Showing posts with label platform. Show all posts
Showing posts with label platform. Show all posts

Why Writers Need to Build An Audience

  


By W. Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

At every writer’s conference or group of writers, there is buzz around the word “platform.” Editors and literary agents are searching for authors with a platform or a personal connection to their readers. What’s that about? Many authors believe their task is to write an excellent book and get it to the right publisher. Don’t publishers sell books to bookstores? The questions are good ones and in this article, I want to give you some answers from my decades of writing books for publishers, yet also sitting on the inside of several publishing houses as an acquisitions editor. Admittedly publishing is a complex business and I’ve been studying the various nuisances of it for years (and still learning more every day).

              Writing a Good Book Is Foundational

While I’ve looked at thousands of submissions in my years in publishing, I also have interviewed other acquisitions editors. During one interview, I asked, “How do you know when you find a good submission?”

He said, “Terry, I read the first sentence and if it is a good sentence, I read the next one. If it is a good paragraph, I read the next one. If it is a good page, I read the next one.” You want to start your manuscript with a bang and draw the editor immediately into your writing. Don’t bury your best material over in a later chapter because the editor may not read that far. Good writing in your submission is essential.

Every Writer Needs a Proposal

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need to put the writing energy into creating a proposal. I understand they take lots of work to create. Two of my proposals got six-figure advances from publishers (and I have lengthy stories about what happened with those books—for another time). Your proposal shows you understand the market and your target reader. It includes your game plan about how you are going to reach your audience and sell books. The proposal is an important document for you to write even if you self-publish. I have a free book proposal checklist

The Editor’s Search

I often tell authors that making books is easy but selling books is hard. Over 4,500 new books are published every day (including the self-published books). Yes that is a lot of books and why every author needs to have a plan and ability to reach readers. As editors, we are searching for these types of writers. 

Publishers produce beautiful books and sell them into bookstores (online and brick and mortar). Authors drive readers to those bookstores and sell the books out into the hands of readers. Publishers certainly have an investment in the books they publish but authors need to be even more invested in reaching readers. It’s what many people call building a platform (audience).

Action Is Key

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this process and confused about what action to take. Here’s the key (no matter what you are writing): do something and do it consistently day after day. Here are some basic facts about this process:

• Everyone starts small and builds

• Your personal email list is more important than your social media audience

• You should focus on what you can control (email list) instead of rented media in places like Twitter or Facebook (which you don’t own or control)

• It takes hard work for every writer but you need to do this work

• There are many different ways to build your audience. Pick one or two and see what works best for your writing.

• If the process were simple everyone would succeed (sell many books),

• Persistence and consistency are important for every writer.

Every editor and agent is actively looking for the right author who is building their connections to readers and has learned how to sell books. I’ve been in some of the top literary agencies and publishers in the nation. From their questions, I know they are actively looking for these authors—no matter what how they respond to your pitches. Be encouraged and keep growing in your craft (ability to write) and your knowledge about your readers and the market. It doesn’t happen overnight but can happen if you continue to work at it. 

Tweetable:

Why Do Writers Need to Build An Audience? Isn’t that what publishers do? Get the details from prolific writer and editor Terry Whalin. (Click-To-Tweet)

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 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.

Why I’m Still Blogging (and You Should too)


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

“As an acquisitions editor, you should not be blogging,” one of my long-term writer friends told me in 2008. I worked inside a well-known publisher and she believed a blog was a complete waste of my time.  I was an early adapter to the blogging trend.  I ignored her advice and I’m still blogging for many different reasons. Isn’t blogging out of step? Many writers are still blogging regularly including my long-term friend, Jerry B. Jenkins, who has been on the New York Times list 21 times. We talk about blogging some in this Master Class interview (follow the link). In this article I will help you understand why you should be blogging too.

Pick Your Audience and Focus for Every Entry

Before you post your first blog article, you need to determine your audience or readers. Just like no book is for everyone, no blog is for every reader. You can’t be all things to all readers and the focus of your blog will be critical to drawing returning readers. For example, my blog is called The Writing Life because each entry (now over 1,600 of them) are focused on various aspects of my life in publishing. I tell personal stories, point out resources and things that I’m learning. It is not just books but magazine and other aspects of the publishing business. My focus is broad enough to allow a great deal of variety. It never grows old to me (so I abandon my blog—which many people do) and I have an endless supply of material. These aspects are foundational and critical when you start blogging. Also determine how frequently you can post. If you post once a month, that pace is too infrequent for drawing readers. If you post daily, the pace may be too consuming—and you will possibly give up. I decided to blog once a week and I post on the same day every week.  Throughout each week, I have numerous ideas and I keep track of these ideas (develop your own system to capture them) and they become articles.

Some people organize a team of contributors on a topic and rotate article. Others (like me) post my own blog articles. 

Multiple Reasons to Blog 

From my view, there are multiple reasons to regularly blog:

Consistency. Blogging is an easy way to build a consistent writing habit. You can also mentor and help many others with your blog entries.

Platform and influence. Literary agents and publishers are looking for writers (despite their form rejection letters). Your blog is part of your platform, a way to show your writing skills and influence others.

