Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I Don't Finish Every Book I Read (But I Used To)

From my early childhood, I've loved reading books. Whether riding in the back seat of our family car or perched in the corner of a room, I was turning pages of a book.  What I read has always been diverse. Yes I love biographies, autobiographies and memoirs.  Yet I also find history and self-help fascinating. Also I love reading different types of novels: thrillers, romance, genre fiction and much more. Anytime I find a story that holds my attention, I’m reading that book.

When I read a magazine or anything online or the newspaper, I'm always looking for book recommendations which are added to my reading list. When I learn about a new book, I turn to my local library to see if they are getting the book and how can I get on the list for it.  I still purchase books from my local bookstore or online but I learned my appetite for book consumption is way beyond my ability to purchase those books.

I don't have an Ebook reader like a Kindle or IPad. I love holding books and turning the pages. Another long-term habit was to complete reading every book which I started.  While I found some books boring or didn't hold my attention, I persisted until I reached the final page.

My list of books to read is always growing. In recent years, I've stopped finishing every book for several reasons. First, I know different books are for different audiences. I begin some books and learn they are targeted for someone who is very different from me.  Or maybe I find the topic boring or to me, the storytelling is not good. Obviously someone liked the content of this book or they would not have published it and brought it into the world.

Your definition for boring or good storytelling will be different from mine. The tastes of every reader are distinct. You have to discover what works for you and continually holds your attention. Authors have a responsibility not to bore their readers and if they do, then I stop reading the book.  It doesn't matter whether it is a novel or a self-help book.  I'm looking for entertainment and information.

Reading is an optional activity. If you are bored with your current reading, then look for a new genre or type of book. When you discover a new genre, it will invigorate your reading life. Ask others like librarians or friends for recommendations, and then try those books.

Here's some critical lessons for writers from this article:

1. Know and find the audience for your book. It is not everyone and you have to be reaching your audience with the message for your book. Editors and agents often refer to this process as building our platform. Get my free Ebook on this topic at: Platform Building Ideas for Every Author.

2. Understand a massive amount of new books enter the marketplace every day with the traditional and self-published books. According to some experts there are over 5,000 new books every day. It is way more than anyone can read and enjoy. As writers, we have an obligation to craft excellent books. They should not be thrown together. You should process your material with a critique group or an editor before sending it off to be considered.

3. The bulk of the promotion work for every book falls on the shoulders of the author—whether you are published from a traditional publisher or you self-publish. Jump into the fray and ask others to review your book and write honest reviews. 

On a regular basis,I see books launching which have no reviews or less than five reviews. Do the work to gather a team of readers who will read your book and write a review. Understand everyone is busy and even people who “commit” to reading your book may not get their review written. This fact means you will have to ask many more people to review your book to gather 25 or 30 reviews. I have a free teleseminar about reviewing books (use this link). Hear this presentation then apply it to your own work.

Reading should be fun and if it isn't, then you have my permission to stop reading and pick another book.


Do you finish every book you start? Check out how this editor handles it. (ClickToTweet)

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How To Handle A Marketing Mistake

Ever made a marketing goof? Not just a little error but one where hundreds of people instantly see your mistake (but you didn't)? It's one of the realities of publishing: everyone makes mistakes. I've recently started a Colorado chapter of the Nonfiction Authors Association. The NAA has over 13,000 members and is a growing organization. There are no other chapters in Colorado and our first meeting was last month. 

On September 21st, our chapter will have our next meeting and I've scheduled our first speaker, Sandra Lamb. I've known Sandy for many years and she has written a number of nonfiction books and has a recent book, Writing Well for Business Success (St. Martins Press).

The Nonfiction Authors Association uses meetup to promote and organize their meetings. I've been learning how to use this tool. Last week I used meetup and invited over 200 Colorado writers to attend our meeting. Unfortunately the headline (and subject of my invitation read): Please accept my invitation to Sandra E. Lamb Will Speak at Our June 21st meeting. The body of the email clarified the date for the meeting was not June but September 21st. A couple of people responded and called the error to my attention. I corrected it on the website—but the emails had been sent and probably many people didn't open it with my error.

