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Right Writing News, January 22, 2012 Issue #50
January 21, 2012
Welcome to the 50th 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 ContentsTable of Contents
1) Train Without Leaving Home
Train Without Leaving Home
By W. Terry WhalinTravel can be a hassle. I know firsthand since almost every month I am on the road traveling to a different event. Especially since September 11th, 2001, just getting through the airport is more complex—much less all the other elements in travel.
Despite the hassle, I'm still excited about the live events and how important they are for every writer. Over the years, I’ve written many times about the importance of a writer’s conference. There are many key insights, training and relationships that I’ve formed at these events. I have a number of events scheduled for 2012 as you can see at: http://terrylinks.com/sked I encourage you to check the link from time to time because I update it on a regular basis.
I also understand the importance of constant learning outside of conferences. In the next few weeks, I’ve created a couple of events. They require no travel and you can gain this important teaching in the comfort of your home listening to it on the telephone or on the Internet through the webcast. If at all possible, I encourage you to listen to them live. Pull out a tablet and write down the important ideas which you learn. It will be different for each person. I often find several key action items which come from each of these sections—whether I'm hosting them or attending them. I provide these resources as a key way you to grow in your skills as a writer.
January 24, 2012
Ask Rick Frishman FREE Teleseminar Of the many people I know in the publishing community, one of the key experts is Rick Frishman. Just follow this link and read his bio. The founder of Author 101 University, Rick is also a publisher.
I encourage you to ask Rick any question about why you should attend a writers conference or anything in the marketing and publicity area where he has specialized. Rick is the author of numerous books and if you register for this FREE event, then you will receive immediate access to Rick's Ebook, The Top 20 Tips for Aspiring Authors. This Ebook is loaded with valuable insights for every writer. Follow the link to register and get the details. Join Us For A Live 70-minute Teleseminar Tuesday, January 24, 2012 (8 p.m. EST/ 5 p.m. PST). If you can't attend during the live event, go ahead and register because everyone who registers will receive the replay information. Then you can download it to your computer or iPod and listen to it at your convenience.
February 2, 2012
Ask About Book Proposals FREE Teleseminar One of my passions is to teach people how to make the best possible pitch to an editor or literary agent. Over seven years ago, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell which continues to help people.
During this event, I will be answering your question about book proposal creation and marketing. When you register for this event you will receive a free copy of my Ebook, Book Proposal Basics. Follow the link to register and get the details. Join Us For A Live 70-Minute Teleseminar Thursday, February 2, 2012 (8 p.m. EST/5 p.m. PST). If you can't attend during the live event, go ahead and register because everyone who registers will receive the replay information. Then you can download it to your computer or iPod and listen to it at your convenience.
I will continue to bring these valuable training events to you on a regular basis. Each one provides valuable insights. I hope to speak with you soon.
Remember Editors and Agents do not read book manuscripts. They read book proposals. Learn how to write an excellent book proposal at: http://WriteABookProposal.com
Create a GBHG for This Year
By W. Terry WhalinDo you have a Great Big Hairy Goal (GBHG) for the new year?
Whenever the calendar flips to a new year, it's an opportunity to change and make some dream of yours happen. Mark Victor Hansen often talks about the necessity of creating this GBHG. Write down your goal in a few words. Then paste it on the mirror in the bathroom or on the top of your desk or some place that you see it often.
When you see that goal what steps are you taking today to accomplish this GBHG?
One of my friends wants to publish her fiction. She has taken courses and attended writers conferences. Active in publishing, she regularly helps other writers improve their books through detailed work and critiques. From time to time, I ask this friend about her own writing and what is happening with it. Year after year, it never happens and yet I know she continues to hang on to this GBHG.
I love what my friend Bodie Thoene told me years ago about the work of writing her 600+ page manuscripts. “No little elves come out at night and type my pages,” she explained. Instead Bodie consistently writes pages and completes novels.
Maybe you've actually completed several novels or nonfiction manuscripts. It takes something else to get that material published. You have to craft an amazing pitch or book proposal. Yes, fiction authors need book proposals. You have seconds to grab the attention of the agent or editor.
