September 19, 2018– So you want to run a writing business, congratulations! Do you know what you really want?
A lot of authors branch off into offering writing services to the general public. It may be editing or consulting, helping someone flesh out ideas for their book, or it can even be assisting self-published authors with the long publishing journey ahead. Whatever it is, before you begin, make sure you have a head for business.
I’m not going to mention money or charges or price structure in this post because that is entirely up to you! What I am going to talk about are the most important things you need to do before you even THINK about pricing your services.
As I own a full-service publishing house, I have some tips on running a successful writing business:
What are you offering? Make sure that you’re clear about what you do and what you don’t do! Do you offer line editing? Revisions and re-writes? Manuscript consultations? Blog hosting? YOU have to know what you do before anyone else can.
Who is your ideal client and what qualities do they possess? When you work with clients you love, you’ll genuinely enjoy the job you’re doing, and that’s when you do your best work! Make a list of the traits your ideal clients have. Are they bright? Resilient? Courageous? Big thinkers? Rapid responders?
Identify your target market of ideal clients. What do you specialize in and who is your niche? Choosing your target market is essential because to reach the people you’re meant to work with, you’ve got to know where to find them. Maybe your writing business is ghostwriting for medical professionals, make a list of where to find the people who need your services!
Determine the biggest result your clients get. What is the number one outcome that you help your target market achieve? Do you help self-published authors get their book from an idea into physical form? Potential clients within your target market must see your services and products as opportunities to receive a return on their monetary investment. What kind of ROI will your clients get from working with you?
It’s imperative to your success that you answer the above questions before getting started. Because as I always say, you can’t hit a target you can’t see. Here’s to your success!
August 17, 2018- This is for all of my self-published author friends and colleagues! I want to know, are you a bad decision maker? I know that in the past, I certainly have been. It is imperative to be a good decision maker when self-publishing because so many things require your attention! Here’s what I’ve learned along the way in my own publishing journey:
You base your decisions on ego. If you think that you know it all, you’ve got a problem. Let’s say that your an expert in a specific field like illustration, you may assume that your expertise in that field will translate to every other area in bookmaking such as marketing, advertising, and writing. Well, my dear friend, you would be wrong. Instead, assemble a team of people whose expertise rounds out your own and reap the benefits of multiple perspectives.
You rely on the momentum effect. Yes, I do believe that some past events can predict future events, BUT this is not always written in stone, and there’s a problem with thinking this way! The world is continually changing and evolving. If you’re only relying on your tried-and-true methods and are blind to other options, you’re going to be in trouble. It’s important to learn from the past, but to keep your eyes on the future. Know what’s going on in your industry so that you can continuously pivot and be on top of your game.
You’re Lazy. If you’re a self-published author, then I have news for you, you’re an entrepreneur whether you like it or not. Entrepreneurs have to be curious and hungry and always on the lookout for new opportunities. If you only make decisions based on how comfortable you feel and refuse to try anything new, this industry will chew you up and spit you out.
You’re indecisive. Ugh. Nothing makes me cringe more than people who can’t make a damn decision. Yes, there are some decisions that need to be thought about carefully, but let’s face it, most decisions can be made in a matter of seconds! If you can’t decide where you’re going on your self-publishing journey, then why would it matter when you get there? You can’t hit a target you can’t see. Make a decision and stick with it whether it’s right or wrong. You’ll find out eventually and remember that indecision is a decision!
You see the trees and not the forest. Take a look at the big picture! Good decisions are always made with the big picture in mind, but if you’re always worried and focused on putting out fires and solving minor problems, you’ll never be able to properly plan ahead. Don’t Major in Minor things. You get me? Delegate the smaller decisions to those who are in your corner. You don’t need to worry yourself with minor details that don’t really matter in the long run.
So, the good news is that if you do any of the things above, you can choose to stop doing those things immediately and become a better decision maker! It’s not always easy, but it can be done. Trust me, I’ve done it.
August 15, 2018– We’ve all been in awkward situations when we meet someone or where we’re at an event and the person who corners us, has nothing to say. What do we talk about? Where can I escape to? Where the heck is my husband to rescue me? Usually, talking to people is easy for me because I like to keep informed about a little bit of everything that’s going on in the world, however, there are times where I find myself with nothing to say because the conversation has run its course or perhaps the other person and I have nothing in common.
Guess what? The same holds true for everyone who reads your novels. It happens. There are novels out there with nothing to say, and fiction readers have high expectations of being engaged on a deeper level when they pick up a book.
Here are some interesting facts that you should know before you write your first or next novel.
All stories have underlying morals. If they didn’t then no one would bother to read them. Morals are the glue that holds us together. For example, in my novel, Obsessed with Her, there are a TON of morals. Some of the questions that the reader must ask themselves while reading my book are pretty dark. What would they do if their child was missing? How far would they go to find out what happened to her? Would they do the same thing if they were in the main character’s shoes? Every novel must possess some kind of moral fork in the road; if it doesn’t, your reader will be disappointed, snap your book closed, and hurl it across the room.
