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Right Writing News, September 29, 2011 Issue #48
September 29, 2011

Welcome to the 48th 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.

If you like what you see here, please forward this copy and use this link to subscribe.

Table of Contents

1) Four Opportunities for Your Growth
By W. Terry Whalin

2) Cut Your Learning Curve As a Writer
By W. Terry Whalin

3) How To Create a Media List
By Sandra Beckwith

4) 10 Rules of Social Marketing (Guerrilla) Engagement
By Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA

5) Beware of the Hard Sell
By Barbara Techel

6) Questions to Ask When Rejected
By W. Terry Whalin

7) 12 Ways to Create a Mailing List that Will Sell Books
By Penny Sansevieri

Four Opportunities for Your Growth

By W. Terry Whalin

I believe in creating opportunities for others. It's one of the reasons I continue to hold FREE teleseminars. There are four upcoming opportunities to grow in your knowledge as a writer.

First, Thursday, September 29th, I will be hosting a FREE teleseminar with Rick Frishman. The content will come from your questions about the importance of attending a writers's conference. I'm putting Rick on the hot seat and I hope you can be there. If you can't attend the live event, I encourage you to register so you can receive the replay since it will be recorded. Everyone who attends will receive a copy of Rick's special report, the Top 20 Tips for Aspiring Writers. Hope to speak with you soon.

Second, I will be answering your questions about the creation and marketing of book proposals on Thursday, October 13th in a new 70–minute teleseminar. I've written a new Ebook, Book Proposal Basics and it's free to everyone who attends the FREE event. Again it will be recorded and you can get the information even if you can't make the live event.

Third, November 4th and 5th I will be on the faculty of the Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference. I will be teaching a couple of workshops and meeting one-on-one with writers.

Fourth, the following weekend, November 10 to 12, I will be in Kansas City, Missouri at The Heart of America Christian Writers Network Fall Conference. I will be teaching four workshops and meeting with writers.

If you can't attend these events, be sure and check this link to keep track of my speaking schedule in the weeks ahead. I will continue to create opportunities for your growth.

Remember Editors and Agents do not read book manuscripts. They read book proposals. Learn how to write an excellent book proposal at:

Cut Your Learning Curve As a Writer

By W. Terry Whalin

The world of publishing is constantly changing. There are many different ways to learn about these changes such as blogs, online newsletters, books and audio recordings.

None of these ways will replace face to face exchanges and sitting in a workshop learning from professionals. In the many years that I've been in publishing, many of my educational moments came at a writers' conference. I've formed relationships which have lasted many years and many other benefits from my investment to attend a conference. I know it has cut down my learning curve as a writer and propelled me down the road to publication.

I've heard many bestselling authors tell me that their career went rapidly forward after attending a writers conference.

This week I've convinced Rick Frishman, the founder of Planned Television Arts (one of the largest Public Relations firms in the U.S.) and publisher at Morgan James Publishing, to sit on the hot seat of a live teleseminar about the importance of writers conferences. Rick is the founder of Author 101 University, which has been held multiple times in various cities.

In this free event, Rick will be answering your questions about why you should make the investment of time and money to attend a writers' conference. I hope you will go over to the site and ask your question.

If you can't make the live event on Thursday evening, I encourage you to still sign up for the event. It will be recorded and everyone who registers will receive the link to the recording.

I look forward to asking your questions to Rick Frishman on Thursday.

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How To Create a Media List

By Sandra Beckwith

Most authors, whether self- or traditionally published, need to create a custom media list as part of their book publicity and promotion plans. Conventional publishers want to reach out to your media contacts with news of your book, and self-published authors should do the same.

There are many reasons to create an in-house media list, but here are just four:

1.You'll use it to send an announcement release and review copies.

2. It will be the starting point for individual article, interview, or segment pitches.

3. You'll send newsworthy tip sheets and news releases regularly to this highly targeted media list while your book is in print.

4. It will be the basis of your opportunistic media pitches when your topic is making headlines.

Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a custom media list:

* Be very focused. Which media outlets reach your target audience? For example, if your book is for plumbers, don't put USA Today and "Good Morning America" on your list.

* Start with your own network. Who has interviewed you in the past? Which media colleagues might interview you about your book's topic for a print, broadcast, or online report? What media outlets do you already contribute content to or have contributed to in the past that might support you?

* Use Google alerts. You've got them set up for your topic already, right? (You don't? Learn how to do that here.) Google alerts will provide you with links to online articles about your topics; get and add contact information for the journalists writing those articles to your database.

