Sunday, April 24, 2022

A Favorite Place to Read

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Consistent reading is one of the important skills for every writer to maintain and develop. To write for a particular mnagazine, you want to read this publication either in print or online to know what they are publishing. Publications have guidelines and you want to read those guidelines and follow them before sending in your query or article. This information is critical to give your submission the best chance of getting published. Also in the book area, you want to be reading books like you want to write. If you want to write children's books, you need to be aware of what is getting published and if you are writing fiction, you need to be reading what others are doing in your area. While reading is an important skill, do you have a favorite place to read?
Many years ago when I worked at Christianity.com and lived in northern California, my wife surprised me with a brown leather chair for my office. We've moved a number of times but this chair has been a consistent part of my office and it's where I've been reading for years. In my current office, the movers struggled to get this chair into the room. They had to manuever a narrow hallway and turn it to get it into this room—not an easy process but they got it done.
My leather chair is an important part of my office equipment. I read some things on my computer screen but for concentated reading or reading for pleasure, I physically move from my desk to my leather reading chair. For me, the physical movement from my desk to my reading chair is also a mental mind shift from writing to reading or consuming information.
There are several things which are important about in my writing life about this physical shift:
1. It is a consistent habit
2. when I get books to read and possibly review, I know how to handle it
3. when I read magazines I know where I will read them and put them beside my reading chair. I have a plan and don't clutter my desk or mix it into other paperwork.
4. It helps me keep organized and orderly in my office. In general an organized writer is a productive writer.
A reading chair is a consistent part of my writing life. Do you have a favorite place to read? Let me know in the comments below.

Reading is an important skill for every writer. This prolific editor and author tells about his favorite place to read and asks if you have such a place. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)

Does your fiction or nonfiction book have a business plan? Every type of book needs a proposal—even if you self-publish. Get this resource.

Other recent articles I've written:

Five Reasons to Review Books In a related topic to this one about my reading chair, I encourage every writer to review books with five different reasons for such action.

Every Writer Must Build An Audience In this article, I give details about the mysterious word “platform” and why every writer needs to find their audience and what it takes to build one.

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Sunday, April 17, 2022

Why Live Events Are Valuable

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

After a two-year delay because of the pandemic, last week the Evangelical Press Association meetings took place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While I'm a former board member of the EPA and have worked planning a number of their conventions, I had not been to one of their meetings in 20 years—because I'm mostly in the book world with some continuing magazine work. It was a great experience to return to a live event. In this article, I want to give you some of the distinctions and value of these opportunities.
The Give and Take Conversations
Whether you are standing around drinking coffee at a break or meeting people around you during a workshop, there is a give and take in the conversation that does not happen on the phone or virtually but does happen at live events. I saw a number of old friends and had the opportunity to get an update, hear about their work, tell them about some of my work and exchange business cards (because this information often changes over the years). A number of these people I had not encountered face to face in years and the exchanges were priceless in my view. As I've often said in this publishing  business, who you know is almost as important as what you know. These types of exchanges happen over and over during these types of events.
Meeting and Making New Friends
Whether I was sitting at a meal at the event or any other place, these events give the opportunity to get acquainted and learn about each other and exchange business cards. In a publishing world that is often saying “no” or sending a silent rejection (no response), I was one of the few (if not the only book acquisitions editor) at this event. I made a point to often say and show that I am actively looking for new authors and new books. Who knows what will come from it but I was certainly trying in my conversations and actions to open the doors of opportunity.
The Opportunity to Teach
At the EPA meetings, I taught two workshops—one on social media and a second on book proposals. The first one on social media was a part of the overall conference with a much larger attendance. The second one about book proposals was added to the schedule when the overall event was delayed two years with the pandemic. For each of my handouts and presentations, I appreciated the opportunity to give back to others and provide value from my resources and experience. I also appreciated the opportunity to hear other speakers and workshop leaders. I found great value in attending different workshops during the event.
Open to the Unexpected
I made a point to introduce myself to several of the main speakers at this event. To my surprise, one of them followed my work on social media and was appreciative of what I do in this area. Until I had this exchange face to face, I had no idea that he was aware of me and my work. I suspect there will be opportunity to work together in the days ahead—particularly if I follow-up (which I will). From attending live events for years, I know the follow-up emails and other connections are some of the most important actions for anyone attending these events.
In the next few weeks, I will be attending other events. Follow this link to my schedule and I hope to see you at one of these events and talk face to face.
There were many more things which come from these live events but these are a few of the distinctions from these opportunities. What am I missing? Let me know in the comments below.

Live events have returned. This prolific editor and author explores why live events are valuable. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)

Does your fiction or nonfiction book have a business plan? Every type of book needs a proposal—even if you self-publish. Get this resource.

