Sunday, April 28, 2019

Good Choices and Good Habits Are Important

We are faced with dozens of choices every day. At times these choices are complicated because of the many possibilities. For example, when you purchase toothpaste, there are endless variations even among the same brand. 

I'm keenly aware of the many choices we have as writers and editors. For example, do I answer emails from authors, do I set up phone calls with authors, do I make follow-up calls with authors who have contracts but haven't responded? Do I work on getting more conference speaking or do I write some query letters for more magazine writing? Do I create a new marketing campaign for one of my books? Do I reconnect with some agent friends to see if they have something I could contract with Morgan James? Do I send an email to my mailing list? These are only a few of a multitude of choices but you get the idea. There are many different possibilities. Which do I select and accomplish today?

Each of us are locked into time and space limitations. We only have a certain number of work hours for each day before we run out of energy. I've recently been listening to the audiobook for Atomic Habits by James Clear. If we are honest, we have bad habits that we want to lose and some good habits that we would like to acquire. James Clear is a habit expert and in this engaging audiobook helps us understand and develop habits—yet in an uncomplicated, "everybody can do it" sort of way.

Atomic Habits opens with the story of the British cycling team who instead of huge goals decided to change things by one percent.  When most of us want to change a habit like lose weight or make more money or ???, we set a major goal then most of us fail in this process. Clear advocates and teaches how to change in small increments which is much more possible. The British cycling team made incremental one percent changes in their pillow, their clothing, the massage oil, and many other elements. It transformed the team into winning Olympic gold medals.

Clear contends to make a new effective habit means developing a system. This audiobook is loaded with insights for every reader. I listened to this audiobook cover to cover and highly recommend Atomic Habits.

What do you want to achieve with your writing? If you are writing a book, are you establishing a system (habit) which will accomplish your goal? For example, you could decide to write 1,000 words (about four pages) every day until you finish a draft of your book. You create a system that will allow you to develop a writing habit which will accomplish your larger goal of completing a book manuscript.

If you want to get the attention of a literary agent to get a book deal with a publisher. What are you doing to craft an eye-catching book proposal? Are you regularly contacting agents or going to a conference where you will meet them and develop your relationship? Create a system (habit) which moves you toward your goal. The steps can be small but your consistent effort will pay off.

Do you want to develop a social media presence? What are you doing to consistently grow that presence? Are you posting on different sites on a consistent basis and growing your audience? As you post where are you leading this audience? Does it lead to exposure for your book? Or does it lead to getting sign ups for your email list? What is your system (habit)? Without consistent effort and a system (habit), it will be a good thought but not translate into reality (at least this is true from my experience). 

Our habits and choices are important. I encourage you to make good ones—not just once but every day. If I can help you in this process, don't hesitate to email or reach out to me.

What habits and choices are you making with your writing life? Let me know in the comments below. 


How do your choices and habits grow your writing and life in publishing? Get ideas and help from this prolific editor and writer. (ClickToTweet)

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

How to Press Forward When Stopped

As a writer, how to you move when stuck?

As writers, I've learned we are frequently told the word “no.”

Your idea isn't a good fit for us.” (A polite rejection)

Not publishing this type of book.”

There are many other ways we are told no or stopped in our tracks. For example, I've mentioned in these entries about using the tool called Refollow every day to grow my social media presence. 

Refollow helps you follow up to 800 people in your target market—and you can also unfollow about 1,000 people a day. You can get month's FREE trial and see if you like using this program (use this link). Consistent use of Refollow is one of the reasons I have a large Twitter following.

I want to use this program as an example of how we as writers need to not get stalled with “no” and instead keep pressing forward. Today I used the program and followed 800 new people. Normally I open a window in my browser and Refollow works along as I do other things. To make sure the program is working, I check on it from time to time. Refollow works with Twitter and sometimes the program will stop and flash a message saying the program stopped not because of the program but because of Twitter's limiting the number of people you follow.

When this happens, I suspect some people close the program and stop using it—and return tomorrow. I do not take this path. Instead Refollow allows you to unfollow people who have not followed you back. In some cases, I've been following these people for years and they have not followed me back. I use the program to unfollow people. Even using the unfollow portion of the program, I am stopped. I get a message saying my connection between the program and Twitter has expired and I have to restart. Some people at this message, would probably quit the program. Instead I try it again—and often it keeps working. The program and the process isn't perfect or straightforward because it works with Twitter. You have to determine your next move when stopped—continue or use a different aspect or decide to return later (even tomorrow).

This process is often the same in other parts of the writing world. You pitch a magazine and get a rejection. (Follow this link for a resource to help you.) Or you approach a literary agent and they don't respond or they say their client list is full for your type of writing. Or any number of other polite ways people say “no.” When you get this response, does it discourage you and you take it personally or do you press forward with something else (like a different type of writing)?

