Sunday, January 27, 2019

Five Ways to Get More Writing Time

Time can fly when you are on a deadline.

The Psalmist said, “LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.” (Psalm 39:4, New Living Translation) These days seem to be racing and I'm aware of how time flies and feel the need to make the most of each day.

Each of us have the same 24 hours. Yet some people seem to get more done in those hours than others. How are you using those hours for your writing? In this article, I want to detail five ways to get more time for your writing.

1. Get Aware of How You Spend Your Time. It's easy to waste time if you aren't aware of how you spend it. Take a day or two and keep a brief running list of your activities. This list will help you eliminate and improve your use of time. 

2. Consider your writing expectations. Do you plan to write in the mornings or in the evenings or when? Do you expect to get a large block of time to concentrate and write a lot of words? As you think about your expectations, think about if you have put any artificial expectations such as I will write for two hours without pause. That expectation is not realistic. Maybe you have said to yourself that you need ___ minutes to write. Can you write off and on throughout the day on a project? Be willing to experiment and change to see what improvements you can make in this process. Each of us are different but at times we create artificial (and wrong) expectations for our writing. 

3. Use good writing tools.  Some friends do their writing in a coffee shop while others need silence. Would a new tool help you increase your writing? I've mentioned my AlphaSmart 3000 which I bought on ebay for about $25. It is old technology but allows me to write on the go and easily change my location. I've written on airplanes and in libraries and many other places. Maybe a new tool will help you get more writing time. 

4. Apply the lessons from your time monitoring. Awareness is the first step but then you need to make changes to your use of time from what you learned. For example, if you spend several hours a day on Facebook or any other social media site, you can make some different choices. Maybe you love watching sports and that is consuming a lot of time or some favorite show on television. 

5. Be committed to moving forward no matter what happens. When you slip and waste time, it's easy to beat yourself up and even give up. Each of us have schedule interruptions and get sick and have a car break down or countless other interruptions. Be dtermined to move forward and meet your deadlines whether personal or from an editor. 

Each of us have the same time and space limitations. Yet each of us can continue to grow and improve in this area. I know I have a lot to learn and continue to learn about how to manage my time.
What steps are you taking these days with your time? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Where to Begin Publishing

Publishing can be confusing and overwhelming. Where do you begin the process? Recently an unpublished writer contacted me for some guidance. For many years, she had been interested in publishing and writing in her journal. Once she sent something to a magazine and got rejected. Then she hasn't tried again. Yes she reads blogs and websites and has purchased the Christian Writers Market Guide (all good steps in the process). Yet she was overwhelmed and unsure where to start her journey.

While I've been in publishing many years, I still recall those early days in my writing life. I could identify with the overwhelming feeling and confused about where to begin the publishing journey. If you are in this situation with your writing, here's what I recommend:

1. Write articles for Sunday school take home papers. Almost every type of church has publications which are given out during Sunday School. These are called Sunday School Take Home Papers and are published 52 times a year. Editors have a huge need to fill these issues with quality writing and are always looking for the right material. Also their circulations are generally 100,000 to 200,000 which means lots of exposure for the writer. Also many of these publications have theme lists where the editor tells you the topics they need. If you write on those topics, then you increase your possibility of getting their attention and that they will publish it.

2. Write personal experience stories. Many publications including Sunday school take homes, publish personal experience stories. Each of us have these stories but are you writing them and trying to get them published? Can you write the story with a solid beginning, middle and end? Can you conclude with a single point called a takeaway for the reader? These articles are often 500 to 1000 words in length but before you fire off your submission, check the guidelines (normally online) and read some of their publication (online). You'd be surprised how many writers don't do this critical step in the submission process.

3. Regularly submission to publications. I'd like to be published in Reader's Digest. At the moment it is very unlikely that will happen because I'm not sending them anything. Notice in my opening story the writer send something once and got rejected. I know everyone gets rejected. Yes I get rejected in the process. That rejection isn't personal but simply saying it was not the right material at the right time for this publication. Maybe the material is right for a different publication. Persistence and consistency in your submissions will help you get published.

