Getting Published Now-2-Marketing Tips 06/29 by VoARadio | Blog Talk Radio

Getting Published Now-2-Marketing Tips 06/29 by VoARadio | Blog Talk Radio.

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Ask the Pro: Literary Agent Adriana Dominguez Discuses Queries and More

Adriana Dominguez has nearly 15 years of experience in publishing, most recently serving as executive editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books before joining Full Circle Literary in 2009. She is interested in representing kids’ picture books, middle-grade novels, young adult novels, adult literary fiction, women’s fiction and historical fiction, in addition to the following nonfiction categories: multicultural, pop culture, how-to and women’s interest. For submission guidelines, visit fullcircleliterary.com/Submissions.htm.

WHAT DISTINGUISHES HER AGENCY: Full service. … We go beyond simply accepting a manuscript and attempting to sell it. In my case, I use my editorial skills to produce a manuscript that is polished and that I will be proud to present to publishers. Once a manuscript is sold, our agency continues to work with authors and publishers in the areas of marketing, publicity, sales and beyond.

SEEKING: I am a very visual person and an art lover, so on the children’s side, I am searching for a fantastic author/illustrator, or illustrator ready to take a leap into writing! For picture books, I am mostly seeking funny and/or character-driven stories, and multicultural books that take us into the next millennium. I enjoy reading well-written middle-grade novels immensely, and would love to get some for girls or boys that offer unique, strong and/or funny voices. For young adults, I seek literary, contemporary, multicultural and dystopian novels that place characters in unusual and/or thought-provoking situations. I am not looking for vampire stories, fantasy or science fiction. I am a stickler for strong plots, and just adore twists!

MOST QUERIES ARE … too long. My personal preference is a three- to four-paragraph query organized thusly: one short paragraph that tells me why the writer chose to go with me and/or our agency (I like it when folks do their homework); one or two paragraphs that succinctly describe the project and highlight its potential in the marketplace (again, homework!); and a final paragraph that tells me about the author’s background, education, credits and platform when applicable.

MOST MANUSCRIPTS ARE … never finished. How else would a former editor answer that question? By this, I mean that despite the fact that I work very hard with authors to produce a final manuscript to share with publishers, I always remind them that their editors will have their own visions for those manuscripts, and that it is very important that author and editor together develop the kind of partnership that will result in the best possible book both are able to produce.

ON SOCIAL MEDIA: I like it when an author is Internet savvy. The future of books is digital, so it is a good idea to begin to use that medium as much as possible for promotional purposes now, and to join the pioneers of this movement who are scheduling blog tours, updating websites and connecting with others in and out of the writing community via the Internet. Perhaps most importantly, I think that those online efforts don’t go unnoticed by publishers!

3 Built-In Book Marketing Tips

3 Built-In Book Marketing Tips

 

I’ve got a little secret to share. What if I told you that marketing and selling your books might be a lot easier than you think? You may not believe me, but here’s the secret. Sometimes people don’t need much convincing to buy a book. Sometimes they need only one little reason, and nothing more.

For example, how many times have you ever waited to buy a book until you could stop by a library or bookstore and read through half of the chapters first? Probably never. How many times have you ever bought a book without reading one page of it? Probably a lot. I bet you’ve even bought a book without ever holding it in your hands. That’s because you heard the author speak about it at an event or got a word-of-mouth recommendation that drove you to make the purchase online.

Many people will buy a book without ever seeing the content. They just need one convincing reason to buy. As an author, you can create these persuasive reasons that tip the buying scale in your favor. What’s the trick? Develop “built-in book marketing tools,” which are nuggets of content designed to spike reader interest that any author, including fiction, can deliberately place into a manuscript. How do you create an effective book marketing tool? Follow these three guidelines:

1. A built-in book marketing tool is a concise segment of content that provides the reader with immediate value – and I stress the word “immediate.” The user must receive direct benefit in that moment to capture his or her interest. Benefits could include learning something new, solving a problem, getting behind-the-scenes access, or enjoying humor.

2. A built-in book marketing tool must consist of specific content that the reader can appreciate as-is. The tool must be self-contained and able to provide value independent of the book itself. You don’t want your marketing tool to require another step in order for the reader to experience value, or they’ll think you’re pulling a bait-and-switch. Thus your tool won’t create the intended result to drive sales. Make sure the tool can impress people on its own.

