Showing posts with label Terry Whalin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Terry Whalin. Show all posts

Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher


By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)

In 2007, America’s Publicist Rick Frishman invited me to participate on the faculty of MegaBook Marketing University in Los Angeles, California. At that time, I was running a small literary agency and representing authors in Scottsdale, Arizona. Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul was leading this event. Besides meeting with authors who pitched their books, I attended every single session of the event and took notes. Throughout these sessions, I learned that traditional publishers are skilled at making beautiful books with well-designed covers and interiors. Book publishers also know how to get the books inside the bookstore and available to the public.

My first book, a children’s picture book for David C. Cook, was published in 1992. Since then I had written over 50 books with traditional publishers, received a couple of six-figure advances yet most of my books had negative royalty statements. A little known but important publishing fact is ninety percent of nonfiction books never earn back their advance. All my books are nonfiction. 

While I loved writing books, I did very little promotion for my work. I had a small website (www.terrywhalin.com) but I had not blogged and had no social media presence or email list or consistent and on-going connections to my readers. I believed because I was working with traditional publishers, receiving an advance against my royalties (sometimes thousands of dollars) that my books were going to be selling. I had fallen for the myth that my publisher was going to promote and sell my book. 

During MegaBook Marketing University, I learned a key truth about publishing: publishers know how to make beautiful books and get them into bookstores, yet these actions are only one part of the process. The other key element (mostly up to the author) is actually selling the book to the consumer. Attending MegaBook Marketing University transformed my life. I could no longer assume the responsibility for selling my books would be in the hands of the publisher (or someone else besides me). I made a decision to change and take action.

Every writer needs to be able to tell stories and create an excellent book manuscript. The writing is a foundational skill for every writer. If you don’t have this writing skill, a developmental editor, ghostwriter, co-author or any other person in this role can help you create an engaging book. But marketing and selling yoiur book requires a different set of skills. . The good news is: every writer can learn to market their book

Writers are looking for a simple formula to sell books. If such a formula existed, then publishers would use this method and every book would make a lot of money. In fact, some unexpected books are hits while some well-written books do not get purchased. One of the keys to selling books is building relationships. John Kremer, the author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book says marketing is about building relationships with your readers. 

Consider your reader or target audience. How much detail do you know about them? Where do they live? Where do they shop? What other books do they read? Are they active in book clubs? What are their needs and how can you write material that will meet those needs? Can you answer these and other audience questions?

One of the most effective tools for every book author is to create their own email list. As an author, you control your email list including what you say and how often you use the list. While not everyone looks at Facebook or a website or Twitter, most people open and read their email. If you email too frequently, they might not open your email or they might unsubscribe. When an author has an email list and uses it properly, it is the best way for them to reach their readers. If you are a brand-new author, how to you start a list and use it effectively?

As an author, you take control of what you can for your book. You cannot depend on your publisher to sell your book. You have the greatest passion for your book, so you need to show that passion and create an email list and different ways to connect with your readers.  

Tweetable: 

This prolific author and editor was lulled into depending 100% on his publisher to sell books. He learned this publishing myth the hard way. Get 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Authors Need to be Realistic


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Over the years, I’ve met many passionate writers. One brand new writer told me, “My book is going to be a bestseller.” This confident boast intrigued me and I wanted to know more details such as the focus of the book and the publisher. 

When the author said, “Balboa Press” I knew this author was headed for a rude awakening. Balboa Press is a self-publishing company and a part of Author Solutions. From my years in publishing, I knew this company was going to publish close to 50,000 titles this year. For this author to break out with a bestseller would be nearly impossible. To become a bestseller, the book needs broad distribution to online plus brick-and-mortar bookstores who report their sales to a bestseller list. Balboa Press is online, and their books are not sold in brick and mortar bookstores. Also with the large volume of titles each year, it is common publishing knowledge that the bulk of Author Solutions (and Balboa Press) employees are in the Philippines. I’ve seen a number of books from these publishers and their covers are poor (And good covers sell books) and the overall production is not good quality. I hoped this author didn’t spend a lot of money to produce her book. I’ve met authors who have a garage full of books from these companies and have spent $20,000 to produce them (no exaggeration). It is heart breaking to witness such scams and authors need to be careful. 

