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Right Writing News, January 6, 2008, Issue #30
January 06, 2008
Welcome to the 30th issue to subscribers of Right Writing News. If you are reading this issue forwarded from someone, be sure and use the link below to get your own free subscription.
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Table of Contents1) Start Your 2008 With A Bang
By W. Terry Whalin
2) Possibilities Abound--If You Persevere
By W. Terry Whalin
3) When The Hits Come
By W. Terry Whalin
4) Comic Relief About Marketing
By W. Terry Whalin
5) Hope For Children's Writers
By W. Terry Whalin
6) Writing Powerful Endings
By Laura Backes
Start Your 2008 With A Bang
By W. Terry Whalin
I don't know about you but I have high expectations for the new year. But I have done more than simply dream about what I want to happen. I've been putting shoe leather to my plans. I've been working on one of my most complex product called Proposal Secrets.
Some people are audio learners while others prefer to read and re-read something and highlight it as they read it. You can use both methods of learning with Proposal Secrets.
Besides my hard work on the product, I've done something extra with this material--I've gathered terrific bonuses which will add even more value to this product. I've checked out these various bonuses and they are items which will help any would-be author.
What's the best way to launch a new product like Proposal Secrets?
I'm eager to get the word out to as many people as possible, so I'm holding a live teleseminar on Wednesday, January 9th with five editors and three literary agents. I hope you will check out the landing page for this teleseminar--and the various participants. These individuals represent many years of publishing experience and they will be talking about the characteristics of a book proposal or manuscript which they caught their attention and they championed to publication. The principles will help any author learn about what they need to do when they pitch their book idea.
I've got great dreams for what’s ahead in 2008. I love what Cynthia Kersey at Unstoppable sent out in my email today. She sent a quote from Robert Collier who said, "Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out."
Hope you will participate in the January 9th teleseminar.
Possibilities Abound--If You Persevere
By W. Terry Whalin
As we approach the end of another year, I've been thinking about some of the great things which happened this past year--and some of the things which I attempted and fell flat. Yes, each of us have things on each side of that situation. Can you major on the possibilities and look for new opportunities? They are certainly out there yet only if you keep your eyes open for the possibilities and persevere. Many people along the way seem to drop off, give up and quit. Are you one of those people? You can make a choice not to be one of their number.
One of the continual discussions in the publishing community is whether a particular piece of writing is publishable or not. With the variety of possibilities from Internet to print-on-demand to traditional publishing to magazine work, there is always a way to get something to the audience--provided you reach the right audience. Publishability is a question the publisher will always ask--because they are investing a large amount of money into your project--just to produce it and also to market and sell the book.
I see many projects which don't have the depth or substance to be a book--and instead they are a longer magazine article or a substantial magazine article.
Who will you reach with this particular book AND does this publisher have the ability to reach that audience? Some publishers are better equipped to reach into an audience than others. Some times a publisher will consider your potential audience and reject the project because they are ill equipped to reach that audience and know it would be a mistake and misguided use of their resources. The answer about your audience returns to the age old question of researching the market and knowing how you will reach that market.
For example, if you are a children's author and tell me your book is going to be for any child from 3 to 12, your project gets immediately slated for rejection. You have no understanding of the divisions of children's literature and how that is handled in the bookstores and libraries of the nation. Your project is way too broad in scope from the beginning. Keep reading if you are a children’s author because I have some resources for you in a minute.
The same concern is true in the adult market when you say in your book proposal or query letter that your target market is women from 25 to 80 (as one which came across my screen this week said.). You have not done your preparation as a writer to see the true possibilities. So do not be surprised when that idea doesn't hit too broad of a target.
Who are you targeting for the sales of your product? If it is the brick and mortar bookstores, then you need to work toward a traditional publisher for your product because no one reaches these stores better than the traditional publishers. I love traditional bookstores and try to spend as much time as I can in them--browsing the books and purchasing them in the store.
If you have read these entries, you will know that I have encouraged you to get a copy of Brian Jud's 304 page book called Beyond the Bookstore, How to Sell More Books Profitably to Non-Bookstore Markets. Most writers do not understand that more than half of the books sold each year are sold outside of the bookstores. Jud helps authors understand some of these out-of-the-box markets. Here's a rich resource of training for authors which I have not mentioned. Booksurge is an Amazon.com company and Jud has been holding a series of free webinars which you can watch--and learn a great deal.
If you can show a publisher a large market (even if outside of the bookstore) and you have the ability to reach AND energize that market to purchase your new book, then you have moved out of the rejection pile and into a publishable category worthy of a publisher's consideration.
