Showing posts with label author. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author. Show all posts

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Critical Piece for Every Writer

By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Last week I spoke with an author about her book. While she had written the manuscript, she didn't have a “working title.” Another time a writer refused to tell me her title because it was a “secret.” Both of these are extremes but it shows the variety of author responses in this critical area of titles. Whether you are writing a book, a magazine article or an online article, your title will draw readers in seconds. They will either be enticed to read it or move on to something else (not what you want). The words in your title are a critical piece for every writer.
 
As a book editor--for fiction and nonfiction, I've repeatedly seen the importance of titles to draw the reader to the book. Titles for the book often happen early in the path to publication or on the publisher’s production schedule. Most nonfiction books are contracted from a book proposal, so often the writer hasn’t completed their manuscript. Yet the title needs to be determined for the catalog and sales copy to be created and the cover to be designed.
 
Titles should be one to five words and draw the reader into your article (enticing). The word limit is particularly important for books because most books are spine out in the bookstore. Your title has to be readable and fit that spine (along with your last name).  A number of authors don't work hard on their titles because they believe their publisher will change them anyway. After writing more than 60 books for traditional publishers, I have a different perspective. If I create a terrific title for my book, I've seen it become the actual title for the book—even as it goes through the editorial process (different at every publishing house). My encouragement if for you to create a title along with a series of alternative titles for your book.
 
I've been involved in hours of title meetings where we have an entire white board filled with titles and are trying to select the right one for the book. What are we working with for this process? Often it's your original proposal. What have you provided the publishing house? Have you provided a single title or a title and a list of alternative titles? As the author, you know your book better than anyone else--and have the greatest passion for the topic. Make sure that passion shows up in your title and alternative titles. It will be significant. When I'm in a title meeting with my colleagues there is one critical person who is not in the room (the author).  In your pitch, I encourage you to seize your opportunity to give input with your title and alternative titles.
 
Publishers work hard at the title--but don't always get it right the first time--and some times they change it in the process. For example, years ago the nonfiction book from Frank Peretti was first released as The Wounded Spirit and the publisher changed the title to No More Bullies. This book has been repositioned in the market with the new title.
 
Titles can make or break a book or magazine piece. Draw the reader or make them pass on to the next possibility. Put lots of energy toward this detail. Your title might just be the tipping point which makes a difference whether your book idea or magazine article is published or whether it catches lots of attention.
 
Do you put effort into your titles? Let me know your insights in the comments below.


Tweetable:

Whether you are writing a blog post, a magazine article or a book, there is a critical piece for every writer: the title. Get insights in this article from this prolific editor and author. (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
).  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers. His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. 
One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has  190,000 twitter followers

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Everyone Starts Small So Get Started


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

When I talk with would-be book authors about starting an email newsletter or an ezine, I often hear, “No one will be interested in my newsletter and my list will be so small.” Or “What in the world will I write about or use to fill the newsletter (or starting a blog)?” Here’s the truth of the matter: everyone starts small. When you start any publication, you put yourself, your spouse and a few close friends to pad your newsletter list and get it going.

The key is to start and then consistently put out your newsletter. It doesn’t have to be often but it does have to be consistent and continually grow. Many people talk about writing and even repeatedly go to writers conferences, but the ones who succeed are the ones who continue to grow in their craft--and they consistently write. They write for magazines and they write fiction and nonfiction but they keep working at their writing.

I’m suggesting you can do the same thing when it comes to growing a newsletter. Over fifteen years ago, I started Right-Writing News I had less than 50 subscribers. Today I have thousands of subscribers and this list continues to grow. Yes, I’ve had a few people unsubscribe but that happens for many reasons and some of them have even unsubscribed then returned. It’s a free newsletter and I’ve produced 54 issues. If you look at the newsletter, I don’t write all of it but get articles from my friends and those articles promote their books and other work. You can do the same with your newsletter. It doesn’t have to be as much work as it appears. I have an  inexpensive Ebook to get you started called My List Building Tycoon. Newsletters, blogs or a book project or any type of consistent writing project takes work. Just keep the big picture in mind and take the plunge. If you struggle to get a publisher’s attention, a newsletter is one means to gain their interest.

