Sunday, May 19, 2024

If You Are Stuck...

By Terry Whalin

As an author, there are many times when you can get stalled or stuck. When you face this type of situation, where do you turn? Throughout my years in this business, I have often been stuck or stalled. In this article, I want to tell a few stories, give you some ideas and action steps.

Several weeks ago, one of my Morgan James Publishing authors was in the final stages of production on his book. The pages were set in type and he showed those pages to one of his friends. This “friend carefully reviewed the book and sent several single-spaced pages of editorial changes. This friend knew nothing about the process of book production. The rule of thumb is the closer you get to a final book to print, the less changes you want to make because that change process can become costly to the author. With these editorial suggestions, my author was stuck and trying to determine what to do. 

From my work in publishing, I understand that many editorial choices such as where to put a comma are subjective and will vary from editor to editor. To help this author, I called an editorial friend and asked if she would review the changes and give me a suggestion who could fix it. To my relief, she agreed and a few days later validated that many of these suggestions needed to be fixed. This expert gave me several recommended people to correct these suggestions. I sent the information to my author. He investigated and came back with a range of costs and timeframes for each of these experts. Again, he reached out to me and was stuck. I made some suggestions. I know this author and even if it was going to cost him financially at the end of the day he wanted his book to be in the best possible shape when it released this fall to the bookstores.

Notice how this author took action when he got stuck. He reached out to his acquisitions editor (me). I made some suggestions and used my resources to help him. Then he made a decision to get unstuck and move forward. 

You may be stuck for a number of reasons. Maybe you want to do more podcasts and radio interviews to promote your book. You need to ask an expert to help you or learn to craft the pitch yourself and book interviews. Maybe you want to break out of self-publishing and get your book into the bookstores. It's possible but you need to explore your options and meet the right person to help you. Possibly you need to plan to attend a large writers conference and meet the right person. Possibly you need to learn how to write a book proposal to improve your pitch. There are many directions to head but you need guidance to make a wise decision. First, understand you are not on your own unless you make this decision. There is a writing community and experts who can give you good options--if you explore these possibilities.

In the end, my author made some wise decisions which are going to cost him financially. The interior type for his book will be reset and all of the corrections fixed so an excellent book will be released this fall. 

If you are stuck, heres some ideas:

1. Switch to something else. Sometimes your mind will continue working on the challenge as you work on something else and the right idea will come to you.

2. Move out of your chair and take a walk. Exercise will clear your mind and help you make a better decision.

3. Read a book for inspiration
and a fresh perspective. This week the publisher sent me a little book called A Drop of Courage. I dont know about your situation but on a daily basis I could use more courage. This little 120 page book is packed with ideas and inspiration. You can open to any colorful page and read a few pages, then return to where you are stuck. Its a new book which will remain on my shelf and be used often. 

4. Call or email a friend for help. You have to put away your pride to do this process but understand others are eager to listen to your need and you can get unstuck. 

Our world is filled with possibilities and opportunities. I follow these steps often in my daily work in publishing. Take action and move forward. It could be just the step you need to take instead of feeling stuck.  What did I miss? How do you get unstuck? Let me know in the comments below. I look forward to learning from you.


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