* Even if you're not ready to promote your book, start a file or database and add names, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers as you come across them.

* You can often find contact information on an individual media outlet's website, but when that's not possible, you can get the information you need by calling or using media directories at the library.

* Use names, not generic titles ("Sandra Beckwith," not "food editor").

* Your in-house list is a starting point, and shouldn't be the only media list you use for news distribution. Your publisher will send review copies to its own list in addition to yours, and you'll often want to send news materials to a much broader mailing list. Cision and PRWeb are trusted and affordable press release distribution services, but there are others, too.

View your list as evolving - add to it as you encounter more journalists - and update your database every six months.

Sandra Beckwith teaches authors how to be their own book publicists. Subscribe to her free Build Book Buzz e-zine at

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10 Rules of Social Marketing (Guerrilla) Engagement

By Wendy Montes de Oca, M.B.A.

As the social media landscape grows with mainstream and niche sites, so will the innovative ways to get marketing messages to members of these social media sites.

However, before you starting posting away with your guerilla marketing tactics, it's good to keep in mind my 10 rules of social marketing engagement:

1. Be aware. Know each social media community's law of the land. Each network, forum, blog, chat room, and bulletin board has its own set of rules that you are required to abide by as a member. Read the rules and stick to them. If the site has a specific area for promotional or marketing messages, keep your posts of this nature restricted to those areas. If rules dictate what type of messages are allowed (such as no overtly selfserving, defamatory, illegal, elicit, or pornographic material), follow the rules. Any deviation will prompt a warning by the site's moderator or a ban from the site.

2. Be active. Don't just go in a few times and hit members with your marketing message. Get involved. Participate in discussions. Interact with members. Read and respond to engaging posts with no hidden agenda.

3. Be relevant. Make sure you're posting in areas of the site that are relevant to the topic you're discussing. Many forums have segmented subareas by category and interest level. This helps the members easily find the topics they're interested in and keeps you from muddying the waters in unrelated areas of the site.

4. Be genuine. Let the conversations flow organically. Contribute real, thought-provoking comments that members will find interesting.

5. Be useful. As a member, your goal is to participate in intelligent, useful discussions. Make sure you're adding value to the site in some way. Your comments should also be valuable to the reader and not random posts. Nothing gets under members' skin more than messages that appear to be blatant spam.

6. Be subtle. Don't overlink. Many marketers embed their entire message with URLs to whatever page they're trying to drive traffic to. Less is more here. Some sites even have rules about not allowing links in the body copy of a post, but keeping them only in the auto signature field where your username is. Links should be relevant to the post (such as a great article that you want to share with members-then enclose the link so they can read for themselves). Use links sparingly.

7. Be balanced. Mix up your messages. Don't just go into a site and start spamming away with your marketing messages. Go in. Hang out for a few weeks. Get to really know the members and the site. See which areas of the site have topics and discussions that vibe with you. Mix up your posts. Find balance with the editorial and marketing messages you're posting. The idea is to provide value and engage. If you overmarket, it will be transparent, and you'll be labeled a "shill." That will affect your credibility with other members.

8. Be informative. Don't limit your article uploads or links to your own publication. Be aware of what's happening in your area of interest. Be able to have intelligent discussions about different news, events, and publications under your subject matter. If you see other related articles that you think members would find interesting-even material from other publishers -share the knowledge. After all, that's ultimately what social media is about.

9. Be personable. Develop relationships with the community on both a "friend" and an expert level for your area of specialty. Let your personality and credentials shine through with the information you share. Offer free expert advice. Share funny stories. Have witty discussions. Start to truly develop a memorable presence and bond with the community.

10. Be respectful. Don't spam your fellow members. Many social communities (such as Facebook and LinkedIn) post user email addresses on their Profile page. This leads to a flurry of unsolicited emails to the unsuspecting user from social networking barracudas that use this personal information for their own self-serving purposes. Remember, just because an email is posted on a user's profile page doesn't mean that person opted in to receive solicitations, promotions, or similar email communications. Sending unwanted and unsolicited emails is spam, plain and simple. Don't exploit community members' personal information.