3. A built-in book marketing tool should be written in a format that’s easy for readers to forward to others. You insert the content into your manuscript. But you will get greater response if you also turn the same tool into a separate promotional piece outside of your book, such as a handout, website quiz, free article, checklist, appendix, photo section, resource guide, etc. When you put these tools in a portable format, you enable people to spread word of mouth and drive sales.

Revolver Ocelot (Ode to Lee Van Cleef)

Nudged Sketches of Flighty Things

Poetry of John E.WordSlinger

Revolver Ocelot (Ode to Lee Van Cleef)

Bang

Revolver Ocelot (Ode to Lee Van Cleef)

No one had a way as he when he dismounted his horse.

When he was paid, he seen the job through. They say he was Gods gun far and wide.

There was no where anyone can hide. All can be placed in tombstone territory.

He was the classic villain, with a likable trait. The illusion, a good guy with a dark side.

A look meaning death before he’d draw. The man, and the gun, named Angel eyes,

spooked all who saw. Double deals back then spun many wagon wheels.

The wind howl’d, and the rain wash’d away the blood, but never his name.

He boarded a train to Tucumcari, with his bible, and horse to ride.

© 2010 John E.WordSlinger

Instant Writing Motivation

Instant writing motivation

Drawn largely from recent research in neurology and psychology, here are 20 techniques to get you going

