Showing posts with label 10 Publishing Myths. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 10 Publishing Myths. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Take Action in the Midst of Your Writing Fears


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
 
“Do one thing every day that scares you.” 
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Ive read this quotation in a number of places and many different contexts.  It is a solid action step for every writer. 

Why? Because from my experience, fear can prevent us from taking action and moving forward with our writing. Will anyone want to read what I'm writing?  Will it sell? Can I find a publisher or literary agent? Is my writing good enough to publish in   a magazine or book? The questions in our minds can appear endless.

While I've published a great volume of material over the years, if I'm honest, I have a number of fears that I face each day. The key from my perspective is are you taking action with your writing in spite of those fears.  I have my ideas and pitches rejected and don't hit the mark—yet I continue pitching my ideas and looking for opportunities.

Years ago as a new writer, I was at a conference sitting around with several more experienced and published authors. It was late at night and I was learning a great deal from these new friends. One author who had published a number of books mentioned how every time he begins a new project he had huge doubts and fears in his mind. He wondered if he could do it and if the book would succeed. In the same breath where he mentioned these fears, he explained that he pushed ahead and beyond the fear to write the book. It's the key distinction between those who want to write and those who actually write: they push ahead and take action in spite of the negative thoughts and fears.

Possibly today your manuscript or book proposal is getting rejection letters from agents or editors. From my experience, you have not found the right place for your book when you get rejected. It means you have to keep looking for that right connection or champion. When the rejection arrives (even if that rejection is through no response), you face a critical choice.  You can either take action and seek another opportunity or you can quit and not respond.  Many authors will send out their material one or two times, get rejected and figure no one wants to work with them and publish their submission. Their writing fears have stalled them into no action.  

When you have writing fears, there are several things:

1. Everyone has these fears. Whether they admit them or not, you should understand it is part of the process.

2. The writers who get published, understand timing and the right connection are a critical part of the process. You have to be proactive to find the right connection with your material.

3. Rejection is a part of publishing. Everyone gets rejected—beginners and long-term professionals. The key is what do you do with the rejection. Do you quit or do you look for the next opportunity?

I believe the world is full of opportunity—yet as a writer you have to make the right connection and have to be facing your fears and continuing to move forward with your writing. One of the most published series of books in English is Chicken Soup for the Soul. What many people forget is Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected on their proposed series 144 times. Now that is a lot of rejection. I'm sure they had fears to face, yet they continued moving forward. You can get some of their story in the foreword for Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. Just follow this link to download the foreword and free sample chapter (no opt-in and you can download immediately).

For your encouragement and inspiration, remember this saying. If you need to do so, I would write it out and put it over your computer and read it often:

It will not fly, if you don't try.
 
Let me know what action steps you are taking to overcome your fears in the comments below. I look forward to reading your insights.
 

 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).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to SucceedOne 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 200,000 twitter followers

Monday, June 22, 2020

Ideas For Handling Change


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We can easily mark 2020 as a year of incredible change. A year ago, I would not have imagined our world would face a worldwide pandemic and a lock down of our country—and other countries around the world. Businesses including bookstores have come to a screeching halt.

Some of my writer friends tell me they have stopped writing and can't sit at their computer. I understand the distraction but I also have some ideas for you about how to handle change. Pandemic or not, the world of publishing is always shifting and changing. Publications start and publications close. Publishers open and then some publishers close their doors. Editors come and editors go. Yet books and magazines continue to be made and sold. With the pandemic, a number of conferences cancelled. Other events moved to become virtual online.

I've learned to use several new tools or services lately. Instead of standing in line at the post office (which I have done for hours over the years to mail my books), I've signed up at Stamps.com and I'm printing my own postage (media mail for books), then taking them to the post office and dropping off my packages. If you sign up at Stamps.com for their free trial and getting $100 value--using the promo code, when it is completed, behind the scenes, they will give me $20 in free postage. Here's the promo code: C-HDZ9–YNV.

For years I've been using a cassette tape recorder for interviews—either in person or on the phone (using a simple recording device). Last week my old tape recorder broke. I've ordered a new one but the change forced me to look for alternative ways to handle my interviews. I belong to several online groups and ask them for recommendations. Several journalists recommended TapeACall. This phone app will not only record the call but transcribe it. Now the transcription isn't perfect but it's way better than transcribing the tape—especially if you take notes and correct the transcription right shortly after recording. From learning about this app and making this change, it is going to save me a lot of time.

One of the big recent changes that I've made started before the pandemic. In February, I took an intense book funnel boot camp to learn some new techniques for selling my 10 Publishing Myths (follow this link to check out the offer). The training involved using a number of different websites and tools. Some of the most successful Morgan James authors (bestselling year after year) are using these techniques. Will my new book become bestselling? I don't know but I'm trying it.

These ways are just a few of the changes I've made. How are you handling the various changes in our world? I have several recommendations:

1. Move to online events and virtual promotion. I have been promoting online for years but if you haven't been, now is a great time to jump into this process.

