Showing posts with label conferences. Show all posts
Showing posts with label conferences. Show all posts

Featured Productivity Tool: Networking Goals

I know what you are thinking: Networking is a tool? Yes, it is. You see, you can't reach your goals on your own. You need your community of resources, champions, and connections. Your friends may not always be your ideal reader or client. But everyone has their own circle. Your community grows multi-fold every time you grow your community. 

The challenge with networking is it takes time and energy. The best way to stay on top of networking is to set networking goals.

Here Are Networking Goals You Can Set Each Day, Week, Month, Quarter, and Year

1. Each Day: Set a 15-Minute Active Networking Appointment. During this time:
- Connect on LinkedIn with new friends
- Send an email or message to check in on a friend or peer   
- Post, comment, and reply on social media

2. Each Week: Attend 3 Events 
- One mixer
- One education event (Workshop or CE)
- One one-on-one with someone you met at one of the first two events to continue the conversation

3. Each Month: Create New Content
- Post on your blog. Ideally, you want to do this at least once a week, but better to aim for something feasible and achieve that goal
- Guest on Someone Else's Platform. It could be a blog guest post or interview, live show, or podcast 

4. Each Quarter: Refresh Your Online Presence
- Make sure your website bio and LinkedIn profile are up-to-date
- Make sure your profile photo still looks like you
- Bonus points for updating your banner image

5. Each Year: Attend at least one Live or Virtual Industry Conference
- It's one of the best ways to make new connections, solidify relationships, and learn new things in your area of expertise

Final Thoughts 

Until you prioritize networking - and focus on making real general connections - you never know what good will come of it!

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For more inspiration and motivation, follow @TheDEBMethod on Twitter and Linkedin! 

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What's your best networking tip? Please share in the comments. 

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Debra Eckerling is the award-winning author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals and founder of the D*E*B METHOD, which is her system for goal-setting simplified. A goal-strategist, corporate consultant, and project catalyst, Debra offers personal and professional planning, event strategy, and team building for individuals, businesses, and teams. She is also the author of Write On Blogging and Purple Pencil Adventures; founder of Write On Online; Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Women's National Book Association; host of the #GoalChat Twitter Chat, #GoalChatLive on Facebook and LinkedIn, and The DEB Show podcast. She speaks on the subjects of writing, networking, goal-setting, and social media.


Why I "Fish" Every Day (And You Should Too)


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

It takes great practiced skill to fish successfully. While some people fish for a hobby, the seasoned fisherman knows he has to fish many times to gain skill and also to catch fish.

To be honest, it has been years since I've been fishing but I “fish” every day. A fisherman puts his line into the water and is positioned to catch a fish. I put quotations around the word “fish” in the headline since I'm using fish for the word networking or connections. You have to be in the market talking and connecting with others every day to make a difference with your writing. Yes you need to craft an excellent book and good storytelling. I always encourage writers to learn that skill but you need something more than good writing. You need the right connection.

Much of publishing (and any business) is a matter of making the right connection with the right person at the right time at the right place. You can't make that connection working alone in your office at your computer or curled up with your legal pad writing your story.

What steps are you taking today to “fish” or network with others? It begins with your goals for your writing. Do you want to sell more books? Do you want a traditional publishing deal or are you going to self-publish? Do you want to build your platform or group of readers? Do you want more people to know who you are and what you ar doing? Then you have to make a conscious effort every day to reach out and touch other people.

Some of us reach out to others through Twitter.  I tweet frequently—like 12 to 15 times each day. To post frequently is one of the dynamics of Twitter. To be effective on it, you have to tweet often. I use Hootsuite to diversity and schedule my tweets. Look for tools to help you with social media.

Also I dig into my network of friends and connections. I pick up the phone and call people leaving little messages or connecting with them for a few minutes. On a regular basis, I speak with several literary agent friends. Why? Because these agents represent numerous authors who they want to get published.  Those agents need to be reminded that I'm constantly looking for great authors to publish through Morgan James. Our publishing program will not be right for every one of their authors. Yet it will be perfect for some of them. I'm looking for the right author—every day.

