Monday, August 22, 2016

Every Writer Must Be Passionate About Their Writing

By W. Terry Whalin

As writers, we hear the words “no, thank you.”  How rapidly you hear “no, thank you” (or some version of rejection), will depend on how often you are pitching your work to magazines, literary agents or book editors.
Some writers insulate themselves from rejection.They love to write for their blog but never get around to sending off their material to print publications or agents or book editors. Why? Because they don't want the rejection letters.

One of the most published works in the English language (outside of the Bible) is Chicken Soup for the Soul. What many people have forgotten about these books is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected over 140 times. Finally they found a small publisher in Florida to get their book into the bookstores. That is a ton of rejection. How did they handle these rejections? 

Jack and Mark learned to look at each other and say,”Next.” That single word (Next) is futuristic and looks ahead. You can use “next” when you get rejected to propel you ahead to the next submission. Mark Victor Hansen wrote the foreword of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (follow the link to read the sample).

Writers have to be passionate about their work to find the right place to be published. It is not an easy process and if publishing were easy, then everyone would do it. As an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher, I tell every author that it is going to be 80% up to them to sell books. Why 80%? Because as a publisher, we can sell the books into the brick and mortar bookstore but if the author does not promote their book, then these books are returned to the publisher.

Even if you get a large advance from your publisher for your book (rare but still happening), that publisher will run out of steam about your book. It doesn't matter if you've written a novel or a nonfiction book or a children's book. Every author has to use the passion about their subject to continue to market and tell others about their book.

One of my passions as a writer is to help authors produce excellent book proposals. As a frustrated acquisitions editor, I've read many proposals which were missing key elements. I wrote Book Proposals That Sell to guide authors and the book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews. I discounted the book and have the remaining copies so buy it here.  Yet my passion for proposals is more than this book. I have a free teleseminar about book proposals. Anyone can get my free book proposal checklist (no optin). Every other month, I write a column called Book Proposal Boot Camp for The Southern Writer magazine. I also have a step-by-step membership course on how to write a book proposal

Also I created Secrets About Proposals. In addition, I often guest blog about proposal creation different places and write print magazine articles about proposal creation. I hope these examples show you my passion and how it has continued way past one book. You should be doing likewise for your own topic or subject area. It's more than writing. Use the passion that drove you to complete your book to continue to market it.  Why do I continue to display my passion and keep working at it? Because I want others to use this book proposal material for their own success—and I want each of us to be producing better submissions.

There is not one path to success in the book publishing business. Yet every author must channel their passion into the ongoing promotion of their book. It takes many forms such as magazine articles, guest blog posts, tweets and much more.


Every Writer Must Be Passionate About Their Writing. Learn details here. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing.  He has written for more than 50 magazines and several of his 60 books have sold over 100,000 copies. Terry lives in Colorado and has over 183,000 followers on Twitter.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Writing Soulfully

Writing Soulfully or writing So Fully is what makes the process of sitting down at the desk or out on the banks of a lake rewarding. How is that done? By connecting to the world around you and really paying attention to each small piece. 

I read a story about a group of Aborigines who were traveling and how every so often they stopped. When asked why, they replied that they were awaiting their souls. How amazing that thought is to me. Awaiting our soul, as if our souls take the breaks to see and discover what the world has to offer us, when we ourselves are too often caught up in the day to day challenges. 

And it is just that need to take breaks to let the soul catch up that harnesses our creativity and turns our words into works of art, manuscripts that make a difference in the lives of our readers. Words mean things, I've often said to my children, colleagues, friends and clients. If a word choice makes a difference in conversations, how much more critical is it to our writing world? I often sit, just sit and let the world go by while attempting to find that one right word, that right turn of phrase, that right emotion that will trigger something in the reader, something indelible, concrete.

For many of us writing is like breath - we cannot live without it, but what else gives us that same feeling of connectedness? And how can we incorporate those feelings of connectedness with our writing, because that's where joy lives.

For me joy and writing live together when I'm doing the following:

1. Being outside. For me, an outdoor landscape is necessary for an inner experience. I find my creativity is sparked by the color green, or the blues of a lake, ocean, or sky. Flowers and mushrooms both touch me in different ways and somehow evoke story ideas, character mannerisms and plot twists.

2. Washing dishes & making beds. Strangely, doing those chores allows me to let my mind go and I can then focus on the places where I'm stuck. Mindless activities that can be filled with enriching thoughts.

3. Sitting amongst strangers. Making my way to a coffee shop or walking the local mall is also a way for my creativity to spark and for inspiration to come my way. 

My soul yearns for these experiences, and when I let it, it wanders in delight, and I now knowingly wait for it to return because it will fill me in on what it saw, heard, felt - and then I am just like the Aborigine who waits for their soul.

Today, take time to let your soul wander. Wait for it to catch up to you and then listen for what wisdom it will share. Take that knowingness and write - write a passage that connects your soul to your writing. 

D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and co-author of a Young Adult Science Fiction Series. Her latest book, Solem was released February 2016.

