Showing posts with label Mark Victor Hansen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mark Victor Hansen. Show all posts

Thursday, July 21, 2022

How To Create a "Blook"

 

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)

After working with hundreds of authors on their books for decades as well as writing more than 60 nonfiction books for traditional publishers, I understand every book (of any type) has challenges to complete. The challenges are on multiple levels whether your book is for young readers or adults.

Last month I wrote about why I’m still blogging. Writing a blog is a fun way to capture your thoughts and also build an audience to attract publishers. Since 2008, I’ve been blogging and have a massive amount of content (over 1,600 entries). Years ago, I was aware of the large volume of content in my blog. I decided to take this writing, organize it into themes (or chapters) and create a nonfiction book. I did this creative process on my own initiative. After the fact, I discovered it was something others have successfully done with their blog content. Within the publishing industry, someone created a word for the process: Blook—where the content of a blog becomes a book.

A Bunch of Blog Posts Do Not Mean You Have a Book

It’s wonderful to have pages of content but that alone doesn’t mean you have a book. There are a series of questions which need to be answered:

Are these posts focused on the right audience? Is it an audience you can reach or are reaching? Every book needs readers. Thousands of new books enter the marketplace every day. Your book must be for a particular reader because no book is for “everyone.” New writers often include the “everyone” audience in their pitch—and if you have it, eliminate it because the editor or agent will probably roll their eyes and be likely to reject.

Can you organize the posts into themes (or chapters)? I looked at the various chapters as a long magazine article. Each chapter needs to have an interesting title, a solid beginning, middle and ending with a singular focus for the reader.

Create A Distinctive Book

Can you create some distinctions with your book to make it stand out from others? 

I asked Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul to write the foreword. In fact, I drafted a foreword for Mark to read and approve (which he did). As a writer, you have to make it easy for the person you are asking to say, “yes.” I have more detail about this process of getting endorsements in this link

I created a button on the front with $84 of Free Ebooks of additional value for the reader. 

I selected and purchased cartoons for every other chapter to add to the interior appeal. 

I created two reader applications sections at the end of each chapter: Dig Deeper and Awaken Your Dreams. 

These features are only a few of what I built into the fiber of this book.

There are numerous questions that you as the author have to answer in this process. Originally I self-published Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and sold several thousand copies. I worked through a number of other questions in the self-publishing process. I made sure I created a high-quality product which I would compare to anything from a traditional publisher (an important distinction). Then a few years ago I released an updated edition with Morgan James Publishing. The book continues to help many people. Recently a reader sent me an image where he had marked his book as he read it. 

Without question, blooks take work to organize and pull together. My friend editor and writing coach Nina Amir gives a lot more detail in her book, How To Blog A Book (Writers Digest Books). 

Every kind of book takes careful effort and creativity to pull together into a single product.  Making a “blook” is another way to accomplish this process. Have you used this technique? How did it work out for you? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:  

Are you looking for a different way to create your book? This prolific writer and editor tells how to make a “blook. Learn 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 recent 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. To download a free copy, click the book link or the image. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Don't Avoid This Writer Responsibility

 


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

It was a life-changing moment and a revelation to my writing life. In 2007, I was a literary agent with, the Whalin Literary Agency, a small Arizona-based agency. Mark Victor Hansen, co-author for Chicken Soup for the Soul, invited me to Mega-Book Marketing University in Los Angeles. About 400 people attended this event with well-known speakers over several days. At that point in my writing life, I had written over 50 books for traditional publishers. Two of my proposals received six-figure advances and publishers made beautiful books and got them into bookstores. Yet my books were not selling and I had the negative royalty statements from my publishers to prove it. 

Throughout the conference, I listened carefully and took notes. One of the speakers was Jack Canfield who had just published The Success Principles. For years he has studied what it takes to be successful and I certainly wanted to be successful as an author. The first of his 64 principles is: “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.”

I didn’t want to take 100% responsibility.  I wanted to write the books and then have my publisher sell the books. Wasn’t marketing their responsibility? Didn’t they sell the books into the bookstore? I was writing excellent books and delivering them on deadline and working through each editorial process. But I was doing very little to market the books. I had a single website with my name but no email list, no social media, no blog or other type of writer’s platform. At Mega-Book Marketing University, I learned publishers make books and distribute them to bookstores. Here’s what I was missing and I learned: the author drives readers into the bookstore (brick and mortar or online) to buy those books. Ultimately, the author sells the books to the readers.

Like many writers that I meet, my expectations were unrealistic and I was not taking my responsibility as a writer. I made a decision to change. I started to blog and today my blog has over 1500 searchable entries in it. I began an email list (which continues to be a unique way to reach my readers).  Also I’m active on social media with over 190,000 Twitter followers and over 19,400 LinkedIn connections. For years, I post on these platforms 12-15 times a day.