Readers seek out stories that are on par with their own beliefs. For example, romance readers are largely female, mystery/thriller readers are somewhat conservative with a longing for justice, and techno-thriller readers are most often military personnel. Every reader believes in something, and it’s our job as writers to make them question their beliefs…which leads me to my next point; the number of fiction readers who deliberately seek to have their morals changed are slim to none. This does not mean that they don’t want to be stretched or see the world in a different light, they do! They just don’t want their own beliefs and morals converted.
Readers are not looking for what is comfortable, familiar, or politically pleasing. Fiction is most interesting and unputdownable when points of view and beliefs are different, engrossing, compelling, and detailed. Take your reader to the edge of what they believe, and you’ll make a long-term connection. Plus, they’ll love your book, hopefully, and become a life-long reader of your work.
The moral of this post? Have a moral in your story. Make it interesting. Push the limits.
August 13, 2018- I do a lot of school visits as an author, and someone once asked me the question, “Do author visits make a difference in kids’ lives?” I took a second to think about that. “Yes, they do. And let me prove it to you.” More on this in a second.
I love, love, love going to schools as a visiting author with the opportunity to read my books to young people! It is such a unique and wonderful experience that no two schools are the same. I leave with a sense of gratitude for the young minds that allow me their attention for even a brief time and for the teachers and librarians that welcome me with open arms, into their schools and their spaces. The questions that the children ask are fun, funny, and sometimes very personal! But, enough about what we as authors get out of school visits, what do the children receive?
According to a recent study that was conducted in 2013, by California State University, children receive the following benefits from author school visits:
Author visits motivate children to read more. Kids passion for reading is ignited before, during, and after an author visit. They get excited about things that they can relate to such as an in-person visit from someone who is real! I often hear them say that they too want to be authors when they grow up.
Author visits inspire creativity and expression. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to a school where the kids have created a comic book for me, complete with illustrations, or how many times they’ve created a poem or handmade card.
Author visits motivate children to write more. Children often hurry home after an author has visited their school because they’ve suddenly caught the writing bug. They want to write about anything, and everything, plus, author visits can also spark ideas to write about.
It is always beneficial to have an author visit your school! There are so many reasons why you should book a visit for the upcoming school year. Not only is it fun, but it’s also educational and entertaining.
I do in-person school visits, but I also offer live Skype visits and readings with schools that are abroad. Please contact email@example.com for more information.
August 3, 2018– Normally, I would advise against self-editing especially if you plan on submitting your work to a publisher. It always pays to send in your most polished writing, and the cost of getting your manuscript professionally edited is absolutely worth it! But what about the publisher? If they like my work don’t they pay to get it edited? Yes, of course, we do, but it’s always a breath of fresh air to have a manuscript submitted that requires less editing, and that is pretty close to almost perfect.
My advice, if you can’t afford to hire a pro to edit your ms before sending to a publisher, can be found in this excellent infographic from our friends at NowNovel.com. Check out the tips below!
July 25, 2018- Today, I’ll be giving you three things that you MUST DO if you want to create an unputdownable book. Yep, that’s right, Un Put Down Able is a real word that is in the dictionary. Who knew?
So, you want to create a novel that readers tell you that they just couldn’t stop reading?
Here’s what you need to do to ensure that this happens:
Start where the action is. You’ve got to get your reader hooked right out of the gate. If your intro is boring, what does that say about the rest of your book? I know that some people will say that it’s crazy to judge a book by the first page, but I’m here to tell you that people do. Start with action, and you’ll hook your reader for sure.
Create compelling problems for your characters. I’ve said this time and again, your reader MUST be invested in your characters, they must care about them, and be interested in seeing them solve the problems that you, the author, has presented them with. The conflict that you set up must be high stakes. It can be as simple as something like having two love interests and trying to decide between the two, or it can be something as complex as trying to save the world from an alien attack. Also be sure to layer the character’s problems for even more fun!
Pick up the pace. Literally. Shorten the end chapters, pick up the speed at which your reader reaches the end of your book. Make the last few chapters breakneck and be sure to tie up everything with a bow.
If you follow these three tiny tips, I promise that you will create something that is unputdownable for your readers! Happy Writing!
June 29, 2018- I get a ton of manuscript submissions and one thing I usually ask for is a synopsis of the story. It saves me a ton of time and allows me to decide whether or not I want to see more of the manuscript; there is a problem though, a lot of authors drag out their synopsis and make it too long. When submitting your work to a publisher, ensure that your synopsis is NEVER longer than 1 page. If you can’t describe your work in 1 page, there’s a problem and you should go back and trim. The graphic below is a cool tool for authors wanting to submit. Good luck and Happy Writing!