Who is Your Audience? What is the Significance of your Book?

Mom and daughter reading a bookI recently wrote an article about understanding who is reading your book and what significance you hope your book will have to the reader.

Often we are focused on ourselves and what we like when we write our book, but it is wise to contemplate our readership and purpose while writing our book to ensure it reaches the success we envision for it.

Enjoy the complete article on eZine Articles.

Feel free to comment and share below with your thoughts.

Writing Unedited: At Least the First Time Through

book editingHave you ever heard it said that an editor’s job is to edit while a writer’s job is to write?

For the most part, this is true. As writers, it’s important to let our creative juices flow freely without the presence of what author Julia Cameron refers to as our inner critic, that critical perfectionist voice that can get in the way of our progress, and when allowed to run rampant, will stop us dead in our tracks.

The question is, when do we need to bring our own self-editing into play?


Not in the beginning. Not while writing your first draft when you only want to do one thing: write, write, write! Let it pour forth. No judgment, no second guessing, no censorship. No organizing or reorganizing. Even if something doesn’t fit with your original outline, write what wants to be said. Whether you’re working on a memoir or the next great American novel, it’s important to allow your story to flow out of you in its entirety and in whatever way, shape, or form it presents itself.

During that first draft, turn off the part of your mind that wants to examine your technique. In the beginning, it doesn’t matter whether your parallelism is working or if you’ve generated a great submerged metaphor or even what parts should go or stay. Your goal is to create a first draft. There will be plenty of time for self-editing–starting with your second draft.

In a September 2011 Huffington Post article, author Arielle Ford stated, Let it flow. When my sister, bestselling author Debbie Ford, was starting her first book, Peter Guzzardi, an editor at Random House, told her to write ten pages per day–without editing a single word of it. Just write, he told her. Follow Guzzardi’s advice, and try not to judge what comes out on the page. Just keep going. With practice, you’ll learn to let the words flow through you. Some authors describe it as an out-of-body experience that allows them to do their best writing.”

But what about our fear, which often shows up as the “editor”? It’s simply another way our inner critic tries to get into the act. Arielle Ford recommends that we befriend our fear. “The act of writing, particularly writing unedited, can be scary. Most writers, bestselling authors included, feel this fear at times. The best way I know to overcome it is to accept it–and then get back to writing.”

Julia Cameron recommends that we get to know our fear through morning pages, a daily practice of checking in with ourselves. Each day, when we rise and before we speak to anyone, she prescribes that we write three handwritten pages. We never know what might show up on those pages–our fears, our recounting of the previous day’s events, our anticipation of the current day’s schedule, or even statements such as, “I’m too tired today.” Whatever shows up is released on to those pages, freeing us to do what we really want–to write!

So, give it a try. Let go and let it flow. Write a little or a lot each day. Remember, this is your first draft, so no editors or inner critics allowed! Let yourself be what you want to be–the writer!

This blog post was written by Donna Mazzitelli, who is the editor on our Self-Publishing Experts Team. Visit her website: The Word Heartiste.

Writing Tools: Prompt Jar

Prompt JarsThis article was originally posted by Melissa Kline, on her blog. She’s a contributing author of Speaking Your Truth and has published several novels.

Besides being a writer, I am a super crafty person. I combined these skills to create a “prompt jar” which holds an assortment of creative writing prompts. These jars make great gifts and are always handy to have on your desk. You can also bring them along to your writing group or make a practice of using one everyday. I’ve included simple step-by-step instructions to make your own prompt jar. You can customize the prompts and overall design however you choose.
Things you will need:

~Mason jar or washed spaghetti sauce, pickle, misc. food item jar

~Paper – white or colored

~Scissors

~Double sided tape and /or clear packing tape

~Colored string, yarn, raffia or ribbon for decoration

Directions:
1. Collect or create an assortment of writing prompts, (you can find lots of prompts online creative-writing-solutions.com or iteslj.org/questions/whatif.html are my favorites), and print or handwrite at least five full pages on white or colored paper. I like to use five different colors – one color per page. You may have to play with font size and spacing – I use size 12 font, double spaced between each prompt.