Here’s three steps to avoid the wrong publisher:

Use Google to see what is online. Type: Publisher name + complaint then read a page or two of the entries. Are the complaints new or old? Are there many entries or a few? 

1. A reality of the internet is every publisher has complaints and anyone can write anything about anyone with it online forever. 

2. Speak with some of the publishers’ authors and ask about their experiences.

3. Read and get professional help on the contract. Make sure you understand it.

These actions will help you avoid many publishing pitfalls. The publisher you select has a lot to do with getting your book into the right places online and in physical bookstores. Some authors believe they can make money if their book is on Amazon. While Amazon is a large part of the book selling market, there are many ways and places that people buy books: bookstores, airports, grocery stores and much more. You want your book to be in the broadest possible number of places to succeed, sell and make money. The publisher controls much of this distribution. 

Because many of these financial details are outside of your control as an author, what steps can you take? From my 30+ years in publishing, it does not happen without the author taking action. No matter whether a major publisher releases our book, or you self-publish, as the author you will bear the bulk of the responsibility to market your book. If they are honest, every author would like to delegate this book marketing responsibility to someone else. 

One of my favorite books is The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I’ve read this book several times and I’ve also listened to this entire book on audio. Canfield has spent a lifetime studying the principles that people follow to be successful, and I want you to be successful as an author. The first principle in the book says, “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.” 

This principle applies to the constant wish for every author to have someone else market your book. Are you reaching out to your target audience? Have you identified your target audience for your book? Where are they and how are you reaching out to touch them on a consistent basis? It does not have to be daily but it does have to be regular. Give them great content on your topic and in that process point them to more information inside your book.

One of the best ways for you to take responsibility is to create your own marketing plans. Whether you self-publish or have a traditional publisher to get your book into the bookstore, these plans are important. Whether your book is launching soon or has been out for a while, you need to be creating and executing your own marketing plans. Every author needs a dose of realism combined with consistent action to reach readers.

Tweetable: 

Authors need to be realistic and combine this realism with consistent action. Get insights from this prolific writer and editor. Get 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

A Call for Writers to Find Balance


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Within the publishing world, I’ve often heard it is harder to sign with a literary agent than to locate a publisher. Because publishers have been inundated with poor and inappropriate submissions, many of them have created policies of only accepting submissions from literary agents.  This practice created pressure on the agents to find the right authors, shape the right pitches and send to the right publisher. Also, agents have become gatekeepers in the publishing process. 

For over 30 years, I’ve worked with multiple agents on proposals and pitches. For several years I ran my own literary agency and I’m currently an acquisitions editor at my third publishing house. I’ve read thousands of submissions. Every writer needs to learn the skill of producing an excellent manuscript, book proposal and query letter or pitch.  You can learn each of these skills. Now you have created each of these tools and you are looking for the right literary agent. Here’s some basics (rarely verbalized facts you need to know):

1. The literary agent works for you. When you sign an agency agreement, you become one of their clients or the authors they represent. 

2. Some agents are former editors and will work back and forth with you to perfect your proposal and/or pitch. Other agents will take your proposal, add a cover letter and get it out to various publishers. Before you sign, I encourage you to ask about how they work with their authors and make sure it is the right fit for what you need.

3. How frequently does the agent communicate with you? Do they send you the rejections? Years ago, a well-known agent represented me and he never sent me the rejections. Instead, he would tell me, “Everyone passed, Terry.” When I asked who, he never gave me the specifics but repeated “everyone.”  When I was an agent, I sent each rejection to the specific author. Maybe you don’t want your rejections but ask about this practice ahead of signing.

4. Does the agent work with you on a list of possible publishers or do they create the list and handle it? Does the agent guide your future projects and bring you writing opportunities they have discovered from speaking with publishers? 

