Showing posts with label Persistence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Persistence. Show all posts

Build A Body of Work

By Terry Whalin 

Have you had golden moments of conversation which stick with you and your writing life for years? These may happen late at night during a writer’s conference or maybe in the car with someone on the way to a conference? During my decades in this business, I’ve had amazing opportunities and had numerous special conversations. 

Years ago, I was on the faculty of an East Coast writer’s conference and had several hours in a van to meet and get acquainted with a literary agent. It was early in my writing career, and he asked me, “What are you doing to build a body of work?” I’d never heard the term “body of work.” As we talked, I understood this agent was probing me for a long-term game plan in the writing world. At that time, I didn’t have a long-term plan and had written for a few magazines and published a couple of books. 

As writers, I find most of us are focused on publishing (or promoting) a single book or writing for a magazine. We are not thinking about building a body of work. This agent and I discussed our mutual friend, Jerry B. Jenkins who has written a variety of types of books but also published in print magazines. To build a body of work, it is important to intentionally be diverse. For example, I’ve written adult books but also children’s books. I’ve written for adult print magazines, but I also wrote a cover story for Clubhouse, a children’s magazine with Focus on the Family.

Early in my writing life, I began writing profiles of different bestselling authors. Some of my close writer friends questioned me about why I was doing this type of writing. I ignored the questions and continued writing these types of articles. I’ve interviewed over 150 bestselling authors and learned much more from each interview than I could possibly include in a 1200-to-1500-word article. I’m one of the few journalists who has interviewed Chuck Swindoll. Chuck told me, “There are no heroes in the Body of Christ. We are all like a bunch of guys in the back of a pick-up truck trying to get our stuff together.” Each one of these interviews brought great opportunity and helped me build my body of work. On another occasion, I was on the back lot of Disney Animation interviewing Glen Keane when he was drawing Beast in the film, Beauty and the Beast

For you to build a body of work, you will have to learn some key skills like how to write a query letter and how to write a book proposal.  When you learn the skill of writing these specialized tools, you can use them many times to pitch the editor, get an assignment then complete the writing on their deadline. When you are building a body of work as you are published more frequently, your reputation among the editors will increase which opens more doors and opportunities for your writing. 

The process of building a body of work doesn’t happen overnight but it is something every writer can do with their writing. What steps are you going to take to build a body of work?


Are you building a body of work? This prolific writer and editor encourages authors to take a long view in their writing life. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. 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. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Consistent Action Instead of Perfection

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

We love a good story. When we hear or read the words, it makes us lean into the conversation or the words fly past as we turn the pages. It’s a skill every writer needs to learn and constantly improve. Some of us write our stories, then rewrite them and tweak and rewrite them—to the point we never submit them. They are constantly in motion and never submitted. It’s this action that I’d like to address in this article.

Over my decades in publishing, I’ve had great opportunities to write for magazines and various books. It’s not that I’m the best storyteller in the room but I am one of the more consistent and persistent authors. It’s a key trait. At conferences, I meet with editors and pitch my ideas. The editor says, “Great idea. Write that up and send it to me.”

After the meeting, I make a little note then I go home, write it up and send it to them. Now taking that action doesn’t mean I get published. It means I gave myself a chance to get published. It’s key to take action and submit your material. If you don’t submit, then you don’t give yourself a chance for that to happen.

As an editor, I go to conferences and meet with writers and listen to their ideas. I encourage them, “I’m interested. Send it to me.” Then I hand them my business card. What I’ve found is only about 10% will actually follow up and send it to me. I follow-up and ask for it but still only a small percentage will send it.

The process is balancing act. You have to learn the skill of storytelling. I encourage you to perfect this skill in the magazine world. It’s easier to write 1200-word magazine article than a 50,000-word book. A magazine article needs an interesting beginning, solid middle then a takeaway ending (a single point to the article). AND if you put ten of these articles together into a single theme, then you have a book manuscript. 

Consistent action is one of the keys. Admittedly we want our writing to be excellent and help others. I’ve seen many people get stuck in the process and never submit their words for publication. Even if your material isn’t perfect, you need to get it into the market and published.

A resource to help you in this area is the book from Michael Masterson called Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero To $100 Million In No Time Flat. Whether you buy the book or check it out of your library or listen to the audio version of the book, you will be encouraged to move forward even if it isn’t perfect. 

