Sunday, April 26, 2020

Look for Creative Solutions

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
This week I was working on a writing project. I have reference books related to it in various places near my desk to reach them and work on this project. One of the books I put precariously on the bookshelf above my desk. It fell and smashed into my keyboard. I checked out the book—which was perfect and went on without a thought.
This morning I got to my desk and realized the smashed book has broken one of the two supporting arms for my keyboard. I tried to get it fixed with some super glue, then tape and nothing was working. Normally at this point, I would get in my car and drive to my office supply place and get a new keyboard—but these are unusual times with social distancing and staying indoors. It forced me to look for a more creative solution.
Suddenly I remembered this keyboard was recently replaced. I am a hard typist and had worn out several of the the keys of that old keyboard but had not thrown it away (yet). I temporarily kept it propped in a corner of my office closet. I pulled out my old keyboard and checked out the little supporting arms. It matched the same one whch was broken. In a few minutes, I replaced the broken arm and my keyboard is working fine again. The solution didn't involve going anywhere and yet repaired my keyboard. I could have probably used cardboard or other materials to repair my keyboard but the replaced arm from my previous keyboard was a quick fix and something no one will notice when they see my office.
These days call for creative solutions to different situations. As another example, we have been staying outside of the grocery stores—even though we have some shops very near where we live. Instead I have learned to order groceries online from stores like Target. Also a local restaurant has changed into a online grocery store. We've ordered meat, vegetables and fruit from them. The cost is about the same as going to the grocery and the quality of the food has been excellent. It is another creative solution to this situation where we staying away from going inside stores.
Several things came out of these experiences:
1. You have creative ideas and need to tap into these ideas.
2. Use your writing research skills that you've developed to look for a creative solution.
3. The persistence that you pour into your writing can help you find a creative solution.
These days are different and yet you can find the way if you persist and look for it.In addition, I hope you are using this time to diversity your streams of income. There are many different ways to earn money as a writer, I encourage you to look at this article I wrote for Writers on the Move last week. Follow the various links in it to learn even more.
Let me know in the comments below what sort of creative solutions you are using these days.

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Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Importance of Routine

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

These days are different. During two days this past week, I shoveled snow—not what you would expect but welcome to spring in Colorado. With the worldwide pandemic and lock down, I've had to use my online skills to figure out how to get food and renew prescriptions without going inside the stores. It took some some time but I've managed to work out these details. It's just one indicator of how our world is changing. Instead of going to my doctor's office for an appointment, I had a session with him online through an app on my phone. Everyone is learning new ways to get things done in our ever- changing world.

With businesses closed, I've been thinking about the importance of routine. Do you have a daily routine? If not, I encourage you to use this time to develop one. For example, as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James a key part of my regular routine is to work with authors, answer emails, return phone calls, negotiate contracts. While much of the world has been disrupted, I continue doing this work. Yesterday I had a phone session with an author and her literary agent. Today I will have a couple more of these sessions with authors. It's been a part of my routine and is something that I continue doing.

As a part of my daily routine, here's a running list of some of my activities—and they are not in any particular order or preference:
  • learn new ways of doing things.
  • read books and write reviews
  • listen to books and write reviews
  • continue to post on social media
  • write these articles for the Writing Life
  • write every day on my current writing projects
  • answer emails and knock on new doors of possibilities
These items are just a few of my regular routines—which are mostly the same as last month and the month before that.  My encouragement to you is to establish a routine and stick with it even with our ever-changing world. Even if you are isolated and stuck inside, you can get up, get dressed and still accomplish a great deal at home. Yes I've had some events cancelled and postponed. I've had to cancel some airline trips and delay other projects. But I've also had authors sign their contracts and move their books forward into production with Morgan James. Also in recent weeks, I've completed writing projects and started new ones. 

In these different times, I encourage you to have a routine. If your business has changed or shut down for now, look to diversity your income stream. Do you have a topic that you can teach? Then create an online course and I have a simple product with a risk-free money back guarantee called the Simple Membership System. Also look at affiliate income possibilities. If yo don't know what I'm talking about then get this free Ebook I've created. Do you have an email list? If not, create one and get this inexpensive ebook called the List Building Tycoon to start an email list.

Long after this different period, books will continue to be published. Magazines will need writers for articles and online publications will need your writing. Radio shows and podcasts continue to need guests with relevant topics. These needs continue and you can fill them with a writer—if you are continuing your routine.

