Showing posts with label proposal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label proposal. Show all posts

Why First Impressions Matter


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

As an editor, it is no exaggeration to say I’ve reviewed thousands of submissions during my years in publishing. As a writer, you have one opportunity to make a good first impression. While it may sound simplistic to say it, your impression is made in a matter of seconds. A key piece of advice is to lead with your strongest material and work hard on the subject line of your email, the first sentence and paragraph of your submission and all of the overall details.

Several years ago, I interviewed another acquisitions editor and asked him how he knows if he’s found a good submission. He said, “Terry, I read the title and if it is a good title, I read the first sentence. If it is a good sentence, I read the first paragraph. If it is a good paragraph, I read the first page. If it is a good page, I read the next page…” I hope this helps you see why you have seconds in this important process. The typical editor or agent reviews many pitches and can easily tell a good one. Don’t bury your good information on page five or six because they may not reach it.

How To Make A Good Impression

While these guidelines may be common sense, you’d be surprised how often writers make poor impressions when they neglect the basics. Make sure your pitch is well-crafted and appropriate to that person or editor. Use the right name. Personalize the pitch and don’t write “Dear Sir” or “Editor/Agent” which looks like it went to thousands of people at the same time—whether it did or not.

Check and double check to make sure all of the details are there. For example, at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. We receive over 5,000 submissions a year and only publish about 200 books so that is a lot of physical correspondence. If your address is not on your pitch, then I have to ask for it in order to get your submission into our internal system. If you include your address from the beginning, then you eliminate one extra time-consuming email I have to send to you.

Take a few minutes and make one final check of their publishing guidelines before you send your submission. Re-read the pitch and make any final adjustments.

Insights for Writers

Producing an excellent book proposal or query letter is an acquired skill—something you have to learn. Yet every writer knows these tools are a critical part of the publishing industry. I understand excellent book proposals require a great deal of energy. I’ve written two proposals which received six-figure advances from traditional publishers. My Book Proposals That Sell has over 150 Five Star reviews. I have a free book proposal checklist to give you some ideas. (Follow the link). Also, I have a free teleseminar at: AskAboutProposals.com. Finally, I created an online course with detailed information at: WriteABookProposal.com.

Remember Your Audience: Editors and Agents

While the process takes some work and planning, I’ve been inside some of the top literary agencies and publishers’ offices in New York City. Each of these professionals is actively looking for the next bestseller—even if they don’t respond or send you a form rejection. Every writer (whether brand new or much published) has to pitch to get a book deal. Learn the process and pitch with excellence which is spotted in seconds.

Tweetable: 

How do you seize your one opportunity? This prolific writer and editor provides 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.

I'm Tired Of Pitching

 

By W. Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

Can you identify with my title for this article? Whether you are just starting in publishing or have been doing it for years, you may be tired of pitching. Yet pitching is a reality into the fiber of every aspect of publishing. If I’m honest, some days I don’t want to pitch but after a long time in this business I’ve learned the hard way that if I don’t pitch then nothing happens.

For example, I’ve been teaching at a large writers’ conference almost every year for decades. Last year I participated in the event as an editor, but I did not teach a workshop or single session. As I thought about it, I understood why I wasn’t a part of the teaching instructors.  I did not pitch any workshops (new or old) to the conference director. Other people did pitch possible workshops and their sessions filled the schedule.

Every aspect of publishing involves pitching. To get an agent, you have to make a connection with them at a conference or pitch a book or book proposal that captures their attention. It’s the same for a publishing house. You can’t get a book deal without some sort of pitch that shows why you are the unique person to write and publish this particular book.

Pitching is not just for agents and editors; it is a critical part of the process for magazine work as well. You will have to learn to write a query letter, or a one-page pitch targeted to that publication and get the editor’s attention and request for you to submit your article.

When it comes to marketing and selling your book, it also involves—yes pitching. Radio station producers, podcasts hosts, bloggers for guest blogging articles and even writing for local or national newspapers—each aspect involves learning the specialized steps to catch their attention and get on their show or podcast or publication.

And when it comes to reaching readers, you have to pitch something to them that they want so they will join your email list (and then stay on your email list and not unsubscribe). To get the gig, every author has to learn to pitch.

