Sunday, October 31, 2021

Organized Chaos

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

For the last several weeks, we have been planning to move. We are only going five minutes down the road to the neighborhood where we lived about five years ago. Whether you move across country or down the street, it is still a complex situation.  For my writing life, most of it is fairly organized into different categories and tasks. In general I have my various writing tasks organized and tackle them in a consistent and regular basis. Our move has thrown a wrench into some of those plans and added even more complexity. It's something I'm calling organized chaos.
Even while moving, I have to keep my various Morgan James Publishing authors moving forward through the publication process.  I have to keep my various writing tasks (like these weekly articles) moving. My various social media posts need to continue on a regular basis. Will something get missed in this process? Probably but not for lack of planning and trying on my part.
When you have a life distruption headed your direction (something like a move, an ill child, an illness, a broken down vehicle or any number of other things), how do you handle these elements?
My encouragement in these articles is to have created an organized system then use that system to complete the various tasks. For example, I use hootsuite to schedule my social media posts and I have scheduled the bulk of these posts through when my move is taking place next week. I've successfully used such a system when I travel and teach at conferences. That experience is going to serve me in this situation as well.
For any of us, life is filled with complexity. Each writer needs to figure out a way to handle this complexity and continue to meet deadlines and produce. Outside of these blog entries, from time to time as I have opportunity, I write other places. To end this post, I want to show you these new articles. I wrote an article about The Challenge for Every Book Author (follow the link). Also I asked the question, Do You Know Your Competition? then I answered it (again follow the link).
How do you handle the chaos of life? Is it organized? I look forward to your comments.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021

5 Steps to Getting Celebrity Book Endorsements

From the Editor: It is rare in these entries that I use a guest blogger. I found this valuable article from my friend Jordan McAuley that I'm going to publish here. Also for the BRMCWC blog, I recently published a two part series about how every writer needs connections. Just follow the link to read it.

Guest Post By Jordan McAuley, Founder Contact Any Celebrity
Getting a celebrity, notable VIP, or leader in your field to give your book a short testimonial or endorsement (sometimes called a “blurb”) is a great way to boost sales and garner extra publicity. Remember that this is a trade-off. You get a testimonial for your book, and the endorser gets additional exposure and/or credibility.


Below is the five-step process we teach authors and writers:

1) Choose potential endorsers based on your book’s subject.

If your book is about animals, for example, target celebrities and/or notable VIPs who have a vested personal interest in animals.

If it’s about a disease, target people who have suffered personally from it or who contribute to the disease’s cause. If it’s about kayaking, target people who like to kayak.

(Use our Celebrity Causes Database to choose your ’cause’ and get a list of celebrities who support it. (Animals, Children, etc.)

2) Ask potential endorsers to write your book’s introduction or foreword.

This technique can work really well as long as you remember the following: flattery is key. Don’t ask for an endorsement at this stage. 


Instead, flatter the person by saying that because of his or her expertise on your book’s subject, you’d like to ask him or her to write the introduction or foreword.You may want to point out that this is a great opportunity for the endorser to get some additional exposure.

When the book is published, you can mention “Introduction by (Expert’s Name)” or “Foreword by (Expert’s Name)” on the cover.

3) Gather a list of names and contact information.

The reference area of your local public library is a good start, but you can find more accurate information online.

Search Google for “celebrity contacts” or “celebrity addresses” for a list of resources.

If the celebrity has an official Web site, you can usually find his or her contact information there as well.

Of course, you can use our service, Contact Any Celebrity to save time and make your research much easier. Don’t forget personal and professional connections.

Take some time to sit down and brainstorm all the people you know who could put in a good word for you or at least pass along your book and request.

4) Make it as easy as possible to get a response.

Your request should include the draft of your book, a self-addressed, pre-paid FedEx or Priority Mail envelope, an easy-to-fill out testimonial form, and a personalized letter from you.

If you’re nervous about sending a draft of the book, you can also include a Confidentiality Letter.

You may even want to mention that the better the testimonial, the more likely it will appear in your book (and possibly on the cover), resulting in additional exposure for the endorser.

5) Point out the benefits of giving an endorsement.

Potential endorsers usually won’t mind (and will probably appreciate) the extra free publicity, additional exposure, and added credibility their blurb will provide when it’s featured in (and maybe on the cover of) your book.