And for the children's authors, as a resource, you should subscribe to the free newsletter, The Children's Writing Update. Late last night I was reading the current issue and to my surprise found my blog on The Writing Life mentioned. They have produced a new ebook called I Wish Someone Had Told Me That! ebook where 64 published children’s writers give inside tips about what they wish they had known before they made the journey. Here's a YouTube video about this resource:
Finally no matter where you are in the publishing process, I want to encourage you to listen to this Mp3 called The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightengale. It is the only gold record ever achieved for the spoken word and absolutely free from Mark Victor Hansen. You have to enter your first name and email to get the link--and you can opt out at any time. If you are wondering about success and how to become successful, this recording is loaded with sound tested wisdom. I've heard it a couple of times. It will encourage you that the possibilities abound if you persevere.
If you're an author, an aspiring author or interested in book publishing, here's why you need to sign up RIGHT NOW for MEGA Book Marketing 2008:
~ The publishing industry is changing by the minute.
~ Without experts to help you navigate your way through the "publishing jungle", you're sure to get eaten up alive.and forgotten before your book ever has a chance to make it to best seller status.
~ Many folks who have attended the MEGA Book weekends have become international speakers, New York Times best-selling authors, successful information entrepreneurs, and top-paid publishing pros.
~ Many of our attendees will pitch their book ideas to Top Agents and Publishers.
~ There are only a select few lucky individuals who will receive a F*REE ticket for a friend when they sign up before February 10. (After February 10, that same ticket will be $695). These F*REE tickets may already all be gone by the time you read this email, but if you claim yours now, I'm hoping you can still take advantage of this offer.
~ When you take advantage of the Early Bird offer, you'll also receive the 21-CD set of MEGA Book 2007.
To take advantage of the Early Bird offer which is only available for a limted time, sign up here now:
http://www.markvictorhansen.com/cmd.php?af=566153&p=1 or use: http://www.markvictorhansen.com/cmd.php?af=566153&p=1
When The Hits Come
By W. Terry Whalin
If a new song soars to the top of the bestseller charts, we call it a "hit." It's not the type of hit that I’m writing about in this entry on The Writing Life.
Currently football season is in full swing. When they snap the ball, the defensive linemen attempt to sack the quarterback and prevent him from passing the football. If they break through the offense and tackle the quarterback, with the intensity of the game in professional football, this quarterback will take a "hit." Then everyone waits to see if the quarterback can summon the strength and will power to stand back up and continue playing the game. Yes, he has been shaken but did it knock him out of the game?
While it isn't physical, the same sort of hits happen in the writing world. You have a connection with a particular editor and get an assignment, then something goes wrong some place. Maybe the person you are interviewing doesn't give you enough time. Or maybe you didn't put enough creativity and energy into the writing from the subjective editor's view. Or a dozen other things block the successful completion of that magazine article. Instead of payment and a printed article, you are sent a kill fee or you receive absolutely no compensation from it. You take an emotional hit.
Or you hold a book contract with a publisher. During the process of this contract, the publisher has a change of editors and others in charge of your project. This new group of editors don't like your book proposal or your book idea. It simply doesn't fit the new plans of the publishing house so they cancel your book. You get another hit.
The publishing world is full of these types of experiences. I was reflecting on some of the ones that I've had during the past few months. As I listen to other authors, editors and literary agents, I've understood that no one is immune from taking a hit.
Your hit may not relate directly to your writing life but it may be something else which affects your writing. For example, you have an ill spouse or an elderly parent who requires your undivided attention and takes away time from a writing project. There are many different variables that I could change in these hits but they come into our lives. You know your own hits.
Here's the critical question when you are hit: Do you have the strength and will power to continue ahead with your dreams? Or do they carry you off the field and you quit your involvement in the world of publishing? It's a choice to leave and some people determine they can't face the rejection or can't handle the uncertainty or whatever other reason. I've seen a number of literary agents, authors and editors pack it up and leave the business when they have been hit.
My encouragement to you is on several fronts. First, before you have a hit, determine that you will keep on in the publishing community. This decision will carry you ahead no matter what comes into your life. Second, make the daily determination to continue growing in your craft and learning about the business of publishing. Each element is important for your own personal growth. You need to keep growing in the craft of writing and you need to continue to understand the business aspects of publishing.
No one said that it would be easy or simple or without difficulty. Over twenty-two years ago, I had a small son who was in the hospital and fighting for his life. Our emotional pain as a family was at a very high level. I had written a query for a magazine article on listening through the Bible. If you listen to the Bible for 20 minutes a day, you can cover the entire text of the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation in four months. Numerous publications rejected my query on this idea.