A place to store your various ideas. Articles for my blog are made quickly and random topics. A number of years ago, I took those random entries and organized them into a book. Within publishing we call this process a Blook. My Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams originally started as blog entries.

A place to repurpose my ideas. When I need a blog article for someone else, I often turn to my blog with a wealth of material. In a short amount of time I can repurpose and rewrite a blog entry for these needs.

A way to make money. It’s not my first reason to blog but I make money from my blog. Through blogging, I’ve found authors that publish through Morgan James. I’ve made affiliate income from my blog and much more. I’ve even got a risk-free eBook called The 31 Day Guide to Blogging for Bucks (follow the link) for more insights on this topic.

Practical Lessons for Your Blog

Here are several practical lessons I’ve learned for your blog

--Get a header or look to your blog which people will recognize when they go to it. It doesn’t have to be complicated but should be distinctly your look. You can use a template or get help from someone at Fiverr.com but do invest this energy into the appearance.

--Add a search tool into your blog. I picked up mine from google but look for a simple HTML addition that you can add to help your readers. For The Writing Life, my search tool is in the right hand column (scroll down to find it). I use this search tool often when I’m looking for something among my many entries.

--Always include a royalty-free image with each blog entry. You can’t use just any image you find but should get it from a royalty-free source (check this link for some resources). The image gives others an easy way to pass on your articles and give you additional readers.

--Add a subscription tool to your blog. I use Feedblitz and have about 500 people who receive any update to my blog through their email. Use this link to subscribe to my blog.

--Add a ClickToTweet for every entry. There are other tools but I use ClickToTweet and from monitoring my social media, I know a number of people use this tool. Follow this link to learn how to install it.  Make it easy for people to share your articles.

A key part of the writing life is a word I don’t really like but actively do: discipline or the discipline of consistently writing. A blog is an important part of this process for me.

Tweetable:  

Are blogs still relevant? This prolific writer and editor tells why he is stillblogging (and you should too). Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)

________________________________________

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 Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Every Writer Must Build An Audience


By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin)  

At every writer’s conference or group of writers, there is buzz around the word “platform.” Editors and literary agents are searching for authors with a platform or a personal connection to their readers. What’s that about? Many authors believe their task is to write an excellent book and get it to the right publisher. Don’t publishers sell books to bookstores? The questions are good ones and in this article, I want to give you some answers from my decades of writing books for publishers, yet also sitting on the inside of several publishing houses as an acquisitions editor. Admittedly publishing is a complex business and I’ve been studying the various nuisances of it for years (and still learning more every day).

Writing a Good Book Is Foundational

While I’ve looked at thousands of submissions in my years in publishing, I also have interviewed other acquisitions editors. During one interview, I asked, “How do you know when you find a good submission?”

He said, “Terry, I read the first sentence and if it is a good sentence, I read the next one. If it is a good paragraph, I read the next one. If it is a good page, I read the next one.” You want to start your manuscript with a bang and draw the editor immediately into your writing. Don’t bury your best material over in a later chapter because the editor may not read that far. Good writing in your submission is essential.

Every Writer Needs a Proposal 

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need to put the writing energy into creating a proposal. I understand they take lots of work to create. Two of my proposals got six-figure advances from publishers (and I have lengthy stories about what happened with those books—for another time). Your proposal shows you understand the market and your target reader. It includes your game plan about how you are going to reach your audience and sell books. The proposal is an important document for you to write even if you self-publish. I have a free book proposal checklist at: https://terrylinks.com/bookcheck 

The Editor’s Search

I often tell authors that making books is easy but selling books is hard. Over 4,500 new books are published every day (including the self-published books). Yes that is a lot of books and why every author needs to have a plan and ability to reach readers. As editors, we are searching for these types of writers.

Publishers produce beautiful books and sell them into bookstores (online and brick and mortar). Authors drive readers to those bookstores and sell the books out into the hands of readers. Publishers certainly have an investment in the books they publish but authors need to be even more invested in reaching readers. It’s what many people call building a platform (audience).

Action Is Key

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with this process and confused about what action to take. Here’s the key (no matter what you are writing): do something and do it consistently day after day. Here are some basic facts about this process: 

*   Everyone starts small and builds
*   Your personal email list is more important than your social media audience
*  You should focus on what you can control (email list) instead of rented media in places like Twitter or Facebook (which you don’t own or control)
*  It takes hard work for every writer but you need to do this work
*   There are many different ways to build your audience. Pick one or two and see what works best for your writing.
*   If the process were simple everyone would succeed (sell many books),
*   Persistence and consistency are important for every writer.

Every editor and agent is actively looking for the right author who is building their connections to readers and has learned how to sell books. I’ve been in some of the top literary agencies and publishers in the nation. From their questions, I know they are actively looking for these authors—no matter what how they respond to your pitches. Be encouraged and keep growing in your craft (ability to write) and your knowledge about your readers and the market. It doesn’t happen overnight but can happen if you continue to work at it.