Let the endorser know you’ll mention his or her name, company name, and city under the testimonial as an added benefit of giving you an endorsement.

BONUS STEP: Follow Up!

If you still haven’t heard anything, send a follow-up letter or email to the celebrities you asked for an endorsement from after a few weeks have gone. Know that getting a good endorsement or testimonial can take time. Celebrities and VIPs are busy, and their mail is often screened by an assistant or representative which can delay your request getting to them.

Always remember the “Three Ps” for getting celebrity testimonial and endorsements for your books: Be Polite, Be Persistent, and Be Patient!

Bio: Jordan McAuley is an American entrepreneur. Jordan started Contact Any Celebrity in 1997.

Have you been able to get celebrity endorsements for your book? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

God Moments In Publishing

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
I've been in publishing for decades and captured some of my experiences in these entries. While not all of the books and articles that I write are for Christian publications, many of them are for the Christian marketplace. 

It is impossible in these short articles to cover every characteristic of a Christian writer, there are several which I want to include here. One of them is a commitment to excellence. My calling as a Christian writer is to excellence in the writing area but also to faithfully follow God's direction in my life. Some people call this type of inspiration and direction, a “God Moment.” These moments often occur in my own life when I call someone who I've not connected with for a long time—and when we speak, they say they were just thinking about me that day. As a Christian who wants to follow God's direction, as I listen to the still small voice in my life (from the Holy Spirit, then take action, then God can be involved and direct my steps.
I want to tell you about a new book from one of my long-term friends in publishing, Les Stobbe. At age 91, Les has published God Moments in My Publishing Life, The Making of a Writer and Publisher. At an age when many people are slowing down, Les is living an active and vibrant life. From reading his book, I understand why. We've been roommates at different writers' conferences and known each other many years. I believe the first time I heard Les was when he was the president of Here's Life Publishers and introduced his authors at a bookseller breakfast at the Christian Bookseller Association meetings. His involvement in publishing started years before this time period.

God Moments in My Publishing Life, The Making of a Writer and Publisher
 is an Action Handbook for Every Christian Writer. Thousands of Christians want to have a successful career in publishing. At 91, Les Stobbe shows us the well-worn path. The stories and action items in this book show his faithful life of listening to God’s direction and then taking action to seize the God opportunity of the moment. From his early days in Canada to writing for Christian magazines to writing for general market publications to interviewing and building relationships, every Christian author can use these stories as a roadmap for their own publishing life.
This book is packed with stories about God encounters with lasting effects on Christian publishing. Here’s one short example: “We were hanging on to the straps in a full commuter train out to the Lutzers’ suburb when Dr. Lutzer asked me, “Stobbe, what should I preach on for our next book?” Instantly the Lord gave me the topic, “Managing Your Emotions.” His quick response was, “I’ll do it.” That book became a perennial seller, partially because the local Christian television station had Dr. Lutzer deliver a series of messages on the topic.” (Page 60) [Dr. Erwin Lutzer was pastor of the Moody Bible Church for 35 years with a frequent radio and conference speaking schedule—just one of the many people tucked into the pages of this book.]
In the final chapters, Les gives an overview of his many years observing Christian publishing and a series of insights for every writer who wants to be a good communicator. I found these insights invaluable and I’m sure will be a wealth of instruction. As you read, God Moments in My Publishing Life, The Making of a Writer and Publisher you will be inspired and also encouraged. I highly recommend a careful reading of this book.

From reading this book, I know God Moments is just a hint at all of the ways God has worked through Les' life. Just like the Gospel says it does not have all of the stories about Jesus (John 21:25)—God Moments did not capture all of the stories and ways God has used Les Stobbe.  

Do you have God moments in your life as a Christian writer, let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, October 10, 2021