I have authors who have submitted their manuscripts and I'm scheduling calls with them to see if Morgan James is the right fit for these authors. I spend a great deal of time on the phone and answering my email but it's part of my daily work. Your daily work will be different but are you working every day at expanding your connections? I hope so.

I think about activity in the past which has been productive for me. For example, I've made terrific connections speaking at conferences. I'd like to do more speaking next year. It will not happen if I don't take any action. Instead, I'm making a list of conferences where I'd like to speak and conscious of who runs these conferences. Can I fill a need for this event with a workshop or keynote? There are numerous conferences and events where I can help others—but I have to be proactive to get on their radar.

My newest book, 10 Publishing Myths released in mid-December. I'm continuing to work to find people willing to read and review the book. It means I am looking for ways to promote it. 

It's not just with my new book but with older books. I continue to promote my Billy Graham and Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams books (as well as other books that I've written or been involved with). Can I book a radio show or podcast or do a guest blog post or some other event to get in front of a new audience? The answer is yes but from my experience it does not happen without my initiative (sometimes but rarely). Most of the time these opportunities come through proactive pitching and follow-up work. Are you building this type of fishing into your daily schedule?

Throughout today I will be emailing and calling people. You have to have a line in the water to catch fish. What steps are you taking? Let me know in the comments below.


Tweetable:

This prolific editor and author will be “fishing” today and believes you should too. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)
 

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Book Proposals That $ell. 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 200,000 twitter followers

Does Your Business Card Include the Basics?


By W. Terry Whalin

Because of my years in publishing and attending many conferences, I've become an expert at skimming business cards on the spot with writers. My actions spring from my own frustration with missing information. Over the years, I've exchanged thousands of cards with people at writer's conferences. When I did not glance at the card on the spot, I would tuck it into my pocket, take it home, then discover missing information like a phone number or email or mailing address. As an editor, it would force me to email this person and gather the missing information (wasting time and energy).

The best time to gather this missing information is when you are meeting face to face with this person. Recently I was in Nashville for a Morgan James Publishing author event. I met a number of authors at this event and exchanged business cards. One of these authors, a medical doctor-turned-writer-podcaster, lived nearby in Boulder, Colorado. When we exchanged cards, I glanced at the information and it only contained his website. There was no email address nor phone number. He said, “My email address is on my website and I want people to go to my website.” It was good to know he had a rationale for the missing information—but I still collected it on the spot and wrote his email and phone on his business card. Others might not have his information from his business card but I gathered this important data on the spot.

When I attend events, my business card is one of the key tools that I use. Some of my long-term friends are amused at the changes in my business card over the years. I've added and improved my cards. Each time I reprint, I evaluate the information to see if it contains what I need. Because I work for a New York publisher, I have a business card which contains my photo, direct dial phone number, work email, and other information. Here's my Morgan James business card:
Whalin Morgan James business card - front
Whalin Morgan James business card - back
Yet I live in Colorado and I'm also an author with my own blog, local mailing address and books. In recent years, I've been carrying two business cards. The local card shows off this information. Here's my personal business card:


Whalin Personal business card - front
Whalin Personal business card - back
Since I've shown you what I'm using for my business card. Now take a minute to review your card and make sure it includes the basics:

*a current photo

*your phone and email address

*your physical address (or at least your city to give the receiver your time zone)

*twitter name

*blog website

*giveaway to build your email list (one of the most important author tools)

How did you do on the basics? Are you missing something? The most difficult element to proofread is something that is missing. That's why we need a checklist to make sure you cover everything. If you are missing some element maybe it's time to reprint your business cards.

Let me know your experience with business cards in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Business card basics. Get the details to make sure you aren't missing something here.  (ClickToTweet)
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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 214,000 followers.
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Increasing Visibility on Amazon


I attended the IndiRecon, a free online conference for writers.

One of the things that struck me most was this point, by David Gaughran. New authors tend to spend a lot of time promoting on social media, blogging, etc.

