Sunday, February 24, 2019

Three Reasons to Finish

Recently I finished another writing project. In the final stages of writing the book, all sorts of things fell apart. My keyboard stopped working. Admittedly I am hard on keyboards and every several years I have to buy a new one. I had typed so much on this particular keyboard that several of the keys had worn off. Now as I typed, I had to push the key several times to get it to show up on my screen. Something was drastically wrong.  I went to my local office supply store and bought a new keyboard and mouse combination. 

When I got home, I took out my old keyboard and mouse and connected the new one. Then I tried to use it and nothing happened. Talk about frustration. I'm on an intense writing deadline and my new keyboard and mouse didn't work. I returned it to the store. The person working at the store had to try several keyboards before he found one that would work. I took the working keyboard and mouse home and it's the one that I used to complete my manuscript.

In the final stages of editing my manuscript and before I submitted it, I reviewed the publisher guidelines. Clearly in the guidelines a couple of elements are required to appear in each chapter. I had written these elements into my manuscript but they were not overt. I took one more sweep through my manuscript and fixed this element before I finalized the manuscript. Yes it was hard but I pushed through and sent it off to my publisher.

Here's my three reasons to finish:

1. Meet the deadline. Most writers do not meet their deadline. If you finish and turn in the work, you show integrity and that you are someone who keeps your promises. It shows others you are a professional and often will generate more work in your future. Why? Because you have completed what is right in front of you. With my work at Morgan James, I have a small list of authors who have signed their contract but never turned in their manuscript. Because I have a relationship as their acquisitions editor, I call them periodically and encourage them to get it into production. Several of these books have been in the “works” for years.

2. Get the Opportunity to Press on to the next stage. If you never finish the manuscript, you never work on some of the other aspects of the book. For example, after you finish, you can work on the endorsements for the book or the foreword for your book or your pre-launch campaign or gathering people to review the book. There is an endless list of possibilities for promotion and marketing yet if you never finish, you don't get to work on these aspects.

3. Completion feels good. The road to success is paved with good intentions. Many people never finish and are stuck without moving to the next step. These writers have a variety of half-baked proposals and partial manuscripts. Yes, if I'm honest,  I have some of those in my files as well. I'm working on getting these projects moving. I know it will take hard work but you can do it. Working at the writing bit by bit, your persistence will get it done.

What practical steps do you take with this information? I hope it encourages you to move forward and finish your manuscript or book proposal or whatever other type of project.

How are you finishing your book or your proposal? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Why Writers Need Lead Magnets

"Likes" on Facebook is one type of Lead Magnet

John Kremer, the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book, says publishing is about building relationships. From my experience, often, who you know is as important as what you know. Yes you have to write an outstanding proposal and manuscript (foundational) but reaching the right person and readers with your writing is a key part of the publishing process.

One of the ways you build relationships is through consistent and regular communication. As I've mentioned in these articles in the past, every writer needs to be growing an email list. Whether you write fiction or children's books or nonfiction, you still need an email list. If you don't have a list of wonder how to begin one, I have an inexpensive ebook called The List Building Tycoon.

The focus of this article is on creating a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a list-building device. For someone to get the desired object (more on what they can be in a minute), this person has to give you their first name and email address. In exchange for them giving you their email address, then they join your email list. On every email list, the subscriber has the option to unsubscribe. Each time I send out to my list, people unsubscribe. It's part of the process and nothing personal. You want people on your email list who want to be there so you want to give them the ability to unsubscribe.

To create a lead magnet, first focus on your readers and the type of people you want to attract. What do they need that you can provide for them? Is it an ebook? Is it a teleseminar? Is it a video?

Lead magnets are tools to get people to subscribe to your list. I have a number of these types of tools:

Free Ebooks

Free lists of information

Free teleseminars and training

many others

There is not a single way to create these lead magnets. Some people do it with a simple video. The key is to have multiple ways for people to sign up for your email list. Then you have to promote these lead magnets on social media to encourage people to get your information. If you follow me on Twitter, you will notice I cycle through a number of these lead magnets through my Twitter stream (which also shows up on LinkedIn and Facebook). Nothing happens overnight but consistent action will build into something powerful which you can use to touch your audience and readers.

Do you have a lead magnet or a number of lead magnets? How are you promoting these lead magnets? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Use of Time Choices

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. As I speak with writers, some of them want to write and do zero marketing. I understand this bent toward writing. They get their greatest joy and satisfaction for pouring their words into their computer and telling stories.