By Luc Reid
Published: March 23, 2012

Where do writing motivation problems come from, and how can we overcome them? In recent years, there has been a movement in psychology to understand what happens in our brains when things are going well. Research in neurology, cognitive psychology, positive psychology, strengths psychology and related areas has brought new insights into the workings of happiness, well-being and motivation. Here are 20 techniques, drawn largely from this body of new research, that can help get us writing on days when the words won’t flow.
When you find a tactic that appeals to you, it’s ideal to use it several times over a week or so, even if it’s not strictly necessary every time. This helps your brain fix the information in long-term memory and makes the new behavior readily available for use.
1. Get a little exercise. What does exercise have to do with motivation? Let us count the ways. It stimulates brain chemicals that improve mood, relieves stress and muscle tension, boosts confidence, improves the quality of sleep, fights anxiety and depression, increases endurance for both physical and mental activities, aids relaxation, and sometimes provides an opportunity to think without being interrupted. While some of these benefits show up over time, many of them are immediate.
2. Repair your ideas. Cognitive psychology offers a process we could call “idea repair” (the technical term is cognitive restructuring) that addresses immediate emotional obstacles like guilt, frustration and anxiety. Idea repair means identifying misleading thoughts in our ongoing internal commentary and replacing them with more rational substitutes. A simple example: “I should be writing right now” becomes “If I choose to write now, I’ll be glad I did later on.” Some good books on the subject include Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper’s classic A Guide to Rational Living and David D. Burns’ popular Feeling Good. You can find more resources on my website at lucreid.com/idearepair.
3. Pretend you’re finished. Imagine for a moment that you’ve completed the piece and that it’s time to write a query or cover letter for it. Experience the satisfaction of completing the work and bask in it long enough to create good feelings and enthusiasm about what you’re writing. You can then go back and use that enthusiasm to write.
4. Track your word counts. This tallying provides immediate feedback and a sense of how productive you’re being over time. It also lets you try for personal records—for instance, most words written in a day or a week. Try to track your word counts daily, even if you’re writing down a lot of zeros. This maintains focus on your writing goals and makes your word-count log a habit rather than something you forget about the next time you go a week between writing sessions. Logging word counts doesn’t reward activities like editing and sending out queries or submissions, but if the log approach works well for you, it’s easy to find ways to track these other kinds of writing work, too.
5. Visualize. Picture the kinds of inspiring writerly situations you’d like to see come up in the future, such as having a finished manuscript in hand, doing a book signing, or getting a positive review. As with pretending you’re finished, this kind of visualization creates positive feelings about writing that can be harnessed to get words on the page.
6. Converse. Find a supportive friend or colleague who’s willing to talk about your project with you. Someone who’s genuinely interested in your subject matter can provide moral support, allay fears, recommend new ways to fix problems, suggest new perspectives, and rekindle enthusiasm.
7. Bypass the mental debate. We sometimes spend an amazing amount of effort talking ourselves out of writing. Instead of saying “I’m too tired to write” or “Shouldn’t I dust the blinds?” we can go directly to “Where did I leave off last time?” A conscious decision not to deliberate makes it possible to focus on the simple steps of starting the task without going through a decision process.
8. Take a short walk. Based on multiple studies, it seems that a brief walk in a natural setting can cause a measurable improvement in mood and energy level. If it’s an option in your location, a pleasant walk is one of the easiest ways to prepare your brain to write.
9. Revisit your reasons. Why did you decide to write the piece in the first place? What attracted you to the idea? Reconnecting with the reasons you chose to take the project on can propel you forward. Alternatively, this thought process can also make it clear when your writing really isn’t fulfilling your needs. If you don’t make it a habit, sometimes it can help to set aside a tough project and start something more inspiring.
10. Create or ignore an outline. Different writing approaches work for different writers and different projects. If you usually write off the cuff, try writing a rough outline. If you outline and the outline is cramping your style, try ignoring it. The goal is to see your project from a new vantage point, which offers a different way forward.
11. Write about writing. Because there are so many possible obstacles to writing, when one presents itself it can be efficient and enlightening to explore what’s holding you back by writing down your thoughts. Do you have reservations about what you’ve written so far? Are you worried that the finished product won’t succeed? Are you distracted by other obligations? A written investigation can help identify the reasons for trouble. It also provides a good medium in which to work out a solution.
12. Go somewhere else. Interruptions, conflicting obligations, entertainment options and other external distractions are often linked to your location. If you’re getting distracted or interrupted, try moving operations to a café, library, office or anywhere where there is little to do except write.
13. Introduce a change. If your enthusiasm in your story or topic is flagging, consider making a change that engages your interest. For example, try a different organization of the material, a plot twist, a new character or a new source of research.
14. Warm up. If you’re not yet ready to start writing in earnest, take a few minutes for warm-up exercises: Describe an object in the room, recount a memory, reconstruct a conversation, or write anything else that feels easy and immediate. Getting the juices flowing in this way activates the parts of your brain that have been trained to help you write. Once these elements are in play, writing your real project will come more easily. (For more, read Jerry Cleaver’s article “5 ‘nothing’ minutes a day” in the September 2011 issue of The Writer.)
15. Choose a first step. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when trying to get a grip on a large writing project, because our brains are only capable of focusing on a single complex task at a time. By picking a task out of the pile and ignoring the rest, you provide an obvious, immediate, reachable goal. If you don’t know what to pick right off, your first task can be choosing a second task.
16. Skip ahead. If you’re having trouble with the section of your project you’re currently writing, try skipping ahead to something you can write immediately. You’ll make progress, even if out of order, or may even stumble on a solution to your earlier writing problem.
17. Find a reader. A supportive friend, family member, fellow writer, mentor or colleague who will look at what you’ve written can help provide key boosts to motivation, including outside encouragement, a deadline (if arranged with your reader), and the knowledge that your work will be read.
18. Try Scrivener. Scrivener is a computer program that lets you simultaneously write and outline. Your writing project is put together as blocks of text that can be organized and shifted around as you go, and your research and source material are kept in the same file as your finished work. Download a free trial at literatureandlatte.com.
19. Try Write or Die. Write or Die (writeordie.com) is a free Web application that lets you set a word-count goal, then requires you to write without long pauses till you reach it. Depending on your setting, too long a pause will draw a gentle reminder, play an obnoxious noise, or even start erasing what you’ve written so far. The penalty ends when you start writing again.
20. Write every day. This may sound more like the result of writing motivation than a source of it, but a practice of daily writing generates benefits that make further writing easier: You’re more likely to remember where you left off, you have a designated time for writing, and you build your confidence. Even a daily 100-word minimum can lead to high writing productivity.

•  •  •

Luc Reid is a Writers of the Future winner, the founder of the Codex online writing group, and an author of fiction and nonfiction, most recently the novel Family Skulls. He blogs on writing and the psychology of habits at lucreid.com.

