Showing posts with label email. Show all posts
Showing posts with label email. Show all posts

Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher


By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tweetable: 

This prolific author and editor was lulled into depending 100% on his publisher to sell books. He learned this publishing myth the hard way. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)


W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in California. A former magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams and Billy Graham. Get Terry’s recent book, 10 Publishing Myths for only $10, free shipping and bonuses worth over $200. To help writers catch the attention of editors and agents, Terry wrote his bestselling Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. Check out his free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas for Every Author. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com. Connect with Terry on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn.

A Simple Way To Be "Different"


By 
Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) 

While I’ve been in book publishing for decades, one topic is central to our business yet something I rarely see written about or discussed: communication.

Communication undergirds everything from email to print to phone calls to face to face. I believe it is infrequently highlighted because we work in a non-communication environment. Writers work hard on crafting their query letters or proposals. They edit and rewrite them and even send them off to their critique partners or outside editors before sending them to the literary agent or editor. This extra polish and set of eyes gives them a better chance at success.

After you fire off your gem of an idea, it goes into black hole. You hear: nothing or it earns a form rejection letter or form email rejection letter. The experience brings despair or determination to find the right place. I hope you are determined because finding the right fit is a key part of the publishing process.

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen were rejected 140 times for Chicken Soup for the Soup, one of the most prolific series of books in the English language. Determination and persistence are qualities for every writer.

Why don’t editors and agents communicate? Can’t they send a simple email that they received it? Unfortunately this practice is not built into our publishing community. If you are a good communicator, your use of this skill is another way that you can use this simple way to be a "different" type of writer.

My authors at Morgan James Publishing consistently tell me they are surprised with my speed of communication. Sometimes they will write me after they have tried others (with no response) because they know I will help them.

I’ve learned a number of tips for communication and I want to detail some of them in this article.

Email is the best tool to use.  If you are following up a submission, a brief email asking if it was received is the preferred approach. 

Last week I got multi-paragraph email from a writer I will see at conference this week. It was too much information and while I read it, it would have been better in a few sentences and made a better impression. Here are some other key tips:

1. Text is OK—but use sparingly.

2. Phone is the worst way to approach an editor or agent and something I recommend you rarely use if at all. 

At Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a physical letter in the U.S. mail—and each year we receive over 5,000 submissions for only 180 to 200 books which are published. Communication with authors is built into the fiber of Morgan James. Many writers neglect to send their mailing address with their submission yet it is a critical part of our process of getting a submission started. Fairly often I have to email a writer and ask for their mailing address.

Some of my publishing professional colleagues have boundaries on their emails. For example, they only answer emails between their working hours in their office Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm. If you have emailed me, you know I don’t have such a boundary and will often answer emails early or late or on the weekends. It is all part of my commitment as a writer and editor to be a communicator. 

As a writer what steps do you need to do to increase and improve your communication skills? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable: 

Good communication is a simple way every writer can stand out. Get some tips and insights here from this prolific editor and writer. (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.  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.

Cleaning Out Email is Like Cleaning the Fridge

It recently occurred to me that cleaning out my unwieldy email inbox is like cleaning out the refrigerator. I manage to get hundreds of emails a week, and having taken a year-long online class added dozens of more messages for each lesson. It becomes necessary to do a more thorough cleaning beyond deleting a few now and then.

Cleaning Out Email is Like Cleaning the Fridge
Use "search" to find emails with the same name, such as news or donate. Then check all or those that need to be moved to trash. 

The door is first. When I clean out the fridge, first the outdated bottles in the door are discarded. They are all lined up nicely and waiting for their turn to be used up, but having missed the opportunity they are in line for the chopping block, so to speak. I take that approach with sale and coupon emails that ended some time ago and delete those first. There went the sales ending in February, March, April, and May — tossed much like I would toss expired mayonnaise. My nicely organized email folder labeled “coupons to use” had a few more even older messages —- select the group, and delete. Oh, well, sales, I missed you.

The bottom refrigerator drawer has things I rarely look at, so those are probably old. The drawer decisions are somehow easier than shelf decisions. How long has that been there? I look at the end (bottom) of my email list to delete the oldest, except for the ones that were saved from previous cleanings because I might read them someday. Delete, delete, delete. Wait, not that, I really might read it now.

The shelves! You know how those smaller food containers make their way to the back of the refrigerator shelves? If they have been there a long time, who even wants to look and possibly have to smell? Those are like my email folders. Why is it what I  am most likely to delete is nicely saved in folders? Because I don’t look in the folders as that would require clicking twice. That would take so much effort, you see. I like to work quickly when I clean the fridge, too. I hate to admit it but sometimes those little containers that should be reused make their way to the trash.

Now for the produce drawers that are the most frequently used. Bits of lettuce and other unwanted stuff needs to be removed, just like newsletters to which I am subscribed. Why do I have all these newsletters? Maybe it was a subscription in exchange for a free PDF, to get 10% off my first order, or perhaps it was from one of my rare contest entries. Another fairly easy decision, In the search box, I type in the name of the newsletters I never read, select all, delete. That reminds me of my good intention to use the kale or Swiss chard I bought but somehow didn’t seem to have a recipe. What was I going to do with the Swiss chard?

