Showing posts with label action. Show all posts
Showing posts with label action. Show all posts

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.

Tweetable: 

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.

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. 

Tweetable:

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

I Fought This Writing Responsibility

By W. 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 book 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 1,600 searchable entries in it. In January, I found this article which says of the over 600 million blogs, I was one of The Top 27 Content Writers. 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 180,000 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 and editor has taken an unusual responsibility. 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Why Writers Need to Become Time Aware


By W. Terry Whalin
 @terrywhalin

As a writer, I want to increase my writing and ability to publish (in any format). I’m basically saying I would like to be more productive. In this article, I want to explain a  key to increasing your productivity: become time aware.

For example, the timing of your pitch is a critical part of the process—and often outside of your control. As an editor, I’ve had authors who don’t take the publishing contract that I offer them through Morgan James yet later (sometimes years after the offer) they will reach out to me and ask if it is still possible. Before answering, I will check with my colleagues then when I find the opportunity is still available, they move forward and publish their book with us and get it into the bookstores.

Everyone has the same amount of time. The key distinction is how we use that time. One of the first steps in the process of becoming more effective with your time is understanding how you’re using it. I encourage you to keep a time log for a week. You can be as detailed or simple as you want but make a written record of how you are spending your time each day. Then after a week evaluate the time log to note areas where you are wasting time. You will “discover” the hour or two you are spending reading Facebook posts or watching videos on YouTube. Or the several hours each night you are spending in front of the television watching shows. Or possibly it is some other time-wasting activity such as spending time on the phone talking with a relative or __________. Each of us are wasting time on these types of activities. Once the time is spent you can never get it back. Your awareness is the first step then you make intentional changes in how you spend your time to accomplish whatever you want. You may want to increase your writing, publishing, platform building, marketing and any number of other aspects of the writing life.

In the past, I’ve learned my mind can often create barriers. Possibly you are in this situation. I say to myself, “My best writing time is in the morning so I can only write then.” Or “My best time to write is after my kids are in bed.” Be aware of these mental restrictions, then consciously remove these barriers from your schedule. Maybe you only have ten or fifteen minutes to crank out some words like part of a magazine article or a blog post or a book review. My encouragement is for you to use these fifteen minutes wisely and write whenever you can. Some people wonder how I’ve written over 60 books and for more than 50 publications. My writing is just like your writing: one word, one paragraph, one sentence, one page at a time—over and over. When I think about writing, it does nothing to put words on my screen. It is only by sitting at my keyboard and moving my fingers that my writing moves into action.

Our lives as freelance writers provide freedom to control our own schedule and calendar. If I want to spend the day reading a book or taking my wife to lunch, I can do it. Yet this freedom also brings greater individual responsibility. You have no taskmaster or accountability to anyone other than yourself. Be aware of how you use your time.

I also encourage you to create systems and habits to make better use of your time. For example, I use the program called Hootsuite to schedule the majority of my social media. Other people use Buffer as this tool. I also use the “reminders” section on my phone to make sure I meet my various deadlines and tasks. I’ve learned that I can write anywhere and at any time.

As you become more aware of time and how you use it, you can become more productive. Like any journey, your commitment to make changes begins taking the first step.

Tweetable:

This prolific writer and editor contends your first step to increase your productive as a writer is to become time aware. Discover 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: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

Five Ways to Break Through the Competition


By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin

While many people are publishing books with over 4,500 new books every day (including the self-published books), the competitive nature of this work is rarely discussed. Editors and agents get pitches and proposals from many different authors. What are some of the difference makers that every author can use to break through the competition?

As a writer and an editor, I’ve been in publishing for decades and met thousands of authors. Plus I’ve been studying publishing and interviewing hundreds of bestselling authors about how they practice their craft. In this article, I want to give you five characteristics which will make you stand out from the competition. 

Be an Action Taker

Fear of failure and rejection may be holding you back on taking action and getting your writing into the market. Here’s the truth: every writer (including me) gets rejected and tries things that fail. In the face of such challenges, I continue taking action and encourage you to do it too. It’s been decades since I published a devotional in The Upper Room because I hadn’t tried it. Susan King, a long-time Upper Room editor, encouraged me to submit. I followed their guidelines (key) and submitted four devotions. Three were rejected and one was accepted. Last year, on May 12th my devotion reached six million readers (follow this linkto read it). Yes it up to 300 words but you have to send the right words. If you don’t pitch or submit then you can’t get published. Have to take action even if you fail.

When you attend a writers’ conference and an editor or agent invites you to submit, take action and do it. You would be shocked at the few writers who actually follow through and send the requested material. Yes you risk rejection but taking action is the path to possibly getting published. And I would encourage you to follow-up even if the editor made the request weeks or months ago. I've had some authors approach me with their material even years after they pitched it originally. Admittedly they are a bit hesitant but still reach out to me. Here's the good news, after ten years, I'm still actively looking and read their submission. Whenever a professional opens the door, you have an opportunity to march through it but have to take action. If you move forward, then you increase your desirability to other professionals.

