Saturday, September 21, 2013

Free Training in A Critical Writer Skill

One of the most critical skills for every writer is copywriting. Whether you are pitching your latest magazine article or your current book concept, you need to know how to write persuasive words. 

Next week Marketing Expert Marcia Yudkin has put together the first No-Hype Copywriting Summit from September 23–27, 2013. You can listen to the live sessions FREE or receive all the telesummit recordings plus a ticket to a bonus live Q & A session for $97. 

You can sign up at: http://bit.ly/13kKLV5

Ever feel kind of dirty when reading or writing persuasive copy?

Do your spirits sink when you hear mainstream marketing advice decreeing that you "must" use techniques that go against your inner voice?

Would you become a more enthusiastic marketer if you had a vision of how to write to sell joyfully and without tricks, exaggeration or manipulation?

Are you a working copywriter always on the lookout for fresh tips and perspectives on persuading people to buy?

Whether you write for your own organization or for clients (or both), discover how you can inspire people to buy and still look yourself in the mirror in the morning. Attend the first annual No-Hype Copywriting Telesummit, taking place from September 23 through 27, 2013.

What is No-Hype Copywriting?

Marcia Yudkin is a copywriter, author and copywriting coach spreading the word about a mode of persuasive writing that relies on lively, soul-stirring style and substance, not hysterical verbal cheerleading.

No-hype copywriting might be very direct, concise and matter-of-fact, or it might take the long way around with imaginative scenarios and dramatic teasers. Either way, it connects with ideal customers in a truthful, evocative fashion, enabling them to make an informed buying decision.

No-hype copywriting appeals to the uplifting side of human nature, rather than to unvarnished greed, lust, envy, rage or sloth. It doesn't try to threaten, goad or shame the reader into action.

No-hype copywriting might be right for you, your company and your audience - or you might be better off with a hard-sell approach using as many exclamation points, emotional battering of the reader and hypnotic reasons to buy as possible. If you're not sure, attend our telesummit so you can make an intelligent choice.

What the Telesummit Covers

The telesummit focuses on the craft and philosophy of no-hype copywriting. The speakers will not talk about how to launch, run or market a copywriting business.

Because the presenters can't cover all the techniques and aspects of no-hype copywriting in the time available, the program is not comprehensive. It is in-depth. All sessions include do's and don'ts, techniques and examples. The presenters are acclaimed, A-list experts in copywriting.

You can call in and listen to the five instructional sessions at no cost (other than, for some, telephone long-distance charges). Here's when the telesummit calls take place:

Monday through Friday, September 23-27 at 4 p.m. Eastern time (convert that to your time zone) Each session lasts approximately one hour.

Or for just $97, you can order the recordings and receive them after the calls take place. By paying that fee, you also have the opportunity to call in for a live Q&A session during which I and one or more of the other presenters will answer as many of your questions related to the no-hype theme as we can.

The bonus Q & A session for the $97 contingent takes place on Wednesday, October 2 at 4 p.m. Eastern time.

Here is a quick summary of the agenda...

Monday, September 23, 4 p.m. Eastern time
Rapport With Readers: The Connection That Convinces
Presenter: Nick Usborne, author of Net Words, New Path to Riches and other books

Tuesday, September 24, 4 p.m. Eastern time
Problem/Solution: A Powerful, Handy Framework
Presenter: Steve Slaunwhite, author of The Everything Guide To Writing Copy, co-author of The Wealthy Freelancer

Wednesday, September 25, 4 p.m. Eastern time
Spin a Story to Captivate and Influence
Presenter: Ray Edwards, author of Web Copywriting Secrets From the Trenches

Thursday, September 26, 4 p.m. Eastern time
Incorporating Values in Copy: When, Why and What to Avoid
Presenter: Shel Horowitz, co-author of Guerrilla Marketing Goes Green, author of Grassroots Marketing and other books

Friday, September 27, 4 p.m. Eastern time
Four Types of Truth-telling in Copy and Why They Matter
Presenter: Marcia Yudkin, author of Meatier Marketing Copy, Persuading People to Buy and other books

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cheated Authors -- And How To Avoid It

I speak with a number of authors who have great dreams and desires for their book. Recently I began to speak with an author who told me in uncertain terms, that her book was coming out and going to be a bestseller. It sounded fascinating so I asked who was the publisher?

It turns out this author's publisher appears in 17 or 18 different formats and is actually a self-publisher. She had no idea that this company produced over 47,000 titles in 2011–-and it's only increased in the subsequent years. 

Yes I know publishing has changed and you can self-publish. There are many advantages to self-publishing: author control, not waiting on anyone or working with anyone else, etc. There are also many downsides to self-publishing such as: no books in the brick and mortar bookstores and no marketing help (of course unless you pay for it. Just check this article from Publishers Lunch about the numbers of titles produced in 2011.