D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth – where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole, and Perception, and the co-author of The Exodus Series: The Water Planet: Book 1 and House of Glass: Book 2. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.                                                                                             

She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at                                      

You can also follower her on Facebook.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

6 Tips to Grow Your Readership & Manage Your Content

We’ve talked about knowing your audience, delivering inspiring topics, creating value and gaining the readers’ attention consistently.  Our writing should always be focused, personable and authentic.  As we manage our content well, our readership will grow.  Let’s consider a few more tips.  

1. Invite post feedback through comments and linkup with other bloggers in your field.  It’s a good habit to respond to each comment.

2. Deliver present & timely content as well as evergreen content to your viewers.  Make it practical and useful.  Paying attention to your blog’s theme and your readers’ feedback is key for future posts.

3. Create tags for each post.  Using three relevant tags is a good practice and will facilitate your audience returning to search your archive.

4. Create a motto that is meaningful to you and memorable.  Use it consistently.

5. Invite a colleague to write a guest post for your site.  Or post an interview you have conducted with a colleague.  Be sure to include links to their website and ask them to link to your site as well.

6. Images and graphics are key attention grabbers making your message stronger. Use at least one image with each post.  Some bloggers elect to use the same graphic per recurring theme.  Would that work for you? 

We always appreciate your feedback.  Do you have questions or tip requests for me?  Thank you very much for reading!  deborah

Deborah Lyn Stanley is a writer, editor and artist.  She is a retired project manager who now devotes her time to writing, arting and caregiving mentally impaired seniors. 

She has independently published a collection of 24 artists’ interviews entitled the Artists Interview Series.  The series was also published as articles for an online news network and on her website: Deborah Lyn Stanley - Writers Blog.  Deborah is published in magazines.  She is a blogger who has managed several group sites including ones she founded.
“Write your best, in your voice, your way!”

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Write What You Know

As writers, we’re often told to write what we know.

And while many writers (myself included) enjoy research, so we’re able to write about most anything, it’s possible to build a career simply writing about what we already know – no research required.

Erma Bombeck, Dave Barry, and David Sedaris all became famous writing from personal experience.

Who knows? You could become famous writing about what you know, too.

Just follow these tips:

1. Take a class or workshop, so you learn about all the different types of materials that can be created from personal experiences. Personal essays and opinion pieces probably come to mind immediately, but many other types of materials can be created from personal experience.

2. Learn ways to generate and capture an endless supply of material to write about. That way, once you’ve written about your most memorable personal experiences, you won’t run out of new material to write about.

3. Know the various markets for materials written from personal experience. You need to know more than the most popular markets for personal experience pieces, so you’ll have markets to submit to all the time.

4. Learn how to turn your personal experiences into marketable pieces (pieces that will be more likely to sell). There are some definite tricks of the trade for this, so be sure to learn them.

5. Learn how to effectively add humor to your writing (when appropriate) to make your work more appealing. Again, there are definite tricks of the trade for humor writing. Learn these tricks so your attempts at humor won’t fall flat.

6. Learn to write with style. Your work will be more marketable, and if you develop a strong personal style, it may become your brand as a writer.

Follow these tips and, even if you don’t become the next Erma Bombeck, you’ll still be well on your way to creating an enjoyable career writing what you know!

As the Working Writer's Coach, Suzanne Lieurance helps people turn their passion for writing into a lucrative career.

Let her teach you everything you need to know to build your career writing what you know.

Learn more at

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Power of Video Marketing - A string quartet

Okay, maybe I'm acquiring a bad habit. I watched another video that made me want to share.

I happened across this video on Facebook. I really try to avoid watching videos because they're kind of time consuming. But, this is another great one with a story and marketing elements.

In a few minutes, a really short clip, a story emerged of one-upping, competition, and determination. And, it's all done in a funny and extremely talented and creative way.

I don't know the name of the video, but it was posted originally by Brandon Williams. You'll see what I mean about it's power when you watch it. It's definitely worth the few minutes.

So, how is this great video marketing?

Well, I can think of at least two reasons:

1. If this were a music school. Would you join up if you wanted to learn a stringed instrument?
2. If they had a performance coming up, wouldn't you be motivated to get a ticket?

And, all from the power of a short video clip.

If you watched it, please let us know what you thought of it!

If you're not creating video yet, start today. Create something simple, right from your iPhone or iPad. Get it up on YouTube, optimize it, and publish it.

You can even create a PowerPoint presentation, turn it into an MP4 and put it on YouTube.


Selling Your Book - 2 Steps Toward Success
Blogging – 5 Popular Blog Post and Article Formats
Tips on Polishing Your Novel

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Guest Posts & Interviews: A Plan

One way to highlight your thought-leadership on your blog is by inviting other experts to contribute. You can do this through interviews, as well as guest posts.

The process for both tactics is easy and similar....

1. Decide What you Want. Are you seeking interviews, guest posts, or both? For interviews, will you do them via phone, Skype, or via email? If email, what is the length of the post. Also determine what additional information you want: headshot and book or product image, how many links, and how long of a bio. For guest posts decide on your ideal length, as well as image needs.

2. Make a Wish List of 10 Experts. This should be a few people you know, as well as ones you want to get to know.

3. Get Contact Information. If you do not know all the people on your list persoanlly, see if you can get an intro from a friend or peer. If all else fails, tweet to them or message via their most active social media platform.

