Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Event Goals



As I prepare for the release of Your Goal Guide in January, I have events on the brain. I'm looking to extend my reach and introduce my book to the world, which requires exploring different event scenarios, both as an attendee and a speaker.

Through my research and outreach, one thing is clear: the best live-event strategy is a multi-faceted approach. And the most effective way to make that happen: Set event goals! 

Here's how to do it:

1. Commit. As January approaches, look at your schedule to see what is your most feasible monthly event count. My recommendation is to commit to three events each month: Aim for one event per week, and take off one week a month. Obviously, if you can do more, that's even better. If you have to do less, that's fine too. Just pick what's doable and stick to it.

2. Discover. Reach out to friends and peers for recommendations of events to attend, groups to explore, and organizations where you can speak. Do your own research on top of the recs to find what may be the best fit for your needs and schedule. If you are curious about an organization or conference, and want to learn more before joining or paying to attend, offer to volunteer.  That gives you the best access to meeting the speakers and making connections.

3. Mix it Up. Events aren't limited to organized functions. A catch-up coffee with a former colleague or a fun night out with old friends is just as valuable as a speed-networking mixer, a workshop.  

4. Schedule. Once you find events that hold your interest, register, and mark out the time on your calendar. Commit to events the same way you do to deadlines and work meetings. As you attend regular happenings, you'll start seeing the same people, making to easy to form a bond and solidify that connection.

5. Connect. Exchange business cards and send a connection request and/or follow up - with a personal note - to everyone you meet.

Whether you speak, attend, or volunteer, event goals should be a normal part of your business routine. Above all else, remember, events should be fun. Your smile, your enthusiasm for your career, your passion for your topic should come through whether you are onstage, chatting, or just out and about. You will enjoy the events more, and so will the people around you.

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How do you find good events? What are your event goals? Please share in the comments.

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Debra Eckerling is a writer, editor and project catalyst, as well as founder of The D*E*B Method: Goal Setting Simplified and Write On Online, a live and online writers’ support group. Like the Write On Online Facebook Page and join the Facebook Group.  Debra is the author of Your Goal Guide, being released by Mango in January 2020, as well as Write On Blogging: 51 Tips to Create, Write & Promote Your Blog and Purple Pencil Adventures: Writing Prompts for Kids of All Ages. She is host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat and the Guided Goals Podcast, and a speaker/moderator on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A Marketing Story to Inspire Authors to Renewed Efforts

A Marketing Story to Inspire You to Renewed Efforts

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers

I don’t think any author—or anyone with a profession or career or business—needs to be reminded that marketing is important. I sense, though, that they need a little inspiration now and then to convince them to keep at it or to utilize its magic to make whatever they are passionate about work better. Maybe to make it more fun. So here is a little story that recently took my breath away, convinced me anew that the net works. That Twitter works. That reviews work. And that even when we don’t see their charms on a daily basis, they (and their marketing sisters) are out there doing what they are supposed to do and doing it without asking us to recognize them, praise them, or pat them on their backs!

You see, I recently found a review floating around the Twitter platform at least a decade after it had been written,  a review I never knew existed. It was written by Author Anthony James Barnett (twitter moniker @ajbarnett) who is a fellow tweeter. Years ago he found me there, read my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter (then it its first edition!) and reviewed it on his blog (http://bit.ly/irpv3) --all unbeknownst to me. I found it more than a decade later and it has haunted me because it illustrates so concisely most everything I have been trying to help authors do with my consulting, coaching, teaching, and my series of books. It proves the value of reviews (and, coincidentally the need for the third book in my HowToDoItFrugally Series, How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career  which—I suspect—Author Barnett may not even know exists in this new decade!)

Every author needs to plumb reviews to launch books and to give their older books a new life—maybe make them into classics! I love that Author Barnett is still out there helping me help authors do that! I relished it. Tweeted about it and then, gasp! …. ! I realized that my marketing and blogging benefactor may no longer be alive.

I left Barnett a comment on his blog and it is awaiting acceptance—with no luck.  I’ve surfed the web for his name and the title of his book a bit. Now it seems I need help finding him. That’s my first choice. But if that can’t be done, I can use the web and marketing tools to keep the beautiful little secret gift he gave me years ago alive. And maybe to inspire other authors!

MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR


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 which 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. How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically launched to rave reviews from Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Book Reviews and others:

“How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically [and other books in the series] could well serve as a textbook for a college Writing/Publishing curriculum.”