If you've done the work to create this proposal or manuscript, it does absolutely no good to keep it in your computer or file drawer. You have to actively be looking for the right connection—the right editor or the right literary agent who will champion your cause and get your book into the marketplace. I'm keenly aware that it is hard work and takes consistent and regular effort.
Consistent effort is how you accomplish a GBHG. You have to take your larger goal and break it into smaller goals. Get it on your daily list of “things to do” so you move forward and accomplish your goal.
A year ago, I was speaking with a friend about how I had not accomplished one of my GBHGs. For a year, I took a course on how to create a membership course. I worked through the lessons in the course and created my game plan of what I would make and what it would look like. I even wrote the website for it. But it never happened. I was speaking with this friend about how I had never pulled it completely together to launch this project. It was in limbo where it resided only in my head and not in the public.
As I spoke to my friend, I was struck with how crazy I must have sounded. In that moment, I decided to take action and complete my course and launch it.
Taking action is not simple. It required hours of focused work yet last year I launched my Write A Book Proposal course and have had great feedback from the various students who have completed the course. The course is 12 lessons and over three months. I am continuing to market this course and encourage people to take it. I know it is helping writers around the world to have better proposals and pitches.
Last summer, I met one of my students who came to the writers' conference in Philadelphia. She came from Sydney, Australia! It opened my eyes that my online course has no geographic or time boundaries. Students can learn on their own pace and schedule anywhere in the world.
I've got my own GBHG for this year. I've written it down and I've broken the goal into smaller parts that I can easily accomplish—with consistent effort. I'm excited about the potential of my GBHG to help many people in the weeks ahead.
OK, now it's your turn. What have you been dreaming about in your heart to accomplish, yet for whatever reason not getting done? Pull out some paper or open a file on your computer and write down your GBHG. Then break it into smaller steps and create a plan for you to get it done in the weeks ahead.
We've started a new year. I believe you can get it done. I will be accomplishing my GBHG. How about you?
Meet a Lover of WordsWhile many people recognize my years in the book publishing business, I spend years as a magazine editor and a journalist writing for different print publications.
I was an editor at a missionary publication called In Other Words which was the flagship publication for Wycliffe Bible Translators. In Other Words was a member of the Evangelical Press Association and because I was the editor of the magazine, the various staff members were active members of the EPA.
Often during these years I was able to attend the annual conventions of the Evangelical Press Association. These meetings were held in different locations in the U.S. and involved listening to keynote speakers who challenged us to be better editors and also attend workshops to improve our craft as editors.
As a part of these conventions, we got to visit with our fellow editors and exchange stories and experiences. I always looked forward to these gatherings with several hundred colleagues as almost like attending an annual reunion.
One of the regular attendees to these conventions is someone who is now a bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins. At times a number of us would get together and play games like Scrabble. Late one night I learned first-hand about one of Jerry’s skills.
He is a lover of words and grew up in a family who loved solving puzzles. In fact, he is a world-class Scrabble player. I mean the type of player who knows the three letter words and the critical game-winning strategic thinking for Scrabble. To make things “fair” Jerry played against three of us. Three editors against Jerry didn’t seem like it was fair in some ways—except even three editors working as a team were whipped that night. Talk about a lesson in humility!
Over the years, I’ve had some terrific opportunities to interview Jerry for different magazine articles. I have cherished each opportunity because I learn so much more than I’m able to build into the magazine article which I eventually complete.
On January 5th, I had the opportunity to ply Jerry with questions—except this time the majority of questions came from different writers. For over 70 minutes, Jerry answered questions.
If you don't know Jerry B. Jenkins is a bestselling author who has sold over 70 million books. Now this terrific event is on replay and you can have immediate access to the replay at: www.askjerryjenkins.com. Just mark "no question" and your first name and email address and you will reach the replay.
In addition, every registrant receives a free 24-page Ebook, Pursuing Publication, an excerpt from Jenkins Writing for the Soul.
I hope you will take advantage of this teaching opportunity from this lover of words.
