Sunday, January 26, 2020

What Is Your Writer's Legacy

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

This week I learned one of my long-time writer friends, Mark Littleton, died. Mark has written over 98 books that have collectively sold over a million copies. It's just one of the many contributions Mark made to our world. As I look through the listing of his books on Amazon, I noticed the diversity in Mark's books: nonfiction for adults, nonfiction for children, Bible related books, novels and much more. Some of the books are Christian while others are general market books. He also wrote for a wide range of magazines including Reader's Digest and many others.

For over 30 years, Mark and his wife, Jeanette, were the early leaders of the Heart of America Christian Writers Network, a community of writers in and near Kansas City. Also this group has held an annual writers conference. I have been honored to teach at this event several times over the years. It's another part of Mark's legacy: training other writers in the craft of writing. Mark had been ill for months and I had been a part of the multitude praying for him and his family. He was only a few years older than me.

This experience got me thinking about our legacy as writers. It's a truth most of us don't want to think about: every one of us will eventually die. It's a part of our humanity. After we are gone, what are we leaving for others?

Books.  Since 1992, I've written over 60 books with many different publishers. A number of these titles are out of print but still in libraries and sold on the used market around the world. They are a part of the legacy you are creating as an author and will continue after you are no longer on the planet.

Magazine Articles. While not as permanent as books, magazines are not just for that particular issue in print. Many magazines are online and these articles continue to be available and read—long after printed.

Blogs and other Website Information. My blog on The Writing Life has over 1500 searchable entries. It amounts to pages and pages of information which will be available online forever. From the beginning I've been aware of this aspect. Also I have a number of products and domains. Some of these are depend on the renewal of the domain (by hand and not automated) so if not handled they will eventually disappear but are another part of our legacy as writers. 

Social Media Feeds. Some of my author friends have no social media presence. Others (like me) have a large and growing social media presence. I have tweeted 51.8 thousand times since 2008 (as of today). Now that is a lot of information. Don't forget (as some people do), these posts are around forever and never disappear. They show up on search engines. People read them and respond to them—often long after you have posted them. If you are active on social media (and I hope you are), then this is also part of a writer's legacy. 

Personal Teaching at Workshops. For many years, I've been teaching at conferences. While not always, often these workshops are recorded. People purchase the CDs or cassette tapes and listen to them later. Some people listen to these recordings over and over to glean information and insights. I'll be teaching at several conferences this year. I maintain my speaking schedule at this link. For example, I learned this week that I will be teaching a continuing class at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in May (the largest Christian writers Conference in the US) and also
doing a single workshop tied to my new book, 10 Publishing Myths and a workshop with the same name. Each of these workshops is a part of a writer's legacy and will be around for many years. When I teach at these workshops, I work hard at having excellent handouts which contain online resources and links. This information lasts for years.

Each of us have the same amount of time in a day but different times on the planet. I encourage you to live with intention and be taking consistent action in your writing life. Whether you are aware of it or not, you are building a writer's legacy.

Am I missing something which will last longer than your lifetime? Or maybe you have other feedback? Let me know in the comments below.


Are you creating a writer's legacy? Get ideas from this prolific writer and editor. (ClickToTweet)

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Sunday, January 19, 2020

Why It's Never Too Late To Promote

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, I've worked with many different authors on launching and promoting their books. As a reader, I've been on a number of launch teams, received, read and reviewed advance reader copies (ARCs) of many books. As a writer, I've taken classes on launch plans, seen the checklists from others and much more. While I've written more than 60 books for traditional publishers, it's been a few years since I launched a new book.

Last spring, I finished my manuscript for 10 Publishing Myths, gathered a foreword from New York Times bestselling author and long-time friend Jerry B. Jenkins and endorsements from 18 authors, editors, agents and publicity experts. The Morgan James team designed a beautiful cover and I had some advanced copies to take to a couple of conferences. While everything looked to be moving forward, suddenly there were some glitches.