Sunday, December 1, 2019

Being a Writer - Learn the Craft of Writing


In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, author Jane Yolen discussed the need to learn the craft of writing in an article titled, “Dedicate Yourself to a Writing Apprenticeship.” She explained that the process is slow and long, but is necessary to being a writer, to learn the craft of writing.

If you’re wondering what the craft of writing is, it’s proper writing technique, grammar, and style. These writing elements include structure, formatting, clarity, and in fiction writing, plot, character development, point of view, and dialogue. Even knowing the particulars in the genre you write is important.

So, what exactly is the meaning of the word ‘craft?’

Wikipedia’s definition is, “A craft is a branch of a profession that requires some particular kind of skilled work.”

Merriam-Webster refers to ‘craft’ as an occupation requiring “artistic skill.”

And, TheFreeDicitionary.com mentions membership in a guild.

Between all three definitions we know that a ‘craft’ is a branch of a professional group or guild. It is a career or occupation, not simply a hobby.

Interestingly, there are various avenues that can be taken to become an accomplished or professional writer, but each one has the need for learning, practice, time, and commitment. Some writers may go to school and get degrees, others may learn from a coach or mentor, others from trial and error, failures and successes. But, whichever path is taken, there is a lot of work that goes into becoming experienced and knowledgeable, in being a writer. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect.

But today, with the easy-to-do-it-yourself self-publishing explosion, writers may not be viewed as professionals. Certainly, most people have read a self-published book or e-book that lacks proper grammar, structure, and even clarity. These products are easy to spot, but yet they’re available for sale, and the authors consider themselves writers.

While it’s great that those who want to write have a vehicle to publish their own work, especially in this overwhelmed publishing market, those who don’t take the time to learn the craft of writing do themselves and others an injustice. They make the self-publishing book market murky and the label of ‘writer’ less professional.

This shouldn’t be the case.

Think of a professional musician. Imagine him playing an amazing piece, smooth, fluid, and beautiful – every note is perfect. Now imagine another musician; this one isn’t in tune, can’t read the music, misses notes, and sounds awful. Which musician do you want to be?

You should want to be the professional; the one who offers polished and experienced work; the one who earns a reputation for quality.

According to WritersHelper.com, it doesn’t matter what your experience level is, there is always room for improvement. Writers should strive to “study ways to improve their craft.” While this may take time and work, it is easy to find the needed help and resources.

To begin, do a search for online writing instruction; try the keyword “learn to write.” You can also check your local schools for adult education classes, or take some college writing courses. There is an abundance of writing information available, much of it free or very inexpensive; take advantage of it.

Being a writer means you need to learn the craft of writing, and continue honing your skills.

Originally published at:
https://karencioffiwritingforchildren.com/2015/08/24/being-a-writer-learn-the-craft-of-writing/


Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author and children’s ghostwriter as well as the founder and editor-in-chief of Writers on the Move. She is also an author/writer online platform instructor with WOW! Women on Writing.

You can check out Karen’s e-classes through WOW! at:
http://www.articlewritingdoctor.com/content-marketing-tools/

And, be sure to connect with Karen at:
Twitter http://twitter.com/KarenCV
LinkedIn  http://www.linkedin.com/in/karencioffiventrice
Pinterest  http://pinterest.com/KarenCioffi/

MORE ON WRITING

Are You Too Busy?

A Dozen Ways to Build Your Confidence as a Writer

How to Use a Timer to be More Productive

Writing and Getting Organized

Publishing Takes More Than Good Intentions



Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Diversity: Is Research Enough?

What can we do as children’s writers to include every child? At a recent NM-SCBWI ShopTalk meeting, a panel came together to discuss this question and to share their personal stories. First, the panel displayed the graphic “Equality/Equity,” from the Interaction Institute for Social Change, by the artist Angus Maguire, then participants broke up into small groups to discuss the graphic and what privilege means to them.