2. Cut prompts into strips, preferably about the same size in length and width (approx. 4-5″ in length and the width of your thumbnail). Fold each one in half twice and drop into jar until full.

3. Create a name and label for your jar by hand or with a computer program. Some label ideas are, “Seeds of Creativity”, “The Cure to Writers Block”, “Brain Food.” Tape the label onto the jar with double sided or clear packing tape. Tip: I cover the entire label with clear packing tape before taping it onto the jar. This makes it sturdy, shiny and waterproof.

4. Tie string, yarn, raffia or ribbon around the neck of the jar for decoration. You can also add beads, charms or tags.

Voila! You’ve got yourself a nifty little jar full of fun. Write to your heart’s content!

 

 

The Power of Accountability for your Writing Goals

Woman Sitting to WriteI wrote an article for eZine Articles recently about the power of accountability for your writing goals. Accountability has made all the difference in the world for my prolific writing. As a result, I wanted to share some tips with you.

Click here to read the full article.

Here at Self-Publishing Experts, we love to help you be accountable to your writing goals. Whether you want to be in one of our coaching groups or work with us individually one to one, we love to find ways for you to find accountability and see your book become a reality.

Please comment and share about what accountability technique works best for you!

Marketing Your Book Begins Early!

Book MarketingAuthors are in charge of their own book marketing whether they self-publish or traditionally publish. It is prudent to start early before your book is done and be ready for consistent marketing ramping up to the book launch and for years afterwards.

As an author, we are hopefully talking about our books everywhere we go at events and with networking. Enjoy an Ezine Article entitled “Start Marketing Your Book Even Before It Is Done” for seven tips to ensure your book marketing success.

Will You Get Rich From Writing A Book?

Money and booksIf you think that your book will skyrocket you to fame and fortune, you may want to become a bit more realistic. It is possible to become famous from your book and make a lot of money, but the majority of people do not become rich from the book itself.

However, you can make multiple income streams from the platform around your book. Your book also gives you credibility and you can establish a level of expertise or public view that opens many doors and opportunities.

For a more in depth view of how you can build a platform around your book, read a recent article written by Lisa Shultz and published in Ezine articles.

Smart Tip: Set a Timer to Write

Making Time to WriteI just began to implement a new way to make sure I write for a certain number of minutes a day. There is a free downloadable timer you can use by clicking here: Online Stopwatch.

Set it for even 15 minutes to make sure you write with focus consistently every day.

When I set it for any length of time I can fully commit to, then I will not let myself be interrupted by emails, phone calls or other distractions. This keeps me on task and more productive.

If you find this helpful or have another strategy you use to keep yourself on a consistent writing schedule, then please comment and share.

Leaving a Legacy Through Writing a Book

Mom and daughter reading a bookWriting and Publishing a book is one of the most satisfying goals I have achieved. I strive to make a difference in this world today but also leave a legacy when I am gone. My books and their messages will continue to be available not only for purchase but for impact and influence even when I am no longer living.

My first book, 8 Strategies For An Extraordinary Life, was published in 2005. It is a short 37 page book, which makes me laugh and wonder if it even qualifies as a book! But the simple act of writing it and completing it and publishing it was a huge step for me. I needed to start somewhere and finish it so it wasn’t just another dream that faded away.

The whole purpose of that first book was to leave my daughters something tangible that their mother completed and dedicated to them. For some that might be art, craft or collection of some sort. For me, I wanted a book. My daughters can say, if mom did it, I can too!

In fact, one of my daughters wrote a novel in her early teens with about 300 pages that is really good. When I read the draft, I thought to myself, where did a book like this come from? How did I raise a daughter that could write so well?

Then it hit me, she saw me writing as she grew up and so she wrote because she knew if I could do it, she could too. She has watched me write two more (much bigger) books since that first little one, and she now wants to co-author one with me. Wow, the ripple effect continues!

Even if you do not have children, your book can have a wonderful positive impact on readers. It is an amazing feeling when someone contacts me because of my story in Speaking Your Truth. I know I have touched a few others with the feeling that they are not alone.