The publishing world is full of opportunity, but you have to build the relationship, follow-up and then take action and submit your material. It is not complicated but requires consistent action taking.

A true statement: nothing is built instantly. Instead, it takes consistent and persistent effort. If you make such an effort, then you can find your place in the world of publishing. If you pitched something years ago and never sent it, then you have not missed your opportunity. I encourage you to reach out to that editor and still send it. The other day, a writer who had pitched something to me in 2018 emailed and asked if she could still send her submission. Immediately I responded that she should send it.  I’m continuing to look for the right books and the right authors. If I can help you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. 


Are you a perfectionist? This prolific writer and editor encourages consistent action instead of perfection. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. 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. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Every Writer Needs A Safety Net

By Terry Whalin 

Every summer, Peru, Indiana has a local circus to celebrate the history of the town. Students train all year for these performances. That summer one student walked the high wire on stilts. Each time the crowd gasped because he performed without a safety net. As an intern at the Peru Daily Tribune, I wrote most of the material in the annual circus edition.

As writers, I know the importance of having a safety net and in this article, I want to give you several reasons for this added protection. Because of my role as an editor, I’ve met numerous writers at conferences. I recall one writer boldly telling me that she had quit her day job and was writing her novel full-time. Yes, she was all-in for the publishing world—and I only listened but recognized her potential danger and folly.

Publishing Is Unpredictable

This week a New York Times bestselling novelist was telling me about how several of her publishers have gone out of business. No one could have predicted the challenges to the supply chain or a worldwide pandemic or many other factors inside publishing. There are many decision points where despite your best intentions, the projections for book sales do not happen.

Life Is Unpredictable

While it happened decades ago, I clearly recall the details. I had been out to lunch with a major Christian magazine editor and was telling her that my publishing company was “part of a revolution.” A few hours later, I sat at a conference table with my editorial director, and he began, “I’ve got to let you go.”  I’ve faced unexpected job changes, divorce, illness, death of a family member and even a costly lawsuit. No one has a crystal ball to forecast the events in our future. As a Christian, I understand God has numbered our days and knows the shortness of our lives.

How to Keep Moving Forward

While publishing and life can be unpredictable, I want to give you several action steps to take to help your writing life to continue to move ahead.

1.  Don’t quit your day job. Many well-known authors have written in their off times and kept their day jobs. Several years ago, the New York Public Library published an article about 10 Famous Writers who kept their day jobs. I encourage you to read this article and learn about authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Margaret Atwood. These authors show us the value of their day jobs and how they continued publishing and writing.  

2. Diversify Your Writing. There are many ways to get published and when one aspect slows or folds, you can tackle another type of writing. In the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. I have a fairly extensive list of various types of writing. Follow this link to download the chapter.

3. Keep working to expand your personal network and relationships and look for the open doors. Who you know is almost as important in publishing as what you know. I continue to expand my connections with editors, agents and others. As you help them, they will help you. You never know when a relationship from the past can become an important one. 

While publishing has challenges there are also many opportunities—if you are actively looking for the right one. Make your plans and get knocking on those doors to see which one will open for your writing. It’s the active role I’m taking for my own safety net.   


Do you have a writer’s safety net? This prolific writer and editor details the reasons every writer needs a safety net. (ClickToTweet)

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. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Why Writers Need to Build An Audience


By W. Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

At every writer’s conference or group of writers, there is buzz around the word “platform.” Editors and literary agents are searching for authors with a platform or a personal connection to their readers. What’s that about? Many authors believe their task is to write an excellent book and get it to the right publisher. Don’t publishers sell books to bookstores? The questions are good ones and in this article, I want to give you some answers from my decades of writing books for publishers, yet also sitting on the inside of several publishing houses as an acquisitions editor. Admittedly publishing is a complex business and I’ve been studying the various nuisances of it for years (and still learning more every day).

              Writing a Good Book Is Foundational

While I’ve looked at thousands of submissions in my years in publishing, I also have interviewed other acquisitions editors. During one interview, I asked, “How do you know when you find a good submission?”

He said, “Terry, I read the first sentence and if it is a good sentence, I read the next one. If it is a good paragraph, I read the next one. If it is a good page, I read the next one.” You want to start your manuscript with a bang and draw the editor immediately into your writing. Don’t bury your best material over in a later chapter because the editor may not read that far. Good writing in your submission is essential.