10 ways to work more efficiently

10 ways to work more efficiently

These time-saving strategies will help you manage your workload, minus the frazzle
By Kelly James-Enger
Published: June 25, 2012
As a freelancer, my time is limited. With two little kids and a part-time schedule, I have to make the most of every minute I’m at my desk. Over the last five years, since my son was born, I’ve become more efficient than ever about making the most of my time. You can, too, when you give these 10 strategies a try. They may be simple, but they add up to saving minutes every day, which results in hours of increased productivity.
1. Stop thinking so big. When I started freelancing, I tended to over-research. I’d interview more sources than I actually used in an assigned story, wasting my time and theirs. Since then, I’ve developed the following rules of thumb: For a piece of 300 words or fewer, I typically interview and quote one “real person” or expert source. For stories of 300 to 700 words, I’ll use two sources. Stories of about 700 to 1,200 words get three sources, and for stories of about 1,200 to 1,800 words, I tend to use four sources, on average. Sure, sometimes I use an extra source or two, but my days of interviewing six sources for an 800-word piece (yup, I’ve done that) are over. Sometimes I’ll deviate from the number of sources depending on the story topic and complexity (and if an editor wants something specific—say, a certain number of “real-people” quotes), but using these standards makes me a more efficient writer.
2. Make a plan the day before. At the end of every workday, I create a plan for the next. I check what interviews I have scheduled and write on my calendar how I plan to spend my work time, noting my top three priorities for the day. I also decide what I’ll do first (more about that later). I take a few minutes every Sunday evening to do the same thing—I look at my upcoming deadlines, make a list of my top five to 10 priorities, and create Monday’s “plan of attack.” Even a few minutes of planning pays off big time the next day.
3. Write first thing—or not. I’m a morning person. Give me a can of Diet Mountain Dew and a couple of hours, and I can get more done by 11 a.m. then most people do all day. So I try to save that time for actual writing, which is the most challenging thing I do. Other tasks—like interviews, transcribing notes, doing research, brainstorming ideas and sending invoices—I save for late morning or early afternoon when I’m not as sharp. Of course, if your juices don’t start flowing until early afternoon, save that time for your most demanding work. And if you’re a true night owl, you may want to write then, when most of us are watching American Idol. The idea is to use your most productive time for writing for the biggest payoff.
4. Do like things together. This time-management strategy is simple yet effective. Do like things together. By that I mean write and respond to e-mails once or twice a day, not throughout the day. (I’m better about telling people to do this than actually doing it myself; I find it hard to resist that little chime that tells me I have a new message in my in-box!) But I have learned that it’s much quicker to call, say, five potential sources to line up interviews at the same time than to make those calls over the course of a day or two.
5. Keep a running list. Since I started freelancing full time in 1997, I’ve kept a list of story ideas. I may just write a line (e.g., how criticism can be a good thing) based on something that’s happened to me, or make a note of a news story or press release I’ve read. Then when I sit down to brainstorm and pitch ideas, I use my list as a jumping-off point. This means I always have a number of potential queries to research and flesh out, which saves me time when it comes to pitching.
I also try to reslant, or come up with different angles on the same subject, whenever I can. So, for example, when I pitched a piece on what moms need to know about social media for a regional parenting magazine, I also pitched a piece to a women’s magazine on using social media to date. Both pieces sold.
6. Develop “regulars.” When you freelance, you’re likely to work for dozens of clients and editors a year. The more work you can do for each client, however, the less time you have to spend marketing yourself to new prospects. That can mean a huge time-saver. Just as I never want to write about a topic once, as I mentioned earlier, I never want to write for a client only once either.
Strive to build relationships with the editors you work with. As soon as an editor accepts a story, pitch another. Be easy to work with. Figure out what she wants, and give it to her. Make yourself invaluable. I’ve worked with almost all of my current editors for years—and those long-term relationships mean that they come to me frequently with story assignments.
7. Keep a stash of templates. In the June 2010 issue of The Writer, I dedicated a column to the templates you should have in your freelance arsenal. Templates mean you don’t have to write every query, follow-up letter, letter of introduction (LOI), or invoice from scratch; you simply pull up your template and tweak it for your purpose. If I see a job posting, for example, I want to be able to respond fast and hopefully be one of the first writers in line. I have several letters of introduction on my hard drive—including one for ghostwriting jobs, one for possible reprint clients, and one for custom magazines—so I can get my LOI out as quickly as possible. 8. Have a stable of experts. As a freelancer who primarily covers health, wellness, nutrition and fitness subjects, I rely on experts to provide me with the information I need. Just as I have a stable of clients I write for regularly, I have a stable of experts in every subject area I write about. When I need a quick quote for a query or a longer interview for an article, I’ll reach out to one of my regulars. (And I treat my experts well—I always send a personal thank-you note after an interview, and I let the source know when he or she is quoted in a piece.) Sure, sometimes I need a source I haven’t interviewed before, but having dozens of smart, quotable experts I can call on means I save time when researching articles.
9. Use your down time.I’ll admit that one reason I’m so productive during my real “work time” is because I use some of my down time to work. I call this “WWYNRW,” or Working When You’re Not Really Working. So at night when my kids are in bed and I’m watching Project Runway or Chopped, I’ll have my laptop and use that time to do things I may not have time for during my workday, like:

