Showing posts with label Book Proposals That Sell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Book Proposals That Sell. Show all posts

Why First Impressions Matter


By Terry Whalin
@terrywhalin

As an editor, it is no exaggeration to say I’ve reviewed thousands of submissions during my years in publishing. As a writer, you have one opportunity to make a good first impression. While it may sound simplistic to say it, your impression is made in a matter of seconds. A key piece of advice is to lead with your strongest material and work hard on the subject line of your email, the first sentence and paragraph of your submission and all of the overall details.

 

Several years ago, I interviewed another acquisitions editor and asked him how he knows if he’s found a good submission. He said, “Terry, I read the title and if it is a good title, I read the first sentence. If it is a good sentence, I read the first paragraph. If it is a good paragraph, I read the first page. If it is a good page, I read the next page…” I hope this helps you see why you have seconds in this important process. The typical editor or agent reviews many pitches and can easily tell a good one. Don’t bury your good information on page five or six because they may not reach it.

 

How To Make A Good Impression

 

While these guidelines may be common sense, you’d be surprised how often writers make poor impressions when they neglect the basics. Make sure your pitch is well-crafted and appropriate to that person or editor. Use the right name. Personalize the pitch and don’t write “Dear Sir” or “Editor/Agent” which looks like it went to thousands of people at the same time—whether it did or not.

 

Check and double check to make sure all of the details are there. For example, at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. We receive over 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 200 books so that is a lot of physical correspondence. If your address is not on your pitch, then I have to ask for it in order to get your submission into our internal system. If you include your address from the beginning, then you eliminate one extra time-consuming email I have to send to you.

 

Take a few minutes and make one final check of their publishing guidelines before you send your submission. Re-read the pitch and make any final adjustments.

 

Insights for Writers

 

Producing an excellent book proposal or query letter is an acquired skill—something you have to learn. Yet every writer knows these tools are a critical part of the publishing industry. I understand excellent book proposals require a great deal of energy. I’ve written two proposals which received six-figure advances from traditional publishers. My Book Proposals That Sell has over 130 Five Star reviews. I have a free book proposal checklist to give you some ideas. (Follow the link). Also, I have a free teleseminar at: AskAboutProposals.com. Finally, I created an online course with detailed information at: WriteABookProposal.com.

 

Remember Your Audience: Editors and Agents

 

While the process takes some work and planning, I’ve been inside some of the top literary agencies and publishers’ offices in New York City. Each of these professionals is actively looking for the next bestseller—even if they don’t respond or send you a form rejection. Every writer (whether brand new or much published) has to pitch to get a book deal. Learn the process and pitch with excellence which is spotted in seconds.

 

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Why do first impressions matter? This prolific writer and editor provides the details here. (ClickToTweet)

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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. Get Terry’s newest book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. The revised and updated edition will be out later this year. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Do You Know Your Competition?


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin 

Over decades, Ive reviewed thousands of book submissions (no exaggeration). Many proposals are missing the competition section. Its common for them to write, This topic is unique and has no competition. When editors and agents see such a statement, many of them will stop reading and reject the project. Others will roll their eyes in a look that says, Not again.

When someone says there is no competition, they are not considering the larger sense of the book market. Every book has competition in the marketplace. It's the responsibility of the writer to understand and describe that competition in their book proposal. It is not the responsibility of your editor or literary agent to create this competition but the authors responsibility who should intimately know their topic and area of expertise.

I often encourage authors to visualize their book inside a brick and mortar bookstore. Which section does your book appear? What other books are in tht section? Those books are your competition and competitive titles. In this section, you list the titles with a brief description and tell how your book is different. I encourage you to carefully select your words because you are not slamming or downplaying those other books. Instead you are emphasizing how your book is different.

Publishers need this information throughout the internal process within publishing houses. For one publisher, when they complete their internal paperwork to secure a book contract for an author, they are required to list the ISBNs of competitive titles.

Some of you are familiar with Book Proposals That Sell. In the final pages of this book, I include a sample of one of my book proposals which sold for a six-figure advance. This proposal is exactly what was submitted to the various publishers. The missing ingredient in my proposal (despite its success) is the lack of specific competitive titles. I wrote that proposal almost twenty years ago and in today's market it would need to have those competitive titles before it would go out into the marketplace. Hopefully Ive learned (and continue to learn) a few things about book proposal creation over the last few years.

