Showing posts with label connection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label connection. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2022

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)

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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.

Monday, December 26, 2011

RESUSCITATING YOUR CHARACTER

To Tell the Truth, my first novel, started with a character, and from that character a story began to develop. I wrote the whole story dissatisfied with something about it that I could not quite pinpoint. I rewrote it several times, had people read it and give me their input, and read every book and article pertaining to writing. I went down the list of things needed in order to make your character more dimensional. I took it to my critique group so many times they told me to forget the book and go on to something else. But there was something within me that just would not let me give up on my book. I believe in my story and needed to believe in my main character, Anna Kayce.

What was it about Anna that so frustrated me? So many times I asked myself that question. The funny thing was no one I had gone to had an answer. So how was I supposed to come up with it? I knew it had to be something I was doing wrong, but I just could not figure out what it was. My character was so flat and yet I had done everything that all my resources told me to do.

Just when I was about to give up on my book, I received my Writer's Digest magazine in the mail, and in it was an article that was to change everything for me. It was an article on creating characters. As I went down the list of things you can do to develop your character in a dimensional way, I came to one suggestion on that list which really struck me: Do an interview with your character. I felt my heart speed up and my breath quicken. As is usual with me, I had to mull over this; but it wouldn't go away. It kept nagging at me. So with much excitement I put pen to paper and wrote a five-page interview with my character. For the first time since I created her, I began to feel as if I knew and understood her. There was a connection between us, an emotional connection which just grew from there.

I was able to get inside of her, feel her emotions and needs, and anticipate her moves and thoughts. And that was what had been missing, the emotional connection.

So if you are having problems giving your character personality and dimension, do an interview of your character.Describe your character's physical appearance, give a backstory/history of your character, even learn his/her favorite foods, hobbies, movies, etc. Explore his/her dreams and ambitions. Don't miss anything, but don't get too carried away either. Think of your character as a real person, and I don't think they will let you down.

Faye M. Tollison
Author of: To Tell the Truth
Upcoming book: The Bible Murders
www.fayemtollison.com

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