If I’m honest, I don’t want 100% responsibility for my own success as a writer. Yet from my decades in publishing, I’ve watched many things go wrong in the publishing process. Good books don’t get marketed and go out of print. Editors change while you are working with a publisher. Those situations are just two of a myriad of things which can push your book off the rails in the wrong direction. I can’t control my publisher, my editor, my agent, my marketing person or ____. But I can control myself and my own efforts.

My acceptance of this responsibility means I have to continually grow and learn as a writer. It means I often take courses or read books and I’m always looking for new ways to build my audience and reach more people.  Thankfully as writers we are not alone. Others have shown us how they have achieved success. This path may work for me or it may not. There is no success formula used for every book to make it sell into the hands of readers. Instead there are basic principles others are using to build their audience and find readers. I have one certainty: it will not fly if you don’t try. I continue to take action—and encourage you to do the same. It’s the writer’s journey.

Tweetable: 

Are you looking for someone else to sell your books? This prolific writer andeditor has taken an unusual responsibility. Learn 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 one of Terry’s recent books, 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 ToSpeed Your Success (The Revised Edition). 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.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Perseverance Pays Off


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Whether they know it or not, many book authors are doing aimless marketing. These authors have no plans or goals and are almost certain to fail.

Yes, I understand I’ve made a sweeping statement which is a bit harsh. Yet from my years of experience watching authors and working with them, I know it’s true. I encourage you to keep reading because I’m going to provide a series of steps so you can change from aimless marketing to a targeted effort for your books. If you take action, then you will move forward with your dreams of reaching others with your books.

The old saying goes “If you aim at nothing you will be sure to hit it.” The first question you need to answer is who is your target reader? Please don’t say “everyone” because no book is for everyone. While some books achieve a broad spectrum of readers, every book has a specific target audience. Write to a specific group of people and you will have your target clearly in front of you. Next write down a secondary group of people who would be your target.

Create what Mark Victor Hansen calls a “Big Hairy Goal.” What is your overall plan to reach your target audience? Set aside anything that your publisher or anyone else is going to do for your book and focus on yourself and your efforts. Do you plan to sell 5,000 books over the next 12 months? Write down your specific goal on the back of a business card, and then stick that card in your wallet or someplace where you will visually see it often. It can serve as consistent reminder of your goal. 

For your next step, break down your large goal into incremental steps. How are you going to take the tiny steps to achieve those book sales? Maybe it means taking an hour a week to focus on having a more active role in an online forum (where you include mention of your book). Or maybe it means you will create a postcard about your book then send it to 1,000 names and addresses. Each goal should be definable and specific. The successful Internet marketer, Dan Kennedy, wrote about the most important component of success in business boils down to “one thing.” Implementation was the “one thing” which means to take action and complete the most important activities in your business. I encourage you to take small steps yet also make consistent action to complete those goals.

If you are going to take consistent action, you need perseverance. Consider the perseverance in the story of Andy Andrews, author of The Traveler’s Gift. A popular speaker, Andy wrote a manuscript which he tried to get published. It was rejected 54 times. How many of us can handle this level of rejection? He continued in his popular speaking work but did not have a book for his audience. One day Gail Hyatt was in Andy Andrews’ audience. She came up to him afterwards and suggested that he write a book.

Looking a bit sheepish, Andy told Gail, “Your husband’s company (Thomas Nelson) has already rejected my manuscript.” Gail asked for a copy of his manuscript and promised to read it. Andy sent her the manuscript. She showed it to her husband (Michael Hyatt,  at the time he was the president of Thomas Nelson, the largest Christian publisher) and the book was published.


Notice the perseverance in what happened next. When Andy got his new book, he gave away 12,000 copies of the book. Most of those review copies didn’t make much of a difference. But one of those copies got in the hands of Robin Roberts, who at the time was a producer of ABC’s Good Morning America. Roberts selected The Traveler’s Gift as their Book of the Month. The Traveler’s Gift sold 850,000 copies and the rest is history.

From my study of publishing, there is no formula to make a bestseller or achieve success with your book. Each author has a different definition of success. For some it is simply creating their book and getting it into the market. For other authors, they want to get on a particular bestseller list. A range of answers lies between these two extremes. What is your goal and how are you going to reach it? Consistent action is the key. Michael Hyatt wrote about The Power of Incremental Change Over Time. I encourage you to take action and turn aimless marketing into consistent marketing. Productive authors have a commitment to marketing their books on a personal and consistent basis.

Have you seen perseverance pay off? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

How can perseverance pay off? Get insights and encouragement in this article. (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

Monday, August 22, 2016

Every Writer Must Be Passionate About Their Writing


By W. Terry Whalin

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweetable:

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

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

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One Last Edit: Re-think before Submitting

Think of a story as a string of pearls. If you don't have a string, you can't put the pearls around your neck.                      ...