When I started as an acquisitions editor, the president of the company (no longer there) sat down and went through the various topic areas where I would be acquiring books. One of these areas was parenting books. I raised a question about this area since within several miles of our offices was a major marketing force in this area of parenting called Focus on the FamilyOh yes, Terry, we will continue to publish parenting books, he said with passion. Marriages continue to fall apart in record numbers and children are leaving the church in droves. With my marching orders, I continued to acquire parenting books but silently I wondered whether a book can solve those two explicit issues about the family.

Each week Publishers Weekly tackles a different area of the market. Sometimes they cover parenting books which is highly competitive with loads of successful titles in print. The article gives a rundown of several forthcoming parenting books. Heres what is interesting to me (and hopefully for you): Notice the sub-categories for each title in the article: publisher, first printing, target audience, author's credentials, why the book is needed, and what distinguishes it from the competition. The final four categories are what every author needs to include in their book proposal when it is submitted to a literary agent or an editor.

The actual language for the competition section is tricky. The author needs to point out the competition and how their book takes a different slant on the subject or deeper or some improvement--without slamming the competitive title. Why? Because the publisher of that competitive title may be the perfect location for your book. You dont want to offend that publisher with how you've written about their title. Like many aspects of the publishing world, when you write your competition section, it calls for education, understanding and some sense of diplomacy because the relationship will often be the distinction.

Every author needs to create a proposal for their book--even if you self-publish because this document is your business plan for your book and has important elements for every author to understand and convene to their readers.

Do you include the my book is unique in your proposal or do you include a competition section? Let me know in the comments below.


W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing
He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is  Book Proposals That $ell (the revised edition) released to online and brick and mortar bookstores. 
Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief at Midwest Book Review wrote, If you only have time to read one how to guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, Book Proposals That Sell is that one DIY instructional book. You can get a free Book Proposal Checklist on the site. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

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Is Book Publishing Like a Sprint or a Marathon?


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin
 
Many writers want to publish a book. From my many years in publishing, I find few of them have thought about whether the process of publishing a book is like a sprint (something with a burst of speed) or a marathon (steady and consistent to complete the task). I often see authors who want to sprint to publication or sprint to get a book contract or a bestseller. Reality is that often it takes consistent, hard work to produce anything of excellence—the writing or the marketing. Authors are not overnight successes but instead spend years in the trenches faithfully working to get their work noticed and sold.

Recently a young author outside of the U.S. wrote and asked if a decision had been made on his manuscript. It had been less than two weeks since I had corresponded with this author and it took a number of emails until he gave me what I needed to submit his work. I told this author if he wants a “no, thank you” then I could do that right away but if he wants a “yes” with a publishing contract then that takes patience and time.

While there are many keys in book publishing, in this article, I want to emphasize four important areas.

1) You Need A Great Product

Too many authors want to dash off something and rush it into the marketplace. I've seen it in my own work and the work of others. Haste often makes waste or mistakes. Take the time to write an excellent book or book proposal. The book proposal is your business plan for your book—whether you are writing nonfiction or fiction—whether you are self-publishing or traditional. You need a plan and it is important to build the plan with a great manuscript. The writing has to be excellent. You need others to affirm that excellence before rushing it to the market. 

The devil is in the details. Are all of the details in place for your book before you take it to the marketplace? Does it have a great title? Does it have an attractive cover? Does the first page make me want to turn to the second page? Does the copy on the back cover, draw me to going to the cash register? Another author sent me a full-color children's book which had no descriptive information on the back cover. Yes it had a barcode and the name of the publisher but nothing to draw me to buy the book. It is a huge omission and lowers the standard for this product. Don't make these basic errors because you are eager to get your book to the market.

2) You Need to Build an Audience

You've poured a lot of energy and effort into your book. Will you have readers or people who want to read your work—and who are excited about it that they tell others? When someone tells another person about a book, that is called “Word of Mouth.” It is golden when it happens and takes work from the author. As an author you can't lean on your publisher to market your book and build your audience. You have to take your own responsibility for marketing your own book. I understand the reluctance—and I've been there too but I tell every author as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James that they have 80% of the responsibility. Our publishing house will sell the book into the bookstores but all of those books can be returned if the author doesn't promote their book. 