From this marketing mistake, here's what I learned:

1. Acknowledge the mistake. Yes you can deny it and other actions but the best way forward is to acknowledge the error. I quickly fixed it on the meetup page but the emails had been sent and the damage done.

2. Understand it happens to everyone. In the process of learning a new program or a new method, mistakes are made. It is a normal part of the learning curve.

3. Resend the emails then keep going (learn from it). PT Barnum said, “Without promotion, something terrible happens! NOTHING.” It is true. Writers can't come to the event that I've organized unless they know about the meeting. I will fix the error and resend the emails so hopefully a number of people come to this session.

While these lessons were key, here's some additional points: Notice my proactive stance with the mistake. I didn't just shrug it but I'm actively continuing to work to get the message out about this meeting. One reaction is to cross it off your list and do nothing. Such a reaction helps no one. If you want to achieve success, you have to face the bumps in the road and keep going.

In the journey of your writing and marketing, you will make mistakes. One of the easiest paths is to give up and stop writing and marketing. It's the action I've seen many writers take. They send out their submission and get a single rejection and assume no one wants it. The writers who get published take a different course of action.

They persevere and continue writing and looking for that right place to get published. They continue growing in their craft and reaching their audience and readers.

I hope many of you have learned something for your own writing and marketing life from my experience. If so, let me know in the comments. If I can help you, reach out to me.


How you handle a marketing mistake? Learn from this editor. (ClickToTweet)

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Is Holding Back Your Writing?

Last weekend I was one of three editors on a panel about different ways to publish at the first Colorado Book Festival. After the session, an older writer wanted to show me his manuscript. I asked if he had a copy to give me, he said no. He could show it to me. Glancing at his material, he held neatly handwritten pages.

“Is your work on a computer to send me?”

“No,” he explained with sadness in his eyes, “I can't type.” Then he explained that he lived in a retirement community. I could see his passion and desire to get his material into a book and considered. “What I really need is an agent,” he continued.

From my years in publishing, I knew no literary agent would even glance at this handwritten manuscript. Many agents are overwhelmed with hundreds of electronic submissions every day. Even writers who have had their manuscript edited with a freelance editor can't get a literary agent to read their submission. The barriers to publication looked overwhelming for this writer.

I encouraged him to hire a student to type his words into the computer.  As I think about it, there are other possibilities for this author. He could:

--check out a typing book from his library and learn how to type. Ironically we were having this conversation in the downtown Denver Public Library. When computers were going to be on every desk in our office, the leader of our company didn't type. Secretaries and assistants had always typed for him and now he had to answer his own emails. This executive got a typing book and learned to type.

--read the book into a microphone and use a computer program to change the audio into text.

--use a self-publisher to take the handwritten material and turn it into a typed version. This option could be expensive—as much as $4 per page.

My conversation with this writer provided several insights for every author:

1. Whatever publishing challenge you are facing, understand there are multiple paths around your challenge. As a writer, you need to explore the various paths and understand your options around the challenges.

2. Every author needs to learn and follow the truth of the marketplace. This writer believed he needed a literary agent—yet agents don't consider representing handwritten manuscripts. His proposed solution was going to send him down a path which had little possibility of success. Each of us need to listen and explore the truths that we uncover as we explore different solutions to our challenges. Some solutions will have more potential than others and you need to select the right solution for your situation.

3. After you explore your different possibilities, you need to select a path and take action. I've seen way too many authors grow discouraged and put their manuscript away and never get it published.  The publishing world takes determination to succeed.

What skill or information is holding back your writing? Or maybe you have written a book and need to find new options in the marketplace to reach readers. At this event, I also spent time with someone that I met at least ten years ago, Brent Sampson who is the president of Outskirts Press, based in Parker, Colorado. We met at the Florida Writers Association and had not seen each other for years. Brent and I were two of the three participants in the panel discussion about how to get published.