Every Writer Needs a Proposal

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need to put the writing energy into creating a proposal. I understand they take lots of work to create. Two of my proposals got six-figure advances from publishers (and I have lengthy stories about what happened with those books—for another time). Your proposal shows you understand the market and your target reader. It includes your game plan about how you are going to reach your audience and sell books. The proposal is an important document for you to write even if you self-publish. I have a free book proposal checklist

The Editor’s Search

I often tell authors that making books is easy but selling books is hard. Over 4,500 new books are published every day (including the self-published books). Yes that is a lot of books and why every author needs to have a plan and ability to reach readers. As editors, we are searching for these types of writers. 

Publishers produce beautiful books and sell them into bookstores (online and brick and mortar). Authors drive readers to those bookstores and sell the books out into the hands of readers. Publishers certainly have an investment in the books they publish but authors need to be even more invested in reaching readers. It’s what many people call building a platform (audience).

Action Is Key

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this process and confused about what action to take. Here’s the key (no matter what you are writing): do something and do it consistently day after day. Here are some basic facts about this process:

• Everyone starts small and builds

• Your personal email list is more important than your social media audience

• You should focus on what you can control (email list) instead of rented media in places like Twitter or Facebook (which you don’t own or control)

• It takes hard work for every writer but you need to do this work

• There are many different ways to build your audience. Pick one or two and see what works best for your writing.

• If the process were simple everyone would succeed (sell many books),

• Persistence and consistency are important for every writer.

Every editor and agent is actively looking for the right author who is building their connections to readers and has learned how to sell books. I’ve been in some of the top literary agencies and publishers in the nation. From their questions, I know they are actively looking for these authors—no matter what how they respond to your pitches. Be encouraged and keep growing in your craft (ability to write) and your knowledge about your readers and the market. It doesn’t happen overnight but can happen if you continue to work at it. 


Why Do Writers Need to Build An Audience? Isn’t that what publishers do? Get the details from prolific writer and editor Terry Whalin. (Click-To-Tweet)

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. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

I'm Tired Of Pitching


By W. Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Can you identify with my title for this article? Whether you are just starting in publishing or have been doing it for years, you may be tired of pitching. Yet pitching is a reality into the fiber of every aspect of publishing. If I’m honest, some days I don’t want to pitch but after a long time in this business I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t pitch then nothing happens.

For example, I’ve been teaching at a large writers’ conference almost every year for decades. Last year I participated in the event as an editor, but I did not teach a workshop or single session. As I thought about it, I understood why I wasn’t a part of the teaching instructors.  I did not pitch any workshops (new or old) to the conference director. Other people did pitch possible workshops and their sessions filled the schedule.

Every aspect of publishing involves pitching. To get an agent, you have to make a connection with them at a conference or pitch a book or book proposal that captures their attention. It’s the same for a publishing house. You can’t get a book deal without some sort of pitch that shows why you are the unique person to write and publish this particular book.

Pitching is not just for agents and editors; it is a critical part of the process for magazine work as well. You will have to learn to write a query letter, or a one-page pitch targeted to that publication and get the editor’s attention and request for you to submit your article.

When it comes to marketing and selling your book, it also involves—yes pitching. Radio station producers, podcasts hosts, bloggers for guest blogging articles and even writing for local or national newspapers—each aspect involves learning the specialized steps to catch their attention and get on their show or podcast or publication.

And when it comes to reaching readers, you have to pitch something to them that they want so they will join your email list (and then stay on your email list and not unsubscribe). To get the gig, every author has to learn to pitch.

There are a few exceptions to my statements about pitching. You can hire a publicist (after you get their attention (pitch). Then this publicist will do the pitching and scheduling of interviews for you. Or maybe you are invited to become a regular columnist for a publication. Even these regular gigs can come to a sudden end. For one well-known publication in one issue, they announced I was their book review columnist—then the editors abandoned the column with their next issue. Change is one of the consistent elements of publishing. One day you are up and the next day you are down—but you still have to continue pitching.

I may be tired of pitching but if I want to continue to be an active part of the publishing community, I’m going to continue to pitch. It’s like a teacher tired of teaching. Each of us need to understand it’s part of the fiber of this business and work every day to perfect our pitch and open more doors of opportunity. Every writer has a wide-open door of opportunity, but you have to take action and knock on the right door—which will take some effort and work but is definitely possible.

