without consistent effort. You will not have written multiple books without consistent effort. It's the same on your social media. Little by little and daily efforts for only a few minutes will make a huge difference.  

Why should you check your twitter followers? (Click to Tweet)

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Overcome Your Roadblocks

Some days feel like you are stopped at every turn. Your queries to magazines are rejected. You've crafted your proposal or manuscript and sent it to a number of literary agents at the same time. None of them are responding. You glance at the Amazon numbers for your books and they are in the millions (i.e. not selling at least on Amazon). Your twitter followers are not growing. The list of possible roadblocks to your writing life appears endless.

The critical difference between success and being in these types of stall is to persevere and find the way to overcome your roadblocks. Think about your current roadblocks. Are you stuck or are you looking for the path around that roadblock?

I've written about how I use a tool called Refollow where in a short amount of time I follow 800 new people every day. About once or twice a week, when I use this tool, I will get a message from Twitter telling me that I've followed the maximum number of people for that day and it will reset tomorrow. Maybe I've only followed 123 people of my planned 800. It looks like I'm blocked from following additional people.  Yet I've learned if I wait 45 minutes to an hour, then return to the tool again, it starts working and I follow the additional people. I have found a way to move forward even when blocked.

It's the same way with your writing. If you want to write for magazines, are you targeting the right audience for a publication? Are you crafting good articles with solid storytelling, a beginning, middle and an end? Do your articles have a single point or a takeaway? If not, there may be good reason why you are getting rejections from the editors. You will need to learn more or make different adjustments to get through these roadblocks. Maybe you need to join a critique group or form your own critique group to get this help.

Or maybe you are writing children's books and sending out your material and getting quickly rejected or hearing silence. It's another roadblock. While many people believe children's books are easy to write (they aren't), you need skills and background to pull off such a submission. Get this additional information and you will find your way around the roadblock.

If you aren't selling enough of your books, what actions can you take today to change this roadblock? Can you reach out to speak at another event? Can you create your own event? Can you begin to be active in an online forum? Pitch some podcasts for scheduling you as someone to interview and gain exposure to a new audience? There are dozens of ways around the roadblocks but it will not happen if you wait on someone else and don't take action.

The world is full of opportunity but you have to seize it. It will not happen if you sit around and wait for it to come to you. Look for the opportunities to overcome your roadblocks. 

Hitting roadblocks with your writing? Here's how to overcome them. (Click to Tweet)

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Seven Critical Steps for Every Author

Over 80% of Americans plan to publish a book at some point in their lifetime. Over 4,500 new books are published every day. Yet repeatedly I hear from authors wondering how to sell their books and what steps they should be taking in this process.

Let me tell you right from the start, when it comes to book publishing and in particular selling books, there is no magic formula. If there were such a formula every book would be a bestseller. Yet there are proven essentials that every author can do—and that's what I'm writing about in this article. These steps are not in any particular order but it's important to tackle each of them.

1. Know your target audience (readers). The more information you have about this reader, the better you can focus your efforts to reach them. No matter how much we want it, not everyone will read your book but your target audience will.

2. Be active or visible with your audience. It is different for every author but if you know your target. Where are they? Listening to their radios? Then you need to be on radio programs. On Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn, then you need to become more visible in these places. To help you, I have a free ebook, Platform building Ideas for Every Author.

3. Start and actively use an email list. If you don't have any idea what I'm talking about then I recommend you explore these two links for My List Building Tycoon at: http://bit.ly/t2W1zy or on Kindle: http://amzn.to/wU6Fzb. The essence of it is you create an ebook or audio or something valuable for your audience. Then give that ethical bribe away to your audience in exchange for them giving you their email address. Only you control your email list (not some other platform like Twitter or Facebook). Then you build your list as you use the list to continue to give your audience value. 

4. Take responsibility for your own marketing. Each of us have excuses. We are introverted. We don't like it. We want to just write. We want someone else to do it—why we get a publisher. Listen to yourself and then stop the excuses and take action. Every day when I speak to authors I tell them that they bear 80% of the responsibility for selling their book.. They say, “yes” but then balk at taking action. You will be exceptional if you do take your own responsibility.

5. Get to a writer's conference. Conferences are a key part of my own growth and people I know in publishing. You will learn a great deal and also make friendships with editors and agents. Over the next few months, I'm speaking at different conferences and would love to meet you in person. Follow this link to my schedule. I especially recommend Author 101 University.