I have much more detail and many more ideas in Platform Building Ideas for Every Author which is free (click on the image). 
   
3) You Need to Have Patience

The majority of book publishing is not quick. You send your material to editors and agents yet do not get a response or receive a response months after your submission.  The reality is that it takes time to build consensus among colleagues to issue a book contract or to make a contract offer to publish. As a writer you want to follow-up and make sure the editor or agent received your material and everything is in process. But in contrast, you do not want to push because most of the time when you push, you will nudge that professional toward sending you a polite “no thank you.”

Instead of pushing for a decision, you are better to begin another project. Write a one page query letter for a magazine article. Pitch a magazine editor to assign you to become a columnist. Begin a new book project or book proposal. This effort will remove your focus on the project which is under consideration. 

4) You Need to Have More Than One Project

If you have more than one proposal or one book, you will be less anxious about the submission and be able to shift your focus to the new project or new writing assignment. It will increase your own productivity in the writing world. 


How do you view book publishing? As a marathon or a sprint? I'd love to have your comments or any other way I can help you with this process. As an acquisitions editor, I'm constantly looking for good books to publish. Don't hesitate to contact me and my work contact information is on the second page of this link.

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. On October 5th, his classic Book Proposals That $ell (the revised edition) released to online and brick and mortar bookstores. At the book website, you can get a free Book Proposal Checklist. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Why Every Book Needs a Proposal


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I've read thousands of book proposals as an acquisitions editor and a former literary agent. I've taught on this topic of book proposals for many years because I believe many writers don't understand the critical nature of this specialized document called a book proposal.

On the traditional side of publishing, editors and agents read proposals. It doesn't matter whether you've written nonfiction or fiction because this document includes information which never appears in your manuscript yet is critical detail in the decision making process. I wrote my first edition in 2004 as a frustrated editor who wanted to help writers send better submissions. Book Proposals That Sell has received over 100 Five Star Amazon reviews and helped many writers. Publishing has changed a great deal since I wrote this book and now the revised edition is going to be released on October 5th.

From my perspective of working in book publishing for over 30 years, every author should create a book proposal for their book—whether eventually they publish the book with a company where they pay to get it published (subsidy or self-publishing) or whether they find a traditional book publisher. In the proposal creation process, the author learns some critical elements about their book concept plus they are better positioned in the marketplace.

Here are four benefits of proposal creation (and I'm certain there are many more):

1. You Define Your Target Market. Many authors believe their book will hit a broad target—everyone. No successful book is for everyone. Each book has a primary target audience and the proposal creation process helps you define, pinpoint and write about this audience. It is important in nonfiction but it is also important in fiction. For example, romance is the largest fiction genre yet there are many divisions within the romance genre. Every proposal needs a target which is defined—yet large enough to generate volume sales. You learn and achieve this balance when you create a page-turning book proposal.

2. You Understand Your Competition. While creating a proposal, the writer has to take a hard look at which books are competing with your idea. This process helps you understand the marketplace. Many new authors believe they are writing something unique with no competition. It's not true. Every book competes in the marketplace and you will be a better equipped author if you understand your competition.

3. You Create A Personal Plan For Marketing. Whether you like marketing or dislike it, the reality is every author has to market their own book. It doesn't matter who publishes your book—whether you self-publish or go with a large traditional house. As you create a book proposal, you will be including practical, specific and measurable ideas that you can execute when your book enters the market. The proposal will be a valuable reference tool for you because you've done this important creation process.

4. You Possess A Valuable Tool To Pitch Agents and Editors at Traditional Houses. I've written it a number of times but it bears repeating here. Literary agents and editors do not read manuscripts. They read book proposals. Even novelists need a book proposal for their initial pitch to an editor or agent. And if you self-publish and are successful with selling your book, because you own everything, if you receive an attractive offer from a traditional house, then you can move the book. Without a proposal you can't properly pitch the concept and you've eliminated this possibility.

I believe writers should explore every option and keep their possibilities open. You've narrowed the possibilities rather than expanded them if you don't have a proposal.