What steps do you take if you are tired of pitching? Let me know in the comments below.


This prolific writer and editor is tired of pitching. He explains how pitching is in the fiber of every aspect of publishing so he will continue to pitch. Learn the details here. (ClickToTweet) 

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. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Move Around Your Writing Barriers

By W. Terry Whalin

Not long ago, I was driving into downtown Denver for breakfast with a Morgan James author. There are many one-way streets in this section of the city. Suddenly the street where I was going was blocked off and had a detour. Without even a second thought, I turned and followed the detour and soon was back on track heading toward my meeting place. I did not let the detour throw me off from my destination. I did not get put off and quit and return home but found the way forward. My response comes from years of driving experience and understanding that sometimes roads are blocked and you have to locate the way around the roadblock.

Just like driving and finding roadblocks to get around, the writing world often has roadblocks and detours. Maybe you pitch an editor who requested your manuscript and you don't get a response. I've been working with an author who has a children's book and she has been promising to send it to me. It has never come. A few weeks ago when I saw this author in person, she asked me if I had received it. My conversation with her was the first I had known she had even finished it and tried to send it. No, I had not received it. She promised to resend it—and that still has not happened. We depend on things like email when sometimes even email breaks down and doesn't reach the intended editor.

From my years in publishing, I find every step of the process has pitfalls and potential breaks in communication. Editors don't respond to your magazine pitches or a program which you use often isn't working or someone promises to review your book and doesn't follow through. These types of roadblocks happen all the time.

How do you respond to a roadblock? Do you stop and say to yourself, “Guess no one wanted that idea.” “Or “it wasn't meant to be.”  Or do you persevere and look for another way to move around the roadblock?  The writers who succeed (and that measure of success is different for each of us)—find their way around the barriers.

Earlier this year, I wrote about listening to Lauren Graham's memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can. She sat next to best-selling author, James Patterson and ask him, “How do you do it?”

Patterson responded, “Keep going, keep going, keep going.” As writers, each of us get rejected. Our plans get interrupted and changed.  My encouragement is to continue looking and find the path forward. If you are struggling with an area, then create a new habit or new system to help with this area. Your goals and dreams as a writer are important.

The stories of persistent and perseverance in the face of challenges are often a theme in different biographies and how-to books that I've heard recently (check my list of books here). In Robert Greene's Mastery, he told the story of Henry Ford and his early failures and persistence to ultimately form the Ford Motor Corporation. Admiral William H. McRaven told about his persistence in his Navy seal training in Make Your Bed. Historian David McCullough told about the early failures of Harry S. Truman in Truman. While he had no college education, Truman became the 33rd  President of the United States. I learned valuable lessons from each of these successful people. Persistence and perseverance is an important quality for every writer.

In the comments below, tell me about the actions you take to continue and move forward with your writing.


Hit a roadblock with your writing? Get ideas here how to keep moving forward.  (ClickToTweet)
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written for more than 50 magazines and published more than 60 books for traditional publishers including his latest Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. Terry is active on Twitter and lives in Colorado.
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Keep Going, Keep Going

By W. Terry Whalin

If we are honest, not every day in publishing is fun. Sometimes it feels like we are running in a long-term race and we wonder how in the world we will be able to finish. Yet even in those difficult days, I continue hitting the keyboard and cranking out words and stories. Other days I spend on the phone with authors or answering emails and questions about contracts or other issues.

Yet in the midst of the opportunities or challenges, I continue helping authors create new books through my work as an acquisitions editor. I continue to write for new blogs or magazines and working on my social media and growing my own measure of influence in the marketplace.  I continue the work because I believe in the life-changing effects of books. I know that first hand as I explained in this short video several years ago:

Often we can't see the results of our writing and how it is affecting others. Recently I was listening to actress Lauren Graham's memoir, Talking As Fast As I Can. I enjoyed this story she told about bestselling author James Patterson. Graham was in Atlanta and about to begin filming Middle School, based on the books by Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. At the cast dinner, Graham was seated next to Patterson. She turned and asked him a question that he had probably been asked many times, “How do you do it?”

“He turned to and said, “Keep going, keep going, keep going.”