6. Have the Right attitude. You should always be growing, trying new things and experimenting to find your path. It is different for each book and each author so you have to be moving forward. Remember you are not selling your book or yourself. Instead you are helping as many people as you can help. In the process, stress the benefits and advantages of your book and how it will help others. Much more attractive to people than “selling” and as an author you will be more comfortable doing it.

7. Create a simple system to become active with your readers. It is different for every author. Maybe your path is blogging or social media or radio interviews. As you speak or write, focus on helping others but also leading them to your products where to spend money to get additional help. An example of this process would be my free teleseminar about book proposals. When you take this teleseminar, I lead you to my Write A Book Proposal membership course

Opportunities are around you—but to take advantage of these opportunities, you have to seize them and take action. Don't count on anyone else or you will certainly be disappointed (publisher, bookstore, Amazon—no one). If I can help you, reach out to me. 

Learn the seven critical steps for every author: (Click to Tweet)

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Valuable Twitter Tool to Locate A Tweet

If you are on twitter, consistent posting tweets with valuable content for your target audience is one of the most valuable steps you can take to build your audience. I've written about the tools that I use and the simple steps I take every day to post this content.

Day after day I'm posting valuable articles and content. Weeks or even months later, I want to find that piece of content. How do I find it? My challenge is there are thousands of tweets in my profile and it's not easy to find something specific.

When I face this situation, I turn to a free tool called Snap Bird. The first step is to authenticate your twitter account. You have to be logged on to your twitter account. It is a one-time process to authenticate your account. 

Then because Snap Bird is logged on your twitter account, you can search for a key word or a person's name or twitter name, or a word that you recall from the twitter post or any number of other ways to do it. This tool is simple and menu driven. I like how this tool is quick and searches through through a number of tweets. If it doesn't find the tweet, then it can continue searching. The program has limitations but often using it, I can locate my missing tweet.

This tool has a specialized use—searching your tweets. For some of you, it may come in handy. I hope so. Give Snap Bird a try and let me know how you like it and the innovative ways you use it.

Can't find an old tweets? Use this free tool. (Click to Tweet) 

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Thursday, February 04, 2016

Break Out of the Pack

Through the years, I've read thousands of submissions from authors, their proposals or manuscripts. In a few sentences I can see if they are quality storytellers or what they are pitching. It doesn't take long or reading much information to see it. Some people have estimated at any given time there are over a million manuscripts and proposals in circulation in the publishing world. While the process is somewhat subjective and different from person to person, all of us are looking for a standout. We want to see someone who breaks out of the pack (in a positive way). The author has to quickly show their distinctions and how they are going to sell books.

Recently I was filling out a form for a publisher. They were asking about my number of Twitter followers. Was it 1-500 or 500-2500, or 2501-10,000 or 10,000+? If you look around at other authors and see they have 1,000 to 4,000 followers on Twitter. Then how can you increase your followers and stand out. I'm not talking about buying followers to instantly increase your number (which doesn't count since these are fake followers and will not be caring about your tweets or engagement). I'm talking about making a consistent effort to increase your followers so you will break out of the pack and stand apart. I've detailed what you can do on twitter to increase followers. With my over 161,000 followers, it's one of the ways I break out of the pack in such a discussion—but you can do the same with your work. It's a matter of consistent focus and deciding that you will stand out.

Or consider Facebook. The average Facebook user now has about 338 friends, though the median number is quite a bit lower: 200. This means that while half of all Facebook users have 200 or fewer friends, many of the billion-plus Facebookers have quite a few more. In fact, 15 percent of users have friend lists topping 500. Now there is a limit on personal accounts of 5,000 friends but if you have over 500 friends then you are suddenly in the top 15% of Facebook users and are standing out. Currently I have over 4,800 friends on Facebook. I grew these numbers gradually but it is another way to break out of the pack.

It was not until about a year ago, that I began to be active on Goodreads (check my profile). There are 40 million readers on Goodreads. How many friends do you have on Goodreads? Through hitting the maximum, I learned the number of friends tops out at 5,000. And I have that number so I stand out from the people who only have a hundred or two hundred friends. How can you increase your Goodreads friends? Go to this page and use the buttons which help you find friends.

To break out from the pack takes consistent effort but you can do it. What steps are you taking today to help you get the right attention from editors and agents for your work?

Breaking out of the pack takes consistent effort. Get your action steps here: (Click to Tweet)

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