Showing posts with label relationships. Show all posts
Showing posts with label relationships. Show all posts

Build A Body of Work


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Have you had golden moments of conversation which stick with you and your writing life for years? These may happen late at night during a writer’s conference or maybe in the car with someone on the way to a conference? During my decades in this business, I’ve had amazing opportunities and had numerous special conversations. 

Years ago, I was on the faculty of an East Coast writer’s conference and had several hours in a van to meet and get acquainted with a literary agent. It was early in my writing career, and he asked me, “What are you doing to build a body of work?” I’d never heard the term “body of work.” As we talked, I understood this agent was probing me for a long-term game plan in the writing world. At that time, I didn’t have a long-term plan and had written for a few magazines and published a couple of books. 

As writers, I find most of us are focused on publishing (or promoting) a single book or writing for a magazine. We are not thinking about building a body of work. This agent and I discussed our mutual friend, Jerry B. Jenkins who has written a variety of types of books but also published in print magazines. To build a body of work, it is important to intentionally be diverse. For example, I’ve written adult books but also children’s books. I’ve written for adult print magazines, but I also wrote a cover story for Clubhouse, a children’s magazine with Focus on the Family.

Early in my writing life, I began writing profiles of different bestselling authors. Some of my close writer friends questioned me about why I was doing this type of writing. I ignored the questions and continued writing these types of articles. I’ve interviewed over 150 bestselling authors and learned much more from each interview than I could possibly include in a 1200-to-1500-word article. I’m one of the few journalists who has interviewed Chuck Swindoll. Chuck told me, “There are no heroes in the Body of Christ. We are all like a bunch of guys in the back of a pick-up truck trying to get our stuff together.” Each one of these interviews brought great opportunity and helped me build my body of work. On another occasion, I was on the back lot of Disney Animation interviewing Glen Keane when he was drawing Beast in the film, Beauty and the Beast

For you to build a body of work, you will have to learn some key skills like how to write a query letter and how to write a book proposal.  When you learn the skill of writing these specialized tools, you can use them many times to pitch the editor, get an assignment then complete the writing on their deadline. When you are building a body of work as you are published more frequently, your reputation among the editors will increase which opens more doors and opportunities for your writing. 

The process of building a body of work doesn’t happen overnight but it is something every writer can do with their writing. What steps are you going to take to build a body of work?

Tweetable: 

Are you building a body of work? This prolific writer and editor encourages authors to take a long view in their writing life. Learn 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.

Every Writer Needs A Safety Net


By Terry Whalin 
@terrywhalin

Every summer, Peru, Indiana has a local circus to celebrate the history of the town. Students train all year for these performances. That summer one student walked the high wire on stilts. Each time the crowd gasped because he performed without a safety net. As an intern at the Peru Daily Tribune, I wrote most of the material in the annual circus edition.

As writers, I know the importance of having a safety net and in this article, I want to give you several reasons for this added protection. Because of my role as an editor, I’ve met numerous writers at conferences. I recall one writer boldly telling me that she had quit her day job and was writing her novel full-time. Yes, she was all-in for the publishing world—and I only listened but recognized her potential danger and folly.

Publishing Is Unpredictable

This week a New York Times bestselling novelist was telling me about how several of her publishers have gone out of business. No one could have predicted the challenges to the supply chain or a worldwide pandemic or many other factors inside publishing. There are many decision points where despite your best intentions, the projections for book sales do not happen.

Life Is Unpredictable

While it happened decades ago, I clearly recall the details. I had been out to lunch with a major Christian magazine editor and was telling her that my publishing company was “part of a revolution.” A few hours later, I sat at a conference table with my editorial director, and he began, “I’ve got to let you go.”  I’ve faced unexpected job changes, divorce, illness, death of a family member and even a costly lawsuit. No one has a crystal ball to forecast the events in our future. As a Christian, I understand God has numbered our days and knows the shortness of our lives.

How to Keep Moving Forward

While publishing and life can be unpredictable, I want to give you several action steps to take to help your writing life to continue to move ahead.

1.  Don’t quit your day job. Many well-known authors have written in their off times and kept their day jobs. Several years ago, the New York Public Library published an article about 10 Famous Writers who kept their day jobs. I encourage you to read this article and learn about authors like Kurt Vonnegut and Margaret Atwood. These authors show us the value of their day jobs and how they continued publishing and writing.  

2. Diversify Your Writing. There are many ways to get published and when one aspect slows or folds, you can tackle another type of writing. In the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. I have a fairly extensive list of various types of writing. Follow this link to download the chapter.

3. Keep working to expand your personal network and relationships and look for the open doors. Who you know is almost as important in publishing as what you know. I continue to expand my connections with editors, agents and others. As you help them, they will help you. You never know when a relationship from the past can become an important one. 

While publishing has challenges there are also many opportunities—if you are actively looking for the right one. Make your plans and get knocking on those doors to see which one will open for your writing. It’s the active role I’m taking for my own safety net.   

Tweetable

Do you have a writer’s safety net? This prolific writer and editor details the reasons every writer needs a safety net. (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.

The Writing Life Details Are Important


By W. Terry Whalin

Let me begin with good news. Every writer can learn the skill of handling the details. Some of us are only focused on the big picture with our writing. We are determined to complete a particular book or magazine article and writing on it every day to meet this goal. Yet the craft of your words and storytelling is important. Are you sending it to the right editor? Are you using the correct spelling of that editor's name? The details matter.


A while ago, I purchased all of the remaining copies of Book Proposals That Sell. With over 130 Five Star reviews and great feedback about this book over the years, I know it has helped many writers to succeed in the world of publishing—no matter what type of book you write. I wrote this book from my passion as a frustrated acquisitions editor to help writers send better submissions. If you don't have a copy, it has never been so inexpensive and available only from me. Follow the link to learn more details.

As a part of this effort, I purchased a website, wrote the words for that website, created special bonuses and have been telling others about this effort through emails, articles and twitter. In the process of setting up this launch, I created five emails on autoresponders. These autoresponders contained the bonus items for those who purchased the book.

During this creation process, I received an email from one of these people who purchased Book Proposals That Sell. He had not received these bonus item emails. The email clued me that something was wrong some place in the process. I investigated my shopping cart and learned that I neglected to click one button in one place. From working with computers for years, I've learned one simple truth: the computer only does what you tell it to do.  I had skipped one important detail and no one got their bonus items. Talk about embarrassing! To straighten it out, one by one, I sent all five bonus items via email to each individual. Now that my shopping cart is fixed, the process of sending these bonuses is automated.

There are several lessons for you from my experience:

1. The details are essential. As writers, you ignore them at your own peril. Your submissions will not hit the target nor get results if you do not work at the details.

2. Listen to your audience. When they tell you something, spring into action or make adjustments.

3. Deliver on your promises. Your word and integrity are important. And if something goes wrong, apologize (everyone is human) and then fix it as soon as possible.

4. Work hard to maintain and keep your relationships. Years ago, I heard John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book say, “Selling books is all about building relationships.” See the truth in this statement?

Whatever you are writing or promoting, the relationship is critical and the details of your writing life are important.

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing and the author of more than 60 books including Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success (available exclusively through this website with bonuses even though this book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews). He blogs about The Writing Life and lives in Colorado and has over 200,000 twitter followers.

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Why are the details of your writing life important? Here's four practical lessons. (ClickToTweet)

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