If there is a feeling inside you that you have something to say, and if you want to hold a book in your hands that you wrote and published, then seize the moment and commit to writing that book! Andrea Costantine  and I have paved the way to making that happen even more quickly and smoothly than ever before with our guidebook, How To Bring Your Book to Life This Year.

You probably have more to say than 37 pages! Share your experience, entertain and uplift your audience and leave a lasting legacy to your family and friends and any reader that you touched. Let your book be a gift that can keep on giving during your lifetime and after you are gone.

Please comment and share your thoughts on leaving a legacy through writing.

How Writing Can Elevate and Accelerate Your Business

Writing for businessWriting whether it be for blogs, articles, eBooks or paperback books can tremendously boost your exposure, credibility and expert status. Even writing comments in social media platforms and niche groups can rapidly move your business forward. Are you ready to spend your time more efficiently?

Traditional networking of going to actual events and groups to make new connections and share leads is still a valuable way to grow your business, but how many people did you reach personally at the last event you attended? If it was a typical networking event with 20-30 people in attendance, you may have walked away with a few good conversations that merit follow-up and a handful of business cards. You may or may not effectively use those business cards or even follow-up with the strong connections you made at the event. That all depends on whether or not you have developed a system for follow-up. Let’s consider driving time to and from the event. You may have spent four hours of your time invested in this event with only a small number of real, viable new connections. Was it worth it?

I am a big fan of networking events and face to face connecting with people. I even have my own networking organization. Sometimes that direct exposure is priceless, but I find that my reach is rather small compared to what I can do in four hours on the internet and with writing in particular.

The fact is that I am very disciplined in follow-up from events I attend. I do have a system in place and follow it diligently. But I am doing less in person networking with the exception of my own events and finding great benefit from that. First, it saves me gas and maintenance on my car. I am spending less in my networking budget for the fees to attend or join the live groups and events as well. When I write and work online, most of it is free.

So if I took that four hour allotment of time to go to a live event with questionable value, what could I do instead and how many people could I reach?

Here is an idea of what you could do for a trial of writing for four hours that done consistently might elevate and accelerate your business beyond your wildest dreams.

  1. Have a blog and write a new post 1-3 times a week. Feel free to use guest bloggers and article and video reviews on occasion, but write at least one a week yourself.
  2. Convert at least one of those posts into an article and submit it to 1-3 article sites. I recommend eZineArticles.com, GoArticles.com, and ArticlesBase.com.
  3. Visit other blogs and read them gaining new ideas, sharing and commenting on what you read. Engage conversations in the writing community.
  4. Utilize Linkedin Groups. Search for ones related to your industry and participate in the discussions. Ask questions, answer questions, make comments. Become known in the groups best suited to your line of work and direction.
  5. Begin to save and compile your best original blog posts into a possible eBook or real book. Consider a focus and become an expert. Your blogs and articles can easily be converted into book form over time.
  6. Dedicate an hour to actually writing your book. Having your own book out in public lifts your credibility immensely. Self-publishing has made this a viable option for the average person to achieve.
  7. You may also take one of your four hours and make is a power hour on social media. I have already written an article about that, which can be reviewed on http://ezinearticles.com/?Social-Media:-Power-Hour&id=5288355.

So let’s review how you could spend four hours writing and working on your business for no or low cost.

First hour-write for your blog and post. Convert this blog into an article and post to one of the three sites mentioned.

Second hour-blog tour and Linkedin group comments and interaction.

Third hour-write your book. Yes, get busy and just write!

Fourth hour-social media power hour.

How many people do you think you might reach in those four hours and how much progress might you make in getting your book done if you did that consistently even once a week? What if you did that every other day or if you are highly energized and motivated, every day for a trial of three months? You can still attend events live to have a reason to get out of your robe and slippers, but you will quickly realize how expansive and accelerating the internet can be with consistent application of this experiment.

I would love to receive your comments and feedback of your experiences should you elect to write more in the next three months.

It is Time to Write; If Not Now, When?