Then out of the blue, I received a call from a publication which had rejected my query. They had a new managing editor who was sorting through old queries. My idea caught her attention so she picked up the phone and asked me if I could write the article for their January issue. I explained that my youngest son was in the hospital but I would meet her deadline. Listening Through the Bible has been one of my most popular evergreen reprints.
Finally if you get a chance, check out my interview which was posted on HowToTellAGreatStory.com. It's another opportunity to learn and grow--and get prepared for those future hits.
Comic Relief About Marketing
By W. Terry Whalin
I have always loved the comic pages of the newspaper. Also each week in The New Yorker magazine, I make sure and glance at each of the cartoons.
A friend just sent me this link and it cracked me up. When it comes to marketing on the Internet, you may feel like nobody outside your online buddies understand exactly what you do all day at home. And, sometimes you feel a bit like an alien trying to tell people stories about your day-to-day life.
Well, Jimmy D. Brown hit a home run. He's created 15 comics about what it's like to be an Internet Marketer. Some will make you laugh out loud and some will make you groan, but all are worth taking a minute to peek at.
Totally free and totally funny.
Hope For Children's Writers
By W. Terry Whalin
Almost weekly I receive queries from would-be children's writers asking me to represent their work at my literary agency. These requests continue to come even though the agency submission guidelines clearly say that I'm not interested in representing children's books.
Many writers have no idea about the reasons or what to do about it. They've decided to write children's books because they are reading lots of them to their own children--and believe they could do a better job than what is out there in the marketplace. There are several business realities these would-be authors never consider:
First, children's books are a high risk area for most publishers. Full-color printing for children's books is expensive. I've seen a number of printing statements inside the publishing house which is well over $150,000. Children's writers believe because there are few words on the page, they don't think about the actual business expense involved for a publisher. The publishers who last make careful decisions about what they print--and even then they are surprised. I can recall a specific series of books where one of my former publishers put a lot of money and energy into marketing and producing full-color, graded picture books. These books came out with great fanfare--and have since faded from the marketplace. I did a simple search and found them in the used book market--but not on the publisher site. It means they are mostly out of print and involved a huge loss for the publisher. Almost no author thinks about this risk when they propose their little children's book idea to a publisher or a literary agent.
Second, many children’s advances are modest (read small). Literary agents work on commission or a percentage of the deal (typically 15%). OK, take off your writer’s perspective for a minute and look at your children's submission from the literary agent's view. Understanding the average first-time children's author with a traditional publisher may receive a $500 or $1,000 advance for their book--and that 90% of nonfiction books never earn back that advance or earn additional funds, which would you want to be selling as an agent? Would you rather sell an adult novel or a nonfiction book proposal for a larger advance (even for a first-time author) or a modest children's book writer? Simple economics are one of the reasons that it’s hard for any children's writer to find a literary agent which will represent their work.
Third, book packagers produce many children’s books. I've written a number of posts about packagers. Look for many of these posts in September 2006. Many writers do not want to write for these packagers because they are typically work-made-for-hire yet it’s another reality check about the children's book market. Publishers are turning to book packagers to produce these books. So if you want to write them, then you need to be working with the packagers.
OK, if you are still reading this article, you are probably wondering where is the hope for children's writers. I'm getting there. The first step as a writer is to face the realities of the marketplace so you know what you are facing. Then you will increase your chances for success.
The children's marketplace is alive and well. If you want to write this material, you need to arm yourself with knowledge, insight and good information. Here's a new 2008 resource which is available for you from the Institute of Children's Literature, the nation's oldest home correspondence course for children. I'm a former instructor in this company and know they produce quality materials.
If you follow this link, you will see the 2008 Book Markets for Children's Writers which contains more than 50 completely new markets and 574 updated and verified listings. More than the publisher information, this book contains detailed feature articles to help you craft the right pitch to the right publisher.
Many children's writers have tunnel vision. They only want to write children's books yet they need to build their visibility and reputation in the marketplace over in the magazine market. Also I recommend 2008 Magazine Markets for Children's Writers. This comprehensive book includes more than 65 completely new markets along with 676 updated and verified listings. Beyond the listings, children's writers need to study the feature articles and learn about animal and nature writing, holiday and seasonal needs along with multicultural markets.
Writing for children is a noble and good idea--but you have to be armed with good information or you will simply collect rejections. I wish you well in the learning process and the publishing journey.