If you make the effort to create an excellent book proposal, then you will be ready to pitch your book at any time and any place.

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page.  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. 
On October 5th, his classic Book Proposals That $ell (the revised edition) will be released. At the book website, you can get a free Book Proposal Checklist. Watch his 60-second book trailer hereHe lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Why does every book need a proposal (even if you self-publish)? Get the details here from this prolific author and editor. (ClickToTweet)

Writers Need Simple Truths


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

With a world-wide pandemic and lockdowns, we are seeing a unique time in the history of the world. It has not been easy for anyone. For example, to stay out of the stores and at home, I've learned how to order almost anything online and have it delivered to my front door. It still feels strange to order items where I normally walk into a store and get it but it's possible and I've been doing it. Much has changed, yet there are many things which will remain the same way beyond this pandemic.

I read the publishing trade publications and know book sales are up--in many different categories--print and electronic book sales. Books are continuing to be released and promoted and published--as they will for years in the future. It's good news for writers. 

In this article, I want highlight something I wrote more than a dozen years ago, as a frustrated acquisitions editor. I wrote Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. In the back of that book, I included a series of simple statements for writers that I called Maxims.  Today I'm returning to these truths as reminders for every writer (including me). I hope they will be something important to you and help guide your writing life:

1. Never forget the impact of your words—positive or negative. Most days, I feel the pressure of motivation to make money as a freelancer. I’ve got bills and obligations which demand payment. Yet if you are so money-driven that you never make any decisions about your writing except ones which are motivated from finances, it will be difficult for you to advance in nonfiction or whatever category you choose. Don’t get me wrong. I want to be fairly compensated for my work but I also want to enjoy my work and what I do day in and day out. You need to be conscious of your motivation behind your writing and let that drive your daily efforts. 

2. Never forget your writing is a privilege and a business—so seek to maintain balance. Too many writers hesitate to ask for their materials or for a decision about a query or proposal. They send it out once or twice, then it’s rejected and they don’t properly market. 

3. Celebrate your writing successes. Never lose the wonder of the opportunity. Years ago, at a general market writing conference in Southern California, I was fascinated listening to a well-known bestselling novelist and his message. While waiting to ask him a question after the session, I turned to another person and asked if she had taken this instructor’s writing class. The woman puffed up her face in disgust and replied, “No, I’m a published author.” Just because our material is printed in magazines or books, it should not build us up in pride. Believe me, sometimes it’s difficult but as writers we need to keep things in balance, especially when it comes to nonfiction books. 

4. Believe in the quality of your work and the value of your message. Surprises always happen. I work hard at my craft and perseverance is a key factor. Don’t get me wrong but I love to receive my material in print. It’s a surprise and a special blessing. It’s the new box of books hot off the press or the magazine article in a missionary publication. I marvel at the grace in my life. I’d encourage you to absorb the same attitude no matter how many books you publish. 

5. Expect to serve an apprenticeship. It’s a false expectation to go from nothing to book contracts. Everyone is expected to move through the ranks of this business. It takes diligence and perseverance to succeed. 

6. Learn all you can from every possible source. If you approach life in this fashion, you will find that you can learn from a multitude of sources. 

7. Act wisely and thoughtfully. Haste usually makes waste. 

8. Never resist rewriting. Your words are not etched in stone. 

9. Never resist editing. Again, your words are not etched in stone. 

10. When you receive advice about your writing, learn to evaluate it critically. Sometimes you will get advice from a fellow writer or a family member and it doesn’t “feel” like something you should take. Follow that instinct. 

11. Treat editors as the coach on your team. They know their audience, so respect their counsel and only reject it with good reason. 

12. Never rest on your laurels. Be looking for your next opportunity. I’ve discovered that writing opportunities abound—particularly when I’m actively looking for them. As I read through these truths which I wrote many years ago, they still ring true. In fact, I've based much of my writing career on following these statements. I hope they will encourage you and help your writing life.

If you haven't read Book Proposals That $ell,  let me give you several reasons to get a copy: First, the book has over 130 Five Star reviews on Amazon. Second, many people have used this information to get an agent or snag a traditional book deal. Third, I have all of the remaining print copies (so don't buy it from Amazon). Finally I've reduced the price from $15 to $8 and added bonuses and other elements. I hope you will check it out and order a copy.