Be Connected to Your Readers

Writers dread this word—platform. Editors and agents are looking for authors who have a connection to their readers or audience. Desirable authors have a platform. I understand (from my own actions) that it will take work and effort for you to build these connections. Every writer begins with a limited number of connections but the greater your connections, the more you will become a desirable author to others. The sooner you start this process, the better. Here are some action ideas for you: Begin or grow your email list. Begin or grow a blog. Increase your connections on your LinkedIn account. Take these steps to get connected to your audience.

Always Learning New Things

Desirable writers invest and attend writers’ conferences and are always learning something new. They try different types of writing and have learned to write a query letter or a book proposal. Then they submit their work with excellence. There are many different types of writing and I have a list in the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (follow this link to the sample).  

Continually Pitching 

Desirable authors are always pitching something new. There is always something new to write like a magazine article that ties to your latest book or a guest blog post or a news release to the media or a pitch to a podcast. The list of possibilities is endless. Everything I publish begins with pitching someone. It’s a key part of the business no matter how much you have published. 

No one said the life of a writer would be simple or easy but it is filled with great opportunity. You can break through the competition and become a desirable author. Our writing changes lives and I know this fact because years ago a book changed my life.  

Which of these ways resonated with you? Let me know in the comments below. 

Tweetable:

Discover five ways to break through the competition. This prolific writer and editor gives 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 newest book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Jim Cox, Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Book Review wrote, If you only have time to read one how to guide to getting published, whether it be traditional publishing or self-publishing, Book Proposals That Sell  is that one DIY instructional book.  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.

Every Writer Must Build An Audience


By 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 at: https://terrylinks.com/bookcheck 

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.

Tweetable: 

WhyDo Writers Need to Build An Audience? Isn’t that what publishers do? Get thedetails here. #writingtip #pubtip (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 newest book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. 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.

One Bite At A Time


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

 
How do you eat an elephant? It's an old joke and the answer is you eat an elephant one bite at a time.  It the same way to accomplish any huge task—one action at a time. Recently I began to write another book.  It doesn't matter that I've done it over and over through the years. Each time it looks daunting to write an entire book manuscript. No matter what others will tell you for everyone getting started is hard. The writing in the middle is hard and finishing is hard. Yes the task is difficult and looks impossible. So how do you get it done? One bite at a time.

What is the deadline for completing your book? If you don't have a deadline, then I suggest you set one. After you have a deadline, how many words a day are you going to write to complete the deadline? Make sure you build in some extra days for the unexpected (happens to everyone) but make sure you hit your deadline.


Or maybe your goal is tied to your social media. You want to reach a certain number of followers on Twitter or a certain number of connections on LinkedIn. Are you actively working on these networks? Are you posting a number of times each day? Are you connecting with new people? Without your regular actions, then it will be hard to increase your presence and meet your goals.


Do you want to appear on more radio shows or podcasts and talk about your latest book? There are thousands of radio stations and podcasts  which use guests on their program. These bookings do not happen just sitting back and waiting for them to call. Your phone will be silent if you wait. Instead, you need to be actively pitching the producers of these programs.


Or maybe you want to write more magazine articles? Waiting for the phone to ring will likely not happen. What proactive steps are you taking to either go ahead and write the article then submit it to the publication? Or you can write a query letter and send it simultaneously to different publications and get an assignment?


Many are surprised that I have written over 60 books through the years. There are several keys in this process but one of the most important is consistent writing.  It is a matter of writing one paragraph, then another paragraph which becomes one page then another page. It is the same process as eating an elephant—doing it in bite-size pieces.


Do you break your writing into smaller pieces? I'd love to have your tips and insights in the comments below.


Tweetable:


How do you eat an elephant? Learn the secret in this article from this prolific writer and editor. (ClickToTweet)

 
 W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to SucceedOne of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers

Five Keys for Writers to Profit from a Conference


By W. Terry Whalin

I've been attending writer's conferences for many years. Some times I attend for the training. Other times I'm invited to speak and when I have a spare moment, I attend the workshops and sessions of other speakers. Normally my workshop is recorded and I get a copy of the recording. At a recent writers' conference, they gave the faculty the opportunity to get the recordings for the entire conference (over 40 sessions). I downloaded everything on a flash drive and look forward to listening to these sessions.

Some people wonder how I’ve published in more than 50 print magazines and written more than 60 books with a variety of types and age groups. While I may not be the best writer in the room, I am one of the most consistent. If I pitch an idea and an editor says something like, “Sounds good. Send it to me.” I will make a little note, then go home, write the article or book and send it. Yes you have to write what the editor wants and many writers do not want to write what the editor is requesting. Overall I’ve found such a simple strategy works.

I understand to attend a conference is an investment of money, time and energy. In this article, I want to highlight five ways writers can profit from a conference.