There are a few exceptions to my statements about pitching. You can hire a publicist (after you get their attention (pitch). Then this publicist will do the pitching and scheduling of interviews for you. Or maybe you are invited to become a regular columnist for a publication. Even these regular gigs can come to a sudden end. For one well-known publication in one issue, they announced I was their book review columnist—then the editors abandoned the column with their next issue. Change is one of the consistent elements of publishing. One day you are up and the next day you are down—but you still have to continue pitching.

I may be tired of pitching but if I want to continue to be an active part of the publishing community, I’m going to continue to pitch. It’s like a teacher tired of teaching. Each of us need to understand it’s part of the fiber of this business and work every day to perfect our pitch and open more doors of opportunity. Every writer has a wide-open door of opportunity, but you have to take action and knock on the right door—which will take some effort and work but is definitely possible.

What steps do you take if you are tired of pitching? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

This prolific writer and editor is tired of pitching. He explains how pitching is in the fiber of every aspect of publishing so he will continue to pitch. Learn 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 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.

Five Keys for Writers to Profit from a Conference


By W. Terry Whalin

I've been attending writer's conferences for many years. Some times I attend for the training. Other times I'm invited to speak and when I have a spare moment, I attend the workshops and sessions of other speakers. Normally my workshop is recorded and I get a copy of the recording. At a recent writers' conference, they gave the faculty the opportunity to get the recordings for the entire conference (over 40 sessions). I downloaded everything on a flash drive and look forward to listening to these sessions.

Some people wonder how I’ve published in more than 50 print magazines and written more than 60 books with a variety of types and age groups. While I may not be the best writer in the room, I am one of the most consistent. If I pitch an idea and an editor says something like, “Sounds good. Send it to me.” I will make a little note, then go home, write the article or book and send it. Yes you have to write what the editor wants and many writers do not want to write what the editor is requesting. Overall I’ve found such a simple strategy works.

I understand to attend a conference is an investment of money, time and energy. In this article, I want to highlight five ways writers can profit from a conference.

1. Listen for opportunities, and then take action. For example, one editor I met told me about a forthcoming series of Bible studies that his publisher will be doing. In the past, I’ve written Bible studies  and enjoy this type of writing. Because I heard about the opportunity, I emailed this editor and affirmed my interest in the project. The editor was grateful for my interest and said at the right time he would be in touch. This type of follow-up work leads to additional writing opportunities. You have to be listening for them and take action.

Another editor at the conference has worked on a publication that I’ve never written for. It has a large circulation and I wanted to write for this publication for the exposure as much as a new writing credit. I’ve emailed the editor and we are corresponding about some ideas which I believe will lead to an assignment and eventually publication. There are numerous opportunities at these conferences—if you listen for them.

2. Take time to prepare in advance before the event. Study the faculty and see what they publish and then write pitches and book proposals. Most publications have writer’s guidelines and other information easily available online. At a recent conference, several writers brought flash drives with the electronic copy of their material. I appreciated the quick response from these writers and it moved their submission to the top of my stack. I put their material into our internal system and moved it forward through the consideration process. In one case I’ve already turned in a writer’s project to my publication board and I’m hoping to get a contract for this author in a few weeks. The germ of this activity was her arrival at the conference prepared for her meetings. You can learn and mirror such actions when you attend an event.

3. Pick up the free copies of the publications and their guidelines at the conference. These publications are looking for freelance writers. You have to pick up the publications, read the guidelines then make your pitch or query or follow-through. When someone mentions an interest in your material, make sure you exchange business cards with them. Then when you get home, send them an email and follow-up.

4. Exchange business cards with editors and other professionals during the conference. You must bring plenty of business cards to the event. I met many people and came home with a large stack of business cards. I’ve been following up with writers and encouraging them to send me their proposal and/or manuscript. Yet few of them have reached out to me—and this type of situation is typical from my experience. If you reach out to the editor and take action, your actions will receive positive attention and you will get publishing opportunities
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5. One of the reasons to attend a conference is to learn a new skill or a new area of the writing world.  Are you learning how to write fiction or a magazine article or tap a new social network? A variety of skills are taught at conferences. It’s easy to put away the notes and never look at them again. The writers who get published take a different course of action. They review the notes and apply it to their writing life.

As writers we are continually learning and growing in our craft. A conference can be a huge growth area if you take action and follow-up.

Have I given you some ideas? If so, let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

Here’s Five Keys for Writers to Profit from a conference. (Click to Tweet)

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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 Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success.  He lives in Colorado and has over 220,000 twitter followers.  
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