About now I need to empty the trash. For the fridge, I might have to take out the trash twice. Well, hubby does anyway. So back on my computer I go to trash, empty trash, and look at that . . . 524 mails are being deleted. Please wait. Oh, I remember past messages I have sent, find sent, and delete all those too. About 150 more are gone, gone, gone. Well, at least it isn’t as bad as the time I had 10,000 emails to go through because I wasn’t checking my all mail. (Be sure to check all mail from time to time.) 

There still messages sitting there. It occurs to me my refrigerator has a much better spam filter than my computer as I get no insurance or annuity offers when I look inside. I don’t need McAfee or Norton protection for the fridge. So now I block the creepy emails from Nigerian princes and foreign banks. No, we might not finish a leftover I didn’t even realize was in the fridge, but at least it isn’t trying to sell me anything. How do those strange foods get in there, anyway? If I don’t even remember it or perhaps want to remember it, out it goes, out, out, out.

If have discovered a food that is still good and I remember some recipes I wanted to make and still can as it is within the freshness dates. I surprise myself as I have a plan for dinner! I thought I had to go to the store. This reminds me of messages I might actually want to read: the fun ones, the new ones, the ones from friends, the ones I really want to read, the ones from the writing group! Do I apply the KonMari decluttering goddess cleaning method? If I print it and hold it in my hand and it gives me joy do I keep the message?

What will I learn from my email cleaning? Unsubscribe, do not sign up, delete immediately if I am going to do so eventually. Do not let it stack up, focus on the email I want to read, and maybe clean out Gmail more often. About once a week like a refrigerator? And try not to delete emails so fast the good ones somehow disappear which does happen despite my best intentions. Does Gmail have a mind of its own?

Some people have a different approach. Gmail will delete messages in the trash after 30 days. But unwanted messages do have to be moved to trash. 

OK, that was ONE of my several email accounts . . .  next! At least I have only one refrigerator.

You know what would make cleaning more fun? A maid. Are there any maid services that also handle email?

Thanks for reading, Carolyn Wilhelm, Wise Owl Factory

Carolyn Wilhelm is the curriculum writer and sole owner of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has a BS in Elementary Education, an MS in Gifted Education, and an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. As a retired teacher of 28 years, she now makes mostly free educational resources for teachers and parents. Her course about Self-Publishing from the Very, Very Beginning is available on UDEMY. Her children’s books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Nobel sites.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Writing Career: Be Grateful

I often receive emails from young writers asking for advice and help in various aspects of their writing, and I am always delighted to help in any way I can. To be a writer is to be a part of a community, and I am so grateful for all the writers who have offered me advice and encouragement over the years. Being a mentor and cheerleader for other writers is the best way I can think of to "pay it forward" to those people who have bettered my life with their generosity and support.

However, I am not always the quickest to respond to emails, especially when life gets busy. Like this summer: I am in graduate school working on my thesis, taking a summer literature class, and teaching a creative writing class to college students. I feel like I'm barely managing to keep my head above water by trying to write a little of my own work every day, reading and working on papers for the literature class I'm taking, and grading papers and responding to emails from my students!

Most writers I hear from are beyond patient and gracious. But occasionally, I'll receive an email from a young writer that startles me with its rude tone and unprofessionalism. Often the email will include capital "shouting" letters, strings of exclamation points and/or question marks, and phrases like, "are you ever going to get back to me????" or "hellooooo???"

I consider myself to be an advocate for writers, and young writers in particular. I love teaching writing camps and working with mentees through Write On! For Literacy. Publishing Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing is a great source of pride and good feelings for me. So when I get an email from a young writer that perpetuates the negative stereotypes that society foists upon teenagers, it makes my skin crawl.

I believe the very first and most important lesson in regards to being a writer and getting published is this: respect, gratitude and professionalism are a must.

If you send an email with a rude subject line to a publisher, editor or agent, I can guarantee you it would be deleted without even being read. When you send your work to a publisher, it may take six or eight months for them to get back to you about it. That's just the way publishing is -- editors are very busy and they receive hundreds of emails every single day. And if you ever do email them to ask if they have had a chance to read your work, you need to make sure you have a tone of gratitude, graciousness, and respect of their time and busy schedule.

Here's a great article with tips and examples on writing professional emails: http://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/e-text/email/.

But I think all you really need to remember is just to be respectful and to treat everyone with common decency. When you adopt a rude tone, you send the message that you feel entitled to the person's help, rather than that you are appreciative of any time and help they can give you.

I think it comes down to this, not just in writing but in all areas of life: people will be more eager to help you when you treat them well and are humble and appreciative of their time, knowledge, effort and support.

Dallas Woodburn is the author of two award-winning collections of short stories and editor of Dancing With The Pen: a collection of today's best youth writing. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three years in a row and her nonfiction has appeared in a variety of national publications including Family Circle, Writer's Digest, The Writer, and The Los Angeles Times. She is the founder of Write On! For Literacy and Write On! Books Youth Publishing Company and is currently pursuing her Master's degree in Fiction Writing at Purdue University, where she teaches undergraduate writing courses and serves as Fiction Editor of Sycamore Review. Many of her short stories are compiled online here.

What Is More Valuable Than Fame

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) Many writers believe writing a book will make them famous. They believe getting their book into the market wi...