Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Three Ways to Get Your Writing Moving

Are you stalled with your writing? I understand how it can happen. One of my Morgan James authors wants to write her book but is crazy busy with her occupation. She asked me for some ideas and strategies to get the book written. Many writers have this challenge of a full-time occupation but dreams of other things in their life. Yet without action, those dreams stay just ideas and do not turn into anything concrete for their writing—like magazine articles or books or information products or ebooks or anything. Their writing is in stall and not moving ahead.

Whatever you want to create or write—including for my book author who can't seem to get her book finished—is to figure out what you can do. Then make an action plan to do that action over and over until the writing is completed. I know these words sounds simple but it is how any goal is accomplished. You do it in bite-sized pieces. No one sets out to write a 50,000 word nonfiction book or a 100,000 word novel. The thought can overwhelm you and throw you into a stall so you don’t get it done.

How do you accomplish your goals? The first step is to break the task into a smaller size. Can you write a page a day?  A manuscript page contains about 200 to 250 words. Or can you write two pages a day? That would be 500 words. Create a plan to write consistently.  If you are consistent, you will be shocked how much material you can accomplish in a week or a month or two months.

The next part of the goal setting is to figure out when you can consistently write and set a time in your schedule. Maybe your best writing is early in the morning or you have a few minutes at lunch time or maybe it is late in the day. Block this writing time into your schedule and do it over and over. Eventually one session turns into more words and you finish the book manuscript from the beginning to the end.

What is something you want to accomplish in the next few months? Here’s some of the steps:

1. Write down your goal and put it on a post-it or note card where you can refer to it. This concrete action will show your intention.
2. Plan your action steps and break your goal into bite-size pieces.
3. Take regular action and move forward to accomplish your goal.

No one likes or enjoys the discipline of working on your book. Yes, some of the storytelling and work is fun but most of it involves simple obedience and doing the work. For example, The Writing Life contains over 1300 entries and I’m moving toward 1400 entries.This volume of material did not happen in a single day or week or month. It was done bit by bit and consistently over days, months and years. I began writing these articles in 2009 so it has taken some consistent time and energy to accomplish. 

I have more details about goal setting and how to accomplish your dreams in Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. It contains several dozen ideas about how to accomplish your publishing goals.

Be encouraged and you can do it too. Take action and write your book and accomplish your dreams. If I can help you in this process, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.


Is Your Writing Stalled? Here's Three Steps from a Prolific Author. (ClickToTweet)

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Keep Yourself "In Sight" and "In Mind"

“Out of sight. Out of mind” is a common saying. When you are a writer or an author, you want to continually work at the complete opposite of this saying. You want to keep yourself “in sight and in mind”. You take these actions for your readers, for booksellers, for librarians, for members of the media, for leaders of book clubs and many other segments of the population. How do you accomplish this simple goal of being visible in the marketplace?

In this article, I want to give you several strategies that I use on a regular basis. I confess that I'm still learning new insights and work every day at increasing my visibility. I understand being visible is a challenge for everyone. To be honest, there is a lot of noise in the marketplace and you have to continually work at visibility.

Here's some actions to take:

1. Follow-up with your connections. That follow-up is critical and can be through email or phone or the mail but you have to create a regular connection with people. I've written about this issue in the past so check this link for more information.

2. Create an email list and use that list on a regular basis. There are easy to use tools but every author needs to select one then faithfully use that tool. If you don't have a list check out this resource. For example, I have a number of free ebooks that I give away online. The back of my business card has a small cover of my ebook, Straight Talk from the Editor and says, “Free Ebook: www.straighttalkeditor.com” I'm inviting anyone who receives my business card to get this resource. When they request it, they give me their first name and email address. They join my email list in this process. What types of free giveaways are you using to collect this information and touch your audience? 

3. Use social media and continually expand your network and presence. Being on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and other social networks is important to remind others about your expertise and books. I've written about the steps I take every day here.

4. Always be trying new ideas to reach more people. I encourage you to set up your own online press room or create infographics or bookmarks. You can also reach out to booksellers with a specific reason. 

For example, Billy Graham turns 98 on November 7th. I've reached out to a local bookstore to see if I can set up a signing around that date. Also look at this press release related to this event (which has already garnered several more forthcoming radio interviews about Billy Graham). There are an endless range of ideas you can take to get in front of more people. My key point is to be taking regular and continual action.

This weekend in church I met someone new. We exchanged business cards. It wasn't until later in the day, that I read the information on the business card and focused on this person's background. I learned he was a retired Brigadier General in the United States Air Force. I imagine someone with this background has incredible personal stories (if he can tell them). I took a couple of minutes and sent him a follow-up email. Will something come from it? I have no idea. I'm certain if I fall off his radar and out of his immediate sight, then I know exactly what will happen—nothing.

For every writer, it is your responsibility to keep yourself in front of other people. Are you using the tried and true methods or something new? Tell me in the comments below.