1. Listen for opportunities, and then take action. For example, one editor I met told me about a forthcoming series of Bible studies that his publisher will be doing. In the past, I’ve written Bible studies  and enjoy this type of writing. Because I heard about the opportunity, I emailed this editor and affirmed my interest in the project. The editor was grateful for my interest and said at the right time he would be in touch. This type of follow-up work leads to additional writing opportunities. You have to be listening for them and take action.

Another editor at the conference has worked on a publication that I’ve never written for. It has a large circulation and I wanted to write for this publication for the exposure as much as a new writing credit. I’ve emailed the editor and we are corresponding about some ideas which I believe will lead to an assignment and eventually publication. There are numerous opportunities at these conferences—if you listen for them.

2. Take time to prepare in advance before the event. Study the faculty and see what they publish and then write pitches and book proposals. Most publications have writer’s guidelines and other information easily available online. At a recent conference, several writers brought flash drives with the electronic copy of their material. I appreciated the quick response from these writers and it moved their submission to the top of my stack. I put their material into our internal system and moved it forward through the consideration process. In one case I’ve already turned in a writer’s project to my publication board and I’m hoping to get a contract for this author in a few weeks. The germ of this activity was her arrival at the conference prepared for her meetings. You can learn and mirror such actions when you attend an event.

3. Pick up the free copies of the publications and their guidelines at the conference. These publications are looking for freelance writers. You have to pick up the publications, read the guidelines then make your pitch or query or follow-through. When someone mentions an interest in your material, make sure you exchange business cards with them. Then when you get home, send them an email and follow-up.

4. Exchange business cards with editors and other professionals during the conference. You must bring plenty of business cards to the event. I met many people and came home with a large stack of business cards. I’ve been following up with writers and encouraging them to send me their proposal and/or manuscript. Yet few of them have reached out to me—and this type of situation is typical from my experience. If you reach out to the editor and take action, your actions will receive positive attention and you will get publishing opportunities
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5. One of the reasons to attend a conference is to learn a new skill or a new area of the writing world.  Are you learning how to write fiction or a magazine article or tap a new social network? A variety of skills are taught at conferences. It’s easy to put away the notes and never look at them again. The writers who get published take a different course of action. They review the notes and apply it to their writing life.

As writers we are continually learning and growing in our craft. A conference can be a huge growth area if you take action and follow-up.

Have I given you some ideas? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Here’s Five Keys for Writers to Profit from a conference. (Click to Tweet)

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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.  He lives in Colorado and has over 220,000 twitter followers.  
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The ABCs of Writing - Tips for New Writers



When I began a serious writing career, the first step was to get organized and establish a regular routine.

Here are some tips to encourage new writers to get started. It is not exhaustive, but purposely short to get you going.


A is for action.

To be successful in anything, it requires action. You have to have a plan and then you have to follow the plan. It is important to set 3 goals for the year and then list specific, daily and weekly objectives to accomplish those goals. This will keep you on track.


For example, if writing for magazines is one of your goals, your objective is to decide how often you will submit an article (e.g. one per week). If writing a book is another goal, you will decide how much time or how many pages you will write each day or week.


Writers can have so many ideas it is easy to dream about them and not act upon them. A plan of action is crucial for your success.


B is believe in yourself.


You are unique. You have something to say. No one can write it quite like you.


There are lots of magazines and books in the world, but there is always room for more article or story. The world is always changing and creating fodder for the next story. 

Of course, your first published work is a real boost to believe in yourself. Until that time comes (and it will come), keep at it and don't give up. 


C is for challenges.


Needless to say, our lives have challenges. Some are serious and out of our control. Some are mere distractions we can eliminate. 


Don't let challenges stop you. Learn to navigate through them. Often, these challenges make us better writers. We learn patience, endurance, and even find our challenges can help others through our writing.

After the death of my oldest son, blogging became therapy for me. My desire to help others naturally unfolded from a very difficult and challenging time. Not only for those who lost a child, but anyone who needed hope during painful situations in life. 


You might be chugging along with a good routine and a challenge comes along, disrupting your rhythm. It could be submission rejections, computer problems, illness, job loss - it will slow you down but don't throw in the towel. Become stronger and allow your challenges to define who you are and what you write.


D is for determination.


It goes without saying, right? Anything worth pursuing takes determination. 


Some of us hit the brick wall sooner than others, but we all hit it eventually. Thing is, what will you do after you hit it?


Once you find your niche and get momentum, there will be plenty of reasons that come along to thwart your writing goals. Sometimes we must pull back but then we have to get back on track. 


I have had those seasons of not submitting articles regularly for various reasons. Don't let that season go too long. Be determined of your potential and success!


E is for earning money.


It's the best feeling in the world to get paid for what you write. You may have a long term goal in mind to write a book. Meanwhile, freelance writing can earn you money now. 


Checking online job boards consistently provide more opportunities than you can imagine. There is a continual need for freelance writers - everything from resume writing to product descriptions. 


Next month, we will continue with the ABCs of Writing - letters F-J.


Photo Crediinterphasesolution.

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After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts http://kathleenmoulton.com





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