Making Time to WriteWriting is probably one of the most important things I have added to my business life that really helped me explode into amazing new places. I do not consider myself a gifted writer. Instead, I simply developed the discipline of writing and let others help me improve with editing and feedback. Many people do not write much thinking they are not talented in writing or may even have grammar and spelling issues. That is what spell check and a good editor are for!

Having a blog and then a book completely changed how I viewed myself and how the public viewed me as well. WordPress and other sites have made blogging easy and accessible to everyone. The same can be said for self-publishing. There are still a few hold outs that think poorly of self-publishers, but I don’t hang out in that crowd, and the rest of the world has gotten over it.

I do not believe it behooves the world to try and make it so difficult to express ourselves in writing. There is so much talent and creativity in people that I believe should be allowed and encouraged to burst forth to a larger audience. If people don’t need or like it, they won’t buy it, but give the readers a chance to decide!

If you are not accustomed to writing much, start with a blog. The advantage to a blog is that it allows comments and interaction with your readers. You can even ask your audience a question that might help you know how to move forward with your business or what topic you might be able to focus on that everyone wants to know about. It can be a place to experiment. What draws the most feedback, and what is ignored? Sometimes what you think is the most interesting is not what your readers find important.

You can turn one blog post into an article that you can submit into places like eZine Articles, Articles Base or Go Articles. You may even take all the comments you receive from your post and integrate them into your article for more content and interest. Submitting articles is not difficult and can greatly increase your exposure to your website, your expertise and you as an authority.

I used to think that article writing was for academics. But with the boom of the internet and everyone googling their needs and questions, having an article on your niche can be incredibly beneficial. The first hurdle is to just go onto one of the article sites and just sign up and fill in your profile information. I found Articles Base to be the easiest to become a part of, and they rapidly approve articles after submission. eZine Articles is more prestigious and has more clout, but it also has a very long review time and they often ask for re-writes due to strict rules. The time spent on article writing can be valuable, and if you have not tried it yet, I encourage you to do so.

The next step might be to submit a story for publication into an anthology or magazine. You might be able to take an excerpt from your life that describes a pivotal moment and create a story around it. People love true, inspiring stories that give them hope during their difficult times. It also helps the reader or your audiences connect with you more deeply and see you as a human with flaws or challenges. Often times the very story you share will be the reason someone does business with you, but if you never told the story, they would not know that they could relate to you in that way.

Others have an entire book or two inside them just waiting to come out. According to a recent survey, over 80 percent of Americans feel they have a book in them that they would like to write. If you fall into that category, what holds you back? Do you perceive your schedule is too busy? Do you feel that the process is too daunting or difficult? Well, I suggest you set aside all your excuses real or imagined and simply begin to write. Create a schedule that works for you such as every Friday morning or a Sunday afternoon. The hardest part is just setting time aside and committing to it. Once you pass through that hurdle, you might find that the words just flow. You have probably bottled up years of ideas that once given the room to come forth, just cascade out of you.

Furthermore, after you actually publish that first book, you might find others in waiting that come out in half the time and effort as the first one. My first book was a gift to my daughters. A very short book entitled 8 Strategies For An Extraordinary Life that came out in 2005. It was a stepping stone to knowing I could write if I put my mind to it. And I did put my mind to it in 2010 because I wrote two books that year! The first was an anthology called Speaking Your Truth: Courageous Stories From Inspiring Women. A labor of love to bring together 49 amazing stories for inspiration and hope. The book came together in less than a year with subsequent volumes coming out in the future. This book was such an accomplishment in multiple ways, many of them mental blocks that I overcame, that I then completed my next book, How To Bring Your Book To Life This Year in about four months.

I have now begun to enjoy writing so much that I usually begin writing and planning the next book before the last book is fully printed. I would never have imagined that speed of writing a year ago. I set aside my excuses and craved out the time and then the words just flew out of me. If you have a deep yearning to write, I would encourage you to do it and know it is not nearly as hard as your mind wants you to believe!

Please share any writing blocks or hurdles you may be experiencing or that you have overcome.