2. Be willing to try new services and new techniques. If something breaks or gets interrupted, look for new tools. Ask colleagues for recommendations, pick one and get started.

3. Keep writing and trying new publications and new opportunities. Even if you only write 20–30 minutes a day, that time at your keyboard is much better than doing nothing. Can you write a page a day? As you do, gradually increase your number of pages.

4. Continue pitching and knocking on doors—the opportunities are there. They may be harder to find but they are certainly there. Our book sales at Morgan James are up five percent. Magazines continue to be published and need your writing. Whether you are beginning or have been writing for years, every writer (including me) needs to pitch to get the opportunity.

How are you handling change? What tools or methods are you using? Let me know in the comments and I look forward to learning from you.

Tweetable:

When our world is changing, how to you handle it? Get ideas here from this prolific editor and author. (ClickToTweet)

 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).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to SucceedOne 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 200,000 twitter followers

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Why I "Fish" Every Day (And You Should Too)


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

It takes great practiced skill to fish successfully. While some people fish for a hobby, the seasoned fisherman knows he has to fish many times to gain skill and also to catch fish.

To be honest, it has been years since I've been fishing but I “fish” every day. A fisherman puts his line into the water and is positioned to catch a fish. I put quotations around the word “fish” in the headline since I'm using fish for the word networking or connections. You have to be in the market talking and connecting with others every day to make a difference with your writing. Yes you need to craft an excellent book and good storytelling. I always encourage writers to learn that skill but you need something more than good writing. You need the right connection.

Much of publishing (and any business) is a matter of making the right connection with the right person at the right time at the right place. You can't make that connection working alone in your office at your computer or curled up with your legal pad writing your story.

What steps are you taking today to “fish” or network with others? It begins with your goals for your writing. Do you want to sell more books? Do you want a traditional publishing deal or are you going to self-publish? Do you want to build your platform or group of readers? Do you want more people to know who you are and what you ar doing? Then you have to make a conscious effort every day to reach out and touch other people.

Some of us reach out to others through Twitter.  I tweet frequently—like 12 to 15 times each day. To post frequently is one of the dynamics of Twitter. To be effective on it, you have to tweet often. I use Hootsuite to diversity and schedule my tweets. Look for tools to help you with social media.

Also I dig into my network of friends and connections. I pick up the phone and call people leaving little messages or connecting with them for a few minutes. On a regular basis, I speak with several literary agent friends. Why? Because these agents represent numerous authors who they want to get published.  Those agents need to be reminded that I'm constantly looking for great authors to publish through Morgan James. Our publishing program will not be right for every one of their authors. Yet it will be perfect for some of them. I'm looking for the right author—every day.

I have authors who have submitted their manuscripts and I'm scheduling calls with them to see if Morgan James is the right fit for these authors. I spend a great deal of time on the phone and answering my email but it's part of my daily work. Your daily work will be different but are you working every day at expanding your connections? I hope so.

I think about activity in the past which has been productive for me. For example, I've made terrific connections speaking at conferences. I'd like to do more speaking next year. It will not happen if I don't take any action. Instead, I'm making a list of conferences where I'd like to speak and conscious of who runs these conferences. Can I fill a need for this event with a workshop or keynote? There are numerous conferences and events where I can help others—but I have to be proactive to get on their radar.

My newest book, 10 Publishing Myths released in mid-December. I'm continuing to work to find people willing to read and review the book. It means I am looking for ways to promote it. 

It's not just with my new book but with older books. I continue to promote my Billy Graham and Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams books (as well as other books that I've written or been involved with). Can I book a radio show or podcast or do a guest blog post or some other event to get in front of a new audience? The answer is yes but from my experience it does not happen without my initiative (sometimes but rarely). Most of the time these opportunities come through proactive pitching and follow-up work. Are you building this type of fishing into your daily schedule?

Throughout today I will be emailing and calling people. You have to have a line in the water to catch fish. What steps are you taking? Let me know in the comments below.


Tweetable:

This prolific editor and author will be “fishing” today and believes you should too. Get the details 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 Book Proposals That $ell. 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 200,000 twitter followers

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

When Your Book Isn't Selling


By W. Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)


I used to cringe when I saw the mail or email from one of my publishers. It probably contained a royalty statement and experience told me many of those numbers would begin with a minus (negative balance).  I’ve written for many different traditional publishers and have had this experience from a broad spectrum of types of books including how-to, self-help, biographies, gift books and children’s books.

When your book sales are off, it’s a natural tendency to want to blame someone. Maybe my editor has left and my book was orphaned inside the publisher with no champion or advocate. Maybe my publisher didn’t market the book to bookstores. Maybe they changed the title between what was printed in the catalog and what was published. Or _(fill in the blank). I’ve had all of these things happen to my published books. Good publishing involves a cooperative process and working with many different people. Much of this process is outside of the author’s control. I’ve also learned there are many pro-active steps authors can take to change their situation.