 But think about this. “If someone is on Facebook, they're probably chewing the fat with friends or looking at cat pictures.

On Google, they're searching for something—their wallet is only half out. On Amazon, they are ready to buy.” It makes sense, then, to focus more on Amazon until you get well known enough that social media and blogging will help you connect with the readers you already have, and through them expand to new readers.

So here's the advice I compiled from several presenters who held similar opinions, all about how to increase your discoverability on Amazon.

Make Your Title and Cover Work for YOU

-Do NOT confuse anyone with your title or cover. This includes, but is not limited to: unpronounceable words, cutesy non-fiction titles that don't explain what the book's about, titles completely at odds with the genre listed, titles too small to read on the thumbnail, books where the reader isn't sure which is the title and which is the author.

-Remember that shorter titles tend to sell better.

-Make sure the title and cover convey at very least the genre and tone of your book. Better that they convey some of the story too.

Choose Categories Strategically

-Get as specific as you can. In the Kindle store, “Fiction—General” may have a million books in it, and the chances of a browsing customer just happening upon your book are extremely slim. “Genre Fiction-Sea Adventures” has less than a thousand titles, and will bring you and potential fans together better. Provided, of course, that your story really is a sea story.

-Find smaller categories. They make it easier to get into top-100 lists.

-Decide on your ideal categories by looking up popular books similar to yours. You can also browse categories by clicking on the“shop by department” drop down menu and then drilling down (you'll often have to scroll to the bottom to find the department subcategories).

-If the category you want is not available to you through KDP, select non-classifiable as one of your categories and then e-mail Amazon, giving them the exact path you want to be in. Example: Kindle Store>Kindle eBooks>Teen&Young Adult>Historical Fiction>Ancient Civilizations.

Test Keywords

-Brainstorm keywords and phrases for your book, then run them through a keyword analyzer to see which ones have the most searches. One program is the Keyword planner on Adwords. To get ideas for more words, you can also type your keywords into Amazon or Google and see what it autosuggests.

-Remember that Amazon allows you 7 keyword phrases, so “Young Adult Paranormal” is counted as one keyword.

-Test your keywords by putting them in the Amazon search box and see if the right sort of books pop up.

-Use associated words to improve SEO (search engine optimization), so if “young adult dystopian” and “teen science fiction” both apply, and you think people will search by both, use them both. Search engines think this makes your content a more reliable.

-Use your keyword phrases in the title, subtitle, or description. Repeat your classification/sub genre in the keywords, even if Amazon tells you it's unnecessary.

Pretty Up Your Book Description

-Think of your description as sales copy. It's not just your back-of-the-book blurb.

-Use headlines, sub headers, and bullet points to draw the eye. Bullet points in fiction, you ask? If nothing else lends itself to bullet points, use blurbs from reviews.

-Use html to get bold, headlines, etc. A list of approved html: http://www.tckpublishing.com/amazon-kdp-kindle-book-description-html-update/

-Use actionable words.

-Show social proof that it's good (awards won, best-seller status, etc)

-Include a call to action, like “Scroll up and grab a copy today.”

-Repeat your title in your description. You can also include excerpts. Especially for non-fiction books, include the table of contents in the book description. It's a really slick way to get your keywords in without sounding forced.

-Try using keywords in a subtitle, like “An Inspirational Romance.” Just don't make it too cheesy.

Price to Sell

-Price your books competitively.

-Johnny Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright advocate always having some way for readers to get a complete, stand-alone, satisfying entry into any book or series you've published. This is not the same as the standard e-book sample, which comes with the understanding that the reader will reach the end of the sample—maybe mid sentence—and have to buy the rest. It shouldn't simply be an excerpt on your blog or Facebook, which isn't the same experience as a book. Possibilities for free entries:
'
a) For a series, make the first book free.

b) For a stand-alone novel, publish a free short story or novella set in the same world or with the same characters.

c) For a non-fiction book, publish a free essay on a similar theme or a stand-alone chapter on one specific topic covered in your book.