First as a part of the process, Morgan James showed my cover to the sales team. Normally they get little feedback but in my case, the sales team suggested changes. It was a good thing in some ways to have their engagement and interest.  The feedback changed some significant details on my book cover. 

I took my book to a couple of conferences and sold a few advanced copies. One reader asked if I would like some feedback. I responded yes I'd love your feedback. It turned out she was a proofreader and sent a lengthy list of over 50 errors (missing words, wrong words, typos, etc.). Grateful for such detailed feedback, I worked through each suggestion and made all these changes before it released to the bookstores (print and ebook).

Also I worked with Misty Taggart from Trailer to the Stars on a one-minute book trailer and I ordered business cards with my first cover. Yet now my book trailer and business cards needed to be changed for everything to match and work properly. Also I built my book website but the clock has continued moving and my December 17th  launch date arrived--and I was not ready and only did a small percentage of my launch plans.
I've learned several lessons from this experience:

1. It is never too late to promote or tell others about your book. If you missed launching your book, begin today to tell others. 

2. Take the long view of your book and make a personal commitment to continually look for new ways to tell others about your book. There are over 4,500 new books published every day (includes the self-published books). The book trailer for my Billy Graham biography has been viewed over 11,000 times in the last five years.  

3. Your passion for your book and topic will last much longer than anyone else. Understand that you will drive the promotion and continued sales of your own work—no matter how you have published.

4. Ask others to help you in the promotion process. Ask others but in your asking make it easy for them to say yes. Just look at this page I wrote and prepared for my new book, 1o Publishing Myths. This page has links to the exact pages on Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble where I need reviews. Also I included a link to a two page PDF where they can fill in the blanks and write their review. Also this promotion page includes several ClickToTweet posts they can share about the book on social media (whether they have read my book or not).

5. Create an interesting and inviting giveaway with your book. When I was gathering endorsements for 10 Publishing Myths, Alice Crider told me I was missing the 11th Publishing Myth. I listened and decided to write this chapter. It is designed exactly like the rest of my book but not inside the book. You can get it right away at this link. What type of inviting giveaway can you create for your book?

No matter what happens with the launch of your book my simple advice is: keep moving forward.

What glitches or challenges have you found in launching a book? Let me know in the comments below.


Discover Five Reasons Why It is Never Too Late to Promote from a prolific author and editor. (ClickToTweet)

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

How to Recover from a Launch Disaster

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

How do you recover from a book launch disaster? Over 4,500 new books are published every day.  As someone who has been in publishing for years, I understand without the author's active role, little happens.

In recent years, I've watched authors launch books and participate in their launch teams. I've gotten advance reading copies of the book, read it then posted my reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble. I've taken online courses on launching books. As an acquisitions editor for a New York publisher, Morgan James Publishing, I've watched many other authors launch their books. Like many things in publishing, I've found not everything will go according to your plans.

While I've written more than 60 books, I haven't published a new book in several years. My newest book, 10 Publishing Myths released to the bookstores on December 17th. Last year, I asked New York Times bestselling author, Jerry B. Jenkins to write my foreword. Also I gathered 18 endorsements from other bestselling authors, publishers, editors, literary agents and publicity experts. 

When editor and writing coach Alice Crider sent her endorsement, she told me I was missing the 11th publishing myth: “If I send my book to Oprah, she will book me on her show.” I laughed then I decided to write this chapter and have it designed exactly like the rest of the book. You can get it immediately at this link

Plans were moving forward. The cover was designed and went to the sales team. Often they never respond but for my book, they suggested some changes to my cover. Simultaneously I worked with a former Hollywood screenwriter to create a one-minute book trailer (watch it here) and printed business cards (with my first book cover).  

Months ago,  I had Advanced Reader Copies. took them to a couple of writers' conferences and sold a few books. A reader emailed asking if I wanted feedback. I said of course. This reader turned out to be a proofreader and sent a detailed email with over 50 typos, missing words, wrong words and other errors. I fixed everything—thankfully before the print or ebooks were released in the bookstores.