Some of the findings:
  • Fear can keep us from including everyone, regardless of our circumstances. Fear that we might lose our place, our social standing, our opportunity to get ahead.
  • But what happens if we give up our box? Does that mean that we give up something? Or do we gain in the knowledge that giving up our box means everyone can see over the fence and now everyone is happy?
Panelists Weigh In
  • Giving up our box helps us become better creators. Her first pass while writing her books is to check and correct for “white as default,” which is “when whiteness is the litmus test for what is considered normal behavior, culture, and appearance. Through media, books, visual media, politics...etc. we are socialized to think it's normal to be white and everyone else is defined by their proximity to whiteness.”
  • Having an ally is important for those who need help. As an example, this panelist observed an Asian family at the airport who didn’t speak English were pushed to the back of the line because others used their privilege to get in front of them. She saw this, stepped up and spoke up for the family, saying that they have the right to go on ahead.
  • One panelist brought up the question: Is research enough when writing in diverse characters? She says of course research is vital, but that is only the bare minimum. She urges writers and illustrators to put themselves out there—get involved with the community you want to write about. This panelist has been a Muslim for thirty years. To learn more about her community, she says interviewing is fine. But to truly immerse yourself in it, fast at Ramadan, learn what it is to be a Muslim. But she cautions that even for her it is difficult to break through the gatekeepers—agents, editors—who decide whether to take you on the way to publication. A book that her eight-year-old son loves and feels empowered by is Young Gifted and Black: Meet 52 Black Heroes From Past and Present, by Jamia Wilson, and Dream March: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Sally Wern Comport.
Participants’ Turn
  • One author said her books go by the saying: DO NO HARM TO NO CHILD. She believes, we as children’s writers need to give a lot of thought to who we want to feel included in our narratives.
  • Another author volunteered as a mentor for the first SCBWI Emerging Voices Award. She mentored Mary Louise Sanchez, whose middle grade novel featured a family during the Depression. They move from New Mexico to Wyoming, where they face racism against their Hispanic culture. Mentor and mentee went through two rounds of critiques and revision together. Lee & Low Books published The Wind Called My Name in 2018. Mary Louise will have a picture book highlighting santeros out soon. Her mentor says we can all be mentors and we can let people know we’re here for them.
  • Another author pointed out that not all agents and editors have a shared experience, so they don’t understand what it is to be a diverse person. Diverse books have trouble getting through the gatekeepers; they don’t want to take the risk of spending time on diverse books so they avoid them. Another author agreed and said that in picture books, many editors feel safer publishing diverse material with animals as protagonists.
What Can We Do?
There isn’t one answer. But we’ve decided our SCBWI-NM chapter can make a start, and are currently seeking interest among our members. Here’s how we're doing it:
  • Asking our members for interest in mentoring a diverse author.
  • Asking for volunteers to go into the schools to read books by and about diverse authors and illustrators to students.
Here are a few statistics, compiled by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and can be found on the Reading Spark website listed below, to give you an idea of how books depicting characters from diverse backgrounds have grown, but still have a long way to go:
                                     2015            2018
American Indians/
First Nations                0.9%                1%
Latinx                          2.4%                5%
Asian Pacific Islander/Asian
Pacific American         3.3%                7%
African/African American      
                                     7.6%              10%
White                           73.3%            50%

For more information, please visit:
https://readingspark.wordpress.com/2019/06/19/picture-this-diversity-in-childrens-books-2018-infographic/
https://interactioninstitute.org/illustrating-equality-vs-equity/
https://www.writingdiversely.com/single-post/Dismantling-the-White-Default

 
Linda Wilson, a former elementary teacher and ICL graduate, has published over 150 articles for adults and children, and several short stories for children. She has recently become editor of the New Mexico SCBWI chapter newsletter, and is working on several projects for children. Follow Linda on Facebook.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Social Media and Powerful Headlines



 As authorprenuers, we market our work through our website and social media

Delivering great content value for our readers is the goal.  So, show them where to find it. Enter—social media.

As you register for social network accounts, pay close attention to building your profile and the name you choose for your account. Using your brand is powerful. Is your name your brand or is your theme your brand? Consistency matters, use it throughout all the social media accounts you create.

Let’s select from the highest rated social networks to promote our writing.  
The highest-rated networks for authors are:
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram, and
Goodreads
•    Choose two networks to start your consistent focus and frequent attention.  Post to your page, and comment on others. When you’re active on two networks, add two more.
•    Nail down your focus theme(s) for great content. (We work headlines that grab below.)
•    Plan ahead by creating an archive of blog posts and schedule ahead on your website
•    When your article is live on your website, create a social media post that grabs readers’ attention and directs them to your website. I prefer to spend the few minutes it takes to copy & paste my social media posts directly and not use a service to automate those tasks. I do this because each of my networks’ have slightly different requirements and I want to control the links to my website for ease of use.
However, if you choose automation, check out: https://www.socialoomph.com/ 
https://dlvrit.com/  , or  https://buffer.com/ 


Let’s move on to Great Content, Powerful Headlines!
Powerful trust or intriguing words to use in your title headlines:
Authentic 
Authoritative 
Best
Improved
Official
Professional
Proven
Genuine
Reliable
Secret
Insider
Unique
Thought Provoking
Ultimate

Eight questions for title idea selection:
•    Is it memorable?
•    Is it intriguing and believable?
•    Is it useful and rewarding to the reader?
•    Does it depict benefits to the reader?
•    Does it match my message?
•    Does it offer a solution to a problem?
•    Is it unique to my niche?
•    Does my image enhance the meaning?

