Sunday, November 28, 2021

Advantages to Batch Writing

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Since my recent move, I've been doing some batch writing. This term “batch writing” is where I will write a series of the same type of writing. For example, one of the ways I support other writers is through writing and posting book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. It happened gradually but I've written over 1,100 reviews on Amazon and over 700 reviews on Goodreads.  Because I've written so many of these reviews, I can write the review in a short amount of time. Several publishers have been sending me children's books and in particular board books—which do not have many words. I've been reviewing these books in a group or batch.
One of my long-term writing friends Bob Bly is the author of THE COPYWRITER’S HANDBOOK plus over 100 other books. His COPYWRITER’S HANDBOOK originally was published in 1985 and last year Bob's publisher released the Fourth Edition. If you have not read this book, I encourage every writer to get a copy and study it. For many years, Bob has made a highly profitable career as a copywriter and this valuable skill is one every writer needs to learn. Here's what I wrote about THE COPYWRITER’S HANDBOOK:
One of the critical skills for every writer is copywriting. I’m delighted to see this classic book from the 80s updated with a fourth edition. Years ago, I read the first edition and still have it on my bookshelf. As Bly writes in the preface, the psychology of convincing others has not changed in centuries but the details of achieving success with your words continues to change and evolve. As Bly writes, “For instance, we used to say a disgruntled customer would tell ten other people about his dissatisfaction with the merchant. Now, with online reviews and social media, some can and do tell thousands.” This new edition includes chapters on critical elements like landing pages, online ads, social media, video content and much more. Every writer needs to read and study THE COPYWRITER’S HANDBOOK. Your writing will be improved, and you will be able to profit more from your words if you have this invaluable skill. I highly recommend this book.”
I believe there are advantages to writing some things like reviews in batches. You get into a frame of mind and can crank them out in a brief amount of time. While each review is distinct and different. While I've been writing reviews in batches, you can also write entries for your blog, articles, guest blog posts and many other types of writing. Do you ever write in batches or groups? Let us know your insights in the comments below.

Are You Missing A Key Element to Publish Your Book? Get the details here

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Sunday, November 21, 2021

Writers Need Editors

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

It may surprise you to hear this statement: No writer creates a perfect first draft. Each of us have to get the stories and information out of our head and on to paper (or computer). Some of my writer friends will talk their writing into the computer then edit from that draft. They use a program like Naturally Speaking. Even when you use such a tool, your first draft will need additional work.
While I've been writing for publication for decades, I still need an editor.  In the writing process, I try and write enough ahead that I can let it cool for a few hours (or days) then I read through my writing and edit it. Each of us need to self-edit. Another process is to read your work aloud to yourself and edit it as you go through it. The ear is less forgiving than the eye and this process will help improve your work.
Yet s writers we can only take our writing to a certain level on our own. We need editors. A good editor will ask probing questions and force you to clarify areas that don't make sense or are incomplete. A good editor will push you to do more showing in your writing than telling. The editor can also react to the structure of your piece and push you to have a stronger conclusion. These various elements are just a few of the skills an editor will bring to your writing and publishing process.
There are numerous freelance editors who perform help many writers in this process. If you don't have such an editor, ask other writers and get some recommendations. Then check out that editor's references and even have them edit a portion of your book (often they will do this process without charge) to see if their work will be a good fir for what you need and are looking for with your work.
Another resource some writer use for the editing process is their participation in a critique group. In the early days of my publishing work, I was active in a critique group and it was a great help to propel my writing. If you don't have a critique group (in person or online), I recommend you read this detailed article that I wrote about critique groups (follow the link).
Do you believe every writer needs an editor? What tips do you have for finding a good one? Let me know in the comments below. 