New York Times bestselling romance novelist, Debbie Macomber continues to grow her newsletter list and use it. This Christian writer often uses her newsletter to reach her fans to tell them about her newest book plus promote a 20-city tour. Publishers Weekly wrote about a Chicago signing where fans lined up for more than two hours to meet her. Then the magazine says, “Many attendees learned about the signings through e-mails from Macomber. At every appearance, she invites readers to join her e-mail list--already over 90,000 names. Mira reports 480,000 copies in print (of Twenty Wishes).” Macomber has established a personal connection to her audience.

The value of your list and that direct connection to the author will be evident in your book proposal and pitches to publishers. It will pay off. Are you struggling to get a publisher’s attention? Whether you are a first time author or a much published author, I encourage you to build your newsletter audience and communicate with them on a regular basis.

Years ago when I was a literary agent, I sold a book project to Harvest House Publishers. This author has a newsletter list with 10,000 people. He travels the world and teaches but collected this database of people and regularly communicated with them. The publisher could see potential book sales because this author was connected with his audience. He’s now published several books with the same publisher.

A newsletter does not have to consume hours of your time or attention. You do need to send it on a regular basis. I encourage you to imagine yourself as a magazine editor. Collect stories from others and write your own stories on a topic—and build your audience through your newsletter.

As you take action, you will become a more proactive author and increase your visibility in the marketplace. Do you have an email list and use it consistently? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

With an email list, everyone starts small so get started. Get insights and encouragement in this article. (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).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Work Your Simple Plan



By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

From time to time, I’ve had author envy.  I look at someone’s twitter following with thousands of people or the thousands of subscribers to their blog or newsletter and I wish it could happen to me. Or I read about a bestselling book and wonder why my books haven’t achieved such a level of success. Envy sprouts into my mind and heart and I begin to grow jealous of another author’s success. Then I pull myself up short. I’ve interviewed more than 150 bestselling authors. Repeatedly I’ve learned there are few overnight success stories. Most authors who spring to the top of the bestseller list have been in the trenches for years growing their presence in the marketplace.

Every author has to take action and begin building their presence in the market. I do not believe there is a magic formula, but there are tried and true methods when used consistently will help you.  Recently I was listening to the audio version of Jack Canfield’s bestselling book, The Success Principles, How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be. The book is full of insight. Success Principle #13 is Take Action. He writes, “Most people are familiar with the phrase, ‘Ready, aim, fire!’ The problem is that too many people spend their whole life aiming and never firing. They are always getting ready, getting it perfect. The quickest way to hit a target is to fire, see where the bullet landed, and then adjust your aim accordingly. If the hit was 2 inches above the target, lower your aim a little. Fire again. See where it is now. Keep firing and readjusting. Soon you are hitting the bull’s-eye.” (Page 103)

Recently I was meeting with an unpublished author who had written about a 400-page Christian fantasy. He gave me a copy of his novel to read and recognized that he is an unknown writer. Like many people they wonder what steps to take to enter the publishing business and change from being unknown to being known. These steps are not a quick fix and will take on-going time and effort. The good news is with the Internet and regular effort it can be done with a minimal financial investment. Here are ten simple steps.

1.  Pick a good domain name—a dot com. How do you want to be known? Pick that for your domain name. What is your area of expertise? If you write Christian fantasy, select something you can brand and promote. 
2. Get a Hostgator account. Most writers can get along for with a small monthly fee. This system is powerful and inexpensive.
3. On your Hostgator account, start a Word Press blog (not a free one but one you set up). The tools are free and because you are hosting it, you don’t have the restrictions of the free Word Press account. Then post several times a week on your topic that you want to brand.
4.  Start a Twitter account with your brand name and post only on that topic—link to articles about it and other things to draw readers. 
5.  Also post to your Facebook about this topic—automatically repeat your tweets.
6.  Join forums on this topic. At first, watch, and then participate with solid content about the topic at hand—and emphasizing your topic. You will become known as a thoughtful expert.
7.  Eventually begin a newsletter with your blog posts—repurpose them into a newsletter and encourage people to subscribe to it.
8.  Repurpose your blog posts to Internet articles and post to the free articles sites (there are many of them). As you repurpose your material in this way, you will become known as an expert in your particular area of the market..
9.  Get a free copy of my 43-page Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. Read this book and take action.
10.  Take action over and over—consistently and regularly to build your brand. It will pay off and you will build your presence and become known.