7 Ways Friends Can Support Your Book
(and How to Ask for Their Help)
By Sandra BeckwithI recently read an article that detailed seven ways people could support their author friends. It was well-done and offered the type of specific information I'm always looking for, but honestly, it felt a little...well...self-centered. I mean, really, am I supposed to expect my friends to ask me how they can promote my book? Or, worse, am I self-absorbed enough to think that my friends are using Google to find ways they can support my book marketing? I could never send any of them a link to that article with a note saying, "Please read this and see what you can do."
I'm also one of those people who would never say, "Please buy my book." But that was one of the suggestions in this article - "buy the book." Most of my friends aren't interested in my book topics, so why would they buy any of them? Your book might be different, of course, but my books are on business topics and many of my friends are social workers, teachers, and so on.
In reality, while our friends think it's "cool" that we're authors, it probably doesn't even occur to most of them that they are in a position to help us get the word out. It's our responsibility to ask for that help. The challenge is in finding a way to make the request in a way that works for you - not me, not my friends, and not another author.
Here are some things you will want to consider asking friends to do along with suggestions for making your request something they can act on quickly and easily. You might not be comfortable with all of these suggestions, but there might also be a way for you to get the end result with a different approach.
1. Share information about your book with the "right" people in their e-mail address books. Remember that you didn't write your book for everyone. You wrote it for a specialized audience, whether it's fiction or nonfiction. (Not everybody likes mysteries, right?) It's okay to ask your friends to share information about your book with their networks, but when doing so, make it clear that you realize that they might want to be selective about who they share the information with. Send an e-mail that describes the book, explains who will find it interesting, details how they will benefit from reading it, and includes a link to an online purchase site. Suggest that they forward that information to appropriate people.
2. Provide information about organizations that might use you as a speaker. A complementary word or two from a friend who is a member could be all you need to be the luncheon speaker at the monthly gathering of a group that's perfect for your book.
3. Look for your book at bookstores and request that stores stock it if it's not available. A lot of my friends are authors, so I do this for them at Barnes and Noble all the time. I also turn the cover face out on the shelf so it's easier to see, and when there's more than one copy, I add one to a display at the end of the shelf, too. If a friend's latest book isn't in stock, I ask the store to order it.
4. Use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networks to share a link to a purchase page. Ask them to write a personal message with the link, such as "Can't wait to read my friend's new book about business etiquette" or "Nobody writes better science fiction than my friend Justin Brown - buying his latest book now!"
5. Share a review online. Give a copy of your book to friends you can trust to actually read it, asking them to write a positive review on Amazon and other retail sites.
6. Interview you on their blog when it's a good fit. This is a reasonable request only when the blog's target audience matches your book's. Otherwise, you're putting your friend in an awkward and unfair position.
7. Rate reviews on Amazon so the good ones show up first and the bad ones show up last. At the end of each review, Amazon asks, "Was this review helpful to you?" Click "yes" for the four- and five-star reviews and "no" for anything with less than three stars. The "yes" clicks will help make sure that the positive reviews stay at the top.
What have you asked your friends to do to support your book, and how has that worked out for you? Please send me a note and tell me your story!
Sandra Beckwith is a former publicist who has won several national and regional publicity awards and teaches authors how to generate long-term media buzz for their books. She is the author of three books on publicityy, conducts publicity workshops, and writes frequently on small business marketing and management topics. Please visit her book publicity site and publicity blog to learn more.
Use Your Content in a New Way
By W. Terry WhalinIf you write on a regular basis (magazine articles, blog, or books), then you are constantly generating a steady stream of content. If you speak on a regular basis or teach on any subject, then you have a wealth of material.
I’ve written in the past about repurposing your content but with your own membership site, you take remaking your content to a new level of potential. I’m suggesting you start your own membership site. In fact, I’ve developed a complete product to show you much more indepth than this short article. Here’s where you can learn about the Simple Membership System.
The first step is to select your niche and your topic.
Now think about this for a moment…
Your goal is to get members to happily pay you month after month for content. Obviously, that means you need to:
Over-deliver with quality content. You want your members to feel like they’re getting a steal for the price.
Give your members what they want. If you’re just starting your site, then look to the top-selling products in your niche to see what your target market is already paying for.
But here’s something else…
In order to get your members paying month after month, you need to be able to make them look forward to each upcoming lesson. And the best way to do that is by creating a membership site around a step-by-step process. That is, your lessons teach your members how to achieve a specific result.