My book launch didn't happen as planned. Maybe your published book isn't selling as you expected. I've got good news: it is never too late to promote your book

Here's some things you can do for your book—no matter when it releases:

1. Do what you can every day to tell more people about your book. It doesn't have to be a lot but be consistent in your efforts.

2. Gather your own resources and use them. They can be simple like use your email list, write a  blog, write a guest blog posts, or ask friends to read and review your book. 

3. Make your own promotion page. For 10 Publishing Myths, I created a page to help others promote my book. Look at the diversity and see if you can do something similar.

4. Make an excellent and short book trailer. People need to hear about your book over and over before they buy it. A good good trailer helps in this effort. Follow this link to see my one-minute trailer.

Your passion for your topic and book will carry beyond a launch date.  You can continue no matter what happens—part of being a writer is to have such persistence and perseverance. In spite of any glitches along the way, you can keep going.

Have you had a similar experience? Or even different with a book launch? Let me know in the comments below.


How do you recover from a Launch Disaster? Get ideas and resources from a prolific author and editor,  @terrywhalin. #writingtip #pubtip (ClickToTweet)

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Sunday, January 05, 2020

4 Reasons I wrote 10 Publishing Myths

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

An acquisitions editor at a New York publisher, I spent many hours speaking with authors about their manuscripts and their own expectations for their book.  Often they will tell me, “I want my book to be a bestseller.”

In part, I love to hear those words because as an editor, I'm looking for bestsellers or books that will actively sell into the market. As someone who has been in publishing many years, I understand over 4,500 new books are published every day and 1.6 million books were self-published. The additional bit of information about self-publishing is on average these books sell 100–200 copies during the lifetime of the book. To beat those odds, every author needs to have a plan and strategy for selling their book.

I've seen many plans get changed as books get published. Years ago one of my books which received a large advance, had a different title in the publisher's catalog than when the book was published. This publisher never showed the cover to the high profile author—and he strongly disliked it. As a result, he never promoted the book and the sales were dismal. The book was taken out of print after six months. I was disappointed for all of the effort I put into writing and creating this book but many critical factors in the success of a book are outside of my control.

From other authors, I've heard many of these types of stories about their books. The process of publishing and promoting a book is filled with pitfalls and possible errors. I took my years in publishing and poured it into writing 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed.

I want to give you four reasons I wrote 10 Publishing Myths:

1. To give authors a realistic picture of publishing. Many authors have written a manuscript but do not have any idea of the details of publishing. I've written about these details in my book.

2. To help authors understand much of the process is outside of their control. There are many things that can prevent your book from successfully selling in the marketplace.

3. To give authors practical advice they can do to sell books and be successful. While much is outside of the author's control, there are numerous practical actions every author can take in the process. It's the focus of each chapter.

4. To understand there is not a bestselling formula but there are bestselling practices. Many authors are looking for a magic formula to make a bestseller. If such a formula existed every book would be a bestseller because each of us would follow that formula. It does not exist but there are active steps every author can take which is my emphasis. For example, I have worked with other professionals to create a short book trailer. Book trailers are all about exposure. Someone has to hear about your book a number of times before they purchase it. My trailer helps in this process.

5. To take the long view and not look for short term success. (A Bonus Reason) Many authors are looking for a way to rocket to the top of a bestseller list and a short-term gain instead of taking the long view for their book and continuing to tell people about it. From my experience it is the long view that will eventually bear fruit or get you book sales.

My book released last month and can be ordered in four different ways on my website. I encourage you to get a copy for yourself and another one to give it to another writer.

Have you fallen for a publishing myth? Let me know in the comments below.


Learn four reasons for 10 Publishing Myths from this prolific writer and editor. Get insights here. (ClickToTweet)


In addition to 10 Publishing Myths, I created a bonus chapter on the 11th Publishing Myth. It is free and you can get it today. Just use this link.

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