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Sunday, November 14, 2021

You Must Do Your Part

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
As writers, we have big dreams for our work to get into the world. During my years of writing for publication, I understand many aspects of the publishing process are outside of my control. Yet there are many things I can control and that's why I wrote 10 Publishing Myths to help every writer understand some of these aspects and ways they can take action.
You may want to publish a book. To get that book published, you have to sit in your chair, put your fingers on the keyboard and write. I like what my friend bestselling novelist Bodie Thoene told me years ago: “No little elves come out at night and write my pages. I have to do it every day out of obedience to my calling.” Whether it is a book or a book proposal or any other type of writing, you have to do the work for it to possibly happen. It does not happen just because you think about it or want it to happen. For each aspect of the publishing process, there is actual work (and some of it hard) involved for it to transpire.
Weeks ago before the release of Book Proposals That Sell, I had the idea of publishing a Soapbox column article in Publisher's Weekly magazine. I subscribe to this trade publication and read it every week. A missing topic in this column was something about book proposals. As an acquisitions editor, I've actually been in the pub board meetings where key decisions about books are made. I believed the readers of Publisher's Weekly (like librarians and retailers) who have never been inside this room would be interested in my words about it. While I have written for Publisher's Weekly, it has been many years with different editors now in charge of the magazine. I had to approach them like a brand new author to get my article published.
I have been a magazine editor and written for more than 50 publications. While my background is helpful in this process of getting published, it does not guarantee that it will happen. Editors are the gatekeepers and make the decisions about what gets published and what gets rejected. What I'm writing about in this article is the need to do my part as a writer. I wrote my piece then pitched the editor and caught his attention. Even after I submitted it, I knew it could get rejected but last night I got notice the article is online and will be in this week's issue. You can follow the link to read my article.
Why did I want to write an article for Publishers Weekly? They are the most influential publication in the publishing industry with a circulation of 68,000 copies and annual readers of 14 million. Use this link to check out their media kit and more information about the magazine.  Libraries and many other places take this magazine. Your local library likely does not have Publisher's Weekly out in their magazine area but ask the reference librarian if you can read it. For many years I went to my local library every week and read the magazine before I became a subscriber.  
Much of the publishing world is outside of anything we can control as writers—but we must do our part—keep submitting, keep learning, keep knocking on new doors to see if they will open. Sometimes they happen and I'm celebrating that today.
Are y0u doing your part as a writer to open new doors of opportunity? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, November 07, 2021

Why Write for Magazines

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I want to begin with a bold but true statement: anyone can publish articles or writing online. For example, these articles about the writing life come directly from me to you. There is no editor or barrier in this process. It's the same type of standard with self-publishing books. You can choose to hire an editor and proofreader then produce something of a high standard which looks professional. Or you can self-publish your book without an editor or proofreader.

Throughout my decades in publishing, I have written for print magazines because they have a higher standard of excelllence than writing online. I've written for more than 50 publications and I've been a magazine editor on several publications. While many writers want to publish books, you can enhance your publishing credibiility in the magazine area of the market. You can reach more people to spread your message and magazine articles are much shorter to write than books. I've written more detail about writing for magazines in this article

To write for magazines, you have to learn how to pitch editors and often to write a query letter. The editors are the gatekeepers for their publication. They know their readers (target market) and hold to a high standard of what they will publish, I continue to write for magazines while writing books--and I encourage you to do this as well. 

For decades I have been taking a trade magazine and reading it cover to cover. This publication has a column which is the next to last page in the publication. I knew they had never covered the topic of book proposals. Several weeks before the release of my new Book Proposals That Sell, I wrote a specific article for this publication. I've written for this magazine before but it was many years ago. I had to  pitch like a brand new writer to get their attention. I understand editors get a lot of pitches and submissions so I pitched this editor several times. Finally he responded that my article was over the word limit for this column--and he gave me the correct length. 

With this valuable feedback, I cut my article to the required length then submitted it again--and heard nothing. I followed up and a lengthy period of silence. Then late last week I got an email saying they were preparing to publish my piece and asking for my headshot. My persistence and follow-up looks like it will pay off. When the piece is published, I will show it to you. I hope my experience is going to encourage you to write for print magazines.

Do you write for magazines? Why? Let me know in the comments below.

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