• Scouting for reprint markets. I make between $5,000 and $10,000 a year selling reprints to regional publications, specialty magazines and foreign publications. I find many of them through Google and then send a brief LOI. A five-minute investment may pay off with a new reprint market.
• Touching base with my regulars. I’ll scan through my e-mail and send a “just checking in” note to editors I haven’t worked with in a few months. I just did this recently and sold a reprint for $200, plus the promise of more work from several other clients.
• Searching on Medline for the latest journal articles on a specific topic—say, sleep and health. Then I have that research handy when I’m ready to query markets with that idea.
• Sending follow-ups. If I haven’t heard from an editor about a query, I’ll send a brief follow-up e-mail checking on the pitch and giving the editor a certain time (typically a week or two) to respond. I do the same thing with stories I’ve submitted but am awaiting an editor’s acceptance on.

10. Eliminate the ugliest. Finally, I’ll share my favorite time-management tip of all. You may be surprised to learn that the first thing I do every day isn’t the most important thing on my calendar. Nor is it a task that will take me only a few minutes to complete. Rather, it’s the thing I most do not want to do. That may be writing the first draft of a story, editing a piece I’ve been struggling with, or calling an editor to tell her that an article isn’t shaping up the way I planned. I’ve found that when I first “eliminate the ugliest,” my day starts off on a positive note. Best of all, I waste no time coming up with excuses why I can’t do the dreaded task—which makes me much more productive all day long.

•  •  •

Kelly James-Enger, a contributing editor at The Writer, is the author of books including her latest, Goodbye Byline, Hello Big Bucks: The Writer’s Guide to Making Money Ghostwriting and Coauthoring Books. Web: becomebodywise.com.

Blogging Benefits

Blogging Benefits

June 19, 2012

“A blog is in many ways a continuing conversation.” ~ Andrew Sullivan

According to my statistics, I am about 20 web logs away from reaching 900 on this site, All Things Fulfilling. “Could that be right?,” I ask myself. If someone told me less than three years ago, that I’d find so much fulfillment in blogging, I would have questioned it.

There have been other benefits, too. I have gleaned a lot of insight into exactly how difficult how difficult it is to proof read your OWN writing; the reason for using editors – a fresh set of eyes!

Did you read the article about the errors that were made when converting  Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace into an e-book? Often times, problems in the search and find features of publishing software are the cause of it; not always the fault of incompetent editors. http://bit.ly/KzfE0L.

You know, I recently published an e-book for a client. I will feature it in an upcoming blog, Although the title might lead you to believe it is about living with a red pen editor, it’s about another character who really made her mark in a community of other quirky characters.It is a good read, and many parts of it had me laughing out loud. For me, a real sign of a fulfilling reading experience.

I would like to express my gratitude to our readers who return time after time again to All Things Fulfilling. Even though I do not catch every proof-reading error, evidently, you like the content! That is extremely gratifying.

Return tomorrow, for more independent thoughts, words and views from All Things Fulfilling. The company blog site for  www.cornerstonefulfillmentservice.com.