The Outskirts Press exhibit was next to the Morgan James Publishing table and I noticed Brent's new book, The Book Marketing Coach.  He gave me a copy which is subtitled, “Effective, Fast and (Mostly) Free Marketing Tactice for Self-Publishing Authors.” Outskirts Press is a self-publishing company and from looking through this book (that I will read soon), I see ideas that any author can use—no matter how your book is published. The Book Marketing Coach is packed with short chapters for every author to apply to their writing.

Consider what is holding back your writing life then take action today to move forward.  Let me know in the comments section what you are doing and how I can help.


What is holding back your writing life? Learn three steps to move forward. (ClickToTweet)

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Monday, September 05, 2016

Experiment With Marketing Efforts

Are you experimenting with the marketing of your writing? If your writing isn't getting published or your books aren't selling, are you changing or trying new venues? If not, why not? The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over—yet expecting different results.

Not everything you try with marketing your books will work, but you have to continue trying. Sometimes it takes a while for a book to catch on and sell into the market. It's the same with your online marketing efforts or your work with magazines, you have to experiment and see what takes hold. All too often writers will try something and have meager results, then instantly discount or eliminate a particular area of the market or a book pitch or proposal.

For example, my biography of Billy Graham came out about a year and a half ago—yet I'm still doing radio interviews, promoting it on social media and at events. This Saturday will be the first Colorado Book Festival at the downtown Denver Public Library. Morgan James is one of the co-sponsors of the event and I have been encouraging our local authors to come and promote their books. A number of them are coming. I've created new bookmarks promoting my Billy Graham biography that I will be giving out. In addition, I'm working on some new promotions for early November (around Mr. Graham's birthday on November 7th  when he turns 98).

As an author, you have to keep promoting and telling people about your book—even long after it releases. You have the greatest passion for your own book and that has to translate into your on-going marketing plans for the book.  If your book has been out and it is not selling, then you need to be looking for new markets or doing more to be telling people about the book. Some books take several years before they catch on in the market. It is one of the realities of publishing and you have my encouragement not to give up on this process of marketing your books.

Last week, I told you about interviewing Rick Frishman, publisher at Morgan James, and one of the leading publicity relations experts. Rick is also the creator of Author 101 University and the 29th  such event will be held next month in Los Angeles, California (October 20–22). If you act right away, the conference price has been reduced to $197 AND you can bring a friend for FREE. If you use my coupon code TERRYGUEST then you can get an additional $50 off the registration. But to get these discounts, you have to register right away.

For the last several years, I've been interviewing Rick Frishman before Author 101 University. As an experiment, this year I'm interviewing him a second time on Wednesday, September 7th. Rick will be doing more in-depth teaching during the 45–minute session but you can still ask him a question (follow this link). I've also worked with Rick to create a second brand new Ebook, Mistakes: The Top Twenty. Everyone who registers for this event will be able to immediately download this resource. Also if you can't make the event, it will be recorded and everyone who registers will get the replay.

Will we have more people listening on Wednesday night? Will we get more people signed up for Author 101 University from this second effort? Will we help more people learn about how to promote their books and succeed in the publishing world? At this writing, I don't have answers to these questions but I'm certain about this: we will not know if we don't try it.

As an acquisitions editor, I speak with a lot of authors and potential authors. Everyone is looking for the magic bullet to sell their books with the least possible effort.  Yes you have to write an incredible book for the right target market then be telling your target market about the benefits for the reader from your book. There is no single path to creating a bestseller. If there were such a path, then every book would be a bestseller—and that's not the reality of the market place.

What experiments are you making with marketing your book? If you are needing more ideas in this area, one of the best steps I can recommend is planning to attend Author 101 University next month. When you attend, meet as many people as you can (exchange business cards) and then take action on the new ideas you gain from the experience.

In September, once again, I was selected among the top 100 marketers on Twitter. I remained at #56 on this distinguished list. As an author, I'm not just writing and talking about marketing and promotion. Every day I continue to actively work at telling new people about my work (and encourage you to do the same—stressing the benefits in this process).


Are you experimenting with different marketing efforts? Get new ideas here. (ClickToTweet)

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Are You Learning from Experienced Pros?