As you work this simple plan, you will be surprised with the results just like the  bestselling author who took 20 years to become an overnight success. A seemingly innocent event set off the unplanned chain of events propelled the author to recognition. You are the best person to promote yourself but you have to take action. Work your simple plan and it can happen. I’ve seen it over and over.

How are you working your simple plan? Let me know in the comments below.
----------
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. Check out his free Ebook, Straight Talk From the Editor. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn


Tweetable:


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Are You Building Publishing Habits?


By W. Terry Whalin

If you are writing a novel or a nonfiction book or ???. What are you doing each day to succeed with this writing project? 

Yes, it is important to craft an excellent work with terrific storytelling and craft. We learn these skills through our own reading and continual practice. Writing should be a habit which you continually cultivate and practice on a regular basis.

Yet what about other areas of publishing where you need to develop habits?

Recently I heard from an unpublished author who was getting rejected or no response from literary agents. She was sending out a children's book and couldn't understand why she could not succeed. 

I wrote this author that she needed to do more to understand the marketplace. Only a few literary agents that I know represent children's books for several reasons. First, the advances are very low for children's books. 

Also it's hard to get a children's book published through a traditional publisher. It is not impossible but difficult and much of the writing work is Work Made for Hire or something an agent wouldn't be involved in. Finally agents are looking for writers who demonstrate that they have been published. You have to show this skill through writing for print magazines or other recognized forms. 

This unpublished author was floundering because she had not done the basics to understand the market. As a daily habit, she needed to be reading published authors and how-to books as well as connecting with someone to help her.

Reading in the field is another publishing habit that every author or would-be author should be developing. There are free newsletters and many ways to learn from others. Are you tapping into these resources? 

Another publishing habit is to constantly build your connections to others. It doesn't require tons of time but it does require consistent effort. For example, posting on twitter and Facebook in your area of expertise is a publishing habit. You can use tools like Hootsuite so it does not have to consume much time but the consistency will pay off.

I spend the majority of my days working with authors as an acquisitions editor at Morgan James. My personal goal is to help as many authors as I can to achieve their dreams of getting published. As a result of these goals, I'm on the phone with authors or literary agents. Or I'm answering emails or interacting with my Morgan James colleagues about book projects. I have a series of habits that I execute each day related to my work at Morgan James.

What goals do you have for your publishing life? Have you written them down and are you looking at them on a regular basis? What habits do you need to develop in order to achieve these goals? 


As you are consistent, it will pay off for you in the marketplace. I have a great deal of free information in my ebook, Platform-Building Ideas for Every Author. If you haven't read this Ebook, I suggest you get it and study it, then apply the lessons to your writing life.


What new publishing habits are you developing? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Publishing habits are important for every writer. Get some ideas from this experienced editor.  (ClickToTweet)
----
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books including his latest, Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist. Also Terry has written for more than 50 magazines and lives in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter where he has over 200,000 followers.
 AddThis Social Bookmark Button


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend




Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Write A Review and Promote Your Latest Book


By W. Terry Whalin

For years I have supported other writers through reading their books and writing reviews. Writers are readers and I am always reading at least one or two books. As a practice, when I complete a book (or even hearing an audiobook), I write a review of that book on Amazon and Goodreads. In addition, often I will tell others about my review on my various social media connections. If the book is tied to writing (as some of them are), I will also repurpose some of my review on a blog article about the Writing Life.

In this article, I want to show you how to promote your latest book on the bottom of your review. There are several details involved in successfully doing this type of review and promotion. If your review is short (only a sentence or two—as many people write), then this technique will likely not work and you could even be banned from writing reviews on Amazon. Please pay attention to the details of your review.

1. The review has to be of substance or at least 100 words. In your review, you show that you have read the book because of the summary you give about the book—but also I normally include a short sentence or two quotation from the book and I list the specific page for the quotation. It shows the reader that I didn't just flip through the book one night but read it cover to cover.