1. Take 100% responsibility for your own success. In The Success Principles, Jack Canfield makes this the first principle. Over ten years ago, I heard this principle and adopted it in my publishing efforts.
2. Be active in the promotion and marketing of your book.  As the author, you have the greatest passion for your book—way beyond anyone else including your publisher. The great promoter, PT Barnum said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens—nothing.” Consistent promotion of your book is important.
3. Be Generous with your book. Reviews sell books but many authors have few reviews for their book on Amazon or Goodreads or Barnes & Noble. Give books to people who are willing to write a review. If they’ve never written a review, give them a tool to help them like with this form.
4. Ask for others for help. In the New Testament, James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask.” If you need endorsements, ask but make it easy for them to say yes (offer to draft it). If you need social media promotion, ask but create possible posts. Here’s an example of a page, I created to help others help me spread the word on my latest book.
5.  Take the long view of publishing. Publishing and promoting a book is more like a marathon than a sprint. With the huge volume of published books, someone has to hear about your book seven to twelve times before they purchase it. What actions can you take every day to give your book this exposure? My Billy Graham book trailer has been seen over 11,500 times in the last five years. http://bit.ly/BGBookT
6. No matter what happens in your life, keep going. In Perennial SellerNew York Times bestselling author Ryan Holiday writes, “The hard part is not the dream or the idea, it’s the doing.” If there were a simple formula to create a bestseller, every book would be a bestseller. There are practical actions every author can take. Each part of the publishing process has challenges and as writers your persistence and consistency is critical. As #1 New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins wrote in the foreword of my book, 10 Publishing Myths, “Only one of a hundred writers literally make their deadlines.” If you meet deadlines with quality writing, it’s an easy way to stand out from the crowd. I wrote 10 Publishing Myths to give writers realistic expectations and practical steps every author can take to succeed. Today, you can get the 11th Publishing Myth as a free ebook.

When you point a finger at others because your book is not selling, just remember: when you extend your pointer finger, four more fingers are bent back toward you. Take action today. Let me know in the comments below what actions you are taking on a regular basis and we can learn from each other.

Tweetable:

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Straight Talk From the Editor. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Possibilities Abound--If You Persevere


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

As we approach the end of another year (and the end of this decade), I've been thinking about some of the great things which happened this past year--and some of the things which I attempted and fell flat. Yes, each of us have things on each side of that situation. Can you major on the possibilities and look for new opportunities? They are certainly out there yet only if you keep your eyes open for the possibilities and persevere. Many people along the way seem to drop off, give up and quit. Are you one of those people? You can make a choice not to be one of their number.

One of the continual discussions in the publishing community is whether a particular piece of writing is publishable or not. With the variety of possibilities from Internet to print-on-demand to traditional publishing to magazine work, there is always a way to get something to the audience--provided you reach the right audience. Publishability is a question the publisher will always ask--because they are investing a large amount of money into your project--just to produce it and also to market and sell the book.

I see many projects which don't have the depth or substance to be a book--and instead they are a longer magazine article or a substantial magazine article.

Who will you reach with this particular book AND does this publisher have the ability to reach that audience? Some publishers are better equipped to reach into an audience than others. Some times a publisher will consider your potential audience and reject the project because they are ill equipped to reach that audience and know it would be a mistake and misguided use of their resources. The answer about your audience returns to the age old question of researching the market and knowing how you will reach that market.

For example, if you are a children's author and tell me your book is going to be for any child from 3 to 12, your project gets immediately slated for rejection. You have no understanding of the divisions of children's literature and how that is handled in the bookstores and libraries of the nation. Your project is way too broad in scope from the beginning. Keep reading if you are a children’s author because I have some resources for you in a minute.

The same concern is true in the adult market when you say in your book proposal or query letter that your target market is women from 25 to 80 (as one which came across my screen recently.). You have not done your preparation as a writer to see the true possibilities. So do not be surprised when that idea doesn't hit too broad of a target.

Who are you targeting for the sales of your product? If it is the brick and mortar bookstores, then you need to work toward a traditional publisher for your product because no one reaches these stores better than the traditional publishers. I love traditional bookstores and try to spend as much time as I can in them--browsing the books and purchasing them in the store.

If you can show a publisher a large market (even if outside of the bookstore) and you have the ability to reach AND energize that market to purchase your new book, then you have moved out of the rejection pile and into a publishable category worthy of a publisher's consideration.

Finally no matter where you are in the publishing process, I want to encourage you to listen to this Mp3 called The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightengale. It is the only gold record ever achieved for the spoken word. If you are wondering about success and how to become successful, this recording is loaded with sound tested wisdom. I've heard it a couple of times. It will encourage you that the possibilities abound if you persevere.

As a writer, how are you handling the holidays and the end of the year? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

The possibilities are endless for writers if you persevere. Get insights and encouragement 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).  His newest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights for Every Author to SucceedOne 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 

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 beat 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 manuscript 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 

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