It always bothers me when I look at the writing credentials of someone and learn they have written one or two books or just started writing. Yet now they are writing how-to information for others to learn from them. I appreciate their eagerness to tell others what they have learned from their experiences yet to me, they don't have the experience to merit their teaching.

When I attend a conference or read a how-to book or read a magazine article, I want to learn from the experienced professionals or people who have been in the trenches for years with depth of experience to pour into their instruction. When I listen to these pros, I hang on their words, take notes and learn from their expertise. I want to give you such an opportunity this week to learn from an experienced publishing professional.

From my experience,the online information is often conflicting. Here's some possible questions: What is the most effective way to promote your new book? Or your new novel? How do you find a good literary agent—especially as an unpublished author? One of the best ways to get answers to these questions--and others--is from an experienced person. Keep reading because I'm going to give you such an opportunity.

This week on Wednesday, August 31st, I'm interviewing Rick Frishman who is in his 40th  year in publishing. For many years, Rick ran one of the largest public relations firms in the United States—Planned Television Arts in New York City (now called Media Connect). Rick has a huge list of bestselling authors that he has worked with and helped them propel their books into the marketplace. For over ten years, Rick has been the publisher at Morgan James Publishing. He knows this publishing industry inside and out.

Here's your opportunity: I've convinced Rick Frishman to go on the hotseat for my questions during a LIVE 45-minute telewebcast on Wednesday, August 31st!

* * * Here's My Small Request * * *

Rather than have the “content” come out of Rick's head (or my head) for the August 31, 2016 telewebcast at 6 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST, I decided to let you ask Rick a question.

Sound fair?

So, if you could ask Rick Frishman ANY question you wanted about attending a writers conference like Author 101 University, what would your question be?

Here's your chance to ask Rick directly and get registered for our call on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 (starts promptly according to www.Time.gov).

Click the link below:


 * * Get Rick Frishman's FREE Ebook * *

You will receive a FREE copy of Rick Frishman's new ebook, Tips: The Top Twenty for Authors excerpted from his book, Author 101 that Rick wrote with Robyn Freedman Spizman. It's FREE if you ask a question and register for this telewebcast.

Click the link below:


After your question gets submitted, you'll find out how to get phone access and webcast access to Rick and myself for our LIVE telewebcast, August 31, 2016. If your schedule doesn't allow you to attend this LIVE event, I encourage you to go ahead and register—and ask your question. The event will be
recorded and everyone who registers for the event will receive the replay recording.

Of the many people I know in publishing, Rick is one of the most experienced. I hope you will bring on your hard questions about various aspects of the publishing business. I will be reading these questions and then asking Rick on Wednesday. I hope to speak to you soon on the call.

Here's one final detail about our call on Wednesday: During the call you will learn more about Author 101 University which has been a huge influence in my own writing life. The next Author 101 University will be in Los Angeles October 20, 21 and 22nd. Until Labor Day, the price for the conference has been reduced to only $197 AND bring a friend for FREE. Here's how to get an even better deal on this spectacular event:  use my coupon code TERRYGUEST then it will save another $50. Hope to see you at Author 101 in October—and to be speaking with you on the LIVE teleseminar on Wednesday with Rick Frishman.


Are you Learning from Experienced Pros? Tap into this valuable resource. (ClickToTweet)http://ctt.ec/S7sab

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Clarion Call for Innovation

In Eccelesiastes 1:9, King Solomon boldly proclaimed, “There is nothing new under the sun.” Yet our publishing world is always looking for the next bestseller. It's what I do as an acquisitions editor. I'm looking for a unique twist or a different combination of elements that will attract the attention of the book buying public. To be honest, this type of experimentation will often fail—but that doesn't mean we give up on innovation and continuing to try. We need to continue to write, propose, and search for such innovation.

This weekend, I've been reading Power House CAA, The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artist Agency by James Andrew Miller. It's a new book that I learned about reading the trades. If you get this book, you will discover it is over 750 pages (large) and retails at $32.50. When I learned about this forthcoming book several weeks ago, I searched my local library to see if they were ordering it. Nothing. I suggested the library purchase the book. When you make such a suggestion and the library decides it is a good suggestion, then you are automatically put on the hold list to get the book when available. It's how I got this book (and a strategy that you can use as well occasionally to get books). It's hard to know from the title whether a book is something you will read or not.