Wendy Montes de Oca, M.B.A., has a diversified background that includes nearly 20 years of experience in marketing, media, financial services, and law. She has a proven track record with both acquisition and retention efforts, as well as has both editorial and copywriting success. Her specialties include multichannel marketing (print, Web, email, direct mail, radio, and TV), with expertise in Internet marketing. You can learn more at: Precision Marketing

Excerpt From Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz By Wendy Montes de Oca, MBA [Que Publishing, Paperback]

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Beware of the Hard Sell

By Barbara Techel

As an author, you have two reasons for making appearances: Primarily to spread the message you were passionate enough to write about in the first place, but also to sell books. The reality is that, in order to continue spreading our messages, we must sell our books to finance the effort¬. If we’re lucky, we’ll leave behind a pleasant or at least worthwhile reading experience, as well. But we must be careful not to let that need overshadow the needs of those who invite us to speak in the first place.

Many authors get caught up in a heavy-handed sales pitch, when what the audience expects is an informative, entertaining or inspiring talk about a subject they’re interested in. There is nothing that turns an audience off so much as feeling they are captive to a sales pitch, so do everyone a favor and avoid this pitfall.

Instead of thinking about sales, when doing a presentation anywhere (but especially in a classroom), think about bringing value to your audience by sharing your message, your author story, and your book in a way that either teaches a valuable life lesson or inspires or encourages in some way. The impression you leave is what will create awareness of your message, interest in your books, and put you in demand as a speaker.

Be very careful to keep your sales language so subtle that it’s almost invisible. This is especially important when talking with young audiences. You do not want to blatantly market to children…or to people of any age, for that matter. There are ways you can gain book sales from your appearances, which I will cover in detail later in this book, without any hard sell.

Barbara Techel is the award-winning author of the Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series. She has shared her story of hope and inspiration about her dachshund, Frankie, who is in a wheelchair, with thousands of children and adults since 2007 with over 300 author appearances to her credit. Barbara is also a speaker and publisher. Learn more about her work at:

Excerpt From Class Act, Sell More books through School and Library Author Appearances By Barbara Techel [Joyful Pay Prints Press, Paperback]
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Questions to Ask When Rejected

By W. Terry Whalin

It is no fun to receive those rejection notices from a magazine or book publisher or literary agent. Almost everyone uses standard form letters in this process. Because of the high volume of submissions at some places, you are fortunate to even receive a rejection notice.

When you receive a rejection, there are some questions that I like to ask myself about the submission.

First, did I send it to the right editor and the right place? The publishing world is constantly changing and I've heard Sally Stuart say that at least 90% of the entries in The Christian Market Guide change each year. It's one of the reasons seven years after Howard Publishing changed to Howard Books, that I continue to receive submissions to the Fiction Acquisitions Editor at Howard Publishing (a role I've not had in years).

Second question: Do I like and believe in what I sent out? When it returns, you have an opportunity to adjust your pitch. Most of the time, it's probably ready to go out to someone else but it's a good question to ask. My much published journalist friend Kelly James-Enger calls rejections a bong and encourages you to get it right back out into the market in her article here: Look at #10.

Third question: Can I take my material in a different direction where I can get my material into the market and earn the money directly (instead of a once-a-year royalty payment from a book publisher)? In the past, I've encourage you to look at your material differently. Recently I've created a new product to teach you how to create your own course. Everyone has something to teach others. It's the model that I used to create my proposal course and now I've pulled it together into an affordable--yet robust program for any writer:

For every writer persistence and perseverance is a big part of this work. You need to be on a continual search for opportunity. When you find it, latch on to it and run toward it. The search may take a while but you can get there with continued effort.
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12 Ways to Create a Mailing List that Will Sell Books

By Penny Sansevieri

We've all heard this: capture email addresses on your website so you can market to them again. So we capture email addresses and then we wonder what to do with them. What if you don't really have news? Do you mail the list anyway? How can I monetize my list and how much is too much?

We've had The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter for over eight years now and the newsletter, bursting in content, is one of the best promotional tools my company has. We've never done a single piece of advertisement for my firm, all of it has come from word of mouth, online, and our newsletter.

The key to a good newsletter list is simple really and the biggest piece of this is you've got to have something useful to say. While your friends and family might enjoy hearing about your latest book signing, people who happened onto your site and subscribed to your ezine might become bored with this information and unsubscribe. If you have a list or are considering starting one, consider these tips to get you going and help you maximize your newsletter.

1. Timing: How often you send the newsletter will really depend on your crowd but I don't recommend anything less than once a month. I know some people who send a quarterly newsletter and that's fine if you don't really have much to say, but if you're looking for content so you can send the newsletter more, then read on, I have some ideas and ways of maximizing the use of content for your newsletter.