You see, if you just provide tips and tricks for your members, there’s no sense of continuity. Your members don’t develop as strong of a psychological commitment to staying a member, because they won’t have a need to see the course through until the end.
Now imagine having numbered steps and lessons instead. When someone is receiving lesson 10 of a step-by-step process, they’ve made an investment of time and money into learning the process – so they are less likely to “bail” before they’ve received all the steps.
Let me give you a few examples of sites that teach a specific achievement or result using a step-by-step process:
• How to start an online business.
• How to write a sales letter.
• How to choose, train and raise a puppy.
• How to adopt a child.
• How to homeschool your child.
Now let me give you an example of what a 12-week online marketing course might look like:
Step 1: Choose a niche.
Step 2: Market research.
Step 3: Plan your sales funnel.
Step 4: Get a domain and hosting.
Step 5: Get an autoresponder.
Step 6: Write your autoresponder messages.
Step 7: Create a squeeze page.
Step 8: Product creation part 1 – research and outline.
Step 9: Product creation part 2 – create and polish.
Step 10: Create a sales letter.
Step 11: Drive traffic – free methods
Step 12: Drive traffic – paid methods.
Notice how each step builds on the previous step.
It starts with a member not even having an idea for a niche… and ends with the member driving traffic to a sales letter and making money.
In other words, if the member completes the steps as the course progresses, he or she should be able to enjoy a specific achievement or result by the end of the course.
Note: The above example is a 12-week course. Naturally, you could easily stretch this out to a year or more by creating more steps and more in-depth steps. You could go on indefinitely as long as you kept providing more advanced info as the course progressed.
One final tip…
To keep your customers happy, make sure that they are progressing and enjoying results right from the beginning.
Example: If you create a yearlong course, don’t stretch out the process for a year. Instead, give the step-by-step instructions your customers need to experience some type of results immediately (within a few weeks or month after joining) and then provide more in-depth instructions as the course progresses.
In short: Satisfy your customers’ needs for instant gratification while still providing the continuity that will keep them as a member.
Getting In and Out of Flashbacks
By James Scott BellHow do you get in and out of a flashback, so it flows naturally? Here's one way that works every time.
In the scene you're writing, when you're about to go to flashback, put in a strong, sensory detail that triggers the memory in the point-of-view character:
Wendy looked at the wall and saw an ugly, black spider making its way up toward a web where a fly was caught. Legs creeping, moving slowly toward its prey. The way Lester had moved on Wendy all those years ago.
She was sixteen and Lester was the big man on campus. "Hey," he called to her one day by the lockers. "You want to go see a movie?"
We are in the flashback. Write it out as a dramatic scene.
How do we get out of it?
By returning to the sensory detail (sight in thi case) of the spider. The reader will remember the strong detail, and know that he's out of flashback.
Lester made his move in the back of the car. Wendy was helpless. It was all over in five minutes.
The spider was at the web now. Wendy felt waves of nausea as she watched it. But she could not look away.
Watch out for "had"
Watch out for the word had in your flashback scenes. Use one or two to get in, but once in, avoid them. Instead of:
Marvin had been good at basketball. He had tried out for the team, and the coach had said how good he was.
"I think I'll make you my starting point guard," Coach had told him right after try outs.
Marvin had been thrilled by that.
Marvin had been good at basketball. [This gets us in. Now switch to scene] He tried out for the team, and the coach said how good he was.
"I think I'll make you my starting point guard," Coach told him right after try outs.
Marvin was thrilled.
Flashback scene alternatives
An alternative to the flashback scene (which you may be tempted to turn into an information dump) is the back flash. These are short bursts in which you drop information about the past within a present moment scene. The two primary methods are dialogue and thoughts.
"Hey, don't I know you?"
"Yeah, yeah. You were in the newspapers, what, ten years ago? The kid who killed his parents in that cabin."
"Chester A. Arthur! You were named after the president. I remember that in the story."
Chester's troubled background has come out in a flash of dialogue. This is also a good way for shocking information from the past, or a dark secret, to be revealed at a tense moment in the story.
"Hey, don't I know you?"