Are you continuing your routines or starting new ones? Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Best Place to Buy Used Books

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Physical bookstores are temporarily closed.  The local libraries are closed at the moment. Where do you order your books during this season when we are sheltering inside our homes? 

My local newspaper, The Denver Post, had an article about how to buy used books. While the article made a number of suggestions to readers, it did not use the resource I'm going to give you here.  Some people buy all of their books (and other things) on Amazon. One of my long-term friends in publishing told me he buys all his books on Amazon. Don't get me wrong. I use Amazon but I don't buy all of my books on this site.

Last night I watched an author interview on YouTube. It was a podcast and I was fascinated with the author and learned about her new book. As I watched, I wrote down the author and the name of her book. I looked at the book on Amazon, read a few pages inside the book, noticed when the book published, the publisher and the length of the book (number of pages). While I found the information on Amazon, it was not where I purchased the book.

Instead I returned to my favorite book purchase place: BookFinder4U.com  In seconds, this book searches 130 online bookstores, then ranks the book with the lowest price (including the shipping) at the top of the page.  I don't always buy the lowest—but often I do. Many of these low price books are used. I tend to buy a number of used books. 

For my search today, the lowest price location was a site I've frequently used: Abe Books.  Amazon owns Abe Books but from my experience, the books come quickly and are often in excellent shape. Occasionally a hardcover book is missing the jacket or that jacket is torn. For other books, it looks like it has not been read and is in brand new shape. Yes it is a bit of a gamble but I've had good experiences using this online store. Because I've used Abe Books before, my information is already in the site when I log on the site. With only a few clicks, I purchase my book and it is on the way.

BookFinder4U.com is my best place to buy used books. It is not perfect. Sometimes I search for the book and don't find it. Other times I look for a brand new book and it is too expensive (to me). As consumers, we have many choices where we buy books.

Maybe you have another favorite place to purchase books. Let me know in the comments below.


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Sunday, April 05, 2020

How Do You Handle Different?

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I suspect I'm like most of you. I am not real keen on change. I love my routines and patterns. Through the years I've worked hard at things like consistency and persistence.

Yet our world has changed with the worldwide pandemic, the isolation and sheltering in place. It is all completely outside of our control but also things each of us can control. I've watched others shun the “order” and gather on the beach or in groups.  I have had some events cancelled. Others have been moved online. Last night I taught a local writers group instead of being in a home, we were on zoom. The technology worked well and we enjoyed the interaction and fellowship—even if it was a very different way for us to connect.

The good news is that long after this temporary situation has passed, books continue to be made and sold. I've continued working with new authors through my work at Morgan James to get their submissions processed and books contracted and published. In fact, our book sales are up from everything I hear from our publishing leadership.

I continue to write on books which will be published in the days ahead. I've got a couple of my books under contract with deadlines. These deadlines keep me focused on these manuscripts and moving them forward toward completion. My encouragement to you is that the work must continue and you are a key part of that writing since there are stories to be written that only you can write.

I encourage you during this time to:

1. Continue writing. Whether you make notes in a journal or write books or write ______.  I encourage you to seize the day and continue writing—whether you publish it or not.  I have a sense of urgency about the time we have and the need to seize it.

2. Keep creating book proposals. Even if you self-publish, you need a book proposal. Why? Because the proposal is your blueprint and business plan about your target market and how you will reach that market with your book. I know it takes lots of time and energy to put together a complete book proposal. From my experience the time will be well-spent and is encouraged.

3. Keep finding places for your work to be published. You have to be working at new connections, new pitches and new relationships to succeed. If your books aren't reaching people, can you take part of that information and repurpose it as a magazine article or an online article? There are many possibilities and yes it takes work but you can do it and find places to publish.

4. Keep trying new things, new ways to consume books and new publications. You have to take action to pursue these things but don't get discouraged and keep trying new possibilities.

Why? The world needs your words. As I've written before your stories and your words can change lives—but not if it is only in your head. So get it out of your head and on paper then out to the world.

Yes our world is different with this worldwide pandemic. Your actions and how you handle it, will be key. What steps are you taking? Let me know in the comments below.


When the world is different how do you handle it? Get ideas from this prolific editor and author. (ClickToTweet)

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