More Tips to Keep You Writing

January 22, 2016

One of the most important things you should keep in mind is no one else can or will write what you write. The old adage that writers are observers of life underscores that fact. No one else sees the world as you see it because no one else experiences life as you do, thinks about things the way you do, and interprets what they see as you do.

That said, here are some more tips to keep you writing.

  • Write from your heart, in your own style, and make your writing the best you can make it.
  • Understand that everyone who writes isn’t going to get published. Granted, technology offers more publishing options than ever, but you also want to be sure that if you publish (that is, if you make your writing public), your published writing shows you in the best way possible.
  • Equate rejection slips with learning experience. If editors and agents are rejecting you, it could be because they’ve recently published an article on your topic or because they don’t publish or represent the genre you’re querying or any other number of reasons. When you get a rejection, try to figure out why so you can learn from it. Then simply say, “Next,” make any changes you need to, and send to the next name on your list.
  • Remember that publishing is business, not dream fulfillment. Publishers publish books they think readers will buy, so find a need in the reading marketplace and offer to fill that need.
  • Realize that talent doesn’t ensure success. Timing, marketing your book, getting good reviews, etc. are all part of being successful. That’s why some books of lesser quality writing end up as best sellers while other books of stellar quality writing end up in the remainder pile.
  • Know that it’s almost impossible to predict what will sell in the marketplace. Your job as writer is to offer a quality product, then help market it. Readers buy their favorite authors, not their favorite publishers.

I hope these tips help keep you writing because your readers are waiting. Happy writing!

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Sell Your Nonfiction Book By Using Excerpts

January 11, 2016

Look in the personal libraries of many readers and you’ll probably see the majority of space is taken up with nonfiction books. For some reason people tend to share their fiction books with others, but keep their nonfiction books for themselves.

That said, you still need to set your nonfiction book apart from the competition, so here are some tips to help you use excerpts to do just that.

  • Decide on which portion of your book will entice readers to want to take a closer look at your book. Make sure you select a portion that shows your reader why your book differs from others on the same subject.
  • Once you’ve focused on the part of your book you’ll use in your excerpt, create a title that catches the reader’s eye. Then make sure your byline is right below the title. Your byline should match your name as it appears on the book.
  • Then insert your excerpt.
  • After your excerpt, include a short biography of yourself so reader sees your expertise. Explain that this excerpt comes from your book (be sure to give the book’s title, price, publisher, and availability/ordering information).
  • Add your copyright note and the statement, “All rights reserved.” That puts anyone on notice that they need your permission before publishing your work in their media.
  • Distribute the well-designed excerpt handout (with today’s technology, you can make your excerpt look professionally done) anywhere and everywhere that discusses your topic. Conventions, training sessions, speeches, and professional meetings are all possibilities.
  • Other ways to get your excerpts out are when you send sample copies of your book to places you are looking to speak, do book signings, etc. You might also ask your colleagues and professional network members to help you share copies of  your excerpts. Of course family and friends are always possibilities as well.

You wrote your nonfiction book to share information and help others. But with so many books in the marketplace, no one will know about your book unless you tell them. These tips are a fairly inexpensive way to do just that. Happy writing!


Tips to Organize Your Writing Time

January 5, 2016

If there’s one commodity everyone gets equally, it’s time–24 hours every day. No one gets any more nor any less than the next person. The challenge comes in determining how each of us spends our 24 hours. Whether you write part time or full time, it’s good to organize your writing time.

Consider using these tips to help you get the most out of every day.

  • In your word processing program (or with pen in a notebook if you prefer), create a landscape oriented (lengthwise) table. Make one for every week and date the week at the top. Example: “Week Ending __________,” so you can track hours for each week.
  • The first column to the left should be wide and labeled “Project.”
  • The next seven columns should be labeled “Sunday, Monday, Tuesday,” etc. (the days of the week). Use abbreviations is you like since you’re only entering numbers in these columns.
  • The final column should be wide and labeled “Comments,” so you can add comments/reminders, etc.

Once you’ve created your time sheet template, you’re ready to use it and here are some tips for that.

  • In the first column, list each project you actually work on that week. Each project gets its own line so you can enter the hours spent on that project under whichever day you worked on it. For example, you might work one hour on your novel on Monday and one hour researching which periodicals you’re interested in sending article queries to on Tuesday. You’d enter the title of your novel on one line and enter a one under Monday, then enter something like “Query Possibilities” on the next line and enter a one under Tuesday.
  • Be sure you count your research time, your record keeping time, your bookkeeping time, etc. on your time sheet, so you know how much time you spend on your writing career each day.
  • You can get more sophisticated by estimating how much time you intend to spend on each project by simply adding a circled number on the project line. For example, if you intend to work four hours on your novel, add a circled four to that line to remind you. Then you can see how well you estimate how long a project will take and whether you’re staying on track with your time estimate.
  • Track and record hours every day and every week. The old adage about time being money has some truth to it, so see if you’re using your time wisely. If it takes you 15 hours  to research and write an article and you’re paid $100.00 for that article, you’re working for $6.67 per hour. You need to decide if you’re okay with that.

The new year is here and there’s no better time to get organized and make this the best year for writing you’ve ever had. Happy writing!