As you read through this article, which principles are important to you? Am  I missing something? I look forward to your comments and feedback in the comments below.

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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 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 



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.


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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

The Writing Life Details Are Important


By W. Terry Whalin

Let me begin with good news. Every writer can learn the skill of handling the details. Some of us are only focused on the big picture with our writing. We are determined to complete a particular book or magazine article and writing on it every day to meet this goal. Yet the craft of your words and storytelling is important. Are you sending it to the right editor? Are you using the correct spelling of that editor's name? The details matter.


A while ago, I purchased all of the remaining copies of Book Proposals That Sell. With over 130 Five Star reviews and great feedback about this book over the years, I know it has helped many writers to succeed in the world of publishing—no matter what type of book you write. I wrote this book from my passion as a frustrated acquisitions editor to help writers send better submissions. If you don't have a copy, it has never been so inexpensive and available only from me. Follow the link to learn more details.

As a part of this effort, I purchased a website, wrote the words for that website, created special bonuses and have been telling others about this effort through emails, articles and twitter. In the process of setting up this launch, I created five emails on autoresponders. These autoresponders contained the bonus items for those who purchased the book.

During this creation process, I received an email from one of these people who purchased Book Proposals That Sell. He had not received these bonus item emails. The email clued me that something was wrong some place in the process. I investigated my shopping cart and learned that I neglected to click one button in one place. From working with computers for years, I've learned one simple truth: the computer only does what you tell it to do.  I had skipped one important detail and no one got their bonus items. Talk about embarrassing! To straighten it out, one by one, I sent all five bonus items via email to each individual. Now that my shopping cart is fixed, the process of sending these bonuses is automated.

There are several lessons for you from my experience:

1. The details are essential. As writers, you ignore them at your own peril. Your submissions will not hit the target nor get results if you do not work at the details.

2. Listen to your audience. When they tell you something, spring into action or make adjustments.

3. Deliver on your promises. Your word and integrity are important. And if something goes wrong, apologize (everyone is human) and then fix it as soon as possible.

4. Work hard to maintain and keep your relationships. Years ago, I heard John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book say, “Selling books is all about building relationships.” See the truth in this statement?

Whatever you are writing or promoting, the relationship is critical and the details of your writing life are important.

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.

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How to Use the Power of Asking


By W. Terry Whalin

Mega-promoter P.T. Barnum said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens. Nothing.” This statement is true for promotion and marketing but it is also true for almost every aspect of the publishing business. 

If you are not tapping into the power of asking, you are not having opportunities for your writing to be published and sold.

For example, if you want more reviews on Amazon for your books, are you consistently asking people if they are willing to read your book and write a review? 

It's been proven that a steady stream of reviews on Amazon (even if your book has been out a while) helps your book to sell even more copies. I understand it is important to get over 20 Amazon reviews (if possible) and 50 reviews is another benchmark. And when it comes to these reviews, I've often found willing people—but they haven't posted their review. 

Part of the process is to return to these individuals and make sure they have the book and remind them about the review. I get the challenges in this situation. There is a lot to read and write about since new books are being released into the market every day.

If you want to do more publishing in the world of print magazines, are you creating article ideas and pitching them to editors? I'm not talking about doing it once but over and over on a regular basis. 

You need to learn how to write a query letter then write your ideas and send them out to editors. I'd love for more editors to approach me with their ideas—but that is not my reality—even though I've written for over 50 magazines. Instead I have to ask editors to write for their publication.

If you want to get a literary agent, are you crafting your proposals then consistently pitching agents? Every agent receives numerous pitches every day and you have to be part of those pitches. 

As another strategy, are you going to conferences to meet agents and editors face to face and make your pitches? As editors (and a former literary agent), we work with people that we know, like and trust. Nothing happens if you sit back and do not actively pitch editors and agent.

Are you writing a book and need someone with a high profile to write the foreword for the book? Or does your book need some endorsements

Readers buy books every day because of endorsements and the foreword for the book—even if behind the scenes you had to write these endorsements. You will have to ask others for these endorsements, then probably give them a deadline, follow-up and even offer to write them a “draft” endorsement for it to happen. See how you have to be actively involved in this process and be asking for something to transpire?