Some additional areas to examine include years in the industry, their list of other clients and ask if you can speak with a few of their clients. Also use google and see what you can learn. Also ask about their negotiation skills with contracts and some of their results. The business of publishing is filled with complexity. These are just a few of the questions to ask and make sure you have the right fit before you sign with a particular agent or agency. The agent or agency you select is an important decision. My encouragement is for you to ask questions before you sign their agreement and make sure it is the right fit for you and your writing goals.  I know many excellent literary agents. Writers have multiple choices in this area—whether you are aware of it or not. Good and clear communication is a critical part of the process.

Tweetable: 

As writers look for a literary agent, this prolific writer and editor has seen an imbalance in publishing. He calls writers into a balanced approach. 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

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 150 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.

Tweetable: 

How do you seize your one opportunity? This prolific writer and editor provides 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Only One Life


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Sometimes during my day, I will take a few minutes and watch some YouTube or Tik Tok videos. Whenever I watch, I make sure to limit it so I don’t fall down a rabbit hole and lose a lot of time. One day I stumbled on this minute and a half video where billionaire Warren Buffett was speaking to a group of students. He encourages them to imagine that he would give each of them whatever car they wanted. These students could select the make and color of the car. His gift would come with one “catch.” His gift  would be the only car the student would receive for their lifetime. Buffett knows each of us use more than one car in a lifetime but then he calls to our attention that we only get one body and one mind for a lifetime.

The British missionary to China, C.T. Studd wrote a stirring poem called Only One Life which begins, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” It’s easy when we are young to not think about self-care for our body and mind. In this article I want to encourage you to take a portion of your writing day and fit in some self-care actions.

Through the years, my wife, Christine, has watched me gain and lose weight six or seven times. As someone who loves eating candy and anything sweet, I mount a daily battle in the food area for every meal. It’s an important element in my personal self-care and I’ve learned balance is more important than a particular weight. As I’ve studied my ancestors, I learn the majority of them were known as “big” men or overweight. My simple goal is not to be big and something I work at daily.

Let’s look at several areas of self-care: physical, emotional and mental. I’ve started with physical. It’s more than eating. As writers we spend a lot of time sitting in front of our computers. Several times a week, I spend time walking around my neighborhood. Often, I’m listening to an audiobook while I take a brisk walk and I do it throughout the year. Consistent exercise is an important value. Also, physical rest or sleep is important to fit into my day.

In the emotional area, I will call a friend or two throughout the day without any agenda other than checking in on them. It is an important element in my daily activities.

For the mental area of my self-care, I regularly listen to audiobooks but also read different types of books such as nonfiction, fiction, general market, Christian, how-to, children’s books and many others. In our negative world, each day I spend time in the Bible and have been reading it cover to cover for years. Also I limit my consumption of news and social media as part of my effort to achieve balance. Yes, I have an active social media presence, but I control my own consumption in this area.

Heres the reality: as much as the next person I fail in achieving these goals. When that happens, I make a point not to beat myself up but to dust myself off and get back on track.

Use the Compound Effect

Recently, I listened and read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. Many of the examples in the book relate to self-care and show you don’t have to make drastic changes to improve your life. Instead, you can make small adjustments which over time will reap large results. Each of us need to take daily actions to care for ourselves and our only life.

Tweetable: 

In the rush of daily living, it’s easy to forget we only have one life. This prolific writer and editor encourages us to practice self-care. 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Take An Underused Author Path


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

As I meet writers at conferences and speak with them, the majority are focused on publishing a book. It makes sense most people speak to me about books since I’ve been an acquisitions editor at a New York publisher for over ten years. There are over 7,000 new books published every day (including the self-published books). This number shows the huge volume of printed books pouring into the marketplace. Yet if you study the sales numbers, you gain a different perspective. The average self-published book sells 100 to 200 copies during the lifetime of the book. I know it takes a lot of effort and energy to write a 50,000-word nonfiction book or an 80,000-word novel. In this article, I want to point out an underused path for your writing which has much greater audience reach and potential: writing for print magazines.