Deliver more value benefit to the reader and more readers will come.

“How-To” articles rate highest in the benefit category, as well as “How I” improved or “How I did” this or that articles.

“Lists” are powerful. Include the number of tips you list within the post and you are off and running. List posts help build expert status for your area of expertise. Ideas: Secrets of … Get rid of a problem… Quick ways to solve… 7 Ways to …

Links to Headline Analyzers, Post Ideas, Marketing Organizing:

IsItWP https://www.isitwp.com/headline-analyzer/
Tweak Your Biz  https://tweakyourbiz.com/title-generator
Headline Generator  https://www.contentrow.com/tools/link-bait-title-generator/
Jeff Bullas  https://www.jeffbullas.com/5-key-steps-to-mastering-the-social-media-marketing-landscape/
Organize Your Marketing In One Place  https://coschedule.com/

As authorprenuers, we must market our products i.e., books, articles, and niche.  

Platform, Brand, and Website form the vehicle to make that happen.




Deborah Lyn Stanley is an author of Creative Non-Fiction. She writes articles, essays and stories. She is passionate about caring for the mentally impaired through creative arts.
Visit her writer’s website at: https://deborahlynwriter.com/  
And her caregiver’s website at: https://deborahlyncaregiver.com/
Facebook: Deborah Lyn Stanley, Writer    https://www.facebook.com/deborahlynwriter/?modal=admin_todo_tour




Friday, November 22, 2019

Four Reasons I Wrote 10 Publishing Myths


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

An acquisitions editor at a New York publisher, I spent many hours speaking with authors about their manuscripts and their own expectations for their book.  Often they will tell me, “I want my book to be a bestseller.” In part, I love to hear those words because as an editor, I'm looking for bestsellers or books that will actively sell into the market. As someone who has been in publishing many years, I understand over 4,500 new books are published every day and 1.6 million books were self-published. The additional bit of information about self-publishing is on average these books sell 100–200 copies during the lifetime of the book. To best those odds, every author needs to have a plan and strategy for selling their book.

I've seen many plans get changed as books get published. Years ago one of my books which received a large advance, had a different title in the publisher's catalog than when the book was published. This publisher never showed the cover to the high profile author—and he strongly disliked it. As a result, he never promoted the book and the sales were dismal. The book was taken out of print after six months. I was disappointed for all of the effort I put into writing and creating this book but many critical factors in the success of a book are outside of my control.

From other authors, I've heard many of these types of stories about their books. The process of publishing and promoting a book is filled with pitfalls and possible errors. I took my years in publishing and poured it into writing 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Suceed.

I want to give you four reasons I wrote 10 Publishing Myths:

1. To give authors a realistic picture of publishing. Many authors have written a mansucript but do not have aany idea of the details of publishing. I've written about these details in my book.

2. To help authors understand much of the process is outside of their control. There are many things that can prevent your book from successfully selling in the marketplace.

3. To give authors practical advice they can do to sell books and be successful. While much is outside of the author's control, there are numerous practical actions every author can take in the process. It's the focus of each chapter.

4. To understand there is not a bestselling formula but there are bestselling practices. Many authors are looking for a magic formula to make a bestseller. If such a formula existed every book would be a bestseller because each of us would follow that formula. It does not exist but there are active steps every author can take which is my emphasis. For example, I have worked with other professionals to create a short book trailer. Book trailers are all about exposure. Someone has to hear about your book a number of times before they purchase it. My trailer helps in this process.




5. To take the long view and not look for short term success. (A Bonus Reason) Many authors are looking for a way to rocket to the top of a bestseller list and a short-term gain instead of taking the long view for their book and continuing to tell people about it. From my experience it is the long view that will eventually bear fruit or get you book sales.

My book releases December 17th but can be ordered in four different ways on my website. In this gift giving season, I encourage you to get a copy and give it to a writer you know.

Have you fallen for a publishing myth? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Learn four reasons for 10 Publishing Myths from this prolific writer and editor. Get insights here. (ClickToTweet)

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers 

Event Goals

As I prepare for the release of Your Goal Guide in January, I have events on the brain. I'm looking to extend my reach and intro...