Why am I reading through a huge book about these Hollywood agents?

1. Discover real stories about persistence and timing. In the past, I've written about how a lot of publishing is about being at the right place at the right time with the right stuff. I know there were lots of rights in the last sentence yet repeatedly I've witnessed this truth in publishing. If the “rights” don't line up, then you can't get the book published and more important than publishing—reach the right reader (i.e. sell books). It takes years and lots of money to make a Hollywood movie. Power House CAA includes a number of stories about screen plays that could not catch the right details and had been around different studios for years. With innovation, the agents at CAA put a different spin on the deal and the movie was made and became a huge classic hit.

2. Learn to pitch your material in a different way. Power House CAA gives the specifics about they formed relationships within the Hollywood community.  They learned to put together packages for movies and television shows. Because they represented the different element for a movie (actors, directors, book authors, screen writers and others), the agents would pull together the elements into a single deal which they sold to the studios. Before this innovation, each party negotiated their deal separately with the movie studios. Their experiences made the agents have huge deal making and earning power in the Hollywood community. The stories encourage me to continue to look for such innovation among my colleagues and the manuscripts and proposals which come across my desk.

Can you put something together that isn't normally combined and connect with the market in a new way? Can you begin to reach a new audience with that material? Maybe you reach them in person or maybe you connect with them online?

Innovation is possible but will require you to open those doors of opportunity and thinking to achieve it. If I can help you in this process, let me know.  As an acquisitions editor, I'm always looking and you can get my work contact information here.

Have my words stirred you to innovation? Maybe they have pulled you out of the rut of rejection and despair? If so, please tell me in the comment section.


Stuck in a Rut? Answer this Clarion Call for Innovation (ClickToTweet)

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Who Are Your Mentors?

Who are you listening to and then applying that information into your life? Whether you call them mentors or not, whatever feeds into your life are voices where you are listening to information. It can affect the results of your life and work. 

As I think about my own writing life, it is built on a foundation of great lessons and teaching from other writers. In the early days of my freelance writing, I wrote many personality profiles of bestselling authors. I wrote these articles for different magazines but it gave me the opportunity to spend time with each of these authors on the phone or in person. I would quiz these authors about the details of how they practiced their craft and connected to their audience. My hour-long conversation contained a lot of information which never made it into my 1,000 word magazine article—yet built experience and lessons into my personal life.

In this article, I want to provide several resources which I use daily for inspiration, learning and mentoring in my life. The first one is from Darren Hardy, the former publisher of Success magazine. Some time ago, Hardy began the Darren Daily which is a short five day inspirational thought which comes via email. It's free and I listen to it early in the day when it arrives. Follow this link to see his recent one about mentors and scroll down to the sign up form and you can begin getting it in your mailbox and listening to it.

The various books that I read is another way that I discover mentors. Recently I completed 2 Chairs (Worthy Publishing) by Bob Beaudine that releases on August 23rd. The overall message of 2 Chairs  is to make time every day to meet with God and listen to the Holy Spirit. For many years, I've been having a daily quiet time in the Scriptures. Each year I select a differnt version of the Bible and read it cover to cover in this time. While I thought 2 Chairs had a “different” title, I love the insight and wisdom contained in this book and recommend it. If you don't have this daily pattern of reading in your own life, I recommend it.

My third method of teaching and insight is to read my twitter feed. Maybe you go by once a day or several times a week and check the various articles. I read the various articles and information that I post—and I apply it to my writing and marketing efforts.  You will gain from it as well if you feed this information into your routine.

One of the keys to continued growth and learning is a personal commitment, then an attempt to find balance in your life.  There are days when I'm not learning and out of balance but it's something that I have as a continue force in my life. I hope these three ideas will help you find the mentors for your writing life.


Who are your mentors? Get some new ideas here: (ClickToTweet)

Once again I made this list of top 100 Marketing Experts on Twitter (#56). I hope you will check it out and hopefully will give you more ideas as a writer.

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