Inside I groan because I know many of these authors will have their dreams and plans dashed. Yes the company where they publish will make the money and little of that will be returned to the author and they will have a terrible experience.

I received a hardcover book from an author who published with a “Christian” company. I had not closely examined a book from this company in some time so I looked at the book.

First, I can tell there are no plans to sell this book inside a brick and mortar bookstore (despite what the publisher may tell their prospective authors). Why? The back cover has no ISBN or barcode. It's the way retail stores keep track of their inventory and also process books so readers can pay for them. This book had no barcode.

Then I opened it up and began to read the book. This author had a fascinating personal experience story and I believe the book could have been good—but it certainly wasn't in the pages of this book. It was pages of nonsense—I am not exaggerating. No story was in the text and impatient readers are not going to give it much of a chance. You can pick up the book on a table and read a few lines and see what you are getting (or not getting). I was disappointed because I've done a little research and know this author had paid at least $4,000 to “partner” with this publisher in the marketing of her book. 

Let me give you several steps to avoid getting cheated and having a poor publishing experience.

1. Use Google and check out the publisher. You can type “NAME OF COMPANY complaints” and read the first couple of pages which come up. As a caution to this step, I will tell you that every publisher (whether traditional or self-publisher; large or small) has authors who complain. I work for Morgan James Publishing and we have our detractors online because anyone can say anything about anyone online and it hangs around forever—even if untrue. I will often tell authors about these detractors and that the information is not true but using Google is a good way to get start getting some information.

2. Ask to speak to published authors from the company, then follow-up and actually interact with some authors. Why? If the publisher is cheating authors, it will not take you long to hear some of these stories. Will the publisher give you contact information for their authors? 

At Morgan James, we have a list of authors who have given us permission to hand out their contact information and I often send it to prospective authors. Yet I also tell authors to look over our catalog and call anyone in our catalog and ask about their publishing experience with us. It shows we have nothing to hide—but also that we have content, positive, happy authors. The publishers who are cheating authors and simply collecting a paycheck do not want you speaking with their authors.

3. Ask your writer friends. The writing community is open and transparent. You can gain a lot of information just asking other writers. You have to be discerning about the feedback you get from others since some of that feedback could be uneducated and plain wrong. Yet you will gain valuable information using this method.

4. Look for print evidence of success for the company. For example, our books at Morgan James have been on the New York Times list 19 times (five books). I have PDF copies of when our books appeared on the New York Times list that I send to prospective authors. Why? Because it validates that we sell books inside the brick and mortar bookstores (which is the only way I know to get on the New York Times list.)

5. Get some training and during the training get information about different companies. For example, in late October, I will be at Author 101 University in Las Vegas. While Rick Frishman, the publisher at Morgan James, leads this event, it is not a Morgan James event. There will be literary agents and editors from many different publishers. It's a terrific place to get educated from my experience—especially before you spend thousands of dollars with the wrong company.

Thousands of authors are following their hearts with their pocket books and spending large amounts of money with companies that are going to fail them—because these companies are running a business and making money. Yet the dreams of these authors are ultimately dashed because they didn't take the time to do a few web searches, send a few emails and make a few phone calls.

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Sunday, September 08, 2013

The Gentle Follow-Up

The path for a book to get published is filled with many twists and turns.Each leg of the communication process can break down at some point. One of the most critical steps is the beginning where you get connected to an editor or an agent who can champion your book and guide you through the process.

A couple of months ago, one of my writer friends recommended an author send their material to me through Morgan James. This author followed our submission guidelines and yet never heard from Morgan James.

After over a month of hearing nothing, he sent me a short gentle follow-up email. It was the first I had heard about his submission. I explained to the author that I’m not the only person doing acquisitions at our company and his material could be with another editor.

Yet when I checked internally I learned the material had been forwarded to me from my colleagues cell phone—and I never received it. Because I never received it, the submission didn’t get entered into our system. No follow-up acknowledgement letter was sent. Nothing happened. Because the communication channel (sending by phone) didn’t work, the communication process was broken.

This author was wise to check with me. Now he has received the follow-up acknowledgement letter in the mail and his submission is engaged in the process.

Over my 20+ years in publishing, I’ve seen the communication process break down and things get missed and lost. I’ve seen writers who do not follow up miss their opportunity or delay their work getting published because they fail to follow-up.

There is a right and wrong way to follow-up. The right way is to gently check with the editor or agent and ask, “Did you get it?” Notice the question isn't asking for a decision on the submission. You are simply trying to find out of the communication process worked and your email or submission reached them. If not or if they have lost it, they can ask you to resend it and things can get on track.