Tweetable: 

WhyDo Writers Need to Build An Audience? Isn’t that what publishers do? Get thedetails here. #writingtip #pubtip (ClickToTweet)

________________________________________

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 Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

How to Get a Wealth of Social Media Content


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Where do you get your content for your social media? Is it all your own material or does it come from others?

People in publishing are looking for writers with excellent content. I’ve been on twitter since 2008 and tweeted over 58,000 times. My following has grown from zero (no followers) to over 190,000. How in the world do I determine what to have on my social media feeds and why do I never run out of new content?

Haphazard and rare use of social media never works. To develop a following, you need to be putting out good and consistent content. I use a free tool Hootsuite to schedule my tweets throughout the day. Each communication is focused on my audience and readers (who are writers or people interested in publishing). Your target audience will be different but you must have a specific target.

Collect content and images. I subscribe to a number of blogs and newsletters who are in my target market I read these blogs and learn from them. Also I use these articles as content for my social media. As I find each one, I take a few minutes each day and add them to my Hootsuite releases for the days ahead. I keep the title of the article and attach the image from the article (since images get more social media attention).

When it comes to my tweets, I’ve developed my own structure for my daily game plan for my posts. Yours will be different but take the time to develop a structure. With this structure in place, your search for content is focused and deliberate. For example, I begin each day with a quotation and an image (often of the person quoted). Many people love these quotes so they are shared and retweeted. 

At the beginning and the end of the day,  I will point to my own resources such as blog posts (over 1500 posts in my blog) or free teleseminars or other personal resources. I keep a small plain text file with these posts and recycle them on a regular basis. In the middle of the day, I have new content from the articles and blogs and newsletters that I regularly read. I do not automatically take every post from these newsletters. With each one, I’m focused on my audience and asking,” Is this material a good fit for my reader?” If the answer is no, then I do not include it.

From my experience, there is an abundance of resources to add to your social media feeds. It’s part of the reason I tweet at least 12 times a day. It continues to draw new readers and older readers.

The consistency and quality will draw people to your work. Yes this is platform building 101 but necessary for every author. If you need more information about platform building, then get my free Ebook on the topic.

As you have a wealth of social media content, the consistent effort is important and will pay off for you. You don't have to be on every social media channel. Pick one or two and major on that particular channel.

Tweetable:

Follow these tips to have a wealth of social media content. (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

How To Catch An Editor's Attention





By W. Terry Whalin

Do you feel like you are pitching your book projects into a black hole with little or no response? As a writer and now an editor in the publishing business, I'm aware of my own responsibility to be communicating with others via email or phone. 

As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. This simple act distinguishes us from others which never respond. Then I follow-up with a detailed conversation on the phone to see if their book idea is a good fit for our publishing program. Sometimes the concept is a fit and other times it does not and I wish the author well—but at least they caught my attention and were heard.

Being an acquisitions editor or a literary agent is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. A lot of information is coming my direction. My task is to sort through it and find the best authors and best submissions for our publisher. Some publishing insiders have estimated that at any given time there are over a million ideas in circulation. Each of us have a limited amount of time to read and respond to your pitch. 

Today I want to give you four ways to catch an editor's attention with your book.

1. Craft An Excellent Book Proposal. During the course of my years in publishing, I've written two book proposals which received a six-figure advance. As an editor, I was frustrated with the missing information inside the pitches and proposals I received. 


To help writers be more successful at their submissions and to help the industry receive better material, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. The book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews and has helped writers find an agent, get a large advance and much more. Yet don't get it on Amazon. In recent months I purchased all the remaining copies, slashed the price from $15 to $8 and created a series of extra bonuses. Get the book directly from me with the link above. No matter what type of book you are writing and even if you are going to self-publish, you need a business plan and a proposal.

2. Be An Expert in Your Target Market. Whatever you are writing, publishing professionals are looking for experts. Do you speak on your topic? Do you write for magazines on this topic? Do you blog or Tweet or have other connections to show that you are an expert. If not, begin today because it will make a difference.


3.  Be Building Your Platform. Editors and agents are looking for authors who can reach their readers. Inside publishing, this connection is called a platform. The truth is everyone begins with a small platform. Their email list is small and their number of Twitter followers is small—but with consistent work, you can build your presence.  Check out my free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas For Every Author, and then apply these ideas to your writing life.

4. Be Persistent. As a writer, keep growing and learning your craft but also continue knocking on doors and trying new venues and making new connections. As the author, you have the greatest passion for your book and your topic. You never know which door or opportunity will be the tipping point for your own success—especially if you aren't knocking.

From my experience, there are no overnight successes in publishing. There are talented writers who have been in the trenches writing to find the right opportunity. It's out there for you but only if you are continually looking for it. If I can help you in this journey, let me know.

Tweetable:

Four Keys for Every Author or Would-Be Author from An Editor (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. A former magazine editor, Terry has written for more than 50 publications. His blog on The Writing Life has over 1300 entries. He lives in Colorado. You can follow Terry on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/terrywhalin.

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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.

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Honoring Your Voice

As a writer, your voice is one of your most powerful assets. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, novels, screenplays, marketing copy, y...