While we depend on email, know that email can often not deliver—so make sure your pitch is reaching the right person and they are able to read it—even with a quick follow-up call or follow-up email to see if they got it.

If you don't have enough writing work or your books aren't selling, then I encourage you to become more active in asking others to buy your book or publish your work. Every writer (including me) would love to not have to ask others and have editors and agents clamor for their writing and work. In an extreme few cases, these writers exist—but for the bulk of us, we have to continue to pitch our work, promote our writing and get in front of new audiences.

How are you using the power of asking in your writing work? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Are you using the power of asking? Get ideas here from a prolific writer and editor.  (ClickToTweet)

References:

World of Print Magazines
http://www.right-writing.com/magazine.html

Writing a Query Letter
http://www.right-writing.com/nationals.html

Why Writers' Conferences are Important
http://www.right-writing.com/conference.html

Free list of Literary Agents
http://terrylinks.com/agents

Crafting Your Proposal
http://bookproposalsthatsell.com/

Connect with Terry Whalin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrywhalin

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W. Terry Whalin has been an acquisitions editor at three publishers and is a former literary agent. For the last five and half years, Terry has been acquiring books for Morgan James Publishing, a New York publisher doing about 150 books a year. His contact information is on the bottom of the second page. Terry has written for more than 50 print magazine and published more than 60 books including his classic Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. He has over 220,000 followers on Twitter and lives in Colorado.
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Use The Gentle Follow-Up


By W. Terry Whalin

The path for a book to get published is filled with many twists and turns.Each leg of the communication process can break down at some point. One of the most critical steps is the beginning where you get connected to an editor or an agent who can champion your book and guide you through the process.

A couple of months ago, one of my writer friends recommended an author send their material to me through Morgan James Publishing. This author followed our submission guidelines and yet never heard from Morgan James. Following the guidelines is important and often the submission process will shift and change.

After over a month of hearing nothing, he sent me a short gentle follow-up email. It was the first I had heard about his submission. I explained to the author that I’m not the only person doing acquisitions at our company and his material could be with another editor.

Yet when I checked internally I learned the material had been forwarded to me from my colleague's cell phone—and I never received it. Because I never received it, the submission didn’t get entered into our system. No follow-up acknowledgement letter was sent. Nothing happened. Because the communication channel (sending by cell phone) didn’t work, the communication process was broken.

This author was wise to check with me. Now I have his material and it is in the system. Now this author has received the follow-up acknowledgement letter in the mail and his submission is engaged in the process.

Over my 20+ years in publishing, I’ve seen the communication process break down over and over. Sometimes things get missed or lost. I’ve watched writers who do not follow up miss their opportunity or delay their work getting published because they fail to do this important work.

There is a right and a wrong way to follow-up. The right way is to gently check with the editor or agent and ask, “Did you get my submission?” Notice the question isn't asking for a decision on the submission. You are simply trying to find out of the communication process worked and your email or submission reached them. If not or if they have lost it, they can ask you to resend it and things can get on track.

If you push and ask for decision, nine times out of ten you will get an immediate “no thank you.” Publishing is often a team effort and this consensus-building process takes time. To get a “yes” takes time to achieve but “no” can be said quickly—except writers don’t want to hear “no.”

Where are you with your submissions? I encourage you to follow-up. As you take action and ask about your submission, you are doing a critical part of the process to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. You want to have your opportunity for your submission to be considered and receive a response. Who knows, you might get a “Yes” response.


Do you follow-up? Tell me in the comments below about your good and poor follow-up experiences. I look forward to hearing from you. 

Tweetable:

Are you using the gentle follow-up with your submissions? Get the details here.  (ClickToTweet)

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W. Terry Whalin has been an acquisitions editor at three publishers and is a former literary agent. For the last five and half years, Terry has been acquiring books for Morgan James Publishing, a New York publisher doing about 150 books a year. His contact information is on the bottom of the second page. Terry has written for more than 50 print magazine and published more than 60 books including his classic Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. He has over 220,000 followers on Twitter and lives in Colorado.
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What Is More Valuable Than Fame

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) Many writers believe writing a book will make them famous. They believe getting their book into the market wi...