I found this story encouraging that even  mega-bestselling author like James Patterson has to use this mantra of keep going. Each of face different curve balls along the publishing journey. Maybe your editor leaves the publishing house and you have to work with a different editor. Maybe your publishing house closes or gets sold to another publisher. 

Maybe you face an unexpected family crisis of health or any number of other situations. The challenges of life are plenty for everyone and enough for some people to throw in the towel and not move forward. From my experience and listening to numerous stories from bestselling authors, the people who succeed and write their bestseller or find their best publishing opportunity, are the ones who keep going.  
Many authors give up too early in the process and do not keep looking for the right publisher at the right time and the right place. 

As someone who has been studying about publishing for many years, admittedly there is a lot to learn for every writer. You need to learn how to craft a pitch to an editor or a literary agent. You need to learn how to write excellent stories and then do the long-term work of telling people about your book (marketing). 

I love the advice best-selling author Harvey MacKay gave in this recent article called Never Give Up. MacKay gives terrific specific details in this article and then he always has a summary statement that he calls a MacKay Moral: The hardest sale you'll ever make is to yourself.  But once you're convinced you can do it, you can.

When you face the bump in the road of your writing life, I encourage you to keep going. 


When your writing is challenging, read this encouragement. (ClickToTweet) 

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers and his writing has been published in more than 60 magazines. His latest book is Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. Terry and his wife Christine live in Colorado.

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How To Catch An Editor's Attention

By W. Terry Whalin

Do you feel like you are pitching your book projects into a black hole with little or no response? As a writer and now an editor in the publishing business, I'm aware of my own responsibility to be communicating with others via email or phone. 

As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. This simple act distinguishes us from others which never respond. Then I follow-up with a detailed conversation on the phone to see if their book idea is a good fit for our publishing program. Sometimes the concept is a fit and other times it does not and I wish the author well—but at least they caught my attention and were heard.

Being an acquisitions editor or a literary agent is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. A lot of information is coming my direction. My task is to sort through it and find the best authors and best submissions for our publisher. Some publishing insiders have estimated that at any given time there are over a million ideas in circulation. Each of us have a limited amount of time to read and respond to your pitch. 

Today I want to give you four ways to catch an editor's attention with your book.

1. Craft An Excellent Book Proposal. During the course of my years in publishing, I've written two book proposals which received a six-figure advance. As an editor, I was frustrated with the missing information inside the pitches and proposals I received. 

To help writers be more successful at their submissions and to help the industry receive better material, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. The book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews and has helped writers find an agent, get a large advance and much more. Yet don't get it on Amazon. In recent months I purchased all the remaining copies, slashed the price from $15 to $8 and created a series of extra bonuses. Get the book directly from me with the link above. No matter what type of book you are writing and even if you are going to self-publish, you need a business plan and a proposal.

2. Be An Expert in Your Target Market. Whatever you are writing, publishing professionals are looking for experts. Do you speak on your topic? Do you write for magazines on this topic? Do you blog or Tweet or have other connections to show that you are an expert. If not, begin today because it will make a difference.

3.  Be Building Your Platform. Editors and agents are looking for authors who can reach their readers. Inside publishing, this connection is called a platform. The truth is everyone begins with a small platform. Their email list is small and their number of Twitter followers is small—but with consistent work, you can build your presence.  Check out my free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas For Every Author, and then apply these ideas to your writing life.

4. Be Persistent. As a writer, keep growing and learning your craft but also continue knocking on doors and trying new venues and making new connections. As the author, you have the greatest passion for your book and your topic. You never know which door or opportunity will be the tipping point for your own success—especially if you aren't knocking.

From my experience, there are no overnight successes in publishing. There are talented writers who have been in the trenches writing to find the right opportunity. It's out there for you but only if you are continually looking for it. If I can help you in this journey, let me know.


Four Keys for Every Author or Would-Be Author from An Editor (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. A former magazine editor, Terry has written for more than 50 publications. His blog on The Writing Life has over 1300 entries. He lives in Colorado. You can follow Terry on Twitter at:

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How To Grow A Large Twitter Following

Almost once a week, one of my writer friends will email a comment about my large twitter following (currently over 172,000). As one said,”I believe I'm pretty active on twitter and I only have about 9,000 followers. How did you get to such a large number without buying them?”