2. Distribution: How will you send your newsletter? If your plan is to email it forget it unless you have less than 100 subscribers. Anything over that and you should consider using a service like Aweber or Constant Contact. These places will handle your subscribed and unsubscribes for you. If you start mailing to a list larger than 50 from your email service, you run the risk of getting shut down for spam.

3. Easy Opt In: Make it easy for people to sign up. Make sure there's a sign up on your website, preferably the home page and then a mention of it again on your most popular page which, for most of us, is our blog. The opt-in will take new subscribers to your welcome page (which we'll talk about in a minute) and handle sending your new readers right into the mailing list.

4. Ethical Bribe: So what will you give readers to get their email? It might not be enough just to tout that you have this fabulous newsletter, in fact often it isn't. Having something that they'll want, a key item, e-book, tip sheet whatever will entice readers to sign up for your newsletter. Here's a hint: give them something they'll have to keep referring to again and again so that your name and book stays in front of them.

5. Free: There are some folks in the industry who try to charge for their newsletter. Listen, I get it. A newsletter is a lot of work but if done properly, it is a key promotional tool and therefore, should be free. Magazines can charge for subscriptions, you can't. Make it free. Don't even put a value on it. I know folks who do this too. I think the value of the newsletter should be evident in its content, not in the price you chose to put on it.

6. Welcome pages: After someone signs up for your newsletter, what will they see? A simple thank you page on your website is a waste of an opportunity. Make sure there is a welcome page that shares their freebie (the ethical bribe) and tells them about one or two of your products. It's also a great idea to offer a special on this welcome page as a "thank you" for signing up to your mailing list.

7. Check your facts: The quickest way to lose subscribers is to publish a newsletter full of factual mistakes. Do your fact and link checking prior to it going out. Seriously. It's important not just to the credibility of your newsletter, but to you as well. I mean who wants to buy something from someone who can't even be bothered to check their facts? Also, please get your newsletter edited. I've seen some newsletter with a disclaimer that they are unedited. If you aren't an editor and can't afford one, see if you can get it done for free and then blurb the person in your newsletter as a way to reciprocate. Remember, everything is your resume. Would you send a CV to a potential employer that was full of typos. I didn't think so.

8. Promote: This is key because once you decide to do a newsletter you'll want to promote it. You can do so by adding it to your signature line in email (sign up for my newsletter and get something), you should also never go to a book event without a signup sheet, and add your newsletter info to the byline of any article you write that gets syndicated online.

9. Collaborate: If you're strapped for content and time, why not open up your newsletter to other collaborators? Our newsletter, The Book Marketing Expert, is a collaboration of a lot of voices. We have publishing tips, web site tips, social media tips, and the main article. It's a great way to let others have a voice in your newsletter which helps to promote them and the best part of this is that if you have a collaborative newsletter you can all promote it to the different people you touch in your travels. This will help increase your sign up exponentially because you're hitting that many more people. Your collaborators should be in the industry, but specializing in different areas. This will give your newsletter the flavor and interest it needs. Don't worry about sharing your newsletter space with others, we've done it this way for years and it's a great way to build lots of useful content.

10. Be generous: Give lots of good information. By giving away good information people will want to read it, when they read it you will build a readership and loyal following, not just for your newsletter but your books and products as well.

11. Balance: The key to a good newsletter that will not only get read, but passed along is balance. By this I mean balance giving with selling. My general rule of thumb is 95% helpful information and 5% selling, while that number may seem low trust me, this is a great balance and yes, you can offer specials, and offers to your readers but that's the 5%.

12. Content creation: While it may seem daunting to have to write content for a newsletter every month or every two weeks, you can use and reuse this content because not everyone will find you in the same place. What I mean by this is that some folks will find you on your blog, others might find you on Twitter and still others will find you by searching online and happen on an article you've syndicated. Once I create content for The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter that content is then redistributed and reused in places like our blog, my Twitter account ( @bookgal) our Facebook Fan Page or on my page at The Huffington Post Use and reuse your content, though not too much. I generally will use my articles in one or two other places and that's it, but the point is they can be used again.

The idea behind a good newsletter is one that not only brings your readers in but keeps them in. It's the marketing funnel we marketing people love to talk about so much, once you get someone to sign up, stay on their radar screen with helpful content. Once you do, you'll find not only loyal readers, but loyal buyers as well.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.
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