Many years ago, I began writing for print magazines. These publications have a high standard of quality (much more than online which is much easier), help you to learn to write for a particular reader and to a particular word length. One of the huge benefits is reaching more readers with your work and building your presence and reputation in the marketplace. It is common in the magazine world to reach 100,000 or 200,000 people. My 250-word devotion in The Upper Room reached over six million readers.  

How to Begin

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, every writer can write for print magazines. The Christian Writer’s Market Guide lists many of these publications. Each one has different publishing needs and requirements. It’s basic but many people skip this important step: read and follow the submission guidelines. The editor is telling you exactly what they need and expect you to follow their guidance. When I was an editor at Decision with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, I was amazed to see the many submissions which had no connection to the editorial needs of the publication. These articles and queries were quickly rejected and not published. Our circulation back then was 1.8 million copies, and with each rejection. the writer missed an opportunity to reach these readers.

While there are many different types of magazine articles, I encourage you to try writing a type of article that every writer can do: the personal experience story. Whether you are brand new or experienced, each of us have unusual experiences. It’s key to capture the dialogue and details when it happens, then use this raw material for your storytelling. You can also use personal experience stories in devotions or how-to articles because these personal experiences will add value to your article.

An Insider Tip

When you look at the various magazines and publications, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the possibilities. Let me give you an idea where to begin--if you write for the Christian market: Sunday school take-home publications. These editors need material for 52 weeks which is more frequent than a monthly publication. They use personal experience stories but follow their submission guidelines to give them the right material.

If you have published books, in one or two sentences at the end of the article, you can include a single website link for the reader. This process is a simple way to build your platform and credibility in the publishing world because literary agents and book editors read magazines as they search for writers. 

While many of the Christian magazines, don’t pay much, the opportunity and exposure make them an underused path to publishing—yet one I continue using and recommend you do as well. 

Tweetable: 

Are you looking for an underused author path to publishing? This prolific writer and editor gives 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Build A Body of Work


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

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?

Tweetable: 

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: www.terrywhalin.com. 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. 

Tweetable: 

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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Six Reasons to Review Books


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

For many years, several times a week, publishers and authors send new books which arrive in my mailbox. To libraries, I’ve given away so many books that a church in Kentucky was able to gain accreditation for their school and it amounted to thousands of books. The mayor of the town even declared a Terry Whalin Day (a one-day event). I receive many more new books than I could possibly read—especially since I do it in my “free” time and write book reviews. Whether you are a new writer or experienced professional, in this article, I want to give six reasons to write book reviews.

As an editor, I often ask writers what they are reading. If they write fiction, I’m expecting they will tell me about novels they are reading. Years ago, I met an older man who had written a romance novel. He confessed that he did not read romance novels but only wrote them. This answer did not give me the right impression about this author. You don’t write a novel just because it is a large genre. Writers are readers and writing reviews documents your reading habits—and my first reason for writing reviews. 

Writing reviews helps you understand your market and audience. I encourage you to read and write about other books in your area of the market. As a writer, you can either be a competitor or cooperate and support your competition. I believe you are stronger if you support your competition with reviews.

Book reviews sell books and everyday people read reviews to make buying decisions. If your book on Amazon has less than 10 reviews and has been released for a year, that gives one message where if it has over 50 reviews (mostly four and five stars) then that sends a different message to the reader. As authors, we need to continually work at getting more reviews—even if your book has been out for a while.

When you write a five-star review for an author, reach out to that author and tell them about it. Reviews are an important means for you to support other authors and build relationships.

Books change lives and this reason is my fifth one about why to write book reviews. You can influence others to buy a book and read it from your review. I know firsthand books change lives because a key part of how I came to Christ years ago involved reading a book.I read a book called Jesus the Revolutionary and you can follow this link to read the magazine article that I wrote called Two Words That Changed My Life. Books can have powerful impact on our lives.

My final reason: Writing the short form is an important skill for every writer. For example, I do not review electronic books—only print books. If I read or listen to a book, then about 99% of the time, I will write a review on Amazon and Goodreads. Create a personal standard for your book review. Mine are not a single sentence but at least 100 words and often include a quote from the book to show that I’ve read it with a unique image.