2. Normally I write my review in a Word file where I can easily count the words and see the length of my review. I craft a headline for my review. Then I cut and paste it into the customer review place on Amazon. Note you do not have to have purchased the book on Amazon to write a review of that book. You do have to have purchased something on Amazon to be able to write reviews. This detail about purchasing something is not normally an issue but it is one of the basic requirements from Amazon to write customer reviews. I've written almost 900 customer reviews on Amazon. Yes that is a lot of reviews and didn't happen overnight but little by little.

3. At the end of my review, I write a separate little paragraph that says, “Terry Whalin is an editor and the author of more than 60 books including his latest Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist.” (Notice this link is a live link that takes people directly to the page for my book on Amazon). As a rule, Amazon does not allow you to add working website links on your review. But, they do allow you to add product links within your review. A few times (maybe half a dozen with almost 900 reviews) this technique does not work and my review is rejected. In those few cases, I have my review in a Word file, so I resend it without my little one sentence bio line. Then the review is still posted on Amazon and still helps the other writer.

As an author I know how hard it is to get people to write reviews. Serving and helping other writers is one of the reasons I have consistently reviewed books.  I've written so many reviews and my email is easy to find, that several times a day I get requests from authors to review their books. I do not review ebook only books. I look at the book and normally I answer their email but I politely decline the offer to review their book. In my decline, I also send them to my free teleseminar about reviewing books to give them this resource. If they take me up on my offer, they join my email list in this process.

4. After I write my review on Amazon and Goodreads, I normally tout my review on social media. If that author has a twitter account, I include their twitter account in my social media post. Some of these authors re high profile people who thank me via social media for my review. Before my review I had no connection to these authors and it has been fun to see their gratitude and responses on social media.  If I originally got the book directly from the author or from a publisher or publicist, I make sure I email this person with the links and results of my review. This final step of follow-up is important because it shows your professionalism and puts you on their radar for future books. As I've written in other places,this follow-up step is necessary. 

I've included the details about this process because I have not seen other authors using this process to promote their latest release. It does take work to read a book then craft a thoughtful review but it is worth it in my view. 

Are you using such a process? If so, let me know in the comments below.  

Tweetable:

For a book review, learn the details of how to promote your latest book. (ClickToTweet)

-----------
W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 books and his magazine work has appeared in more than 50 publications. Terry lives in Colorado. Follow him on Twitter where he has over 220,000 followers

Other references in this article:
- http://terrywhalin.blogspot.com/2016/01/you-need-honest-book-reviews.html
- http://yourbookreviewed.com/
- https://www.amazon.com/gp/profile/amzn1.account.AHS7F2FRAKMXP4PPRNJQWCP7OAUQ



AddThis Social Bookmark Button
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Friday, April 22, 2016

How To Grow A Large Twitter Following

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Marketing - To Niche or Not to Niche

By Karen Cioffi

I was recently asked about having a marketing niche. The writer wanted to know what a niche was and if it was important. Since there might be other authors/writers out there who aren't sure I'll share my answer here.

A marketing niche is simply a specific topic you’re focusing on. One writer may write for children, another may write business content. Then there are also more specific niches: writing children’s picture books or writing specifically on business incentives in the business arena.

And, there are niches within niches. In the writing arena, you can be a children’s author, a romance author, a nonfiction writer, a biographer, a ghostwriter, or copywriter, among a number of other niches. So, to say you’re a writer, while it may be true, it’s not specific enough. It doesn’t give the listener, reader, or viewer enough information about you and what you have to offer.

Having a specific niche is important so you can create the element of expertise in it. This doesn’t mean you can’t have more than one niche, but you do need to keep them separate and promote each separately.

For an example, I’m a children’s writer of picture books through middle grade books. I’m also a nonfiction health, business, and marketing writer.

If I had one website for all these niches, I wouldn’t be focused. And when marketing, who would I market to? I wouldn’t want to bring people looking for health information to a children’s book site or vice versa.

You can’t market to everyone; you need to decide exactly who you will focus your marketing efforts on. And, that audience needs to be brought to a site that focuses on that niche.

