Showing posts with label learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label learning. Show all posts

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Searching for a Magic Bullet


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin


With the rapid expansion of self-publishing (1.6 million books last year), you have to be careful in some regards which company you select, but overall, it is easy to make a book. Selling those books to readers is the major issue for every author—whether they verbalize it or not. Everyone is searching for a magic bullet which catapults them to the bestseller list and sells many books.
 
Are you ready for the hard truth from my decades in publishing? There is no magic bullet or path to become a bestseller. If such a path existed, every book from every publisher would become a bestseller. There are many well-written books, well-designed books which have dismal sales. What will make the difference?
 
In this article I want to give you a few of these best practices of bestselling authors. I understand there are many others here's a few critical ones:
 
1. Bestselling authors understand and maintain a relationship with their readers. These authors spend time to cultivate and nurture this relationship. They devote lots of attention to building an active email list.  I've read the articles where people say email is over but this long-term tool is key because each author controls their own email list for things like frequency, tone and building these relatinships through email. There are many tools for building this list like ConvertKit, MailChimp, AWeber and many others. As an author, pick one, learn to use the tool then actively use it repeatedly with your readers.
 
2. Bestselling authors create multiple paths to their email list. Whether these authors are on a podcast or a radio program or a guest blog post or a teleseminar or ????, they have created a “gift” or a “freebie” which is something attractive to their readers. Their readers can only gain access if they give this author their first name and email address. Some authors collect even more detailed information. These freebies are called lead magnets and take creativity and effort to create, then maintain. Check my link to see some of what I've created and get ideas. Every author needs to be creating these multiple paths of connection which lead to your email list.
 
3. Bestselling authors understand and use various forms of media like radio and podcasts. They have built relationships with effective publicists who can book these events for them.
 
4. Bestselling authors build an active presence on various forms of social media. Yes these platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are “rented” and nothing they control. They understand they have to be wise (read careful) about what they post so they don't get cancelled yet they find tools like Hootsuite or Buffer, then use those tools consistently to reach their readers—and guide them back to their email list.
 
5. Bestselling authors understand the power of advertising and invest in Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads, etc. Yet they hire the right people to help them or learn the inside scoop about it before investing into it. For example, bestselling self-published author Mark Dawson has a course which is only open a few times a year (follow this link to see it or at least get on his notification email list) or watch some of these testimonial videos of his students.
 
6. Bestselling authors are always learning and growing in their craft and various tools to reach new readers. It's something I've built into each of these various aspects.
 
Instead of searching for a magic bullet, I encourage you to mirror some of these practices for your writing life. Just pick one or two and begin taking action. My brief list is not exhaustive so let me know some other aspects in the comments below.
 
Tweetable:

Instead of searching for a magic bullet, this prolific editor and author gives a series of practices from studying bestselling authors. Get ideas for your writing life here. (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. He lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Monday, July 20, 2015

26 Reasons a Writer Should Blog - Part 4



We often here people speak of a "learning curve". 

By that we usually mean we take on a challenge which teaches us new things. 

So do writers learn anything from blogging? Once again, the answer is

 Yes!


Today we're going to take a look at some of the things we can learn when we blog and how they benefit us in other ways.

12.    L is for Learning.
  • You learn about your topic. During the month of April, I wrote almost every day on the topic of Africa. I have lived on this continent since the age of four, and yet I learned so much about the countries of Africa, their cultures, flora and fauna. I compiled a “Blogging Bucket List” of places I want to visit, or revisit, over the next year or two. Many people who read my blog during the April, mentioned how much they too learned about this amazing land.
  • You learn by doing research. I had to do quite a bit of research into Africa. For example, my brother and sister-in-law are currently on an epic overland adventure from Johannesburg in South Africa, up to the magical Serengeti Plains in distant Tanzania. I realized I knew nothing about Serengeti, so guess what? S is for Serengeti! And I now just wish I could have tagged along with them. 
  • You learn from what you don't know. I am currently doing this series of why writers should blog. I can think of reasons why I blog, but why do other writers blog? As I ask the question and read other writers' blogs, I learn more about the technique of blogging. 
  • You learn from other writers and make cyber friends. As you write about subjects that intrigue them, so they start visiting your blog, and if they leave comments this encourages you to pay them a return visit. In the process I learn about their passions, their home-towns, their hobbies, and many other fascinating information.