-Don't fear giving your books away. This may seem counter intuitive if your goal is to make money, but people love free things. They'll be more willing to gamble zero dollars on a new author. Then, if they like it, they may very well buy others. But these people never would have been exposed at all if that first bite weren't free. Think of it as a loss-leader in a grocery store.

-Amazon won't allow you to simply price your e-book free. However, they match other sites. So, if you want it perma-free, make it free somewhere else, like Smashwords, and then have someone report it to Amazon. They'll turn it free.

Get Reviews

-Ethically-obtained reviews legitimize your book and attract customers. For ideas on how to get more, join me next month.

Think like Amazon

Understand that Amazon's mysterious algorithms are all to help customers find things they will buy. Set up your product in a way that helps Amazon link you with the right customers, and your sales will increase.

Resources:

Michael Alvear's The Guerrilla Marketer's Guide to Selling Fiction On Kindle
Optimizing Searched on Your Book [Metadata/SEO] by Lori Culwell
Jim Kukral's Webinar: The Amazon Power of Selling by Jim Kukral from Author Ad Network
David Gaughren's article: Understanding Amazon's Recommendation Engine
Write, Publish, Repeat: How to Turn your Art from a Hobby into a Real Business Live Podcast with Johnny Truant, Sean Platt, and David Wright.
(Sorry, but none of links work so had to be removed!)


Melinda Brasher loves to travel, write, and play difficult card games.  She has short stories and travel writing published in various magazines, and is the author ofFar-Knowing, a YA fantasy novel. Visit her blog for all the latest: http://www.melindabrasher.com


Conferences as Exhibitors

Conferences as Exhibitors
by Elysabeth Eldering

As an author promoting oneself, we are told to "think outside the box" and promotion is all about finding new ways to get your books out there. We are also encouraged to attend conferences for the information to help us better our craft. But what about attending conferences as an exhibitor or vendor? How many of you put that extra into attending conferences as an exhibitor? What kind of conferences do you think your books are best suited for as a vendor?

Since I'm writing an educational series meant to supplement the social studies curriculum, not overtake it by any means, my goal is to exhibit at as many school related type conferences as possible. The attendees may not have buying power but if I can put an order form in their hands, it is more likely that somewhere down the line that those orders will show up.

Here is a list of some conferences I hope to attend as an exhibitor or vendor over the next few years, in addition to the ones I've already attended and plan on going back to:

- South Carolina School Librarians Association conference
- Georgia COMO (this was a combined school librarians and other librarian associations conference, which led me to four book distributors to get my books in the schools)
- Geofest (South Carolina)
- South Carolina Council for Socila Studies
- Georgia Geofest
- Georgia Council for Social Studies
- North Carolina Council for Social Studies
- any state Social Studies conference as my books start supporting me since I want to travel to all 50 states and do school visits, et cetera
- Any state librarian or school librarian association conference
- homeschool conferences (I've attended and hope to find several more and attend more in the future)

I know this list seems limited but for the moment, my funds are limited and until my books are supporting me and I'm able to quit my full-time job and just travel, these are fairly close to home and within driving range. The possibility is endless. Even some writer's conferences allow authors to come in and be exhibitors. The biggest factor is just finding the right conferences to attend that are within your budget in order to make the most of it. I encourage all authors to attend at least their state librarian conference as an exhibitor or the school librarian conference because you never know who you will meet or connect with that will lead to bigger and better things. For me, it's the opportunity to gain the exposure I need to get my books out in the nation and to the schools where they need to be. So don't limit yourself, invest in your books and find those conferences that will allow you to be an exhibitor and promote yourself like crazy.