Groups of writers have taken personality tests and the majority are introverts. It makes sense they would rather write on their computer or in a journal instead of stand in front of a group of people and teach. Through the years, many people believe I am an extrovert because I've been a keynote speaker at large and small conferences.

Also I've taught continuing classes where I teach for five or six hours with a group of people. For example in May, I will be teaching a continuing class at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference in Estes Park. Last week I was talking with a friend about doing this teaching and he whether I had enough content for this session. I reassured him I had done this type of teaching in the past. Yes I have plenty to teach during these sessions. Is it my natural bent? No but like other writers, I have learned to rise to the occasion and do this type of teaching.

Several basics in this area of time choices:

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1. Connect to your readers. Every writer needs to devote some time to building their presence in the marketplace. Some people call this connecting with your tribe or readers. Others call it platform building and marketing. (Click this link to get my free Ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author). Publishers and literary agents are looking for writers who are connected to their readers. Why? Publishers may create beatiful books and get them into the bookstores (online and brick and mortar store)—but it is the author who drives readers into those stores to actually purchase the books.

2. Whatever you begin, be consistent. Some people build their following on YouTube while others do it through a social media network like Twitter or Facebook.  In my view you don't have to be everywhere but wherever you are, be consistent. For example, since 2008, I've consistently written about once a week on these blog entries on different aspects of writing and the publishing world. I've written nearly 1,500 entries and it did not happen overnight. It happened one entry at a time. You too can do it.

3. Spend regular time on your marketing efforts. Over the years I have built a large body of work. Just search for my name on Google and you will see what I am talking about. I have tweeted thousands of times on Twitter. I consistently tweet 12=15 times every day. Yet in these articles, I've also been transparent about the tools that I use for these tweets.

4. Be conscious of how you spend your time. Are you wasting hours looking at Facebook or in front of the television or monitoring the news? Any of these things can consume hours of attention and time. Choose to limit it or eliminate it. Such choices will open more time in your life.

People wonder how I've written over 60 books. I've written these books one page at a time and one chapter at a time and one manuscript at a time. Like one of my novel writing friends told me years ago, “No little elves come out at night and write her pages.” She does it one page and one story at a time.

How are you making time choices? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, February 03, 2019

Five Reasons I Read and Respond to Email--And You Should Too

In various online and print articles and from time management experts, I have read repeatedly that we should take control of the number of times we read our email. Some people recommend you do it only once or twice a day rather than checking your phone or email many times during a day. I understand the reason for this suggestion since most of us check our email too much—to the annoyance of our relatives sometimes. You do have to be controlled about when you check it—but in this article I want to give you a contrarian type of answer—about reasons you should be reading it”

1. Opportunities come in various emails. Recently another author asked me to write the foreword for their book. I looked at the book and agreed then wrote my foreword and sent it via email.  I have a new forthcoming writing book and I've been gathering endorsements for this book and a foreword. I've done this work through email. Edtors ask authors to write articles for magazines and much more via email—provided you are faithfully reading them and responding in a timely way.

2. Book contracts come via email.  Years ago, contracts were sent in the regular snail mail. Today with secure servers and such, contracts are often sent via email. You can also print, sign, scan the pages and return the contract to the publisher through email. It is how I have been working with authors on their book contracts at Morgan James for the last several years.

FREE Ebook click image
3. Money comes in email. As I've mentioned in these articles, I am involved in affiliate marketing. Some of the emails that I send through my email list promote others and their products. If you attend their event and buy their products, then I get a percentage of the sale as an affiliate. I explain more about affiliate marketing in this free ebook, You Can Make Money (use the link to get it and learn more and become one of my affiliates for my products).

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4. I learn about writing reading my email. I'm on other people's email list—and I have an email list. I believe every writer needs to be growing an email list. If you don't know how to get started on an email list, I have a little product called The List Building Tycoon After you have an email list, you need to be using it on a regular basis.

5. I communicate with authors through email. As an editor, I send a lot of email to authors. It's how I set up phone meetings and for some people, I send them book contracts from our Morgan James publication board.

I'm certain there are more than five reasons why I read my email and respond but these will give you ideas for your own email reading. It's why I read my email and respond to it throughout the day—every day.

Do you have boundaries for reading and responding to your email? Let me know in the comments below.


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