4. Write a Standard (but Customizable) Intro Email. Let them know who you are, what you are requesting, and information about your site. Include some sort of personal detail (something you like about them or their blog), so they know it is not a form letter, and request they get back to you if they'd like to move forward.

5. Write a Detailed Request. Have this ready to go for when your expert says, Yes. If you are conducting the interview, decide the details (how much time you need and how you will do it - in person, phone, Skype). If it's an email interview or guest post, give them the word count. Be sure to request images, links, and social profiles, so you can easily share the published posts. And don't forget to give a deadline. It should be at least a week before your publish date.

6. Make a Chart. Create a simple spreadsheet to track your requests, responses, and deadlines.

7. Prep your Post. Decide how you will format these contributor posts for consistency, as well as to make the process easy for you.

8. Publish. When your post is ready, schedule or publish it!

9. Share. Share the post link (with graphic for better exposure) on your social networks. Also, tweet to or tag the contributor, depending on the platform.

10. Thank Your Guests. Send the link to the post in a follow-up email, along with a thank you. You many also want to include sample social posts with a request for your guests to share. This will make sure everyone gets the most benefit out of the opportunity.

Whether you interview experts or invite people to post, it's helpful to have a plan, as well as guidelines for your guests in place. It will save you time and energy, while giving your guests tips to make the most of their exposure on your blog.

What do you think? Do you run expert interviews or guest posts on your blog? What is your process? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

* * *

Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of Guided Goals and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. 

She is the host of the Guided Goals Podcast and author of Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. 

Debra is an editor at Social Media Examiner and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Peek at Great Book Review Idea from New Release

Off-The-Wall -Alternatives

Making Your Reviews Into Workhorses

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson.

Excerpted (and adapted) from Carolyn’s new How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to be released this fall.

Authors rarely get the most of their reviews. Surprised? I think it’s either that they are so excited about the review or that the idea of extending a review’s value doesn’t occur to them. Or it’s because so many reviews these days come from readers. They aren’t professionals, so they have no idea how to distribute content beyond posting their review on Amazon.
One of the ways they can get more mileage from their reviews is to get them reprinted in more venues than the reviewer ever planned. Or you do it for them. And, no, it isn’t stealing or plagiarism if you get permission from the reviewer first. In fact, it can benefit the reviewer. 
When you get further distribute reviews you already have, it’s like getting a little marketing bonus. Here’s how to do that:
  • If your reviewer doesn’t normally write reviews (these reviewers are often called reader reviewers), suggest she send her review or the link to her review to her friends as a recommendation.
  • If your reviewer lives in a town with a small daily or weekly newspaper, she could send her review to them. She may realize the thrill of being published the first time. 
  • Ask your reviewer—even one who writes for a review journal—to post her review on,, and other online booksellers that have reader-review features. I have never had a reviewer decline my suggestion. It is ethical for a reviewer to do it or give you permission to reuse the review as long as she holds the copyright for the review. (Most reviewers do not sign copyright-limiting agreements with the medium who hires them.) Get more information on Amazon’s often misrepresented review policies in Chapter Eleven, “Managing Your Amazon Reviews.”
  • After you have permission from the reviewer to reprint the review, post it on your blog, on your Web site, and in your newsletter. Use quotations from the reviews to give credibility to selected media releases and queries.
  • Once you have permission to use reviews, send copies of good ones to bookstore buyers and event directors as part of your campaign to do book signings, to speak, or do workshops in their stores. Go to ( for a starter list of bookstores.
  • Send quotations (blurbs) from the reviews you get to librarians, especially the ones in your home town or cities you plan to visit during book tours. Include order information. Try Midwest for a list of libraries ( 
  • Use snippets from positive reviews as blurbs in everything from your stationery to your blog. (Use your e-reader’s find function to search for other ideas for using your blurbs in this book.)
  • If your reviewer doesn’t respond to your request to post the review on Amazon, excerpt blurbs from them and post them on your Amazon buy page using Amazon’s Author Connect or Author Central features. They will appear on your Amazon sales page. 
  • Include the crème de la crème of your reviews on the Praise Page of your media kit and inside the front cover of the next edition (perhaps a mass market edition like the pocket paperbacks sold in grocery stores?). See my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter ( for the complete—and I do mean complete—lowdown on media kits. 
Hint: Occasionally authors get reviews on Amazon that, shall we say…don’t thrill them. Reviews like that can be minimized by asking others for reviews. As new reviews are added, the old ones tend to get buried in the lineup of reviews. We can also (pleasantly!) refute a position a reviewer takes using the comment feature—or thank them for bringing something to our attention. We can also dispute their validity with Amazon, though that rarely works.
You can use some of these suggestions as part of your keeping-in-communication-with-reviewers effort after her review has been published.
Coming up in the newest release in my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of books, How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to be released this fall is more on how Amazon can helps authors early in their review-getting process. I mean, as long as it’s nearly impossible to do without Amazon and still have a successful book campaign, we might was well get them to return the loyalty we show them in as many ways as possible. 
Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. Her next book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers will be How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her Web site is