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Sunday, April 10, 2022

The Unexpected Value of Free

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

It's one of our favorite words: free. When you write any advertising copy for an email or a social media post or an article, I encourage you to use this word because it will attract readers and keep people reading your material. Copywriters use the word free and sprinkle it into their work.
I've used this word frequently in my lead magnets which can be an audio file or a PDF document or a teleseminar. For the reader to get the free resource, I ask them to give me their first name and email address in exchange for access. These types of resources are called lead magnets because they drive people to subscribe to your email list—which is one of the most important tools for a writer to create and control. I've written about lead magnets in the past and encourage you to follow this link to see a variety of images and lead magnets which I am using in this area.
Besides lead magnets, writers need to develop and grow their email lists. Recently I spoke with an author who told me that she had 250 subscribers to her email list and that she was working to grow it. I also spoke with another author who had an email list of 60,000 subscribers. It's easy to see which one of these two authors would be more attractive to a publisher. I encourage you to be working to grow your email list through events, promotion on business cards, pop-ups on your website and any number of other methods. If you need more help in this area, I have an inexpensive resource called List Tycoon and hope you will check it out.
In other articles about the Writing Life, I've told you about the importance of a book proposal—even if you are going to self-publish. Your proposal is your business plan for your book. I've launched a free page for you to get the Ebook version of Book Proposals That Sell. Here's where you can get this free ebook in whatever version you need (Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc). In the process of getting this free ebook, you will give me your email address. Why would I give away a book which came out last October?
If you download the free ebook and begin to read it, statistically there is a high probability that you will buy the print version of the book at wherever you purchase print books. We've learned about this principle from the actions of other authors like Morgan James author Russell Brunson. All over Facebook (and on his own website—just follow the link), Brunson has ads for Dotcom Secrets and Expert Secrets. The ads say if you send me the postage of $9.95 then you receive a free copy of the physical book. Every year, Brunson gives away 100,000 copies of each title. Not everyone buys his book from those Facebook ads. Some people watch the ad and decide to buy the book in their local bookstore. Year after year, Brunson sells a six-figure volume of books in the bookstore and makes royalties on those sales. I tell this story to show you lose nothing when you give away the ebook version. Instead, you build your email list and potentially drive more people to purchase your print book.
Are you giving away your book for free? Do you have other ideas about the value of free? Let me know in the comments below.

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Sunday, April 03, 2022

Where Is the Easy Button for Publishing?

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Writing is easy. You sit at your keyboard, open a vein and bleed. This statement has been attributed to Ernest Hemingway. On the surface, publishing looks easy. You write a book and publish it. People are looking for something easy—an easy button. One of my friends, Joel Comm, was selling easy buttons that you could have on your desk and push when you needed it. Yet the button only went up and down—and didn't do anything. From my decades in publishing, there is no easy button and instead the days are full of many “minor” decisions which will make a huge difference in the success or failure of your book.
In the pages of these entries, I've told the story about Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, co-authors Chicken Soup for the Soul (one of the most successful series of books in the English language). People often forget these books were rejected 140 times before they finally found a small publisher. That is a lot of rejection. Mark tells the story in the foreword to my book Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Just follow this link to download and read the foreword and first chapter.
Last year, on The Write Conversation blog, I told the story of Andy Andrews and his struggle to get published and then how he became a New York Times bestselling author. Follow this link to read this article but the key fact is to notice the persistence and perserverance Andy did to finally succeed with his books and writing. There was nothing easy about it.
A great deal of publishing is being in the right place at the right time with the right stuff. Those qualities of persistence and perserverance are key elements for every writer. Here's some ideas of action steps you can take—no matter where you are on your publishing journey:
1. Write shorter pieces or magazine articles and be pitching them to editors. It takes skill to write a book and it also takes skill to write a shorter article. I would rather be learning on the shorter article than the longer book. Plus you will reach many more people with an article than most books. I continue to write for magazines and have been doing it for many years.
2. Be making connections consistently through LinkedIn. Millions of people are on this business network and I ignored it for years but today I have over 19,000 connections. Last week I called a long-time friend's cell number and someone else answered. I checked the number with a colleague—and they had the same wrong number. I went to LinkedIN and found a different number in this friend's contact area—so I called it and left a message. I was reaching him with an old number which was forwarded to him—and apparently dropped during the last month.  Repeatedly LinkedIN has been a great source of information because generally when people move or change positions, they take their LinkedIN account with them. Each of us need the right connection and you can be expanding your network through LinkedIN. If we aren't connected, then send me a connection invitation (use the link) You might not need it today but maybe you will need to connect at a later point.
3. Get to an event and make new connections.  After two years of a pandemic, live events are returning. I will be at two of them this month and another in June. In May I will be teaching and meeting authors at a vircual event. Follow this link to see my schedule and possibly meet. This week an author who attended one of my workshops in 2018 reached out to me with some questions. She was going to attend the Write His Answer conference in May (which will be virtual and a combination of the Philadelphia and Colorado Christian Writer Conferences). This author was surprised that I answered her email and questions. Even four years after an event, I continue to be in touch with people that I met.
Your persistence and consistency is important—even in the face of rejection like Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Andy Andrews. Keep moving forward is my encouragement—whether you find the easy button or not. 
If I'm missing the easy button for publishing, let me know in the comments below.

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