4. Understand getting published leads to more opportunity. The editors and literary agents are looking for people with experience. You get experience writing for magazines and it can lead to books and other possibilities.
Everyone has to begin the publishing journey some place. I suggest you begin with magazines because they are short, targeted and quicker than books plus you reach thousands of people with your writing. I understand why people want to write books and hold them in your hand. I encourage you to look for the broader possibility of magazines—whether you are brand new or have a lot of experience.

Where did you begin the publishing process? Does this resonate and raise some questions? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, January 13, 2019

A Cautionary Tale

Book publishing is filled with possible pitfalls and errors.  I witnessed another one today.

One of my best-selling author friends has a new book releasing. This new book was from a major well-known publisher. The book was designed well and edited and included endorsements and practical information. I've supported this author in the past so I was on the list of people who got a pre-release of the book. This pre-release included a personal handwritten note from the author and information about the date of the book release.

It was a push for my schedule but I managed to quickly write a review and be ready to post it on the launch date. Then I noticed the page on Amazon. It was not the typical pre-release page but the book had already released a couple of days ahead of the launch date. The book had zero Amazon reviews on the page. 

How did this happen? Someone at the publishing house set up the wrong Amazon date for releasing the book (my guess). This author has a launch team and other elements in place to promote her book. I was not surprised to learn this team wasd in place since she is an experienced author and knows the elements to launch a new book. It is important to have a launch team because there are over 4,500 new books releasing every day. Also most publishers are selling about 50% of their books through Amazon. Now that leaves another 50% for brick and mortar, other online retailers, and other places. Still 50% is a large number at Amazon for the book sales.

I'm writing these details about this story which contains a number of lessons:

1. Details matter. The release date of your book should match up on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other places. As an author, you can check some of these details but depending on how you publish, they are mostly handled internally inside the publishing house.

2. With a launch or book. things can go wrong. When this happens to you, acknowledge it and keep moving forward.

3. Nothing is fatal in this process—unless you quit. Even when something goes off or doesn't happen, you can still recover from it and sell books. The only way for you to be stopped is when you give up and stop. Almost anything can be overcome with action.

4. Marketing is an ongoing process for every book. Last week one of my books got a new review. I was interested to read it. When I looked it was a one star review with hardly any information. I was disappointed but it was from a real person and when you get a one star review, it validates all the other reviews for the book. In other words, nothing to do about it but keep moving forward. I encourage you to do the same.

I wrote this article to help and encourage you with your own marketing efforts for your book. It is not easy for anyone—even people with a lot of experience in this area. The key is to keep going and keep moving forward no matter what happens

Tell me that steps you are taking to move forward no matter what happens in the comments below.


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Sunday, January 06, 2019

Do the Hard Work

Ideas like an anvil can be hard to execute

I understand my work in publishing is not easy or simple.  It is not. There are a number of things which I don't do easily—but I still do it and that is my encouragement to you.

For example, I'm not crazy about making phone calls yet yesterday I spent several hours on the phone making calls. The majority of the time I left little upbeat messages to authors. Why? Because from my years in publishing I know how rare it is to get a phone call from an editor at a publishing house. My intention is to stand out and be the exception. I understand this business has a lot of rejection—people saying no thank you and passing on your project.

Our model at Morgan James is different from others (something I spend a lot of time talking with authors and agents about). You may not like all the details of Morgan James, but we are providing opportunity for authors and making incredible books in the marketplace. Do all of these books succeed? No because we can make books but can't make them sell. In the process, I try and manage expectations for authors and tell them that 80% of the work is up to them. Yes Morgan James can sell the book into the brick and mortar bookstores—but it is the author who promotes and drives readers into the bookstore to actually buy that book (through many different ways such as social media, radio, magazine articles, public speaking and much more).