Gratitude and Subtle Changes

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Last week over 30 people on my launch team did remarkable work on various book review sites like Barnes & Noble, Books A Million, Goodreads and Amazon. They wrote reviews about Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (The Revised Edition). It was an amazing experience to read reviews on Medium and other places.
Through the years I've written many reviews of books for print publications, Amazon and Goodreads plus promoted those books on social media. It's one of the ways that I support other authors and tell people about worthwhile books that I've discovered. I'm full of gratitude for each of these people who last week made this sort of effort for my book. With many new books releasing each day, it's not easy for any book to get reviews or attention in the market. I understand firsthand the effort it takes to write a good review about the contents in a book, then get it posted on one of these sites.
Years ago I wrote Book Proposals That Sell to help editors and agents get better submissions and also to help writers receive publishing contracts and better reactions. The reality of the publishing world is a huge volume of material is being submitted to editors and agents. When something is rejected, you often get a form rejection letter (if a response at all). These form rejections say something generic like “it wasn't a good fit for us” but do not give you any information about what you can do to improve your submission for the next time you send it out (if you send it out at all. Many people get rejected a few times, give up and stop submitting their work. Every book needs a proposal or business plan—even if you self-publish or write fiction or write children's books or write nonfiction books. I'm delighted to get the revised edition of this book back into the market to help a new generation of writers.
Subtle Changes From the Launch
Because of the release of Book Proposals That Sell, I also made a couple of design and image changes.  First, I changed my header on the top of my Twitter profile to emphasize the new book. Also this images tells the reader how to get a free Book Proposal Checklist. I have a pop up button for it at my book website or you can go to this site and sign up for the Book Proposal Checklist.  In the past I had a one page checklist but I've made this checklist into an 11–page free ebook.

My second change is something I've not done in years: I changed the image at the top of this blog on The Writing Life. I published the first entry in this blog December 31, 2004 and yes, I have been blogging each week for a long time. The original design included a book laying on the cover of a keyboard. That book was Book Proposals That Sell (the original edition). The designer built a subtle element (which I suspect no one has ever used) and I didn't call this element to anyone's attention—but I'm doing it now. If you move your mouse over the book laying on the keyboard AND click the book, it will open up a window and take you to that book location.
Years ago when I published Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, I changed the clickable book on the design to Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. In celebration of the revised edition of Book Proposals That Sell, I changed the book a third time (and the book is still clickable to take the reader to the book website).  Finally I changed the template header for my email subscribers. Everything matches.
I've written these details today to help you see the types of changes you can also make to your own website, Twitter profile and blog, when you launch a book or have any other special event. When you publish a new book, do you make these sorts of changes? Ir maybe you change something else in this process. Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, October 03, 2021

Spread The Love

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

A number of times in these articles about the writing life, I've written about the large volume of books (over 4,500) which are published every day. It takes a lot of effort from a village to break through the noise and get any attention for your book.
As a frustrated editor, I wrote my original version of Book Proposals That Sell in 2004. When I went into my publication board meetings, I often didn't have the details from authors about their book (in their proposal or pitch) which allowed me to get them a contract. In addition, I wanted editors and agents (including myself) to receive better quality submissions from authors.  Through the years, I've heard from a number of authors who have used my book to get an agent and get a publishing contract. But publishing has changed in those years. For example, one of my 21 secrets in my first book was to always include an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope). Back then very little was sent electronically and when you submitted  you wanted to receive a response (even if it was a form rejection). It would not happen if you didn't include the return postage.
Today the submissions are handled electronically but you can't just send your material as an attachment because of potential virsus and bugs might be attached. You have to reach out to the editor or agent and get their permission to send your submission. It's a different process.
When I wrote my original book, I was focused on nonfiction and had published nonfiction. While some fiction authors used the book, my original book was slanted toward nonfiction. The reality of today's publishing world is every author needs a book proposal—whether you write fiction, children's books, nonfiction or self-publish. Your book proposal is your business plan for your book. It's not easy to write one of these documents but they are important for the author but also for others in publishing like literary agents, editors and other publishing executives. These professionals use your book proposal to make a decision about publishing your book. It's a critical part of the publishing industry.
The revised edition of Book Proposals That Sell  fixed this key flaw in my original book. The revised edition will release in over 1,800 online bookstores and in the brick and mortar bookstores this coming week on October 5th. I need your help to share the news about my book.
I've created a single page with promotion details. I include some images but also some prepared ClickToTweets which you can use (whether you have read the book or not) to tell others about my book. If they come to my book website, they can get a free book proposal checklist from me. In addition, you can even print a single page, then take that page to your local library and encourage them to order the book. The ideas on this page is not exhaustive but will give you some action steps you can take to share the book with anyone who wants to write a book.
Thank you in advance for your help. Have you published a book? Or maybe you have written a book proposal? Have you created tools like my promotion page to help others promote your book? Let me know in the comments below. 

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