As an author, how do you keep yourself “In Sight” and “In Mind?” Get specifics here. (ClickToTweet)

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Why Authors Need An Online Press Room

Every author has to be proactive when it comes to telling others about your book. This stance doesn't use messages like “buy my book” which do not work. Instead your actions need to stress and highlight the benefits of your book and what readers will gain from it. One area which I have not discussed before is an online press room.

Increasingly the media are using tools like Google to find sources for interviews. One of the best tools to increase your visibility with the media is to create an online press room for your book. For some time, I've had this tool in my plans and finally built it for my book, Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. On November 7th, Mr. Graham will turn 98 years old. I encourage you to follow this link and check out my online press room which is full of information.

What does an online press room include?

Journalists (print or broadcast) are looking for easy ways to reach an author. Your first step is to understand what they need:

  • Author contact information — provide several easy methods to reach you via phone and email
  • Author biography or information about the author
  • A Book Press Release
  • Suggested questions for the author about the book
  • Media samples of when the author is interviewed
  • Samples of the book
  • Visuals for the book—cover photos and author photos

I hope you will check out my online press room and notice each of these resources in my press room. I expect to add to these resources in the days ahead. Because I've launched my press room, I hope different people in the media will begin to use this resource.

As the author, you have to be doing interviews to have media samples for your book. Often authors forget to ask for a copy of the interview or download it from the journalist after the interview. You need this material for your online press room and to show the media that you are regularly being interviewed about your book.

Proactive authors have built an online press room and gathered the essential documents where a journalist can connect with the author and write a story or schedule their own broadcast interview. According to PR and marketing expert Rusty Shelton increasingly media are using these online press rooms to reach out to authors and schedule interviews. Your first step as an author is awareness that you need one. Next gather the materials for such an effort or create them such as writing your own press release or a list of suggested questions. Finally build your site and begin promoting it through social media to others.

Do you have an online press room? Has it helped you gain increased opportunities to promote your book or schedule interviews with the media? If so, let me know in the comments below. Proactive authors are always looking for the next opportunity. Literary agents and editors are attracted to these types of active authors.


Why do authors need an online press room? Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)

Once again, I made the list of the Top 100 Marketing Experts to follow on Twitter from Evan Carmichael. He creates this list from different variables such as retweets and more. I'm honored to be #61 on this list. Hope you will check it out.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Are You Asking Questions and Getting Answers?

At the recent Colorado Book Festival, I had the opportunity to meet the Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper.  The Governor was the opening speaker at the Festival and also signed copies of his new memoir, The Opposite of Woe I watched him interact with readers and admired his broad stroked signature and how he personalized each book during the event. I noticed his writing on the title page of each book matched the style of printing on his book cover. In fact, I made a comment about it and he said that he had pushed the publisher in the production process about this very element—to make sure it matched.

In a lull in his book signing, I asked Governor Hickenlooper a question, “If I give you a copy of my book, would you read it?”

Governor Hickenlooper gave an honest answer, “Terry, probably not. I'm severely dyslexic and only read about four books a year.” As a life-long reader and book person, I found the information surprising. You can see some of the books that I've recently read or heard on my Goodreads book page. Every government official must have stacks of material to be reading but he has found another way to succeed.

“Governor, is your book available on audio?”

Absolutely,” he said, “In fact I spent six or seven hours recording my book.” I was intrigued with The Opposite of Woe but decided not to purchase the physical book but to get the audio version through Overdrive. This conversation took place in the main Denver Public Library yet the Governor's book wasn't available at this library. I continued searching and found it at another Colorado library.  I've started listening to his book and will soon complete it. I was impressed with the Governor's honest answer and exchange.

The experience made me think about my newest book, Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. The book has been out for a year and continues to sell and be well-received. When I speak with other writers, they will often ask me about the book sales and if I'm happy with them. I respond that like every author I would like to sell more books and how I'm continuing to promote and work at telling new people about the book.

I've received great feedback about Billy Graham. If you check the link, you will see the endorsements from some easily recognized leaders and the book has 45 reviews on Amazon. I'm grateful the book is out in the bookstores and continuing to sell. You can hear this recent radio interview about the book and see that I'm continuing to promote the book. This process is what every author has to do to continue to reach readers. Am I “happy” with the sales? No so I don't blame anyone or complain. Instead I redouble my efforts to create new opportunities to expose others to the book. It is the journey of every active author.

What about your writing life? Are you “happy” with your book sales? If not, look for new opportunities to reach new readers. As one of my writing teachers told me years ago, “writers are surrounded by a sea of ideas. The key is which idea you develop and move forward.” 

I hope you are asking questions and getting answers in your own writing life. I also hope you've learned some important tips from my own experiences. If I can help you, don't hesitate to reach out to me and ask. My work contact information is at the bottom of the second page of this link. Asking questions is one of the best tools any writer has to move forward.


Are you asking questions and getting answers? Learn from this writer's experiences. (ClickToTweet)

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