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Ms. Eldering is the award winning author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad (JGDS), 50-state, mystery, trivia series. Her stories "Train of Clues", "The Proposal" (available as an ebook), "Tulip Kiss" (available as an ebook), and "Butterfly Halves", all placed first, second, or runner up in various contests to include two for Armchair Interviews and two for Echelon Press (Fast and ... themed type contests). Her story "Bride-and-Seek" (available as an ebook) was selected for the South Carolina Writers' Workshop (SCWW) anthology, the Petigru Review. Ms. Eldering makes her home in upper state South Carolina and loves to travel, read, cross stitch and crochet. When she's not busy with teenaged children still at home, working her full-time job as a medical transcriptionist or participating in virtual classroom visits, she can be found at various homeschool or book events promoting her writing. For more information on the JGDS series, stop by the JGDS blog or the JGDS website. For more on Elysabeth's other writings, please come over to her blog or her website.

Making the Most of Writers' Conferences


Writers’ Conferences Are More
Than Giant Writing Classes

 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

A partial excerpt from the new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter

 

Make the most of a conference by planning in advance. You want to treat a conference like a garden and bring home all the ripe stuff that suits your palate. That means you have to organize. This section will help you do that. Without it you won’t be able to glean the most from whatever conference you choose.

 
Your notebook—either the old-fashioned paper kind or the one you set up on your laptop— is key to getting the most from a conference:

  • Bring a seven-subject notebook. Divide the notebook into sections that match your goals. These might include: Agents, Publishers, Promotion, Writing, and Other Contacts. Leave one section open for a category that crops up after you arrive.
  • On each separator page tape a number ten envelope in which you slip business cards, bookmarks, mini notes to yourself, and small brochures. When you arrive home, part of your filing and sorting will be done.
  • Take blank mailing labels to make index tabs that stick out from the edge of your notebook.
  •  On the first night of the conference, clip and paste separate parts of the conference handouts into corresponding segments of your notebook.
  • At the back of your conference notebook make a directory section. Use the label index markers to delineate each one.

o   The first page is a name and address list for publishers. They should be listed in conference handouts but you may glean more from seminars. Star the ones you spoke to. Make notes. What have they published that is similar to your book? Jot down anything that will help them remember you when you write to them and mention your encounter. Query letters work best when you indicate you are familiar with the person or company being queried.

 

Big Hint: When you talk to publishers always ask them what they do to promote their authors’ books. Pin them down to specifics.

 

o   The second directory page is for fellow authors. Jot notes on them, too. It’s no fun to arrive home with a useless business card.

o   Ditto for agents and for conference planners. You may be surprised at how often you’ll refer to this page.

o   A page for “Other Resources” includes information on anything from other conferences to books you’d like to read.

o   Designate a few pages for writing ideas.

o   The final pages are for new promotion ideas.

 

Hint: Bring a small pouch of tools—I use one I received with an Estée Lauder gift-with-purchase. Toss into it color-coded pens, snub-nosed scissors (sharp ones may not get you through airport security), a small roll of cellophane tape, your index labels, paperclips, strong see-through packing tape, hammer, tacks, razor, ChapStick, hole puncher, breath mints, elastic bands, Band-Aids, and your personal medication. Don’t unpack this when you get home. You’ll need it in the future for other conferences, book signings, book fairs, and other promotional events.

 

You can use a conference to promote, too.

  • Some conferences offer tables where participants can leave promotional handouts for their books or services. Before you leave home, ask your conference coordinator how you might utilize this opportunity.

  • Ask the conference coordinator if they publish a newsletter or journal. If so, send the editor media releases as your career moves along.
  • Take your business cards to the conference.
  • If you have a published book, take your bookmarks to give to others. And even a few books. Authors tend not to forget to give their books to people who are in a position to recommend it.
  • If you have an area of expertise that would interest a conference director, introduce yourself. She may be busy, so keep your pitch very short and follow up later.
  • Think in terms of gathering endorsements for your book to use in the future. You are building a network.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally series of book for writers. Learn more about them at www.howtodoitfrugally.com. She also invites you to subscribe to her writers’ resources blog, Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites pick www.SharingwithWriters.blogspot.com. Follow her tweets at www.twitter.com/frugalbookpromo. And that new edition of The Frugal Book Promoter? It just won a USA Book News award in its own right (for best business/writing book) and the e-book edition was just honored at Dan Poynter's Global EBook Awards.

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