Yes you can buy the followers and in a short amount of time your amount of followers will radically jump from a low number to over 100,000. There are several problems with using this strategy. First it will cost you money but more importantly you will gain some credibility but mostly you will gain fake followers. These plastic followers will never engage you, take advantage of your content or care about your content. It will not help you get where you want to go in terms of real followers.

I've been on Twitter since June 2008 and consistently giving good content on twitter. If you watch my twitter feed you will see that it is not all my content but comes from others in the writing community and in my target market of publishing and writing. From my consistent involvement in twitter, I have had many great results in my writing life. Some people email me for help and I refer them to my blog or my Ebook products or my online courses. Other people I will encourage and actually acquire their books at Morgan James. Yes, it can begin on Twitter. 

From my years in publishing, I find many people want to have a large audience or following. Yet these same people never ask this question: are you willing to do the work to get this audience? I may not be the best writer in the room (still have a lot to learn all the time).  But I am a persistent and consistent writer. These two qualities are ones that you can acquire and build into our life as well.

A basic principle of Twitter is following other people. Some of those people you follow, will follow you back. I use a tool called (which costs $20 a month). In less than ten minutes, I can follow the followers of people in the publishing community (my target market). Every day I follow 800 new people. A certain percentage of these people will follow me back (increasing my followers). If they don't follow me after several days, then I unfollow them using the tool, Manage Flitter

Another key to grow your twitter following is to constantly give good content. I use the free tool Hootsuite to schedule my tweets throughout each day. If you watch my twitter feed, you will see that I'm posting almost every hour throughout the day. Also I try to include an image with each tweet. If you use an image, it has higher visibility and interest (more people read it). 

The reality is my large following didn't happen overnight. My numbers have been growing gradually—but steadily upward. In fact, I'm gaining about 100 new followers a day. I spend less than 30 minutes a day on Twitter—yet I consistently spend this time (day after day). I do it on the weekend and I do it during the week. I do it when I travel and I do it when I'm at home. If I have any “secret” it is that I've made my own system and use it every day. You can follow the same path if you want to develop this type of following for your own writing.

W. Terry Whalin is the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell and has written for more than 50 magazinesFollow this link to his speaking schedule. He is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing.

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10,000 Hours

The guacamole was amazing. So was the atmosphere. Somewhere off in another part of the restaurant a Mariachi band played music.

We had just ordered dinner when the musicians found their way to our table. I couldn't help but notice one young man, a guitarist, who seemed to find my dinner companion irresistible. She giggled a bit and blushed. Moving closer to me, she mentioned that he looked familiar.

Only when the song was finished did he approach us. "Hello," he said to my friend. "I do not know if you recognize me . . . "

"Oh, yes!" she exclaimed. She introduced him to me. A friend from school. Someone she hadn't seen since forever. "What are you doing now?" she asked.

His answer, "I'm getting in my 10,000 hours."

She was baffled. I smiled. "Good for you," I acknowledged.

Ten thousand hours is all you need to become an expert at any skill. His 10,000 hours were going to make him an expert musician. His practice, persistence and passion would set him apart.

Artists, athletes, musicians and yes, writers, all benefit from 10,000 hours rules. Putting in time helps to hone your skills.

Practice: Sit down every day and write something even if it's only a bit of dialog.

Persistence: Write when it is difficult, when the muse is elusive and the right words do not seem to come.

Passion. Having passion for writing is what makes the practice and persistence doable. Without passion the writing becomes work instead of a pleasure.

Commit to becoming an expert today and finish your 10,000 hours.  
D. Jean Quarles is a writer of Women's Fiction and Young Adult Science Fiction. Her latest book, Flight from the Water Planet, Book 1 of The Exodus Series was written with her coauthor, Austine Etcheverry.
D. Jean loves to tell stories of personal growth where success has nothing to do with money or fame, but of living life to the fullest. She is also the author of the novels: Rocky's Mountains, Fire in the Hole and, Perception. The Mermaid, an award winning short story was published in the anthology, Tales from a Sweltering City.  
She is a wife, mother, grandmother and business coach. In her free time . . . ha! ha! ha! Anyway, you can find more about D. Jean Quarles, her writing and her books at her website at
Her novels are available in electronic format here, or print format here
You can also follower her at or on Facebook

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