Are you reviewing books or going to start reviewing books? Let me know in the comments below.

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Do you write book reviews? This prolific writer and editor gives six reasons to write reviews. 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Do You Have a Side Hustle?


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Do you have a side hustle? Almost every writer has one but maybe you aren’t calling it a side hustle. I’m talking about something you do on the side apart from your main writing. Last month I encouraged every author to have a safety net. In this article, I want to give some ideas about various paths to diversity your income stream and begin a side hustle. Sometimes the side hustle will take over your main task.

Here’s why you need to read my advice and get ideas for your own life: I have not had a full-time job with a regular salary for decades. Within the publishing community I have fulfilled various roles: acquisitions editor, writer, author, co-author/ collaborator/ ghostwriter, internet marketer, teacher at conferences, and many others. Whichever role I’m taking at a particular time interacting with you, the bottom-line is I am an independent contractor with diverse ways of making income. It is nothing steady and a lot like the up and downs of riding a rollercoaster. Yet I also compare it to a monthly walk of faith. 

Decades ago, for 17 years I was a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. During this period, I raised my own financial support through monthly donations from individuals and a few churches. Through the years, I saw many times the Lord provided in unusual ways—and this process continues during my life as a writer. Admittedly there are some tests of my faith experiences, but I can tell you God has been faithful to provide through my work and writing.

The Role of Non-paying Writing

You may read my writing here, or on my blog, The Writing Life (subscribe to it via email here), book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, my social media posts and other writing. The bulk of this writing earns zero income. Why do it? For the exposure, the marketing and other reasons. Podcasts, radio interviews, etc. are all about exposure to my free information and lead magnets where readers sign up for my email list. The statistics have proven that someone has to hear about your book at least seven times before they buy it.  These nonpaying markets are about exposure which sometimes leads to other writing opportunities.

Ideas for Multiple Income Streams

In the information below, I’m going to give a number of different possible ideas and resources. Whatever you write, look at these opportunities as side ventures that you can do in addition to your main writing task. At times these side hustles will become your predominate task for a day or several days. From my experience, the more diversity you can add into this mixture, the better. The first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (which I originally self-published) includes a detailed list of different types of writing. Here’s the link (a 29-page PDF) for you to look at the variety of writing tasks and try some of these for your writing. 

Here’s nine different ways to get you started (Please copy and paste URLs that are not hyperlinked into your browser.):

1. Write and sell your own books. In this teleseminar, I give about a dozen different ways to make money with your books. 

2. Edit books for others. Some people have made a consistent career editing books for others. 

3. Earn Affiliate Income. I give the details and a free ebook about how to make money with affiliate income (http://www.right-writing.com/makemoney.html?unique=15872190210738811). 

4. Create Online courses. Creating book proposals is one of my areas of expertise and I created an online course: https://www.writeabookproposal.com/

5. Speak at events online and in person To get these opportunities, you have to pitch directors and other leaders.

6. Write Work-Made-For-Hire Projects (Learn more at http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/2020/08/five-reasons-to-write-work-made-for-hire.html.) Many writers resist such projects but they are great for cash flow and consistent work.

7. Ghostwriting/ Collaboration. Many writers only want to write their own books but there are an infinite number of stories to write for others. 

8. What do you teach? I have an inexpensive program to teach you the details. Also, a free teleseminar on how to get more mileage from your content. 

9. Magazine writing to high paying markets. Some writers have stopped writing articles because the Christian market doesn’t pay much for them. In the general market many publications pay $1 per word or more—and you can write for them.

Find Your Side Hustle

Throughout this article, I’ve included website links to audios and other resources. First, save this article, then follow each link and explore it for your writing. Then take consistent action on the side hustles that make sense to you and get started. If you write fiction, consider writing nonfiction. If you write nonfiction, consider adding fiction to your mixture. The possibilities and opportunities are endless, but you have to open the door and get started. 

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Do you have a side hustle? This prolific writer and editor recommends you create diverse income streams. 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Every Writer Needs A Safety Net


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

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.   

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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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

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