"No." Did he? Did the guy recognize him? Would everybody in town find out he was Chet Arthur, killer of parents?
"Yeah, yeah. You were in the newspapers, what, ten years ago?"
It was twelve years ago, and this guy had him pegged. Lousy press, saying he killed his parents because he was high on drugs. They didn't care about the abuse, did they? And this guy wouldn't, either.
We are in Chester's head for this one, as he reflects on his past. If you want to do a full flashback scene, thoughts can also operate as a transition point.
The skillful handling of flashback material is one mark of a good writer. Using back flashes as an alternative is usually the mark of a wise writer.
JAMES SCOTT BELL is the author of the #1 bestseller for writers, Plot & Structure, and numerous thrillers, including Deceived, Try Dying, Try Darkness, Try Fear, One More Lie and Watch Your Back, He is a winner of the Christy Award for Excellence (Suspense category) and has been a finalist three times. He served as the fiction columnist for Writer's Digest magazine and has written highly popular craft books for Writers Digest Books, including : Revision & Self-Editing, The Art of War for Writers and Conflict & Suspense. His website is www.JamesScottBell.com.
10 Tips for Getting Traffic Through Social Media
By Jimmy D. Brown of Traffic F.U.E.L.Here then are 10 tips for using social media to drive traffic to your sites…
1. Complete your profile.
When you first open your Twitter, Facebook, Squidoo or other social media site account, fill out your profile (including a picture). Doing so makes it easier for people to get to know you and build relationships with you, which will make it more likely they’ll click through to your site.
Social sites are, by definition, social. They’re two way streets (not monologues). That’s why you shouldn’t just post content and move on. Instead, spend a few minutes each day interacting and getting to know people in your network.
3. Include a link to your site on your profile page.
This tip is simple but effective: Give people a reason to click through from the social media site to your blog or squeeze page. A promise of a free solution usually makes for a good enticement.
4. Ask your followers to “retweet” and repost.
If you create a “buzzworthy” post (such as a post on a hot or even controversial niche topic), as your Twitter followers to “retweet” it and ask your other social media networks to repost it.
5. Spend time each day growing your network.
Commit to spending at least 10 minutes each day growing your network. You’ll see big results by the end of the month. And you’ll be amazed at the size of your network in six months or a year from now.
6. Link your social site pages together.
Link your Twitter account to your Facebook, MySpace, Squidoo, HubPages and other social media pages. And vice versa.
7. Use your real name so that you’re easy to find.
People who want to do business with you won’t respond well to working with “BaseballBoy72.” Instead, build trust by using your real name. Doing so also makes it easier for others to find you on Facebook and similar sites.
8. Post good content.
Social media is not just about networking, it’s also about sharing information. If you share some of your best information with your network, you’ll get respect, trust… and more sales. Plus you’ll establish yourself as a niche expert.
9. Optimize some of your content.
Some social sites (such as Yahoo! Answers and Squidoo) get crawled and indexed regularly by the search engines. As such, you may consider optimizing some of your content for the search engines by including relevant (longtail) keywords two or three times for every 100 words of content.
10. Get the most benefit for your time.
Instead of trying to interact and build relationships with thousands of prospects, consider building a relationship with a handful of partners. That’s because just one good partner can send you hundreds or thousands of prospects and customers.
In summary: Social media is only expected to grow in the future – and now is the best time to get involved if you’d like to grow your business right along with it. You can start today by applying the ten traffic-generating, relationship-building tips you just discovered!
Jimmy D. Brown is the publisher of Traffic Jam newsletter and the owner of Traffic F.U.E.L. membership site. Drop by today to learn how to get completely free traffic to any website. Get your free traffic newsletter at: Traffic F.U.E.L.
Make Your Book a BestsellerWant to discover how one author made her book an Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and New York Times Bestseller?
Join my friend, Steve Harrison, on Thursday, January 26th for a free webinar (or telephone seminar) and discover the ingenious, yet simple "bestseller blueprint" you can use to sell more books in a week than most authors sell all year. I'm a compensated affiliate.
You'll hear from four authors who've used it to make their books bestsellers and one who sold $184,256.00 of copies at zero cost!
To register go here now:
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