Online Book Publicity Workshop Helps AuthorsGot a book coming out you want to hype? Has your publisher's publicist moved on to other projects? Do you have a book in stores that you know deserves more media attention than it's getting? Are you working on a proposal that would benefit from a better understanding of what you can do to promote your book? You need "Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz," a dynamic online course taught by a veteran publicist and author.
Offered February 4-29, 2008, the class is taught in a forum format, with lessons and homework assignments posted online in a private, password-protected forum. The highly-interactive course covers:
· How to create a book publicity blueprint you'll be excited about
· The single secret most authors don't know about generating ongoing media exposure
· The most effective and cost-efficient publicity tactics
· How to generate buzz online using virtual book tours and other techniques
· Radio and TV producer hot buttons
· How to bring an energizing new level of creativity to your publicity efforts
Students receive instructional materials and resources and complete weekly assignments that help them discover how easy it is to create book buzz. Student interaction on the forum enhances the learning experience by offering fresh perspectives and new ideas for all participants while instructor guidance and input takes your work to the next level. A free-for-all Q&A corner lets students get answers to questions not covered in the course materials, making this a highly-personalized learning experience for nonfiction and fiction authors.
Registration is $179; Freelance Success subscribers receive a $20 discount.
The class is taught by Sandra Beckwith, a recovering award-winning publicist, publisher of the free e-newsletter Build Book Buzz, and author of three books, including Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans: How to Create Publicity That Will Spark Media Exposure and Excitement. Although published in 2003, Streetwise Complete Publicity Plans continues to remain in the news years later, thanks to Beckwith's book publicity efforts. She has also successfully publicized the books of others.
Register at http://www.buildbookbuzz.com/workshops/book-publicity.htm; send course inquiries to Beckwith at email@example.com.
Writing Powerful Endings
By Laura BackesThe first few lines of any story are the most important -- and often most difficult -- words you'll write. The next most challenging piece of writing is the ending. Once you draw your readers in and take them through your story, you need to leave them with a satisfying conclusion. Here, then, are some tips for writing powerful endings:
Fiction picture books: The story in a picture book must come to a natural, logical conclusion. The action should end at a definitive moment, with no plot points left hanging. The reader needs to be satisfied with the way the story ends; the main character (with whom the reader is identifying) must solve the conflict by the last page. The conclusion cannot be implied or left open; readers shouldn't have to choose between several possible outcomes.
Some authors try to sum up the message of the book in the last paragraph. If your story is well-written, the reader will know what the character learned without your having to blatantly spell it out. Once the action is over and the conflict resolved, the story ends. Anything beyond that point dilutes the impact of all that's gone before.
Chapters: Chapters must feel complete in themselves. Some of the best authors limit their chapters to one scene or event, starting a new chapter with the next scene. A powerful way to end a chapter is at a climactic moment in the middle of a scene. This causes the reader to want to turn the page and see what happens next, The most effective chapters end in the same way they begin: with action or dialogue.
Novels: Novels, like picture books, must have a complete ending. Your character faces a problem oar conflict during the course of the book, and once that problem is resolved the story ends quickly. Many beginning authors add a final chapter that shows how life returned to normal after the story took place; this is unnecessary information that takes away from the impact of the story's resolution.
Any subplots must be tied up before or at the same moment as the conclusion of the main story. The last chapter focuses on the main character and the sects of his actions. Show how that character has grown or changed in some way, but avoid preaching to your readers. This information can generally be summed up very quickly and dramatically with a short final chapter.
Articles: Think of the end of an article as a conclusion, rather than simply summing up facts. The final paragraph draws information from the body of the article and shows the reader why this topic is significant to him. The ending must relate to the initial premise of the piece, answering the questions posed at the beginning. The conclusion packs the final punch of the article, showing the reader why this information is important in the first place. Ending with an interesting quote or point can entice readers to further explore the topic.
Nonfiction books: As with articles, the end of a nonfiction book is the conclusion of all the information you have presented. However, with books you have an entire chapter to make your point. Many authors title their last chapter with a question, such as "Where Do We Go From Here?" or "What Does the Future Hold for the Amazon?" The body of your chapter will answer this question, drawing from the facts in the book and posing possible solutions. If you relate the subject to the reader's own life, he will continue to have an interest in the topic long after he finishes your book.
Endings are important. They are the final contact you'll have with your readers; your last chance to make an impression. Take time with your endings and write them carefully. A satisfying conclusion will not only make reading an enjoyable experience, but children will anxiously await your next work.______________________________________________________________ About the Author: Laura Backes is the publisher of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers. For more information about writing children's books, including free articles, market tips, insider secrets and much more, visit Children's Book Insider's home on the web at http://write4kids.com
Reprinted with permission.
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