I encourage you to figure out your game plan before you get stopped or hear no. Then keep moving forward with the next plan on your list. Otherwise, you go into stall and don't accomplish what you wanted. The choice is up to you. I choose to look at the world as full of opportunity and you are searching for the right opportunity. 

As writers we have many different directions for our writing. I've written books, magazine articles, websites, Ebooks, radio scripts, and other types of writing for many different audiences (preschoolers, young readers, teens and adults). If you need some ideas, I encourage you to download and read the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (no optin and use this link).

How do you press forward when you are stopped? What are your strategies? Let me know in the comments below.


When you are stopped, how do you press forward? Get ideas from this prolific writer and editor here. (ClickToTweet)

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Five Sure-Fire Ways to Fail as a Book Author

For many years I've written on the positive ways to succeed as a book author in these articles. Yet there is another path which many people take on the road to publishing their book. Here's five sure-fire ways to fail as an author:

1. Believe if I build it, they will come. These authors pour energy and effort into building a great website for their book. While a website is important in your book marketing, it isn't everything. You may have the slickest well-written website but without telling people about it, no one will come. There are millions of websites online. If the author doesn't drive traffic and eyeballs to see your content, then it does not help you or your book sales. There is much more to the process than simply building a website and hoping (without action) that people will come.

2. Believe I know everything there is to know about publishing. I've met authors (some of them even well-known bestselling authors) who believe they know everything there is to know about publishing. These people ooze confidence. I've spent decades in this business and read the trade magazines and other things constantly. Things are constantly shifting in publishing and there is always more to learn—and I do learn new things all the time. Overconfidence can be a pitfall for authors. It is great to believe in yourself but be balanced in that view.

3. Believe the publisher will sell my books for me without marketing. Publishers make and release amazing books. Yet without marketing and telling someone about that book—then no one will purchase it. No matter how you publish your book (traditional, hybrid or self-publishing), the bulk of the marketing effort will fall on the author. Authors are fooling themselves if they believe their publisher will sell the books—with or without marketing. Yes publishers can get your book into bookstores—but it is the author's marketing efforts that get readers to purchase the books.

4. Believe attending a writers' conference is a waste of time. For an author to go to any event (local or far away), you will invest time and money in this process. If you attend these events with the wrong expectations or attitude, then you will set yourself up to not get anything out of it. I believe every author can cut down their learning curve from attending writers' conferences, meeting the right people and applying the information they learn to their book and marketing efforts. Knowledge without action is worthless but you can certainly meet many of the right people at a conference. If you haven't been to a conference or haven't been for some time, I encourage you to make plans and a commitment to get to a conference (check out this link for a list of some conferences). Attending a conference can invigorate your writing life and success as a book author.

5. Believe the title, cover and publisher do not matter. Each of these elements are critical in the book purchase process. I've bought books because of a title or a cover design. I've also not purchased books because of the publisher.  Many consumers do not notice the publisher and I admit to being a more sophisticated consumer than many people. These elements are a critical part of the book production process and essential for your success.

I've written about only five of many different ways a book author can fail. The details are an important part of the process. Maybe I'm missing a critical way for an author to fail? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, April 07, 2019

The Missing Link for Book Reviews

Through the years, I've asked numerous people to write a short review on my books—and it has not happened. There are probably many reasons why this happens:

1. They haven't read the book.

2. They are not writers and have no idea what to write for a review.

3. They are busy and never get it done.

4. They forgot and no one reminded them about your need for the review.

These reasons are only a few of the endless possibilities. To write a review does not seem complicated to me. Of course, I've been writing reviews of books for years in print magazines and online. I've written over 900 Amazon reviews and over 500 reviews on Goodreads. Almost daily someone approaches me about reading their book and reviewing it. With limited time to read, I answer but turn down the majority of these requests.

Click this image to learn about this tool

My friend Sandra Beckwith has created a simple tool to address this problem and help writers get more book reviews for their books. A former book publicist and long-time member of the publishing community, Sandra understands authors are challenged to get reviews for their books. You can see my interview with Sandra at this link. To address this need for more book reviews, she has created a “reader book review form” or a template to help your readers write then post their review. Two types of templates were created since a nonfiction review would be different from a fiction review.

In addition to creating a well-written template for nonfiction or fiction, Sandra has included information with ideas for writers to distribute and promote the book review form. Also she includes blanket permission to give this form away with as many copies as you want.

Whether your book is brand new or has been published for a while, I believe every author can profit from the use of this simple and inexpensive tool. My strong recommendation is that you purchase this tool (follow this link) then use it over and over to stir your readers to action and write more reviews.

Will this tool help you get more book reviews? It will definitely not help if you don't get it—or if you get it and don't use it. From my years in publishing, Sandra has created a practical tool for authors. I plan to use my template over and over, then I will know if it works or not. I encourage you to take similar action and let me know in the comments below about the innovative ways you are using this tool.


Are y0u struggling to get people to write reviews for your book? Learn about a new inexpensive tool which will help you get more reviews. (ClickToTweet)

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