The adage, ‘jack of all trades, master of none,’ comes into play. You don’t want to be known as someone who knows a little on a lot of things. You want to be known as a master, or expert, in one or two specific fields or niches.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and author/writer online marketing instructor. Check out her e-class through WOW! Women on Writing at:
Give Your Author/Writer Business a Boost with Inbound Marketing

~~~~~
MORE ON MARKETING

4 Tips to an Effective Subscriber Opt-in
Author Website Blues – Simple Fixes, Huge Benefits
Kindle Select – What Works and What Doesn’t




Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Million Dollar Writing Question

Spurred on by the gratification of almost instant virtual
publishing, more and more people are queuing up to
achieve fame as authors or would-be authors. So
much so that many of these "writers" are not even
taking the time to pen a book for themselves but
instead outsource the writing to others.

While this is great for those of us who make our living
freelancing and are happy to ghostwrite, the
proliferation of competition makes it harder for real
writers who take pains to perfect their art to make a
living.

A "writer" who can produce hundreds of books a year
through employing others will obviously seem more
successful in the charts through sheer numbers.

So how do real authors compete?

The answer should be by writing a good book.

What makes a good book?


And that for me is the million dollar question that
stumps so many of us.

Authors  strive day after day to master their craft and
many produce well-written non-fiction books, chock
full of interesting and helpful information. Many more
produce works of fiction in every known genre and
sub-genre. They marshal troops of lifelike characters
with authentic dialogue and face them with plots that
keep their readers turning the pages.

We all know in our hearts what makes a good book,
don't we? And that's what makes the best seller charts
so bewildering. How often have we bought a best
seller and been bitterly disappointed?

How often have we found authors previously unknown
to us and thought they were terrific?  Why don't they
achieve a consistent place in the bestseller charts?

What makes a good book?

Perhaps it is easier to define it by what it is not. For
me, it is not a matter of genre, nor writing style. Not
3D characters nor plot though these are important.

It involves instead a strength of theme and answers
questions I never realized I wanted to ask.

Maybe not all human life is there, but the characters
are an intriguing mix of good and bad, the questions
posed are, like poetry, relevant to all who read it.

What for you makes a good book?




 Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with MuseItUp Publishing and   her New Year's Resolution is to pass on helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers far more regularly than she managed in 2012.

Friday, October 19, 2012

How to Choose the Right Editor



From a reader’s and reviewer’s point-of-view, books need a professional editor.

Why do books need a professional editor?

Authors are too close to the project to be able to pick up everything, especially if the author is self-publishing their book. Self-editing doesn’t work; many books and author’s sites have errors in grammar and punctuation as books and a web site visited today.

How to choose the right one to work with

  1. Authors need to talk with, and ask questions of the editor they choose to work with to see if the read and understand the genre of your book
·         Have they edited in the genre?
·         Can you and the editor work together?
·         Will the editor accept your input?
·         Are they willing to keep you abreast of how the project is progressing?
·         Does the editor have an estimate of how long it will take to edit?
·         Can you agree on a price that is acceptable to both parties?

  1. The editor should send the author an edited copy for review/proofread.
·         The final say is the author’s responsibility.
·         The editor shouldn’t have changed, but strengthened the sentences.
·         The editor should have corrected any grammar or punctuation errors.
·         The editor should have used Word’s Track Changes.
·         Any questions the editor has should be addressed using Word’s Comment feature.
  1. After the edited copy is proofread by the author:
·         The author and editor should agree on the changes.
·         If the editor suggested a word change, the author and editor should agree.
·         Talking with the editor should be like talking to a friend helping your book be the best it can be.
·         Once the final edits are completed and both parties are satisfied, then the final edited copy is ready for publication.

There should never be harsh feelings about your book with an editor; the editor is there to help the author create a book that is the best copy possible. 

Readers deserve the best book authors and editors are capable of creating. From an ethical standpoint, authors need to offer only their best to their readers.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor/Proofreader/Reviewer/Marketer

How Authors Can Learn to Love Amazon

 I get ideas about stuff to talk about in unexpected places. I assume that is not unique to my writing experience, but today something poppe...