13.     M is for Multitasking. 
  • Most blog posts lend themselves to multitasking. I make a point of thinking through any post or series of posts I want to write. Does it have any purpose apart from filling a space for the day? I've already discussed how often my blog posts end up as devotional articles either on another site, or in my weekly devotional messages, Closer Walk. (Sign up via the link at the bottom of the page if you are interested.) 
  • You can share your experiences in a series format, then use it on another blog with modifications, or use them to form the skeleton of an e-book in the future. 
  • Blog posts can form a good basis for teaching topics. I intend to teach my online group for South African Christian Writers about blogging. We work on a Topic of the Week, and what more relevant than to tackle blogging for writers over a period of weeks?

14.    N is for Newsletters. 
  • Blogging opens an opportunity to start a newsletter. I had been blogging intermittently for years before I signed up for the A to Z Blogging Challenge. Within the first few days, I realized I needed a way for people to sign up to follow my blog. Oh, they could follow my website through RSS, and a few did. They could sign up for my Closer Walk weekly devotions, and some did. But to actually follow my blog every time I posted? 
    • I started a simple newsletter geared only to update readers who want to know when I update the blog, and I created a sign-up form. The list started with just three names; me and two writing friends who were also doing the challenge, but it’s slowly growing. This means I have more contacts with whom to share my news in the future.
  • Newsletters are fun to produce, but they can become cumbersome and difficult to keep up with. If you are simply doing one to notify your readers of a new post, it doesn't need to be long, in fact you must honour your commitment to let them know about the latest post, and not write a full-on newsletter. You soon learn the technique of producing an attractive but simple newsletter that relates to your readers.

15.   O is for Opportunity.

  • Blogging gives you the opportunity to find out how much material you have on a topic. Periodically, I have an Ah-Hah! moment. “I could write a book about that!” But could I? Blogging gives me the opportunity to find out. How much do I actually know about the topic? How much information is available on Google or in books that I own? Will I need personal illustrations and anecdotes? Do I have enough?
  • Blogging offers the opportunity to gather information for a forthcoming project. By asking questions of my readers, I can gain further insight into the subject. So a good way to end a blog post is to ask a question. See if you can encourage interaction. I once wrote a series of articles on International English. In my final post, I asked my readers if any of them had funny stories to share. The result was another post.
  • Blogging can attract attention to your work. I have heard of writers gaining the attention of an agent or a publisher who has read their blog material and offered them the opportunity to write it up as a book or as an article.

 Do you have a topic you feel would make a book? Is there a way you could explore it through some blog articles? Does the idea excite you? Or does it make you nervous? Why? Share with us in a comment below.  

MORE ON THIS TOPIC: 

26 Reasons to blog - part 1: A - C
26 Reasons to blog - part 2: D - G
26 Reasons to blog - part 3: H - K

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer, has brought encouragement and inspiration to a multitude of friends and contacts across the world.

Visit Shirley at her writing home, ShirleyCorder.com where she encourages writers, or at RiseAndSoar.com where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or Facebook.


Sign up to receive a short devotional message (bottom right) from Shirley in your inbox once a week. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Great Books 101 - Ancient to Medieval

Free!

I love that word when it comes to anything, but mostly when I can learn something new.

Hillsdale College is offering a free online course, Great Books 101 - Ancient to Medieval. If you need a refresher course or are unfamiliar with some or all of these classics, consider digging into some writing from our past.

Along with video and audio lectures by Hillsdale's professors, you will find the reading excerpt, a short quiz, and discussion opportunities with fellow students. After a final exam at the end of the course you will receive a certificate of completion.

The books offered are:


Homer, The Iliad

Homer, The Odyssey

Sophocles, Oedipus Rex

Virgil, The Aeneid

The David Story

The Book of Job


St Augustine, Confessions

Dante, Inferno

Chaucer, Canterbury Tales

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


Our minds are like sponges and sometimes they get a bit dried up. When we find the time to keep learning, our minds are refreshed. Who knows where it will take us? A word, a thought, or perspective will expand our knowledge base and creativity. As I have been reading these classics, I have had fresh ideas for my own writing.



I hope you take time to get a little learning in this year and reap the benefits!
~~~

  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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