A number of the authors that I called yesterday have not returned my calls or answered me via email. In a number of cases, I've called them multiple times over the last few months and left these messages.  Each of the people I called have received a contract from Morgan James—but for whatever reason they have not signed or negotiated this contract. Maybe they are looking for an agent or a better offer or haven't finished their book or ??? (multiple reasons). The main purpose of my call was to let them know that I still believed in their book and wanted to help them get it published and into the world.

Let me tell you about two authors I worked with this past week. One author I met at least five years ago and haven't heard from in a long time. She reached out to me and asked if our contract had changed in the last four years. Her book has not been published. Four years ago the timing wasn't right but now she is ready to move forward. I checked with my colleagues and a new contract was issued and sent to this author. Will she sign and move forward and get her book into the bookstores? I don't know but she now has a new opportunity.

Also this week I spoke with another author who has a literary agent. A year and a half ago, I had lunch with this agent and he told me the author wasn't a good fit to publish with Morgan James. I listened and accepted this decision and moved on working with other authors. Then a few weeks ago, this author reached out to me. She has the same agent but the book hasn't been published and she wanted to explore Morgan James. I spoke with her and have now moved this book into the process where my colleagues look at the author and the book to see if they will issue a contract for this novel. I have no idea if Morgan James will publish this book or not but again I am providing the opportunity.

What is hard work for you? Are you doing it? Maybe you don't like social media or marketing or creating an email list or any number of other tasks. Are you doing these hard tasks? My encouragement is for you to keep moving forward every day. Your steps may be small but continue to move forward and eventually you will get it done. Keep growing in your craft and reading and learning more about new aspects. Keep broadening your connections and network and keep looking for new opportunities.

I understand that some of the process is not easy but you can do it. If I can help you in the journey, let me know. My work contact information is on the bottom of the second page of this link. My encouragement is for you to keep moving forward and that you can do it.

Let me know in the comments below, what actions you are taking to tackle the hard work.


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Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Happy New Year & Five Action Steps

Happy New Year 2019.  As Edith Lovejoy Pierce wrote, "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."

What pages will you write in the New Year?

I want to give you five action steps to take which will help you succeed in 2019.

1. Keep expanding your reach and your audience. Every writer (new or experienced) needs to have their own audience. If you don’t have an email list, start one and if you do have an email list, keep expanding it. Why? There is much in publishing you can’t control but you can control your own email list. I have a resource to help: http://thelistbuildingtycoon.com/

2. Continue to promote and tell people about your books and other resources. The author’s passion will continue longer than anyone else. I continue promoting my BOOK PROPOSALS THAT SELL which has over 130 Five Star reviews on Amazon and you can get the discounted book at: http://BookProposalsThatSell.com I wrote this book 15 years ago but it still has value whether you are publishing traditional or self-publishing.

3. Be working on new books or the expansion of a book. Can you create an online course associated with your book? I have another resource, the Simple Membership System. To help you, I’ve discounted it for a week from $47 to $37--just use the coupon code 2019START for the discount when you check out at: http://yourmembershipcourse.com/

4. Continue learning and growing, reading new books and applying the information to your life. I recommend you attend a conference because who you know is as important as what you know. (http://www.right-writing.com/conferences.html? ).Also subscribe to my blog and get it by email every week at: http://bit.ly/1F9r3Ro

5. Reach out to me if I can help you. One of the books I acquired last year for Morgan James got on the USA Today bestseller list (broad distribution). I know many people are self-publishing (over a million self-published books last year) but the average lifetime sales of a self-published book is 100 copies.  I would encourage you to go a different route and as an acquisitions editor, I send contracts to authors every week. My work contact is on the bottom of the second page at:

Be encouraged and keep going. Wishing you great blessings in the New Year. 

Finally You don’t have to buy my resources to succeed in 2019 but you do have to take action and I’m glad to help you in this process. Also Last year marked the passing of America’s greatest evangelist, Billy Graham. My short biography, BILLY GRAHAM has over 100 Amazon reviews. It is available in print, ebook and audiobook. Get more details at: http://BillyGrahamBio.com 

In the comments below, let me know what steps you are taking in the new year.


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