Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Introducing the "Authorpreneurs" Streaming TV Show!

Writing has been at the core of my career -- whether for marketing, public relations, the Internet or some other form of communication. But from time to time, I’ve dabbled in journalism. After all, my undergraduate degree is in journalism. However, I never wanted to report the daily news. I’ve always found it much too ... well, negative. Instead, my interest in journalism has leaned more towards the positive news stories of the day. 
Over the years, my stints in journalism have included research and production for an interview-style talk show on a local PBS station, freelance writing, magazine publishing, co-hosting a weeklly hour-long radio show, and even interviewing guests for a public affairs television program. Well, here I go again, venturing into the world of journalism. The wonderful tie-in this time is that I’ll be interviewing authors, or as I like to call them “Authorpreneurs.”

Beginning Tuesday, November 1st, I will be the host of a 30-minute live streaming video program called “Book Your Success.” I’m so excited to get back on the scene interviewing people about their business and their passion. The program will spotlight authors whose books provide the information, innovation, and inspiration needed by successful entrepreneurs and business professionals.  

As the host of “Book Your Success,” I will be collaborating with entrepreneurial powerhouse and the Queen of Connections, Pamela Adams, founder of  The BizLynks Center. We’ve been friends for years, and I look forward to this exciting new venture.

I invite you to watch “Book Your Success” the first and third Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on BizLynks TV. Tune in for the launch of “Book Your Success” on Tuesday, November 1st, 7 p.m. Eastern and get a sneak peak at what the show has to offer and the knowledgeable authorpreneurs in our lineup for the coming months.

I hope you’ll join us for “Book Your Success.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Who Are Your Ideal Readers?

This is a critical question all authors should ask. And it’s a topic that will be covered in my upcoming 4-part course, “Book Your Success: Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less!”

Write your book with the end in mind – that is, the end users; those who will want to read your book.

After you identify your ideal readers and where to find them, you can implement a strategic plan for getting your book into their hands. So how do you ID your readers? First, consider the purpose of your book – to teach a concept, to share an exeprience and/or lesson, to warn of something, to make them laugh, to explain/educate, to inspire. 

Next, decide what you want readers to think, do, or feel once they complete your book. As the author, you should have an expected action you want readers to take while reading and after finishing your book. What should your readers think about the content they just read? What should they do now that they’ve completed reading your book? How should they feel about what they read and about their own life, business, family, etc.? Get clear on the “think, feel, do” concept to help identify the readers most likely to experience this outcome.

From these two steps, you can develop a profile of your readers – dads of small children, the empty nest couple, single working moms, teenage girls, do-it-yourselfers. By considering the ripple effect, you can increase your audience by also targeting those associated with your ideal readers – service providers, relatives, interest groups.

A simple Internet search will quickly identify blogs, professional organizations, and local Meetup groups that focus on the subject of your book. Learn what’s important to these audiences – their fears and dreams. Interact with these groups (or start your own) to show them how your book will help solve their problems, realize their dreams, or identify issues they struggle with daily.

Research other books with a similar theme. Check out the best sellers list and read other books on your subject to identify key strategies, concepts, language, and marketing concepts. Look at the cover designs and see which ones draw your attention. Also, examine the length of the book, its availability, price, book reviews, media coverage, and other elements that attract readers.

This is only the tip of the iceberg on this topic. Be sure to register for my 4-part course soon. There’s only space for 25 people. Oh, and there’s a special offer for followers of my blog: The first 10 registrants receive a 20% cash rebate on their course registration fee (payable at the end of the 4-part course). You can’t beat that! So register today!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

When An Agent Offers To Rep You

If you've read my blog and know anything about my Write Your Life program, you know I'm all about authors choosing self-publishing as a viable route for getting their books in the hands of readers.

However, there are many authors and aspiring authors who want to take the traditional publishing route. If you do, one of your first steps should be to get a professional literary agent. Rachelle Gardner is one of the best in the business. Read what she says about a dilemma she experienced with a new author. Most importantly, heed her advice about protocol and professionalism.

I’d had several phone conversations with a potential client and we were really “clicking.” I’d made her an offer of representation, knowing she’d sent her proposal to several other agents at the same time. She expressed that she wanted to say “yes” to me. But she hadn’t heard back from the other agents, so she wasn’t sure what that meant. Were they interested since they hadn’t responded? Had they simply not gotten to her query yet? Shouldn’t she at least wait to see what they had to say? But what if they never got back to her—how long should she wait?
It was a question of both professional etiquette and wise decision-making.
I advised her to send a brief email to the other agents, politely reminding them that she’d sent them XYZ Proposal. Then say something like, “I wanted to let you know that I’ve received an offer of representation from a literary agent. Would you like a chance to respond to my proposal before I finalize the arrangement with the other agent?” This should solicit a response from the others fairly quickly. They’ll probably either say, “Hold it! I’d like a chance to discuss this with you!” Or they’ll give their blessing for her to accept the offer she has, and wish her the best.
Fairness and common courtesy can help you make the right move in almost any situation. When in doubt, err on the side of the most respectful thing to do.
Eventually you’ll make a decision, and then you should follow up with the agents whom you didn’t choose to work with. Send an email, thanking them for their consideration and letting them know your project is no longer available, and that you’ve accepted an offer. Usually there’s no point in being evasive about it—feel free to let people know exactly which agent you’ve chosen, or which publisher.
Think of it this way: In any situation in which you’re not sure of protocol, be polite, treat people with respect, and avoid making enemies. Mind your manners, just like your mama always told you. The author I told you about? She let the other agents know she had an offer. As I suspected would happen, she received another offer for representation, so she had to make a choice. She ended up making a fantastic decision, and we’ve been partners and friends ever since.
Do you have any questions about what to do when you receive an offer of representation? If you already have an agent, how did you respond when you got that call?

Rachelle Gardner is a literary agent. Her passion is partnering with authors to bring worthwhile books to publication. Visit her at

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Get S.M.A.R.T.

We all know the importance of goal setting. As the saying goes, “You’re not a failure for not having achieved your goals. You’re a failure for having no goals in the first place.” Or something like that. The point is, setting goals gives you something to aim for, a measurable task and a timeline in which to accomplish it. 

We’ve all heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals:
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely
Well, just as you would set S.M.A.R.T. goals for any other task, you need to do the same for writing your book. As an author, you can turn this goal-setting acronym into a guide to getting your book done and achieving some remarkable goals in the process. Each of the following should include the S.M.A.R.T. approach:

Writing: Decide how many words, pages, or hours you’re going to write each week. There is no magic number for any of these. It depends on your skill, your schedule, your lifestyle, and your dedication to getting your book done.

Measuring: Determine how you will measure the success of your book project. Some authors prize book sales as the ultimate measure of success, while others chart clients gained, speaking engagements conducted, or media appearances made. You decide what’s best for you.

Leveraging: How will you use your book to enhance or leverage your platform -- your business or cause? You might consider examining fans, followers, or prospects. Or perhaps, you’ll look at how much more you can charge for your products and services, or the change in your status and credibility among industry leaders.

Influencing: Life is all about helping and influencing others in a positive way. Decide how your book will help you influence your customers, community, vendors, family and others.

These goals are S.M.A.R.T. ways to become a successful author.