If you push and ask for decision, nine times out of ten you will get an immediate “no thank you.” Publishing is often a team effort and a team effort takes time. Yes takes a while to achieve where no can be said quickly—except writers don’t want to hear no.

Do follow-up. It’s a critical part of the process to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. You want to have your opportunity for your submission to be considered and receive a response. You might get a Yes response.

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Saturday, September 07, 2013

You Must Be There To Win

I watch the stories with great interest—the current Power Ball frenzy. The numbers are really high and someone is going to win that prize. Yet you must have a ticket to get into the game—and I've not bought a ticket.

I have an opportunity where you can win but the odds are a lot better than any lottery or powerball. Next Tuesday, September 10th, I will be interviewing the publisher at Morgan James Publishing, Rick Frishman.

Rick has an outstanding background in publishing and has worked with many bestselling authors on their publicity campaigns to promote their books. For the last 12 years, Rick has led Author 101 University twice a year. In March it is held in Los Angeles and in October the event is in Las Vegas. Next month, Author 101 will have another outstanding list of speakers and a wealth of bookselling information.

Next Tuesday you can ask Rick a question and if you are on the call (the action you have to take) you can be one of the winners of a free registration to Author 101. 

Yes during the call, Rick will be giving away several free registrations for the event. You will have to be listening to be one of the winners. 

From my experience of attending a number of Author 101 events, I know it can be life changing. I hope you will be one of the people on the live call listening to Rick, who is a wealth of practical publishing information.

Just for signing up for the Tuesday call, you will receive a free copy of Rick’s new Ebook, Agents and the Publishing Industry. Even if you don’t have a question, register and say “no question” when asked for a question.
You do not want to miss this live teleseminar because you could win a free registration to Author 101 Las Vegas.

Hope to see you on the call.

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Monday, September 02, 2013

This Fall: A Time to Refocus & Renew

Life can be full of distractions in the summer time. There are vacations, visits from the grandchildren or friends and other interruptions. Yet in the Fall, the children and grandchildren start school. It is a wonderful time to refocus on your writing and renew your publishing efforts. 

The bulk of my days are focused on working with authors through my work at Morgan James Publishing. I'm working with other members of the Morgan James team to champion a book and get a book contract. Then when the author receives their contract, I'm working with them to make sure they understand all of the details before signing the agreement. Or I'm setting up conference calls with others on the Morgan James team then participating in these calls. We are going to publish about 180 books this year including about 40 novels through our fiction imprint Koehler Books. These numbers are in great contrast to the self-publishers who will produce thousands (no exaggeration see this link from Publishers Lunch) of titles. What the self-publishing places fail to tell you (by design) is that they are producing thousands of titles—not just a few. Little wonder these books are not sold in the brick and mortar bookstores (in contrast to the Morgan James books which are inside these stores). I don't want to get sidetracked here except to say the bulk of my day is focused on my acquisitions work.

One of the best ways to refocus and recharge your writing life is to attend an event. You can attend an event in person—or online. In the next few weeks, there are numerous opportunities where you can give your writing life a boost. In each case, I've included the websites with more information so please make sure you check out each event.

September 7, 2013
Editors Read Proposals NOT Manuscripts
Sharon Jenkins will interview me on The Literary Showcase with the Master Communicator at 9 a.m. CST. This workshop about book proposal creation is one of the most popular which I teach in various conferences. Through this interview, you can hear this FREE information-packed, radio program live or listen to the replay.

September 10, 2013
Why Attend a Writers Conference? Is it really worth it to attend a live event? FREE teleseminar with Morgan James Publisher Rick Frishman answering your questions. Follow the link for the details and to get access and a FREE Ebook, Agents and the Publishing Industry when you register.

September 17, 2013
Success Leaves Traces FREE teleseminar Sharon Jenkins interviewing me about the characteristics of bestselling authors. I have interviewed over 150 bestselling authors and you don’t want to miss this opportunity to learn these valuable lessons.

September 27-29, 2013
Wisconsin Writers Association Fall Conference in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. I will be out in western Wisconsin and a keynote speaker for the Saturday night dinner at this event. Also I will be meeting with authors throughout this event.

October 5, 2013
Author Networking Summit in Houston, Texas. At this one day event, I will be a keynote speaker and meeting with authors throughout this event.

October 24-27, 2013
Author 101 University in Las Vegas, Nevada. This event is always packed with great people and information. Throughout the event, I will be meeting with authors about their book projects.

I hope you notice the variety of opportunities in this list of events. Some do not involve travel or cost and are completely free. No matter where you are in the world you can learn from these sessions. Other events involve travel and coming to an in-person event but the opportunity is so much greater at these sessions. I've been attending conferences for years and found them to be life-changing events.

I hope you will be encouraged to refocus on your writing and renew your commitment to getting your message into print. I'd be honored to help you.

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